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11751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 24, 2007, 01:26:43 PM

August 21, 2007

Fitzgerald: The point of CNN's religious fundamentalism series

Christiane Amanpour has at least one parent who was part of what one would have hoped to describe as the intelligent secular ancien regime. They were the people pushed out by Khomeini and his epigones, and therefore, one would have thought, comprehending the nature of Islam. Well, it turns out that not everyone who has fled Iran quite has that necessary understanding. Some like to pretend that Khomeini is a sport, when the real sport was the Shah and his father, in their de-emphasis on Islam, their emphasis on the pre-Islamic past of Iran, and their willingness to limit the power of the mullahs -- and, above all, to give the non-Muslims of Iran, the Christians, Jews, and Baha'is, reasonable security and even something akin to legal equality.

But Amanpour does not realize that. Nor, in her aggressive climb through the media ranks, has she stopped to study Islam. She has not stopped to find out what happened to the Zoroastrians or what happens to them in Iran today. She has not stopped to find out why, even in the 20th century, a Jew could be killed for going out in the rain (where a drop might ricochet off him and hit an innocent Muslim with this raindrop of najis-ness, thus contaminating him).

She might, that is, have begun with the history of Islam in Iran and considered the treatment of non-Muslims, and how Shah Abbas II overnight ordered the conversion of all the Jews and Armenians in an Iranian city (possibly Tabriz), and why the real, as opposed to the Iranian exile's dreamy fictional history of Iran, is full of such episodes. She might have gotten hold of E. J. Browne's work on Persian literature, and studied Hafiz and Sa'adi. She might have read Omar Khayyam, and come to realize just how un-Islamic he was. She might have read the Shahnameh of Firdowsi, and seen how his literary talent was put to work preventing the linguistic and cultural imperialism of the Arabs from successfully coming to damage and then overwhelm the Iranian culture. She might have done a special program on Islam as a vehicle of Arab cultural and linguistic imperialism, and used Iran as an example of one place where it did not succeed as it did elsewhere.

Oh, there are many things that raw-boned massive Christiane Amanpour might have done, if she had allowed herself the leisure to think, and be something more than one more media star, one more mere reporter incapable of making sense of what she reports on.

But she did none of it. She clawed and clawed to the top. She entered into a mariage blanc, a white marriage of grayish convenience, with James Rubin. She travels, she reports from here, she reports from there. She is like so many of them, with their fabulous salaries, their baseless self-assurance, their inability to convey anything difficult, anything that requires instructing us rather than feeding us visual and verbal pablum.

If you have seen the presentation of those "Christian fundamentalists" (read: Fanatics), then you will observe how carefully the cameramen have captured those flags, and taken shots of hands uplifted in prayer or hallelujahs to make sure the viewer gets the impression of a Nuremberg rally, with these "Christians" heil-hitlering all over the place. Very carefully done, very artfully and deliberately done. She, Christiane Amanpour, is of course determined to make this group of Christians look as bad as possible, and then to convince us that they represent a huge number of people, and to do the same, when their time comes, to those wild-eyed fanatical Jews, those "Biblical settlers" who think -- imagine that! -- that the Land of Israel, that gigantic land, practically the size of Connecticut or is it Massachusetts, was given in a Covenant to the Jews. What a terrible thing, what a thing so utterly comparable, is it not, to the view in Islam that the entire world belongs to Muslims, and that they must by right dominate everywhere?

Do you see a little something not quite symmetrical in her view, in her presentation, or that of her crew, so willing to play ball? Meanwhile, one wonders how she can stand herself. And why CNN so obviously insults us, in reducing the menace of Islam, the menace that only a fool could ignore, and the full scope of which, based on immutable texts, becomes clearer to the intelligent every day, to something like the non-existent menace from those wild-eyed Nurembergian Christians, with Amanpour as their recording Riefenstahl, or those crazy "West Bank" settlers, in their trailers, choosing to live among a million Arabs -- "Palestinians" -- who of course have every right to be there, because...well, isn't the Middle East the same thing as the Arab World, after all? Where do those pesky remnants of Jews, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Copts, Maronites, Mandeans, Yazidis, Armenians, and all the others come from? Why don't they go back where they came from? The "Arab World," the "Muslim Arab World" -- now that's more like it. That's just the ticket.

Because, you see, Every Group Has Its Crazies. And those crazies, you see, are exactly alike, in what they want, and how they act, and the size of the demands they make on the rest of us. But exactly.

That's the point of this series. You didn't think there was another point, did you?
11752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: August 24, 2007, 01:14:53 PM
If National People's Radio is covering it, then I know what the film's agenda is..... rolleyes
11753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: August 24, 2007, 03:24:44 AM
Drama of a Tough Marine   
By Ralph Peters
The New York Post | 8/24/2007

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - A Marine appeared in the doorway of the battalion commander's office. "Sir, we've got an ident on a mortar team."
Marine Lt. Col. Nate Nastase stood up behind his desk. He'd been briefing me on his area of operations just east of Fallujah, where the sheiks recently flipped to our side and a fading, but still lethal, al Qaeda struggled to stay in the game.

Nastase moves with a purpose. He led the way through the smack-down heat to the operations center next door. Adrenaline laced the air. The ops staff of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, believed they had a fix on a target they'd been hunting, a terrorist hit-and-run mortar crew determined to announce that al Qaeda was still around.

But there was a problem. Ordinarily, Marine artillery would've shot counter-fire as soon as their radars picked up the incoming round. But there had been a line-of-fire issue. Fortunately, a well planned surveillance mission was in the air at just the right spot. The system didn't catch the round being fired, but quickly spotted a vehicle at the shooter's location.

It didn't seem like a coincidence. The area was a scrub waste, with no one else in evidence. There was no good reason for anybody to be there.

Lt. Col. Nastase would have to make the decision to green-light an airstrike.

Sounds clear-cut. But few things are straightforward in Iraq. Since no one saw a concealed mortar actually fire from the truck or beside it, it was impossible to be 100 percent certain.

What if it was a coincidence? The Marines had spent months building a crucial partnership with local tribes who had been our enemies for years. Now the local Sunni Arabs are on board in the fight against al Qaeda (and al Qaeda doesn't like it - earlier in the week, a mortar round killed a key sheik's daughter and one of his bodyguards).

Everyone in the room and the adjacent bay felt the same longing to pull the trigger, to take out that mortar crew. But Nastase would have to decide. And the vehicle was already on the move, headed toward another unit's sector, jumping a boundary - the military equivalent of a state line.

Nastase remained a study in self-control, reining in the emotions in the room simply by giving clear instructions and asking short, sharp questions. Appearing no older than a captain, Nastase looks like a combination of Tom Cruise and a Sicilian boxer.

A ground-attack aircraft was on station, but would soon need to refuel. What did the battalion commander want to do?

Suddenly, the target vehicle stopped in the middle of nowhere. Another vehicle, pointed in the opposite direction, pulled up beside it. Was the mortar crew switching rides, letting an unsuspecting driver take the hit if the Americans were on to them? Was evidence being transferred?

What if there was an innocent explanation for the vehicles' behavior? A misguided attack could alienate the locals again.

The vehicles broke apart, with the main suspect taking off toward the sister unit's sector. That meant checking to ensure that no friendlies were in the area and coordinating all fires - if the decision were made to shoot.

The vehicle pulled up beside a house. Just inside the other unit's boundary.

What if al Qaeda were setting the entire thing up to get us to attack a home where women and children were present? What if they were playing all of our technical advantages against us and springing a political trap? Contrary to the myths of the left, no Americans leaders want to harm the innocent. And the local repercussions of bad targeting could set back reconciliation efforts by months.

Still, everybody in that room wanted to shoot. Hitting back is the natural impulse for Marines or soldiers - get the enemy, any time you can. Nail that mortar team while we've got them.

Everything was in place for the attack.

The commander looked over the incoming data one last time. A decisive man, Nastase still had to be the one perfectly clear thinker in the room. Everyone else was doing his job, and doing it well. But unleashing the power of the U.S. military was up to one lieutenant colonel.

He chose not to shoot. If a surveillance system had actually spotted a mortar round coming out of the vehicle or from a position near it, the decision would have gone the other way. But there was just enough uncertainty to convince the battalion commander that protecting the vital, new alliance with the local sheiks was the priority.

Everyone must've been disappointed. But they didn't show it. They're Marines. They just carry on with the mission.

Nastase must've felt the letdown, too. But he was comfortable with his decision. And the mission wasn't a complete failure, not by any means: Two suspect vehicles had been ID'd and the Marines could be on the look-out for them. A house had been pinpointed as a potential terrorist safe haven or staging area - the adjacent unit could raid it, maybe grabbing key terrorists and making an intelligence score.

All of the work by the troops out in the outposts and on patrol and by the staff was paying off: The Marines had narrowed down the possibilities and had known approximately where to watch for the terrorists this time. Next time might well be their last time. That mortar team wasn't going to live long.

But the round had gone to the terrorists. Even though they shot wild - almost as if they'd really been nothing but bait.

Everyone yearns to do the satisfying thing. But a leader has to do the wise thing. The battalion commander hadn't held back from a lack of guts, but because he knew that, this time, restraint was a better fit for his mission.

But it was a hard decision to make.

Lt. Col. Nastase gave a few final orders and walked back out into the heat. Alone.
11754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: August 24, 2007, 12:59:29 AM

Coulda, woulda, shoulda..... How will giving Al Qaeda and Iran both a big win by cutting and running help secure our country in this global war?
11755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 23, 2007, 08:07:44 PM
The MB has a global reach and HAMAS is just one of it's faces. Not that you'd know that by watching CNN..... rolleyes

Aside from that, it's just like the United Way with bomb vests. Good reporting there.
11756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 23, 2007, 07:57:54 PM

Counterterrorism Blog

Fearing the Law They Face

By The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)

Congressional plans to outlaw material support for designated terrorist groups and their leaders in 1996 caused a stir for leaders of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), evidence released Wednesday shows.

The foundation and five of its officials are on trial for violating that law, as they stand accused of providing material support to Hamas. In a telephone call intercepted by FBI agents under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, HLF founder Shukri Abu Baker discusses the legislation with HLF officer and fellow defendant Ghassan Elashi and an associate named Thomas Mohamed. “Up to this point,” Baker said, “the law differentiates between…for example the charitable and let’s say military wings of any organization…But after this passes, it will be the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re supporting charitable. It’s the same as long as that organization is named a terrorist organization.”

The defense insists it raised money solely to feed and care for needy Palestinian families and did not work in league with Hamas. The media, Baker said in the 1996 call, “is going out of its way to establish a link…between the Holy Land Foundation and, and, and other organizations. So this is not for nonsense. There is a purpose.” The media, in this case, is the Dallas Morning News and IPT Executive Director Steven Emerson. Morning News reporter Gayle Reaves had interviewed Baker two weeks earlier.

Other evidence released in the trial shows HLF repeatedly turned to Hamas members and affiliates for fundraisers. Its officials attended a secret 1993 meeting of Hamas members and sympathizers in Philadelphia to discuss ways to derail the new Oslo Peace Accords. And documents seized from HLF offices and other defendants show HLF and other U.S.-based Muslim groups were part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. Hamas is a Brotherhood offshoot.

But Baker and his HLF associates weren’t going to tell Reaves that. Baker briefed El-Mezain about Reaves’ questions in a call two days after her interview. They agreed that El-Mezain wouldn’t talk to Reaves:

“Tell her, ‘I called him and he is not scared of you,’” El-Mezain instructed, “‘but he has no time to see you.’”

Something else El-Mezain said in that call is revealing: “Tell her…I mean, regarding donations to Hamas at the time were not illegal. Also, in truth, they are an honor to the entire Palestinian people in the first place.”

Other testimony Wednesday from FBI Special Agent Robert Miranda focused on HLF’s efforts to protect its cover.

In July 2000 Baker hired a private investigator to check HLF office for bugs or other forms of surveillance. “The Basic RF Counter-Surveillance Sweep determined that certain aspects within the facility, and therefore the Foundation, have been under technical surveillance by unknown entities, for an undetermined period of time. At the time of the sweep, certain recommendations were made regarding these findings, as well as some general suggestions,” wrote Shihan Hale, president and CEO of the Executive Protection Group, Inc. in Dallas.

Hale offered a second title under his signature, that of Regional Director of Security for the Muslim American Society (MAS).

Evidence previously admitted in the trial shows MAS tasked as part of a “Confrontation Work Plan” in the agenda of a July 30, 1994 meeting of the Palestine Committee. “The activation of the role of MAS” is called upon “to educate the brothers in all work centers, mosques and organizations on the necessity of stopping any contacts with the Zionist organizations and the rejection of any future contacts…”

Court was dismissed early today and will resume Monday.

By The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) on August 23, 2007 10:15 AM
11757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 23, 2007, 07:53:03 PM
The Truth about the Muslim Brotherhood

By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen | June 16, 2006

On October 28, 2005,[1] President George W. Bush denounced IslamoFascist movements that call for a “violent and political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom.”

The Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun)[2] also known as the Ikhwan is a good example of what the President described and what he must protect us against.

The Muslim Brotherhood (“MB”) organization describes itself as a political and social revolutionary movement; it was founded in March 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, who objected to Western influence and called for return to an original Islam.[3]

The Brotherhood is an expansive and secretive society with followers in more than 70 countries, dedicated to creating a global Islamic order that would isolate women and punish nonbelievers. Its members and supporters founded al Qaeda, as well as one “of the largest college student groups in the United States.”[4]

The Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism, Juan Zarate, stated recently, “the Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians.”[5] In fact, The MB 1982 secret plan, (the Project) recently exposed, instructs all members locally and globally “To channel thought, education and action in order to establish an Islamic power [government] on the earth.” [6]

The Muslim Brotherhood has historically and continues to actively pursue the establishment of a Muslim regime that will serve as the basis to re-establish the Caliphate, not only by defending violence against civilians, The current leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Mahdi Akef,[7] “recently issued a new strategy calling on all its member organizations to serve its global agenda of defeating the West. He called on individual members of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide to not only join the “resistance” to the U.S. financially, but also through active participation.”[8] In the MB Project (1982), Point of Departure[9] instructs members,” To use diverse and varied surveillance systems, in several places, to gather information and adopt a single effective warning system serving the worldwide Islamic movement. In fact, surveillance, policy decisions and effective communications complement each other.”

In an interview to the London based Asharq Al-Awsat,[10] an international Arab newspaper on December 11, 2005, Akef stated that “the Muslim Brotherhood is a global movement whose members cooperate with each other throughout the world, based on the same religious worldview - the spread of Islam, until it rules the world.”

To that end, Akef said, “the Muslim Brotherhood… are an all-encompassing Islamic organization, calling to the adoption of the great religion that Allah gave in his mercy to humanity.” Meanwhile, according to its leader, the MB is busily cementing its ties: “We are in the global arena, and we preach for Allah according to the guidelines of the Muslim Brotherhood. All the members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the international arena operate according to the written charter that states that Jihad is the only way to achieve these goals[11]. “Ours is the largest organization in the world,” he said.

Akef emphasized, “A Muslim in the international arena, who believes in the charter of the Muslim Brotherhood is considered part of us and we are considered part of him[12].”

In earlier interviews, ‘Akef called the U.S. “a Satan that abuses the religion.” He said: “I expect America to collapse soon,” declaring, “I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America[13].” Although U.S. observers often view the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Hamas as less violent than al-Qaeda, the Brotherhood has long been actively supporting global jihadi efforts. “Prior to the U.S.-led attack on the Taliban regime, the Muslim Brotherhood actually had training camps in Afghanistan where it worked with Kashmiri militants and sought to expand its influence in Central Asian states, especially Tajikistan.”[14]

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Muslim Brotherhood reacted to Hamas’ January 2006 electoral victory as not merely as a local achievement, but “a victory of the Islamic nation in its entirety,[15]” and as an expression of the concept that “the path of Islam is the true solution.”

As the parent of all Sunni and many other Islamist terrorist groups, the MB, to deflect attention, uses its long-term strategy, known as “flexibility”[16] (muruna[17] in Arabic). This chameleon-like adaptation is tactical moderation with the ultimate objective of complete Islamization of society.[18] Indeed, the MB’s 1982 project calls on members “To reconcile international engagement with flexibility at a local level.”[19]

Today, when the West focuses on Islamist terrorism, the MB usually refrains from publicly advocating violence. The MB’s 1982 Project, calls on its members “To master the art of the possible on a temporary basis without abusing the basic [Islamic] principles… we should not look for confrontation with our adversaries, at the local or the global scale, which would be disproportionate and could lead to attacks against the dawa or its disciples.”[20]

As stated on its charter and its website, the MB seeks to install an Islamic totalitarian empire, a worldwide Caliphate, through stages designed to Islamize [21] targeted nations by whatever means available.

A principal danger of MB activities is that they are hidden behind “religious” ideology. Moreover, this ideology dictates concealment (Kitman).[22] In fact saying, “we should keep hush-hush on things that are still in preparation.” This ideology controls every aspect of life and seeks to impose that control on everyone.

In the end, the MB intends to overthrow all secular governments and impose Islamic law (Shari’a) worldwide, and it is diligently pursuing this goal. In July 2005, former Kuwaiti minister of education Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab'i,[23] wrote in the Arabic London daily, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "The beginnings of all of the religious terrorism that we are witnessing today were in the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology." Thus, on its website,[24] the MB advocates, “Establishing the Islamic government.”

“Building the Muslim state…Building the Khilafa…Mastering the world with Islam,”[25]; however, would necessarily deprive Americans of their First Amendment, rights.[26] The first clause in the Amendment states there shall be “no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The First Amendment also upholds an individuals’ right to religious freedom. But as determined by its doctrine, the MB would exploit that right—along with First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly—to actively seek the imposition of laws that would deny religious freedom to everyone else.

Moreover, the MB guiding principles celebrate its major [and continuing] role in the struggle to liberate Muslims lands. The ikhwan's bravery in the 1948 Palestine war has been recorded by all sides. The total number of volunteers from the ikhwan in 1948 numbered 10,000 from Egypt, Syria and other countries. In addition to participating in the battle to liberate Palestine, they served to raise the consciousness of Muslims all over the Islamic World and restore to them the spirit of struggle and dignity. The ikhwan have played a role in liberating Muslim lands from colonialist powers in almost every Muslim country. The ikhwan were active amongst Muslims in Central Asian Muslim republics since the '70s, and their involvement can be seen recently in such republics as Tajikistan. More recently they had a major role in the struggle for Afghanistan and Kashmir[27].

Clearly, the MB strives for Muslim supremacy, often violently.

The MB’s readiness to use violence was demonstrated in the U.S., in 1993 with the bombing the World trade Center in NYC. Exiled MB leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, in U.S. prison for plotting this attack, also planned to blow up bridges and tunnels in Manhattan.[28] Since then, the MB affiliated groups in the U.S., focused their activities and agenda to condition American minds and behavior to create an Islamic foundation from which violence can spring when the time is right.

And future violence is all but guaranteed: In 2004, MB leader Mohammad Mahdi Akef publicly promoted “Palestinian and Iraqi suicide bombers, called for the destruction of Israel and asserted that the United States has no proof that Al Qaeda was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.”[29]

Actively promoting its radical religious ideology, the MB may well meet the definition of a “terrorist organization,” under the Patriot Act, even though it has not been so designated by the U.S. government. The law stipulates “terrorist organizations to potentially include terrorist organizations not designated by the Secretary of State …A group that is engaged in terrorist activities might not be designated as a terrorist organization because, inter alia, the group’s activities escape the notice of U.S. officials responsible for designated organizations as terrorist; the group has shifting alliances; or designating the group as a terrorist organization would jeopardize ongoing U.S. criminal or military operations”. [30]

Terrorist organizations are legally defined as groups of two or more individuals that have “committed, incited, planned, prepared, gathered information or provided material support for terrorist activities.” However, terrorist activity can in some instances include even “indirect” actions such as group membership and advocacy. [31]

In addition, the REAL ID Act of 2005 significantly expanded the legal definition “terrorist organization” as it pertains to U.S. immigration law. “Terrorist organizations” now include any group that solicit funds or memberships for either terrorist organizations or activities, or otherwise provide them material support. The definition now covers groups with subgroups engaged in terrorist activities, too. [32]As we discuss below, the MB has many such subgroups and has spawned many offspring— thus the MB and all its offspring now seem to fit these legal criteria.

The definition of “engaged in terrorist activity” was also broadened under the Real ID Act, to include belonging to, associating with, soliciting or recruiting for, or giving material support to a terrorist organization or even a single member, including non-designated terrorist organizations. Furthermore, if they so claim, the burden is now on aliens to prove that they could not reasonably have known that their actions supported a terrorist group. [33]

The Caricatures Riots

The riots following the publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in the then obscure Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, [34] in September 2005, should have surprised no one. In fact, the seeds of Islamic attacks against Denmark, as a stepping-stone to the Islamist takeover of Europe, in line with the MB agenda, were planted long before the cartoons were published.

In April 15, 2005, five months before the cartoons ran, Palestinian preacher and leader of Hizb ut Tahrir (a radical group that works to establish the Caliphate), Sheikh Issam Amayra, from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, called upon Muslims in Denmark to begin a holy war, according to his sermon translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, director of Orient research Group in Toronto, Canada.

Amayra’s sermon warned that: “…the three percent of the Muslims in Denmark constitute a threat to the future of the kingdom of Denmark. And that should not be a surprise. After all, the Muslims in Yathrib [the city of Medina, before Mohammed moved there from Mecca] constituted less than three percent of the population there. Yet they managed to change Yathrib into Medina. Thus, it should not be a surprise that our Danish brothers manage to bring Islam to all the homes of the Danes. Allah will grant them the victory in their country in order to raise the Caliphate in Denmark.”

Amayra continued, “Afterwards the citizens of the Caliphate (which will be raised in Denmark) will wage war on Oslo, and after they change that city’s name to Medina [for the Arabian holy city] they will fight their neighboring Scandinavian countries in order to join their lands to the territory of the Caliphate. In the next stage, they will wage a holy war and spread the message of Islam to the rest of Europe, until they reach the original city of Medina. Then they will join both cities under the banner of Islam.”

Clearly, the riots in Denmark and throughout the world were not spontaneous, but planned and organized well in advance[35] by Islamist organizations that support the MB, and with funding mostly from Saudi Arabia.[36]

The MB and its offspring organizations employ the Flexibility strategy in the U.S. and wherever they operate. This strategy calls for a minority group of Muslims to use all “legal” means to infiltrate majority-dominated, non-Muslim secular and religious institutions, starting with its universities. As a result, “Islamized” Muslim and non-Muslim university graduates enter the nation’s workforce, including its government and civil service sectors, where they are poised to subvert U.S. law enforcement agencies, intelligence communities, military branches, foreign services, and financial institutions.
11758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 23, 2007, 05:26:01 PM

Do you understand the connection between HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood ?
11759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: August 23, 2007, 12:01:22 PM
Private Papers

August 19, 2007
In Their Own Words
Newly translated writings of the al Qaeda leadership.
by Bruce Thornton
Private Papers

The Al Qaeda Reader, ed. Raymond Ibrahim, Introduction by Victor Davis Hanson, Doubleday.

Given that war, as both Sun Tzu and Mohammed preached, is deception, it behooves us to understand accurately the enemy’s motivations and not be fooled by his deceiving propaganda. Yet in the current war against Islamic jihad, the West has stubbornly refused to take seriously what the jihadists tell us, believing instead what Thucydides called the “pretexts” with which an enemy rationalizes his aggression. Osama bin Laden and his theorist Aymin al Zawahiri in particular have provided us with numerous texts outlining the Islamic foundations of their war against the West. A few of these pronouncements and manifestoes have long been available, but now thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, writings previously unavailable in English can be studied and analyzed. Such study will provide powerful evidence that contrary to the deceptions of apologists and the naïve delusions of some Westerners, the bases of the jihadists’ actions lie squarely within Islamic tradition, not in the alleged Western crimes against Islam.

Fluent in Arabic and trained as a historian in the ancient Middle East, Ibrahim is currently a technician in the Library of Congress’ Near East Section, where he discovered al Qaeda documents that had not been translated into English. He has organized these writings into two sections: theology, writings intended for fellow Muslims that ground al Qaeda’s war against the West in the traditional Islamic doctrine of jihad; and propaganda, writings meant for Westerners that cast bin Laden’s war as a just response to the depredations of Western powers.

The documents in the first section make a sustained, coherent argument for offensive jihad based on the Koran, the Hadith (the traditions of the words and deeds of Mohammed), and the Ulema (past and present scholars of Islam). Indeed, as Ibrahim notes, “Zawahiri’s writings especially are grounded in Islam’s roots of jurisprudence; in fact, of the many thousands of words translated here from his three treatises, well more than half are direct quotations from the Koran the Sunna [words, habits, and practices] of Mohammed, and the consensus and conclusions of the Ulema.” This extensive grounding weakens the “highjacking” charge apologists use to explain Islamic jihad. On the contrary, al Qaeda’s arguments are unexceptionally traditional — which is why, of course, millions of Muslims accept them.

In these writings addressed to fellow Muslims, bin Laden and Zawahiri argue against the notion of “moderate” Islam; the compatibility of Sharia (laws governing Islamic society) with democracy; the idea of accommodation with the enemy; and the prohibition against killing women and children. In other words, they meticulously attack as distortions of Islam all the popular assertions about Islam’s nature promulgated by apologists, Westernized Muslims, and even many Christians. As bin Laden himself writes in “Moderate Islam Is a Prostration to the West” — a letter written to the Saudi theologians who in 2002 publicly advocated coexistence with the West — such moderation necessitates the adoption of Western values: “They [the Saudi theologians] first acknowledge their [Westerners’] values and ideologies in their entirety, while shying away from evoking the truth valued by the Religion [Islam] and its foundations.” Even the notion of “co-existence” is a Western idea contrary to Islam: “As if one of the foundations of our religion is how to coexist with infidels!” Quite the contrary: the traditions and foundations of Islam urge believers to “wage war against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be ruthless against them” (Koran 66:9), a verse Zawahiri quotes along with the commentary of al Qurtubi, 13th-century author of a 20-volume exegesis of the Koran: “There is but one theme — and that is zeal for the religion of Allah. He commands the waging of Jihad against the infidel by use of sword, sound sermons, and the summons to Allah.”

So too with other Western notions such as tolerance and “dialogue,” which bin Laden correctly asserts are “built on Western conceptions, which themselves rest upon the most loathsome, secular principles.” Indeed, bin Laden has a strong case, for he appeals for evidence to the life and practices of Mohammed and his companions — along with the Koran the Muslim’s guide to every aspect of life — and asks sarcastically, “What evidence is there for Muslims for this [dialogue and shared understanding]? What did the Prophet, the companions after him, and the righteous forebears do? Did they wage jihad against the infidels, attacking them all over the earth, in order to place them under the suzerainty of Islam in great humility and submission? Or did they send messages to discover ‘shared understandings’ between themselves and the infidels in order that they may reach an understanding whereby universal peace, security, and natural relations would spread — in such a satanic manner as this?”

History shows that bin Laden has the better understanding of Islam than do Western apologists; as Ibrahim summarizes the argument, “‘radical’ Islam is Islam — without exception.” In this same vein, Zawahiri argues in his “Loyalty and Enmity” that the only relationship one can have with the infidel is enmity. Zawahiri buttresses this argument with numerous quotations from Islamic theology, the most important coming from the Koran 60:4: “‘We disown you and the idols which you worship besides Allah. We renounce you: enmity and hate shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone.’” On this authority comes the necessity to wage jihad against the infidel.

Perhaps the most important document in Ibrahim’s collection is Zawahiri’s “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents.” For years, we have been told that terrorism is un-Islamic because Islam forbids suicide and the killing of non-combatants. Zawahiri, however, teases out from Islamic tradition a perfectly rational and coherent argument in support of terrorism and suicide bombings.

Zawahiri starts by repeating Islam’s acceptance of deception in war as justified, thus legitimizing suicide bombings, which are deceptive by nature. Next, he builds his argument on selected hadiths, which as Ibrahim notes requires some interpretive stretching. Zawahiri gets around this difficulty by resorting to analogy, “a legitimate tool of Islamic jurisprudence,” as Ibrahim reminds us. Zawahiri focuses on intention, why the Muslim kills himself, not who kills him: “Thus the deciding factor in all these situations is one and the same: the intention — is it to service Islam [martyrdom] or is it out of depression and [despair]?” As for killing women and children, Mohammed himself provides a precedent during the siege of Ta’if, where he used catapults. The Prophet’s response to the question of killing women and children, which of course catapult missiles would do perforce, was “They [women and children] are from among them [infidels].” Again, the ultimate intention is the key: referring to al Shafi’ and the Hanbalis, two schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Zawahiri argues that it is permissible “to bombard the idolators even if Muslims and those who are cautioned against killing are intermingled with them as long as there is a need or an obligation for Muslims to do so, or if not striking leads to a delay of the jihad.”

Zawahiri’s reasoning in defense of suicide bombing may be ultimately unconvincing to many Muslims, or unsustainable by more careful exegesis. But the mere fact that such a case can be made — something impossible to do in the Christian, or Hebraic, or Hindu, or Buddhist traditions — and that millions of faithful Muslims accept the case, speaks volumes about the “religion of peace.”

The next section of The Al Qaeda Reader comprises selections Ibrahim calls “propaganda,” arguments designed for Westerners that exploit all the self-loathing pathologies of Western intellectuals. Every distortion of history repeated in thousands of American college classrooms, every lurid lie peddled by the Chomsky-Moore cult is repeated by bin Laden, the only difference being a much more explicit indulgence in anti-Semitism. Thus in “Israel, Oil, and Iraq,” Bin Laden really doesn’t sound much different from your typical college professor off on a rant about the Halliburton-Cheney-Bush-neocon [read Jews] nexus. We hear about the “Jews — who direct you [Americans] through the lie of ‘democracy’ to support the Israelis and their machination and in complete antagonism to our religion,” which is basically the same argument American academics continually make about the “Israeli lobby.” Bush is castigated in Chomskyean terms for “concealing his own ambitions and the ambitions of the Zionist lobby in their desire for oil.” Western guilt is massaged by statements like, “He [Bush] is still following the policy of his ancestors who slew the American Indians in order to seize their land and wealth” — this coming from a devotee of the most ruthlessly imperial religion ever. And our old leftist bogey, the “military-industrial complex,” appears when bin Laden tells our troops, “You are spilling your blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers and the proprietors of great companies.”

These leftist bromides appear over and over in subsequent speeches and manifestoes, and testify to bin Laden’s shrewd recognition of the West’s Achilles heel: the appeasing proclivities of its elite intellectuals who, riddled with self-loathing guilt, are incapable of defending their way of life and its highest goods. So our Saudi millionaire businessman rants on about “providing business [contracts] for their [the Bush administration] private corporations,” the 2000 presidential election “stolen” by the Bush clan, the “contracts acquired by large and dubious corporations, such as Halliburton,” and the stupidity of our troops, who “convinced of injustices and lies of their government . . . fight only for the sake of capitalists, the lords of usury [code for Jews], and arms and oil dealers — such as that gang of criminals in the White House.” Even the failure to sign the Kyoto agreement, the dropping of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, and the supposed flouting of international law — standard anti-American leftist charges — are trotted out by bin Laden, who mentions not one of these complaints when talking to fellow Muslims, for the simple reason that traditional Muslims care nothing for them. But guilt-ridden, self-loathing Westerners of the sort currently agitating for withdrawal from Iraq care very much.

The Al Qaeda Reader, simply by letting our enemies speak in their own voices, explodes the popular delusion that Western crimes and policies are responsible for the “distortion” of Islam that al Qaeda represents. As Ibrahim writes, “This volume of translations, taken as whole, prove once and for all that, despite the propaganda of Al Qaeda and its sympathizers, Radical Islam’s war with the West is not finite and limited to political grievances — real or imagined — but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in faith.” This means that the fight will be long and hard, that leaving Iraq or creating a Palestinian state will not buy peace, and that the side that accurately understands its enemy and has confidence in its own beliefs will ultimately triumph. Thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, we have the means for achieving that understanding.
11760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: August 23, 2007, 11:12:17 AM
I think Mexico should stop sending drugs and illegals over the border in protest!
11761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 22, 2007, 07:51:43 PM

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
From terrorism to trash collection

You would think that after more than 50 years of one of the most intimately chronicled conflicts in human history -- Israelis vs. Palestinians -- there would be nothing new to say, no surprises. You would be wrong.

Hamas, the radical Islamic movement that has launched suicide attacks in Israel, won the Palestinian elections in January, thereby creating two firsts:

1. The first time a regime has changed in the Arab world democratically through elections;

2. The first time an Islamist group has come to power through elections.

Hamas gained support among Palestinians through two decades of building an effective and affordable social welfare system in Gaza. It runs most of the kindergartens, funds health clinics, provides welfare checks to widows and orphans, and yes, even stages mass weddings to help unemployed young men get married.

During this year's election, Palestinians fed up with the rampant corruption and lawlessness of the late Yasser Arafat's government turned to the only alternative, Hamas.

So when people ask: "Why did the Palestinian people elect a terrorist group?" The answer is because they see them as a lifeline.

Each time I go to the Palestinian territory of Gaza, I am shocked by the reality on the ground. On a recent visit, I passed through a short tunnel from the First World in Israel and emerged into the Third World that is Gaza. The poverty there is among the worst in the world.

Hamas officials told me they did not expect to win the election as overwhelmingly as they did. They say their main priority now is to meet the demands of the people for a better life.

But that may be impossible, because Israel and the United States refuse to deal with Hamas and have already cut funding to the new Palestinian government.

Posted By Christiane Amanpour, CNN Correspondent: 11:03 AM ET

****Normally, you'd have to buy an infomercial to get spin this good, unless of course you're a terrorist group and it's a CNN "journalist".****
11762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 22, 2007, 06:06:37 PM

She's never found a terrorist she couldn't apologize for....Not so far anyway.
11763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 22, 2007, 01:31:40 PM
Published on (
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Offers Haiku Contest - But No Help - in FBI Terror Probe

By Bill Hobbs
Created 2007-08-21 20:18
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is refusing to run the photos of two men the FBI is seeking to question in connection with suspicious behavior aboard a Puget Sound ferry - behavior that could be a precursor to a terror plot, or could be nothing nefarious at all.

The Seattle PI reports the story here [1] and explains its rationalization for not publishing the photos here [2]. And - in a steller example of complete touchy-feely uselessness - the paper is holding a haiku-writing contest [3] for readers to write about how they feel about the FBI alert and the way the paper handled it.

From the report:

The FBI is asking the public for help in identifying two men who were seen behaving unusually aboard several Washington state ferries. About four weeks ago, the FBI fielded several reports from passengers and ferry workers about the men, who seemed "overly interested in the workings and layouts of the ferries," Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said Monday.

The FBI also publicized photos of the men, which were taken by a ferry employee, Burroughs said. The Seattle P-I is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.

From the excuse, er, rationalization, er, explanation by Seattle P-I Managing Editor David McCumber:

Ferry security is hugely important. So are civil liberties and privacy.

The P-I last year reported that according to a Justice Department inspector general's assessment, Puget Sound's ferries were the nation's No. 1 target for maritime terrorism.

This may well be a case of alert citizens spotting a very real threat. But running a photograph of two men who may as easily be tourists from Texas as terrorists from the Mideast with a story that makes them out to be persons of interest in a terrorism investigation seems problematic, to say the least.

Yeah. Of course it would be easier to find out which is the case if the FBI could find the guys. And it would be easier to find the guys if the Seattle P-I would publish the photos, so that Seattle-area residents would know what the men look like whom the FBI has asked the public to help them find. As it stands now, in the name of being politically correct, the Seattle P-I has decided to alarm the people of Seattle and leave them looking suspiciously at just about anyone who fits the general description of male and looking like they might be from the Middle East.

Besides, while McCumber raises the flag of "civil liberties and privacy," the men in the photo were photographed in public while on a public ferry.

There is no invasion of their privacy, nor of their civil liberties, by publishing the photos so that the authorities can locate and speak with the men.

Disagree with me on that? Consider this: If Managing Editor McCumber needed art to illustrate a story on the region's ferry system, he could and likely would dispatch a Seattle P-I photographer to one of the ferries, and publish a shot of random ferry passengers on the deck of the boat. The paper might not even bother to identify the people in the photo.

Newspapers publish crowd shots taken in public all the time without identifying the people in the photo or asking if they mind having their photo published - or knowing if they are or are not involved in some sort of criminal activity.

McCumber's excuse for not running the photos is ... beyond weak. It is a figleaf for political correctness run amok, political correctness that may compromise the security of the people of the Seattle area that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ostensibly exists to serve.

Politeness causes me to refrain from suggesting the editors of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer must be smoking something [4].

The good news: The P-I's decision to not run the photos is fueling widespread distribution of the photos in the blogosphere.

No word yet on how the Seattle Times is going to handle the FBI's request - the most recent story in the Seattle Times that seems relevant was this story [5] published August 3.

Here's more from the Jawa Report [6]. Also, the blogger at The View From Out Here, comments [7], "If we don’t know what they look like then how can we identify them? If you think they are just tourists, did you ever, on vacation, take pictures of a restricted area on a boat and tried to measure the size of the boat?"


The P-I should put the security of its community ahead of the desire to not hurt some folks' [8] feelings.

Update: Michelle Malkin's excellent post [9] on the Seattle ferry story reminds us of the the Seattle Times' investigation in 2004 on reports on jihadi probing of the ferry system [10].

Update: A commenter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's website notes how out of touch with reality the editors of that paper are about the new media world in which they now operate.

It's amazing to me to think that, in this internet era, the [paper] is arrogant enough to think that they can 'hide' something from the public. By not publishing the pictures, they are making themselves less relevant - additionally, through the controversy, they are making the story bigger than it would be otherwise. This is a perfect example of why newspapers, and big media in general, is losing readers by the thousands.

Neither the Seattle Post-Intelligencer nor the rival Seattle Times is the gatekeeper of information in the greater Seattle area anymore, if they ever were. Neither are any of the local TV news stations. There are just so many news outlets and distributors now - cable networks, websites of out-of-town papers, and blogs - that no matter what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer did, the people of Seattle were going to see these photos.

Thus, their decision to not publish the photos does not in any way accomplish the goal that drove that decision, while simultaneously showing the people of Seattle that the paper will put political correctness ahead of the security of thousands of Seattle-area ferry commuters - and demonstrating its increasing irrelevance in the broad and varied new-media landscape.

A dumb and dangerous decision all around.

Source URL:
11764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 22, 2007, 01:30:02 PM

The SPI protects possible terrorists.
11765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: August 21, 2007, 09:25:07 PM
War and the Fallacies of Our Critics   
By Bernard Chapin | 8/21/2007

Most of us are best known by our first names or from some sort of professional prefix, but scholar and writer, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, is often described by the simple acronym of “VDH.” His authoritative analysis of world events, foreign policy, classics, and military history has endeared him to many conservatives over the course of the last decade.

Dr. Hanson is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and also a professor emeritus at California University, Fresno. His columns are nationally syndicated for Tribune Media Services. I first became aware of him in 2001 after coming across Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power. It was also in that year that he first began writing for National Review. All told, Dr. Hanson has written or edited 16 books since his career began. Most recently he published, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. He also maintains a personal website that includes many of his works along with original insight from other writers. In 2002, he received the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism.

BC: Thanks so much for giving us some of your time, Dr. Hanson. First off, let me ask a general question. Do you think that, as a result of Iraq, the American people have a much more negative view of the military today than they have at any other point in history?

Victor Davis Hanson: Not at all. They realize that our military has fought both effectively and humanely in often impossible conditions. Most of the negative coverage—whether Newsweek's flushed Koran story, John Murtha's rush-to-judgment condemnation of the Marines accused of atrocities, or the New Republic's recent embarrassing fable about supposed American savagery-reveals bias of the left, not empirical research.

The military conducted a transparent investigation of Haditha, allows access to Guantanamo, rebuked those responsible for misleading statements about Pat Tillman, and punished those culpable for the roguery of Abu Ghraib. Can the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or the New Republic claim it makes fewer errors, or is as candid in redressing its mistakes? I fear only the ripples of a defeat in Iraq: quite unfairly the military would be blamed and Vietnam-like for a generation weakened by internal dissension, an external loss of prestige, and a new bellicosity from our enemies.

BC: With all the incessant criticism and umbrage caused by the invasion and our continued policing of Iraq, do you think it will be possible for America to fight and win any wars in the future? I mean, won’t we always lose the home front? Currently, it seems as if, among the mainstream media and the Democratic Party, no level of casualties is acceptable.

VDH: The richer, more leisured a society becomes of smaller and smaller families, the harder it is to deploy sons and daughters to the 7th ring of the Inferno like Iraq. And with world therapeutic news coverage, the postmodern dilemma is not only casualties (one can lose very few before open revolt at home ensues), but the morality of killing the enemy as well.

To many Americans, war is obsolete and can be legislated or condemned out of existence-as if an Ahmadinejad, Saddam, or Hugo Chavez cared much what the US, UN, or EU pontificates about.

In the present, we have used force in Grenada, Panama, the Gulf, the Balkans, and Afghanistan and Iraq on the principle of ending illiberal regimes before they threaten regional stability and cost us eventually far higher from neglect than intervention.

Under Bush this has been demonized as 'preemption' and 'unilateralism', even though, unlike Clinton against Serbia, he tried to involve the UN and got prior congressional approval. Like it or not, we will see less preemption, and more reaction, and the American people should be ready for the consequences, especially if we flee Iraq. Iran, North Korea, and Islamic terrorists, to say nothing of a Russia or China, operate on the principle of deterrence-their aggression checked only by a sober calculation of perceived costs versus benefits. Let us hope that American technology, a small cadre of 19th century brave souls in the military, and innate American know-how can save us from ourselves in the hours of war and peril to come.

BC: How do you think the current state of affairs will affect future Presidential decision-making in regards to military action? Perhaps I’m wrong, but how can any Commander in Chief function if the public begins referring to him as a “war criminal” after only a few bombing sorties?

VDH: He really can't. Almost all of al Qaeda's critiques of the US are recycled from Western leftists. Like rust, such Pavlovian hatred of a capitalist free West never sleeps, and the only way to counter it is with logic, reason-and victory. Should we win in Iraq—victory defined as something like Kurdistan—then even the most opportunistic critics will grow quiet. But seem weak and lose—and then even a John Murtha or Kerry can sound like Michael Moore or Sean Penn. We need more explanation of our aims and values in Iraq—and in postmodern war in general-less assertion if we are to counter the lies of the left, from "no blood for oil" to "Bush is a war criminal."

BC: What do you make of the political argument that only people in the military should speak of military affairs? Also, what of the practice of people like Michael Moore walking around wanting to know why Senators and Congressmen aren’t sending or signing-up their sons to fight in Iraq as if there is a personal basis for determining the course of national action?

VDH: And only oncologists can comment on cancer treatment or farmers the nation's food supply? As for the Chicken-hawk argument-first, there are no fronts in this war since 9/11; nearly as many were killed in Manhattan as during combat in Iraq. Second, this is a volunteer military where rights, responsibilities, and dangers are well understood. Third, each American according to his station contributes to the war effort-since out of a cohort of many millions of 18-25 year olds, only a few can serve in the front lines. In general, the military appreciates those who support its efforts more than those who either condemn it or think it is naively fooled by Halliburton profiteers.

BC: Over the years have you noticed, among the general public, a certain level of increased hostility towards the study of military history? If so, did such attitudes begin to form during the period of the Vietnam War?

VDH: Yes, then and during the 1980s, the rise of "theory" in our universities when there was a general withdrawal from empiricism, facts, dates, personages, etc, a movement that allowed the glib but uneducated to spin grand suppositions without the burden of proof or research. But there is a paradox—movies and books dealing with war and its histories are eagerly sought out by the public, while university press publications on the holy trinity of race, class, and gender go unread. And to repeat the cancer simile: do cancer doctors like cancer any more than military historians like war? Should we ignore studying tumors because, like war, they maim and kill?

BC: Another political question…this idea of American interests. In some quarters, it is only acceptable for the United States to take military action if it somehow does not advance our interests. Where does such an attitude come from? How did we reach the point wherein a nation is not expected to act in ways that further their interests?

VDH: "Interest" can be defined in a variety of ways, both material and spiritual. Bombing Milosevic was irrelevant to the security of the US, but important to the psyche of the American people that we did not allow a genocide to continue that we had the means to stop. Since the 1960s, we have promulgated the notion that the sins of mankind—slavery, racism, imperialism, colonialism—were uniquely the sins of the West, and the corollary that no other culture could be worse than our own. The result was this strange bifurcation on the left: liberal leaders and elites (more and more those affluent and exempt from the drudgery of 8-5 labor) still wished to live affluent lifestyles, enjoy the accoutrements of capitalism, and yet to damn the system in the abstract that produced such bounty as a sort of mechanism of alleviating guilt on the cheap.

Now we see the ultimate reification of that hypocrisy is someone like John Edwards whose house, hair, and speaking fees about poverty are in a quite different nation from the one he worries about. The left can quibble about what constitutes national interest, but that is a luxury of peace and affluence: even it, when gas for its Volvos is nonexistent, or its wood for its elegant floors forbidden, or the safety of its elite schools is threatened will consider that it has "interests" worth protecting.

BC: Is there a tendency among people on the left to view history as a means rather than an end? I ask you this because I have heard quite often, “why you would want to study that?” As if subjects devoid of political value are not worth examining. Could it be that, as a product of their own “political engagement,” leftists may believe that we only study those events which directly concern us?

VDH: Marxism lied to us that history is only the story of material interest, rather than the narrative often of the psyche, emotion, and only perceived self-interests. Nations really do go to war over principle, honor and pride. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't think there was oil in the Falklands. More generally, history has become in the university a medieval morality tale, in which we deconstruct the past to find those guilty of sins against gender, race, and class, and then use the standards of the present to condemn them postfacto on grounds of illiberality—as if someone illiterate five centuries ago without electricity, running water, a toilet, or antibiotics should have been as racially sensitive or tolerant of the "other" or as environmentally conscious as we are in Palo Alto or Madison.

In general we forgot that education is simply the ability to translate daily chaos into abstract wisdom of the ages—impossible without a data bank of names, dates, concepts, and a methodology of inductive inquiry; in turn both impossible without a liberal education of languages, literature, history, philosophy, and basic science.

BC: For what reason should non-policy makers study military history? What unique advantages does the discipline offer its students?

VDH: I wrote a long essay on this in the current City Journal [subscriber only, at the moment]. History started with Herodotus and Thucydides as the exclusive study of war, in which the crucible of human experience was best probed and understood. Like it or not, war cannot be legislated away; its best prevention is knowledge of why it starts, how it is conducted, and why and how it ends—and that is only learned by study of the past.

BC: Along the lines of the last question, what do you say to those who ask why you want to study “war?” Personally, I have always thought that in stressful conditions our true nature is most apparent.

VDH: War is a human phenomenon of the ages. Its manifestations—arrows, flintlocks, atomic bombs—change, but its essence is an unchanging human nature driven by fear, honor, and perceived self-interest, with emotions like envy, jealousy, and bullying its catalysts. I agree: as Thucydides put it, war strips off our thin veneer of civilization and reveals human nature in its most honest and disturbing raw essence. Studying war gives us an appreciation of that patina of culture, and why it is so critical to protect and preserve it lest we devolve into our innately natural selves.

Bernard Chapin is a writer and school psychologist living in Chicago. His first book, Napalm is the Scent of Justice, was a fictional account of a radical feminist United States; his latest book concerns the implosion of a school he worked at and loved: Escape from Gangsta Island: A School's Progressive Decline.
11766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: World Trade Center Tower 7 on: August 20, 2007, 09:42:10 PM

Weep Brian, weep.
11767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 20, 2007, 08:27:29 PM

9/11 trufer goodness! rolleyes

11768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 19, 2007, 05:47:43 PM

Democrats and national weakness.
11769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 19, 2007, 05:43:04 PM
Mark Steyn: Speaking of sanctuary, where's ours?

Syndicated columnist

At the funeral of Iofemi Hightower, her classmate Mecca Ali wore a T-shirt with the slogan: "Tell Me Why They Had To Die."

"They" are Miss Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel, three young citizens of Newark, New Jersey, lined up against a schoolyard wall, forced to kneel and then shot in the head.

Miss Ali poses an interesting question. No one can say why they "had" to die, but it ought to be possible to advance theories as to what factors make violent death in Newark a more-likely proposition than it should be. That's usually what happens when lurid cases make national headlines: When Matthew Shepard was beaten and hung on a fence in Wyoming, Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times that it was merely the latest stage in a "war" against homosexuals loosed by the forces of intolerance. Mr. Shepard's murder was dramatized in plays and movies and innumerable songs by Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. The fact that this vile crucifixion was a grisly one-off and that American gays have never been less at risk from getting bashed did not deter pundits and politicians and lobby groups galore from arguing that this freak case demonstrated the need for special legislation.

By contrast, there's been a succession of prominent stories with one common feature that the very same pundits, politicians and lobby groups have a curious reluctance to go anywhere near. In a New York Times report headlined "Sorrow And Anger As Newark Buries Slain Youth," the limpidly tasteful Times prose prioritized "sorrow" over "anger," and offered only the following reference to the perpetrators: "The authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive. Three suspects – two 15-year-olds and a 28-year-old construction worker from Peru – have been arrested."

So, this Peruvian guy was here on a green card? Or did he apply for a temporary construction-work visa from the U.S. Embassy in Lima?

Not exactly. Jose Carranza is an "undocumented" immigrant. His criminal career did not begin with the triple murder he's alleged to have committed, nor with the barroom assault from earlier this year, nor with the 31 counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to the rape of a 5-year-old child, for which Mr. Carranza had been released on bail. (His $50,000 bail on the assault charge and $150,000 bail on the child-rape charges have now been revoked.) No, Mr. Carranza's criminal career in the United States began when he decided to live in this country unlawfully.

Jose Carranza isn't exactly a member of an exclusive club. Violent crime committed by fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community is now a routine feature of American life. But who cares? In 2002, as the "Washington Sniper" piled up his body count, "experts" lined up to tell the media that he was most likely an "angry white male," a "macho hunter" or an "icy loner." When the icy loner turned out to be a black Muslim named Muhammad accompanied by an illegal immigrant from Jamaica, the only angry white males around were the lads in America's newsrooms who were noticeably reluctant to abandon their thesis: Early editions of the New York Times speculated that Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were being sought for "possible ties to 'skinhead militia' groups," which seemed a somewhat improbable alliance given the size of Mr. Muhammad's hair in the only available mug shot. As for his illegal sidekick, Malvo was detained and released by the INS in breach of their own procedures.

America has a high murder rate: Murdering people is definitely one of the jobs Americans can do. But that's what ties young Malvo to Jose Carranza: He's just another killer let loose in this country to kill Americans by the bureaucracy's boundless sensitivity toward the "undocumented." Will the Newark murders change anything? Will there be an Ioefemi Hightower Act of Congress like the Matthew Shepard Act passed by the House of Representatives? No. Three thousand people died Sept. 11, 2001, in an act of murder facilitated by the illegal-immigration support structures in this country, and, if that didn't rouse Americans to action, another trio of victims seems unlikely to tip the scales. As Michelle Malkin documented in her book "Invasion," four of the killers boarded the plane with photo ID obtained through the "undocumented worker" network at the 7-Eleven in Falls Church, Va. That's to say, officialdom's tolerance of the illegal immigration shadow-state enabled 9/11. And what did we do? Not only did we not shut it down, we enshrined the shadow-state's charade as part of the new tough post-slaughter security procedures.

Go take a flight from Newark Airport. The TSA guy will ask for your driver's license, glance at the name and picture, and hand it back to you. Feel safer? The terrorists could pass that test, and the morning of 9/11 they did: 19 foreign "visitors" had, between them, 63 valid U.S. driver's licenses. Did government agencies then make it harder to obtain lawful photo ID? No. Since 9/11, the likes of Maryland and New Mexico have joined those states that issue legal driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

Newark is the logical end point of these policies. It is a failed city: 60 percent of its children are being raised in households without fathers. Into that vacuum pour all kinds of alternative authority structures: Mr. Carranza is alleged to have committed his crime with various teenage members of MS-13, a gang with origins in El Salvador's civil war of the 1980s that now operates in some 30 U.S. states. In its toughest redoubts, immigrants don't assimilate with America, America assimilates to the immigrants, and a Fairfax, Va., teenager finds himself getting hacked at by machete wielders.

One could, I suppose, regard this as one of those unforeseen incremental consequences that happens in the darkest shadows of society. But that doesn't extend to Newark's official status as an illegal-immigrant "sanctuary city." Like Los Angeles, New York and untold others, Newark has formally erased the distinction between U.S. citizens and the armies of the undocumented. This is the active collusion by multiple cities and states in the subversion of U.S. sovereignty. In Newark, N.J., it means an illegal-immigrant child rapist is free to murder on a Saturday night. In Somerville, Mass., it means two deaf girls are raped by MS-13 members. And in Falls Church, Va., it means Saudi Wahhabists figuring out that, if the "sanctuary nation" (in Michelle Malkin's phrases) offers such rich pickings to imported killers and imported gangs, why not to jihadists?

"Tell Me Why They Had To Die"? Hard to answer. But tell me why, no matter how many Jose Carranzas it spawns, the nationwide undocumented-immigration protection program erected by this country's political class remains untouchable and ever-expanding.

11770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: August 18, 2007, 07:24:00 PM

Brutally honest commentary on islam in europe.
11771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 17, 2007, 10:24:35 PM

Counterterrorism Blog

New York Times Covers for CAIR, Again

By Steven Emerson

In what has become practically a routine, whenever bad publicity for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) surfaces, in an almost Pavlovian response, the New York Times leaps to its defense.

As I wrote about last March in The New Republic, when CAIR had befallen several embarrassing public setbacks, including the rescinding of an award from Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office and public opposition on Capitol Hill for the use of a room to host a CAIR event, the Times dispatched its reporter, Neil MacFarquhar, to resuscitate CAIR’s image.

And now that CAIR has been named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Hamas fundraising trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and copious amounts of evidence linking CAIR to both Hamas itself and the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood have been reported, MacFarquhar and the Times are at it again, printing an article (Muslim Groups Oppose a List of ‘Co-Conspirators’) that may as well be a CAIR press release. In fact, this “story” was spurred by CAIR’s announcement that the organization had filed an “amicus” brief in the HLF trial, seeking to remove itself from the list of un-indicted co-conspirators, and folded into its press release to shore up CAIR’s ridiculous – yet typical – persecution fantasy.

Meanwhile, the Times has done virtually no reporting whatsoever since the trial began one month ago, save one MacFarquhar piece during jury selection (which I wrote about at the time), another piece of CAIR-esque propaganda:

In today’s New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar, parroting the tactic of Islamist organizations like CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), pretends to speak for all American Muslims, writing:
For American Muslims, whose religion stipulates that they give 2.5 percent of their annual income to charity, the shuttering of so many of their organizations without a hearing smacks of discrimination.
No attempt is even made to qualify that statement with a “some," "many" or even a "most” – apparently MacFarquhar knows how all American Muslims feel. Much of his article serves as apologia for the defendants, as well.
Yet again, when given an opportunity to report on CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad being officially placed by the FBI at the notorious 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas activists and supporters, or the fact that there is documentary evidence consisting of official Muslim Brotherhood manifestoes from the trial directly linking CAIR with other noted American-based Hamas-front groups such as the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), the Times completely ignores the evidence and is nowhere to be seen.
But when CAIR claims that the U.S. government is involved in a long-ranging conspiracy for the purposes of the “demonization of all things Muslim,” (emphasis added) then MacFarquhar and the Times are right there to serve as CAIR’s unofficial mouthpiece. As far as the Times’ readers are concerned, the free pass given to one of the most controversial and dangerous organizations in America continues unfettered. And despite the mounting and damning evidence coming to light due to the HLF trial, coupled with the already long, troubling and well known history of radicalism, anti-Americanism and virulent anti-Semitism espoused by CAIR officials, no doubt America’s “paper of record” will continue to run cover for them for a long time to come.

By Steven Emerson on August 17, 2007 2:24 PM
11772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 16, 2007, 08:06:54 PM

Obama's Air Raid

Democratic Presidential candidate (and amateur airpower strategist) Barack Obama

Based on his recent comments about "invading" Pakistan and taking our nuclear option off the table, Illinois Senator (and Presidential hopeful) Barack Obama has demonstrated--beyond any shadow of a doubt--that he's unprepared to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

Yet, Mr. Obama persists in demonstrating his incompetence in military and security affairs. Just yesterday, Senator Obama observed that "We've got to get the job done [in Afghanistan]. And that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."

The Senator's remarks drew instant criticism from a spokesman for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, although (predictably) Mr. Obama's Democratic rivals remained silent. We're guessing that the other Democrats harbor similar thoughts, or they're just content to watch Obama slowly destroy his own candidacy.

From a military perspective, there are clear problems with Senator Obama's "analysis." First and foremost, the U.S. military does not engage in the indiscriminate bombing of villages in Afghanistan--or anywhere else. If Mr. Obama had even a rudimentary knowledge of air operations, he would understand that bombing missions generally fall under two categories, interdiction and close air support.

As the name implies, interdiction raids are aimed at preventing the enemy from achieving specific military goals. While these strikes are typically planned at least a day in advance, they are based on firm intelligence indicators. In other words, if an Afghan village is a target, it's only because the Taliban are conducting operations there, and the air strike will be limited to those military elements, with strict ROE on target identification and weapons employment.

However, most of our air operations in Afghanistan are classified as close air support (CAS) , designed to help our troops on the ground. CAS missions are usually classified as pre-planned or immediate. Pre-planned sorties allocate specific assets to certain ground units or a geographical area, at a pre-determined time. Immediate CAS missions are flown in support of troops in contact. In both cases, the attacking aircraft are, invariably, under the control of a ground observer, who identifies the enemy, briefs the pilots and literally "talks" them onto the target. But then again, we rather doubt that Senator Obama is familiar with a "nine-line" briefing.

And, beyond the lamentable fact that innocent civilians are often killed in war, there may be another reason that Afghan villagers are falling victim to NATO bombs. As a Reuters correspondent noted in a report filed earlier this year, the Taliban have a long history of using human shields in their operations, hiding among civilians to conceal their activities and discourage allied attacks. During fighting around the Kajaki Dam in February, Taliban fighters even used children to shield their retreat.

In another February battle, NATO troops witnessed the Taliban removing the bodies of dead and wounded fighters after an air strike, leaving behind the remains of villagers, who may have been used as human shields. That tactic allows the Taliban to claim that the U.S. and its allies are "targeting" civilians, while covering up their actions that prompted the air strike.

Fortunately, that little ploy isn't having much of an impact on the battlefield. The air campaign in Afghanistan has ramped up in recent months, and it's a major reason that the Taliban's "spring offensive" never got off the ground. However, exaggerated Taliban claims of civilian casualties from bombing raids produce a different effect in Washington--and on the campaign trail--where a presidential wannabe is again declaring despair and defeat.

You'll note that no one is asking Senator Obama about his "plan" for Afghanistan, which (like most of his defense pronouncements) seems painfully inept. If his comments are any indication, the Obama strategy for Afghanistan would be based heavily on reconstruction programs. That's fine, but rebuilding a country is predicated on a security environment that allows those efforts to proceed. Remember that battle around Kajaki Dam? It was aimed at eliminating the local Taliban presence, so that reconstruction of the dam's power plant and transmission lines can continue.

And getting rid of the Taliban means killing them.

Using airplanes.

Dropping bombs.

Surely the Senator from Illinois can grasp those fundamental concepts. But then again, it's easy to over-estimate Barack Obama.
ADDENDUM: Powerline reports that the AP rushed to Obama's defense last night, claiming in a "fact check" article that "western forces have been killing Afghan civilians at a faster rate than insurgents." That analysis is based on a rather dubious AP count, and even the wire service acknowledges that "tracking civilian deaths is a difficult task because they often occur in remote and dangerous areas that are difficult to reach and verify." We might add that some of those reports come from tribal "elders" who are Taliban sympathizers, or falsely claim civilian casualties, to prevent terrorist reprisals against their villages.

Labels: Barack Obama; Afghanistan; air-raiding villages
11773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 13, 2007, 11:53:08 PM

Watching the Camps

Bill Roggio was the first to report some rather significant--and possibly, troubling--developments from Pakistan's tribal region, where Al Qaida (and its Taliban allies) have established a new safe haven over the past year. On Saturday, Mr. Roggio noted an article by Asia Times writer Syed Saleem Shahzad, claiming that Al Qaida and Taliban camps have "emptied out" over the past month, ahead of anticipated strikes by the Pakistani military, and possibly, by U.S. special operations forces.

The implications of that move are obvious. Not only will scores of terrorists live to fight another day, but it also raises renewed questions about security and loyalty within the Pakistani military. According to Mr. Shahzad, the U.S. had developed extensive intelligence on 29 suspected camps in the Waziristan and passed the information to Islamabad, in preparation for an expected offensive. The quick exodus of insurgents from that camp suggests (once again) that the Taliban has a number of "friends" in the upper echelons of Pakistan's military (particularly within the intelligence service or ISI), who provide tipoffs and warning to the terrorists.

Shahzad's sources also claim that "all but one of the 29 camps" have been dismantled, although U.S. officials (questioned by Bill Roggio) deny that report. Clearly, there's a critical difference between an abandoned camp (or one where no activity is observed), and a facility that is being disassembled. Empty camps would suggest that Al Qaida and Taliban elements have temporarily relocated, moving into defensive positions against expected Pakistani attacks, with plans to return once the government's offensive ends.

Another--albeit less likely--explanation is that the Taliban and Al Qaida have become increasingly aware of U.S. satellites (and other surveillance platforms), scheduling training and other "outside" activity to coincide with known "breaks" in coverage. Information on various spy satellites and their coverage windows in readily available on the internet, and years of aircraft and UAV flights along the Afghan border have provided insight into their operational patterns as well.

While terrorists could use that data to developed their own "activity scheduling" program to inhibit our surveillance efforts, they would face the challenge of disseminating that information to widely-scattered camps in a timely manner. Beyond that, the "absence" of activity is likely based on all-source intelligence reporting, which indicates that the camps are empty, at least for now. In other words, not only are the imagery platforms showing an absence of activity, it's being confirmed by SIGINT and other measures.

But would Al Qaida and the Taliban be willing to permanently surrender their Waziristan bases? That's the $64,000 question, and for now, it defies a clear answer. Most of the analysts we spoke with believe that the terrorists would give up their safe havens only if (a) their training and logistical goals had been met; (b) they were anticipating a permanent Pakistani military presence in the region, (c) they anticipate access to better locations/facilities in the near future, or (d) they plan to return to the camps in the months ahead.

While the Waziristan camps have been a boon for Al Qaida and their Taliban allies, they have not achieved mid or long-term training and logistics goals in the past year. Like any other military organization (or more, correctly, quasi-military organization), the terrorists face the challenge of recruiting, training and equipping enough fighters for a multi-front war. A permanent shut-down of the 29 camps--without dedicated replacements--would put Al Qaida and the Taliban in the same fix they faced before the Waziristan Accords: a need to prepare more terrorists for jihad, without the large-scale training facilities that operated openly in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

We also concur with Bill Roggio's assessment that the "threat" of a Pakistani military presence did not force the evacuation. As he notes, limited Pakistani forays into Waziristan have come at a high price, and despite hints from Islamabad, there are no signs of a pending government offensive into the tribal lands. Attacks by the Pakistani military may be limited to air and artillery strikes against "known" targets (i.e., the camps), so a temporary evacuation would allow terrorists to minimize their losses, and return after the offensive ends.

In terms of accessing "new" locations, the terrorists may have that opportunity in the coming weeks. Mr. Shahzad's article identified two "war corridors" that represent key axis of communications in potential battles with Pakistani forces. Success in those clashes would allow Al Qaida and Taliban operatives to extend their reach, and move closer to areas now under government control. Relocating the camps to those areas would make them more accessible, but also more vulnerable to future Pakistani attacks. Barring a major change in the balance of power, such a relocation seems unlikely.

Available information suggests that the fourth option--a return to the Waziristan camps--appears most likely. With winter looming on the horizon, the terrorists know that any Pakistani offensive (or U.S. SOF raids) will be of limited duration, allowing them to reoccupy their safe havens in a matter of weeks. That suggests that the current "evacuation" serves two operational goals: minimizing losses from potential strikes against the camps, while putting more fighters in the field to deal with potential ground incursions by Pakistani forces. Once the "immediate" threat eases, the terrorists will likely return to their camps, which are still being maintain by skeleton staffs.


ADDENDUM: There has been considerable speculation about the camps' sudden evacuation, and possible attacks by Al Qaida inside the CONUS. As one intelligence official told Bill Roggio, there were a number of experienced terrorists in those camps, operatives who are quite capable of conducting operations overseas. While we concur that assessment, it is worth remembering that those terrorists were a minority within the "local" Al Qaida population. Most of the fighters who recently dispersed were likely trained for operations within the region--Afghanistan or Pakistan.
11774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: August 13, 2007, 06:03:09 PM

The Coming Urban Terror
Systems disruption, networked gangs, and bioweapons
John Robb
Summer 2007

For the first time in history, announced researchers this May, a majority of the world’s population is living in urban environments. Cities—efficient hubs connecting international flows of people, energy, communications, and capital—are thriving in our global economy as never before. However, the same factors that make cities hubs of globalization also make them vulnerable to small-group terror and violence.

Over the last few years, small groups’ ability to conduct terrorism has shown radical improvements in productivity—their capacity to inflict economic, physical, and moral damage. These groups, motivated by everything from gang membership to religious extremism, have taken advantage of easy access to our global superinfrastructure, revenues from growing illicit commercial flows, and ubiquitously available new technologies to cross the threshold necessary to become terrible threats. September 11, 2001, marked their arrival at that threshold.

Unfortunately, the improvements in lethality that we have already seen are just the beginning. The arc of productivity growth that lets small groups terrorize at ever-higher levels of death and disruption stretches as far as the eye can see. Eventually, one man may even be able to wield the destructive power that only nation-states possess today. It is a perverse twist of history that this new threat arrives at the same moment that wars between states are receding into the past. Thanks to global interdependence, state-against-state warfare is far less likely than it used to be, and viable only against disconnected or powerless states. But the underlying processes of globalization have made us exceedingly vulnerable to nonstate enemies. The mechanisms of power and control that states once exerted will continue to weaken as global interconnectivity increases. Small groups of terrorists can already attack deep within any state, riding on the highways of interconnectivity, unconcerned about our porous borders and our nation-state militaries. These terrorists’ likeliest point of origin, and their likeliest destination, is the city.

Cities played a vital defensive role in the last major evolution of conventional state-versus-state warfare. Between the world wars, the refinement of technologies—particularly the combustion engine, when combined with armor—made it possible for armies to move at much higher speeds than in the past, so new methods of warfare emphasized armored motorized maneuver as a way to pierce the opposition’s solid defensive lines and range deep into soft, undefended rear areas. These incursions, the armored thrusts of blitzkrieg, turned an army’s size against itself: even the smallest armored vanguard could easily disrupt the supply of ammunition, fuel, and rations necessary to maintain the huge armies of the twentieth century in the field.

To defend against these thrusts, the theoretician J. F. C. Fuller wrote in the 1930s, cities could be used as anchor or pivot points to engage armored forces in attacks on static positions, bogging down the offensive. Tanks couldn’t move quickly through cities, and if they bypassed them and struck too deeply into enemy territory, their supply lines—in particular, of the gasoline they drank greedily—would become vulnerable. The city, Fuller anticipated, could serve as a vast fortress, requiring the fast new armor to revert to the ancient tactic of the siege. That’s exactly what happened in practice during World War II, when the defenses mounted in Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad played a major role in the Allied victory.

But in the current evolution of warfare, cities are no longer defensive anchors against armored thrusts ranging through the countryside. They have become the main targets of offensive action themselves. Just as the huge militaries of the early twentieth century were vulnerable to supply and communications disruption, cities are now so heavily dependent on a constant flow of services from various centralized systems that even the simplest attacks on those systems can cause massive disruption.

Most of the networks that we rely on for city life—communications, electricity, transportation, water—are overused, interdependent, and extremely complex. They developed organically as what scholars in the emerging field of network science call “scale-free networks,” which contain large hubs with a plethora of connections to smaller and more isolated local clusters. Such networks are economically efficient and resistant to random failure—but they are also extremely vulnerable to intentional disruptions, as Albert-Laszlo Barabasi shows in his important book Linked: The New Science of Networks. In practice, this means that a very small number of attacks on the critical hubs of a scale-free network can collapse the entire network. Such a collapse can occasionally happen by accident, when random failure hits a critical node; think of the huge Northeast blackout of 2003, which caused $6.4 billion in damage.

Further, the networks of our global superinfrastructure are tightly “coupled”—so tightly interconnected, that is, that any change in one has a nearly instantaneous effect on the others. Attacking one network is like knocking over the first domino in a series: it leads to cascades of failure through a variety of connected networks, faster than human managers can respond.

The ongoing attacks on the systems that support Baghdad’s 5 million people illustrate the vulnerability of modern networks. Over the last four years, guerrilla assaults on electrical systems have reduced Baghdad’s power to an average of four or five hours a day. And the insurgents have been busily finding new ways to cut power: no longer do they make simple attacks on single transmission towers. Instead, they destroy multiple towers in series and remove the copper wire for resale to fund the operation; they ambush repair crews in order to slow repairs radically; they attack the natural gas and water pipelines that feed the power plants. In September 2004, one attack on an oil pipeline that fed a power plant quickly led to a cascade of power failures that blacked out electricity throughout Iraq.

Lack of adequate power is a major reason why economic recovery has been nearly impossible in Iraq. No wonder that, in account after account, nearly the first criticism that any Iraqi citizen levels against the government is its inability to keep the lights on. Deprived of services, citizens are forced to turn to local groups—many of them at war with the government—for black-market alternatives. This money, in turn, fuels further violence, and the government loses legitimacy.

Insurgents have directed such disruptive attacks against nearly all the services necessary to get a city of 5 million through the day: water pipes, trucking, and distribution lines for gasoline and kerosene. And because of these networks’ complexity and interconnectivity, even small attacks, costing in the low thousands of dollars to carry out, can cause tens of millions and occasionally hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Iraq is a petri dish for modern conflict, the Spanish Civil War of our times. It’s the place where small groups are learning to fight modern militaries and modern societies and win. As a result, we can expect to see systems disruption used again and again in modern conflict—certainly against megacities in the developing world, and even against those in the developed West, as we have already seen in London, Madrid, and Moscow.

Another growing threat to our cities, commonest so far in the developing world, is gangs challenging government for control. For three sultry July days in 2006, a gang called PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital, “First Command of the Capital”) held hostage the 20 million inhabitants of the greater São Paulo area through a campaign of violence. Gang members razed police stations, attacked banks, rioted in prisons, and torched dozens of buses, shutting down a transportation system serving 2.9 million people a day.

The previous May, a similar series of attacks had terrified the city. “The attackers moved on foot, and by car and motorbike,” wrote William Langewiesche in Vanity Fair. “They were not rioters, revolutionaries, or the graduates of terrorist camps. They were anonymous young men and women, dressed in ordinary clothes, unidentifiable in advance, and indistinguishable afterward. Wielding pistols, automatic rifles, and firebombs, they emerged from within the city, struck fast, and vanished on the spot. Their acts were criminal, but the attackers did not loot, rob, or steal. They burned buses, banks, and public buildings, and went hard after the forces of order—gunning down the police in their neighborhood posts, in their homes, and on the streets.”

The violence hasn’t been limited to São Paulo. In December 2006, a copycat campaign by an urban gang called the Comando Vermelho (“Red Command”) shut down Rio de Janeiro, too. In both cases, the gangs fomenting the violence didn’t list demands or send ultimatums to the government. Rather, they were flexing their muscles, testing their ability to challenge the government monopoly on violence.

Both gangs had steadily accumulated power for a decade, helped in part by globalization, which simplifies making connections to the multitrillion-dollar global black-market economy. With these new connections, the gangs’ profit horizon became limitless, fueling rapid expansion. New communications technology, particularly cell phones, played a part, too, making it possible for the gangs to thrive as loose associations, and allowing a geographical and organizational dispersion that rendered them nearly invulnerable to attack. The PCC has been particularly successful, growing from a small prison gang in the mid-nineties to a group that today controls nearly half of São Paulo’s slums and its millions of inhabitants. An escalating confrontation between these gangs and the city governments appears inevitable.

The gangs’ rapid rise into challengers to urban authorities is something that we will see again elsewhere. This dynamic is already at work in American cities in the rise of MS-13, a rapidly expanding transnational gang with a loose organizational structure, a propensity for violence, and access to millions in illicit gains. It already has an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 members, dispersed over 31 U.S. states and several Latin American countries, and its proliferation continues unabated, despite close attention from law enforcement. Like the PCC, MS-13 or a similar American gang may eventually find that it has sufficient power to hold a city hostage through disruption.

The final threat that small groups pose to cities is weapons of mass destruction. Though most of the worry over WMDs has focused on nuclear weapons, those aren’t the real long-term problem. Not only is the vast manufacturing capability of a nation-state required to produce the basic nuclear materials, but those materials are difficult to manipulate, transport, and turn into weapons. Nor is it easy to assemble a nuke from parts bought on the black market; if it were, nation-states like Iran, which have far more resources at their disposal than terrorist groups do, would be doing just that instead of resorting to internal production.

It’s also unlikely that a state would give terrorists a nuclear weapon. Sovereignty and national prestige are tightly connected to the production of nukes. Sharing them with terrorists would grant immense power to a group outside the state’s control—the equivalent of giving Osama bin Laden the keys to the presidential palace. If that isn’t deterrent enough, the likelihood of retaliation is, since states, unlike terrorist groups, have targets that can be destroyed. The result of a nuclear explosion in Moscow or New York would very probably be the annihilation of the country that manufactured the bomb, once its identity was determined—as it surely would be, since no plot of that size can remain secret for long.

Even in the very unlikely case that a nuclear weapon did end up in terrorist hands, it would be a single horrible incident, rather than an ongoing threat. The same is true of dirty bombs, which disperse radioactive material through conventional explosives. No, the real long-term danger from small groups is the use of biotechnology to build weapons of mass destruction. In contrast with nuclear technology, biotech’s knowledge and tools are already widely dispersed—and their power is increasing exponentially.

The biotech field is in the middle of a massive improvement in productivity through advances in computing power. In fact, the curves of improvement that we see in biotechnology mirror the rates of improvement in computing dictated by Moore’s Law—the observation, borne out by decades of experience, that the ratio of performance to price of computing power doubles every 24 months. This means that incredible power will soon be in the hands of individuals. University of Washington engineer Robert Carlson observes that if current trends in the rate of improvement in DNA sequencing continue, “within a decade a single person at the lab bench could sequence or synthesize all the DNA describing all the people on the planet many times over in an eight-hour day.” And with ever tinier, cheaper, and more widely available tools, a large and decentralized industrial base that is hiring lab techs at a double-digit growth rate, and the active transfer of knowledge via the Internet (the blueprints of the entire smallpox virus now circulate on the Web), biotech is too widely available for us to contain it.

In less than a decade, then, biotechnology will be ripe for the widespread development of weapons of mass destruction, and it fits the requirements of small-group warfare perfectly. It is small, inexpensive, and easy to manufacture in secret. Also, since dangerous biotechnology is based primarily on the manipulation of information, it will make rapid progress through the same kind of amateur tinkering that currently produces new computer viruses. Terrorists also have a growing advantage in delivering bioweapons. The increasing porousness of national borders, size of global megacities, and volume of air travel all mean that the delivery and percolation of bioweapons will be fast-moving and widespread—potentially on several continents at once.

It is almost certain that we will see repeated, perhaps incessant, attempts to deploy bioweapons with new strains of viruses or bacteria. Picture a Russian biohacker who, a decade from now, designs a new, deadly form of the common flu virus and sells it on the Internet, just as computer viruses and worms get sold today. The terrorist group that buys the design sends it to a recently hired lab tech in Pakistan, who performs the required modifications with widely available tools. The product then ships by mail to London, to the awaiting “suicide vectors”—men who infect themselves and then board airplanes headed to world destinations, infecting passengers on the planes and in crowded terminals. The infection spreads quickly, going global in days—long before anyone detects it.

It’s very possible that many cities will fall in the face of such deadly threats. Megacities in the developing world—which often, because of their rapid growth, widespread corruption, and illegitimate governance, aren’t able to provide security or basic services for their citizens—are particularly vulnerable. However, cities in the developed world that properly appreciate the threats arrayed against them may devise startlingly innovative solutions.

In almost all cases, cities can defend themselves from their new enemies through effective decentralization. To counter systems disruption, decentralized services—the capability of smaller areas within cities to provide backup services, at least on a temporary basis—could radically diminish the harmful consequences of disconnection from the larger global grid. In New York, this would mean storage or limited production capability of backup electricity, water, and fuel, with easy connections to the delivery grid—at the borough level or even smaller. These backups would then provide a means of restoring central services rapidly after a failure.

Similarly, cities may combat networked gangs by decentralizing their own security. Cities have long maintained centralized police forces, but gangs can often overwhelm them. Many governments are responding with militarized police: China is building a million-man paramilitary force, for example; and even in the United States, the use of SWAT teams has increased from 3,000 deployments a year in the 1980s to 50,000 a year in 2006. But militarized police may too easily become an army of occupation, and, if corrupt, as they are in Brazil, they may become enemies of the state along with the gangs.

A better solution involves local security forces, either locally recruited or bought on the marketplace (such as Blackwater), which can be powerful bulwarks against small-group terrorism. Such forces may become a vital component in our defense against bioterrorism, too, since they can enforce local containment—and since large centralized services, like the ones we have today, might actually accelerate the propagation of bioweapons. Still, if improperly established, local forces can also become rogue criminal entities, like the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia and the militias in Rio de Janeiro. Governments need to regulate them carefully.

In the future, we probably won’t know exactly how we will be attacked until it happens. In highly uncertain situations like this, centralized solutions that emphasize uniform responses will often collapse. Heterogeneous systems, by contrast, are unlikely to fail catastrophically. Moreover, local innovation—supplemented by a marketplace in goods and services that improve security, detection, monitoring, and so on—is likely to develop responses to threats quickly and effectively. Other localities will copy those responses that prove successful.

In June 2007, the FBI and local law enforcement halted a plot to blow up the John F. Kennedy International Airport’s fuel tanks and feeder pipelines. This was another great example of how police forces, if used correctly, can defuse threats before they become a menace [see “On the Front Line in the War on Terrorism”]. However, our current level of safety will not last. The selection of the target demonstrated clearly that future attackers will take advantage of our systems’ vulnerability to disruption, which will sharply increase the number of potential targets. It also showed that these threats can emerge spontaneously from small groups unconnected to al-Qaida. More and more attempts will come, with higher and higher rates of success. Our choice is simple: we can rely exclusively on our current security systems to stop the threats—and suffer the consequences when they don’t—or we can take measures to mitigate the impact of these threats by exerting local control over essential services.
11775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 12, 2007, 10:32:37 PM
11776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 11, 2007, 07:12:20 PM
11777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 11, 2007, 05:24:58 PM
Off the top of my head, India's nukes are mostly bomber deployed, while Pakistan has them mounted on missiles. I'm guessing that Pakistan anticipates India holding air superiority in a potential war. Musharraf may either soon be dead or in exile, he probably tilted as far as he could to "ally" himself with us. He's been on the edge of declaring martial law already, the problem being the loyalty of the military in the coming conflict.
11778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 11, 2007, 04:43:21 PM
This may be where AQ tries to seize Pakistan and Pakistan's nukes. This may also signal an offensive in europe and possibly the continental US as well.
11779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 11, 2007, 03:57:31 PM
The Fourth Rail: Pakistan: Concern over nukes as al Qaeda camps empty

Written by Bill Roggio on August 11, 2007 2:45 AM to The Fourth Rail
Available online at:

Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is defacto control; yellow is under threat.

US intelligence investigates Pakistan's nuclear security and the military’s loyalty to Musharraf as the Northwest Frontier Province spins further out of control

As the security situation in the Northwest Frontier Province continues to deteriorate and President Pervez Musharraf's political stock continues to drop, the US military intelligence community is "urgently assessing how secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons would be in the event President Gen. Pervez Musharraf were replaced." Meanwhile, the Taliban and al Qaeda have dispersed operatives from the training camps in the Northwest Frontier Province and are preparing to fight on their own terms.

With the Pakistani government facing a robust Taliban insurgency in the Northwest Frontier Province, a significant al Qaeda presence inside the country and a violent cadre of home grown Islamist extremists, the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has taken on an elevated importance. The US intelligence community believes it has a handle on the location of Pakistan’s nuclear warhead, but there are questions over who controls the launch codes in the event of Musharraf’s passing.

The Us is also looking past the issue of the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. The loyalty of the conventional Pakistani military to President Musharraf is in question, according to CNN. Musharraf controls the loyalty of the commanders and senior officials in charge of the nuclear program, but those loyalties could shift at any point," CNN reported on August 10. "There is also a growing understanding according to the U.S. analysis that Musharraf's control over the military remains limited to certain top commanders and units, raising worries about whether he can maintain control over the long term."

On the same day of the release of news on concerns over the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and the loyalty of the Pakistani military, the Asia Times' Syed Saleem Shahzad reported al Qaeda and Taliban camps in North and South Waziristan have emptied, the Taliban and al Qaeda are expanding into the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province, and are reorganizing in both Afghanistan and Pakistan for a major fight.

The Fourth Rail interviewed a senior military intelligence official and a military officer, both of whom are familiar with the situation in the Northwest Frontier Province and wish to remain anonymous. The sources confirmed Mr. Shahzad's information concerning the al Qaeda and Taliban camps in North Waziristan and the Taliban’s reorganization is accurate. Both sources are particularly concerned about the implications of the emptying of the camps.

Mr. Shahzad reported there were 29 al Qaeda and Taliban camps in North and South Waziristan, and all but one "have been dismantled, apart from one run by hardline Islamist Mullah Abdul Khaliq." [Note: on October 4, 2006, The Fourth Rail reported "there are over 20 al Qaeda and Taliban run training camps currently in operation in North and South Waziristan."] While The Fourth Rail sources verify the camps' existence, they noted the camps have not been dismantled, but the infrastructure is still in place. "The physical infrastructure (camps and the like) still exist, they haven't been dismantled. They've just been abandoned or are being operated by skeleton crews," the senior military intelligence source said, while noting "the Khaliq camp is only churning out Taliban, not al Qaeda."

The al Qaeda and Taliban personnel abandoned the 28 camps after "the US had presented Islamabad with a dossier detailing the location of the bases as advance information on likely US targets," Mr. Shahzad reported. "All other leading Taliban commanders, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, Gul Bahadur, Baitullah Mehsud and Haji Omar, have disappeared,” said Mr. Shahzad.

"Similarly, the top echelons of the Arab community that was holed up in North Waziristan has also gone." Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies are believed to have leaked information to the Taliban and al Qaeda in the past, and appears to have done so again.

The emptying of the camps is a cause for great concern in the military and intelligence communities. "We don't know where they went to or who was in the camps," the military officer told The Fourth Rail.. "They are well trained, these aren't your entry level jihadis. They are dangerous."

"This is one of the reasons that we are worried about a major CONUS [Continental United States] attack," the senior military intelligence source told The Fourth Rail, noting the recent influx of news of terror cells attempting to penetrate the US. "If they evacuated their bases, they almost certainly did so out of fear of more than just the Pakistani army."

Mr. Shahzad also reported Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command, along with the Shura Majlis, is currently based out of the village of Jani Khel village in the settled district of Bannu. Sirajuddin Haqqani and the Taliban Shura are operating in the eastern Afghan provinces of Khost and Gardez.

A spillover of al-Qaeda's presence in Jani Khel is likely to spread to Karak, Kohat, Tank, Laki Marwat and Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan. Kohat in NWFP is tipped to become a central city in the upcoming battle, as the office of the Pakistani Garrison commanding officer is there and all operations will be directed through this area. In addition, Kohat is directly linked with a US airfield in Khost for supplies and logistics.
A second war corridor is expected to be in the Waziristans, the Khyber Agency, the Kurram Agency, Bajaur Agency, Dir, Mohmand Agency and Chitral in Pakistan and Nanagarhar, Kunar and Nooristan in Afghanistan.

The Fourth Rail has repeatedly identified Bannu, Kohat, Tank, Laki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber, Kurram, Dir and Mohmand as Taliban controlled or influenced territory over the course of the past two years.

Quetta. Satellite Town is in the southwest corner.

According to Mr. Shahzad, the Afghan Taliban has reorganized its leadership and devolved its command structure away from senior, regional leaders to local leaders after the death of senior Taliban commanders Mullah Akhtar Usmani and Mullah Dadullah Akhund. The Taliban leadership has been decimated by NATO and Afghan strikes in southern Afghanistan over the past year, and have regrouped in Satellite Town in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan. Quetta has long been identified as a Taliban command hub. Pakistani security forces captured Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, a former Defense Minister and member of the Shura Majlis, in a hotel in Quetta.

According to the senior military intelligence source, senior Taliban leaders are hesitant to enter southern Afghanistan due to NATO successes against the Taliban command structure, and have devolved control to the regional commanders out of necessity.

Mr. Shahzad postulates the Pakistani military will move in force into the Northwest Frontier Province after the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal jirga concludes. But the existing evidence does not support this theory at this time. While the Pakistani government claims it has moved additional forces into the tribal areas, these troops have been subjected to brutal suicide, roadside bombs, ambush and mortar and rocket attacks. Over 200 military personnel have been killed since mid-July, while the Pakistani military’s previous foray into North and South Waziristan from 2004 – 2006 resulted in upward of 3,000 soldiers killed. The Pakistani military has done little other than press for more negotiations with the Taliban while conducting retaliatory strikes, largely using artillery and air power.

On August 10, 16 Pakistani troops were kidnapped in South Waziristan. Yet Pakistani military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad confirmed the military is still in a defensive posture, reacting to attacks. "There is no planned operation going on in North Waziristan but we are responding with greater force against militant attacks on security forces now," said Arshad.

Also, the end of the summer is approaching and the Pakistani military has yet to launch the purported campaign. Winter is fast approaching in some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet, where al Qaeda and the Taliban are dug in and have deep ties with the local residents. The ideal time for the military to launch operations would have been the spring, leaving the summer open to conduct a campaign which will be difficult and bloody enough without battling the terrain and elements.
11780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 11, 2007, 03:25:04 PM

Counterterrorism Blog

Why The New York Times Can Legally Help The Enemy in The War on Terror

By Jeffrey Imm

In July 2007, the Washington Post gave a Hezbollah supporter full coverage of an online column on Jihadism, and in June 2007, both the New York Times and the Washington Post printed editorials by a Hamas figure.

This week, the New York Times has provided online columns on August 8 and August 9 dedicated to brainstorming new ideas on how Jihadists can attack and kill Americans. The New York Times author, Dr. Steven Levitt, a writer on economics, used his online August 8 column "If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?" to offer some new ideas to Jihadists on ways to murder Americans, and suggested some specific tactics that Jihadists can take to improve both the level of terror and effectiveness of such murders. Then Dr. Levitt invited the general public to offer their own suggestions on how Jihadists might be able to kill Americans, stating "I'm sure many readers have far better ideas. I would love to hear them." And disturbingly, many hundreds of readers obliged Dr. Levitt by offering horrific suggestions to help Jihadists. This was not yet enough for the New York Times, and so on August 9, Dr. Levitt wrote a second online column "Terrorism, Part II", where he defended his right to recommend murder ideas to terrorists, by explaining that there are a "virtually infinite" number of American vulnerabilities, and by claiming that the "terrorists are incompetent" or the "terrorism threat just isn't that great".

Not once in either column does Dr. Levitt ever use the word... "Jihad" or "Jihadists". In Dr. Levitt's view, the threat is only from incompetent criminals that he calls "terrorists", and that view of terrorists as mere "criminals" was echoed the same day by former NATO leader Wesley Clark in another New York Times column "Why Terrorists Aren't Soldiers".

America's Propaganda Vulnerability

The New York Times' online column brainstorming for ideas to kill Americans does point out a massive vulnerability for America -- the fact that during wartime, such a column was editorially acceptable and legal for public distribution.

The real question that Americans should be asking is WHY it is legal and editorially acceptable - not only for the Steven Levitt columns, but also for the Hezbollah and Hamas editorials. This goes back to the fundamental unresolved questions in the minds of a segment of the public as to: (a) is the USA at war or not, (b) if so, who is the enemy, (c) what is our war strategy against the enemy.

Wartime Responses to Aiding the Enemy

Nearly 6 years after the 9/11 attacks, the idea that we as a nation still have large segments of the population that not only don't believe the nation is at war, but also can't identify the enemy is truly disturbing. The imperative need for clear and precise executive government communication on this war is demonstrated by such New York Times and Washington Post columns. Yet there is no public outrage by the government, no public anger by the government, and nothing but silence on these columns.

Would it have been tolerable to President FDR during World War II or to President Woodrow Wilson during World War I, if the major news media were publishing editorials by the enemy, and publishing suggestions on how the enemy could best attack the nation during war? Basic American history clearly answers these questions: FDR had an Office of Censorship and Woodrow Wilson urged the creation of the Sedition Act of 1918. These were wartime measures, because the nation was at war. Moreover, the news media voluntarily complied with the WWII Office of Censorship, and worked with the government towards the shared goal of defeating the enemy.

By contrast, in today's war, the U.S. government has had to struggle to legally have the right to monitor potential saboteurs and sympathizers, and has had to struggle to retain laws to allow the FBI to effectively investigate such enemies. And the news media publishes classified information on U.S. government war strategies and on sensitive information on financial tracking of the enemy.

The Unresolved Questions That Allow Others to Define America's Position

The war against transnational Jihadists and their myriad organizations poses unique challenges in effectively defining America's wartime positions. Unlike WWI or WWII, the current war does not readily allow a nation state or nation states with a publicly recognizable army that can be defined as the enemy to be defeated. These unique challenges require greater clarity, greater precision, and greater communication from the government to the nation than any time in America's history -- regarding the state of war, the identity of the enemy, and the war strategy.

The State of War

The enemy has been precise about its goals and its objectives. Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda has declared written war on the United States not once, but twice, once in 1996 and once in 1998. These Jihadist declarations of war have been rarely discussed in the news media or in government discussions about the war. The Washington Post published the 1998 war declaration on September 21, 2001 - 10 days after the 9/11 attacks.

Moreover, Al-Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith has also documented its goals in the Jihadist war against the United States, as well as Al-Qaeda's stated goal to kill at least 4 million Americans.

On the American side, the declaration of war was "The Authorization for Use of Military Force" ("AUMF") (Public law 107-40) passed by Congress on September 18, 2001, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.

The AUMF should have provided sufficient war-justification for both the American public and the news media, should the enemy be sufficiently identified. However, the AUMF never used either the word "Jihad" or "Jihadists" in defining the enemy.

The Identification of the Enemy

The AUMF provided the rationale for the current war in Afghanistan, based on American intelligence of the role of the Taliban Jihadist camps in training the 9/11 attackers, as it calls for the right to use military force against those who "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the 9/11 attacks.

However, like this week's New York Times columns by Dr. Steven Levitt, the AUMF also did not use the word "Jihad" or "Jihadist". Moreover, the effort to fight the Jihadists then became tagged with the general term the "War on Terror". Furthermore, many of the government leadership speeches regarding the war have referenced the enemy as "terrorists", as "evil", and as "extremists".

General references to fighting a war against "terrorism", "evil", and "extremists" have enabled widely diverse interpretations by individuals as to who exactly the enemy is, and has allowed virtually every different pundit and commentator to come up with their own interpretation on the identity of the enemy. From the perspective of international relations, this could provide "strategic ambiguity" to allow for tactical realpolitik negotiations among nations that tolerate or host Jihadists to aid in tactical battles in either Afghanistan or Iraq. But it misses the holistic view that for the nation to effectively fight a war - they must be united in identifying the enemy.

In the case of New York Times writer, Dr. Steven Levitt, the "terrorists" that he was referring to are not a wartime "enemy", they are mere "criminals" who he no doubt sees no connection to 9/11 or the AUMF at all. More troubling is that former NATO leader Wesley Clark also views Jihadists as mere "criminals". Furthermore, the New York Times and the Washington Post apparently views neither Hamas or Hezbollah as "enemy" organizations, but apparently views their naming on the State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization as "terrorists" as a political viewpoint.

Al-Qaeda is a Jihadist Organization

The idea that Al-Qaeda is a Jihadist organization may seem to be obvious, but not to all segments of the public and to organizations influencing the government. This plays another part in the blurring of the enemy's identification. As pointed out in numerous articles, there is a large segment of intelligentsia that seeks to obfuscate the enemy's identification by arguing that there is "good Jihad" and "bad Jihad". Dr. Walid Phares' recent column "Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad" demonstrates how apologist literature has even reached the National Defense University, and how apologists argue that the proper term for "bad Jihad" is "Hiraba". Dr. Phare's column was rebutted by Jim Guiard, who argued that America is not threatened by "Jihadist martyrdom", but "Irhabi Murderdom".

As I have mentioned previously in other postings, the fundamental problem for Americans in identifying the enemy, whether it is the vacillating term "War on Terror", or the unwillingness to call the enemy "Jihadists" comes down a conflict in Americans accepting that an enemy group could be affiliated in any way with any religion. America was founded on freedom of religion; it is inherent in our identity as a nation. But in dealing with the war of Jihadists against America, it is a fact that in identifying the enemy, that the present enemy is motivated by very specific religious beliefs.

Those who seek to obfuscate the identity of the enemy argue that if you call the enemy "Jihadists", then you validate their view as being representative of all of Islam. That is a red-herring that seeks to keep Americans in denial, not only about the identity of the enemy, but also about their very real religious motivations. And so... we are left with merely fighting a "War on Terror".

War Strategy Without Agreed-Upon Enemy Identity

Unlike WWI and WWII, where the enemy was clearly identified, the transnational Jihadists are difficult for the American public to process as an enemy. Moreover, while Al-Qaeda has formal declarations of war on the United States, and other Jihadist groups declare war on the USA on a near-daily basis, the only real war declaration that the USA has is the AUMF, that never once uses the word "Jihad". Therefore, without an agreed-upon enemy identification, the U.S. government and public are at major odds as to what, if any, war strategy there should be, and not only just in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in other parts of the world.

Unlike WWII, where the Nazis were a clearly designated enemy, in 2006, the Washington Post feels no wartime loyalty to preserve classified information about secret CIA prisons holding Jihadists. And that small representative example of the dysfunction in agreeing on enemy war strategy or even the identity of the enemy, has now resulted in major media publishing Jihadist editorials and now publicizing ideas to help the enemy attack and kill Americans.

Enemy Aid is the Price of Ignorance

As I have previously posted, the American public is woefully uninformed as to the scope and the magnitude of the daily World War by Jihadists across the globe. There are easily 20 to 30 Jihadist news stories most days; if the American public on average hears about 2 of those, it would be a miracle. The Jihadist World War is simply not reported as a priority by the American news media, and once again, the Jihadists have not been formally designated as the "enemy". By and large, the American news media finds the Jihadist activities in India, Israel, Somalia, Philippines, Thailand, Europe, UK, and around the world as "isolated incidents" deserving as mention (if at all) on page 30 of foreign news.

This leads to some segments of the population to view that such Jihadists have legitimate "struggles" and are not really "terrorists" either, but are "militants", whose cause deserves a voice in world affairs, as per the New York Times' and Washington Post's editorials for Hamas and Hezbollah.

The more painful realization is that the historical monofocus of Americans on their own affairs makes such world news and world threats to blur from any possible attention spans, except for the occasional suicide bombing in Iraq broadcast on cable news networks. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, when after writing a story on UK Jihadists threatening the United States, I watched a television game show with my wife, where a premed college student not only didn't know what the capital of the United Kingdom was, but wasn't even sure that the UK was actually a country at all.

Knowing your public is an important part of any public mobilization - whether it is for war - or for any other shared cause. And the New York Times and the Washington Post publications increasingly illustrate how little, 6 years after 9/11, the American public understand about the Jihadist enemy that is at war with the United States.

The price of such ignorance is to tolerate news media, public organizations, and individuals that will promote enemy propaganda, enemy incitement, and will provide information to the enemy on how to harm America, without the laws, the restraint, and the good sense to realize that all of this is unacceptable during war-time. And the price of such ignorance is a nation that is not prepared, not mobilized, and not energized for the long fight against the enemy.

In this war against Jihad, America must decide if it can continue to tolerate the price of ignorance, or if instead it is willing to make the investment in strategic war planning, communication, clear identification of the enemy and its threats, and unified purpose necessary to defeat its enemies.


August 8, 2007 - The New York Times: "If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?", by Steven D. Levitt

August 9, 2007 - The New York Times: "Terrorism, Part II", by Steven D. Levitt

August 8, 2007 - The New York Times: "Why Terrorists Aren't Soldiers", by Wesley K. Clark and Kal Raustiala

U.S. News Media and Terror Group Figure Editorials -- CTB Posting, Jeffrey Imm

Washington Post: CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons

Terrorist Finance Tracking Program: Controversy regarding The New York Times' decision to publish

August 23, 1996 -- "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places" -- Osama Bin Laden Declaration of War Against the United States of America

Febuary 23, 1998 -Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders - World Islamic Front Statement -- Osama Bin Laden's Fatwah Urging Jihad Against Americans (declaring war and plans to attack the United States) -- Published in Al-Quds al-'Arabi

June 12, 2002: 'Why We Fight America': Al-Qa'ida Spokesman Explains September 11 and Declares Intentions to Kill 4 Million Americans with Weapons of Mass Destruction

Authorization for Use of Military Force (Enrolled Bill), September 18, 2001

September 18, 2001 - U.S. Authorization for Use of Military Force

Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad - Dr. Walid Phares

Is AQ-style Terrorism "Jihadi Martyrdom" or "Irhabi Murderdom" Huh - Jim Guirard

Why We Must Label Al-Qaeda Terrorism "Jihad Martyrdom" - Robert Spencer

2007: Strategic Thinking Needed in Fighting Global Jihad -- CTB Posting, Jeffrey Imm

9/11, Religious Faith, and Ignorance -- CTB Posting, Jeffrey Imm

9/11 and News Reporting on Jihadist Terrorism -- CTB Posting, Jeffrey Imm

By Jeffrey Imm on August 10, 2007 7:00 PM
11781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 10, 2007, 04:23:21 PM
**Why the media blackout on this story???**

Media Blackout: Google News Search Reveals Only One MSM Mention -- FoxNews, Of Course -- Of NASA's Dramatically-Revised Temperature Records
Updated: That ND TV Station Reference Was Just To Say Anything's Blog
Search for "NASA temperature" which should bring the story up.

Only two references: One to a ND TV station and one to FoxNews. The FoxNews link has a link for 92 related articles, but every single one of the articles that comes up is about the new claim that global warming will begin -- for reallies this time -- in 2009.

Hitting the "show omitted duplicative results" reveals one more article about the NASA scandal -- but only by conservative online magazine The American Thinker.

And Newsweek dares to call global warming skeptics reality-deniers.

Drudge could help push the word on this, of course, and shame the press into mentioning it, but he won't, because he's a FREAK weather fetishist (today's big story: the heatwave!) and because he refuses to even mention stories that blogs have publicized or broken before he knew which way was up.

The TNR thing, for example, is now in the MSM. Krauthammer covers it today. And Drudge? Boycotting the story, because he doesn't have a piece of it and even acknowledging it would imperil his rather undeserved and quite happenstancical (whatever) position as the Guy Who Makes Millions By Reading The Wires And Putting Up Links.

I'm a little tired of Matt Drudge's jackassery on both points, especially the latter one. The overweening and destructively defensive egotism of a guy who just puts up fucking links he finds on the wires is getting to be a little too much to take.

Not to kiss up to Instapundit (though I'm sending him this link), but Instapundit tries to boost blogs on his blog, pushing blog stories harder than MSM stories even if the MSM stories are a bit more interesting.

Drudge does the opposite, of course, seeing blogs as a threat.

You think Drudge has been pushing anti-Kos stories out of politics? Nope. He's pushing them out of self-interest. The DailyKos is the only blog in the world that even has a significant fraction of his enormous traffic -- pretty much Kos is the leftist Drudge -- and so he's knocking a competitor for entirely personal reasons.

Update: Rob Port of Say Anything tells me the one other MSM mention -- by a ND TV station -- really wasn't by the TV station per se, but just his own blog, which the TV station syndicates.

Here's Rob Port's post; here's the post as it appears syndicated on that TV station's page. If you go to the station's page, you'll see these blogs are not exactly prominently displayed, though I do think it's a neat idea, and a welcome one, for local TV stations to feature local blogs.

I'm not knocking the station really, just noting this hardly counts as a bona-fide MSM mention. Kinda, sorta, but not really. They just linked his blog post, as they do some of his posts. The TV station itself did not report on the story and (presumably) did not broadcast it.

So we're down to exactly one MSM mention, as far as I can tell, and honestly, it's hard even to claim FoxNews is part of the MSM. Certainly the MSM doesn't count them as such. They all think they're just GOP TV.

So, really-- zero MSM mentions of an important story about global warming.


Because sometimes relevant facts must be withheld from the public so they are not misled by trivial things like evidence, science, and actual news.
11782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 05, 2007, 02:02:14 PM
Anybody can sue anyone for anything in the US, however suing is one thing, winning is another.
11783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: August 05, 2007, 01:58:58 PM

I have seen the horror

Al Qaeda is guilty of monstrosities in Iraq - no matter what anyone says


Sunday, August 5th 2007, 4:00 AM

Amid all this talk of timetables for the War in Iraq, blurred as they are by a strange lemming-like compulsion to declare the "surge" strategy a failure almost before it actually began, one deadline looms larger with each passing day: It's time for a reckoning with the truth.

The problem is that almost none of those who have cast themselves as truth-tellers have the requisite credibility for the job. The one man who does was told he had only until September to evaluate progress.

I'm not suggesting that I make a worthy substitute for the commanding general, David Petraeus, on this or any subject, but since December of 2004, I have spent roughly a 1½ years on the battlefields of Iraq.

I've traveled alongside American Army and Marines and British forces, from Basra to Mosul and just about anywhere of note in between.

When it comes to Iraq, being there matters because of the massive disconnect between what most Americans think they know about Iraq, and what is actually going on there.

The current controversy about the extent to which Al Qaeda is a threat to peace in Iraq is a case in point. Questions about which group calling itself an offshoot of Al Qaeda is really an offshoot of Al Qaeda is a distraction masquerading as a debate.

Al Qaeda is in Iraq, intentionally inflaming sectarian hostilities, deliberately pushing for full scale civil war. They do this by launching attacks against Shia, Sunni, Kurds and coalition forces. To ensure the attacks provoke counterattacks, they make them particularly gruesome.

Five weeks ago, I came into a village near Baqubah with American and Iraqi soldiers. Al Qaeda had openly stated Baqubah was their worldwide headquarters — indeed, Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed just a short drive away.

Behind the village was a palm grove. I stood there, amid the crushing stench of death, and photographed the remains of decapitated children and murdered adults. I can still smell the rotting corpses of those children.

Clearly, not every terrorist in Iraq is Al Qaeda, but it is Al Qaeda that has been intentionally, openly, brazenly trying to stoke a civil war. As Al Qaeda is now being chased out of regions it once held without serious challenge, their tactics are tinged with desperation.

This may be the greatest miscalculation they've made in their otherwise sophisticated battle for the hearts and minds of locals, and it is one we must exploit.

In fact, some Sunni insurgents who formerly were allies of Al Qaeda have turned on them simply because Al Qaeda has proven it will murder anyone — and in the most horrible ways. One of these groups is called the 1920 Revolution Brigade, which turned on Al Qaeda and joined forces with the U.S.

On July 16, I was with American Army forces, Iraqi Army forces and 1920 fighters when together they went off to hunt Al Qaeda. The 1920s guys were in front of us. They got hit by a bomb that was almost certainly planted by terrorists. A major gunfight ensued.

Anyone who says Al Qaeda is not one of the primary problems in Iraq is simply ignorant of the facts.

I, like everyone else, will have to wait for September's report from Gen. Petraeus before making more definitive judgments. But I know for certain that three things are different in Iraq now from any other time I've seen it.

1. Iraqis are uniting across sectarian lines to drive Al Qaeda in all its disguises out of Iraq, and they are empowered by the success they are having, each one creating a ripple effect of active citizenship.

2. The Iraqi Army is much more capable now than it was in 2005. It is not ready to go it alone, but if we keep working, that day will come.
3. Gen. Petraeus is running the show. Petraeus may well prove to be to counterinsurgency warfare what Patton was to tank battles with Rommel, or what Churchill was to the Nazis.

And yes, in case there is any room for question, Al Qaeda still is a serious problem in Iraq, one that can be defeated. Until we do, real and lasting security will elude both the Iraqis and us.

Yon is a former Special Forces soldier who later became a writer and a photographer. His work appears in the Weekly Standard, the National Review and on  .
11784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: August 03, 2007, 10:12:55 AM
GM, Speaking in terms of reality. Care to name a Islamofascist that we are actually fighting? Or.......are you would you just say that any Islamist that opposes us Is automaticly A Islamofascist.

**Al Qaeda leaps to mind, Al qaeda in Iraq, the Taliban as well. We've been targeted by Hezbollah many times but seem not to have inflicted much back on them**

Heres the short list of the definition given on who or what a Islamo is :
In my analysis, as originally put in print directly after the horror of September 11, 2001, Islamofascism refers to use of the faith of Islam as a cover for totalitarian ideology. This radical phenomenon is embodied among Sunni Muslims today by such fundamentalists as the Saudi-financed Wahhabis, the Pakistani jihadists known as Jama'atis, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. In the ranks of Shia Muslims, it is exemplified by Hezbollah in Lebanon and the clique around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.
Of the list above which ones are we currently and directly engaging in combat.....
For clarification purposes there wasn't so much a question of "Islamofascism" more a question of how do you identify them among the 100's of millions of Muslims.....Or do we just "kill them all and let god sort em out"

Would you say that Sadaam Husien was a Islamo?

**No, the Baathists were/are closer to plain old school fascism. This doesn't mean they can't/won't work with the jihadists though. Saddam would play the islam card when it suited him.**

Can an Iraqi fight Americans in his back yard simply because he dosen't want a Occupying force in his home, without being a Islamo?

Seems we did something similar here a couple of hundred plus years ago with the British.......

**Really? I missed that part of American history where we were under a brutal totalitarian government until the Brits overthrew the totalitarian leader, tried to build schools and infastructure to make us a free and independant nation with civil rights and the rule of law, so we suicide bombed the Brits in return.**

Anyway......Just bringing thesse things up for clarification and to keep it real.
In case you didn't pick up on this.......I'am the one that was detached from reality undecided
Looking forward to your response to my post. wink

No idea it was you, Tom. grin
11785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: August 02, 2007, 11:14:17 PM

I wonder how detatched from reality one has to be to question the word "islamofascism". rolleyes
11786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Phony War on: July 27, 2007, 08:22:45 PM
That was a good speech, I wish it were someone more electable than Newt saying it.
11787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Attorney question on: July 27, 2007, 08:21:56 PM
What legal recourse (if any) does Fox network have against this?  Leftist organizations are contacting those who advertise on Fox network with what sounds like to me a form of intimidation to not advertise on Fox.   It is a clear and organized campaign to harrass and frighten local, small advertisers away.

Not a lawyer, but boycotts are a time honored tactic. I personally see nothing wrong with it. Fox has strong ratings and that's the biggest influence on advertising dollars.
11788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: July 26, 2007, 03:56:11 PM

Iranian Daily: Harry Potter, Billion-Dollar Zionist Project

In an article, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is identified with Iranian Supreme Leader 'Ali Khamenei, criticized Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry for approving the distribution of the new book in the "Harry Potter" series.

The paper said that "Harry Potter" was a Zionist project in which billions of dollars had been invested in order to disrupt the minds of young people.

Source: Kayhan, Iran, July 26, 2007
11789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 25, 2007, 03:55:18 PM

I think any negotiation with Iran should be terms of surrender on their part. The current administration is making a grave error in not hammering the mullahs now. We'll live to regret not acting sooner.
11790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 25, 2007, 03:29:38 PM

Saddam was a bad guy that needed to be taken out. The Clinton administration feared he'd give WMD to al qaeda and other groups but could only do token cruise missile strikes occasionally. If you'll look at Iraq and Afghanistan, what nation is bracketed between them? A free and fuctional Iraq might shift the tide in the middle east. That certainly was the hope anyway.
11791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 25, 2007, 02:52:05 PM

Since Saddam's support of terror has been forgotten by some people....
11792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 21, 2007, 09:41:42 PM

Al Qaeda: Internal Power Struggle Looms

By Sami Yousafzai And Ron Moreau

July 30, 2007 issue - Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf's moment of triumph was brief. Even before his soldiers had overrun the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque—a complex in the heart of the normally sleepy capital of Islamabad that had been occupied by extremists—the retaliations began. Early last week Afghan Taliban and Pakistani tribal militants launched suicide attacks against several Pakistani military convoys. Another bomber walked into a police recruiting center, killing 29 in a single gory blast. The next day militants launched a classic guerrilla ambush using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades that killed 14 Pakistani soldiers traveling in a convoy. The attacks demonstrated a shocking degree of organization and speed—not to mention strategic cunning. After former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto publicly backed Musharraf's counter terror operation against the Red Mosque, yet another suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a group waiting to attend a rally of her Pakistan Peoples Party in Islamabad. At least 13 people died in that incident, bringing the week's toll to more than 150 killed in retaliatory attacks since the Red Mosque was raided.

Who was the shadowy general behind the wave of violence? Pakistani and Taliban officials interviewed recently by NEWSWEEK say it was none other than Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the Qaeda No. 2 who has also been appearing in a recent flurry of audio- and videotapes. While Osama bin Laden has been keeping a low profile—he may be ill, U.S. intel officials say—Zawahiri has moved aggressively to take operational control of the group. In so doing, Zawahiri has provoked a potentially serious ideological split within Al Qaeda over whether he is growing too powerful, and has become obsessed with toppling Musharraf, according to two jihadists interviewed by NEWSWEEK last week.

After years in which Zawahiri seemed constantly on the run, his alleged orchestration of last week's attacks would be further evidence that Qaeda and Taliban forces are newly empowered and have consolidated control of a safe haven along the Pakistani border. A new National Intelligence Estimate out of Washington last week also concludes that Al Qaeda is resurgent in Pakistan—and more centrally organized than it has been at any time since 9/11. The NIE—a periodic intel assessment that is considered the most authoritative issued by the U.S. government—concluded Al Qaeda has "regenerated key elements" of its ability to attack the United States. These include a sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal regions of North Waziristan and Bajaur, and an intact hierarchy of top leadership and operational lieutenants.

The anti-Zawahiri faction in Al Qaeda fears his actions may be jeopardizing that safe haven, according to the two jihadists interviewed by NEWSWEEK. Both have proved reliable in the past: they are Omar Farooqi, the nom de guerre for a veteran Taliban fighter and chief liaison officer between insurgent forces in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, and Hemat Khan, a Taliban operative with links to Al Qaeda. They say Zawahiri's personal jihad has angered Al Qaeda's so-called Libyan faction, which intel officials believe may be led by the charismatic Abu Yahya al-Libi, who made a daring escape from an American high-security lockup at Baghram air base in 2005. The Libyan Islamists, along with bin Laden and other senior Qaeda leaders, would love to see Musharraf gone, too. But they fear that Zawahiri is inviting the Pakistani leader's wrath, prematurely opening up another battlefront before the jihadists have properly consolidated their position.

Pakistani intelligence officials believe Zawahiri was behind two attempts to kill Musharraf that failed in December 2003. Since then, Zawahiri has been on an almost personal crusade to assassinate or overthrow the Pakistani leader. In his latest video, which is among at least 10 audio and video spots he has released this year, and which was produced and put on a jihadist Web site in record time, Zawahiri condemned the Red Mosque raid and urged Pakistani Muslims to "revolt," or else "Musharraf will annihilate you." (The mosque apparently served as a safe house for foreign and jihadist militants moving between urban areas and the tribal agencies until Pakistani security forces stormed it on July 10, killing about 70 militants and students holed up inside.)

The Egyptian-born Zawahiri is nominal leader of the Egyptian faction, the Jamaat al-Jihad, which he united with Al Qaeda in the 1990s. It is larger and contains more senior people than the Libyan group. Both jihadist sources who spoke to NEWSWEEK say there is now what Khan calls "a clear divide" between the two factions. In part, the Libyans seem to be irked by Zawahiri's unchecked ego and self-righteousness. "The Libyans say he's too extremist," says Farooqi, and they resent Zawahiri for appearing to speak for bin Laden. "Libyans tell me that the sheik [bin Laden] has not appointed a successor and that only the U.S. government and the international media talk of Zawahiri as being the deputy," Farooqi says.

A senior U.S. official involved in counterterrorism policy, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was addressing sensitive matters, agrees that there are tensions between Al Qaeda's Egyptian and Libyan factions, as well as between Saudi and Central Asian elements. "These guys are not immune to nationalist tendencies," he says. John Arquilla, an intelligence expert at the Naval Postgraduate School who closely follows radical Islamist traffic, calls it "the battle for Al Qaeda's strategic soul. There is a profound strategic debate over whether to focus on overturning the government in Pakistan ... because that puts them in control of a nuclear capacity."

Bin Laden himself has not personally intervened to end the internal feud, according to the jihadist sources. For security reasons he rarely has face-to-face meetings with his deputies. "He doesn't want to get involved," says Khan. "He's already too busy with strategic planning and inspirational duties and with directing his own security." Instead, bin Laden has tried to resolve the dispute by dividing duties between the two factions and appointing a pair of mediators, these sources say.

The infighting also hasn't prevented Zawahiri and his Qaeda brethren, along with Afghan Taliban and militant Pakistani tribal leaders, from establishing a complex command, control, training and recruitment base largely in Waziristan, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials. U.S. officials say Al Qaeda has vastly improved its position there since Musharraf signed a controversial peace deal with North Waziristan's Pashtun tribal elders in September 2006, which gave pro-Taliban tribal militants full control of security in the area. Al Qaeda provides funding, training and ideological inspiration, while Afghan Taliban and Pakistani tribal leaders supply the manpower: both fighters and the growing ranks of suicide bombers. Scattered across the rugged and remote mountains are small training camps and command and communications posts set up in hundreds of mud-brick compounds.

Last week tribal officials, who have become increasingly radicalized, indicated the deal was off. The governor of Afghanistan's Khowst province, Arsala Jamal, told NEWSWEEK that Qaeda and Afghan and Pakistani militants have moved some of their top fighters and commanders from Waziristan into safe areas in Afghanistan in case Pakistani and U.S. forces launch retaliatory raids.

U.S. counterterrorism operatives have been reluctant to cross into Waziristan for fear of violating Pakistani sovereignty and upsetting Musharraf. The general—who has refused demands to relinquish his uniform since taking power in a coup—has faced dramatically rising opposition from both secular and Islamist Pakistanis. On Friday, Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled against Musharraf's summary suspension of the nation's top judge—a move that had triggered widespread demonstrations.

But Hank Crumpton, a longtime CIA senior official and former counterterrorism coordinator for the State Department, says U.S. reluctance must be overcome, because Musharraf can't deal with the problem alone. The Pakistani leader sent more than 100,000 troops to the tribal areas last year, but "they lacked the requisite counterinsurgency skills," Crumpton says. And if Musharraf doesn't confront the situation more squarely, he'll face a growing Taliban movement in Pakistan. "There is encroaching Talibanization now outside the tribal areas into Pakistan proper," says Crumpton, a judgment seconded by a confidential report from Pakistan's Interior Ministry, obtained by NEWSWEEK.

U.S. and Pakistani officials hope that Zawahiri overreaches in his zeal to kill Musharraf, and they get an intel break on his whereabouts. Crumpton says the United States needs to lead an effort with anti-Taliban local tribes, some of whom have been targeted by Al Qaeda. "If we are attacked here [in the United States], which we will be, it almost certainly will have originated from that territory. What will we do then?" One hopes that Ayman Al-Zawahiri—and his resurgent Al Qaeda—can be stopped before that happens.

With Michael Hirsh, Jeffrey Bartholet and Mark Hosenball in Washington and Zahid Hussain in Islamabad

11793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 21, 2007, 06:41:09 PM,prtpage-1.cms

'Action in tribal areas can split Pak army'
21 Jul, 2007 l 0945 hrs ISTlPTI

NEW YORK: A strong action in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan by beleaguered Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf could lead to a spilt in the army, a media report said on Saturday.

Detailing a multitude of troubles that Musharraf faces at home, Time magazine quoting a former head of the powerful intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence said many foreign observers believe that his days are numbered as leader of Pakistan, raising the issue of who could possibly replace America's primary ally in the war against terror in this critical region.

The Pakistan President has come under strong criticism from the United States for his policy of non-engagement in the tribal areas which is now considered a complete failure.

Washington is demanding that Musharraf do more to rein in terrorists, extremists and religious fundamentalists. But in an interview with the magazine, Hamid Gul, former head of ISI, has warned that if Musharraf does take both gloves off in tribal areas, it would just increase the likelihood of a split in army.

"The officer cadres are liberal, secular, they come from the elite classes. But the rank and file of the army were never secular, they were always religious," Gul said.

"If there is a face-off between the army and people, the leadership may lose control of the army. The army does not feel happy. They are from the same streets, the same villages, the same bazaars of the lower and middle classes, and they want the same thing (Islamic law) for their country."

The increasing suicide attacks in Pakistan in the wake of storming of Lal Masjid by army in which a large number of militants were killed have brought some relief to Afghanistan.

Time reported that the spate of suicide bombings in Pakistan seems to have cooled the immediate sense of crisis in Afghanistan.

Word on the streets of Kabul is that the suicide bombers from Pakistan's tribal areas who until recently headed west into Afghanistan to train Afghan militants or carry out attacks themselves are now heading east into the cities of Pakistan, where they have new motives and better targets to attack, it added.

"Normally the Pakistanis come to Afghanistan, but now they are busier in Pakistan," Waheed Muzhda, an Afghan political analyst who worked for the foreign ministry during the Taliban regime, is quoted by Time as saying.

"The media is also focusing on Pakistan's violence. That is why everyone thinks the violence has been reduced here."

Talking about jubilations following reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Time has said the decision is a major blow for Musharraf who is facing increased resistance to his rule, new pressure from Washington to crackdown on militants and a wave of suicide bombings in the country.
11794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 21, 2007, 05:45:06 PM
War Crimes   
By Jamie Glazov | July 20, 2007

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson, United States Air Force (Retired), the Vice-Chairman for Move America Forward and the author of two New York Times best sellers, Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security and Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security. His new book, just released, is War Crimes: The Left’s Campaign to Destroy the Military and Lose the War on Terror.

FP: Buzz Patterson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Patterson: Hi Jamie. It’s great to be back with you. Thank you for the opportunity.
FP: And it's great to talk to you again.
So what inspired you to write this book?

Patterson: Virtually since September 12, 2001, as fires still smoldered at Ground Zero and the Pentagon, elements of the American Left mobilized against their country and created a de facto alliance with our Islamofascist enemies. I'd retired from the Air Force only 11 days prior to the attacks and I was increasingly shocked that so many of my fellow citizens could choose not to support our military and our commander-in-chief in an obvious time of war. There were Americans who wanted to see their own nation defeated. As a serviceman, I guess I was naive, but the reality that citizens I'd sworn to protect and defend for 20 years could hate their nation so intensely floored me.
Early on in America's involvement in Iraq I noticed a tremendous disconnect between what our media was reporting as "truth" and what I was hearing from my friends and peers actually doing the fighting there. This is the first "internet war" we've ever fought and our soldiers have access to all of the media that those of us stateside do, that is internet access, CNN, Fox, etc.  In conversations and e-mails, the troops I spoke with routinely voiced concern and outrage over what they were seeing coming from home.  Increasingly they told me that what they were experiencing on the ground in Iraq, the ground truth, was not what they were seeing portrayed on the media.
My initial thesis for War Crimes was that the American media were intentionally undermining the efforts of our president and our troops.   I visited Iraq in 2005 to see for myself. After speaking to hundreds of soldiers I realized that the subversive opposition to the war was much bigger than just the media -- it was also Democrat politicians, academics at U.S. colleges and high schools, non-governmental "peace" organizations and the popular culture of Hollywood. War Crimes is an indictment of the Left by servicemen and women fighting a just and noble war.
FP: Can you tell us a bit more about your trip to Iraq? What were some of your observations and experiences? Did you see anything that you did not expect?
Patterson: I went over with a group from the pro-troop, pro-war on terror organization Move America Forward. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I served 20 years in the Air Force and was involved in combat operations as a pilot but my experiences were from above, from the sky. This was my first real insight into our ground forces, Army and Marines, how they operate in war time, what drives them, what their particular military culture is about. I was amazed at their high morale and dedication. It was a tremendous honor to be with them.
We went in July, which is the worst possible time to go to Iraq, and the conditions were oppressive. The temperatures hit about 125 degrees. The air was filled with a talcum powder-like sand that made it difficult to breathe.  I fully expected to find some morale and motivation issues amongst our troops but I didn't. In fact, quite the opposite, the morale, professionalism and devotion to duty were off the charts high. I interviewed hundreds of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines yet found one who was disaffected and miserable. The rest I spoke with, and I'm talking all ranks here, general down to private, were sharp, motivated and acutely aware of why they were there.
One of the other themes that struck me was how passionate the troops were for their mission and how disgusted, quite frankly, they were with the American media and some politicians. For the most part they didn't hold back in their condemnation of the media, leftist politicians, anti-war organizations such as Code Pink, and the Hollywood pop culture. It was this passion and commitment that really spoke to me and motivated me to tell their story in War Crimes.
FP: Tell us your thoughts on the Left's de facto alliance with Islamofascism.

Patterson: The bottom line is the Left in this country only wins when America loses. Its a tried-and-true principle founded in the anti-war efforts of Vietnam and the 1960s. To bring down "the man" during Vietnam meant to oppose your country and side with the Communist enemies we faced in North Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Korea, China and Cuba.  The U.S. military never lost a battle throughout the Vietnam War but mainstream media, anti-American radicals and defeatist Democrats colluded to lose the war any way. The Left successfully parlayed the international humiliation and defeat of Vietnam in political capital in Washington, DC and, as a result, elected a radical House and Senate in 1974 and Jimmy Carter to the presidency in 1976.
An almost identical scenario is playing out today. Democrats, and their allies on the Left, have entered into an informal alliance with Islamofascism. They retook the House and Senate last year based on their anti-war, anti-Bush positions. Their hopes to regain the White House in 2008 hinge on turning Iraq and the greater global war against Islamofascism into defeat. They never offer a platform or strategy to address national security or the War on Terror, only a constant drum beat of negativity and defeatism.
Examine the rhetoric. Congressman John Murtha calls our Marines "cold blooded murderers." Senator Dick Durbin morally equates our troops serving at Guantanamo Bay with Hitler's Nazis, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge and Soviets in their gulags. Michael Moore releases his anti-American, anti-military screed Fahrenheit 9/11 and receives marketing assistance in Lebanon from Hezbollah (the terrorist organization that’s been killing Americans since 1983).  Columbia University professor Nichole De Genova tells a gathering of 3000 students that "the only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military."
This sort of behavior and rhetoric is not only irresponsible, it’s subversive. It plays right into the Islamofascist game plan, it emboldens our enemy and it results in the war being prolonged and American deaths.
FP: What is the impulse that drives the Left to reach out in solidarity to radical Islam. The Left has always pretended to be the great knight in shining armor when it comes to gay rights, women’s rights, democratic rights and minority rights etc. But now the Left genuflects in the direction of a monstrous and barbaric anti-progressive force that represents the most gay-hating, women-hating, minority-hating and democracy-hating entity on earth. What’s your psychological diagnosis of this mindset?
Patterson: The Left is so blinded by their pathological hatred for their own nation that defeatism is their only recourse. They cannot credit the United States and its armed forces with success because, to them, America and especially the U.S. military are the real enemies. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. As such, they have declared war on their own nation and our military.
Plus, with their de facto alliance with Islamofascists, the Left believes that an anti-war movement will bring them political capital, as it did during Vietnam. By inflating Vietnam into the symbol of American imperialism, Leftists achieved their real goals—power in Washington, D.C. (where they could cripple the war machine) and control of the nation’s universities and editorial offices. Their strategizing for exactly that outcome with the war in Iraq and the greater global ideological war with Islamic extremism. They are placing their failed ideology and egocentric political desires above the nation's security and the service of our men and women in uniform. It’s disgusting.
The internal enemy we face from within is one we have to defeat to be successful in Iraq and elsewhere. It won't be easy. The Left’s campaign against America’s War on Terror is a well-coordinated, well-financed operation that involves individuals and institutions from all parts of our society. Leading Democratic politicians, major media outlets, academia, popular culture, and a host of deep-pocketed radical organizations combine to form a Fifth Column that undermines our military’s heroic efforts in this global campaign.
FP: What are the ingredients of the Left's Fifth Column? What is it comprised of?

Patterson: The Fifth Column today is comprised of academics, liberal politicians, big media, anti-war organizations and Hollywood. Notice that these are all institutions with a monopoly on communications and messages. Academics such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Ward Churchill are revered on college campuses for their imperialist America and anti-military views.  They indoctrinate our young adults with their twisted ideology. Democrat politicians with partisan ego-centric agendas selfishly sacrifice the country's national security and the lives of our soldiers for their careers.  Major media such as the big television networks, the New York Times and the Washington Post consistently misrepresent or distort the facts emanating from Iraq and leak highly-classified government programs. "Peace" organizations such as Code Pink and United for Peace and Justice, funded by big money from the Ford Foundation, George Soros, etc, publicly denounce the commander-in-chief and our troops as war criminals.
FP: How is this book unique and original?
Patterson: This is the only book that I'm aware of that frames a comprehensive argument against the Left but relies on the voices and observations of those actually doing the fighting -- the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. I conducted hundreds of interviews, many in Iraq, with our troops and their frustration with and enmity toward the Left is very revealing.  They see quite clearly that they can't be beaten military. Their only prospect of losing comes from subversive elements in America and lack of resolve of elected representatives in Washington, DC.
For example, Army Sergeant Eddie Jeffers said that he sees "the enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans.  The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives."
Air Force Major Eric Egland told me that "the troops number one frustration has been the media reporting. The way the pres mishandled Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay had a tremendous negative effect on us. It inflamed the Iraqis at a time when we were making great progress in Iraq."
Also referring to the media, Army First Sergeant Jeff Nuding said "You (the American press) are creating greater risk for me personally (and) you create added danger for my soldiers. You feed into enemy, yes enemy, propaganda efforts in yielding unlimited access to pre-staged voices with calculated intent...You diminish and demean our service...Never, never claim to support the soldiers, you don't, you never will in any meaningful way until you can see your prejudices for what they are." Nuding also said "We daily see the gross distortions. We can't recognize the caricature they (the media) scratch out, neither in our fellow soldiers, nor on the battleground. I know they claim to be objective but really they're nothing more than accomplices in the face of this evil."
FP: How do you see the future of this war? Will the Left force a premature withdrawal? What must we do to win? Can we? Is there any room for optimism?
Patterson: We have to win, there really is no alternative. We can win and we are winning in Iraq. General David Patraeus and men and women in uniform are doing tremendous things within the "surge." They will win if we let them.
Again, we need to focus on the institutions within our nation that are aggressively seeking to undermine the war effort. There is absolutely no way that Al Qaeda and the insurgents in Iraq can defeat our enemy. They have to rely on withering resolve and duplicitous politics on the part of Americans. Just as the North Vietnamese relied on western media, the anti-war movement and wobbly-kneed American politicians, so too are Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It's incumbent upon us to ensure that doesn't happen, not just for the sake of the Iraqi people and their future, but for our national security and the security of the Middle East.
The Left is doing everything they can to force a premature withdrawal. That would be catastrophic. Secular violence on an incredible scale would immediately follow our withdrawal. Eventually, Iran and Al Qaeda would own Iraq and the world's second largest oil reserves. Iraq would be the launching pad for the exporting of terror world wide, and they would visit us again. Turkey, just to the north, would probably move to protect its southern borders. It would be extremely ugly and absolutely unnecessary. The fact that so many Democrats and big media types are either naive to the realities or choosing to ignore them for political expediency and/or their hatred for President George Bush is incredibly troubling.
Ultimately, we will prevail. America doesn't like to lose nor squander the sacrifices of our troops. Ultimately, patriotic Americans will prevent the Left from turning a just and noble cause into defeat. Hopefully, books like War Crimes will educate the American public to the threat that comes from within and re-energize the nation to demand victory, to insist on victory.
FP: Buzz Patterson, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Patterson: Jamie, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you so much for what you and the great folks at FrontPage Magazine do to get the truth out there.
11795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 21, 2007, 05:26:54 PM
****Right of return?****

Cotler urges recognition of Jewish refugees
Former justice minister says UN failing to consider thousands of Jews driven from Arab lands after 1948
Steven Edwards
CanWest News Service

Friday, July 20, 2007

NEW YORK -- Former justice minister Irwin Cotler and other Canadian scholars presented the U.S. Congress on Thursday with its first testimony on Jews driven from Arab lands following Israel's creation in 1948.

"The time has come to rectify this historical injustice," Cotler told members of the congressional human rights caucus in Washington in a written statement.

The witnesses were among experts helping U.S. lawmakers decide on a pair of bills that would oblige the Bush administration to actively oppose the Arab-led practice in Middle East peace efforts to speak only of Palestinian refugees.

While key Arab voices continue to push for a "right of return" for descendants of some 600,000 Palestinians whose pre-1948 homes are now inside Israel, the general discourse for decades has all but ignored the tens of thousands of Jews, Christians and other minorities who were similarly turned into refugees.

Cotler charged that the United Nations bears "express responsibility for the distorted narrative." Arab countries have mustered majority backing from Muslim and developing states to pass 101 UN resolutions that refer only to Palestinian refugees.

Jews in Arab lands totalled almost 900,000 in 1948, but there are fewer than 8,000 in 10 Arab countries today, Cotler said. Arab countries counter that 3.7 million Palestinians remain in refugee camps in the region, whereas Jewish refugees moved on to new lives in Israel and elsewhere.

Cotler is considered a leading expert on the issue, having helped produce a 2003 study entitled Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: The Case for Rights and Redress.

Co-authored by fellow Canadian Stan Urman, who also testified in Washington, the study spoke of new evidence that Arab states reacted to the creation of Israel by orchestrating the persecution of their Jewish citizens.

"Today, we cannot allow a second injustice, namely for the international community to recognize rights for [only] one victim population," said Urman, executive director of New York-based Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.

The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to vote before the end of the year on the bills that prompted the hearing.

The Senate bill urges President George W. Bush to ensure that the peace process acknowledges that the Arab-Israeli conflict has created "multiple refugee populations."

The House document would ensure that any peace agreement addresses the rights of all refugees, "including Jews, Christians, and other populations displaced from countries in the region."

The legislation is significant because the U.S., along with Russia, the UN and the European Union, is one of the four international powers seeking to restart the stalled Middle East peace process.

The congressional hearing unfolded as former British prime minister Tony Blair, in his new job as the special Middle East envoy for the four powers, met in Lisbon with representatives of the so-called Quartet.
11796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 21, 2007, 05:01:40 PM

The 9/11 Generation
Better than the Boomers.
by Dean Barnett
07/30/2007, Volume 012, Issue 43

In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn't answer the phone.

Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers--those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation--took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers' response to their moment of challenge. War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.

Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, military service didn't occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

I've spent much of the past two weeks speaking with young people (and a few not-so-young) who have made the decision to serve their country by volunteering for the military. Some of these men have Ivy League degrees; all of them are talented and intelligent individuals who--contrary to John Kerry's infamous "botched joke" ("Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq")--could have chosen to do anything with their lives. Having signed up, they have either gone to Iraq or look forward to doing so. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media have underreported their stories.

One of the excesses of the 1960s that present-day liberals have disowned and disavowed since 9/11 is the demonization of the American military. While every now and then an unrepentant liberal like Charlie Rangel will appear on cable news and casually accuse U.S. troops of engaging in baby-killing in Iraq, the liberal establishment generally knows better. They "support" the American military--at least in the abstract, until it does anything resembling fighting a war.

In search of a new narrative, 21st-century liberals have settled on the "soldiers are victims" meme. Democratic senators (and the occasional Republican senator who's facing a tough reelection campaign) routinely pronounce their concern for our "children" in Iraq. One of the reasons John Kerry's "botched joke" resonated so strongly was that it fit the liberals' narrative. The Democratic party would have you believe that our soldiers are children or, at best, adults with few options: In short, a callous and mendacious administration has victimized the young, the gullible, and the hopeless, and stuck them in Iraq.

But this narrative is not just insulting to our fighting men and women, it is also grossly inaccurate.

Kurt Schlichter is a lieutenant colonel in the California National Guard. A veteran of the first Gulf war, he's now stateside and commands the 1-18th Cavalry, 462-man RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) squadron attached to the 40th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The last media representative he spoke with before I contacted him was a New York Times stringer who wanted Schlichter's help in tracking down guardsmen who were "having trouble because they got mobilized."

In describing his unit, Schlichter says, "Our mission is to operate far out in front of the main body of the brigade to find and keep in contact with the enemy, report on its activities, and call in air or artillery fire on it. We are very lightly armed--speed, stealth, and smarts are our best weapons--and our Cav scouts work out of humvees or on foot." Their squadron motto is "Swift and Deadly."

Colonel Schlichter talks about the soldiers he commands with unvarnished admiration. He has 20-year-olds serving under him who have earned combat badges. As to why these young men are willingly and eagerly putting themselves in harm's way, Schlichter flatly declares, "The direction comes from themselves. They like to be challenged."

One of the soldiers in Colonel Schlichter's 1-18th is 28-year-old Sergeant Joseph Moseley. The outline of Moseley's story matches the liberal narrative of the "soldier victim." A junior college student, he served four years in the Army and then four years in the National Guard. During his stint in the Guard, Moseley got mobilized. He went to Iraq, where he had a portion of his calf muscle torn away by an IED. He has since returned to the United States and is undergoing a rigorous rehab program, which he describes as "not always going smoothly." It's virtually impossible that Sergeant Moseley will recover fully from his injuries.

Yet when asked about his time in Iraq, Moseley speaks with evident pride. He says the fact that he took the brunt of the IED's blow means he did his job. None of the men serving under him was seriously injured. When asked how he would feel about being characterized as a victim, Sergeant Moseley bristles. "I'm not a victim," he says. "It's insulting. That's what we signed up for. I knew what I was doing."

Tom Cotton is another soldier who knew what he was doing. When 9/11 occurred, Cotton was in his third year at Harvard Law School. Like most Americans, he was "shocked, saddened, and angered." Like many on that day, he made a promise to serve his country.

And Cotton meant it. After fulfilling the commitments he had already made, including clerking for a federal judge and going to work for a large Washington law firm, Cotton enlisted in the Army. He jokes that doing so came with a healthy six-figure pay cut.

Cotton enlisted for one reason: He wanted to lead men into combat. His recruiter suggested that he use the talents he had spent seven years developing at Harvard and join the JAG Corps, the Armed Forces' law firm. Cotton rejected that idea. He instead began 15 months of training that culminated with his deployment to Iraq as a 2nd lieutenant platoon leader with the 101st Airborne in Baghdad.

The platoon he led was composed of men who had already been in Baghdad for five months. Cotton knew that a new platoon leader normally undergoes a period of testing from his men. Because his platoon was patrolling "outside the wire" every day, there was no time for Cotton and his men to have such a spell. He credits what turned out to be a smooth transition to his platoon's noncommissioned officers, saying, "The troops really belong to the NCOs." After six months, Cotton and his platoon redeployed stateside.

While in Iraq, Cotton's platoon was awarded two Purple Hearts, but suffered no killed in action. His larger unit, however, did suffer a KIA. When I asked Cotton for his feelings about that soldier's death, the pain in his voice was evident. After searching for words, he described it as "sad, frustrating, angry--very hard, very hard on the entire company."

He then added some thoughts. "As painful as it was, the death didn't hurt morale," he said. "That's something that would have surprised me before I joined the Army. Everyone in the Infantry has volunteered twice--once for the Army, once for the Infantry. These are all grown men who all made the decision to face the enemy on his turf. The least you can do is respect them and what they're doing."

Now serving in the Army in Virginia, still enjoying his six-figure pay cut, Tom Cotton says he is "infinitely happy" that he joined the Army and fought in Iraq. "If I hadn't done it," he says, "I would have regretted it the rest of my life."

Regardless of their backgrounds, the soldiers I spoke with had a similar matter-of-fact style. Not only did all of them bristle at the notion of being labeled victims, they bristled at the idea of being labeled heroes. To a man, they were doing what they saw as their duty. Their self-assessments lacked the sense of superiority that politicians of a certain age who once served in the military often display. The soldiers I spoke with also refused to make disparaging comparisons between themselves and their generational cohorts who have taken a different path.

But that doesn't mean the soldiers were unaware of the importance of their undertaking. About a month ago, I attended the commissioning of a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The day before his commissioning, he had graduated from Harvard. He didn't come from a military family, and it wasn't financial hardship that drove him into the Armed Forces. Don't tell John Kerry, but he studied hard in college. After his commissioning, this freshly minted United States Marine returned to his Harvard dorm room to clean it out.

As he entered the dorm in his full dress uniform, some of his classmates gave him a spontaneous round of applause. A campus police officer took him aside to shake his hand. His father observed, "It was like something out of a movie."

A few weeks after his commissioning, the lieutenant sent me an email that read in part:

I remember when I was down at Quantico two summers ago for the first half of Officer Candidates School. The second to last day I was down there--"Family Day," incidentally--was the 7/7 bombings. The staff pulled us over and told us the news and then said that's basically why they're so hard on us down there: We're at war and will be for a long time, and the mothers of recruits at MCRD and at Parris Island right now are going to be depending on us one day to get their sons and daughters home alive.

When I was in England last week, I talked to an officer in the Royal Navy who had just received his Ph.D. He was saying he thought the larger war would last 20-30 years; I've always thought a generation--mine in particular. Our highest calling: To defend our way of life and Western Civilization; fight for the freedom of others; protect our friends, family, and country; and give hope to a people long without it.
It is surely a measure of how far we've come as a society from the dark days of the 1960s that things like military service and duty and sacrifice are now celebrated. Just because Washington and Hollywood haven't noticed this generational shift doesn't mean it hasn't occurred. It has, and it's seismic.
11797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 21, 2007, 08:33:41 AM
**Where is Canada's "fairness doctrine"?**

VisionTV defends airing 'jihad' lecture
By Stewart Bell
National Post

Thursday, July 19, 2007

TORONTO • VisionTV says it will monitor one of its shows more closely after it broadcast a lecture by an Islamic preacher who said scripture requires Muslims to either fight jihad or finance it.

The multi-faith channel, available in 7.8 million Canadian homes, said it took the precaution following a complaint about last Saturday's broadcast of a lecture by the Pakistani fundamentalist.

In the hour-long talk, Israr Ahmad said, "Jihad in the way of Allah, for the cause of Allah, can be pursued either with your financial resources or your bodily strength when you go to fight the enemy in the battlefield.

"So jihad, the highest form, is fighting in the cause of Allah."

Mr. Ahmad runs a seminary and bookstore in Lahore, Pakistan, and his writings foresee the "global domination of Islam," compare Jews to "parasites," describe the Holocaust as "divine punishment" and predict the "total extermination" of Jews.

His followers in Canada include terror suspect Qayyum Abdul Jamal, who was arrested last summer for his alleged role in a plot to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.

According to Mr. Jamal's wife, Mr. Ahmad was her husband's teacher and mentor.

The television program left some wondering how the Pakistani preacher, who claims that Jews control the world through a secret conspiracy involving financial institutions, made it on to Canada's government-regulated airwaves.

"Israr Ahmad is widely known for his hateful words and vilification of Jews," said Canadian Jewish Congress spokesman Bernie Farber. "We are deeply concerned that Vision would give this individual the imprimatur of Vision's credibility. It was a mistake in judgment and ought to concern all of us."

VisionTV's code of ethics forbids the broadcast of programs that glorify or incite violence or "have the effect of provoking or abetting domestic or international religious or political conflicts."

The broadcaster acknowledged that the show, Dil Dil Pakistan, had talked about jihad and fighting but said it did not contravene the station's policies against incitement because the comments were made in a historical context. But it said the show would be monitored more closely.

"We have essentially a system of flagging shows when complaints are made, where we'll watch subsequent episodes even more carefully than we otherwise do, and take extra care and caution. So that's certainly the case here," said Mark Prasuhn, VisionTV's chief operating officer and vice-president of programming.

Toronto resident Mindy Alter, however, said the message came through loud and clear when she tuned in to the show, which aired from 3 to 4 p.m. on July 14.

"The part about the jihad, he said very specifically that it is incumbent upon Muslims to wage jihad against their enemies until Islam rules supreme over the world," Mrs. Alter said.

"I'm sorry, I don't think that belonged over the airwaves of Canadian TV.... You can put that in whatever context you like. To me that's preaching jihad."

Responded Mr. Prasuhn: "Definitely, the viewer is correct. [Mr. Ahmad] does make the point about, you either contribute financially or through your body, and he uses the word fight. But none of this, as far as I could see, is in any way correlated or referenced to the present day. It is strictly a historical context and reading of the Koran by a Koranic scholar."

Mr. Ahmad is not just a religious scholar. He heads a self-described "revolutionary" organization called Tanzeem-e Islami, which wants to turn Pakistan into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

In his book Lessons From History, he writes that the revival of Islam will begin in Pakistan, because it is the only country that "has the potential for standing up against the nefarious designs of the global power-brokers and to resist the rising tides of the Jewish/Zionist hegemony."

Islam will come to rule in four stages, he claims: the Ultimate World War in the Middle East, the appearance of the anti-Christ, the extermination of the Jews and the "domination of Islam, over the entire globe."

Canadian Muslim Congress founder Tarek Fatah said Mr. Ahmad "is allied to the ultra-conservative Islamists of Pakistan. His weekly TV rants are targeted primarily at fellow Muslims, urging them to segregate themselves from non-Muslims. He is also a promoter of the doctrine of jihad, as in armed warfare against non-Muslims."

Mr. Prasuhn said the show was screened before it was aired and that no problems were identified. He said he watched the show again after receiving a complaint on Monday and did not see a problem.

"He is saying that Muslims have a duty to propagate their faith," Mr. Prasuhn said.

"Then it goes a little further. It isn't directly connected to the word jihad, but in the same paragraph or whatever he then gets into talking about [how] this is accomplished - and again he's kind of referencing Koran and history - accomplished through jihad, which means these two things, financial contribution or fighting.

"So there's a line of thought there, but it's going a bit beyond what's actually there to say he's [saying] if you respect the Koran, you need to today engage in jihad and violence and fighting with non-Muslims. That's not said.

"At no point did I hear him say anything that would reference the present day or that would reference what a practitioner of Islam should do today. Now, that's an inference one might draw, I suppose, but I did not hear it in his words."
11798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 20, 2007, 10:47:13 PM
With that logic, the next time ABC wants to show "Apollo 13", the "we never went to the moon" loons get equal time for their drivel. "Schindler's List" grants equal time for jihadists or neo-nazis to tell "their side of the story". rolleyes
11799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 20, 2007, 08:14:06 PM

Fairness doctrine follies!
11800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 20, 2007, 08:03:24 PM
Woof GM, So then are you saying we are NOT winning the war on global Jihad?
Surley your not advocating for your last post of nuking Mecca?
What is the goal of the global war on Jihad anyway? In other words......How is it won?
I personally feel that we are by no means serious about this "war on terror" When 6 years after 9/11 we still are not going after the number one terrorist in the world with serious intent. (Bin Laden)
All that smoke we are blowing about....not taking going into Pakistan "off the table" Is pure BS, and anyone with half a brain knows Musharrif(sp) is playing us like a cheap guitar.
Hes been playing both sides for years.
In my opinon the whole things a farce........yet in the mean time weve some how managed to mess up Iraq and get a pretty good Jihad started there.......
In all honesty Sadaam Husein was messed up.......but there was a certain amount of stability in that country, after years and billions we can not say that today......


We've won tactical victories, killed a lot of low and mid level jihadis. I've seen documents captured in Afghanistan that lay out the al qaeda 100 year plan for establishing the global caliphate. What's our 10 year plan? As you'll note, out of the US citizens posting here, a number think there isn't a war worth fighting. So, do we give up on trying to establish a free muslim nation and put a strongman on our payroll instead? Obviously Pakistan, like the Saudis is our ally in name only. Still, going into Pakistan in force quite possibly could result in Mushy getting a state funeral and Pakistan formally becoming nuclear "Alqaedastan".

As far as nuking Mecca, i'm very serious. Mecca holds a special position in islamic theology. The world's muslims having to bow 5 times a day towards America's newest nuclear test site would have a crisis of faith that couldn't be answered. No Mecca, probably no 72 virgins for martyrs either. Much like MacArthur making the Japanese Emperor go on Japanese radio to tell Japan he was just a man and not a divine being did much to end internal resistance in Japan. We've beaten fanatics before, it required lots of killing and a few nuclear weapons.
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