Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Also, on September 7, a committee of members of Parliament released a report on anti-Semitism in Britain. The all-party committee found that that since the Palestinian jihad against Israel began in 2000, anti-Semitism in Britain has become a mainstream phenomenon. Attacks against Jews in Britain were at an all time high over the summer.

In their anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, the British, of course, are no different from their Continental brethren. And the situation in Europe is alarming. Writing in Frontpage magazine this week, Islamic expert Andrew Bostom reported that in November 2005, Stephen Steinlight, the former director of education at the US Holocaust Memorial Council, told a conference in Washington that on average, Muslims attack Jews in Paris 12 times a day. According to Steinlight, this means French anti-Semitic violence is approaching the level of anti-Semitic violence in Germany during the days of the Weimar Republic. [ As it says over right: "When my grandfather left Europe in 1937, the graffiti on the walls read, 'Jews go to Palestine'. Today the graffiti reads, 'Jews out of Palestine'. How soon Europe forgets." But what do I know... -ed. ] ***

For those who have not yet caught on, the forces of global jihad are not going to suddenly abandon their desire to make war upon unbelievers just because those unbelievers favor retreat from Iraq, allowing Iran to go nuclear, or blaming Israel for fighting back "disproportionately" against enemies who want to wipe it off the face of the earth. The jihadists will gladly accept all these concessions as proper tribute to the rightness of their cause, and continue to push for the establishment of Islamic sharia law as the only acceptable form of rule in the world. [ Yup. Just pull out of Iraq; that will fix everything. All-righty then. No wonder such venom is spit at the Pope for his appeal to reason! -ed. ]
"But it is clear that this religious belief has oppressed its people (women particularly), kept masses of them in poverty and backwardness while enriching their rulers, and fomented deranged violence across the world from New York to Bali. What is an honest Pope supposed to say? Good on you?"

The Tinfoil Apocalypse, 9/16/06 Edition

Somehow I keep getting more and more pessimistic about how many more Tinfoil Apocalypse editions I will be able to publish before the lights go out. Why? Well, for one thing, Pakistan is a nuclear state:
"A spokeswoman for the Musharraf dispensation in Pakistan observed yesterday that "anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence." ***

As a promoter and beneficiary of modernity, I feel bad for those stuck in the middle ages. Not only are they led to do evil things, but it all seems very confusing for them. After all, they must mix modern claims of victimhood with medieval charges of blasphemy. It is hard to keep your stories straight, as the above quote suggests. It kind of reminds me of a weird movie I saw some years back. About ten peasants from Europe during the black death dug through a hole and came out in 20th century Australia. It was all very confusing for them. But no one thought of allowing them to get nuclear weapons.
But look on the bright side: your head is likely to explode first... (HT Glenn)
The Catholics have taken the lead. Now Father De Souza backs the Pope forthrightly. My belief is that the Protestants will be nowhere to be found if not actively stabbing the Pope in the back. I will be frankly ashamed of my co-religionists if my prediction materializes:
"It does a disservice to children to call the wild-eyed statements and deranged behaviour of the past days childish.

It is not only the obscenity of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist terrorist band suppressed in several Muslim states, demanding an apology from anyone, let alone the Holy Father.

It is not only the grandstanding Pakistani politicians passing resolutions condemning a papal speech few read, and even fewer understood. It is not only the extraneous charges about the Holocaust and Hitler by the agitated and excited.

It is that we have seen this before.

When Pope John Paul II made his epic pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Palestinian Muslim representatives jostled him on the Temple Mount, shouted at him, and, in one episode of maximum rudeness, abandoned him on stage during an interfaith meeting. Bashir Assad, the Syrian President, treated him to an anti-Semitic rant when the late pope visited Syria.

Catholic goodwill toward global Islam is severely attenuated by such continued maltreatment of our universal pastors.

And it is well past time that the maltreatment of history ceased too.

The irony of the accusations that Pope Benedict has a "Crusader mentality" is that he was speaking about the period in which the Crusades themselves took place.

Catholics have for quite some time now confessed the sinful and wicked shadows that marked the Crusades, but any suggestion the whole affair was about rapacious Christians setting upon irenic Muslims must be rejected.

After all, the formerly Christian lands of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia Minor were not converted to Islam by Muslim missionary martyrs. Those lands were conquered by the sword.

The Crusader idea was that they could be recovered. Who wronged who first is a fruitless historical inquiry, but historical honesty requires an admission that Muslims wronged as much as they were wronged against.

The sword of Islam is carried today by self-professed jihadis. In most countries with Muslim majorities, Christians do not have the full freedom to practise their faith without fear.
Warren again:
"It is a point the Greek-educated and Christian emperor takes as self-evident, but which is not self-evident to a theology that holds God entirely beyond human reason, and says He may command whatever He commands, including conversion by force should He so will. As the Pope said, it is a conflict that stabs us once again today: Does God act with "logos"? (This is the Greek word for "reason" as well as "word") How do we defend this very Catholic (and Orthodox) idea outside the Church, where our own theological assumptions are not shared?

This was not a crude anti-Islamic polemic; nor was it so at the end of the 14th century. It was a quest for peace and amity, then as now.
"I can think of a lot more pressing matters for Muslims to be angry about. How about taking to the street over the murderers who have been disgracing our religion by shedding oceans of innocent blood in its name? On Thursday, a car bomb blew up outside a Baghdad orphanage. In all the wide sweep of the Muslim Street, is there no one sufficiently disgusted to raise his voice over such a thing?"
"In a speech on Tuesday the Pope repeated [ Umm, that would be *quoted* to be more precise, but what do you expect from the EneMedia whose only tool is the *mis-quote* -ed. ] criticism of the Prophet Mohammad by the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything the Prophet brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

The remarks sparked outrage across the Islamic world. [ Welcome to the "shocked by irony" department. -ed. ]

"The Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers," Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in the statement. [ No he's not. With a Pope like this, maybe I *will* convert to Catholicism one of these days ;) -ed. ]
"9 Foods Not to Give Your Kids"
"Ney suffers from a dependency, all right: an addiction to power and money. Alcoholism doesn't force people to take bribes and sell out their offices for their personal benefit. That impulse comes from another flaw -- greed."
"This goes beyond corruption. This is a gross abuse of power, and it sheds some light on why the FBI was so adamant about raiding Jefferson's office. Read all of Drew's report."
Somehow this part of the Pope's speech didn't make it into the headlines. I can't imagine why:
"Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching”, looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today’s standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires."
"The Pope can perhaps be excused for thinking that Islam can be associated with violence. He probably took it personally when an Islamic terrorist group plotted to assassinate his predecessor. If the Vatican ever starts assassinating imams, then they'll really have something to protest.

It's easy to see, though, why Muslims were so upset. The Pope went too far when he said that Muslims are the descendants of pigs and monkeys. Oh, no, wait...
"If you were a gay-rights activist, would you happily pose with David Duke?"
"The cost of malaria in Africa is enormous -- it's hard to do much beyond bare survival when you're sick all the time. Plus, the noneconomic costs are very high, as life sucks when you're sick all the time, too . . . ."
"Political leaders and opinion makers will soon start calling for Benedict to withdraw his remarks, even though he never aimed them at Islam specifically (only as an example from 600 years ago) and even while Muslims prove him correct. The New York Times put itself on the leading edge of this impulse yesterday, to the shame of their stockholders, but they will not be alone long. Soon and very soon, calls will come from around the world, even within the Catholic Church, for Benedict to withdraw his remarks altogether and apologize for having implied that Muslims use violence to spread their religious beliefs -- even while the evidence of Benedict's truth continues to expand all around them"
TODAY'S MUSLIM (unfortunately non-) PARODY: And any slanderous statements even suggesting that we are violent will be met by gunfire in Christian churches. For all right-thinking Muslims know that anyone slandering us in this way should be killed!
"As Robert Frost wrote, “Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

Temperamental conservatives also have much more of an appreciation of the dark side of mankind, and an understanding of the fine line between civilization and barbarity. You don’t have to literally believe in original sin to appreciate how much wisdom there is in such a view, especially when compared to the inveterate liberal naiveté about human character. [ Except for the liberal's beliefs about conservatives me, of course. -ed. ]

Today's (prepare to be tortured) Jaw Dropper

"So the very amendment that, less than a year ago, the Times applauded because it “bann[ed] torture, abuse and cruelty” would now “put American soldiers in grave jeopardy by rewriting the Geneva Conventions.”

But you can’t really accuse the Times of inconsistency. The paper is consistent, all right: consistently hysterical about anything that is done by the Bush administration. [ You absolutely must go read Power Line today. You will conclude that the Fascifists attack on W is itself torture. HINT: One of the crimes punishable by the Military Commissions themselves is ... wait for it ... TORTURE! And are you so incredibly naive as to believe that the most advanced legal system on earth doesn't already have a perfectly good definition for it? -ed. ]

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Pakistan has removed all doubt about its tenacity in fighting terrorism. The London Telegraph reports that Pervez Musharraf has released thousands of Taliban fighters caught in the five years since the US drove their government out of Afghanistan. [ Allow me to contain my shock... -ed. ] "
"Mona Nagger reports on an embarrassing letter of solidarity that Günter Grass received from 46 Arab intellectuals. "The signatories see in Grass' confession to having been a member of the Waffen SS (more here) a sign of courage that deserves respect and recognition. The critique of Grass is being interpreted as a campaign 'aimed at diverting attention from the Israeli crimes against Palestine and Lebanon.' The Israelis are depicted as 'Neonazis': 'They kill Palestinians and Israelis, destroy their countries, build a dividing wall around them and put them in camps.' The tone recalls quite clearly the language of the Iranian president Ahmadinejad." Nagger's conclusion: "The document says a lot about the sensitivities of many Arab intellectuals. They live in a world of conspiracy theories, far removed form reality; they mistake populist slogans and rhetoric for intellectual discourse and they see no need to take a serious look at the Holocaust and Nazi crimes.""
""Imagine a sunny and beautiful day in a suburb of Manhattan," he [Putin] said. "An elderly man is tending to the roses in his small garden with his nephew visiting from Europe. Life seems perfectly normal. The following day, the nephew, carrying a suitcase, takes a train to Manhattan. Inside the suitcase is a nuclear bomb."

The threat, Putin explained to me a year before 9/11, was not from this or that country but from their terrorist proxies — aided and supported quietly by a sovereign state that doesn't want to get its hands dirty — who will perpetrate their attacks without a return address. This scenario became real when Al Qaeda plotted its 9/11 attacks from within Afghanistan and received support from the Taliban government. Then it happened again this summer, when Iran was allowed to wage a proxy war through Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and northern Israel.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Against millenarian fanaticism glorying in a cult of death, deterrence is a mere wish. Is the West prepared to wager its cities with their millions of inhabitants on that feeble gamble?

These are the questions. These are the calculations. The decision is no more than a year away.
"Homosexuality is a crime in Islam and crimes are punishable,” Khatami said. “And the fact that a crime could be punished by execution is debatable.”

The [Harvard] audience responded with silence to his remark. [ Harvard: Vacuous excrement posing as the the Lord God Almighty. I'd puke if they were anywhere worth the discomfort I'd suffer. But they're not. -ed. ]
"In the wake of the Oil-for-Food scandal, anyone who takes the word of the United Nations or its subdivisions at face value is either a liar or a moron. Secondly, if the Iranians are not rather far along in their nuclear program, there's something very wrong with them. The United States had these weapons over sixty years ago, the Soviet Union shortly thereafter. No one really knows (or no one reliable is saying publicly) how many countries have nuclear weapons at this time, but poor Third-World Pakistan, nuclear armed from at least 1998, had weapons grade uranium in 1985. It's almost racist to assume their Iranian friends are not similarly capable (or nearly) more than twenty years later.

My further guess is that the excessive and distinctly non-diplomatic language used by the IAEA is an indication of some kind of guilt. From the same CNN article: "The subcommittee's report also insinuates that the IAEA may be in cahoots with Tehran in covering up Iran's nuclear ambitions." Hmmm... sound familiar? How about a Yellowcake-for-Food Program... or U-238-for-Oil... you fill in the blanks.
"But if we put aside for the moment the reasons to have gone into each country, the two now look remarkably the same. Both have fragile democratic governments. Radical Islamists—using similar tactics of suicide bombing and improvised explosive devices—are pouring in from sanctuaries across the border, whether Pakistan or Syria and Iran. Bin Laden and Dr. Zawahiri themselves have boasted that Iraq, at the heart of the ancient caliphate, is now the frontline theater for the jihadists.

So far the international approval of Afghanistan and its smaller costs have ensured support from the Left. But note, as casualties begin to mount, and the nature of the counter-insurgency fighting increasingly begins to resemble Iraq—as it must in this particular front of a global war—and as the magic multilateral solution proves a mirage, the NATO coalition being no more effective than the coalition of the willing in Iraq, expect to see the Democratic leadership begin to bail on Afghanistan as well.
"Poor France. They just can’t win for surrendering."
"So what do we say about this? Well, maybe we should consider why it is that a terror-apologizing, terror-connected group like CAIR overwhelmingly supports one political party over the other. It just makes sense that CAIR should support the Democrats. The Dems oppose aggressive anti-terror techniques like NSA call monitoring, Treasury Department finance tracking (which has tripped up CAIR in the past as I pointed out above), and aggressive interrogation of terror detainees. They oppose fighting the war on terror in the middle east. They seem to think that we can hide out within our own borders and just react to terror attacks as they happen."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"WASHINGTON — The U.S. military acknowledged Wednesday that it considered bombing a group of more than 100 Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan but decided not to after determining they were on the grounds of a cemetery. [ As long as we continue to suffer Gramscian damage, we will keep making decisions like this. In the mistaken assumption that the enemy and the sea he swims in will be swayed by our moral example. This is ethnocentrism of a magnitude that ends only in disaster. -ed. ] "
"The Organization of the Islamic Conference may be the first international body to openly suggest that the key to influencing American policy is not to open larger embassies or hire more lobbyists, but to buy up the media. And make money into the bargain. But wait. What good would it do the OIC? If the media were the impartial reporters of the truth they declare themselves to be then OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu's suggestions would be an exercise in futility. Is there not a "firewall" between editorial and corporate? [ I'm just shocked! How could this be? -ed. ] "
"People who argue that Iraq was a wasted effort might ask themselves: where in the diplomatic corps and in the development set is this capability?"
"More than ever, Armitage has been revealed as a manipulator and a fundamentally dishonest person. That's not a crime, but it makes the entire Plame scandal a farce."
"There is a final consideration. We are at war. Unlike Fahrenheit 9/11 that is referenced ad nauseam by the jihadists and still a favorite among al Qaedists, or the current film portraying the imagined assassination of President Bush that played to recent applause in Canada, but gained little condemnation here in America, The Path to 9/11 won't be popular with our enemies. And that might tell us something. If we know one thing about bin laden and Al Qaeda, they hate the truth and love the lie."
"TONY SAYS: "The strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in," he said...

...Responding to those who have criticized the White House, Blair said in his pamphlet: "The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved."

"We want them engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us can be resolved or even contemplated without them," he added.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"Sen. Feingold can say what he wants, but he cannot deny that the explicit purpose of McCain-Feingold was to reduce the political speech of American citizens. After four years, what have we gained for surrendering this freedom? Is Congress less corrupt? Less controlled by special interests? Is public policy better? Are campaigns more focused on issues? What tangible benefit has been gained? I submit that the answer is none."
"Our real enemy is within us, in the immense constituency of the half-educated narcissists pouring from our universities each year -- that glib, smug, liberal, and defeatist “victim culture” itself, that inhabits the academy, our media, our legal establishment, the bureaucratic class. The opinion leaders of our society, who live almost entirely off the avails of taxation, make their livelihoods biting the hands that feed them, and undermining the moral order on which our solidarity depends."
"September 12, 2006: The Communist Party is cracking down once more on corruption in its own ranks. Anti-corruption rules for Communist Part leaders, introduced in the late 1990s, were based on the honor systems. Senior party members had to report any unseemly or questionable financial transactions, or ask the advice of the Party before engaging in any questionable business dealings. These rules are no longer on the honor system, and audits of party members have been introduced, and will be increased as more auditors become available. Corrupt officials will find a way around this, including bribing or intimidating auditors. This is what has happened to auditors called in to check shady business dealings. It's dangerous to be an auditor in China, at least an honest one. It's going to be particularly dangerous trying to root out corruption in the military and security forces. All the suspects have weapons, and are accustomed to using them without restriction. The corruption in the military has been the main reason why all the money spent on the military in the last decade has not had a big effect. Taiwan apparently realizes that corruption in the Chinese military is the best way to protect Taiwan from invasion. Some corruption deals in the Chinese military have involved Taiwanese interests making payoffs. This may not be strictly business, but rather another example of the ancient Chinese practice of weakening your military opponent with bribes instead of battles. The ancient Chinese military sage Sun Tsu was a big fan of this tactic. The Chinese government is cracking down on the corruption, not for military reasons, but to forestall a rebellion against Communist Party rule. Opinion surveys and reports from the security services indicate a major irritant for the Chinese people is the growing corruption among Communist Party officials who dominate the government bureaucracy."
"September 12, 2006 -- ON Feb. 7, 2005, I became a member of the Bush/Halliburton/Zionist/CIA/New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy for world domination. That day, Popular Mechanics, the magazine I edit, hit newsstands with a story debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. Within hours, the online community of 9/11 conspiracy buffs - which calls itself the "9/11 Truth Movement" - was aflame with wild fantasies about me, my staff and the article we had published. Conspiracy Web sites labeled Popular Mechanics a "CIA front organization" and compared us to Nazis and war criminals.

For a 104-year-old magazine about science, technology, home improvement and car maintenance, this was pretty extreme stuff.
What had we done to provoke such outrage?

"Cameron's speech is very interesting way of arguing that although the multilateralists got nearly every one of their past objectives wrong and were blind to nearly every threat in the past, that thank you very much, now that the way has been shown they would like to take the driver's seat on the grounds of their obvious superiority. Jacques Chirac was recently overheard on an open microphone muttering that there would be no danger to the French troops in Lebanon for the immediate future because the Hezbollah had been so gravely weakened by the Israelis. When politicians are eager to take over an enterprise they have a spent a career denouncing it's usually a sign it was a good idea to start with.

But I don't think Cameron is ill intentioned. His problem is more basic. While he correctly understands that more than military power will be required to defeat terrorism he still doesn't realize that the institutions of diplomacy, huge multilateral organizations headquartered in Europe and lumbering agencies like the UN are wholly incapable of providing the missing dimensions which he rightly understands are required.

If the US military has learned any lesson "painfully", it is that while all the elements of "soft power" must be integrated in the field, they are not being provided by existing institutions.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Instapunk just got placed on the blogroll. RTWT:
"Even if it was all for show, the prospect of Frank Rich declaring that the policy decisions were extraordinarily difficult and unavoidably controversial was like the experience of rain after a long drought, almost palpably life-giving. What would the past five years have been like, I couldn't help wondering, if debate and criticism had proceeded atop the civil platform of agreement that the President was really trying to do his best in a terrible crisis that almost no one had anticipated? Imagine that everyone had been sober and serious all along, as if the responsibility were theirs and not someone else's. Imagine that the opposition to the administration's policies had been more substantive than personal, focused on alternative proposals rather than autopsies of irrevocable decisions past. Imagine that all of us were dealing with today's reality instead of pet grievances from months or years ago. Isn't it possible that the critics might have had more impact on events, that the defenders of American policy might have listened and responded more thoughtfully?

You can decide all these questions for yourselves, but I know I would have been more open to opposing views if their proponents had not insisted that doing the right thing required a first step of denouncing the president as a fool, a liar, an opportunist, and a closet tyrant.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tony Blair would appear to be too rational for the British "fascifists". That's what Orwell called them and he would now be a hero for it if he hadn't since been flushed down his own memory hole by them:
"Regarding Iran, do you agree with the comparisons to the 1930s that we often read about?

[Blair:] When you have the President of a country as powerful as Iran say those things, it may be very foolish of us to assume he doesn't mean them. And when he's also trying to acquire a nuclear weapon, then I think the warning signs are pretty clear... I think for a president of a country to say they want to wipe another country off the face of the earth and at the same time he's trying to acquire a nuclear weapons capability - if we don't get worried about that, future historians will raise a few questions about us and about our judgment.
"Arguments are made that defendants, not just their lawyers, should have access to secret evidence and that they should get Geneva Convention protections though they are classed as unlawful combatants under those conventions. Bush's narrative gives us reason to think about the consequences of indulging such abstract concerns. Consequences like what we saw on Sept. 11.

The collapse of the Wilson-Plame narrative leaves troubling questions about the Fitzgerald investigation -- and the media that cheered it on. The emerging narrative of foiled terrorist plots puts the issue squarely before Congress: whether it should prohibit practices that have successfully protected us against terrorist attacks.
"CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Anyone who lost their "innocence" on September 11 was too naïve by far, or too stupid to begin with. On that day, we learned what we ought to have known already, which is that clerical fanaticism means to fight a war which can only have one victor. Afghans, Kurds, Kashmiris, Timorese and many others could have told us this from experience, and for nothing (and did warn us, especially in the person of Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance). Does anyone suppose that an ideology that slaughters and enslaves them will ever be amenable to "us"? The first duty, therefore, is one of solidarity with bin-Ladenism's other victims and targets, from India to Kurdistan.

The second point makes me queasy, but cannot be ducked. "We"--and our allies--simply have to become more ruthless and more experienced. An unspoken advantage of the current awful strife in Iraq and Afghanistan is that it is training tens of thousands of our young officers and soldiers to fight on the worst imaginable terrain, and gradually to learn how to confront, infiltrate, "turn," isolate and kill the worst imaginable enemy. These are faculties that we shall be needing in the future. It is a shame that we have to expend our talent in this way, but it was far worse five years and one day ago, when the enemy knew that there was a war in progress, and was giggling at how easy the attacks would be, and "we" did not even know that hostilities had commenced. Come to think of it, perhaps we were a bit "innocent" after all.
"Robert Spencer writes: "Watch for the cascade of condemnations of this act from CAIR and MPAC and the like. But don't hold your breath.""
"The West, being the greatest victim of over- reliance on reason, is seeking the help of intellectuals and philosophers to deprive reason of every credit and privilege that was once bestowed upon it. [ This man was to be the great saviour of modern Iran you see. This is hardly promising... -ed. ] "

Fermi, Sagan and the Tinfoil Apocalypse

The Fermi Paradox is at the root of the Tinfoil Apocalypse:
"... because it is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself

Technological civilizations may usually or invariably destroy themselves before or shortly after developing radio or space flight technology. Possible means of annihilation include nuclear war, biological warfare or accidental contamination, nanotechnological catastrophe, or a Malthusian catastrophe after the deterioration of a planet's ecosphere. This general theme is explored both in fiction and in mainstream scientific theorizing. Indeed, there are probabilistic arguments which suggest that humanity's end may occur sooner rather than later (see Doomsday argument). In 1966 Sagan and Shklovskii suggested that technological civilizations will tend to destroy themselves within a century of developing interstellar communicative capability or master their self-destructive tendencies and survive for billion-year timescales [17].
My insight has been that the real problem is not that folks like us are likely to blow up the world but that we will be too careless letting advanced technology and WMD leak to primitive cultures who won't know enough to pull back from the brink.

Rafsanjani -- that would be one of the ex-presidents of Iran -- thinks Iran can win a nuclear war with Israel. Ahmedinejad thinks the Holocaust is a hoax that he needs to hasten the return of the 12th Imam. Oh, and Rafsanjani was the "moderate" candidate in the election that Ahmedinejad won ... and recently declared that he would sacrifice "half of Iran" to eliminate Israel.

What more can you possibly need to know?
"She was a Marxist, incidentally, not an Islamist. One almost pines for those good old days -- for the Marxists were mostly crazy, but they were partially sane. One wonders what we’ll be faced with, after the Islamists. If there is an after."
"The witness said that even in the thieves’ section prisoners were being treated badly. ”Someone was shouting ‘Please help us, we want the human rights officers, we want the Americans to come back’," he said. [ I won't hold my breath for the NYeT story about this one. At least one recognizable by a rational human being... -ed. ] "
"For example, hackers have demonstrated a hand made device, about the same size as a suit case, that can monitor, and grab information, off up to 300 networks at once, and over a wide area."
"The years since 9/11 have exploded the idea of a monolithic West and a single complaisant Ummah; a Muslim Shi'ite might prefer an American infidel over a Sunni and an American liberal an Iranian Mullah over a conservative countryman. We have equal opportunity everything; including equal opportunity hostility. If the Christian hell is defined as a place devoid of love, then welcome to the 21st century, where the watchword, if not "hate your neighbor" is at least "a neighbor you can hate".

It's no surprise that some of the commemorative pieces are less focused upon the horrors that have passed than upon those that are to come. Stephen Schwartz, writing in the Weekly Standard devoted a lot of scholarly energy comparing Iraq to the Spanish Civil War, not as a battleground between factions but as an arena in which competing world powers engage in a test of strength. [ We can always count on Wretchard to sober us up in the morning... -ed. ]
""If North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test, it will face severe punishment," said one Russian diplomat. [ I'll believe it when I see it ... the punishment part that is... -ed. ] "