Friday, June 25, 2004

America at War - What We Face

In his column in the WSJ, Daniel Henniger writes that the beheadings of Nicholas Berg, Paul Johnson and Kim Sun Il are the starkest evidence of the evil we face and questions whether the Left understands this.
"Conservatives do believe in evil, and liberals either no longer do or they don't wish to allow the idea of evil to be explicit in our politics. I would guess that Mr. Hertzberg's view is shared by most of the people working on John Kerry's campaign. They would never ask Mr. Kerry to say in public that the beheadings are "evil." Or if he did, it would be merely as a tactical concession for the moment to the "moral vocabulary" of the world inhabited by the sort of people who support George Bush.

But after absorbing these beheadings, voters may start to ask themselves which man's ideology has, if one may use this term, sufficient moral fiber to stand up to what they are seeing with their own eyes."

Genocide in the Sudan

Nicholas Kristof continues his reportage on the ongoing Arab genocide against black Africans in the Darfur region of the Sudan here and here in the NY Times.

As I post this, Bill O'Reilly is doing a spot on this on The O'Reilly Factor. As many as 1.2 million people have been displaced to date as the UN continues to do nothing.

Biased Media - What Did the Times Know and When Did They Know It?

Andrew C. McCarthy on New York Times & Iraq & al Qaeda on National Review Online
"A week ago, the New York Times reported, in a screaming page-one headline, that the 9/11 Commission had found "No Qaeda-Iraq Tie." Today, in a remarkable story that positively oozes with consciousness of guilt, the Times confesses not only that there is documentary evidence of at least one tie but that the Times has had the document in question for several weeks. That is, the Times was well aware of this information at the very time of last week's reporting, during which, on June 17, it declaimed from its editorial perch that the lack of a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's terror network meant President Bush owed the nation an apology."
"Outrageeously irresponsible" doesn't come close to covering this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Angry Left

Bret Stephens, in the Wall Street Journal, discusses the Left's lack of perspective:

Just Like Stalingrad - If Bush is another Hitler, what words are left to describe Hitler?
According to Sidney Blumenthal, a onetime adviser to president Bill Clinton who now writes a column for Britain's Guardian newspaper, President Bush today runs "what is in effect a gulag,"...

Al Gore last month accused Mr. Bush of creating "more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation." Every single column written by the New York Times' Paul Krugman is an anti-Bush screed; apparently, there isn't anything else worth writing about.

There are two explanations for all this. One is that Mr. Bush really is as bad as Sid, Al and Paul say: the dumbest, most feckless, most fanatical, most incompetent and most calamitous president the nation has ever known. A second is that Sid, Al and Paul are insane.

The War in Iraq - Michael Ledeen on Iran on National Review Online

Michael Ledeen, author of The War Against the Terror Masters has a very plausible explanation for the seizing of a British patrol boat by the Iranians:

"Why would the Iranians do such a crazy thing? Do they really want war (If that isn't a good old-fashioned causus belli, what is?)? Etc.

Yes, they're crazy, no doubt. But they're not stupid. And if an Iranian action seems stupid, you're probably misinterpreting it. There's a perfectly straightforward explanation for the whole episode: The Brits were laying down a network of sensors to detect the movement of ships toward major Iraqi oil terminals. The Iranians considered that a bit of a threat. So they attacked.

And why, you might ask, did the Iranians feel threatened?
Because they were planning to attack (or have their surrogates attack) the oil terminals, silly.

And why attack the oil terminals?

Because they want to defeat President Bush in November, and they figure if they can get the price of oil up to around $60 a barrel, he'll lose to Kerry."
You can read it all in National Review Online

The War in Iraq - Sadaam's Links to Al Queada

Stephen Hayward on the troubling links between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

The way the mainstream media is acting, they would need to find a signed and notarized contract between Sadaam and Bin Laden before admitting to the possibility of a connection. This isn't the way these things work. This was a relationship of opportunity based on mutual enmity with America. Hayward makes a compelling argument in this light.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Biased Media

On last Sunday's Meet the Press, 9/11 Commission Member Tom Lehman, when questioned about the connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, had the following to say:
"Well, I really totally disagree with what I thought was outrageously irresponsible journalism, to portray what the staff statement--and again, this is a staff statement; the commissioners have not addressed this issue yet--to portray it as contradicting what the administration said. There's really very little difference between what our staff found, what the administration is saying today and what the Clinton administration said."
So, how is this condemnation reported in the media? According to the L.A Times:

Commission members Sunday repeated that they did not see evidence of collaboration between Al Qaeda and Iraq. (via Oh, That Liberal Media)

When spinning doesn't work, there's always outright lying.

Monday, June 21, 2004

President Bush's Speech on September 20, 2001 before the Joint Session of Congress

I reference this below, but its worth reading in its entirety. President Declares "Freedom at War with Fear"

The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism

One of the challenges facing us in this latest struggle with totalitarianism is that the current strain doesn't clothe itself in nationalism as German, Italian and Japanese fascism did during WWII, nor in secular utopianism as communism did during the Cold War. Instead, it comes to us clothed in the religion of Islam.

This presents a challenge for a tolerant, secular democracy like the United States. A people for whom religious freedom is a founding principle may understandably, have qualms accepting the reality of a religious war or of an enemy motivated by religious beliefs.

The Bush administration has taken great pains to make clear that we are at war with terrorists, not with Islam. In his memorable speech before the Joint Session of Congress on September 20, 2001, President Bush said:
"The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children...

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. (Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them."
Is this entirely true? Are the terrorists responsible for 9/11 on the "fringe" of Islam? Clearly the President had compelling reasons to say what he did; the need to single out the terrorists as the focus of our upcoming efforts; his duty to protect American Muslims, etc. But despite how we view it, clearly our opponents see this as a religious war. In the June issue of Policy Review, Shmuel Bar addresses this aspect of the war in The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism (Via No Left Turns).

Mr. Bar argues that there are factors, deeply embedded in Islam, that motivate terrorist attacks. Chief among these is that "Arab" Sunni Islam is essentially "unreformed" and frozen in the 10th century. Both Christianity, which went through the bloodshed of the Reformation and counter-reformation and Judaism, which saw the destruction of the Temple and the diaspora, experienced a separation of secular and temporal power.
"The underlying element in the radical Islamist worldview is ahistoric and dichotomist: Perfection lies in the ways of the Prophet and the events of his time; therefore, religious innovations, philosophical relativism, and intellectual or political pluralism are anathema. In such a worldview, there can exist only two camps Dar al-Islam ('The House of Islam' - i.e., the Muslim countries) and Dar al-Harb ('The House of War' - i.e., countries ruled by any regime but Islam) - which are pitted against each other until the final victory of Islam."
There is no separation of church and state in Islam. Although there is no Caliphate today, it remains the ideal: "Islam is, in essence, both religion and regime (din wa-dawla) and no area of human activity is outside its remit."

This dualism leads to the duty, under Islam , of jihad, which Mr. Bar makes clear means a "divinely ordained war", not some new age "striving". Mr. Bar cites the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as a crucial factor in reviving the concept of jihad as a personal duty of Muslims:
"The basis of this duty derives from the 'irreversibility' of Islamic identity both for individual Muslims (thus, capital punishment for 'apostates' - e.g., Salman Rushdie) and for Muslim territories. Therefore, any land (Afghanistan, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Spain) that had once been under the sway of Islamic law may not revert to control by any other law. In such a case, it becomes the 'personal duty' of all Muslims in the land to fight a jihad to liberate it. If they do not succeed, it becomes incumbent on any Muslim in a certain perimeter from that land to join the jihad and so forth. Accordingly, given the number of Muslim lands under 'infidel occupation' and the length of time of those occupations, it is argued that it has become a personal duty for all Muslims to join the jihad. This duty - if taken seriously - is no less a religious imperative than the other five pillars of Islam (the statement of belief or shahadah, prayer, fasting, charity, and haj). It becomes a de facto (and in the eyes of some a de jure) sixth pillar; a Muslim who does not perform it will inherit hell."
Additionally, the funding of jihad, or, in this case, the funding of terrorism in the name of jihad is "deeply entrenched" in Islamic tradition: "While there have been attempts to bring Muslim clerics to denounce acts of terrorism, none, to date, have condemned the donation of money for jihad." This allows those who are not willing to take up arms themselves to receive religious approbation by funding those who are.

These religious roots make it difficultMuslimsny moderate muslims, who have no desire for jihad, to denounce terrorism; "...the less observant or less orthodox will hesitate to challenge fundamental dogmas out of fear of being branded slack or lapsed in their faith."

Is our conflict with Islam then? Not necessarily. While the concept of jihad is deeply rooted in Islam, Mr. Bar points out that the emphasis on it as a personal duty was considered a heresy in medieval time and is subject to interpretation; "...much of the debate between radicals and nonradicals is not over the religious principles themselves, but over their implication for actual actual behavior as based on the detailed legal interpretation of those principles." More importantly, Mr. Bar stresses the need for the West to address the religious aspects of the war along with the military and political aspects. Chief among these are the need for moderate voices in Islam to step forward and condemn the actions of these murderers. President Bush's interpretation of Islam may not carry much weight, but a fatwa, from the right authority, declaring "suicide bombimgs are clear act of suicide, and therefore, their perpertrators are condemned to eternal hellfire" might do much to quell the flood of volunteers.

Mr. Bar lays out a persuasive case for the need for the West to overcome its discomfort and address the religious aspects of the war on terror. It does not have to be a war on Islam, but Islam needs to fight its own battles.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Genocide in the Sudan

Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times puts a human face on the ongoing genocide in the Sudan:
"On March 12, Ms. Khattar was performing her predawn Muslim prayers about 4 a.m. when a Sudanese government Antonov aircraft started dropping bombs on Ab-Layha, which is made up of Zaghawa tribespeople. Moments later, more than 1,000 Janjaweed attackers rode into the village on horses and camels, backed by Sudanese government troops in trucks.

"The Janjaweed shouted: `We will not allow blacks here. We will not let Zaghawa here. This land is only for Arabs,' " Ms. Khattar recalled."
The Janjaweed are an Arab militia in the employ of the Sudanese government. Ms. Khattar is also a Muslim, but is black.
"By most accounts, about 100 people were massacred that day in Ab-Layha, and a particular effort was made to exterminate all men and boys, even the very young. Women and girls were sometimes allowed to flee, but the prettiest were kidnapped.

Most of those raped don't want to talk about it. But Zahra Abdel Karim, a 30-year-old woman, told me how in the same attack on Ab-Layha, the Janjaweed shot to death her husband, Adam, and 7-year-old son, Rahshid, as well as three of her brothers. Then they grabbed her 4-year-old son, Rasheed, from her arms and cut his throat.

The Janjaweed took her and her two sisters away on horses and gang-raped them, she said. The troops shot one sister, Kuttuma, and cut the throat of the other, Fatima, and they discussed how to mutilate her. (Sexual humiliation has been part of the Sudanese strategy to drive out the African tribespeople. The Janjaweed routinely add to the stigma by branding or scarring the women they rape.)"
Recently declassified papers indicate that the Clinton administration had knowledge of the genocide going on in Rwanda in 1994, but buried the information because it had already decided not to intervene. As discussed earlier, the UN will not take action since the perpetrators sit on the UN Human Rights Commission. President Bush should not follow these shameful examples. Since 1990, the U.S. has saved or liberated millions of Muslims in Kuwait Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Bush administration should make it clear to the thugs running the Sudan that these atrocities must stop immediately or they will meet the same fate as the Taliban and the Baathists.

Monday, June 14, 2004

More UN Malfeasance

The Wall Street Journal asks whether anyone cares that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Wasn't the UN handling that after the U.S. agreed to go the multilateral route? Let's see, I'm sure they're on top of it:
'IAEA member states have been going through the motions required by their inspection process. But when they meet today in Vienna the consuming issue will be whether to "deplore" Iran's deceptions or note them with "serious concern." '
Well. That makes me feel better.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ronald Reagan 1911 - 2004

From his speech after the Challenger disaster:
We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'
God Bless and Godspeed.

Friday, June 04, 2004

The New Colonials

From The Atlantic - the social life of UN staffers. Not quite worthy of the "malfeasance" tag, but enlightening nonetheless. Via Instapundit

America at War

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell on the divide in America today:
"I believe there are two very distinct groups of Americans now: the Sept. 10 Americans, who are in denial, and the Sept. 11 Americans....I am a Sept. 11 American. I know the world has changed and that Americans must defend America. Everything else we do, everything else we believe, pales in comparison to that duty."

Thursday, June 03, 2004

The War in Iraq

It's easy for the Left to criticize the Bush administration for not foreseeing every eventuality in Iraq. It's even easier when they gloss over or ignore any prior statement that they find inconvenient. Ann Coulter reminds us what Paul Wolfowitz actually said about Iraq, back in September 2002; pulling up some quotes about the uncertainty of what faced us.

No one on the Right would argue that the administration got everything right, but when you compare what they foresaw to the forecasts of quagmire and disaster that came from the Left, it's pretty clear who was more accurate.

America at War

An excerpt from the President's stirring speech at the Air Force Acadamy's gradiation ceremony:
"As we fight the war on terror in Iraq and on other fronts, we must keep in mind the nature of the enemy. No act of America explains terrorist violence, and no concession of America could appease it. The terrorists who attacked our country on September the 11th, 2001 were not protesting our policies. They were protesting our existence. Some say that by fighting the terrorists abroad since September the 11th, we only stir up a hornet's nest. But the terrorists who struck that day were stirred up already. If America were not fighting terrorists in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and elsewhere, what would these thousands of killers do, suddenly begin leading productive lives of service and charity? Would the terrorists who beheaded an American on camera just be quiet, peaceful citizens if America had not liberated Iraq? We are dealing here with killers who have made the death of Americans the calling of their lives. And America has made a decision about these terrorists: Instead of waiting for them to strike again in our midst, we will take this fight to the enemy."