Try a little tenderness . . . but only if you have a death wish *UPDATED*

A repeated thread in the comments lately has been the claim that the reason the terrorists are mean to us is because we’re mean to them. If we behaved more “morally,” they would inevitably yield to our good example. My response to this kind of argument has always been the same (and I’ll quote from my own comment, because I’m too lazy to retype it):

Regarding Gandhi: His pacificism worked only because Britain was not a nation that was going to respond in a bloody, violent fashion. It wasn’t Gandhi’s morality that won India’s freedom, it was England’s. The same holds true for MLK’s non-violent protest. While the South may have had profound racist problems, it was the fact that America as a whole was a moral nation that his tactics work.

When one has an enemy that revels in blood and conquest, that makes no secret of its desire for world domination, and that is vocal in its hatred and disdain for you, whether that enemy is Nazi Germany, Iran, or your average Islamist, your restraint and morality is not only irrelevant, it is a red flag before that blood-thirsty bull.

Forbearance cannot be a one way street. If all the pacifistic forbearance is on one side, and all the violence on the other, you simply end up with a bunch of dead pacifists — and, worse, dead pacifists who have engendered the slaughter of everyone else unlucky enough to be yoked to their sides.

The question in any war isn’t just your own nature, it’s your enemies’ as well. As Mike Devx pointed out in the same comment thread, while the British were initially somewhat violent in their response to the Indian riots, they pulled back, sickened by their own violence. The opposite was true for the Germans. Their tentative forays into aggression in the 1930s against Jews, Communists, homosexuals and the mentally ill excited their blood lust. Rather than pulling back, they accelerated the killing, and became ever more murderous and creative in their brutality. What finally ended the blood soaked orgy in which they’d engaged for more than a decade wasn’t their own horror at what they’d done, but the fact that America, once roused, had the military might to destroy that regime.

With that in mind, you should read Aaron Klein’s Schmoozing With Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal Their Global Plans to a Jew! or, at the very least, read the American Thinker’s review about the book (from which I quote, below). As the book’s title indicates, Klein, an Orthodox Jew, was able to talk to Islamists all over the world and they spilled their ideological guts to him. These guts show that, contrary to MSM and Progressive claims, they don’t want to live peacefully by our sides, their primary goal isn’t simply to clear the US out of Saudi Arabia, and they’re not at all interested in adopting Western values:

The Arab Palestinian leaders with whom Klein spoke are very candid about their dreams not only to wipe out Israel, but to establish a worldwide caliphate. Their plans for American society should awaken anyone who thinks the Arab terrorists are only Israel’s problem. And it should also smack awake all the moral relativists who equate Israel’s security measures with hegemonic brutality.

A deputy commander of Fatah’s al Aqsa Martyrs Bridade, Nasser Abu Azziz, explained to Klein that when sharia law is imposed in Western countries, “these sick people [homosexuals] will be treated in a very tough way,” explaining that the Islamic leadership will “prevent social and physical diseases like homosexuality.” All the terrorists whom Klein interviewed agreed that homosexuality would not be tolerated in the US once Islam rules.

And homosexuality is not all they condemn. The failure of western women to conform to Islamic standards of dress will reap harsh responses including, if necessary, torture. Sheik Hamad, a Hamas cleric, said those women who refuse to cover themselves in conformity with Islamic values would be punished either by imprisonment, whipping or stoning. And we aren’t just talking about Madonna’s bustiers: under the standard described by Klein’s interviewees, even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who does in fact wear a robe — would be a target for stoning. She’s omitted the head covering.

[snip]

Klein’s interviews show that Palestinian leaders have also, and repeatedly, perpetrated a vile hoax on their acolytes. The myth of the seventy-two virgins in paradise who await each martyr is a theme echoed and believed by those who extol and consider suicide bombing an option. Klein’s subjects do not explain how the appetite for virgins fits with the love of Allah as an incentive for becoming a suicide bomber.

When asked about the source for the promise of the seventy-two virgins, Ala Senakhreh, West Bank chief of Fatah’s Martyrs Brigade, insisted such a promise was made in the Koran. When pressed about where exactly that promise could be located, neither Senakhreh nor any of his dozen henchmen clerics present could find such a passage. After much anxious searching, the Sheik became increasing hostile and Klein quickly left. He had apparently discovered the point at which the terrorists’ hospitality collided with their refusal to be questioned closely about their ideological weapons.

These are not good people, and wishing will not make them so. As Mike Devx pointed out, they are the modern equivalent of Nazis, people who embrace murder both as a vehicle to achieve their social and political goals, and as a pleasant pastime. They can be stopped only by brute force, not by peaceful example. And because everything veers back into American politics right about now, that fact alone is a good reason to vote for McCain over Hillbama.

UPDATE: Just so you can see the faces of the enemies of Western civilization.

UPDATE II: I’ve switched to a new server, so you can feel free to look around here or check out my new site, which not only has the old stuff, but also will move forward into the future with all my new material.

Al Qaeda’s a problem even when it’s contained

Apparently even locking up Al Qaeda guys for decades is inadequate to squelch the trouble they foment:

Prison officers are struggling to control a group of al-Qaeda terrorists who are clashing with other serious offenders in one of Britain’s high-security jails.

Frankland Prison, County Durham, holds an estimated 20 al-Qaeda members and sympathisers, serving long sentences for planning atrocities in the United Kingdom and abroad. They include Dhiren Barot, who was jailed for 30 years, and Omar Khyam, jailed for at least 20 years, for plotting to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre and the Ministry of Sound nightclub.

In recent weeks three disturbances have taken place at the prison. The Prison Officers Association (POA) said many of those involved had been moved to Frankland from Belmarsh Prison in London. ‘They don’t want to be in Frankland; they want to be in Belmarsh with their friends. They are getting more organised and want to be together in one place, which is scary,’ said Steve Gough, vice-chairman of the POA. (Emphasis mine.)

Gough warned that the increasing regularity of the disturbances was becoming a serious problem. ‘We are struggling to contain it,’ he said. ‘It’s having an effect on other prisoners.’

But don’t worry. It’s not just the jailers. The prisoners have their grievances, too. They say it’s not fair that their jailers are white:

Arani [an attorney for one of the Al Qaeda prisoners] added that 99 per cent of the staff at Frankland are of white origin: ‘This extreme imbalance across the board foments intolerance, racial hatred and white supremacist behaviour from a large percentage of inmates as well as some of the officers, too.’

What’s amazing is that the prisoners are still freely allowed to stir up trouble outside the walls, as well as in. Thus, Barot, who planned to blow up hundreds of people, is whining on websites:

In a lengthy email to an Islamist website, Barot recently outlined his concerns about what he called ‘oppressive conditions’ in Frankland. He said he was subject to three intensive cell searches in a fortnight and two visits to the segregation block in a week because he was suspected of having a mobile phone.

He said he had also been denied ‘suitable’ Islamic literature and CDs.

‘Any time the prison feels that I may have found a “friend” that I may be “overly” socialising with, more often than not the individuals concerned are promptly shipped out to other establishments. Why? For irrational fear of “sermonising” or “talent-scouting”,’ Barot told Ummah.com. ‘Not only have I been subjected to mentally tortuous surroundings… but now physically, too, in order to break my psyche.’

You can read the rest here, but only if you want to depress yourself.

UPDATE: I’ve switched to a new server, so you can feel free to look around here or check out my new site, which not only has the old stuff, but also will move forward into the future with all my new material.

The face of the enemy shows even when he tries to hide it

Are there words to describe men who strap bombs onto mentally disabled women and then send them into a marketplace, only to blow up the women and kill and injure hundreds of surrounding civilians, using remote control devices that keep the bombers themselves safe?  I think there is a word:  Evil.  This is pure, undiluted, undisguised evil.

Views from abroad

A Dutch politician described as “radical right-wing” and “extremist”* is about to trigger some new convulsions amongst Holland’s Islamic residents:

The Dutch government is bracing itself for violent protests following the scheduled broadcast this week of a provocative anti-Muslim film by a radical right-wing politician who has threatened to broadcast images of the Koran being torn up and otherwise desecrated.

Cabinet ministers and officials, fearing a repetition of the crisis sparked by the publication of cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper two years ago, have held a series of crisis meetings and ordered counter-terrorist services to draw up security plans. Dutch nationals overseas have been asked to register with their embassies and local mayors in the Netherlands have been put on standby.

Geert Wilders, one of nine members of the extremist VVD (Freedom) party in the 150-seat Dutch lower house, has promised that his film will be broadcast – on television or on the internet – whatever the pressure may be. It will, he claims, reveal the Koran as ‘source of inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror’.

Dutch diplomats are already trying to pre-empt international reaction. ‘It is difficult to anticipate the content of the film, but freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Minister, who was in Madrid to attend the Alliance of Civilisations, an international forum aimed at reducing tensions between the Islamic world and the West. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other towns with large Muslim populations, imams say they have needed to ‘calm down’ growing anger in their communities.

Government officials hope that no mainstream media organisation will agree to show the film, although one publicly funded channel, Nova, initially agreed before pulling out. ‘A broadcast on a public channel could imply that the government supported the project,’ said an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Demonstrations are also expected from those opposed to Wilders beyond Holland’s Muslim community – a number of left-wing activists have already been arrested – and from his supporters. Members of a group calling itself Stop Islamisation of Europe are planning to travel to Amsterdam. ‘Geert Wilders is an elected politician who has made a film, and that he is under armed guard as a result is absolutely outrageous,’ said Stephen Gash, a UK-based member, yesterday. ‘It is all about free speech.’

There were a couple of points in that article that intrigued me.  First, there was Maxime Verhagen’s view of free speech:  “It is difficult to anticipate the content of the film, but freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend.”  In fact, free speeh means precisely that — you get to say what you want to say, even if it offends someone.  This view that free speech can’t be offensive is, of course, identical to the speech codes that stultify American college campuses.  It’s also a complete lie, because those who espouse this point of view don’t mean it.  What they really mean is “freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend me or those I deem beyond criticism.  I, of course, am perfectly free to use my speech to offend you.”

The second thing that intrigued me was the fact that the film is going to include “images of the Koran being torn up and otherwise desecrated.”  Why would the filmmakers do that?  To make a film about Muslim violence is, I think, perfectly valid, since only someone in complete denial could, in a straight-faced way, claim that Muslims don’t have anything to do with many of the convulsions going on around the world today.  The fact is that, whether you’re in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Holland, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bali, Spain, Britain, the United States or myriad other spots around the world, the common denominator when bombs blow up, or free thinkers are murdered, or school girls beheaded, or airplanes collide with buildings is radical Islam.  (Check out The Religion of Peace for more info about this point.)  One can do a perfectly good indictment of radical Islam without lowering oneself to the same tactics employed by Islamists — that is, desecrating the symbols of another’s religion.  As you can see from the footnote, I’m unwilling automatically to accept the Guardian‘s designation of Geert Wilders as “radical right wing.”  However, demeaning what could be a serious film about a real problem indicates that there may be truth to that designation.

And sort of bouncing off of that last point, the rise of the truly extreme right wing in Europe (something Charles Johnson has been dealing with at LGF) demonstrates a very scary point about politics:  If the stable middle refuses to respond to a crisis, a panicked populace will embrace the radical extremes.   Had the mainstream, somewhat leftist European governments taken seriously the Islamist threat and worked harder, not to placate the extremists, but to assimilate its moderate Muslim population, ordinary citizens would not have that sinking feeling of abandonment that leads them to hate-mongering political parties.

___________________

*I don’t automatically accept this description, not because it’s necessarily false (and, indeed, there are signs that it’s true), but because (a) I don’t know anything about the politician’s point of view; (b) Europe’s right and left classifications don’t match ours that closely; and (c) consistent with point (b), above, this article comes from the British Guardian paper and in its view everything that’s not left is far right.

Oh, those wacky Islamic radicals

You can’t blame America, Israel or the War in Iraq for this one. It’s just those fun-loving, bomb-throwing Islamists having their fun again:

Islamic radicals may have been plotting attacks in Barcelona, Spain’s Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said on Saturday, after police found bomb-making materials and arrested 14 South Asians.

Rubalcaba told a news conference civil guard police found explosives and other equipment during raids on five addresses in Spain’s second city, and arrested 12 Pakistanis and two Indians after receiving information from its own and other European intelligence agencies.

Spain suffered Europe’s deadliest Islamist attack when four Madrid trains were bombed in March 2004, killing 191 commuters and wounding a further 1,800, three days before a general election. With less than two months before Spain’s next national poll, Rubalcaba said security services remained on high alert.

The interior minister said Saturday’s raids were distinct from many operations against Islamic militants in the past, which largely targeted groups seeking to finance radical groups or recruit members to fight.

“Here we are looking at something different: a well-organized group who were going beyond ideological radicalism to acquiring materials to make explosives and therefore eventually to carry out violent attacks,” he said.

Spain’s intelligence services have warned France, Portugal and the UK that radicals, principally of Pakistani origin, were ready to launch imminent attacks, newspaper website El Pais reported. It gave no further details.

Spain’s Interior Ministry regards Islamic militants, rather than Basque separatists ETA, as Spain’s greatest security threat and has significantly beefed up surveillance of mosques and employed more Arabic translators in the last four years.

Rubalcaba said the group, which had stockpiled bomb-making materials including timers and ball-bearings, had been ready to act. Computers were also seized during the operation in the historic district of Raval just after midnight.

At this point, at least a few Spaniards might be realizing that Spain’s craven yielding to the Islamists in 2004 (when Spaniards flocked to the polls to elect a government they knew would withdraw from Iraq) did not, in fact, placate the implacable. Although Islamists play to the West by offering one specific grievance or another (American’s on sacred soil in Saudi Arabia, American support of Israel, Spanish support of America, etc.), those are just sops to the credulous. This is full out war, with the world as the Islamists’ battlefield and the Western press as their usefully idiotic mouthpiece.

Another “honor” killing in Britain?

The phrase “honor killing” doesn’t show up anywhere in this article, but it sound remarkably as if a much-abused young British woman was murdered because she refused to marry the Pakistani man her parents had picked for her:

A coroner this morning returned a verdict of unlawful killing on a Muslim teenager who vanished from home after refusing an arranged marriage, saying she was the victim of a “very vile” murder.

Ian Smith, East and South Cumbria coroner, said the way Shafilea Ahmed’s body had been hidden in a riverbank miles from home convinced him she was murdered, and said she probably died shortly after going missing.

After the verdict Cheshire Police vowed to continue investigating the death of the “beautiful and vulnerable young girl” until the killer or killers had been brought to justice.

Miss Ahmed, 17, disappeared four months after being taken to Pakistan by her parents to meet a potential husband. She refused to go ahead with the ceremony and even drank bleach in protest.

Her inquest heard she regularly suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her parents and was terrified about being forced into marriage.

The inquest heard that early in 2003 she ran away from home, only to be coaxed back on the promise she would not be taken to Pakistan. However, that trip went ahead and she was introduced to a suitor, but refused to go ahead with any wedding.

In September, Miss Ahmed, who wore western clothes and wanted to be a solicitor, disappeared from her home in Warrington, Cheshire.

Four months later her decomposed body was found washed up on a flooded riverbank at Sedgwick, near Kendal. She had been strangled or smothered.

Her parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and other members of her family were arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. All were released without charge.

Quick picks *UPDATED*

The kids are back in school and I thought the house would fall silent and I would blog again. However, it turns out — and this is very flattering — that there were a lot of people who wanted to talk to me but felt they couldn’t while the kids were around. I’ve spent the last two hours on the phone with people who really, really needed to have my ear. So, blogging this morning will be somewhat abbreviated, and will boil down to my sharing with you somethings I found interesting.

The first thing I found interesting was the fact that both the WaPo and the WSJ expressed real dismay at the fact that the Dem candidates are engaging in truly unseemly contortions in their efforts to deny the Surge’s success. If this is just political expediency, it reflects poorly on their character. If it’s a genuine psychological inability to recognize the situation on the ground, its very scary that people who propose themselves as our Commander in Chief are laboring under that kind of mental handicap. At minimum, I’d like the person with his (or her) finger on the button to exist in the real world, and not suffer from monomaniacal delusions.

Speaking of delusions, Dennis Prager challenges the claim that Barack Obama is a “uniter.” This claim is, of course, ridiculous on its face. Obama is bound and determined to withdraw troops from Iraq instanter, if not sooner, as a colleague of mine used to say, while I’m an equally firm believer in staying in Iraq until the situation is completely stabilized for the US’s benefit. Where’s the middle road on that one? How in the heck is he going to “unite” his and my entirely disparate views? Here’s Dennis’ take on the real meaning behind the “unity” claim:

If those who call for unity told the whole truth, this is what they would say: “I want everyone to unite — behind my values. I want everyone who disagrees with me to change the way they think so that we can all be united. I myself have no plans to change my positions on any important issues in order to achieve this unity. So in order to achieve it, I assume that all of you who differ with me will change your views and values and embrace mine.”

If people from opposing viewpoints listening to Barack actually think he stands for their position, it’s because Barack is prevaricating and obfuscating. If he were clear and honest about his positions (and he is clear and honest about the War), approximately half the electorate would not view him as a uniter, but would view him as someone who could not possibly represent their interests.

Incidentally, Fred Siegel addresses much the same issue — Barack’s alleged universality — when he points out that those he knows who like Obama are completely unable to articulate what it is they like about him beyond a pretty face and nice voice. Many are also impressed by his Ivy League credentials, something that utterly fails to impress me. As I’ve mentioned before, while I’m sure there have been lots of good lawyers who emerged from Harvard Law in the last 20 years, I haven’t met them. Without exception, the Harvard lawyers I have met, have been almost stunningly inept. Many have been smart and nice, but all of them have ranked in the bottom 5th of lawyers I’ve worked with or appeared against. For me, a Harvard Law degree is like a big red warning sign. And if you are a wonderful, intelligent, incredibly competent Harvard lawyer reading this, my apologies. Clearly, I just haven’t met you, so you haven’t been able to un-skew my view.

On a completely different subject, let’s talk about vaccination. I’m a huge proponent of vaccination, something I think results both from the fact that I’m a history lover and I have older parents. The history part means that I’ve read about all the horrible epidemics that decimated childhood populations. Even in the 20th Century, although the US was able to reduce the 50% child mortality that existed in all prior eras and other places, polio was still a nightmare disease that hung over childhood until the Salk vaccine came along. My parents had measles, scarlet fever and diphtheria. I carry a discrete chicken pox scar on my face. The diseases are real and the consequences can be significant. As the diseases receded, though, people started fearing the vaccines’ side effects, even though those side effects, in all cases, have been minute compared to the disease risks. The latest fear was the fear that the preservative in many childhood vaccines caused autism. Yet another study has dis-proven this fear. I hope that finding encourages parents who were holding off on vaccines to give the subject another thought.

Here’s another wild jump in topic. The New York Times has a moderately interesting article about gephyrophobia — the fear of bridges. I’ve always found bridges concerning, perhaps because I grew up in earthquake country. My vague fear solidified completely when I saw the first Superman movie, back in 1978. (PLOT SPOILER HERE FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE.) As you may recall, Lex Luthor’s nefarious plot involved creating a massive earthquake to get rid of California entirety, so that the Nevada property he’d purchased cheap would become valuable beach front property. When he successfully gets an earthquake going, the Golden Gate Bridge collapses. (SPOILER OVER.) As a kid in San Francisco, that image stuck with me — and was reinforced during 1989′s Loma Prieta earthquake, when a section of the Bay Bridge collapsed, killing one woman. I never got to the point where I avoided bridges, but I can’t say that I enjoy them.

Another topical leap: Your child and mine can now get college credit — at a taxpayer funded college — learning how to be gay. Yup, it’s truly no child left behind, or no child’s behind left alone, I’m not sure which. The famous university-level Mickey Mouse classes have just risen (or sunk) to a whole new level.

Whenever honor killings occur, whether in Canada or Texas, the usual suspects emerge to explain that honor killings and other acts of abuse against women have nothing to do with Islam, and that it’s just a bizarre coincidence that they keep cropping up in the Islamic community. Robert Spencer, however, got wind of a Yemeni columnist who wants nothing to do with this politically correct horse pucky. He’s quite clear on the fact that Islam demands the physical abuse of women — for their own good, of course.

And for now, th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

UPDATE: Whoops! I missed it. Fred Barnes also tackled the Dems’ peculiar aversion to the truth about the Surge.

UPDATE II: I like Bret Stephens’ take on the silliness of Obama’s constant promise to end American division in future:

Barack Obama, still fresh from his victory in Iowa last week and confident of another in New Hampshire tonight, has as his signature campaign theme the promise to “end the division” in America. Notice the irony: The scale of his Iowa victory, in a state that’s 94% white, is perhaps the clearest indication so far that the division Mr. Obama promises to end has largely been put to rest.

Of course, Barack’s Iowa victory may also cast into the light something I’ve already noted: Barack’s not really black. Sure, he’s got a genetic black inheretence, and he likes obsessing about his blackness, but his youthful influences and his education were mainstream white — something American blacks might notice.

UPDATE IIIChristopher Hitchens also examines the icky obsession with Obama’s race and suggests that, if you have questions about his racial views, you might want to check out the website for the Church with which Obama is publicly affiliated.  (Hat tip:  The Anchoress.)

Bad news out of England

British mosques are not simply preaching religious morals:

Almost half of Britain’s mosques are under the control of a hardline Islamic sect whose leading preacher loathes Western values and has called on Muslims to “shed blood” for Allah, an investigation by The Times has found.

Riyadh ul Haq, who supports armed jihad and preaches contempt for Jews, Christians and Hindus, is in line to become the spiritual leader of the Deobandi sect in Britain. The ultra-conservative movement, which gave birth to the Taleban in Afghanistan, now runs more than 600 of Britain’s 1,350 mosques, according to a police report seen by The Times.

The Times investigation casts serious doubts on government statements that foreign preachers are to blame for spreading the creed of radical Islam in Britain’s mosques and its policy of enouraging the recruitment of more “home-grown” preachers.

Mr ul Haq, 36, was educated and trained at an Islamic seminary in Britain and is part of a new generation of British imams who share a similar radical agenda. He heaps scorn on any Muslims who say they are “proud to be British” and argues that friendship with a Jew or a Christian makes “a mockery of Allah’s religion”.

Seventeen of Britain’s 26 Islamic seminaries are run by Deobandis and they produce 80 per cent of home-trained Muslim clerics. Many had their studies funded by local education authority grants. The sect, which has significant representation on the Muslim Council of Britain, is at its strongest in the towns and cities of the Midlands and northern England.

Figures supplied to The Times by the Lancashire Council of Mosques reveal that 59 of the 75 mosques in five towns – Blackburn, Bolton, Preston, Oldham and Burnley – are Deobandi-run.

It is not suggested that all British Muslims who worship at Deobandi mosques subscribe to the isolationist message preached by Mr ul Haq, and he himself suggests Muslims should only “shed blood” overseas.

Read the rest here.

I wonder, in the face of this fanaticism, how useful the British government’s latest anti-extremist plan is: to empower Muslim women by sending them to management courses. I’m laughing even as I write this. On the one hand, you have men and women who leave mosques imbued with the most powerful form of religious and political hatreds. And on the other hand, you have women who have been to a corporate empowerment class. Boardroom versus battlefield; negotiation table versus suicide bomber. The mind boggles.

Would the Muslims really make nice with us if Israel were gone?

In my post about Jews’ love for Israel and America, I noted Michael Medved’s thought experiment, which was to imagine whether world attitudes towards America would change if Israel magically vanished, as well as his conclusion that nothing would change. Nevertheless, in the comments to that post — and perhaps inevitably given how widespread the canard is that Israel taints America — came the charge that it’s all Israel’s fault that the Muslim nations have aligned against us. It is for that reason that I now post about a bombing that normally would not provide subject matter for this blog (heinous though the bombing was):

Two car bombs ripped through the Algerian capital Tuesday, reportedly killing at least 62 people in what appeared to be targeted attacks on government and United Nations buildings.

One explosion occurred outside the constitutional court in the Algiers neighborhood of Ben Aknoun while the other took place in the residential area of Hydra tearing the front off the U.N.’s headquarters in the city.

A reporter from CNN affiliate BFM quoted hospital sources as saying 62 people were killed in both blasts.

[snip]

So far no group has admitted responsibility for Tuesday’s blasts.

[snip]

Algeria, which has a population of three million, is still recovering from more than a decade of violence that began after the military government called a halt to elections which an Islamist party was poised to win.

Tens of thousands of people died in the unrest. Although the country has remained relatively peaceful, recent terrorist attacks have raised fears of a slide back to violence.

In April, the northern Africa wing of al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in downtown Algiers that killed 33 people.

A couple of points: First, although the police are not yet sure, it is reasonable to believe that this is an Al Qaeda blast, both because of Al Qaeda’s history in Algeria and because of the simultaneously explosions, a typical AQ hallmark. Second, neither Algeria nor the UN are friends of Israel or America.

In other words, the Muslim violence described above had nothing to do with America’s support for Israel. The same holds true for the Muslim violence in the Philippines, India, Spain, England, and Russia, all of which have distinguished themselves over the years by continued hostility to Israel and, often, to America. (Although India, faced with intractable Muslim violence and a booming capitalist economy, is hewing closer to both Israel and America.) Likewise, the Sudanese — both Christian and Muslim — being slaughtered left and right at the hands of their Islamist compatriots probably have only the haziest knowledge of either America’s or Israel’s very existence.

And for those who claim that Spain and England came into the line of Islamist fire only because they supported the Iraq war, which in turn is the result of a Zionist conspiracy, a couple of facts should put that argument to rest: First, it does not explain the Islamic violence in the other countries, which have nothing to do with or actively opposed the Iraq War. Second, Israel and most American Jews opposed the Iraq War, the former because it viewed Iran as the greater threat and didn’t want to get side tracked, and the latter because they hate Bush, and whatever he’s for, they’re against.

Indeed, when one looks thematically at Muslim violence, there is only one common thread: Islam itself. That is, one cannot wrap around each act of Muslim violence the blanket of economic oppression, or support for the Iraq War, or support for Israel, or support for America, or any other common denominator other than Islam itself. Islam is now, as it has always been, a religion devoted to territorial conquest and the acquisition of non-Muslims to serve as a tax base. Islam also is now, as it always has been, a religion defined by a deep and abiding intolerance for anything non-Islamic and, true to the teachings of Mohammad himself, this intolerance provides license for rapine and slaughter.

So please disabuse yourself of the notion that Muslims world-wide hate America because America staunchly supports the nation that so closely shares her values and that is so besieged by those who don’t. Instead, Muslims world-wide hate America because Muslims currently hate everyone.

UPDATE: Just today, out of Indonesia, comes a story, not of another bombing or attack, but of Muslim militants sent off to jail for slaughtering Christians in that land. The murder victims, including several school girls attacked and beheaded, had no known connection to Israel or America.

And now a few words on Islam

The teddy bear scandal put Islam on the front pages again as a religion whose practitioners are so insecure that they cannot accept anything that they might perceive as critical or demeaning. As have most conservative bloggers, I’ve written periodically about Islam’s misogyny, its cultural insecurity, its intolerance, etc. I’ve quoted my cousin the prison chaplain, who says that Islam is a huge sell in prisons because it doesn’t demand of the converts any change in behaviors. Instead, it allows them to justify and continue with their original criminal behaviors on the ground that they are appropriate acts towards non-Muslims.

I’ve also slowly been coming to the conclusion that Islam is not a moral religion as we in the Judeo-Christian West understand religion-based morality. The Old Testament is both a history stretching back to prehistoric times (since most Biblical scholars believe, for example, that the Bible’s telling of Noah’s Ark is the last act in an oral history stretching back hundreds, if not thousands, of years), and it is also a book of moral precepts that dictate man’s behavior towards other men. There is no doubt that men in the Bible slipped from the path God set before them, there is no doubt that some of God’s commands were frightening and violent (so much so that we still struggle with them today), and there is no doubt that many since the Bible have used the Bible to justify base behavior, not best behavior. The same holds true for the New Testament. While Jesus’ message is overwhelmingly one of love and compassion, there was certainly enough in it for those who sought a militant, aggressive Christianity to use the New Testament as their guide.

Nevertheless, almost from the moment the Bible, both Old Testament and New, became fixed, Christians and Jews of good will have struggled to analyze the morally questionable parts of the Bible in light of the overwhelmingly moral parts. (See, for example, the link I gave in the preceding paragraph, as well as this link.) As we move further forward in time, both Jews and Christians try ever more to tone down the passages that, instead of stating abstract moral principles, insist upon certain now-antiquated aspects of tribal law (such as killing witches or gays).

It’s been different since the very beginning with the Koran. As I pointed out in this post, the nature of the man behind the Koran is very different from the nature of the men behind the Bible. Moses sought freedom for his people; Jesus sought salvation for man kind. And Mohammad — well, Mohammad sought converts and tribal control. The Koran also shows someone very, very sensitive to rejection. More significantly, contrary to the Bible, Mohammad’s personal feelings on a given subject did not end up merely as narrative, they ended up as controlling doctrine.

What I just said is very abstract, so let me make in more concrete by talking about one of the Koranic stories and wrapping up with Robert Spencer’s conclusion about the larger implications of that story.

The story, as retold in Spencer’s masterful The Truth About Muhammad, is that of the Nakhla raid, which took place when Muhammad felt he had enough military power to take on his old enemies the Quraysh (who were enemies because they would not convert to Islam). Preliminarily, in connection with the Quraysh, it’s worthwhile remembering that it was as to them that Muhammad announced that the women and children of enemy tribes were to be defined by their tribal status, not their youth or sex, making them fair game for slaughter. As Spencer says (p. 98) “[f]rom then on, innocent non-Muslim women and children could legitimately suffer the fate of male unbelievers.”

As for the Nakhla raid itself, Muhammad did not participate. Instead, he instructed a lieutenant to spy on the Quraysh. Once the lieutenant got within range of the Quraysh, however, and decided it would be a shame not to kill as many of them as possible, despite the fact that any slaughter would occur on the last day of a holy period during which there was not supposed to be any killing. So, the Muslims killed and robbed.

Once the slaughter was complete, the lieutenant and his band headed home with their booty, having specifically reserved a fifth part for Muhammad himself. Muhammad was at first upset, both because he had not ordered a killing during the sacred month and because other Quraysh were pointing out that Muhammad’s prophecies seemed mostly geared to justifying banditry. However, as Spencer explains, when confronted by this discomforts, “another helpful revelation came from Allah,” this time saying that the Quraysh were so offensive in God’s eyes, that this trumped the holy month. Having received this useful ex post facto revelation, Muhammad was free to take the booty reserved for him.

Spencer’s take on the subject (p. 99) wraps back around to the point I made at the beginning of this post:

This was a momentous incident, for it would set a pattern: good became identified with anything that redounded to the benefit of Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them, without reference to any larger moral standard. Moral absolutes were swept aside in favor of the overarching principle of expediency.

I am not saying, incidentally, that there are not millions of Muslims who behave morally in the way that we, living in the Judeo-Christian faith, understand morality. Whether they pull that morality from the Koran, from Judeo-Christian influences, or from their innate goodness and humanity, I do not know. I just know that there are enormous numbers of good people out there. However, unlike other religions, Islam encourages behavior that both the Bible, and Bibilical scholars, have tried to quash. And unlike other religions, Islam seems to have fewer scholars trying to explain or defend those passages in the Koran that seem to demand or justify immoral, rather than moral behavior (if moral behavior is understood as demanding the highest and best from man, towards himself and towards others).

As to the bad behavior that seems to be an inherent part of Islam, I’d like to give the last words in this post to Ian O’Doherty, writing for an Irish paper. (H/t: RD.) After giving a laundry list of Muslim outrage which has morphed into outrageous behavior, O’Doherty states a declaration of independence for those of us classified as Islamophobes:

And, of course, anyone who writes about this ["this" being the laundry list to which I referred] is immediately accused of being Islamophobic and racist.

Well, I am Islamophobic in the sense that I’m phobic towards the notion of treating women as third-class citizens, flogging people and killing them for having an independent thought.

I’m phobic towards the idea of killing Theo Van Gogh because he made a movie they didn’t like. I’m phobic towards killing a Japanese translator because he worked on the Satanic Verses.

I’m also rather phobic to the notion that the Muslim world has the right to riot and kill each other because of a few unfunny cartoons in an obscure Danish publication.

As regards the spurious accusation of racism which is bandied about against anyone who criticises Islam, let me make this clear — you cannot change the colour of your skin. Pigmentation is irrelevant. But you can dislike someone’s superstition and in Islam’s case, even among other superstitions, they are particularly horrible.

No, my Muslim friend, it’s your religion and your Sharia law I am criticising. It has nothing to do with the colour of your skin. And you know what? In a free democracy we still have the right to say things like that.

Taking turning the other cheek too far

I won’t go into the genesis of the teddy bear kerfuffle, because I assume you know all about it, including the fact that a Sudanese court imprisoned a British woman for 15 days for naming a teddy bear Muhammad, an insult that apparently has the prophet rolling in his grave.

The teacher claims, with corroboration, that she named the bear after a student of the same name. It’s not surprising that she had a student of the same name, since it is the most popular boys’ name in the Muslim world. It kind of leaves you wondering whether it’s an insult to the Prophet if boys sharing his name go off and do bad things, really bad Muslim things like drinking alcohol.  Should they be killed for demeaning the Prophet’s name? This whole event is a reminder, if any is needed, that Islam is a weak and paranoid religion that cannot sustain itself through the strength of its ideas, but only through fear and intimidation (or, at least, that’s the way it perceives itself as seen through its own doctrine and conduct).

Anyway, all of the above is a digression.  What I really wanted to comment on is what the teacher’s son said in the wake of her 15 day sentence in a Sudanese prison for mis-naming a toy:

Her son, John, from Liverpool, has not yet been allowed to telephone her but was hoping to fly out to Sudan to visit her as soon as a visa could be arranged.

He stress that British people angered by his mother’s jail sentence should not turn against Muslims.

“I don’t not want this to lead to any anti-Muslims feeling in this country.

“Everyone has been very nice, we have had a lot of support from Muslims in Britain, in Sudan and across the world.

My fear, and one of my mother’s fears, is that this will result in resentment towards Muslim people. That is something I really hope does not happen and I am sure my mum feels the same way.” (Emphasis mine.)

Does John really believe that pandering statement or is he just saying it because his mother is being held hostage? I have to believe he means it, because he could just as easily have said nothing at all. Instead, when confronted with a religion that doctrinally requires his mother’s death, either directly or through flogging, he’s decided to say that nobody should think twice about the connection between his mother’s ordeal and Islam.

While I think John is right to point to those Muslims who have been supportive, the highlighted language in his little press statement is an invitation to ignore a serious problem in the world today — namely, that Muslim doctrine and practices are about 1,000 years out of step with the rest of the world. (And if you need any more evidence of that, just check out the obligatory Muslim mob.)

The disconnect between non-Muslims in Britain, as exemplified by John’s fatuous statement, and Muslims in Britain cannot be overemphasized:

Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe

Public opinion in Britain is mostly favourable towards Muslims, but the feeling is not requited by British Muslims, who are among the most embittered in the western world, according to a global poll published yesterday.

The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain.

The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year’s London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice. Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France.

Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%).

By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a “notable exception” in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.

Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe. And on the whole, British Muslims were more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.

I understand the above to mean that, while John is joining with your average Briton in saying that Islam had nothing to do with what is happening with his mother, it’s almost certain that your average Muslim in Britain, rather than agreeing with him, would be happy to join the Sudanese mob baying for her blood.

As long as a country seems to be constitutionally incapable of recognizing a problem, it cannot deal with that problem, and it will die.  In other words, denial isn’t just a Muslim controlled river in Egypt.

What I hope is that when Gibbons is safely released, she denounces what happened in the strongest terms.  What I suspect is that, either because she is given over to PC indoctrination or because she is afraid of future assassination, she will say only nice things about a religion that wants only the worst for the West.

“Youths” honor decedents of “ethnic descent” by continuing to attack French police

I kid you not — the language I put in quotations in this post caption is the precise language the BBC uses to describe those who are engaged in a little bit of urban unrest In France. You know, the kind of innocuous urban rioting that results in more than 80 policeman being injured from beatings and bullets. Here, let me show you:

At least 10 cars have been burned and a fire broke out at a library in Toulouse, southern France, following consecutive nights of rioting in Paris.

There was also more violence in the capital as youths set cars on fire in the suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, the Associated Press news agency reports.

***

Relatives of the two dead teenagers, who were both from ethnic minorities, have insisted that police rammed their motorcycle before leaving them to die. (Emphasis mine.)

And that’s it. That’s all the information the BBC is going to give you about those rioters. But in this internet day and age, “ve haf vays” of finding out more information, even though it’s tough, very tough to do so. The Bloomberg report, for example, coyly hints at the ethnic nature of the “unrest” (Bloomberg’s word, not mine), by stating that “In France, poor neighborhoods and housing projects where many immigrants live tend to be far from city centers.” Hmm. Immigrants from where, I wonder? But we’re putting the pieces together. We’ve now got immigrant communities with people of ethnic descent.

AP, surprisingly is fairly forthright about the nature of the suburbs in which this year’s batch of riots is taking place, although it can’t resist implying that the poor innocents doing the attacking are doing so righteously because of their alienation: “The unrest showed that anger still smolders in France’s poor neighborhoods, where many Arabs, blacks and other minorities live largely isolated from the rest of society.” And again, “Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, again appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind.”

I’m sorry to say that the British paper The Independent is no help at all. While it boldly calls the youthful attacks on police something akin to “guerrilla warfare,” it places the blame firmly where it belongs: on the police. You see, last year, long after the riots ended, it turned out that the two youths who were electrocuted had been acting innocently when the police chased them into the power substation, knowing it was dangerous. (It does not appear that this was known when the actual riots happened, of course.) In other words, The Independent agrees with AP that the current crop of youths is righteously upset about the two kids killed while on the motor scooters, clearly justifying anarchy.

So, both at home and abroad, the MSM narrative is as follows: Young people are rioting in Paris and, in true “if it bleeds it leads” tradition, the news reports will happily tell you that they’re organized, they’re armed, and they’re incredibly aggressive, so much so that scores of police have been injured, and we’re not even talking property damage. If you insist on knowing more about who these people are, we’ll hint that they’re friends of youths of ethnic descent, and that they live in neighborhoods that have primarily Arab and African immigrants and their children.

If you suspect that part of the problem might be that these Arab and African immigrants are Muslim, please be assured that you are wrong. In the ponderous language of social scientists, the reporters will assure you that the riots/unrest/guerrilla warfare problem is entirely due to (1) the government’s treating these youths badly and (2) the fact that it emerged after last year’s riots that the police might have lied about their run-in with two of these same types of youths.

By the way, I don’t have any doubt but that part of the reason — even a large part of the reason — that these riots happen is because French society, indeed most European society, is set up so that there is no path to integration and assimilation for immigrants. That societal failure to absorb immigrants means that they’re going to be sitting in slums that become powder kegs of anger, unrest and, eventually, violence. Believing that, though, doesn’t mean that I don’t also believe that another, possibly significant, part of the problem is that there is a connection in this day and age between Muslims and violence. And when news reports play so coy, rather than my ending up believing that Islam has nothing to do with the violence, I tend to believe that Islam does have something to do with the violence and that the press is simply avoiding an issue it does not want to address.

And by the way, this kind of media avoidance syndrome — where you have to read through scads of articles to gather the puzzle pieces that shape the whole picture — is not limited to youth violence. Over at Big Lizards, Dafydd has taken the time to investigate the hidden, and very sordid, connection between the Clintons and InfoUSA, with the latter being a database marketer that knowingly sells information about vulnerable populations (the old and the sick) to organizations that run scams on these same people. He’s also taken the time to smell a rat in the article that purports to show a racist/religious-ist Romney refusing to contemplate the possibility of a Muslim holding a high government position in his administration. (Note to MSM types: it’s the carefully placed ellipses that always end up giving you away.)

My bottom line to the media: either report the news or stop pretending that you do.

UPDATE: It’s currently hidden behind the WSJ’s subscription wall, but John Fund has written a great article about Nancy Pelosi’s current effort to make America more like France by working to ensure that the current generation of immigrants remains stuck forever in non-English speaking poverty. Consistent with fair use, I’ll give you just a taste of what Fund has to say, and we’ll hope that the WSJ soon releases the article for general consumption:

Should the Salvation Army be able to require its employees to speak English? You wouldn’t think that’s controversial. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill funding the FBI, NASA and Justice Department solely to block an attached amendment, passed by both the Senate and House, that protects the charity and other employers from federal lawsuits over their English-only policies.

The U.S. used to welcome immigrants while at the same time encouraging assimilation. Since 1906, for example, new citizens have had to show “the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English.” A century later, this preference for assimilation is still overwhelmingly popular. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 87% of voters think it “very important” that people speak English in the U.S., with four out of five Hispanics agreeing. And 77% support the right of employers to have English-only policies, while only 14% are opposed.

But hardball politics practiced by ethnic grievance lobbies is driving assimilation into the dustbin of history. The House Hispanic Caucus withheld its votes from a key bill granting relief on the Alternative Minimum Tax until Ms. Pelosi promised to kill the Salvation Army relief amendment.

UPDATE II: More on liberal efforts to keep minorities ghettoized.

UPDATE III: For a literary touch, I’ll just throw in one more thing. Because I’m feeling lazy, I’ve been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night, one of my favorite novels from England in the mid-1930s. (Even though it’s a mystery, I view it as a novel because, after many readings, there are no mysteries left in that book for me.) The book takes place at Oxford, and has a healthy respect for the old-fashioned idea of academic objectivity. Sayers therefore has one of her characters, during a discussion with someone about a history book, say the following:

“I entirely agree that a historian ought to be precise in detail; but unless you take all the characters and circumstances concerned into account, you are reckoning without the facts. The proportions and relations of things are just as much facts as the things themselves, and if you get those wrong, you falsify the picture really seriously.”

The whole book, incidentally, is a testament to examining facts without allowing private belief systems or loyalties to interfere with ones understanding of those facts.

Choosing between Prophets and prosciutto

It’s a bizarre story, and a funny one, and a terrifyingly scary one if you read the last little threat thrown in at the end:

Here’s a little story from the Italian press that people may have missed. Apparently there are 7,000 Muslims in or around the city of Padova – Padua to English speakers – and they have a mosque, but want another one. The so-called Northern League are opposed to this. In general terms, the League are either seen as local nationalists, or a bunch of semi-fascists. A document described as 5H4HID.b9(rev1154) offers guidelines on building mosques – nobody can possibly say that the bureaucrats who devised, drafted and now implement such a procedure are not earning their salaries. Studying the issue for purposes of blocking it, some Leaguers teamed up with a nearby farmer to loose a pig over the ground marked out for the mosque, in the full knowledge that the animal and above all its droppings would make the area unclean for ever. So it proves – no mosque here. The act is unworthy of Padua, complains the mayor. A spokesman for the Muslims is quoted going further: “They must choose between the Prophet and prosciutto. Islam is very peaceful, but when we are insulted we will turn everyone into sausages.”  Bureaucrats, Leaguers, Muslims, readers – who exactly has the last laugh?

Hat tip:  RD

Abusing judicial systems

I’d always rather blithely assumed that British law, as the original common law, was close to American law. This naive assumption got knocked out of me in law school when I did a senior thesis on the Freedom of Information Act in England, which, at least then (more than 20 years ago), could better be called the Freedom to Hide Information Act.

It turns out that libel laws in England are different too, something I would have known if I’d paid more attention to Leon Uris’s classic (and out of print) book QBVII. That books tells of a libel trial in the British courts against a respected doctor accused of having practiced Mengele-style experiments on Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. Uris makes it clear that, in England, freedom of speech ranks very low on the scale, with libel trials heavily slanted in the plaintiff’s favor.

QBVII, though, is fiction, so how seriously should one take it? Very seriously, it turns out, as is explained in great and clear detail in this video about Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s travails with a Saudi terrorist financier who uses the British legal system to stifle any investigation into his financial activities:

Hat tip: Hot Air

Grim milestone watch

There are some interesting numbers coming out regarding World War IV.

First, American troops are less likely to die now than they were in the 1980s. Every death is a tragedy, but it’s still something of a miracle that, during a two front war, the US military has nevertheless managed to reduce its casualties to numbers lower than peacetime years.

The second big number, and one that’s increasing, not shrinking, is the number of attacks that have originated with Islamists: 10,000. That is, we’re not yet at 10,000 Islamic-based attacks, but we’re almost there, with approximately 60,000 dead and 90,000 injured due to the attacks that have already happened.

UPDATE: Thanks to DQ for catching a major gibberish error, which resulted from my trying to multi-task. Note to self: Must stop multi-tasking. Too many things go awry.

Our friends the Saudis

For those of you still wondering about what life will be like in the resurgent Islamic 7th century, here’s a bit more information, this time out of Saudi Arabia:

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia’s Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”

It also appears that more than the usual Islamic misogyny is at issue here.  The woman who was raped, and is now being subject to state torture is a member of S.A.’s minority Shiite community, while her rapists, who did get prison terms, are from the majority Sunni group.

God help all women in Saudi Arabia.

Children at risk

I have one more school children post I want to do today, and this one is scary and depressing. It’s also not new, because it’s an issue that’s been around and about which I’ve blogged before: the possible terrorist threat to our children. Danny Lemieux gave me the heads up about the latest column on this subject, this time from Jack Kelly. He spells out, first, some disturbing factual trends:

• U.S. forces seized in 2002 an al Qaida training tape of a practice assault on an abandoned school in Mir Bach Kot in Afghanistan. The terrorists were barking commands in English.

• U.S. forces in Iraq found on a captured al Qaida computer building plans for schools in six states.

• In May of 2006, two Saudi students at the University of South Florida boarded a school bus. They were “cagey and evasive” in explaining why they boarded the bus, said a spokesman for the Hillsborough County sheriff.

• In March, the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement warning that Muslims “with ties to extremist groups” were signing up to be school bus drivers.

• A Houston television station reported in August that 17 large yellow school buses have been stolen.

Al Qaida prefers middle schools because the girls are old enough to rape, but the boys aren’t big enough to fight back, says retired Army LtCol. Dave Grossman, who runs a private security firm.

Kelly believes that Al Qaeda’s goal, if it does attack schools, is to turn the American people into slavering anti-Muslim monsters, who can then be used for propaganda value to unite Muslims into a global jihad.

Kelly also thinks that, with the situation in Pakistan so inflammatory, this is a window of time in which Al Qaeda will act, since it wants to tip the balance on the global scene.

The rest of Kelly’s article looks at whether the Democrats can stand before voters and credibly claim to have protected them from this kind of threat, or to have thought through a response in case, God forbid, something does happen.  It’s the weakest part of his article, but you should read it anyway and draw your own conclusions.

Iran admits that it is governing out of the 7th Century

I firmly believe that military force should be the last option in dealing with Iran. But I also believe that, whether we talk with the Iranians, enact embargoes against the Iranians, threaten the Iranians, or whatever else the heck we decide to do vis a vis the Iranians (including an Osirak or Syria approach), we ought to understand that we’re dealing with 7th Century people who are on the verge of possessing 21st Century WMDs:

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learned.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

***

The latest row involves a woman hanged this June in the town of Gorgan after becoming pregnant by her brother. He was absolved after expressing his remorse. Britain said that this demonstrated the unequal treatment of men and women in law and breached Iran’s pledge to restrict the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

A series of reported executions of gays, including two underage boys whose public hanging was posted on the internet, has alarmed human rights campaigners.

***

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the FCO released papers to The Times about the death penalty being used in Iran for homosexuality, adultery and sex outside marriage.

Minutes taken by an official describe a meeting between British and Iranian MPs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a peace body, in May. When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching. He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted,” the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”

***

Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Nigeria apply the death penalty for homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

The same article concludes with a helpful list of some of the victim so Sharia law, a law that, when originally enacted, was probably consistent with the law in Western countries as well, during the 7th through 16th Centuries.  The problem is that we in the West have moved on, while those in Iran and other Islamist nations, have not:

2005

— Homosexuals Farbod Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka sentenced to death. Iran said Chooka had kidnapped, knifed and raped a student

— A woman called Soghra was sentenced to stoning for adultery and being an accomplice to her husband’s murder

— Two men executed in public after being found guilty of a homosexual relationship. A newspaper said they were convicted of sodomy, rape and kidnapping

— Zhila Izadi, 13, sentenced to stoning after becoming pregnant with her brother’s child

2006

— Malek Ghorbany sentenced to stoning for adultery

— Leila Qomi sentenced to stoning for adultery and assisting a man who killed her husband. He received 100 lashes

2007

— Jafar Kiana stoned for adultery. His female lover Mokarrameh Ebrahimi sentenced to the same fate.

While I have absolutely no doubt that there are thousands, nay, tens of thousands or even millions of good, decent, humane Iranians, it is patently clear that the country as a whole has embraced a leadership that has no conception of human rights as we understand them in the West.  Iran’s morality and belief systems are entirely different from ours, and we make a terrible mistake if we assume that they use the same decision-making algorithms we in the West do, whether we’re talking about women, gays, WMDs, or the destruction of nations.

Some think that the best defense is a “killer” offense

Samir Khan is a devoted jihadist who blogs viciously against America out of his bedroom in his parents’ home in North Carolina.  Apparently being a devout Muslim, though, hasn’t insulated Samir from the sin of theft (a small sin, I agree, compared to arguing for the violent overthrow of your country).  Thus, Samir hotlinked multiple images from The Jawa Report.  That kind of bandwidth theft doesn’t go unnoticed, so The Jawa Report set up a sting. Sammy didn’t take the sting well, and responded with the usual:  death threats.  Yup, he’s set up a devout prayer to God (no doubt with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink to his readers to help out) to kill Dr. Rusty Shackleford, who is The Jawa Report’s proprietor:

Jazakullah Khair to everyone for informing us of what the enemy of Allah, Rusty Shackleford aka mypetjawa (qatalahumullaah), had done with some of the pictures. We initially had a bad feeling of what he might do if we were to link the pictures from his blog.

So now that this true enemy of Allah has shown his ugly face, we say to him: we pray that Allah does not guide you, makes your whole life miserable, and that you are eradicated from the earth by a Mujaahid. We cannot wait to see your expression on the Day of Judgment when reality hits you in the face and the Angels who don’t know the meaning of Mercy will tear you apart into pieces for eternity. We hope that Allah gives you a severe torment in both worlds for your evil deeds. We pray that you die the way Pharaoh died… at the last minute, when his soul was about to be taken by the Angels, he wanted to become Muslim when he saw the truth (i.e., death)… but Allah rejected it and the Angel threw mud in his mouth so that he couldn’t pronounce the testimony which would take him to Paradise.

So let them laugh now, but we will be the ones laughing in the afterlife.

O Allah kill Rusty Shackleford and terrorize his family.

O Allah kill Rusty Shackleford and terrorize his family.

O Allah kill Rusty Shackleford and terrorize his family.

May this Kaafir rot in this world and be tortured forever in the Hereafter.

Part of me wants to laugh at how ludicrous it is for a 21 year old computer nerd living in his childhood bedroom to make this kind of threat.  It’s so overblown and hysterical.  I especially enjoy his admission, in his first paragraph, that he had some worries when he stole the photographs.

Most of me, however, knows that Dr. Shackleford and his family are now at real risk and that, no matter how foolish the face behind the threats is, the threats are real and must be taken seriously.  I hope that Dr. Shackleford has notified the FBI that he and his family are now the targets of very specific death threats.  And I hope that he and his family stay safe and well.

We live in a strange world when we’re side by side with people who consider pictures appropriate triggers for murder and torture — something I hope most of us already figured out with the Danish cartoon riots.

Loud, strong, logical, civil speech

As you may recall, Hitler’s thugs made Munich their headquarters in the 20s, and were able to use it as their power base in the early 30s.  Among other, equally unsavory tactics they used to consolidate power was thuggery to suppress speech.  It’s really a simple tactic if you have the stomach for it, and the civil side always loses in this type of asymmetrical “speech” warfare (not that there’s any real speech involved on the fascist side).

Last week’s Islamo-facism awareness week reminded us that the totalitarian’s early tactic of choice, before he gets his hands on real power, is thuggery aimed at free speech.  Big Lizard’s believes that we shouldn’t take this attack on our liberties quietly, but should go out there ready to counter any efforts to shut down speech.  He has a really rousing post here, which describes the problem and suggests many practical solutions.

This is what multiculturalism can produce

I’m not saying this is the inevitable by-product of multiculturalism, but it’s very clear that, as to one Scottish young man, he failed completely to acquire a European/Scottish/British identity:

A British-born Muslim student has been jailed for eight years for a series of Islamist terrorism offences.

Mohammed Atif Siddique, 21, a shopkeeper’s son who has been described as Scotland’s first homegrown terrorist, was convicted last month of possessing and distributing terrorist material via websites.

He provided training material on bomb-making and the use of weapons, threatened to become a suicide bomber and showed fellow-students videos of beheadings and suicide bombers.

He was described during his trial as a “wannabe suicide bomber, and told friends that Osama Bin Laden was his god.

Police also believe that Siddique, from Alva, Clackmannanshire, may have been planning to take part in a series of al-Qa’eda inspired attacks planned in Canada when he was detained at Glasgow Airport en route to Pakistan.

Lord Carloway told Siddique at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You told fellow college students that you intended to become a terrorist and one of your targets would be central Glasgow.

“You told them also that you were going to be trained in order to achieve status as a suicide bomber.

One of the core causes of Jihad

A friend of mine who has, over the years, proven remarkably prescient in diagnosing global ills, told me after 9/11 that a significant element in Islam’s rage against the West has to do with women — Islam demands the total subjugation of women, and Islamists view the West as a profound threat to their control over their women. This is not just a peripheral matter either. It goes to core issues of Islamic and male identity. A threat to the control Islamists assert over girls and women is a threat to the Islamists’ entire world view and their sense of self.

As part of Islamo-Facism Awareness Week, sponsored by David Horowitz’s Terrorism Awareness Project, David Horowitz’s Freedom Center has released a video highlighting the horror of women’s lives under Islamism*. The video is X-rated, not because it’s a sexy romp through the harem, but because it has pictures of girls having their external genitalia cut off with anesthetic, women beaten into bloody pulps, girls (7 years old) beheaded for having been raped, women being hanged, women being dis-limbed, and on and on in a 9 minute parade of horrors that needs to be witnessed. If you do watch it, please make sure there are no children anywhere near you. This is the stuff of nightmares — it’s an Auschwitz, Mengele world that the PC crowd blithely accepts as part of its multicultural, anti-American stance.

I’ll close this post by quoting from FrontPage Magazine about our responsibility to bear witness to these horrors, not only against women, but against all the people oppressed by Islamism:

However realistic the film, it is immeasurably less grotesque and disturbing than the daily lives of millions of women subject to Islamo-Fascist regimes. Only the insulated nature of the Islamic world, and the silence and acquiescence of Western feminists, allow this situation to continue. This silence is the greatest hope of Islamo-Fascism and the primary reason Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is vitally needed: to end this misogynistic tyranny and allow all the world’s inhabitants to experience the miracle of human dignity. This is precisely why there has been such a massive outcry against Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The national campaign to censor or subvert this educational program has involved the entire spectrum of enemies we face — Islamo-Fascist theocrats on the extreme “right” to the Revolutionary Communist Party on the radical Left, both charter members of the Unholy Alliance that sees the United States as the world’s Great Satan. Between the two poles are aspiring mainstream Arab “civil rights” organizations that apologize for terrorism and the theocratic strongmen who finance it.

To combat the horrors of this video, relieve the suffering of millions of Arabs worldwide, and alert Americans to the nature of the enemy, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week commences this week, hosting 37 separate events or panelists on 26 college campuses. Nationally known experts, such as Robert Spencer and David Horowitz, will detail for thousands of college students the comprehensive assault on the human person Islamo-Fascism embodies. Events include:

* Brown University
o Robert Spencer – 25th, 7pm, Salomon Hall 101
* Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
o Greg Davis – 24th, 7:30pm, Phillips Hall
* Clemson University
o Mike Adams – 25th, 7pm, Hunter 100
* Columbia University
o David Horowitz – 26th, 12pm, Lerner Cinema
o panel with Phyllis Chesler, Ibn Warraq, and Christina Sommers – 24th, 8pm, Math 203
* DePaul University
o Robert Spencer – 22nd, 7pm, Cortalyou Commons
* Dartmouth
o Robert Spencer – 26th, 7pm, Dartmouth Hall room 105
* Emory University
o David Horowitz – 24th, 8pm, White Hall 208
* Lawrence University
o Jonathan Schanzer – 24th, 7:30pm, Youngchild Hall
* George Mason University
o Luana Saghieh and Alan Nathan – 22nd, 8:30pm, Johnson Center Cinema
* George Washington University
o Michael Ledeen and Daphne Patai – 22nd, 10am, Mt. Vernon Campus, Eckles Auditorium
o David Horowitz – 25th, 8pm, Marvin Center
* Penn State University
o Rick Santorum – 23rd, 8pm, 119 Osmond
* Princeton
o David Horowitz – 16th, 8pm, McCosh 10
* Pepperdine
o Tammy Bruce – 22nd, 7pm, Student Lounge
* SFSU
o Brian Sussman – 24th, 12pm, Jack Adams Hall
* Temple University
o Rick Santorum – 24th, 8pm, Student Center 218
* Tufts
o Daniel Pipes – 24th, 7pm
* Tulane University
o Ann Coulter – 22nd, 7pm, McAlister Auditorium
* UC Berkeley
o Nonie Darwish – 22nd, 7pm, Evans Hall 10
* UC Santa Barbara
o Dennis Prager – 25th, 7pm, Girvetz 1004
* UCLA
o Cyrus Nowrasteh – 23rd, 6:30pm, Moore 100
o Nonie Darwish – 24th, 7pm, Haines 82
o Joe Kaufman – 25th, 7pm, Moore 100
* University of Miami
o Cyrus Nowrasteh – 24th, 7pm, Whitten University Learning Center
* University of Pennsylvania
o Rick Santorum – 24th, 5:30pm, Hillel-Steinhardt Hall
o panel with Daniel Pipes, Dr. Stephen Gale, and Ed Turzanski – 22nd, 7pm, Huntsman Hall
* University of Rhode Island
o Robert Spencer – 24th, 7pm, Memorial Union Ballroom
* University of Washington
o Michael Medved – 25th, 7pm, Smith 120
* University of Wisconsin, Madison
o David Horowitz – 22nd, 7:30, Wisconsin Union Theater
* USC
o Ann Coulter – 24th, 6pm, Annenberg School of Communication – G26

More then 100 years ago, the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin exposed the indignities of chattel slavery. The educational events of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week modestly seek to enlighten the nation’s youth about the incalculable costs of Islamic extremism. Silence is Islamo-Fascism’s greatest ally; after viewing this film, every incensed conscience will scream that silence can no longer be tolerated.

________________________
* I use the word Islamism, as opposed to Islam, to distinguish radical practitioners of the faith from those who have opted for a more moderate form of practice that, while it may pay lip service to the more extreme demands of the Koran, does not put them into effect. I don’t feel, though, that the reform practitioners of this religion should be let off the hook. With a few exceptions, their silence in these face of the horrors perpetrated by the extremists is a moral failing for which they, too, must be held to account.

UPDATE:  YouTube banned the video, but I put in an alternative link that, I think, works.  If it doesn’t, just go to Front Page Magazine, scroll down for the notice that “Our video below, The Violent Oppresion of Women in Islam, has been banned by YouTube.” Click on the video below, and it should start playing.

Weird headline watch

A bomb goes of in a mall in Manila, a country that’s been the subject of devastating terrorist attacks from Islamist groups. The news story starts by describing the bomb, having a government official announce that it’s a terrorist attack, and then acknowledges that such attacks do happen in Manila, albeit rarely:

A blast in an upscale Manila shopping center killed at least eight people and wounded about 130 Friday in what the country’s national security chief said was a militant attack.

“This is definitely an act of terrorism, although we have not yet pinpointed what group is responsible for it,” National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said.

Muslim insurgents in the southern Philippines frequently bomb civilian targets, but such attacks are rare in Manila. Authorities citing intelligence reports recently had warned that terrorists were plotting attacks in the capital.

And how does the SF Chron’s headline writer (or, maybe, the LA Times headline writer, since that publication is the story’s source) headline the story:

Terrorism suspected as bomb kills 8 at Manila mall.  (Emphasis mine.)

What kind of evidentiary hurdles do you have to cross before the terrorism goes from merely suspect to actually real?

The Bush doctrine at work

The familiar (way too familiar) trope on the Left is that the Bush doctrine is making everyone in the world hate us.  That desire to be loved, and the fear of being hated, is a feelings based mentality, of course, that has nothing to do with justice, morality, right, honor, etc.  My own view, as a Mom, is that I don’t have to be loved, I just have to be right.

It’s worth keeping those two conflicting sentiments in mind — “everyone must love me” versus “do the right thing regardless of how people feel about you” — as you look at a series of cartoons that MEMRI has assembled from Arab newspapers.  Lately, of course, to read a sentence that contains both the words “cartoons” and “Muslims” (or “Arabs”) usually means bad news.  This time, however, the opposite is true.  While the cartoons show absolutely no love for America (nor even any mention of America), they contain something much more important:  a denunciation of terrorism.

Bush doesn’t have to be loved but, boy, it would help us over here if the world would realize that he’s right.

Transcendent beauty

I have nothing to add.  Go here, to Michelle Malkin, and be sure to watch the video.

It’s happened before; it can happen again

Muslims have a history of targeting their enemies children. One of the worst acts of Islamic violence against children occurred under Arafat’s old PLO in 1970:

Nahariya/Avivim School Bus Attack, 1970

On May 8, 1970 there was a brutal attack on an Israeli school bus by Palestinian terrorists who crossed the Lebanese border.

Avivim, an agricultural community established in 1963, is just metres from the border with Lebanon. Settled and built from the ground up by Moroccan immigrants, the majority of the residents belonged to one of two families; Peretz or Biton. The local council bus picked up children each morning to take them to two schools.

The terrorists knew the schedule of the bus and were able to ambush it. They fired on the bus, killing the adults instantly. The bus driver continued until he himself was shot. Then the bus crashed, injuring many of the remaining children. The attack caused the death of 9 children (aged between six and nine) and 3 adults, and left 19 others crippled for life.

The terrorists were never apprehended.

Just recently, Palestinians proudly boasted of an attack on an Israeli school, and promised more of the same.

The mother of all Muslim school attacks, of course, was in Beslan.  The terrorists deliberately targeted the school and, it was obvious, intended at all times to slaughter as many children as possible. They succeeded in their goal, killing almost 200 students and more than 100 adults, not to mention the more than 100 people wounded.

Marc Sheppard has been sounding a tocsin that it can happen here — but no one seems to be listening. This deliberate tactic of ignoring things isn’t because it’s just a loosey-goosey fear from the “paranoid” right. The fact is that the radical Islamists haven’t been shying about making their plans known:

Nearly 6 months have passed since I first challenged the inexcusable refusal by DHS and FBI authorities to publicly connect the obviously connectable dots representing an unnerving number of alarming events — particularly in the wake of the Beslan school massacre. These include:

  • Videotapes confiscated in Afghanistan showing al-Qaeda terrorists training to takeover a school [newly available Video]
  • Spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith‘s declaration of al-Qaeda’s “right” to kill 2 million American children
  • An Iraqi national with known terrorist connections caught with a computer disk containing information detailing Department of Education crisis planning for U.S school districts.
  • Two Saudi men – one wearing a black trench coat despite the Florida heat — terrifying a busload of Tampa schoolchildren by boarding a school bus and remaining for the entire ride to school, all the while laughing and speaking Arabic.
  • A March FBI/DHS bulletin noting “recent suspicious activity” by foreigners who drive school buses, are licensed to drive them, or have actually managed to purchase them right here at home. Including “members of the unnamed extremist groups” who have obtained commercial drivers licenses with school bus endorsements.
  • Osama bin Laden’s promise that the 2004 terrorist attack at Beslan will happen many times over in the United States.

In that time, little or nothing has been done to relieve parents’ understandable anxieties, despite the fresh dots which continued to accrue on this disturbing non-puzzle.

Dots like the seventeen full-sized yellow school buses reported stolen from charter schools, business schools and private bus companies in Houston, Texas, over the past few months. Connect to that and previous disturbing stories the fact that thousands of school bus radios have also been stolen (2000 in California in 2005 alone), and the images shaped should be triggering earsplitting alarms throughout all branches of media and law enforcement.

But instead — the silence looms apparent while the question remains: Why?

If you’d like to have good cause to start shrieking, with the kind of ear penetrating scream that might work its way into the brains of our law enforcement agencies and politicians, you better read the entire article, here.

Ken Burns’ “The War”

Ken Burns’ new series about World War II is off to a good start although his stately pace can often be somewhat sleep inducing.  It’s one of those slightly bizarre situations where it’s worth your while to force yourself to stay awake.

Part of the first episode includes a run-down of what Americans were watching in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor:  they were watching three Axis powers, each of which considered its race superior to all others and each of which believed that its racial superiority justified its conquering lands and killing people.  It occurred to me that those who love the Bushitler analogy, and who constantly liken America’s current war to some imperialist Nazi act of aggression are missing something very fundamental.  Americans do have a superiority complex, but it’s not racial.  Instead, we believe that our values are superior.  But values, unlike race, are exportable.  We don’t need to murder to prove our superiority.  Our culture is what it is, and people who seek freedom inevitably drift in our direction.

In this regard, it’s worth comparing us to the Jihadists, who have taken a religion and elevated it to the same status as a race. They believe that they are so far superior to other people that it is totally okay to squash other people like flies, to murder them and their children, and to occupy their countries as if the native people were not there.  There is no moral equivalence between them and us.  In their outlook, they are precisely the same as the Nazis, and the World War II Japanese and Italians.  And we, in the 20th and 21st Centuries, have never changed:  our affirmative actions, when we’re not called upon to defend ourselves against attacks such as Pearl Harbor or 9/11, consist of exporting our freedom and our culture, and that is all.

The Israel lobby

With the resurgent charge that there is a pro-Israel lobby destroying U.S. interests around the world, I’d like you to read this essay, from George Friedman, of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence organization. I’m publishing it with permission of Stratfor, which included this message in the email I receive regularly with Stratfor articles:

This report may be distributed or republished with attribution to Strategic Forecasting, Inc. at www.stratfor.com. For media requests, partnership opportunities, or commercial distribution or republication, please contact pr@stratfor.com.

Having got the legalisms out of the way, here’s the analysis:

The Israel Lobby in U.S. Strategy

 

By George Friedman

U.S. President George W. Bush made an appearance in Iraq’s restive Anbar province on Sept. 3 — in part to tout the success of the military surge there ahead of the presentation in Washington of the Petraeus report. For the next month or two, the battle over Iraq will be waged in Washington — and one country will come up over and over again, from any number of directions: Israel. Israel will be invoked as an ally in the war on terrorism — the reason the United States is in the war in the first place. Some will say that Israel maneuvered the United States into Iraq to serve its own purposes. Some will say it orchestrated 9/11 for its own ends. Others will say that, had the United States supported Israel more resolutely, there would not have been a 9/11.

There is probably no relationship on which people have more diverging views than on that between the United States and Israel. Therefore, since it is going to be invoked in the coming weeks — and Bush is taking a fairly irrelevant pause at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Australia — this is an opportune time to consider the geopolitics of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Let’s begin with some obvious political points. There is a relatively small Jewish community in the United States, though its political influence is magnified by its strategic location in critical states such as New York and the fact that it is more actively involved in politics than some other ethnic groups.

The Jewish community, as tends to be the case with groups, is deeply divided on many issues. It tends to be united on one issue — Israel — but not with the same intensity as in the past, nor with even a semblance of agreement on the specifics. The American Jewish community is as divided as the Israeli Jewish community, with a large segment of people who don’t much care thrown in. At the same time, this community donates large sums of money to American and Israeli organizations, including groups that lobby on behalf of Israeli issues in Washington. These lobbying entities lean toward the right wing of Israel’s political spectrum, in large part because the Israeli right has tended to govern in the past generation and these groups tend to follow the dominant Israeli strand. It also is because American Jews who contribute to Israel lobby organizations lean right in both Israeli and American politics.

The Israel lobby, which has a great deal of money and experience, is extremely influential in Washington. For decades now, it has done a good job of ensuring that Israeli interests are attended to in Washington, and certainly on some issues it has skewed U.S. policy on the Middle East. There are Jews who practice being shocked at this assertion, but they must not be taken seriously. They know better, which is why they donate money. Others pretend to be shocked at the idea of a lobbyist influencing U.S. policy on the Middle East, but they also need not be taken seriously, because they are trying to influence Washington as well, though they are not as successful. Obviously there is an influential Israel lobby in Washington.

(more, including an update)

They report, you figure things out

It was very interesting today to see the different way in which Reuters and AP reported happenings in Denmark.  I find myself in the surprising position of saying that Reuters did a decent job.

First, the lede and opening few paragraphs of the Reuters report:

Danish police arrest 8 Muslims in alleged bomb plot

Danish police arrested eight young Muslims in pre-dawn raids on Tuesday on suspicion of plotting a bomb attack and having links with al Qaeda.

Jakob Scharf, director of the Danish police’s Security Intelligence Service, did not say what the alleged target was or in which country.

But he said it was the first such direct al Qaeda connection discovered in Denmark and that Danish intelligence had cooperated with unnamed foreign security services during an investigation that lasted several months.

“These are militant Islamists with connections to high-ranking members of al Qaeda,” Scharf told a news conference. “We believe this was a serious situation.”

Terror experts said Denmark was a target for extremists because of its military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and a crisis sparked last year after cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad were published in a Danish newspaper.

“Denmark is on the extremists’ radar screen for a number of different reasons — the first one of course being the controversial Iraq engagement,” Magnus Ranstorp, terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College, told Reuters.

Ranstorp said that a crackdown on asylum-seekers since 2001 and the Prophet cartoon crisis had further aggravated Denmark’s exposure.

“For some, this could probably become a catalyst for wanting to exact a price for what they see as an onslaught on Islam.”

The Muslims arrested ranged from 19 to 29 years old. They came from Afghan, Pakistani, Somali and Turkish backgrounds and six were Danish citizens, Scharf said.

And now the lede and opening few paragraphs of the AP report:

8 Terror Suspects Arrested in Denmark

Eight men with alleged links to leading senior al-Qaida terrorists were arrested in the heart of Denmark on Tuesday, the country’s intelligence service said, claiming to have thwarted a bomb plot.

The pre-dawn raids sent jitters through a country that stirred Muslim anger and deadly protests last year after a newspaper printed 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

“This could indicate that (al-Qaida) now is able to pick up the phone and order a terror act in Denmark,” said Hans Joergen Bonnichsen, who retired as operative head of the PET intelligence service in 2006.

However, Jakob Scharf, head of the PET, said the foiled terror plot was not connected to either the uproar over the prophet cartoons or Denmark’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

The suspects — six Danish citizens and two foreigners with residence permits — had been under surveillance for some time when they were arrested.

“With the arrests, we have prevented a terror attack,” Scharf told reporters in Copenhagen. He did not identify the target.

The suspects, aged 19 to 29, were not identified but Scharf described them as “militant Islamists with connections to leading al-Qaida persons.”

In other words, with the Reuters story, from the headline you learned immediately that the terror suspects are Muslims, a theme repeated in the first paragraph.  In the ninth paragraph, you learn that, while six of the eight are Danish citizens, they or their family come from Muslim nations.   With the AP story, nothing in the title or first few paragraphs breaths a word about Islam.  Indeed, the fifth paragraph says only that six of the eight “terror suspects” are Danish residents.  Not until the seventh paragraph do we learn that the suspects are Islamists.

In other words, quickly scan the AP story, and you’re pretty sure that there are some angry Danes out there, planning acts of terror — something that is a bit surprising.  Read the Reuters story, and you’ve got yet another of the almost daily stories flooding the media about Muslims planning on terrorizing people.

I guess the AP report is trying to avoid the heinous charge of Islamaphobia.  But, to the extent a “phobia” is an irrational fear of something, I think Reuters (for once) has it right when it publishes a story reminding us that there is nothing irrational about a fear of certain practitioners of Islam the world over.  (As for my last assertion, confirm that fact for yourself by reading LGF daily for a week.  There’s never a day that goes by without Johnson relaying reports either of bombings that Muslims carried out or raids that police carried out against attempted Muslim bombers, all over the world.)

More on the morality of supporting Israel, not the Palestinians

After a fascinating discussion ran at my blog regarding Israel’s legal standing, I did a post saying that, even if I doubted Israel’s rights in the land (which I don’t), I would support Israel anyway because she is a true Western Democracy being besieged by a a malevolent, amoral travesty of a state. Today, of course, the Palestinians gave a bit more evidence that my instincts are good (h/t LGF):

The Sderot Parents Association decided they would not take their children to schools and day care centers beginning Tuesday, until the government changed its policy regarding ongoing Kassam rocket attacks on the western Negev town, The Jerusalem Post learned Monday.

It followed a salvo of seven Kassam rockets that landed in and around the beleaguered town Monday morning. After one of the rockets thudded into the courtyard of a day care center, soldiers scrambled to evacuate everyone inside. Twelve people, including some of the babies, suffered shock and a building was damaged.

Despite the fact that none of the 15 babies at the center were wounded, frantic parents across the city – already furious over the government’s failure to protect them and their children from the near-daily rocket fire – pulled their children out of schools on the second day of the academic year.

In total, seven Kassam rockets landed in and around the western Negev town as Sderot children started their second day of the new school year. The Islamic Jihad said they had fired nine Kuds-3 rockets, saying on their internet site that the attack was “a present for the start of the new school year.” (Emphasis mine.)

You did get the gist of this article, I hope. Islamic Jihad deliberate aimed its rockets at a preschool. When their actions occurred, they boasted about it, making it clear that they had hoped for more destruction. Please contrast this with Israel ‘s recent apology for the deaths of three Palestinian children whom Islamic Jihad had deliberately enticed into a military target zone.

UPDATE: The military strategists who intentionally bomb infants proudly expand upon the righteousness of their “moral” choice:

According to the man, Abu Ahmed, “We definitely planned to increase the rocket fire when the school year opened in order to cause the world to pay attention to the suffering of the Palestinian schoolchildren s and their parents.”

The rocket barrage on Sderot landed as thousands of children made their way to schools and kindergartens. One of the Qassams landed not far from a kindergarten, causing 12 children to suffer from shock.

***

“I won’t deny that there is a connection,” Abu Ahmed said, “Although we wish not to emphasize this. There is a connection but it’s not a direct one. Our goal in increasing the rocket fire as the school year opens is to send a message to the Israelis and the world.

“Just like the closure imposed by Israel on the Strip prevents the Palestinians from earning their living and prevents the students from starting the school year normally and makes it difficult for them to buy clothes, bags and equipments – both because of the shortage and because of the economic difficulties – we would like to say that the Israelis will also not be secure in the south, including their schoolchildren.” (Emphasis mine.)

I do hope you caught the algorithm driving the attack there:  “Our kids are having a hard time buying school supplies, so we’re going to make it even by murdering your kids en masse.” Next time you try to find some moral relativism between Israel and the Palestinians, so as to justify either even handed support for both, or abandoning the former to support the latter, read these words again, and think about the choice you are making.

The latest censored Berkeley Breathed cartoon

Twenty five newspapers refused to publish it, but you can see it here.  It’s not one of Breathed’s best humor wise (not like some of his past cartoons), but it makes a bigger point and I say shame to the craven publishers who won’t run it.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

Why I support Israel

My blog, lately, has hosted a really interesting discussion about both Israel’s legal rights in the disputed territories and the Palestinians’ lack of legal rights. Those two statements (Israel’s rights vs. Palestinian non-rights) are not mirror-like redundancies. It’s entirely possible to argue (although I wouldn’t), that while Israel has no right to the disputed territories, neither do the Palestinians. That is, for Israel’s sake, advancing one argument is just as important as advancing the other.

The problem with the argument about rights to the disputed territories is that these arguments often boil down to something like the lawsuit from Hell. The various disputants point to events in 3,000 B.C., 2,000 B.C., 1,000 B.C., the 19th Century, the 1910s, the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1940s, and so on, ad nauseum, right up until events taking place yesterday. Throw in the sagging Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the British Mandate, the League of Nations, the United Nations, five wars, the fact that Arabs routinely lost on the battlefield but were rescued at the UN, endless border battles, strategic missteps by the Israelis, and the rhetorical hijacking of purely legal, territorial arguments by Islamists and radical Leftists — face it, you’re not going to create any easily comprehensible arguments.

Then, layer over this whole factual and rhetorical swirl of words the fact that Israel, in her endless quest for some sort of meaningful ceasefire from the Palestinians, has soft pedaled her own indisputable rights. Israel’s tentative approach, from the 1940s onward, to asserting her legal and post-war rights creates a situation where, to either the uninformed eye or the eye looking for Israel’s faults and failures, it appears that Israel doesn’t believe in her indisputable rights. Then, consider that Israel is a truly pluralist country hampered by a coalition style government imported from Europe. This last point explains why Israeli policy wobbles from strong to weak, and why Israel is exceptionally bad at setting out a coherent statement of her case before a hostile world.

These problems, where fact and law intersect, where arguments became muddy, and where Israel sometimes appears terrified of asserting her own case, are also easily exploited by those who have Israel and Jews in their cross hairs. Indeed, a point of exploitation, right now, is the publication of a revamped Walt and Mearshimer book, which AFP is pushing hard as the ultimate truth regarding Israel’s alleged evil control over world debate and American foreign policy.

At times like this, it sometimes helps to pull back and look at larger issues. Throwing around legal arguments dating back either 4,000 years or 1 day can be fun, just as playing an endless game of Monopoly can be fun. Still, there’s no doubt that these arguments, while satisfying their makers, don’t necessarily shine light on the situation.

For me, the larger issue is the nature of the two cultures currently at war, and my own moral decision about the culture I believe deserves my support.

On the one hand (that would be the Israel hand), we have a representative Democracy that gives equal legal and political rights to women, gays, Arabs, Christians, Hindus — hey, to all citizens within its borders. It is so desperate for peace that it routinely compromises its own security in the hope of obtaining that peace. Recently, rather than mowing down entirely a neighboring community devoted to killing its citizens, Israel built a wall, immuring its own people to help prevent their deaths. It’s also a country with free speech and a thriving marketplace of ideas, one that adds quality to the day-to-day life of people around the world.

On the other hand (that would be the Palestinian hand), you have two lawless communities that subjugate and brutalize women, murder and harass gays, murder and expel Christians, and refuse to allow anyone else within their territories (including, of late, even grovelingly friend journalists). For generations, these people’s sole goal, and the value they’ve passed to their children, is to murder the Israelis — every last one of them — that live next door. While Israel tries to prevent its own citizens from dying, these people put their children in the front line of battle, not even because they actually aid fighting, but because their inevitable deaths help this culture look pathetic, giving it a leg up in international opinion.

Given these two different cultures, I say law is useful, but not determinative. I have no truck with moral relativism, and I’m therefore able, with a clear conscience, to place my support behind Israel, the country of (sometimes flawed) Western humanism, and not behind Hamas or Fatah, territories of animalistic immorality and violence.

UPDATE: A little more on the perverted lessons taught to Palestinian children.

UPDATE II: Today’s example of free speech (NOT) amongst the Palestinians.

UPDATE III: And this is where the UN falls on the moral question of backing either a free Democracy or a nihilistic, murderous, semi-theocracy.

UPDATE IV: Yet another recent story about Israeli innovation that makes a difference — this time for American soldiers.

Rudy’s brave stand on Israel (and other clear thinking)

Islamists have, for a long time, been singing a Siren song to Europe: “If you stop support for Israel, we’ll leave you alone and make nice with everyone.” (Tra la la!) A lot of people have actually be seduced into believing that, if they abandon Israel to the Muslim countries surrounding her (a people who have made no secret about their desire to slaughter all of Israel’s inhabitants), every grievance in the Muslim world will magically be resolved, oil will flow cheaply, and peace and light will descend on the world. This belief is so deeply entrenched that people are willing to believe it despite the fact that Islamists are increasingly abandoning the pretense that the takeover of Israel is the sum total of their desires, and are demanding worldwide a Caliphate and spilling blood in places that are themselves hostile to Israel.

Sadly, as Americans find themselves in the Islamists’ sights, the Muslim induced fantasy of “just let us kill a few million Jews and then we’ll leave you alone” is finding more traction at home too, at places ranging from the extremist (Kos) to what used to be mainstream (Harvard).

In light of this canard’s strength, I can’t give enough credit to Rudy Giuliani for looking at the core issue, which is “Islamists versus the West,” rather than the smoke screen, which is “Israel, the greedy trouble maker.” In a much touted article in Foreign Affairs, Rudy has this to say:

The first step toward a realistic peace is to be realistic about our enemies. They follow a violent ideology: radical Islamic fascism, which uses the mask of religion to further totalitarian goals and aims to destroy the existing international system. These enemies wear no uniform. They have no traditional military assets. They rule no states but can hide and operate in virtually any of them and are supported by some.

Above all, we must understand that our enemies are emboldened by signs of weakness. Radical Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, the Khobar Towers facility in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. In some instances, we responded inadequately. In others, we failed to respond at all. Our retreat from Lebanon in 1983 and from Somalia in 1993 convinced them that our will was weak.

***

America has a clear interest in helping to establish good governance throughout the world. Democracy is a noble ideal, and promoting it abroad is the right long-term goal of U.S. policy. But democracy cannot be achieved rapidly or sustained unless it is built on sound legal, institutional, and cultural foundations. It can only work if people have a reasonable degree of safety and security. Elections are necessary but not sufficient to establish genuine democracy. Aspiring dictators sometimes win elections, and elected leaders sometimes govern badly and threaten their neighbors. History demonstrates that democracy usually follows good governance, not the reverse. U.S. assistance can do much to set nations on the road to democracy, but we must be realistic about how much we can accomplish alone and how long it will take to achieve lasting progress.

The election of Hamas in the Palestinian-controlled territories is a case in point. The problem there is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance. The Palestinian people need decent governance first, as a prerequisite for statehood. Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians — negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. America’s commitment to Israel’s security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy.

Because I think Israel is the canary in the coal mine, and because I think the Islamists have skillfully used Israel’s existence to flimflam the West about their real agenda, I’ve made the top focus of my post Rudy’s willingness to say that conceding all to the Palestinians, which will merely create another terrorist state, is not the answer. My narrow focus shouldn’t give you the impression that Rudy has comments only about the Palestinian question. Instead, he’s written a very far reaching article that has an almost Rooseveltian quality to it: Teddy, not FDR. That is, he would have us speak softly and carry a big stick. He is also unusually willing to identify real friends and false:

Finally, we need to look realistically at America’s relationship with the United Nations. The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it. The UN has proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years. Worse, it has failed to combat terrorism and human rights abuses. It has not lived up to the great hopes that inspired its creation. Too often, it has been weak, indecisive, and outright corrupt. The UN’s charter and the speeches of its members’ leaders have meant little because its members’ deeds have frequently fallen short. International law and institutions exist to serve peoples and nations, but many leaders act as if the reverse were true — that is, as if institutions, not the ends to be achieved, were the important thing.

Despite the UN’s flaws, however, the great objectives of humanity would become even more difficult to achieve without mechanisms for international discussion. History has shown that such institutions work best when the United States leads them. Yet we cannot take for granted that they will work forever and must be prepared to look to other tools.

And yes, I know that the last paragraph sounds weasley, but he’s right. At all times in history, world powers have been forced to create mechanisms for communication and, right now, the UN is it. At least Rudy doesn’t think the UN is a good thing, with useful objectives. He recognizes it for the functional tool it could be.

Rudy also attacks the “realist” school for foreign policy, rightly pointing out that it basically announces our weaknesses to the world (and we do have them), and then says “the Hell with it; take advantage of those weaknesses.”

Idealism should define our ultimate goals; realism must help us recognize the road we must travel to achieve them. The world is a dangerous place. We cannot afford to indulge any illusions about the enemies we face. The Terrorists’ War on Us was encouraged by unrealistic and inconsistent actions taken in response to terrorist attacks in the past. A realistic peace can only be achieved through strength.

A realistic peace is not a peace to be achieved by embracing the “realist” school of foreign policy thought. That doctrine defines America’s interests too narrowly and avoids attempts to reform the international system according to our values. To rely solely on this type of realism would be to cede the advantage to our enemies in the complex war of ideas and ideals. It would also place too great a hope in the potential for diplomatic accommodation with hostile states. And it would exaggerate America’s weaknesses and downplay America’s strengths. Our economy is the strongest in the developed world. Our political system is far more stable than those of the world’s rising economic giants. And the United States is the world’s premier magnet for global talent and capital.

As Rudy notes, realism is useful in assessing any given situation, but that does not mean that it should be used to confine our nation in a box, usually a box defined by nations that do not share our interests.

Anyway, I think Rudy (and his advisors, of course) have come up with a very impressive piece of thinking and I urge you to read the whole thing and draw your own conclusions about Rudy’s formally announced approach to foreign policy. While you may not agree with him on all points, we could certainly do a lot worse. And as I keep saying, he has a singular advantage: alone amongst the Republican contenders, I think he has the best chance of beating the feminist identity politics that might otherwise see Hillary return to the White House.

UPDATE: Jonathan Schanzer shows us what the newest Islamic state (that would be Hamasitan) looks like and it’s hideously ugly, anti-Democratic, violent, and repressive.

(If you think this was a good post, please click here, which will increase its standing on Patrick Ruffini’s wire.)

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