Monday, February 26, 2007
The Choice on Iraq
"I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next."
BY JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
Monday, February 26, 2007 12:01 a.m.
Two months into the 110th Congress, Washington has never been more bitterly divided over our mission in Iraq. The Senate and House of Representatives are bracing for parliamentary trench warfare--trapped in an escalating dynamic of division and confrontation that will neither resolve the tough challenges we face in Iraq nor strengthen our nation against its terrorist enemies around the world.
What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.
Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?
If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security--meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.
Tamping down this violence is more than a moral imperative. Al Qaeda's stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country's politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.
The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren't enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital.
At least four of these new joint bases have already been established in the Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad--the same neighborhoods where, just a few weeks ago, jihadists and death squads held sway. In the Shiite neighborhoods of east Baghdad, American troops are also moving in--and Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army are moving out.
We of course will not know whether this new strategy in Iraq will succeed for some time. Even under the most optimistic of scenarios, there will be more attacks and casualties in the months ahead, especially as our fanatical enemies react and attempt to thwart any perception of progress.
But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago--with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security--and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.
Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America's cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.
There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.
Among the specific ideas under consideration are to tangle up the deployment of requested reinforcements by imposing certain "readiness" standards, and to redraft the congressional authorization for the war, apparently in such a way that Congress will assume the role of commander in chief and dictate when, where and against whom U.S. troops can fight.
I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, "Enough." And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war's conduct.
But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake--assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger--forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill--probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.
I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.
Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.
We are at a critical moment in Iraq--at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism. However tired, however frustrated, however angry we may feel, we must remember that our forces in Iraq carry America's cause--the cause of freedom--which we abandon at our peril.
Mr. Lieberman is an Independent senator from Connecticut.
He has posted about a “Gathering of Eagles” at the Vietnam Memorial as a counter-demonstration to an anti-war protest scheduled to descend on that spot on March 17. Veterans and others are understandably concerned that the anti-war protesters may be tempted to deface the Wall, as they found it necessary to deface the steps of the Capitol at their mini-rally in January.
Take a look, and check out Ron's blog.
Friday, February 23, 2007
President Bush, a well-established father figure, (and therefore hated by Congressional ("the Children") Democrats), refused to take the call, as he was in the middle of talking to some adults. Instead he assigned it to White House Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten.
Townhall offers this account of it.
Cheney Won't Take Back Pelosi Comment
Friday, February 23, 2007
Vice President Dick Cheney refused Friday to take back his charge that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's opposition to President Bush's Iraq war buildup is playing into the hands of the al-Qaida terrorist network.
"If you're going to advocate a course of action that basically is withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, then you don't get to just do the fun part of that, that says, 'We'll, we're going to get out,' and appeal to your constituents on that basis," Cheney said.
The vice president had voiced the same criticism of Pelosi earlier this week during a visit to Japan, and the California Democrat accused the vice president of questioning her patriotism, saying she was going to call President Bush directly with her complaint. "I hope the president will repudiate and distance himself from the vice president's remarks," Pelosi said. She ended up talking with White House chief of staff Josh Bolten instead of Bush.
The long-distance quarrel began in Tokyo, where Cheney earlier this week used an interview to criticize Pelosi and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., over their plan to place restrictions on Bush's request for an additional $93 billion for the Iraq war to make it difficult or impossible to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraq.
During Friday's interview in Sydney with ABC News, Cheney said, "I'm not sure what part of it is that Nancy disagreed with. She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn't question her patriotism. I questioned her judgment."
"You also have to be accountable for the results. What are the consequences of that? What happens if we withdraw from Iraq?," he said. "And the point I made and I'll make it again is that al-Qaida functions on the basis that they think they can break our will. That's their fundamental underlying strategy, that if they can kill enough Americans or cause enough havoc, create enough chaos in Iraq, then we'll quit and go home. And my statement was that if we adopt the Pelosi policy, that then we will validate the strategy of al-Qaida. I said it and I meant it."
Asked if he was willing to take back his criticism of Pelosi, Cheney replied, "I'm not backing down."
I’m with Big Time on this one, especially since he’s only speaking the plain truth. I wish we’d heard more from him all these years.
According to today's Detroit News, (“Imam accepts Farrakhan's invitation to give sermon in Detroit today”):
The Islamic Society of North America, which represents orthodox, mostly immigrant Muslims, will join ailing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan this weekend in Detroit at what is billed as his final major address.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a longtime member of the Islamic Society, said he has accepted Farrakhan's invitation to give a sermon at prayers today, two days before the minister's Sunday speech at Ford Field, the Islamic Society said from its headquarters in Plainfield, Ind.
The Islamic Society's participation is significant because mainstream Muslims have considered the Nation heretical. Among their many differences, the Nation has promoted black supremacy, while mainstream Islam teaches racial unity. However, in recent years Farrakhan has adopted more orthodox teachings and has tried to build ties with other Muslims.
It’s no wonder that mainstream Muslims have considered the NOI heretical, in view of the NOI’s other distinctive views that:
· African-Americans are God's chosen people.
· African-Americans should live separately from whites.
· Allah appeared on Earth in the form of W. Fard Muhammad in 1930.
· They do not believe in war or that they should be forced to participate in wars.
It is also fundamental NOI doctrine that “Yakub, a black scientist, created the white race 6,000 years ago.” I won't even get into the whole spaceship thing. I did think that was a nice touch how Detroit News writer Gregg Krupa summarizes the differences between the NOI and orthodox Islam as NOI promoting black supremacy, "while mainstream Islam teaches racial unity." That sounds like Islam in a nutshell to me.
The Islamic Society of North America’s website gave this explanation for cooperating in all of this, (“ISNA ACCEPTS MINISTER FARRAKHAN’S INVITATION”):
Commenting on this historic event, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a long standing member of ISNA, emphasized that Islam’s mission to humanity “is to call to the path of God, with 'wisdom and beautiful preaching'.” God makes clear, he said, that He responds to those who take one step toward Him by taking several toward them; and that He is best at distinguishing between those who stray and those who are righteous. He went on to say: "To that end and after taking naseehah (consultation) with Muslim leaders of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah in America generally. . .I have chosen to accept the Minister's invitation to deliver the Khutbat al-Jum'ah (Friday worship sermon). We pray that nothing but good will come from it."
And Allah knows best.
But I don’t mean to be too hard on Muslims for being ecumenical towards the NOI, because at least they all acknowledge the Koran, and believe that there is no God but Allah. (Although NOI believes the black race gave birth to Allah 6,000 years ago, and He is the mightiest God since creation born after Yakub.)
What is more perplexing to me, and I commented on it earlier in the week, is the swooning that strikes Detroit’s black leaders at the mention of Farrakhan’s name, including nonMuslim, black Christian leaders. For instance, there's the Rev. Sam Bullock, president of the Council of Baptist Pastors, who appeared at the NOI press conference last week announcing this weekend’s annual NOI convention, saying "we seek to move beyond our theology and embrace our humanity, this event is significant because this is the birthplace of the Nation of Islam."
Black politicans can't get enough of the Minister, (all his fans call him "Minister"), like Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson calling Farrakhan a “role model,” (“After Farrakhan, who will fill void?”), and Councilwoman Monica Conyers giving the NOI credit for the re-election of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Among role model Farrakhan’s more edifying statements have been a description of Judaism as "a gutter religion", characterising Christianity as an oppressive faith linked to the slavery of black people and calling Adolf Hitler "great", although he said later that he had meant "wickedly great".
After Hurricane Katrina, he also told his followers “levees in New Orleans may have been deliberately 'blown up' to kill the city's black population.”
We’re so lucky to have him.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
For four years the existence of a coalition has been one of the most under-reported facts of all the under-reported facts about the war.
But today, it’s finally all right to print a list, as mentioning America’s allies helps in reporting how they’re all abandoning Iraq.
Rush Limbaugh had a similar observation yesterday, when he played a montage of sound bites from several giddy newscasters declaring that Tony Blair’s announcement of a withdrawal of some 1,600 troops from southern Iraq was proof positive that the coalition allies are abandoning the Iraq war even more precipitously than the Democratic Congress:
“ED HENRY: No matter how the White House tries to play this, this is clearly a blow to Mr. Bush, when you combine it with what's just crossing the hours over the last hour or so that Denmark is also going to pull its troops from Iraq. The perception is reality, and the perception is that US allies are now walking away, and they're shunning what Mr. Bush has repeatedly said, that setting a timetable and withdrawing troops is not the right way to go. His allies are now walking away.
“RUSH: We did a Nexis search here, folks, this morning because I could not ever recall Ed Henry at CNN telling us that Denmark had troops in Iraq. I never knew from CNN that Denmark was part of our coalition. So we did a LexisNexis search, and we can't find, of all the CNN transcripts, we cannot find a day prior to today where CNN reporter Ed Henry ever reported that Denmark has troops in Iraq.”
Note how Ed Henry also falls back on the “perception is reality” slogan, which as a general proposition is both irrational and untrue. Perception is not reality. For that matter, notice how he relies on the “perception” that “US allies are now walking away,” and insisting on “setting a timetable,” even when that is demonstrably not the reality--as Tony Blair made perfectly clear in his announcement on Tuesday that British troops would be expected to remain in Iraq at least through 2008, and that further withdrawals would be “condition-based,” not based on any timetable.
But when you want to accomplish a reality by manipulating perception, it’s best to create the perception first, then call it reality. That’s how Walter Cronkite did it when he called the US victory during the Tet offensive a US defeat.
It isn’t all the media’s fault that the number and identities of coalition partners has remained a secret. (Did you know Georgia contributed 900 soldiers? El Salvador 380? Poland 600?). Since March 2003 the President has wasted opportunities during every speech he gave on Iraq to painstakingly itemize every nation in the coalition, especially during his State of the Union speeches. He could have listed them slowly to give the cameras time to pan to irritated Democrats who’d shot their faces off accusing him of acting unilaterally, and at the same time the slow build up of nations would give his supporters something to cheer for.
Yes, most of the coalition nations have sent only token forces. But Blair is only withdrawing 1,600 troops, and look at how much “perception” the Left is getting out of that? And more important, even one token troop is a token of that nation’s endorsement of the President’s policy in Iraq. And a better use of those tokens sure could have been made to shut up the left’s whining that the “whole world” has been against us on the Iraq war.
Too bad. Now it's getting late to advance the perception of that reality.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The natural answer for liberals is that the death toll is tragically too high compared to what it would be in heaven--or, as many of them don’t believe in heaven--compared with the Utopia for which they are struggling: the one where no unwanted children result from sex, no race jokes are told even in private, and no one owns a gun. When you’re using heaven/Utopia as a guide, you can always justify the “one death is too many” measure.
Of course, one soldier's death is too many, if it’s a wasted death. Which is why we hate to see the Democratic Party working so hard to waste the deaths of our fallen heroes in Iraq. But be that side of the issue ever so determined, as wars fought in our national interest go, the death toll in Iraq has not been particularly high.
By way of comparison, the current number of US military deaths after 47 months is slightly less than the 3,155 Union dead killed at Gettysburg in three days of fighting. On D-Day in 1944, 2,500 US soldiers died in a single day. 6,800 US servicemen died, twice the Iraq toll, on Iwo Jima in the space of five weeks in 1945. The death toll of servicemen after nineteen months of America fighting in World War I was 116,000, or 6,105 per month. The American toll after four years of World War II was 600,000 dead.
That last number is significant. You will notice that the Iraq war is being condemned by the Left because it has “lasted longer than the Second World War,” as if there is a built-in term to war decisions, like a mortgage or a basketball game. Why not compare it to Vietnam, as the Left otherwise never wearies of doing, where we had a nine-year term? Is that because it would take us another 14 years to reach that death toll?
But if we are required to abide by the arbitrary time limit to reach victory established in World War II, (and don't forget the "United Nations" were actually helping us with that one!), then why not be required to expend military lives at the same rate--which would be 200 times higher than it has been in the Iraq war? Or, if we can't expend lives that fast, then why not keep fighting in Iraq for another 800 years, or nearly long enough to outlast Senator Byrd's final term in the Senate?
What is missing in the liberal line is what is always missing: perspective. We are talking about a mass of otherwise intelligent folks who lie awake nights worrying about an ice floe cracking up in 2100, while dismissing Iran's looming nuclear capability as a trick of the Bush administration; or who despise a years-long economic expansion as the worst calamity since the Hoover administration.
Alicia Colon at the New York Sun has provided some welcome perspective on the combat toll of the Iraq war, ("Heroes And Cowards").
“The total military dead in the Iraq war between 2003 and this month stands at about 3,133. This is tragic, as are all deaths due to war, and we are facing a cowardly enemy unlike any other in our past that hides behind innocent citizens. Each death is blazoned in the headlines of newspapers and Internet sites. What is never compared is the number of military deaths during the Clinton administration: 1,245 in 1993; 1,109 in 1994; 1,055 in 1995; 1,008 in 1996. That's 4,417 deaths in peacetime but, of course, who's counting?”
Read the rest of this article here.
If you doubt it, you can compare her numbers to the DoD’s own tables.
Of course every life is sacred, but in a world where the US is hated by so many as it is today, (and before we ever went into Iraq), and for so many different reasons, there is no way we are going to have a 0-casualty military. Nor will we ever know how many killings by IEDs and car bombs were directly motivated by a desire to push the American political will to the breaking point.
As he watched Europe's pactifists in the 1930s appeasing their nations into another world war, G.K. Chesterton wrote:
“We do not hold, no sane man has ever held, that war is a good thing. It is better that men should agree than that they should disagree; it is better that they disagree peacefully than that they should fight. Thus far we go with the most ardent, unconditional pacifist. The horrors and abominations of war are not likely to be invoked. But we hold that occasion may arise when it is better for a man to fight than to surrender. War is, in the main, a dirty, mean, inglorious business, but it is not the direst calamity that can befall a people. There is one worse state, at least: the state of slavery.
“While the possibility of slavery remains, while it merges daily into imminent probability, it is more important to teach men the value of manhood than to preach the softer virtues of peace.”
Friday, February 16, 2007
"'As we seek to move beyond our theology and embrace our humanity, this event is significant because this is the birthplace of the Nation of Islam,' said the Rev. Sam Bullock, president of the Council of Baptist Pastors, who was one of about 150 people to attend a news conference Thursday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History."
The Nation of Islam is ostensibly Muslim in its theology, with some additional interesting points, including that Allah “appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930; the long-awaited 'Messiah' of the Christians and the "Mahdi" of the Muslims.” The Nation of Islam was originated right here in Detroit. We originated carjacking, too.
Since Baptists are historically Trinitarian Christians who view Jesus Christ as the Messiah of the Christians, you can appreciate that Rev. Bullock’s decision to “move beyond theology and embrace” Farrakhan, (whom toadies of all faiths refer to with the honorific, “minister,”) had to entail the Baptist pastors moving awfully far. As for embracing our humanity, It happens that Farrakhan believes that “White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet,” so perhaps Rev. Bullock intends to exclude blue-eyed devils from the ecumenical hug.
Even Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is all goose-bumpy over the visit. "All of us are coming together in a major way in our community to hear from the minister, but also to have some real dialogue with each other," Kilpatrick was quoted as saying.
At Farrakhan’s last year’s Saviour’s Day speech (in honor of W. Fard Muhammad’s birthday), his dialogue included some of these gems:
"I'm warning you America. You better get rid of them neo-cons. That's the synagogue of Satan. They have made America weak. You're a weak nation now, and your country has been taken from you by the synagogue of Satan. They own congress. That's why the congress ain't right."
"God does not love everybody. He said he loved Jacob but he hated Esau. So if God is our example and he can love and he can hate then don't be afraid to love and don't be afraid to hate."
"Is Jerusalem surrounded by armies now? These neo-cons and Zionists have manipulated Bush and the American government and our boys and girls are dying in Iraq and in Afghanistan for the cause of Israel, not for the cause of America! Israel is the tail waggin' the dog, which is America. You may not like me, and I really don't give a damn. I'm throwin' the gauntlet down today.”
The Muslim man charged last December for planning to bomb a Rockford, Illinois shopping mall, Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef, was a Nation of Islam convert, as was, reportedly, his father before him. (“Shareef Followed Father Into Nation Of Islam”).
Shareef was arrested before he could carry out his plot because, unbeknownst to him, an acquaintance of his, (“CS”), with whom he was planning the operation, was cooperating with the FBI and taping their conversations.
These are excerpts from the FBI affidavit filed in support of Shareef’s indictment:
A few minutes after SHAREEF and the CS discussed shaving their body hair and meditating, SHAREEF stated: “I’m ready, man, these Kafirs [a term translated as “infidel”] don’t give a damn about us, niggers don’t care what happens to the Umma [an Arabic word meaning community or nation that is commonly used to mean the collective nation of Islamic states], about sisters getting raped, about brothers losing their (UI). They don’t care, man. All they care about is (UI)..I probably would have eventually ended up just stabbing the shit outta some Jews or something. Just stabbing them niggers with a steak knife. Dude, I ain’t gonna lie. Because during the war with Hezbollah, man, I had already started to look at synagogues out here and in the DeKalb area and everything. I was looking at synagogues, I was doing Mapquest…One of them was down the block from the masjid [mosque], I knew that they do their thing on Saturdays, right, I was like, I’m gonna lay low out here, I’m gonna camp out overnight, be out there on Friday night after Jumna” [Friday prayer] or Saturday morning about 12:00 or 1:00 o’clock, I be there. And as soon as I see them fools going in the building, I had planned on trying to grab one, depending on how it was, niggers trying to run in the building all at once and open up shop, I was just going to go over there and shank one or two of them.”
In Shareef’s videotaped statement made in anticipation of dying during the mall massacre, he said:
“This may be my last will and testament, the last words that I have spoken to those who know me, to those who do not know me. My name is Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef. I am 22 years of age. I am from America, and this tape is to let you guys know, who disbelieve in Allah, to let the enemies of Islam know, and to let the Muslims alike know that the time for jihad is now.…Be strong, oh Mujahideen. Be strong oh brothers who want to fight for jihad….This is a warning to those who disbelieve, that we are here for you, and I am ready to give my life…May Allah protect me on this mission we conduct…So do not cry, do not mourn for me. Do not believe what the kafir [infidel] will say about me when you read in the newspapers and when you see the television articles about me. Do not believe this. Understand that your son is a strong man…who believes and fears his Lord to the degree that he will give his life.”
I'm sure Detroit will be better off for having Louis Farrakhan in for a visit.
Ann Coulter gives her spin on Obama's announcement of a run for president in "Jonathan Livingston Obama":
"Obama made his announcement surrounded by hundreds of adoring Democratic voters. And those were just the reporters."
And for an even more welcome break from this week's Democrat political theater, here’s a great skit from last Saturday’s MadTV, “Democratic Woman of the Year.”
Thursday, February 15, 2007
To report on that would be an act of aid and comfort to the enemy, in this case George W. Bush, and the rest of us who want to see the coalition forces succeed in Iraq.
As Nancy Pelosi and about 278 other Democrats have been declaiming everywhere since the President announced that he was turning up the heat on Iraqi insurgents, nothing we do over there can possibly work. Al Sadr seems to think otherwise.
According to ABC News:
“While members of the U.S. House of Representatives take turns weighing in on President Bush's planned troop surge in Iraq, the focus in Iraq is not on the arrival of more U.S. troops, but the departure of one of the country's most powerful men, Moqtada al Sadr and members of his army.
“According to senior military officials, al Sadr left Baghdad two to three weeks ago and fled to Tehran, Iran, where he has family.
“Al Sadr commands the Mahdi army, one of the most formidable insurgent militias in Iraq, and his move coincides with the announced U.S. troop surge in Baghdad.”
Obviously, the plan that can't work has already started working.
If Jack Murtha is going to prevail he will have to increase his slow-bleed strategy to a swift stab in the back.
Salt Lake Massacre: Utter Lack of Curiosity of Media and Law Enforcement Is 'Random' and 'Unexplained'
If you blinked on Tuesday you would have missed the last sign of reports on the Bosnian man, Sulejman Talovic, who shot and killed five people and shot and wounded several at a Salt Lake City mall on Monday. Talovic himself was gunned down by police officers. A press conference from the Bosnian community in the area never happened. The press stories consistently refer to Talovic as a “boy,” although journalistic standards require that any male 18 or older is to be referred to as a “man.”
Right on cue, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said, “It appears to be very random. There was no sense to why he was doing what he was doing.” (“Police: Teen Shot Mall Victims at Random”). Burbank also said that the young man “had one thing in mind: ‘to kill a large number of people,’ and he likely would have killed more than five had an off-duty officer not confronted him, the police chief said Tuesday.”
The AP report on Tuesday (“Salt Lake City mall reopens 2 days after fatal shootings”) quoted the “boy’s” aunt, Ajka Omerovic, as saying, "We are Muslims, but we are not terrorists."
Salt Lake City FBI agent Patrick Kiernan “said the bureau had no reason to believe Sulejman Talovic, who was killed by police, was motivated by religious extremism or an act of terrorism.” “’It's just unexplainable,’ Kiernan said. ‘He was just walking around and shooting everybody he saw.’"
I would have thought that the police, especially the FBI, would have spent just a smidge more time trying to explain the “unexplainable,” or figure out the pattern behind this seemingly “random” shooting. According to the AP, the young man’s parents don’t speak English, and on Tuesday the ATF had not yet even figured out where Talovic had obtained one of his two guns. In short, it’s awfully early in an investigation in which 5 people were killed to be so certain that the killer's motive is beyond finding out.
I don’t assume that just because Tanovic and his family are Muslim, that his murder spree was inspired by jihadism. But I don’t like it when law enforcement, and the media, collude together long before they have the facts to back it up, to announce and reinforce that religious extremism can be ruled out as an explanation. If Chief Burbank knows that Tanovic “was just walking around and shooting everybody he saw," even a moderate level of professional curiosity would feel the need to ask, why? Just look at the resources Patrick Fitzgerald is willing to burn up on questions much less absorbing than this.
The press isn't interested, either, in spite of the obvious hook about a mass murder in a straight-laced American city with a reputation for being hyper-religious. You can Google this story and see how fast it died. Meanwhile, Fox News is on hour 257 of coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death.
There have been many of these cases, and the pattern of law enforcement explaining away a likely jihadist motive is consistent. Michelle Malkin did a roundup last summer, (“A random gallery of ‘lone’ shooters”) It’s interesting to see how often terrorism as a motive is “discounted,” or the act is explained by mental illness.
In this case, Tanovic and his family fled their Bosnian village in 1993, when Tanovic was only 4, and the family came to the US in 1998, nearly 10 years ago. It has already been suggested that the experiences of the Bosnian war explained the rampage. A friend of the family thought this was so, “especially the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Serb forces in the northeastern enclave of Srebrenica. The boy had been in Srebrenica about two years before the massacre occurred.”
Maybe that theory has some merit, but I have to wonder why a kid who’s been in the country for nine years suddenly decides that Salt Lake Mormons are a close enough match to the Serbian Orthodox guys who committed a massacre in a village two years after a four-year-old moves out.
I mean, come on. Look at all the evangelicals who won't vote for Mormon Mitt Romney because he's not even a real Christian! On the other hand, can a Muslim really tell the difference?
The worst thing about this kind of story is that if law enforcement chooses to conduct a half-hearted investigation, and the press drops it, it’s impossible to get any idea of what really happened.
I have trouble believing there is, or imagining why there would be, a law enforcement-media conspiracy to sweep domestic jihadist murders under the rug. But then why are these stories so predictable?
Chaldeans are a semitic people who have been in Iraq since before the time of Abraham. Today they are mostly Eastern Rite Catholics. Under the mostly secular regime of Saddam Hussein Chaldeans enjoyed some protection from persecution by Iraq’s Muslims; but since Hussein was deposed and Shia and Sunni leaders have had more opportunities to impose their view of the world on their neighbors, the situation in Iraq for Chaldeans has been deteriorating.
According to the New York Times, (“Iraq’s Christians Flee as Extremist Threat Worsens”), the situation worsened “because many Muslim Iraqis framed the American-led invasion as a modern crusade against Islam, and second because Christians traditionally run the country’s liquor stories, anathema to many religious Muslims.
"Over the past three and a half years, Christians have been subjected to a steady stream of church bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and threatening letters slipped under their doors. Estimates of the resulting Christian exodus vary from the tens of thousands to more than 100,000, with most heading for Syria, Jordan and Turkey.”
Anti-war critics have tried to spin the exodus as a result of the coalition war in Iraq. But what is happening with the Chaldeans is mirrored by growing pressure throughout the Arab world on Christian minorities, including Lebanon and Egypt: (“A Christian Exodus from the Arab World”). After the Muslim fury following Pope Benedict's critical remarks about Islam last year, Iraqi Muslim groups threatened Christians and many church services were canceled, many for good.
In effect, it is the dhimmi status of Christians in Iraq that is making their lives more difficult, and quite insecure, not the fact of the Iraq war. In January Der Spiegel said that “[t]here were only 500,000 Christians still living in Iraq until recently, compared to 750,000 after the 1991 Gulf War.” A seminary student, who was himself “fleeing to Kurdistan, estimates that half of those remaining Christians have emigrated since the 2003 US invasion, most of them in the last six months.”
One problem with their exodus is that “[t]hose who leave are primarily members of the elite: doctors, lawyers and engineers.” Many worry that the rebuilding of Iraq will be more difficult without their skills and talents.
Detroit News reporter Krupa asked Imam Husham al-Huisany, director of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn about “the wisdom of more Iraqis leaving at the same time more American troops are arriving.” The question is quite bizarre, implying as it does that the emigration of Christians from Iraq is some kind of exchange program correlated with the sending of additional troops to Baghdad, rather than the voluntary decision of (now) free Iraqis who are seeking refuge from religious persecution for themselves and their families.
Imam al-Husainy, whose wisdom was on prominent display on the Sean Hannity’s radio program recently, ("Is This the Voice of Dearborn?"), wanted to know “’What message does this send?...For humanitarian reasons, yes, we favor this. It is necessary. But the country needs people to stay, to help rebuild."
Does Imam al-Huseiny believe the Chaldeans should be forced to remain in Iraq in dhimmitude to help rebuild Iraq? And isn't is it his co-religionists who have given the Chaldeans their motive for leaving their homeland?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
We live in a dangerous world. According to the European Union, that world will become exponentially more dangerous in the coming years. An internal EU document leaked to the Financial Times states that Iran will likely go nuclear in the near future. "Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have so far not succeeded," says the document. "At some stage we must expect that Iran will acquire the capacity to enrich uranium on the scale required for a weapons programme." The document also suggests that economic sanctions will be useless.
What is to be done? The European Union, as usual, has decided to stick its collective head in the sand. No surprise there. If Iran is to be stopped, of course, it will not be the EU that takes the leadership role -- it will have to be the United States. "The price of greatness is responsibility," explained Winston Churchill. The price of global leadership is global leadership.
Unfortunately, we are currently mired in an existential crisis of our own. The war in Iraq has undermined the will to use military force, even when military force is necessary. Just because we did not find massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq does not mean Iran is benign. Yet, like the Western powers after World War I, we prefer to watch as our enemies re-arm rather than stopping them when we can. The results, as they were in 1939, will be devastating.
All of which makes the presidential election of 2008 the most important election in recent memory. America teeters on the brink of a crippling European post-modernism.
The political embodiment of that post-modernism -- that nihilistic resignation -- is the modern Democratic Party. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democrats' bright new star, is no more capable of global leadership than Jacques Chirac. Obama's politics of "understanding" dictates that evil cannot be fought -- it must be placated with psychobabble.
In his new forward to "Dreams From My Father," Obama writes, "I know, I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi how easily they slip into violence and despair. I know that the response of the powerful to this disorder -- alternating as it does between a dull complacency and, when the disorder spills out of its proscribed confines, a stead unthinking application of force, of more sophisticated military hardware -- is inadequate to the task." This sounds like boilerplate rhetoric. It is not. It is the theory of appeasement, stated clearly and succinctly.
Obama's adolescent insistence that everything can be talked out is matched in its idiocy only by his adolescent scorn for military sacrifice in general. In a speech in Iowa on February 11, Obama stated, "We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged -- and to which we have now spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted." Wasted. This is the language of MoveOn.org, the language of Democratic Underground, the language of the 1960s radicals Obama claims to deplore.
This was no isolated incident. It reflects what Obama believes. After Obama sponsored legislation mandating a full troop withdrawal from Iraq by March 2008, Australian Prime Minister John Howard lashed out. Al Qaeda, Howard said, would be "praying as many times as possible" for Obama's election in 2008. Obama's response was breathtakingly ignorant and immature: If Howard is "ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq," spat Obama, "I would suggest that he call up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."
There are currently over 1,400 Australian troops dispatched to Iraq. Howard has a legitimate reason to declaim Obama's politics: His country has hundreds of troops on the ground, and American policy affects those troops. For Obama to dismiss Howard's opinion by insulting Australia's sacrifice is outrageous.
And yet it is Barack Obama -- a man who sees aloe vera as an actual foreign relations strategy, who routinely derides military sacrifice -- whom the Democrats put forth as their hot new candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination.
Will America join Europe, sticking its head in the sand, enabling Islamism by ignoring it? Iran certainly hopes so. Like Al Qaeda, Iran's leaders must be praying every day that Americans turn to a candidate like Barack Obama.
And now what’s been lost in many of the details of that story is the agreement by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s granting “permission for Jordan to build a large minaret adjacent to a mosque on the Temple Mount to call Muslims to prayer at the holy site. The minaret will stand at a site on the Mount where Jewish groups here had petitioned to build a synagogue.”
The synagogue would not displace any Islamic buildings, but as we’ve understated elsewhere, ("Temple? What Temple?"), and as is hugely obvious, Muslims do not like to share, and are religiously intolerant. They also seem to have thoroughgoing insecurities that cause them to become alarmed easily, especially where the hated Jews are concerned. When a group of Israeli rabbis were discussing the proposed synagogue last October, an Islamic member of the Israeli Knesset freaked, as described in the Jerusalem Post.
“'Any attempt to build a synagogue on Jerusalem's Temple Mount would immediate plunge Israel into horrible bloodbath,' warned Tuesday MK Ibrahim Sarsur, head of the southern wing of the Islamic Movement.
"'Muslims and Arabs will not stand idly by while representatives of Satan on earth such as MK Uri Ariel and his lunatic friends from the Yesha Rabbinic Council try to launch their insane plots,'" said Sarsur.
"'We will resort to violence if need be, which I believe is legitimate under such circumstances.'"
Ariel believed that “Jews' presence on the Temple Mount has clear symbolism.” He also noted it would be an opportunity for Muslims to display their tolerance for other faiths.
“But Sarsur said that the very building of the synagogue was a gross violation of the status quo and tantamount to a call to war.
“’I want to believe that the government and the sane Israeli voice will not allow fundamentalists and self-haters to plunge the entire area into a horrible bloodbath," added Sarsur, who heads the more moderate southern branch of the Islamic Movement, which decided in 1996 to run for parliamentary representation.”
That’s right, Sarsur heads the moderate southern branch of the Islamic Movement. In one breath he issues a call to war, then calls on sane Israelis to prevent the area from being plunged into a bloodbath.
Olmert thought it was a good bargain to trade what shreds are left of the Jews’ claim to the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site—to pacify the Muslims’ intolerant hogging of what is, for them, only their third holiest site, and one never mentioned in the Koran.
Olmert’s decision was just as symbolic as the defunct plans to build a synagogue would have been-symbolic of the systematic removal of Jewish presence at holiest site in Judaism.
According to WND, “Rabbi Chaim Rechman, director of the international department at Israel's Temple Institute , [said] Olmert's decision to allow the minaret ‘is repugnant to anyone who knows what it is to be a Jew.’”
The Islamists lost no time in appreciating the symbolism.
As reported in WorldNetDaily,
“A top leader of the Waqf – the Islamic custodians of the Mount – told WND Olmert's granting of permission to build the minaret in the synagogue's place 'confirms 100-percent the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) belongs to Muslims.'
"'This proves Jewish conspiracies for a synagogue will never succeed and solidifies our presence here. It will make Muslims worldwide more secure that the Jews will never take over the Haram al-Sharif,' the Waqf official said.”
So there are some 12 million Jews on the planet, with only one commonly accepted holy site--the site of the Temple in Jerusalem—while there are a billion Muslims with many holy sites, of which the Al-Aksa mosque is only the third, and which 8th-century Muslims rather deliberately decided to construct on top of the site of the Jewish Temple. Yet it's the one billion Muslims who are so insecure—equating with a cause for war the thought that the Jews may put something up on the Temple Mount.
Will Olmert's gift work? So far, the world's Muslims are so overcome with relief that there now will be a minaret taking up the space that might have gone for the synagogue, that the almost insignificant Mugrabi bridge project has now drawn this this mellow response:
Islamists in Jordan over the weekend called for a jihad to "save the Al Aqsa mosque," and vowed revolt against their Arab rulers if they do not take steps to make Israel halt its reconstruction project of the Mugrabi Gate bridge.
The committee of Muslim scholars in Jordan's largest political opposition group, the Islamic Action Front, or IAF, said in a statement that they "urge ... proclaiming jihad to liberate Al Aqsa and save it from destruction and sabotage from Jewish usurpers." If not, they said, they would turn their anger against the Arab regimes that did not take action against Israel - starting with Jordan's King Abdullah, they said.
This is a footbridge, mind you. You can’t drive tanks over it or anything.
Now it may well be that Olmert decided to give King Abdullah his minaret now to stave off this maniac opposition aimed at the King in Jordan. After all, Jordan is one of the countries that officially recognizes Israel’s right to exist. But it is still an act of appeasement.
At the same time, as we have noted elsewhere, Muslim propogandists have been busy erasing the inconvenient truth of the history of the Jewish Temple. Also from WND:
“In an interview with WND, Kamal Hatib, vice-chairman of the Islamic Movement...claimed the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built by angels and that a Jewish Temple may have existed, but not in Jerusalem. The Movement, which works closely with the Waqf, is the Muslim group in Israel most identified with the Temple Mount.”
Haaretz writer Nadav Shragai explains:
Muslim religious figures attempt to portray the Jewish presence in Jerusalem as having been short-term. The Western Wall is a Muslim site, they argue, and say Jewish affinity for it was invented for political purposes and dates only to the 19th and 20th centuries. Their aim is to disprove the centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism. Above all they stress the "precedence and supremacy of Islam over Judaism, which contaminates the city's Muslim character"....
It is therefore easy to understand why the Muslims are so afraid of archaeological digs, not only on the Temple Mount itself but also around it, although these digs also shed light on Jerusalem's Muslim history. Muslims fear these excavations, not because they physically endanger al-Aqsa's foundations, but because they undermine the tissue of lies proclaiming that the Jews have no valid historical roots in the city and its holy sites.
Have you noticed how it's always about the precedence and supremacy of Islam over Judaism, or Christianity, and everything, and everyone? This is dhimmitude. We Muslims on top, you on the bottom. That's the way God wants it. Anything else makes us very insecure.
Bat Ye’or describes how this kind of “Islamization” works:
The Islamization of culture included the Islamization of geography, a phenomenon linked to every conquest. Cities often lost their original names: Amid in Armenia became Diyarbarki; Constantinople, Istanbul; Jerusalem, al-Quds; Herbon was Arabized to al-Khalil. There are endless examples through the dar al-Islam, and it is a curious fact that the Jewish and Christian chroniclers continue to refer to the original names, almost as if their national history was continuing soot voce in its ancestral geographical framework, uninterrupted by the Islamization of their country.
The concealment of the dhimmis’ history arises from the silence imposed on them and the ban on any criticism. In effect, the refusal of a dhimmi testimony against a Muslim determines behavior patterns and reveals the psychology of both groups.
The dhimmi group, stripped of its means of defense, is placed in a hostage situation at the mercy of unfounded accusations. This constant and degrading vulnerability engenders servility, flattery, and corruption. After emanicipation, Europeean consuls noted the dhimmis’ fear to assert their rights. In fact, blackmail and assassination punished dhimmi “arrogance.”
In the dominating group, this refusal of testimony by the suppression of speech—the distinctive sign of humanity—reflects a denial of rights. This mutilated speech, this rejected testimony, is transposed from the individual to the group and is perpetuated in time. History being also the testimony of a people and the foundation of its rights, the effacement of its past abolishes its rights. The official version of events then becomes a single voice epic, thereby perpetuating the mechanism of the obliteration and exclusion of the dhimmi nations. This process of obliteration—what Vidiadha S. Naipaul calls “killing history” continues to function in our days.
Bat Ye’or, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude”, (1996)).
Israel has been in control of Jerusalem, from which rises the Temple Mount, since her victory in the 1967 war. Yet for the previous fourteen centuries Muslims considered Jerusalem theirs, and, as with everything they consider theirs, and where any one else's interests come into play, their insecurities make them violent and irrational.
Since 1967 Israel has allowed Muslim control of the Temple Mount, probably from a practical recognition of Muslim insecurities, and partly from Israel's basic democratic decency and tolerance. All the Israeli conquerors of Jerusalem ever asked for were the barest rights of access for the people whose ancestors first built there, and for the Christians and others for whom, also, the Temple Mount was a setting for momentous things.
The contrast with the ungrateful and intransigent attitude of the Muslims over the Temple Mount is startling--and sickening.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that between 2004 and 2006 the number of Iraqis who support the idea of an Islamic state declined from 30 percent to 22 percent. Meanwhile, those who favor separating religion and politics rose from 27 percent to 41 percent. In Baghdad, where sectarian violence has been most frequent, the number of people who see themselves as Iraqis first and Muslims second has doubled to 60 percent. And the percentage of Iraqis who say it “very important” for their nation to be a democracy has risen from 59 percent to 65 percent.
This suggests that neither Sunni nor Shia extremists are winning hearts and minds. Then again, they may not need to so long as they can put knives to throats and electric drills to skulls.
Take a look at the rest in “On Being Greeted as Liberators.”
Sunday, February 11, 2007
AP Mopping Up After CAIR?
Is the Associated Press now in the business of cleaning up the more outrageous statements made by CAIR officials like Ibrahim Hooper? It does look that way: AP alters CAIR quote in story about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
We know that CAIR has focused very intensely on media relations, and it would not surprise me in the least if Hooper managed to get AP writer William C. Mann to alter a quotation after it had gone to print.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
So far, the ramp project has drawn reactions including the following:
“`The Islamic world`s reaction to this insulting move should make the regime occupying Quds (Jerusalem) regret (its action) ... Silence over this issue is not acceptable,` said Iran`s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the state radio. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also condemned the excavation.
"`The nature of the Zionist regime is to ruin and cause conflict,` Iran`s students news agency ISNA quoted the president as saying.The Syrians, in a statement by an `official in the Foreign Ministry,` according to the official Syrian news agency, said `aggression against Al-Aqsa is a blow to the holy places of Islam` and was against the sensibilities of Muslims the world over.
"Jordan`s King Abdullah on Wednesday released an unusual statement warning Israel against damaging the Al-Aqsa Mosque.'”
An editorial in the Jerusalem Post provides a concise summary of the dust-up:
In Gaza, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and elsewhere, Muslims are up in arms about what even a moderate like Jordan's King Abdullah called "a threat to the foundations of the Al Aksa mosque."
"What is happening is an aggression, we call on the Palestinian people to unite and protect Jerusalem," said Muhammad Hussein, the top Muslim cleric in Jerusalem. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for the Islamic world to "retaliate" and make Israel "regret" what it had done.
What is Israel doing that has sparked such violent threats? Some years ago, the pedestrian ramp leading up to Jerusalem's Temple Mount fell apart. Now municipal authorities plan to build a permanent ramp to maintain access to this holy site, and are conducting, as required by law, an archeological salvage dig to make sure no artifacts are destroyed in the process.
All of this is completely outside the Temple Mount platform, and bears no relation or threat to that structure, let alone to the Aksa mosque. Why would Israel dream of undermining the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site? The claim that Israel is doing so is patently absurd, as anyone familiar with the area can immediately see.
Read the rest of it here.
When I started looking into this I found out two things of interest. The first is that Arabs in Palestine have been using phony claims of Jewish attempts to destroy the Al Aksa mosque for years, especially in 1929, when the Grand Mufti of Palestine called for the murder of Jews falsely claiming they had burnt down the Al Aksa mosque and were going to build a synagogue near the Wailing Wall.
But now we're finding out there's more going on than just lying to illiterate mobs about what's going on just outside their capacity to know any better. Now we are learning there's been a concerted effort by Muslims leaders to plant the idea into the heads of the faithful that the Jewish Temple, and the Jews who built two temples on the site, were never even there to begin with.
In his November 2005 article for Haaretz, "In the beginning was Al-Aqsa," Nadav Shragai explained how this has worked:
"The historian Dr. Yitzhak Reiter…has been collating for years thousands of publications, religious legal rulings, statements and pronouncements of Muslim clergymen, historians, public figures and statesmen on the subject of Jerusalem. His book (`From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back - the Muslim Rallying Around Jerusalem,`) draws in great detail a portrait of the great Muslim denial, a denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and to the Temple."
This sampling of quotes from 2003 is further evidence, including Yasser Arafat’s statement to his followers denying Jewish history on the Temple Mount:
"For 34 years [the Israelis] have dug tunnels [around the Temple Mount]…they found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all]. They found only remnants of a shrine of the Roman Herod… They are now trying to put in place a number of stones so that they can say 'We were here.' This is nonsense. I challenge them to bring a single stone from the Temple of Solomon."
Yasser ArafatAl-Hayat (London), October 5, 2002[Trans. MEMRI and BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"The claims being made by the rulers of Israel and its rabbis about the alleged Temple are pure fabrications without any base or foundation."
Statement by the Higher Islamic Authority of PalestineAl-Quds (PA), December 28, 2001[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"Sabri: There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish Temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history. Our right, on the other hand, is very clear. This place belongs to us for 1500 years. Even when it was conquered by the Crusaders, it remained Al-Aqsa, and we got it back soon afterwards. The Jews do not even know exactly where their Temple stood. Therefore, we do not accept that they have any rights, underneath the surface or above it.
"Die Welt: It is agreed among archeologists that the Wailing-Wall is part of the foundation of Herod's temple. The Bible and other antique sources report about this place in detail. Why can't you respect the Jewish connection to this place?
"Sabri: It is the art of the Jews to deceive the world. But they can't do it to us. There is not a single stone in the Wailing-Wall relating to Jewish History. The Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, neither religiously nor historically. The Committee of the League of Nations recommended in 1930, to allow the Jews to pray there, in order to keep them quiet. But by no means did it acknowledge that the wall belongs to them.
"Die Welt: Why don't you allow Israeli scientists to dig there to look for possible remnants and proofs for or against the existence of the Jewish temple?
"Sabri: We categorically reject all excavations under the Al-Aqsa mosque, because they would endanger the historical buildings on the site. Besides, they have already dug everywhere. All they could find were remnants of buildings from the Omayyad-period. Everything they excavated was related to Arabs and Muslims.
Sheikh `Ikrima SabriPA-appointed Mufti of JerusalemInterviewed by German magazine Die Welt, January17, 2001[Trans. MEMRI]
"As is known, the Jews have no religious shrines in the Palestinian territories, especially in Jerusalem, except this claim for which there is no religious or historical proof -- the claim that the Temple of Solomon or its ruins are buried under the foundations of the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque!"
Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia) editorialDecember 29, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"President Arafat said that no one can impose anything on us with regard to Jerusalem. He pointed out that there are attempts to usurp parts of Jerusalem, like the Armenian neighborhood. He added: I cannot accept that. I cannot betray the Armenians' property and churches, because these are integral parts of holy Jerusalem. He reiterated that the Wailing Wall [the Western Wall], as they call it, is Al-Buraq Wall which is an Islamic waqf religious endowment since the issuance of Umar's Covenant. He noted that it was the Shore phonetic Committee which allowed the Jews to pray in that place. He said that Al-Buraq Wall is the property of Islamic Awqaf. He added that even chief rabbis prevented prayers there, because it was not proven yet that the temple is located there."
Voice of Palestine (Ramallah) September 3, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"[The Israelis] claim that 2000 years ago they had a Temple [on the Temple Mount]. I challenge the claim that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept [current Israeli claims on the Temple Mount]."
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) Kul Al-Arab (Israel), August 25, 2000[Trans. MEMRI]
"No stone of the Al-Buraq wall [the Western Wall] has any relation to Judaism. The Jews began praying at this wall only in the nineteenth century, when they began to develop [national] aspirations…"
Sheikh `Ikrima SabriPA-appointed Mufti of JerusalemKul Al-Arab (Israel), August 18, 2000[Trans. MEMRI]
"[The Israelis] are insisting on sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa mosque on the pretext that an Israeli Temple is buried beneath it and that, through their continued sovereignty, they can one day unearth it…Their claim was not substantiated by the excavations they carried out around and under the mosque. However, they insisted on their demand to pray in the courtyard of the mosque."
Nabil Sha'athPA Minister of Planning and International CooperationVoice of Palestine (PA), July 26, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"[Sheikh Yusuf Salamah, Undersecretary of the PA Awqaf and Religious Affairs Ministry] warned of the dangerous excavations which the Israeli Antiquities Department is carrying out under the [Al-Aqsa] mosque [on the Temple Mount]. He underscored that the holy city is Arab and Islamic and pointed out the failure of all Israeli attempts and claims with regard to the existence of the Temple."
Al-Quds (PA), July 15, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"As to what has been happening inside the Holy City, not only the Moroccan quarter has been seized and demolished, Your Majesty, as the two of us discussed previously, to widen the so-called Wailing Wall [the Western Wall]. To do this, the tombs of the Moroccan Muslim Imams would be affected. They removed them. Not only this, but [the Israelis] have also been trying to take over houses, shops, lanes and streets, either under the pretext of exploration or, as they recently did by closing the major gates of the mosque to conduct the so-called exploration operation of what they called the remains of the Solomon Temple when all the historical evidence, Your Majesty, proved that it was not there at all in another place far away from this spot. This is what historians had been saying."
Yasser ArafatAddressing the "Jerusalem Committee" in Marrakesh, MoroccoJanuary 25, 1992[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
Yitzhak Reiter found “[t]he Islamic texts that relate to denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the holy places … at the annual Arab Book Fair held in Cairo, and in bookshops in Islamic communities in Europe, America and Asia. A large percentage of the texts are also accessible to readers of Arabic on the Internet. They gradually seep in and are becoming truth in the eyes of a large Muslim public around the world.”
There seems to be a lot of this kind of revisionism going around in the Islamic world. We know it works because polls of the Muslim world have consistently showed a majority do not believe Arabs had anything to do with 9/11. (For that matter, according to one Scripps Howard poll, more than a third of Americans "believe the U.S. government somehow assisted in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, or else took no steps to stop them from occurring, so the Bush administration could launch a war in the Middle East."
Combining Islam’s gargantuan capacity for scornful intolerance towards non-Muslims with the notion that Jews are not only hated occupiers, but alien invaders attempting to supplant a rightful Muslim holy site with one of their own is bound to produce the desired result: riots, violence, and civil unrest that pushes fatigued Western governments to follow the path of least resistance and appeasement.
But it's even worse than that. By attempting to exterminate the record of Jewish existence from history these Muslim leaders are committing a form of religious identity theft of the most diabolical kind. At least when my Irish ancestors were being hounded by Cromwell’s armies, who banned their native language and burned their churches, the British left the ruins standing.
Not satisfied with their goal to wipe Israel off the map, must Islam try to wipe the Chosen People out of the world's memory?
And just how successful do you think that's going to be?
Thursday, February 08, 2007
In Defense of '24'
An Arab-American defends the real-life Bauers.
BY EMILIO KARIM DABUL
Wednesday, February 7, 2007 12:01 a.m.
I am an Arab-American as well as a fan of "24." The two things are not mutually exclusive, despite what the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other such groups have to say about this season's opening episodes possibly increasing anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice in American society.
Most of the terrorists represented in "24" through the years have been Arab Muslims. Why? Well, probably because most terrorists today are, in fact, Arab Muslims. As a descendant of Syrian Muslims, I am very well aware that the majority of Muslims world-wide are peaceful, hard working, and law abiding. That still does not change the fact that the greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. today comes not from the ETA, the IRA, etc., but from one group: Islamic terrorists.
And this is what makes "24" a compelling drama every week. Instead of pretending Islamic terrorists don't exist, the show presents frighteningly real worst-case scenarios perpetrated by Osama bin Laden's followers. So CAIR thinks it's over the top for the terrorists in "24" to blow up Los Angeles with a nuke? Please, if bin Laden and his crew had nukes, most of us would be way too dead to argue over such points.
There is a dangerous trend in the U.S. today that involves skirting the truth at the risk of offending any individual or group. When Bill Cosby talks to African-Americans about self-respect and responsibility, and says publicly what many have been saying privately for years, he's branded a "reactionary," "misinformed," "judgmental," and so on. When "24" confronts America's worst fears about al Qaeda--whose goal remains to kill as many Americans as possible whenever possible--the show is said to be guilty of fueling anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice.
Well, here's the hard, cold truth: When Islamic terrorists stop being a threat to America's survival, viewers will lose interest in "24," because it will have lost its relevancy. Until such time, I will continue to watch "24"--because, believe it or not, the idea that there are Jack Bauers out there in real life risking their lives to save ours does mean something to me.
And as for "24" causing a possible backlash against Muslims and Arab-Americans, where's the evidence of that? The show is now in its sixth season and there hasn't been one recorded incident of any viewer ever slurring or attacking any Muslim or Arab-American because of something that happened on the show. More to the point, in the latest episode President Palmer stated, "The American Muslim community is the greatest line of defense against these terrorists." He advocates strengthening ties with Islamic leaders across the U.S., and is opposed to measures that would in any way infringe upon the constitutional rights of Arab Americans.
That said, I would certainly welcome more characters in movies, TV programs and novels who reflect the overall Arab-American experience. Truth is, most of us don't have bomb-making skills or a desire to become human missiles. And there are Muslim and Arab-American CTU heroes out there, as well as doctors, superdads, women scientists, etc. But just as it took Saul Bellow to give literary voice to the Jewish-American experience, we need our own storytellers to weave the pastiche of tales that make up Arab-American life.
In the meantime, the next time a journalist decides to report on Arab-American concerns about shows like "24," maybe he could actually talk to someone other than CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and seek out Arab-Americans with a different point of view. We actually do exist.
And maybe that same reporter could take a closer look at CAIR. Ask CAIR about the Holy Land Foundation and its support of Hamas. Ask it about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the CAIR board member who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case--yet still sits on CAIR's board. Look a little closer, and maybe you'll find that CAIR has good reason to get nervous about shows like "24."
Because terrorists and their supporters continue to hide among us in plain sight, we need Jack Bauer, now more than ever.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
February 5, 2007 - Breaking News -
Howard Dean has found his BFF (Best Friend Forever).
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean as a featured speaker at ADC's Annual National Convention. Governor Dean is confirmed to speak Friday, June 8.
“It is one of the blessings of friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Saturday, February 03, 2007
DU is not shocked by the Democratic Invocation of Jihad at this winter's Democratic National Meeting. We were waiting for Mr. Howard Dean, Chairman of the DNC to make good on promises made to Sayed Hasan Qazwini and Sheikh Husham Al-Husainy . They met to discuss issues such as, racial profiling, traveling difficulties and participation of Muslims in American politics.
The Jihad prayer at the DNC winter conference, 2007 is a form of Islamic terrorism Muslims call "Bridge Building". It sounds friendly but, let us at DU inform the rest of America after you are tricked into building the bridge with your effort and dollars, they will use it as access for Islamic takeover. Watch the signs and count the number of planks being added to the bridge:
1. "Halal Meat in public school" PLANK #1
2. "Arab Language taught (for Arabs only) with public funds" PLANK #2
3. "Call to prayer 5 times per day" PLANK #3
4. "City shuts down for month of Ramadan fast" PLANK #4
5. "Public Schools refrain from tests & strenuous exercise during Ramadan fast" PLANK #5
6. "Denied access to public pool in Hijab is not a safety issue it's a "racial" issue PLANK #6
7. "When an Islamic building is vandalized it's a "Hate Crime" all others are random PLANK #7
After each plank is hammered into place, they are one step closer to making your community exclusively Islamic. Yes, the years of loud hammering by Islamic leaders is making some citizens deaf. But, we choose to use ear plugs and keep our eyes open.
We do feel slight guilt over Dean's decision to play nice with these anti-American Islamic leaders. After his national TV temper tantrum he was likely feeling self conscious and insecure. The emptiness he must have felt compelled him to find solace the only way he new how - kissing up to the Arab vote. As a random act of kindness we shall send him a pair of work gloves - to protect him from becoming calloused by all that hammering.
We at Dearborn Underground don’t plunge willy-nilly into every controversy or fad.
But when it comes to this recent push on global warming I’m really getting a major case of sour grapes: If the world is going to build a consensus to save humanity, why not agree to confront global jihadism—which is so bad for the planet right now—before we dismantle the global economy over a potential climate change that might make some difference in another 100 years?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC), has just released its most recent Summary for Policymakers. France hosted this year’s IPCC gathering, and as a sign of hospitality to these UN hacks, they briefly turned off the lights on the Eiffel Tower.
The purpose of the IPCC report has always been to elevate the persuasiveness of the climate-change evidence from “smoking gun” level to “slam dunk.” Though the Summary has only now just been released, the global warming crowd has been talking it up for months, and predicting that the IPCC was going to reach this very “consensus.” The temptation for me to refer to this pre-release period as the “buildup” to the 2007 report, and to accuse the scientists of “sexing up” their results is almost too much to resist, so please just forget I mentioned it.
It goes without saying that this is a weather forecast. The prediction and causation findings in the Summary range on a highly scientifical certainty range from “More likely than not,” to“Likely,” “Very likely,” and “Virtually certain.” The overall report itself only dared to call its conclusions “Very likely,” or, as it might be rephrased, “less than virtually certain.” (Sort of the way “virtually certain” would accurately be rephrased as “not exactly certain”).
Not only is it not a slam dunk, it isn’t even a smoking gun. A smoking gun is direct evidence. Very likely is still a guess.
Not that anyone on the “smoking gun” side of the argument cares.
As is evident from the statements being released since the Summary was announced on Friday its only purpose was to establish that there was a “consensus” of scientists on the issue, so that dissenters can be marginalized and silenced. As was utterly predictable, the usual kinds of people now are claiming that the “consensus” is incontrovertible proof for their case that “human activities” are responsible for global warming, and so we must now curtail those activities as fast as we can.
National Audubon Society President John Flicker pronounced, “The clarity and completeness of the IPCC’s global warming findings permanently relegates skeptics to the fringe.” The St. Louis Dispatch pontificates, "We've heard enough from Flat Earth Society members,"such as Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who rightly said the Summary was a political document, and not a scientific one. Flat Earth is the reigning pejorative for any one who questions the theory. Google “flat earth” and see what I mean. The point is, there is no time for argument, there is no room for dissenters.
Is this the language of science? Listen to this expert, as quoted in one Fox News story:
"'It is critical that we look at this report ... as a moment where the focus of attention will shift from whether climate change is linked to human activity, whether the science is sufficient, to what on earth are we going to do about it,'" said Achim Steiner, the executive director of the U.N. Environment Program."
This is like a prosecutor saying on the first day of trial, “Ladies and gentleman of the jury, you are not here to decide the evidence, nor even to wonder about whether or not the defendant is guilty or innocent, rather the question before your minds should be: ‘Should we hang him or just lock him up for life?’”
And here's where I get to the sour grapes: the complete disjunct with liberals between what qualifies as an imminent danger and what doesn't.
You see, the maddening thing about the certainty on the Left about the imminent danger of global planetary catastrophe in another century or two is how insanely it clashes with their absolute indolence and self-delusion on the clear and present danger of global jihad expanding right now. One would think jihadism might raise some concerns among Greens if only because a nuclear exchange provoked by Iran and leading to the incineration of Israel and Tehran would result in even more global warming, and even sooner than that warned about by the IPCC, leaving no time fore the mitigating effects of the new CAFE standards.
There's no need for me to repeat all the reporting on the Iranian determination to get a bomb. It has also been reported that the madmen who run that country intend to use it when they get it, and are even calculating the cost of an Israeli response. Most of us are well familiar with Iranian rhetoric on the subject:
“In a Dec. 14, 2001, speech, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (long depicted by the Europeans as an Iranian "moderate"), declared that, if the Muslim world had an atomic bomb, it would be in good shape after a nuclear exchange with Israel, because a nuclear bomb would destroy the Jewish state, while Muslim countries (with their much larger populations) would survive.”
By the way, Rafsanjani later said his nuclear-survival strategy was firmly rooted in the "consensus view" of Iranian scientists.
But observe how the Left views the threat level a nuclear Iran. In response to a Washington Times editorial in December 2005 warning about the looming danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, liberal website Media Matters complained that the editorial “ignored key facts about Iran’s nuclear capability" just “to exaggerate the threat.” Note that the charge isn’t that the threat referred to in the editorial was invented or false, but only exaggerated.
You'll see in the Media Matters response the painstaking effort to minimize the Iranians’ technical capacity to make weapons-grade uranium for at least another two years. The significance of the two years prediction was to counter Drudge Report's and Washington Times’ estimates of Iran being “months away” from enriching uranium, in conjunction with Iran’s stated foreign policy goals of nuking Israel. The whole Media Matters argument was not over Iran’s intentions, nor even its eventual success in producing nuclear weapons, (which Media Matters appears to take for granted), but whether they were going to be significantly closer to enriched uranium in mere months or in up to two years. In the meantime, it is now fourteen months later, only months away from the two year prediction. Yet Media Matters blasted the Washington Times for being alarmist.
Months? Two or three years? By way of comparison, the IPCC report makes predictions as far out as 2090-2100, and even 2200. One of the authors of the report, Kevin Trenberth, the director of climate analysis for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., made this kicky comment: "We're creating a different planet. If you were to come back in 100 years time, we'll have a different climate."
How's that for a persuasive argument? You want proof? Just come back here in 100 years and see for yourself!
But see how alarmed Media Matters gets over any challenges of a “consensus on global warming,” a subject to which it is absolutely committed. (So far, I haven’t seen them post on the 2007 IPCC Report).
On just this January 7th they attacked Willard Scott (Willard Scott, for God’s sake!) for daring to suggest that anyone, anywhere, could cast “doubt on global warming.” In a moment of thoughtless morning-show ebullience over the deadly snowstorms in Colorado, Scott obliquely questioned the dogma by asking co-host Meredith Vieira if she was “a global warming fan.” Media Matters felt this called for a response, and in it referred back to the overwhelming proof of consensus they had already “documented” in a previous attack on Tucker Carlson in August 2006 when he questioned the existence of consensus.
This example from Media Matters is only meant to show the widespread approach by liberals to global warming, which is to go to any lengths to answer any critic denying there is a consensus view of it, waging arguments that the critic is demonstrably wrong, and incensed that the dissenter could be so reckless with the future of humanity, or at least the future of the planet. In this view of it we simply can’t tolerate dissent when we are facing a growing danger from climate change in response to which we cannot act fast enough, nor commit sufficient resources.
It is only when confronting global jihadism, or deposing weapons-mad dictators, or searching out and stopping terrorists across the globe that Leftists always find there's a fatal lack of evidence, and malign those trying to oppose jihad as liars, distorters of the facts, intolerant of dissent, and always rushing into action at "the drop of a hat."
Using the IPCC's likelihood scale, Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons by developing them internally or getting them from a rogue actor like North Korea or the Russians is “Virtually certain.”
The likelihood that the UN, or any other combination of international diplomats will never take any meaningful action to forestall Iran’s plans is “Virtually certain.”
The likelihood that Iran will use its nukes aggressively as soon as they’ve got them is “Virtually certain,” or, at least “Very likely,” which puts it into the same 90% category as the IPCC weather forecast for 2090. Only Iran could easily be pushing the button in 2008 or 2009.
Now do you think the French are going to turn the Eiffel Tower off over that?