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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

Sunday, 28 October 2007
Counting Backward
Our thanks to Alan who sends in this very clever piece of editing: 100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers
Posted on 10/28/2007 10:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Who Could Object?

"It all sounds so simple. A couple of thousand Americans to do what several Million Africans seem unwilling to do. Like Kristof won't turn on the Forces we send the minute they kill somebody." --from a reader responding to this posting

The spectacle of American soldiers protecting black Africans from murderous Arabs -- how would Kristof attack that? On what basis, given the twenty years of mass murder of Christians and animists in the south, and now four or five years of uninterrupted killings by the government-sponsored Janjaweed in Darfur, and after many months in which troops from the African Union (a few thousand, not "millions") have proved incapable of providing such protection, would all the kristofs in the world be able to protest? What could Islam-appeasing bureaucrats at the E.U. do, without being laughed at? Or the U.N., in solemn conclave assembled, where Muslim Arabs would, in their attempts to make the Sudan, and East Africa, and All of Africa, Safe for Arab Islam, finally behave in such a manner that everyone, including the most advanced non-Arab Muslims, would begin to achieve a new understanding of Islam. And that understanding, which the fulminating Amr Moussa, foaming at the mouth at a meeting of the Arab League, would not be able to prevent, would be this:

Islam, despite its universalist claims, arises out of the Arab need for a vehicle for Arab imperialism -- linguistic, cultural, economic, and political. Islam in fact is the most successful, and complete form of imperialism, one that causes those conquered to forget their own histories, their own identities, languages, cultures, and as much as possible, to ape the manners and customs of seventh-century Arabs. It is the Arabs who are the "best of peoples" for Allah revealed the Qur'an to them, and in their language. Muslims everywhere must read (and memorize as much as possible) the Qur'an in Arabic; only in the last century did Ataturk break that tradition by commissioning a Turkish Qur'an, and still the "real" Qur'an is that which remains untranslated, in the Arabic (or Arabic with a substratum of Aramaic, if Christoph Luxenberg's arguments are to be accepted).

Along with support for the Kurds, and for Berbers in their attempts to obtain decent treatment from their Arab masters in North Africa, American support should go to the non-Muslims and non-Arab Muslims of Sudan.

Who will object to using American power to rescue from death and destruction the black Africans of Darfur and the southern Sudan? Hillary Clinton? Barack Obama?

Posted on 10/28/2007 9:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 October 2007
A Musical Interlude: The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo
Posted on 10/28/2007 9:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 October 2007
More Trouble in Paradise

The Shi'ite government of Iraq is refusing to arm the Sunnis, not as police, nor under any other circumstances. This is a problem for America's plan for creating a national unity government. So the Americans are using American taxpayer money to train and equip the Sunnis who are more than happy to take the weapons and anything else they can get. Both sides are preparing for the day the Americans leave.

New Duranty: HABBANIYA, Iraq — The American military’s push to organize Sunni Arabs into local neighborhood watch groups has been one of the United States’ most important initiatives in Iraq — so much so that President Bush flew to Anbar Province in September to highlight growing alliances with Sunni tribal leaders.

But now that the Americans are trying to institutionalize the arrangement by training the Sunnis to become police officers, the effort has been hampered by halfhearted support and occasionally outright resistance from a Shiite-dominated national government that is still inclined to see the Sunnis as a once and future threat.

It was the American military that pressed to open the new Habbaniya Police Training Center where Sunni tribesmen and former insurgents are to be trained to serve as police officers in Anbar. And it was the Americans who provided the uniforms, food, new classrooms and equipment for the police recruits...

To augment its ability to train police and supplement the training at the Baghdad police academy, the Iraqi government has decided to build two new police academies. They are to be located in the southern city of Basra and the northern town of Mosul.

That is of little help to the Sunnis in Anbar. So the Americans pushed this summer to establish a police academy at a former Anbar air base that the British established at Habbaniya during their colonial occupation. At a cost of just over $10 million, the Americans financed the complex and paid for the international police advisers, who are mostly Americans. The base, which is situated between Falluja and Ramadi, is also used for training the Iraqi Army and still features the sturdy structures erected during the British occupation, as well as a British cemetery.

Brig. Gen. Khalid Adulami, the dean of the Habbaniya academy and a former officer in the Republican Guard during the days of Saddam Hussein’s rule, said many of the prospective recruits were picked by Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, the leader of the Sunni tribal movement in Anbar who was assassinated in September. The academy will soon graduate its second class of recruits, more than 700, and plans to expand its enrollment....

Posted on 10/28/2007 8:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Islam, Not Islamo-fascism

Ex CIA agent Bruce Tefft is interviewed at Frontpage where he refutes Jamie Glazov's use the the word Islamo-fascism and Pipes' optimistic assertions. Here is some of that exchange:

Tefft: Like Nazism, Islam is an ideology one chooses to adhere to. Were there "good" or "moderate" Nazis? If not, then no one can claim that there are good or moderate Muslims as they are voluntarily subscribing to an ideology that advocates murder, torture and jihad and does not permit its follower to cherry-pick which parts they believe in. The requirement to accept the Koran as the literal word of God also carries with it the obligation to accept it all. And as you say, the Koran instructs all Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims and all schools of Islamic thought instruct the subjugation of the non-Muslim world through jihad. Therefore, I do not believe it wise to attempt to create artificial distinctions between Muslims that don't really as far as their attitudes towards non-Muslims is concerned.

As the prime minister of Turkey recently said: There is no radical nor moderate Islam. That is an insult to Muslims. There is only Islam.

We may wish to give Muslims the benefit of doubt, due to our humanistic and liberalized Western way of thinking. But treating the enemy as we wish they were, than as they are, will only lead to our ultimate defeat....

Glazov: ...there is a verse in the Qur’an (2:256) which states: "There is no compulsion in religion." As Daniel Pipes has pointed out, this verse, though very complicated in the many interpretations surrounding it, can serve as a foundation to a more enlightened Islam. Pipes profoundly notes that Islam can be what its believers make it, they “can decide afresh what jihad signifies, what rights women have, what role government should play, what forms of interest on money should be banned, plus much else.” And we have a big stake in trying to influence them in this matter.

Tefft: I do not believe that there will be a Muslim Martin Luther reforming Islam. In truth, bin Laden, the Iranian Ayatollahs and the Saudi Wahabbis are the 'reformers' who are bringing Islam back to its original "pure" state. I suspect that anyone wishing to democratize and modernize Islam will have to re-write the Koran, leaving out 26 (of the 114) Chapters, or suras, dealing with holy war, fighting Islam's enemies, chopping their heads off, and etc. Of course then it would no longer be Islam -- perhaps a "Reformed Islam", such as Reform Judaism, or a Muslim Lutheranism.

But I'm an ex-spy, not a theologian -- from the psy-war aspect, the best thing the West can do in this war with Islam is to publicize and support morally and monetarily the apostates and ex-Muslims. They know the evils of Islam better than any outsider...

Posted on 10/28/2007 8:00 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Soldier was refused service over uniform
Having been away in (intermittently) sunny Sussex all week I couldn’t post this at the time and have been reminded of it by Carole Malone’s comments in this morning’s Sunday Mirror. First from The Telegraph on Wednesday.
A veteran of the Afghan conflict was refused service in a petrol station because he was wearing his Army uniform.
The officer (a captain with the 16 Air Assault Brigade) claims an Asian store attendant told him to change his clothes before he could buy beer.
Witnesses claimed the attendant, at the Wisley South Connect station on the A3 near Guildford, Surrey, was anti-war and prejudiced against soldiers.
A BP spokesman insisted the attendant was "over-zealous" and had simply "misunderstood" licensing laws meaning he cannot sell alcohol to uniformed policemen.
He added that staff at the site have been retrained and said: "We have given our sincere apologies to the customer. This was not in any way a racist incident."
Carole Malone (keep scrolling down through her views on Sharon Osbourne and Sienna Miller) says:-
Weasel Of The Week award must go to the gutless executives at BP Connect who were too terrified to sack an Asian worker for refusing to sell beer to a British soldier because he was in uniform.
And instead of kicking this man out on his ass the PC lackeys at BP have instead issued a grovelling apology and are trying to pretend it wasn't because of the Asian man's religion or his anti-war views but simply because he'd misunderstood the licensing laws.
What? So this idiot worker actually believes there's a clause in BP's rulebook that says he can't serve British Army officers in uniform? Because if he does he ought to be sacked anyway for being so damned stupid.
And I'm sorry, if this had been a white Christian BP worker telling a woman wearing a burka or a man wearing a dhoti or a turban that he couldn't be served (with anything) until they went home and changed, the worker would have been sacked quicker than you could say "industrial tribunal" and charged with racism to boot.
I'm sorry, racism isn't a one-way street. There were witnesses to this incident and they are certain it had nothing to do with a misinterpretation of the licensing laws and everything to do with this worker's anti-war views. And if white Christians have to afford other religions respect, then they have to respect ours. And people who don't follow those rules need to be dealt with.
Bp are obviously terrified to sack this man for fear of a lawsuit. Well, they're cowards and because of it this Asian has got away with insulting one of our heroes. Which is why he will do it again. As will other people like him because they know that in this skew-whiff, politically-correct world that is now Britain they will always win.
And come the next election, Gordon Brown shouldn't be surprised when the contemptible BNP snatch 20 per cent of the vote. And whatever gains they make it won't be because the people of this country are racist but because they want fairness for everyone in our society - white and black, Christian and Muslim. No preferences. No special treatment. 
The reports call this cashier an "Asian" although the Army Families Federation spokewoman did refer to Muslims when talking to The Sun newspaper. I cannot imagine a Hindu or Sikh taking that attitude so I think thr AFF lady is correct.
Posted on 10/28/2007 5:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Scottish Police track 20 more terror plot suspects
A HARD core of 20 Islamic extremists with links to foreign terror groups is operating north of the Border and poses a "significant" risk to public safety, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
Senior intelligence insiders have revealed the suspects - many of them born and brought up in Scotland - pose a similar threat to that of Mohammed Atif Siddique, the Scottish Asian who was last week given an eight-year prison sentence for terrorist offences. Which sentence was condemned by worshippers at Edinburgh's central mosque as “too severe”. Telegraph report on the Judge’s comments here.
Scotland on Sunday can also reveal that concern at the terror threat is now so great that up to 1,000 Scottish Asians will be placed under surveillance in coming months because they associate with known radicals.
Special Branch, backed by MI5 officers, will carry out checks on the individuals looking for evidence of radicalisation such as changes in clothing and increased mosque attendance.
Security sources deny targeting the Asian community and say the move is essential to prevent terrorist outrages and curb the growth of extremism. But community leaders and civil rights experts last night warned it could cause a backlash and reduce cooperation.
Checks will include regular assessments of how they act within the wider community, what they wear, whether they are becoming more religious or becoming involved in leafleting or petty crime, which could be helping to raise funds for an illegal group.
Anyone who "ticks all the boxes" will be passed on for more intense scrutiny by the security services.
Human rights lawyer Amar Anwar, who represents Siddique, said the policy risked isolating a whole community. "To fight terrorism, intelligence from the community is essential but what they are talking about here is racial profiling. If MI5 adopts this approach then they may as well round up half the Muslim community because they are becoming more religious and more politicised."  To which I answer that if necessary we should, because “intelligence from the community” has been slow a coming.
Arun Kundnani, of the Institute for Race Relations, echoed that view. He said: "There are lots of cases of British Asians being arrested for wearing Islamic clothing or growing a beard, but the number of people who end up being convicted for terror offences is miniscule. It just creates the impression that the state is targeting a community and a religion and that cannot be helpful."  
But Paul Martin, Labour MSP for Glasgow Springburn, welcomed the move, saying it was vital to prevent another terrorist outrage.
"If the security services have a profile or methods of profiling then they should use them. We are all very good with 20/20 vision after an event but what I would like to see is us having a bit better vision beforehand."
Posted on 10/28/2007 3:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Google Earth Used in Rocket Strikes on Israel

From The Telegraph (with thanks to Alan):

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are using Google Earth to select targets in Israel for rocket attacks.

Google Earth, the internet site which provides detailed satellite maps of the world, has come under fire in the past for allegedly aiding Islamic militants.

A failed September 2006 attack on oil facilities in Yemen was reportedly planned with its use.

After The Daily Telegraph revealed in January that Iraqi insurgents were using Google Earth to attack British bases in Basra, the company took the rare step of replacing the images of military positions there with others taken before the war.

Posted on 10/27/2007 1:34 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Rice's Consultants

The revelations about Rice just keep getting worse. I wrote a rather less-than-laudatory article on her in August of 2005 in which I placed the Iraq folly on her side of the ledger. Now, we may possibly have to add another foolish negotiation between Israel and the murderous Jihadis formally known as the Palestinian Authority, or, the Fatah wing of the lesser Jihad. From the Jerusalem Post (hat tip: VFR):

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has sought the advice of former US presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton ahead of a planned Middle East peace parley scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, in November or December.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Saturday that Rice met with Carter this week. The two reportedly discussed the peace talks Carter brokered between Israel and Egypt in the late 1970s. The White House called the meeting with Carter positive and "to the point."

Rice has also spoken with Clinton, who led the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s. "[Secretary of State] Rice is trying to learn from others what can be done and how their experience can be adapted to today's situation," McCormack said, adding that Rice placed great emphasis on "learning from the past."

The State Department also reported that Rice has recently conferred with former UN Middle East envoy Dennis Ross, as well as her predecessors James Baker, Henry Kissinger, and Madeline Albright.

Rice has stated that she intends to devote the rest of the 14 months remaining in her term to establishing an independent Palestinian state while ensuring Israel's security.

Posted on 10/27/2007 1:11 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Islam's Permanent Commencement Speaker

[A "recent graduate"] of a madrassa, or religious school, in Pakistan, and when he returned to his home in Uruzgan province over the weekend announced that he planned to carry out a suicide attack, Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said.

Surviving family members told police that the suicide vest exploded during a struggle between the mother and her son, said Juma Gul Himat, Uruzgan's police chief. The man's brother and two sisters were also killed.  --from this news item

"recent graduate..."

He was only trying to follow in the path of Islam's Permanent Commencement Speaker, Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil -- to walk not in the ways of the Lord but rather, fi sabil Allah, to engage in Jihad.

And the temporary commencement speaker no doubt told the eager young graduates that they should "give something back" -- but didn't mean it in the way those American speakers, with their treacle about challenges and change and compassion and commitment, always do.

Posted on 10/27/2007 12:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Gary Schmitt on FISA

... at the Weekly Standard, here.  Not to be missed — hits all the right notes.

Posted on 10/27/2007 9:30 AM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Faked FEMA News Conference

This was such a stupid thing to do — mindboggling.

Posted on 10/27/2007 9:29 AM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 27 October 2007
“Eating quick or slow is characteristic of the vulgar...

...The first infers poverty, while the last infers that you dislike your entertainment.”

This advice — and much besides — might usefully be presented to members of the PlayStation generation, as they wolf down microwaved meals in front of EastEnders.  But it was actually offered to 18th century youths, in a rare book uncovered by an auctioneer in Derby.

This was in last week’s Telegraph and I thought it might keep for later.

The Honours of the Table, written in 1791 by the Rev John Trusler, lays down a daunting list of customs and conventions.

He warns that “to eat soup with your nose in the plate is vulgar”, since it has “the appearance of being used to hard work”.  There is nothing wrong with hard work, but that is the remnant of the Victorian and/or Protestant work ethic still strong in me.

He tells of a child (“ill-bred”, he suggests) who committed the sin of sniffing a piece of meat on their fork.  This made Trusler “so angry that I could have kicked him from the table”.

Trusler, a prolific author of the time whose other works included gardening tips and commentaries on Hogarth engravings, goes on to chide young women who might be eyeing a second helping. Eating too much, he warns, is “indelicate in a lady, for her character should be divine”.  That puts me in my place!

This sounds like the beginnings of the U and NonU practices which still plague and divide us. I have heard of some snobby ladies who look down on others for being, as I am, MIF, meaning milk in first.  When pouring a cup of tea from the pot I put the milk in the cup first, all my family do and to me it doesn’t taste quite right otherwise. This indicates working class origins because that method cools the tea quicker, the workers only having a quick tea break in which to down the cup. Our mistresses had all afternoon to sip genteelly. My grandmothers, in the days of cup and saucer and before the ubiquitous mug would drink their tea from the saucer which cooled it really quickly, and cooler than my dad and I liked.  

Posted on 10/27/2007 8:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 October 2007

Even though we mock the New York Times for its poor coverage of Islam, their coverage of the conditions on the ground in Iraq is very good. The following was taken from a long story by Michael R, Gordon, an embedded reported with Lt Col. Mark Odom's battalion in the Sunni areas. Colonel Odom is the son of Lt. General William E.Odom who has been very critical of the war However, he has also made the unfortunate comment that we could get Iran to give up its nukes by forcing Israel to give up hers.

By the beginning of last month, the alliance had been rebuilt, and it was time to resume the battle for Hawr Rajab. On Aug. 1, Ali led 29 fighters to Checkpoint 20 around midnight. The fighters were fingerprinted, and retina scans were taken so the biometric information could be entered into an intelligence database. To identify them as “friendly,” the soldiers gave them numbered orange reflector belts, the kind used by traffic crossing guards. Ali [Sheik Ali Majid al-Dulaimi, allied with the US forces], Mahir and [Lt. Col. Mark ] Odom huddled inside a nearby building to discuss the tactical situation in the town, while an American soldier and a newly minted concerned citizen exchanged past military experiences in a Tarzan-like amalgam of English and Arabic.

On the morning of Aug. 4, the Americans were to drive downtown. The day before, Klascius sketched out the plan. Two platoons, including combat engineers with heavily armored mine-detection vehicles, would clear the road to the town. Then two more platoons would head to the town square with shipments of food and a psychological operations unit. Fliers would be distributed urging the people to take back their community from the Al Qaeda militants by cooperating with the American-backed sheiks. The captain added in an offhand manner that every mounted operation the troop had conducted had encountered enemy fire. Ali’s men were to let the Americans know if I.E.D.’s had been seeded along the route, and Mahir’s men were to alert them if Al Qaeda fighters were active in the town.

We pulled out from Forward Operating Base Falcon at 5 a.m. and arrived at Checkpoint 20 only to see that Odom was already there. Ali and a couple of his men were there as well, prepared to make a triumphant entry. While the colonel and I waited for the “route clearance” team to sweep the road of I.E.D.’s, a frown crossed his face. The radio traffic reported that the operation had had its first casualty. Specialist Jose Collazo was driving a Husky mine-detecting vehicle — he had already found one I.E.D. that day — when he hit a buried bomb. The driver’s cab was thrown 50 feet. Collazo had an open head wound and had been rushed back to a sand lot in front of Checkpoint 20 to await a medevac helicopter.

The militants had resorted to the same sort of chemistry that Timothy McVeigh used in the Oklahoma City bombing. Odom explained that they had combined fertilizer and nitric acid, boiled the concoction and then extracted a white explosive substance that was laid out to dry. The explosive was very powerful, and the American military had already given the weapon a name: HME, for “homemade explosive.”

The fact that there was only one route into town must have simplified the enemy’s task. But soon word came that the ordnance team had cleared the route. The soldiers lumbered into the armored Humvees, wearing their standard kit: Kevlar helmet, body armor, ballistic glasses and Nomex gloves to protect against fire. Ali, who was wearing a track suit with “England” emblazoned across the front, had no protective gear as he settled into the cab of the lightly armored truck carrying the food. Several Iraqi soldiers also made the trip.

With the wind whipping the sand, the helicopters were grounded again. We would not have Apache gunships above us, and any medical evacuation would need to occur by ground. As we headed to town, I glanced up at our gunner and saw he was wearing a small, black memorial bracelet for one of the soldiers killed in the April suicide bombing at Patrol Base Dog. It was one way soldiers have been honoring their fallen comrades and is increasingly common. Klascius observed that the stores were shuttered. That was a bad sign. The residents tended to clear out when trouble was expected.

After we reached the town center, the Humvees and the food truck formed a protective circle. The soldiers jumped down and began scanning the streets for militants. Ali got on a loudspeaker to urge the residents to come get the food. A few residents nervously approached. A soldier waved a metal detector over them to check for bombs after they entered the perimeter. But the citizens did not seem threatening, and the soldiers were preoccupied with the threat of snipers. The soldiers handed out several bags of rice, some cans of tomato paste and powdered milk.

As I was scribbling some notes, there was a boom in the distance. Klascius ran over to me and instructed me to get back in the Humvee. “The colonel’s been hit,” he said.

We drove back toward Checkpoint 20 and came upon a terrible sight. The twisted wreck of a Humvee was in the middle of the road. Combat medics were hovering over two soldiers lying in the grass. One was the turret gunner. The other was Odom, whose face was swathed in bandages. The wounded soldiers were lifted by stretcher into waiting Humvees and driven back.

Another Humvee, meanwhile, drove down from Checkpoint 20 to guard our flank. Suddenly there was a massive blast. Much of that Humvee disintegrated into fragments that rained down around us. Nobody could survive such a blast. The radio traffic reported three killed in action.

We were trapped on a “Tier 1 I.E.D. site”— a stretch of road chockablock with buried bombs — with no air cover. There was no heading back to town: the soldiers who had stayed there had been attacked by small arms, and two had been wounded. They would need to be evacuated as well. Yet heading back to Checkpoint 20 was still problematic. A Humvee started to make its way, only to set off another bomb. This blast, at least, was not catastrophic. The front end of the vehicle had been blown off, but there were no casualties.

As we sat in the captain’s Humvee and waited to make our return on the road, Ben Lowy, an experienced combat photographer, asked me for a pen and wrote his blood type on each of his Nomex gloves. With no Apaches on call, the soldiers called in a “show of force” mission. A jet flew by and bombed an empty field to show the adversary the Americans could call in an air strike if necessary. It was not clear if the enemy was still around to absorb this message — or if he would care.

We had no choice but to leave. A few vehicles made their way back, and we followed. After driving a short stretch, our vehicle stopped by the side of the road, and Captain Klascius walked back to supervise the scene. There were vehicles to recover and the grim business of collecting human remains. Several soldiers took black bags out of the Humvees and began to walk the fields in search of body parts. The road was a tableau of destruction. There were a soldier’s soft cap, a can of chewing tobacco, part of a notebook and the twisted end of a gun.

“I need another body bag,” a soldier called out.

A trooper asked if he had found another body.

“Don’t know,” the first soldier replied.

The three Iraqi soldiers who came with the mission — cigarettes in their mouths, cradling their weapons — pointed out some of the remains to the American soldiers but refrained from picking up the pieces. Ali sat in the front cab of the food truck, staring straight ahead.

As the soldiers went about their task, Klascius raised his weapon and peered through the scope at two men peering at our position from the roof of a building in the distance. “Best 1,200 bucks I ever spent,” he muttered. Since his troops had been supplied with only 10 high-powered scopes, he had bought his own. Klascius got on the radio and reported that the stricken convoy was being watched. The Americans needed to get back before they were attacked again.

When we got back to Checkpoint 20, the outpost was silent. The soldiers had lost three of their comrades. Another eight had been wounded. The enemy had suffered no casualties. Food had been given out to 40 residents...

Posted on 10/27/2007 7:44 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 27 October 2007
A Musical Interlude: Si Tu M'Aimes
Posted on 10/27/2007 7:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 October 2007
The Attitudinal Prism of Condoleezza Rice

Joel Fishman explores the fatuous self-absorption of our Secretary of State at the Conservative Voice (hat tip: VFR):

Last week in Jerusalem, U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, articulated some of her personal views which ultimately found their way into the press. For Dr. Rice the struggle of the Palestinians is analogous to that of the Afro-Americans for civil rights and she identifies with the Palestinians. She recalled what it meant to travel in segregated buses as a little girl in Alabama. She also compared the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to Reverend Martin Luther King, because, in her mind, both were committed to peace. According to reporter Aluf Benn, Rice views Abbas as committed to the struggle for Palestinian independence and, like Martin Luther King, opposed to terror and violence (Haaretz, October 16, 2007). Independently, David Bedein reported Rice's statements in The Bulletin (Philadelphia, October 17, 2007).

While this juxtaposition of the Afro-American campaign for civil rights and the Palestinian (armed) struggle seems strange, by using methods of political analysis it is possible to appreciate the significance of this type of information. Condoleezza Rice has given us the "Attitudinal Prism" of her decision-making process. Political scientists Gabriel Almond and G. Bingham Powell defined the term and explained its importance: "Men choose among alternative paths in accordance with their perception of the world in which they must act. The lens through which that setting is filtered may ... be called the Attitudinal Prism. The content of that which they perceive is the Image. Together these constitute the Psychological Environment , the framework of choice, decision, and action. In foreign policy, as in all politics, the prism is shaped by three interacting variables-political culture, historical legacy, and the personality traits of the decision-makers."

It is clear that Rice personally considers that the Palestinians have a strong moral case and that Israel does not. Furthermore, she bases her views on her personal experience, drawing upon an analogy from the memories of her own childhood, particularly her identification with the Afro-American struggle for civil rights. According to Almond and Powell's analytical criteria, such attitudes are critically important because they become part of the decision-making process...

Posted on 10/27/2007 6:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Go To Baghdad Or Lose Your Job

WaPo: The State Department will order as many as 50 U.S. diplomats to take posts in Iraq next year because of expected shortfalls in filling openings there, the first such large-scale forced assignment since the Vietnam War.

On Monday, 200 to 300 employees will be notified of their selection as "prime candidates" for 50 open positions in Iraq, said Harry K. Thomas, director general of the Foreign Service. Some are expected to respond by volunteering, he said. However, if an insufficient number volunteers by Nov. 12, a department panel will determine which ones will be ordered to report to the Baghdad embassy next summer.

"If people say they want to go to Iraq, we will take them," Thomas said in an interview. But "we have to move now, because we can't hold up the process." Those on the list were selected by factors including grade, specialty and language skill, as well as "people who have not had a recent hardship tour," he said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice previewed a possible shortfall in June, when she ordered that positions in Iraq be filled before any other openings at the State Department headquarters in Washington or abroad are available. At the time, Rice said it was her "fervent hope" that sufficient numbers would continue to volunteer. Her order followed a request by Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker in Baghdad for an increase in the number and quality of economic and political officers.

Although a few skilled individuals were ordered to "hard-to-fill" diplomatic posts in past decades, there have been no mass "directed assignments" in the Foreign Service since 1969, when an entire class of 15 to 20 entry-level officers was sent to Vietnam, Thomas said.

Those who receive the selection letters will have 10 days to file a written notice of objection. The review panel will consider the objections, but Thomas made clear that a serious, documented medical condition is likely to be the only valid excuse. The department has the authority to fire anyone who refuses to accept an assignment....

Posted on 10/27/2007 6:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 26 October 2007
Musical Interlude: Red Foley
Posted on 10/26/2007 2:23 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 26 October 2007

Welcome news this morning that Pakistan is taking action against Taliban elements in its lawless northwest border region.  But check out this passage from the AP, via the NY Times:

On Thursday, a suicide car bomber hit a truck carrying Frontier Constabulary troops through a crowded area of Mingora, killing 19 soldiers and a civilian, and wounding 35.

The devastating attack underlined the worsening security situation in Pakistan, particularly in the conservative region near the border with Afghanistan where militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida increasingly hold sway. The rise of militancy in the region has shaken the authority of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in its war on terror.

Can someone explain to me what is "conservative" about a revolutionary movement that seeks, by mass-murder, to overthrow the established order and set up a tyrannical sharia state?

Posted on 10/26/2007 1:25 PM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 26 October 2007
Should Michael Scheuer Be Investigated for Leaking Classified Information?

Commentary's invaluable Gabe Schoenfeld is asking.  Gabe has a new blog at the magazine's website called Connecting the Dots. In a post earlier this week, he describes a Danish report about extraordinary renditions dating back to the mid-90s (yes, sports fans, rendition was invented by the Clinton administration).  One of these involved a Abu Talal, a top operative of Egypt's Gamaat al-Islamiya (the Islamic Group) terrorist organization, who was given asylum in Denmark, and was snatched while visiting Croatia.  Evidently, he was rendered to Mubarak's government ... which may have executed him. 

Scheuer is among the sources cited in the report.  Was the information classified and is anyone investigating?  Gabe is asking.

Posted on 10/26/2007 1:11 PM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 26 October 2007
Can the New Sanctions Against Iran Be Effective?

Matt Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as good a terrorism financing expert as there is in the United States, has thoughts.

Posted on 10/26/2007 1:10 PM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 26 October 2007
Temple? What Temple?

This is perfectly consonant with the Islamic worldview. The earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger Muhammad -- which means, in human terms, those who are the Believers in Allah and that Messenger. Everyone else must either convert, be killed, or in some cases be permitted to live, but only in a condition of permanent humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity, as "dhimmis."

Nothing else has value. Nothing else is of interest. And since everyone since time began -- a nice bit of backdating -- is in the Muslim view born a Muslim, but for one reason or another falls away (talk about a bad environment!)-- every claim by those of other faiths are meaningless.

Sometimes you smash the Bamiyan Buddhas, when you can finally get the right dynamite, after a thousand years of smashing Buddhist stupas, and Hindu temples, all over Asia. Sometimes you turn a church, or many churches, into foundations for mosques (see the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus), or turn the whole thing, merely by adding minarets, into a mosque (see the Hagia Sophia), taking care to break off all the crosses and vandalizing any pictures that depict persons. Sometimes you simply deny the claim altogether, as in the case of the Temple Mount.

This statement is not a strange one. It is one that almost every single "Palestinian" and for that matter, if asked, hundreds of millions of Muslims, would agree with. It is the "Palestinians" who own the Land of Israel. It is they who were always there, since time immemorial, tilling the soil. Nothing about Israel has anything to do with Jews or with Christians. It is a Muslim land. It became, of course, a Muslim "land" when Muslims conquered it, and let it fall into ruin and desolation -- but it was still a Muslim "land" no matter how indifferent Muslims were to it, except as a place important, as a holy land, to Jews and to Christians, who therefore must be denied any claim, or any right to live in, or to visit, without strict permission of their Muslim masters.

When an early Umayyad caliph selected Jerusalem, selected the Temple Mount, as the site where he insisted, the "furthest mosque" (al-masjid al-aksa) mentioned in the Qur'an, would be found, he was at first opposed by some Muslims. For of course there is no way to know what was meant by "the furthest mosque." He was making a geopolitical statement, a planting of the flag of Islam right in the heart of Jerusalem, right on the place, the Temple Mount, most sacred to the Jews, and in the city known to Christians as the Holy Land. It was a geopolitical statement. For Islam is not so much, or not mainly, a religion, but rather, a geopolitics, a worldview, with some features of individual worship attached. It originates in the need for marauding and conquering Arabs to both justify and promote, to themselves and to the far more advanced and numerous peoples, Christians and Jews, whom they first conquered, that conquest, and to hold out to some of them the immediate prospect of remaining not the oppressed vanquished, but part of the conquerors, by abandoning their own faiths and becoming Muslims.

The statement by Ikrema Sabri is no different from, is exactly consonant with, many remarks by Arafat and not only Arafat -- by Muslim Arabs, and non-Arab Muslims who deny the claims of non-Muslims to their own history, their own monuments, their own civilization.

Indeed, the sinister Tariq Ramadan, when he keeps claiming, absurdly -- he did it yet again a few weeks ago in the debate with Ibn Warraq, David Aronovich, and Douglas Murray -- that the Western world owes so much, so incredibly much, could hardly have existed, without the contributions of the "Islamic world" and Muslims. He has it exactly backwards. It is despite Islam, despite the conquests of many lands once full of Christians, that Western Christendom managed to flourish. Or, if one wishes to find some bleak truth in Ramadan's remark, one can agree that the refugees from Islamic conquest, such as the Greek scholars who, clutching their manuscripts, fled Byzantium during the century-and-a-half before the final fall of Constantinople (May 29, 1453), helped to bring about the Revival of Learning and what is, or used to be called, the rediscovery of classical antiquity in what also used to be called (it is now, more bloodlessly, described in college courses and in professional-historical-graduate-student-speak as "the Early Modern Period") the Renaissance.

Posted on 10/26/2007 12:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 26 October 2007
Convert? Sure, Why Not?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 at 09:03:20 PM PDT

While it appears from more than one point of view that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are situations from which we may never be able to extricate ourselves, from the mountains of Pakistan comes a very simple solution: convert to Islam.

Before we reject this out of hand, lets seriously consider it for a moment:  Osama Bin Laden promised the wars would be over if Americans convert to Islam.  

This may sound like a lot to ask from the most religious country in the industrialized world.  But of all the Christians in America today who profess to be religious, how many of us are seriously devout?  

How many of us are really just religious lightweights, happy to simply go to church every Sunday, attend church socials, knock back a drink or two every Christmas and not worry ourselves about the deeper implications of our faith?

Given the way most of us pay any real attention to the tenets of our faith, life really wouldn’t be that different if we were to exchange one faith for another.  The prayers would be different, but we would recite them just as mindlessly as we do today.  The sermons would in all likelihood be exactly the same, and we’d continue to snore through them.

Sure, there are a few people here and there who take religion seriously, but they are in such a small minority that their protests can be easily ignored.

All in all, converting to Islam would be a small price to pay for an end to the killing and maiming of our sons and daughters, not to mention the billions of dollars we could put to better use than fighting this perpetual war.

So let’s do away with our religious pretences, adopt Islam as our new faith, add a few extra holidays to our calendar, and get down to the real business at hand: pumping oil.

Posted on 10/26/2007 12:29 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 26 October 2007
A Necessary Tocsin

During the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted eight years, the price of oil went steadily down, and both sides were careful, after the first few months, not to hit the oil installations of the other. After all, it is all they have. What does anyone think would happen now? Would Iran, if its oil fields were left intact while its nuclear project bombed, dare to bomb Iraq's oil fields, knowing that its own oil fields would then suffer? Why? It makes no sense. The threat is hollow and the hysteria uncalled-for.

But a threat that is real, and that cries out not of course for hysteria but for much stronger action, is that of anthropogenic climate change. And a huge increase in the price of oil may be, at this point, the only thing that will get people to act. And so, if it were to occur, it is not necessarily a disaster, but instead, to be seen as an indispensable tocsin, bracing and tonic.

Posted on 10/26/2007 12:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 26 October 2007
The Oil! The Oil!

Fears about the oil markets are being played up in an effort to prevent US military action on Iran's nuclear facilites. Would there be a short-term upward spike in oil prices? Obviously. But the screams about chaos are coming from the usual suspects in the oil industry who seek to mold US policy for their own designs. The same Sunni Arabs are arguing that we must stay in Iraq to prevent chaos, in other words, to protect the Sunnis.

WaPo: A U.S. military strike against Iran would have dire consequences in petroleum markets, say a variety of oil industry experts, many of whom think the prospect of pandemonium in those markets makes U.S. military action unlikely despite escalating economic sanctions imposed by the Bush administration...

"It will be chaos. . . . I can't really see it," said Abdulsamad al-Awadi, an oil trading consultant and former executive at Kuwait Petroleum. "Having been in the marketplace for almost 30 years, I can't see a scenario for it, or precautionary measures" that oil companies could take. "There are no precautionary measures." ...

"If it's a clinical strike like the one that Israel carried out on the Syrian installations and no one admitted to doing it, you'd have a fierce reaction from Iran, but it would probably die down," said Leo Drollas, deputy executive director and chief economist of the Center for Global Energy Studies, a London think tank founded by former Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani. "If it were a botched job with lots of targets and civilians dying and Iranians retaliating . . . it could escalate and the price of oil could shoot up to God knows where." ...

Posted on 10/26/2007 11:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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