Friday, March 31, 2006

Policies on immigration should be the same for everybody, Hispanics included

Will GOP Be the Party of Reagan or Tom Tancredo?By Wall Street Journal Editorial

As Congress battles over immigration, the consequences are likely to be far greater than the details of border walls or green cards. The most important political outcome may turn out to be the message that Republicans send about the kind of the party they are and hope to be.

To wit, do Republicans want to continue in the Reagan tradition of American optimism and faith in assimilation that sends a message of inclusiveness to all races? Or will they take another one of their historical detours into a cramped, exclusionary policy that tells millions of new immigrants, and especially Hispanics, that they belong somewhere else?

Admittedly that paints with a broad brush, but politics is often about broad symbolism, and this is roughly the Republican choice presented by President Bush's approach on the one hand, and that of Tom Tancredo and his platoon of talk-show hosts and Tory columnists on the other.

Let us quickly say that not every American concerned about immigration is part of the latter group. The breadth of new immigration, legal and illegal, in recent years has literally changed the face of America. Our own view is that this has been mostly for the better--in revitalized inner cities, a younger workforce to fuel a dynamic economy, and in general helping America avoid the senescent future of other industrial nations.

But there have also been costs, and parts of America have borne more than have others. The border states in particular have experienced more crime and social disruption, as well as the cost to local taxpayers of "free" health care and education for illegal immigrants. To the extent they work and pay rent, illegals do pay for those government services. But we don't dismiss lightly the anxiety that many Americans feel at this rapid pace of demographic change. Well meaning politicians, such as Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who feel obliged to respond to that anxiety in this election year are not part of the nativist brigades.

The issue is the form and message that response takes. For Republicans in the House especially, the approach has been to send the most punitive message possible to both illegals and anyone who assists or hires them, no matter how innocently. They're backed by a small but vocal band of "conservative" media who denounce any rational idea for legalizing the 11 million illegals already in the U.S. as "amnesty."

Never mind that even under the most liberal proposals now in Congress, current illegals would have to pay a fine, learn English, and wait upward of a decade to qualify for citizenship. And no matter that these pseudo-conservatives have no alternative policy, other than to arrest and deport millions in a way that would cause far more social and economic disruption than we have now.

Such a punitive policy would alienate business owners and religious conservatives among the GOP base. But because the policy is aimed largely at Hispanic immigrants, it will also rightly be seen as a specific ethnic rebuke. Millions of Hispanics--both illegals and those who have been here for decades--will get the message that the Republican Party doesn't want them. Those Republicans who shout "no amnesty" and want to make illegally crossing the Rio Grande a felony are well on their way to creating a generation or more of new Democratic voters.

This is a mistake Republicans have made too many times before. In the 1920s, their anti-immigration bills alienated Catholic newcomers from Europe, who weren't open to GOP appeals in any numbers until the Reagan years. In postwar Hawaii, Republicans made the same mistake with Asians and Pacific islanders, turning that state safely Democratic. And most recently, in 1994 in California, they rode Pete Wilson's Proposition 187 to a short-term re-election victory but at the cost of polarizing Hispanic voters and making themselves the minority party in our largest state.

First as Texas Governor and then in the White House, Mr. Bush has wisely tried to change this anti-immigration image of the GOP. Among Hispanics in particular, he has made enormous progress. Bob Dole won 21% of the Hispanic vote in 1996, Mr. Bush improved that to 35% in 2000 and again to 44% in 2004. Given that the Hispanic share of the electorate has climbed to 8% in 2004 from 2% 20 years ago, and is likely to climb to 12% by 2020, Republicans who ignore Hispanic voters are guaranteeing themselves future political defeats.

Yes, some pundits insist, often in their own immigrant accents, that every naturalized Hispanic is a future Democratic voter. But Hispanics have never been the political monolith that African-Americans are. Cubans have voted Republican since they started migrating in the Castro era, and millions of other Hispanics have shown they are as open to GOP appeals as any other ethnic group as they rise in income and homeownership. But conservative ideas on taxes, crime and foreign policy will never get a future hearing if Republicans now send a message that they are only a party of Anglos, or only of those Hispanics who've been here since the days of the Alamo.

The immediate danger is that Republicans will ignore their longer-term interests by passing a punitive, and poll-driven, anti-immigration bill this election year. Any bill that merely harasses immigrants and employers, and stacks more cops on the border, may win cheers in the right-wing blogosphere. However, it will do nothing to address the economic incentives that will continue to exist for poor migrants to come to America to feed their families. And it will make permanent enemies of millions of Hispanics, without doing anything to draw illegals out of the shadows and help them assimilate into the mainstream of American culture and citizenship.

This is not Ronald Reagan's view of America as a "shining city on a hill." It is the chauvinist conservatism usually associated with the European right. How Republicans conduct and conclude their immigration debate will show the country which kind of "conservative" party they want to be.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

On Immigration, the President is right.

March 30, 2006
Guard the Borders--And Face Facts
By George Will

WASHINGTON -- America, the only developed nation that shares a long -- 2,000-mile -- border with a Third World nation, could seal that border. East Germany showed how: walls, barbed wire, machine gun-toting border guards in towers, mine fields, large irritable dogs. And we have modern technologies that East Germany never had -- sophisticated sensors, unmanned surveillance drones, etc.

It is a melancholy fact that many of these may have to be employed along the U.S.-Mexican border. The alternatives are dangerous and disagreeable conditions for Americans residing near the border, and vigilantism. It is, however, important that Americans feel melancholy about taking such measures to frustrate immigration that usually is an entrepreneurial act -- taking risks to get to America to do work most Americans spurn. As debate about immigration policy boils, augmented border control must not be the entire agenda, lest other thorny problems be ignored, and lest America turn a scowling face to the south and, to some extent, to many immigrants already here.

But control belongs at the top of the agenda, for four reasons. First, control of borders is an essential attribute of sovereignty. Second, current conditions along the border mock the rule of law. Third, large rallies by immigrants, many of them here illegally, protesting more stringent control of immigration reveal that many immigrants have, alas, assimilated: They have acquired the entitlement mentality spawned by America's welfare state, asserting an entitlement to exemption from the laws of the society they invited themselves into. Fourth, giving Americans a sense that borders are controlled is a prerequisite for calm consideration of what policy that control should serve.

Of the estimated at least 11 million illegal immigrants -- a cohort larger than the combined populations of 12 states -- 60 percent have been here at least five years. Most have roots in their communities. Their children born here are U.S. citizens. We are not going to take the draconian police measures necessary to deport 11 million people. They would fill 200,000 buses in a caravan stretching bumper-to-bumper from San Diego to Alaska -- where, by the way, 26,000 Latinos live. And there are no plausible incentives to get the 11 million to board the buses.

Facts, a conservative (John Adams) said, are stubborn things, and regarding immigration, true conservatives take their bearings from facts such as those in the preceding paragraph. Conservatives should want, as the president proposes, a guest worker program to supply what the U.S. economy demands -- immigrant labor for entry-level jobs. Conservatives should favor a policy of encouraging unlimited immigration by educated persons with math, engineering, technology or science skills that America's education system is not sufficiently supplying.

And conservatives should favor reducing illegality by putting illegal immigrants on a path out of society's crevices and into citizenship by paying fines and back taxes and learning English. Faux conservatives absurdly call this price tag on legal status ``amnesty.'' Actually, it would prevent the emergence of a sullen, simmering subculture of the permanently marginalized, akin to the Arab ghettos in France. The House-passed bill, making it a felony to be in the country illegally, would make 11 million people permanently ineligible for legal status. To what end?

Within a decade, the New York and Washington metropolitan regions will join the Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco regions in having majorities made up of minorities, partly because immigrants have higher birth rates than whites. Since 2000, births, not immigration, were the largest source of growth of America's Latino population.

Urban immigrant communities, with their support networks, are magnets for immigrants. Good. Investor's Business Daily reports a new study demonstrating that ``over the past 30 years rising immigration led to higher wages for U.S.-born workers. Cities that served as migrant magnets did better than others. Why? Hiring one worker creates wealth with which to hire more workers."
The president, who has not hoarded his political capital, spent some trying to get the nation to face facts about the bleak future of an unreformed Social Security system. Concerning which: In 1940 there were 42 workers for every retiree; today there are 3.1. By 2030, when all 77 million baby boomers have left the work force, there will be only 2.2. And that projection assumes net annual immigration, legal and illegal, of 900,000, more than double the 400,000 foreigners who, under the terms of proposed Senate legislation, could come here to work each year.
Today the president is spending more of his depleted political capital by standing to the left of much of his political base, which favors merely preventative and punitive measures regarding immigration. He is right to take his stand there.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Lost in most of the arguments is the deep meaning that the concept of American citizenship holds for us"

March 29, 2006
Citizenship: The Precious Legacy
By Thomas Lifson

The problem posed by the presence of millions of illegal aliens in our midst has no easy and immediately practical solution. Sweeping rhetoric from advocates of one clean-cut position or another may sound satisfying, but would cause chaos in practice. De facto open borders or mass expulsion, if ever were attempted, would be disasters. When being practical, we tend to focus on immediate practical issues like border security, drivers licenses and insurance, and the payment of income and Social Security taxes.

Lost in most of the arguments is the deep meaning that the concept of American citizenship holds for us.

In classical antiquity, the proudest boast and most effective shield a man could utter was the Latin phrase, "Civis Romanus sum" ("I am a Roman citizen"). This prideful status carried both obligations and protections, and was not something acquired idly by mere birth within a certain territory.

Americans have married the concept of constitutional rights and duties to the notion of membership in a polity, producing a national culture of citizenship that has repeatedly astonished the world. Our ability to rise as one in defense of liberty, despite the seeming softness, inattention, selfishness, and weakness that has fooled villains like Tojo, Hitler and bin Laden into believing we lack the spine to resist them, has caused them and their adherents everlasting regret.

We Americans are citizens, not "subjects" like our British cousins. We used to see citizenship as meaning the ability to vote, to speak-up, and to hold a claim on rights bought and paid for with the blood of patriots selflessly spilled on our behalf. With this legacy came certain obligations. Not simply paying taxes, but actively contributing to the national defense, taking the time to learn about political issues and voting, and, as dramatically embodied in the classic New England Town Meetings, taking part in civic life to produce a better community and country.

Increasingly and dismayingly, citizenship has seemed to become merely an irrevocable green card, a permission to live here with no obligation to learn the common language, serve the commonweal, or behave in a distinctively American mode of civic conduct. Anyone whose mother happens to find herself within the borders of the United States at the time of birth, legally or not, is granted citizenship as a right. In a growing number of ethnic communities, generations born in the United States decline the use of English, the language of the Declaration and Constitution, as their mother tongue. We even print ballots in multiple languages.

It is time for us to think long and hard once again about what American citizenship really means.

Many of the greatest American citizens have been immigrants. Denied membership in our community by birth, creative, energetic, brave, and hard-working people have flocked here from every corner of the earth and repaid in full their debt for the freedoms and prosperity they have enjoyed as Americans. Often, their efforts are inspirational. I cannot listen to the song "God Bless America" written by immigrant Irving Berlin, or think of the sacrifices of immigrant soldiers, or enjoy the fruits of the creative immigrant minds working in Silicon Valley today, without pause to bless America as a beacon unto the world, allowing those yearning to be free to realize the blessing of liberty.

I want America's door to remain open to immigration. We benefit from it too much to close it in a fit of pique and foreclose the possibility of another Albert Einstein, An Wang, or Carlos Santana coming our way.

But we have to insist that citizenship mean something more than a ticket on the gravy train of welfare benefits and enhanced power for ethnic block politics. Citizenship is precious. It is a gift from our Founding Fathers, who recognized the Divine origins of our rights and staked all on the quest to establish them for posterity. Citizenship is a gift from the warriors who fought to defend us. It is far too precious to offer, willy-nilly, to people who have flouted our laws.

Whatever solution or compromise the political process comes to, regarding the illegal presence of millions in our midst, I do not want citizenship bestowed as a matter of course. It must be earned, and its duties affirmed by all who would wish to enjoy the status of American citizen. At a minimum this means learning English and studying our political culture and traditions. It means swearing a solemn oath, and relinquishing all loyalties to foreign flags. And it means making amends if the citizen-to-be has violated our sovereignty in arriving within our borders. We dishonor the blood sacrifice made in our behalf if we do any less.

Suggestions of illegal aliens paying a "fine" have been mooted, as if a few thousand dollars could buy the precious gift of citizenship. I find this offensive, and believe it would lead to nothing but derision for citizenshp in the longer term. What we need more than money is commitment to our civic culture and life, a sense of responsibility to America and Americans.

Perhaps we need a two-tier solution. Maybe those whose identity and ultimate allegiance lies elsewhere can be offered temporary residence permits once they have made good on the back taxes they owe, have passed a background check for criminality, and agree not to burden our social welfare system with their needs. But if they do not buy into the entire package of citizenship, responsibilites and all, they do not deserve its rewards.

Citizenship should be reserved for those who understand and are committed to American fundamental values, and who stand ready to follow in the footsteps of patriots. Anything less diminishes us and our precious gift of citizenship.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.

Mrs. Clinton , the chameleon, the opportunist...When will New Yorkers wake up??

lizard of Africa and Madagascar able to change skin color and having a projectile tongue

Clinton Makes a PitchFor Catholic Voters
By: E.J. Kessler
Date: 4/3/2006
Page: 5
the new york observer

The hunt for the great American Catholic voter of 2008 started in earnest last week, led by none other than New York’s junior Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Speaking about a Republican-passed immigration bill that would make it a felony to be in the United States illegally, or to aid an illegal immigrant, Mrs. Clinton said, “It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures, because the bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself.”

Not coincidently, on the same day that Mrs. Clinton was channeling the late Catholic agitator Dorothy Day, the Democratic National Committee was disseminating via e-mail an opinion article voicing similar sentiments written by Cardinal Roger Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles.

The gambit shows the lengths to which Democrats will go to recapture Catholic voters, a quarter of the electorate, 55 percent of whom cast their ballots for President Bush in 2004 notwithstanding the Catholic faith of Democratic nominee John Kerry. It’s fair turnabout: During the 2004 campaign, Mr. Bush paid a high-profile visit to the Vatican, and months later, some Catholic bishops urged voters to shun politicians like Mr. Kerry who support abortion rights.

Now, Democrats want to woo back the many Hispanic Catholic voters who deserted them in 2004, hence their emphasis on immigrants’ rights, ventured out of conviction but also with the hope of flipping into their column states like Colorado and New Mexico, which went narrowly for Mr. Bush two years ago.

Mrs. Clinton, however, has positioned herself way ahead of her party and any of her putative 2008 Presidential rivals by championing initiatives that appeal to middle-class, white-ethnic, suburban Catholic voters, especially married women (another group that swung heavily to the G.O.P. in 2004). She knows that Catholic defections kept the vote uncomfortably close in some heavily Catholic states that Mr. Kerry won—including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania—and contributed to Mr. Bush’s single-point victory in Iowa.

So we find Mrs. Clinton advocating “pro-family” legislation: for example, joining with the Senate’s two most conservative Catholics—Republicans Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania—to push for a bill authorizing research into the supposedly pernicious effects of electronic media on children. And there she was late last year, in a heavily Catholic Nassau County suburb, touting her bill to make cars safer for children. (As The New York Times noted this week, she has made herself an expert on the infrastructure issues of the aging suburb.) Need we mention her conciliatory language on abortion?

Strategists have been saying for some time that Mrs. Clinton will use her re-election campaign in the heavily Catholic areas of upstate New York as a laboratory for her expected 2008 Presidential bid. “Her spin is, ‘Hey, look, I can win Catholic votes. If I can win the western tier of New York, I can win Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania,’” said veteran Democratic operative Hank Sheinkopf. If religion-tinged issues such as abortion and gay marriage can be neutralized in those areas, the Democrats can win on economic issues among hard-pressed Catholic men, Mr. Sheinkopf argues.

Illinois-born Mrs. Clinton, contra her Republican caricature as an angry liberal, can claim an advantage with Catholic and other so-called values voters: Unlike most Democrats, she sounds sincere when she employs Jesus language. Her problem regarding religion and the American electorate is not that she’s a heathen: In fact, she qualifies as one of the most overtly Christian politicians in the country. It’s just that, with conservative evangelical Protestants ascendant, she’s the wrong kind of Christian. Raised in the United Methodist Church as a Goldwater conservative, in college she embraced the movement’s modernist “peace with justice” wing just as liberal Protestantism began a long decline. But she did learn how to speak to conservative Protestants as the First Lady of Arkansas, and once upon a time a follower of an evangelical denomination—a Baptist named Bill Clinton—begged her to marry him.

Even as some recent polling shows the G.O.P. losing its edge with Catholics, Republicans will counter with their accomplishments and positions. Mr. Bush elevated two Catholics to the Supreme Court—in part on a bet that abortion will remain a helpful issue for Republicans. He named the first Hispanic U.S. Attorney General. G.O.P. positions against embryonic stem-cell research closely track Catholic Church stands. The gay-marriage issue—which Mr. Bush cynically leveraged, then dropped like a hot potato after the 2004 election—could be reinvigorated. No strategist ever went broke overestimating the Democrats’ capacity to shoot themselves in the foot on national security.

’Tis true. But count on this: With Catholics or any other faith-based voters, Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat best positioned to speak to their issues.

copyright © 2005 the new york observer, L.P. all rights reserved

Border Security is the ISSUE

Are the Immigration Protests Creating a Backlash? 03/29/2006 Perry Bacon Jr.

As thousands of people marched in rallies last week to oppose proposed curbs on illegal immigration, it seemed the rare cause that had galvanized people across the country and might affect Washington politicians. Indeed, when the Senate Judiciary Committee returned on Monday to hash out an agreement on a immigration reform bill, the result was an immigrant-friendly measure that increases the number of temporary work visas and creates a path to U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants.

But the rallies may be provoking a backlash among Republican opponents of the bill. Republican Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Congressman who has been one of the leaders in the House’s push to curb illegal immigration, told the Denver Post the rallies only made him more determined to crack down on illegal immigrants. "All these folks who are here illegally know they can protest brazenly," he said. "It's really a mockery of our immigration system." He added that the protests make him even more determined to pass a House bill that does not provide for a guest worker program and would build a 700-mile fence along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Texas Republican John Cornyn, who has supported a temporary worker program but one that requires illegal immigrants to leave the U.S. after working here for six years and apply for citizenship from their native country, said of the protests, "I don't think they're helpful," arguing that they will only inflame the issue. Mississippi Senator Trent Lott said that protests "make me mad," particularly when he saw that many of the flags flown at the protest were not red, white and blue, but flags of Mexico and other Latin American countries. "I don’t like it and the American people don’t like it," he said, adding, "When they act out like that, they lose me."

Whatever their views on the rallies, however, Republicans are also carefully considering how immigration will affect them politically. Some top Republican strategists, such as Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, have long warned the party could permanently damage its chances of capturing the growing Latino vote if it seems to be a party that is opposed to immigration. The White House, which has aggressively courted Latinos, has taken a more immigrant-friendly approach, with President Bush pushing for a guest worker program. But much of the GOP conservative base is concerned about the problems of illegal immigration, and Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist, who needs their support for a possible run at the 2008 presidential nomination, is pushing a bill that emphasizes border enforcement without a guest worker program.

GOP pollster David Winston argues that the importance of border security resonates more strongly with the public than any other part of the immigration issue, despite the large turnout for last weekend's demonstrations. "The views of most of the people marching in the streets of L.A. and other cities last weekend bear little or no resemblance to the majority of public opinion in this country when it comes to illegal immigration," Winston wrote in a column for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. He cited polls suggesting the majority of Americans view immigration reform as a security issue, want to deny driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and support a larger fence along the Mexican border. But so far, the Christian, business and Latino groups that helped organized last week’s rallies seem to have the upper hand, and the Senate is moving appears likely to adopt some kind of guest worker program.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Islamofascism: the Free World's enemy.

If the thought "What are we fighting for?" comes to mind, The Center for Security Policy provides a clear answer: as a practical matter, we must fight our most immediate and dangerous enemy, the ideology known as Islamofascism, both abroad and at home. "Surrender is not an option".

Adherents to this totalitarian political movement are determined to destroy the Free World, whose nations, values and institutions are seen as impediments to the global triumph of the Islamists' preferred, Taliban-style religious rule. For our enemies, Iraq represents but one front in a world war. And we, too, must recognize it as such.

... Islamofascism is really just the latest in a series of totalitarian ideologies bent on the destruction of the Free World.

The connections between the Nazis and the Islamofascists are rooted in more than shared ambitions of world domination and violent methods. As Matthias Kuntzel, a professor at the University of Hamburg and noted German expert on the two ideologies, has observed, "Although Islamism is an independent, anti-Semitic, anti-modern mass movement, its main early promoters -- the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and [Haj Amin el-Husseini,] the Mufti [of Jerusalem] and the Qassamites in Palestine -- were supported financially and ideologically by agencies of the German National Socialist [Nazi] government."

...The rising threat of Islamofascism and anti-Semitism within Western European societies today has taken on the feel of the early 1930s, replete with political instability, mounting public unease and a misplaced confidence that accommodation of violent ideologues will translate into at least temporary tranquility.

We are, in short, once again under assault from ... a mass movement ... that appeals to large numbers of people, calls on them to die for the cause and will stop at nothing to obtain its totalitarian goals. Unfortunately, in two respects, the threat posed by Islamofascism is even greater than its totalitarian predecessors: Many of its adherents are inside Western societies and are adept at exploiting their political movement's patina of religiosity to exploit, to the Free World's detriment, our civil liberties rooted in religious tolerance.

The stubborness of President George.

Lately, President Bush has been the recipient of a lot of unsolicited advice. Wesley Pruden has an amusingly perspicacious piece on the issue, and he concludes that

... George W. is a stubborn old cuss, tough as a razorback even if he is a Texican, and he's likely to continue doing it his own way. We can all be grateful for his stubborn streak, inherited most likely from his mama, because his single-minded pursuit of evildoers is what has protected us from a reprise of September 11. That's probably why almost nobody showed up for the weekend anti-war rallies, either here or in London or in Europe.

His hard head sometimes leads the president to costly blunders -- ignoring Katrina in the early hours afterward, the appointment of Harriet Miers and the over-the-top defense of the indefensible Dubai ports deal. But so what if he was born with a silver spoon and not the golden tongue to thrill the multitudes with silken speech and quotable wit? The terrorists got the word, delivered with the bark on. That's the stuff that starts a late-inning rally.

Operation Swarmer and Mainstream Media's confusion.

Here is another example of a lack of accurate reporting from Iraq. Jack Kelly brings to our attention that

"Operation Swarmer, a joint U.S.-Iraqi offensive around the northern Iraqi city of Samarra went into its fourth day Sunday with very little to verify why it has been described as the largest assault operation since the American-led invasion of Iraq three years ago," wrote UPI correspondent Sana Abdallah.

"Contrary to what many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of air power since the start of the war," said Time magazine.

A journalist friend of former paratrooper W. Thomas Smith wanted to know: "Why are we launching a massive bombing campaign in Iraq?"

The dimwits have confused an air assault (where infantry is moved by helicopter into contested territory to conduct an operation) with an air strike (where fighter-bombers blow up something) or a ground assault.

The insurgents in Iraq always planned a civil war.

Two years ago, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wrote to Osama bin Laden that targeting the Shiites would "provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies . . . and bare the teeth of the hidden rancor working in their breasts. If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger."

Christopher Hitchens has a riveting piece where he points out that he was one of those who warned at the time

... of the sheer evil that was about to be unleashed. Knowing that their own position was a tenuous one (a fact fully admitted by Zarqawi in his report) the cadres of "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" understood that their main chance was the deliberate stoking of a civil war. And, now that this threat has become more imminent and menacing, it is somehow blamed on the Bush administration. "Civil war" has replaced "the insurgency" as the proof that the war is "unwinnable." But in plain truth, the "civil war" is and always was the chief tactic of the "insurgency."

He posits that
...the present mission in Iraq that it proposes the only alternative to civil war, dictatorship, partition or some toxic combination of all three. Absent federal democracy and power-sharing, there will not just be anarchy and fragmentation and thus a moral victory for jihadism, but opportunist interventions from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. (That vortex, by the way, is what was waiting to engulf Iraq if the coalition had not intervened, and would have necessitated an intervention later but under even worse conditions.)

Finally, he concludes that we have two options:
For the moment, the coalition forces act as the militia for the majority of Iraqis--the inked-fingered Iraqis--who have no militia of their own. Honorable as this role may be, it is not enough in the long run. In Iraq we have made some good friends and some very, very bad enemies. (How can anyone, looking down the gun-barrel into the stone face of Zarqawi, say that fighting him is a "distraction" from fighting al Qaeda?) Over the medium term, if our apparent domestic demoralization continues, the options could come down to two. First, we might use our latent power and threaten to withdraw, implicitly asking Iraqis and their neighbors if that is really what they want, and concentrating their minds. This still runs the risk of allowing the diseased spokesmen of al Qaeda to claim victory.

Second, we can demand to know, of the wider international community, if it could afford to view an imploded Iraq as a spectator. Three years ago, the smug answer to that, from most U.N. members, was "yes." This is not an irresponsibility that we can afford, either morally or practically, and even if our intervention was much too little and way too late, it has kindled in many Arab and Kurdish minds an idea of a different future. There is a war within the war, as there always is when a serious struggle is under way, but justice and necessity still combine to say that the task cannot be given up.

Eurabia's bicultural problem.

Mark Steyn is blunt in assessing what's at stake: that for the US, detachment from world affairs is not an option. In a piece he wrote for the National Review last week he contemplates the possibility that "the good guys" might lose in the end. He is

a little unnerved at the number of readers who seem to think the rest of the world can go hang but America will endure as a lonely candle of liberty in the new dark ages. Think that one through: a totalitarian China, a crumbling Russia, an insane Middle East, a disease-ridden Africa, a civil war-torn Eurabia – and a country that can’t even enforce its borders against two relatively benign states will somehow be able to hold the entire planet at bay? Dream on, “realists”.
He then points out the fact that it is in Europe that the Muslims are eager for jihad. Europe has in effect become bicultural:

You have hitherto homogeneous Scandinavian societies whose cities have become 40% Muslim in the space of a generation. Imagine colonial New England when it was still the Mayflower crowd and one day they woke up and noticed that all the Aldens and Allertons, Billingtons and Bradfords were in their 50s and 60s and all the young guys were called Ahmed and Mohammed. That’s what’s happened in Rotterdam and Malmo.

... The problem Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent. All those Bush Doctrine naysayers who argue that Iraq is an artificial entity that can never be a functioning state ought to take a look at the Netherlands. You think Kurds and Arabs, Sunni and Shia are incompatible? What do you call a jurisdiction split between post-Christian secular gay potheads and anti-whoring anti-sodomites Islamists? If Kurdistan’s an awkward fit in Iraq, how well does Pornostan fit in the Islamic Republic of Holland? Europe’s problems don’t nullify the Bush Doctrine so much as present a more urgent case for it. Indeed, given that the Palestinian Authority is funding-wise the largest EU welfare slum, even the Hamas victory can be seen as more typical of Euro-Muslim alienation than Arab psychoses.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Oriana Fallaci's The Force of Reason is a welcome and necessary antidote to the prevailing intellectual atmosphere.

How could Europe all of a sudden house an estimated 20 million Muslims in just 30 years? Brendan Bernhard has an interesting piece on Oriana Fallaci's book, The Force of Reason.

How did Islam go from being a virtual non-factor to a religion that threatens the preeminence of Christianity on the Continent? How could the most popular name for a baby boy in Brussels possibly be Mohammed? Can it really be true that Muslims plan to build a mosque in London that will hold 40,000 people? That Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are close to having Muslim majorities? How was Europe, which was saved by the U.S. in world wars I and II, and whose Muslim Bosnians were rescued by the U.S. as recently as 1999, transformed into a place in which, as Fallaci puts it, “if I hate Americans I go to Heaven and if I hate Muslims I go to Hell?”
Mr. Bernhard tells us that Fallaci quotes the Algerian President, Boumedienne, who in 1974 spoke before the General Assembly of the United Nations and said:
‘One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere of this planet to burst into the northern one. But not as friends. Because they will burst in to conquer, and they will conquer by populating it with their children. Victory will come to us from the wombs of our women.’
Chilling words from a head of state to the international community... No one was listening? Mr. Bernhard also recounts the origins of the term "Eurabia":

Leaning heavily on the researches of Bat Ye’or, author of Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Fallaci recounts in fascinating detail the actual origin of the word “Eurabia,” which has now entered the popular lexicon. Its first known use, it turns out, was in the mid-1970s, when a journal of that name was printed in Paris (naturally), written in French (naturally), and edited by one Lucien Bitterlin, then president of the Association of Franco-Arab Solidarity and currently the Chairman of the French-Syrian Friendship Association. Eurabia (price, five francs) was jointly published by Middle East International (London), France-Pays Arabes (Paris), the Groupe d’Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient (Geneva) and the European Coordinating Committee of the associations for Friendship with the Arab World, which Fallaci describes as an arm of what was then the European Economic Community, now the European Union. These entities, Fallaci says, not mincing her words, were the official perpetrators “of the biggest conspiracy that modern history has created,” and Eurabia was their house organ.

Briefly put, the alleged plot was an arrangement between European and Arab governments according to which the Europeans, still reeling from the first acts of PLO terrorism and eager for precious Arabian oil made significantly more precious by the 1973 OPEC crisis, agreed to accept Arab “manpower” (i.e., immigrants) along with the oil. They also agreed to disseminate propaganda about the glories of Islamic civilization, provide Arab states with weaponry, side with them against Israel and generally tow the Arab line on all matters political and cultural. Hundreds of meetings and seminars were held as part of the “Euro-Arab Dialogue,” and all, according to the author, were marked by European acquiescence to Arab requests. Fallaci recounts a 1977 seminar in Venice, attended by delegates from 10 Arab nations and eight European ones, concluding with a unanimous resolution calling for “the diffusion of the Arabic language” and affirming “the superiority of Arab culture.”

While the Arabs demanded that Europeans respect the religious, political and human rights of Arabs in the West, not a peep came from the Europeans about the absence of freedom in the Arab world, not to mention the abhorrent treatment of women and other minorities in countries like Saudi Arabia. No demand was made that Muslims should learn about the glories of western civilization as Europeans were and are expected to learn about the greatness of Islamic civilization. In other words, according to Fallaci, a substantial portion of Europe’s cultural and political independence was sold off by a coalition of ex-communists and socialist politicians. Are we surprised? Fallaci isn’t. In 1979, she notes, “the Italian or rather European Left had fallen in love with Khomeini just as now it has fallen in love with Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and Arafat.”

Documents captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan will be made available to the public.

Stephen Hayes, of The Weekly Standard, reports that

[t]he Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has created a website where it will post documents captured in postwar Afghanistan and Iraq. The website is hosted by the Foreign Military Studies Office Joint Reserve Intelligence Center at Fort Leavenworth and will be updated continuously with new documents.

The first batch of materials, released late Wednesday, includes nine documents captured in connection with Operation Iraqi Freedom and 28 documents previously released on February 14, 2006, in conjunction with a study of those documents conducted by analysts at West Point. Sources on Capitol Hill and within the intelligence community tell The Weekly Standard that hundreds of new documents will be made available in the coming days, including 50-60 hours of audiotapes from the Iraqi regime.

Weapons of mass destruction - end of a myth...

There is a fascinating article in the May/June 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs (Saddam's Delusions: The View from the Inside, by Kevin Woods, James Lacey, and Williamson Murray) which points out that even Saddam's own generals were convinced that he had weapons of mass destruction... Here's an excerpt:

When it came to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them. Coming clean about WMD and using full compliance with inspections to escape from sanctions would have been his best course of action for the long run. Saddam, however, found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having WMD, especially since it played so well in the Arab world.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1987, was convinced Iraq no longer possessed WMD but claims that many within Iraq's ruling circle never stopped believing that the weapons still existed. Even at the highest echelons of the regime, when it came to WMD there was always some element of doubt about the truth. According to Chemical Ali, Saddam was asked about the weapons during a meeting with members of the Revolutionary Command Council. He replied that Iraq did not have WMD but flatly rejected a suggestion that the regime remove all doubts to the contrary, going on to explain that such a declaration might encourage the Israelis to attack.

By late 2002, Saddam finally tilted toward trying to persuade the international community that Iraq was cooperating with the inspectors of UNSCOM (the UN Special Commission) and that it no longer had WMD programs. As 2002 drew to a close, his regime worked hard to counter
anything that might be seen as supporting the coalition's assertion that WMD still remained in Iraq. Saddam was insistent that Iraq would give full access to UN inspectors "in order not to give President Bush any excuses to start a war." But after years of purposeful obfuscation, it was difficult to convince anyone that Iraq was not once again being economical with the truth.

Ironically, it now appears that some of the actions resulting from Saddam's new policy of cooperation actually helped solidify the coalition's case for war. Over the years, Western intelligence services had obtained many internal Iraqi communications, among them a 1996 memorandum from the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service directing all subordinates to "insure that there is no equipment, materials, research, studies, or books related to manufacturing of the prohibited weapons (chemical, biological, nuclear, and missiles) in your site." And when UN inspectors went to these research and storage locations, they inevitably discovered lingering evidence of WMD-related programs.

In 2002, therefore, when the United States intercepted a message between two Iraqi Republican Guard Corps commanders discussing the removal of the words "nerve agents" from "the wireless instructions," or learned of instructions to "search the area surrounding the headquarters camp and [the unit] for any chemical agents, make sure the area is free of chemical containers, and write a report on it," U.S. analysts viewed this information through the prism of a decade of prior deceit. They had no way of knowing that this time the information reflected the regime's attempt to ensure it was in compliance with UN resolutions.

What was meant to prevent suspicion thus ended up heightening it. The tidbit about removing the term "nerve agents" from radio instructions was prominently cited as an example of Iraqi bad faith by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February 5, 2003, statement to the UN.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Where are the feminists?

March is the month that celebrates Women worldwide... Isn't it funny that very few of us are aware that

Women comprise 25% of the Iraqi Parliament, which is the highest proportion in the Arab world and one of the largest percentages worldwide.

How come no one talks about this?

] ][Multi National Forces]

Iraq: mainstream media myths exposed.

Here is a summary of the inconsistencies that the mainstream media report and that Ralph Peters exposes:

Claims of civil war. In the wake of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a flurry of sectarian attacks inspired wild media claims of a collapse into civil war. It didn't happen. Driving and walking the streets of Baghdad, I found children playing and, in most neighborhoods, business as usual. Iraq can be deadly, but, more often, it's just dreary.

Iraqi disunity. Factional differences are real, but overblown in the reporting. Few Iraqis support calls for religious violence. After the Samarra bombing, only rogue militias and criminals responded to the demagogues' calls for vengeance. Iraqis refused to play along, staging an unrecognized triumph of passive resistance.

Expanding terrorism. On the contrary, foreign terrorists, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have lost ground. They've alienated Iraqis of every stripe. Iraqis regard the foreigners as murderers, wreckers and blasphemers, and they want them gone. The Samarra attack may, indeed, have been a tipping point--against the terrorists.

Hatred of the U.S. military. If anything surprised me in the streets of Baghdad, it was the surge in the popularity of U.S. troops among both Shias and Sunnis. In one slum, amid friendly adult waves, children and teenagers cheered a U.S. Army patrol as we passed. Instead of being viewed as occupiers, we're increasingly seen as impartial and well-intentioned.

The appeal of the religious militias. They're viewed as mafias. Iraqis want them disarmed and disbanded. Just ask the average citizen.

The failure of the Iraqi army. Instead, the past month saw a major milestone in the maturation of Iraq's military. During the mini-crisis that followed the Samarra bombing, the Iraqi army put over 100,000 soldiers into the country's streets. They defused budding confrontations and calmed the situation without killing a single civilian. And Iraqis were proud to have their own army protecting them. The Iraqi army's morale soared as a result of its success.

Reconstruction efforts have failed. Just not true. The American goal was never to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure in its entirety. Iraqis have to do that. Meanwhile, slum-dwellers utterly neglected by Saddam Hussein's regime are getting running water and sewage systems for the first time. The Baathist regime left the country in a desolate state while Saddam built palaces. The squalor has to be seen to be believed. But the hopeless now have hope.

The electricity system is worse than before the war. Untrue again. The condition of the electric grid under the old regime was appalling. Yet, despite insurgent attacks, the newly revamped system produced 5,300 megawatts last summer--a full thousand megawatts more than the peak under Saddam Hussein. Shortages continue because demand soared--newly free Iraqis went on a buying spree, filling their homes with air conditioners, appliances and the new national symbol, the satellite dish. Nonetheless, satellite photos taken during the hours of darkness show Baghdad as bright as Damascus.

Bush's Freedom Doctrine.

In WHEN HAWKS RUN , John Podhoretz writes that

America's inability to secure a victory in Iraq against the insurgency suggests to many people of good will and good sense that it really can't be.

He argues that the hawks, those conservatives whom Richard Lowry calls the "to-hell-with-them hawks" because they are comfortable using force abroad, but have given up on the Muslim world

as well as defeatist Democrats offer no real possibility of an end to the war against Islamic radicalism. It will go on forever. And if it does, it seems certain that at some point in the next few decades, millions of people are going to die in a successful terrorist assault using weapons of mass destruction. Why? Because there is no way to stop the delivery of such a weapon if the delivery system is a single person willing to die to get it done. The only way to prevent it is to change the terms under which such people live, to offer them something to hope for besides virgins in paradise.

Seen in this light, the Bush freedom doctrine isn't simply a starry-eyed exercise in ludicrous optimism. It's a real-world solution to a real-world problem. The only real answer to the Bush freedom doctrine is the one posed by those who believe there is no real War on Terror. They range from the Michael Moore, Bush-may-have-been-involved types to ex-neocon Francis Fukuyama, who states plainly that Bush & Co. overestimated the threat from terrorism. Fukuyama basically believes 9/11 was a fluke, a lucky shot. It would be nice if he were right. But it would be reckless to the point of insanity for any American policymaker to count on it. Just as it would be for any American policymaker to adopt the view of the to-hell-with-them hawks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Westerners should not be embarrassed by the Crusades. It's time to say, "enough," and teach our children to take pride in their own heritage."

There is a fascinating interview with Robert Spencer, author of "Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)" (Regnery) about the Crusades. (See Modern Aftermath of the Crusades (islam and the west) ). These are some of the questions and short answers:

Q: The Crusades are often portrayed as a militarily offensive venture. Were they?

Spencer: No. Pope Urban II, who called for the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095, was calling for a defensive action -- one that was long overdue.

.... Jihad warfare had from the seventh century to the time of Pope Urban conquered and Islamized what had been over half of Christendom. There had been no response from the Christian world until the Crusades.

Q: What are some popular misconceptions about the Crusades?

Spencer: One of the most common is the idea that the Crusades were an unprovoked attack by Europe against the Islamic world.

In fact, the conquest of Jerusalem in 638 stood at the beginning of centuries of Muslim
aggression, and Christians in the Holy Land faced an escalating spiral of persecution.

...Another common misconception is that the Crusades were fought to convert Muslims to Christianity by force. Glaringly absent from every report about Pope Urban's address at the Council of Claremont is any command to the Crusaders to convert Muslims.

...Yet another misconception revolves around the Crusaders' bloody sack of Jerusalem in 1099.

The capture of Jerusalem is often portrayed as unique in medieval history, and as the cause of Muslim mistrust of the West. It might be more accurate to say that it was the start of a millennium of anti-Western grievance mongering and propaganda.

...Finally, it is a misconception that Pope John Paul II apologized for the Crusades. He did not.

... John Paul II never actually apologized for the Crusades. The closest he came was on March 12, 2000, the "Day of Pardon."

During his homily he said: "We cannot fail to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel committed by some of our brethren, especially during the second millennium. Let us ask pardon for the divisions which have occurred among Christians, for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken toward the
followers of other religions."

This is hardly a clear apology for the Crusades.

Q: To what extent are false ideas about the Crusades being used by extremists to foment hostility to the West today?

Spencer: The Crusades may be causing more devastation today than they ever did in the three
centuries when most of them were fought -- but not in terms of lives lost and property destroyed. Today's is a more subtle destruction.

The Crusades have become a cardinal sin not only of the Catholic Church but also of the
Western world in general.

They are Exhibit A for the case that the current strife between the Muslim world and Western, post-Christian civilization is ultimately the responsibility of the West, which has provoked, exploited, and brutalized Muslims ever since the first Frankish warriors entered Jerusalem.

Osama bin Laden has spoken of his organization not as al-Qaida but of a "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders," and called in a fatwa for "jihad against Jews and Crusaders."

... Westerners should not be embarrassed by the Crusades. It's time to say, "enough," and teach our children to take pride in their own heritage.

They should know that they have a culture and a history of which they can and should be grateful; that they are not the children and grandchildren of oppressors and villains; and that their homes and families are worth defending against those who want to take them away, and are willing to kill to do so.

Media shockingly ignorant of Muslims around us.

Mark Steyn writes that, in an article about the Iranian Muslim who plowed his SUV into innocent bystanders at the University of North Carolina, the New York times never once identified the culprit as a Muslim, nor did it state that the culprit had stated that he was avenging Muslims.

...the M-word appears nowhere in the Times report. Whether intentionally or not, ...[the New York Times] seem to be channeling the great Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali, who died a millennium ago but whose first rule on the conduct of dhimmis -- non-Muslims in Muslim society -- seem to have been taken on board by the Western media:

The dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle. . . .

Are they teaching that at Columbia Journalism School yet?

Capitulation? Read the story that the British newspaper, The Telegraph, removed "for legal reasons"...

ENGLAND: The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state
By Alasdair Palmer
The Telegraph Group
February 19, 2006

For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries.

"They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.

"The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory.

"It's confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call 'adverse consequences' - violence to the rest of us - then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent."

Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law.

"It is already starting to happen - and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue."

For someone with such strong and uncompromising views, Dr Sookhdeo is a surprisingly gentle and easy-going man. He speaks with authority on Islam, as it was his first faith: he was brought up as a Muslim in Guyana, the only English colony in South America, and attended a madrassa there.

"But Islamic instruction was very different in the 1950s, when I was at school," he says. "There was no talk of suicide bombing or indeed of violence of any kind. Islam was very peaceful."

Dr Sookhdeo's family emigrated to England when he was 10. In his early twenties, when he was at university, he converted to Christianity. "I had simply seen it as the white man's religion, the religion of the colonialists and the oppressors - in a very similar way, in fact, to the way that many Muslims see Christianity today.

" Leaving Islam was not easy. According to the literal interpretation of the Koran, the punishment for apostasy is death - and it actually is punished by death in some Middle Eastern states. "It wasn't quite like that here," he says, "although it was traumatic in some ways."

Dr Sookhdeo continued to study Islam, doing a PhD at London University on the religion. He is currently director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He also advises the Army on security issues related to Islam.

Several years ago, Dr Sookhdeo insisted that the next wave of radical Islam in Britain would involve suicide bombings in this country. His prediction was depressingly confirmed on 7/7 last year.

So his claim that, in the next decade, the Muslim community in Britain will not be integrated into mainstream British society, but will isolate itself to a much greater extent, carries weight behind it. Dr Sookhdeo has proved his prescience.

"The Government, and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, are fundamentally deluded about the nature of Islam," he insists. "Tony Blair unintentionally revealed his ignorance when he said, in an effort to conciliate Muslims, that he had 'read through the Koran twice' and that he kept it by his bedside.

"He thought he was saying something which showed how seriously he took Islam. But most Muslims thought it was a joke, if not an insult. Because, of course, every Muslim knows that you cannot read the Koran through from cover to cover and understand it.

The chapters are not written to be read in that way. Indeed, after the first chapter, the chapters of the Koran are ordered according to their length, not according to their content or chronology: the longest chapters are first, the shorter ones are at the end.

"You need to know which passage was revealed at what period and in what time in order to be able to understand it - you cannot simply read it from beginning to end and expect to learn anything at all.

"That is one reason why it takes so long to be able to read and understand the Koran: the meaning of any part of it depends on a knowledge of its context - a context that is not in the Koran itself."

The Prime Minister's ignorance of Islam, Dr Sookhdeo contends, is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. And it does indeed seem as if the Government's policy towards radical Islam is based on the hope that if it makes concessions to its leaders, they will reciprocate and relations between fundamentalist Muslims and Tony Blair's Government will then turn into something resembling an ecumenical prayer meeting.

Dr Sookhdeo nods in vigorous agreement with that. "Yes - and it is a very big mistake. Look at what happened in the 1990s. The security services knew about Abu Hamza and the preachers like him. They knew that London was becoming the centre for Islamic terrorists. The police knew. The Government knew. Yet nothing was done.

"The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, which is openly available in Muslim bookshops.

"It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book.

"Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both."

Perhaps the explanation is just that they do not take it seriously. "I fear that is exactly the problem," says Dr Sookhdeo. "The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook.

They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism.

"For example, one of the fundamental notions of a secular society is the moral importance of freedom, of individual choice. But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey.

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

"There's already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time - and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."

Dr Sookhdeo's vision of a relentless battle between secular and Islamic Britain seems hard to reconcile with the co-operation that seems to mark the vast majority of the interactions between the two communities.

"Well, it isn't me who says Islam is at war with secularisation," he says. "That's how Islamic clerics describe the situation."

But isn't it true that most Muslims who live in theocratic states want to get out of them as quickly as possible and live in a secular country such as Britain or America? And that most Muslims who come to Britain adopt the values of a liberal, democratic, tolerant society, rather than insisting on the inflexible rules of their religion?

"You have to distinguish between ordinary Muslims and their self-appointed leaders," explains Dr Sookhdeo. "I agree that the best hope for our collective future is that the majority of Muslims who have grown up here have accepted the secular nature of the British state and society, the division between religion and politics, and the importance of allowing people to choose freely how they will live.

"But that is not how most of the clerics talk. And, more significantly, it is not how the 'community leaders' whom the Government has decided represent the Muslim community think either.

"Take, for example, Tariq Ramadan, whom the Government has appointed as an adviser because ministers think he is a 'community leader'. Ramadan sounds, in public, very moderate. But in reality, he has some very extreme views. He attacks liberal Muslims as 'Muslims without Islam'. He is affiliated to the violent and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood.

"He calls the education in the state schools of the West 'aggression against the Islamic personality of the child'. He has said that 'the Muslim respects the laws of the country only if they do not contradict any Islamic principle'. He has added that 'compromising on principles is a sign of fear and weakness'."

So what's the answer? What should the Government be doing? "First, it should try to engage with the real Muslim majority, not with the self-appointed 'community leaders' who don't actually represent anyone: they have not been elected, and the vast majority of ordinary Muslims have nothing to do with them.

"Second, the Government should say no to faith-based schools, because they are a block to integration. There should be no compromise over education, or over English as the language of education. The policy of political multiculturalism should be reversed.

"The hope was that it would to ensure separate communities would soften at the edges and integrate. But the opposite has in fact happened: Islamic communities have hardened. There is much less integration than there was for the generation that arrived when I did. There will be much less in the future if the present trend continues.

"Finally, the Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions - but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here.

"If the Government does not do all of those things then I fear for the future, because Islamic communities within Britain will form a state within a state. Religion will occupy an ever-larger place in our collective political life. And, speaking as a religious man myself, I fear that outcome." Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2006.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Flying lessons...

Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German Ambassador to the US, writes in The Washington Post that when he arrived in Washington in the summer of 2001 he thought he would have enough time to refresh his pilot's license, such was the state of transatlantic relations. The former Ambassador is on his way to London now, and laments that there will be even less time in the future to take flying lessons because of the current state of affairs.

Post 9/11, the battleground of the looming conflict between “radical Islam and the likelihood of even greater terrorist threats and a potential for escalating political, cultural and religious tension between the West on the one hand and the Muslim world on the other”

will most likely not be in the continental United States, as was the case on Sept. 11, but rather in the European-Mediterranean space: Europe, or Europe's back yard.
The Ambassador suggests three thoughts on how to handle this conflict:
First, ..create… an effective regional security arrangement [that]would need to take into account the interests of Israel as well as those of Iran and the Arab countries, and …[which] would need to be led and supported by the United States, Europe and Russia. …the U.N. Security Council might provide a framework for the elaboration of such an arrangement.

Second, …NATO's role as the central forum for discussing and deciding transatlantic security issues should be strengthened. Europeans should make clear their desire for America to remain a European power.

Third, the West -- as a political and moral concept -- must remain united. This is about more than just NATO, the European Union and free trade -- it is about the legacy of the European Enlightenment. Opposing absolutism, and believing in people's ability to create self-balancing and self-regulating, just, relativist and secular political systems: That is the Enlightenment's gift to the world, and it continues to be the West's promise.
In essence, he argues that the West, led responsibly by the only superpower left, has to regain its moral authority, which the Ambassador says was lost after 9/11, because
...we are not united on the issue of war and peace. Are we at war, as the United States claims, or are we just fighting terrorism, as Europeans believe? This is a fundamental political issue with the potential to either unite or split the West.

And how does the West regain the moral high ground which he considers to be the “the central challenge for the West in 2006”? By fighting terrorism and yet showing the world that
…we are prepared to take into account the interests of the global community, of all those whose cooperation we seek, whose values and culture we respect, and whose development and prosperity we support.
We must refuse to see that as a false choice; we must refuse to pit one religion against another. The choice is between absolutism and relativism, between totalitarianism and the dignity of the individual. That is the post-Enlightenment lesson the West can offer, and it is a legacy worth
Surely, this conflict has been with us a long, long time, so that it is not new. The tensions between the West and the Muslim world have been boiling in a cauldron for decades now. What is new is that the cauldron is overflowing now, and the West, feeling the stinging burns, is beginning to pay attention to the problem.

Surely, again, Europe is in this state of affairs precisely because it has nurtured relativism and applying political correctness to the nth degree. How can the West gain the moral high ground if it cannot point out that Europe’s Judeo-Christian foundations were essential in providing this Enlightenment legacy?

The state of affairs pre-September 11 was just as dangerous as post-September 11. The problem is that the average citizen was unaware of these dangers… Why? Maybe, because many of our Western diplomats --who ought to have been paying attention to these dangers-- were thinking of taking flying lessons…

Saturday, March 11, 2006

International Contributions to the War on Terrorism

Lest we forget...

Although the mainstream news make it sound as if only the US engaged in Iraq, we need to be reminded that

coalitions involving many nations assembled to fight terrorism – literally hundreds of countries have contributed in a variety of ways – some militarily, others diplomatically, economically and financially. Some nations have helped openly; others prefer not to disclose their contributions.
According to US military statistics,
there are currently 70 nations supporting the global war on terrorism. To date, 21 nations have deployed more than 16,000 troops to the U.S. Central Command’s region of responsibility.
Please visit [military]

Where are the feminists?

The Saturday Profile
Muslim's Blunt Criticism of Islam Draws Threats

Published: March 11, 2006

LOS ANGELES, March 10 — Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

“I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book.”

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.

In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.

"I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings," she said in an interview this week in her home in a Los Angeles suburb.

Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs."

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling."

She went on, "We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people."

She concluded, "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

Her views caught the ear of the American Jewish Congress, which has invited her to speak in May at a conference in Israel. "We have been discussing with her the importance of her message and trying to devise the right venue for her to address Jewish leaders," said Neil B. Goldstein, executive director of the organization.

She is probably more welcome in Tel Aviv than she would be in Damascus. Shortly after the broadcast, clerics in Syria denounced her as an infidel. One said she had done Islam more damage than the Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a wire service reported.

DR. SULTAN is "working on a book that — if it is published — it's going to turn the Islamic world upside down."

"I have reached the point that doesn't allow any U-turn. I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book."

The working title is, "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster."

Dr. Sultan grew up in a large traditional Muslim family in Banias, Syria, a small city on the Mediterranean about a two-hour drive north of Beirut. Her father was a grain trader and a devout Muslim, and she followed the faith's strictures into adulthood.

But, she said, her life changed in 1979 when she was a medical student at the University of Aleppo, in northern Syria. At that time, the radical Muslim Brotherhood was using terrorism to try to undermine the government of President Hafez al-Assad. Gunmen of the Muslim Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university and killed her professor as she watched, she said.

"They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!' " she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god."

She and her husband, who now goes by the Americanized name of David, laid plans to leave for the United States. Their visas finally came in 1989, and the Sultans and their two children (they have since had a third) settled in with friends in Cerritos, Calif., a prosperous bedroom community on the edge of Los Angeles County.

After a succession of jobs and struggles with language, Dr. Sultan has completed her American medical licensing, with the exception of a hospital residency program, which she hopes to do within a year. David operates an automotive-smog-check station. They bought a home in the Los Angeles area and put their children through local public schools. All are now American citizens.

BUT even as she settled into a comfortable middle-class American life, Dr. Sultan's anger burned within. She took to writing, first for herself, then for an Islamic reform Web site called Annaqed (The Critic), run by a Syrian expatriate in Phoenix.

An angry essay on that site by Dr. Sultan about the Muslim Brotherhood caught the attention of Al Jazeera, which invited her to debate an Algerian cleric on the air last July.

In the debate, she questioned the religious teachings that prompt young people to commit suicide in the name of God. "Why does a young Muslim man, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up?" she asked. "In our countries, religion is the sole source of education and is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched."

Her remarks set off debates around the globe and her name began appearing in Arabic newspapers and Web sites. But her fame grew exponentially when she appeared on Al Jazeera again on Feb. 21, an appearance that was translated and widely distributed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, known as Memri.

Memri said the clip of her February appearance had been viewed more than a million times.

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations," Dr. Sultan said. "It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality."

She said she no longer practiced Islam. "I am a secular human being," she said.

The other guest on the program, identified as an Egyptian professor of religious studies, Dr. Ibrahim al-Khouli, asked, "Are you a heretic?" He then said there was no point in rebuking or debating her, because she had blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.

Dr. Sultan said she took those words as a formal fatwa, a religious condemnation. Since then, she said, she has received numerous death threats on her answering machine and by e-mail.

One message said: "Oh, you are still alive? Wait and see." She received an e-mail message the other day, in Arabic, that said, "If someone were to kill you, it would be me."

Dr. Sultan said her mother, who still lives in Syria, is afraid to contact her directly, speaking only through a sister who lives in Qatar. She said she worried more about the safety of family members here and in Syria than she did for her own.

"I have no fear," she said. "I believe in my message. It is like a million-mile journey, and I believe I have walked the first and hardest 10 miles."


Fern Sidman, former president of the Jewish Defense League, sent this important Comment to the report by Nidra Poller on The Murder of Ilan Halimi:

The gang that kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered Ilan Halimi, 23, had threatened several prominent businessmen, lawyers and a well-known humanitarian activist, a French newspaper reported Saturday. The daily Liberation reported that the group behind the murder, which authorities have linked to anti-Semitism, tried to extort money from a founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders. Also targeted were the director of the Arte TV channel, a Paris lawyer and the head of a supermarket chain, the newspaper reported, citing police officials.

Police investigating the murder of Halimi earlier this month have made several arrests. The suspected gang leader, was arrested Wednesday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and France is seeking his extradition. Fourteen people have been placed under investigation - a step short of being charged - in the case, and two more people were detained Friday for questioning.

Ilan Halimi was abducted on January 21 after a woman came into the mobile phone store where he worked and charmed him into a dinner date. The first break in the case came after the police released an Identikit image of the woman suspected of "baiting" Halimi. After turning herself in our of fears that neighbors would identify her, the woman claimed that she was indeed asked to seduce a number of young men, but was unaware of the act's purpose. She identified the apartment where Halimi had been kept.

Halimi was found on February 13, tied to a tree, naked, wounded, handcuffed, gagged and covered with burn and cut marks on 80 percent of his body. Authorities found Halimi near railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris a few days after the kidnappers ended contact with Halimmi's family. He died en route to a hospital.

"They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."

Halimi's family received a series of ransom demands - starting with one for nearly $537,000. Ilan Halimi's mother revealed to the Haaretz newspaper that the police told the family to ignore the gang's attempts to contact them for five critical days, after which Ilan was found near death outside the city. "Five days before Ilan was found, the police told us, 'Don't answer the phone, don't repond to text messages.' We saw dozens of calls and ignored them. On Thursday they found Ilan dead."

"We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair," Rafi Halimi, Ilan's uncle, told the press.

"First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone," Rafi Halimi added. "When we said we didn't have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it," Rafi said. "They also recited verses from the Koran."

Under questioning by investigators, one of the suspects "made it clear that he had attacked Ilan Halimi 'because he was Jewish, and Jews are rich".

"If Ilan hadn't been Jewish, he wouldn't have been murdered," Ilan's mom said. She accuses the police of ignoring the anti-Semitic motivation in the case in order not to alienate Muslims, Haaretz reported.

According to a recent article on this subject by Caroline Glick, she states, "It appears that Ilan Halimi's murderers had some connection to Hamas. Tuesday, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said that police found propaganda published by the Palestinian Charity Committee or the CBSP at the home of one of the suspects. The European Jewish Press reported this week that Israel has alleged that the organization is a front group for Palestinian terrorists and that in August 2003 the US government froze the organization's US bank accounts, accusing it of links with Hamas."

It is clear that the French authorities remain callous and indifferent when it comes to Jews being murdered on their soil or anywhere else. This attitude was evidenced in their initial denial that anti-Semitism played a role in this murder and their expressed policy of ignoring any evidence of anti-Semitism.

This may be the first act of Hamas terrorism directed against a Jew outside of Israel, but clearly it won't be the last. Everyday, we are being saturated with the anti-Semitic diatribes of an Iranian President named Ahmadnajed, of Hamas leaders and leading intellectuals. We can no longer deny it. Anti-Semitism is in full swing. It can only get worse.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Who, after all, are we? That we should sit at ease in the sun, The only country, the only one, Unmolested and free? Catch him! Catch him! Do not wait!

Or will you wait, and share the fate
Of the village of Lidice?
From "The Murder of Lidice," by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Wall Street Journal had a chilling editorial on Wednesday, March 8. Writing about Saddam's trial (Saddam's Lidice), the WSJ pointed out that there is nothing new under the sun in terms of the modus operandi of ruthless dictators.

In the late spring of 1942, the world learned the name Lidice. Czech resistance had assassinated deputy SS chief Reinhard Heydrich in Prague...[s]o the decision was made to obliterate an entire village, so that the world would know the price of Nazi blood.

On the evening of June 10, German troops sealed off the Czech mining village of Lidice, chosen because two of its native sons were serving in Britain's Royal Air Force. They gunned down Lidice's 173 men in groups of 10, shipped the women to the Ravensbruck concentration camp and deported some of the remaining children to Germany.

Next the Germans had the village razed, its graves dug up and its rubble buried. Finally, they proudly broadcast the details of what they had done. The world got the message. "If future generations ask us what we are fighting for," said U.S. Navy Secretary Frank Knox, "we shall tell them the story of Lidice."

Fast forward 40 years and to another village, this one called Dujail, in Iraq. In July 1982, Saddam Hussein was nearly killed there when gunmen opened fire on his motorcade. The dictator's reprisal came swiftly...

As with Lidice, Dujail was razed and its orchards bulldozed. Also like Lidice, the purpose of the massacre was not to dispense justice but to make an example of the villagers.

We tend to forget that, for all of Iraq's current troubles, the U.S. and its allies deposed a dictator whose methods and purposes were eerily similar to those of the Nazis..