Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stood up to the enemy in Iraq, where he made an enviable combat record. But at the Pentagon, he appears to have fallen, not on his sword, but on a paperclip, attached to a point of religious doctrine.
When, 18 months ago, apologists for Islamic radicals complained that an instructor at the National Defense University, the military war college, was guilty of the sin of showing insufficient deference to radical Islam, the general first humiliated him, then cashiered him, to appease Muslim critics, some of them radical and no friends of the United States. Now the instructor has been rejected for battalion command and his promising Army career is effectively over.
Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley (a good Irish Catholic name), decorated for valor in Iraq, was an instruction leader at the Joint Forces Staff College in Washington, lecturing on the dangers of radical Islam, when he invited an authority on Islamic extremists to talk to his students about how the extremists operate. You might think that “knowing the enemy” is a good thing in senior Army officers. One passage in the materials used by a guest lecturer, former FBI agent John Guandolo, particularly enraged the critics:
“If Islam is so violent, why are there so many peaceful Muslims? This is similar to asking why there are so many Christians who are arrogant, angry and vindictive, if Christian doctrine requires humility, tolerance and forgiveness.” There were no protests from Christians, or Christian organizations. But one participant in the course complained to the Pentagon, and the witch hunt, led by the thoroughly frightened Gen. Dempsey, began.
Paperclip generals, more politician than warrior, naturally take their cues from the White House, and it’s reasonable to assume that the pressure from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was the prevailing pressure, intense and effective. President Obama bows low in the presence of Muslims, as we all know, and ordered effective cleansing of all references to Islamic terrorists. John Brennan, the hero of Benghazi and the new director of the CIA, insists there is no such thing as an “Islamic extremist.” The al Qaeda terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center had nothing to do with Islam, they were just terrorists trying to make a dishonest living. The Muslim major who shouted the Islamic battle cry, “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great!”) as he killed 13 and wounded 30 at Fort Hood, Texas, was guilty only of “workplace violence,” not “terrorism.” If he’s convicted of murder by court martial, he can apply for workmen’s compensation (and call John Brennan and Gen. Dempsey as supporting witnesses). Paperclip generals have sharp antennae and know who punches their tickets.
They know how to cover the part of their anatomy that most needs covering, too. Gen. Dempsey landed hard on Col. Dooley at a press conference, speaking as an academic and maybe even a theologian: “It’s totally objectionable,” he said of the colonel’s course work. “It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound. This wasn’t about, we’re pushing back on liberal thought. This was just objectionable, academically irresponsible.”
Such an emotional response was not quite what’s expected of a four-star general. A week later another general, only a two-star, was dispatched to blame the colonel for “institutional failure.” Gen. Dempsey’s spokesman, a Marine colonel, insisted his boss’ public denunciation of the “individual” had not poisoned the investigation. “[Col.] Dooley’s name is never even mentioned,” he told The Washington Times.
We can’t expect paperclip generals to show the fighting spirit of Stonewall Jackson or U.S. Grant, Blackjack Pershing or George S. Patton. They were men of their times and we’re stuck with our own times, and the men who populate the times. But the craven deference to the Islamic lobby, which often makes no distinctions between the millions of good Muslims and the bad Muslims, is a recipe for catastrophe.
The West in general and America in particular has shown remarkable patience and forbearance to the Muslims in our midst, according them, as we should, respect and a welcome into what we once called “the melting pot.” But somebody ought to instruct the paperclip generals that there’s an enemy out there in the dark, and it’s important to know who he is.
…if we blame the movie for the burning of our foreign outposts and the brutal murders of four Americans (including our Libyan ambassador who was reportedly raped), we won’t blame the burners and the looters and the murderers and the rapists.
You see, if we blame the movie for the Middle East burning, we won’t blames the Islamists who are doing the burning and looting and raping and murdering.
Which means we won’t further connect the dots and blame Obama’s failed Middle East policy; the Obama Doctrine of backing away from the region and allowing events to unfold as America stands idly by — as the Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood grab hold of power in Egypt, a country that was once our largest and closest ally.
Blame the filmmaker.
And all at the direction of a president of the United States who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, you know, the same Constitution that treasures the right of free expression and speech above all else.
But no one asks … What about Bill Maher?
Bill Maher made a comedy/documentary called “Religulous” that’s most famous for mercilessly mocking Christianity. But what people forget is that the last twenty-minutes or so of the film make a damning case against Islam.
Bill Maher made a film that mocked Islam.
Oh, yes, he did.
Bill Maher also contributed $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC.
And I’m sure that upon being reminded of this, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will tremble with self-righteous indignation and demand Maher take his money back.
After all, if movies create the terrorists who in turn create the terrorism, what about Bill Maher?
And what if the terrorists learn that the president of the United States is benefitting from a million dollar contribution given by a filmmaker who mocked Islam? How will Hillary Clinton claim with any credibility that the United States government has no connection to this outrage? How will White House spokesman Jay Carney say this with any credibility:
“The reason why there is unrest is because of the film,” he said at one point. “This is in response to the film.” At another moment, he said, “The cause of the unrest was a video.” At yet another, “These protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region.”
And the lapdog media just can’t stop humping a leg of lies.
It’s weird, though, isn’t it?
I mean, how Hollywood has been silent in its defense of the filmmaker Obama is currently scapegoating (and in some cases, Hollywood is grabbing a torch), even as they embrace Bill Maher.
Well, I guess some anti-Islamic filmmakers are more equal than others.
And thank heavens, we have Barack Obama to tell us who the more equal ones are.
Hey, jihadis: check this out!
The jihad won’t be televised. Cliff May:
M. Zudi Jasser is a physician, a U.S. Navy veteran, an American patriot and a Muslim who does not hold with those who preach that Islam commands its followers to take part in a war against unbelievers.
The Third Jihad, a documentary film Jasser narrated, takes a hard look at those Muslims who are waging this war – both with bombs and by stealthier means. The film had been among the educational materials used to train New York City police officers concerned with terrorism. Then, last month, The New York Times went on what one might call a crusade against the movie, publishing a series of articles branding it a “hate-filled film about Muslims” and calling on Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to “apologize for the film … and make clear that his department does not tolerate such noxious and dangerous stereotyping.”
In the first of its stories, the Times charges that the film “casts a broad shadow over American Muslims.” That ignores the unambiguous statement with which the documentary opens: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical.”
The story quotes Jasser as saying in the film: “This is the true agenda of Islam in America.” But what Jasser actually said in the film is that jihad is “the true agenda of much of the Muslim leadership here in America.”
Jasser has long argued – and he’s hardly alone in this — that the leaders of some of the wealthiest and most powerful organizations that claim to represent American Muslims are not as moderate as they’d have you believe. Prominent among such organizations is CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which appears to have been the driving force behind the coverage in the Times and in the Village Voice before that. The Times quotes CAIR spokesmen saying how outraged and offended they are by the film. (more…)
The big news today: according to family members, by the end of his life Osama bin Laden was telling his family to “Go to Europe and America and get a good education.”
What? The great Islamic umma, center of global culture and light of the world has no universities where the children of the Great Jihadi can get a decent education? The clueless, hell-bound infidels of Europe and America make the Sons of the True Faith look incompetent and backward on the vital matter of educating the young? It isn’t enough to sit on a dirt floor in Pakistan memorizing the Koran and learning how to wear a suicide bomb vest?
But what about the obligation to take up the cause of jihad and violence and crush the evil doers in the West?
Never mind about all that, Osama supposedly told his children and grandchildren. “Do not follow me down the road to jihad,” he said. “You have to study and live in peace and don’t do what I am doing or what I have done.”
All those Salafi ideologues promoting the idea of jihad against the West as a sacred obligation compulsory on all Muslims are presumably choking on their beards as they read these words. The homosexual-hangers and the adultress-stoners are having a bad morning. No doubt they will tell themselves that this story is yet another lie from the cynical west, but they will have to wrap themselves ever more tightly in the delusions and wishful thinking that blinker their thoughts — and undermine their political effectiveness.
Beside welcoming evidence, however questionable, that a terrible sinner was exploring the path of repentance however tentatively, Via Meadia gloats. Bin Laden’s path was a dead end in more ways than one; any sign that he knew how futile his bloody deeds were and that his effort to topple American power had failed is welcome.
The information, given in an interview to the London Times by a sister of one of bin Laden’s wives, raises many questions. Was bin Laden telling his own kids to avoid jihad while still trying to recruit misguided young people to the cause around the world? Or, downloading porn in Abbotabad and reflecting on the consequences of his deeds, had bin Laden come to see the futility of his course? Is the sister-in-law saying whatever she thinks will give her relatives a brighter future now that bin Laden is dead and his movement is shattered?
One doesn’t know, and perhaps we never will for sure. But it looks increasingly as if America not only killed bin Laden: we are destroying his dream.
His kids should have no trouble following his advice to study in America, by the way. Just think of the essays they will be able to write on their college applications.
A government that can’t face reality is doomed.
Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.
During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.
Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in 2009, and the number of alleged plots targeting the military has grown significantly since then. Lawmakers said there have been 33 plots against the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, and 70 percent of those threats have been since mid-2009. Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, who is being held for the attacks, allegedly was inspired by radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September. The two men exchanged as many as 20 emails, according to U.S. officials, and Awlaki declared Hasan a hero.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a “direct target of violent Islamist extremism” within the United States.
The greatest violence here is to common sense.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. So said Thomas Jefferson.
Five men in their twenties, described as French-Moroccan Muslims, are being questioned by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and by officials of the Department of Homeland Security after they were arrested inside the 120 year old Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio shortly before 2 this morning, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Officials say three of the men crawled through a window to get into the 120 year old Courthouse, which is a landmark in downtown San Antonio, and theother two were found in a van parked in front of the building.
Inside the van, officials say they found “photographs of infrastructure” including photos of shopping malls, water systems, courthouses and other public buildings which they say were taken in cities nationwide.
…change the key facts of your story within 24 hours. So:
- Osama did not use a woman as a shield
- He was not living in a mansion (if that’s what a million bucks gets you in Pakistan, they’ve got a mega housing bubble going.)
- Osama was not armed
- Osama was targeted for execution, not capture. It seems the rules of engagement would have required him to genuflect, then sing (with feeling) all five verses of “Onward Christian Soldiers” to save his life. Not complaining, just sayin’.
…How much does Osama bin Laden’s death impact al-Qaida’s ability to strike international targets?
This is the central question, and President Obama made the administration’s line pretty clear: “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida.” But this is hyperbole—the biggest blow to al-Qaida was the invasion of Afghanistan and removal of the Taliban who hosted them.
The ongoing and ostensibly pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle East—organic, social movements that have little to do with international aspirations and much to do with internal dissatisfaction—are another, bigger blow to the terrorist group’s agenda and worldview: Rather than forming a new multistate caliphate, as al-Qaida wants, the protestors desire more influence at home.
Osama bin Laden was a vital figurehead, but figureheads don’t do the real dirty work, training bomb-makers or smuggling money. Killing an operational leader is tactically more relevant—especially considering that al-Qaida has diversified into charters that run local operations in places like Africa, the Philippines, Germany and Yemen. The good news is that the U.S. is killing operational heads, too. For example, last year an American unmanned aircraft over Pakistan killed Sheikh Fateh al-Yemeni, a senior al-Qaida commander. No one gathered in public to cheer, but that kind of attack means more to U.S. security than the death of an aged, isolated Bin Laden….
More cultural suicide.
A middle-class security guard who converted to Islam to preach hate towards Britain lives in a £1,000 tax-payer-funded luxury flat, it emerged today.
Rich Dart, 28, worked for the BBC before he became a Muslim and changed his name to Salahuddin to brand British troops ‘murderers’ and peddle Muslim extremism.
But he has been branded a ‘hypocrite’ after it emerged that he takes benefits off the same state he claims to despise.
The fanatic was pictured hanging out the washing on the balcony of a £300,000 two-bedroom apartment next to a picturesque canal in Bow, East London…
…is a dead terrorist.
A senior Al Qaeda leader, Mufti Ali Muhammad, has reportedly been killed along with two of his accomplices in a US drone strike Friday in Pakistan’s North Waziristan district along the Afghan border.
The pilotless drone fired four missiles at a vehicle, in which Mufti was travelling along with three other militants near Mir Ali village of Miranshah in the restive tribal area.
At least three suspected militants, including Mufti, were killed on the spot while one was injured, a report said.
As Radley Balko noted in yesterday’s Morning Links, the Washington Post and other newspapers pulled Wiley Miller’s syndicated “Non Sequitur” cartoon from their comics pages two Sundays back, because Miller pulled a familiar-to-Reason-readers “where’s Waldo?” gag with the Prophet Muhammad, satirizing the new 21st century taboo on the depiction of even jokes about the fear of depicting a historical figure who really existed.
As is typical of the genre, Washington Post editors tried to play their own “where’s Waldo” with the censorship process:
Style editor Ned Martel said he decided to yank it, after conferring with others, including Executive Editor Marcus W. Brauchli, because “it seemed a deliberate provocation without a clear message.” He added that “the point of the joke was not immediately clear” and that readers might think that Muhammad was somewhere in the drawing.
If the Post’s new standard for comics is to make jokes “immediately clear,” then it might be time to kill the comics page altogether. No, Martel/Brauchli, you pulled the cartoon because your fear of Muslims outweighs your commitment to free expression, period.
Now comes L.A. Times media critic James Rainey, who, even while concluding that the cartoon should have run (the L.A. Times, to no one’s surprise, suppressed it), makes sure we understand that fear was not a factor, nosiree:
That’s not to agree with some commentators who have called the refusal to run the comic a cowardly retreat from radicals. I’d say the ax that fell on “Non Sequitur” had more to do expediency. Moving in a hurry, with many other decisions that seemed more pressing at the time, editors probably killed the item rather than face the possibility of a furor for a piece they honestly felt was not of high quality.
Uh-huh. This is really how these gut-checks work. A boundary-stretching case comes before you, and suddenly everyone’s an art critic. (Rainey: “I didn’t find the panel especially powerful or witty.”) I’ll never forget how many people reacted to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie by saying that, the thing is, Satanic Verses really isn’t a very good book, and it’s understandable that Muslims would take offense, etc.
Faced with the fear of being blamed for (or the target of) a mysterious cartoon dog whistle that sends 1 billion of the planet’s humans into a homicide-bombing frenzy, editors bring to the table levels of scrutiny literally never used on the media in question…
This is one of those obscure Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.
This explicit formulation of a revolutionary program makes it a game-changer. It should be read by every Western decisionmaker and have a direct effect on policy because this development may affect people’s lives in every Western country.
OK, cnough of a build-up? Well, it isn’t exaggerated. So don’t think the next sentence is an anticlimax. Here we go: The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has endorsed (Arabic) (English translation by MEMRI) anti-American Jihad and pretty much every element in the al-Qaida ideology book. Since the Brotherhood is the main opposition force in Egypt and Jordan as well as the most powerful group, both politically and religiously, in the Muslim communities of Europe and North America this is pretty serious stuff.
By the way, no one can argue that he merely represents old, tired policies of the distant past because the supreme guide who said these things was elected just a few months ago. His position reflects current thinking.
Does that mean the Egyptian, Jordanian, and all the camouflaged Muslim Brotherhood fronts in Europe and North America are going to launch terrorism as one of their affiliates, Hamas, has long done? No.
But it does mean that something awaited for decades has happened: the Muslim Brotherhood is ready to move from the era of propaganda and base-building to one of revolutionary action. At least, its hundreds of thousands of followers are being given that signal. Some of them will engage in terrorist violence as individuals or forming splinter groups; others will redouble their efforts to seize control of their countries and turn them into safe areas for terrorists and instruments for war on the West.
When the extreme and arguably marginal British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary says that Islam will conquer the West and raise its flag over the White House, that can be treated as wild rhetoric. His remark is getting lots of attention because he said it in English in an interview with CNN. Who cares what he says?
But when the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood says the same thing in Arabic, that’s a program for action, a call to arms for hundreds of thousands of people, and a national security threat to every Western country.
Pakistani Mohammad Usman got taken out by a drone this week.
In the al-Qaeda camp, however, Usman has been described as “irreplaceable”, his death on a scale of the killings of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid and Shiekh Fateh al-Misri. Misri in May replaced Yazid, who was also killed in a drone attack in the North Waziristan tribal area, as al-Qaeda’s chief commander in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Misri perished in a drone strike this month
Mark Steyn at the Corner:
Hasan, the sole suspect in the massacre of 13 fellow US soldiers in Texas, attended the controversial Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001 at the same time as two of the September 11 terrorists, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. His mother’s funeral was held there in May that year.
The preacher at the time was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni scholar who was banned from addressing a meeting in London by video link in August because he is accused of supporting attacks on British troops and backing terrorist organisations.
Hasan’s eyes “lit up” when he mentioned his deep respect for al-Awlaki’s teachings, according to a fellow Muslim officer at the Fort Hood base in Texas…
Danquah assumed the military’s chain of command knew about Hasan’s doubts, which had been known for more than a year to classmates in a graduate military medical program. His fellow students complained to the faculty about Hasan’s “anti-American propaganda,” but said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.
Thinking Anew—Security Priorities for the Next Administration
A coherent strategy to address 21st century threats to the United States, one that treats national and homeland security as a seamless whole, has yet to emerge… To help fuel this process, in April 2008 The George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) established the Presidential Transition Task Force, comprised of national and homeland security experts, policymakers and practitioners… The goal was to determine the top strategic priorities to advance the nation’s security in the coming decade…
U.S. House of Representatives
Homeland Security Institute
Uniformed Services University School of Medicine
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Homeland Security Council…
That’s quite the company for a deranged misfit loner whacko of no broader significance.
I believe it was Derb a few months after 9/11 who said that for this new struggle our watchword was “Better screwed than rude.” Major Hasan represents the institutionalization of that attitude. Thirteen people are dead, dozens more will live with their injuries for the rest of their days, and a lot of families have had a great big gaping hole blown out of their lives because of it.
Anwar al-Awlaki and his chums have bet that such a society is too sick to survive. Watch the nothing-to-see-here media driveling on about pre-post-traumatic stress disorder like gibbering lunatics in a padded cell , and then think whether you’d really want to take that bet.
Michael Medved writes about the new accounting of Iraq war dead:
…while the Associated Press deserves credit for its honest and responsible work, their account of the new totals still failed to place the figures in any meaningful perspective. For instance, the analysis failed to note that the overwhelming majority of the 110,600 dead met their demise at the hands of terrorist violence or sectarian strife; only a tiny minority (perhaps 10% or less) of all casualties occurred at the hands of the Americans or other coalition forces.
The AP account does take note of the fact that the Health Ministry figures show that 59,957 of their reported 87,215 deaths (or more than two thirds) occurred in 2006 and 2007 “when sectarian attacks soared and death squads roamed the streets. The period was marked by catastrophic bombings and execution style killings.” The story might have added that the Americans perpetrated none of these mass killings, and instead fought heroically to bring them to an end.
The Left would argue that without US intervention, none of the deaths would have occurred. True enough. but this ignores the 400,000 Iraqis Saddam murdered and buried in shallow graves.
In another area, the description of the new calculations lacked an essential element of context, never noting that other recent conflicts in the region produced far more horrendous death tolls. In the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, for instance, more than 200,000 Iraqis died – a much higher percentage of a significantly smaller overall population. That conflict also claimed the lives of at least 1,000,000 Iranians.
Meanwhile, the little noted Algerian Civil War (in which Islamist extremists have challenged the government since 1991) has claimed at least 150,000 deaths, and probably more than 200,000—nearly all of them civilians butchered in the same random, brutal and often suicidal attacks responsible for most of the bloodshed in Iraq. With the Algerian and Iraqi populations essentially the same, the rate of death in this grisly but seldom-reported conflict has been even more horrendous than the blood-letting in Iraq.
Of course the Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1990 produced the most devastating results of any struggle in recent Middle Eastern history – with an estimated 250,000 dead, and at least 500,000 more suffering permanent disabilities. In a nation of less than 5,000,000, this loss of life exceeds the Iraqi casualty rate by more than twelve to one.
The relevance of these other conflicts ought to be obvious – since they all reflect (as does the Iraq War) the singularly brutal, blood-thirsty nature of local conflicts involving Arab-against-Arab, and Muslim-against-Muslim. In each of these wars, the most significant American role (which is very much the case in Iraq) involved efforts to stop or to minimize the bloodshed.
The new figures on Iraqi casualties, when placed in the proper context of who did most of the killing, and with reminders of even bloodier struggles of the recent past, show the hollowness and falsehood of hysterical denunciations of the US effort to bring down Saddam Hussein and establish a functioning democracy in the heart of the turbulent Middle East.
According to an Earth Day survey, one third of schoolchildren between the ages of six and eleven think the earth will have been destroyed by the time they grow up. That’s great news, isn’t it? Not for the earth, I mean, but for “environmental awareness.” Congratulations to Al Gore, the Sierra Club, and the eco-propagandists of the public-education system in doing such a terrific job of traumatizing America’s moppets. Traditionally, most of the folks you see wandering the streets proclaiming the end of the world is nigh tend to be getting up there in years. It’s quite something to have persuaded millions of first-graders that their best days are behind them.
Call me crazy, but I’ll bet that in 15-20 years the planet will still be here along with most of the “environment” — your flora and fauna, your polar bears and three-toed tree sloths and whatnot. But geopolitically we’re in for a hell of a ride, and the world we end up with is unlikely to be as congenial as most Americans have gotten used to.
For example, Hillary Clinton said the other day that Pakistan posed a “mortal threat” to . . . Afghanistan? India? No, to the entire world! To listen to her, you’d think Pakistan was as scary as l’il Jimmy in the second grade’s mom’s SUV. She has a point: Asif Ali Zardari, the guy who’s nominally running the country, isn’t running anything. He’s ceding more and more turf to the local branch office of the Taliban. When the topic turns up in the news, we usually get vague references to the pro-Osama crowd controlling much of the “northwest,” which makes it sound as if these guys are the wilds of rural Idaho to Zardari’s Beltway. In fact, they’re now within some 60 miles of the capital, Islamabad — or, in American terms, a couple of I-95 exits north of Baltimore: In other words, they’re within striking distance of the administrative center of a nation of over 165 million people — and its nuclear weapons. That’s the “mortal threat.”
What’s going to stop them? Well, not Zardari. Nor his “summit” in Washington with President Obama and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. The creation of Pakistan was the worst mistake of post-war British imperial policy, and all that’s happened in the six decades since is that its pathologies have burst free of its borders and gone regional, global, and soon perhaps nuclear. Does the Obama administration have even a limited contingency plan for the nukes if — when — the Pakistani state collapses?
It would be reassuring to think so. But I wonder.
What’s the greater likelihood? That, in ten years’ time, things in Pakistan will be better? Or much worse? That nuclearization by basket-case dictatorships from Pyongyang to Tehran will have advanced, or been contained? That the bleak demographic arithmetic at the heart of Europe and Japan’s economic woes will have accelerated, or been reversed? That a resurgent Islam’s assaults on free speech and other rights (symbolized by the recent U.N. support for a global Islamic blasphemy law) will have taken hold in the western world, or been forced to retreat?
A betting man would check the “worse” box. Because resisting the present careless drift would require global leadership. And 100 days into a new presidency, Barack Obama is giving strong signals to the world that we have entered what Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post calls “the post-American era.” At the time of Gordon Brown’s visit to Washington, London took umbrage at an Obama official’s off-the-record sneer to a Fleet Street reporter that “there’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.” Andy McCarthy of National Review made the sharp observation that, never mind the British, this was how the administration felt about their own country, too: America is just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. In Europe, the president was asked if he believed in “American exceptionalism,” and replied: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
In the early days of the modern Internet, probably 1998, I received an email started by Jay Leno’s wife, Mavis, about the plight of women under the Taliban.
It was one of those, “If you’re outraged by this, sign your name at the bottom and forward this to your friends” type of efforts common then, which were great for demonstrating one’s moral vanity.
Which isn’t to say that Mavis Leno was not working for a good cause. The Taliban were/are beastly primitives who perpetrated some of the worst violence against women in modern times. If you haven’t already seen it, rent “Osama” the first feature film produced in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. That will drive the point home.
For more than a decade Mavis Leno has made the plight of Afghan women her particular case and this month she and the organization in which she plays a pivotal role — the Feminist Majority Foundation — will hold what amounts to a coming out party for the next round in this cause.
The feminist organization with a hip Beverly Hills-adjacent headquarters — financed with the help of industry activist Peg Yorkin — now has a global reach and the plight of Afghan women is a particular focus. (The group also publishes Ms. Magazine). Shortly after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, Mavis and Jay Leno gave $100,000 to help jump-start the foundations’ global women’s rights program.
This time all the talk can do some good. Why? Because we waged war on the Taliban with B-52s and laser-guided missiles. Today Afghan women hold elective office, work in the professions and are no longer stoned to death during intermission at soccer matches.
War was the answer. Consciousness raising was useless.
The Taliban are still yearning to return Afghanistan to the stone age.
Mavis Leno should focus her concern on the Euro-weenies who refuse to do their part on behalf of freedom and righteousness, instead letting the US bear the burden. And she might even upbraid Yale for recruiting the Taliban’s PR agent as a student.
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today’s world emerged after his tragedy?
The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.
Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of “the resistance.” Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.
No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny’s murder would be a turning point in the history of man’s inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.
But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of “resistance,” has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words “war on terror” cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.
I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism — the ideological license to elevate one’s grievances above the norms of civilized society — was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable “tactical” considerations.
This mentality of surrender then worked its way through politicians like the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In July 2005 he told Sky News that suicide bombing is almost man’s second nature. “In an unfair balance, that’s what people use,” explained Mr. Livingstone.
But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel.” Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.
Mr. Carter’s logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas’s rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: “They should end the occupation.” In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.
The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.
Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society’s role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera’s management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.
Some American pundits and TV anchors didn’t seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a “resistance” movement, together with honorary membership in PBS’s imaginary “cycle of violence.” In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that “each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man’s terrorism becomes another’s resistance to oppression.” He then stated — without blushing — that for readers of the Hebrew Bible “God-soaked violence became genetically coded.” The “cycle of violence” platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror’s victims for violence as immutable as DNA.
In No god, but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, Reza Aslan argued that modern Islamic terrorism was a symptom of a struggle for the soul of Islam among believers in which the West is more of prop than a player.
Aslan’s book is a well-written introduction to Islam’s history and future — a very good and easy read. His point accords with a meaty article by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker about Dr. Fadl, an Egyptian surgeon and contemporary of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s #2 guy.
Dr. Fadl also wrote the book, literally, that paved the way for today’s jihad.
Twenty years ago, he wrote two of the most important books in modern Islamist discourse; Al Qaeda used them to indoctrinate recruits and justify killing.
But now Dr. Fadl, sitting in an Egyptian prison, has reconsidered his theological arguments that justified so much mayhem and has a new book that says true Muslims are prohibited from committing aggression.
Fadl’s ideas carry weight and his reversal has set off an ideological war.
The roots of this ideological war within Al Qaeda go back forty years, to 1968, when two precocious teen-agers met at Cairo University’s medical school. Zawahiri, a student there, was then seventeen, but he was already involved in clandestine Islamist activity. Although he was not a natural leader, he had an eye for ambitious, frustrated youths like him who believed that destiny was whispering in their ear.
1968 again. What a rotten year that’s turned out to be. The New Yorker piece is really too long to excerpt. It’s all online; print it out and have a read.
Nothing demonstrates the bias of Big Baloney like the treatment of two books by two former members of the Bush administration.
Former press secretary Scott McClellan’s dirt dishing book is treated to a front page review in today’s LA Times. Douglas Feith, who wielded greater influence on policy as Undersecretary of Defense, wrote a heavily-sourced book that every historian of this period will own.
Feith’s book, as we’ve noted, has not been reviewed by any of Big Baloney’s big names — not the NYT, WaPo or LAT. That they’re ignoring a book by a man they demonized as a warmongering neocon speaks volumes.
But back to McClellan, one of his beefs was:
“In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage,” McClellan writes.
Oh, do tell. Why would that be? And how well did that work out?
When the New York Times and Washington Post decide that you’re the enemy, you have a second flank to defend, 24/7. (And when you’re golden, like Obama, you can rest easy.)
One anecdote from Feith’s book should give everyone pause, liberals and conservatives alike, because it demonstrates the sick interface between government and media that disserves us all.
Shortly after 9/11, Rumsfeld and others inside the Pentagon decided that our war on Islamist fascism should be fought both militarily and ideologically. The latter should have been the province of the State Department, but, Feith writes, “neither [Colin] Powell or [Richard] Armitage saw the philosophical dimension of the war as particularly important.”
So with Rumsfeld’s blessing, Feith created the Office of Strategic Influence to fight jihadist ideology at the source. He assembled a staff and recruited Air Force General Simon Worden to run it. One of his original ideas was to create cheap, wireless-connected laptops and information kiosks that could be distributed in remote Pakistan where Madrassas were twisting young minds.
But OSI stepped on toes, both at State and inside the Pentagon, particularly with Victoria “Torie” Clark, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, who thought her department had authority over all “outreach” programs.
Just as OSI was getting going, on February 19, 2002, the New York Times ran a front page story citing unnamed “military officials” claiming that the…
“Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign news media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries.”
The story said others “inside the Pentagon” were worried that this could undermine credibility of their efforts. The NYT went on to suggest…
“General Worden envisions a broad mission ranging from ‘black’ campaigns that use disinformation and other covert activities to ‘white’ public affairs that rely on truthful releases.”
The disinformation charge was untrue, but it spread quickly among a news media that distrusted and despised President Bush. Chris Matthews called OSI a plan “worthy of Joseph Goebbels.”
Such stories were readily retold and embellished by a hostile world media, always keen to promote anti-Americanism. Bush was traveling overseas and was badgered by questions about OSI.
OSI died in its cradle, on February 26, 2002. The State Department never picked up the initiative and it went undone, to the detriment of everyone in the western world. Feith writes of…
…the irony of an office formed to plan information operations had been blown away by a disinformation operation. Concentrating on foreign enemies, OSI hadn’t protected its back from other Pentagon officials.
And from the New York Times.
On the street, Malika El Aroud is anonymous in an Islamic black veil covering all but her eyes.
In her living room, Ms. El Aroud, a 48-year-old Belgian, wears the ordinary look of middle age: a plain black T-shirt and pants and curly brown hair. The only adornment is a pair of powder-blue slippers monogrammed in gold with the letters SEXY.
But it is on the Internet where Ms. El Aroud has distinguished herself. Writing in French under the name “Oum Obeyda,” she has transformed herself into one of the most prominent Internet jihadists in Europe.
She calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda. She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself. Rather, she bullies Muslim men to go and fight and rallies women to join the cause.
“It’s not my role to set off bombs — that’s ridiculous,” she said in a rare interview. “I have a weapon. It’s to write. It’s to speak out. That’s my jihad. You can do many things with words. Writing is also a bomb.”
Getting others to set off bombs? Not ridiculous, it seems.
Ms. El Aroud has not only made a name for herself among devotees of radical forums where she broadcasts her message of hatred toward the West. She also is well known to intelligence officials throughout Europe as simply “Malika” — an Islamist who is at the forefront of the movement by women to take a larger role in the male-dominated global jihad.
The authorities have noted an increase in suicide bombings carried out by women — the American military reports that 18 women have conducted suicide missions in Iraq so far this year, compared with 8 all of last year — but they say there is also a less violent yet potentially more insidious army of women organizers, proselytizers, teachers, translators and fund-raisers, who either join their husbands in the fight or step into the breach as men are jailed or killed.
“Women are coming of age in jihad and are entering a world once reserved for men,” said Claude Moniquet, president of the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center. “Malika is a role model, an icon who is bold enough to identify herself. She plays a very important strategic role as a source of inspiration. She’s very clever — and extremely dangerous.”
Ms. El Aroud began her rise to prominence because of a man in her life. Two days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, her husband carried out a bombing in Afghanistan that killed the anti-Taliban resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud at the behest of Osama bin Laden. Her husband was killed, and she took to the Internet as the widow of a martyr.
Oh, how proud she must be. Read on.
Mark Steyn is in the business of making predictions. The possible consequences of some of those predictions recently led him to make another one: “My career in Canada will be formally ended next month.”
How has it come to this?
On June 2, Steyn and Maclean’s magazine — the nation’s oldest newsweekly — are obliged to defend themselves against charges of “flagrant Islamophobia” at a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.
The saga began two years ago, when Maclean’s published an excerpt of Steyn’s bestselling book, America Alone, which asks how the West’s changing demographic profile — specifically, the difference between Muslim and non-Muslim birthrates — will affect its future.
In December 2007, the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) filed Human Rights Commission complaints against Steyn and the magazine in three different jurisdictions, charging them with “exposing Muslims to hatred and contempt” for, among other things, accurately quoting a Norwegian imam who boasted that Muslims were breeding “like mosquitoes.”
The CIC demanded that Maclean’s print five pages of unedited Islamist propaganda in the interest of “fairness” and “balance.” Maclean’s refused. In fact, publisher Ken Whyte’s response to the group — that he would rather see the magazine go bankrupt than bow to their blackmail — outraged the CIC as much as Steyn’s original article.
The story soon became an international cause célèbre. Unlike many other Canadians who’ve been caught in the HRC’s clutches over the last ten years (and subsequently ruined), Steyn and his co-defendants are well-connected and eloquent, with relatively deep pockets and high profiles. Their case has helped expose a bizarre quasi-judicial set-up that’s part extortion scheme, part secret police.
Now the petitions have been signed and the op-eds written, and members of Parliament faxed and emailed. There seemed to be little more to do than wait anxiously for that first tribunal to start.
Read it all. On a cheerier note, here’s video of publisher Ezra Levant telling off the Alberta Human Rights Commissioner in January.
William Blackstone wrote, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” Is it? Suppose Hitler had been one of those ten released to spare a single innocent?
Which brings us to Guantanamo Bay, where jihadis captured on battlefields in Afghanistan remain in US custody indefinitely. Should they be allowed to go? Consider this:
It’s a fair bet that no high-powered American law firm will lend a caring hand to the relatives of the seven Iraqis murdered last month by a suicide bomber named Abdullah Salih Al Ajmi and two accomplices. That’s too bad, seeing as how Ajmi was himself a beneficiary of some of that high-powered legal help.
Ajmi is a Kuwaiti who was 29 when he blew himself up in the northern city of Mosul in April. But before that he had spent more than three years as an enemy combatant at Guantanamo, where he was known as “Captive 220.” He was taken prisoner at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, after the fall of the Taliban, in whose service he had reportedly spent eight months. While in detention, he told interrogators that his intention was “to kill as many Americans” as he possibly could.
In April 2002, a group of Kuwaiti families retained the law firm of Shearman & Sterling to represent the Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo, including Ajmi. (An attorney at Shearman tells us the firm donated its fees to charity.) Ajmi was one of 12 Kuwaiti petitioners in whose favor the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2004 in Rasul v. Bush, which held that the detainees were entitled to a habeas corpus hearing.
At the time, we wrote that Rasul had “opened the door to a flood of litigation. . . . This pretty much guarantees that the 600 or so Guantanamo detainees will bring 600 or so habeas corpus cases – perhaps in 600 or so different courtrooms, with 600 or so different judges demanding 600 or so different standards of what evidence constitutes a threat to the United States.”
The Pentagon seems to have understood this point only too well, because in November 2005 it released Ajmi into Kuwaiti custody before he could have his hearing. A Kuwaiti court later acquitted Ajmi of terrorism charges, and last month the Kuwaiti government issued Ajmi and his accomplices with passports, which they used to travel to Mosul via Syria.
Ajmi’s story is hardly unique. Some 500 detainees have been released from Guantanamo over the years, mostly into foreign custody. Another 65 of the remaining 270 detainees are also slated to go. Yet of all the prisoners released, the Pentagon is confident that only 38 pose no security threat. So much for the notion that the Gitmo detainees consist mostly of wrong-time, wrong-place innocents caught up in an American maw.
DUBAI (Reuters) – A Kuwaiti man released from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay in 2005 has carried out a suicide , his cousin told
A friend of Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi in Iraq informed his family that Abdullah carried out the attack in Mosul, his cousin Salem told the Dubai-based television channel.
“We were shocked by the painful news we received this afternoon … through a call from one of the friend’s of martyr Abdullah in Iraq,” said Salem al-Ajmi in a telephone interview aired by Arabiya.
He did not say when the suicide bombing happened.
Abdullah had been missing for two weeks and his family learned he left Kuwait illegally for Syria, he said. Abdullah had sent messages to his wife from Iraq.
Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” This dictum threatens to be prophetic of the West’s war against Islamic jihad. Our failure to understand the true origins and nature of jihad is as dangerous as our blindness to our own peculiar cultural weaknesses. As Lee Harris argues in his new book, both failures of knowledge are contributing to the “crash of Western civilization.”
Harris is an independent writer whose first book, Civilization and its Enemies, unabashedly called on America to accept its role as a superior civilization threatened by barbaric fanaticism from without and self-loathing cultural relativism from within. His new book explores in more depth the peculiar weakness of the liberal West: its “exaggerated confidence in the power of reason . . . [and] profound underestimation of the forces of fanaticism.”
The persistence of fanaticism, these days in the form of Islamic jihad, challenges the West’s cherished myth of inevitable progress fueled by the increase of knowledge and the improvement of human life. Yet such progress is not guaranteed, for “the law of the jungle can never be abolished.” The utilitarian and materialist goods by which the West judges progress — the “carpe diem” principle of “maximizing the happiness and pleasures of each individual” at the expense of one’s community, the world, or the future — are not typical historically of most peoples. Indeed, the existence of “rational actors,” as Harris calls them, people who in the pursuit of “enlightened self-interest” adjudicate conflict through “rational procedures,” is an anomaly, the “historical offspring of the specific cultures that produced the first generation of rational actors.”
Contrary to the assumptions of liberal West, then, such “rational actors” are not the “natural” man towards whom all humanity is evolving. Rather, “tribal actors” are more typical of humanity, those peoples who put the survival and flourishing of tribe ahead of the individual’s happiness, who unthinkingly accept and never question the superiority of their tribe and its values, and who work for the tribe’s success at any cost, particularly at the expense of other peoples deemed inferior simply because they are not members of the same tribe. Such people are “fanatics,” willing to die and kill for the group and its values, and unwilling to trade away those values for the material goods we in the West prize.
Last year, imprisoned Egyptian radical Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, a.k.a. “Dr. Fadl,” published “The Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World.” It is a systematic refutation of al Qaeda’s theology and methods, which is all the more extraordinary considering the source. Sayyed Imam, 57, was the first “emir” of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, many of whose members (including his longtime associate Ayman al-Zawahiri) later merged with Osama bin Laden and his minions to become al Qaeda. His 1988 book, “Foundations of Preparation for Holy War,” is widely considered the bible of Salafist jihadis.
Now he has recanted his former views. “The alternative” to violent jihadism, he says in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat (translated by Memri), “is not to kill civilians, foreigners and tourists, destroy property and commit aggression against the lives and property of those who are inviolable under the pretext of jihad. All of this is forbidden.”
Sayyed Imam is emphatic on the subject of the moral obligations of the would-be jihadist. “One who lacks the resources [to fight jihad] is forbidden to acquire money through forbidden means, like [burglary],” he says, adding that “Allah does not accept martyrdom as atonement for a mujahid’s debts.” As for a child’s obligations toward his parents, he adds that “it is not permitted to go out to fight jihad without the permission of both parents . . . because acting rightly with one’s parents is an individual obligation, and they have rights over their sons.”
“This has become pandemic in our times,” he adds in a pointedly non-theological aside. “We find parents who only learn that their son has gone to fight jihad after his picture is published in the newspapers as a fatality or a prisoner.”
These “Revisions,” as Sayyed Imam’s book is widely known in Arab intellectual circles, elicited a harsh and immediate response from unreconstructed jihadists. “What kind of guidance does the ‘Document’ offer?” asked al Qaeda commander Abu Yahyha Al-Libi in a March 9 Internet posting. “Is it guidance that tells the mujahadeen and the Muslims: ‘Restrain yourselves and [allow] us [Arab regimes] to shed your blood’?”
But whatever Sayyed Imam’s motives, it is the neuralgic response by his erstwhile fellow travelers that matters most. There really is a broad rethink sweeping the Muslim world about the practical utility — and moral defensibility — of terrorism, particularly since al Qaeda began targeting fellow Sunni Muslims, as it did with the 2005 suicide bombings of three hotels in Amman, Jordan. Al Qaeda knows this. Osama bin Laden is no longer quite the folk hero he was in 2001. Reports of al Qaeda’s torture chambers in Iraq have also percolated through Arab consciousness, replacing, to some extent, the images of Abu Ghraib. Even among Saudis, a recent survey by Terror Free Tomorrow finds that “less than one in ten Saudis have a favorable opinion of Al Qaeda, and 88 percent approve the Saudi military and police pursuing Al Qaeda fighters.”
No less significant is that the rejection of al Qaeda is not a liberal phenomenon, in the sense that it represents a more tolerant mindset or a better opinion of the U.S. On the contrary, this is a revolt of the elders, whether among the tribal chiefs of Anbar province or Islamist godfathers like Sayyed Imam. They have seen through (or punctured) the al Qaeda mythology of standing for an older, supposedly truer form of Islam. Rather, they have come to know al Qaeda as fundamentally a radical movement — the antithesis of the traditional social order represented by the local sovereign, the religious establishment, the head of the clan and, not least, the father who expects to know the whereabouts of his children.