Saturday, July 07, 2007

Welcome To The Caliphate

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If you want to see what the Caliphate will look like, just take a gander at the Islamic Republic of Iran. And one of its salient features is the compulsive repression of women. I’m not sure that modern psychology is up to this one, although I think earlier psychoanalysts like Eric Fromm were. There is a pathological fear of love, because true love necessarily permits freedom for both partners. True love is the result of a free choice, and a loving marriage endures when both choose to continue, with all the compromises and even sacrifices that entails.

The mullahs hate all that. They want to dominate women at all costs. So it is not surprising to find stories like this:

AFP - World News
Jul 3, 2007

Tehran - Iran has sentenced a women’s rights activist to flogging and almost three years in jail for taking part in a 2006 protest over “discriminatory” laws, the ILNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

Except One

And yet despite the advantage of fighting in the heart of the Arab World he was running out of recruits, which is the entire point of his whole video. Maybe the American strategy of turning the Sunnis against the al-Qaeda has had international repercussions on his recruiting. Word is filtering back to other Arab countries that al-Qaeda is the enemy; that it's not all it was cracked up to be when it could be viewed from the romantic distance of Afghanistan. Up close it was ugly. In an indirect way the battlefield has produced what diplomacy was supposed to and could not. It has alienated al-Qaeda from some of its Sunni base. If I am right, it's a thunderclap. And I suspect I am right because right aferward Zawahiri waxes poetic on the great "conquests" of Islam. The attacks on the embassies, on the USS Cole. September 11. Attacks in Europe. But he has no victories to offer after that. Except one. Political victories in America.

Ostriches Today

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On July 4, Zawahiri released a new video tape. The production values are pretty good, and Zawahiri is intercut with other footage, including television clips. What is striking about Zawahiri's message, however, is how defensive it is. And what Zawahiri is defensive about, is events in Iraq.

In part, as many commentators have noted, Zawahiri's plea for unity in Iraq reflects the abandonment of al Qaeda by most Sunnis there, and the fact that many Sunnis have joined with the U.S. and the Iraqi government in fighting al Qaeda. But the defensiveness Zawahiri betrays goes well beyond that schism. He plainly is concerned about how things are going in Iraq, and is anxious to generate support for his organization's efforts there.

I've never understood the theory that Iraq is somehow unrelated to the broader war on terror. It would not be possible to read what al Qaeda's leaders have written and listen to their tapes, and hold that view.

Dems Somehow Miss Baked Baqubah Boys?

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At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

Funny how this seems AWOL from the Dem retreat talking points...

The Progression

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It's interesting to trace the grievances against the economy during the Bush administration over time. The progression goes something like this: recession; jobless recovery; the creation of too many low wage jobs; new jobs too concentrated in high paying categories.

Trophy Time

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I don't see why not. In 2004, America came fairly close to electing a trophy husband.

The Elephant (Lieberman Edition)

In truth, the Iranians have been at war with us since 1979, a fact that Jimmy Carter ignored for 444 days and almost every President since did for the entirety of their terms. Now the Senate wants to take up the ISG's recommendations and pass them into law, based on the notion that we can negotiate for good terms with a nation that has done nothing but attack our interests for a generation. It moves American denial from the absurd to an art form -- and Lieberman seems to be the only statesman in Washington pointing out the obvious.

We have tried negotiations with Iran for two decades. People seem to forget the Iran-Contra scandal at convenient times, but the heart of the issue was Ronald Reagan's misguided attempt to gain the freedom of hostages in Lebanon by trading with the mullahcracy. It worked -- as far as it went. Iran had the hostages released after Iran got its military hardware, and afterwards went right back to fomenting terrorism in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.

Private Jets For Climate Change

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Matt Bellamy, front man of the rock band Muse, has dubbed it 'private jets for climate change'.

A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that far from saving the planet, the extravaganza will generate a huge fuel bill, acres of garbage, thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, and a mileage total equal to the movement of an army.