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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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by David P. Gontar
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by Theodore Dalrymple
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by Kenneth Hanson
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interviews by Jerry Gordon
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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
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Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
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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

Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Further terror arrests in Walthamstow
An exclusive from the Waltham Forest Guardian
COUNTER-terrorism raids have once more hit Waltham Forest.
A 27-year-old man was arrested in Walthamstow on Tuesday (27 Feb) in connection with the alleged plot to blow up aeroplanes, which led to a series of raids across the borough on August 10 last year.
At around 6am police counter-terrorism officers raided a house and arrested the man, who remains in custody.
Police would not confirm if the house was the man's home but said it was a residential address. Officers continue to search the propety.
Another Walthamstow home has been searched by police.
So far nine people from the borough have been charged under the Terrorism Act.
A source close to the man's family said the 27-year-old was known to be friends with some of those who were charged, and had visited them in prison several times. "He is known in the community as an OK guy," the source said.
But of course.
Posted on 02/28/2007 4:03 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
The Values Our Nations Hold So Dear

In Iraq General Petraeus has assumed command of  the American troops. He has with him a much-publicized  group of anti-insurgency advisers. These advisers have studied past insurgencies. These advisers believe that, "on average, insurgencies last ten years." These advisers believe that in order to defeat insurgents, one must win hearts and minds.

These advisers appear not to realize that in the case of the belief-system of Islam, there can be a brief renting of feigned goodwill but that, unless that belief-system itself is constrained, there can be no winning of hearts and minds for Infidels. And furthermore, the "insurgency" is not one "insurgency" but several. The chief insurgency is based on one thing: the refusal of Sunni Arabs to acquiesce in the transfer of power from them to the Shi'a Arabs, and the refusal of the Shi'a Arabs to accept the minimal demands of those Sunni Arabs, given that the Shi'a are keenly aware that they outnumber the Sunni Arabs three to one, and that the oil of Iraq is either in the Kurdish-controlled north or in the Shi'a-controlled south (and that recent talk about "future oil production" in Anbar Province will not change any of the current calculations and refusals to compromise).

Eventually -- but when? -- those advisers on Insurgencies may come to realize that the mission has been wrongly defined, and stubbornly adhered to beyond all reason. The goal should be to weaken the Camp of Islam, inside and outside Iraq. The way to do it is to avoid all sentimentality, withdraw, and let the Sunnis and Shi'a go at it, however they choose to, and not to worry about "chaos" and "confusion" or a "takeover by Al Qaeda"  (Al Qaeda will be engaged in staying alive and helping stave off attacks by both Kurds and Shi'a Arabs, the latter helped by Iranian agents). Let co-religionists outside Iraq pour in volunteers, money, and matériel -- this is the only way to get a return on the $750 billion dollar investment. Instead of shrill invocation of such words as "massive instability" or "catastrophe" analyze clearly whose "instability": it would be, and for whom something like a renewed Iran-Iraq War, but this one playing out in many countries, and not in one place, would be a "catastrophe." It would not be a catastrophe for Infidels. It would, in fact, give them a breathing space, and offer, like the much smaller internecine warfare in Gaza, a useful Demonstration Project of Islam, and the kinds of things -- the refusal to compromise, the aggression, the violence that needs to be held in check by despots, themselves awful -- that Islam encourages, that are part of its atmospherics, and reflect its victor-vanquished mentality.

Below is the speech he addressed to those under him when he assumed command:

"Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq:

We serve in iraq at a critical time. The war here will soon enter its fifth year. A decisive moment approaches. Shoulder-to-shoulder with our Iraqi comrades, we will conduct a pivotal campaign to improve security for the Iraqi people. The stakes could not be higher.

Our task is crucial. Security is essential for Iraq to build its future. Only with security can the Iraqi government come to grips with the tough issues it confronts and develop the capacity to serve its citizens. The hopes of the Iraqi people and the coalition countries are with us.

The enemies of Iraq will shrink at no act, however barbaric. They will do all that they can to shake the confidence of the people and to convince the world that this effort is doomed. We must not underestimate them.

Together with our Iraqi partners, we must defeat those who oppose the new Iraq. We cannot allow mass murderers to hold the initiative. We must strike them relentlessly. We and our Iraqi partners must set the terms of the struggle, not our enemies. And together we must prevail.

The way ahead will not be easy. There will be difficult times in the months to come. But hard is not hopeless, and we must remain steadfast in our effort to help improve security for the Iraqi people. I am confident that each of you will fight with skill and courage, and that you will remain loyal to your comrades-in-arms and to the values our nations hold so dear.

In the end, Iraqis will decide the outcome of this struggle. Our task is to help them gain the time they need to save their country. To do that, many of us will live and fight alongside them. Together we will face down the terrorists, insurgents, and criminals who slaughter the innocent. Success will require discipline, fortitude, and initiative — qualities that you have in abundance.

I appreciate your sacrifices and those of your families. Now, more than ever, your commitment to service and your skill can make the difference between victory and defeat in a very tough mission.

It is an honor to soldier again with the members of the Multi-National Force-Iraq. I know that wherever you serve in this undertaking you will give your all. In turn, I pledge my commitment to our mission and every effort to achieve success as we help the Iraqis chart a course to a brighter future.

Godspeed to each of you and to our Iraqi comrades in this crucial endeavor."

David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army

There is much to note in this speech, including the repeated mention of "Iraqi comrades" and all the blah-blah about the "mission" and "every effort to achieve success" and helping "the Iraqis" (who are these "Iraqis"? How does General Petraeus define them?) "chart a course to a brighter future."

But one thing, not a paragraph, not a sentence, not even a word, but merely a single pluralizing "s" at the end of a word, stands out above all the others.

Here it is:

"that you will remain loyal to your comrades-in-arms and to the values our nations hold so dear."

Not "nation." "Nations."

The American Nation, and the Iraqi Nation. The values our two countries "hold so dear."

No comment necessary.

No further questions, m'lud.

Posted on 02/28/2007 3:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Lost Allusions

"The West is soon approaching a critical decision, if Islam is to be quelled, a decision not unlike that experienced by Macbeth."-- from a reader 

I'm not sure that Macbeth is the figure you want to invoke (even though I understand that Lady Macbeth is now running for President). After all, there are other bits of Shakespeare to invoke, such as: "There is a tide in the affairs of men/Which taken at the flood.."). Or outside of Shakespeare, for example, that untouchable Brahmin James Russell Lowell, who provided the words to the stirring hymn: "Once to every man and nation/Comes the moment to decide/In the strife of Truth with Falsehood/For the good or evil side?"

Or how about no literary figures at all. How about just saying that common sense requires that Islam be studied as a belief-system, without tears, without taqiyya, without tu-quoque, and that knowledge acted upon in time.

Posted on 02/28/2007 1:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
No Taxpayer-Funded Jihad

Mike Adams writes: "Yesterday afternoon, I logged on to the "Global War" blog ( of Associate Professor Julio Pino – a Muslim convert who teaches at Kent State University. The heading for the site used to read "The Worldwide Web of Jihad: Daily News from the Most Dangerous Muslim in America." Now it reads "Are You Prepared for Jihad?" IN THE NAME OF OBL. 2007: THE YEAR OF ISLAMIC VICTORY!"

Hardly able to believe what I was reading, I called Pino at his office in Ohio around 4 p.m. According to his secretary, he had not been at work that day (he only has office hours two days of the week). He was drawing a paycheck from the people of the State of Ohio while trying to launch a Jihad against people like me. In fact, just five minutes before I called he posted an entry under the title "Crusaders Can’t Take Anymore in Afghanistan!""

Tenure is an idea whose time has come, and gone. But it should have particularly gone for those who, in 1942, had swastika flags draped on their office walls, and who might have spent spring vacation visiting Fritz Kuhn in jail, There is a limit. This Pino should be fired, and it should be done not by those who will simply be crude know-nothings, but clever know-everythings, so that the ACLU does not get to have its promised field-day. The state of Ohio does not have to pay the salary of someone who identifies with those who are against, not merely the State of Ohio, but against all the legal and political institutions, and social arrangements, of this country.

Contrary to what fifth-graders think, the phrase "This is a free country" is not the end of political discussion. How this is a free country, why this is a free country, the reasonable and even admirable and certainly necessary limits on the individual freedoms that this free country guarantees, all this has to be understood.

And Pino has to conduct his Jihad elsewhere. I suggest Gaza. Or possibly Fallujah. Or perhaps --why not -- answer one of those ads, for one of those dismal "universities" in Kuwait or the U.A.E. or even in Saudi Arabia, where one can teach English as a second language, or do whatever it is that expatriates do, as no doubt well-paid wage slaves for the rich Arabs. "Money can buy everything -- except civilization" is how one Franco-Armenian summed up for me his years in Saudi Arabia.

Pino will not, alas, be able to take part in any mission civilisatrice. After all, he voluntarily embraced the mental straitjacket of Islam, has voluntarily adopted the habit of mental submission. But the Saudis will find a use for him, no doubt. Perhaps just as an example: the Infidel "Revert" who was attracted by the harmony, the goodness, the essential rightness of Islam. Put him on display, and let him tour Saudi Arabia. But get him off the Ohio State payroll. There is a limit to what taxpayers should be expected to endure.

And if Kent State turns out to be a private university, then its Trustees have even less of a First Amendment problem. They can regulate speech at a private university however they choose. The AAUP (the American Association of University Professors) has no legal -- and by now little moral authority -- to argue otherwise.

Isn't the idiotic war to bring "freedom" to "ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East enough squandering? If Americans are, as Bush and Bush loyalists like to say, "fighting them over there so we won't have to fight them over here" then what are we going to do with the likes of Professor Pino -- who happens to be "fighting the Jihad right here," that is, aiding and abetting "them," right in Ohio.


Posted on 02/28/2007 1:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
A Little More on the School of Qom and the School of Najaf

A little more on the claque that has, for roughly the past three years, found Sistani to be the Man of the Hour in Iraq:

At My Weekly Standard the claque consists of Reuel Gerecht and the carriers of Weiss-Schwartz Syndrome. Fouad Ajami, whose usefulness is limited given his tiptoeing around the subject of Islam, was enchanted with his own reception by Sistani, and in his book "The Foreigner's Gift" -- so tellingly mistitled (it ought to have been "The Infidel's Gift" but that would raise too many problems for Fouad Ajami) -- he describes (I am told, for I haven't read Ajami's book)  this meeting but does not explain what it was that prevented Sistani from meeting with any other American, save for Zalmay Khalilzad. What could it be? And why shouldn't people have explained to them what it is that prevents this Holy Man of the Hour from meeting, say, with Bremer, or Rice, or any number of other Infidels?

In Washington, there are those who like to construct out of world politics something akin to soap operas, with the villains and the heroes. Everything is reduced to the "good guys" (i.e., the "moderate" Muslims in this case) and the "bad guys" (the "immoderate" Muslims in this case). And a little shadow-play is put on, Chinese shadows, ombres chinoises, and the Good Muslim needs to be supported to the hilt, because only he can stand up to the Bad Muslim.

In the case of Sistani, the Shadow-Play relies on the banal observation that the main Shi'a clerics in Iraq do not wish to support the idea, which Khomeini introduced as part of his new and improved Islamic Republic of Iran, of direct rule by clerics. In Khomeini's case, he thought that the best thing would be direct rule by the Most Enlightened and Deeply Learned Cleric. Apparently he had someone special in mind. And when that impressive Internal Candidate showed up -- he, Ayatollah Khomeini himself -- there was no need for any nation-wide search, or even a resume, much less that grueling day of interviews. No, Sistani does not want to rule directly.  It's too messy. Besides, why should he and the rest of the marjiyah have to bother their decorously turbaned heads with garbage collection in Baghdad, or the municipal water system in Basra? They prefer to be eminences grises, behind the scenes, or in some cases burattinai, marionette-masters, tugging at strings as the occasion demands.

Yet, among all kinds of people at the A.E.I., the kind of people who gave Ayaan Hirsi Ali a job, and even show up to listen to her, and pretend to agree with her, but do not because, in the end, they do not comprehend what she is saying, or the knowledge of Islam that she possesses, and that they might acquire (Islam isn't just for Muslims anymore) but are afraid or unwilling to do so, having gotten in the habit, over many decades, of not having to engage, even if only for a few months, in the kind of study that perhaps they once were capable of, but are not  any longer.

So they posit a "Qom School" (bad) of Shi'a Islam, and a "Najaf School" (good) of Shi'a Islam, and the Iranians are the Qommers, with Khomeini and then Khameini as representative figures, and the Najafians, with Al-Sistani as the embodiment of wonderful Shi'a Islam.

Shi'a Islam is not wonderful. And if Chalabi, Allawi, Rend al-Rahim and Kanan Makiya are acceptable figures, are people one feels one can talk to, it is not because they are Shi'a Muslims, but because, having lived in the West for many decades, they have become, at least in part, westernized, and secularized, and ration people, even if their aims must be different from ours as long as they do not wish to weaken the Camp of Islam. to have Muslims jettison Islam, or at least be forced to see the connection, ideally to make the connection themselves, between the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of Islam, and the tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics of Islam.

That is something no Muslim, whether he remains one out of filial piety (that pious and kindly grandmother), or embarrassment,(and a desire therefore not to abandon, but to protect, Islam),  or out of dislike of the West and a proud refusal to take lessons from that decadent West (how dare Westerners, with their own sicknesses, get on their high horse and preach to us)  will do, unless he is either a Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslim, such as Bassam Tibi or Magdi Allam, or has jettisoned Islam altogether, as all the best people  born into Islam-- Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Azam Kamguian, Irfan Khawaja, and a cast of tens of thousands -- have done, or are doing.

Posted on 02/28/2007 12:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Does Everybody Still Love Sistani?

We insisted that the Ayatollah Sistani was surely a "moderate" and a friend to civil and religious liberty despite all the hard evidence to the contrary. Let me repeat my previous observations and predictions: The Ayatollah Sistani is an Islamist bent on establishing a theocracy not far removed from that found in Iran. He is an open anti-Semite and a not-too-subtle anti-Christian. He threw his support behind democratic elections because they were the handy vehicles for imposing religious authority all over Iraq. Nor is he the only one, or even the worst, only the most prominent. Yet while I believe the evidence is as clear here as it is in the case of [Ahmad] Chalabi, we only see what we want to see, not what's visible. In our religious lives, hope may well be a virtue — but in foreign policy it is more often a sin, a temptation to willful blindness. --John Agresto

Here is what I posted elsewehere on March 25, 2005 in response to the enthusiastic suggestion by some  (Tom Friedman,  Rich Lowry) that  Ayatollah Sistani receive the Nobel Peace Prize:

Everyone will have his own startling encounter with Islam -- the real thing, not what Muslim apologists, hoping to give everyone a carefully-circumscribed "peek into the Koran" (and let's make sure that none of these unwary Infidels manages to read anything beyond the Michael Sells "Approaching the Qur'an" and by all means, keep them from looking into the Hadith or the Sira), have on offer. It is almost always limited to highly selective quotation from the Qur'an. The Hadith, and the Sira -- sorry, off limits for now.

One keeps being surprised at how little people think they need to know before making grand pronouncements. Yesterday, amused by the latest display of vacuity and portentousness by Tom Friedman, nominating -- modestly -- Ali al-Sistani for the Nobel Prize -- I went to to look around. There, between Sistani's complete banning of chess (and to think that checkmate is merely the Persian "shakh mat"), and his discussions of all the usual subjects that inquiring Muslims wish to know about, from whether it is okay to marry the sister of a man you have sodomized, or who has sodomized you (I forget which) to whether your canonical prayers count if you haven't performed the wudu (ablutions) correctly -- you know, all the stuff that you want to know, was something else, and that something was all about what is considered by Sistani and those who seek his guidance to be "Najis" or "unclean."

If you click on "Muslim Laws" on the left, and then, once a list comes up, click on "najis things," you will get a list -- #84 -- and if you then go a little further, and click on the menu where, among those unclean things, the "kafir" (which is to say, the Unbeliever, that is to say -- You and I, Dear Reader) you will get a further discussion of how, in the wonderful, "moderate" Islam of the al-Sistani variety, the Unbeliever, the Infidel, the Kafir (guilty of "kufr" or "ingratitude" for failing to receive the Revelation of the Last of the Prophets in the right, accepting, submissive way) is viewed.

So here, for everyone out in Ames, Iowa, is just a little sample of what you are missing, and what one suspects that Mohammed Fahmy, and Tariq Ramadan, and Hamid Dabashi, and Zeinab Bahrani, and a cast of hundreds of millions, would prefer that you not inquire into too deeply. And please, whatever you do, in order to accommodate them, at least promise that you will NOT read the websites and and and, and certainly do NOT read anything by Bat Ye'or, but especially do not read Islam and Dhimmitude or The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam. And do not read Ibn Warraq's Why I Am Not a Muslim. And let's not even talk about Robert Spencer. These books will only confuse you. And never pay attention to a man named Ali Sina or any of those ex-Muslims who appear at his website. Never google the name "Habib Malik" to read what he has to say about the historic relationship of Islam to Christianity; never read a similar article by James V. Schall, a professor at Georgetown; never take a peak at the Western scholars whose work may be sampled in the anthology The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew Bostom.

Well, here is what you can find at

"84. The following ten things are essentially najis: 1. Urine 2. Faeces 3. Semen 4. Dead body 5. Blood 6. Dog 7. Pig 8. Kafir 9. Alcoholic liquors 10. The sweat of an animal who persistently eats najasat [i.e., unclean things].

108. The entire body of a Kafir, including his hair and nails, and all liquid substances of his body, are najis.
109. If the parents, paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather of a minor child are all kafir, that child is najis, except when he is intelligent enough, and professes Islam. When, even one person from his parents or grandparents is a Muslim, the child is Pak (The details will be explained in rule 217).
110. A person about whom it is not known whether he is a Muslim or not, and if no signs exist to establish him as a Muslim, he will be considered Pak. But he will not have the privileges of a Muslim, like, he cannot marry a Muslim woman, nor can he be buried in a Muslim cemetery."


So who wants to second the nomination of Al-Sistani for the Nobel Prize? Anyone out there in Ames, Iowa?

Posted on 02/28/2007 11:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
More Negotiating with Iran

Here's what President Bush said about why the Iranians are Islamic extremists in a speech on September 5, 2006:

Like al Qaeda and the Sunni extremists, the Iranian regime has clear aims: They want to drive America out of the region, to destroy Israel, and to dominate the broader Middle East. To achieve these aims, they are funding and arming terrorist groups like Hezbollah, which allow them to attack Israel and America by proxy. Hezbollah, the source of the current instability in Lebanon, has killed more Americans than any terrorist organization except al Qaeda. Unlike al Qaeda, they've not yet attacked the American homeland. Yet they're directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans abroad. It was Hezbollah that was behind the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans. And Saudi Hezbollah was behind the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans, an attack conducted by terrorists who we believe were working with Iranian officials. Just as we must take the words of the Sunni extremists seriously, we must take the words of the Shia extremists seriously. Listen to the words of Hezbollah's leader, the terrorist Nasrallah, who has declared his hatred of America. He says, "Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute… Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, Death to America will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: Death to America." Iran's leaders, who back Hezbollah, have also declared their absolute hostility to America. Last October, Iran's President declared in a speech that some people ask — in his words — "whether a world without the United States and Zionism can be achieved… I say that this… goal is achievable." Less than three months ago, Iran's President declared to America and other Western powers: "open your eyes and see the fate of pharaoh… if you do not abandon the path of falsehood… your doomed destiny will be annihilation." Less than two months ago, he warned: "The anger of Muslims may reach an explosion point soon. If such a day comes… [America and the West] should know that the waves of the blast will not remain within the boundaries of our region." He also delivered this message to the American people: "If you would like to have good relations with the Iranian nation in the future… bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender. If you don't accept [to do this], the Iranian nation will… force you to surrender and bow down."

Here is what the President said in the same speech about negotiating with Islamic extremists (stated in the context of the Sunni extremists the President later said the Iranians were just like):

The goal of these Sunni extremists is to remake the entire Muslim world in their radical image. In pursuit of their imperial aims, these extremists say there can be no compromise or dialogue with those they call "infidels" — a category that includes America, the world's free nations, Jews, and all Muslims who reject their extreme vision of Islam. They reject the possibility of peaceful coexistence with the free world. Again, hear the words of Osama bin Laden earlier this year: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us." These radicals have declared their uncompromising hostility to freedom. It is foolish to think that you can negotiate with them. (Applause.)

Question:  Other than the fact that we have now caught the Iranians red-handed killing Americans in Iraq and that the Iranians have made plain that they have no intention of foregoing their nuclear ambitions, what has changed in the last six months to suddenly transform these uncompromising, murdering extremists into negotiation material?

Posted on 02/28/2007 11:22 AM by Andy McCarthy
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Negotiating with Iran & Syria

I'd rail, but, here on NRO, the invaluable Frank Gaffney has already said everything that needs to be said.

The Bush Doctrine, R.I.P. 

Posted on 02/28/2007 11:20 AM by Andy McCarthy
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Sistani the Moderate

Over the last couple of years, we've had some spirited debate in National Review Online about whether Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is an authentic Muslim moderate who is a huge plus for the Bush administration's democracy project, or, as I have maintained (see, e.g., here and here), an Islamic fundamentalist of the familiar anti-Semitic, anti-infidel, anti-gay variety who embraced "democracy" (i.e., not real democracy but popular elections) because it was the easiest route to Shiite rule ... the first step on the road to a Shiite Sharia state.

Now, former Reagan administration official John Agresto is weighing in.  Agresto, who appeared on Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday, has a new book out, Mugged by Reality, which is a memoir of his recent nine months of service in Iraq as an adviser to the education ministry.  Here is some of what he has to say about Sistani:

We insisted that the Ayatollah Sistani was surely a "moderate" and a friend to civil and religious liberty despite all the hard evidence to the contrary. Let me repeat my previous observations and predictions: The Ayatollah Sistani is an Islamist bent on establishing a theocracy not far removed from that found in Iran. He is an open anti-Semite and a not-too-subtle anti-Christian. He threw his support behind democratic elections because they were the handy vehicles for imposing religious authority all over Iraq. Nor is he the only one, or even the worst, only the most prominent. Yet while I believe the evidence is as clear here as it is in the case of [Ahmad] Chalabi, we only see what we want to see, not what's visible. In our religious lives, hope may well be a virtue — but in foreign policy it is more often a sin, a temptation to willful blindness

Posted on 02/28/2007 11:17 AM by Andy McCarthy
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Controversial mosque plan refused
Good News from the Midlands. I was wrong, or more accurately, The Express and Star was wrong. Thanks to Luke for this link to the BBC.
A Muslim association has criticised a council's decision not to grant planning permission for a £6m mosque.
Graphic of proposed new mosque in Dudley
's planning committee voted unanimously to refuse outline permission. Thousands of signatures and letters of objection had been sent.
Khurshid Ahmed, chair of Dudley Muslim Association, said it was "very likely" to appeal and accused the council of going back on a land exchange deal.
The council said the land had been designated for employment purposes.
Mr Ahmed said it was not the end despite the decision on Tuesday.
The council's chair of development control, Tim Wright, said the land had been designated for employment purposes under the council's recent Unitary Development Plan (UDP).  "They have shown there would be 112 jobs, of which 37 were part-time.  In my opinion as a member of the development control committee I don't think they've justified providing sufficient employment. If we'd been asked to go away from the policy already, it almost seems a worthless policy."
Posted on 02/28/2007 10:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
A strange thing

I sometimes see strange things on my walks. Here is one of them. Look carefully at the inscriptions:

Gabriela, the wife, died a year before her husband, although she was thirteen years younger. She was "loved by many", an inscription added presumably by her husband Henry Lynch. Henry goes one better, and is described as "loved by all". Described by whom? By himself, presumably, in which case this piece of posthumous oneupmanship rather undermines the loving inscription on his wife's headstone. Or perhaps it was not the widower, Mr Lynch, who wished to score points, but a relation of his, or even a jealous second wife from a very short-lived marriage.

Why, in any case, does Gabriela's headstone say "everloving memory", while the memory of Henry is only "loving"?

What am I missing?

Posted on 02/28/2007 8:20 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
The General Store

"Hugh, I'm bored with Iraq and Islam because I feel we're preaching to the choir on blogs like this and we're getting nowhere talking to the general public." --from a reader

You "go elsewhere for your other interests"? Well that's not a vote of confidence. That saddens. Say, what's the reasin' we're not pleasin' you, that you find you have to "go elsewhere for your other interests"? You mean you come here only for silly old, boring old, menacing old Islam? Haven't you noticed that all kinds of "other interests" are accommodated here, alluded to aptly and memorably, sketched rapidly but piercingly, with a few strokes doing what whole articles elsewhere try but fail to do, and with lapidary phrases at no extra cost?  Of course you have.

Literature, art, music mostly of the less-discussed kind (Bunny Berigan, Bix Biederbecke, Art Bowlly, Jack Buchanan, Buxtehude -- and that's just the B's), even what one contributor calls the art of the possible, you name it, we got it, and  if you just give us time to putter around in the backroom -we will come out with something that should do the trick. You know the backroom, don't you, in this General Store, the one that's just, just beyond the stack of fishing poles, and boots, and ice scrapers, and snowshoes, and bird feeders, and the bags of sand, and in summer time, there are the t-shirts, and the six-packs, and the fishing polls, and the flipflops, and in all seasons there's that the tattered calendar on the wall from a local insurance company, circa 1954, the one with the faded picture of Kim Novak still visible?  

So tell me what's the reason I'm not pleasin' you? Tell us why you have to "go elsewhere for your other interests"? Tell us what those interests are. Have you gone and looked at our back issues, the articles on moxibustion, and De Sitter Space, and the Prague School, and thalassotherapy, and Damon Runyon, and Li Po, and Balthus at the French Academy, and Mistinguett, and Otto Loewi, and Georges Perec, and Dino Buzzatti, and the OK Corral, and Kramd and Norton, and Stanlio and Olio, and Il'f and Petrov, and Irwin Corey, and Sid Caesar, and Spike Jones and Spike Milligan and Denys Norden, and Frank Muir and Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, and Kripke S5  modal logic and clerihews and....well, if you don't see something you need, just ask. I'll be glad to take a look in the back. I shouldn't be more than a few minutes. In fact, I'll go in there right now and see what back issues are available.

While you're waiting,  you might want to take a gander at the checkout counter newspapers. Did you know that Elvis phoned a lady in Rapid City, Iowa four years and two months after he died? 

I'll be right back.

Posted on 02/28/2007 8:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Twaddle in the Tribune

We have another strong contender for Dozy Bint of the Week. Julia Goren points out the ridiculous nature of this story at Political Mavens and it was picked up at DW.

Here is religion correspondent Julia Lyon writing in the Salt Lake Tribune:

HERRIMAN - He was just a little older than his audience when the Nazis starved him and showed him such unspeakable brutality. He's still talking about it now.
    The reaction at Fort Herriman Middle School last week was to stand and cheer his courage.
    Days after a teenager went on a shooting rampage in Salt Lake City, students at Jordan School District middle schools were mesmerized by David Faber, a Holocaust survivor who weighed 72 pounds when he was freed from a concentration camp at 18. He was the same age as Sulejman Talovic, the Trolley Square shooter.

Yes, you read right.  She's comparing this holocaust survivor to the Trolley Square murderer.

 For the teenagers who had known some of the brutal facts about World War II, Faber's talk was an awakening. They had no real understanding of just how violent and awful the past had been.

She seems to be confusing the Holocaust with the WWII. And she does it again here:

 In bringing Faber to the school, officials hoped to expose students to someone who has lived through the tragedy of the war and connect curriculum to real life.

No, Julia, Mr. Faber did not simply live through the "tragedy of war."  He survived the systematic and mechanized extermination of his people that was ended by the war.  Dozy bint.

Posted on 02/28/2007 7:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Question: Does It Get Any Better Than Eli Lake?

Answer:  No.  Latest must read, in the New York Sun, is here.

Posted on 02/28/2007 6:54 AM by Andy McCarthy
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Meshal in Russia

Haaretz: Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal said Tuesday in Moscow that his organization was not willing to recognize Israel, saying that Israel must end the occupation and the suffering of the Palestinian people and "only then will the Palestinians make their position [on recognition] clear."..

Radwan clarified that Hamas' willingness to agree to a state within the 1967 borders is only one part of the multi-stage solution it envisions...

"We are willing to consider a possibility for a long-term hudna [cease-fire] if the Zionist enemy releases the Palestinian prisoners and the refugees return to their homes. No more. The Mecca agreement has to do with the government, not Hamas," he added.

A different spokesman of the organization in the Gaza Strip, Fauzi Barhum, said that "Hamas has decided to show a political horizon, but our position is clear. All the land of Palestine [from the sea to the river] belongs to the Palestinians and Israel is the enemy. However, our political horizon offers a hudna for 15-20 years, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, the return of the refugees and the release of the prisoners."

Also Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country would work toward lifting the international embargo on the Palestinian Authority and will support the new unity government.

"Russia supports the understandings reached between Hamas and Fatah over the sharing of power, because they are an expression of reason, wisdom and responsibility toward the Palestinian people," he said during a joint press conference with Meshal.

The senior Russian official added that his country was working to ensure that "all the members of the international community will support this process, including efforts to lift the embargo."..

Russia is a member of the Quartet - which also comprises the UN, the EU and the United States. The Quartet has conditioned the resumption of ties with the government of the PA and the renewal of aid transfers on Palestinian recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of earlier accords between Israel and the PLO.

France has also hinted recently that it may support lifting the embargo..

[Note to journalists: embargo n. 1. an edict or order of the government prohibiting the departure or entry of ships of commerce at ports within its dominion. Simply holding up aid payments, or jizyah in this case, is not an embargo. It would also be useful if journalists were aware of the Islamic definition of the word "hudna." Temporary truces are all that is allowed under Islam. Permanent peace is an impossibility.]

Posted on 02/28/2007 6:17 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Dozy bint of the week

There is no man so wicked or depraved that he can't find some woman to worship, aid and abet him. She may be his wife or girlfriend, or, if he is on death row, she may be his pen friend. She may be his mother – ooh, he was such a lovely boy, wouldn’t hurt a fly – or his sister – my brother a terrorist? He’s such a quiet lad, always saying his prayers.


And she may be his solicitor.


This week’s dozy bint is Gareth Pierce, a solicitor and “human rights expert”. (Human rights, in this context, means the rights of criminals, terrorists and jihadists rather than their victims.) Pierce has supported and defended former MI5 operator and traitor David Shayler, a number of the British Guatanamo detainees, including Mozzam Begg and Bisher Amin Khalil al-Rawi, and, more recently, Abu Qatada, a notorious “radical cleric” linked to Bin Laden and soon, we hope, to be kicked out of the country.


Gareth is a woman. Her full name is Jean Gareth Pierce. Jean, unless you’re French, is a woman’s name. So why use her middle name? It isn’t even one of those unisex names like Leslie or Hilary. It is an affectation, pure and simple. She looks like a man in drag and has a silly fringe. (It is wrong to make personal remarks, unless someone is a moral idiot, in which case anything goes.) She has a quiet, monotonous voice, which sounds infuriatingly reasonable when she is defending the indefensible, and which makes her opponents, despite their superior moral clarity, sound strident and irrational.


Pierce said that sending Qatada back to Jordan would be “grotesquely irreconcilable” with the concept of justice. No, what is grotesque is that a dangerous enemy alien has been allowed to stay for so long, and that she is defending him.


Behind every evil man, there is a dozy bint. And Gareth Pierce is dozy bint of the week.

Posted on 02/28/2007 5:19 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Cartoon demo 'encouraged terror'
I didn’t get a chance to post this from the BBC yesterday.
The real purpose of a protest against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed was to encourage terrorism, a court has heard.
Alleged protest organiser Abdul Muhid urged people to commit "terrorist killing", the Old Bailey was told.  The court heard Mr Muhid led the crowd chanting "bomb, bomb the UK" and produced placards with slogans.  . .  that at the London protest the slogans included "annihilate those who insult Islam", "fantastic four are on their way" and "3/11 is on its way".
The latter two referred to terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, the jury heard.
David Perry QC, prosecuting, said: "The drawings of the Prophet had not appeared in any UK newspaper.  This was supposed to be a demonstration against the publication of the drawings in the newspapers abroad.  This behaviour shows what the demonstration was really about. It was an exhortation, an encouragement to terrorism."
Mr Perry added that the slogans were designed to "intimidate and frighten and also encourage terrorist killing.  That is what the prosecution case is, that this defendant was in fact exhorting people to terrorist killing," he said.
The jury was told that Mr Muhid took part in the burning of a Danish flag which had been soaked in an accelerant. (that explains why it went up so easily. and is evidence of a premeditated activity, rather than a spontaneous one)There were no arrests during the protest, but instead police took video recordings to decide on evidence of any criminal offences.  (after prompting by MPs and members of the public)
Video footage seized from the mosque showed Mr Muhid carrying placards into the building courtyard, Mr Perry said.  
Had they made arrests on the spot they would have been able to arrest the veiled woman the BBC filmed making the placards. Video identification would not hold up  weeks later, which is one of the reasons she was veiled, of course.  To alter the old joke,  Police are looking for a brown eyed woman who can’t spell.
Posted on 02/28/2007 1:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
How Soon They Forget!
Why did I apologize to WFB after saying "art of the possible"?  Because WFB once scoffed at John V. Lindsay for having been so unimaginative as to open a speech with the old chestnut about politics being the art of the possible.  Come on, it wasn't THAT long ago.
Posted on 02/27/2007 5:34 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Speaker Pelosi's America: Where Rep. William Jefferson Is Seated ... on the Homeland Security Committee

You just can't make this stuff up.  How does she take a guy who is in the center of a major bribery scandal — i.e., who could not get a security clearance if he were trying to get a job in the executive branch — and put him on the committee that gets access to all kinds of sensitive intelligence because it is primarily responsible for oversight of the Department Homeland Security?

Here's Pete King's take, via Insight Magazine:

It sends a terrible message....  They couldn't trust him to write tax policy, so why should he be given access to our nation's top secrets or making policy for national defense? ...  Members of the committee have access to intelligence secrets, plots here in the country, overseas, and people under suspicion. This shows how unimportant the Democrats think homeland security is.


ME:  It's fair to start asking:  What on earth is the Justice Department doing with this case?  It presents an egregious enough set of facts that DOJ — with court permission — engaged (quite properly but controversially) in a search of a congressional office.  Jefferson is not only purported to be on tape, nearly two years ago, taking a $100K bribe, and was not only found to be in possession, nearly two years ago, of $90K in bribe money (stashed in the freezer).  The government represented to a court that he obstructed the separate search of his home — which, if true, is a separate felony offense all by itself.  And two people, beginning over a year ago, have already pled guilty to paying Jefferson hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.  (See here.) 



Yes, Pelosi has a screw loose to put this character anywhere near homeland security — trustworthiness, not whether you've been indicted, is the standard for whether people should get access to classified information or be involved in judgments where lives are at stake.  But, that said, why has Justice failed to move this case?  Regrettably, after Sandy Berger, it's a question that has to be asked.

Posted on 02/27/2007 5:31 PM by Andy McCarthy
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Art of the Possible

Many emails from people riled up over my remarks about Rudy, guns, and immigration.  They all want to prove to me that Rudy is **NO CONSERVATIVE**, that he is a **CODDLER OF ILLEGALS** and furthermore a **GUN-BANNER AT HEART**.  They would never vote for Rudy, never be seen dead voting for him, never, NEVER.  Some of the parsing of that Rudy-Hannity interview would do credit to the guy that deciphered Linear B—all with the aim of proving what a despicable gun-grabber Rudy really is behind his lying, elitist facade.

Well, that's great, guys.  Lotsa luck getting Sam, Duncan, Tom, or Ron into the White House.  (Or staying home in disgust and watching Hillary, Barack, or John win the race.)

I went in to New York City to work darn near every day of Rudy Giuliani's mayoralty.  I don't need telling what he is, and isn't.  I not only worked, but actually lived, in NYC through most of the two previous mayoral terms (Koch III and Dinkins).  I'm well placed to judge Rudy's executive skills, and to compare him with liberals doing the same job.

Fight for what you believe in—I don't blame you.  Politics is still the art of the possible, though (sorry, WFB), and Rudy is possible.  Sam, Duncan, Tom, or Ron ain't.  Simple as that. 

Posted on 02/27/2007 5:29 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Lots of setting down of laws at this wintry afternoon session of the leets. I'm begining to feel like Hammurabi with his tablets (and the cutest little baby tablet with an abridged version of Hammurabi's code chiselled on it can be seen in the Museum of Near Eastern Antiquities in the Topkapi Complex). Or like Justinian, who codified the law of those steady Romans (Eastern Division) who no longer shook the world. Or Gratian, with his human laws divine. Or Napoleon, who burned the midnight oil ("not tonight, Josephine!") to finish his Code.  

Posted on 02/27/2007 4:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Sod's Law
Sod's Law you'd know all those bloody laws when I only know one.
Posted on 02/27/2007 4:16 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Benchley's Law
"The world is divided between two kinds of people--those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who do not."
Posted on 02/27/2007 4:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Snell, However, May Continue to Refract

As for Snell, he is still free to refract. After all, he didn't name his own law , much less name the person after whom that law was named. So why punish him?

And don't forget  Professor Hironaka of Harvard, who didn't name one of his important theorems after himself, but rather after someone else with a Japanese name, someone  who perhaps did not exist: "Literary author use pseudonym. Why not me?"

Posted on 02/27/2007 3:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Fitzgerald's Law of Retraction
You have a point. I have lost my faith in Fitzgerald's Law of Retraction. In fact, I hereby retract it. And that is the very last retracting I will ever do. From now on, I take back nothing. 
Posted on 02/27/2007 3:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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