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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 8, 2008.
Friday, 8 February 2008
Jihad Dreaming

"It is indisputable that the FBI testing of replicas of these PVC mixture pipes clearly illustrated that when ignited, they either burned, smoked or did nothing at all, which I think is completely relevant to my client's detention," Allen said Tuesday.
-- from this news article

The defense lawyer is attempting to suggest that if someone is found with bomb-making equipment, or a rudimentary bomb, the fact that such an effort was not professional enough, that what was manufactured did not explode properly, this must mean not only that no harm was or could be done, but that no harm was intended.

But this is idiotic. That would allow all those who are busily constructing their own deadly weapons to be let off if, in fact, those weapons were simply ill-constructed.

As for intent, how can anyone argue with a straight face that the video about Jihad, and giving information about how to use a remote-control device to set off explosives, would not have been known about by its possessors? What conceivable argument can be given to convince anyone of that?

Allen, the defense lawyer, says:

"It is indisputable that the FBI testing of replicas of these PVC mixture pipes clearly illustrated that when ignited, they either burned, smoked or did nothing at all, which I think is completely relevant to my client's detention," Allen said Tuesday.

The simple addition of a two-letter privative to one word, and the simple replacement of an initial two letters by a different two letters in another word, would make this sentence accurate.

Here is how to do it:

Errata Sheet

For "It is indisputable that the FBI testing of replicas of these PVC mixture pipes clearly illustrated that when ignited, they either burned, smoked or did nothing at all, which I think is completely relevant to my client's detention"

Read "It is indisputable that the FBI testing of replicas of these PVC mixture pipes clearly illustrated that when ignited, they either burned, smoked or did nothing at all, which I think is completely irrelevant to my client's intention"


That should do it.

Posted on 02/08/2008 6:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Have Caption, Need Illustration

Idea for cartoon:

Man and a woman sitting very demurely, dressed in traditional fashion (he with his white dishdasha and in sunglasses, she with her  black abaya, so that only her eyes can be seen), in any Starbucks, or Dunkin' Donuts, or Kentucky Fried Chicken, or in any conceivable restaurant, or park bench, or any possible place where people can sit in public, in a place clearly depicted as Saudi Arabia.

Caption: "We can't go on meeting like this."

Posted on 02/08/2008 7:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Doesn't The U.N. Have Better Things To Do?

(ANSAmed) - MADRID, FEBRUARY 6 - The Islamic council does not give up its claim to use the cathedral mosque of Cordoba for Muslim prayer and appeals to UNESCO to pronounce on the use of the temple which is part of the heritage of humanity. The president of the Islamic council, Mansur Escudero, in statements published by the media called for intervention on the part of the UN organisation. "Since the cathedral is part of the heritage of humanity, UNESCO should pronounce or present a report, the way it has done with other monuments," Escudero said. According to the Islamic council leader, the shared use of the cathedral in Cordoba for Catholic and Muslim rite "will play an important role in the alliance of civilisations" because "temples should be open to all believers, Muslim, Catholic and all other religions". For more than 20 years the Islamic council has claimed the shared use of the mosque-cathedral and, in 2004, it filed a formal proposal with the Holy See. The archbishop of Cordoba has always refused to open the doors of the temple to Muslim prayer.
--from this news article

The U.N. has for decades been steadily infiltrated by an Islamintern International. There is no longer a Soviet bloc. There is no longer what might be called a Western bloc, that consisting of the members of NATO, their ranks joined by other advanced democracies. There is not even a Third World bloc. But there is an Arab Muslim bloc that manages to control a still larger Muslim bloc, and that has control, as well, over certain black African delegations, and has had the power to intimidate delegates from Western Europe who have joined in the kangaroo-court atmosphere of exaggerated attention to the quite-imaginary "Israeli atrocities" that have been the subject of 12 out of the last 13 resolutions at the U.N. Committee on Human Rights in Geneva.

It is telling that Muslims in Spain think that they can ignore the decision of the national government of Spain, can ignore what the Vatican, which controls the cathedral, supports, and can act as if both Spain, and the Roman Catholic Church, have to yield to a body that, these Muslims in Spain have been given to understand, like the rest of the U.N., will be subservient to Muslim demands.

In this case they will be proven wrong. But for how long? And for how long will the U.N. spend most of its time discussing, and then denouncing, the "mighty empire of Israel" -- more than a thousand of those mighty empires would fit into the land area controlled by Arab Muslims, who do not in that vast area accord equal rights either to non-Muslims, or to non-Arabs -- and thereby spending far less time on other matters, much more legitimate and pressing, beginning with Darfur and ending with anthropogenic climate change.

Posted on 02/08/2008 7:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008

Romney, who dropped out of the race for president today in Washington, said in his exit speech that the GOP must unify and not allow Democrats to allow the country to "surrender to terror."

"Well my reaction to Mitt Romney's comment that's the kind of poorly thought out comment that lead him to drop out," Obama said during a press avail on his campaign plane. "It's a classic attempt to appeal to people's fears that will not work in this campaign. I think that's part of the reason he was such an ineffective candidate."
--from this news article

People should be more intelligently fearful of Jihad, not less, though with less emphasis placed by those who claim to "take a leadership role" on "terror" and with more attention given to the other, less noted and more effective, instruments of Jihad -- to wit, the Money Weapon (which comes from the more than ten trillion dollars received, because of an accident of geology, by Arab and Muslim oil states since 1973 alone), well-financed and carefully-targetted (see, for example, prisons all over the Western world) campaigns of Da'wa, directed at the economically and psychically marginal, and demographic conquest (Exhibit #1: The Netherlands, which in 1970 had 15,000 Muslims and today has more than one million, but any country in Western Europe could serve as a suitable exhibit).

Barack Obama should explain, carefully, what he knows about Islam. What has he read? What does the word "dhimmi" mean to him? The word "jihad"? What does he think about the treatment of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Confucians and all others in countries ruled by Islam? Why does he have among his advisers that obvious defender of the Lesser Jihad against Israel, the sinister Robert Malley (is he in, or is he out? No one seems to know), when Malley, after all, was a Clinton adviser, and still lists himself both ways, and there would be no disloyalty in casting such a character out? And why Zbigniew Brzezinski as an adviser, for Brzezinski, along with Carter, behaved so viciously toward the Israelis at Camp David, and both have continued to do so ever since, even though it was they, along with Gary Sick, who decided to abandon the Shah and to welcome Ayatollah Khomeini, as Carter did in that famous letter, as "a fellow man of faith"? And then there are other things that need to further elucidated. Words such as "change" are no substitute for details. It is true that Bill Clinton did not understand, and likely still does not understand, Islam. After all, his most frequent foreign guest at the White House was Yassir Arafat. He was a fool. Whether or not he is still a fool about Islam is unclear, but some of the statements he has made -- sometimes to audiences in Qatar and elsewhere that pay him, the endlessly grasping Bill Clinton (we are all still waiting to have tax forms released so that we may see for ourselves how much the author of "Giving" himself "gives" to charities other than those with the name "Bill Clinton" affixed to them) -- suggest that he has learned little. What his wife has learned is still unclear, and the more she distances herself from that Arafat-hosting the better.

But Barack Obama's list of advisers, and the selection, of all the things he might have said about Romney, of Romney's comments about the threat of Jihad (expressed in other terms, but clearer than the rhetoric of other candidates, and Romney's distaste for the Iraq War shows that he understands more about the threat of Islam, and ways to deal with that threat, than do the enthusiasts for that war, who in their foreign policy promise -- fantastic to think it -- only more of the disastrous folly of Bush) worry. More than worry. Alarm.

Posted on 02/08/2008 7:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
The New New Antisemitism

WSJ: Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency brought more attention to the Mormon Church than it has had in years. What the church discovered was not heartening.

Critics of its doctrines and culture launched frequent public attacks. Polling data showed that far more Americans say they'd never vote for a Mormon than those who admitted they wouldn't choose a woman or an African-American.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late January revealed that 50% of Americans said they would have reservations or be "very uncomfortable" about a Mormon as president. That same poll found that 81% would be "enthusiastic" or "comfortable" with an African-American and 76% with a woman.

The Mormon religion "was the silent factor in a lot of the decision making by evangelicals and others," says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the poll. The Romney campaign ran into "a religious bias head wind," Mr. Hart and his Republican polling partner, Bill McInurff, wrote late last month.

"I don't think that any of us had any idea how much anti-Mormon stuff was out there," said Armand Mauss, a Mormon sociologist who has written extensively about church culture, in an interview last week. "The Romney campaign has given the church a wake-up call. There is the equivalent of anti-Semitism still out there."...

Drawing equivalence to antisemitism has hit another new low.

Many Mormons were excited by Mr. Romney's candidacy. "There's a member of the tribe that's up there," Nathan Oman, an assistant professor at William and Mary School of Law, said last month, adding that he had not yet decided whom to vote for. "What happens to him is a test of whether or not our tribe gets included in the political universe."

[the tribe??]

Mormonism began in 1830 after Joseph Smith, a farmer in upstate New York, said an angel led him to some golden plates that contained a "New World gospel" -- the Book of Mormon. Mormons regard themselves as Christians, but some Christian denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, do not. They regard as heresy the Mormon belief that Mr. Smith was a prophet and that the Bible was not the final word of God.

The faith's early history was marked by tension and brutal forced exiles, sparked in part by the practice of polygamy by some church members. After Mr. Smith was arrested in Nauvoo, Ill., a mob killed him and drove off his followers. The Mormons fled to Utah. Polygamy fed repeated conflicts with the federal government until the church banned the practice world-wide in 1904. The church has flourished in recent years, and claims 13 million members world-wide...

My own people were burned out of Nauvoo and walked across the plains to Utah in order to found the new Zion with Brigham Young. And yes, I think they were crazy.

Posted on 02/08/2008 7:49 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 8 February 2008
Human Rights

In an unprecedented reversal, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has backed off from her earlier endorsement of an Arab text calling for the “elimination” of Zionism, in response to a UN Watch protest. News of the controversy was covered internationally, sparking a series of Canadian newspaper editorials critical of Ms. Arbour’s initial statement and her overall handling of the affair. Following is a timeline of the events as they unfolded around the globe.

Jan. 24, 2008, Geneva: High Commissioner Arbour issues an official statement: “I welcome the 7th ratification required to bring the Arab Charter on Human Rights into force... the Arab Charter on Human Rights is an important step forward [to] help strengthen the enjoyment of human rights.” At U.N. headquarters in New York, Marie Okabe, spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, highlights Arbour’s statement. When asked, she does not have the text of the charter...

Jan. 30, 2008, Geneva & New York: Arbour changes course. Now she asserts that various Arab Charter provisions are “incompatible” with international norms. The UN headquarters in New York issues a new release, entitled “Arab rights charter deviates from international standard.”

Arbour’s new statement:

“Throughout the development of the Arab Charter, my office shared concerns with the drafters about the incompatibility of some of its provisions with international norms and standards. These concerns included the approach to death penalty for children and the rights of women and non-citizens.”
“Moreover, to the extent that it equates Zionism with racism, we reiterated that the Arab Charter is not in conformity with General Assembly Resolution 46/86, which rejects that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination. OHCHR [the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights] does not endorse these inconsistencies.”
--from this news article

Louise Arbour is not, I assume, an idiot. She is therefore quite capable of taking the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the "Muslim" version that was crafted so that Muslims could pretend to be signing simply a slightly-different version -- hoping that no one would bother too much about those little differences -- that is, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, and going through them, comparing them, provision by provision.

And once she has done that, she might wish to read a bit about Islam. She might wish to read, and re-read, the Qur'an, and hundreds of the Hadith collected in al-Bukhari and Muslim, and judged to be the most "authentic," and then she might wish to read the biographies of Muhammad, the man who is the Model of Conduct, uswa hasana, the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil.

After all, last I looked, and last Louise Arbour looked, Islam was in the news. And I suspect it will continue to be in the news, for some time, for all time, to come.

Doesn't Louise Arbour have a responsibility to properly inform herself? And might she not wish to glance, just glance at, such books as "The Dhimmi" and "Islam and Dhimmitude" (both by Bat Ye'or), and "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance" (ed. Robert Spencer) and another half-dozen books.

No time? Too busy?

Is there anything that could conceivably be more important to the future of the West, to its art and science and human freedoms, and to the continued existence of solicitude for individual rights -- the very thing that Louise Arbour is supposed to care most about -- than in learning, and not from apologists, about Islam?

She should consider such self-education part of her job -- now the most indispensable part of her job.

And while she is at it, she just might find time to meet with, inter alios, Ibn Warraq and Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Ali Sina, and a dozen or several dozen others, met quietly, without publicity, in order to find out what they, who were born into and raised within Islam, might possibly have to explain to her, or inform her about, and she, in turn, can then make of what they tell her.

She owes this to those who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to those who wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Man, to those who wrote the American Bill of Rights.

Posted on 02/08/2008 8:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Everybody's talking about it

I'm rather pleased the Archbishop of Canterbury said what he said about Sharia law. First, if he thinks it, it's best that he says it. More importantly, it has got everybody talking. Tariq Ramadan is not pleased. "These kinds of statements just feed the fears of fellow citizens," he said. Ramadan would rather we were not afraid, because if we are afraid we are alert. Ramadan believes in the "slow jihad", which requires infidel complacency.

The newspapers and blogs have been full of Sharia. The comment in London's Evening Standard is typical:

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams's claim that aspects of sharia law could be accommodated with British legislation has prompted an outcry from not only those astonished to see the head of the Church of England expressing such sentiments but also from many across the political spectrum who are alarmed at the implications. The principle that there should be one law for everyone is not "a bit of a danger", as the Archbishop has described it, but a foundation of our society. Without it, the powerful - including religious leaders - will pick and choose which laws they choose to obey. There can be no rule of law unless the law of the land is accepted by all. There may be rules which certain communities choose to abide by in their private lives - but they do not have the status of law and are subordinate to it.

Reference has been made, by Rowan Williams and others, to willing parties "consenting" to Sharia arbitration. This is misleading. In Islam, humans are slaves of Allah, and consent has no meaning. If Sharia is available, Muslims are obliged to follow it. Only when forcibly prevented from doing so can they claim exemption. This is why headscarfs must be forbidden for Muslim women in Turkey and Tunisia, but wigs need not be forbidden for Orthodox Jewish women.

Allowing Sharia in a limited way - Sharia-lite - is very dangerous. Sharia is not limited. It makes no distinction between civil and criminal offences, between public and private life and between the trivial and the serious. Any concessions will be perceived as weakness. What is needed is a resounding "No!". Let the tabloids shriek in the most vulgar way possible. Here's The Sun with a liberating absence of nuance:

Posted on 02/08/2008 8:24 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 8 February 2008
The F word

In the eighties a joke word was doing the rounds: “cattleperkin”. This was a gender neutral version of “cowboy”. Cow, being female, is neutered and becomes “cattle”. “Boy” becomes “person”, but because “person”, to the etymologically tin-eared, contains the word “son”, this has to be changed to a sexless relative, namely “kin”.


Wimyn’s groups, with genderless chairpeople, personned the barricades in the fight against male oppression. That is all history – sorry, herstory. An herstorical interlude, perhaps.


Harry Mount writes in The Telegraph on “the death of feminism at British universities”:

Quietly, without much fanfare, women's studies has disappeared from British universities.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, thousands of students across the country took the subject.

Over the last five years, numbers have dropped by 75 per cent and only 35 students are doing it this year. This summer, the last place offering the course, London Metropolitan University, is stopping women's studies altogether.

The main feminist struggles have been won, and the more ludicrous ones - bra-burning, the insistence that all men are oppressors - have been quietly dropped.

I know no man under 40 who insists that his wife give up her job and cook him dinner every night. Who's now surprised to have a female boss or a female doctor? And there's not much point in studying, say, women's politics rather than just politics, when a woman has been the most powerful Prime Minister ever.

With feminist victories absorbed into mainstream thought, hardly anyone calls themselves a feminist these days. It's as dated as drenching yourself in patchouli or tie-dyeing your jeans.

"Women’s Studies" may have run its course. If so, I am not sorry. Most courses with "studies" in the title seem to be second rate. But is feminism really dead?


Ten years ago, you would regularly hear women say, “I’m not a feminist, but…” and go on to say something feminist: “I’m not a feminist, but I believe in equal pay,” or “I’m not a feminist, but women have the right to dress as they wish without being accused of inviting rape.” At the time, I would have said that these women were feminists, because I believed that feminism meant equality. To them, however, feminism was a dirty word, meaning hairy, dungaree-clad, man-hater. Men of a certain age never used the word feminist without the epithet “strident”; eventually the “strident” went without saying.


I thought this was silly, and until recently proudly called myself a feminist. Now I am having doubts. This is not because I have discovered my inner Stepford wife. Equality of the sexes is not negotiable. Moreover, I am sceptical of the “equal but different” argument. Yes, men and women are different, but “equal but different” is generally used to mean that women are worse; if they are better, then mysteriously they are better at something men don’t want to do, like washing up or changing nappies. No, I haven't suddenly turned into a surrendered woman.

My doubts about feminism have arisen because of feminist attitudes to Muslim women. Erica Jong, so vociferous on the subject of “pink men”, has nothing to say about honour killings, stoning of rape victims, polygamy, divorce by repudiation, and the many other injustices faced by Muslim women. Germaine Greer, High Priestess of feminism, supported the Luton schoolgirl’s “right” to wear a jilbab, and has even said that Westerners should not try to combat female genital mutilation.


Islam is the most regressive ideology on the planet, and the principal cause of women’s oppression. Yet feminists remain silent. So I may re-consider my membership of the “feminist” category, not because I don’t believe in women’s liberation, but because I do.


Harry Mount glibly, smugly says: “I know no man under 40 who insists that his wife give up her job and cook him dinner every night. Who's now surprised to have a female boss or a female doctor?” He has clearly never been to Bradford, or Tower Hamlets, where Muslim men in their twenties display a chauvinism that our great-grandfathers would have been ashamed of.


By the way, did anybody really burn a bra? Is there any supporting evidence?

Posted on 02/08/2008 11:43 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 8 February 2008
Iraq Is Good For Anything That Ails Us

VIENNA, Austria - Iran's nuclear project has developed its own version of an advanced centrifuge to churn out enriched uranium much faster than its previous machines, diplomats and experts said Thursday.
--from this news article

Don't worry about this. Or about the disintegration of Pakistan. Or about the renewal of Al-Qaeda's strength in Pakistan, or the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iraq is the "central theatre" in the "war on terror." And in Iraq we have done great things. It has cost more than a trillion dollars, but think of what has been achieved. That purple-thumbed election. All that American money that has been distributed, by the tens or hundreds of billions, to needy Iraqis, some of which needy Iraqis are now enjoying much-deserved retirements in southern France, or in Belgravia and Mayfair in London, or possibly in apartments on the Avenue Foch, in comforting Paris (hell, some may even have stayed in the neighborhood, for example in high-rise Dubai). It has raised military morale in the American army so high, that 15,000 captains have decided things are going so swimmingly that their services are no longer needed, and have quit the army. And there is the same story with the Reserves, and the National Guard -- what with all the "success" in Iraq, so many people, of the kind the Reserves and National Guard naturally count on, have decided to get out, or have decided that they do not need to sign up, because the "war on terror" in Iraq -- that "central battlefield" -- is just going so well, what with the surge and all, and those "iron laws of counter-insurgency" that General Petraeus, and Colonel Kilcullen (with his impressive bush-hatted strine), and so even Colonel Nagl has resigned from the army because "his family" wants him to (there's a lot more money to be made now in the consultancy racket -- half of Washington now consists of consultants on "terrorism" and "outreach to Islam" and "reforming Islam" and "counter-insurgency strategies").

How much longer must we endure Tarbaby Iraq? And tarbaby (junior model) Afghanistan? When will those with a grasp of the whole picture be invited to participate? When will the squandering stop?


Meanwhile, relief (even if it isn't the original unsurpassable version, with Cheryl Campbell teaching school in the Forest of Dean):

Posted on 02/08/2008 12:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
The Wrong Understanding, The Wrong Analysis, And The Wrong Doctrine

A description, by Norman Podhoretz, of "World War IV," a book by Norman Podhoretz. "Conservative" book clubs everywhere are getting ready. It is written, one gathers, at a rhetorical pitch unlikely to convince, and likely to offend, and its last sentence of the paragraph-precis below -- "the most full-throated statement yet published of the case for the Bush Doctrine, whose effort to make the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy represents the only viable strategy for fighting and winning World War IV"   -- dismays, alarms, appalls.

Here, for the flavor of the thing, and a sample of the many ways it is wrong, in form and in content, is that description:

"There have been dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of books about the many issues aroused by 9/11 and George W. Bush’s response to it. But World War IV differs from them all in two major respects. For one thing, it is -- at least so far as I know -- the first serious attempt to set 9/11 itself, the campaigns that have followed it in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the war of ideas it has provoked at home, into the context of the role the United States has played in the world since 1941. Seen in this light, the struggle against the forces of Islamofascism into which 9/11 plunged us reveals itself as the direct successor to the wars against the totalitarian challenges to our civilization posed by Nazism in World War II and Communism in World War III (as the cold war becomes in this scheme of things). Secondly, against critics both on the Left and the Right, World War IV offers what is probably the most full-throated statement yet published of the case for the Bush Doctrine, whose effort to make the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy represents the only viable strategy for fighting and winning World War IV."

If anyone buys and reads the thing, perhaps they can circle all the mentions of Bernard Lewis, preceded or followed by (it hardly matters) the phrase "world's greatest authority on Islam." Don't send me the actual examples. Just count them up, and send the total. And while you are at it, circle how many times the word "I" occurs in Podhoretz's book. That's always a telling exercise.  

Posted on 02/08/2008 12:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Boom und Büstenhalter

Is there no end to Reactionry's skill at German jokes? I thought he'd peaked with Ausgezeich-net, but he's holding firm.

The latest is Wunderbra. But, for that seamy and unseemly yet seamless look, how about an Unsicht-bra?

Posted on 02/08/2008 2:10 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 8 February 2008
Which Koran?

by Ibn Warraq  


"It is an extraordinary thing that we still have no critical text of the Qur`an for common use'
                   --- Arthur Jeffery, 1937


There is no such thing as the Koran. There is not, and there never has been, a textus receptus ne varietur of the Holy Book of the Muslims. We have two kinds of evidence for this claim. One which comes from Muslims themselves. Many Classical Muslim scholars-Koranic commentators, collectors of hadith, lexica and Qirä’ät books, for example - have acknowledged not only that many verses revealed to Muhammad have been lost, and hence the Koran that we possess is incomplete, but also that the Koran assembled, whether by Abü Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Alï or ‘Uthmän, is capable of being read in different ways, in other words that variants exist. There are a number of hadiths that recount “the loss, withdrawal, or forgetting of this or that ‘verse’ said to have been revealed to the Prophet but not figuring”[2] in the Koran as it now exists. The other comes from extant Koranic manuscripts, inscriptions and coins. more...

Posted on 02/08/2008 4:48 PM by NER
Friday, 8 February 2008
How Now, Old Mole?

In a clear sign that Hamas is adopting Hizbullah tactics, IDF troops uncovered underground Kassam launch silos inside the Gaza Strip during an early-morning foray there on Thursday. During the operation, the troops killed seven Palestinian gunmen affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
--from this news article

How now, old mole?

What with the digging of all those tunnels, one after the other, dozens or hundreds of them, hundreds of meters long, to bring in much-needed supplies -- explosives, rockets, grenades, rifles -- that the long-suffering Gazans so desperately need, and what with the effort that must have gone into destroying those greenhouses that had been handed over to them by the Israelis in perfect working order, and what with all the construction of villas for such warlords as Arafat's cousin (or was it his nephew), and what with the digging, and re-digging, of holes for those rockets, aimed or rather not aimed, simply shot into the air, to fall to earth they know not where, somewhere in the middle of Sderot or other civilian "targets, and what with all the counterfeiting of American dollars, and attacks on local Christians (now terrified into either silence, or strangled-throat praise of the Muslims whose "protection" they must endure), what will all of the infighting by the various warlords, and their henchmen, and the foot-soldiers, all so eager to take a larger share of the loot, the Infidel loot, that is available (and that is the real quarrel between the Fast Jihadists of Hamas and the Slow Jihadists of Fatah -- they differ not in goals, but in timing and tactics, and the Slow Jihadists of Fatah are more interested in getting their hot little hands here and now, on whatever can be inveigled -- so far about $8 billion in the last go-round of "international donors" to the "Palestinians" -- out of the Infidels, and then they can proceed, at a slightly more cunning and stately pace, to undo, by degrees the Infidel nation-state of Israel. And the members of Hamas, having endured more than a decade of rule by the corrupt Fatah men, lording it over them, strutting about, building those villas, behaving at times not as Muslims are supposed to behave, are less concerned with the here and now because for them, Paradise were Paradise enow.

So dig they must. Dig those tunnels for those explosives -- or maybe not, now that they can bring them right across the border, without the Egyptian police stopping them. Yes, it's the "Palestinian" Arab version of Boston's Big Dig.

And dig they will.

And the Israelis will keep having to return to unearth those tunnels for smuggling, those tunnels for entering Israel to kidnap Israelis, those holes for those rockets.

How now, indeed?

Posted on 02/08/2008 5:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Antisemitic List-Keeping In Italy

ROME (Reuters) - Italian police are investigating an anti-Semitic blog listing the names of more than 150 "Jewish university professors", which was removed from the Internet after protests from politicians and Jewish leaders.

The blog, by an anonymous author, listed the names and workplaces of university professors which it accused of "publicly and politically" supporting Israel.

It was taken down in the early afternoon on Friday, said Emanuele Fini, one of the heads of blog site, where the blog was first posted on January 16.

Interior Minister Giuliano Amato ordered police to investigate the case.

"The Internet has become the main tool for spreading anti-Semitic hatred," said Alessandro Ruben of the Anti-Defamation League in Italy.

Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni called the blog a shameful "kind of Ku Klux Klan of the digital age".

The blog had links to far-right websites and themes like Holocaust revisionism, appeals to boycott Israel and war-time fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Some professors listed on the blog are not Jewish but had signed pro-Israel petitions.

There was a heated debate earlier this month on whether Italy's biggest book fair had a right to invite top Israeli writers as special guests.

The Turin annual fair, which this year will run from May 8-12, invited Amos Oz, David Grossman and Abraham Yehousha to mark Israel's 60th anniversary. The decision sparked protests by some leftists, who felt the fair was taking a political stance and called for a boycott of its stands.

(Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Robert Woodward)

Posted on 02/08/2008 5:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Making Sense of Islam, Making Sense of Darfur

"Obama's top foreign policy advisor is Samantha Power. She may not be anti-salafist, but she's really tough minded about responding to genocide. A moonbat, this gal ain't, guys. Just google, amazon or wiki her. I dare ya's."
-- from a reader

Being against "genocide" is not exactly daring. How many lives in Darfur, what grand total, has been saved by the work of Samantha Power? Of Nicholas Kristof? Of the entire staff of the Kennedy School, Human Rights Watch, the U.N.? The answer is: none. None have been saved. But a few thousand American troops could save hundreds of thousands in Darfur, and in the southern Sudan, and hold that territory until such time as a referendum on independence, for the black Africans, Christian and animist in the south (where the oil now gushes), and Muslim in Darfur (where there may be oil to be found). The Sudanese government and all the Arab governments will rant. They will rant, because they will rightly see this as foiling their plans to move down, through the Sudan, into East Africa, islamizing unstoppably as they go.

Would, will, Samantha Power support such a move? And would, will, Samantha Power do more than recognize, identify, and repeatedly deplore genocide but seek to understand what ideas prompt it, and in the case of Darfur, it is not enough to do what she does, and note that it is Muslim on Muslim. No, she must go further, and recognize that in Islam, despite its universalist pretensions, Arabs are superior to non-Arabs, and everything in Islam reinforces that view. And she must recognize, as Ibn Warraq, and Anwar Sheikh, and many other apostates have recognized, that Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism. And then she must, having read more widely and deeply about Islam than she has, discover how, in Islam, the division of the universe that counts is that between Muslim and Unbeliever, and all loyalty is owed to the former, all hostility inculcated by this Total Belief-System at the latter.

Posted on 02/08/2008 5:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Will They Learn?

Hillary Clinton, however, has not uttered a word to distance herself from her husband's insensate courtship of Yassir Arafat, and his unshakeable determination to misunderstand the Islamic basis of Arab opposition to Israel -- a misunderstanding that explains not only his failure at "peacemaking" but all the failures, including that at Camp David, which resulted not so much a "peace treaty" as a gang-up on Israel, with Carter and Brzezinski outdoing even Sadat (that's Saint Sadat), in making demands on a hapless, hopeless, sentimental, uncomprehending Begin.

There is the matter of the huge Saudi contributions to Bill Clinton, of his offer to defend the Dubai deal, of his fantastic payments for lectures either in the Gulf (as in Qatar), or in Arab-funded lecture series (the Fares Lectures at the Fletcher School). There is the matter of that Saudi girl who has in the last month or two disappeared from view. There is the matter of the Turkish financier who paid for the movie "Valley of the Wolves" - a movie depicting American soldiers in Iraq as Nazis, and with a piquant "Jewish doctor" who, Mengele-like, cuts out the organs of dead Iraqis to sell them in New York and Tel Aviv -- a movie that is equivalent to "Jud Suss." Would we support a candidate who had as one of his delegates to some convention in the 1930s someone akin to Joseph Goebbels? No? Then why -- if we are to believe Debbie Schussel -- do we pass by, without a word, such a Clinton delegate as the Turkish(-American?) movie-financer in question?

As for John McCain, he is not tough-minded but a sentimentalist. That sentimentalist can be seen in both his failure to comprehend why some might think cultural continuity for this country, as for other countries, is important, and is threatened by unchecked legal, and illegal immigration. He might be sympathetic, he might have a sense of what cultural continuity means. But he has given no signs of it.

And he is sentimental, in the Bush mold, about "ordinary moms and dads in the Middle East." The Iraq War is a fiasco, a disaster, a huge distraction from the war of self-defense against the Jihad. He, McCain, does not know that. If he doesn't learn that, and come to realize that the trillion or more spent in Iraq, and the 4,000 dead and 30,000 wounded, were expended largely for a goal that is not only unattainable, but that makes no sense, then he will lose the election to someone else, possibly less worthy in other respects, if that someone else is opposed to the hideously expensive (and the "war in Iraq" and "the economy" are not two issues but one issue) war in Iraq, and can appeal to those who see it, rightly, as a tremendous waste.

McCain will have to jettison, or get beyond, the kagans -- "Hero of Baghdad" -- and others whose careers are tied up with the crazed venture in Iraq.

Will he begin to understand Islam? Will he begin to talk, using such words as "Jihad" and "dhimmi"? Will he meet with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq and Wafa Sultan, and listen to them carefully? Will he consider the other, more effective, instruments of Jihad - the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, demographic conquest?

Will he? Or will his opponents? Or will any of them come to their senses, individually or collectively, and start studying the matter, as they should have started long ago?

Posted on 02/08/2008 5:32 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
The Wit Required

It is idiotic to accuse Barack Obama of being a Muslim or a secret Muslim. He is not. It is not idiotic, however, to attack the miscomprehension of Islam that surely explains such a remark, one he might wish to reconsider, that he would "meet with Muslim leaders" in order to thrash out the things that divide us. What divides America, and India, and Thailand, and the black Africans in the southern Sudan and southern Nigeria, from the world of Islam is Islam itself. Islam is a real thing, not a figment of the Western imagination. If anything, the Western world has been running away from coming to grips with that real thing.

Barack Obama, as a child, attended school in Indonesia. At the time, Indonesia -- still much more easygoing in its acceptance of syncretism, had not yet been subject to the changes that came, as the years past, and those who had grown up under the Dutch disappeared, and as Arab influence -- with the real, full-throated Islam --was brought to bear, and now one sees not only the hatred for the Hindus on Bali (a subject about which nothing is written, but visitors to Indonesia know all about it), but for Christians, who have been subject to endless attacks, with thousands of churches destroyed, and only a handful of the physical attacks -- such as the decapitation of those little Christian schoolgirls -- ever making it to the Western press.

In this respect, Barack Obama may have his own childhood memory of Islam, in Indonesia, viewed through the prism of time, or through a watery medium of memory that refracts (Snell's Law!) misleadingly. There is no substitute for study of Islam, of its texts and tenets, and then of the long history, the 1350-year history, of Islamic conquest of non-Muslim lands, and of the subsequent subjugation, or forced conversion, or murder of those hundreds of millions of non-Muslims who fell under Muslim sway.

Even to have asked Zbigniew Brzezinski, or someone such as Robert Malley, to be considered as "advisers" is a bad sign. As for others, one does not know. Samantha Power may, or may not, come to recognize that her main subject, the one that made her career, genocide, and especially genocide in the Sudan, has to be transcended, so as to recognize the ideological roots of this or that genocide. In both the southern Sudan, and in Darfur (where she is careful to tell audiences that it was "Muslim-on-Muslim" violence, as if that meant it had nothing to do with Islam, when, had she studied the matter more, she would have come to realize that Islam is, and has always been, a vehicle for Arab supremacism), she has recognized a problem, deplored it, but not related it to the meaning, and permanent menace, of Islam. Perhaps she will.

But Barack Obama himself will have to be much more specific, and has a duty to be, on the subject of Islam. He tells us he was opposed to the war in Iraq. Fine. But that is not enough. Why was he opposed to the war in Iraq? Was it because he realized that Muslims cannot have "democracy" imposed on them, and that the principles of Islam are not compatible with democracy as that term is understood in the liberal advanced West? Is it because the goals of the Bush Administration were messianic, unattainable, result in a squandering of resources, and in any case, are exactly the wrong goals if one desires to achieve, in Iraq, the only thing that makes sense: an exploitation, by leaving the place, of the fissures, ethnic and sectarian, both present in Iraq, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, and both capable of dividing and demoralizing the Camp of Islam, and thus of buying time for the Western, or larger Infidel world, to educate itself and to come to its senses about the meaning, and menace, of Islam?

What is going on in Iraq makes no sense. Those officers and men who are involved in "doing the job" or "completing the mission" are focussing on a narrow task, without considering whether that task makes sense. They do not see beyond Iraq, they do not even see, correctly, the forces in Iraq that will cause the attainment of the American goal -- a stable, unified, possibly prosperous Iraq -- as forever retreating, an ignis fatuus of the desert, a will-o'-the-wisp always seemingly just around the corner, but never to be grasped, as more money, more men (and where have all the captains gone? Long time passing) and matériel are squandered, last year, this year, next year in Iraq, because no one can criticize the war from the only perspective, the one that shows an awareness of the danger of Jihad, instead of being based on such airy ideas as "sitting down with Muslim leaders" to "listen to their grievances" -- this smacks of Chamberlain, or Halifax. Barack Obama is, one would have thought, smarter than that, and if he grasps the nettle of the Iraq War, and what is truly wrong with it, he could win. And McCain too. And Clinton. Yes, so could he, and so could any man -- or woman. If they only had the wit to think about it.

Posted on 02/08/2008 5:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
It's In The Air -- An Air That Kills

In Rete la «black list» dei docenti ebrei

Sconcerto nella comunità ebraica, che ha presentato una denuncia alla polizia postale. Il sito è stato oscurato


ROMA - Si presentava come un classico blog di una delle molte piattaforme gratuite presenti sulla rete. Il suo autore si identificava semplicemente come «Re», utilizzando come slogan di apertura del sito una tripla V, acronimo delle parole via, verità e vita, e una grande immagine dei Magi che seguono la stella cometa. E tra i contenuti in evidenza aveva messo una serie di link dedicati al revisionismo, a Mussolini e all'antisionismo. Ma a portarlo all'attenzione del grande pubblico è stata la pubblicazione di un elenco di 162 nomi di insegnanti ebrei, accusati di «fare lobby» e «baronaggio sionista». Ora però è sparito dalla rete: le proteste della comunità ebraica e la denuncia alla polizia postale hanno infatti portato all'oscuramento del sito chee dalle 13,25 di venerdì 8 febbraio non è più accessibile.

LA BLACK LIST - Il post contenente la «black list» dei professori ebrei o comunque considerati vicini al mondo ebraico (l'elenco, come rivela l'autore, è stato ricavato dalle firme a margine di una petizione contro un boicottaggio attuato in Gran Bretagna nei confronti di docenti ebrei) aveva però fatto la sua comparsa già il 16 gennaio. E per tutto questo tempo è rimasto accessibile a chiunque. E' stata la comunità ebraica romana a sollevare il caso, presentando una denuncia formale alla polizia postale e lanciando un appello al ministero dell'Università e agli atenei a costituirsi parte civile «per bloccare un cancro che può espandersi e colpire chiunque».

SAPIENZA NEL MIRINO - La maggior parte dei docenti, come spiegava lo stesso fantomatico Re, «appartiene all'Università La Sapienza di Roma, ha un cognome ebraico e sostiene pubblicamente e politicamente Israele». Ma nella lista si trovano insegnanti che esercitano la propria opera in diversi atenei italiani e perfino stranieri. Tra i primi a prendere posizione contro la pubblicazione della lista il rettore dell'ateneo romano, Renato Guarini, che ha parlato di «gravissima iniziativa» e di «inaccettabile atto di intolleranza». «L'antisemitismo e comunque ogni discriminazione razziale e culturale - ha detto il rettore - è completamente in antitesi rispetto ai valori e alla missione della Sapienza Università di Roma».

«LE ISTITUZIONI RISPONDANO» - «La reazione non può rimanere limitata ai diretti interessati come singoli e come comunità - ha commentato Riccardo Pacifici, portavoce della comunità ebraica - ma deve riguardare tutta la società. Una volta che si saprà chi sono gli estensori del blog, ci deve essere una risposta generale delle istituzioni, va messo un punto fermo». Pacifici ha espresso la riprovazione della comunità perchè la «black list» è espressione di «un meccanismo reiterato» che si unisce a tentativi di boicottare la collaborazione tra università italiane ed israeliane, tutti aspetti che invitano «ad essere vigili e non abbassare mai la guardia» (■ L'audiointervista: «Non ci nasconderemo»).

«ANCHE IO IN QUELLA LISTA» - «Siamo in presenza di un evento inquietante: chi si è reso autore di questa iniziativa delirante ha commesso un reato e va punito - ha detto Anna Foa, docente di Storia moderna dell'università La Sapienza , presente nella "black list" -. Siamo al limite della follia. Una lista di nomi, slogan antisemiti: si tratta di un salto di qualità che sinceramente spaventa». Secondo la docente, «su internet se ne trovano a decine di siti del genere però non si era mai arrivati a vere e proprie liste. Apprezzo che la Comunità ebraica di Roma abbia subito presentato una denuncia, questi sono fenomeni che non vanno sottovalutati. Fortunatamente in Italia esistono leggi chiare in materia di antisemitismo: è il caso di cominciare ad applicare anche nei confronti di chi utilizza la rete per farsi portatore di messaggi di questo genere» (■ Audio: Un'altra docente: «Un onore essere in quella lista»). Molte le voci dal mondo accademico che si sono levate per denunciare l'accaduto. Secondo il sociologo Renato Mannheimer «è una cosa indegna e vergognosa che ricorda le liste fasciste di proscrizione» (Ascolta); il prof. Massimo Teodori ritiene invece che «purtroppo non c'è nulla di nuovo. Ma bisogna parlarne subito e pubblicamente per evitare di fare un passo indietro di decenni» (Ascolta).

LE VERIFICHE DEL MINISTRO - Il ministro dell'Interno, Giuliano Amato, dal canto suo ha avviato un'immediata verifica tramite la polizia postale. Sulla base dei riscontri, fanno sapere dal Viminale, saranno valutati i provvedimenti necessari. Tra cui, appunto, l'oscuramento del sito in questione (provvedimento chiesto a gran voce da diversi esponenti del mondo politico, da destra e da sinistra), esigenza superata dalla disattivazione del blog.

Uno scorcio del blog su cui è comparsa la «black list» dei docenti ebrei

MINACCE AI RADICALI - Resta però ancora ignota l'identità dell'autore dei post. Che, nella colonna di destra del suo blog, si presentava come «il re dei re Shaulos II». Una firma, quella di Shaulos II, che nel web è associata a diversi blog e post dal carattere antisemita, come il sito dall'eloquente titolo «Boicotta Israele» (nel quale, tra l'altro, si arriva a parafrasare Forrest Gump dicendo che «nazista è chi il nazista fa»). Lo scorso agosto un re Shaulos (che allegava alla firma un rimando al sito oggi oscurato) se la prendeva con l'eurodeputato radicale Marco Cappato, in un post dal titolo «Morte ai radicali, morte a Cappato», spiegando che «il re condanna a morte l'associazione sovversiva radicale. Radicali vi daremo la caccia e vi sgozzeremo come maiali». E il primo febbraio, sempre a firma Shaulos II, si leggeva nel sito di Francesco Storace: «Da elettore sto facendo un giro di esplorazione per verificare a chi dare il voto... Ha già disponibile una lista dei suoi candidati con nome e soprattutto cognome? Dovrei verificare alcune cosette...».

A. Sa.

Posted on 02/08/2008 6:00 PM by Hugh Fitzerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
A Musical Interlude: Vengo Anch'io (Enzo Jannacci)
Posted on 02/08/2008 6:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Musical Interlude: Roger Miller
Posted on 02/08/2008 6:20 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 8 February 2008
The Insufferable Rowan Williams

The Archbishop of Canterbury is unrepentant. He thinks that the Shari'a, or at least the family law part of Shari'a, or at least some part of the family law part of Shari'a, would not contradict the laws and mores of Great Britain. He is quite wrong,and someone who relies on Tariq Ramadan for his understanding of Islam, and of the intentions of Muslims in Western Europe, has no business being Archbishop of Canterbury or being much of anything else.

As for that touchingly transparent attempt to liken the recognition of the imposition of parts of the Shari'a as "unavoidable" to the existence of Beth Din courts, for a handful of Jews, in a handful of matters, where not a single element contradicts, in spirit or letter, the prevailing English law -- practically on the level, in this particular discussion, of Rowan Williams telling us that  "some of my friends are Jews" or "I really enjoyed 'Fiddler on the Roof"" -- that won't wash, that won't justify, his original endorsement -- not a mere discussion, as he now attempts to re-interpret his own words -- of parts of the Shari'a being recognized as a parallel system, in the interests of "social cohesion."

He is defending himself, and is making it impossible for anyone decent and intelligent to take him seriously, or even to stand him. He is now the single greatest weight on the Anglican  Church. For its sake -- if one cares about it -- he must be removed.

The difference between the imposition of any part of the Shari'a, and whatever very limited role is allotted to Jewish (or possibly Hindu) family law, is that there is no real challenge, by the latter, to the supremacy of English law. There is no long-term program to use whatever small place has been allowed for there to be some kind of use of Jewish (or Hindu?) family law, in very limited ways, and ONLY when those ways do not contradict English law, to undercut that supremacy of the law of the English state, no program to undo the legal and political institutions of the English state.

The situation is quite different from Islam. The pretense, that the uninformed and terminally naive Archbishop of Canterbury has fallen for, that Muslims "only" want this little concession, should be seen in light of the steady, and inevitable, Muslim desire, to remove everything that stands in the way of the spread of Islam. Shari'a imposed on Muslims -- many of whom do not want it (see the example of Canada, where female Muslims led the fight against it) because their legal position, under the Shari'a-supplied family law, is far inferior to what it would be under the laws of any Infidel land -- in the supposedly limited area of family law, where it may, and indeed does, contradict the law of the land in Great Britain, is quite another matter. And so too is the fact that this is not a final demand, but merely an opening one, and if granted, will lead to more and more such demands -- demands that swell with each new victory, as a sense of triumphalism is at the heart of the matter. That sense must never be encouraged, must always be discouraged and disappointed.

Last I looked, neither Jews nor Hindus had a plan for world ideological conquest so that Judaism, or Hinduism, rules everywhere. At the very most, some Jews would like Israel to be able to retain what that state currently possesses, for having given up more than 95% of the land area it won in the Six-Day War, they think -- how outrageous of them, how impossible! -- that they have a right, under all the settled rules of warfare and of post-war territorial adjustments, and under the express terms of the Mandate for Palestine, as established by the League of Nations (and the U.N. accepted all of the terms, in toto, of the Mandates, of the League of Nations, in its own founding charter), to hold onto what they have.

As for Hindus, what do they want? Nothing, except not to be continually unsettled in their lives by Muslim demands, and to be allowed to continue to recover their own past, the past of that "wounded civilization" (in Naipaul's phrase), and not to be subject to Jihad, either that in the Indian-held parts of Kashmir (Pakistan already holds anoteher part), or against Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh (who have been murdered, or driven out by the millions), or not to be the objects of Muslim terrorism inside India proper. And that's it. As with Israel, it is not exactly much to ask.

But the Muslims who want Shari'a, in whole or, to start with, in part, imposed on other Muslims, are out for much more than merely having that Shari'a imposed in the area of family law.

That is what the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't understand. He's taken in even by the likes, even, of Tariq Ramadan. And in his book-blurb of praise for Caroline Fourest's "Brother Tariq: The Double-Speak of Tariq Ramadan," Christopher Hitchens correctly notes that with this book Fourest "has done culture and civilization a service by exposing the surreptitious and insultingly obvious manner in which a pseudo-intellectual has bamboozled so many of his peers, and a generally adulatory media, into becoming accomplices to their own annihilation." Insultingly obvious, except to some, and among those some, high up on the list, is the name of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted on 02/08/2008 8:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
McCain's Folly

NORFOLK, Virginia (Reuters) - Sen. John McCain, his victory as Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency virtually assured, turned his sights on his Democratic challengers on Friday, saying they were weak on national security and their Iraq stance would hand al Qaeda a victory.

McCain's remarks, and the response from Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, pushed Iraq war policy back to center stage in the presidential race after weeks of focus on the faltering U.S. economy.

Speaking to reporters after a security round-table meeting in Norfolk, Virginia, the home of a major U.S. naval base, McCain accused Obama and Clinton of wanting to set a date for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

"I believe that would have catastrophic consequences," said the Arizona senator, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam. "I believe that al Qaeda would trumpet to the world that they had defeated the United States of America, and I believe that therefore they would try to follow us home."

He warns that al-Qaida would "trumpet to the world" that the terrorist group had defeated the U.S. He predicts that al-Qaida would then try to attack the U.S. at home." 


 If McCain keeps this up, he will lose the election. The policy in Iraq is folly. It squanders men, money, materiel. It is damaging to the regular army, with 15,000 captains leaving the army. It is damaging to the Reserves and National Guard, with its current members not re-enlisting, and new recruits coming in, as with the army, only with a lowering of standards, and a huge rise in bonuses. It is damaging to morale, both military and civilian.

The goals in Iraq -- the goals not even clearly stated but having something to do with bringing "freedom" to "ordinary moms and dads," and now something to do with Sunni tribes in Anbar Province who are bribed with weapons and money to help fight Al Qaeda -- which has nothing to do with their willingness to continue to fight if the bribery ceases even for an instant, and has nothing to do with the possibility that they, at any moment, will change sides, and has nothing to do with their implacable resolve to help take back Iraq from the Shi'a who now rule over it, and nothing to do with the impossibility, because of Islam and the attitudes it encourages (based on a Victor-and-Vanquished view of possible outcomes), of the Shi'a ever surrendering their newly-achieved power and status, or of the Sunni Arabs ever acquiescing in their loss of power to the Shi'a, who are called, at best, "the turbans," but also called "the Persians" and, by the takfiris of Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, "Rafidite dogs."

McCain has surrounded himself with assorted kagans and kristols who, like Bush and Rice, cannot quite take the time to see the world-wide Jihad, or to understand the essentially minor role of Iraq. Nor can they, or apparently McCain, understand that whatever happens in Iraq, by way of creating a "unified" or "prosperous" state, would not in any way benefit the Infidels, who have far more to gain by the splitting up of Iraq, or of Iraq remaining, for all time, a fault line of sectarian (Sunni-Shi'a) and ethnic (Arab and non-Arab Kurd) tensions, tensions that, whether resolved or unresolved, can only help, if properly exploited, to divide and demoralize the Camp of Islam.

McCain, apparently, cannot see it. And if he cannot be made to see it, and does indeed make support for the Tarbaby Iraq venture (mentioninig that we might stay for "fifty years" more) he will lose the election -- without question. And will  deserve to lose.

It's his choice. He can either accept tutorial on Islam and the Jihad and the instruments of Jihad, and stop talking bush-nonsense about Iraq being the "central front" in the goddam "war on terror" and stop saying that if we "don't fight them over there" then "they will follow us home" or he can cancel the passage he has for now booked on the S. S. Narrenschiff, or was it the S. S. Naufragium? If he gets the war of self-defense against the Jihad right, and so gets right the folly of Iraq, he could be a wonderful president. He  understands, for example, the need for nuclear energy, and is not a free-market fundamentalist who would leave the building of such things up to "private enterprise." Nor is he unaware of the havoc that free-trade fundamentalists have helped to wreak on American goods and services. But "Iraq" and "the economy" are one issue, not two, and the more than one trillion dollars wasted on Iraq cannot continue to be added to, and the damage done to the armed services cannot be allowed to continue, and the distraction of Iraq must come to an end, for almost no one can endure another year of it.

He has a choice. If McCain hitches his wagon to the sinking star of Iraq, all his opponent will have to do is ask the electorate if it really thinks it has received its trillion dollars' worth in Iraq, and if it is willing to continue, under John McCain, to spend another trillion, and another four years, with American troops stuck in Tarbaby Iraq, while all the other instruments of Jihad remain unremarked and unchecked. And then he will surely lose, lose either to Hillary Clinton or to Barack Obama. And either of those two possible presidents will promptly remove the troops from Iraq, and whatever their motives, they will objectively have done far more damage to the Camp of Islam than could ever be achieved by leaving those troops there, for more squandering of American resources, and lowering of morale, and distraction not only from other issues, but distraction from the major theatre (Western Europe) and most effective instruments (the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, demographic conquest) of the world-wide Jihad.

That was once understood by almost no one. Now, by dint of forceful repetition, and a presentation of the evidence, it is understood by many more -- including many who call themselves "conservatives" and are the most alarmed about Islam. Who will somehow go around his kaganesque advisers and help to inform John McCain, before he locks himself into a cage different in significance, but just as difficult to escape from, as that cage in the place he and others, such as the inimitable Bud Day, called the Hanoi Hilton? That's the one that lacked those little bottles of shampoo and body lotion in the bathroom, and all the other "amenities" we have come to expect, and without a chambermaid in sight to leave a little cioccolatino by the dimmed light on the night-table, right next to the tucked-down sheet on the freshly-made bed, and as if that were not enough, they didn't take credit cards.  

Posted on 02/08/2008 8:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Diversity, Shmiversity

"We have to accept that whatever your views, whatever your faith, whatever the great cultural diversity - which I celebrate in this country we have - there's got to be a certain set of values that we all subscribe to, otherwise the whole thing falls apart." [Nick Clegg, Liberal Democratic Party leader, on Rowan Williams' call for parts of the Shari'a to be recognized as a parallel legal system]

Let's go over that remark again:

"the great cultural diversity -- which I celebrate in the country we have.."

Why did he feel compelled to add that gush? What is so goddam great about "diversity"? What's wrong with Elizabethan England, its diversity limited to a few -- Dr. Lopez, Shakespeare's Dark Lady, and a few others? Not much diversity there. Periclean Athens? No diversity there -- everyone was Greek, with not a barbarian in sight. What about the France of Louis XIV? Where was the diversity then?   St. Petersburg in the age of Pushkin? No diversity there, save that provided by Pushkin's great -grandfather's genes? And so what? And the town of Concord in the age of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, the Alcotts? No diversity there.

There have been departments of mathematics entirely staffed  with Russian Jews (and not only in Russian universities). There have been  departments of architecture staffed entirely with people of Chinese and Japanese descent (and not only in Chinese universities, or those if Japan). And we all know the reasons why. And the same undiversity could be found, quite possibly, in some symphony orchestras, or basketball teams, or a local chess club. And so what? Why should we insist on giving extra credit to someone, on favoring the candidacy of someone, to increase or bring about "diversity" -- that is, permit any consideration other than merit?

At the level of this,or the level of that, or at any level, who the hell needs forced diversity? When it happens, it will happen. Supress the nervous need (see Clegg above)  to praise it at every pass. Shut up about it. Besides, if you talk about it, others will too, and it turns out that not everything about "diversity" is wonderful. Too much "diversity," the social scientist Robert Putnam has discvoered, lowers levels of trust in society.

I've had it with diversity as a notion, as an ideal, as an object of constant praise, as an assumed desideratum by all right-thinking people. There is no evidence of its sheer wonderulness, and plenty of evidence, from the past, that it might prevent not only what is now called so much more insistently, especially in Great Britain, "social cohesion,"  but reduce the level of cultural achievement.

And that matters. What happens to those individuals who can think, who can transmit culture or add to the common store, is what matters most. And forced "diversity" has a way of harming their chances to do what they were born to do, as usurpers take their place. An  enforced, programmatic, imposed  "diversity" is intolerable. And at the very least, the members of the political and media elites should cease to indulgently invoke the need for, stress the highly desirable nature of, "diversity" but  --if they cannot start to think straight about it, or allow themselves to think or say anything other than the party-line -- then at the very least, they should shut up altogether about "diversity."

Posted on 02/08/2008 9:13 PM by Hugh Fitzerald
Friday, 8 February 2008
Israel Apartheid Week: The Usual Suspects (You Can't Make This Up? Of Course You Can)
Introducing Israel (Israeli Apartheid Week)
Date: Monday 11 February 2008
Time: 6:15pm
Location: London, UK
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS - School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H0XG
Contact: Email: [email protected] Telephone: +447 870341537

Introducing Israel (Israeli Apartheid Week)


Introducing Israel

Linda Tabar


PhD Candidate at SOAS. Her research focuses on Palestinian memory, identity and anti-colonial nationalism's encounter violence, dispossession and the hierarchal ordering mechanism of modernity. She also co-authored a study for Muwatin on the transformation of Palestinian NGOs under the Oslo donor aid regime.

Posted on 02/08/2008 11:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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