Saturday, August 13, 2005

Anchoress and Cindy

The Anchoress has two very good posts linking to responses to Cindy Sheehan

Varifrank responds to Mrs. Sheehan relates to a very good post by Varifrank

Cindy Sheehan has also said her son did not want to go to Iraq. She is wrong, and she knows it. Here is a bit of information you won't hear on CNN about Casey Sheehan (from Lee Kaplan – FrontPage Magazine):
“While one might dismiss some of Sheehan’s hyperbole due to grief over her son’s death, a little research about Casey Sheehan revealed that contrary to being tricked by military recruiters, Casey Sheehan had re-enlisted in the U.S. Army voluntarily when he was 24-years-old, after serving his first hitch successfully. Casey Sheehan was in fact a hero who received a Bronze Star. He was attached as a mechanic to the artillery division of the 1st U.S. Cavalry in Iraq. When a convoy of soldiers from Casey’s unit was attacked in Sadr City by insurgents, Casey volunteered to join a rapid rescue force to get them out. His commanding sergeant told him he did not have to go into combat, because he was a mechanic and not an infantryman. Casey was quoted telling his officer, “I go where my chief goes.” He was tragically killed during the rescue attempt. The source for this story? Cindy Sheehan herself.
.... Cindy Sheehan isn’t the first woman to lose a child in this war. Here’s another woman who has also lost her child in Iraq.

This woman also lost her child to warfare. She also died protecting her child. She knows what it was like to lose a child. As the cloud of mustard gas covered her and her baby and she began to accept her fate, I wonder if she called out for help, only to be unheard by the likes of Cindy Sheehan and her supporters. This woman lost her life because no one like Casey was willing or able to defend her. The people that are fronting Cindy Sheehan never protested the loss of this child or the mother. Casey Sheehan went to Iraq to stop this from happening. Casey Sheehan died trying to make the world a better place. Casey Sheehan and his fellow soldiers have directly stopped the genocide that Saddam was perpetrating, a genocide that went unnoticed by Cindy Sheehan or her supporters, a genocide that is now over, because men like Casey Sheehan put their lives on the line to stop to it.

Casey Sheehan wasn’t a kid. He was a man. Casey Sheehan wasn’t in high school; he was 24 years old, on his second voluntary hitch with the service. He wasn’t tricked, he wasn’t bamboozled, he wasn’t a victim of predatory recruiters. He chose to be there. He was a Volunteer. He was a Patriot. He was a Hero. He was a Man. and yeah, he was also someones baby boy.
Anchoress comments And it is a big, big-hearted, eloquent, moving and simply sensational response. The best blog-writing of the week.

Mohammed responds to Mrs. Sheehan relates to a very good post by Iraq the Model
Ma'am, we asked for your nation's help and we asked you to stand with us in our war and your nation's act was (and still is) an act of ultimate courage and unmatched sense of humanity.
Our request is justified, death was our daily bread and a million Iraqi mothers were expecting death to knock on their doors at any second to claim someone from their families.
Your face doesn't look strange to me at all; I see it everyday on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours.

Our fellow country men and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs while those who were lucky enough ran away to live like strangers and the Iraqi mother was left to grieve one son buried in an unfound grave and another one living far away who she might not get to see again.

We did nothing to deserve all that suffering, well except for a dream we had; a dream of living like normal people do.

We cried out of joy the day your son and his comrades freed us from the hands of the devil and we went to the streets not believing that the nightmare is over.
We practiced our freedom first by kicking and burning the statues and portraits of the hateful idol who stole 35 years from the life of a nation.
For the first time air smelled that beautiful, that was the smell of freedom.

The mothers went to break the bars of cells looking for the ones they lost 5, 12 or 20 years ago and other women went to dig the land with their bare hand searching for a few bones they can hold in their arms after they couldn't hold them when they belonged to a living person.
Anchoress comments Your son Casey died a nobleman, and a hero. I know the people you are now hanging out with do not call him a nobleman - they call him a fool, but he was, in fact, a noble man. Please, let the job be finished, so that the sacrifice of all of his fallen comrades does not become meaningless, as their deaths surely will, if America simply “leaves” these Iraqi people to the next “strong horse” who can overwhelm them, and thus dash the dreams of democracy we see budding throughout the Middle East, the dreams which are our best chance to defeat terrorism as a means to movement.

I agree with The Anchoress. Read all of both of these wonderful posts. I have quoted just small parts of both. Read all of them.


Top Calif. court revives Schwarzenegger ballot item

Yahoo News reports In a victory for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California's Supreme Court overturned two lower courts on Friday and put back on the ballot a voter initiative that will determine who draws up California's state legislative districts. If voters approve Proposition 77 in November, it would take the responsibility for drawing the state's political map out of the hands of California's Democratic-controlled legislature and give it to a panel of retired judges. Schwarzenegger hopes the idea will enable more moderate politicians to win legislative districts that in the past have been carefully divided into Democratic and Republican strongholds.

I still think that the best solution is to have district lines drawn by a computer program designed to make districts as compact as possible, yet use major streets and geographical elements as boundaries, and not let computer programs, judges, or legislatures attempt to draw boundaries to aid one party or another, or achieve any other "objective", but it is certainly good to get it out of the legislature's hands.


Has the GOP Lost Its Soul?

Mark Tapscott worte in Townhall President Reagan often said it’s hard to recall that you came to drain the swamp when you’re up to your armpits in alligators.

I doubt that Regan initiated that quote, but it is certainly true.
Republicans like Rep. Don Young of Alaska would rather use your tax dollars to build a scenic bridge to the swamp. Hard as it is to believe, Young is more in tune with the GOP that rules Congress today than the former president who restored the party to national power in 1980 when he won the White House and a Republican Senate. Their differences are nowhere more evident than on limiting government and reducing federal spending. Reagan said in his first inaugural speech that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Today, Young crows about the $286.4 billion transportation bill to The New York Times, saying he “stuffed it like a turkey.”
Reagan was right, it would be nice if we could return to having the Republican party be the party of both Lower Taxes AND Fiscal Responsibility (i.e. lowering spending as they lower taxes).


Pullout Focuses Israel on Its Future

WaPo reports As a young member of Israel's parliament in 1978, Ehud Olmert had the opportunity to vote in favor of the historic Camp David peace accords, which returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and brought Israel peace with its most powerful enemy. Olmert voted against it. "I voted against Menachem Begin," Olmert, now Israel's finance minister, said this week. "I told him it was a historic mistake, how dangerous it would be, and so on and so on. Now I am sorry he is not alive for me to be able to publicly recognize his wisdom and my mistake. He was right and I was wrong. Thank God we pulled out of the Sinai."

That withdrawal was a very good idea, because it was a part of a peace deal with Egypt. The mistake that Israel made is that they did not insist that Egypt also take the Gaza Strip back. Originally it was a part of Egypt, but Egypt did not want it, because that had put most of the Palestinian refugees there, in living conditions that had them always causing problems, and rather than relocating them elsewhere in Egypt they just dumped them on Israel.
In two days, the Israeli military will begin the first evacuation of Jewish settlements since the Sinai pullout, abandoning 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and the network of military installations that protected them for nearly four decades. This time, Israel will not receive anything in return for the land it is leaving. Olmert has been one of the plan's most vocal supporters. The unilateral decision to leave Gaza, pushed for more than a year by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at great political expense, has left Israeli society at odds over the future character and shape of the Jewish state.... But over the past year or so, the dream of settling the territories has collided with Israel's demographic challenge -- how to survive as a democratic Jewish homeland -- convincing most Israelis that the state must give up land to protect its Jewish majority.... Sharon, an architect of the settler movement, has long supported the notion of a Greater Israel stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. But he has scaled back those territorial ambitions. Even though disengagement amounts to the first time outside the framework of peace negotiations that Israel will withdraw from what many Jews consider part of the Land of Israel described in the Bible, Sharon has cast it as a step toward creating a state that has more defensible boundaries with fewer Arabs inside them.
And it is also a good test to see whether the Palestinians will appreciate what Israel has done, or whether it will just make them think that Israel is weak, and make them demand more.
.... Israeli political leaders worry that, unless a two-state solution to the conflict can be reached by that point, the 3.5 million Arabs living under Israeli military law in the West Bank and Gaza will give up the goal of having their own nation. Instead, they could demand the right to vote inside Israel, where 1.3 million Arab citizens already live, forcing Israelis to choose between the state's Jewish character and democracy.
This is a problem Israel faces eventually, even if the Palestinians accepted a separate state immediately, and were willing to live in peace with Israel, because there the Arabs inside of Israel, holding Israeli citizenship, are having many more babies each year than the Jews in Israel are.
"Among the Israelis, there has been a shift in thinking," said Ali Jarbawi, a Palestinian professor at Beir Zeit University near Ramallah. "Now, instead of land for peace, it is land for time.".... "The prime minister has changed and the situation has changed," said Shimon Peres, the deputy prime minister, who has been Sharon's friend since the two were active in Israel's pre-state security organizations. "Zionism was built on geography, but it lives on demography.".... Israel's religious Zionist movement holds a range of opinions on the terms of any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. Ungar said the movement's mainstream consensus is that the Palestinians should accept the Israeli presence in the territories or else move to Jordan or Egypt. Disengagement, he said, rewards Palestinian militancy.... The Palestinian "solution for peace is that we all should die," said Avivit Partush, 24, who arrived from her home near Tel Aviv to join the disengagement opponents. "There are many states where they can live. We are surrounded by countries that are their countries."
Originally (Balfour Declaration) the entire British Mandate of Palestine was to be the Jewish Homeland, but the Arabs living there could not stand so much land being given to the Jews, so they complained, and the land east of the Jordan River (called TransJordan) was to become an Arab homeland for any that wanted to live there, and the land west of the Jordan, was to be for the Jews. TransJordan became the country of Jordon, but they were unwilling to accept Arabs not willing to live in a Jewish state. This just shows how Arabs, and Muslims in general, demand to keep everything they have, and demand even more, and how they are not amenable to reasoned discussions.


The words of radical Islam speak for themselves.

Victor Davis Hanson wrote in National Review Online “You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations.” When and where did that venom come from? This last May — and out of the hateful mouth of a prominent Palestinian cleric, Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris. He was broadcast on a Palestinian Authority station. The televised Sheik finished with an even more frightening thought: “The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews — even the stones and trees which were harmed by them…The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.”

I guess we can list him as being one that is not interested in peace with Israel
.... Take the August 4 declaration of al Qaeda’s second in command, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. He promises even “more destruction” for London, and tells us precisely why. Many in the West assume that those mass murders were payback for the United Kingdom’s presence in Iraq, even though its troops are mostly confined to non-Wahhabi areas in the south. But no, the Dr. instead lists a number of grievances beyond Iraq that justify his terrorist cadres murdering innocents. One complaint, for example, is “Stopping the robbing of our oil and resources.” Examine that gripe carefully. Oil is now at record highs.... It costs the Middle East about $3-4 a barrel to pump petroleum that was discovered, developed, and marketed for the Gulf autocracies through hated Western expertise — and is now selling at over $60. Despite Zawahiri’s rants, billions of poor the world over are being price gouged to enrich a Muslim world flush with petrodollars.
But no one said that their rants had to make any sense.
.... Zawahiri next went on to cite, “Stopping your support for the corrupt and corrupting leaders.” Did the terrorist Dr. read the text of Condoleezza Rice’s June 20 address in Cairo? There she rightly repudiated past American realpolitik that blinked at Arab dictatorships, and then prodded Arab governments to democratize? Or maybe it was precisely that fresh support for democracy that grieves Zawahiri?

For clarification of al Qaeda’s ideas about democracy, we can turn to Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the spiritual leader of the terrorists in Iraq. He recently warned that, “We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.” That pathological hatred of democracy was also amplified in the latest al Qaeda video of August 10: “Democracy, human rights, and freedom are all but hollow illusions, with which they tranquilize inhabitants.”
Would they prefer that we drop encouraging Democracy, and go back to supporting Arab dictatorships?
Western critics of America’s attempt to introduce democratic reconstruction in Iraq should ask why al Qaeda is so furious at the effort. The answer is clear: Radical Islam can no longer blame the United States for propping up dictators, but instead is terrified that there is a third choice — the people’s freedom — between creepy strongmen and even creepier pre-modern theocrats.
Aha. They are mad at us because we will not topple the Arab dictators and put them in control instead, so that they can make life even harder on the people.
.... Note that bin Laden omits any reference to American efforts to save Muslim Kuwait (a war in which in vain he also volunteered to fight against Saddam Hussein), to save Balkan Muslims (which his own mujahadeen had failed utterly to do), or to stop the Soviet killing of Afghan Muslims (a war in which his resistance counted on American arms to save his fellow Muslims). The constant theme of this envious and insecure motor mouth? Americans saved Muslims, while bin Laden’s minions talked big, but couldn’t do much against much stronger Baathist Iraqis, godless Soviets, and nationalist Serbs. September 11 was the promised answer to bin Laden’s fatwa. Later when America withdrew all troops from the land of Mecca, his death promises increased rather than ceased.
Give them an inch, and they will want to take a mile.
.... So as we try to assess the causes of Islamists’ venom toward the West, it seems wiser to listen to what they say rather than what we say they say. If we would do that, we would conclude that the hatred of radical Islam is fed by envy, frustration, and pride — and thus existential: They despise Americans for who we are. That’s why al Qaeda must constantly find new grievances, whether the West Bank, Israel itself, Jews, oil prices, troops in Saudi Arabia, Oil-for-Food, Afghanistan, or Iraq.

Indeed, the latest two-hour training video is little more than cut-and-paste from the Michael Moore Left and hand-me-downs from Euro anti-globalist radicals. Thus America, al Qaeda assures us, “seeks to ravage the entire globe for the interest…of corporate companies,” and so kills the sons of Islam “in Palestine, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Indonesia, the Caucuses, and elsewhere.” Apparently about three billion Europeans, Asians, Russians, and Indians have been picking on poor suicide bombers and terrorists, who, in fact, are incognito environmentalists bent on stopping corporate exploitation of Mother Earth. Yet there is one and only one legitimate objection of the crackpot radical Islamists that rings true: We in the West don’t listen to them when they promise us our deaths. We should. They are yelling as loud as they can to tell us something that we don’t really want to hear.


Tentative Deal on Oil

NYT reported Iraq's leaders said Friday that they had reached a tentative deal to divide the country's vast oil wealth between the central government and the provinces, a potentially significant break in the negotiations over a new constitution. Under the agreement, oil revenue would be shared by the central government and Iraq's 18 provinces, and split roughly according to their populations.

This is a good thing. The Kurds in the North and the Shiites in the south have most of the oil, and if they had been allowed to retain that oil revenue in "autonomous regions" it would have make it more likely that Iraq would split into three countries, and that there would have been civil war between them. This move makes that much less likely, and it makes it more likely that the Sunnis in the middle will approve the Constitution.
It was unclear which entity would control the money, though one Iraqi leader said it would be the central government. "The agreement is that the distribution would be under the control of the federal government," said the leader, Saleh Mutlak, a member of the committee charged with writing the constitution. If it holds, the deal will constitute a major advance in the effort to complete a constitution. The control of oil revenue, which provides the bulk of Iraq's income, could significantly strengthen the hand of the central government over the regions, like Kurdistan and southern Iraq, that are pushing for greater self-rule. Most of Iraq's oil is concentrated in fields well to the south and north, raising fears, especially among the Sunni Arab population, that the revenues will fall under the control of the Shiite Arabs and the Kurds. Until this week, Kurdish leaders were demanding that they keep at least 60 percent of the money earned from oil in their area, in the north. A Kurdish official said Friday that they had dropped that demand.


Racism is the terrorists' greatest recruitment tool

Naomi Klein wrote in Guardian Unlimited The problem in Britain is not too much multiculturalism but too little

That is completely foolish. For one thing I doubt Britain could be more multicultureal, but it is certainly true that the Muslims did not meld in with British society, and Britain's multiculturalism prevented them from interferring in the "Muslim society" even when firebrand clerics were inciting killing of others, including British citizens.
Hussein Osman, one of the men alleged to have participated in London's failed bombings on July 21, recently told Italian investigators that they prepared for the attacks by watching "films on the war in Iraq", La Repubblica reported. "Especially those where women and children were being killed and exterminated by British and American soldiers ... of widows, mothers and daughters that cry."
I dont know how much I would trust the word of someone who participated in the attacks in London, whether the successful 7/7 attacks or the failed 7/21 attacks, but if someone was showing them films to prepare them for suicide attacks it certainly shows that Britain was foolish by allowing those firebrand clerics to brainwash British citizens to commit violence.
It has become an article of faith that Britain was vulnerable to terror because of its politically correct anti-racism. Yet the comments attributed to Osman suggest another possible motive for acts of terror against the UK: rage at perceived extreme racism. And what else can we call the belief - so prevalent that we barely notice it - that American and European lives are worth more than the lives of Arabs and Muslims, so much more that their deaths in Iraq are not even counted?
Most of the Muslim deaths in Iraq are being caused by other Muslims.
It's not the first time that this kind of raw inequality has bred extremism. Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian writer generally viewed as the intellectual architect of radical political Islam, had his ideological epiphany while studying in the United States. The puritanical scholar was shocked by Colorado's licentious women, it's true, but more significant was Qutb's encounter with what he later described as America's "evil and fanatic racial discrimination". By coincidence, Qutb arrived in the United States in 1948, the year of the creation of the state of Israel. He witnessed an America blind to the thousands of Palestinians being made permanent refugees by the Zionist project. For Qutb, it wasn't politics, it was an assault on his core identity: clearly Americans believed that Arab lives were worth far less than those of European Jews.
Actually it was that the Jews deserved a homeland. And there was plenty of nearby Arab land that the Arabs that did not want to live in a Jewish state could move to. Many choose to remain in Israel, and become citizens of the Jewish state, where they were welcome, unlike Jews living in lands left as Arab states, which were forced to leave.
According to Yvonne Haddad, a professor of history at Georgetown University, this experience "left Qutb with a bitterness he was never able to shake". When Qutb returned to Egypt he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, leading to his next life-changing event: he was arrested, severely tortured and convicted of anti-government conspiracy in a show trial.
Such torture, if it occured, was done by fellow Muslims
Qutb's political theory was profoundly shaped by torture. Not only did he conclude that his torturers were subhuman infidels, he stretched that categorisation to include the entire state that ordered this brutality, including the Muslim civilians who passively lent their support to Nasser's regime.

David T blogged Klein's central argument is that the lesson of Sayeed Qutb's life is that it is "tolerance for barbarism [against Muslims] committed in our name" which "fuels terrorism". Well that may well be true. However, we also know that intolerance of barbaric acts perpetrated against Muslims does little to douse the fire. The British role in protecting Kosovan Muslims from massacre, or indeed the restoration of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the president of Sierra Leone - who happened to be a Muslim - by British backed mercenaries, do not figure large in the publications of the MAB/Muslim Brotherhood. Neither is the return of 3.5 million exiled Afghans to Afghanistan following the overthrow of the Taliban regime highlighted in the recruiting material put out by Hizb'ut Tahrir. Islamists see the world exclusively in terms of Belief versus Unbelief. When that is your central defining narrative, everything else falls into place. From the Islamist perspective the French Hijab ban, the massacre of muslims in Bosnia, the plight of the Palestinians, and the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan do not raise separate issues of principle. Rather, they are joined by a single connecting thread.

Norm Geras blogged The 'two main causes' of terrorism, according to her? Racism and torture. Our fault. How are they 'main'? Don't ask. You won't find out. Think, however, Nelson Mandela, and apartheid South Africa.


Saturday, August 13

This Day In History

  • 1521   Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortez captured present-day Mexico City from the Aztec Indians.
  • 1704   The Battle of Blenheim was fought during the War of the Spanish Succession, resulting in a victory for English and Austrian forces.
  • 1784   The Continental Congress met for the final time in Annapolis, Maryland. It moved a few more times, from Philadelphia, PA to New York City and, finally, to its permanent seat of government in Washington, DC.
  • 1818   Suffragist Lucy Stone was born in West Brookfield, Mass.
  • 1889   William Gray of Hartford, CT patented the coin-operated telephone.
  • 1899   Movie director Alfred Hitchcock was born in London.
  • 1907   The first taxicab took to the streets of New York City.
  • 1931   Elk City, Oklahoma dedicated its new community hospital. It was the first of its kind in the United States.
  • 1932   Adolf Hitler rejected the post of vice-chancellor of Germany, saying he was prepared to hold out ''for all or nothing.''
  • 1934   The comic strip ''Li'l Abner,'' created by Al Capp, made its debut.
  • 1942   Walt Disney's animated feature ''Bambi'' premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
  • 1960   The first two-way telephone conversation by satellite took place with the help of Echo 1, a balloon satellite.
  • 1981   President Ronald Reagan signed a historic package of tax and budget reductions in a ceremony at his California ranch .
  • 1995   Baseball hall-of-famer Mickey Mantle died of liver cancer at age 63.
  • 2003   Libya agreed to set up a $2.7 billion fund for families of 270 people killed in the 1988 Pan Am bombing.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1422   William Caxton (printer: 1st to print a book in English language: Recuyell of the Histories of Troy; died in 1491)
  • 1818   Lucy Stone (women’s rights activist: member of first Woman’s Rights Convention [1850]; founded [w/husband]: American Suffrage Association; died Oct 18, 1893)
  • 1860   Annie Oakley (Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee) (sharpshooter, performer: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show; died Nov 3, 1926)
  • 1895   Bert Lahr (Irving Lahrheim) (actor: The Wizard of Oz, Rose Marie, Ship Ahoy, The Night They Raided Minsky’s; died Dec 4, 1967)
  • 1899   Alfred (Joseph) Hitchcock (‘The Master of Suspense’: director: Psycho, Vertigo, The Birds, Rear Window, Rebecca, To Catch a Thief, Frenzy, Notorious, Suspicion, The Thirty-Nine Steps; TV host: Alfred Hitchcock Presents; died Apr 29, 1980)
  • 1912   Ben Hogan (golf champion: Masters [1951, 1953], U.S. Open [1948, 1950, 1951, 1953], British Open [1953], PGA [1946, 1948]; died July 25, 1997)
  • 1926   Fidel Castro (Ruz) (Cuban guerrilla/dictator)
  • 1929   Pat Harrington (Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor: One Day at a Time [1983-84]; The Jack Paar Show, The Steve Allen Show, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Danny Thomas Show)
  • 1930   Don Ho (singer: Tiny Bubbles; Waikiki entertainer, host: The Don Ho Show)


Friday, August 12, 2005

It's not all about us

Tech Central Station Islamists have killed thousands of Westerners over the past couple of years -- thousands in New York City alone. But they have killed far more of their own fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, and too many other places to list. The Terror War, or whatever we ought to call it, is not about us. It's a war waged by totalitarian Islamists against the rest of the world. We aren't targets because of what we do or even because of who we are. We are targets because we are not them. They hate everybody and we're part of "everybody."

Which means that moderate muslims, who are also being killed, need to help us stop them from killing us all.
So many Westerners, liberal and conservative alike, are only interested in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world at the points of inter-civilizational contact, when and where its problems intersect with us and become our problems. It's understandable, but it's blinkered. Islamism exists independently of the West, not merely in reaction to it, and it would continue to exist if America and the rest of the West did not. It's not all about us.

Pat Buchanan's American Conservative magazine recently published an interview with University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape:
"The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland...Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us." [Emphasis added.]
So Pape thinks Islamic fundamentalism isn't the problem. Foreign occupation is. Therefore, no foreign suicide terrorism.
It's total nonsense. First of all, let's get one thing out of the way. "Terrorism," suicidal or otherwise, isn't the enemy. Totalitarian Islamists are the enemy. They won't go away just because Western troops go away. Terrorism is merely the tactic they use against Westerners because they're too militarily incompetent to use anything else.
But give them a state of their own, and let them buy the sort of weapons states buy, and we may see other tactics.
The overwhelming majority of Islamist killers aren't terrorists. They are soldiers and members of state-sanctioned death squads. Most victims of Islamists violence aren't Westerners...they're the Islamists' fellow Muslims. It's easy to forget this -- or not even be aware of it -- if you aren't interested in what happens inside the Muslim world when George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and the rest in the West aren't involved.

The Islamist regime in Sudan has killed more than a million people all by itself in the Christian south and in the Muslim region of Darfur. It would take tens of thousands of terrorists to do worse than that.
An Islamist government was in control in the north, and they wanted to remove anyone from the south that was not a Muslim
But the Islamists in Algeria gave it a hell of shot. More than 100,000 were killed during the past ten years in that country's civil war between radical Salafi fundamentalists and literally everyone else. Iran's Islamist regime killed its way into power and kills to remain in power. Afghanistan's former Taliban regime likewise killed its way into power and killed to remain in power.

Naturally Islamists want to push Westerners out of what they think of as their part of the world. That's one part of their plan. But it's only one part. Westerners and other non-Muslims are also attacked when they get in the way of Islamist imperialism. Hamas, for example, does not wish merely to liberate the West Bank and Gaza from Israeli occupation. They intend to conquer Israel itself -- Tel Aviv, Haifa, all of it. Jemaah Islamiyah hopes to create an Islamist "superstate" in South Asia called Daulah Islamiyah -- and that superstate would include the non-Muslim countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Australia. These are the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists who murdered almost 200 hundred Australian tourists in Bali before the Iraq invasion had even begun. This is the same jihad that rages in Thailand where more than 600 people have been killed by terrorists and in clashes with the police.

Iran's Lebanese proxy militia Hezbollah fought a guerilla war against Israeli occupation. But they also killed hundreds of people in Argentina, a nation that has never in its history occupied Muslim lands or fought a war against a Muslim country. Spanish police found a bomb on the high-speed railway connecting Madrid and Seville that was almost identical to those used to kill hundreds in Madrid's train stations last year. This bomb was planted on the tracks after Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq. Meanwhile Britain's political party Hizb'ut Tahrir, as the BBC put it, "promotes racism and anti-Semitic hatred, calls suicide bombers martyrs, and urges Muslims to kill Jewish people." The party is banned in most European countries, and for good reason. They not only want to see Western countries withdraw from Muslim lands. They want to Islamicize Europe and turn the West (along with the rest of the world) into a global Islamist theocracy.

Terrorism is not about us. It's about them and their totalitarian designs. It also is not about Islam. At least it's not about Islam per se. It's about the radical fascist (and counter intuitively modern) Wahhabi and Salafi sects of Islam. A certain kind of conservative believes any and all Muslims are ideologically wired for jihad against Western infidels. I suppose it's easy to believe that if, like Robert Pape, they only pay attention to Islam when it violently collides with the West. Intra-Muslim conflicts tell us as much about what it all means as conflicts between Muslims and the West. Take Iran, for instance. The regime is Islamist. "Death to America" is one of its rallying cries. But the Iranian "street" prefers "Death to the Ayatollahs." Few people in the world are as pro-American as the average Iranian. Those who want nothing more than to hang the mullahs from cranes are Muslims, too. They aren't driven to jihad against the West. They are gravitating toward the West, and specifically toward the U.S.

The Sunni Muslims in Iraqi Kurdistan also are among the most pro-American people on Earth. Their only "jihad" is against the Baathists and the theocratic fascists -- the very same people who just so happen to be our enemies. Moderate Muslims aren't an urban legend imagined by politically correct liberals. They already make up the absolute majority in some parts of the world. They are our friends as well as our allies. Robert Pape thinks we should withdraw from the region completely and "secure our interests in oil," as he put it, from a distance. If we take his advice we won't end the threat from our enemies. We'll give them military victories for free. And we'll throw our liberal Muslim friends to the Islamist wolf. It's the most disgraceful and despicable thing we could possibly do, not to mention one of the dumbest. Empowered liberal-democratic Muslims with guns will defeat the Islamists in the end. We can't do it without them, and they can't do it if they're languishing in mass graves and dungeons.
This is really eye opening.


Tulsa Bloggers aggregator site launched

BatesLine blogged During my absence, the rest of Tulsa's budding local-news-blogging community has been busy, and there are some exciting developments. The local blogger segment that KFAQ's Michael DelGiorno did a week ago has stimulated an effort to work together in a more formal way. Bobby of Tulsa Topics has set up a Tulsa Bloggers aggregation page, presenting excerpts from the latest five entries from eight blogs that focus on local news. This gives you a quick way to see what's new around Tulsa. There is also a BlogDigger group page and XML feed that combines all eight blogs into a single feed.

One of those blogs is brand new. David Schuttler, who has written and posted video and images about the airport noise abatement program and other local issues on his Our Tulsa World website, now has a blog on the site.

If you're someone who blogs about Tulsa news and wants to be included in the aggregator, email MeeCiteeWurkor at gmail dot com.

This is very interesting. I will not be asking to join the group, because very few of my blog entries are about Tulsa (although I do frequently use Tulsa as an example when posting a blog entry about some new technology that is location specific. But this will make it easier for me to identify the bloggers covering the local area, when I run across a blog claiming there are no blogs that cover local news.

For local bloggers that are not aware of it, see Blog Oklahoma


Mac Hacks Allow OS X on PCs

Wired News reports Imagine if your next Mac cost you only $300, and ran faster than any G4 or G5 you've ever used. That future may already be unfolding: Hackers have found a way to bypass a chip designed to prevent the Mac OS from running on non-Apple PCs, which are often cheaper than Macs. Some of the hackers are running the tweaked version of the operating system on their PCs natively. Others are using the system with VMware, which allows the Mac OS to support more PC hardware.

I bet Apple is ticked off.
Hackers and curious computer users this week have been downloading the tweaked Mac OS X for PCs, nicknamed "OSx86," from several websites connected to the BitTorrent file-distribution system. OSx86 is designed to run on Apple Computer's next generation of hardware, which some call "MacIntels" and others "MacTels" because the machines will run on Intel microprocessors rather than the PowerPC processor used in current Macs. The hacked version of OSx86 is based on pirated software, which came from copies of the operating system sent to participants in the Apple Developer Connection. The ADC participants also received MacIntel computers for testing and development. Now the hacked version of OSx86 is running on Dell laptops and other PCs with Intel and AMD microprocessors. "Mileage varies depending on what kind of hardware you're using, but it (OSx86) is working on several PCs," said "Mashugly," a college student majoring in communications who manages the OSx86 Project, a community of developers interested in the new operating system. No one knows exactly why OSx86 appears to be running faster on the PCs than the Mac OS does on today's Macs.
I suspect the Macs need to run a hardware interpreter on the Intel instruction set.
"To be honest, we're not sure," said a hacker nicknamed "cmoski," who said he works for a large software company. "Some in the Pentium camp want to say, 'Because a Pentium is faster, of course,' some want to say (Intel chip architectures are better than Apple's) and some in the PowerPC camp just want to say that it isn't full OS X (running on the beta systems)." The hacked OSx86 bypasses a chip, the Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, that is intended to prevent the system from running on ordinary PCs. "We have even gone so far as to remove the TPM kernel extension called AppleTPMACPI.kext entirely," said cmoski. The impact of the OSx86 hack on Apple's hardware brand could be severe. The hack shows that Steve Jobs' company will be turning out machines indistinguishable from any other PC, or "white box," said German hacker Michael "mist" Steil. "Apple wants to avoid the word getting out that (MacIntels) are just PCs, and that (OSx86) works on PCs," said Steil.
Apple could have had a much larger segment of the market if it had been as bright as IBM was. IBM was content to just skim the cream off a huge market, selling to customers that would pay more for the IBM name, but Apple made sure that its software would only run on Apple Hardware, thus giving it the complete, but much much smaller pie.
Steil made a name for himself hacking Microsoft's Xbox game console. He has seen the hacked OSx86 running on a PC, and has been watching the conversations at the OSx86 Project website. But he said he is not hacking the operating system himself.


Differences between Jews and Muslims

Jeff Jacoby wrote in JWR When Muslim extremists murder innocents in cold blood, there is often a politically-correct reluctance to call the killers terrorists, or to denounce them unequivocally. But there was no such reluctance last week when an Israeli Jew, Eden Natan Zada, opened fire inside the bus he was riding through the Arab town of Shfaram in northern Israel.

Both are terrorists, because they did what they did to instill terror.
Zada, 19, was active in the outlawed extremist Kach movement, and had deserted his army unit to protest Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. His rampage left four Arabs dead — Michel Bahus, 56; Nader Hayak, 55; Hazar Turki, 23, and her sister Dina, 21 — and another 12 wounded. Zada was immediately labeled a terrorist and widely condemned. "A reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist," one Middle Eastern leader called the massacre. Another said he was "deeply shocked and distressed by the murder of innocent people." From a senior cleric came a statement expressing "disgust and severe condemnation at the despicable act . . . . a murder that is impossible to forgive." Israel and its supporters complain with reason that Arab terrorism against Jews is too often shrugged off or excused by Arab and Muslim leaders, or that a murderous attack will be condemned in English for international consumption, while the government-run local media extols the killers in Arabic.
But did Israel condem Zada in English, but praise him in Hebrew? No!!!
But when the terrorists themselves are Jews — admittedly a rare event — do Israel's defenders live up to the standard they expect of others? How many of the statements quoted above, for example, would leading Israelis have been willing to make? All of them. It was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who described Zada as a "bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist" and Shimon Peres, the vice prime minister, who referred to the attack as "the murder of innocent people." The cleric who pronounced Zada's "despicable act . . . impossible to forgive" was Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel. And headlines in all the country's major newspapers bluntly labeled Zada a terrorist. Equally harsh was the judgment of the Yesha Council, the organization of Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. Though passionately opposed to the Gaza evacuation, it denounced Zada as "a terrorist, a lunatic, and immoral." The chairman of the council added: "Murder is murder is murder, and there can be no other response but to denounce it completely and express revulsion." Especially noteworthy were the words of Rabbi Menachem Froman of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, who spoke at the funeral of two of the Arab victims. "We the Jewish people in the land of Israel share in the pain and suffering" of the mourners, he declared. "All people who believe in G-d . . . express their outrage at such an act." Indeed, so horrified were Israelis by Zada's bloody crime that, as the newspaper Ha'aretz reported on Sunday, "No cemetery will accept Jewish terrorist's body." (Zada was lynched by Shfaram residents in the wake of his attack.) The defense minister banned an interment in any military cemetery, saying Zada was "not worthy of being buried next to fallen soldiers." Neither his hometown of Rishon Letzion nor Tapuah, the settlement to which he had recently moved, wanted his grave to be within their borders. The denunciations weren't limited to Israel. Among American Jews, too, the repudiation of the Israeli terrorist was swift and unsparing. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement almost as soon as the news broke: "We unequivocally condemn today's attack. . . . Such acts must be denounced by all responsible leaders." The American Jewish Committee "condemned in the harshest language" the slaughter in Shfaram, while the Zionist Organization of America called it "a terrorist act which we condemn unreservedly." The Anti-Defamation League said it was "horrified" by Zada's "unspeakable act," and the Simon Wiesenthal Center pronounced it "nothing less than a shameful act of terror that should be universally condemned." Speaking for more than 900 Reform Jewish congregations nationwide, Rabbi David Sapirstein of the Religious Action Center in Washington deplored the massacre, calling it "a betrayal of the dream of Israel as a pluralistic nation and an attack" on its fundamental values. In Boston, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism assailed the killings as "a desecration of G-d's Name" and prayed that "never again will a Jew so wantonly spill blood." The reaction of the Orthodox leadership was equally fervent. Agudath Israel of America said it was "tragic" that any Jew could adopt "the methods and madness of the enemies of the Jews." The Orthodox Union declared: "Acts of violence in the name of Zionism and/or Judaism must be eradicated from the midst of the Jewish people." All of these statements — and this is far from a complete listing — were made within a day or two of the atrocity in Shfaram. Without having to be prompted, without making excuses, Jewish communities instinctively reacted to Zada's monstrous deed with disgust and outrage, all the more angrily because the perpetrator was a fellow Jew.
It would be nice to have this sort of response from Muslim organizations when a Muslim kills innocent people.
When that is the way every community responds to terrorism, terrorism will come to an end.


Why can't we have a rational debate

Tony Snow wrote in Townhall Only an optimist could apply the term, "debate," to the raging controversy over the relative merits of evolutionary theory and the concept of intelligent design, or ID. Few issues in America today stir passions as wildly as this one; few have as much power to turn otherwise sane adults into drool-flecked screamers. Evolutionists regularly depict their ideological foes as "idiots," "cretins," "Bible-thumpers" and, to quote a philosophy professor at DePauw University, "morons." The ID crowd, meanwhile, deploys its own batch of epithets, including such charmers as "bigots" and "unbelievers."

Yet, the whole dispute dissolves if one applies a dollop of humility to each side. One just needs to ask two questions: Does science reveal truth? And, does God exist? Consider the contending theories. Evolution posits that terrestrial life arose through a series of random genetic mutations, and that some species, adapting gradually to environmental conditions, transformed themselves into "higher" species. Hence, the well-known drawings that depict the march of primate life, from chimps to homo sapiens.

Intelligent Design claims the chances of random evolution are virtually nil. Hard science shows us a world of dazzling order, complexity and interdependence. To take one tiny example, a single gene seems to control vision in all animals. Could this be a matter of dumb luck? Physicist Steven Weinberg estimates life wouldn't even exist if, at the instant of creation, the energy unleashed in the Big Bang had varied by one part in 10 to the 120th power. Such odds lead ID advocates to suggest that the universe didn't get orderly by chance, but at the hand of a Designer. These matters have been thrust into public view because some schools have begun incorporating intelligent design into science classes. Critics protest that ID is not science, but a form of philosophy or even scientistic theology. They want the idea purged from curricula, calling it an illegal introduction of religion.

So is evolution, at least the Secular Humanist version of Evolution that is being taught.
This brings us back to the two threshold questions. Most people believe science unravels deep, eternal truths -- that it is "perfect." But the history of science teaches that today's cocksure theory is tomorrow's crackpot superstition. A century ago, physicists boasted of having solved all the major problems involved in studying the universe. The following year, their smugness collapsed when a patent clerk named Einstein published his paper on general relativity.

Today, evolutionary theorists find themselves at wits' end because the fossil record provides no evidence of any species ever turning into another. We know species adjust to environmental conditions -- ever notice how tall kids are these days? -- and that natural selection does occur. But there's nothing to vindicate the notion of an evolutionary leap. That said, ID does not qualify as science because it gives us nothing to test or measure. Science requires replicable tests involving measurable variables.
But by the same token, the evolutionary leaps leave nothing to test or measure either. It has to be accepted on faith. But is it to be a godless faith in random chance, or faith in an Intelligent Designer
But you can't shake a beaker and find God. If God exists, He reveals himself through faith, not science. These little insights give us the basis for admitting both views into the educational system. Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis -- like ID -- although very popular in the scientific community. Its limits help illuminate the fact that hypotheses are only as durable as the evidence that supports them.

ID is useful largely because it punctures the myth of scientific invincibility, while providing a basis for promoting the cause of "hard" science. Sure, science involves trial and error. Scientists refine theories each day. But as they do, they help us grasp more clearly the wonders of the world and the universe. Scientific inquiry and ID provide useful angles of approach to ultimate questions. Here's how to make both sides happy: Let science teachers tell kids that science is a matter of inspired guesswork, not of invincible decree. Eventually, new theories will arise to wipe away weaknesses and inconsistencies in today's scientific orthodoxy. Also, let students know that a sizeable number of scientists believe in a Designer, since science involves a quest to discover and decode universal design. (A sizeable number of scientists also don't believe in God.) Meanwhile, issue similar warnings against silly abuses of holy writ, since scripture has little or nothing to say about matters of "hard" science. Such cautionary notes ought to increase students' interest in science, not to mention philosophy. A tiny touch of common sense and humility fire ambitions and imaginations by reminding students that science is a form of exploration that never runs out of frontiers and challenges -- and that ever points to questions too big even for folks in lab coats to answer.


The fair tax

Matt Towery wrote in Townhall I've been dropping hints in previous columns about the FairTax proposal. Now the time is ripe to examine this idea. Why now? Because a definitive new book called "The FairTax Book" has hit the bookstores. Its authors are Neal Boortz, who may be the most articulate radio talk show host in America, and Rep. John Linder, a high-ranking Republican congressman from Georgia. Just as projected, the book already has soared to the top of's rankings. It's stirring up debate -- and support -- across the country. First, a look at the authors. Boortz isn't just another talking head who's written a book. Years ago in Atlanta, he doubled as a successful attorney and local talk radio host. He now enjoys national syndication of his morning show. I challenge readers who live in cities that carry his program to tune in. They'll quickly find Boortz less predictable and more intellectually challenging than many talk radio icons.

Linder is a serious, studious man who has dedicated his life to public service. A dentist by training, he became a successful businessman while serving for years in the Georgia legislature and later in Congress. The pedigree of the authors alone virtually ensures success for "The FairTax Book." Before its shelf life is up, perhaps the public's reaction to the book will trigger something big -- a truly innovative policy idea getting serious consideration in Congress. That won't happen easily. Understanding the FairTax takes not only a mind, but an open one at that -- all the more reason to have Boortz and Linder spell things out and get the meaty discussions going.

I can hardly do justice to the FairTax argument in this limited space, but here's an attempt at a quick summary: The FairTax would eliminate the federal income tax and the IRS along with it. Concurrently, it would establish a national sales tax on retail consumption. It would eliminate the current crazy quilt of indecipherable tax code regulations that bogs down businesses and befuddles families. It would make each of us the master of our own financial destinies. If you want to spend your money, that road is wide open to you with the FairTax.

If that is the case, the Dems will never agree to it, and they will scream about it being an Unfair Tax.
You'll certainly have more take-home pay. If you want to save instead, you won't be penalized for having rightfully earned your money in the first place. Readers can learn far more by picking up a copy of the book.

Meanwhile, my job as a columnist is to interpret public opinion and gauge its effect on government policies. What impact might the FairTax book and the FairTax debate have on Congress and President Bush? Republicans and just about everybody else in the Washington establishment have been scared to touch this proposal in the past. The reason is simply that most of them are afraid of radical change of any sort. After all, there are plenty of big government bureaucracies as well as law and accounting firms that potentially could be wiped out by a fundamental simplification of the revenue system. Another impediment will be those who view a fair tax as some sort of right-wing attack on the nation's middle class and the poor. But the book and its concept have arrived at a perfect time. The Republican-led Congress is viewed right now as having few, if any, new ideas. The president is taking a five-week vacation while Iraq simmers closer to a boiling point. I've witnessed and even been a modest player in some of those rare moments when a set of key political players seized on the nation's sense of frustration and turned it into a gain.



Mona Charen wrote in Townhall They are so obliging, the Brits. On nearly every crosswalk, painted alerts on the streets warn visitors to "look left" or "look right" depending upon whether you've come to a one-way or two-way street. Even with these cautions, we've had a couple of close shaves with cars making turns from the "wrong" direction. The city is hardy and resilient, if a bit edgy. The 7/7 bombings and 7/21 attempted bombings are still on everyone's minds and lips. When sirens scream and three police cars race down the street, people shoot nervous glances at them. Tourism is way down. The police presence is ostentatious. Wait times at attractions like the London Eye (an enormous Ferris wheel with enclosed glass pods that sits on the banks of the Thames), usually up to an hour in the summer months, are down to five or 10 minutes. The British Museum is busy, but not mobbed. It's easy to find seating at lunchtime in the cafe. When we explain that we're from Washington, D.C., and are therefore used to this, we get rueful and sad nods from Londoners.

Great Britain is struggling to come to grips with the meaning of those attacks, as they were launched not by foreigners but by entirely homegrown jihadists. They were educated, British-born, middle class Muslims, not poor and ignorant recruits from the Middle East. Great Britain is home to more than 1.6 million legal Muslim immigrants (according to the 2001 census) and to an unknown number of illegals and visitors of various kinds. They are very much in evidence in London, particularly in the Knightsbridge neighborhood. Here, the nickname "Londonistan" leaps to life. In outdoor cafes with Arabic writing on the awnings, large numbers of Arab men sit smoking water pipes and sipping Turkish coffee. Arab women, some covered head to toe in burkas, push baby strollers and hold hands with toddlers as they pass. I saw one Muslim lady clad entirely in black, including black gloves and black face veil, revealing only eyes -- and hardly those, as the lady in question wore glasses. It was about 78 degrees and a bright sunny day. She looked like an apparition -- the grim reaper at a garden party. In other Muslim women, the clash of civilizations is played out in their fashions. They adapt. Over long skirts and long sleeves, they wear a beaded denim skirt, or sport boots under a burka. Harrods was packed with veiled Arab ladies buying designer clothes and expensive make-up -- to wear at home?

Precisely. Muslim women must wear very conservative garb, like burkas, in public, but in private they can wear whatever the want.
England's Muslim immigrants are not all Islamists by any means. Neither are all orthodox Muslims. But assimilation is not the norm. The Muslim birth rate is very high whereas that of native Britons lags far behind. It is estimated that by 2050, 20 percent of the European Community will be Muslim, and Muslim majorities will by then be in place in a number of large cities.
Israel has the same problem. Even if one ignores the Palestinian problems, the Muslims that have Israeli citizenship are having a lot more babies than the Jews with Israeli citizenship, and at some point in time Israel may have a majority of Muslims.
One can understand why Muslims are flocking to Europe (900,000 legal immigrants enter the EU yearly). It is clean, wealthy, orderly, safe and free. Certainly Europeans are not knocking on the doors of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Lebanon demanding admission. Europeans have created among the most prosperous and peaceful societies on earth. And yet, the paradox is that the refugees from the least successful societies in the world have more confidence in their civilization than the Europeans have in their own. Their birth rate is the best evidence. Surely George Weigel ("The Cube and the Cathedral") is correct that the reason lies in religion. English churches, like many of those throughout Old Europe, stand empty. Daniel Pipes suggests that more people in Europe today attend mosques on Friday than churches on Sunday. We stood outside Westminster Abbey after a service and noticed that the worshippers were -- without exception -- over the age of 65.
Secularism is certainly rampant in Europe. Even Italy, with the Vatican wholely contained within it, has seen significant dropoff of practicizing Catholics.
Even the tour guides at famous landmarks like the Tower of London and other landmarks -- though sometimes dressed in traditional garb -- reflect the post-Christian nature of British society. "People in those days," they explain in reference to the 16th century, "believed in an afterlife." One of the great questions of our time is whether Europe will, in the coming century, maintain its identity and civilization, or be gradually absorbed into the expanding Muslim world. And America's fate cannot be divorced from that of its forebears.


Under the radar

Oliver North wrote in Townhall Our beloved mainstream media are complaining that President Bush is spending too much time at the "Western White House" in Crawford, Texas. Their stories about his "vacation" make it seem as if he's not doing a whole lot. But a closer look reveals that the president is working hard -- the Fourth Estate just doesn't bother to cover what he's really doing.

Of course not. There is not a lot of fun events to go in the Crawford area that they can put on their expense accounts, so they dont want to go there, unless they are so anti-war that they want to go publicize what Cindy Sheehan is doing, and even with that story, they would really prefer that Cindy do it in a large city, with a lot of nice hotels and other things for them to do.
For example, last week, the president's meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe attracted little notice from the masters of the media. Colombia, locked in a drug-funded civil war, now stretching into its 41st year -- has lost nearly a quarter of a million people to the conflict since 1964. The pro-American Uribe -- a strong ally of this president -- is committed to ending the scourge of illegal narcotics which is fueling terrorism in the region -- and beyond. But he needs help. "The great enemy of Colombian democracy is terrorism," Uribe said in Crawford. He praised the Bush administration and the American people for their assistance, which he described as "exemplary."
The MSM is very reluctant to mention anything that praises the Bush administration
While observing that Colombia has "made progress, and we are winning," he also cautioned that "we have not won yet." One of the reasons Colombia has not won yet is because the narco-terrorists who are doling out the mayhem and murder in Colombia are finding refuge in Venezuela, with whom Colombia shares a 1,300 mile border. The near-dictatorial regime of Hugo Chavez in Caracas has granted the guerrillas a safe haven to launch attacks against Colombia. This, coupled with last month's launch of the new Chavez propaganda channel called Telesur, has caused growing concern in Bogota and other democratic capitals in the region. Telesur, it should be noted, is a "joint project" of the socialist governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Uruguay and Argentina.


Conservative judicial activism?

David Limbaugh wrote on Townhall Would someone please tell Sen. Barbara Boxer that John Roberts is not running for political office -- and get her a copy of the Constitution? Sen. Boxer indignantly announced recently that she would vote against Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court unless she can be convinced that he will support abortion rights.

Gee Senator Boxer, I guess he just can't count on your vote then.
This conjures the silly mental picture of Judge Roberts sitting in the hot seat, being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee, wearing a button saying, "Abortion is safe with me. Vote Roberts for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice." Since Boxer has, via the Peter Principle, managed to land herself in the United States Senate, wouldn't it be refreshing if she would demonstrate some comprehension of the Court's limited role under the Constitution? But such outmoded ideas as "judicial restraint" apparently never occur to those of Boxer's mentality, including most Democrat senators. They see the courts as their best vehicle to achieve and preserve many of their policy goals.
That is because they cannot convince even a majority in both houses to support some of those policies. And as far as "creating a new right in the constitution" that would take a 2/3 vote of both houses, plus support of 3/4 of the state legislatures.
In their cynical formulation, there is no such thing really as a judge who would interpret rather than make laws; a judge's fitness for the bench is primarily a function of what policies he supports, that is, his political philosophy rather than his judicial philosophy. To them, the phrases "strict constructionist," "originalist" and "judicial restraint" are just euphemisms for "conservative judicial activism." According to them, on this issue, conservatives are transparent phonies who advocate a limited role for the courts to disguise their sinister intention of leading the nation back -- in the words of Boxer -- "to the days of back alley illegal abortions."
Actually if Roe v Wade was reversed today, abortions would still be legal in almost every blue state, and in many of the red ones, and the individual state legislatures would be free to set whatever policy a majority in their state wanted.
Conservative judges would make policy all right, but it would be conservative policy. To illustrate, an e-mailer -- obviously a graduate of the Boxer school on constitutional misinformation -- told me, "You really want an originalist judge that will overturn existing precedent in favor of earlier understandings. In other words, you want a conservative activist." There you have it. A judge who "will overturn existing precedent in favor of earlier understandings" is a "conservative activist." Thus, through semantic sleight of hand, moral equivalence is established between those who would sacrifice constitutional principle at the altar of the liberal policy agenda and those who insist on preserving the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Here's my answer: "No I don't want a conservative activist -- a judge who will either twist the words of the Constitution or effectively add words to it for the purpose of implementing a conservative policy agenda. I don't believe it is legally or morally acceptable for judges to legislate from the bench, even if they legislate conservative policy."
You are right. A judge that wants to create law should resign and run for a seat in the legislature (state or federal)
An "originalist" Court would be no guarantee of a conservative policy shift. A reversal of Roe v. Wade, for example, wouldn't necessarily lead to the wholesale illegality of abortion. But it would restore power to the states to decide an issue properly left to them, which would expand the people's liberty (choice?) and sovereignty. (Even if the Neanderthal Southern states outlawed it, surely expectant mothers could travel north or northeast to find sanctuary.)

Advocates of "original intent," more accurately called "original understanding," generally believe the Constitution established the best governmental structure ever conceived by human beings. They believe the principles undergirding it and inhering in it are responsible for the creation and development of the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world. They believe the abandonment of those principles has led and will continue to lead to the coarsening and debasing of our culture and the erosion and eventual eradication of our liberties.


The New Ernie Pyles

WaPo reported There were no reporters riding shotgun on the highway north of Baghdad when a roadside bomb sent Sgt. Elizabeth Le Bel's Humvee lurching into a concrete barrier. The Army released a three-sentence statement about the incident in which her driver, a fellow soldier, was killed. Most news stories that day noted it briefly.

But a vivid account of the attack appeared on the Internet within hours of the Dec. 4 crash. Unable to sleep after arriving at the hospital, Le Bel hobbled to a computer and typed 1,000 words of what she called "my little war story" into her Web log, or blog, titled "Life in this Girl's Army". "I started to scream bloody murder, and one of the other females on the convoy came over, grabbed my hand and started to calm me down. She held onto me, allowing me to place my leg on her shoulder as it was hanging free," Le Bel wrote. "I thought that my face had been blown off, so I made the remark that I wouldn't be pretty again LOL. Of course the medics all rushed with reassurance which was quite amusing as I know what I look like now and I don't even want to think about what I looked like then."

Sgt Lizzi, I want to thank you for your service, and I hope you have a good life to come.
Since the 1850s, when a London Times reporter was sent to chronicle the Crimean War, journalists have generally provided the most immediate first-hand depictions of major conflicts. But in Iraq, service members themselves are delivering real-time dispatches -- in their own words -- often to an audience of thousands through postings to their blogs. "I was able to jot a few lines in every day, and it just grew from there," Le Bel, 24, of Haverhill, Mass., said in an e-mail. Her Web site has received about 45,000 hits since she started it a year ago.

At least 200 active-duty soldiers currently keep blogs. Only about a dozen blogs were in existence two years ago when the U.S. invaded Iraq, according to "The Mudville Gazette", a clearinghouse of information on military blogging administered by an Army veteran who goes by the screen name Greyhawk.

I have not been monitoring the blogs mentioned here (other than Mudfille Gazette), and I dont know what some of them say (some may be antiwar), but out of courtesty to the military folks writing them, I will list each of the others referred to in this story:


Britain Bars Militant Muslim Cleric From Returning

NYT reports Britain said today that it would bar Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, a London-based Syrian cleric, from returning to the country from Lebanon.

That is a good idea, and not just because the British People would be asked to pay for a heart operation he has planned. With the Human-rights groups fighting the deportation of 10 other foreigners, they certainly should not let any back in
Sheik Mohammed, known for his incendiary anti-Western views, was granted asylum by Britain some 20 years ago and has lived here ever since. Last Saturday, after Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a host of new antiterrorism measures, including the deportation of religious leaders preaching violence, Sheik Mohammed left Britain for what he said would be a vacation in Lebanon. He was held there for questioning on Thursday but released today on the orders of Lebanon's general prosecutor, Saeed Meerza, who said it appeared the sheik had broken no laws.
I urge them to keep an eye on him, in any event
In a statement today, the Home Office said that Charles Clarke, the home secretary, had written to Sheik Mohammed to tell him he no longer has the right to live in Britain. "The Home Secretary has issued an order revoking Omar Bakri Mohammed's indefinite leave to remain and to exclude him from the U. K. on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good," the statement said. The government's move came a day after it announced that it had seized and planned to deport Abu Qatada, another British-based cleric accused of fomenting violence against the West, along with nine other foreigners suspected of posing threats to national security. Today, Jordan said it would ask Britain to extradite Mr. Abu Qatada, who Spanish officials have described as the "spiritual ambassador" of Osama bin Laden.

Human-rights groups and British Muslims have attacked the move to deport the 10 foreigners, saying they feared they would be sent to countries where they faced abuse, torture and death sentences, in contravention of European human-rights laws.
But if they stay in Britain, and continue to encourage people to blow themselves up, and praise those that do it, innocent British citizens are at risk.
But today, Lord Falconer, the lord chancellor and Britain's highest judicial official, defended the planned deportations, saying that the risk of deportees' being abused abroad had to be weighed against the possible threat they posed to Britain.


Police in 'Muslim' ribbon gesture

BBC reported Police in Nottinghamshire are being given green ribbons to show solidarity with the Muslim community after a rise in racist attacks. The "Good Faith" ribbon is being backed by chief constable Steve Green.

I think this is a good idea, but are the ribbons green because some Muslim flags are green, or because the Chief Constable's name is Green?
Racially motivated attacks in the county have doubled since the attacks on the 7 July, according to figures from Victim Support. Twenty thousand of the ribbons have been made to symbolise belief in Muslims as a people of peace. Mr Green said: "We have a huge number of Muslim citizens in Nottinghamshire who are just going around trying to do their everyday business. "But they feel intimidated and sometimes ostracised by racist incidents and by the perception that the white community suspects everybody with a brown face of being a suicide bomber.
Hopefully this will encourage moderate Muslims to help expose extremists in their midst.
"Many people feel fully supportive of the Muslim communities but have no way of showing it and this is a way of allowing them to do that."


Antiwar Activists Decry

WaPo reported Organizers of next month's planned antiwar demonstrations yesterday criticized media organizations, including The Washington Post, for co-sponsoring with the Department of Defense an event to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and to support the troops in Iraq.

That is their right; a right protected by the very military they oppose. And I decry the Media's coverage of the very small collection of people gathered around Cindy Sheehan outside the President's Western White House in Crawford.
The Defense Department-sponsored Freedom Walk will proceed from the Pentagon to the Mall near the Reflecting Pool on the morning of Sept. 11. Country music star Clint Black is donating his time to perform a concert after the walk that will be broadcast to troops overseas. The Post, WTOP radio, WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8 are donating public service announcements in advance of the event. Non-media co-sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Subway and the Washington Convention and Tourism Corp., according to the Defense Department's Web site for the walk. "The Pentagon has done some kind of event on 9/11 ever since it happened because we came under attack," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for communications. "It's to commemorate the victims of 9/11. It's to honor our veterans past and present."
And it is right that we should honor them
On Sept. 24, nearly two weeks after the walk, critics of the war will gather in Washington for three days of demonstrations, including a concert, a march and other events. Yesterday, some of those critics said media support for the Pentagon event undercuts their credibility in covering the controversial war as well as reporting on antiwar efforts.
They are certainly reporting just the bad news out of Iraq, in an effort to increase dissatisfaction with the war, but they would really look foolish if they ignored a major event like Freedom Walk
"No common person will see this as not taking sides in this war," said Adam Eidinger, a promoter of the antiwar concert being called Operation Ceasefire. "This is clearly support for the war because it's being organized by the U.S. military."
And if the military did nothing to honor the troups, they would be criticized for that.
"With The Washington Post and other media outlets supporting this, they are in effect putting their opinions behind the Bush administration," said Caneisha Mills, a national organizer with the antiwar group International ANSWER and a student at Howard University.
Representatives of the media organizations drew a distinction between supporting the troops and supporting the war policy. They also said the sponsorships emanated from the corporate sides of their companies, not the newsroom. "Our interest in the event is consistent with our past support of causes related to the victims of September 11 and the veterans of wars past and present," said Eric Grant, spokesman for The Post. "The event was never presented to The Post as a rally to support the war. We would be disappointed if it took that approach." "They're supporting American troops worldwide, supporting troops, not the policy, and they're honoring people who died in the Pentagon attack on 9/11," said Jim Farley, vice president for news and programming with WTOP. "As I see it, those are both worthwhile. We're not making a connection between the war and 9/11."


Friday, August 12

This Day In History

  • 1851   Isaac Singer was granted a patent on his sewing machine.
  • 1865   Joseph Lister became the first doctor to use disinfectant during surgery. Hmm. Joseph Lister. That name rings a bell. Yep. Same Joseph Lister as the one whose name is on those bottles of Listerine mouthwash.
  • 1877   Thomas A. Edison finished figuring out his first phonograph. Edison handed the model of his invention to John Kreusi with instructions on how to build it. Kreusi, a confident man, bet the inventor $2 and said that there was no way that the machine would ever work. He lost the bet.
  • 1898   Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.
  • 1918   Regular air-mail service began between New York City and Washington, DC.
  • 1944   Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England during World War II.
  • 1953   The Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
  • 1960   The first balloon satellite, Echo 1, was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
  • 1966   John Lennon apologized at a news conference in Chicago for remarking ''the Beatles are more popular than Jesus.''
  • 1972   The last American combat ground troops left Vietnam.
  • 1977   The space shuttle Enterprise passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating and then touching down in California's Mojave Desert.
  • 1985   The world's worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people.
  • 1992   The United States, Mexico and Canada agreed to form a free-trade zone that would remove most barriers to trade and investment and create the world’s largest trading bloc: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • 1994   Woodstock '94 opened in Saugerties, N.Y.
  • 1998   Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion as restitution to Holocaust survivors to settle claims for their assets.
  • 2000   The Russian nuclear submarine Kursk and its 118-man crew were lost during naval exercises in the Barents Sea.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1753   Thomas Bewick (illustrator [of books]: Fables of Aesop, History of Quadrapeds, British Birds; died Nov 8, 1828)
  • 1849   Abbott Thayer (artist: created camouflage pattern for military; died in 1921)
  • 1911   Jane Wyatt (Emmy Award-winning actress: Father Knows Best)
  • 1927   Porter Wagoner (singer)
  • 1939   George Hamilton (actor)


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cindy Sheehan

New York Sun editorialized Cindy Sheehan's Crowd

t's easy to see why Cindy Sheehan

Who is whinning that Bush won't take an hour out of his facation to meet with her, when he did meet with her in June, and when she had a very different attitude since the Left Wing anti-war groups had not gotten ahold of her then
, the 48-year-old mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, has become the new face of the anti-war movement, featured in a New York Times editorial on Tuesday and a Maureen Dowd column yesterday morning. Camped out in Crawford, Texas, near President Bush's ranch, she's a more sympathetic face than a lot of the alternatives. But as sad as Ms. Sheehan's loss is - and we don't belittle it - she has put herself in league with some extreme groups and individuals.

For starters, Ms. Sheehan has been posting on Michael Moore's Web site, writing, "We have such a strong coalition of groups. GSFP, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the Crawford Peace House. I talked with John Conyers today and he wrote a letter to George signed by about 18 other Congress members to request that he meet with me. I also talked to Maxine Waters tonight and she is probably going to be here tomorrow."

It turns out that the Crawford Peace House Web site includes a photo depicting the entire state of Israel as "Palestine," and it carries a link to a report that when Prime Minister Sharon visited Crawford, the "peace house" greeted him with an "800-foot-long banner containing all of the United Nations resolutions that Israel is in violation of." The Crawford Peace House site also features a photo of Eugene Bird, who has suggested that Israeli intelligence was responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out all have representatives on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, an anti-war umbrella group. They share that distinction with the Communist Party USA. UPJ organized the march during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, at which a New York Sun poll of 253 of the protesters found that fully 67% of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement "Iraqi attacks on American troops occupying Iraq are legitimate resistance." In other words, Ms. Sheehan's "coalition" includes a lot of people who think the persons who killed her son were justified.
Does she know that, and would she care if she did know it.
United for Peace is nonetheless flogging Ms. Sheehan's story in the run-up to its big weekend of "civil disobedience" and "direct action" next month in Washington. That protest is timed to coincide with the meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, so that the people who were throwing rocks at Starbucks in Seattle to protest free trade back during the Clinton administration can now make common cause with the anti-war movement.

This story, among others, is being followed on the new blog of The New York Sun,, where our Ira Stoll noted that news of Mr. Conyers and Ms. Waters's involvement with Ms. Sheehan fits with the rest of the picture. Mr. Conyers was the host of a Democratic "hearing" in June on the Iraq war that his fellow Democrat, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, protested was a forum for "people motivated by anti-Semitic or anti-Israel animus." Ms. Waters is still best known for having endorsed the conspiracy theory that the CIA caused the crack epidemic in American cities. The whole crowd gains more from its association with Ms. Sheehan than she gains from her association with it.

TheAnchoress blogged My son Buster says he does not understand my concerns for Mrs. Sheehan, that she is being used and exploited. “Mom, she likes it,” he said last night. “When she met with the president the first time, she got into the papers with it - how many people meet him and parlay it into a news story? Now she’s in the papers again, people are paying attention to her, she has people petting her and telling her she is a hero. She loves this. She loves it more than she loves her husband, who separated from her because of what she is doing. She might be grieving, as you say, but she’s exploiting her own grief and allowing others to exploit her, too.

Drudge Report said The family of American soldier Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, has broken its silence and spoken out against his mother Cindy Sheehan's anti-war vigil against George Bush held outside the president's Crawford, Texas ranch.

The following email was received by the DRUDGE REPORT from Casey's aunt and godmother:

Our family has been so distressed by the recent activities of Cindy we are breaking our silence and we have collectively written a statement for release. Feel free to distribute it as you wish. Thanks Ð Cherie

In response to questions regarding the Cindy Sheehan/Crawford Texas issue: Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

Angry in T.O. blogged Directly from Casey Sheehan's aunt and godmother, Cherie Quartarolo.

I felt uncomfortable doing this, but I got in touch with Cherie Quartarolo with regards to her family's statement criticizing Cindy Sheehan, using the email address from the original Melanie Morgan email trail that Ms. Morgan was kind enough to send me. The questions being raised about the legitimacy of the email is valid, I suppose, if a bit paranoid.

First, Ms. Morgan, a legitimate journalist, is vouching for the legitimacy of the email from Cherie Quartarolo.

Second, Cherie Quartarolo responded from the email indicated.

Third, she has provided some additional detail, but would prefer to protect the privacy of her family:
I can verify that Casey's family listed below have contributed to and approved the Sheehan Family Statement:
Paternal Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
This will be our only statement, Thank you for respecting our privacy.
Cherie Quartarolo, Casey's aunt and godmother
I don't expect we'll be seeing any more on this, one way or the other, unless I receive permission to print the email trail (for what it's worth, it adds little to the debate). The family has spoken.

Ken Summers has a confirmation on the above email from Cherie Quartarolo.


Give up your freedoms - or change tack

Saad al-Fagih wrote in Guardian Unlimited No one will be more pleased than Osama bin Laden with the new measures announced by Tony Blair. He will be even more pleased should the prime minister succeed in turning his plans into legislation. There are two reasons for Bin Laden's satisfaction at what doubtless looks to him like a historic victory.

Saad al-Fagih - that sounds like a good Anglo Saxon name. NOT!!! You would not possibly be trying to fool us, would you?
First, he will believe he has succeeded in forcing Britain to abandon a number of hard-earned achievements in the fields of justice and liberty - achievements that took centuries of struggle and evolution to accomplish. Bin Laden will rejoice because he has forced society into forsaking these values. This, he believes, will leave the west open to eventual defeat at the hands of Muslims.
Whereas if they don't approve them, it will leave Britain open immediately to continued attacks by Muslims, and if they never do anything to protect themselves, then to the eventual defeat at the hands of Muslims, and the establishment of a Muslim State with its capital in Londonistan.
Both moderate and jihadist Islamist activists have long recognised the values of justice and liberty within western societies as the foundation of western dominance in the past few centuries. A dictum attributed to Ibn Taymiya, a renowned Muslim scholar born seven centuries ago, states that God will lend victory to a just nation even if it is infidel and bring defeat to the unjust even if it they are Muslim. When the west loses its values of justice, it will be defeated in the long run.
But look at the second part of that dictum: blowing themselves up, and killing innocents is certainly not a just act
The second reason for Bin Laden's satisfaction is that his strategy is based on absolute polarisation. The world is to be split into two opposing camps: a bloc of Muslims with no infidels in their midst and one of infidels with no Muslims in their midst.
I dont recall Bin Laden saying that. As I recall he wanted westerners out of Islamic lands (because he wanted to take over Saudia Arabia, and he felt a Western Presence was supporting the Saudi Royal Family, but I dont recall him saying anything about Muslims leaving Infidel land.
The measures advocated by Blair and the accompanying atmosphere of racial hatred might cause many Muslims living in "infidel" western nations to leave for good.
Tell them not to let the door hit them on the rear as they leave.
The harsher the measures adopted by Britain and other western societies, the nearer we will get to fulfilling Bin Laden's strategic aim. It is perhaps not surprising that Bin Laden was able to manipulate the cowboy element in the American political structures to his advantage, turning them into his own PR outfit, which influenced huge numbers of Muslims to become supporters of his group.
Something I don't think happened. The large number of jihadists coming out of Saudia Arabia are because of the madrassas that the Saudi Royal Family financed to persuade the Islamists to leave them alone.
What is surprising is that European, in particular British, political establishments should take up the American methods, enabling Bin Laden to score similar successes on the European front. One of the wonders of the confrontation with al-Qaida is that the British decision-making institutions are running, cogs and wheels, in tandem with those of the Americans, feeding on sensationalism and appeasement of prejudice. The British political establishment is abandoning its traditional reliance on careful thinking, sound knowledge of current factors and a determination not to endanger historical commitments.
What comes out of the south end of a north facing bull?


Michigan Meets Malcolm X

S. D. Melzer wrote in OpinionJournal Liberals have been beating their collective breast in recent years over the Bush administration's post-9/11 assault on civil liberties. But Michigan Democrats--from Gov. Jennifer Granholm to the State Board of Canvassers--have joined ranks with a radical, 1960s-style Trotskyite group to deny state residents the most basic of all rights: the right to vote.

I guess the Dems dont think they can fake up enough votes to win, so they block the vote altogether.
The group, which lives in a Malcolm X-inspired fantasy world and calls itself By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), has been engaged in a long guerilla campaign to prevent the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) from getting on the state ballot. This initiative, backed by Ward Connerly, the California businessman who successfully spearheaded a similar effort in his home state, seeks to end, once and for all, racial preferences in public universities and state government. Polls have repeatedly shown that over 60% of Michigan voters oppose preferences, even though the U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled them constitutional in a lawsuit challenging University of Michigan admission polices.

But instead of doing the hard work required in a democracy to convince voters, BAMN has been using its patented formula of political intimidation and legal harassment in an attempt to strangle the initiative in the crib. Last year, it disrupted initiative meetings on college campuses and tailed initiative signature-seekers, denouncing through bullhorns any student who approached them.

At the same time, it mounted a legal challenge questioning the language of the petition. Even though it lost twice, including in the Michigan Supreme Court, the delay made it impossible for MCRI to gather enough signatures for the 2004 ballot deadline. That will not be a problem for the 2006 ballot. MCRI has already obtained 500,000 signatures and the secretary of state's office has certified around 450,000 of them--about 125,000 more than necessary.


The ACLU thinks cops are a bigger threat than terrorists.

Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote in OpinionJournal "Blood must flow. There must be widows, there must be orphans."--jihadist Fayiz Azzam addressing a gathering in Atlanta, 1990

"We conquer the land of the infidels, and we spread Islam by calling the infidels to Allah."--from a speech by Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, outlining the plan for Islamic world rule, at an event sponsored by the Islamic Charity Project International, Detroit, 1991

"He is now extremely anxious when he sees police officers in the subway system."--from a description, by the New York Civil Liberties Union, of one of the complainants who joined its lawsuit against the New York City Police Department, August 2005

Then tell him to take a cab.
A solemn handful of plaintiffs surrounded New York Civil Liberties Union head Donna Lieberman last week as she announced the agency's latest lawsuit--this one targeted at new procedures allowing for the random inspection of bags carried onto the subways. This will not come as a surprise--the agency has had an exceptionally busy few years, since 9/11, campaigning against expanding police powers, increased surveillance and other antiterror measures, all of which, the NYCLU and likeminded watchdogs regularly inform us, pose a greater danger than any that might come from the terrorists themselves. How Americans of normal intelligence respond to this reasoning should make entertaining reading someday.

Most of those entering the subways these days are, it seems, unperturbed by the prospect of a bag check, and not a few have made clear their approval of such precautions. Indeed, in its latest war on the security search, the NYCLU has entered on decidedly iffy terrain: one close to home, psychologically, for masses of Americans (and not just those who take city trains and buses), all in a good position to weigh the sort of argument which holds that government security methods are a greater threat to them than terrorism.
And as I understand it, if someone does not want their bag checked, it won't be checked. They just can't board the subway.
It was a war undertaken even as the pictures of the London bombings remain fresh in memory--along, of course, with those of the devoted jihadists, shown (via surveillance cameras) sprinting through that city's transportation system after their attempt at a second strike. Who can forget the faces of this crew, as it rushed furtively about through empty corridors and train cars--a sight that lent a special touch of nightmare immediacy to the picture unfolding in Britain these last weeks. The pictures revealed, as none had before, the scope of the Islamic terrorist apparatus and support groups operating from within--a threat not limited to Britain.