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The Iconoclast

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"it might help for you to learn something about military tactics and strategy."
-- from a reader

I see. So there are no generals, no colonels, no majors, no captains, in the American army, who have served or are now serving in Iraq, who think the continued presence of American troops in Iraq to be damaging the quality, and the readiness and ability to fight elsewhere, of the American military? And your telling me, because I keep arguing that a withdrawal from Iraq is the only way to win the only kind of "victory" that makes sense -- a weakening of the Camp of Islam, that I should "learn something about military tactics and strategy," presumably applies as well to such people as Major General Batiste, who served as a general in Iraq? And it includes all those other officers who have deplored, but quietly, because they are currently serving, the "surge" and the rest of the "strategy" that is being pursued by those who have apparently been unable to take a moment from their busily "fulfilling the mission" to think about the instruments, and menace, of Jihad world-wide, and therefore cannot conceivably begin to think of Iraq and what kind of outcome there -- an unsentimental outcome, a ruthless outcome -- would cause the most damage to that Camp of Islam (hint: "the forward strategy of freedom" of which some prate is not the way).

And not just the generals, but all those colonels and majors and captains, and indeed all those soldiers and Marines who have experienced the meretriciousness, the hopeless hostility toward others not of the same tribe or group, of those Bush keeps calling "the Iraqis" or, still worse, "the Iraqi people," some of whom serve now, and some of whom have simply left the army altogether, never to return, diminishing its future quality.

And not just the generals and the colonels and the majors and the captains, but others lower down, such as the seven soldiers now serving in Iraq who wrote that celebrated article that appeared a few weeks ago in The Times, clearly criticising those who supported a continued American presence in Iraq -- or should I correct myself to write the "five soldiers" because two of them have since been killed, or should I write "the four soldiers" because one of them was shot in the head after co-writing the article?

And not just military men, but also civilians, have expressed grave doubts, though none of them has dared to suggest that an American withdrawal would have consequences inimical to the Camp of Islam, but not inimical to the interests, rightly conceived, of Infidels. Or do you think that such Congressmen with a special interest in the military, as Senator Warner, for many years a member of and then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, or others -- including those seventeen Republican congressmen who a while back dissented from the Bush policy, and some of whom, it should be noted, represent military districts, including the North Carolina Representative whose district includes Fort Bragg.

So are they all, from Major General Batiste (who left the army and now works for a steel company), and those whose doubts about the "surge" have been reported, such as Admiral Fallon, on down, all of them, because they have clear doubts about the American effort in Iraq, not least for the damage it is doing to the American military, in the same need as I am? Remember that need? Would you tell Major General Batiste, who in Iraq commanded the 82nd Airborne, and tell all the others who have grave doubts, and more, about the usefulness-- to American interests -- of a continued presence in Iraq, that ""it might help for you to learn something about military tactics and strategy"?

Posted on 09/18/2007 3:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

“In a way, our Iraq foray is somewhat analogous to Israel's 1982 Lebanese invasion, which was an attempt to both smash the PLO as well as to help Lebanon be consolidated by moderate, anti-jihadist forces. It failed in the later, broader ambition.” –from a reader


The analogy suggested above does not hold up.

Iraq is far from the United States, and presents no threat of shelling, or launching of missiles, from its territory onto the territory of the United States. Gaza and Lebanon are right on Israel's doorstep. And the fissures that you describe within Gaza, at least, are not sectarian but rather, one between those who want the tap of Infidel aid re-opened, and kept wide open, because as Fatah, or the PLO, or the Worldly Party of Corruption they have long experience in such stealing of aid money, and those who, more fanatic in their faith, and eager for the Fast Jihad, and unwilling to make the cosmetic compromises (putting on suits, looking solemnly like what they think Western "technocrats" and accountants must look like) of the Slow Jihadists of Fatah -- differing that is only on tactics and timing, and not on ultimate goals.

There were reasons for leaving Lebanon, but it was pusillanimous and silly to abandon the SLA (South Lebanon Army). And there were reasons to leave Gaza, but one forgets that Gaza, Arab-ruled Gaza under the P.A., had been left more than a decade ago. The only thing new was the forced removal of Israeli villagers (the ones called "settlers" to make them seem to be intruders when some of those Jewish villages predate the founding of the state of Israel, and all of them are not only licit under the Palestine Mandate, but according to that Mandate were to be actively encouraged by Great Britain, as mandatory authority ("encourage close Jewish settlement on the land" -- see the Preamble to the Mandate for Palestine).

I'd use analogies sparingly in this case. They almost never fit, or fit as badly as does that silly example of "peace-making" in Northern Ireland supposedly holding out hope for similar "peace-making" between Jews and Arabs. That's the kind of thing Tony Blair likes to think, likes to say. It makes no sense. Whatever the Catholics of Northern Ireland desire, they do not desire to see Great Britain destroyed. They do not have powerful allies who think exactly as they do, and surround Great Britain, and threaten it, and conduct diplomatic and economic war incessantly against it. Nor do either the Catholics or the Protestants of Northern Ireland represent the local shock troops of a gigantic world-wide effort to seize back any and all lands once in Muslim control, and to remove all the obstacles to the spread of Islam everywhere else so that they, too, will fall -- as by right they must, they should -- to the forces of Islam, and will become part of Dar al-Islam, where Islam dominates, and Muslims rule.

Posted on 09/18/2007 3:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"What happens if we leave Iraq and the dar al-Harb continues to be attacked by the dar al-Islam? Now we have a foothold right in the middle of the region. A countrywide land base gives us more clout than two aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf. -- from a reader

Well, for god's sake, how can you even ask if, when we leave Iraq (and we will leave it, either after much greater expense and frustration and heartache, or with less, depending on how soon we leave), "what happens"? No one need doubt that "dar al-Harb" will "continue to be attacked by dar al-Islam"? Who ever argued otherwise? Who at this website ever suggested that somehow the removal of American forces from Iraq would lead to an end to what, it has been noted, is not a temporary phenomenon, not a response to "modernism" or the "problem of coming to grips with modernity" but is, rather, simply the classic duty of Jihad, updated -- with new instruments made possible, in large part, by Infidel negligence, Infidel incuriosity as to Islam -- for the new and dismal age in which we live. Of course that will continue. But at least the silly idea that we can somehow minimize the Jihad by bringing "democracy" (defined in the merely head-counting manner, with none of the guarantees for the rule of secular law, or rights of minorities, or great solicitousness for the autonomy of the individual, that characterize advanced Western democracies and are unthinkable in Iraq or any other truly Muslim country), will have ended. At least, once heads have cleared, and people will stop being mesmerized by Tarbaby Iraq, they will be able to survey the scene more comprehensively, and begin to understand that the war (even Bush says it is in large part an "ideological war" but then he forgets or never knew what that "ideology" is -- apparently he thinks it has something to do with some people who misuse or misinterpret Islam and if only "freedom" -- as defined by the Bush Administration -- is somehow transplanted into the midst of the Middle East, that will change Jihad, or cause it to wither away), that is the war to spread Islam until it everywhere dominates, is merely a continuation of what has gone on, whenever it proved possible to conduct it (that is, where the wherewithal existed on the Muslim side), for some 1350 years. Tarbaby Iraq stands in the way. Tarbaby Iraq offers a false hope, based on a false analysis, and false intelligence. It is wrong, wrong, wrong for America, and for other Infidels, every which way.

Now as to the second part. That "countryside land base" that "gives us more clout." Does it? How hard is it, at what expense in lives, that can be expected to increase as we are left alone, as the British cease to guard the southern route, as the Italians and the Poles pull out, and only the symbolic units, along with the Australians, are left as part of that famous "coalition" which has always been 98% American. What is it that all these other countries know about the famous "oil supply"? What is it that China, that is just as dependent on oil, that makes it supremely indifferent to the outcome in Iraq, save for the delight of Chinese leaders at the amazing capacity of the American government to waste its resources, to think that it, and it alone -- if one accepts its premises about the "catastrophe" and "chaos" that might ensue were it to leave Iraq -- has to fight, and spend nearly a trillion dollars, in order to keep that oil flowing, that Middle East calm (and once again it is worth recalling that from 1980 to 1988, during the Iran-Iraq war, the price of oil went steadily down.

You talk of "clout." "Clout" to do what? To threaten Iran, or to be threatened by Iranian agents and local Iraqi collaborators of Iran? Do you think that if the Americans decide to bomb those nuclear installations, that those American troops in Iraq are going to be doing that bombing, or will it be planes from afar rather than from Tel Afar, and missiles from farther still, including those intercontinental ballistic missiles that at long last may be put to beneficent use?

"Bases" in Iraq are to be placed where? In Anbar Province, to be subject to the whims of the Sunnis, including those "tribes" we hear so much about, but which remain just as hostile to the Americans, in the long run, as they were before they made a deal by which they would graciously accept as much American money and weaponry as they could possibly wheedle out of us, and use some of it, no doubt, to attack the local forces of Al-Qaeda about whom they had had a change of heart, not because of anything the Americans said or did, but only because the foreign members of Al-Qaeda treated the local Sunnis with contumely. Or do you foresee those bases in the areas controlled by the Shi'a, Shi'a who, pari passu with the American outreach to the Sunni tribes, are becoming less enthusiastic about keeping the Americans around to do their fighting for them, and to keep shelling out the dough, and may now have concluded that the Americans have definitely outstayed that short-lived welcome and should go, go quickly, go so quickly that they are forced to leave a lot of that much-coveted equipment behind? Or do you think those "bases" that will give us such "clout" will be placed in Kurdistan? And if so, how do you think they will be resupplied? Will it be all the way up, in convoy after vulnerable convoy, through southern Iraq, and then through Baghdad or possibly Anbar Province or Diyala Province?

Or do you think those bases will be just fine in Kurdistan? Do you think that Turkey, which did not allow the Americans to use their own American bases to launch an attack on Iraq, by a fourth division coming from the north, will now allow the Americans to resupply their bases in that completely autonomous Kurdistan? And how close is that northern area to the Iranians, and what is the likelihood of Iranian agents, including possibly Iranian Kurds of the Mullah Krekar Ansar al-Sunna variety, whose Islamic identity has overwhelmed their Kurdish one, or who, as Kurds, try to be plus islamiste que les islamistes, that is to say the Arabs?

Tell us about the costs and benefits of continuing to have an American presence in Iraq?

Of course there is one place where American bases would have made sense, and might have been obtained, had someone other than the hideous Carter and Brzezinski been in charge at the time. When Saint Sadat was in full media flower, and the Israelis were being hectored and beaten about by Carter and Brzezinski (to the enthusiastic smiles of, inter alios, the so-called "Jewish community" that felt the Camp David Accords were simply splendid, and Peace Was At Hand), had those who understood Islam been in the Pentagon pr the State Department or in the National Security Agency, they might have suggested that the Americans demand that Israel give up the Sinai not to Egypt (most of the Sinai became part of Egypt only in the 1920s, as everyone forgets or never knew), but rather to them, the Americans, and those three advanced airbases that the Israelis built (and from one of which they still possessed at the time of the attack on the Osiris reactor, and it was from that Sinai airbase that the attack was launched) would then have become permanent American property.

And what would Egypt have gotten out of the deal? Oh, Egypt would have gotten a fantastic gift. Though a Muslim country, and deeply anti-American, it would nonethelss have received huge sums of money by way of rental -- nearly $2 billion a year. And that would certainly have satisfied the Egyptian government.

But how silly of me. I almost forgot. Of course. The American government did start an aid program for Egypt at the time, to "reward" it for agreeing to receive the entire Sinai, complete with those oilfields discovered by the Israelis, and those airbases built by the Israelis, and all the rest of that expensive infrastructure built by the Israelis, including that resort of Sharm el-Sheik that has been such a money-maker for Egypt.

But guess what? The Americans forgot to ask for the long-term lease that they had every right to demand, had they mentioned to Egypt the little matter of the fact that Egypt's claim to the whole Sinai is quite recent, and that Israel had a solid claim, the same kind of claim that allowed Italy to be given defeated Austria's Sudtirol after World War I, or to give Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and other countries that were victims of the Nazis to retain either what had been land in the possession of the German state, or of communities of Volksdeutsche, as in the Sudetenland.

No, Egypt -- not our "ally" -- received not only the entire Sinai, with those airbases, but also $60 billion, and counting, from American taxpayers, though it remains one of the most viciously anti-American countries in the world today, that sentiment fanned constantly by the Egyptian press, radio, and television.

Those are the only airbases that the Americans could truly have relied on -- not counting, of course, the airbases that Israel possesses, and that it uses, when necessary, with such admirable aplomb, in feats of derring-do that are a service to the United States and to the entire Infidel world, though much of that Infidel world shows not gratitude, but malevolence, toward this tiny, permanently imperilled, endlessly resourceful, and limitlessly brave old-new land.

Posted on 09/18/2007 2:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

It is difficult to be objective about language change. Whether we accept or reject an innovation is very often conditioned by our attitude to the speaker or writer, or to his type. Thus I recognise, reluctantly, that “debate” used as a transitive verb will become acceptable; it is used by good writers such as Robert Spencer, and I dislike it only because I am not used to it. In time I will get used to it, and will use it unthinkingly, as I do other verbs that were previously only nouns.


“Grow” used to be used transitively to refer to plants or flowers. Increasingly, it is used to refer to a business. People who grow plants and flowers are perceived to be more agreeable than people who grow businesses, which explains in part why the former is acceptable and the latter unpleasant.


Even a word used in exactly the same way may become unpleasant if it is used by unpleasant or silly people. I used to like the word “innovation”. I still quite like it, and use it, and “innovative” fairly regularly. But I am coming to dislike it. “Innovation” is used more and more by jargon-spouting management consultants, and it now has connotations of useless gadgetry – until recently a company called Innovations produced a catalogue advertising gismos you could not possibly want, such as waterproof alarm clocks or ionising kettles – and self-conscious “wackiness”.


Just recently I learned that an offshoot of what was once the Department of Education and Science employs a Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills. The job title encapsulates what is wrong with our education system. Can the person who devised it possibly have been educated himself? Or was he rather “skilled” in an “innovative learning environment”.


According to The Times, John Denham, the holder of this word-mangling, nerve-jangling job title, complained that Britain’s elite universities have a bias against pupils from state schools. No they have not. On the contrary, they take as many state school pupils as they possibly can, without compromising standards. Following the abolition of the grammar schools, however, standards have plummeted in state schools. For now, the best universities can put standards before social engineering. But how long will it be before an “innovative” government changes all that? That kind of innovation is unwelcome, and will put me right off the word.

Posted on 09/18/2007 10:56 AM by Mary Jackson

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

In a hoary old joke, a gynaecologist’s wife says to her husband every morning: “Have a nice day at the orifice, dear.” More than a civil servant’s or actuary’s wife, she hopes that he won’t be tempted to bring his work home.


“Have a nice day at the office, dear” is a cliché of sitcoms. “I won’t,” replied Reginald Perrin, as he set off for Sunshine Desserts. His office had a hat stand, on which Reggie would try, unsuccessfully, to hang his umbrella, filing cabinets, telephones, and typewriters –it was the Seventies – and a sexy young secretary, about whom Reggie, approaching middle age, would have forbidden fantasies. Fast forward from the office of 1978 to The Office 2001, and it is much the same. Computers have replaced typewriters, and the office is open plan, but the same tensions, forced smiles, cringe-making bonhomie and leaden management speak are there in abundance. The Office was successful because it made us wince and laugh in equal measure. And it managed to do this because it was very near the knuckle. Most of us have worked in offices at one time or another, and we know what we can expect to find there. The familiarity is dull, but comforting.


Comforting familiarity may be fine for actuaries, accountants and solicitors. But for an “innovation” company, it just won’t do at all. From The Times:


People who work at the Old Laundy office of ?What If!, an innovation company, could be forgiven for feeling a little discombobulated when they get to work each morning: there’s every chance that their office’s appearance has changed entirely overnight.

The room known as the greenhouse has been set up as, among other things, a teenage boy’s bedroom and a pharmacy with real products on the shelves and an authentic store layout. “The idea is that change makes people more creative,” says Sejal Parekh, a staff member (?What If! resists the use of job titles). “If you stay in the same place and do the same routine all the time it makes it harder to be creative. People generate more and better ideas when they are not in their normal routine or space.”

Most of the changes are for the benefit of clients rather than staff. “We have board-level groups in there who are often quite distant from their customers. When we changed it into a teenage boy’s bedroom with posters on the walls and smelly socks lying on the floor – and the company chairman sitting on the bed – it makes it really real.”

While not all of the company’s employees get to work in the office equivalent of the magic faraway tree, they do have access to cows. Well, cow sculptures in costumes. SuperCow, once the guardian of the main London office, was dispatched to New York and replaced by SpiderCow, while Aussie Whatiffers are greeted by a bovine Dame Edna Everage.

Will this continue to work, as employees come to expect the unexpected? Perhaps sooner or later ?What if! will be forced to ring the changes and become completely predictable. 

Posted on 09/18/2007 10:31 AM by Mary Jackson

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Many will pay little or no attention to the plans of the Muslim Brotherhood for America because they regard the plans as impossible of fulfillment. They miss the point. It is the plans themselves, and what they tell us about the instruments of Jihad as recognized by Muslims themselves as being appropriate to the task, that are important. It is the laid-out plans for Jihad, the careful long-term strategy which, in fact, if you look around, has been and is now being implemented.

Those who pooh-pooh the effort should look more closely at the countries of Western Europe, or for that matter, look into other examples where Islam has steadily gained ground and now has come to dominate, as has happened in what is present-day Malaysia over the past half-century, or as happened, over the centuries, in formerly Hindu and Buddhist Indonesia. Bush has encouraged everyone to think that "Jihad" is what "terrorists" do. No. Terrorism is only one of the tactics, and as the plans made public at the Holy Land Foundation trial make clear, it is not regarded by the most relentless Muslim participants in Jihad to be the most effective, to make the most sense.

That is exactly what, in his forked-tongue way, carefully keeping both audiences - his own, and the Infidels who are peskily listening in -- Mahdi Bray, the Muslim agitator and propagandist, meant when he said that "I wouldn't be candid if I didn't say there weren't some old-timers who want to hold onto the old way, who say that this is the way the Ikhwan did it, this should be our model," he said. "We said 'So what? It doesn't work here.' We've been very adamant about that."

Furthermore, all this talk about some ill-defined group of "liberals" -- "liberal elites" this, and "liberals" that, as being responsible for the widespread failure of virtually an entire political elite, when the Grand Catastrophe of Tarbaby Iraq stares us in the face, and continues to be loyally defended by all those "forward strategy of freedom" enthusiasts, not to mention all kinds of "I-can't-possibly-admit-I-got-the-whole-thing-wrong" and "I-just-can't-be-bothered-to-look-more-fully-into-Islam" and "I-can't-possibly-echo-the-surrendercrats" loyalists, is getting on my nerves.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and foolishness everywhere you look. If you insist on maintaining that is all the fault of "liberals" then you must be asked to look at such people as Dinesh "Family-Values-Through-Higher-Lecture-Fees" D'Souza, or the terminally confused Glenn Beck, or any number of Bush loyalists who keep parroting this crap about the "forward strategy of freedom" in Iraq that ignores what "democracy" in a Muslim country means (always, more Islam), and that the only constraints on Islam or limits on Muslims have been those imposed either by a colonial power (as in the Dutch East Indies, or in India under the British) or by such enlightened despots as Mohammad V, Habib Bourguiba, the Shah of Iran and, most systematically and consciously, Ataturk.

Posted on 09/18/2007 9:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

A Hymn to the Name and Honour
of the Admirable Saint Teresa

by Richard Crashaw


Since 'tis not to be had at home,
She'll travel for a martyrdom.
No home for her, confesses she,
But where she may a martyr be.
She'll to the Moors, and trade with them
For this unvalued diadem;
She offers them her dearest breath,
With Christ's name in 't, in charge for death:
She'll bargain with them, and will give
Them God, and teach them how to live
In Him; or, if they this deny,
For Him she'll teach them how to die.
So shall she leave amongst them sown
Her Lord's blood, or at least her own.

According to Wikipedia:

Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada was born in 1515 in Ávila, Spain. Her paternal grandfather, Juan de Toledo, was a Jewish convert to Christianity and was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition for allegedly returning to the Jewish faith. Her father, Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda, bought a knighthood and successfully assimilated into Christian society. Teresa's mother Beatriz was especially keen to raise their daughter as a pious Christian. Teresa was fascinated by accounts of the lives of the saints, and ran away from home at age seven with her brother Rodrigo to find martyrdom among the Moors. Her uncle spoiled their plan as he was returning to the city and spotted the two outside the city walls.

Leaving her parents' home secretly one morning in 1534, at the age of 19, Teresa entered the Monastery of the Incarnation of the Carmelite nuns at Avila. In the cloister, she suffered greatly from illness. Early in her sickness, she experienced periods of spiritual ecstasy through the use of the devotional book, Abecedario espiritual, commonly known as the "third" or the "spiritual alphabet" (published in six parts from 1537-1554)...

She claimed that during her illness she rose from the lowest stage, "recollection", to the "devotions of peace" or even to the "devotions of union", which was one of perfect ecstasy. During this final stage, she said she frequently experienced a rich "blessing of tears"...

Posted on 09/18/2007 8:38 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

A Muslim dentist made a woman wear Islamic dress as the price of accepting her as an NHS patient, it is alleged.

Omer Butt is said to have told the patient that unless she wore a headscarf she would have to find another practice...

Mr Butt is the older brother of former Islamic extremist Hassan Butt, who once declared he had 'no problem' with terror attacks on Britain and who said that September 11 "served the pleasure of Allah".

He has since recanted and now calls for all Muslims to abandon violence. --from this news item

His brother, Hassan Butt, has had quite a run as a "former terrorist" (he wasn't quite that) who now "has given up terrorism" or "abjured violence." But Hassan Butt hasn't given up the Jihad, judging by a review of his public remarks. And no one has asked him about it.

I know of at least one Muslim, a former diplomat, who has recently risen high in academic life by presenting himself as a "former terrorist" and who remains a classic, if subtle, apologist for Islam - but now a classic apologist for Islam with tenure, and a nice American salary.

Don't be satisfied with a description or self-description of someone as a "former terrorist" and assume that everything is now just fine. Find out what is going on. Is that person someone who is convinced that "terrorism" will not work and therefore is to be abandoned as a tactic and Da'wa, the Money Weapon, and demographic conquest sufficient instruments -- as they are -- of Jihad? Is that "former terrorist" someone who is cagey about his definition of an "innocent"? Someone whose new views are prompted by a forefeeling that Infidels are getting far too nosy about Islam, and that continued Muslim terrorism might endanger the position of Muslims in this or that country, or all over the West?

Don't be satisfied until you know more. And be wary of any so-called "former terrorist" who would have you believe that that "terrorism" is unrelated to, rather than a natural outgrowth of, passages in the Qur'an and stories in the Hadith.

And if they refuse to make that connection, then treat them most warily, and do not be too quick to lionize them, as happened to Hassan Butt, or still worse, complacently believe that "see, the good Muslims will come to their senses" and "integrate into our society" as long as we carefully refrain from discussing Islam itself.

That is whistling in the dark. It's going on everywhere.

(For more on the candidate of the hour, see "Elmo Tanner For President").

Posted on 09/18/2007 7:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, Channel 4 is now venturing into territory that the craven BBC avoids: Islam. The British people must pay the BBC, not Channel 4, yet the BBC, with some exceptions, covers up the main threat facing Britain today.


The Dispatches documentary series is generally of a high standard, whatever the subject matter, and last night’s programme on apostasy, “Unholy War”, was no exception. Esmerelda has already posted her reactions, and a transcript will be available soon. I mentioned yesterday the unintentionally comical statements on apostasy by the Muslim Council of Britain’s “interfaith” spokesman, who claimed that the penalty was: “Kill or not kill and everything in between.” I have a few further points to make about the programme.


While Channel 4’s documentaries have used the terms “radical Islam” or “extreme Islam”, more and more, whether by accident or design, they are acknowledging that certain teachings are not “extreme” but mainstream. Increasingly, reference is made to specific verses in the Koran, and, in this documentary, the Hadith and the “four schools of Sharia law”. It cannot be overemphasised that the killing of apostates, the mistreatment of women, and jihad, violent or non-violent, are mainstream Islamic tenets, not just the views of a few extremists. Last night’s documentary brought this out very well, quoting the texts and showing them to the viewer. Sheikh Mogra, the MCB’s interfaith spokesman trotted out the usual platitudes about “no compulsion in Islam” and “out of context", but this could not counteract the direct evidence from texts, from Muslim behaviour and views expressed.


The reporter, Anthony Barnett, stated clearly that it was not just radical groups, such as Hizb ut Tahrir who supported death for apostates. 36% of British Muslims aged 16 to 24 support it, as a poll found, and as they should if they adhere to their religion. It will be of small comfort to us, and to the beleaguered ex-Muslims interviewed, to hear from Sheikh Mogra that “it could be so much worse – suppose it were 95%.”


The sufferings of a young Christian and former Muslim from Manningham, and those of his family, were covered at some length. Not only was he threatened, but, as Esmerelda pointed out, so was his Church. Another church, whose ex-policeman vicar could not give its location, had to “keep a low profile”, for the safety of its mainly Iranian and Afghani congregation. A young girl was thrown out by her family merely for being a Christian. Even where there was no violence or direct threats, the language used by Muslims to describe the “traitor” reflected the depth of Muslim hatred for the “kafir”, a word used on many occasions by the reporter, with, I suspect, only a glimmer of understanding that “kafir” meant him too. At times you had to step back and remind yourself that this is England in the 21st century, where freedom of conscience is supposed to be a basic human right.


The major weakness of the documentary was a half-hearted attempt to draw a parallel between Islam – mainstream Islam, not convincingly negated by any Muslims – and a fringe evangelical Christian group called the Caleb group. While Muslims, born and bred in Britain, threatened to kill converts to Christianity, and to destroy their churches, the Caleb group threatened to “befriend” Muslims who were vulnerable, for example newly divorced women, and “target” them for conversion. The parallel was so weak that, if anything, it emphasised the contrast between Christianity and Islam. Few viewers would see being “targeted” for conversion as equivalent to being targeted for elimination. And I doubt whether the threat of being “befriended” would strike terror in the hearts of Muslims. Evangelical or fundamentalist Christians are irritating at worst, but we all know we’d feel safe travelling on a plane with them.


In conclusion, I am glad this documentary was shown. I hope that there will be many more documentaries on Islam – the real Islam, not the sanitised version so often portrayed by the BBC. Ignorance about Islam is all too common, but we are learning. To put the weaknesses of this, and other documentaries in perspective, ask yourself how many non-Muslims, five years ago, had heard the words “kafir”, “apostate”, “sharia”, “hadith” and “jihad”.

Posted on 09/18/2007 7:58 AM by Mary Jackson

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Yes, the "portable and compendious oceans" are a comical conceit by Crashaw. Not for lachrymae rerum, but the real tears, the kind you weep as you sit there, stunned and moved after some crappy movie with some sentimental ending, and the credits are rolling, and you can't move because you have been so moved yourself.

And here's another line of Crashaw you might wish to know:

“Farewell house, and farewell home! / She's for the Moors, and martyrdom.”

Rewind and play that last bit one more time:
"She's for the Moors, and martyrdom."

Well. That line -- and what prompted that line-- certainly bear looking into.


Posted on 09/18/2007 7:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

IPT (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm): DALLAS - A federal prosecutor and the attorney for the lead defendant in the terror-support trial of five Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) officers traded accusations of deception Monday during closing arguments.

When federal prosecutor Barry Jonas accused the defendants of trying to deceive the American public, he pointed to their own conversations captured on surveillance tapes.

"War is deception," former HLF President Shukri Abu Baker said during a secret gathering of Hamas supporters in 1993.

Defense attorney Nancy Hollander, in turn, appealed to distrust of the government and challenged evidence presented by an Israeli security witness who testified under a pseudonym.

Jonas reminded jurors that investigators found a security manual with instructions how to avoid detection at one of the defendant's offices and that HLF officers used the word "Samah" rather than HAMAS in their conversations. In 2000, they had their office swept for bugs.

"Is this what a real charity would do?" Jonas asked repeatedly.

He pointed to Baker's 2002 sworn declaration in which he claimed to "reject and abhor Hamas, its goals and its methods" as part of a civil suit. But Baker also published an ode to Hamas in the Arabic publication Ila Filastin. "Hayzum (Gabriel's horse) Hamas has arrived," it concludes, "and we will not accept any other than Hamas." The poem was followed by a solicitation for donations to the Occupied Land Fund, HLF's original name.

Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh are charged in a 42-count indictment with providing material support to HAMAS. Closing arguments continue today after six weeks of the trial. Prosecutors say they funneled more than $12 million to the Specially Designated Terrorist group, largely through charity organizations in the West Bank and Gaza called zakat committees.

Jonas referred jurors to exhibits showing various zakat committees and the hundreds of thousands of dollars HLF sent to each of them.

He also showed video tapes and played audio intercepts showing the defendants knew of Hamas' violent objectives and that they supported them. From that secret Philadelphia meeting, called to discuss ways to "derail" the nascent Oslo Peace accord, to fundraising tours featuring speeches by Hamas members and affiliates to entertainment the defendants organized including songs praising Hamas and skits in which one pretends to kill an Israeli.

Defense attorneys say the men provided basic sustenance - food, education, medicine - to Palestinians living in desperate poverty.

That support, though, was a key component in efforts to win Palestinian hearts and minds for Hamas, Jonas said. The Hamas charter, which never has been amended, still demands the state of Israel's destruction. Works by its social wing are merely "a means to an end," Jonas said...

Posted on 09/18/2007 7:40 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The Brotherhood "works to dissuade the Muslims from violence, instead channeling them into politics and charitable activities," said Robert S. Leiken, director of the Immigration and National Security Program at The Nixon Center in a recent article in Foreign Affairs, a publication of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations. --from the Dallas Morning News article linked below

More on that sudden scholar of Islam, Robert Leiken, who could cheerfully explain his new "expertise" about the Ikhwan and everything to do with Islam the way that candid crook did in the late nineteenth century, Jay Gould or some one of that railroad-magnate or Tammany ilk: "I seen my opportunities, and I took 'em."

That's Leiken. A presto-chango artist, who went from being an "expert" on Latin America, to becoming a great "expert" on How To Deal With Islam. Nothing he has written so far shows a deep familiarity, or any familiarity at all, with the texts or tenets of Islam. Nothing he has written so far shows any deep familiarity, or any familiarity at all, with the 1350-year history of Jihad-conquest and of the subsequent subjugation of non-Muslims (Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and many smaller groups), a conquest and subjugation which faithfully put the doctrines of Islam, derived from Qur'an, Hadith, and sira, as further discussed by Qur'anic commentators and jurisconsults, resulting in a system of codification, or Holy Law of Islam (i.e., the Shari'a) into practice.

Here's something from the New York Sun, June 20, 2007. Read it and weep:

"Today the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research will host a meeting with other representatives of the intelligence community to discuss opening more formal channels to the brothers. Earlier this year, the National Intelligence Council received a paper it had commissioned on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood by a scholar at the Nixon Center, Robert Leiken, who is invited to the State Department meeting today to present the case for engagement. On April 7, congressional leaders such as Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic whip, attended a reception where some representatives of the brothers were present. The reception was hosted at the residence in Cairo of the American ambassador to Egypt, Francis Ricciardone, a decision that indicates a change in policy...

A State Department spokesman for the Bureau of Near East Affairs, David Foley, confirmed the meeting Wednesday to discuss a new approach to the Muslim Brotherhood. "We do these seminars, they help inform the policy making process. I am not suggesting someone would decide on a new policy on the Muslim Brotherhood as a result of this," he said. "This is the kind of consultations we often do. When there are alternative views, let's hear both sides. We are certainly willing to listen to voices from the outside."

Making the case today for outreach is Mr. Leiken, who co-authored with Steve Brooke a paper for the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs titled, "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood." That paper argues that Ikhwan has drawn contempt from violent Islamists such as Al Qaeda for its general disavowal of armed struggle. Tracing its history to its founding, the paper says the group today, particularly in Egypt, is genuine in its desire to participate in democratic politics.

Mr. Leiken said yesterday that there are two reasons why America should begin to rethink its prohibition of meeting with the brothers. "A new policy begins to combat some of our isolation in the Muslim world. I see the Muslim brotherhood, particularly in Egypt, as having what the communists used to call a two-line struggle, between moderate and dogmatic factions. Our outreach would help the moderates. That would strengthen those forces who are most willing to recognize the fact of Israel's existence and more democratic."

Mr. Leiken is a Harvard graduate and longtime expert on Latin America who broke with the hard left in the 1980s to oppose the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and who became associated with Social Democrats such as Penn Kemble and Joshua Muravchick. He said he thinks diplomacy with Ikhwan could help us help them to moderate Hamas. "It is conceivable that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, aware Gaza could serve as an index, will try use its influence to get Hamas to be constructive," he said. The Egyptian government has used the Muslim Brothers for at least 10 years as a back channel to Hamas.

Mr. Leiken's Foreign Affairs paper and classified study for the National Intelligence Council has gotten the attention of senior National Security Council officials and Secretary of State Rice, according to two administration officials..."

Did you read it? And did you weep? If you didn't, never mind. I wept tears of fury and laughter at the sheer farce of it all, enough tears -- a "portable and compendious ocean" of them -- enough for me, for you, for everyone who read the damn thing.

Robert Leiken. The "expert." The Ikhwan. State Department officials said to be Greatly Impressed. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice....

Say - do I wake, or sleep?

Posted on 09/18/2007 7:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"Mahdi Bray, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, which promotes Muslim civil rights, called the Holy Land documents "a throwback." He has attended portions of the Holy Land trial.

'If those documents talk about the establishing of Shariah law in America, I'm saying that's a lot of hype: wishful thinking from an immigrant perspective. ... It doesn't reflect genuine American perspective in terms of where we're heading,' Mr. Bray said.

He said members of MAS decided in 1993, when the organization was founded, that they would pursue political and nonviolent tactics.

'I wouldn't be candid if I didn't say there weren't some old-timers who want to hold onto the old way, who say that this is the way the Ikhwan did it, this should be our model," he said. "We said 'So what? It doesn't work here.' We've been very adamant about that.'
-- from the article linked below

He "wouldn't be candid" even if he thought he could get away with it. But Mahdi Bray knows when to pull in his horns. When the scandal just got too great, and the opponents had too much that they had discovered (and just what has happened in what should be a continuing investigation into the sale of city land at a sweetheart price by the BRA, and especially into the role of that Muslim member of the BRA, the one who flew off on a mysterious trip to Saudi Arabia and came back, it appears, with the financing for the mosque guaranteed?), then Mahdi Bray and others quickly adjusted, and showed up for the phoniest of staged events, a "reconciliation" with a handful of local Jewish "leaders" or those "taking a leadership role," the usual hopeless naifs and interfaith pietists who are making pronouncements, and attitudinizing, about things they know little or nothing about, and presuming to speak for a great many.

Mahdi Bray does let slip a telling phrase in the article above when he gives, as the argument against demanding the Shari'a be imposed on the United States by "old-timers" who think they can behave in the well-known manner of the Muslim Brotherhood (the "Ikhwan" that Bray refers to, still no doubt smacking his lips over those Arabic words that still give him a thrill to utter, as part of his new special vocabulary and that significance the whole thing gives to his life), but who are informed by others that the means they have chosen are not the right means: "We said 'So what? It doesn't work here.' We've been very adamant about that.:

Right. The method of the Ikhwan "doesn't work here." So other methods, different and smoother methods, must be adopted. The goal -- the arrival and imposition of the Shari'a over the United States, remains a goal of true Believers, and certainly of the converts like Mahdi Bray, whose denial of such a goal can safely be ignored, for such a denial cannot possibly be forthcoming from a true Believer. It is not facultative, but mandatory, to work for the dominance of Islam, and that certainly includes replacing the Infidel nation-state and Infidel laws with the Holy Law of Islam.

Don't believe a word Mahdi Bray says. But do look for a photograph of Mahdi Bray "distributing" goods -- a box or two did it for the photograph he had taken last year -- to some charity, that is supposed to demonstrate for Infidel audiences that -- just look, here we are, Muslims, now donating to non-Muslims. It's all for show, and all against the grain of, despite the teachings of, Islam. Well, come to think of it, not entirely. For while zakat is supposed to be only for fellow Muslims, when such zakat, if given to non-Muslims, helps the position, the image, the spread, of Islam, then it may be allowed. And that is exactly what Mahdi Bray does -- for he does nothing that is not directed at spreading Islam until, of course, it dominates in this country, as by right it should everywhere. That is his goal. If you do not share that goal, if you regard the attainment of that goal with horror, then you must watch Mahdi Bray and his smiling I'm-just-a-country-Muslim-from-Norfolk-Virginia shtick with vigilant alarm.

For more on Mahdi Bray, see here.

Posted on 09/18/2007 6:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

At Opinion Journal, Bret Stephens sifts through the evidence.

Posted on 09/18/2007 6:36 AM by Andy McCarthy

Tuesday, 18 September 2007
More than 100 Afghan Sikhs, the country's smallest religious group, marched through Kabul with a corpse on Monday to protest attempts by Muslim villagers to stop them from cremating the body.
Police later detained six of the Muslim villagers who had tried to prevent the cremation, a police officer said.
One of the Sikh protesters, Diah Singh Anjan, said dozens of villagers had issued threats as the cremation was being prepared at a temple in the south of the city.
"The villagers tried to stop us and threatened us with death," he said.
Police escorted them back to the temple, which is inside a walled compound. "The police came and detained six of them and we performed our ceremony," Anjan said in front of the burning pyre.
"The villagers who have grabbed the land around us now say we can't perform our ceremonies here. They say we should stop cremating our dead here," Anjan added.
The protesters said Muslims had beaten them as they tried to bury community elder Lachman Singh.
"Aren't we human? Isn't God created for us as well? If God is only for Muslims, go ahead and kill us all or hand us over to the U.N.," Autaar Singh, parliament's Sikh representative, told Reuters.
"We want our rights and freedom," he said. "We weren't even stopped performing our religious ceremonies by the Taliban."
The Sikhs said they had owned land in the Qalacha area of Kabul, in the shadows of the ancient Bala Hisar fortress, for more than 120 years, but waves of returning Afghan refugees had built on the land and were now stopping them performing religious rites.
Afghanistan's Sikh community, said to number several thousand people in major cities, have lived in overwhelmingly Islamic Afghanistan for generations. . .  complains of widespread discrimination from the overwhelming Muslim majority. 
During the 1996-2001 Taliban regime, they were forced to wear yellow arm bands to distinguish them from Muslims. . .   ostensibly so they would not be arrested by the religious police for breaking Taliban laws on the length of beards and other issues.
Posted on 09/18/2007 2:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Tuesday, 18 September 2007
The Scotsman is reporting a sober and balanced view of yesterday’s conviction of Mohammed Atif Siddique and the possibility, not brought out in Court until now, that he was planning a terrorist attack in Canada.
THE security services feared Scotland's first home-grown "wannabe suicide bomber" had been preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Canada, it emerged last night.
Mohammed Atif Siddique was stopped at Glasgow Airport before he could board a flight to Pakistan amid concerns that he might go "off the radar" and join alleged Islamic extremists in planning large-scale terrorist attacks in Ontario.
Siddique was found guilty yesterday of a string of terrorism offences at the High Court in Glasgow and now faces a jail sentence of up to 15 years.
During his trial, the defence and prosecution had argued over whether the 21-year-old IT student was actively involved in promoting terrorist attacks or was merely a "foolishly stupid young man" simply researching Islamic terrorism.
After the verdict, Siddique's solicitor, Aamer Anwar, accused the authorities of launching an unwarranted attack on civil liberties and of creating a climate of fear for young Muslims.
He said the Canadian accusations - which were not presented in court - were an attempt to smear his client. . . . "In the end, Atif Siddique did not receive a fair trial and we will be considering an appeal."
But Maureen Brown, assistant chief constable of Central Scotland Police, who was in charge of the investigation, said the verdicts had sent out a clear message to people in Scotland who may support the al-Qaeda cause. She said the case demonstrated that "we will not tolerate terrorism in any form, including the possession of materials which would be useful to someone wanting to commit an act of terrorism or to induce or encourage someone to take such a course of action".
Siddique was detained at Glasgow Airport on 5 April last year, as he prepared to fly out to Pakistan with his uncle.
Sources close to the investigation said it was believed he might have been preparing to become involved in a terrorist attack in Canada.
It is thought Siddique had been radicalised by a man from the north of England who was being monitored by the Secret Service and was having online chats with him. The man, who for legal reasons cannot be named, is suspected of being a major recruiting agent and handler for al-Qaeda, and is related to a central figure in an alleged Canadian suicide-bomb team.
It is claimed their mission included detonating lorry bombs, slaughtering shoppers and storming the Canadian Broadcast Centre and parliament building. They allegedly planned to behead Stephen Harper, the prime minister.
Twelve men and five teenage boys are in custody in connection with the alleged attacks.
Sources also claim Siddique had discussions with someone in Canada over the possibility of setting up terrorist training camps along the US border. A source close to the investigation said: "The security services got intelligence that Siddique was about to leave Glasgow Airport for Pakistan, where he would completely go off the radar. Special Branch were asked to detain him without delay."
The Scotsman article is a contrast to that of The Herald last night where Muslim leaders were lamenting that not enough is being done (yes and it is them who are not doing enough) in the fight against extremism.  
Scotland's first high-profile terrorism trial has made uncomfortable viewing for members of the Muslim community.
Unlike those behind the attempted bombing of Glasgow Airport, Mohammed Atif Siddique was born and raised in Scotland. He attended mosques in Glasgow, Stirling and Alloa and his religious education was the same as any young Muslim growing up here could expect to receive.
. . . the Crown Office and Central Scotland Police went out of their way to stress that Siddique had been prosecuted as an individual for criminal acts, and that the case did not reflect on the wider Muslim community.
Muslim leaders who spoke to The Herald defended the reputation of Scottish mosques - the majority of which are Sunni - as liberal and moderate. Unlike some English mosques which have earned a reputation for radicalism, notably Finsbury Park in London where Abu Hamza gave sermons supporting terrorism, Scotland's mosques are not home to radical preachers or group meetings, they said. However, while Scotland's mosques have not been criticised for radicalising their members, prominent Scottish Muslims said not enough had been done to combat radicalism.
Siddique will be sentenced next month.
Posted on 09/18/2007 1:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Monday, 17 September 2007

"All I want to know is this - is it at all helpful to our national interest to have troops in Iraq, mowing down al-Qa'ida, pacifying (killing) their allies, protecting those who risked their lives helping us, and - yes - keeping the world's second largest oil reserve out of the hands of Iran and al-Qa'ida? Right now, the answer is yes. Yes particularly now, when military action against Iran seems imminent. Such action could lead to dramatic changes in Syria as well, one may hope."
-- from a reader

When you ask plaintively "is it at all helpful to our national interest to have troops in Iraq" then I suppose many would say, yes, hard to deny that it might be "at all helpful" to, as you put it, have those troops "mowing down al-Qaida" but I deny it.

And note how loaded is your presentation. According to you, American troops are in Iraq "mowing down Al-Qaida." How many Al-Qaida members have been killed? Shall we guess? What do you think? Would the figure of 20,000 members of Al Qaida in Iraq be one we could agree on? What does that mean, when those 20,000 are endlessly replaceable from the world-wide ranks of 1.2 billion Muslims? And if the war in Iraq has now cost, in past, present, and committed future costs (chiefly lifetime care for the seriously wounded), $880 billion, which is more than the total cost of all the wars, save World War II, that the United States has fought, what does that work out to per mowed-down Al-Qaida member?
Let's do the math. I get a figure of $44 million per each of those mowed-down endlessly replaceable Al-Qaida members. What do you get? Let's change the figures. Let's say that not 20,000 members of Al-Qaida in Iraq have been killed (by the way, that figure is a generous one, given the fact that at any one time the total number of Al-Qaida in Iraq members, admittedly replaced as some die or are wounded, never gets higher than 10,000), but rather 40,000 are "mowed down" (that's not exactly the way it happens -- this is not fighting the Fuzzy-Wuzzies in Khartoum, nor human waves of fanatical basiji from Iran). In that case, it is only costing us, Americans who are just in the first and largely uncomprehending stage of an endless -- but manageable -- war, with a containable enemy, if we keep our wits about us -- merely $22 million per mowed-down Al-Qaida member. And each of them can be replaced at a moment's notice. Is this an intelligent use of American money, and lives, and matériel, and military and civilian morale, simply because you tell us that it cannot be denied that it is "at all helpful to our national interest."

But even that tepid endorsement by you -- I can imagine the speech now --"Yes, my fellow Americans, let's not cut and run, let's not leave Iraq, because who can deny that this effort 'is at all helpful to the national interest.'" Not exactly overwhelmingly persuasive, is it?

You then say that those troops are there to "protect those who risked their lives helping us." Is that why they are there? In that case, had the troops never come in the first place, no would would have "risked his life helping us" and, therefore, there would be no need now to "protect" them? Is that what you maintain? Or if you do not maintain that, do you think the troops really are selectively there to "protect those who risked their lives helping us"? And by the way, if that is what is being done, how successful has it been? How many of those who served as translators or, for that matter, cleaning staff on American bases, indeed have been well-protected, and how many have been killed or fled the country?
You know perfectly well that the Americans are not there to selectively protect the handful --mostly Christians, or Kurds -- who actually "risked their lives helping us" -- let's not exaggerate their numbers by the way, nor ignore the mixed motives (those cleaning ladies, for example, and some of those translators, were working because the pay was good, and not because they had an overwhelming desire to help the Americans whatever it cost).

That would be enough. But there is more. I flatly disagree with even your comically mild claim in the form of a plaintive query ("is it all helpful..."). I think it is not helpful to American national interest, rightly conceived, to continue to squander men, money, matériel, morale, and to do so in the service of a goal that is the exact opposite of the one which would indeed further the American national interest, and the interests of all Infidels threatened, as they all are, by the menace of Jihad. When you can use the weaknesses and divisions that the enemy camp presents on a plate, you should do so. God knows the Muslims and Arabs do so, in Western Europe, as they have played to, exploited, encouraged, those two pre-existing mental pathologies -- antisemitism and anti-Americanism -- in order to split the peoples of Western Europe from their natural civilizational allies, the Americans.

I deny that it is "at all helpful to American national interest" to remain in Iraq. I deny that it was "at all helpful to American national interest" to remain in Iraq once two things had occurred: first, that the country was scoured for weapons of mass destruction, and any programs disrupted that might in the future have led to the acquisition of such weaponry; second, that the regime of Saddam Hussein was permanently ended by killing or capturing him, his two sons, and most of the cards who were part of that inspired deck used by the Americans to play Fifty-Two Pick-Up.

Both were accomplished within a year of the invasion. By late February, or at most March 2004, the American government should have made plans to leave, certainly by mid-summer 2004. It would have saved some $700 billion dollars. It would have saved some 3000 lives. It would have husbanded civilian and military morale, for the long war -- the endless war -- that is to come. It would not have led to the troops being demoralized (at least, those young officers who have left the service, including fully half of the West Point graduates who are eligible to leave, not to mention the members of the Reserves and the National Guard who, being older than the soldiers in the regular army, and less inclined to be quite so dutiful or unquestioning in their obedience and acceptance of policy, are not only far less likely to re-enlist or urge others to enlist then they would have in the past, but even the soldiers in the regular army – if we are to judge by the anecdotal evidence provided by reporters in Iraq – are fed up with “the Iraqis” and “the mission” and the whole thing – not all, of course, but a number too significant for intelligent generals to think they can ignore).

No, Tarbaby Iraq is a fiasco when, if only the Americans withdrew, it could be, would be, the very “victory” that the Administration has defined so wrongly.

America has pre-paid for, in every way, that victory and deserves to have it. It can only have it if the forces of disequilibrium and internecine warfare within the Camp of Islam are allowed to be given free play.

I want that "victory" that will inevitably come from what will happen when the pre-existing fissures within Iraq are allowed to develop, and without the Americans needing to do anything to encourage them, requiring them only to cease doing what they are doing now, at such great expense and heartache and frustration.

I want that "victory." We deserve that American "victory." We deserve to reap the benefits of the incredible effort so far, the benefits that will result from those fissures that will divide and demoralize and weaken the Camp of Islam, and not only in Iraq.

Posted on 09/17/2007 6:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Monday, 17 September 2007


When I invite someone over to my house for cocktails and conversation, if they make a statement with which I disagree, with an open mind I try to be sympathetic to their opinion yet state my own view. We may then engage in a bit of respectful back and forth. It could be that they are right or at least may provide a new way of understanding the issue at hand. Mostly, however, I try not to insult them by referring to their opinions as nonsense and then speaking down to them for the remainder of the evening.

That tends to ruin the party. --from a reader

Yes, it is true that in polite company, talking of this and that, one does have to bite one's tongue, or turn away wrath with a soft answer, or even "in tragic conversations, learn to joke, learn to be silent."

But this is not an occasion where I have been invited to someone's house, or someone has been invited into the privacy of my house. It is a site of public pedagogy -- call it Chatauqua-on-the-Internet, and the topics are on and about Jihad and dhimmitude. There is some time off for occasional play -- running around at recess, and then naptime -- but that play must remain well-mannered and literate and of value.

This site is not akin to that private party. I have been invited nowhere, and have not invited anyone to visit my house, in which case one can be sure those I would invite would, save on rare mistaken occasions, not be the kind of people whom I would have to politely listen to and feign agreement or hide the extent of my disagreement.

When nonsense is spouted, I tend now -- perhaps my advanced age of 98 has something to do with it -- to call it nonsense. Time's a-wasting.

You suggest that sweetness and light go together. I suggest there is altogether too much sweetness in public discussions, and not nearly enough light. Mehr licht is my motto, and unlike Goethe, I'm not waiting for my deathbed to dyingly declare it.

As for those classes in Emily Post Etiquette, in French and dancing and deportment you suggest I need -- well, I've been there. I've done that. Apparently the lessons didn't stick sufficiently to please everyone. Tant pis.

Posted on 09/17/2007 6:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Monday, 17 September 2007

"General: Mr. F., have you ever fought a war ?
"No Sir"
-- from a reader

But if "Mr. F." is meant to refer to me, I would answer:

"Yes, sir. I'm fighting one right now, but apparently not in a way that you can understand.

You  apparently can conceive of war and fighting a war in only one way, that is merely the boots-on-the-ground way that is largely irrelevant to the menace of Jihad as it presents itself today, and a way that furthermore, in the dreamy belief that Islam does not explain the reasons for misrule and inability to compromise in Iraq, when it is Islam, rightly understood, that is the real explanation for what seems to be an American failure but in fact is a permanent Iraqi -- a permanent Muslim -- failure.

That's how I'd answer. So don't put words, and especially not nos when yesses out-yessing Molly Bloom are called for, into my mouth.

Posted on 09/17/2007 6:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Monday, 17 September 2007
From The Local tonight.
Police have told Swedish artist
Lars Vilks that it is not safe for him to remain at his home in southern Sweden following threats on his life from an al-Qaeda front organization in Iraq.
The artist behind a controversial caricature of the Muslim prophet
Muhammad was only allowed access to his home outside Nyhamnsläge after police had conducted a thorough search on Monday morning.
Police allowed the artist to pick up a few belongings but told him that they did not want him staying there in the foreseeable future.
"I'm prepared to move somewhere else," Vilks told news agency TT.
The artist has had to cancel a number of planned lectures but says that he is able to do most of his work sitting in front of his computer.
Asked whether the sketch of Muhammad as a roundabout dog was worth all the trouble, Vilks remained defiant."Yes, I still think so. I think the artwork has developed well so far and is on its way towards becoming superb," he said. I don’t know about that, but the quality of his drawing is not the issue.
Elsewhere two leading European Muslim organizations have condemned the threats issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq on the lives of Swedish artist Lars Vilks and newspaper editor Ulf Johansson.
The Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research labelled the death sentence haram, or prohibited by the Islamic faith, and said it planned to issue a counter-fatwa. “We do not agree with killing people like this because this is not in Islam," secretary general Hussein Halawa told Sveriges Radio.
Posted on 09/17/2007 4:51 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Monday, 17 September 2007
Dispatches usually provides a transcript of their programmes in due course, and others with more technical knowledge than I will probably post sections on Youtube. So I didn’t attempt to get it all down in longhand this time and will just mention a few things which made an impression.
The young man and his family from Manningham in Bradford who were abused even on camera as the showed the reporter their old home. Their bright eyes and courage as they spoke of what they had suffered. The graffiti of “Christian Dogs” still visible on the wall. The taunts of “Jew dog” because “that is the worst insult they can think of” The camera panned to the tower of the nearby church where they worshipped, where for 5 years until they left the area the church was subject to vandalism and threats of worse. That the tower would suffer the same fate as the Twin Towers of New York.  My husband’s gasp as he realised that the church may have been where his father, who was born in Manningham (85 years ago) was baptised.
The clarity of the books bought, quite easily from a local Islamic bookshop, that the penalty for apostasy is death.
I wish that the reporter had known enough to cap the assurance from Sheikh Mogra that “there is no compulsion in Islam” with the rest of the verse giving the options, death, slavery or dhimmitude. But he didn’t do badly with the books of jurisprudence that he did have handy.
The quiet sense of the Bishop of Rochester calling upon Muslim leaders, not to cease “misunderstanding” Islam because he knows that they understand it quite well and so does he, but to accept the basic matter of civil liberties.
The pluck of J Smith and his Christian missionaries at Speakers Corner.  But I didn’t understand the digression on to the Caleb Project at all.
The grace said over the family meal of rice and lamb. The young girl thrown out on Christmas Day because her mother would no longer have a Christian under her roof. The ex policeman, now a vicar who has to assess potential converts who may be shamming to claim asylum. That his church has to keep a low profile, that the Iranian members of his congregation attended during filming, but the Afghans didn’t for the sake of their family at home.
The contrast of the Iranian Christian women with their heads up as they worshipped in church alongside their menfolk, against with the veiled women trying to be invisible on the streets.
As and when a transcript appears we will point you to it.
Posted on 09/17/2007 4:23 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Monday, 17 September 2007

"There is no current substitute for oil in our economy. There probably will be, but as of now there isn't.
Without this as the central reality in any discussion, isolationism is just smoking funny stuff."
-- from a reader, changing the subject when asked to discuss other matters

1. There is "no current substitute for oil." And? What about it? The oil-producing countries sell oil, and will continue to sell oil. They need, you see, the money. And at any point, we can dampen demand by merely taxing ourselves, and they know it. And we can continue to raise taxes on the use of oil and, especially, gasoline, and thereby continue to suppress demand and also encourage the development of other sources of energy, and other ways of living (telecommuting, increased use of mass transit, and so on).

There is NO oil weapon. There never was. Those who have been led to believe that the Arabs and other Muslims (e.g., Iran) possess such a weapon are ignoring the total reliance of oil-producers on oil revenues, and are ignoring the failure of those countries to produce anything else of value, whether goods or services. Furthermore, they ignore the fact that historically, even in October 1973, there was a great deal of sound and fury but, as J. B. Kelly showed conclusively in his exhaustive "Arabia, the Gulf, and the West" there was no real oil embargo for political reasons, but only as a way to make sure the quadrupling of oil prices was accepted uncomplainingly, even fearfully. The United States and the Netherlands, regarded as pro-Israel, received more oil compared to before than did both England and France, considered pro-Arab.

The myth of an Oil Weapon requires one to accept the Arab huffing-and-puffing, and the Western hirelings of the Arabs who, themselves profiting from what might be called the Money Weapon, kept saying that the Arab oil producers had to be placated, then and since, for they could do this, and they could do that. It's all nonsense, and the sooner this is fully understood by everyone, including the poster above, the better for the West.

2. "Isolationism" is raised as a bogeyman. What nonsense. Who here, in deploring the squandering of resources in Iraq, has preached "isolationism"? Do you think those who want the United States to intervene in the Sudan, or should it come it, on the side of the Christians should they attempt to become independent in Nigeria, are the recommendations of "isolationists"?

And it has been pointed out many times at this website that that the main theatre of that permanent war that Islam mandates between Believer and Infidel, is Western Europe. The American government, having failed to identify the problem correctly, and having also failed to recognize that the deployment of the three main instruments of Jihad -- not "terrorism" but, rather, Da'wa, the Money Weapon, and demographic conquest -- seems determined to stick to a policy that, if one examines it without any parti pris, simply makes no sense. For whatever happens in Iraq will not stop, in any way, those campaigns of Da'wa, that deployment of the Money Weapon, that steady demographic conquest. Or rather, if the American presence continues, which itself becomes the focus of world-wide attention and dismay, even if those doing the dismaying are not even quite certain what it is they are so dismayed about, the date of American, and general, understanding of the problem is delayed, a delay that might prove fatal. We can't dither any longer. A terrible mistake was made. It should now be recognized, and the troops withdrawn, and the natural forces of disarray and chaos that will strengthen, but never quite get out of hand, first in Iraq, and then, to a certain extent -- but let's not exaggerate, please -- will continue to simmer and cause headaches and expenditures of money and volunteers and war matériel and attention, by various Muslim states, and that is a bad thing for them, and a good thing, a highly desirable thing, for us.

Posted on 09/17/2007 3:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Monday, 17 September 2007

"We must take Islamist terrorism to Western countries so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters," a voiceover says.-- from this news article, describing an Al Qaeda tape

We are unlike the Israelis in ways good and bad. Bad, in that the kind of lightning air attack made on Syria the other day seems to be beyond the intelligence, and possibly the political will, of other Infidel powers who should refrain from boots-on-the-ground Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations "forward strategies of freedom" and concentrate on knocking out any particularly disturbing or threatening Muslim military capacity.

On the other hand, Israel has accepted a level of terrorism that it should not have, and it long ago should have expelled dangerous populations. And that is what the Western world should make clear is going to happen long before we ever accept the idea that we must become inured to Muslim terrorism "so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters." Those who supply the local defenders of the faith, who conduct those ever-expanding campaigns of Da'wa and outright propaganda for Islam, will be removed from our societies, and since it is impossible to detect the genuine and permanent "moderate" from the other kind, and since Islam "itself is not moderate," we would be fools -- as a truth-telling Iraqi Muslim in this country said himself (presumably a Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslim)-- not to expel any of those who identify themselves as believing in 9.29, and 5.51, and all the rest of the Qur'anic passages, and also the hadith, that taken together, and understood as Muslims for 1350 years have understood them, declare a state of permanent war between Believers and Infidels.

We would be complete fools not to undertake, merely because we are all now Acolytes of the Church of Latter-Day Total Tolerance Even For Those Who Wish Us Ill, these minimal acts of self-defense and civilizational survival.

Posted on 09/17/2007 2:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Monday, 17 September 2007

I will write more about this evening's Dispatches documentary on apostasy later tonight or tomorrow. Esmerelda will probably post about it too. For now, here are two very telling statements on apostasy from Sheikh Mogra, a senior member of the Muslim Council of Britain, responsible for "interfaith" dialogue.

When confronted with the poll that said 36% of British Muslims aged between 16 and 24 believe that those who leave Islam should be killed, this Job's comforter of a Sheikh replied: "But it could be so much worse. Suppose it were 95%."

Even better, when the interviewer pointed out that the four schools of Sharia demand death for apostates, Sheikh Mogra protested that Muslim opinion was very diverse: "From 'kill' to 'not kill', and everything in between."

Dorothy Parker, who famously and unfairly described Katherine Hepburn as  running "the gamut of emotions from A to B", has finally been upstaged.

Posted on 09/17/2007 2:58 PM by Mary Jackson

Monday, 17 September 2007

Bob Woodward writes in the WaPo:

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said in an interview that the removal of Saddam Hussein had been "essential" to secure world oil supplies, a point he emphasized to the White House in private conversations before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Greenspan, who was the country's top voice on monetary policy at the time Bush decided to go to war in Iraq, has refrained from extensive public comment on it until now, but he made the striking comment in a new memoir out today that "the Iraq War is largely about oil." In the interview, he clarified that sentence in his 531-page book, saying that while securing global oil supplies was "not the administration's motive," he had presented the White House with the case for why removing Hussein was important for the global economy.

"I was not saying that that's the administration's motive," Greenspan said in an interview Saturday, "I'm just saying that if somebody asked me, 'Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?' I would say it was essential."

He said that in his discussions with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, "I have never heard them basically say, 'We've got to protect the oil supplies of the world,' but that would have been my motive." Greenspan said that he made his economic argument to White House officials and that one lower-level official, whom he declined to identify, told him, "Well, unfortunately, we can't talk about oil." Asked if he had made his point to Cheney specifically, Greenspan said yes, then added, "I talked to everybody about that."...

Posted on 09/17/2007 2:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum


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