October 17, 2010
The Threat from Islamic Intimidation on Freedom of Speech
I've been doing a series of posts in which I summarize the findings in Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well.
It may be easy for some to dismiss this report and these types of posts because it's hard for some to see the impact on our daily lives. It's like of like terrorism, some will say that the threat was overblown by the Bush Administration because there was n 9-11 Part II. Never mind that the main reason there have not been more attacks was because we stopped them in their infancy, some will not think or investigate that far.
So it is the with threat of a "creeping shariah" by the Muslim Brotherhood and it's associated front groups like CAIR. It's all very fine and important to talk about captured documents and various statements, but in the end people will ask "so is this just a theoretical threat?" and if so turn back to watching the football game.
Two posts today at National Review's The Corner blog will help dispel the notion that there is no very real threat to our Freedom of Speech:
Some Context on the Wilders Case
October 17, 2010 4:30 P.M.
By Nina Shea
Geert Wilders is the latest in a lengthening roster of Europeans who have been criminally prosecuted for criticizing Islam. Under the slogans of stopping "Islamophobia" and banning "defamation" or "insult" of Islam, for two decades a concerted demand has been made for the West to enforce Islamic blasphemy rules, as is customary in certain member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The Netherlands has been among the many EU states struggling to comply. In the name of liberalism, it has enacted laws criminalizing "hate speech," with grossly illiberal results. A sample of the Dutch cases shows that the desire to protect minorities is a self-deluding piety in these circumstances. What really lies at the root of these vaguely defined and arbitrarily adjudicated cases is fear of Muslim violence.
One of the earliest such Western cases occurred in the Netherlands in 1992, a few years after Iran's fatwa against Salman Rushdie triggered murders of "blasphemers" connected with his book The Satanic Verses. A Muslim cabaret artist of Pakistani background, "Zola F," was found guilty of authoring an unflattering book about Muslim immigration, entitled The Impending Ruin of the Netherlands, Country of Gullible Fools. This created the anomaly of a white court condemning a brown immigrant for "racist hate speech."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim of African heritage who became a Dutch parliamentarian, was similarly prosecuted. She was charged for criticizing the Islamic teaching on killing homosexuals. Already known for her role in co-directing Submission (the film on abuses against Muslim women that led to the 2004 murder by a Muslim extremist of her co-director, Theo Van Gogh), she announced plans for a sequel on the treatment of homosexuals in Islam. This prompted the Netherlands' main Muslim lobby to register a complaint that her remarks were "blasphemous and have been received with a great deal of pain by the Muslim community." In 2005, after two years of legal proceedings for "incitement" to hatred, during which time she received numerous death threats and had to go into hiding, a court finally decided that although she had "sought the borders of the acceptable," her speech did not warrant prohibition, and she was let off.
Hate-speech arrests occurred in the aftermath of the Van Gogh murder. When an artist in Rotterdam painted a street mural that included the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" next to the date of Van Gogh's murder, a local mosque leader complained to police that the message was "racist." The police, on orders of the mayor, sandblasted the mural and arrested a television reporter at the scene and destroyed his film. Another Dutch man hung in his window a poster for a far-right movement that stated, "Stop the tumor that is Islam. Theo has died for us. Who will be next?" After being convicted by two lower courts, he finally prevailed on appeal.
Widespread Muslim violence and protest over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed has put Dutch officials on high alert for provocative caricaturists. In 2008, after an Internet monitoring group reported him to authorities for cartoons deemed insulting to Muslims, the edgy Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot was arrested. Police seized his computer's hard drive and cartoon sketches. The cartoons in question opposed Muslim immigration in various tasteless ways. Nekschot remains under suspicion of "insulting people on the basis of their race or belief, and possibly also of inciting hate," and could face two years in prison or a $25,000 fine if prosecuted. During the course of this case, it was revealed that the Dutch government had established an "Interdepartmental Working Group on Cartoons," apparently to apprise officials of any drawings that Muslims could find insulting.
The Wilders case is not unique, but it is important. It demonstrates the continued willingness of authorities in Europe's most liberal countries to regulate the content of speech on Islam in order to placate Muslim blasphemy demands. Few such cases end in conviction, but their chilling effect on free speech within and on Islam continues to widen.
-- Nina Shea directs the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and co-authored the forthcoming book Silenced (Oxford University Press), on contemporary blasphemy rules.
And the second one at NRO:
Dispatches from the Information War
October 16, 2010 12:46 P.M.
By Cliff May
The decisions by Dutch prosecutors to dismiss the charges against parliamentarian Geert Wilders can be seen as a battle won in a war the West is losing - the war for freedom of speech, the freedom without which no other freedoms can be defended.
As I argue in my latest column, influential people are not just avoiding criticism of all things Islamic, they also are legitimizing vile practices -- e.g. gender apartheid -- where these practices are rooted in Islamic practice.
Women's rights groups are silent. Most elite journalists are at least complicit.
The Washington Post recently refused to run a cartoon not of Mohammed but merely containing the words "Where's Mohammed?" (a parody on "Where's Waldo?"). Editors said they were being "prudent." The more accurate word, I think, would be craven. As Andy McCarthy has noted, such political correctness "betrays the core values of a free society" and can only be seen as a form "societal surrender."
Barton Hinkle at the Richmond Times Dispatch observed:Once upon a time, members of the media could be counted upon to champion free expression even when nobody else would. Where the First Amendment was implicated, newspapers were willing to go to bat for everyone from neo-Nazis to Hustler magazine, and to take on powerful institutions from the Vatican to the Pentagon, often while patting themselves on the back for "speaking truth to power." Yet when it comes to the Islamic question, many in the media will not even stick up for themselves.
Meanwhile, this new development: Norwegian journalist Halvor Tjønn, recently finished a biography of Muhammad only to have his Oslo publisher, decline to publish it. Islamist Watch reports:"It's an internal matter," said Kagge's director, denying that any threats had been received. Tjønn remarked, "If the publisher had objections to the book's quality, that would have come up much earlier in the process, and not after a year and a half"; he declined to get more specific. Naturally the tight lips bolster suspicion of fear-based self-censorship at work yet again. This case certainly fits the history of books about Islam disappearing as anxiety over violence grows:
And Andy has written about the intellectual surrender in the Fort Hood case. Even the Wall Street Journal, in a news column (the editorial page has not yet waved a white flag), pretends that the massacre has "raised questions" about "mounting stress among soldiers who have been on multiple tours." Really? Oh, is that what this is about? The story contains exactly one mention, near the very end, of Maj. Nidal Hassan's "fervent Islamic beliefs."
October 16, 2010
Shariah: The Threat to America
An Exercise in Competitive Analysis: The Report of Team B II
Part 4 - Shariah and Jihad
This is the fourth in a series of posts summarizing the findings in Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well. Go to the bottom of this post for links to the first three parts.
Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, a church I had gone to in the past hosted a talk by a Muslim man and wife in which they were going to explain Islam to interested congregants. Being interested, I went. Among the other things they said was that in the modern world "jihad" had nothing to do with violence or warfare. These things were all in the past. Today, they said, jihad was a "peaceful inner struggle" that Muslims went through so as to purify themselves before God. Even my knowledge of the subject was sketchy, it seemed like fairly obvious that they were not presenting the whole truth.
And indeed my later investigations have shown that they were not. See "Islam," "Jihadism and the War of Ideas" under Categories at right.
With that in mind, in this part we will examine the relationship of Shariah and Jihadism as reported by the authors of t he report.
Shariah and Jihad
So what does "jihad" mean? In order to answer that question, the authors delve into the Quran, Hadith, and other Islamic texts. They stress that quoting individual verses is not useful unless context is provided. That is true of the Bible, so it makes sense that it's true for other religious texts as well. More importantly, perhaps, more contemporary Islamic scholars are quoted. It matters less what Mohammed meant at the time than what current Muslims think he meant.
After reviewing the Quran, the authors conclude that
In the Quran and in later Muslim usage, the word jihad is commonly followed by the expression fi sabil Allah, "in the path of Allah."97 By describing the warfare of jihad as something sanctioned by Allah himself, Islamic authorities set it apart from the common tribal warfare of the time and elevated it to a superior status as something sacred.
The hadith consists of the "words and deeds" of Mohammed as recorded by various Muslims at the ime he was alive. Their conclusion there is pretty straightforward too:
The hadiths are the second source of shariah. Throughout those hadiths considered authoritative, jihad means warfare.
As mentioned above, it's perhaps less important to consider what the Quran and Hadith say in some isolated intellectual sense than it is what modern-day Muslim thinkers say they meant. And among them there is no more important than the chief theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb (1906 - 1966). From his most influential book, Milestones:
The reasons for Jihad which have been described in...verses [from cited sacred texts] are these: to establish God's authority in the earth; to arrange human affairs according to the true guidance provided by God; to abolish all the Satanic forces and Satanic systems of life; to end the lordship of one man over others since all men are creatures of God and no one has the authority to make them his servants or to make arbitrary laws for them. These reasons are sufficient for proclaiming Jihad.
By "Satanic systems of life," Qutb meant Western culture. The "the lordship of
one man over others" means democracy, whereby we elect one person(s) to rule over others. to Qutb, only God can rule.
The theological underpinnings of jihad are somewhat different for Sunnis and Shias, but in the end it all comes out the same; jihad is violence against non-Muslims.
The authors "bottom line" conclusion?
There is no basis in doctrinal Islam for concluding that jihad means anything other than waging holy war for the implementation of shariah and the establishment of the caliphate throughout the world. Indeed, a scholarly consensus on the definition of jihad was achieved over a thousand years ago - because it was impossible not to have consensus on the question: Allah commanded it and Mohammed confirmed it. In both direct and indirect divine revelation, the meaning of jihad as holy war was made clear.
Finally, jihad is generally not obligatory for individual Muslims, but is only a "collective" one. It only becomes obligatory when "Muslim lands" are invaded. Of course, clever people can make just about any situation look like an invasion, and thus claim that jihad is not obligatory.
Stealth or Civilizational Jihad
As discussed in previous segments, jihad need not be violent. There is also a non-violent form of jihad in which they try to undermine Western societies from within. The Muslim Brotherhood calls this a "civilizational jihad," and author Robert Spencer deems it a "stealth jihad."
Because it is not violent, the civilizational jihad often gets a pass, especially from Western liberals. However, it's goal is the same as the terrorists practicing the violent form of jihad; reestablishment of a world-wide caliphate and subjugation of the world to shariah law.
Since we are most attuned to violent jihad, and because the non-violent type so often is excused, it is this form that is the most dangerous, and which will be discussed in more detail in in the report.
Next: Shariah's security-relevant attributes
October 14, 2010
The Dependency Culture
For a thoroughly depressing experience, go to your local county board of supervisors/aldermen/city council when they have the annual public input session before they vote on next year's budget. You'll be treated to a parade of government workers and contractors who plead that not only if their particular program is cut the world will come to a screeching halt, but they need additional monies.
If you choose to speak and object that in the current economic downturn the government simply cannot afford programs it could in the past, you'll be told that au contraire, spending more on government programs boosts the economy. This is the case, you see, because businesses don't care about taxes but services, and more money for everything from education to gardening means more business which equals prosperity. And yes, where I live we spend money to teach rich suburbanites how to garden. Really.
Never mind that your local government body may be running a large deficit, or that unemployment or foreclosures are rising. Once a government program is started, it must never be cut, only increased. This is enforced through a built-in constituency; those who are dependent on the program for their incomes can be counted on to demand higher taxes no matter what the economic climate.
And if you sit there and listen most programs do sound important in and of themselves. But then you add them up and they total more than your revenues.
I was reminded of our annual budget hearings where I live when I saw this editorial in today's paper. Although it's about Federal programs and not local ones, it's really the same problem, just at a different level. Following are enough excerpts to make the point:
The political danger of a rising dependent population
The Washington Times
By William W. Beach
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Every passing year sees significant growth in the mass of Americans dependent on the federal government for life's necessities, from basic nutrition to shelter and health care.
This implacable trend -- long a concern of economists and political scientists -- is beginning to alarm ordinary citizens as well. They rightly sense that growing dependency drives the explosion of federal spending and public debt. They are connecting the dots between out-of-control spending and the public debt crisis here and abroad. They are guessing, again rightly, that every passing day makes controlling dependency more and more difficult, perhaps even more dangerous.
Signs of growing reliance on government -- the antithesis of the traditional American value of self-reliance and self-determinism -- emerge with alarming frequency.
Why the increase? Well, for one thing, dependency-creating programs keep offering Americans more and more benefits. Government support for dependent persons has grown from $7,293 per person in 1962, to $31,950 last year (both figures expressed in 2005 dollars). That's a more than fourfold increase in the richness of the benefits, making dependence on government an ever-sweeter deal -- one that gets harder and harder to walk away from.
Another reason is that fewer and fewer people pay for the richer benefits. All adult Americans can vote, but not all voters pay taxes. In 2008, more than 132 million Americans paid no income taxes. That's nearly half -- 43.6 percent -- of all Americans, more than three times the percentage that prevailed just 25 years earlier.
Spending on dependency-creating programs has increased by 49 percent since 2000. But last year alone it jumped a whopping 13.6 percent. Programs experiencing the greatest increase were: Health and welfare, 22 percent; food support, 20 percent; and housing support, 15 percent.
Unsustainable growth in dependency programs is at the root of every public debt crisis around the world. While the global recession was the trigger that pushed Greece, Spain and other countries into bankruptcy, the underlying financial problem was unsustainable spending on dependency-creating programs.
Politically involved Americans sense that the pension riots in Greece or the retirement street actions in Paris could come home to the U.S., when the federal government is forced to reduce dependency-related spending. That day could come soon, and the growing connection between financial crisis and political instability has many worried.
Rather than toy with this prospect, Congress needs to address the deep reasons for its excessive spending. That means examining the drivers of dependency and reducing the magnifying utilization of dependency programs. The longer policymakers delay acting on this fundamental challenge, the greater -- and graver -- both the political and economic stakes will become.
It's a problem when only half of the people pay taxes. Their incentive is to take even more money out of the pockets of the "wealthy" to put in their own.
Note please that I'm not really talking about poverty programs here. True poverty programs are necessary. This is as much about "middle-class welfare" as anything.
Yes, Congress needs to address the issue. But this simply begs the question as to what is their incentive? Up until recently, their incentive was to expand dependency programs because it created more dependency and thus the built-in voting constituency that I discussed above.
But the situation has come to a head, so there may well be a way out. George W. Bush and Republican leaders like Denny Haskert and Trent Lott lost conservatives, who had only voted for them in 2004/06 because the Democrats were so much worse. Bush spent a lot, but Obama is Bush on steroids when it comes to spending. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have disgusted not just ordinary Americans but many in their own party as well.
The Tea Party movement is not by itself the answer, but perhaps it represents the answer. First we'll see how well the GOP does in November, and then whether they do as they say once elected. The Tea Party folks say they'll hold them accountable, and I believe they will.
We're not going to overturn the dependency culture in an election or two, but with any luck we can make some dents in it. The alternative is national decline of a sort that will result in a much worse world. The planet needs a strong United States to stand against the dictators. We must not fail.
October 12, 2010
Signs of Success in Afghanistan
RESCUE READY: Air Force Pararescueman Alejandro Serrano with the 46th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron test-fires his weapon over Kandahar province in case it's needed during casualty-pickup missions in Afghanistan. (Associated Press Photo)
There is some good news today about the war in Afghanistan. One story is from a conservative newspaper, another a liberal one. That we're hearing essentially the same thing from both is telling.
First up is the conservative paper:
Payoff seen in Afghan surge
Taliban demoralized and changing sides, military says
The Washington Times By Rowan Scarborough
Monday, October 11, 2010
The U.S. military is starting to see signs that the troop surge in Afghanistan is working on a timetable similar to the Iraq reinforcement campaign in 2007, according to an outside adviser and military sources.
"There are already some early signs of a beginning of a momentum shift in our favor," retired Army Gen. Jack Keane told The Washington Times.
Gen. Keane just returned from a two-week tour of the battlefield, where the focus is on ousting the Taliban from Kandahar, its birthplace, as well as from Helmand province and other southern and eastern areas.
Gen. Keane reported his findings to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Kabul, who saw the surge of 30,000 troops completed in August, placing about 100,000 American service members in country.
An architect of the Bush administration's surge of troops in Iraq, Gen. Keane advised Gen. Petraeus when he was the top commander there.
Gen. Keane told The Times he has witnessed in Afghanistan the same shift in fortunes: Taliban fighters are changing sides, villages are being cleansed of the enemy and protected, and intercepted communications show flagging Taliban morale.
"Overall, we can see now that the surge forces are starting to make a difference," he said. "And you have to be encouraged by some of the progress that's being made. All that said, we're in a tough fight, and I believe we will continue to gain momentum."
Gen. Keane offered two observations as evidence. First, most commanders with whom he spoke said they are encountering Taliban who want to stop fighting and reintegrate into Afghan society. "That's a big deal," he said.
Second, "There's evidence of erosion of some of the will of the Taliban. We pick it up in interrogations, and we also pick it up listening to their radio traffic and telephone calls in terms of the morale problems they're starting to have," Gen. Keane said.
I've written not a little bit about Gen. Jack Keane (Ret) and he is an impressive figure. Keane was Vice-Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army at the time Operation Iraqi Freedom was initiated in March of 2003, and admitted straight up later that they had not anticipated the insurgency. Rather than give up, however, he (now retired), Frederick Kagan, and a few others developed the idea of a "surge" in 2006, and Keane presented the idea to Bush later that year. The surge, of course, worked, and while not out of the woods yet Iraq is a better place than it has been in decades.
Bottom line here is that over the past 6 or 7 years I've learned who gets military matters right and who doesn't. There are are analysts (StrategyPage.com) and retired generals (Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney) who got a lot wrong and who I no longer trust. Yes, Keane did not anticipate the insurgency. MacArthur also didn't anticipate the Japanese attacks on the Philippines in Dec 1941 or the Chinese invasion of Korea in 1950. But as MacArthur learned from (most) of his mistakes, so did Keane.
Next up is the liberal newspaper:
In Afghanistan, the first hints of success
The Washington Post
By Michael Gerson
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Success in Afghanistan is beginning to come in the first muddy trickles after a long drought.
Small groups of Taliban fighters -- sometimes a dozen with a leader -- are approaching local Afghan government officials, asking what kind of deal they might get. "First, they want to be taken off any list, so they are not targeted," explains a NATO official in Afghanistan. "Second, they want protection from the insurgency. Third, some kind of economic opportunity."
In counterinsurgency doctrine, this is known as "reintegration." The official admits it is "spotty" in Afghanistan but spreading in all regions. "It is happening in small numbers -- drip, drip, drip. It has not yet changed the battle space. . . . It is not a tipping point, at this point." The goal is to push these numbers much higher, with more insurgents driven to negotiation and exhaustion, so they "put down their weapons and go home."
Many Americans ask: What would victory look like in Afghanistan? It would look like this -- except more of it.
Eighteen months ago, Afghan insurgents had the morale that comes from momentum. But the surge in NATO operations, particularly Special Operations, has started to change the psychological battlefield. Special Forces now go after eight to 10 major objectives each night -- perhaps three-quarters of these raids result in the death or capture of an insurgent leader. Two Taliban shadow governors -- a key position in the leadership structure -- were killed in the last week. Such roles are quickly refilled, but replacements tend to be less seasoned and more frightened.
"We hear a lot of chatter," says the official, "from networks inside of Afghanistan." Some fighters don't feel "a moment of peace. They can't sleep. They keep moving all the time. They can't plan attacks because they are planning to survive." And this is opening up a "real rift" with Taliban "bosses leading from the relative comfort of Pakistan." While some units are well supplied, others are "not supplied, not paid, but told to keep fighting."
Reintegration of low- and mid-level fighters is based on their concern for survival. Reconciliation between the Afghan government and higher-level Taliban leaders is a political matter, gaining much recent attention. President Hamid Karzai has convened a "high peace council," open to Taliban overtures but insisting on certain conditions: repudiating al-Qaeda, laying down arms, accepting the Afghan constitution. The most ideological of Taliban leaders will never reconcile. Others may calculate, as many Sunni leaders eventually did in Iraq, that their rejectionism is undermining their long-term political influence.
In a national settlement, some kind of power-sharing arrangement is probably inevitable. But sharing power in a united government is very different from the concession of Taliban control over any portion of Afghanistan's territory.
Indeed. Just as the arrival late in the day of Gebhard von Blücher's IV Prussian Corps at Waterloo demoralized the tired French, the surge in operations by the United States showed the Taliban that far from giving up we were redoubling our efforts. Just as what happened in Iraq is happening in Afghanistan.
As the official says, we're not quite at the tipping point yet, one reason why President Obama's announcement of a withdrawal date was so ill-advised. As I said so often during the surge in Iraq, if we stop too soon we risk losing all that we had gained. Likewise with Afghanistan.
All successful counterinsurgencies involve some sort of negotiations with at least some of the insurgents and at least some sort of political settlement.
Obviously there are still huge challenges ahead. There are naysayers on the right and left. Yet we cannot throw up our hands and ignore these signs of progress. If we lose Afghanistan, jihadists worldwide will take it as a sign from Allah that he is on their side. The ruling Taliban will invite in the al Qaeda, who will use it as a base from which to launch attacks. The stakes are high, we must press on.
October 11, 2010
The "Pseudoscientific Fraud" of Global Warming
You know the global warming crowd is losing the battle when they resort to this:
You must sign in to Youtube to view it there, but I googled around and found it at NewsPublic.
As the world knows, the video, No Pressure, was "made available" last week by a group called 10:10 Global. It generated such a huge outcry that they removed it from their website and issued a sort-of apology. The group's stated goal is to start "An ambitious project to unite every sector of society behind one simple idea: cutting our carbon by 10% a year starting now."
Uh huh. I guess they got a little... overenthusiastic.
No Pressure was made by one Richard Curtis. Wikipedia describes him as a
New Zealand-born British screenwriter, music producer, actor and film director, known primarily for romantic comedy films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, and Love Actually, as well as the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. He is also the founder of the British charity Comic Relief.
Seems like a pleasant chap, doesn't he? Who would guess that someone who specialized in romantic comedies could be so bonkers?
Yes yes, I'll be told by the global warming crowd, "No Pressure was terrible and I reject it, but the scientific consensus is that Anthropogenic (man-caused) Global Warming is real and we need to take action to stop it."
To take just one example, we have the resignation letter of Professor Hal Lewis, in which he takes to task American Physical Society of which he had been a member for sixty-seven years (h/t neo-neocon, a former Democrat who has one of the few truly must-read blogs). Here are a few key excerpts:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago)....
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d'être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it.
Obviously the good professor is only one person, and one person doesn't prove the case... yada yada yada. So please don't waste pixtels making that comment. But you can't dismiss ClimateGate, as some environmentalists I know have tried to do by calling it a "tempest in a teapot." I rather think that Professor Lewis was right; it exposed the AWG crowd for what they really were.
From all that I have read my bottom lines are these: One, AWG is at best unproven, and the warmers use so much politically correct intellectual terror to enforce their orthodoxy that in the current situation we can't get at the truth if we tried.
Two, the measures promoted by the AWG crowd are so extreme that they must be instantly dismissed regardless. The Kyoto treaty was a nightmare. Cap and Trade is a travesty. Environmentalism in general has a totalitarian bent. I am somewhat involved in fighting their extreme measures where I live, so I know a bit of what I write. Protect our air and streams, yes. Adopt extremist environmental proposals, no.
October 9, 2010
Shariah: The Threat to America
An Exercise in Competitive Analysis: The Report of Team B II
Part 3 - The Threat Posed by Shariah
In the first two installments of this series I introduced and summarized the key findings of the recently released Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well.
Shariah is a totalitarian system of laws that is antithetical to everything we in the West hold dear. Shariah cannot be reconciled with the freedoms and liberties, or our democratic (and republican, if you want to get technical) system of government that we have fought so hard and for so long to achieve.
Yet Shariah is being introduced into the West, slowly but surely. Amazingly, it is the political left, the liberals, who acquiesce in it's introduction. The claim is made that shariah is misunderstood, that it's simply the Muslim version of the early books of the Bible (Deuteronomy and Leviticus are usually cited) and therefore no different, or who are we to impose our values on them, or some such.
In reality Shariah is a huge threat to the West, and in the above mentioned report the authors tell us why.
What is Shariah?
The Arabic word "shariah," according to one modern English- language student textbook on Islam, "literally means a straight path (Quran 45:18) or an endless supply of water. It is the term used to describe the rules of the lifestyle (Deen) ordained for us by Allah. In more practical terms, shariah includes all the do's and dont's of Islam."
In other words, shariah is held by mainstream Islamic authorities - not to be confused with "radical," "extremist" or "political" elements said to operate at the fringes of Islam - to be the perfect expression of divine will and justice and thus is the supreme law that must comprehensively govern all aspects of Muslims' lives, irrespective of when or where they live. Shariah is characterized as a "complete way of life" (social, cultural, military, religious, and political), governed from cradle to grave by Islamic law.
It is certainly true that many Muslims ignore shariah, this does not change the facts about shariah. More, those who say there are multiple ways or practicing shariah or that there are different types of shariah are simply wrong.
The report discusses at some length the Koran, how the books within it are organized, and some concepts like abrogation whereby later passages annul earlier ones. The way abrogation plays out, for example, is that the earlier, "peace love and understanding" verses are annulled by the later violent "kill the infidels" ones. Long story short,
In practice, Quranic abrogation results in a known doctrinal footprint that subordinates the milder, more moderate verses of the Quran from the Meccan period of revelation, to the later and violent verses of the Medina period.
The Application of Shariah
How comprehensive is shariah?
Shariah contains categories and subjects of Islamic law called the branches of fiqh (literally, "understanding"). They include Islamic worship, family relations, inheritance, commerce, property law, civil (tort) law, criminal law, administration, taxation, constitution, international relations, war and ethics, and other categories.
That would include just about everything, then.
The authors survey a number of so-called "moderate," non-radicalized Islamic scholars, all of whom conclude that democracy is incompatible with Islam. The authors put it plainly; "Shariah is wholly at odds with U.S. national sovereignty, the U.S. Constitution, and the liberties it guarantees."
Yup. Now we just have to get more Americans to recognize that.
Next: Shariah and Jihad
October 8, 2010
In the Battle of Life and Death, We Know Which Side This Woman is On
Earlier this week I posted a video of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen speaking about her near-death experience at the hands of an abortionist. She asked her audience, "in the battle of life and death, which side are you on?"
Journalist Virginia Ironside isn't shy about declaring where her loyalties lie (h/t Belmont Club)
I get that watching someone suffer is a horrible experience, and "putting them out of their misery" is tempting. And before modern times, or if you're trapped in some third world country with no escape, it might even be the thing to do. But that's not what Ironside is talking about here. She's talking about smothering with a pillow a baby in a modern country in our current time.
Children born with debilitating conditions, or people who are old and infirm are heartbreaking situations. The distinction I make is whether the person is on life support, or living on their own. It is one thing to remove life support and let nature take it's course, it is quite another to take the life of someone who is able to live on their own. It is the latter that Ironside advocates, and which made her interviewer gasp.
That this is, to put it mildly, a difficult subject is indisputable. And that's what makes Ironside's cold, dispassionate, statement that she would smother a child with a pillow so horrifying. If that's your position, at least exhibit some emotion. At least act like you see the moral dilemma involved. And don't be so callous as to say you'd just kill a baby with a pillow.
"If a baby's going to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely an abortion is the act of a loving mother."
You just can't make this stuff up.
October 7, 2010
Shariah: The Threat to America
An Exercise in Competitive Analysis: The Report of Team B II
Part 2 - Key Findings
Yesterday I introduced the recently released Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well.
Today we'll take a look at some of the key findings in the report.
What about the moderates?
We constantly hear that "90 percent of Muslims are moderates" and so the threat is being overblown. The authors knock that one down easily:
Too many Muslims, to borrow a metaphor from Mao, provide the sea in which the jihadis swim. By offering little meaningful opposition to the jihadist agenda and by meekly submitting to it, a large number of Muslim communities and nations generally project a tacit agreement with jihadis' ends, if not with their means. At the very least, they exhibit an unwillingness to face the consequences of standing up to shariah's enforcers within Islam. Such consequences include the distinct possibility of being denounced as an apostate, a capital offense under shariah.
Even in cases where the "offense" doesn't merit death, there's simple social ostracization. No one likes to be an outcast.
Violent v Peaceful Jihad
One of the problems we face is that officialdom and the liberal elite have cast the problem as being just violent terrorists, and in some cases, just al Qaeda. The authors warn that the danger is just as great with the peaceful jihadists:
The first thing to understand about the jihadis who operate by stealth is that they have precisely the same dual objectives as the openly violent jihadists (including al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban): global imposition of shariah and reestablishment of the Islamic caliphate to rule in accordance with it. They differ only with respect to timing and tactics.
And indeed even this "peaceful" phase is only tactical; if they could take power violently now they would. More, they only reason they are peaceful is that they do not yet have the ability to take power violently, but when they do they will.
The Organization that is the Biggest Threat
It's not al Qaeda. Sure, they would explode a nuclear weapon in New York City if they could, but I think that danger is somewhat remote. More, it's one that most Americans recognize as a danger so we give our government the tools to deal with it.
No, the biggest danger is the Muslim Brotherhood
The most important entity promoting Islamic supremacism, shariah, and the caliphate through - at least for the moment - non-violent means is the Muslim Brotherhood (MB, or in Arabic, the Ikhwan). The MB defined this form of warfare as "civilization jihad" in its strategic document for North America, entitled the Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group, which was entered into evidence in the 2008 United States v. Holy Land Foundation trial. ...
Specifically, the document explained that the civilization jihadist process involves a "grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that
it is eliminated....
Here is why it is the biggest danger
1. It operates mostly peacefully, and we are mostly on the lookout for violent terrorists
2. It is huge, with hundreds of thousands or millions of members
3. It operates through hundreds or thousands of front groups
4. It's stated goal is the restoration of the caliphate and the imposition of Shariah on the world, including Europe and the United States.
5. It is extremely good at infiltrating "ememy" organizations and governments. The authors spell it out:
Muslim Brotherhood organizations conduct outreach to the government, law enforcement, media, religious community, and others for one reason: to subvert them in furtherance of their objective, which is implementation of Islamic law.
The Muslim Brotherhood(MB), then, is the foremost organization pushing the "civizational jihad" against the West. They are the tip of the spear of the modern jihad, and aim to take us down.
As will be made clear in future posts, the Brotherhood has infiltrated most mosques and Muslim organizations in the United States. They seize control and use them to push their agenda. That they are only peaceful now as a tactic but will turn to violence when the time is right is stated outright in captured MB documents.
First, become educated on the threat; it goes well beyond al Qaeda
Second, stop outreach programs to Muslim Brotherhood front organizations
Three, just as we ban members of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan from government jobs, we should do likewise with appropriate Muslim groups.
Four, prosecute outright sedition.
Five, make sure textbooks and classroom material in Muslim schools does not promote civiliational jihad or hate
Six, allow no shariah-zones or shariah courts in the United States. Nothing in the U.S. must be allowed to become "shariah compliant."
Seven, immigrants to the United States must agree that the U.S. Constitution is the law of the land and not shairiah.
Next: The Threat Posed by Shariah
October 6, 2010
Shariah: The Threat to America
An Exercise in Competitive Analysis: The Report of Team B II
Part 1 - Introduction
It has long been a theme of mine that while terrorism is certainly a problem, it is not the problem we have with regard to radical Islam. Terrorist attacks can and have hurt us, but as things stand now will not bring us down. This is quite in contrast to the Cold War, whereby a war with the Soviet Union would have devastated at least Europe, perhaps our country as well.
The similarity with the Cold War is that our current conflict is as much ideological as it is military. Walid Phares calls it a "War of Ideas," and he is certainly onto something.
Many will object that "few people actually believe in radical Islam," and we heat things along the lines of "only 10 percent of Muslims are radicals/sympathetic to the radicals," and that "only a miniscule number of Americans/Westerners buy into radical Islam so the danger is overblown."
But history is not made by taking a vote at every important moment. Only 1/3 of the American colonists wanted independence from Great Britain in 1776. The Jacobins were a minority of Frenchmen in 1789, and the Bolsheviks a minority of Russians in 1917. The quota on imported sugar in America today is not there because it has the broad support of Americans but because of the political influence of a small minority of sugar growers in Louisiana. Less than half of Americans even vote in most elections, and the more local the election is the fewer people vote. History and outcomes are made by determined and well-organized minorities.
So it is with radical Islam. It matters not a whit that most Muslims are not radicals. If the average Muslim moderates are not willing to stand up and demand that Muslim Brotherhood influence be purged from Muslim organizations, then the radicals win, no matter how few their numbers. Consider the fate of Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist who organized the "Everybody Draw Mohammed" day in 2010 as a protest against censorship. After threats she canceled the contest and apologized. No matter, the threats continued until she has changed her name and gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI. There was and is no support from Muslim groups, or hardly anyone outside of a few conservatives, for that matter, for the concept of free speech.
The danger is rather a sort of "creeping sharia" whereby we suffer the death of a thousand cuts rather than the one by the guillotine. Muslim radicals aim to deceive us as to their true intention, which is to spread their sharia(or "shariah") into the West, replacing our values with their own. In short, their objective is to take us over peacefully over a long period of time, not militarily all at once.
It was bad enough that President Bush called our current conflict a "War on Terror," as if terror was the big problem, but at least he seemed to get the danger from radical Islam. President Obama, obsessed like all liberals with political correctness, misses it entirely. The Administration has banned terms like "Islamic extremism" and "jihad" from national security documents. You can't win a war if you can't even properly identify your enemy.
What needs to be made clear is that while Samuel P. Huntington was certainly correct in that we are in a "Cash of Civilizations", I am most certainly not devolving into a "Christianity good - Islam bad." "Islam" is not evil, and ours is not a theological debate but one of values, or ideas.
Identifying the enemy is just what was done in the recently released Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well.
In this series, I will examine the report. Below the fold is my part one.
From the preface of the report:
This study is the result of months of analysis, discussion and drafting by a group of top security policy experts concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as shariah. It is designed to provide a comprehensive and articulate "second opinion" on the official characterizations and assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government.
The authors, under the sponsorship of the Center for Security Policy, have modeled this work on an earlier "exercise in competitive analysis" which came to be known as the "Team B" Report. That 1976 document challenged the then-prevailing official U.S. government intelligence ("Team A") estimates of the intentions and offensive capabilities of the Soviet Union and the policy known as détente that such estimates ostensibly justified.
As with all such think-tank reports, this study is based entirely from unclassified sources. Authors include such luminaries as former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Frank Gaffney, former Special Agent, Counter-Terrorism Division, Federal Bureau of
Investigation John Guandolo, Admiral (Ret) James Lyons, and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey.
From the Introduction
Today, the United States faces what is, if anything, an even more insidious ideological threat: the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls shariah. Translated as "the path," shariah is a comprehensive legal and political framework. Though it certainly has spiritual elements, it would be a mistake to think of shariah as a "religious" code in the Western sense because it seeks to regulate all manner of behavior in the secular sphere - economic, social, military, legal and political.
Shariah is the crucial fault line of Islam's internecine struggle....
Shariah is not a private matter of personal conscience. It is not a guide to daily living. Nor is is it a matter of debate among Muslims, as far as the radicals or fundamentalists are concerned. All of society and government is to be ordered as per shariah. The U.S. Constitution, and indeed all laws outside of shariah are rendered invalid. Non-Muslims will be allowed to survive if they accept dhimmi status.
As such, Muslims are not to assimilate into the West or adopt our values. There is to be none of the "give and take" of values, language, and culture, that the United States has seen with our successive waves of immigrants. Muslims are to force us to adopt their ways in totality and that is that.
The authors make the point that
...regardless of what percentage of the global Islamic population adheres or otherwise defers to shariah (and some persuasive polling indicates that percentage is high in many Islamic countries1), that segment is punching well above its weight. For that reason, proponents of an expansionist shariah present a serious threat to the United States even if we assume, for argument's sake, that hopeful pundits are correct in claiming that shariah adherent Islam is not the preponderant Muslim ideology.
This said, they also stress the vital necessity of engaging Muslim reformers. We must "do what we can to empower Islam's authentic moderates and reformers." But "that cannot be done by following the failed strategy of fictionalizing the state of Islam in the vain hope that reality will, at some point, catch up to the benign fable."
Indeed. Political correctness is our greatest weakness.
Next: Key Findings