Thursday, September 30, 2004
Bush over Edwards in NC
NBC17 is reporting the results of the latest Mason Dixon poll.
The daily double
Bush leads Kerry52%-43%, a difference of 9 percentage points.
Prior to naming NC Senator John Edwards as his running mate, Mr. Kerry was behind by only 3 percentage points.
Despite repeated visits to the state by Mr. Edwards, NC support for Mr. Kerry has been slipping steadily.
Too bad he didn't name Mr. Edwards earlier.
Marvin over at LittleRedBlog, has two excellent posts, The Swamps Must Be Cleared and First, We Set the Course Within.
Missing the G spot
"...we need look no further than this year’s Democratic nominee for the Presidency and his aides. They offer a campaign of fear mongering filled with race baiting, class envy, untruths and a dependence on the gullibility of the electorate..."
"We are a nation in search of our character once again. To find our character, the moral and ethical standards we hold as truths must be reaffirmed. We must admit that we are a nation of just and righteous men, boldly and willingly in command of our responsibilities, sailing toward our destiny. Is it that I believe we are prepared for this? No. First, each of us must seek moral truths, understand that what is immoral may not be illegal, and what is legal may not be moral, and then be willing to act and vote on our beliefs...."
I can't trackback to his posts-- Haloscan has it in for Marvin and I, for some reason, but go, read and think.
Sudan it seems, has become a quagmire for the UN.
Idiotic judicial ruling
Since the US declared the slaughter of Darfurese genocide, the UN and everyone else are looking for ways to describe the atrocities without using that word.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A U.N. envoy told the Security Council on Thursday that war crimes had probably taken place on "a large and systematic scale" amid a continuing general state of lawlessness in Sudan's Darfur region.
"The high commissioner and I can conclude, firstly, that crimes against humanity, war crimes and breaches of the laws of war have probably occurred on a large and systematic scale,"Mendez told council members, according to his text.
"Secondly, we do not believe that we have turned the corner on preventing further violations and we must remain vigilant to this end," he told a closed-door council session.
"She said there had been wide-spread rape and that the government commissions and police meant to stop it were ineffective. In one case police accused the victims of rape of making up stories even though hospitals confirmed their case. "
Good to know there's no G spot in Darfur. Read the story here.
What is going on in our courts?
"In a blow to the Justice Department's post-Sept. 11 powers, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero on Wednesday struck down the provision that let the FBI gather phone and Web customer records but barred service providers from ever disclosing the search took place.
"The Justice Department will likely appeal a court ruling that declare unconstitutional a Patriot Act provision allowing secret and unchallengeable searches of Internet and telephone records, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday."
"While Marrero called national security of "paramount value" and said the government "must be empowered to respond promptly and effectively" to threats, he also called personal security equal in importance and "especially prized in our system of justice."
I don't think we need to make 'response' our priority. It is the obligation of government to protect and defend it's citizens, preemptively if neccesary.
Forgive me here, but since when do we have to give our adversaries a 'heads up?'
The right to privacy is not guaranteed by the Constitution.
No one likes or wants the Patriot Act.
Blaming the government for it, however, is missing the point. In no small measure, our pre Patriot Act freedoms were taken advantage of by adversaries looking to do us harm and succeeding.
Judge Marrero offers a fine bit of Judicial wisdom:
"Sometimes a right, once extinguished, may be gone for good."
Someone needs to remind the Right Honorable Justice Marrero, that once a life is extinguished, it is gone for good.
Read it all here.
The Story of Creation
Below is the story of Creation-- the creation of Yasser Arafat.
It is a fascinating read. But more than that, it is an indictment of the left, both soft and hard. We knew who he was and we knew what he represented-- and still, too many played the game.
To this day, Arafat has his supporters and those who seem him as 'the Father of his people.' To this day, there are those who embrace his 'struggle' as the legitimate 'voice of the Palestinian people.'
George Bush, by refusing to deal with Arafat, unlike William Jefferson Clinton and those who preceded him, is dealing with the reality of Mr. Arafat's decades of deception and the resulting tragedies.
It is a testament to President Bush's morality.
From the WSJ
By ION MIHAI PACEPA
"The Israeli government has vowed to expel Yasser Arafat, calling him an "obstacle" to peace. But the 72-year-old Palestinian leader is much more than that; he is a career terrorist, trained, armed and bankrolled by the SovietUnion and its satellites for decades.
Before I defected to America from Romania, leaving my post as chief of Romanian intelligence, I was responsible for giving Arafat about $200,000 in laundered cash every month throughout the 1970s. I also sent two cargo planes to Beirut aweek, stuffed with uniforms and supplies.
Other Soviet bloc states did much the same. Terrorism has been extremely profitable for Arafat. According to Forbes magazine, he is today the sixth wealthiest among the world's "kings, queens & despots," with more than $300 million stashed in Swiss bank accounts.
"I invented the hijackings [of passenger planes]," Arafat bragged when I first met him at his PLO headquarters in Beirut in the early 1970s. He gestured towardthe little red flags pinned on a wall map of the world that labeled Israel as "Palestine." "There they all are!" he told me, proudly. The dubious honor ofinventing hijacking actually goes to the KGB, which first hijacked a US passenger plane in 1960 to Communist Cuba. Arafat's innovation was the suicide bomber, a terror concept that would come to full flower on 9/11.
In 1972, the Kremlin put Arafat and his terror networks high on all Soviet bloc intelligence services' priority list, including mine. Bucharest's role was to ingratiate him with the White House. We were the bloc experts at this. We'dalready had great success in making Washington-- as well as most of the fashionable left-leaning American academics of the day-- believe that Nicolae Ceausescu was, like Josip Broz Tito, an "independent" Communist with a "moderate" streak.
KGB chairman Yuri Andropov in February 1972 laughed to me about the Yankee gullibility for celebrities. We'd outgrown Stalinist cults of personality, but those crazy Americans were still naive enough to revere national leaders. We would make Arafat into just such a figurehead and gradually move the PLO closer to power and statehood. Andropov thought that Vietnam-weary Americans would snatch at the smallest sign of conciliation to promote Arafat from terrorist to statesman in their hopes for peace.
Right after that meeting, I was given the KGB's "personal file" on Arafat. He was an Egyptian bourgeois turned into a devoted Marxist by KGB foreign intelligence. The KGB had trained him at its Balashikha special-ops school eastof Moscow and in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader. First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat's birth in Cairo, replacing them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.
The KGB's disinformation department then went to work on Arafat's four-page tract called "Falastinuna (Our Palestine), turning it into a 48-page monthly magazine for the Palestinian terrorist organization al-Fatah. Arafat had headedal-Fatah since 1957. The KGB distributed it throughout the Arab world and in West Germany, which in those days played host to many Palestinian students. The KGB was adept at magazine publication and distribution; it had many similar periodicals in various languages for its front organizations in Western Europe, like the World Peace Council and the World Federation of Trade Unions.
Next, the KGB gave Arafat an ideology and an image, just as it did for loyal Communists in our international front organizations. High-minded idealism heldno mass-appeal in the Arab world, so the KGB remolded Arafat as a rabid anti-Zionist. They also selected a "personal hero" for him-- the Grand MuftiHaj Amin al-Husseini, the man who visited Auschwitz in the late 1930s and reproached the Germans for not having killed even more Jews. In 1985 Arafat paid homage to the mufti, saying he was "proud no end" to be walking in his footsteps.
Arafat was an important undercover operative for the KGB. Right after the 1967 Six Day Arab-Israeli war, Moscow got him appointed to chairman of the PLO. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Soviet puppet, proposed the appointment. In1969 the KGB asked Arafat to declare war on American "imperial-Zionism" duringthe first summit of the Black Terrorist International, a neo-Fascist pro-Palestine organization financed by the KGB and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. It appealed to him so much, Arafat later claimed to have invented the imperial-Zionist battle cry. But in fact, "imperial-Zionism" was a Moscow invention, a modern adaptation of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and long a favorite tool of Russian intelligence to foment ethnic hatred. The KGB always regarded anti-Semitism plus anti-imperialism as a rich source of anti-Americanism.
The KGB file on Arafat also said that in the Arab world only people who were truly good at deception could achieve high status. We Romanians were directed to help Arafat improve "his extraordinary talent for deceiving." The KGB chief of foreign intelligence, General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, ordered us to provide cover for Arafat's terror operations, while at the same time building up his international image. "Arafat is a brilliant stage manager," his letter concluded, "and we should put him to good use." In March 1978 I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. "You simply have to keep on pretending that you'll break with terrorism and that you'll recognize Israel-- over, and over, and over," Ceausescu told him for the umpteenth time. Ceausescu was euphoric over the prospect that both Arafat and he might be able to snag a Nobel Peace Prize with their fake displays of the olive branch.
In April 1978 I accompanied Ceausescu to Washington, where he charmed President Carter. Arafat, he urged, would transform his brutal PLO into a law-abiding government-in-exile if only the U.S. would establish official relations. The meeting was a great success for us. Carter hailed Ceausescu, dictator of themost repressive police state in Eastern Europe, as a "great national and international leader" who had "taken on a role of leadership in the entire international community." Triumphant, Ceausescu brought home a joint communique in which the American president stated that his friendly relations with Ceausescu served "the cause of the world."
Three months later I was granted political asylum by the U.S. Ceausescu failed to get his Nobel Peace Prize. But in 1994 Arafat got his-- all because he continued to play the role we had given him to perfection. He had transformed his terrorist PLO into a government-in-exile (the Palestinian Authority), always pretending to call a halt to Palestinian terrorism while letting it continue unabated. Two years after signing the Oslo Accords, the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists had risen by 73%.
On Oct. 23, 1998, President Clinton concluded his public remarks to Arafat by thanking him for "decades and decades and decades of tireless representation ofthe longing of the Palestinian people to be free, self-sufficient, and at home." The current administration sees through Arafat's charade but will not publicly support his expulsion. Meanwhile, the aging terrorist has consolidated his control over the Palestinian Authority and marshaled his young followers formore suicide attacks."
Mr. Pacepa was the highest ranking intelligence officer ever to have defectedfrom the former Soviet bloc. The author of "Red Horizons" (Regnery, 1987), he is finishing a book on the origins of current anti-Americanism.
Article is here.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
It's a pity that justice is blind
There are some crimes that defy belief in their ugliness.
Even worse, there are some sentences that defy belief.
Shame on the Judge!
Man sentenced to probation for breaking baby's legs
A Colorado man was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation for breaking his newborn daughter's legs...
Police said Rivera informed them that he broke her legs because he was jealous and only wanted his 3-year-old son, according to court records...
Douglas County District Judge Joseph Troia granted that request. He also ordered Rivera to continue his treatment for anger management...
Read it here.
Heightened security, the TSA and airline security just isn't enough to discourage some people.
Letter from Iranian students
Here is my submission for idiot of the year award.
Man tries to fly with meth lab
A Kalispell man was arrested Friday for allegedly attempting to board a commercial airplane with a meth lab.
Steven K. Konopatzke, 43, reportedly carried the components for making methamphetamine in carry-on luggage.
They were found during a routine inspection at Glacier Park International Airport.
Security workers reportedly also found sulfuric acid in Konopatzke's checked luggage.
He was reportedly ticketed to fly to Michigan.
A law officer with the Northwest Drug Task Force said Konopatzke denied that the items were his and said he had picked up the bags from a friend he wouldn't identify.
The officer said gray crystals in Konopatzke's bag are thought to be iodine. Also found was a substance tested as ephedrine (a component used in making methamphetamine), a white powder analyzed as a diet pill and another white crystalline substance.
The officer said Konopatzke also carried coffee filters, pieces of hose, clamps and balloons — all are used to make the illegal stimulant.
Another drug task force officer said the toxic and flammable chemicals used to make methamphetamine pose a peril on the ground that would be compounded in an enclosed airplane.
"Anything we are afraid of in meth labs, going up at 32,000 feet or whatever" is worse, he said. People who manufacture methamphetamine in their own homes may jeopardize themselves or a few friends, he said.
Someone bringing chemicals such as iodine and sulfuric acid on a flight endangers everyone on board with the potential of a fire, explosion or a leak of chemicals that would recirculate through the plane’s air system.
Because of that added risk, Konopatzke could face enhanced charges, the officer said.
For now, prosecuting Deputy County Attorney Dan Guzynski has charged Konopatzke with operation of a clandestine drug lab.
Why can't the Iranian Mullahs be trusted? There are a lot of reasons, but the Iranian students do so, eloquently and precisely.
From the Best News of the Day Dept
The Iran menace cannot be overstated.
A public address to the members of UN at the occasion of the 59th General
"...Your gathering's taking place on the symbolic "21st of September", known as the "International Peace Day". But more than ever, fanatic state guided hands of terror and obscurantism are taking innocent lives, by bombing or beheading, and are fueling regional turmoils in order to extend the illegitimate life of their primary repressive mastermind and backer...
Honorable members, as many of you are aware, right now, there is a country and a people seeking a dream. In this country, men and women are stoned because of the accusation of another. In this doomed land, underage girls are hanged to conceal the immoral acts of the officials. This is a place where your eye is gouged out or your hand cut off if you are accused of a false crime. Journalists here, instead of having freedom of the press, suffer the incarceration of body as well as their words. If you ask questions you will probably be beaten. If you refuse to answer questions you will probably be tortured. You may end up dying under mysterious circumstances. Even in death, your soul won't find peace. Your body will hang like fruit from some grisly tree or crane, reminding those close by, of cruel lessons of their masters...
The start of the "modern" violent jihad, aimed at progress and the west, began with the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Let us all consider the mullahs' support of various terrorist groups. And this support comes at a time when over 70% of Iran's population live under the poverty line. It is devastatingly obvious that the primary concern of these mullahs is not Iran or Iranians; they just want to further their own cause at all costs. The Islamic regime has been certified as an Al Qaeda sanctuary, as backer of Islamic Jihad, as supporters of Hezbollah. The murderous mullahs have been wreaking havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan, meddling in Israeli Palestinian peace process, and interfering in Lebanon in hopes of "exporting their revolution" and expanding their rule and influence. At this point, shouldn't we all have learned that engaging the mullahs in "diplomacy", "constructive dialogue" or "nuclear deal" will bear no fruit?
By now, most of us know that Rafsanjani (the regime's powerful and corrupt man) in one of his Friday prayer sermons suggested that his regime with nuclear weapon would not hesitate to attack Israel, because after all, to paraphrase his speech, by doing so we will have ridden the world of half of the Jewish population. And if there is a nuclear response, only less than 1% of the Muslim population will be destroyed (Iran roughly 70 million constitutes less than 1% of Muslim population). This statement was received jokingly, and in tongue and chic by most people outside of Iran. That was then.
Today we find out that the Islamic regime is much closer to a nuclear bomb than ever before. Whether that statement was purely political rhetoric, or he was genuinely expressing Mullhacracy's foreign policy, either way, are we willing to take that risk? These mullahs have a tendency of creating trouble and being self-destructive. Let's give this matter the attention that it deserves....
Read it all here.
What on earth are the Kerry people thinking? Can Al Sharpton, front and center, be next?
And at the UN Ranch
Yup, Jesse Jackson...That'll make a big impression on the undecideds.
Jesse Jackson joins Kerry campaign
WASHINGTON - Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson joined the campaign of Sen. John Kerry on Wednesday as a poll showed support for the presidential candidate slipping among black Americans, a critical Democratic constituency.
The Pew Research Center said Tuesday its latest poll showed 73 percent of blacks supporting Kerry compared with 12 percent supporting President Bush. In 2000, Al Gore won 90 percent of the black vote.
Democratic groups have aired campaign ads criticizing Republican efforts to woo black voters.
The Kerry campaign said Jackson, who will serve as a senior adviser, will travel to battleground states to energize Democratic support for Kerry and running mate John Edwards.
The Sudanese Foreign Minister says...
He said the United States was the only country describing the violence as genocide "because of an internal agenda linked to the elections, linked to the competition with the Democratic party to win the votes of African Americans."
He also accused the Bush administration of focusing on the Darfur region in a bid to "deflect attention" away from the situation in Iraq, Ismail said.
The whole, sad story is here.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
The real reflection of any societies future is the state of education. The more freedom any society has, the greater the educational opportunity and potential.
Tactics and morality
BunkerMulligan's piece on education, posted a few days go, made some interesting points. He briefly touched on the dropout rate of college freshmen and the value of a community college education. In a society where education is there for the asking, it is hard to imagine giving up or squandering an education.
Aristotle said, "We can't expect people to be free to choose unless we create the conditions for them to be free."
If we take that at face value, how can we expect to negotiate with an adversary that will do anything to keep that from happening?
Further, in our own society, how is it we have a class of people, who in effect, share the same view as those we oppose, going as far as to wish for the renounciation of the very things that make us free and offer vociferous support of those who call for our destruction?
The 'conditions for freedom,' that Aristotle talks about, can be interpreted in many ways, it seems.
Arab world education has for decades, been at the bottom of the world educational barrel. At the same time, religious instruction was not widely available as it was viewed by the various Arab regimes as a potential souce of rebellion and potential insurrection.
After generations of neglect and the natural human need to feel in control of their own lives and wish to chart their own destiny, Arab regimes realized that they could co-opt Islam to their advantage and thus take the pressure off themselves to 'deliver the goods.' Higher education was not exempt. Colleges and universities have 'departments' of study that negate history and cultures, always 'proving' the superiority of Islam, regardless of action and deed.
Utilizing state approved clerics to adminster and guide educational agendas to fit their needs, the Arab regimes have successfully manipulated another generation into oblivion.
In the long repressed Arab Islamic world, religion supplanted the state and became the de facto educational provider.
Just as real education provides for unlimited opportunity and reward, religious instruction provides the opportunity for eternal reward and salvation. All that is required is permanent membership in the Fraternity of Hate. Feeding off each other and ideals reinforced by the state's claim of fulfilling it's Islamic obligation and destiny, the Arab finally has hope.
There is no chance of course, of religious instruction being relevant in actually providing for more earthly needs-- Islamist religious instruction deliberately shuns modernity and advancement, instead regaling students with ideals of regaining lost glory and superiority.
In the face of ever expanding Islamist educational culture, there is a brain drain to the West. The Arab world will not recover for a long time. Real critical thinking is not applauded in the Arab World.
It is interesting to note that non-Arab Iran faces a different internal conflict. The mullah's understood that in order to maintain their control, they had could not execute an about face on the forward looking ideas of the Shah and the educational achievements instituted during his reign. There was no question of turning the clock back, Revolutionary Guards notwithstanding. They had to exert their control by putting a religious 'spin' on Iranian society and culture.
In the Arab Middle East, religious education has provided the 'freedom' that state did not.
As a result, children are inculcated with the idea that God mandated hate will provide the 'wealth' that they have been deprived of-- wealth stolen by the infidels, with their concerted conspiracy to keep Muslims from their rightful destiny.
It is the 'mother's milk' of Arab discontent.
It is also the same 'mother's milk' that has fed a generation of westerners and has bred a self loathing culture of discontent and hatred of all things Western.
How it happened in hindsight, is easy to see.
Our culture of freedom-- expected and taken for granted-- became our loving God, the ever forgiving and all tolerant being. It's something I wrote about earlier.
I used to think of freedom as an art form, ever evolving and refining, expanding and subject to interpretation.
I was wrong, I believe.
I now see freedom as a science. Like art, science too, evolves and serves us in never ending ways. Unlike art, science discards what is no longer applicable and adapts to new realities, discoveries and ideals.
Art requires only a passive commitment. One sees or hears what one wants to see or hear. Science requires more active participation.
Science takes work and there are measurable levels of achievement.
Yes, there are fundamental truths and realities in life. Science respects those and always will. They are the building blocks.
Simply admiring freedom and expounding on it when the mood hits is not a commitment to freedom, it is an example of commenting on the art of freedom, not the science. That so many people are involved in the current political process is no measure of commitment to freedom. The climate of 'Anybody but Bush' (ABB) is an example of how freedom is held in such low esteem. There are no other ideas, no rational alternatives and no real attempt at addressing the issues of the day, the orchestrated deceits of Michael Moore notwithstanding.
In other words, current liberal political ideology is like a wearing a lab coat. Simply wearing one doesn't make you a doctor.
There has to be a real commitment to freedom and active participation beyond the rhetorical level, every few years. Issues need to be understood and discussed openly and freely. Truth has to be arrived at in a fair and empirical manner. Hearty debate and opposition is good-- but it has to be arrived at by thorough discussion and undertanding.
Snappy placards and slogans do not a political expert make.
We are in the situation we find ourselves in today, because we've allowed freedom to become an art form, where anything goes and everything is just a matter of expression. That people can have a variance of opinion is one thing. That they are considered credible is a sad commentary on the state of our educational system.
Culturally, there is opposition to making the study of freedom a science. That would require work, a willingness to be loyal to truth and a stubborn commitment to the principles that make democracy work.
The democracy 'artists' of our educational system aren't much different than the religious 'educators' of the Arab world.
Keep students from dealing with the real failings of their education and their educators. Then define an objective and say and do anything you have to, and blame others for an ideal not realized. Be oppressed and define the enemy-- and that is anyone with a different opinion.
Really, it's an art form.
The last few days, I've been opting to cut and paste news items I found interesting, intead of doing my own writing.
I've been dealing with some work matters that are annoying, personal matters that are not and staying up late. I've also been learning and researching about Australia and Canada.
Look for stuff on that in the next few days.
In the meantime, I've come to a few conclusions and realizations on our War on Terror, right and wrong and morality.
Some realities are clear.
There is simply no moral equivalence between our enemies and ourselves. Those who attempt to draw that conclusion are stuck in their own quagmire of Islamic radicalism in their own backyard.
They need to make that moral equivalence in the delusional belief that in doing so, they will, A) put off the inevitable confrontation with Islam in Europe in the hope that second generation Muslims will be more receptive to western ideas and B) offer European Mulsims a 'place at the table' by acceeding to Muslim demands on a regular basis, providing for the political illusion, if not economic reality, of a middle class and thus head off radical ideologues.
Despite tolerating, defending and excusing Islamic sanctioned Jihad of every stripe and ideology, Europe and American liberals are hell bent on denying the implications of current Muslim ideologies.
Daily, we are treated to long winded discourse on the future dangers of American Imperialism and hegemony. We are subjected to prognostications of American culture destroying native or indigenous cultures. American economic models threaten the slaughter of other cultures and societies and their precious way of life. The list of threats America poses to the world is endless.
Never are the long terms implications if Islamist ideologies discussed-- despite the Islamists themselves quite clearly stating what their objectives are.
A few weeks ago, Paulie over at The Commons and myself were discussing the nature of evil. He had some interesting things to say and his piece is well worth reading, as is everything else there. Hunt around, read a bit and I promise, you'll have plenty to think about. BunkerMulligan and Marvin at LittleRedBlog, too, opine far more rationally and succintly on these matters, than I do. What they write has more than once, emcouraged me to write and in fact, are the basis of this piece, by extrapolation. I mention them and others on the HSB list as a source of good reading. I strongly urge you to peruse these sites. Original thinking, cogent ideas and perceptive questions being asked everyday.
Not too long ago, I wrote something on the triage of morals.
The question I pose now is rather simple: What is the greater evil-- the perpetration of evil or the denial of evil, despite it's obvious presence?
That the Islamists agenda is evil, is quite clear. They wish to impose a set of beliefs that is foreign to our own and is an agenda that they would posit regardless of Iraq, Israel or anything else. They are quite clear-- Islam is to be forced upon those who refuse to accept it, by any means.
That there are now voices that question that is irrelevant. Someone recently said, it's not the voices that count-- it is the actions that matter. We see no such actions.
In this country and elsewhere, there is complete denial of these realities. 'Progressives' join the chorus of anti western ideals and support the very groups, who if ever empowered, would decimate them. The anti American sentiment it seems, is far more important than facing the reality.
So again, I ask, which evil is greater, that of the Islamists, who make their intentions known, or that of their supporters and apologists, who give their cause a legitimacy that is so profane?
For me, the answer is clear.
In truth, our war on terror is not so much hampered in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as it is at home.
Our detractors tell us that we are cruel and evil, because we kill those 'out of uniform.' There is no real army, they say, so we must desisit from our endeavor.
Here's the real deal:
If a western General got up and said, "We will kill those with whom we disagree, and we will plunder and subjugate them as well-- and we will do this in the name of our flag and country," well, that General is a legitimate target in war, as our the soldiers under his command. No question about that.
Now suppose if instead of a uniformed military man, a covert ops person, with a large undercover team, working on behalf of a government, or tolerated by a government, made those remarks. Obviously, he and his followers would be no less of a target.
That is what we face. Our declared enemies do not have uniformed 'Generals,' per se. They have and use a a different command structure. Instead of a military hierchy, they employ a religious hierchy, to which they have given free reign.
Make no mistake about it. These 'religious' leaders are not leaders because of their piety. They are in place because the regimes keeps them in place and empowers them-- to support the policies of the regimes.
Using our notions of freedoms and the 'rules of engagement' propogated by western ideals, the Islamists today remain shielded, by our own unwillingness to see and deal with reality and by repressive governments that allow the Islamists a free hand.
The idea that we have 'partners' in the war on terror is laughable.
In 1982, the Syrian goverment killed between 20,000 andd 40,000 people in Hama, because they wanted to. If they wanted to eliminate the terrorists, they could. Read about it.
They don't do it because they don't want to. Eliminating terror is counter productive to their ideologies and beliefs. If terror is eliminated, they would have to deal with reform and democracy-- and that's the last thing they want to do. Why give up a power if your proxies can keep attention focused outwards?
These regimes are just as guilty as the Islamist terrorists they protect, encourage and arm.
We know this.
Who is more evil-- the Islamists and their supporters, or those who impede our fight against terror by reason of apology, self loathing or the use of outright deceit as method of undermining our resolve and obfuscating the truth?
To me, the answer is obvious.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Partisan Politics paid for with your money.
Zee French-uh, zee bank-uh and zee UN-uh
When student Democrats at Mary Baldwin College were thinking of ways to get out the vote, they decided the controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" could best light a fire under potential voters.
The film will be shown on campus tonight and every night through Oct. 3 as part of a week of free films, moderated discussions and voter registration, dubbed "An Alternative Viewpoint," organized by students, faculty and alumnae.
"It's not designed as entertainment or for fun," said Danica Jamison, a Mary Baldwin alumna who helped pay for the film. "It's to engage people politically and getting them to look at alternative media sources."
Organizers chose "Fahrenheit 9/11" because its creator, Michael Moore, tries to convince people that the Bush Administration used the 2001 terrorist attacks to push forward its own agenda.
Organizers realize they probably won't sway any stalwart Bush supporters, but they hope to get people, particularly young people, talking about and voting in the presidential election.
"It's been talked about so much and received international attention," Jamison said. "It's a fascinating film to see and talk about."
Organizers said they welcome all viewpoints. Moderators will guide discussions but not participate in the debates.
Just as conservatives have dominated talk radio, liberals have discovered a new outlet for their viewpoints through documentary filmmaking. Three other documentaries are scheduled to be shown at the film festival:"Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War," "Outfoxed" and "Unconstitutional." Organizers will also show the first presidential debate Sept. 30.
Although she believes the film is factual, Carrie Douglass, a Mary Baldwin anthropology professor who will moderate one of the post-film discussions, said Moore's presentation of those facts begs discussion.
"They are facts but they are interpreted facts. I think it's important to criticize that," said Douglass, who plans to cast her vote for presidential candidate John Kerry on Nov. 2.
The film's biggest asset is its ability to spark debate. "It is a catalyst for asking questions, especially with younger audiences."
Douglass's own college-aged son was previously uninterested in politics until he saw "Fahrenheit." She hopes it will have the same effect on other young would-be voters.
"It was the first time I had seen him so engaged," she said.
Let zee games-uh begin...
As the world turns
Perhaps Monsieur Le President Chirac will entertain us with some Cirque du Soleil magicque, and make zee eveedance disappear-uh...
From zee feelthy 'Capitalist Tool,' Forbes
"Congressional investigators examining "a semitrailer truck load" of subpoenaed documents are trying to determine whether lax monitoring at a French bank that held more than $60 billion for the U.N. oil-for-food program facilitated illicit business deals by the former Iraqi government, officials told The Associated Press.
Although BNP Paribas isn't the target of the probe involving companies and individuals in 50 countries, the documents could provide a road map to alleged corruption at the United Nations and by politicians from France, Russia, Britain, Indonesia and Persian Gulf states who have been implicated.
The three congressional panels that subpoenaed BNP Paribas documents are looking into whether the bank met minimum standards that require financial institutions to identify customers, partly to prevent money laundering. The committees are among at least five in Congress investigating allegations of U.N. corruption and reports that Iraqis skimmed billions of dollars in kickbacks through deals administered by the United Nations.
"There is substantial evidence" of corruption, said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who is leading one of the investigations at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
An April report by the General Accounting Office, now called the Government Accountability Office, estimated that the Iraqi government skimmed $4.4 billion dollars through the kickbacks and an additional $5.7 billion through oil smuggling..."
Zee article is here.
The noble Yasir Arafat will intervene on behalf of Iraq hostage, Kenneth Bigley.
Iranian misplaced prorities
"Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has intervened on behalf of Kenneth Bigley, the British engineer held hostage in Iraq since September 16, his brother Paul Bigley said, describing the gesture as "fantastic news."
The story is here.
The Nobel Prize winning statesman, however, may have little credibility.
Taken hostage today was a CNN producer, Riyad Ali, from Gaza City.
Armed Palestinians have kidnapped an Israeli Arab producer for the CNN television network from a car in Gaza City after asking for him by name.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. A CNN correspondent who was in the vehicle with the producer, Riyad Ali, said the gunmen gave no clue why they were taking his colleague away.
"We were going up a main street and a white Peugeot drove in front of us. A young man got out of his car, pulled a gun out of trousers and said..."Which one of you is Riyad," the correspondent, Ben Wedeman said in a CNN broadcast from Gaza on Monday.
"He said, "I am Riyad," and they said, "Get out of the car."
See the story here.
Mr Arafat has not yet said if he will intervene for the safe release of the CNN employee.
It seems like the World Bank needs to subsidize Iran for what it should be doing itself-- providing for the safety of it's citizens. The oil rich nation, it seems, won't do what it needs to.
Then again, developing nukes is expensive.
Let them eat cake.
The World Bank is to grant a 60-million- dollar loan to Iran to start a project to reduce road accidents in the country.
According to the daily 'Tehran Times', the project will be carried out by the World Bank's supervision aiming to remove risky points on roads in an attempt to minimize numerous accidents taking place annually leaving hundreds of people dead and wounded. By granting the loan, the bank intends to encourage the Iranian government to improve safety conditions in roads.
However, before the contract between the bank and Iranian officials is finalized, the target indexes for reducing road accidents in the country should be materialized, the paper said. The World Bank aims at creating an authoritative organization to secure lives in Iranian roads by granting financial and political support.
The bank also aims to create an efficient and coherent system of management of national and municipal roads, noting that a move to impeach the current roads and transportation minister is underway in the Iranian parliament.
According to the daily, the high rate of road accidents in the country has been blamed on the ministry and municipalities and the move is aimed at fulfilling the requirements of the bank, which is in charge of the execution of the plan before the contract with the Iranian government is signed.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Italy and Germany at odds over UN council
If anyone thought the EU was smooth sailing, think again.
Read this, make money?
First, it was the constitution, then the banking rules and subsidies, and now this.
If the patchwork EU fails, look for a new realignment with the US. If Former allies Italy and Germany are publicly feuding, on can only imagine how the French will chime in.
I'll have more to say on these matters tomorrow.
Italy and Germany at odds over UN council seat
Germany and Italy locked horns yesterday after the government of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, opposed Berlin's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, accused Germany, supposedly one of the country's closest allies, of trying to divide Europe with its request for a seat by putting its national interests first.
"I will not accept competition based around national interests. That risks dividing Europe," he told the Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica.
Mr Frattini's comments appeared to be a response to a statement on Saturday by his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer, who said he found Italy's opposition to Germany's bid illogical and, rather than campaigning against it, Italy should itself lobby for a place.
"I don't understand the position," Mr Fischer added. "But I say sincerely, be a candidate yourself. It would be loyal competition between countries that are friends and allies."
With Brazil, India and Japan, Germany is campaigning for a permanent seat on a restructured council giving wider representation.
The four countries have agreed to work together in pursuit of their goal, but there has been opposition from neighbouring states including Mexico, Pakistan, China and Italy.
Germany's aspirations for permanent seat are being presented by Berlin as a sign of the times.
The UN was established after the Second World War when Germany was considered a pariah state. But the government's quest has split opinion in Germany.
The former chancellor Helmut Schmidt said it was "not in Germany's interest to be involved in major decisions concerning war and peace and having to take responsibility for those decisions."
Fraud adds cost to health care industry
"...The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association recently reported their estimate of health care fraud at $85 billion per year. Another source, the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association, puts their estimate at $42 billion annually. The U.S. Department of Justice puts their estimates at $100 billion per year. No matter who’s more accurate, when you consider the U.S. healthcare industry is spending $1.7 trillion annually (2003 figures) then that means anywhere from 2 percent to 6 percent of health care spending is related to fraud. Hey folks, that big money, even by Mike Mckenzie standards...
One unexpected ally in the battle against fraud is a law that dates back to the Civil War. The False Claim Act allows people who file suits on behalf of the government to keep as much as 25 percent of the total recovered. These lawsuits, filed by private-sector whistleblowers, are paving the way for the government to recover million of dollars of fraudulent claims, many against drug companies. In 2003, the Department of Justice reported that it recovered $2.1 billion under the False Claims Act with almost three- fourths of that total coming directly from suits initiated by private citizens who, in turn, reaped $319 million in rewards..."
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Bacon with an accent
High falutin' bacon is coming to Canada, flying business class, no less.
Gaddafi son in Paris car chase
I don't know what any of this means, but if the pigs are good enough to fly, they must be some pigs.
The British pig breeding company, UPB Ltd, has flown out a further consignment of boars and gilts to meet a growing demand for its stock in Canada.
It included GGP Large White and Landrace boars and the company's terminal sire line, the Alba. The pigs were bound for the Ontario-based pig AI company SCO, to develop AI supplies to commercial units.
A batch of GGP gilts for a new breeding nucleus to produce Alba sires for sale by UPB Canada were also shipped.
It's good to be the son of a dictator
Keep your eye on the ball
A Paris policeman has been injured in an incident involving a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a high-speed car chase, French police sources say.
They say officers pursued Hannibal Gaddafi's Porsche after it had run several traffic lights on the Champs Elysees avenue early on Saturday.
A scuffle reportedly broke out between bodyguards and police after the car was stopped.
Mr Gaddafi, 28, was also detained, but immediately released because he has diplomatic immunity.
Read it here.
Keep up the good fight and stay rested.
Hostage was 'sold to Zarqawi for $250,000'
Remember, folks, Hillary is on target for '08, so this is only Round One.
I think I need to go to the gym, eat my Apple Jacks and go organic.
From the Peninsula
All over the map
"Kenneth Bigley's chances of emerging from Iraq alive are desperately slim because key intermediaries have been driven from the country and his kidnappers' only aim is to create "utter havoc," according to Britain’s most successful Iraq hostage negotiator.
Bigley was probably sold for up to $250,000 to Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi by those who seized him, but no amount of money would buy his freedom, Canon Andrew White, who left Baghdad this month because of fears for his own life, said...
...This is a real attempt to destabilise the re-storation of Iraq, to remove the American presence, to try to restore Islamic rule."
Article is here.
Lately, I've been learning about politics 'down under.'
Inasmuch as Australia and Great Britain are the the only allies that share converging political outlooks and ideologies, their relevance and importance to us cannot be overstated.
It is also true that upcoming elections here and in those countries will have a significant impact on our relations, irrespective of how voters at the polls respond.
For a really good grounding in Australian politics, read Arthur Chrenkoff.
Aussie politics isn't like our own. It is closer in style and substance to the Canadian and European varieties. Canada is our single largest trading partner, with the numbers now well in excess of a billion dollars a day and Australia is our most reliable ally in the region, an economic anchor and powerhouse in the Pacific Rim.
Look for my take in a couple of days.
Friday, September 24, 2004
The Agony and the Ecstasy-- Feminism Revisited
Where did feminism go wrong?
Iraq: Why US Shouldn't Cut and Run
Starting with the suffragette movement, feminism should have been one of the great human rights movements in our history. The empowerment of women to the equal status of men, had the potential of tremendous change for the good in out society.
Instead it has become one of the great divisive and explosive issues of our time.
To understand why it failed is to understand a confluence of events that conspired to result in a great divide in our society.
The origins of feminism are patently clear.
There was a time when a man was measured by how well he took care of his family. Who he was, as an individual was measured by that.
He left his abode in the morning and went to the fields to tend his crops or went to the forest to hunt. His job was to provide the necessities of life, to provide for his mate and children. His mate was responsible for the home and raising the family. It was a partnership, plain and simple. One could not exist without the other and have a family. The description, while simplistic and incomplete, is essentially accurate, for the purpose of this discussion.
The Industrial Revolution, in 1789, and a bit before, heralded a change.
A man was now measured by what he did for a living, rather than how well he took care of his family. His work defined him. His position within the partnership changed. That he no longer had to tend his fields or hunt, to take care of his family was a mark in status and resulted in a change of attitude. He became identified by his job title or career.
He was a somebody, contributing to society, he would say, and remind his mate that she wasn't. He was part of the new times and she was not-- and he never let her forget it. Her role was essentially unchanged. As time went on and the changing world made no room for her, she became even more disenfranchised.
She wanted to participate, as an equal. In truth, who could blame her? We men are as contributory to feminism as anyone else.
After almost 200 years of exclusion, she had enough and said, 'My turn, I want to contribute.'
So, she left the home and went to work, challenging and often besting men in their own environment. She became so adept at beating men and replacing them, she forgot who she was and she forgot the goal.
The goal wasn't to be a man, the goal was to be equal to a man. The goal wasn't to be men, with all their failings, but to excel and contribute to an higher ideal.
Proteins aren't the same as carbohydrates-- yet they both are calories and necessary nutrients. To negate that balance is to negate a chemical reality.
Women and men are inherently different-- a biological dictate. Neither is superior or inferior. To negate that reality is to negate a biological reality.
In negating those truths, feminism has failed miserably.
Instead of elevating women, feminism grafted onto the same failings as men. Rather than offer a higher ideal, women focused on being better men. Thus, they chose to be forever 'also rans,' in the attempt to negate themselves and their identities.
While feminists have achieved much for themselves to date, they have also lost much. Motherhood is still a second class endeavor. With a straight face, feminists will tell you that being home and raising children is of no consequence to the child's development. Men they say, are not needed to raise a child.
Their career, they say, is the path to 'fulfillment.' They choose not to discuss the legions of women who wanted it all, only to find out it was too late, to have a family- and are now bitter at having ignored their biological clock.
Feminists choose not to talk about the legions of children who desperately want a father figure in their lives- sons and daughters. Instead, they extol the anonymity of test tube 'donors.'
Feminists want talk about everything but matters of real substance. There is no position or focus on rights other than abortion- and that, in truth, is more about men than it is about anything else.
There are no higher moral ideals- where are the women standing up for women being raped in Darfur, for example? Where are the protests on the Washington Mall decrying equal rights for women in third world countries, suffering horribly at religious and cultural discrimination?
It is said there are 100 million women that have suffered from Female Genital Mutilation. Read that number again. Surprised? So was I. Apparently, it isn't an issue feminists really want to put on the front burner. However, 'Sex in the City' is praised as a breakthrough for women. I'm sure the irony of women basking in their sexuality is lost on the victims of FGM.
Feminists, apparently, are busy trying to gain membership in the Augusta National Golf Club.
What possible higher calling can a feminist have?
Human nature being what is, change does take time.
If feminists really want to regain any kind of moral high ground, they would be best served by addressing who they really are and striving toward those higher ideals, rather than choose to be identified by what they do in ' a man's world.'.
We men could learn a lot from that.
As proof that great minds do think alike, see Bittersweet for another perspective.
Kerry has it all wrong. This is a must read!
Muslim outrage over killings found lacking
Amir Taheri, Arab News
What was bound to happen, has happened: Sen. John Kerry has decided to adopt Sen. Edward Kennedy's slogan: Iraq is another Vietnam!
For months, the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, resisting the temptation of following the senior senator for Massachusetts, continued to defend his initial support for a war that destroyed one of modern history’s most barbarous regimes. By last week, however, it had become clear that Kerry could not be both pro-war and anti-war in this campaign. Having made his calculations he decided to recast himself as a more sober version of Howard Dean, the early champion of the anti-war faction.
Kerry's shift should be welcomed by those who want the presidential campaign to deal with the substance of issues rather than conspiracy theories, real or imagined heroics in the Mekong Delta, and real or forged National Guard documents, dating back 30 years.
In the larger scheme of things, Iraq per se may not be the ur-issue of future global politics. If Iraq has any importance it is as the first major test of American power in reshaping the Middle East in the post-Cold War era.
The two positions now on offer differ on four issues: The genesis of the war, the results of the war so far, future actions, and an exit strategy.
First, let us deal with the genesis of the war.
President George W. Bush's position is well known. He claims that Saddam, having started two major wars, violated more than a dozen United Nations resolutions, hosted 23 international terror organizations, and adopted a threatening posture toward the US and its allies, was, in the words of President Bill Clinton in the year 2000, "a time-bomb" that had to be defused. Bush's view is supported by many across the world, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a majority of the NATO allies, and most members of the European Union.
Kerry's position is the opposite.
He asserts that Saddam, though an unsavory fellow, was no threat, at least not to the United States, and that there was no legal basis for toppling him. Kerry's view in this regard is supported by many, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has just decreed the war illegal, France’s President Jacques Chirac, and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.
Kerry's analysis strengthens Annan’s claim that the US has no right to go to war without the express permission of the UN.
Next, we have the results of the war so far. Again Bush's position is clear. The president claims that the toppling of Saddam and his Baathist terror machine made Iraq and the world better places. This view is shared by a majority of the Iraqis who fought the Baathist tyranny for three decades with no prospects of victory until the US-led coalition arrived. That Iraqis are happy that Saddam is gone is illustrated by the return of virtually all Iraqi refugees from neighboring countries. As for the Middle East being a better place without Saddam, all one has to do is to ask Iraq's neighbors, especially those that had suffered from his wars of aggression.
Kerry's position is the opposite: Not only Iraq is not a better place without Saddam, but the toppling of the despot has also worsened the situation in the Middle East and, by diverting American resources from fighting other terrorists, made the US less safe. Kerry's analysis is shared by many, including the UN, the French, some Arab governments, anti-American lobbies across the globe, and Bush-bashers inside the United States.
Thirdly, the American voter now has a clear choice of future policies.
Bush's policy is summed up in the phrase "staying the course."
Tony Blair agrees. Last week he described Iraq as "the crucible in which the future of global terrorism will be determined."
The Bush-Blair analysis is based on the assumption that the last area of the world to breed anti-West terrorists is the Middle East, a region unaffected by the wave of democratization that began with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The argument is that since democracies do not breed terrorists, the only way to ensure the long- term safety and security of Western democracies, including the United States and the European Union, is to democratize the Middle East, by force if necessary.
Bush and Blair see Iraq as the first building bloc of a new democratic Middle East which could emerge as a zone of stability and peace rather than one of war and terrorism.
Kerry's rejects that. He believes that it is none of the United States' business to meddle in other people's affairs, especially when this involves the use of force. All the US need to do is to strengthen its domestic anti- terrorism defenses, and be prepared to retaliate if and when attacked.
Taking pre-emptive action against potential adversaries, even in the name of self- defense, is a form of "neo-imperialism."
Finally, there is the issue of an exit strategy.
Kerry claims that Bush has none. This is not quite accurate. Bush's exist strategy was clear from the start and has been endorsed by the two latest resolutions of the UN Security Council. It envisages the US-led coalition staying in Iraq until a freely elected Iraqi government asks it to leave. This gives the Iraqi people, provided they adopt democracy, a direct say in deciding whether or not they need foreign troops on their soil. At the same time it makes the withdrawal of coalition forces conditional on the establishment of a democratic system that will not breed terrorism.
Kerry's exist strategy, on the other hand, reflects his belief that Iraq is another Vietnam. He is not proposing a "last chopper from Saigon" strategy that would not look good on television.
Kerry’s exist strategy could be described as "cut and whistle your way out."
Kerry has laid out four steps in his exist plan: Repair alliances, train Iraqi security forces, improve reconstruction, and ensure elections. And then, "we could begin to withdraw US forces starting next summer."
The four steps suggested by Kerry were adopted as US policy over a year ago. What is new in Kerry’s position is that he sets dates for bringing American troops home, regardless of whether or not US strategic goals are achieved. It is in this sense that, if Kerry is elected, Iraq could, indeed, become another Vietnam. (emphasis:mine)
It is important to remember what happened in Vietnam.
The US made huge human and material sacrifices to enable the people of South Vietnam from falling under a Communist dictatorship sponsored by the USSR and China. The American effort was successful in military terms and, after the Tet Offensive, there was little doubt that the Communist threat in Vietnam had been contained as it had been in the Korean Peninsula two decades earlier. Nevertheless, the US did cut and run, abandoning the people of South Vietnam, not because the Vietcong had won the war but because American public opinion adopted the "cut- and- run strategy" which John Kerry, then a young veteran, advocated.
The rest is history. Communist tyranny was imposed over the whole of Vietnam which, rather than developing a vibrant industrialized democracy like South Korea or Taiwan, became a poor and captive nation in a system rejected by history.
America’s "cut- and- run" strategy in Indochina emboldened the USSR and gave it a new lease of life. It encouraged the Soviets to expand their empire into Africa and Asia while strengthening stranglehold over half of Europe.
A new version of "cut- and- run" in Iraq could embolden those whose strategic aim is the destruction of the West and its current standard-bearer, the US. Were the US to cut and run in Iraq, such people will receive a tremendous boost. And that would be deadly news for Americans, regardless of who sits in the White House.
There is one big difference between Vietnam and Iraq.
The enemy in Vietnam, ultimately the Soviet Union, played the classical game of building an empire and extending its glacis. It could be contained in the context of a balance of thermonuclear terror deterrent. Open to détente, it would not send suicide-bombers to kill thousands of civilians in the heart of the United States.
Says it all.
By Paul Martin THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published September 24, 2004
LONDON-- The beheadings of two Americans in Iraq this week have been treated as unwelcome developments in the Arab press, but the concern has been more for the image of Muslims than for the victims. Most organizations continued to cast the outrage as a small part of a wider conflict in which the United States is seen as the prime culprit.
"There has been little sign of the outrage that greeted the kidnapping of two French hostages last month and none of the soul-searching prompted by the...siege" at a school in Beslan, Russia, said Sebastian Usher, who monitors the Arab media for the British Broadcasting Corp.
A survey of the Arabic press in the past few days found that almost all reported the kidnappings of two Americans and a Briton and the Internet posting of statements and videotapes depicting the grisly killings of the two Americans. Appeals for mercy from the family of British hostage Kenneth Bigley also were widely reported.
But in most cases, the stories were quickly overtaken by extensive and colorful reports of bloodshed elsewhere in Iraq or in the Palestinian territories.
Al Jazeera, the most widely watched Arabic television channel, conducted a telephone poll during its top debating program, the Other Direction. In it, 93 percent of viewers said they approved of kidnapping foreigners in Iraq-- even though by then, one of the two American hostages had been decapitated. In Baghdad, law professor Adnan al-Jabbari described the beheadings in a telephone interview as "a distortion of Islam."
"There should be organized demonstrations against these acts," she said. "But there has also been violence against those who speak out, and that's why many people are afraid."
Laborer Mohammad Jassem, however, defended the right of Iraqis to kill and terrify Americans and those who work with them.
"Who told them to come here and sell our fortunes?' he asked. "I would not only kill an American, I would slaughter him and drink his blood. We'll never forget what the Americans have done to us... "Every honorable Iraqi approves of killing Americans and beheading them. They should get out of our country."
The debate on Al Jazeera, which did not poll viewers on beheading as a tactic, featured a fiercely anti-American political analyst, Talat Rumayh, alongside a moderate Iraqi politician, Karim Badr.
Mr. Rumayh described the kidnappers as Iraqi resistance fighters and complained that too much emphasis was put on the relatively small number of hostage killings. "Two thousand people have been killed since the beginning of the attack on Fallujah, which is dismissed in one report, one line or just a couple of words... while we keep hearing about the hostages. It's the hostages and the terrorists, always the terrorists," he said.
Mr. Badr retorted that all of Iraq was disgraced by the beheadings. "We have to prove our humanity. I am addressing my brethren in Iraq: These are masked creatures that resemble humans, who I am certain are uglier than their deeds," he said.
"Is the kidnapping and murder of people in this manner an act of resistance? I am certain they do not represent the Iraqi conscience in any way at all."
Al Watan, the official newspaper of the Qatar government, which hosts the U.S. Central Command, condemned the kidnappings.
"The Muslim world should adopt a moderate attitude towards Islam and curb militants who are distorting Islam's image," it said.
But Egypt's semi-official Al Ahram newspaper turned the blame onto the Bush administration.
"The main reason behind this phenomenon is the foreign occupation of the country," it said. "It has brought to the country a circle of chaos and instability."
The Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar noted the same "underlying" cause but suggested that hostage-taking was counterproductive.
"The occupation forces have not managed to bring peace and security to the country," it wrote.
"As for the groups in Iraq which claim Islam and raise Islamic banners, they should stop their abductions. They should show charity in not tarnishing Muslims' reputation."
The Algerian newspaper Echourouk el-Youm took a tough line, saying, "For Arabs to focus their debate on crying over foreigners' abductions rather than rallying around the Iraqi resistance is a strong indication that the American policy to uproot the resistance is working."
But other Arab newspapers reported that an imam in Liverpool, England, home city of Mr. Bigley, had joined with a Christian leader there in appealing to the kidnappers to imitate Allah's "all merciful" quality and spare the remaining hostage's life.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
How close was the Mideast to nuclear war?
How close? Very close, according to this UPI report.
The day Egypt and Syria stunned Israel by launching the 1973 Yom Kippur
War, Israel's then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered the "preparation" of a weapon said to be a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
"...Dayan ordered "preparation of very extreme means of retaliation-- the Ivri, which according to foreign press reports is another name for the ground-to-ground missile, Jericho, capable of carrying also a nuclear warhead."
Unbelivable. Read it here.