Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, shoes were thrown at President Bush.

Some in the West have seen it as a joke. Yet, that vulgar, despicable action, is a result of a deeper pathology. Dr. Sabah Salih, explains:

There has always been a coarse side to Iraqi culture, made much coarser by decades of tyranny under Saddam. Saddam essentially erased the life of the mind. Under his watch, public language was transformed into a gruesome instrument for demeaning and demonizing all opponents. Overtime, that language became as brutal and as vulgar as the regime’s other means and methods. Argument, persuasion, debate, and respect for words were replaced with denunciations, crude name-calling, wild accusations, and bombastic statements. Language use became like combat: the enemy was to be subjected to a ferocious linguistic attack until he would be left speechless. Next came the more gruesome part: the person’s head would be shaven, part of his ears would be cut off, in some cases part of the tongue as well; the poor fellow would then be paraded in public, kicked and spat at repeatedly.

This pattern was repeated in less gruesome forms at virtually every level—the workplace, the school, the university, the neighborhood, the security checkpoint, because everyone with a little power felt entitled to act and talk like the dictator himself. A hapless kid in class would be kicked, called a dog, donkey, or monkey amid the roaring laughter of his classmates. A citizen, without political connections, visiting a government office, would be rudely asked to wait outside or come back another day without being offered an explanation.
My point is that, in various forms, what was done to Bush has been done to the Iraqi people a million times over; it continues to be done. It was done to me by my parents when I was too little to fend for myself, later by some of my teachers, in particular, my foul-mouthed, stick-wielding English teacher; and when I became a teacher myself I felt the position gave me the right to be as mean and as cruel as I wanted to be towards my student. Meanness and cruelty, I was told by colleagues, would translate into respect. Sadly, they were right. At home, I felt my male gender gave me the right to treat my little sisters in the same way. This social disease was the norm.

Iraqis can smell a Saddam loyalist a mile away, even as in this case the employer is a Cairo-based television station funded by the late dictator’s former henchmen. This hooligan, Muntadar al-Zaidi, tries to portray himself as the champion of the oppressed, but most Iraqis hear a familiar tune in his words, one, amazingly, much of the western media either can’t or doesn’t want to hear: it is the language of victimhood, liberation, and anti-colonialism in whose name Saddam justified his decades-long occupation of Iraq and turned genocide and village burning and mass graves into acts of heroism.

Try for a second to imagine this shoe-throwing hooligan as a father, husband, brother, neighbor, school teacher, policeman, judge: I don’t think the general pattern of his behavior and thinking would be any different, because his ugly deed pretty much defines his character; it also defines the milieu that cheers him. Regrettably, the social disease that gave us Saddam and his crudeness and cruelty continues to infect much of the Arab world.

If it is such hooliganism that gives the noisy part of Arab and Islamic political culture reason to feel good about itself, then another century will have to pass before shoe-throwing gives way to language as a means of debate, questioning, and understanding.

Thanks to Gateway Pundit.

Some will look back and reqret having maligned the man.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A C-17 Globemaster III from the 14th Airlift Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., leaves a smoke trail after releasing flares over the Atlantic Ocean during a local exercise above the Charleston area, May 16, 2006. The vortex from the Globemaster engine created the image of a "smoke angel" in the sky. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Russell E. Cooley IV

Ace of Spades has an awesome collection of the latest military artifacts and weaponry.

Amazing description of an incredible battle...

that was fought for nearly seven hours last April, on an Afghan mountainside. 12-man Special Forces team and some Afghan commandos killed an estimated 150 to 200 insurgents. Read it here.

Hot housewives in action and Chinese characters.

Ann Althouse: "Like those idiots with their tattoos, the Max Planck Institute was seduced by the allure of Chinese characters"...

On the anti-kidnapping "expert" who became a kidnap victim himself...

Gateway Pundit reports :

Mr. Batista, who was frequently quoted in media stories about kidnapping, ignored the State Department's Mexico travel alert. In Mexico organized-crime killings soared to 5,376 in 2008, more than double the 2,477 deaths in Mexico in 2007. Somebody probably should have told Felix that Mexico is more dangerous than Iraq.

Rush Limbaugh's answer to Colin Powell.

Interesting description of Washingtonians in Rush Limbaugh's reply to Colin Powell's comments that the Republican Party should not listen to Rush:

What's going on here with this Colin Powell thing is that the Washington establishment -- Powell's not a Republican. McCain's not a Republican. These guys are not even mavericks. They are Washingtonians. Washingtonians have their own culture and their own desires, and it is to matter. They don't care who's in power, they just want to be closely associated with whoever is. That's the name of the game and they want press adulation. They want to be loved and adored by the media, they want fawning treatment, they want to be thought of as something special, unique, dignified and so forth, and that's the Washington establishment. These guys are Washingtonians. And what is a Washingtonian? Who are these people? Ladies and gentlemen, they have driven this economy into the toilet. Washingtonians are tone deaf in terms of how you and I actually live and the things that matter and are important to us. Washingtonians are grabbing as much power for themselves right now as possible. Washington does not live in the rest of the country, does not live in the same world we do. What they're doing now is looking for ways to silence opposition. They don't care about the timid ineffective opposition. They like Republicans and conservatives who are ashamed of their views and their fellow citizens. What they want to do is silence people like me because they can't abide debate or opposition or challenges to their status and their authority.

So General Powell, let me explain something. The fact is Republicans did not listen to me. They listened to you. They have not been listening to me for years. The Republican Party nominated your ideal candidate. They nominated your guy, a moderate, who's willing to buy into an endless array of liberal causes, from global warming -- there's an AP story out today that says we are cooling this year, and by the way, record lows in Denver, we have record lows in Montana. We actually have a story on global warming from the AP today, and in the last couple paragraphs it says -- Rachel, you'll love this, because I know you think Algore is a genius -- it says here that this cooling perfectly illustrates how the world is warming. Folks, we got more problems than you can possibly imagine. That's just lunacy. That is just insanity. And that's modern journalism. We're freezing our butts off. We have our fifth cold front that went through here, and we normally haven't had the first one yet. Five cold fronts! Cold for us, but I mean look it, weather is weather. Record lows in Denver. And all of this freezing cold points out how the world is so rapidly warming, it perfectly illustrates it, the guy says.