Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Mind of the Islamic Fanatic, or the Lack Thereof

When you read the following piece by Michael Goodwin discussing the terrorist mind some information from an essay by Mordechay Lewy helps to explain why so much of Islam embraces the murder of innocents as an acceptable form of warfare. Culled from an article posted on Shark Blog , which tells us that the Arab/Islamic world rejects responsibility for its problems and instead shifts blame outwardly, primarily to the West and the United States, there are eight principle reasons why the Arab/Islamist do not, cannot, face reality, five of which (slightly editd) are listed below:

1. In the [Middle East/Islam], one's own guilt and inadequacies are always assigned to others. They rarely (if ever) practice elf-criticism. The ability for self-correction is accordingly limited.

2. In the [Middle East/Islam], the preferred role is that of the victim. They create conspiracy theories to rationalize this behavior.

3. Islam does not have the concept of "original sin" and therefore has no historical tradition of collective guilt.

4. Islam does not promote the formation of free will and individual responsibility. In the Islamic notion of man, free will is subordinate to Allah's all-encompassing pre-ordained plan. 5. In the overt or covert conflict between the two cultures, the West cannot operate with a free hand, by virture of its own self-imposed moral constraints. These self-imposed restrictions will be interpreted as a weakness by the aggressive blame society of the [Middle East/Islam]. These will be exploited in conflict situations, not respected.

Paradise lost

Michael Goodwin
The New York Post
November 26, 2006

It was only a matter of time. Depraved Palestinians first sent young adult men wearing explosives to blow themselves up on Israeli buses and in pizza parlors. Then came the phenomenon of young women doing the same. Now a grandmother has chosen this fiendish way of death.

Fatma Omar An-Najar was a mother of nine and grandmother of more than 30. Her suicide in the Gaza Strip lightly injured three Israeli soldiers, so she failed to take "infidels" with her. But that is of little comfort. The use of a grandmother means more horror is coming.

With teenagers as young as 16 already blowing themselves up, children are next in line to become "martyrs."

Terror masterminds are brainwashing a new generation in Muslim countries. Everything from animated cartoons to educational programs to textbooks urge young people to kill and die for Islam. Clerics preach that the fastest way to get to Paradise is Shahada, or to die for Allah. Those who do are called shahids and children as young as 8 are drinking this murderous Kool-Aid.

Newspapers, television, the Internet and even music videos routinely extol the virtues of a violent death. A show on Palestinian TV involving two 11-year-old girls offers a chilling example. According to a transcript and video clip provided by an Israeli-based group called Palestinian Media Watch, the show, which first aired in 2002, features an interviewer talking with the bright, normal-looking girls.

Interviewer: You described Shahada as something beautiful. Do you think it is beautiful?

Walla: Shahada is a very beautiful thing. Everyone yearns for Shahada. What could be better than going to Paradise?

Interviewer: What is better, peace and full rights for the Palestinian people or Shahada?

Walla: Shahada. I will achieve my rights after becoming a shahid. We won't stay children forever.

Interviewer: Okay, Yussra, would you agree with that?

Yussra: Of course. It is a good [sweet] thing. We don't want this world, we want the afterlife. We benefit not from this life but from the afterlife ....

Interviewer: Do you actually love death?

Yussra: Death is not Shahada.

Interviewer: No, I mean the absence after death, the physical absence, do you love death?

Yussra: No child loves death. The children of Palestine adopted the concept that this is Shahada. They believe that Shahada is very good. Every Palestinian child, say someone aged 12, says, O Lord, I would like to become a shahid.

The spread of the culture of suicide - "martyrdom" to adherents - is the most disturbing trend in the Muslim world. Starting with Hezbollah in Lebanon in the early 1980s, it has been adopted as a legitimate weapon by both Sunnis and Shiites in numerous nations, especially Iraq.

Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, recently gave a lecture at Manhattan College to document how a celebration of suicide bombers has taken root among Palestinians in everyday life. He told of how one soccer league for 14-year-olds named its teams after suicide bombers. Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber, became a heroine to many Palestinians after she blew herself up and killed an 81-year-old Israeli man and wounded 100 others four years ago.

Marcus, citing a textbook for eighth-graders that says "your enemies seek life and you seek death," called this sewer of propaganda "an impediment to peace."

That's an understatement. For years, conservative Israeli politicians were criticized when they claimed that "we don't have a partner for peace." When grandmothers strap explosives to themselves, and when children are taught to follow, the world must finally understand what they, and we, are up against.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

The War of the Leaves, Part II

Well, this is the second installment of my report from the front in the annual fall struggle with nature, although Saturday was the fourth battle in the long, hard slog to clear the multitudinous leaves from the grounds of our humble abode. This time, I have real photos of some of the prisoners taken (the photo at left is not of our house, although we have more leaves than the pile in the picture).

It was a hard afternoon, though it would have been difficult to find a more pleasant one: mid-60s and sunny. But I put in three hours of climbing around moving the leaves into piles and I decided I had earned myself a rest. So, at 4:00 p.m. I was out on the front porch cooling off. There’s something special about just kicking back with a good libation. Corky, our Beagle mix, was cooling it, too, sitting on the edge of the hill overseeing her domain. The squirrels were busy doing whatever it is squirrels do at this time of year. It was very pleasant.

We’ve approached this project in different ways over the five years we’ve been in this house. The first two Diane and I personally took the project on with a rake and trash bags. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a level yard, or even one with some trees in it. But no, when we bought this house, shortly before the onslaught of the leaves in 2001, we thought being surrounded by trees on three sides was an asset. And they are in the spring and summer when they pretty much shield us from the rest of the world, except on the fourth side, which looks across the street over our neighbor’s roof at the mountain in the distance. But after the leaves fell and we realized how much trouble we were in, it was too late.

The folks we bought the house from, Ray and Lois, were very nice people, and they had built a nice little house on their double lot. The problem is that they had to carve out level land for the house to sit on from a substantially slanted hill and in doing so left a steep bank in the back of the house. Now Ray is an engineer, and he used his skill to design a series of tiers with landscape timbers and rocks to hold that bank, and in those tiers he put every conceivable type of flora that catches and holds leaves in the fall: You name it, Ray put it in. I’ve cursed him every year sometime during October.

Twice we had people come in and do the work for us, but they didn’t do it like we wanted it done, and they were expensive. So this year, it’s up to me and this year I decided to try a new approach. Instead of raking the leaves, a process that takes about 25 hours of work, I bought a new leaf blower/vac. I already had one, a gasoline model, but it just wasn’t up to the task. This new baby is a Black and Decker electric model that produces a 230 mph breeze that moves the deck furniture.

The Big Wind Storm and Small Wind Storm blew through the area in October. The Big one packed winds approaching 60 mph and the Small one packed winds of only 40-45 mph. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of twigs and limbs—some of which are stout ones—were blown down by these storms, and these twigs and limbs get mixed in with the leaves and get caught on things and generally make a difficult job worse. Unfortunately, the wind only blew more leaves into the yeard, and didn't blow many out of the yard. The rain and snow made the leaves wet, compounding/confounding the work to be done.

The process is to get the leaves off the hillside tiers and onto the deck, then off the deck behind the house, and then blow them across the yard and over the hill into the woods. This photo shows one pile of leaves that is behind the house that is about 13 feet long, five feet wide, and 3-or-so-feet deep. That’s the second pile like that I gathered up Saturday, and it’s the eighth one this fall. Say what you will: That’s a lot of leaves! I’ve got at least three more piles that size to go, and then I get to move to the front yard.

Compared to the back of the house, though, the front is a breeze. I knnow that I have everyone's sympathy! The good news is that the war will soon be over for another year.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Good Perspective on Muslims and the West

Wesley Pruden is one of my very favorite writers. Editor in Chief of The Washington Times, Pruden writes a political column twice a week, and in addition to a vibrant and creative style dishes out common sense in large doses with every column.

The one printed below addresses the difficulties we have witnessed involving the clash of cultures between Muslims and the Western social order.

Real respect for Muslims among us

By Wesley Pruden
Published November 24, 2006

Some of our Muslim brothers are eager to resolve their differences with us, and it's not easy. If they're too friendly, they have to be wary of the beheading knife, too. For our part, we must be careful not to pander.

Our holy men of good will, ranging from earnest Pentecostal preachers to beribboned high-church Episcopal prelates, seek out their Muslim counterparts for "interfaith dialogue." Some even travel to the Middle East to "dialogue" on the dark and bloody ground whence comes most of the terror in the world.

Sometimes they abase themselves, as if ashamed of Christ and their professed faith. They seem eager to reassure the Muslims that they don't really believe all that stuff they say they believe. When an interviewer from the New York Times asked the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the newly elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, what she thought of the observation of Pope Benedict VXI that Islam has tolerated a culture of violence, she replied with heat: "So do Christians! [Exclamation mark hers.] They [italics mine] have a terrible history. Look at the Dark Ages."

Her reference to Christians as "they" says a lot, but so, too, her drawing moral equivalence between modern Islam and ancient Christianity, as if the Reformation never happened. (Did the bishop never take a history class?) The pope, on the other hand, seeks interfaith dialogue of a kind likely to do actual good. Benedict travels to Turkey next week, where tension between East and West, the Cross and the scimitar, is an ancient affliction. "He will arrive carrying a different reputation," notes Time magazine, "that of a hard-knuckle intellect with a taste for blunt talk and interreligious confrontation ... when he speaks, the whole world listens."

With its practiced tolerance for all religions, the West makes itself a soft target for religions that merely profess to be religions of peace. Actual faith has been dramatically diluted in the West, where the church is often merely a place for the ruling class to marry its daughters and bury its dead, just as "faith" has hardened into a harsh, intolerant and deadly ideology in the Islamic world. In the West, respect for Islam has been replaced by fear and terror.

Our own holy men could respect their Muslim brothers, as well as their own countries, by showing tough love instead of platitudes of one part goo and one part mush. They could explain to their Muslim brothers why they can't always practice their rituals as Islam is practiced in Islamic countries. The incident aboard a jetliner of US Airways the other day in Minneapolis is instructive. The details are in some dispute, but what is not is that six imams -- Muslim holy men -- were denied boarding after they created an incident and were briefly detained. Other passengers said the imams made a row with a show of praying, punctuated with shouted slogans about how Allah and Saddam Hussein are great and the United States is not. When an airline clerk denied him boarding one imam shouted: "This prejudice. This is obvious discrimination. No one can argue with this."

But arguing with "this" is exactly what we must do if we bring the Muslims under the fraternal umbrella -- of what, in better times than these, was called "the melting pot." The imams should be told, forcefully, that making an intimidating row of rituals is not the American way and won't be permitted. If a half-dozen Catholic priests insist on conducting a Mass aboard an airliner, they will be told to stop it. Six Baptist preachers won't be allowed to conduct a revival meeting amidst either the cheap or expensive seats. Jewish mohels can't perform circumcisions aboard (even for volunteers). We don't do things like that in America, and no apology is forthcoming.

Pandering, whether by bishops or government officials, invites contempt, not respect. Nevertheless, after a Saudi national was convicted in Colorado of keeping an Indonesian nanny as a family slave and sentenced to life in prison, the State Department dispatched the Colorado attorney general to Riyadh last week to apologize to King Abdullah for American justice and the 14th Amendment.

We're an immigrant nation, a source of national strength and pride. But some among us want to turn e pluribus unum -- "out of many, one" -- inside out. We can't tolerate that, and it's time to say so, loud and clear.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

" " Quotable Quotes

Mr. Rangel's disgust is misplaced. Anger at the disproportionate share of sacrifice overlooks the fact that this is a volunteer army and the soldiers are where they want to be. Mr. Rangel may be right that a lot of mamas don't want their boys to grow up to be soldiers in Baghdad, but it's also true that a lot of mamas don't want their boys to grow up to be congressmen. -- Wesley Pruden

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The Most Reviled Word in America

The furor over Michael Richards’ angry tirade is an interesting phenomenon, as it points up what is an odd situation. Let’s stipulate right up front that even though Richards had some provocation for his behavior, it was way out of line and not defensible, but having said that, let’s look a little more closely at what happened. Just in case you aren’t aware of this situation, while performing in a comedy club Richards’ became irritated at some people in the audience and let loose a string of racially charged comments, including the dreaded, reviled “N” word.

This subject of the “N” word came up in a previous column. The “N” word is an interesting cultural phenomenon. Hardly anything short of murder or rape or Congressmen sending suggestive emails is a more serious transgression than saying, or having said, the “N” word. Such terms should be avoided as a matter of good manners, of course, and since the “N” word has become the subject of such broad and deep public disapproval you risk your life if you say it.

Which is interesting, because you can say pretty much whatever you want to about anybody in the United States. You can be nasty, malicious, small, juvenile, bigoted, or just plain mean. You can call the French “wimpy and weak” if you choose. You can call Christians “Nazis” or Muslims “murderers.” You can call your wife a “witch” (although I would suggest doing so from some distance). You can call the President of the United States a “liar” or a “crook” or anything you please. You can call O. J. Simpson a murderer, even though a jury of his peers didn’t see it that way, and you can call white people “rednecks,” or “white trash.” But you had better not call a black person a (forgive me) “nigger,” because that word carries with it steeper usage penalty than any other in the English language, including the “F” word.

I find it interesting that of all the vile things one person can call another, the “N” word is in a class by itself, and holds first place among all negative words and insults. How and why is this one word so much worse than all others?

So-called “leaders” of the black community see benefits in victim hood and have been very successful at convincing many black Americans to join their crusade. Consequently all black Americans have become immune from even legitimate criticism and are essentially untouchable. I hasten to add here that more than a few black Americans do not subscribe to this.

To borrow from, and slightly modify, part of a post by Texas Fred: “In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights, [but] if we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists, or worse. You are proud to be black … and you're not afraid to announce it, but when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.”

There is a true double-standard; it is political correctness run amok.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

What A Difference A Day Makes!

Yesterday afternoon I sat with friends in the pavilion of the Bacardi distillery in San Juan sipping a Bacardi cocktail in the 88-degree heat.

Very civilized. Very pleasant.

Today, I woke up at home in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia to an inch of snow and 31 degrees.


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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The End of our Southern Odyssey is Near. Darn It!

Well, the trip is nearly over. Lots of pictures and stories to share, but the Internet set-up here is cumbersome, and expensive, so I have not been able to do very much; that, and we’ve been pretty busy.

Hopefully, I’ll be back at it at the regular pace on Monday or Tuesday.

Losing the Election Disfunction Syndrome

Well, the election of 2006 is over, the results are known, and whether we are satisfied or not with the results, as my friend Buffalo says, “it is what it is.”

Trying to look objectively at the political landscape is much easier after the election than before it, because we don’t have to wade through the accusations, allegations, false charges, bloviating and all the rest of what makes up an American political campaign. Now that the people have spoken all the crap that went on before is for the most part irrelevant.

Politics has become, or maybe always was, a search for power, when it should be a quest for the opportunity to help guide your country in the right direction. It should be a contest of ideas for how to do that. Instead we have come to accept political campaigns as contests to see who can be the nastiest and dig up or make up more dirt on their opponent instead of a contest between two differing sets of ideas to move the country/state/city forward. Tragically, and too often, the nastiest candidate “wins” the election and the people lose. Millions of dollars are wasted on advertising and speechifying to denigrate, demonize and malign the opposing candidate, not on candidates promoting their ideas.

If you have principles, you try to figure out which candidate or party best reflects your positions, which is no small task since campaign rhetoric avoids discussing such things much of the time. Even those of us who aren’t partisans end up becoming a partisan as the campaign progresses, because while we are focused on our principles and the best candidate we can find that represents them, the real action is somewhere else. So we find ourselves either defending someone from the attacks of his or her opponent and criticizing the opposition; we are forced into either indulging in the unsavory business of dirty tricks or gutter politics. Or we just get fed up with the whole mess and drop out.

I find myself doing the former: indulging in the business of strongly supporting the candidate and his or her party, and pointing out the weaknesses of the opposition. Even though the candidate I have chosen to support is in some measure less than perfect—sometimes far less—I must become a strong supporter in the hopes of persuading others to support him or her. Case in point: in 2000 I supported George W. Bush not so much because I agreed with him down the line, but because the prospect of a President Al Gore was simply intolerable. In 2004, even after realizing that George Bush was not nearly strong enough on curbing Big Government and holding spending down, as conservatives believe we should, and his position on border security was unsupportable, he is so much better able to lead the country than John Kerry. Even with the Iraq situation, Bush was the better choice. History will bear that our, I’m sure.

The truth is, however, that our system, as imperfect as it has become through political maneuvering, bad legislation and judicial activism through the years, is still the best in the world. It is still plenty strong enough to survive a Gore or Kerry presidency, and likely even strong enough to survive a Democrat Congress that tries to change all the Democrats told us needed to be changed starting the day after George Bush was inaugurated six years ago. Although it will take a long time to undo all the damage, if they are successful.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Quick Update

Greetings all! We've been bouncing around the southern Caribbean lately. It's been nice, but difficult to find adequate time for blogging/respondint/commenting, so apologies for that.

Hope all are well. I hope to have some time this afternoon, but definitely tomorrow to catch up.

See you soon.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let's Negotiate With al Qaeda

Fox News Channel (Click on title to read the story) - CAIRO, Egypt — Al Qaeda in Iraq's purported leader vowed on Friday that his fighters would never rest until they have reached Jerusalem and destroy the White House.

In the audio tape made available on a militant web site, a man introduced as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir said Al Qaeda has 12,000 fighters at the ready in Iraq.

"We will not rest from our Jihad until we are under the olive trees of Rumieh and we have destroyed the dirty black house -- which is called the White House," al-Muhajir said.

The "olive trees of Rumieh" appeared to be a reference to the Mount of Olive in Jerusalem, or Christendom in general as a continuation of the Roman empire.

Also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, al-Muhajir became the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed by the U.S. military in June.

Though the voice on the tape identified itself as al-masri, there were no means to independently verify this.

Describing George W. Bush as "the most stupid president" in U.S. history, the Al Qaeda leader reached out to the Muslim world and said his group was winning faster than expected in Iraq.

The U.S. president's policy had enabled the militant group to achieve their goal of fighting more Americans, said the Al Qaeda leader.

"We call the lame duck (Bush) not to hurry up in escaping the same way the defense minister did," he said, referring to the removal of Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary following the Democrats' victory in Midterm elections.

"They are getting ready to leave, because they are no longer capable of staying," the Al Qaeda leader said.

"Remain steadfast in the battlefield you coward," he called on the U.S president.

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Oh-oh! What Do We Do Now?

Well, President Bush and the Republicans misread the polls, didn’t understand just how upset the voters were, didn’t do the right things to preserve their congressional majorities, and now the Democrats, who have no plans to fix all the problems they say we have, find themselves in charge of the Congress. The age-old advice, “be careful what you ask for,” is echoing through the halls of the Capital already. The Senate majority is a 51-49 squeaker, but they have a slightly more comfortable 14-seat edge in the House; neither of those gives the Democrats a lock on passing legislation, even if they had something in the mill, or even an idea for legislation to address all the problems they told us the Bush administration has caused.

Now that all the celebrating is over, the reality of what has happened is likely starting to sink in. Most smart Democrats didn’t really want to win both the House and the Senate, they really only wanted the House. Total control of Congress poses problems for the 2008 Presidential Election; with control of both houses of Congress comes the responsibility to perform, and there is no Republican Senate to blame if things don’t get done. They also have to worry about being able to override a veto of any legislation that President Bush thinks is over-the-top.

The liberal fringe to which Speaker-in-Waiting Nancy Pelosi has been so closely aligned is probably not going to be happy when she does as Speaker what she must do, which is to run the House in a responsible manner, and that means she can’t advance the agenda of the left-wingers.

The backing and filling has already begun, with Democrats proclaiming their willingness to work with the President to move America forward; Charles Rangel has already revised his earlier pledge to undo the Bush tax cuts; the blustering about beginning impeachment hearings has already been toned down to “we must investigate as a part of responsible oversight.” And while the hearings that are bound to follow may be motivated either by pure gutter politics or a genuine effort at oversight, it’s a question of whether the Democrats can make it look like legitimate oversight instead of getting even with George Bush for winning election.

It’s “put up or shut up” time for the Democrats. Whether they look like petty pols or statesmen is in their hands. It will be an interesting time.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Understanding Rumsfeld’s Resignation

On Election Day afternoon President Bush announced that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had resigned. What was that all about? Hadn’t the President said continuously and recently that he wanted Mr. Rumsfeld to stay on, that he had confidence in him and that he had done yeoman’s work as Defense Secretary? Yet, on the afternoon that the Democrats scored a take-over of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Mr. Bush announced that Mr. Rumsfeld had resigned, and that Robert Gates will replace him.

First, let’s clear up one small issue: Donald Rumsfeld was not fired. Someone is “fired” because they haven’t done a good job, or in some other way have fallen out of favor with the boss. It is clear from President Bush’s comments for the last six years that he was satisfied with Donald Rumsfeld’s job performance. However, one of the many sins of the American media is carelessness with language, or often—and worse--using the most sensational description it can think up. Reporting the “firing” of the Defense Secretary is a better attention getter than reporting what really happened. But what happened was that Mr. Rumsfeld simply stepped aside. How else can you explain that at the same time as his resignation was announced the President also announced who his replacement would be? This decision had been contemplated for quite some time, and it all hinged upon the results of the election.

Prior to Election Day Mr. Bush had said that he didn’t agree with the poll numbers indicating big Democrat gains on November 7. He honestly believed that. He also had reacted to the drumbeat from Democrats and even some Republicans that Mr. Rumsfeld should be replaced by defending the Secretary and saying that he wanted Mr. Rumsfeld in office until the end of his term.

Mr. Bush knew that if the Democrats gained control of the House that there would be a flurry of investigations that would paralyze the Secretary and the Pentagon. And he also realized that if the Democrats won big his reading of the nation’s sentiment on the Iraq war was wrong; the nation was more upset that he had believed about the progress in Iraq, or the lack thereof.

So reality and pragmatism ruled the day, and President Bush relented in the face of a clear message from the voters and accepted the Secretary’s resignation.

It may not come as a surprise to you that I am going to defend Donald Rumsfeld. His detractors, Republican and Democrat, ignored some important factors in their haste to condemn his performance. It’s not good enough to say simply that the Iraq war “isn’t going well,” or “is going badly.” To be fair and accurate you have to dig a little deeper and recognize, first, that fighting a war isn’t like building a house: there is no detailed set of plans that if followed will lead to certain victory. All wars are unpredictable; all wars are riddled with errors. But what is more relevant is that this war is unlike any previous war that the U.S. has fought. There is no uniformed enemy representing an identifiable state. The enemy is not like the Redcoat, German or Japanese army, or even like the North Vietnamese forces. It is an ideology, without borders, without a government, without any form at all. We are currently writing the book on how to fight such and enemy, and nobody knows more about that than Donald Rumsfeld, because he is the only one who has done it.

Anyone who does not recognize and understand those differences should not be commenting on the war. And anyone who does not acknowledge that those differences are important is not being honest or fair. We don’t yet know whether Mr. Rumsfeld’s tactics were the right ones, and we don’t yet know if anyone can do better.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Heading South

Greetings all.

That's a spirited debate on the Muslim Terrorism post. Glad to see that. Keep it up.

The wife and I are headed south for a while, so things on the blog might be a little inconsistent.

We have Internet access everywhere, but until we get settled it might be tough to post or comment.

See you soon.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

More on Muslim Terrorism

A program on Fox News Channel this weekend focused on the radical Muslim element and its determined effort to convert or subjugate all non-Muslims, or kill everyone that won’t convert or be subjugated. Since those who don’t like Fox may go off on a tangent and assume that it was just another narrow-minded anti-Muslim rant, more than once during the show, and in the first minute or two, was a conspicuous comment to the effect that most Muslims do not indulge in terrorism or in the support of terrorism, and that the program was not about “peaceful or moderate” Muslims, just the radical element.

From the Fox News Channel Web page: “According to a shocking new documentary [by Wayne Kopping] called “Obsession,” the free world is still unprepared to face the unwavering commitment of those who have pledged their lives to our destruction. The film states that we suffer not so much from complacency, but from the na├»ve disbelief that we remain targets of thousands, perhaps millions of radical Muslims around the world.”

There are approximately 1.1 billion Muslims in the world. One interviewee stated that the radical element comprises 10 to 15 percent of the whole of Islam. Now 15 percent isn’t a large proportion, but 15 percent of 1.1 billion is a big bunch of people willing and eager to destroy western civilization in general and American society in particular, something short of 170 million thoroughly programmed, murderous, robotic fanatics.

There were several scenes of fanatical imams whipping their compliant flock into an anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel frenzy. There were a few scenes of children reciting jihad rhetoric with all the conviction of someone old enough to actually understand the words they were saying.

And that is the key to the problem: radical Muslim clergy are not just teaching jihad, not just training youth in the ways of intolerance and dominance, but thoroughly indoctrinating young Muslims from ages in the mid-single digits. And, yes, some of that is taking place inside the United States.

Interviews with Muslims who strongly oppose the hijacking of their religion by the fanatics tell us that our actions in the Middle East are not what promotes Muslim extremism, and points out that rampant anti-Western propaganda in the Arab media, school curricula and other indoctrination of Islamic youth has been going on since before the U.S. went into Afghanistan and Iraq. “Like Nazi Germany,” the FNC program summary says, “with whom radical Islamists had a deep affinity before and during World War II, … it may well be that today’s fascists are a far greater threat to the free world than the fascists of yesteryear.”

The scenes of fiery speeches—not just in the Middle East, but also in the streets of New York and London—that contain the threat that the West either convert to Islam and submit to the rule of a Taliban-like government or die, leave you with the idea that negotiation is not an option. How do you negotiate with a fanatic, who is someone who has excessive devotion to a cause, and are frequently obsessive or unbalanced?

If negotiation won’t work with terrorists—and it won’t—that doesn’t leave much wiggle room, does it? Will anything allow us to deprogram the fanatics, some of which have been “true believers” for decades, and started when they were children? The option is to wipe the terrorist threat from the face of the Earth by force, and that is a path most of us don’t really relish. But that seems the only way we can survive.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

New Site on My Read List

I call everyone's attention to the new site on my read list, Lord Nazh. The Lord is a recent visitor/commenter on Observations, and I appreciate his contributions to my site. I regret that I haven't posted his site sooner.

Sharing the Wealth

I came across an interesting theory the other day in a passage quoted from a column by Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Harris Green, who wrote:

“Whatever the rich receive, it is not due entirely to their own talent and effort, as many would have us believe. They owe their parents. They owe the teachers and counselors and clergy who taught them and civilized them. They owe the farmers and truckers and grocery store workers who put food on their tables, and the firefighters and police officers and emergency medical technicians who protected them from harm and further harm. The list of people they owe is endless. Therefore, whatever success they achieve in life is due mostly to the talents and efforts of a legion of people.”

There is a long list of reactions to that passage, among which are:

  • All of us—not just the rich—owe “who we are” to some degree to the people who influenced us along the way, and that includes parents, teachers, counselors, clergy and others who motivated us.
  • Some of the “legion” of people Mr. Green cites have had nothing whatsoever, or very little, to do with whether or not people succeed, including farmers, truckers, grocery store workers, police, fire fighters, and EMTs.
  • If we aren’t rich, some of the responsibility for that is ours.
  • Mr. Green appears to have a broad streak of envy/jealousy for people who have money.
  • Mr. Green is pushing a communist/socialist agenda that proposes to take from wealthy people and give to less wealthy people.

What Mr. Green is suggesting is that despite to whatever degree Jane Doe took advantage of the opportunities to learn, used her brain and worked hard, she really isn’t entitled to the wealth she has, and because some farmer grew the vegetables she ate, and some grocery store employees sold that to her family, and because the town her family lived in had police and fire departments, all those people and their families are entitled to her wealth.

There is a sizeable faction on the Left in this country that would do exactly what Mr. Green implies ought to be done, if they could. They haven’t learned the lesson from the economic and social failure of, China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and the former Soviet Union: Socialism and communism just don’t work, and history bears that out. Americans ought to understand that lesson implicitly.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

John Kerry Finally Apologizes. Sort of.

After insulting every man and woman wearing their country’s uniform, and those who have died defending the freedom Massachusetts Senator John Kerry so frequently abuses, and after outrage from both Republicans and some of his fellow Democrats who requested or demanded an apology, Sen. Kerry finally stopped blaming George Bush for his ham-handed “botched joke,” and apologized.

I frankly believe Sen. Kerry had no intention of demeaning and insulting our military personnel when he said, essentially, that the only choice for people who don’t do well in school is to enter the military and “get stuck in Iraq.” The data strongly dispute that foolish assertion, showing that something like 97 percent of all military personnel have at least a high school diploma, and a fair number of them have a college degree.

One of two things happened: Either he “botched” the joke, a possibility that doesn’t surprise me, given the Senator’s aloofness and general awkwardness with things familiar to the “common people,” or, he just “misunderestimated” the reaction of the “common people” who don’t view the world from Mr. Kerry’s elitist heights. Either way, it was a gaff of significant proportions that any normal person should have recognized immediately, and offered a sincere apology.

So, yesterday Sen. Kerry issued a statement that said: "I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended."

That’s an apology, right? Well, not exactly. Let’s parse Sen. Kerry’s “statement.” The first thing is that while his insult was delivered in a public appearance, the apology was issued in writing. But more important, he doesn’t say, “I misspoke. I said something I didn’t mean to say and should not have said. I know my word were hurtful and for that I sincerely apologize,” or something along those lines. Instead, he once again tries to shift the blame for his screw-up to someone else: He blames the listener for having “misinterpreted” his words, and said that he apologized for their having misinterpreted his words.

That’s not an apology in my book; it is a further insult.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Worth A Thousand Words

I found this over at Texas Fred's place, and he found it at Passionate America.

As they say, "A picture is ..."

Thanks, Fred and Passionate America.

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A Chapter in the Continuing Struggle Between Good and Evil

The forces of good and evil have been in a pitched battle since the beginning of time.

My friend, The Windjammer, sent me this account yesterday.

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Kreme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.

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