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October 29, 2006

Correcting The Record

Stung by what they believe to be factually inaccurate reporting in the media, the Department of Defense is fighting back. There is a new section on the Defenselink website called For The Record devoted to challenging press accounts of recent events.

Here is a recent entry:

The New York Times on “Real Terrorists” A “lighthearted” matter?

Oct. 27, 2006 —This week’s exchange with the New York Times isn’t the first time the Department of Defense has expressed concern about inaccuracies in a Times editorial.

A September 7 editorial (“A Sudden Sense of Urgency”) asserted that, with the transfer of 14 high-value terrorist suspects to Cuba, “President Bush finally has some real terrorists in Guantánamo Bay.” In fact, those held prior to the transfer included personal bodyguards of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda recruiters, trainers, and facilitators. Another individual held at Guantánamo was Mohamed al-Kahtani, believed to be the intended 20th hijacker on September 11th.

The Times declined to issue a correction, noting that “the phrase in question was meant to be somewhat lighthearted in tone and not literal.”

Read the full exchange here.

Read the full exchange here.

I say good for the Department of Defense. We're in an information war, and unfortunaly many in the press have acted quite irresponsibly and deserve to be challenged.

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October 28, 2006

Useful Context

Not all news coming out of Iraq is bad.

Stop what you're doing and go watch this video over at Glenn Beck.

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Hanson Demolishes the Washington Punditry

Via Instupundit, here's Victor Davis Hanson on the chattering class:

Watching and reading the recent Washington punditry, whether in print or on television, is a depressing spectacle. Almost all—Charles Krauthammer is the most notable exception—have somehow triangulated on the war, not mentioning why and how in the B.C. days they sort of, kinda, not really called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. For some the Road to Damascus was the looting or Abu Ghraib, for others the increasing violence. Still more now say the absence of WMD did the trick.

But almost none of the firebrands of 2003 speaks the truth behind the facade: They supported the war when it looked like few casualties and a quick reconstruction and thus confirmation of their own muscular humanitarianism—and then bailed along the way when they realized that wasn’t going to happen and the unpopular war might instead brand them as “war mongers”, “chicken-hawks” or just fools.

Instead of that honest admission, we get instead either cardboard cut-out villains of the “my perfect three-week war, your screwed-up three-year occupation” type—a Douglas Feith, Gen. Sanchez, or Paul Bremmer—or all sorts of unappreciated and untapped brilliance: from trisecting the country to “redeploying” to Kurdistan, or Kuwait, or Okinawa?

Exactly right.

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October 27, 2006

The Intifada in France IV

Don't tell me that everything's normal in France. From the AP (hat tip lgf).

Youths forced passengers off three buses and set them on fire overnight in suburban Paris, raising tensions Thursday ahead of the first anniversary of the riots that engulfed France's rundown, heavily immigrant neighborhoods.

Intifada%20in%20France%20IV.jpg

No injuries were reported, but worried bus drivers refused to enter some suburbs after dark, and the prime minister urged a swift, stern response.

The riots in October 2005 raged through housing projects in suburbs nationwide, springing in part from anger over entrenched discrimination against immigrants and their French-born children, many of them Muslims from former French colonies in Africa. Despite an influx of funds and promises, disenchantment still thrives in those communities.

About 10 attackers _ five of them with handguns _ stormed a bus in Montreuil east of Paris early Thursday and forced the passengers off, the RATP transport authority said. They then drove off and set the bus on fire.

Late Wednesday, three attackers forced passengers off another bus in Athis-Mons, south of Paris, and tossed a Molotov cocktail inside, police officials said. The driver managed to put out the fire. Elsewhere, between six and 10 youths herded passengers off a bus in the western suburb of Nanterre late Wednesday and set it alight.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the events "should lead to an immediate response."

"We cannot accept the unacceptable," he told reporters in the northern suburb of Cergy-Pontoise. "There will be arrests. ... That is our responsibility."

Villepin also said efforts should be directed to "revitalize" troubled neighborhoods, and repeated the government's insistence that authorities rid France of "lawless zones" where youth gangs operate.

The overnight attacks and recent ambushes on police have raised concern about the changing character of suburban violence, which is seemingly more premeditated than last year's spontaneous outcry and no longer restricted to the housing projects. The use of handguns was unusual _ last year's rioters were armed primarily with crowbars, stones, sticks or gasoline bombs.

Regional authorities said the Nanterre bus line, which passes near Paris' financial district, had not been considered at a high risk of attack. Francois Saglier, director of bus service at the RATP, said the attacks happened "without prior warning and not necessarily in neighborhoods considered difficult."

Ah yes, those "youths" again.

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The Intifada in France III
The Intifada in France II
The Intifada in France

Update

They're calling it an Intifada in France. From the New York Sun (hat tip Michelle Malkin)

Only days after the violence in the Paris suburbs erupted onto the world's front pages a year ago, these columns described the battles between the Muslim youths and French police, in a November 4, 2005, editorial,"Intifada in France." We wrote: "If President Chirac thought he was going to gain peace with the Muslim community in France by taking an appeasement line in the Iraq war, it certainly looks like he miscalculated. Today the streets of the French capital are looking more like Ramallah and less like the advanced, sophisticated, gay Paree image Monsieur Chirac likes to portray to the world, and the story, which is just starting to grip the world's attention, is full of ironies. One is tempted to suggest that Prime Minister Sharon send a note cautioning Monsieur Chirac about cycles of violence."

The "Intifada" label was dismissed in many quarters. On November 5, John Lichfield in Britain's Independent wrote "from the centre of the world's most beautiful city" that "despite the inflammatory rubbish written by some right-wing commentators in the French press about a ‘Paris intifada', this is not an Islamic insurrection or a political revolution of any kind." He predicted that the riots "will burn themselves out in a few days, just as they have before." The Washington Post editorialized on November 8 that "… It's not the European version of an intifada: Islamic ideology and leaders play no role in the disturbances." Bernard-Henri Levy wrote on November 9 in the Wall Street Journal that "this is not, thank heaven, a matter of an Intifada wearing French colors."

Well one year later, the riots are still going on, and the French themselves are now calling it an intifada.

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October 26, 2006

Hanson Demolishes the Talkers

From NRO's The Corner today, here's Victor Davis Hanson:

In the last 24 hours I have heard some of the craziest things of this entire war.

The Palestinians are complaining about the Israeli security fence on grounds that it perpetuates "racial segregation" — in a way perhaps suicide bombers do not? Or the state-run Palestinian megaphones with their usual "apes and pigs" rants?

At a meeting the other day with some political scientists, I was lectured by some that there was nothing such as jihadism in the comprehensive sense. That is, that Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. simply have entirely separate agendas, understandable (i.e., Israel, "occupation" of Arab lands) and particularist grievances, etc. rather than a deeply shared anger at the West that originates from a common sense of lost pride and frustration, brought on by recognition of failure when zeal and religious purity do not restore honor or influence in the age of globalization.

I thought these who advocated such nonsense might at any second suggest that because Mussolini's fascists, Hitler's Nazis, and Tojo's militarists all had quite different agendas, separate racial ideologies, and particular aims in WWII, then, they could hardly be lumped together as the Axis that threatened Western republics and needed a generic anti-fascist response. All during the Vietnam War, we were lectured daily about the intricacies of Vietnamese, Russian, and Chinese Communists — their rivalries, hatreds, and quite separate aims-as they combined to defeat the United States, and trumped their own tensions with an all-encompassing hatred of Western democratic capitalism.

There is also an Alice in Wonderland flavor to the current Democratic response to the Korean and Iranian crises. We talked to the Koreans all during the 1990s as they prepared nuclear materials.

And now are told that we have a catastrophe since we have not recently talked to them. We talked all during the 1990s with Syria — and got nothing. Bill Clinton has always praised Iranian democracy; so, we talked to Tehran too, both stealthily and overtly.

So what is this obsession with talk, talk, talk? It reminds me of all those discredited British empty-headed pacifists and aristocrats who wanted to keep talking to Hitler after the fall of Poland, even after the fall of France, right up to the Battle of Britain.

Ditto that.

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October 24, 2006

Walter Reed Freep #79 - October 20, 2006 - Keeping the Faith

Head on over to FreeRepublic for a full report and photos. The author this week is none other than yours truly

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October 23, 2006

Crunch Time in Iraq

It's do or die time in Iraq, folks. I think our clock is running down fast.

Robert Kaplan, writing in The Atlantic, says that we can't just withdraw, because:

Iraq may be closer to an explosion of genocide than we know.

Ouch. Read the whole thing (hat tip NRO)

StrategyPage, usually a source of optimism, makes no bones about just how serious the situation is. It's "Crunch Time", they say:

The U.S. is giving the Iraqi government an ultimatum. Either the government disciplines military and police commanders who fail to perform, and cracks down on corruption, or American troops and money will be withdrawn sooner, rather than later. This would result in the large scale slaughter of the Sunni Arab population, and possible intervention by neighboring Sunni majority nations (particularly Saudi Arabia.) This could bring in Iranian participation as well, which is why Saudi Arabia participation would probably be unofficial, and mostly humanitarian (to take in many of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs who would flee such chaos.)
This has always been the downside of the United States leaving Iraq prematurely; the destruction of the Sunni Arab community. The U.S. has always been eager to avoid this, especially since similar situations occurred in the 1990s (against the Bosnians in the Balkans, and the Tutsi in Rwanda), and left more than enough blame to go around. But the ineptness of the Iraqi government, and growing calls from war opponents to "get out" has provided the U.S. government with an opportunity to tell everyone to put up, or shut up. While many in the Iraqi government would like to see the Sunni Arabs driven out, no one is looking forward to what would actually happen. Many Sunni Arabs would fight back savagely. There would be thousands of dead Kurds and Shia Arabs. But to many Kurds and, especially Shia Arabs, the Sunni Arabs have been acting pretty savagely for the last three years. In such a scenario, Iran would provide lots of weapons and "volunteers." This would leave the radical Shia militias stronger, and might lead to a civil war to decide if the next government is a religious dictatorship, or a democracy. The Kurds, who have been largely sitting out the fighting over the last three years, would assist the Shia Arabs, if only to insure that the Sunni Arabs were defeated.

The plan is to give the Iraqi government a list of deadlines, and it's questionable if they will be able to meet them. The traditions of corruption, cronyism and tribal politics are difficult to overcome quickly. The Iraqis plead that democracy takes time, but it's election year in the United States, and democracy also means winning elections.

Posted by Tom at 9:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Baghdad Security Plan II

Following are a series of posts today by Rich Lowry that appeared on National Review Online's The Corner. Yesterday I put up his Friday post on the situaion in Baghdad.

BAGHDAD SECURITY [Rich Lowry]

Catching up from yesterday, here's a detailed story about the Baghdad security plan from yesterday's Times. It is indeed the "holding" phase that has been the problem:

The strategy is to use American and Iraqi forces to clear neighborhoods of violent militias, insurgent groups and arms caches, then hold them with security forces so that essential services can be restored and reconstruction can eventually begin. Two months into the operation, it is the “hold” phase that has run into trouble, partly because it depends on the Iraqi security forces to win the trust of the population and establish the rule of law.

Also, this goes to why it's a problem relying on Iraqi forces at this stage. Colonel Ali, a good leader of a National Police unit, was asked how to distinguish among the legitimate police wearing police uniforms and the killers:

Colonel Ali offered advice that said a great deal about the long road ahead before Iraq’s forces can assume the main burden of protecting the country. If an Iraqi policeman comes to your door, he advised, you should not open it unless he is accompanied by an American soldier.

Also, the Post yesterday has this bit on more troops:

U.S. commanders are wrestling with the question of whether to raise troop levels. Last week, Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, said that more troops would have an immediate impact on reducing attacks in localities where they operate but that it was uncertain whether they would contribute to bringing violence down in the long term.

Posted at 2:27 PM

MORE BAGHDAD SECURITY [Rich Lowry]

From today's Times. This isn't good:

That is not just a question of numbers. Some American military officers say they believe the Iraqi Army may be more effective than the Iraq police, and more trusted by local citizens. Yet several Iraqi battalions have deserted rather than follow orders to go to Baghdad, according to American military officials. In the case of these units, summoning them to the Iraqi capital was tantamount to demobilizing them.

Here's more on the "holding" failing in "clear-and-hold":

The original concept behind the plan was that American forces were to hold cleared areas for 60 to 90 days, during which the process of economic reconstruction would begin. Then American forces would turn the sectors over to Iraqi police and army units, freeing up American troops to tackle security challenges elsewhere in the city. Without sufficient Iraqi forces, however, this process has been hampered and it has been more difficult to prevent militias and insurgents from sneaking back into cleared areas.

“What takes the combat power is the holding piece,” said General Thurman. “We can do the clearing. But once you clear if you don’t leave somebody in there and build civil capacity in there then it is the old mud-hole approach. You know the water runs out of the mud hole when you drive through the mud hole and then it runs back in it.”

Finally, some options for more troops:

There are a number of ideas being discussed in private to fix the plan. Americans still hope to receive additional Iraqi Army forces next month. They also hope to persuade the Iraqi government to purge police stations infiltrated by militias. Iraqi deployment areas may also be realigned.

American forces have already shifted some forces to new high-violence sectors and may make further adjustments. Shrinking the military zone controlled by the American Baghdad-based division, which now extends south to the cities of Najaf and Karbala, has also been discussed as a way to increase the density of American troops in the capital.

Erecting more barricades to section off parts of the city has been proposed by some officers. So has legitimizing some neighborhood watch organizations. That idea cuts against the policy to abolish militias but has been advocated by some military officials as a useful expedient.

Keeping the Army’s Fourth Division in place in Baghdad instead of rotating it home when it is to be replaced by the First Cavalry Division would substantially increase the number of American troops in the city. But there have been no indications that such an idea is under serious consideration.

Posted at 2:31 PM

RE: BAGHDAD SECURITY PLAN [Rich Lowry]
E-mail from Iraq:

Mr. Lowry,

Every Iraqi I have talked with has defined security in terms of the presence of American troops, either alone or with Iraqi soldiers.

Posted at 3:55 PM

Note: The operation described in this and previous posts were part of Operation Together Forward.

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October 22, 2006

The Intifada in France III

Don't tell me there's not an Intifada going on in France right now with this sort of stuff happening. From the UK paper The Times

The figures are stark. An average of 112 cars a day have been torched across France so far this year and there have been 15 attacks a day on police and emergency services. Nearly 3,000 police officers have been injured in clashes this year. Officers have been badly injured in four ambushes in the Paris outskirts since September. Some police talk of open war with youths who are bent on more than vandalism.

“The thing that has changed over the past month is that they now want to kill us,” said Bruno Beschizza, the leader of Synergie, a union to which 40 per cent of officers belong. Action Police, a hardline union, said: “We are in a civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists.”

It's gotten so bad that this is what a French Police Union official had to say

“The thing that has changed over the past month is that they now want to kill us,” said Bruno Beschizza, the leader of Synergie, a union to which 40 per cent of officers belong. To which Synergie's Deputy Leader Patrice Ribeiro adds: “Tension is rising very dramatically. There is the will to kill.” Action Police, a hardline union, says: “We are in a civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists.” And Joaquin Masanet, Secretary General of the national police syndicate UNSA: "These guys came to kill. They wore balaclavas, and had baseball bats and iron bars."

There's an intifada going on over there.

Fox News has a short story on the violence

National police reported 2,458 cases of violence against officers in the first six months of the year, on pace to top the 4,246 cases recorded for all of 2005 and the 3,842 in 2004. Firefighters and rescue workers have also been targeted — and some now receive police escorts in such areas.

On Sunday, a band of about 30 youths, some wearing masks, forced passengers out of a bus in a southern Paris suburb in broad daylight Sunday, set it on fire, then stoned firefighters who came to the rescue, police said. No one was injured. Two people were arrested, one of them a 13-year-old, according to LCI television.
...

Michel Thooris, head of the small Action Police union, claims that the new violence is taking on an Islamic fundamentalist tinge.

"Many youths, many arsonists, many vandals behind the violence do it to cries of 'Allah Akbar' (God is Great) when our police cars are stoned," he said in an interview.

Larger, more mainstream police unions sharply disagree that the suburban unrest has any religious basis. However, they do say that some youth gangs no longer seem content to throw stones or torch cars and instead appear determined to hurt police officers — or worse.

"First, it was a rock here or there. Then it was rocks by the dozen. Now, they're leading operations of an almost military sort to trap us," said Loic Lecouplier, a police union official in the Seine-Saint-Denis region north of Paris. "These are acts of war."

My option on all this hasn't changed any from my last post on the intifada in France, so I'll just quote myself

Now I realize there's a big debate as to the nature of these riots, both the ones going on now and the ones last year. Some say that the Muslim youths are acting out of frustration from high unemployment and racism, others say that they are more motivated by jihad.

Call this a cop-out, but I think it's a little of both. There is high unemployment in general thoughout Europe, with it being particularly acute in poor communities such as those where the Muslim Algerians live. France brought them, or their parents and grandparents, actually, to France to serve as cheap labor. France did not want to integrate them, but by the same token the Muslims did not wish to be integrated.

So now you have these Muslim "youths", frustrated by their poverty, and as with so many Muslims have bought into the "victim culture". They have bought into the notion that their religion, which they barely understand, is under assault by the West. They've heard about the wonderful Jihad being fought against the "Crusaders" and "Zionists", and wish to join in.

CNN has an AP story on the unrest, but it doesn't add much.

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The Intifada in France II
The Intifada in France

Michael at DownEastBlog has the perspective from Belgium, and it's not pretty.

Posted by Tom at 10:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Frank Wolf for Congress

In a time with many good conservative lawmakers across the country are in difficult races, I wanted to take a minute to discuss Frank Wolf, GOP Congressman in Virginia (VA-10). While I realize that 99% of the readers of this blog(few as they are) don't live anywhere near his district, I feel compelled to write a short post in support of Rep Wolf.

I like Frank Wolf because he is a conservative who is a tireless fighter for human rights across the globe. While other congressmen take junkets to Hawaii or Europe, Mr Wolf goes to Sudan or Haiti. In fact, he has been on the forefront of trying to get the world to pay attention to the crisis in Darfur. Although generally a conservative, he is not doctrinaire, for example he generally receives only a C+ or B- from the NRA.

This year, as in most, both the conservative Washington Times and the liberal Washington Post endorsed Frank Wolf for reelection. First, from the Times

Ask human-rights advocates to name their most stalwart friend on Capitol Hill, and Northern Virginia's own Rep. Frank Wolf, co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, is short-listed time and again. The deeply religious conservative Republican and 26-year House veteran has been a tireless defender of the persecuted and abused around the world. ...

It would be hard indeed to single out one achievement. The inveterate Mr. Wolf is credited in no particular order with helping Tibetans, Kurds, Iraqis, Vietnamese, Darfurians, Bosnians, North Koreans, Cubans and too many other oppressed nations to list. He has visited Beijing's Tiananmen-dissident-holding Prison No. 1; talked to political prisoners in Soviet gulags before Communism's fall; and seen teeming Serbian prisons during the war-torn 1990s. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks he has traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Israel, Kuwait and Iraq to highlight human-rights concerns.

Much of Mr. Wolf's achievement is measured in terms of activists not imprisoned, dissidents not murdered and war crimes not committed. Such is the power an American congressman's spotlight throws on the world's otherwise dark corners. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- not normally effusive in her praise for Republican lawmakers -- last year called Mr. Wolf "an unmatched leader in his commitment to human rights," an indication of the cross-party appeal his labors hold. Lately Mr. Wolf has urged Virginians to divest themselves of companies doing business in Sudan, where the bloodshed in Darfur continues.

In a year when a bruising Senate race is leaving many Virginians feeling raw, we can be thankful for the conscientious Mr. Wolf. He reminds us that good people can still succeed in Washington.

Next, excerpts from the Post's endorsement

OVER THE YEARS we have had our disagreements with Rep. Frank R. Wolf , the Republican who has represented Northern Virginia's 10th District since 1981. But those have been outweighed by our respect for his undisputed diligence, candor, active legislative approach and passionate commitment to human rights in some of the world's darkest corners. Those qualities continue to make Mr. Wolf part of a diminishing breed in the House -- of legislators whose independent-mindedness and pragmatic problem-solving outweigh their partisanship. He deserves reelection this year against health-care expert Judy Feder, dean of Georgetown's Public Policy Institute. ...

In addition to his habitual attentiveness to an array of local issues in Northern Virginia -- congested roads, stressed transit systems and the rising threat of Latino gangs -- Mr. Wolf has made a particular mark in this latest congressional term by his constructive national role. It was chiefly at his prodding that Congress established a bipartisan commission on Iraq, led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III...

Ms. Feder (his opponent) is a smart, credible candidate whose broad experience and deep knowledge of health-care policy have given her a prominent role in that national debate for years; she was a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration. She makes a reasonable case that Mr. Wolf, by some of the party-line votes he has cast, is complicit in assorted policy failures of the Bush administration, particularly its reckless tax cuts.

But if Mr. Wolf has proved anything in 26 years in Congress, it is that he is more than a party-line Republican. His repeated visits to Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan, Chechnya and other unlovely hot spots reflect his zeal for human rights. For that he has earned respect on both sides of Capitol Hill's partisan divide and a 14th term in Congress.

As the post notes, Judy Feder is a "health care expert." Her website reveals that "in 1993, she was appointed to the Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked to expand health insurance coverage, effectively manage Medicare and Medicaid, and assure the safety of food and drugs." Uh huh. Just what we don't need; another liberal who wants to socialize our health care system.

Reelect Frank Wolf. I campaigned for him in 2004 and I'm getting out again for him when I can. He's a good man, serves our region and country well, and deserves reelection to another term in Congress.

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Baghdad Security Plan

The following is a post by Rich Lowry that appeared onNational Review Online this past Friday afternoon:

BAGHDAD SECURITY PLAN [Rich Lowry]
Unfortunately, it was not unexpected that the new security plan would fail. This is what NR wrote back in August when the plan was first announced:

…the U.S. and Maliki have a new plan to secure Baghdad. At this rate, “plan to secure Baghdad” will join “stay the course” as a phrase that can’t be uttered about Iraq without causing derision. The latest plan calls for 3,500 U.S. troops to redeploy from elsewhere in the country — including violent Anbar province — into Baghdad. It seems unlikely either that these troops can be spared from the areas they are leaving or that 3,500 Americans is enough to make a decisive difference in the capital city of nearly 6 million. Once again, the administration seems content with doing just enough perhaps — if it’s lucky — to hold things together, rather than dramatically changing facts on the ground.

It's a little hard to tell from today's news accounts whether the clearing (which our troops do) or the holding (which we rely on the Iraqis to do after we move on) is primarily failing. It seems to be the holding, which was also predictable. This is what I wrote with Bill Kristol a while ago:

If American troops hand neighborhoods over to Iraqis, they are likely to soon deteriorate again — in the same dynamic we have repeatedly seen of trouble spots being brought under control by American troops only to slide back again when the Americans leave.

This seems to be exactly the dynamic Gen. Caldwell describes here in The Washington Post:

"We're finding insurgent elements, the extremists, are pushing back hard. They're trying to get back into those areas" where Iraqi and U.S. forces have targeted them, he said. "We're constantly going back in and doing clearing operations."

The Times describes the same phenomenon here:

General Caldwell said American troops were being forced to return to neighborhoods, like Dora in southwestern Baghdad, that they had sealed off and cleared as part of the security campaign because “extremists” fighting back had sent sectarian violence soaring there. The security plan sent heavy deployments of American troops into troubled neighborhoods, reversing the previous policy, which was to allow Iraqi troops to police the capital...

...Across Baghdad, as in other troubled areas of Iraq that American forces have tried to “clear and hold,” military officials have struggled to deal with insurgents simply melting away, only to return stronger after the offensives wound down. Commanders say the challenge will be not only to clear and hold, but also to “build,” meaning that the cleared areas, with Iraqi policing after the troops withdraw, will benefit from infrastructure investment as part of a plan to cut the militants’ support.


It also appears to be the case that Iraqi troops aren't holding up their end:

American commanders who have discussed the Baghdad operation with reporters in recent days have spoken of having limited options as they seek for ways to make the campaign more effective. One is to increase the number of Iraqi troops deployed to the sweeps. Of six Iraqi battalions that were promised when the operation began, these commanders said, only two have been deployed. The commanders also noted that assessments of the operation might improve after November, when a phase of the plan involving economic reconstruction in the “cleared” areas would begin.

I understand the risks of sending more troops. There is the domestic political problem here at home, noted here in The Times:

Or, he could take the advice of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to run to replace him in two years, who argues in favor of pouring more troops into Iraq, an option one senior administration official said recently might make sense but could “cause the bottom to fall out” of public support.

There are other problems too that Eliot Cohen points out in the Journal today (behind a wall):

Conversely, the U.S. could react by reasserting its strength in Iraq — sending an additional 30,000 or 40,000 troops to secure Baghdad and its environs, and making a far more strenuous effort than it has thus far to take control of the civilian ministries that are now merely fronts for political parties and their militias. But could American public opinion sustain this? More importantly, where would the soldiers come from? And has the strain on Iraqis' sense of national identity become so great that those institutions could be built?

Now, it may be that we are beyond the point of more U.S. troops making a difference (and I don't want to pretend there are any easy answers, nor that I have them, since I have been plenty wrong about Iraq before). But if we were going to try to secure Baghdad, we really should have tried to do it in an over-whelming way. Politically, the failure of the current plan will make it that much more difficult to try anything else. By pursuing a half-a-loaf plan we have only succeeded in limiting our options and in undermining support for the war.

Posted by Tom at 8:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2006

The Intifada in France II

In case you're not aware there's an intifada going on in France right now. Almost two weeks ago the London daily Telegraph reported that

Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.

As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin.

It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.

Here's the latest from the Telegraph

The French government yesterday held crisis talks with community leaders in an effort to halt mounting violence in suburbs around Paris, amid news that gangs of youths, mainly of North African descent, were intensifying attacks on police.

Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister, ordered his interior and justice ministers to "toughen up" sentences for those found guilty of assaulting officers, following a meeting with community leaders.

His announcement followed a series of violent incidents over the past weeks, culminating in the ambush of three police officers on Friday by youths in Epinay-sur-Seine, north of Paris.

In case you've forgotten, in October and November of 2005 massive riots broke out in Muslim-populated Paris suburbs. Over 8,900 cars were torched and over 2,800 arrested in 2 weeks of rioting.

This Agence France-Presse story in Expatica has additional alarming information


Another union — Action Police — said in a statement: "It shows that what we are dealing with here is not youths in need of more social aid, but individuals declaring war on the Republic."
...
"No-one has drawn the lessons of the 2005 riots. We are not sufficiently trained for urban violence, yet we are often in face-to-face situations," said another officer.

Le Monde newspaper meanwhile published ministry figures that appeared to confirm a growing willingness among young delinquents to choose police and other representatives of public services as targets.

Some 480 incidents of this type were recorded in September — a 30 percent increase on August, Le Monde said. And it quoted interior ministry figures showing that 2,458 police officers were hurt on service in the first six months of the year — compared to 4,246 for the whole of 2005.

"Behind the statistics police specialists detect a harder, better organised type of delinquency. However they are unwilling to draw definitive conclusions about the increase in attacks on police," Le Monde said.

Now I realize there's a big debate as to the nature of these riots, both the ones going on now and the ones last year. Some say that the Muslim youths are acting out of frustration from high unemployment and racism, others say that they are more motivated by jihad.

Call this a cop-out, but I think it's a little of both. There is high unemployment in general thoughout Europe, with it being particularly acute in poor communities such as those where the Muslim Algerians live. France brought them, or their parents and grandparents, actually, to France to serve as cheap labor. France did not want to integrate them, but by the same token the Muslims did not wish to be integrated.

So now you have these Muslim "youths", frustrated by their poverty, and as with so many Muslims have bought into the "victim culture". They have bought into the notion that their religion, which they barely understand, is under assault by the West. They've heard about the wonderful Jihad being fought against the "Crusaders" and "Zionists", and wish to join in.

Previous
The Intifada in France

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Last Chance Fading?

We've been hearing for some time that in order for Iraq to succeed the Iraqis are going to have to step up to the plate and take control themselves. One key element of this is the new Iraqi Army, which we hope will be able to defeat the insurgents and replace the militias. As anyone who has even a cursoy knowledge of warfare in the Middle East knows, Arabs have made lousy soldiers. Thus, the need for intense training.

Then today we get this from the Wall Street Journal(hat tip NRO)


President Bush has touted such advisory teams as key to the U.S. strategy for stabilizing Iraq and bringing American troops home. So Col. Demas and his troops expected some of the best instruction the Army had to offer. What they got was a "phenomenal waste of time," the colonel wrote from Iraq last fall, in a report to his superiors...

...Internal Army reviews and interviews with dozens of advisers show that, thus far, the Army hasn't treated the advisory program as a priority. The job has often fallen to the military's less seasoned second team: reservists, guardsmen and retirees called back to active duty. A 48-page Army study, finished in May and marked "For Official Use Only," concluded that 10- to 12-man advisory teams are too small and "do not have the experience to advise in the various areas they are assigned."

Huh?

The post at NRO also pointed to a column by Max Boot in the LA Times which essentially said the same thing

OF THE MANY failures that have bedeviled the American military effort in Iraq, few are as inexplicable and costly as the failure to commit more resources to the Iraqi security forces. The only way U.S. troops will be able to go home without having failed in their mission is if Iraqis are capable of establishing order on their own. Yet U.S. efforts to train and equip the Iraqis got off to a laughable start in 2003 and have only slightly improved since. ...

It's not only a matter of money. We have more than 140,000 troops in Iraq, but fewer than 4,000 of them act as advisors. There are barely enough to go around for higher-level Iraqi headquarters; there are no "embeds" available to consistently operate at the company and platoon level, where most of the action occurs. The Iraqi police forces are even more neglected.

What's more, some of the best and brightest American officers are being steered away from Iraqi units. Everyone in the U.S. armed forces knows that the way to the top is to command American units, not to advise foreign units — even if the latter task is more difficult and more important.

One Army officer who has served in Iraq and would be well qualified for an advisory role told me recently that he was asked to become an ROTC instructor at home but not an advisor in Iraq. Those he sees being sent to help Iraqis tend to have "marginal career prospects." "No one is diverted from a school or command," he told me. "No one is sent after a successful command."

I don't know if these articles are accurate or not but if they are then our last hope for Iraq may be fading. When Bill Roggio writes stuff like this it is time to be worried

As the sectarian violence in Iraq, which is largely centered in and around Baghdad, threatens to bring down the Iraqi government and push the country into civil war, the Interior Ministry is desperately trying to purge the police forces of sectarian death squads and criminal elements. On October 4th, an entire police brigade stationed in Baghdad was "pulled off the line" and sent off to be vetted and retrained. Over 3,200 police have been dismissed - " 1228 had been sacked for breaking the law while nearly 2000 more were dismissed for dereliction of duty."

Operation Together Forward, the security plan to restore order in Baghdad, is in danger of being overtaken by the self perpetuating sectarian violence. The operating has made improvements in the neighborhoods it has addressed, but large segments of Baghdad remain open to al-Qaeda suicide bombers and death squads. The methodical pace of the operation is ignoring the reality of the situation on the ground – as death squad attacks increase, the citizens of Baghdad are forced to turn away from their government and towards the armed gangs for protection.

But as you know I've been worried for some time now.

Posted by Tom at 7:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 17, 2006

Lenninist Lynne Gets Lucky

Here's how the AP story on the sentencing of Lynne Stewart, printed in the Washington Times, starts out

A firebrand civil rights lawyer who has defended Black Panthers and anti-war radicals was sentenced yesterday to nearly 2? years in prison -- far less than the 30 years prosecutors wanted -- for helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his followers on the outside.

Lynne Stewart, 67, smiled, cried and hugged supporters after U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl pronounced the sentence of 28 months.

The judge said Stewart was guilty of smuggling messages between her client and his followers that could have "potentially lethal consequences." He called the crimes "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct."

But in departing from federal guidelines that called for 30 years behind bars, he cited Stewart's more than three decades of dedication to poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients.

"Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Judge Koeltl said.

"firebrand civil rights lawyer"? dedication to "poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients"? "performed a public service...to the nation"?

What are this AP reporter and judge smoking? Lynne Stewart is a communist and member of the hate-America crowd if there every was one. If you don't believe me read what she herself has said

"We have in Washington a poisonous government that spreads its venom to the body politic in all corners of the globe. We now resume...our quests...like David going forth to meet Goliath, like Beowulf the dragon slayer...like Sir Galahad seeking the holy grail. And modern heroes, dare I mention? Ho and Mao and Lenin, Fidel and Nelson Mandela and John Brown, Che Guevara who reminds us 'At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.'"

How does she view "Muslim fundamentalists"?

"They are basically forces of national liberation. And I think that we, as persons who are committed to the liberation of oppressed people, should fasten on the need for self-determination....My own sense is that, were the Islamists to be empowered, there would be movements within their own countries...to liberate."

As for violence;

"I don't believe in anarchistic violence, but in directed violence. That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, and sexism, and the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support."

"Civil rights attorney" my foot. She's part of the New Fifth Columnists who take the side of our enemy that's all there is to it.

For Additional Reading

Much more about Stewart's background here.

Powerline dissects the sentencing and says "Not Enough Jail Time". I agree.

Captain Ed says that the light sentencing of Stewart "demonstrates the fecklessness of pursuing terrorists through the civil courts." Ditto that.

Michelle Malkin calls it a "travesty". So do I. She points to an article in the New York Times that is very sympathetic to Stewart. Unbelievable.

Andy McCarthy at NRO provides valuable legal insight. He relates how he spent some time on the phone with a New York Times reporter trying to explain how no, a long sentence would not have a chilling effect on lawyers who defend terrorists if she receives a long sentence.” The reporter didn't get it.

The Wall Street Journal also editoralizes that given her crime she got off light.

Lastly, be sure to check out Michelle Malkin's Hot Air, where she's got a "videoblog" entry about Lennist Lynne.

Posted by Tom at 8:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 15, 2006

Nothing to be Outraged About

Via Little Green Footballs, we learn that Muslims in Britain are Outraged! What are some of them so upset about this time? The Olympics.

You see, the 2012 Olympics are to be held in London. Some Muslim got out his calendar and discovered that they will take place during their month of Ramadan, which as everyone now is considered a holy month. From the Daily Mail, a London paper

The 2012 London Olympics have been plunged into controversy by the discovery that the Games will clash with Ramadan, the most holy month in the Islamic calendar.

The clash will put Muslim athletes at a disadvantage as they will be expected to fast from sunrise to sunset for the entire duration of the Games.

In 2012, Ramadan will take place from July 21 to August 20, while the Olympics run from July 27 to August 12.

An anticipated 3,000 Muslim competitors are expected to be affected.

About a quarter of the 11,099 athletes who took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics came from countries with predominantly Muslim populations.

Because the Muslim calendar is based on a lunar cycle, the ninth month of Ramadan - which runs from the appearance of one new crescent moon to the next - gets earlier by around 11 days each year.

The clash will be a huge embarrassment for Lord Coe, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, and London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who have been keen to ensure the Games involve all Britain's ethnic communities.

If they cave on this I'll scream.

Who is agitating for a change of dates? From the Sun article, none other than Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission. Shadjareh, it turns out, is an open supporter of Hizbollah. Big surprise. They don't call the place Londonistan for nothing.

Shadjareh tried to jusify his position by saying that the Olympics would not have been scheduled for Christmas.

Several problems with that analogy. First, I dont' think a whole lot of people would object if the Olympics were scheduled over Christmas. After all, American football games are regularly played on Thanksgiving, and occasionally on Christmas Day itself. Second, Christmas is a day, Ramadan a month. Half of the cities in the Muslim world seem to be "holy cities", now they need an entire month where we can't schedule anything important? Forget it. Third, they use a lunar calendar, which means that the date shifts every year. Sorry, but we're not shifting our dates too.

Lastly, and to the Sun's credit, a more sane Muslim is quoted who essentially says that Massoud Shadjareh is all wet

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam on the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: "I'm sure the athletes will seek advice from their scholars.

"They are obviously going to be at a disadvantage because other competitors will be drinking and keeping up their energy levels.

"But they are athletes and I am sure they will train their bodies to cope with this.

"A Muslim might feel it would have been nice to avoid this month but life doesn't stop for Muslims during Ramadan even though they are fasting.

Let's hope that they listen to people like Mogra. Unfortunately, Britain is the home of political correctness, and my guess is that the Olympic committee will bend to the pressures of the extremists and change the date.

And I'll scream.

Posted by Tom at 8:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 14, 2006

Declare Victory and Leave?

Sometime during the Vietnam war Senator George Aiken (R-VT) said that "The best policy is to declare victory and go home." We are getting closer to that point in Iraq. Consider:

* The situation in Baghdad and the Anwar Province doesn't seem to be getting much better. We're holding the country together, but barely. While we don't have a civil war, we do have ethnic cleansing on a wide scale. And while the latest Lancet study to come out of Johns Hopkins may be flawed and politically motivated, no one should dispute that Iraq is in trouble.
* Nevertheless, the Iraqi Army is growing and is a real force. While there are all sorts of problems, before long the Iraqi Army should be able to deal with the situation on it's own. In theory, anyway.
*We've spend a lot of money and time trying to rebuild the country. Yes there has been money wasted, but much also has done much good.
*We've spend much time and effort trying to establish a new government.
*The Democrats stand poised to take one or both houses of Congress. While they are maddenly unclear as to their policies, it is likely that they will try and force a pullout.
* Whoever is elected president in 2008, and from whichever party, it seems likely to me that they will have to run on some sort of plan for ending the war in Iraq. I think it doubtful that a "increase the troop levels and go for broke" message will resonate well. Rather, all or most candidates will offer some plan that in the end calls for a draw-down of US forces.

My bottom line is this: Either the Iraqis are going to pick up the ball and run with it or they're not. We're approaching the point where we've done all that we can do. Politically, we can keep large numbers of troops in Iraq for two more years, but that's probably about it. We still have some time left, I'm not saying that the situation is critical and that we should withdraw now. But it's something we have to think about.

We can't expect the American people to support the war forever. It was one thing to keep troops deployed in Europe after WWII because they weren't actually fighting. Convention wisdom says that elections are about getting the broad middle on your side, and in this case the CW is right. The left will always be against military operations unless they are strictly humanitarian with no national security goals and where noone gets hurt, and the right will always be for them. I don't have any polls in front of me, but you don't have to be a genius to see that the middle is lost or on the way there.

Last night, outside Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, several of us were speaking with a young soldier (actually he might have been a Marine, I didn't ask). Someone asked him about the situation over there, and he said that we've done just about all we can do for him. One soldiers' perspective, but at this point hardly surprising.

Background: Every Friday night we hold a pro-troops rally outside the hospital and then go inside to meet troops and bring them things. More here.

Dr Sanity, one of my favorite bloggers and a staunch conservative, makes the same point in a post here. She cites a post over at Sigmung, Carl, and Alfred, which says in part

By their actions- or lack thereof- Iraqis will in the end, clearly define themselves and the kind of nation they want for themselves. If they will not act in their own best interests, we cannot force democracy where it is clearly not valued.

If democracy is of little value to the Iraqis, we need to leave. That will result in tragedy and great suffering, of course, but the blood of Americans and coalition forces cannot continue to be used to purchase democracy for Iraq.

The people of Eastern Europe did not need to be convinced of the merits of free societies over tyrannies. We must be prepared to face the reality that much of the Arab world will remain backward for a very long time, incapable of understanding how free governments are always better than oppressive ones. While there is nothing we can do about that, we can hope that the next generation, or the one after that, will see more clearly.

The tragedy is that yet another generation of Arabs will be lost to dysfunction and neglect. The greater tragedy is that most of them don’t even know it. That said, we must always remind them that America and the free world will be there for them when they call.

Some will say that Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatible. I suspect that an observer might have said that about Christianity 1000 years ago. It's probably more the case that the process is just going to take a long time, and Western politics thinks in months or years, not decades and centuries.

Indeed, I suspect that someone transported back to just about anywhere in the United States not even 100 years ago would despair that Jim Crow would ever be conquered. However our expedition in Iraq works out, I think that at some point Islam will reform and that part of the world will see some sort of liberty and freedom.

No Hurried Withdrawal

Be all this as it may, it seems to me that we're closer to the end of our deployment in Iraq than we are at it's beginning. Second, either the Iraqis will make something of their country or they'll let it degenerate into more and more ethnic violence.

The Democrats were surely wrong when they demanded a date certain by which we would bring our troops out of Iraq. All this would do is telegraph a message to all of the terrorists and militias that if they just laid low until that date certain, they could light up the sky once we were gone. Rather, our policy should probably be to make it clear to the Iraqis that we won't be there forever and that they need to get their act together.

Whether any of us like this situation or not is not particulary relevant. It seems to me that it is being or will soon be forced on us by political conditions here at home.

Put Them On Notice

I certainly hope that the Bush Administration has privately notified senior members of the Iraqi government that they can't expect us to stay there for much longer. As I said earlier, we can probably keep large numbers of troops in Iraq for another 2 years, but if the situation doesn't improve the politics will demand a withdrawal. It would be a mistake to establish or publish a timetable, but we have to get the concept through to them that we won't be around forever.

Update

Via Powerline, RightWingNutHouse is talking about an article in the New York Sun in which James Baker, Secretary of State under Bush 41 and now a sometime adviser to Bush 43, is allegedly planning to recommend pretty much what Senator Aiken did 35 years ago. From the Sun

A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials.

Currently, the 10-member commission — headed by a secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush, James Baker — is considering two option papers, "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain," both of which rule out any prospect of making Iraq a stable democracy in the near term.

More telling, however, is the ruling out of two options last month. One advocated minor fixes to the current war plan but kept intact the long-term vision of democracy in Iraq with regular elections. The second proposed that coalition forces focus their attacks only on Al Qaeda and not the wider insurgency.

Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.

As Rick Moran of RightWingNutHosue notes, it looks like "the Baker Commission, as it is coming to be called, was set up for the sole and exclusive purpose of giving both Republican and Democratic politicians cover for our retreat from Iraq." This commission, like so many others, has noone with real military experience on it. Here's the list. With the sole exception of William Perry, President Clinton's Secretary of Defense, not a one of them is qualified to advise on military matters (neither am I, but I'm a hack blogger, not sitting on a highbrow commission).

Perhaps so. It must also be stressed that like so many others the Sun story is based on unnamed "sources", which makes its accuracy hard to judge.

The "Baker Commission" will not release its report until after the November elections.

Moran also accurately notes that if this is accurate, then Baker's plan "is a recipe for defeat and retreat. No amount of spin will change the fact that once we leave Iraq, the entire world will see that our enemies in Iran and Syria as well as al-Qaeda were successful in inflicting enough pain on the American people to cause our precipitous withdrawal."

Exactly. The President, however, may have other ideas. From the Sun

The president also said he was not averse to changing tactics. But he repeated that the strategic goal in Iraq is to build "a country which can defend itself, sustain itself, and govern itself." He added, "The strategic goal is to help this young democracy succeed in a world in which extremists are trying to intimidate rational people in order to topple moderate governments and to extend the caliphate."

But the president's strategic goal is at odds with the opinion of Mr. Baker's expert working groups, which dismiss the notion of victory in Iraq. The "Stability First" paper says, "The United States should aim for stability particularly in Baghdad and political accommodation in Iraq rather than victory."

If the Sun story is accurate, let's hope that the President has the strength not to take his advice. He's going to need it, because the Democrats, probably crowing from a November victory, are going to demand a withdrawal. As Powerline correctly observed the other day, "Not since the middle of the Civil War has either major political party been as intellectually and morally bankrupt as today's Democrats." For all of our troubles in Iraq, we can't let them, or James Baker, seize control of events.

Posted by Tom at 12:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 12, 2006

The Intifada in France

Five days ago in a book review of Melanie Phillips must-read Londonistan, I mentioned a story in one of the London papers, The Telegraph, in which a French police union official was quoted as saying that the country was "in a state of civil war" with the inhabitants of Muslim neighborhoods.

Today the Washington Times finally got around to reporting on the story, simply reprinting the Telegraph story. The original date on the story was October 5, so it was 2 days old when I wrote about it. Now it is a week old.

I have not done much of a search of US papers, but a quick look at the European section of the Washington Post didn't reveal anything. It is possible they've carried stories on it but I missed it. I also browse other news sites during the day and have not seen anything there either. Again, I might have missed it, but nothing jumped out at me.

Two lessons: Most of the US media is blissfully unaware of how bad the situation has gotten in Europe, and two, without the Internet I'd be blissfully unaware also.

In case you're not up on the situation, here are the essential parts of the story from the Telegraph

Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.
As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin.

It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.
...
Michel Thoomis, the secretary general of the hardline Action Police trade union, has written to Mr Sarkozy warning of an "intifada" on the estates and demanding that officers be given armoured cars in the most dangerous areas.

He said yesterday: "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence any more, it is an intifada, with stones and Molotov cocktails. You no longer see two or three youths confronting police, you see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their 'comrades' free when they are arrested."

He added: "We need armoured vehicles and water cannon. They are the only things that can disperse crowds of hundreds of people who are trying to kill police and burn their vehicles."

However, Gerard Demarcq, of the largest police unions, Alliance, dismissed talk of an "intifada" as representing the views of only a minority.

Minority view or no, the fact that an average of 14 police officers per day are being hurt, and that they need armored vehicles and water cannon is alarming.

If it weren't for the widespread riots by Muslim "youths" in France last October and November, in which some 10,000 cars were burned and thousands arrested, it might be tempting to think that the Telegraph was exaggerating. As it is, we should take it seriously and be very worried about the future of Europe.

In Denial

As this post at RealClearPolitics makes clear, the foreign policy elite are deeply in denial.

The post cites an article in Foreign Affairs, titled "France and its Muslims", by Stéphanie Giry

According to Giry

Some French and foreign observers have interpreted last November's riots in poor, largely Muslim neighborhoods throughout the country as a skirmish in a broader clash of civilizations. Yet the strife had little to do with yearnings for a worldwide caliphate and much to do with domestic socioeconomic problems. ...

The status of Muslims in France is at once much healthier and more problematic than most recent commentary lets on.

According to RealClearPolitics, Foreign Affairs summarized the article thusly

"The recent panic over the rise of Islamic extremism in Europe has overlooked a key fact: the majority of European Muslims are trying hard to fit in, not opt out. This is especially clear in France, where the picture is much brighter than often acknowledged. Unfortunately, cynical politicians and the clumsy elite are now making matters much worse."

In other words, if we ignore the problem of Muslim extremism it will go away. This is just what Melanie Phillips warns against in Londonistan and on her blog every day.

The author of the post on RealClearPolitics, David Warren, sums up the contradition between the Telegraph and Foreign Affairs articles

There are two ways to reconcile these two articles. One is to assume that the Telegraph dispatch, confirmed by several sources in France, was made up from whole cloth. The other is to assume that the Foreign Affairs writer, even though she has a law degree from Yale, is writing nonsense.

She's writing nonsense.

The Difference with Muslims

There are going to be those, especially in the United States, who will dismiss me as a nativist. "People are always afraid of immigrants", "You just don't like them because they're different", "You're blowing this out of proportion. I'm sure there were disturbances by Italians/Irish/German/Chinese/Japanese immigrants in the United States in the 19th century and early 20th" and of course, the comparison to our problem with illegal aliens ("undocumented immigrants" as the left calls them).

As a student of history I am reasonably well informed about my country's history with immigrants. But there are two big difference with these immigrants and the Muslims

1) The Muslims come from cultures that have not gone through or been influenced by the Renaissance, Reformation, or Enlightenment. The Muslims have a largely Medieval mindset and there is no getting around it.

2) There are far too many Muslim extremists among the immigrants. You simply did not have this with the Italians/Irish/German/Chinese/Japanese immigrants of past. There is no getting around this, either.

Yes I know that in the past some countries in Europe, notably France, have absorbed Muslim immigrants with no problems. But back then everyone expected the immigrants to assimilate to some degree, and you did not have the current problem of extremism that you have today. Leftist multiculturalism has made a bad situation worse.

The problem with Muslim extremism in Europe is serious and getting worse. I hate to sound like an alarmist, but it's true. Ignoring it won't make it go away.

Update

Threatswatch
has more on the French Intifada, which, they conclude, is growing.

Posted by Tom at 10:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 11, 2006

A Case of Taqiyya?

An Associated Press article printed in today's Washington Times caught my attention this morning. It was titled "Defender of 'liberal Islam' shunned"

LONDON -- Tariq Ramadan's call for modernizing Islam has earned him the hatred of Muslim traditionalists. The Bush administration sees him as a threat and has banned him from the United States. France banned him from the country in 1995, linking him to Algerian terrorists, but leftist organizations successfully campaigned to overturn the measure, and he is now welcome there.

But underscoring the conflicting reactions provoked by this soft-spoken Muslim from Switzerland, British Prime Minister Tony Blair sees Mr. Ramadan as one of the best hopes for bridging the divide between the West and Islam, and has put him on a task force to tackle extremism.

Tariq Ramadan? Haven't I heard that somewhere? Reading on

To his admirers, the 44-year-old Oxford University scholar is the conscience of Western Europe's Muslims -- the man who can articulate what it means to play an active part in secular society while remaining true to the Koran ...

Two years ago -- and days before he was to arrive in the United States to become a professor of religion at the University of Notre Dame, the United States canceled his visa. The State Department said he was barred for actions "which constituted providing material support to a terrorist organization." Mr. Ramadan said the charge stems from his donation, then worth about $750, to a Palestinian charity.

I went to Melanie Phillips Londonistan, which I recently finished, and sure enough, there on pages 174-175. Widely thought to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood, he has made statements defending terrorists in Iraq, "Palestine", and Chechnya.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ramadan is on a special Muslim "task force" which advises Prime Minister Tony Blair on Muslim matters.

Looks like we might have a case of Taqiyya here.

From Wikipedia, Taqiyya "is the dispensation allowing believers to conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion." and "according to many Shia, Taqiyya can only be legally used by a Muslim verbally when he or she is being wrongly persecuted. "

Of course, should all know by this point that "wrongly persecuted" to Muslims means any and all criticism of the way the practice their religion. We haven't come to call it"The Religion of Perpetual Outrage" for nothing.

Again from Wikipedia, here's the brief on Tariq Ramadan

In February 2004, he accepted the tenured position of Luce professor of religion at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA. However, in late July 2004, his visa was revoked by the State Department, and he was forced to resign the position. [3]. Though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declined to provide a specific reason for denying the visa, they explained that the Patriot Act allows the government to ban foreigners who "espouse terrorist activity." ...

In September 2006, a State Department statement said: "A U.S. consular officer has denied Dr. Tariq Ramadan's visa application. The consular officer concluded that Dr. Ramadan was inadmissible based solely on his actions, which constituted providing material support to a terrorist organization."[4][5]

Tariq Ramadan advocates that Muslims living in the West should not view themselves as foreigners or temporary residents of their countries, but rather as full citizens with full rights and responsibilities. In some respects, he argues for integration and not alienation from the surrounding society. Indeed, the main theme of his book, To Be a European Muslim attempts to bridge the gap between being a Muslim and being European.
..

Ramadan argues that there need be no conflict between being a Muslim and being a full citizen in Western countries, active in the community and caring about it. He criticizes what he sees as an 'us vs. them' mentality in Muslim discourse on the West.
...

Tariq Ramadan is criticised for his sometimes contradictory opinions, and for his refusal to accept the priority of civil law over religious law, as is the rule in all democracies. Many French intellectuals also accuse Ramadan of being "The Master of Doubletalk," of saying one thing to the non-Muslim public and the opposite to his Muslim audience. Perhaps most seriously, author Jean-Charles Brisard of the Terror Finance Blog has listed a number of alleged links between Ramadan and terrorism. [11]

Caroline Fourest analysed Tariq Ramadan's 15 books, 1,500 pages of interviews, and approximately 100 recordings, [12] and concludes "Ramadan is a war leader,"

Quite contradictory indeed. His defenders portray as an Islamic Martin Luther, his detractors a master of doubletalk. Ramadan has written several books which you can find on Amazon, the most important ones of which seem to be Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, and Islam, the West, and the Challenges of Modernity

On the other side we have articles like this one on Jihad Watch and this one at the Middle East Forum, tell an entirely different story about Ramadan.

I haven't studied the matter myself,but it does seem that Ramadan is indeed engaged in Taqiyya, presenting himself as the voice of reason to gullible Westerners, but in reality "wants to see the islamization of Europe" (Jihad Watch article cited above). Anyway, since the ACLU is defending him, I'm all the more inclined to think he's guilty as charged.

Posted by Tom at 9:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 7, 2006

Book Review - Londonistan


Londonistan - by Melanie Phillips

The rise of Muslim extremism in Europe is a story that has, thankfully, received more and more attention these past few years. Melanie Phillips makes clear in her book Londonistan that the problem is particularly acute in her home country.

"Londonistan" is the name given to the British capital by French security officials outraged at the British refusal to extradite Algerian terrorist Rachid Ramda, claiming he could not get a fair trial in France(!) It took the French 3 requests and 10 years before they finally got their man. During the 80s and 90s, it became well-known among the security forces of Europe that the UK was becoming a terrorist haven. Time and again the warned the British, who did nothing. The inevitable came about in July of 2005 whem Muslim terrorists bombed the London Underground.

How this state of affairs came about is the subject of Phillip's book. It is a must read for anyone interested in our current war.

How bad is it? According various surveys on British Muslims that Phillips cites in her book
- Up to 16,000 are actively engaged or support terrorist activities
- Up to 3,000 have actually gone though al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan
- Several hundred are "thought to be primed to attack the United Kingdom"
- 61% want to be governed by Sharia law "as long as the penalties did not contravene British law", a clear contradiction.
- 26% say they have no loyalty to Britain
- 13% defended terrorism
- 15% suported the 9/11 attacks on the United States

Given these numbers, it is cold comfort to hear that we shouldn't worry because the majority of Muslims do not want to kill us. Other surveys that I have written about show similar results.

The British people are well aware of the danger of Muslim extremism. The problems, Phillps says, are twofold. One, they blame American, British, and Israeli policy for their problems, and two, they are so indoctrinated by leftist multiculturalism that they are unable to act even when the problem is staring them in the face.

Many casual observers of the news in America, I think, tend to assume that because Tony Blair is such a staunch ally in the War on Terror (or whatever we're going to call it), most Britains are too. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that there are two countries; Tony Blair and everyone else. Even British conservatives are virulently anti-George Bush. No one has the political will to do anything about the extremists in their midst.

And as Phillips makes clear, London is indeed the central hub of European Islamic terror. She reels off name after name of extremist organizations and people, and even outright suspected terrorists, who have taken up residence in London, all with the knowledge and even acquiensence of the British government. Government the world around lodged protest after protest as suspected terrorists that the were after took up refuge in London, and the British government refused to extradite them, each time for one human rights concern or another.

No doubt there are often legitimate concerns over how a suspect will be treated when extradited to a country like Russia. And if that were all there was to it then British concerns would at least sometimes be legitimate.

But refusal to extradite raises the questions of why suspected or even known terrorists were let into Britain in the first place, and why there are being coddled once there.

There were several reasons for this attitude. One, British officials made a de facto "deal" with the extremists; we'll give you all the benefits of our welfare state as long as you don't attack us. That agreement, however, was declared null and void by the Islamists when Britain joined the United States in the invasion of Afghanistan. Second, the British simply do not understand the concept of religious fanatacism or how seriously it is taken by the Islamists. The British are used to dealing with the IRA, which was a secular(even Marxist) group that had specific territorial and political goals. third, from their colonial experience the British believed that appeasement was the best way to deal with extremists. Lastly, the Foreign Office convinced everyone that Muslim extremists were only people upset by various things overseas and that none of it had anything to do with the UK.

The British police have been almost completely paralyzed into inaction by the fear of being called "racist". Phillips cites example after example of political correctness taken to absurd lengths. The police are more concerned with Muslim "sensitivities" than in fighting crime.

Multiculturalism has almost completely destroyed the country's sense of nationhood. It is considered "racist" to teach British history in any manner other than to suggest that the English were the greatest oppressors in world history. The government has given up much of it's sovereignty to the transnational institutions such as theInternational Criminal Court, the European Court of Justice, and the European Union. Patriotism, as we understand it in America (and I stress from either a liberal or conservative viewpoint), is all but dead and buried. The consequence is that Britons have nothing to believe in, and as a result do not have the psychological fortitude to confront the danger posed by the Islamists among them.

British Muslims are deeply alienated from the country that has given them refuge. They see and hear the multiculturalist propaganda that the UK is a racist country with a history of oppression, and, big surprise, they believe it. The surveys cited above provide alarming evidence of this. Further, British Muslims live in cloistered communities, completely separate from other Britons. While other minorities, such as Hindus have had no problem assimilating, Muslims refuse to do so. All of this is exacerbated by the vast amount of hate-filled propaganda brought into Britain from Muslim countries, and disseminated by satellite TV, ethnic newspapers, and preached from Mosques. Any criticism is taken as an assault on Islam itself.

While the American people support Israel by overwheming margins, just the opposite is true in Britain. They have completely bought into the Muslim view that Israel is the evil oppressor of the Palestinians. Because the United States supports Israel, we are supporting an unjust country. Most Britains believe that the Israeli/Palestinian conflice is simply over land that can be negotiated away, much like was done in Northern Ireland. Therefore, it is our fault that Islamic terrorists strike our two countries. All trhis would change, they believe, if only the UK and US would change their Middle East policies.

Just as David Horowitz has documented for the United States, Phillips shows how the hard left in Britain has allied itself with Muslim radicals. The left knows that the Muslims are antithetical to their own views, but the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" it a temptation too strong to resist. Leftists believe that they can exploit the Islamists and keep their own purity as long as they keep their distance.

Exacerbating all this is a media that is prevasively anti-Israel. The BBC is the worst offender, the problem being made more difficult by the fact that it is essentially a state-run monopoly. The diversity of news outlets that we enjoy in the United States is simply not available in the UK.

In the United States, Christian churches help lead the defense of Western values, and evangelicans in particular are among the most staunch supporters of Israel. Not so in Britain. Few people go to church in the UK, or Western Europe at all, for that matter, and not many more profess any serious belief in Christianity. The Church of England has responded by adopting the new religion of multiculturalism and moral relativism. Far from providing the people with guide to moral and ethical thinking, it has become a leader in the appeasement movement. Phillips documents time after time whereby church leaders attempt to de-legitimize Israel and excuse Muslim terror.

Her conclusion is that Britain is in a state of denial about the threat it has allowed to grow within it. Rather than confront the extremists, it prefers to appease them. Muslim extremists see this as weakness and have learned how to manipulate the British. Phillips explains the result

The fervent embrace of "victim culture" means instead that this minority has to be treated on its own assessment as a victim of the majority and its grievances attended to on the grounds that it is these grievances that are the cause of terrorism. At the same time, however, this minority disavows any connection with terrorism and vilifies anyuone who dares suggest the contrary. This Britain is being foced to act on the basis that if it does not do so it will be attacked - by the people who claim that terrorism runs totally counter to the values of their religion, but then demand that the grievances of members of that religion are addressed as the price of averting further attacks.

Does she exaggerate? Consider some recent stories from a variety of news sources

* The Sun reports that a British Muslim policeman was assigned to guard the Israeli Embassy and who refused to do so citing "moral grounds after the Israeli bombing of Lebanon." His request was granted.

* Another story in The Telegraph tells of a British paratrooper, wounded in Afghanistan and recovering in a hospital, who was threatened by a Muslim visitor over his countries involvement in the Afghan war. "You have been killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan," the man said. Far from being an isolated incident, other soldiers at the hospital have complained that they fear for their safety also.

* Returning British soldiers have good reason to be worried for their safety. The Sun tells of how Muslim youths vandalized a house to prevent four veterans of the Afghan war from moving in. The officers were going to stay at the house while they rested from their ordeal in the war.

* Art Museums often cancel or refuse to show works that might cause offense among Muslims. The Guardian reports that an exibition by a Bangladeshi-British photographer was removed because one of the photos was of a semi-naked woman. When queried, the museum admitted that " it had acted on a complaint from a member of the Muslim arts group Artists Circle." A Reuters story describes another incident in which the Whitechapel Art Gallery removed works by surealist artist Hans Bellmer so as not to offend local Muslims.

* When Britons object to Muslim intimidation, they are told that they are "insensitive. The Daily Mail reports that a Muslim taxi driver refused to pick up a blind lady because she had her guide dog with her. Dogs are considered "unclean" by Muslims, explained the driver, and it would be contrary to his religion to let it in his taxi. When the lady complained to the taxi company, she was told that she was being insensitive to Muslims. Although the government has fined the company, the driver " remained defiant and insisted that he would continue refusing passengers accompanied by guide dogs."

* The problems extend beyond the UK. The Telegraph recently printed a bombshell story about "no go zones" for police in France. A French police union official said that they were "in a state of civil war" with the inhabitants of Muslim enclaves, and that the violence had gotten so bad that an average of 14 police officers were being wounded every day, with a total of 2,500 police casualties for the year. In October and November of last year thousands of cars were burned, and hundreds arrested when Muslim youths went on a weeks-long rampage throughout France.

* While a tip line that the FBI has set up in the US has seen much use,
StrategyPage
reports that "German counter-intelligence officials are dismayed at how passive German Moslems have been towards the threat of Islamic terrorism." A tip line set up by German security officials to take calls on suspected terrorist activity has received little use by the country's Muslims.

* And although the situation in the United States is not that of Europe, we shouldn't be complacent. The headline of this Washington Post story is "America's Muslims Aren't as Assimilated as You Think", and goes on to say that "...the real story of American Muslims is one of accelerating alienation from the mainstream of U.S. life, with Muslims in this country choosing their Islamic identity over their American one."

The good news is that there is an increasing sense of outrage among British newspapers about the threat. The bad news is that they blame their own foreign policy for their troubles. As such, they are effectively letting the radical Muslims blackmail them.

Phillips offers a number of things that might be done to amelorate the problem in Britain. Expelling radicals would be a good place to start, she says, but this would require repealing it's Human Rights Act, and withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on Refugees. They would ban extremist organizations and recognize that the problem is radical Islam, not British and American foreign policy . She also admits that virtually none of these ideas stand much chance of being implimented, and unfortunately she is right. Her book is a timely warning that the British face a dangerous future.

Posted by Tom at 4:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 3, 2006

The Hojjatieh Society

One of my favorite radio talk-show hosts is Glenn Beck, and recently he's been talking about something called The Hojjatieh Society. Glenn is convinced that the leaders of Iran are not only up to no good, but that they represent a unique threat that is mostly unappreciated. Further, Iran is allying itself with Venezuela and other anti-American forces around the globe. "The stars are aligning against us", he likes to say.

I think he may be on to something.

What is the Hojjatieh society or sect? Here's the short version: The Hojjatieh are a sect of Shii Islam that is so radical that it was banned by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1983. The current President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as several of his cabinet ministers, are adherents to the Hojjatieh faith.

The current leader of Iran more radical than Khomeini? That certainly gets my attention. I hope it gets yours.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. What follows will chill you to the bone.

One of the best articles I was able to find on the Hojjatieh was one by Patrick Poole on FrontPage Magazine. Poole provides the background

Most Shiites await the return of the 12th Shiite Imam, Muhammad ibn Hasan, the last direct male descendent of the Prophet Mohammed’s son-in-law Ali, who disappeared in 874AD and is believed to be in an invisible, deathless state of existene, or “occultation”, awaiting his return. Though it is discounted even by the most extremist clerics, a popular belief in Iran holds that the 12th Imam, also called the Mahdi or the sahib-e zaman (“the Ruler of Time”), lives at the bottom of a well in Jamkaran, just outside of Qom. Devotees drop written requests into the well to communicate with the Mahdi. His reappearance will usher in a new era of peace as Islam vanquishes all of its enemies. The Sunnis, who reject the successors of Ali, believe that the Mahdi has yet to be born.

So far all this is standard Shiite Islam. Ahmadinejad takes the well part very seriously. Not too long ago he and his cabinet ministers signed a petition to the hidden imam urging his speedy return, went to the very well, and dropped it down.

But here's where it gets interesting. Poole again

...rooted in the Shiite ideology of martyrdom and violence, the Hojjatieh sect adds messianic and apocalyptic elements to an already volatile theology. They believe that chaos and bloodshed must precede the return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi. But unlike the biblical apocalypse, where the return of Jesus is preceded by waves of divinely decreed natural disasters, the summoning of the Mahdi through chaos and violence is wholly in the realm of human action. The Hojjatieh faith puts inordinate stress on the human ability to direct divinely appointed events. By creating the apocalyptic chaos, the Hojjatiehs believe it is entirely in the power of believers to affect the Mahdi’s reappearance, the institution of Islamic government worldwide, and the destruction of all competing faiths.

Get it? Ahmadinejad and his ministers may be trying to create the chaos and bloodshed they think is necessary to entice the Mahdi into returning. They are not trying to acquire nuclear weapons simply to become the primary hegemon in their part of the world. If they get them, I think they mean to use them.

Ahmadinejad, Poole says, "believes he has personally received a divine appointment to herald the imminent arrival of the Mahdi", so this Hojjatieh stuff is not just a some-time belief of his.

Telling the Whole World

What is most madding is that Ahmadinejad is not making a secret about any of this. Just this past September 29 he gave a speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations in which he made many references to the Mahdi that he believes will return.

Newsbusters has analysis and a link to the actual speech, which the Washington Post reprinted in it's entirety.

Most of the speech is fairly pedestrian, and it's only at the end that he lets himself go, and where we see the real Ahmadinejad.

The almighty and merciful God, who is the creator of the universe, is also its lord and ruler. Justice is his command. He commands his creatures to support one another in good, virtue, and piety, and not in decadence and corruption.

He commands his creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue, and not to sin and transgression. All divine prophets, from the prophet Adam, peace be upon him, to the prophet Moses, to the prophet Jesus Christ, to the prophet Mohammad, have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion.

Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings and thereby transform animosities into friendship?

I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people, with love for all humanity, and, above all, longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.

Oh, almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirst for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and makers among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

We can imagine the result if a Western leader, especially President Bush, spoke so forthrightly about religion. Unlike Newsbusters, however, I don't think that it was liberal bias that kept most news outlets from reporting the speech. Most of it, as I said, was boilerplate stuff. But the end is revealing.

However, it was at his September 17 2005 speech, or rather after it, that all doubt is removed that Ahmadinejad believes himself to be on a mission from God. I reported on this incident a few months ago from an article in National Review, but the Newsbusters piece provides the exact link to the story on Radio Free Europe. During the speech, he " called for the reappearance of the 12th Imam." Afterwards the following occured.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad says that when he delivered his speech at the UN General Assembly in September, he felt there was a light around him and that the attention of the world leaders in the audience was unblinkingly focused upon him. The claim has caused a stir in Iran, as a transcript and video recording of Ahmadinejad's comments have been published on an Iranian website, baztab.com. There are also reports that a CD showing Ahmadinejad making the comments also has been widely distributed in Iran. Is the Iranian president claiming to be divinely inspired?

Prague, 29 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- According the report by baztab.com, President Ahmadinejad made the comments in a meeting with one of Iran's leading clerics, Ayatollah Javadi Amoli.

Ahmadinejad said that someone present at the UN told him that a light surrounded him while he was delivering his speech to the General Assembly. The Iranian president added that he also sensed it.

"He said when you began with the words 'in the name of God,' I saw that you became surrounded by a light until the end [of the speech]," Ahmadinejad appears to say in the video. "I felt it myself, too. I felt that all of a sudden the atmosphere changed there, and for 27-28 minutes all the leaders did not blink."

Ahmadinejad adds that he is not exaggerating.

"I am not exaggerating when I say they did not blink; it's not an exaggeration, because I was looking," he says. "They were astonished as if a hand held them there and made them sit. It had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic."

The same RFE story reports that "In mid-November, during a speech to Friday prayers leaders from across Iran, Ahmadinejad said that the main mission of the revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam."

So What of It?

Dispute Newsbusters and FrontPage Mag if you want, but Radio Free Europe cannot be dismissed as some wingnut blog.

The story about dropping the petition down the well is disputed by Ahmadinejad's assistants who say that it is used by his enemies to discredit him (from the RFE story). Maybe so. But it is equally possible that it is true and they're just trying to it up so as jnot to give away the game to the infidels.

And of course the president of Iran is somewhat of a figurehead office, with the real power being held by the Assembly of Experts.
Ahmadinejad's term, I believe, ends in 2009. He might be removed before then or might not win reelection. His Hojjatieh sect may lose favor. He might not be able to put his plans into effect.

So there are those who will take a what-me-worry about all this or dismiss it all with a there-go-those-fearmongering-neocons-again.

But I thing such a position is far too risky. From where I sit, Glenn Beck has it about right; the stars are aligning against us, and too many people are ignoring the signs. Ahmadinejad means to start a world war.

Posted by Tom at 8:26 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 1, 2006

Leftist Loons Assail Michelle Malkin II

Yesterday I posted on how the idiots at two leftist website, Wonkette and IsThatLegal, fell for what was an obviously fake photo of Michelle Malkin, and then called her a hypocrite. The situation had gotten bad enough by week's end that the Washington Times named the two offenders their Knaves of the Week.

Today Malkin wrote a fairly brilliant hard-hitting defense of, well, her defending herself. It deserves to be read in it's entirety, but here is the gist of it

There are many unhinged people who would like me to shut up. There are those who engage routinely in active defamation and empty ad hominem attacks. There are also those who enable, excuse, and snicker at these attacks.

When I ignore them, lies are perpetuated and assumed to be true. When I respond, I am belittled as a self-promoter, whiner, humorless scold, and opportunist. Trolls at places like the Democratic Underground and obscure far-left blogs don't warrant responses. But when the attacks come from a publicly subsidized UNC law professor and the largest blog conglomerate (valued at $76 million in 2005), they cannot go unanswered.

There seem to be some very dense people who don't understand that this is not just about a bikini Photoshop. It is about disseminating the fake photo to cast me in a false light and "prove" that I'm somehow a hypocrite.

Today I'd like to address two issues related to all this; one, the vile slanderous attacks that minority conservatives receive from liberals, and two, the issue of hypocrisy.

Liberal Bigotry

Liberals, leftists, call them what you will, but some are guilty of the most vicious forms of race and sex (no not "gender", that would be bad English) prejudice against women and minorities who adopt conservative political views.

Michael Steele is a black conservative who is running for US Senate on the GOP ticket in Maryland. Yet Maryland Democrats think that it is just fine to make racial attacks on him.

Kate O'Beirne, of National Review, wrote Women Who Make the World Worse. an attack on the feminst establishment. Leftists responded with a campaign to leave ugly "reviews" on the Amazon website.

Michelle Malkin, however, has received worse than either of these two, or any other conservative writer, from what I can tell. Brave woman that she is, she documents the sexual and racial attacks on her in posts. See here, here, here, here and here for examples.

As you can see, it's some pretty nasty stuff.

Malkin is a woman an Asian, and, let's be honest, very attractive. For this last reason certain lefties seem fixated on making the most vile sexual comments about her.

You see, in the world of liberaldom, it is "illegal" to be a woman or minority and be a conservatives. You are a "traitor" to the cause. To them, it is "just obvious" that all women and minorities should be liberals. Whenever one expresses conservative views, these liberals are enraged. They resort to any and all forms of name-calling.

This is exactly what the modern-day left is all about. They preach endlessly about "tolerance", but they are themselves only tolerant of those who agree with them exactly.

On Hypocrisy

My argument with the left, however, isn't really that they are a bunch of hypocrites. My argument with them is that 1) too many of them engage in racist and sexist attacks on conservatives, and 2) they don't understand the concept of hypocrisy or it's meaning.

I wrote a post on the use and misuse of the charge of hypocrisy about a year ago, and if I may I'll just quote myself

We need to distinguish between inconsistency and hypocrisy, for they are often mistaken for one another. Inconsistency is when a person does or says two things that are at odds with one another. In 1990 John Kerry voted against going to war with Iraq over Kuwait. When running for president in 2004, he said that he opposed the war in Iraq because we did not have a large international coalition. In taking this position Kerry was certainly inconsistent, but he was not a hypocrite.

An argument stands or falls on its own merits, not those of the person making it. Adultery is a sin, a bad thing. This is so whether the person admonishing us to be faithful to our spouses is faithful himself. It was either a good idea or not to invade Iraq, and whether or not the person making the case for invasion had ever served in the armed forces or not is irrelvant.

Hypocrisy is certainly something to be avoided, both in one's personal life and in recommending public policy. While the preacher who says that we must lead clean lives is certainly speaking the truth, but his message is dimished if he is caught in bed with another man's wife.

(Further), one of the most maddening characteristics of our modern culture is one in which the person who tries do live right but falls is considered a worse person than the person who doesn't try at all, and indeed flaunts his immorality. Considered even worse is the person who dares to tell others that they should live moral lives, yet who themselves yields to temptation.

Who is subjected to more abuse by the media and professionaly punditry; Monika Lewinsky or Jim Bakker?

To be sure, Bakker defrauded his followers of millions, so the analogy is not perfect (they never are). But consider their reactions when caught: Lewinsky seems proud of her affair with the president, while Bakker wrote I was Wrong, a 1996 mea culpa. I rather doubt we will ever see a similar book from Lewinsky, nor will one be demanded from her.

So we may conclude that while hypocrisy is something to be avoided, as a sin it has so en blown out of proportion that being a hypocrite is viewed as worse than someone who commits a sin and doesn't care who knows it. This is wrong.

In other words, folks, you have to argue the facts of the case. If Saddam Hussein gets up in front of us and says that murder is wrong, we may laugh at his hypocrisy, but ultimately we have to admit that he is right.

The bottom line is that all too often the charge of hypocrisy is made by people who want to avoid debating the issues. It's much easier to simply call your opponent a hypocrite than argue the facts and logic of the case.

Back To Malkin

Bringing all this back to Michelle Malkin, her loonly leftist attackers, Wonkette and Eric Muller attacked her for being a hypocrite. They did so because she has written columns critical of the sexualization of our culture, and of young girls in particular. Malkin, like most of us conservatives, values modesty. To us, "Girls Gone Wild" is not funny
but pathetic. Clothing stores such as Victoria Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch are stores to avoid, not to shop at. And the Bratz series of toys are certainly nothing social conservatives are going to buy.

So these leftist loons discover a photograph which allegedly shows a young Malkin in a bikini. Ah Ha! This, they say, "proves" that she is a hypocrite.

Uh, no.

On Redemption, The Prodigal Son, and "Breaking the Faith"

Luke 15:11–32 tells the story of the "Prodigal Son". We all know the story, or should: A man has two sons, one of whom leaves and goes off to live the wild life. The other stays home and is faithful. One day the first son returns, pleads forgiveness, and the father not only takes him in but throws a huge party. The second son is indignant, but the father tells him to not be angry but to rejoice, for it is good that the other son was once lost, but now is found.

Redemption is therfore possible. No matter what you've done, you can redeem youself.

Ok, so far so good. Here's where it gets tough, and what a lot of liberals wont' want to read: Once redeemed, you can tell others that they should change their ways.

People who are doing wrong things don't want to hear this. The person in their midst who wants to change is a threat that must be beaten down. If the person insists, fine, but must not be allowed to come back and tell the group that they must reform.

So amongst a group of drinkers or drug users no one in the group is allowed to leave. Anyone who dares express the view that all is not right will be immediately ridiculed. If he leaves, reforms, and comes back, he will be attacked as a hypocrite.

But this is not accurate. The hypcrite is someone who preaches one thing and does another. Someone who reforms and comes back to tell others that they shouldn't be doing what they do is not a hypocrite at all.

But idiots like Wonkette and Muller don't see it this way. To them, once you've done something wrong, you are forever more forbidden to tell others that they shouldn't do it. So if you used drugs in your youth, and then, as an older person advise young people that they oughtn't engage in such behavior, you are a "hypocrite".

Such thinking, however, is stupidity defined. Actually no, it's not stupidity, it's more that the people who make this charge want to engage in the behavior themselves or think the behavior acceptable, and can't tolerate dissention.

Now, to reiterate, this issue doesn't come up in the aforementioned case of Malkin, because the photo in question was an obvious fake. But so what if it was? How in the world does being photographed in a bikini make it illigitimate for you to criticize the sexualization of our culture in general or of children in particular? But as Malikin says, those who criticize her the harshest usually haven't actually read what she has written.

I think it best that I let Malkin have the last word

Since mm.com came into existence, I've been attacked regularly as a whore and a c**t and a puppet and a dupe and a sellout, etc. etc. etc. It comes with the territory--particularly when you happen to be a woman, a minority, and a conservative. The extensive arguments and blog posts and columns and books I've written are reduced to bumper-sticker putdowns by critics and their fellow travelers who couldn't be bothered to actually read what I've written day in and day out for the last two years on the blog and the past 14 years in my books and columns. I poked fun at this pathology in my last book. I think what drives a lot of the haters crazy is that despite their ceaseless sniping, they can't shut me up.

Rock on, Michelle.

Posted by Tom at 8:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Kofi Annan - War Criminal

The Sunday Times of London has a piece that removes any doubt that Kofi Annan is one of the worst and most destructive men ever to have headed the insane asylum known as the UN (hat tip LGF and Powerline). The piece examines Annan's tenure at the UN, first as bureaucrat and then as Secretary General. Money quote

A more specific charge would be that, under the doctrine of command responsibility, the UN is guilty of war crimes. Broadly speaking, it has three principles: that a commander ordered atrocities to be carried out, that he failed to stop them, despite being able to, or failed to punish those responsible. The case rests on the second, that in Rwanda in 1994, in Srebrenica in 1995 and in Darfur since 2003, the UN knew war crimes were occurring or about to occur, but failed to stop them, despite having the means to do so.

Yep. That's how Dore Gold laid it out in his book, Tower of Babel, too.

Here's the part leading up to that quote

The bodies were still warm when Lieutenant Ron Rutten found them: nine corpses in civilian clothes lying crumpled by a stream, each shot in the back at close range. It was July 12, 1995, and the UN-declared “safe area” of Srebrenica had fallen the previous day. The lush pastures of eastern Bosnia were about to become Europe’s bloodiest killing fields since 1945.

Refugees poured into the UN compound. But the Dutch peacekeepers (Dutchbat) were overwhelmed and the Serbs confiscated their weapons. “From the moment I found those bodies, it was obvious to me that the Bosnian Serbs planned to kill all the men,” Rutten said. He watched horrified as Dutch troops guided the men and boys onto the Serb buses.

Srebrenica is rarely mentioned nowadays in Annan’s offices on the 38th floor of the UN secretariat building in New York. He steps down in December after a decade as secretary-general. His retirement will be marked by plaudits. But behind the honorifics and the accolades lies a darker story: of incompetence, mismanagement and worse. Annan was the head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) between March 1993 and December 1996. The Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 men and boys and the slaughter of 800,000 people in Rwanda happened on his watch. In Bosnia and Rwanda, UN officials directed peacekeepers to stand back from the killing, their concern apparently to guard the UN’s status as a neutral observer. This was a shock to those who believed the UN was there to help them.

Annan’s term has also been marked by scandal: from the sexual abuse of women and children in the Congo by UN peacekeepers to the greatest financial scam in history, the UN-administered oil-for-food programme. Arguably, a trial of the UN would be more apt than a leaving party.

The charge sheet would include guarding its own interests over those it supposedly protects; endemic opacity and lack of accountability; obstructing investigations, promoting the inept and marginalising the dedicated. Such accusations can be made against many organisations. But the UN is different. It has a moral mission.

It was founded by the allies in 1945 to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights”. Its key documents – the Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the genocide convention – are the most advanced formulation of human rights in history. And they have been flouted by UN member states for decades.

A more specific charge would be that, under the doctrine of command responsibility, the UN is guilty of war crimes. Broadly speaking, it has three principles: that a commander ordered atrocities to be carried out, that he failed to stop them, despite being able to, or failed to punish those responsible. The case rests on the second, that in Rwanda in 1994, in Srebrenica in 1995 and in Darfur since 2003, the UN knew war crimes were occurring or about to occur, but failed to stop them, despite having the means to do so.

It goes on like this for several pages. Read the whole thing and then tell me that we should stay in the UN.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack