These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 7, 2007.
Monday, 7 May 2007
Another Moderate Enclave
"These groups have established bases in the formerly moderate enclave of Bangladesh"-- from this news item
Oh for god's sake. "Moderate" compared to what? The razakars of Bangladesh, during the 1970-71 war? The people who have arrested and would love to execute Mr. Choudhry, the Bangladeshi journalist who dared to say a kind word for Israel? Those who are fighting the Awami League? Those who beat Hindus to death when they happen to be passing a mosque just as Friday Prayers let out (you can find the pictures on-line)? Those who have persecuted many, and murdered some Hindus, Christians and Buddhists (in the Chittagong Hills), driving them into West Bengal? Those Muslims who have themselves brought Muslim fervor into West Bengal, where the leftist local government has done nothing to prevent them from entering?
What "moderate enclave"?
The usual nonsense.
Posted on 05/07/2007 6:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
Sarkozy on Polygamy
Robert Spencer translates this statement by President-elect Sarkozy of France:
Question: What do you think of polygamy?
Answer: I respect all cultures throughout the world, but so that it is quite clear: if I am elected President of the Republic, I will not accept women being treated as inferior to men. The French Republic holds these values: respect for women, equality between men and women. Nobody has the right to hold a prisoner, even within his own family. I say it clearly, that polygamy is prohibited in the territory of the French Republic. I will fight against female genital mutilation and those who do not wish to understand that the values of the French Republic include freedom for women, the dignity of women, respect for women -- they do not have any reason to be in France. If our laws are not respected and if one does not wish to understand our values, if one does not wish to learn French, then one does not have any reason to be on French territory.
Posted on 05/07/2007 7:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 7 May 2007
Iran and The Mess In Iraq
The Bush Administration has made an utter mess in Iraq. It has a solemn duty, made more difficult by its Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf business in Iraq, and made more difficult by the palpable incoherence and nonsensical goals in Iraq (what the hell are those goals? How do those goals further the interests of Infidels? In what way are those goals being furthered better by remaining in Iraq rather than withdrawing from Iraq?) to do something about Iran's military project. The American soldiers in Iraq are potential hostages to Iranian retaliation. That is not the only reason, not even the main reason, they should promptly be withdrawn from Iraq, but they are a good and sufficient reason Their presence does not make more, but less, likely, freedom of Western maneuver in dealing with Iran.
Furthermore, Sunni Arab states, pusillanimous and treacherous as they are, will nonetheless find their own hysterical criticism of an attack on Iran's nuclear installations more acceptable if, at the same time, there is Sunni-Shi'a warfare in Iraq, open warfare, warfare in which, without the inhibiting American presence, the Shi'a militias will go back into action, and every Sunni attack will be met with a revenge counter-attack. The Sunnis left in Baghdad will consequently be pushed out until the fabled capital for 400 years of the Abbasid Caliphate, the madinat al-salaam, is in the hands of the "Persian Shi'a," those "Rafidite dogs" whom the Sunnis of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, not to mention Sunni Arabs everywhere, with their history-haunted exaggerated belief in that Glorious Islamic Past, will pour in money, men, matériel.
And will not Iran be doing the same? Can Iran afford to let the Sunnis, though smaller in number, nonetheless better organized and more ferocious (so far) than the Shi'a, attempt to repossess Iraq? Of course they can't. And so, however different some Iraqi Shi'a may be, however differing in their views of religion and the state (Al-Sistani prefers for the clerisy to be the indirect, not direct rulers as Khomeini favored) from the Iranians, they will not reject such aid.
Now think for a moment. What are the ideal conditions in the neighborhood for an attack - not a land invasion, but an attack by air -- on Iran's nuclear installations? Are the ideal conditions for such an attack those in which Sunnis and Shi'a in Iraq are being prevented from harming each other by American troops who attempt to capture or kill "the extremists on both sides (and while Sunnis almost unanimously, and Shi'a by a very great majority, share a common approval of attacks on those same Americans)? Or are the ideal conditions, for the attackers, those in which the Islamic Republic of Iran's rulers are distracted by the need to help co-religionists in Iraq, and at the same time to counter the appeals to Kurds in northern Iran by largely-autonomous Kurds in northern Iraq and appeals to Arabs in Khuzistan by Arabs in southern Iraq, and to worry, more generally, about the chaos and confusion in Iraq that can only be bad for Iran?
Surely the latter.
Surely there are those who understand that Iran must not acquire nuclear weapons -- not under this regime, and not under any other. Surely there are those who are not so blind as the Bush Administration, obstinately wedded to a course that does not weaken the Camp of Islam but would, if successful, avoid its weakening, surely there are those who, at long last, have gotten over whatever loyalty -- blind loyalty -- they offered the Bush policy because they were animated more by a determination to oppose whatever Cindy Sheehan, or Michael Moore, or John Kerry, or others deserving and entirely undeserving of scorn might favor.
Surely that is a foolish basis for making policy. Surely the folly of the Administration should now be clear to all -- even to those who still cling to the wisdom of squandering men, money, and matériel to "bring freedom to ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East, cling to the wisdom of preventing, rather than welcoming (no need to encourage, merely a need to stop making enormous and heroic efforts to prevent) the fissures, sectarian and ethnic, that always existed in Iraq, and which were no longer kept forcibly in check by the iron rule of Saddam Hussein and his Sunni Arab despotism.
Posted on 05/07/2007 8:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
How Many Jihadists?
2,000 a few days ago, 4,000 "suspected jihadists" today. In truth, the outer limit is that established by the number of Muslims. For there is no ambiguity about the duty of Jihad to spread Islam: it is not tangential, but central, to the Faith. It is not a matter of spiritual wrestling, pace assorted armstrongs and espositos, but a matter of removing all the obstacles -- armed conflict, laws, local customs -- that might stand in the way of the spread of Islam until it spreads, as it must spread, as by right it should spread, as all Muslims have a duty to help it spread -- across the globe, until "Islam dominates" everywhere for "Islam is not to be dominated." And in Islam, you see, the very idea of pluralism is absurd, even if Muslims in the West will exploit the tolerance of Western societies, of that same pluralism, to secure their position, and to grow, and grow, until such time as they need no longer pretend to believe in pluralism. In Islam, not Islam which will be one among many religions or faiths or, as in the case of Islam, Total Belief-Systems, that will co-exist as equals, but one which will triumph and dominate, and the Believers, that is the Believers in Islam, will -- as is right, as is just -- rule, and will allow non-Muslims, if they scrupulously fulfill the many political, financial, and social duties demanded of them as dhimmis, may escape forced conversion to Islam or death, by resigning themselves to lives of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity that have been, with minor local variations depending on local rulers (some were harsher, some more benign) and conditions (since the 19th century, when Western powers began to put pressure on Muslims, they were forced, for a while, to treat their non-Muslim minorities slightly better than the Shari'a ever contemplated, but as Western power has either receded or Western governments been wrongly fearful of applying pressure, the condition of non-Muslims in Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, all over the Middle East and North Africa, has worsened.
No one can identify those Muslims who take the duty of Jihad seriously. Furthermore, the statement above uses the word "Jihadist" to refer only to those who engage, or are known as being likely to engage, in acts of terrorism within Great Britain. How many are likely to engage in acts of terrorism outside of Great Britain? How many are likely to think that the best way they can support the Jihad is to spread Islam, to conduct careful campaigns to threaten and silence all critics, or to inveigle the economically and psychically marginal? How many conduct Jihad by having families, often on the Infidel dole, of a half-dozen or dozen children, sometimes with more than one wife, despite the laws in Great Britain against polygamy?
All those who use or contribute to the other weapons of Jihad -- the money weapon (which pays for mosques, madrasas, public relations campaigns, armies of Western hirelings, including but not limited to former diplomats and intelligence agents, journalists, businessmen angling for dangling contracts, public relations specialists, and propagandists of all kinds) -- are also Jihadists.
What are their numbers? If there are 1.8 million Muslims in Great Britain, then their numbers are, potentially, 1.8 million. I think the real number might be less -- perhaps only 1.5 million of them can be accurately described as Jihadists.
Is that enough to worry you? Is that enough to make you wish to end all Muslim migration to the Lands of the Infidels, and to reverse the growth in the Muslim presence within those lands, purely as an act of civilizational survival, of being unwilling to part, quite so readily, with the legal and political institutions, and the enterprises of science and art, which are so discouraged, or so limited, by the texts, and attitudes of Islam?
Try to think, out of the tens of thousands of names of writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, philosophers, in the Western world, of more than a half-dozen who might have been produced by, who could have existed for one minute in, societies suffused with Islam? Certainly not Leonardo or Shakespeare. I can only think, at this point, of someone on the level of deliberate geometric lifelessness of M. C. Escher, or possibly some color field theorist with his strips and stripes and daubs. That's about it.
Posted on 05/07/2007 9:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
News from the Middle East
There is of course only ever one news story from the Middle East.
The Onion has it.
Posted on 05/07/2007 10:06 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 7 May 2007
Re: Darwin & Conservatism
Several bloggers have shared my puzzlement at the stated topic of last week's AEI panel (the full two and a half hours of which are on the AEI website under "past events.") Rand Simberg at terrestrial.com, for example, says:
"This seems like kind of a strange symposium:
"[Quoting the conference ad] 'There is a growing debate among conservative thinkers and pundits about whether Darwinian theory helps or harms conservatism and its public policy agenda. ...'
"Doesn't it matter whether or not the theory is valid? Is it only something to be discussed in terms of its effects on conservatism (or for that matter progressivism)? If it turns out that it somehow is harmful to traditional morality and family life (I'm not sure that the empirical evidence bears this out, even if it does in theory), does that mean that it shouldn't be taught in science classes, even if it's the best scientific explanation for the fossil record (and human behavior)? What is the point of this symposium?"
[Derb] That was exactly the thrust of my opening remarks. The issue of whether Darwinism—or any other large theory about the world—is good for conservatism, or for liberalism, or for me, or for you, or for society at large, should alway be secondary to: Is it true? The truth/falsehood, on the one hand, and the utility/inutility to any particular social program, on the other, are independent of each other.
There are in fact (I pointed out) four logically tenable positions:
A. Darwinism is true, and good for conservatism.
B. Darwinism is true, and bad for conservatism.
C. Darwinism is false, and good for conservatism.
D. Darwinism is false, and bad for conservatism.
I have never heard any creationist address possibility (C), though the support of useful falsehoods for social purposes has a long and respectable history—at least back to Plato—and is perfectly tenable on practical political grounds. Atheist and Jewish conservatives, for instance, believe Christianity to be false, but they are well-disposed towards it anyway, because they (well, most of them) think it is good for conservatism.
Supposing Darwinism to be true, though—which is what I do suppose—than, as I said in the debate: "If Darwinism is bad for conservatism, so much the worse for conservatism."
In fact, the truth value and the good-for-conservatism value being independent, the answer to the question posed by the debate topic is:
"Sometimes A, sometimes B."
A lot of the findings of modern biology confirm conservative intuitions—about innate differences between men and women, rooted in biology, for instance.
In other cases, results from the human sciences, rooted in standard-model biology ("Darwinism"), make conservatives unhappy. The results we kicked around here a few months ago, for instance, about parenting suggest that, ceteris paribus, a child raised by two homosexual parents will be no less likely than a child raised by two heterosexuals to turn out just fine. Conservatives don't like that.
It seems to be the case, though, so we must put up with it somehow.
Reality, as someone once said, is the stuff that doesn't go away when you stop believing in it.
Conservatives should be realists. Wishful thinking is for children and lefties. Big, fat, solid, scientific consensuses that have survived decades of inquiry, like the one that exists on evolution, give us our clearest insights into reality.
Posted on 05/07/2007 10:07 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 7 May 2007
Life is Hard
"My job has very little to do with Spencer and Horowitz, as I am not in the business of debate with antagonists. Rather, my work involves compassionate and productive inter-religious cooperation - confronting and grappling with the realities of religious violence and difference, while at the same time aspiring to rise above the antagonism of the Terrorism Awareness Project."
[Aysha Hidayatullah is the Muslim Religious Advisor in Emory's Office of Religious Life.]
"I am not so naive as to defend the sinister people who lay claim to Islam and distort its teachings in order to wage war on Israel and the West. Nor do I dismiss the very real threat they pose to Jews, Israel and virtually all humanity.
Yet I refuse to allow Horowitz and Spencer's alarmist rhetoric to intrude on our campus and breed mistrust between Jews and Muslims at Emory while we strive to build bridges of understanding and respect between our communities.
Fostering a culture of fear creates division, not positive change. We can maintain constructive conversation between our communities while simultaneously opposing the brutality of violence against any people.
In fact, it is a vital Jewish interest to improve relations with the Muslim community, and in so doing, we must insist that moderate Muslim leaders raise their voices in opposition to terrorism and the culture of hate propagated by Islamic extremists. Only through personal interaction, partnerships, and coalitions can we communicate our concerns, build respect for one another, and pursue peace."
[Michael Rabkin is the director of Emory Hillel]
-- both statements from the article here
The moral preening of Rabbi Michael Rabkin, his making a virtue of his own ignorance, and out of that ignorance, his belief that not the Truth, but something else, a Getting Along with Muslims by not looking too deeply into the doctrines of Islam, and attacking with all the viciousness he, this comical figure (almost by now a stock character of the American pantomime) defending Islam -- about which he knows so much, apparently. Of course he does. He's in the interfaith feelgood truthiness business. Don't confuse him with what is in Qu'ran, Hadith, and Sira. Don't tell him about Muhammad. He knows about Muhammad. He knows what Muslim students tell him. He knows that even President Bush, even Condoleeza Rice, know that Islam is a Good Thing, with a few extremists attempting here and there to "hijack a great religion." He knows all about the jurisconsults and he knows what al-Ghazali wrote, and Ibn Kaldun the historian and early sociologist. He knows what is said in the khutbas. He knows the full history of the 1350 years of Islamic conquest. He knows all about how wonderful it was for Jews under Islam -- and don't, for god's sake don't -- try to get him to read Andrew Bostom's forthcoming sourcebook on Jews and Islam, or even to read the introductory essay by Ibn Warraq on Islamic antisemitism. He knows.
He's been rightly guided, you see, by none other than the Islamic adviser on campus, the lady who bears the name of the child-bride of Muhammad herself, and who tells us she won't condescend to engaging in any debate over mere facts (no, debate over mere facts, facts such as what is actually the doctrine, clearly expressed in the texts, and in the 1350-year history of Muslim conquest of non-Muslim lands and, everywhere, subjugation of those non-Muslims, whether Jews or Christians, Zoroastrians or Buddhists or Hindus, everywhere that Islam conquered, and in ways remarkably similar over that time, and a space that extends from Al-Andaluz to the East Indies).
Why won't this Muslim adviser engage in debate and can only name-call but not offer a coherent refutation? Because she can't. Because no such refutation can be offered. Only Taqiyya-and-Tu-Quoque, only name-calling in which those who calmly point out certain home-truths -- for every single statement made can be backed up with copious quotation from the canonical texts (Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira) and examples of such attitudes (Muslim hatred of this, Muslim hatred of that, Muslim inculcation of hatred for this and that) can be given.
She explains away her failure to offer any coherent refutation, or any refutation at all. Why won't (why can't) she do it? Because, you see, she, Aysha Hidayatullah, is not engaged in such matters. She won't dignify with a response, etc. She is engaged not in talking about Islam, and the specific contents of Islamic doctrine --not the kinds of things that Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ibn Warraq or Ali Sina or tens of thousands of known apostates, and hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of unknown ones -- are here to tell us about, here to inform us (or does Aysha Hidayatullah think she can suppress the articulate and impressive testimony of someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or dismiss her as "hate-filled" because she is even more critical, even more damning, with all the fury of someone who had to endure Islam for so long, than either Spencer or Horowitz allow themselves to be.
No, she won't debate. Why won't she debate? Because you see, as Aysha Haydatullah puts it:
"I am not in the business of debate with antagonists. Rather, my work involves compassionate and productive inter-religious cooperation - confronting and grappling with the realities of religious violence and difference, while at the same time aspiring to rise above the antagonism of the Terrorism Awareness Project."
Rabkin "won't allow alarmist rhetoric" (so it is mere "rhetoric" that Robert Spencer offers us in his many books -- not hundreds of passages, from Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, but "alarmist rhetoric"). He will "refuse to allow" [anything at all, including a close investigation of the texts, and history, of Islam] that "alarmist rhetoric to breed mistrust" [no, anything that breeds "mistrust" -- even the truth, or specific truths -- cannot be allowed, must be kept out, must not be discussed, must be attacked and banished before they reach the ears, the eyes, the minds of the impressionable young, some of whom, Rabbi Rabkin fears, might actually go to the texts, read the history start to learn something other than what Rabbi Michael Rabkin wishes them to hear. Because if they investigate, if they do such things as read "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or visit the website www.faithfreedom.org of apostates from Islam, or if they read Ibn Warraq's "Why I Am Not a Muslim" or if they read Bat Ye'or's "The Dhimmi" and "Islam and Dhimmitude" and "The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam" or if they read Andrew Bostom's "The Legacy of Jihad" (and his forthcoming book on what Islam inculcates about Jews, and how Jews were treated in Dar al-Islam), or if they were to read Robert Spencer's "The Truth About Muhammad" or "Onward, Muslim Soldiers" or the anthology "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance," or if they were to read the studies of Islam by Snouck Hurgronje, or Arthur Jeffery, or Gustave von Grunebaum, or St. Clair Tisdall, or Henri Lammens, or Sir William Muir, or any of a hundred or two hundred great scholars of Islam, who wrote in a period when the Michael Rabkins of this world, terrified of any investigation of Islam, and determined to squash anything that could conceivably be considered critical of Islam, "wounding" to Muslims, insufficiently solicitous of their feelings and the main duty of them michael-rabkins of this world, which is not the truth (who cares about that?) What good is the Truth if the truth is unsettling, disturbing, unpleasant, might require a re-examination of certain Articles of Feelgood Interfaith by the likes, the comical even self-parodic likes, of Michael Rabkin, who is, you see, against anything, including the truth, that might "intrude on our campus [apparently, his duty is to shield his young charges from reality, as Michael Berg was shielded by his own father, before meeting up with real reality in Baghdad]and "breed mistrust between Jews and Muslims" Oh, just Jews? What about Christians and Hindus and Buddhists? Should they, being much more numerous in the world, and better able to protect themselves, be allowed to find out certain things about Muslims and Islam that the Jews must be shielded against, so that those Jews behave properly and do nothing to antagonize the Muslims, for that would never do, that would be dangerous for Jews, to find out too much about Islam, so the scared rabbit Michael Rabkin, his palpable fear of offending Muslims in thought, word, and deed being offered by him, for his own sake, and for the outside world, as not cowardice and wilful ignorance (but not completely ignorant, for one detects in Rabkin's subdued hysteria a fear of what Islam might in fact be, and what he is determined not to find out, and not to let any of those whom he has a duty to instruct, and enlighten, not to keep permanently unaware in order that they remain permanent subjects of Queen Pollyanna -- and as far as the likes of Rabbi Michael Rabkin of Emory's Office of Religious Life" long may she reign). The scared rabbit presenting himself as one who will nobly "strive to build bridges of "understanding and respect" between our "two communities" -- just like Hidayatullah's "compassionate and productive inter-religious cooperation" (which means exploiting the ignorance and naivete of the non-Muslim students in order to exploit them for the purposes of defending Islam and deflecting any intelligent examination of it -- no doubt also fostered by relevant Muslim and non-Muslim collaborators (google "MESA Nostra" for more) on the faculty, and invertebrate administrators who want no rocking of boats (which is why alumni should cut Emory off at the pass, cut off the Development Offices at all universities where this Defense of Islam has become an untouchable doctrine, beyond all critical scrutiny or criticism).
Yes, this is Rabbi Rabkin's task: to "build bridges of understanding and respect" and to avoid anything that might cause "division" when only "positive change" is to be permitted (forget what the texts or history say, if those texts might cause division).
Here is what Rabbi Rabkin reveals to us his fearful worldview, his perfect embodiment of dhimmitude. If he did not exist, Bat Ye'or would have had to invent him, but he does exist, and so do others like him:
"we strive to build bridges of understanding and respect between our communities."
He thinks that those who attempt to direct our attention, as Robert Spencer has, to the texts, the tenets, the attitudes, of Islam, are merely "[f]ostering a culture of fear" and that this "creates division, not positive change." And of course anything at all that "creates division" must be a Bad Thing. Thus Muslims are allowed everywhere to be exempt from critical scrutiny, their doctrines unexamined, their behavior, following those doctrines, both now, in Thailand and the Sudan, in Nigeria and Bangladesh, in Upper Egypt and southern Lebanon, in Iraq with the Christians and Mandaeans and Yazidis, and of course with the infidel Americans, in Madrid and Beslan, in Moscow and Amsterdam, in Paris and Bologna, in London and New York and Washington -- not merely those who do the deeds, but those who applaud the deeds, dearest chuck -- for if one man cruelly kills another in a sports stadium, and ten thousand people wildly applaud and cheer, then those ten thousand are also guilty -- and all over the world, Muslims have taken sides, taken sides to applaud not only the 9/11/2001 attacks, but elsewhere. Every poll shows very large numbers of Muslims -- not a "handful of extremists" -- supporting acts of terrorism against Infidels. The polls in Great Britain, polls which surely underestimate the real support for terrorism in those who would mute or attempt to hide their murderous hostility to Infidels, and no one would claim to support Bin Laden, or local terrorists, if they did not) have startled English people, but they should not have. No doubt Rabbi Rabkin finds this all distressing, and since he believes that "it is a vital Jewish interest to improve relations with the Muslim community" and hopes that the real Muslims, the vast majority of peace-loving blah-blah, will soon do what they have not done, soon do what they show no signs of doing, soon do what they have had 1350 years to do, and have not done, which is to denounce not only acts of terrorism but the Jihad as a central duty of Islam, he is going to continue to mislead his young charges, and some of them, the more sheep-like among them, the ones content with pieties and hope, and the belief that People Are the Same The Whole World Over and ideologies can be ignored, and anyway, isn't Islam a "religion" and aren't all "religions" Good Things? Isn't that right?
Oh, it's more than right for Rabbi Michael Rabkin, palpably fearful of finding out (a perfect Podsnap, he doesn't want to know, won't know, will with a snap of his fingers put All Disagreeables behind him). Please-- don't worry him, don't upset him, don't make him have to think.
Life is hard enough as it is.
Posted on 05/07/2007 10:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
Evolution & the GOP Debate
Blogger Tom Meyer on those reponses to the evolution question in the GOP debate.
"What is crucial in the next election — and if we learn nothing else from the president's bungling of the Iraq War, let it be this — is that we must have a president who can consistently dismiss preconceived beliefs if he finds they are contradicted by reality. By stating that they don't believe in the foundational theory of biology, these three men are admitting they are incapable of doing that."
[Derb] He has a point, though it wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me personally.
Posted on 05/07/2007 10:40 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 7 May 2007
I have just come back from the Rochester Sweeps May Festival (about which more later.) This musician at the castle gate did not look happy yesterday (6th) and is probably even less happy this morning. You can’t read the poster in his instrument case (my camera was special offer in Tescos last month. £9.95 reduced from £15 – what do you expect for under a tenner? zoom?) but it said
Posted on 05/07/2007 11:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 7 May 2007
Sarkozy is good, but Philippe de Villiers is better. One hopes that Sarkozy will not engage in any idiotic "reaching out" to the "youths" in the "banlieues" but make sure they know a different view of things now prevails, and the nonsense of the past will no longer be tolerated. Sarkozy was very good on television with the sinister Tariq Ramadan (for whom the jig is up in France, and in Switzerland, which is why he moved on to a temporary post in England, and hopes to take his show on the road to credulous America, where wilfully naive Scott Appleby, and Notre Dame, still await him -- or so he devoutly believes).
Sarkozy has spoken in the past about the possibility "integrating" the Muslims of France and even suggested the desirability of special programs to favor them in employment and with a kind of affirmative action in the schools. He still doesn't realize that teaching Believers French, teaching them about French culture, will not make them any better able to accept Infidel institutions, or make them necessarily loyal to the Infidel nation-state of France, but will assuredly provide many with the tools to better conduct Da'wa, to better promote their own, Muslim, aims. Such courses will be akin to those KGB schools for spies, where the spies were taught the languages and cultures of the West -- but still remained loyal to the Soviet system. Putin, for example, knows German perfectly. He knew exactly how to fit in to East Germany (and there were other KGB agents like him in what was then West Germany). But those KGB agents were not "integrated" into the West, though they were living in that West, and had been taught all about it.
Sarkozy must be very careful. And not hesitate to turn that ship of state completely around so that it rises higher in the water. The motto of the city of Paris, quondam Lutetia -- fluctuat nec mergitur (it bobs up and down on the waves, but doesn't sink, as if Paris were a bar of Ivory soap) just will not do, not for Paris, and not for France.
"Not sinking" isn't enough of a goal. Nor will the faith in making France "prosperous" again sufficient. The Muslim presence is, of course, an enormous economic weight, and drain on the welfare state. But more importantly, it is a great political, social, civilizational weight, a general demoralizer for those who see the problem, and those who perform the mental equivalent of salti mortali in order not to see it.
Sarkozy can help to disabuse the permanent French establishment about the Deux-Rives notion, that somehow France, or France as the leader of Europe, shares a civilization with the Arab Muslims of North Africa (google "Deux-rivistes" and "Jihad Watch"), and that the differences are merely those of that pesky Mediterranean in the middle, and assorted olivier-roys and gilles-kepels who should lose their positions of unmerited and baleful influence, and if possible, their government employment at one of those many Centres de Recherches Scientifiques that provide sinecures for so many of the well-degreed and well-connected.
Posted on 05/07/2007 10:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
From Fox News with thanks to Jerry G.
Today's foreign terrorists could become tomorrow's U.S. refugees if the Bush administration gets its way.
The intent is to grant refugee status to rebels who have fought repressive governments or advanced U.S. foreign policy objectives, particularly in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.
But proposed changes to immigration rules also could cover U.S. enemies such as Al Qaeda members and fighters for Hamas and Hezbollah.
To some lawmakers, the revisions under consideration by the administration are too broad and potentially dangerous.
Officials say the changes are meant to reverse the unintended consequences of post-Sept. 11 restrictions that have kept thousands of otherwise eligible people from a haven in the United States.
The administration wants the authority to waive those restrictions so it has as much flexibility as possible in deciding who can and cannot enter the country...
If refugee status is granted on simply a case by case basis, then there is a possibility that a Muslim caseworker could wave in Muslims with known ties to terrorist groups.
"The provision in this bill would extend the waiver authority in current law to groups that are definitely not friends of the United States," said Republican Sen. John Kyl, who is leading an effort to revise the amendment.
"I do not think that there is a single member of this body who believes that any member of al-Qaida, Hamas or Hezbollah should ever be considered for admission to this country," he said...
Posted on 05/07/2007 11:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 7 May 2007
Re: Beautiful, Gifted, & a Second Amendment Fan
Concerning my post about Anna Netrebko at the shooting range, my gun guy weighs in with an analysis:
Photo 1: left, PP-90 SMG (collapsible); right, SP or 6P9 silenced pistol (for Spetsnaz troops).
Photo 2: AK-74M with GP-25 grenade launcher (which she is about to fire); RPG-7V rocket grenade launcher.
At a reasonable guess, she is shooting at a Spetsnaz (Russian-equivalent Special Forces) base, as the SMG and pistol are not general issue weapons, and her IG in #2 is wearing a Spetsnaz uniform.
To Roman's point about the lady not wearing ear protection: As an army cadet in the 1960s, I did a lot of shooting on open-air ranges—rifles and light machine guns—and none of us ever wore ear protection. It was unknown. I also shot .22 rifles on an indoor range, and can't recall wearing any ear protection (though it was only a few instances & my memory may be mistaken). Sure, that was a more carefree, less litigious age. Everybody smoked three packs a day back then, drank liquor by the pint, & drove without seat belts. (Rather like present-day Russians, in fact.) Still, I am not aware of suffering any hearing loss from all that range work.
Further, there's a possibility that these photos are set up just to deter kidnappers and other nuisances by advertising that Ms. Netrebko is not a person to be trifled with. Seems to me that might be a smart thing to advertise in the somewhat ... unruly circumstances of present-day Russia.
That's just a thought. I'm going to go on believing that Ms. Netrebko is an enthusiastic range rat & crack shot.
Posted on 05/07/2007 12:21 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 7 May 2007
Our trillions, like our billions, ain't what they used to be. A UK billion was once a million million, and a trillion was either a billion billion or a million billion. Now we do things the American way - a trillion is a thousand million. It's still a lot, though. The BBC explains:
"It is estimated you can get 50,000 pennies into a cubic foot - a trillion pennies would fill two St Paul's Cathedrals."
Alternatively you may want to compare a million to a trillion by placing a credit card next to Ben Nevis.
Then again you can illustrate the scale of this number by comparing the fact that a million seconds equals 11.5 days, a billion seconds is 32 years and a trillion is 32,000 years.
Or, if your brain has not exploded already, there is another calculation you can make, according to Michael.
"If you take the typical annual salary as £25,000 a year - how long would it take you to spend a trillion pounds if you spent £25,000 a day.
"The answer is 109,000 years."
The BBC's examples are silly, of course. As any fule kno, a trillion is a large, but perfectly plausible number of cats:
Posted on 05/07/2007 12:19 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 7 May 2007
One of my points in the Darwin debate, is that you shouldn't hold an idea responsible for the people who profess it.
Thus, the fact that Woodrow Wilson swooned over Darwin's theory about the origin of species, tells you nothing at all about Darwin's theory, though it probably tells you something about Wilson.
The creationists rely far too much on this "recruiting" of historical figures in their efforts to make Darwinism look bad. As I've said, it cuts both ways. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swoons over Intelligent Design...
and that tells us nothing about Intelligent Design.
A corollary is that you shouldn't hold an idea responsible for other ideas the originator of the idea may have had. The fact that Sir Isaac Newton believed in alchemy and Bible codes casts no shadow on his theory of gravitation (even if Newton THOUGHT it did!) Likewise, if it is the case (don't ask me) that Darwin favored state-enforced eugenics, that does nothing to invalidate his theory about the origin of species, which could still be perfectly sound.
Posted on 05/07/2007 12:29 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 7 May 2007
Millions of Cats
You know you've gone and done it. You've brought up the book "Millions of Cats." A book I first read at three, and that has had more of an influence on my geopolitical views, especially in the Middle East, than all the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Sir Halford Mackinder put together.
Here are just two of its previous appearances at Jihad Watch, where it became the Official Children's Book of the website:
1. "Reference in this speech to the goat in the story Bush was reading to the children that morning (not, apparently, Three Billy-goats Gruff but something more recent, and less memorable) --makes one hope that he will read another children's book to a class when he next gets a chance. And that book is "Millions of Cats" with text and unforgettable pictures by Wanda Ga’g. Buy the book to see the illustrations; it has been reprinted, and Audur H. Winnan's catalogue raisonnée of Wanda Gag's work, which I have right beside me, is excellent, nevertheless includes only one print from a special edition of "Millions of Cats."
Briefly, the story goes like this: a Little Old Man and a Little Old Woman live together, but they are lonely. The Little Old Man goes out in search of a cat. And he brings home not one, but hundreds and thousands and millions of cats. And those cats fight over food. And they caterwaul. And they scratch and bite each other, so that in the end, they have eaten each other up, and disappeared. Save for one small inoffensive kitty, who did not get fight, and who survives to be fattened up by the Little Old Man and the Little Old Woman, and they all live happily ever after.
There is a moral there. It is not one that would please Bin Laden, but one that Bush might consider.
"it could have done without the Mr Potato-head analogy...."
-- from a posting above
Yes, but I like Mr. Potato Head. It is my favorite toy. And Slinkies, even if they break after slithering up (or down) a few steps on Christmas morning.
And in making points, I like as well to use children's books.
I like Millions of Cats.
I like The Little Engine That Could.
I like The Little House.
I like To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.
I like Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.
I like Goodnight Moon.
I like Madeleine.
I like Babar.
These are for some American children (perhaps mainly in the fabulous past) the equivalent of folk wisdom, these are the Fables of Aesop and La Fontaine and Krylov, these are Pushkin's Nurse.
Posted on 05/07/2007 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
Rochester Sweeps 2007
As I said earlier we went to the Rochester Sweeps festival again this weekend.
I went to Evensong in the Cathedral yesterday afternoon. Inside the choir sang heavenly music by Bach; outside was earthly music about work and the soil. The choir sang Psalm 98 which was appropriate to both.
Shew yourselves joyful unto the Lord, all ye lands:
sing, rejoice, and give thanks.
Praise the Lord upon the harp:
sing to the harp with a psalm of thanksgiving.
With trumpets also and shawms:
O shew yourselves joyful before the Lord the King.
The shawm was a forerunner of the oboe. I think I saw one, although it may have been a hautboy. Whatever, it was very eerie.
Below are 1)The Witchmen,
2) Royal Liberty Morris
and 3) Loose Women, of whom Ahmadmandinnerjacket would not approve.
Posted on 05/07/2007 3:37 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 7 May 2007
On the Road
What's the MATTER with me? I'm getting to be a terrible homebody.
Last month the trouble & strife went off to China for 2 weeks on family business, leaving me alone with the kids. I was seriously glum—wrote a maudlin piece for NRODT about it.
Now I'm away from home for 2 weeks (this is being typed in the Air France business lounge at Idlewild Airport) & I'm sunk in glumness again. The way the limo left town, it circled round past the other end of my street. I was looking out the window, thinking: "That's my street! Where we live! Where I walk my dog—dear old Boris! I shan't see it, or him, or my Derbs, for two whole weeks! Boo hoo..."
It felt like some kind of body tissues tearing.
It's all much easier when you're younger. I used to take off for foreign parts with keen anticipation & not a backward glance—not even as much attachment as the Irish lad setting out on the rocky road to
...Saluted father dear,
Kissed me darlin' mother,
Drank a pint o' beer,
Me grief an' tears to smother... Etc.
All right, I'm going to sit here a while & meditate—see if I can summon up a bit of the old spirit of adventure. If that doesn't work, I'll drink a pint o' beer.
Posted on 05/07/2007 3:57 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 7 May 2007
"(...) I want to issue a call to all the people of the Mediterranean to tell them that it is in the Mediterranean that everything is going to be played out, that we have to overcome all kinds of hatred to pave the way for a great dream of peace and a great dream of civilization. I want to tell them that the time has come to build together a Mediterranean union that will form a link between Europe and Africa. What was done for the union of Europe 60 years ago, we are going to do today for the union of the Mediterranean. (...)".--from this news item
The last, worrisome phrase from Sarkozy's speech. It does give off more than a whiff of Deux-Rivisme, which is discussed more fully in an article from November 5, 2005:
"Voila, deux-rivistes of the world
The large-scale presence of Muslims in France, as in other countries of Western Europe, has resulted for Infidels in a world that is far less pleasant, far more expensive, and far more physically insecure than it would be without such a Muslim presence. There is no French non-Muslim who could deny the truth of this assertion. And there are very few who, if asked their real opinion, and if they could give it behind closed doors, would not devoutly wish that the clock could be turned back 40 years, so that large-scale Muslim migration into France had never been permitted.
Such large-scale migration began with the Harkis at the end of the Algerian War; these were the local Arabs and Berbers who had fought on the side of the French, and who were rescued from murderous retribution by being allowed to settle in France in the early 1960s. Then came the boom years, all over Europe. Everywhere Muslims were allowed in to work. In France, they came from North Africa -- the maghrebins. At first men came alone to work. Then, because of their antisocial -- their criminal -- behavior, Giscard d'Estaing accepted the argument that if only they had their families with them, they would quiet down. So families were allowed to join the men. But how many wives came, and how many children came, or were born in France itself, was not something that Giscard d'Estaing had thought much about.
For a while, the numbers were small, and the Islam that remained undeclared in the mental baggage was never completely unpacked. The first generation of immigrants consisted of those eager to leave the hell of the Muslim countries from which they came. They did not quite so easily create those all-Arab or all-Muslim communities, no-go for the Infidels, that required certain numbers, and more than numbers, the attitude to take on the Infidel authorities. When mosques and madrasas were built, often with money supplied by Arabs from abroad, when a whole network of Arabic-language radio and television stations were established, and are now supplemented by satellite television, this made it easier to create a self-contained Muslim environment, naturally hostile to the Infidels who, in the case of this circumambient incidental France, were the incidental French. Now millions of Muslims can be geographically in France, but not of France. And they do not want to be "of France" because France is currently run by Infidels. Its laws, its customs, its manners, are those of the Infidels. This is not right. This is contra naturam. The world ultimately belongs to Allah, and therefore to those, and those only, who accept the message of the Prophet. All others are usurpers, and eventually will be removed from power -- they are merely temporarily powerful, in Europe in what is still Dar al-Harb. It will not require military conquest from without: Da'wa and demographic conquest from within will eventually allow Islam to dominate, and Muslims to rule. It is only right, it is only just.
Nowadays, of course, there is no such need for such unskilled workers, inculcated with hostility toward the French authorities, toward the authority of the Infidel nation-state and toward its Infidel people. The aggression and hostility, the indifference to study, the belief that Infidels should support them (which is more rooted a belief than the mere desire, in any situation where benefits can be obtained, of some recipients to exploit whatever is there to be exploited). Inshallah-fatalism and sheer unwillingness to work (what Saudis, what Kuwaitis, what rich members of the Emirates put in more than 2 taxing hours a day?) explain the miserable performance of Arab and Muslim oil states, the states and peoples that have been the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in human history -- some $10 trillion since 1973 -- and yet have failed in every case to create modern economies (the Shopping Mall that is Dubai does not count), but instead rely on foreign wage-slaves for almost everything. And the same inshallah-fatalism and the same conviction that Infidels have a duty to support Muslims, and that what is infuriating is not Muslim "poverty" so much as is the failure of Muslims as yet to assume their rightful place, as Islam insists, as those who should dominate, should possess the power and wealth even of, or perhaps especially of, the countries still being run by Infidels. The integration of all others, including black but non-Muslim Africans and immigrants from the Caribbean, and once-impoverished Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants, undercuts the insistence that Muslim economic underperformance is the result of French indifference. It is hard to integrate people whose attitude is one of inculcated hostility, and a sneering theoretical superiority (as Muslims) to their Infidel surroundings that, of course, makes their fury at having to learn or mimic or yield to Infidel laws and manners and ways even more maddening. Why should Muslims, those who by right should be ruling, have to yield or adjust in any way to Infidels, wherever those Infidels may be? And even the most successful, most seemingly integrated, among the Muslim immigrants turn out, when one examines their views, to reflect attitudes that suggest that many or most of them continue to owe their allegiance to the umma al-islamiyya, the Community of Believers, and not to their fellow Infidel citizens. Surely the failure of Muslim states to create economies from the most fabulous unearned wealth in history tells us someting about inshallah-fatalism, lack of industry, lack of motivation.
Surely the failure of Muslims not only in France, but everywhere in Western Europe where the welfare state offers means of support, to perform even close to the level of all other immigrant groups, should suggest that the problem lies in Islam itself, its tenets, and the attitudes and atmospherics it naturally gives rise to. This is what Sarkozy and others, seen as comparatively resolute(and compared to that former Howard Johnson's soda jerk, Chirac, or the comical D. de V., who would not seem resolute?) are unable to see, unable even to discuss: what it is about Islam that explains the behavior, the performance, the attitudes of Muslims not only in France, but everwhere in the Bilad al-kufr, the Lands of the Infidels.
For 1350 years the Jizyah demanded of non-Muslims supported the Muslim state; slaves seized from various Infidel populations were also a source of labor, of wealth, of soldiers. Even today, if one looks closely, one can see under the surface of things a disguised "jizyah" -- that is, a payment forcibly extracted from the Infidels for the benefit of Muslims. In Malaysia, where the population is half-Muslim, it is the non-Muslim Chinese and Indians who are forced to share the fruits of their industry and entrepreneurial activity with the less successful Muslim Malays. This "Bumiputra" system, whereby Muslims must be brought into all non-Muslim enterprises, is one example of the disguised jizyah. So to are the many billions in foreign aid from Infidel countries that is lavished upon all those Araband Muslim states that happen not to possess oil wealth. No matter how hostile these recipients remain, or how even more hostile they become, they continue to receive such aid because the Infidel donors are terrified of what might happen if they cut off such aid. But they haven't thought it through. What, after all, would Egypt, that center of anti-Americanism and antisemitism, do to the United States that it is not already doing, if the $60 billion sent so far were not to be added to by the American taxpayers? What would or could the "Palestinian" Authority do? What could Pakistan, whose national hero is the sinister Dr. A. Q. Khan, do if the Americans ceased to supply them with debt relief, favorable trade treatment, and military equipment at concessionary prices?
In the countries conquered by Muslims, non-Muslims could live and even practice their religion so long as they fulfilled a number of onerous conditions, including payment of the Jizyah. If they ceased to pay, they lost all their rights, and became fair game. Something like that attitude appears to have affected the Infidel countries of Western Europe and North America, in their fear of cutting off all such aid to those who, as a matter of belief, must regard them with permanent hostility, and worse.
Today, in France, there is no attempt as yet to shut off all sources of future Muslim population growth, for fear of offending the North African states that may, as members of the Francophone nations, offer a little boost to French pride, but otherwise are an economic, diplomatic, and political drag, and ultimately menace, to France. Should from now on the French ever need outside workers again, they must never again go to the Maghreb for such workers. The real cost of the maghrebins, if properly internalized, is too high. Instead, should workers be needed, they can be imported from Eastern Europe or Russia, or China or the Philippines or Latin America. And with black African Christians, or Caribbean blacks, the French experience has been clear: people with the blackest skins, if not Muslim, are able to integrate into French society without difficulty, while the Arabs and Muslims, no matter how light their skin, are far more difficult to mold into loyal citizens of France. If workers are now readily aviailable from non-Muslim countries to meet any new needs, this will make it easier for the French government to now repatriate all those Muslims who have not yet attained citizenship. They have no moral or other claim to French citizenship. Their presence is, for those who see clearly, a present and a growing future threat to France and to its non-Muslim population. Why should that population be forced, for an abstraction, to endure a threat that can only grow? The real price of the Muslim immigrants in France -- the price paid in social peace, the price paid in monitoring their mosques, their madrasas, their movements, the price paid in supporting their deliberately gigantic families, the price paid in repairing or replacing what they destroy or torch to teach the "French a lesson" -- that price far outweights any imaginary advantage to France and French foreign policy in the Arab countries. The French still continue to pay the same market price for oil and gas that everyone else, even the United States, has to pay. But that, of course, is not something that those who have as individuals been the recipients of favors, of business contracts, of bribes, as "recyclers of petrodollars," wish the French public to know about.
The French do not in any way need the goodwill of any Arab or Muslim state. There is nothing that the Maghreb supplies that cnanot be supplied elsewhere, even if Tunisian dates are considered preferable to those from California. It is possible to diminish the air and boat traffic between one "rive" or bank of the Mediterranean and the other "rive" so that the vast illegal migration will be brought under control or stopped altogether, even as illegal immigrants, or all those deemed more likely to constitute a security threat are, as a first step, sent back to their countries of origin. And since France's economy is now static, the more money that is needed to insure the social peace of those whose inshallah-fatalism and attitude that not the world, but the world of Infidels -- the very people whom their belief-system teaches them to hate -- owes them a living, the more that will have to come from the pockets of those same deplorable Infidels. And the Muslim presence in the state schools is now cause for permanent disruption of ministerial curricula (we won't read Voltaire, or Racine; we won't study the Holocaust or French history), and of classroom and schoolyard discipline. And that, in turn, causes the same French taxpayers to remove their children from public schools, and have to endure the added expense of private schools. And that, in turn, will make the native French non-Muslims, who themselves may have had to endure the aggression and violence of Muslim classmates, will in their own life-plans factor in the new cost of raising children in France, which rises as the need for private schools rises. And that, in turn, may cause the French non-Muslim birth rate to plunge even more. And so the Muslim proportion of the population rises, not only because of the large Muslim families, but because the expense of those families on the state, and effect on French public schools, necessarily act to shrink further the non-Muslim proportion of the population.
The French, the well-connected and carefully schooled rulers, and the ruled, both for a long time remained carefully uninterested in what Islam teaches, or what arises naturally from the tenets of Islam, to form what might be called the attitudes and atmospherics of a Muslim community. And then there is the matter of personal gain, which has caused so many to forget other allegiances in the rush to recycle petrodollars for their own benefit and that of their friends, their circle, those like them. Chirac over many years has been the recipient of many favors from various Arab tycoons and tyrants, including the late Rafik Hariri, who brought him nice presents and remembered him in other ways, and the soon-to-be-late Saddam Hussein. Rumors of a Parisian version of the Kniphausen Hawk, a jewel-encrusted falcon, one of only two commissioned by some Arabs, made by some master craftsmen (perhaps Cartier knows something about this) with one of them delivered to a French contractor with extensive interests in the Middle East, and the other, it is said, to Jacques Chirac himself (this would have been about 25 years ago), might help explain Chirac's behavior. His rumored recreations must run into money. As for the preening poseur and poetaster Dominique de Villepin, to date the funniest part of his routine is when he reads a speech in Cairo or Damascus or somewhere else in an Arab country, and in attempting to make the appropriate allusion, somehow mixes up the great Persian poet Hafiz with the "Palestinian" propagandist Mahmoud Darwish, and then just for ecumenical fun, throws in Maimonides. He, D. de V., may see himself as a blend of Chateaubriand, Talleyrand, Malraux, and most likely St.-John Perse. Others will think of Sacha Guitry at his silliest. As for as these statesmen’s performance over the last few days -- one suspects Annette Funicello could have done better.
Even Nicolas Sarkozy, who by comparison with Chirac and D. de V., appears to be a giant in the earth, has not yet gone far enough in his own understanding of Islam. Neither he nor others in his camp understand as yet the immutability of the canonical Islamic texts (so that no "reformation" of Islam is possible), nor have they realized that Infidels have no way to detect the real "moderate" from the feigning one. They do not understand that even the "moderate" Muslim, precisely because of his outward affability and seeming reasonableness, may help promote the Jihad by confusing Infidels, or delaying their own thorough comprehension of the matter. They do not understand, finally, that any "moderate" can metamorphose at any time in the future, for any reason, into an "immoderate" Muslim -- or for that matter, have children or grandchildren who will, out of all sorts of impulses, reasons, or setbacks, revert to the real, full-bodied Islam that remains a permanent menace to world civilization.
Sarkozy continues to speak as if he still believes in government-funded mosques instead of mosques that get no government funding, and are not permitted to get Saudi or other outside funding, and that are strictly monitored and closed if found to contain false papers, explosives, and hate-Infidel propaganda, or to preach hatred of the Infidels. And what is Islam without the strict division of the world between Believer and Infidel, and the hostility, or even murderous hatred, the former must necessarily have for the latter?
And yet for all his ignorance one must be grateful for Sarkozy. He gave Tariq Ramadan a television thrashing, and he is the only one who may help to save France. He, and such writers and journalists as Anne-Marie Delcambre, and Jean-Louis Brugiere, and Alexandre del Valle, and Yvan Rioufol, and Bat Ye'or, and a handful of others.
There is no one currently in politics, save possibly for the unacceptable Le Pen and Megret, who dares to articulate the problem. Everyone is waiting. Who will do it? Who will admit that the French establishment, the French elites enjoying their lunches at Arpege, have done terrible things to France and to the people of France, in their immigration policy, in their Euro-Arab Dialogue, in their mad pursuit of an impossible identity of interest between "les deux rives" of the Mediterranean?
In the 1930s, in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. The French army at the time was the equal of the German army, and had it taken a stand, had it marched, things later might have been headed off, and the world had been different. But all sorts of things had happened. A particularly gifted French minister, who took Hitler's measure early, had been assassinated in 1934 when an attempt was made on the life of the Serbian king. The government of Leon Blum was under constant attack from the right; even the Assemblee Nationale had been attacked by cagoulards. Strong measures were not to be taken.
It is now time to wake up, and no army of occupation will march in to arouse citizens to their duty. The whole thing is different, insidious, slow, and there is always at the ready some slightly plausible explanation or justification that allows for temporizing -- until it is too late. During that other Occupation, the German one, the more obvious one, employees of the Musee de l'homme at Trocadero, many of them immigrants, proved themselves ready to die for France, instead of working to destroy it. There is a plaque to Boris Vilde and other Russian Jewish immigrants, morts pour la France, somewhere at Trocadero -- unless the Muslim rioters and vandals have torn it down. There are those who can become French, despite everything that is done to them, and those who cannot become French, despite everything that is done for them.
And now France itself appears to be slowly coming unhinged. Voila, deux-rivistes of the world. The riots, the arson and other attacks all over France are the world you have made. There it is, messieurs et mesdames, voila la France out of its depth, and in too deep. But who needs La Fontaine, or the pride of France, the dictee, as long as the oil flows, the petrodollars are recycled to the right swine, and everyone continues to bear burnt offerings -- cars, houses, schools, a civilization -- to the untouchable and implacable Idols of the Age, those Articles of Faith about tolerance, diversity, what is thinkable and what "unthinkable," which were only creations of fallible humans in the first place.
Posted on 05/07/2007 5:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2007
Retired Generals on Bush and Tarbaby Iraq
"Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste: "The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration."
Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton: "This administration and the previously Republican-controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America's Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego. More than ever [it is] apparent [that] only the Army and the Marine Corps are at war — alone, without their President's support."
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard: "With this veto [of the war-funding-cum-suggested-end-date bill], the president has doomed us to repeating a terrible history. President Bush's current position is hauntingly reminiscent of March 1968 in Vietnam. At that time, both the Secretary of Defense and the President had recognized that the war could not be won militarily — just as our military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged. But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths."
Posted on 05/07/2007 7:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald