Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mockery's End

"Arab despotism is a fearsome phenomenon, renewing itself from within each and every time yet another glorified hit man sets out on his bloody career. In the spirit of pure self-aggrandizement, Saddam invaded Iran and Kuwait, fired missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia, decimated his own population and in the process resorted to poison gas, manipulated the great powers, and made a special mockery of the United Nations. And perhaps none of that matched in vileness the way that he deceived the husbands of two daughters of his into returning from exile under safe conduct, only to send a squad of gunmen under his son Uday to kill these fathers of his own grandchildren.

With such brutes, entreaty, diplomacy, conferences are exercises in self-deception. Regime change imposed by superior force was the only realistic way to ensure Saddam’s fall. This is what occurred in March 2003, and it is a historic marker. The collapse of his dictatorship has created a social and political void, and a variety of hit men, as usual, are trying to make careers out of it. The only way to prevent their doing so is to introduce the rule of law and impose enough security that it has a chance to take. Saddam’s trial, for all its flaws, was an exercise in the rule of law. Justice is never perfect, especially when carrying an element of retribution. Much more important, though, this case is exemplary. Saddam’s trial and execution could yet be the building block of a future with hope in it for an Iraqi society and state at last free from his tyranny."
"And to have convicted, sentenced and executed the dictator is a signal accomplishment for the new Iraq. When I was in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, shortly after the war, a young boy showed me his schoolbook. It was like my textbooks at his age - full of doodles and squiggles and amusing additions to the illustrations. With one exception: the many pages bearing pictures of Saddam were in pristine condition. Even a bored schoolboy doesn't get so careless that he forgets where not to draw the line. When the cowardly thug emerged from his hole, it was a rare moment: in the fetid stability of the Middle East, how often do you get to see a big-time dictator looking like some boxcar hobo and meekly submitting to a lice inspection by an American soldier?...

The reality is that, as long as he was alive, there was always the possibility that he would return. When a dictator has exercised the total control over his subjects that Saddam did, his hold on them can only end with his death."
"That I could feel pity for him struck the Iraqis with whom I talked as evidence of a profound moral corruption. I came to understand how a Westerner used to the civilities of democracy and due process — even a reporter who thought he grasped the depths of Saddam’s depravity — fell short of the Iraqis’ sense, forged by years of brutality, of the power of his unmitigated evil."

Friday, December 29, 2006

"When in 2005 we watched the early stages of what later became known as "Cartoon Rage" in Denmark, we could see we were dealing with a Shariah state of mind. It wasn't exactly going out on a limb to predict things would only get worse.

And, of course, in 2006, they did. Just ask Abdul Rahman if you can find him. The "apostate" fled Afghanistan for his life last spring. Or Robert Redeker, if you can find him. The teacher who published a critique of Islam in September still lives in hiding in France."

The Mossad Again...

"Ah, Somalia. Immediately the three adults in the car perked up. We acknowledged we knew there was big trouble in that country, the attack from Ethiopia on the ICU, etc. To our surprise, our driver immediately launched into a vitriolic attack on Al Qaeda. They were evil violent men, hijacking Islam across the globe. He had details of their infiltration of Somalia from a phone call he had made the previous night, how they were using Saudi money, etc. Thousands of people were being murdered by these Wahhabis for no reason. He was obviously following the situation closely. Al Qaeda was a danger to all mankind, he said.

It was a refreshing to hear this view from a Moslem taxi driver in Seattle. He was obviously pleased that we recognized the travails of his people too. So he continued with his explication of what was behind this terrible situation - how the Moslem religion could have been taken over by these violent forces. Someone was behind the rise of this Saudi Wahhabism . The answer, he said, was Israel. It was all an Israeli plot. They were behind the Wahhabis.

Suddenly our hearts sank. How could a man who seemed so reasonable, so knowledgeable, say something so obviously crazy?

Just then we were at our hotel. Sheryl and I left the cab, stunned. I phoned Gerard from the airport. What had the man said on the way to his place? Gerard - wisely - had let him continue. There was no point in fighting with a man like that. Better to learn how his mind worked. Gerard simply inquired why the Israelis would want to back Al Qaeda when Al Qaeda was sworn to destroy Israel. The man replied by talking about his childhood, his Islamic education. He had learned about the Jews from the Koran. That was the truth, of course."

Rule No. 19

"All of these inter-related phenomena serve as windows of understanding for us, through which we become able to grasp the demented and psychopathic psychology that creates the need for a rule such as the Taliban’s No. 19. It is a rule that exposes a fanatic mindset that holds the sight and reality of an unveiled woman to be a horrific nightmare and the greatest sin, yet simultaneously considers the forced rape of a young prepubescent boy to be in the normal swing of things.

It is on this eerie and putrid plateau that we come to see the factors that spawn the yearning for death and suicide inside militant Islam. Circumscribed in the most vicious and sadistic of ways, the men imprisoned in these cages long to regain a masculinity and humanity that was violently robbed from them as children. In a setting where healing through contact with feminine affection is denied and considered evil, self-extinction through hurting the “enemy” -- and the tempter -- becomes the only way out


"Here are rules No. 31-35, as proposed by Laity:

Rule 31: Suicide bombings will be a standard tactic and indiscriminate killing of civilians is regarded as irrelevant. However Taliban should not talk about this publicly because it is offensive to Afghan culture and morality.

Rule 32: In order to protect ourselves from international forces, Taliban should hide amongst civilians and as a standard tactic use women and children as shields against attacks.

Rule 33: Taliban should have no hesitation about abusing Afghan hospitality by using intimidation to force their way into citizens' homes.

Rule 34: Taliban should further exploit Afghan hospitality by using their homes as bases to launch attacks on international and Afghan forces.

Rule 35: Taliban should lie to the public to both exaggerate their successes and minimize their failures."
"As the decent world rejoices let us remember why his rape rooms and acid baths, his plastic shredders and mass graves are now shut down; why his plans to build nuclear and chemical and biological weapons and use them on his enemies are aborted; why his reign is over. For Saddam would be a force for evil in the world today if brave and courageous men women had not been determined to take him down and had not stayed the course until it was done."
"“We are worried,” Antonios said, “that [Saad] Hariri wants to use the tribunal to go after people whose faces in Lebanon he doesn’t like.”

I think I must have audibly sighed when I heard that. But these guys live in a part of the world where politics has always been a ruthless and murderous business. Political enemies really do disappear into dungeons. Voicing the “wrong” opinion in a newspaper column can get you car-bombed on the way to work in the morning. Foreign powers really do manipulate local governments for their own craven gain. Paranoia naturally thrives in environments like Lebanon’s, and I’m honestly surprised it isn’t an even bigger problem than it already is."

Founding Hunches

"We hold these preliminary findings to be more or less accurate, at least for now, that all cultures have equal validity, and that each culture has its own ideas about rights and duties and so forth and so on and blah blah blah. In our case, we have hit upon this idea -- no offense, but we have this tentative idea -- subject to further studies, of course -- that we would like the government -- that would be your government -- to cut us some slack so that we can do what we want to do -- basically acquire property and be happy, but not limiting ourselves to that. Anyhoo, it is our culturally conditioned idea that Governments -- not all of them, of course, but ours -- should actually derive their power from the people, although we have respect and tolerance for the contrary view that you folks hold. Nevertheless, some of our more headstrong citizens think that we should be able to form a government based upon these vague hunches of ours, which, after all, are as good as your hunches. No, that was rude -- let's just say that our hunches are different than yours, and leave it at that.... No one can presume to be a judge of whose hunches are best.... At any rate, since, as the saying goes, "different strokes for different folks".... "

Abnormal Psychology Isn't Our Field

"We rarely engage with the moonbats, mostly because we are busy and have neither the time nor the inclination. But, apart from its entertainment value, this episode illustrates, I think, some features of the moonbattery that is so common on liberal web sites: First, the tendency to fixate on, and go completely nuts over, a point that is of little or no importance. The whole "issue" of Kerry being more or less shunned by the troops was of less than earth-shaking consequence. Beyond that, when I tried to explain this controversy to my wife last night, she reacted with puzzlement: "What difference does it make if the picture was taken in January or December? It shows the troops avoiding Kerry either way." True; so, as often happens, the moonbats' rage was mounted over something that was minor at best.

Second, the immediate resort to abuse and invective. There is no middle ground with the moonbats; no reasoned critiques; no thoughtful questions; no logical observations. Instead, there is unreasoning rage. These are people who, if you were around them in person, would cause you to start edging toward a doorway while surveying the room for a blunt object, just in case.

Third, the obliviousness to obvious and innocent explanations. Our military correspondent hit the nail on the head when he referred to Occam's Razor. The moonbats don't rebut simple, benign explanations; they just ignore them in favor of gothic, fevered conspiracy theories. Their logic system favors, not the simplest explanation, but the darkest one.

It was kind of fun kicking around the moonbats over the last day or two, but I think it will be a while before we pay attention to them again. Abnormal psychology isn't our field."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

"In Iran, President Ahmadinejad said, "I have signed legislation outlawing Israel, Britain and the United States. The bombing begins in 18 minutes!" Commentators observed that he was obviously channeling a Reagan joke made when the mike was off and noted the difficulties Gorbachev faced in his bid to bring about world peace. The bombing actually did begin 18 minutes later, leading to renewed calls for stiff U.N. sanctions on toner cartridges, a move that would severely crimp Iran's ability to make copies of its instructions to its regional operatives."
"The question stands."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"How has it come to this? In this devastating indictment, the cri de coeur of an Englishman who loves France but is exasperated by the French, the background to this breakdown of civil society gradually emerges. David Pryce-Jones has discovered the explanation in the archives of the French foreign ministry, known after its imposing headquarters, the Quai d’Orsay. The corps diplomatique who have run this institution like a private club - known to initiates simply as ‘la carrière’ - are responsible not only for the decline of French prestige abroad, but also for creating the conditions for the unfolding catastrophe at home.

Like so many misfortunes, this one has its origins in the megalomania of the Bonaparte clan. For more than two centuries, since Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt, French diplomacy has been gripped by a delusion of grandeur: the idea of France as une puissance musulmane, ‘a Muslim power’ - a phrase that has a new and sinister echo now."
"This is a true story....Check out this photo from our mess hall at the US Embassy yesterday morning. Sen. Kerry found himself all alone while he was over here. He cancelled his press conference because no one came, he worked out alone in the gym w/o any soldiers even going up to say hi or ask for an autograph (I was one of those who was in the gym at the same time), and he found himself eating breakfast with only a couple of folks who are obviously not troops.

What is amazing is Bill O'Reilly came to visit with us and the troops at the CSH the same day and the line for autographs extended through the palace and people waited for two hours to shake his hand. You decide who is more respected and loved by us servicemen and women!"

Today's Multi-Culti Satire

""I am going to tell the truth. We Africans really enjoy living in shantytowns where there isn't enough food, health care, or education for our children. Furthermore, our corrupt chieftaincy political systems are really marvelous.... It would be boring if free, democratic elections were organized all over Africa. Were that to happen, we would no longer be real Africans, and by losing our identity -- and our authoritarianism, our bloody civil wars, our illiteracy, our forty-five year life expectancy -- we should be letting down not only ourselves but those Western anthropologists who study us so sympathetically and understand that we can't be expected to behave like human beings who seek dignity.... So let us fight with the full support of those Western scholars who have the wisdom and courage to acknowledge that Africans belong to different world.”"

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas! And don't forget the slack! All the batteries are installed so now I can get back to it...