Thursday, August 31, 2006

Should America help reform a dysfunctional Middle East?

"...Why should the United States commit resources to help reform a dysfunctional Middle East? Many reasons — both practical and humanitarian — come to mind.

First, Islamic terrorism, as we learned well enough five years ago, has a global reach. Even just a few operatives are able to destroy the foundations of Western air travel, finance and civic trust. These terrorists are encouraged by their patron autocrats, who manage to shift the blame for their failures onto the West.

Second, the tyrannies of the Middle East export much of the world's oil. The amount of petroleum they are willing to pump and sell can determine the pulse of the world economy. And much of the funding for terrorism worldwide has come out of the billions in annual petro-profits, which through private and public channels are paid covertly to terrorists both in admiration and as blackmail.

Third, both militias and dictatorships — whether led by the Taliban, Iranian mullahs, Saddam Hussein or the late Hafez al-Assad — have butchered thousands of innocents.

And fourth, tiny Israel is a successful, humane, democratic Western state that would be overwhelmed if the U.S. left the region.

...In truth, fostering democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq was not our first, but last choice. It was not a good option, only a bad one when the other alternatives had proven far worse. What the U.S. is trying to do in the Middle East is costly, easily made fun of and unappreciated. But constitutional government is one course that might someday free Middle Easterners from kidnappings, suicide bombers and dictators in sunglasses.

That's in our interest and theirs alike."

Excerpt from a great article from Victor Davis Hanson. Read it here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

As Georges Clemenceau said, "War is a series of catastrophes that results in victory."

"We find ourselves in a strange time:

* When a database search of America's leading newspapers turns up 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib who was punished for misconduct, than mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror;

* When a senior editor at Newsweek disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our Armed Forces as a "mercenary army";

* When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists and the former CNN Baghdad bureau chief admits he concealed reports of Saddam Hussein's crimes when he was in power so CNN could stay in Iraq; and

* It is a time when Amnesty International disgracefully refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare, as "the gulag of our times."

Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths, and lies, and distortions being told about our troops and our country.

The struggle we are in is too important -- the consequences too severe -- to have the luxury of returning to the old mentality of "Blame America First." "

Excerpt from:
Facing the Central Questions of Our TimeBy Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld is the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Do we have the moral clarity to see evil?

"Over the years, I have come to understand a critical difference between the world of fear and the world of freedom. In the former, the primary challenge is finding the inner strength to confront evil. In the latter, the primary challenge is finding the moral clarity to see evil." Natan Sharansky

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Saladin-wannabe has 20-20 hindsight!

Hezbollah apparently lost about a quarter of its fighters in the recent war with Israel and Nasrallah is in trouble. According to Amir Taheri, Nasrallah’s spin machine didn’t fool the Lebanese, and the families of those fighters who died are angry because the Hezbollah fighters were in the dark about the war Nasrallah started to please his masters in Tehran! According to Mr. Taheri,

In a TV interview in Beirut Sunday, Nasrallah admitted second thoughts about the wisdom of capturing the two Israeli soldiers, an incident that triggered the war: "The party leadership never expected a response on such an unprecedented scale and volume [by Israel]," he said. "Had we known that what we did would lead to this, we would certainly not have embarked upon it. [emphasis added]"
Who would have thought that Saladin-wannabe would be in these dire straits! Read the full account here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria or any other state that supports terrorist groups or engages in terrorism.

The United States has the power to eliminate terrorists and the states that support them, but we do not have the will to do so. Read Walter Williams’ great article describing our self-inflicted predicament. Here are some excerpts:

… the U.S. has an arsenal of 18 Ohio class submarines. Just one submarine is loaded with 24 Trident nuclear missiles. Each Trident missile has eight nuclear warheads capable of being independently targeted. That means the U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria or any other state that supports terrorist groups or engages in terrorism -- without risking the life of a single soldier.

Terrorist supporters know we have this capacity, but because of worldwide public opinion, which often appears to be on their side, coupled with our weak will, we'll never use it. Today's Americans are vastly different from those of my generation who fought the life-and-death struggle of World War II. Any attempt to annihilate our Middle East enemies would create all sorts of handwringing about the innocent lives lost, so-called collateral damage.

...Our adversaries in the Middle East have advantages that the axis powers didn't have -- the Western press and public opinion. We've seen widespread condemnation of alleged atrocities and prisoner mistreatment by the U.S., but how much media condemnation have you seen of beheadings and other gross atrocities by Islamists?

Terrorists must be pleased by statements of some members of Congress, such as those by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who recently said, "I don't take sides for or against Hezbollah." Hezbollah, backed by Iran, is responsible for the 1983 bombing of Beirut barracks killing 241 U.S. service members.

...What Europeans say about what should be done about terrorist states should fall on deaf ears. Their history of weakness and cowardice during the 1930s goes a long way toward accounting for the 60 million lives lost during World War II.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Two Western Defeatists, and counting

The following two articles are worth reading. The authors' credentials bury whatever allures one may have regarding one's own personal education. That said, it is disgusting to read and sense the defeatist attitudes of these two "western" writers. One sits on the Times of London editorial board and the other commands sophomoric audiences at Boston University. With friends like these, who needs enemies!!

The Islamic Way of War
Muslims have stopped fighting on Western terms—and have started winning.
by Andrew J. Bacevich

In Iraq, the world’s only superpower finds itself mired in a conflict that it cannot win. History’s mightiest military has been unable to defeat an enemy force of perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 insurgents equipped with post-World War II vintage assault rifles and anti-tank weapons.
In Gaza and southern Lebanon, the Middle East’s mightiest military also finds itself locked in combat with adversaries that it cannot defeat. Despite weeks of bitter fighting, the IDF’s Merkava tanks, F-16 fighter-bombers, and missile-launching unmanned aerial vehicles failed to suppress, much less eliminate, the armed resistance of Hamas and Hezbollah.
What are we to make of this? How is it that the seemingly weak and primitive are able to frustrate modern armies only recently viewed as all but invincible? What do the parallel tribulations—and embarrassments—of the United States and Israel have to tell us about war and politics in the 21st century? In short, what’s going on here?....Read more!!

The Iranian paradox: to gain victory the West must first concede defeat
Anatole Kaletsky

Defeat in the Second World War was the best thing that ever happened to Germany and Japan in their thousand years of recorded history. For America, losing in Vietnam was also a blessing in disguise. While defeat seemed to shatter the illusion of an “American century” of global dominance, it was followed by 30 years of almost uninterrupted prosperity, a political renaissance for conservative values and America’s total victory over communism in the Cold War. Read more!!

"The international left...keeps charging Israel & America with oppression hoping to mute American power".


Life and Death
Western guilt blinds us to the nature of Islamic extremism.


Sunday, August 27, 2006 12:01 a.m.

The simple back-and-forth of war can create the illusion that both sides have a legitimate point to make even when this is not so, and it is clear that Hezbollah's cause has greatly benefited from war's "equalizing" effect. This Shiite militia seems to have known that merely fighting Israel would gain legitimacy for its cause. A cease-fire would make it a "partner" in peace. The Goliath Israeli military would make it a David whose passion proved the truth of its cause. But amid all the drama of this war there has been very little talk of exactly what Hezbollah's cause is.
And, of course, it is not just Hezbollah's cause. There is Hamas, one more in a family of politicized terrorist groups spread across the Muslim world. Beyond these more conventional groups there is the free-floating and world-wide terrorism of groups like al Qaeda. In Europe, there are cells of self-invented middle-class terrorists living modern lives by day and plotting attacks on modernity by night. And around these cells there is often a nourishing atmosphere of fellow traveling. Then there are the radical nation-states in league with terrorism, Iran and Syria most prominent among them. From nations on the verge of nuclear weapons to isolated individuals--take the recent Seattle shootings--Islamic militancy grounded in hatred of Israel and America has become the Muslim world's most animating idea. Why?

I don't believe it is because of the reasons usually cited--Israeli and American "outrages." No doubt Israel and America have made mistakes in the Middle East. Certainly, Israel was born at the price of considerable dislocation and suffering on the part of the Palestinians. And yes, there will never be a satisfying answer for this. Yet every Israeli land-for-peace gesture has been met with a return volley of suicide bombers and rockets. Palestinians have balked every time their longed-for nationhood has come within grasp. They have seemed to prefer the aggrieved dignity of their resentments to the challenges of nationhood. And Hezbollah launched the current war from territory Israel had relinquished six years earlier.

If this war makes anything clear, it is that Israel can do nothing to appease the Muslim animus against her. And now much of the West is in a similar position, living in a state of ever-heightening security against the constant threat of violence from Islamic extremists. So here, from the Muslim world, comes an unappeasable hatred that seems to exist for its own sake, a hatred with very little actual reference to those it claims to hate. Even the fighting of Islamic terrorist groups is oddly self-referential, fighting not for territory or treasure but for the fighting itself. Standing today in the rubble of Lebanon, having not taken a single inch of Israeli territory, Hezbollah claims a galvanizing victory.

All this follows the familiar pattern of a very old vice: anti-Semitism. The anti-Semite is always drawn to the hatred of Jews by his own unacknowledged inadequacy. As Sartre says in his great essay on the subject, the anti-Semite "is a man who is afraid. Not of Jews of course, but of himself." By hating Jews, he asserts that his own group represents the kind of human being that God truly wants. His group is God's archetype, the only authentic humanity, already complete and superior. No striving or self-reflection is necessary. If Jews are superior in some ways, it is only out of their alienated striving, their exile from God's grace. For the anti-Semite, hating and fighting Jews is both self-affirmation and a way of doing God's work.
So the anti-Semite comes to a chilling place: He easily joins himself to evil in order to serve God. Fighting and even killing Jews brings the world closer to God's intended human hierarchy. For Nazis, the "final solution" was an act of self-realization and a fulfillment of God's will. At the center of today's militant Islamic identity there is a passion to annihilate rather than contain Israel. And today this identity applies the anti-Semitic model of hatred to a vastly larger group--the infidel. If the infidel is not yet the object of that pristine hatred reserved for Jews, he is not far behind. Bombings in London, Madrid and Mumbai; riots in Paris; murders in Amsterdam; and of course 9/11--all these follow the formula of anti-Semitism: murder of a hated enemy as self-realization and service to God.

Hatred and murder are self-realization because they impart grandeur to Islamic extremists--the sense of being God's chosen warrior in God's great cause. Hatred delivers the extremist to a greatness that compensates for his ineffectuality in the world. Jews and infidels are irrelevant except that they offer occasion to hate and, thus, to experience grandiosity. This is why Hezbollah--Party of God--can take no territory and still claim to have won. The grandiosity is in the hating and fighting, not the victory.

And death--both homicide and suicide--is the extremist's great obsession because its finality makes the grandiosity "real." If I am not afraid to kill and die, then I am larger than life. Certainly I am larger than the puny Westerners who are reduced to decadence by their love of life. So my hatred and my disregard of death, my knowledge that life is trivial, deliver me to a human grandeur beyond the reach of the West. After the Madrid bombings a spokesman for al Qaeda left a message: "You love life, and we love death." The horror is that greatness is tied to death rather than to achievement in life.

The West is stymied by this extremism because it is used to enemies that want to live. In Vietnam, America fought one whose communism was driven by an underlying nationalism, the desire to live free of the West. Whatever one may think of this, here was an enemy that truly wanted to live, that insisted on territory and sovereignty. But Osama bin Laden fights only to achieve a death that will enshrine him as a figure of awe. The gift he wants to leave his people is not freedom or even justice; it is consolation.

White guilt in the West--especially in Europe and on the American left--confuses all this by seeing Islamic extremism as a response to oppression. The West is so terrified of being charged with its old sins of racism, imperialism and colonialism that it makes oppression an automatic prism on the non-Western world, a politeness. But Islamic extremists don't hate the West because they are oppressed by it. They hate it precisely because the end of oppression and colonialism--not their continuance--forced the Muslim world to compete with the West. Less oppression, not more, opened this world to the sense of defeat that turned into extremism.

But the international left is in its own contest with American exceptionalism. It keeps charging Israel and America with oppression hoping to mute American power. And this works in today's world because the oppression script is so familiar and because American power cringes when labeled with sins of the white Western past. Yet whenever the left does this, it makes room for extremism by lending legitimacy to its claim of oppression. And Israel can never use its military fire power without being labeled an oppressor--which brings legitimacy to the enemies she fights. Israel roars; much of Europe supports Hezbollah.
Over and over, white guilt turns the disparity in development between Israel and her neighbors into a case of Western bigotry. This despite the fact that Islamic extremism is the most explicit and dangerous expression of human bigotry since the Nazi era. Israel's historical contradiction, her torture, is to be a Western nation whose efforts to survive trap her in the moral mazes of white guilt. Its national defense will forever be white aggression.

But white guilt's most dangerous suppression is to keep from discussion the most conspicuous reality in the Middle East: that the Islamic world long ago fell out of history. Islamic extremism is the saber-rattling of an inferiority complex. America has done a good thing in launching democracy as a new ideal in this region. Here is the possibility--if still quite remote--for the Islamic world to seek power through contribution rather than through menace.

Mr. Steele, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, is the author of "White Guilt" (HarperCollins, 2006).

"It is extraordinary how little France has gained after 46 years of doggedly pitting itself against the United States."

France about-turns into a bigger military mess
Michael Portillo

The Sunday Times August 27, 2006

‘Il faut aller à Gorazde.” (“We must push through to Gorazde.”) The French defence minister would repeat it like a chant. It was 1995. In Srebrenica, a United Nations so-called safe haven in Bosnia, 8,000 men had been slaughtered by Bosnian Serbs.

Gorazde was another enclave that the UN had promised to defend. But the French and British forces in the region were many miles away. As participants in a UN humanitarian mission they were lightly armed. They had lorries, not tanks, and no aircraft. So the idea of pushing through to Gorazde was fanciful.

It had been a French general, Philippe Morillon, who as head of the UN forces in the former Yugoslavia had first pledged to protect Srebrenica. He did not have the resources to keep that promise and Dutch UN forces in the city did nothing to prevent the massacre. We (the other Nato defence ministers) found a word to describe the French habit of making impressive statements with no means to put them into effect. We called it “grandstanding”.

That gallic custom has been on display again over Lebanon. After the French had taken a vociferous lead in drafting the UN security council resolution that brought about the ceasefire, it was shocking to discover that France was offering just 200 soldiers towards a UN force of 15,000. Late last week, after wasting valuable time since hostilities ended nearly two weeks ago, President Chirac gave way. Having attracted the world’s scorn he raised his country’s offer to 2,000.

There is a cultural difference between the French and the British obvious in their diplomatic styles. The French believe that what they say is at least as important as what they do. They spin grandiloquent phrases and strike postures. Rhetoric is away of life and if you point out it is divorced from all strategic reality that is thought to be nitpicking.

The British, on the other hand, get engrossed in tedious detail like: “Is this practical? Who is going to supply the troops? What will be their rules of engagement?” With Lebanon the French have discovered phrase-making is not enough. In recent days they have become very practical, bleating that there are no established rules of engagement (governing what the soldiers can do and when they can fire) almost as though they were British.

If any country could have settled such important details in advance it is France. It took the kudos for working up the UN resolution. It acted as spokesman for the Arab world within the permanent five members of the council. It insisted that the resolution should not be made under chapter 7 of the UN charter, which would have given the troops the right to impose their will by force.

The unclear rules of engagement derive directly from the ambiguity of the French-inspired resolution. But France has nonetheless used the uncertainty as an excuse for delay. At any time France could have eased the problem by offering to lead the UN forces and proposing rules for all participants. Then every nation would insist on its own variations. They always do. French forces are now arriving in Lebanon with the mission and the rules still unspecified. Chirac claimed he had received assurances from the UN that enabled him to increase French numbers.

In reality he buckled because the Italians had offered to lead the deployment and the Americans had mischievously welcomed that bizarre idea. France could not bear the mortification of operating under the command of its southern neighbour — least of all in Lebanon, a country so strongly tied to the French by history and culture. Chirac’s sheer ineptness has brought him avoidable humiliation. Already held in contempt by America and disdained by the British, he has now advertised his unreliability to a wider global audience.

At the heart of this mess is France’s reluctance to tackle Hezbollah. Back in 2004 the security council adopted resolution 1559 demanding that the terrorist organisation be disarmed. Like many resolutions it is a declaration without serious intent. In the two years since it was adopted nothing has been done, at least not until the recent Israeli military campaign, and that was denounced by most countries, including France. During recent days, as France has procrastinated, arms have been pouring in from Syria and Iran to re-equip the terror group. France’s failures of both diplomacy and nerve have made it less likely that the ceasefire will hold, and made the UN mission more dangerous.

There is now no suggestion that UN troops will attempt to disarm Hezbollah in accordance with UN policy. The question must be rather, to what extent will the French-led mission turn a blind eye to the group’s re-armament? If Hezbollah moves its Katyusha rockets back to the Israeli border, will the blue-helmeted Frenchmen stand in their way? It is extraordinary how little France has gained after 46 years of doggedly pitting itself against the United States. Perhaps President Charles de Gaulle was still reeling from the shame of the second world war (when France had had to be rescued from Nazism by America and Britain) when he expelled the American-dominated Nato from Paris in 1960. The North Atlantic alliance hurriedly relocated itself in a hospital building in Brussels that had just been finished but not yet occupied by the Belgian health service. It is housed there still, and visitors often remark on the wide corridors, not realising they were designed for trolleys.

Since 1960 successive presidents have chafed against American influence in Europe and the world. They begrudged Europe’s reliance on US forces stationed in Germany to defend us from the Soviet threat. But France (in common with other European countries) was unwilling to transfer money from social to military spending to reduce that dependency. The sense of being in America’s debt has powerfully increased French resentment of Washington.

France’s performance in Bosnia actually did something to restore its prestige. Despite the rhetorical hyperbole, once Nato had taken over from the UN, French troops performed effectively. For a short while US impatience with Europe (over its inability to handle crises on its own territory) was reduced.

But that relative success seemed only to encourage France to move apart from America. In the years after the Gulf war of 1991 it gradually peeled away from the alliance that enforced the no-fly zones protecting Iraqi Kurds from air attack. Chirac had enjoyed a special relationship with Saddam and with the Arab world in general. He sought to establish a European foreign policy that was unAmerican and more pro-Arab. The French also worked to make the EU into a military alliance that could be used for peacekeeping without American support. As usual, the purple prose ran far ahead of what European forces could actually do unassisted.

Now that British and American forces are bogged down in Iraq, this should be the moment for the French cock to crow. But what exactly has the distinctive French alternative produced for the world or France? The softer European approach to Iran over its nuclear programme was decisively rebuffed, and Europe has had to join America in calling for sanctions. When France was invited to provide leadership over Lebanon, it vacillated. Its offer of 2,000 soldiers remains underwhelming. Chirac’s pro-Arab policies have not even bought off Muslim discontent at home, as the urban riots showed.

Last week a former junior member of the Bush administration, Jeff Babbin, likened undertaking a military operation without the French to going on a deer shoot without an accordion — you just leave behind the noisy useless baggage. For France to have split so decisively with the globe’s most powerful nation without having established a successful alternative approach to the resolution of crises is a major policy failure for Chirac. Whatever criticisms he may have of George W Bush, the American does not fail to put his troops where his mouth is.

That is where Chirac has been caught out. In the case of Lebanon, grandstanding was not enough. He has now stepped forward to do his duty with all the relish of a man slipping into a quicksand. French forces may be ineffective, or suffer casualties, or both. Washington cannot wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

France has now gotten the chance to put up or shut up...Remember Napoleon!!

Where Rome leads
An embarrassed France has been forced to follow in Lebanon

Pique, shame and ridicule often play important roles in shaping foreign policy, even in countries that aspire to principle and responsibility. President Chirac’s announcement that France would, after all, send a further 1,600 troops to Lebanon to join the United Nations force was prompted officially by assurances of a clearer mandate and more robust rules of engagement. In fact, his offer came in reply to the widespread ridicule, within France and abroad, of his Government’s earlier proposal to send a mere 200 troops as part of the 15,000-strong international force that France, together with the United States, en- visaged in its UN ceasefire resolution.
It was not only domestic criticism that prompted a rethink, however. Italy’s offer of 3,000 troops and its suggestion that it should lead the peacekeeping force embarrassed France and underlined the American accusation that the Europeans have neither the stomach nor the means to back their lofty moral positions with anything that demands commitment and cost. Indeed, Romano Prodi, the Italian Prime Minister, was quick to understand that the longer the bickering continued, the more desperate the situation in Lebanon became and precarious the ceasefire. He also saw that, in the face of French funk, Italy had a chance to show that, despite allied misgivings over his centre-left coalition and his Government’s withdrawal from Iraq, Italy remained a staunch Atlanticist and reliable Nato ally.

His example has been wholly benign. M Chirac’s attempt to rescue French credibility — as well as assert French leadership of the UN force — came just in time for yesterday’s meeting of European Union foreign ministers. Kofi Annan was able to use the French and Italian commitments as inducements to smaller EU members. Belgium swiftly announced that it, too, would send troops. Spain is considering deployment, and Greece, Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Poland may follow suit. Germany, wary of any potential confrontation with Israel, is ready to deploy naval forces, and even Moscow said that it might send troops. In the interest of balance and local perception, the force should include Muslim troops. Israel would be well advised to accept offers from Indo-nesia and Malaysia, even if they have no diplomatic relations.

What exactly the troops are to do in Lebanon remains unclear. Despite M Chirac’s assertion, there is still no proper mandate, even if the rules of engagement are somewhat more robust. Israel insists that the force must disarm Hezbollah, and may make this a condition for the lifting of the air and sea blockade of Lebanon, which it says is essential to prevent arms resupplying to Hezbollah. There is, however, little realistic likelihood of any public surrender of weapons and even less of a UN pursuit of Hezbollah to disarm the fighters by force. The mandate, like so much in the Middle East, may have to be improvised on the hoof, the result of local deals and compromises. At least, however, the basis of a force is now assured and an initial fiasco avoided. Italy has made this possible.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What the Extremists are saying.....

Now that planes are being diverted all over the place perhaps it is time the MSM start publishing what the US Military has been telling us all along. Read on!! There is also a big archive with these types of messages....

On August 6, 2006, Al-Jazirah Television broadcast a videotape of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qa'ida's second-in-command, announcing that a number of the leaders of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group] in Egypt decided to join the Al-Qa'ida Organization in facing what he described as the Crusader.


On 27 July 2006, Al-Jazirah TV broadcast Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Al-Qa'ida Organization second-in-command, warning that he will not remain silent over what the Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon are facing. Al-Zawahiri said that what is happening in Palestine and Lebanon proves that what the Muslims are facing is a Crusader-Zionist war

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ben Stein asks: Who’s fighting for us in the fight of our lives?

Is Ben Stein prescient? Somehow, I think he is right, which would signify that we are doomed. Here's a sample of what he has to say:

I keep thinking, again, that if Israel, with its back to the sea, cannot muster the will to fight in a big way, then the fat, faraway U.S.A. will never be able to do it. I keep saying this and it terrifies me.

We’re in a war with people who want to kill us all and wreck our civilization. They’re taking it very seriously. We, on the other hand, are worrying about leveraged buyouts and special dividends and how much junk debt the newly formed private entity can support before we sell it to the ultimate sucker, the public shareholder.

We’re worrying whether Hollywood will forgive Mel Gibson and what the next move is for big homes in East Hampton. We’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The terrorists are the iceberg.

WHAT stands between us and the iceberg are the miraculously brave men and women of the armed forces. They’re heroes and saints as far as I’m concerned. But can they do it without the rest of us? Can they do it while we’re all working on our tans and trying to have our taxes lowered again? How can we leave them out there all alone to die for us when we treat the war to save civilization as something we can just wish away?

If we don’t win this war against the terrorists, there’s not going to be business as usual ever again. If the terrorists get to their goal, there’s not going to be a stock exchange or hedge funds or Bain Capital or the Carlyle Group or even Goldman Sachs. If the terrorists get their way — and so far, they’re getting their way — there’s not going to be business, period.

Everyone with the really big money at stake is — again — bidding for the best deck chairs as the iceberg looms, not so far, any longer, under the surface, and very large and very cold and very solid.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Brit that gets it...

Just received this article from a good friend who writes:"My last one before I shut down..." That means that this article most probably summarizes his feelings on this whole MESS.... and " A Brit that gets it", is his title

Americans will die for liberty
By Andrew Gimson

As we took off from London for New York a few days ago, our three over-excited children asked if there was any chance of the plane being blown up. I explained that the likelihood of that happening was virtually zero, and wondered how we were going to maintain some semblance of order during the flight. One did not wish the sedate American passengers by whom we were surrounded to form the impression that British parents are unable or unwilling to impart the rudiments of good manners.

Luckily, American Airlines had provided a screen on the back of the seat in front of one's own, on which one could watch old movies. There was also a map showing how far we had gone, on which places of interest were marked. It began by showing only two places: London and Chartwell.

The Americans are more old-fashioned than us, and what is equally admirable, they are not ashamed of being old-fashioned. They know Churchill was a great man, so they put his house on the map. There is a kind of Englishman to whom this sort of behaviour seems painfully unsophisticated.

We are inclined, in our snobbish way, to dismiss the Americans as a new and vulgar people, whose civilisation has hardly risen above the level of cowboys and Indians. Yet the United States of America is actually the oldest republic in the world, with a constitution that is one of the noblest works of man. When one strips away the distracting symbols of modernity - motor cars, skyscrapers, space rockets, microchips, junk food - one finds an essentially 18th-century country. While Europe has engaged in the headlong and frankly rather immature pursuit of novelty - how many constitutions have the nations of Europe been through in this time? - the Americans have held to the ideals enunciated more than 200 years ago by their founding fathers.

The sense of entering an older country, and one with a sterner sense of purpose than is found among the flippant and inconstant Europeans, can be enjoyed even before one gets off the plane. On the immigration forms that one has to fill in, one is asked: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offence or crime involving moral turpitude?" Who now would dare to pose such a question in Europe? The very word "turpitude" brings a smile, almost a sneer, to our lips.

The quiet solicitude that Americans show for the comfort of their visitors, and the tact with which they make one feel at home, can only be described as gentlemanly. These graceful manners, so often overlooked by brash European tourists, whisper the last enchantments of an earlier and more dignified age, when liberty was not confused with licence.

But lest these impressions of the United States seem unduly favourable, it should be added that the Americans have not remained in happy possession of their free constitution without cost. Thomas Jefferson warned that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. To the Americans, the idea that freedom and democracy exact a cost in blood is second nature.

We went to the fine new museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, devoted to the American Civil War. It was the bloodiest war in American history. Americans slaughtered Americans in terrible numbers before the North prevailed. You can look up the names of soldiers on a computer, and I found to my slight surprise that a man called Joseph Gimson served on the Union side as a private in the 37th Regiment of Coloured Infantry, and was "severely and dangerously wounded" in the battle of Northeast Station on February 22, 1865.

We stood at Gettysburg, scene of the bloodiest battle of all, on a field covered with memorials to the fallen. Here Abraham Lincoln gave his great and sublimely brief address, ending with the hope "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".

Again some Europeans will give an unkind smile. All this sounds so Puritan, so naïve and so self-righteous. We cannot help feeling that the Americans ought to have been able to settle their quarrel without killing each other, and, while we cannot defend the institution of slavery, we wonder whether the North had the right to impose its will by force.

These are vain quibbles. The North went to war and was victorious.

The Americans are prepared to use force in pursuit of what they regard as noble aims. It is yet another respect in which they are rather old-fashioned. They are patriots who venerate their nation and their flag.

The idea has somehow gained currency in Britain that America is an essentially peaceful nation. Quite how this notion took root, I do not know. Perhaps we were unduly impressed by the protesters against the Vietnam war.

It is an idea that cannot survive a visit to the National Museum of American History in Washington, where one is informed that the "price of freedom" is over and over again paid in blood.

The Americans' tactics in Iraq, and their sanction for Israel's tactics in Lebanon, have given rise to astonishment and anger in Europe. It may well be that those tactics are counter-productive, and that the Americans and Israelis need to take a different approach to these ventures if they are ever to have any hope of winning hearts and minds.

But when the Americans speak of freedom, we should not imagine, in our cynical and worldly-wise way, that they are merely using that word as a cloak for realpolitik. They are not above realpolitik, but they also mean what they say.

These formidable people think freedom is so valuable that it is worth dying for.

Marxism and Islamism promise to" deliver the poor masses from oppression..."

Tanveer Ahmed: Why Islam is the new MarxIn the war of ideas, political Islamism has come to replace communism, warns Tanveer Ahmed

THE central conflict in the war on ideas lies in the underlying stuff of man and how we think societies should be organised. Regardless of what ideology has ruled human affairs, they have all provided answers to this question. This is true in religion as it is in politics.

As the conflict in the Middle East continues, the secular influences of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah are not obvious to the neutral observer. Nor is their attraction to the young Muslim in the Sydney street or the professional living in Indonesia clear.
"The core problem," as Paul Kelly argued on this page on Wednesday, "seems to be the attraction of the Islamist movement."

The 20th century saw the demise of communism, despite its attraction to millions of people who felt poor or downtrodden. It was exposed as a totalitarian system that stifled the aspirations of man. But its stain is spreading within the casing of Islamic fundamentalism. This does not seem obvious, especially considering Osama bin Laden himself was instrumental in defeating the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan more than two decades ago. And the Iranian revolution of 1979 was in part a reaction to the perceived godlessness of communism knocking at its doorstep.

This was mimicked to a lesser degree throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Jordan.

But the old Marxists are extending their influence in many of the Islamic political parties that are rapidly rising in popularity, in response to inept, autocratic Arab governments. Arab governments have closed off opportunity to such an extent that secular forces such as communism or liberalism have minimal outlets.

One of the few places for a political voice is at the mosque and through religion. Religion provides the cloak for what is essentially politics.

As a result, political Islam is on the rise throughout the Arab world. The first municipal election in Saudi Arabia delivered wins for Islamic parties and, of course, there was the election of Hamas by the Palestinians. Many of the leaders representing political Islam have previous ties to Arab socialism. This is particularly true in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood won one-fifth of the vote in elections last year.

Veteran foreign correspondent Mary Ann Weaver writes in her book A Portrait of Egypt: "A number of my former professors from the American University of Cairo were Marxists 20 years ago: fairly adamant, fairly doctrinaire Marxists. They are now equally adamant, equally doctrinaire Islamists."

The developments in Egypt are potent for it has long been a leader in the region.

The similarities of communism and Islam are considerable. Both are egalitarian and advocate radical economic change. They both demand a domination of the public space and share a dogmatic, ideological view of the world.

Political Islam is also supplying the social services in a collective context that communism promised, and the status of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah depends on this. Their facilities are often described by locals as superior to those provided by the ruling governments.

Islam also promises to deliver the poor masses from oppression, but there is a difference: instead of the working class rising up against the bourgeoisie, the uprising to be encouraged is by hapless, impoverished Muslims against their oppressive Western masters or puppet Arab leaders. And like communism, Islam believes the collective must be preserved at the expense of the individual. We are social beings first, individuals second.

Like communism, Islamism promises a better life for the poor, oppressed and alienated. It is cloaked in God, but its essence is strongly secular. Unless the West fights the war of ideas at this level, offering a competing vision of morality as well as economics and technology, the lure of Islamic extremism will continue to flourish.

And this will especially be the case as television shows the Western class oppressors dropping bombs on the Muslim proletariat.

Tanveer Ahmed, a Sydney psychiatrist, is writing a book that is a comic look at Muslim life in Australia.

ISRAEL leads the fight against JIHAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why jihad is picking up steam now and fanatical Muslims are on the march

By Caroline B. Glick

The truth may hurt

As the Israeli people waited Thursday for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to implement his cabinet's decision to widen the ground offensive in Lebanon, Britain found itself under siege. British security officials announced that the entire country was on a red alert for a terror attack. The night before, British security forces foiled a terrorist conspiracy to explode some ten US bound passenger jets.

As London's deputy police commissioner Paul Stephenson told reporters, ''This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale." By Thursday morning security forces had arrested some 21 suspects. All are British citizens. All are Muslims.

It is not a stretch of the imagination to assume that these British Muslims are jihadists. Indeed, it can probably be assumed that like their predecessors last July 7, they made their decision to commit an unspeakable atrocity against their countrymen to advance Islam's takeover of Britain.

The path of jihad is the path of terror. Using terror, the jihadists believe that they can destroy the confidence of citizens of free societies and so coerce them to bend to their will.

In his letter to US President George W. Bush last May, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad enunciated the coercive goal of jihad when he threatened the US with war unless Bush converts to Islam. Iran, which today leads the global jihad, has managed to make the language of jihad the lingua franca of the Muslim world.

Many have noted that Hizbullah's initial attack against Israel on July 12 was highly convenient for Teheran. Distracted by the war in Israel and Lebanon, the G-8 and the UN Security Council put off their discussions of Iran's nuclear weapons program, which were scheduled to take place that week.

While the actual date of the attack is easily explained, the question still arises, why is the jihad picking up steam now? Why are fanatical Muslims on the march this summer?

It would seem that the answer to this question is found in the increased cultural weakness of the two states leading the war against radical Islam: the US and Britain. In both countries, for the past two years the forces of leftist radicalism and appeasement have been on the rise. Both countries' leaders are hated by ever larger swathes of their countrymen for their stand on the war against jihad. And so they waver.

On Tuesday, Britain's Home Secretary John Reid discussed the twin dangers of jihad and Western cultural weakness. Reid argued that Islamic terrorism has placed Britain in its greatest peril since the end of World War II. Reid proceeded to utter a stinging indictment of the British judiciary for preferring the "human rights" of terror suspects to the right of British citizens to security. Just last week, the British High Court ruled that security forces had to loosen restrictions they had placed on six Iraqis suspected of links of terrorism.

Tuesday also saw the defeat of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in the primary elections for the Democratic nomination to the Senate. He was beaten by wealthy businessman Ned Lamont who based his entire campaign on attacking Lieberman for his support for the war in Iraq. The months long primary campaign against Lieberman was replete with venomous anti-Semitic attacks against Lieberman, his family, American Jews and Israel by Lamont supporters.

Lieberman's defeat by an "anti-war" candidate is a clear sign that the Democratic Party is morphing into a radical leftist party. If this trend is not reversed, America's political climate will likely become much less sympathetic and supportive of Israel and much more supportive of countries like France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. A deterioration of the position of American Jews is also liable to ensue.

Under attack domestically, both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have less time and ability to rally their nations to fight against the forces of global jihad. Moreover, as a result of its own culture wars, Israel today finds itself led by the weakest government it has ever had. The weakness of all three governments presented Iran with an unmistakable opportunity to strike.

While Bush and Blair's weakness is the result of political forces, Olmert's weakness is inherent. He is a dilettante and a dandy, not a leader. Yet, today, the ability of both Blair and Bush to convince their nations to support their war efforts against forces committed to the destruction of their nations' ways of life is dependent on Olmert's ability to lead Israel to victory in the war against Hizbullah.

With a quarter of our population under attack, our cities and forest in flames and our economy surging towards recession and debt, most Israelis agree that the war we face is a war for our national survival. In that sense, it is not all that different from previous wars.

Yet there is a qualitative difference between the current war and wars of previous generations. In the past, our enemies were states. They wished to conquer Israel and take our land for themselves. Today our enemies do not wish to conquer Israel. They wish to destroy Israel as a stepping stone on their path towards global domination. An Israeli victory or defeat in the current war will influence not only Israel's future. It will influence the future of the free world as a whole. If Israel is defeated, if we do not fight to victory over Hizbullah, the march of jihad will move forward with unprecedented force.

Not surprisingly, Olmert hesitates as he faces this challenge. His nation tells him to choose victory. His instincts tell him to seek the path of least resistance.

If Olmert allows the IDF to fight, if he orders the implementation of the security cabinet's decision to widen the ground offensive to the Litani River and so enable us to vanquish Hizbullah, we will be able to change the face of the region and of the world as a whole.

A clear Israel victory against Hizbullah that destroys Hizbullah as a fighting force would enable leaders like Bush and Blair to defend their decision to wage war against jihad. Quite simply, an Israeli victory will help them inspire their nations to believe that they can win this war as well.

Since his ascension to power last year, Ahmadinejad has been on one long winning streak. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's success in convincing Bush to open direct negotiations with Teheran regarding its nuclear weapons program was a huge victory for Ahmadinejad. And nothing breeds success like success. Because he has yet to fail, the Iranian leader enjoys an aura of invincibility that deters other leaders from challenging his power. An Israeli victory against the Iranian military's advance guard would shatter that aura and facilitate a much more robust Anglo-American stand against Teheran and its client Syria.

As well, events in Iraq will be critically influenced by how Israel comes out of this war. On the one hand, an Israeli defeat is liable to foment a violent Shiite revolt led by Nasrallah's underling Muqtada al Sadr and his terror squads. On the other hand, an Israeli victory will galvanize the moderate Shiite forces in Iraq that are working to stabilize their country.

Finally, an Israeli victory will put paid the fiction which claims that Israel is a strategic liability for to West. The forces who call for Israel's abandonment and a US "engagement" of the Syrians and Iranians will be exposed as fools.

But the option of defeat has an allure of its own. Defeat, or as Olmert might put it, "bowing to international pressure" has the advantage of being the path of least resistance. Unfortunately for Israel, if Olmert surrenders to his nature and opts for capitulation, the result will be catastrophic.

If, as Rice, Shimon Peres (and Olmert himself) recommend, Israel holds its fire and waits for a multinational force to deploy along the border, Israel will lose its right to self-defense. The laws of political gravity dictate that a relinquishment of the right to self defense is tantamount to a surrender of sovereignty. If Olmert decides that he would rather have foreigners patrol our borders than the IDF, his message to the world will be clear: As far as he is concerned, Israel does not value its liberty because it is unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to defend it.

If Olmert truly wants for foreign forces to be stationed in south Lebanon, he can do us all a favor and agree to Hizbullah's demand to keep UNIFIL in place. At least UNIFIL, for all its fecklessness, is more or less harmless. It is not empowered to limit Israel's right to defend itself.

If Olmert decides to surrender to outside pressures, he will be serving the interests of the forces in Washington who claim that Israel is not worthy of America's support. An Israel that is unwilling to contend with Hizbullah is an Israel that cannot be trusted as an ally. That is, if he goes along with Rice and her colleagues at the UN and agrees not to fight to win, Olmert will be paving the way for the defeat of pro-Israel forces in US policymaking circles and politics.

The fact of the matter is that those who push for Israel's abandonment are the same people who push for a US-British retreat from Iraq and an end to their war against radical Islam. If Israel capitulates and so strengthens the powers who oppose it in the US and throughout the West, it will similarly contribute to the political defeat of the political forces that call for the jihad to be defeated. So in a very profound sense, as goes Kiryat Shemona, so go Washington and London.

Today Israel is gripped by dread. There is not a household in the country that is not directly impacted by this war. All of us have family and friends in the North and in the IDF. All of us are concerned about the future of our country.

It would be nice to think that there is some shortcut that we could take to secure our country and our freedom on the cheap. It is the natural tendency of men like Olmert to look for such a shortcut.

But there are no shortcuts in this war, this existential war that in many respects we brought on ourselves by attempting to disengage from the reality of our surroundings.

At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Olmert demanded that his ministers behave like grown-ups because "the whole nation is watching us now." This is true. We are watching. And at this time, it is up to our nation to force our leaders to lead us to victory.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

As for the "people of the Book" (Christians, Jews, and "Sabeans"), Muslims must "fight them until their members pay tribute, one by one, humiliated"

(Koran, Sura 9:29).

Christians in Islamic Countries

by Giuseppe De Rosa S.I.

How do Christians in Muslim-majority countries live? [...] We must first highlight a seemingly rather curious fact: in all the countries of North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco), before the Muslim invasion and despite incursions by vandals, there were blossoming Christian communities that contributed to the universal Church great personalities, such as Tertullian; Saint Ciprian, bishop of Carthage, martyred in 258; Saint Augustine, bishop of Hippo; and Saint Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe. But after the Arab conquest, Christianity was absorbed by Islam to such an extent that today it has a significant presence only in Egypt, with the Coptic Orthodox and other tiny Christian minorities, which make up 7-10 percent of the Egyptian population.

The same can be said of the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Mesopotamia), in which there were flourishing Christian areas prior to the Islamic invasion, and where today there are only small Christian communities, with the exception of Lebanon, where Christians make up a significant part of the population.

As for present-day Turkey, this was in the first Christian centuries the land in which Christianity bore its best fruits in the areas of liturgy, theology, and monastic life. The invasion of the Seljuk Turks and the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmet II (1453) lead to the founding of the Ottoman empire and to the near destruction of Christianity in the Anatolian peninsula. Thus today in Turkey Christians number approximately 100,000, among whom are a small number of Orthodox, who live around Phanar, the see of the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, who has the primacy of honor in the Orthodox world and who holds communion with eight patriarchs and many autocephalous Churches in both East and West, with approximately 180 million faithful.

In conclusion, we may state in historical terms that in all the places where Islam imposed itself by military force, which has few historical parallels for its rapidity and breadth, Christianity, which had been extraordinarily vigorous and rooted for centuries, practically disappeared or was reduced to tiny islands in an endless Islamic sea. It is not easy to explain how that could have happened. [...]

In reality, the reduction of Christianity to a small minority was not due to violent religious persecution, but to the conditions in which Christians were forced to live in the organization of the Islamic state. [...]


According to Islamic law, the world is divided into three parts: dar al-harb (the house of war), dar al-islam (the house of Islam), and dar al-´ahd (the house of accord); that is, the countries with which a treaty was stipulated. [...]

As for the countries belonging to the "house of war," Islamic canon law recognizes no relations with them other than "holy war" (jihad), which signifies an "effort" in the way of Allah and has two meanings, both of which are equally essential and must not be dissociated, as if one could exist without the other. In its primary meaning, jihad indicates the "effort" that the Muslim must undertake to be faithful to the precepts of the Koran and so improve his "submission" (islam) to Allah; in the second, it indicates the "effort" that the Muslim must undertake to "fight in the way of Allah," which means fighting against the infidels and spreading Islam throughout the world. Jihad is a precept of the highest importance, so much so that it is sometimes counted among the fundamental precepts of Islam, as its sixth "pillar."

Obedience to the precept of the "holy war" explains why the history of Islam is one of unending warfare for the conquest of infidel lands. [...] In particular, all of Islamic history is dominated by the idea of the conquest of the Christian lands of Western Europe and of the Eastern Roman Empire, whose capital was Constantinople. Thus, through many centuries, Islam and Christianity faced each other in terrible battles, which led on one side to the conquest of Constantinople (1453), Bulgaria, and Greece, and on the other, to the defeat of the Ottoman empire in the naval battle of Lepanto (1571).

But the conquering spirit of Islam did not die after Lepanto. The Islamic advance into Europe was definitively halted only in 1683, when Vienna was liberated from the Ottoman siege by the Christian armies under the command of John III Sobieski, the king of Poland. [...] In reality, for almost a thousand years Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger.

Thus, in all of its history, Islam has shown a warlike face and a conquering spirit for the glory of Allah. [...] against the "idolaters" who must be given a choice: convert to Islam, or be killed. [...] As for the "people of the Book" (Christians, Jews, and "Sabeans"), Muslims must "fight them until their members pay tribute, one by one, humiliated" (Koran, Sura 9:29). [...]


According to Muslim law, Christians, Jews, and the followers of other religions assimilated to Christianity and Judaism (the "Sabeans") who live in a Muslim state belong to an inferior social order, in spite of their eventually belonging to the same race, language, and descent. Islamic law does not recognize the concepts of nation and citizenship, but only the umma, the one Islamic community, for which reason a Muslim, as he is part of the umma, may live in any Islamic country as he would in his homeland: he is subject to the same laws, finds the same customs, and enjoys the same consideration.

But those belonging to the "people of the Book" are subject to the dhimma, which is a kind of bilateral treaty consisting in the fact that the Islamic state authorizes the "people of the Book" to inhabit its lands, tolerates its religion, and guarantees the "protection" of its persons and goods and its defense from external enemies. Thus the "people of the Book" (Ahl al-Kitab) becomes the "protected people" (Ahl al-dhimma). In exchange for this "protection," the "people of the Book" must pay a tax (jizya) to the Islamic state, which is imposed only upon able-bodied free men, excluding women, children, and the old and infirm, and pay a tribute, called the haram, on the lands in its possession.

As for the freedom of worship, the dhimmi are prohibited only from external manifestations of worship, such as the ringing of bells, processions with the cross, solemn funerals, and the public sale of religious objects or other articles prohibited for Muslims. A Muslim man who marries a Christian or a Jew must leave her free to practice her religion and also to consume the foods permitted by her religion, even if they are forbidden for Muslims, such as pork or wine. The dhimmi may maintain or repair the churches or synagogues they already have, but, unless there is a treaty permitting them to own land, they may not build new places of worship, because to do this they would need to occupy Muslim land, which can never be ceded to anyone, having become, through Muslim conquest, land "sacred" to Allah.

In Sura 9:29 the Koran affirms that the "people of the Book," apart from being constrained to pay the two taxes mentioned above, must be placed under certain restrictions, such as dressing in a special way and not being allowed to bear arms or ride on horseback. Furthermore, the dhimmi may not serve in the army, be functionaries of the state, be witnesses in trials between Muslims, take the daughters of Muslims as their wives, be the guardians of underage Muslims, or keep Muslim slaves. They may not inherit from Muslims, nor Muslims from them, but legacies are permitted.

The release of the dhimma came about above all through conversion of the "people of the Book" to islam; but Muslims, especially in the early centuries, did not look favorably upon such conversions, because they represented a grave loss to the treasury, which flourished in direct proportion to the number of the dhimmi, who paid both the personal tax and the land tax. The dissolution of dhimma status could also take place through failure to observe the "treaty"; that is, if the dhimmi took up arms against Muslims, refused to remain subject or to pay tribute, abducted a Muslim woman, blasphemed or offended the prophet Mohammed and the Islamic religion, or if they drew a Muslim away from Islam, converting him to their own religion. According to the gravity of each case, the penalty could be the confiscation of goods, reduction to slavery, or death - unless the person who had committed the crimes converted to Islam. In that case, all penalties were waived.


It is evident that the condition of the dhimmi, prolonged through centuries, has led slowly but inexorably to the near extinction of Christianity in Muslim lands: the condition of civil inferiority, which prevented Christians from attaining public offices, and the condition of religious inferiority, which closed them in an asphyxiated religious life and practice with no possibility of development, put the Christians to the necessity of emigrating, or, more frequently, to the temptation of converting to Islam. There was also the fact that a Christian could not marry a Muslim woman without converting to Islam, in part because her children had to be educated in that faith. Furthermore, a Christian who became Muslim could divorce very easily, whereas Christianity prohibited divorce. And apart from all this, the Christians in Muslim territories were seriously divided among themselves - and frequently even enemies - because they belonged to Churches that were different by confession (Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Churches) and by rite (Syro-oriental, Antiochian, Maronite, Coptic-Alexandrian, Armenian, Byzantine). Thus mutual assistance was almost impossible.

The regime of the dhimma lasted for over a millennium, even if not always and everywhere in the harsh form called "the conditions of ´Umar," according to which Christians not only did not have the right to construct new churches and restore existing ones, even if they fell into ruins (and, if they had the permission to construct through the good will of the Muslim governor, the churches could not be of large dimensions: the building must be more modest than all the religious buildings around it); but the largest and most beautiful churches had to be transformed into mosques. That transformation made it impossible for the church-mosques ever to be restored to the Christian community, because a place that has become a mosque cannot be put to another use.

The consequence of the dhimma regime was the "erosion" of the Christian communities and the conversion of many Christians to Islam for economic, social, and political motives: to find a better job, enjoy a better social status, participate in administrative, political, and military life, and in order not to live in a condition of perpetual discrimination.

In recent centuries, the dhimma system has undergone some modifications, in part because the ideas of citizenship and the equality of all citizens before the state have gained a foothold even in Muslim countries. Nevertheless, in practice, the traditional conception is still present. [...] The Christian, whether he wish it or not, is brought back in spite of himself to the concept of the dhimmi, even if the term no longer appears in the present-day laws of a good number of Muslim-majority countries.

To understand the present condition of these Christians, we must refer back to the history of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the Ottoman empire of the 19th century, where the millet system was in force, the tanzimat, "regulations" of a liberal character, were introduced. [...] From the second half of the 19th century to the end of the first World War, there was a "Reawakening" (Nahda) movement in the Arab world, under Western influence, in the fields of literature, language, and thought. Many intellectuals were conquered by liberal ideas.

On another front, the Christians created strong ties with the Western powers - France and Great Britain in particular - which, after the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, obtained the protectorate of the countries that had belonged to the empire. This permitted the Christians both greater civil and religious liberty and cultural advancement. Moreover, during the first half of the 20th century various political parties of nationalist and socialist, and thus secularist, tendencies were born, such as the Ba´th, the Socialist Party of the Arab Renewal, founded at the end of the 1930´s in Damascus by Syrian professor Michel ´Aflaz, a Greek Orthodox. In 1953 this party was united with the Syrian Popular Party, founded in 1932 by Antun Sa´ada, a Greek Orthodox from Lebanon. In brief, political regimes inspired by the liberal and secular principles of Western Europe rose up in various Islamic countries.


These events provoked a harsh reaction in the Islamic world, due to fears that the secularist ideas and "corrupt" customs of the Western world, identified with Christianity, would endanger the purity of Islam and constitute a deadly threat to its very existence. This reaction was fed by strong resentment against the Western powers, which had dared to impose their political rule upon Islam, "the greatest nation ever raised up by Allah among men" (Koran, s. 3:110), and against their customs "despised" by the "nation (umma) that urges to goodness, promotes justice, and restrains iniquity" (ibid, s. 3:104).

Thus was born "radical Islam," which set itself up as the interpreter of the frustrations of the Muslim masses. Hasan al Banna, Sayyd Qutb, Abd al-Qadir ´Uda in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood; Abu l-A´li al-Mawdudi in Pakistan, and the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran are its most significant witnesses, and their followers have spread from Dakar to Kuala Lumpur. [...]


Radical Islam, which proposes that shari´a law be instituted in every Islamic state, is gaining ground in many Muslim countries, in which groups of Christians are also present. It is evident that the institution of shari´a would render the lives of Christians rather difficult, and their very existence would be constantly in danger. This is the cause of the mass emigration of Christians from Islamic countries to Western countries: Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia. [...] The estimated number of Arab Christians who have emigrated from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel in the last decade hovers around three million, which is from 26.5 to 34.1 percent of the estimated number of Christians currently living in the Middle East.

Furthermore, we must not underestimate grave recent actions against Christians in some Muslim-majority countries. In Algeria, the bishop of Orano, P. Claverie (1996), seven Trappist monks from Tibehirini (1999), four White Fathers (1994), and six sisters from various religious congregations have been brutally killed by Islamic fundamentalists, although the murders were condemned by numerous Muslim authorities. In Pakistan, which numbers 3,800,000 Christians among a population of 156,000,000 (96 percent Muslim), on October 28, 2001, some Muslims entered the Church of St. Dominic in Bahawalpur and gunned down 18 Christians. On May 6, 1998, Catholic bishop John Joseph killed himself for protesting against the blasphemy law, which punishes with death anyone who offends Mohammed, even only "by speaking words, or by actions and through allusions, directly or indirectly." For example, by saying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, one offends Mohammed, who affirmed that Jesus is not the Son of God, but his "servant." With this kind of law, Christians are in constant danger of death.

In Nigeria - where 13 states have introduced shari´a as state law - several thousand Christians have been the victims of incidents. Serious incidents are taking place in the south of the Philippines and in Indonesia, which, with its 212 million inhabitants, is the most populous Muslim country in the world, to the harm of the Christians of Java, East Timor, and the Moluccas. But the most tragic situation - and, unfortunately, forgotten by the Western world! - is that of Sudan, where the North is Arab and Muslim, and the South black and Christian, and in part, animist. Since the time of president G.M. Nimeiry, there has been a state of civil war between the North, which has proclaimed shari´a and intends to impose it with fierce violence on the rest of the country, and the South, which aims to preserve and defend its Christian identity. The North makes use of all of its military power - financed by oil exports to the West - to destroy Christian villages; prevent the arrival of humanitarian aid; kill the cattle, which are the means of sustenance for many South Sudanese; and carry out raids, for Christian girls in particular, who are brought to the North, raped, and sold as slaves or concubines to rich, older Sudanese men. According to the 2001 report of Amnesty International, "at the end of 2000, the civil war, which started again in 1983, had cost the lives of almost two million persons and had caused the forced evacuation of 4,500,000 more. Tens of thousands of persons have been compelled by terror to leave their homes in the upper Nile region, which is rich in oil, after aerial bombardments, mass executions, and torture."

We must, finally, recall a fact that is often forgotten because Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of oil to the Western world, and the latter therefore has an interest in not disturbing relations with that country. In reality, in Saudi Arabia, where wahhabism is in force, not only is it impossible to build a church or even a tiny place of worship, but any act of Christian worship or any sign of Christian faith is severely prohibited with the harshest penalties. Thus about a million Christians working in Saudi Arabia are deprived by violence of any Christian practice or sign. They may participate in mass or in other Christian practices - and even then with the serious danger of losing their jobs - only on the property of the foreign oil companies. And yet, Saudi Arabia spends billions of petrodollars, not for the benefit of its poor citizens or of poor Muslims in other Muslim countries, but to construct mosques and madrasas in Europe and to finance the imams of the mosques in all the Western countries. We recall that the Roman mosque of Monte Antenne, constructed on land donated by the Italian government, was principally financed by Saudi Arabia and was built to be the largest mosque in Europe, in the very heart of Christianity.

Racial profiling and political correctness

Don't LET Up
The transatlantic air plot and the problem of British Islam.
by Stephen Schwartz


BRITISH AUTHORITIES have been slow to acknowledge openly the Pakistani-Muslim background of the suspects arrested in the mass terror conspiracy that brought chaos to British and American airports Thursday. At first, official sources in the United Kingdom would confirm only that they were working with "the South Asian community" on the case; then it was disclosed that the Pakistani government was involved in the investigation.

This reticence in naming the focus of so significant a terrorism inquiry is a symptom of the larger problems of Islam in Britain, and of "Euro-Islam" more generally. Put plainly, Pakistani Sunnis in Britain--more than a million strong--are the most radical Muslims in Europe. British Islam is dominated by Pakistan-born clerics. It is saturated with extremist preaching, media, and charity efforts which support the recruitment of terrorists.

News from Pakistan itself indicates the main trail from there to Heathrow. British and Pakistani sources linked the plan to the Pakistani government's house arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, founder of the armed paramilitary movement Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET, or Army of the Righteous). LET, which is designated a terrorist organization by the State Department, is an ally of al Qaeda and is present wherever Pakistani Sunnis congregate and violence is hatched.

In America, LET was behind the Northern Virginia jihad network, whose members were jailed beginning in 2003 and sentenced to varying federal prison terms for terrorism-related acts. LET was also accused in the Bombay train bombings in India last month. It has significant resources in Pakistan, Britain, and elsewhere.

Yet notwithstanding the courage of Tony Blair, the British government appears paralyzed in dealing with this radical influence over British-Asian Muslims. Instead of confronting Pakistani-born extremist imams on British territory, the Brits organized a roadshow in their Muslim communities under the rubric of "the radical middle way"--an extraordinarily inept promotional conceit--in which young Muslims are called to renounce extremism.

The British and other media are referring to the arrested suspects in the airline conspiracy--as they did when bombs exploded in the London Underground last year--as "homegrown." If history is any guide, politicians will soon wring their hands and ask why people brought up in the West turned so violently against it. Leftists and isolationists will blame the war against terror for terror.

But the force that drives mosque congregants and their children to build bombs in Britain does not originate in social conditions experienced by Muslims in Europe. Rather, it represents a doctrine brought from the Arab world, via Pakistan and well-funded groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, to communities from Birmingham, England, to Fairfax, Virginia.

Britain must take off the blinders of political correctness when examining Islam in its Pakistani population and should insist on British training for Muslim clerics officiating on its soil.

Otherwise, London's 7/7 bombs and the latest transatlantic travel conspiracy could mark the emergence of Britain as the main theater of jihadist violence in Western Europe.

Stephen Schwartz is a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.

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To Islamic-Fascists:"I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in...

"......waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people." President George W. Bush

August 10, 2006
A Clarifying Moment
By Peter Wehner

Once in a while, we are provided with a clarifying moment in the jumble of news we have to sort through on a daily basis. This morning, we had one.

Earlier today we learned British authorities broke up a plot by Islamic terrorists that was designed to inflict "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," according to British police. It is a vivid reminder that we are engaged in not just a war, but a civilizational struggle. It has many fronts --from Afghanistan to Iraq to Bali to international financial centers to Heathrow Airport. The goal of our enemies is to establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia -- and "anyone who stands in the way of our struggle is our enemy and target of the swords," said Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Our enemies have declared their intentions over and over again, and those intentions have been written in white-hot hatred. We know what fate they have in mind for all of us. Their goal is to kill as many Americans and Jews and non-radical Muslims as possible. They want to set off car bombs and fly jet planes into buildings and use weapons of mass destruction. They want to kill women and children and the elderly and the innocent. They want rivers of blood to flow from American cities and foreign capitals and other nations.

This is a war Islamic fascists started -- and it is a war they intend to prosecute to the end. In the face of that, "Come Home, America" is not a sufficient response. Retreating from Iraq and "redeploying" to Okinawa is not a sufficient response. Criticizing the surveillance of terrorists' calls into and out of America is not a sufficient response. And weakening the Patriot Act is not a sufficient response.

Islamic terrorists will pursue a "weak horse" (to use bin Laden's phrase describing weak nations) to the ends of the earth if they have to -- and then they will slit its throat and watch it bleed and watch it die. We better recognize all of this -- and gird ourselves for a long war, protracted and fierce, and upon which so much that we know and love depends.

George W. Bush, for whatever complaints some may have about him, understands, with extraordinary clarity, the great struggle of our time. Here is what the President said at the end of his September 20th speech to a joint session of Congress, delivered almost five years ago:

"I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people."
The President has stayed true to his word, in the face of enormous pressure to let up and to give in. In the hours immediately after September 11th, our nation, under his leadership, drew up the shield and drew the sword. We have stayed on the offensive ever since. And if other paths were now to be followed, if we were to lose our will and nerve and go wobbly, then death and grief will follow. But if we ride out the storm of this war, then Islamic fascism will end where Nazism and Soviet Communism did: "in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies."

Peter Wehner is deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House’s Office of Strategic Initiatives.

To the Council on American-Islamic Relations: Say it like it is: "ISLAMic-Fascists"

According to Reuters, US Muslim groups believe that the term President Bush used in his reference to a "war with Islamic fascists," could inflame anti-Muslim tensions.

"We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group.

We also believe that it is very sad to associate the term Islam and/or Muslim with terrorism but it has become evident in the past five years that in the name of Islam horrendous acts have been committed.

We ask and call for the Council on American-Islamic Relations to denounce these acts of terrorism and support wholeheartedly their fellow citizens by announcing that they will cooperate with law enforcement authorities, even if it means ranting on the fascists in their faith !!!!!

Are we stupid?

Do any Westerners remember that prior to September 11, 2001 Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization? Check out Victor Davis Hanson's article.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why Israel fights.

A friend from Israel sent the following poignant proposed text for a speech by the Israeli Prime Minister that would explain to the world exactly what the Israelis are fighting for:

July 31, 2006

We Will Not Capitulate
By Ben Caspit

Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world. I, the Prime Minister of Israel, am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible pictures from Kfar Kana. Any human heart, wherever it is, must sicken and recoil at the sight of such pictures. There are no words of comfort that can mitigate the enormity of this tragedy. Still, I am looking you straight in the eye and telling you that the State of Israel will continue its military campaign in Lebanon.

The Israel Defense Forces will continue to attack targets from which missiles and Katyusha rockets are fired at hospitals, old age homes and kindergartens in Israel. I have instructed the security forces and the IDF to continue to hunt for the Katyusha stockpiles and launch sites from which these savages are bombarding the State of Israel.

We will not hesitate, we will not apologize and we will not back off. If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Here, there and everywhere. The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time you understood: the Jewish state will no longer be trampled upon. We will no longer allow anyone to exploit population centers in order to bomb our citizens. No one will be able to hide anymore behind women and children in order to kill our women and children. This anarchy is over. You can condemn us, you can boycott us, you can stop visiting us and, if necessary, we will stop visiting you.

A voice for six million citizens

Today I am serving as the voice of six million bombarded Israeli citizens who serve as the voice of six million murdered Jews who were melted down to dust and ashes by savages in Europe. In both cases, those responsible for these evil acts were, and are, barbarians devoid of all humanity, who set themselves one simple goal: to wipe the Jewish race off the face of the earth, as Adolph Hitler said, or to wipe the State of Israel off the map, as Mahmoud Ahmedinjad proclaims.

And you - just as you did not take those words seriously then, you are ignoring them again now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, will not happen again. Never again will we wait for bombs that never came to hit the gas chambers. Never again will we wait for salvation that never arrives. Now we have our own air force. The Jewish people are now capable of standing up to those who seek their destruction - those people will no longer be able to hide behind women and children. They will no longer be able to evade their responsibility.

Every place from which a Katyusha is fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for us to attack. This must be stated clearly and publicly, once and for all. You are welcome to judge us, to ostracize us, to boycott us and to vilify us. But to kill us? Absolutely not.

Four months ago I was elected by hundreds of thousands of citizens to the office of Prime Minister of the government of Israel, on the basis of my plan for unilaterally withdrawing from 90 percent of the areas of Judea and Samaria, the birth place and cradle of the Jewish people; to end most of the occupation and to enable the Palestinian people to turn over a new leaf and to calm things down until conditions are ripe for attaining a permanent settlement between us.

The Prime Minister who preceded me, Ariel Sharon, made a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip back to the international border, and gave the Palestinians there a chance to build a new reality for themselves. The Prime Minister who preceded him, Ehud Barak, ended the lengthy Israeli presence in Lebanon and pulled the IDF back to the international border, leaving the land of the cedars to flourish, develop and establish its democracy and its economy.

What did the State of Israel get in exchange for all of this? Did we win even one minute of quiet? Was our hand, outstretched in peace, met with a handshake of encouragement? Ehud Barak's peace initiative at Camp David let loose on us a wave of suicide bombers who smashed and blew to pieces over 1,000 citizens, men, women and children. I don't remember you being so enraged then. Maybe that happened because we did not allow TV close-ups of the dismembered body parts of the Israeli youngsters at the Dolphinarium? Or of the shattered lives of the people butchered while celebrating the Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya? What can you do - that's the way we are. We don't wave body parts at the camera. We grieve quietly.

We do not dance on the roofs at the sight of the bodies of our enemy's children - we express genuine sorrow and regret. That is the monstrous behavior of our enemies. Now they have risen up against us. Tomorrow they will rise up against you. You are already familiar with the murderous taste of this terror. And you will taste more.

In a loud and clear voice

And Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza. What did it get us? A barrage of Kassem missiles fired at peaceful settlements and the kidnapping of soldiers. Then too, I don't recall you reacting with such alarm. And for six years, the withdrawal from Lebanon has drawn the vituperation and crimes of a dangerous, extremist Iranian agent, who took over an entire country in the name of religious fanaticism and is trying to take Israel hostage on his way to Jerusalem - and from there to Paris and London.

An enormous terrorist infrastructure has been established by Iran on our border, threatening our citizens, growing stronger before our very eyes, awaiting the moment when the land of the Ayatollahs becomes a nuclear power in order to bring us to our knees. And make no mistake - we won't go down alone. You, the leaders of the free and enlightened world, will go down along with us.

So today, here and now, I am putting an end to this parade of hypocrisy. I don't recall such a wave of reaction in the face of the 100 citizens killed every single day in Iraq. Sunnis kill Shiites who kill Sunnis, and all of them kill Americans - and the world remains silent. And I am hard pressed to recall a similar reaction when the Russians destroyed entire villages and burned down large cities in order to repress the revolt in Chechnya. And when NATO bombed Kosovo for almost three months and crushed the civilian population - then you also kept silent. What is it about us, the Jews, the minority, the persecuted, that arouses this cosmic sense of justice in you? What do we have that all the others don't?

In a loud clear voice, looking you straight in the eye, I stand before you openly and I will not apologize. I will not capitulate. I will not whine. This is a battle for our freedom. For our humanity. For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders. It is also your battle. I pray and I believe that now you will understand that. Because if you don't, you may regret it later, when it's too late.