Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Carroll released

Fox is reporting CSM Reporter Jill Carroll has been released in Iraq.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pictures of victims from attack last month on Sufi Muslims in Qom, Iran

An Iranian reader of Norms Blog sends a link to pictures of victims of last month's attack on Sufi Muslims in Qom.

Jose Ramos-Horta on war

Noble Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta writing Sometimes, a War Saves People back in May of 2004.

Via Jonathan Gurwitz: Peace isn't made when real wrongdoing goes ignoredin the San Antonio Express-News.
In almost 30 years of political life, I have supported the use of force on several occasions and sometimes wonder whether I am a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. Certainly I am not in the same category as Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela. But Mr. Mandela, too, recognized the
need to resort to violence in the struggle against white oppression. The consequences of doing nothing in the face of evil were demonstrated when the world did not stop the Rwandan genocide that killed almost a million people in 1994. Where were the peace protesters then? They were just as silent as they are today in the face of the barbaric behavior of religious fanatics.

Some may accuse me of being more of a warmonger than a Nobel laureate, but I stand ready to face my critics. It is always easier to say no to war, even at the price of appeasement. But being politically correct means leaving the innocent to suffer the world over, from Phnom Penh to Baghdad. And that is what those who would cut and run from Iraq risk doing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Maryam Namazie: Freedom of Expression: No ifs and buts

Maryam Namazie: Freedom of Expression: No ifs and buts:

Maryam Namazie is Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International Relations Committee. She's far more right then wrong in her speech at the Solidarity with Danemark ralley in London and reflective of how right vs left, liberal vs conservative don't mean much anymore. I'll add her to the blogroll. She must be one heck of a speaker.

Also a large collection of pictures from the ralley here.

Melanie Phillips on the CPTs Pacifism

Melanie Phillips writing on the Christian Peace Team's pacifism.
They are referred to as ‘pacifists’. But what they are actually doing is campaigning against coalition forces in Iraq and aiding the enemy in doing so. The CPT website claims that they challenge ‘the injustices of the occupation’ and work ‘for the human rights of Iraqi detainees’. Strangely, however, they issue not a word of challenge to the murderous injustices of those engaged in the terrorist war against the coalition and the murderous injustices of those Sunnis who are trying to murder as many Shia as possible. Despite preying upon the feelings of all Iraqis of whatever denomination who simply want the violence to stop, they are therefore not in fact working for the human rights of the Shia who are thus being murdered, merely for the ‘human rights’ of those Iraqis who are trying to murder them.

Similarly on the West Bank they ‘document the harassment suffered by villagers at the hands of solders and settlers’ because of Israel’s security barrier – but fail conspicuously to document the campaign of mass murder by those West Bank inhabitants which made the security barrier necessary in the first place. Now we learn from the Telegraph that the released hostages refused to co-operate with their intelligence debriefers. They boast of ‘getting in the way’ in these terrible conflicts – but what they are getting in the way of is the defence of life and liberty against terrorist mass murder. In other words, far from being neutral humanitarian campaigners they are taking sides – the wrong side, the side of terrorist murder over life and liberty, the side of injustice over justice, of lies over truth, of wrong over right and of darkness over light.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Geneva's Owls are back

...with family of new owlets

Scalia: War is war

Seemed obvious to me. They sit for the duration. All it takes is fatwa of surrender from Bin Laden. From Yahoo,
"War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," Scalia said during a talk on March 8 at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Newsweek magazine reported.

"Foreigners, in foreign countries, have no rights under the American Constitution," Scalia said, according to the www.scotusblog legal website, adding that "nobody has ever thought otherwise."

"If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs," Scalia told the audience.

"I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son, and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy."

The conservative judge's son, Matthew, fought in the Iraq war.

Fausta's blog: The Guillermo Fariñas blogburst

Fausta's blog: The Guillermo Fariñas blogburst

I'll join the burst. Maybe it will be heard at Wheaton College too.

San Francisco and McHenry

This is McHenry's Gay Games in reverse.

Nick Cohen: Shrivelling of the liberal conscience

Nick Cohen writes,
Christian Peacemaker Teams greeted the news of its missionaries’ release by saying that ‘they knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers’.

Actually, their only protection turned out to be the SAS.

Yet at least Kember and his colleagues made a commitment to Iraq. They may have done no good, they may have put better and braver men in danger, yet they strike me as preferable to the majority of European liberals who have sat out the conflict.

Civilians are massacred at random: silence. Al-Qaeda hits as many Shia mosques as it can in the hope of provoking a civil war: silence again. No condemnations of barbarism are offered for fear of giving the smallest support to George W Bush and Tony Blair.

The price that has already been paid is a shrivelling of the liberal conscience. If you refuse to take sides in Iraq, you can’t take them anywhere else. From Burma to Darfur, crimes against humanity that would have produced outrage in the Nineties are met with indifference today.
People use God to sit out conflicts. Rather than have to pick between Bush and Blair, and the Baath and Al-Qaeda, they just throw the whole thing onto God's lap.

They should remember JFK's closing words in his inaugural,
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
God didn't free them and their conscience should be asking them how their work put many at risk to win their freedom. I am convinced someday God will ask those questions.

More from Tony Blair: the danger of America raising it's drawbridge

From his speech to Australia's Parliment,
Wherever people live in fear, with no prospect of advance, we should be on their side; in solidarity with them, whether in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea; and where countries, and there are many in the Middle East today, are in the process of democratic development, we should extend a helping hand.

This requires, across the board an active foreign policy of engagement not isolation. It cannot be achieved without a strong alliance. This alliance does not end with, but it does begin with America. For us in Europe and for you, this alliance is central.

And I want to speak plainly here. I do not always agree with the US. Sometimes they can be difficult friends to have. But the strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in.

The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us, can be resolved or even contemplated without them.
Also an interview of Clair Berlinski by John Hawkins on her book Menace in Europe.

John Hawkins: How pervasive is anti-Americanism in Europe?

Claire Berlinski: Very, very. See poll numbers above. We see members of the Dutch parliament in hiding, the abrogation of freedom of expression throughout Europe, the rise of right-wing leaders who openly advocate the mass deportation of non-white Europeans, one barely-thwarted terrorist attack after another-and yet, according to the polls, the majority of Europeans consider the United States to be their biggest worry. They're monomaniacally obsessed with the danger posed to them by Americans and the perfidious cabal of Jews who yank our puppet strings.

John Hawkins: A lot of people like to play down the differences between America and Europe, but it has become clear that there is a huge cultural & political gap between us on a wide variety of issues. Why do you believe we've grown so far apart or have we always been split like this and just haven't really noticed because our cooperation during the Cold War masked the differences?

Claire Berlinski: The divide has always been there-European anti-Americanism is as old as America itself. It tends to flare up and then die down, flaring up generally at times of European insecurity. Certainly, since the end of the Cold War Europe has really come into its own, and unfortunately, Europe's own is historically rather an unattractive thing. If young Germans are now seen muttering darkly about how they deplore American militarism-a sentiment, I am persuaded, that represents nothing more than their own stifled longing to switch on the tank's ignition and thrill once again to the low deep rumble of its engine-it is certainly nothing new; Germans have complained for a very long time of these things. If we heard less of this during the Cold War, yes, of course it was because the alternative to our militarism was the hammer and sickle; this kind of choice does seem to sober people up.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Though tyranny has few advocates, it needs more adversaries.

From the 2006 National Security Strategy; a pretty remarkable document,
Though tyranny has few advocates, it needs more adversaries. In today’s world, no tyrant’s rule can survive without the support or at least the tolerance of other nations. To end tyranny we must summon the collective outrage of the free world against the oppression, abuse, and impoverishment that tyrannical regimes inflict on their people – and summon their collective action against the dangers tyrants pose to the security of the world.

An end to tyranny will not mark an end to all global ills. Disputes, disease, disorder, poverty, and injustice will outlast tyranny, confronting democracies long after the last tyrant has fallen. Yet tyranny must not be tolerated – it is a crime of man, not a fact of nature.

It's Jews again - Part 2

Dan Drezner writing Where's the open debate? I want to see an open debate!!
So let me get this straight: the authors have written and published a paper because they want to provoke an open debate -- and then decide not to respond to any of the critiques made of the paper? [But some of those critiques are just ad hominem attacks labeling them as anti-Semites!--ed. Yes, but other responses, from Dennis Ross, Ruth Wisse, Jeffrey Herf & Andrei Markovits, and Alan Dershowitz, are devoid of that charge and are coming from people with comparable reputations to Walt and Mearsheimer. This editorial by the Forward provides the most comprehensive shredding of their hypothesis, but all Mearsheimer can say is that they have to be careful about what they say.]
And a quote from The Forward's editorial,
Some facts need repeating, though they shouldn't. Israel was founded by majority vote of the United Nations General Assembly. It has faced and continues to face powerful enemies intent on its destruction. Its citizenship is open to all races and creeds, from European Jews to South American Indians and Vietnamese boat people. Tens of thousands of Israelis are West Bank and Gaza Palestinians who gained their citizenship by marrying Israelis.

Most important, Israel has had the support of successive American administrations in large part because it enjoys the sympathy of much of the American people. In part this flows from Christian religious convictions. In part it reflects admiration for Israeli spunk. In part it stems from a perception of shared values. Israel has not always lived up to its own best ideals. But, unlike much of the world, it tries.

Mearsheimer and Walt join a long line of critics who dislike Israel so deeply that they cannot fathom the support it enjoys in America, and so they search for some malign power capable of perverting America's good sense. They find it, as others have before, in the Jews.
Update to earlier post here.

Transatlantic Inelligencer on what the Kölner Hold Dear

John Rosenthaler quoting Henryk Broder from Berlin's weekly Jungle World,
Last year, in Cologne, a city that is particularly convinced of its own tolerance, there was a vigil held over the course of several months in front of the cathedral. Guess against what? You can well imagine: against the wall in Palestine. I lived for 23 years in Cologne, from 1958 to 1981. The Berlin Wall was built in 1961. In the 28 years from 1961 to 1989, there was not a single demonstration or vigil against that wall. Now there are demonstrations and vigils, because the wall that is meant to prevent terrorists from serially blowing up Israelis – that really pains the residents of Cologne. Such a reaction is truly nuts. It belongs to the domain of collective psychopathology.
Always leery of people who, like the good Kölners here, pride themselves on their tolerance. Much prefer the word respect instead. Don't tolerate others. Respect them instead. It gives you a different perspective on other's circumstances and struggles. It's a simple choice of words that might keep you out the domain of collective psychopathology.

London Solidarity with Danemark rally

Pictures here at via PJ Media.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rumsfeld to visit Flight 93 memorial

Rumsfeld to visit the Flight 93 crash site Monday morning.

a blogger's node to Academic Elephant

Freedom Folks: CPT Celebrates "Release" of Captives in Chicago

Jake and the Bald Chick took pics and chatted with the CPTer's in Chicago,
We ended up having a long talk with Sara, who is part of CPT. She said that the phones had been ringing off the hook today with people calling to express their anger over the lack of acknowledgement of the troops' role in freeing the CPT workers. May I just say HUZZAH?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Noam Chomsky on irrevocable trusts

I'd say the Deep Structure in here is Private Accounts that can be passed onto survivors makes sense,
When I challenged Chomsky about his trust, he suddenly started to sound very bourgeois: "I don't apologize for putting aside money for my children and grandchildren," he wrote in one e-mail. Chomsky offered no explanation for why he condemns others who are equally proud of their provision for their children and who try to protect their assets from Uncle Sam. (However, Chomsky did say that his tax shelter is OK because he and his family are "trying to help suffering people.")
via PJ Media

ISGZ-2004-028947 trying to find a link between their intelligence work and the nation’s (Iraq) activity in the military industry sector

Another interesting one on covering up trail before the UN inspectors come,
It came to our attention that during the inspection of the directorate’s headquarter (most probably the HQ of Iraqi intelligence) by UN team (No 182) that they inquired about some of the matters related to the symbols of some directorates and their modus operandi. They were also inquiring about the activities (scope of work) of those directorates and were trying to find a link between their intelligence work and the nation’s (Iraq) activity in the military industry sector. In the purpose of preventing future (UN) teams, from establishing this link, and in case they search the service’s headquarter or regional directorates we found that it was necessary to be prepared to execute the following instructions as follows:

Read the rest....

CMPC-2003-001488 In the Name of God the Merciful...The Iraq, Iran, Taliban, and Bin Laden connections

Check Malkin for other links and analysis. Go down to the bottom of her post,
In the Name of God the Merciful
Presidency of the Republic Intelligence Apparatus
To the respectful Mr. M.A.M
Subject: Information

Our source in Afghanistan No 11002 (for information about him see attachment 1) provided us with information that that Afghani Consul Ahmad Dahestani (for information about him see attachment 2) told him the following:

1. That Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan are in contact with Iraq and it that previously a group from Taliban and Osama Bin Laden group visited Iraq.

2. That America has proof that the government of Iraq and Osama Bin Laden group have shown cooperation to hit target within America.

3. That in case it is proven the involvement of Osama Bin Laden group and the Taliban in these destructive operations it is possible that American will
conduct strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. That the Afghani Consul heard about the subject of Iraq relation with Osama Bin Laden group during his stay in Iran. 5. In light of this we suggest to write to the Commission of the above information.

Please view...
With regards Signature:..,
Initials : A.M.M, 15/9/2001
Foot note: Immediately send to the Chairman of Commission
48,000 Boxes of this stuff to sort through and translate.

Chirstian Peace Team freed: Justice and Peace

The AP on the freed CPTers,
In a statement, the Christian Peacemaker Teams said the activists went to Iraq "motivated by a passion for justice and peace." The group called for coalition forces to remove their troops from the country.

"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq," the statement said.
The justice and peace they seek would abandon the Iraqi people to the thugs who murdered Fox. Beware of root cause analysis. Sometimes it just shifts guilt away from the guilty. That's not just, or peacful.

Norm has an excellant post. Not on the CPTer, but on their assessment of guilt.

First, John Lloyd on 'Left vs Left' at Comment Free,
The division, broadly, is between those who regard confrontation with tyranny as at the root of the left's present reason for being; and those who see tyranny most expressed in the policies of the US, with aid from the UK. Naturally, there are many intermediate positions - above all that which sees the Iraqi invasion as mistaken, but are not prepared to view the US as the main threat to the globe.
And then Jeff Jacoby reading Pamela Bone's essay in Thomas Cushman's A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq ,
Three years into the war, with many Americans wondering if it was a mistake and the media coverage endlessly negative, one voice I miss more than ever is that of Michael Kelly. The first journalist to die while covering the war, Kelly had covered the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, and in one of his last columns, filed from Kuwait City, he reflected on the coming liberation of Iraq: ''Tyranny truly is a horror: an immense, endlessly bloody, endlessly painful, endlessly varied, endless crime against not humanity in the abstract but a lot of humans in the flesh. It is, as Orwell wrote, a jackboot forever stomping on a human face..."
It's the jackboot forever stomping the CPT would abandon the Iraqi people under.

John Paul said Whoever decides that all peaceful means available under international law are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, his own conscience and history ;
but you also assume the responsibility when you shuck the decision too.

When you have the power to liberate and destroy tyranny, and chose not to use your power; you've also assumed a grave responsiblity before God, conscience and history.

Can't dodge them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Support the Iraqi Resistance; Smash the Jewish State


The pictures speak for themselves. More here, via Belmont Club

Judy Baar Topinka

I'm not related to her for all of you folks landing here when you google Baar.

But Publius over at the Illinois Republican Project has an analysis of her coming campaign I wish my social conservative GOP friends would consider.

Tony Blair: Why We Fight On

The first of three speeches Blair intends to give over the next few weeks on Foreign Affairs. I'm tired but a couple of good paragraphs.

The thesis and how it has, confusingly for some, split apart the traditional left and right:
The basic thesis is that the defining characteristic of today's world is its interdependence; that whereas the economics of globalisation are well matured, the politics of globalisation are not; and that unless we articulate a common global policy based on common values, we risk chaos threatening our stability, economic and political, through letting extremism, conflict or injustice go unchecked.

The consequence of this thesis is a policy of engagement not isolation; and one that is active not reactive.

Confusingly, its proponents and opponents come from all sides of the political spectrum. So it is apparently a "neo-conservative" ie right wing view, to be ardently in favour of spreading democracy round the world; whilst others on the right take the view that this is dangerous and deluded - the only thing that matters is an immediate view of national interest. Some progressives see intervention as humanitarian and necessary; others take the view that provided dictators don't threaten our citizens directly, what they do with their own, is up to them.
The ideological struggle,
This terrorism will not be defeated until its ideas, the poison that warps the minds of its adherents, are confronted, head-on, in their essence, at their core. By this I don't mean telling them terrorism is wrong. I mean telling them their attitude to America is absurd; their concept of governance pre-feudal; their positions on women and other faiths, reactionary and regressive; and then since only by Muslims can this be done: standing up for and supporting those within Islam who will tell them all of this but more, namely that the extremist view of Islam is not just theologically backward but completely contrary to the spirit and teaching of the Koran.

But in order to do this, we must reject the thought that somehow we are the authors of our own distress; that if only we altered this decision or that, the extremism would fade away. The only way to win is: to recognise this phenomenon is a global ideology; to see all areas, in which it operates, as linked; and to defeat it by values and ideas set in opposition to those of the terrorists.
His conclusion,
This is, ultimately, a battle about modernity. Some of it can only be conducted and won within Islam itself. But don't let us in our desire not to speak of what we can only imperfectly understand; or our wish not to trespass on sensitive feelings, end up accepting the premise of the very people fighting us.

The extremism is not the true voice of Islam. Neither is that voice necessarily to be found in those who are from one part only of Islamic thought, however assertively that voice makes itself heard. It is, as ever, to be found in the calm, but too often unheard beliefs of the many Muslims, millions of them the world over, including in Europe, who want what we all want: to be ourselves free and for others to be free also; who regard tolerance as a virtue and respect for the faith of others as part of our own faith. That is what this battle is about, within Islam and outside of it; it is a battle of values and progress; and therefore it is one we must win.
But it all needs to be read because I think it's Blair who will be the hero of this decade.

Ask the Communists (They've got it right here)

The American Communist Party's expression of support for their Iraqi Comrades who accepted the Coalition's invitation to participate in the Coalition Provisonal Authority.

From People's Weekly World Ask the Communists column via Labour Friends of Iraq,
Q: Obviously you oppose terrorism, but what position do American Communists take toward the homegrown (non-al-Qaeda) resistance to the U.S./British occupation? Do you support the armed resistance? If so, where does this position fit into the overall class struggle in Iraq and beyond? If not, how do you reconcile this position with your anti-imperialist stance?

A: We support the difficult struggle of the Iraqi Communist Party, [Baar's emphasis] along with the trade unions, women’s organizations and other democratic forces in Iraq, to build broad, nonsectarian national unity in order to both rid themselves of foreign occupation and construct a democratic society that is not under the thumb of imperialism and reactionary forces.

We believe that the struggle for democracy is a key part of the class struggle and the struggle against imperialism. Armed forces that target the civilian population hinder the development of broad unity among all sectors of the Iraqi people. Armed forces that have the aim of installing theocratic or other reactionary government are anti-democratic.

In crisis situations especially, Communist parties in each country have a special responsibility to their people to carefully and soberly assess the political balance of forces and the mood and concerns of the people, to help find the methods of struggle that can achieve the national and democratic aims of the working class and its allies without violence if at all possible. We believe that the Communist Party and working class in each country is best qualified to make such assessments regarding their own country.

We believe that all peoples have the right to resist dictatorship and foreign occupation and to determine for themselves how they will do so. We Communists are humanists, and we see armed struggle as the very last resort, something to be avoided, unless it is forced on the people when all other, peaceful means of struggle have been exhausted or become impossible. In all such cases, we keep in mind that the poor and working-class people usually pay the heaviest price.
It was probably the leadership of Britian's Peace Movement who caused the brutal murder of the Iraqi Communist Leader Hadi Saleh. Here's Labour Friends of Iraq's letter on it,
The murder of Hadi Saleh demands the most serious political and moral accounting by every member of StWC leadership. For the StWC leaders were warned months ago. The ex-Aslef leader, Mick Rix, when he resigned from the Stop the War Coalition Steering Committee in October 2004, commented on the “deliberate, archaic, violent, and plain downright stupid” language the StWC leaders used when describing Hadi’s organisation. The IFTU had been called ‘collaborators’ by the StWC officers, ‘quislings’ by leading StWC member George Galloway MP (comments picked up and published in the Arab Press), and a ‘fake’ union by the newspaper of Lindsey German, the Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Socialist Worker.

Mick Rix argued presciently that these irresponsible statements by StWC leaders had “placed these good trade unionists and socialists at a terrible risk”.

Update: Und mehr von Volksgnoessen Hoenker von Berlin mit einem sozialisticher grüße!

It's Jews again

New York Sun on Monday writing about this paper (PDF format) by John J. Mearsheimer, a professor of political science and a co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, academic dean of the Kennedy School.
A paper recently co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government about the allegedly far-reaching influence of an "Israel lobby" is winning praise from white supremacist David Duke.
Duke, a former Louisiana state legislator and one-time Ku Klux Klan leader, called the paper "a great step forward," but he said he was "surprised" that the Kennedy School would publish the report.
Also check the CSM and JP.

Update: March 22 Norm's thoughts,
This is a particularly unpleasant case of shoddy political propaganda packaged as scholarship. It is deeply disturbing to see it coming out of serious American universities.
Norm includes some links to others writing on the paper.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Live Blogging Illinois Primary election tonight

Over here on Illinoize.

Rumsfeld, Eaton, and a good day to buy some Legos

Elephants in Academia emailed a link to Wisonizer's reponse to Peter Eaton's NYT Sunday Op Ed piece on Rumsfeld.

Also check this post on the UN Human Rights Commission's poster for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

A good day to go buy Legos.

The culture should be free, and every artist and every researcher should be free to write about all religions without any restriction --Al-Afif al-Akh

via Normsblog, Haaretz on Arab secularist and democrat: Al-Afif al-Akhdar,
Friends and supporters of Al-Afif al-Akhdar are convinced: the life of the veteran fighter for secularism and democracy in the Arab world is in danger. A year ago, the Tunisian Islamic movement Al-Nahdha, which is persecuted by the authorities in its country, condemned him as the author of the scandalous book "The Unknown in the Prophet's Life." A Tunisian citizen, Akhdar has for decades been waging a stubborn campaign to expose the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, including those espoused by Sheikh Rashed al-Ghanoushi, the leader of Al-Nahdha, who has been in exile in London since 1991. In an unsigned declaration on its Internet site, Al-Nahdha referred to Akhdar, without naming him.

Monday, March 20, 2006

It depends on how you define nothing.

From Tim Hames writing on his thoughts on an email from the Stop the War Coalition,

The e-mail contained rhetoric that has become familiar, though fatuous. It railed against “lies about weapons of mass destruction”, an “illegal war”, “Abu Ghraib” and the “expropriation of Iraqi resources”. All the words so often employed about Iraq were there, except, of course, “Saddam” and “Hussein”. In any case, the entire episode started in March 2003 was condemned as an “occupation” that has “brought nothing to the Iraqi people except ever increasing death and destruction”.

I suppose it depends on how you define “nothing”. If two elections, one constitutional referendum, a free press, an independent judiciary, greater religious liberty, the lifting of economic sanctions, reintegration into the region and the wider international community count for “nothing”, then nothing is a reasonable assessment. As many leaders of the anti-war movement have nothing but contempt for “bourgeois democracy” and hate capitalism and its manifestations, then, for them, “nothing” is entirely accurate.

The rest of us, however, might reach a more rounded conclusion. When told that Iraq has been a “tragedy”, we might agree but not in the way that those who use that term take it. The tragedy is not that troops went into that land in 2003 but that they did not arrive earlier or in larger numbers. For the first tragedy of Iraq is that this is the third and not the seventh anniversary of its liberation. I am not one of those who thinks that it would have been possible for the US to have pressed on to Baghdad in 1991 after expelling Saddam’s conscripts from Kuwait. The older President Bush opted to take the “UN route” and was thus shackled by its limited mandate.

Read the whole thing. Hames lists all the tragic events. There not what STW would have us think.

Chomsky, Srebrenica, and the anti-war movement's defense of Milosevic

Oliver Kamm writing on his efforts with David Aaronovitch and Francis Wheen to have The Guardian set the record straight on Chomsky's sluffing off the "massacre" of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica.

Here's Ramsey Clark's Internationl Action Center's Sara Flounders writing on Slobodan Milosevic,
The NATO leaders--with Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroeder topping the list—should have been the ones on trial for war crimes. From the day of his kidnapping, President Milosevic waged a heroic defense of his own actions to defend Yugoslavia. He equally exposed the crimes of these leaders of the great powers to the world. For this the peoples of the Balkans and of the world will be indebted to him.
Orwell was so right in 1941 except today I fear the Cruel Pacifists are not such a minority in the Peace Movement anymore,
PACIFISM The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States.

The Officers' Club: The Quiet Strength of Blairism

The Officers' Club: The Quiet Strength of Blairism: "Who were the real brains behind neo-conservativism? The Defense Department? Zionists? Halliburton?

Well, how about Tony Blair?"
The Officers go on to quote Oliver Kamm, author of the The Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for Neo Conservative Foreign Policy:

You cannot understand Blair’s policies in Iraq without that background. Long before 9/11, he took a fundamentally different approach from Major, Rifkind and Douglas Hurd, and not only in declaratory policy. In Kosovo, he confronted Serb aggression rather than acquiesced in it. He also sent British troops to preserve Sierra Leone from hand-lopping rebels, aware both of the demands of liberal internationalism and of the potential for a failed state to become far more than a regional problem. He argued his case long before President Bush came to see the urgency of promoting democracy overseas.

Indeed, as a presidential candidate in 2000, Bush had denounced interventionist ‘nation-building’ and proposed the withdrawal of American commitments in the Balkans. The coincidence of view between a Labour prime minister and a conservative president makes many on the left uncomfortable, but there is no reason that it should. In pursuing regime change, Bush has adopted Blairism, not the other way round.

I voted for Gore in 2000 because Bush did denounce interventionism and because I was so ashamed of the West's dithering in Bosnia and Rwanda.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Belarus Election Coverage

Over at PJ Media. A lot of people live blogging. Downloaded a picture from yahoo.

Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich waves during a meeting with his supporters in Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, March 18, 2006. Belarusians voted Sunday in a presidential election.

He's calling for the votes to be rejected and new elections held. Via Publius Pundit.

...there really is no ‘war’ to protest, per se.

John Cole via Pajamas Media,
I am no Bush defender, but at some point it becomes pretty clear that these anti-war protests are little more than anti-Bush protests. While hating Bush has become far more fashionable as of late (in fact, hating Bush is so popular that the cool kids are already doing something else), these protests accomplish very little. Bus is already in the middle to low 30’s in popularity, and there really is no ‘war’ to protest, per se.
In London, the Stop the War Coalition's slogan was Troops Home from Iraq, Don't Attack Iran. So it wasn't just an anti-war demonstration but a demonstration to defend the Iranian Theocracy.

Labour Friends of Iraq goes through STW's ten point program and says this about point REASON 10: The world will be watching - let's show friend and foe alike that the British are opposed to the Iraq occupation and the threats to world peace and freedom. To which LFI replies,

We can't be defenders of peace and freedom by giving in to terrorism or to tribal and religious bigotry. Thankfully in Iraq, the bulk of the people take a similar line and should have our active support. The way the Iraqi people come out of their homes to try and help the victims of terrorism should be an inspiration to us all. It goes beyond the devotion of the people of London in the blitz during the Second World War, for no-one can sound the all clear on terrorist activity.

Perhaps some day we will be able to mobilise people onto the streets to join the Iraqi people in their struggle to have peace from terrorism and their freedom to form Political Parties, Trade Unions, Women's Organisations, Youth Groups and other Voluntary Associations.

Maybe some day Chiago will see a demonstration in support of freedom.

...we support these people against the thugs, criminals and terrorists who would try and turn back the clock on them

From Miranda Divine in the Sydney Morning Herald writing of a friend serving in Iraq, and SecState Rice's visit to Australia,
At the University of Sydney last week, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her admiration for the Iraqi people. "Every time they have been confronted with a challenge, going all the way back to the transfer of sovereignty in 2004, the Iraqis have faced up to that challenge.

"In the face of extremely difficult odds, the Iraqi people are trying to expand the realm of what people think is possible in that part of the world. They voted, then wrote and ratified their own constitution, and then they voted again.

"And now their freely elected leaders are debating, and arguing, and compromising. In other words, they are engaging in a process called democracy."

The anti-war protesters who picketed Rice might try having more faith in the Iraqis and the brave soldiers like my friend who are supporting them.

"I think it is right that we are here," wrote my friend last week on his 39th birthday, "and that we support these people against the thugs, criminals and terrorists who would try and turn back the clock on them".

Saturday, March 18, 2006

As one Iraqi put it, ‘We didn’t invite the troops in but we’d like a say on when they go.’

Labour Friends of Iraq on the left' betrayel of the Iraqi Labour movement,
Sadly, parts of the left have not just sat on their hands but have smeared the new unions as collaborators, stooges and Quislings.

This hostility arose because Iraqi unions didn’t embrace calls at the 2004 Labour Party conference for a rapid withdrawal of troops. As one Iraqi put it, ‘We didn’t invite the troops in but we’d like a say on when they go.’

The Iraqi unions have accomplished something that some left-wingers here have signally failed to do – they can walk and chew gum at the same time.

They can oppose the invasion and seek the eventual withdrawal of troops but also recognise that the UN sanctioned political process – which has seen three popular votes with increasing participation, not least from Sunnis – might deliver a new dispensation in which unions can help to retrieve both the territorial as well as the economic sovereignty of their country.

The bile directed at the Iraqi labour movement is a betrayal of elementary principles of internationalism and is one of the most shameful points in the history of the British left.

Ayatollah Tabrizi:"The Way We're Going, We're Causing a World Consensus Against Us"

A MEMRI translation of ROOZ inteview with Ayatollah Tabrizi,

Rooz: "What do you think will be Iran's most important problems in the new year?"

Ayatollah Tabrizi: "The most important problem will be the nuclear energy issue. We ask God for our senior officials to act so that this problem will be solved at the lowest possible cost, and so that there will be no additional problems for the people...

"The second problem that seems very important is Iran's economic problems. In my opinion, planning must be such that no inflation or economic stagnation problem is created in the country..."

No deals with Iran. They need real elections. That's only solution.

Akbar Ganji released!

Norm's blog reports,

'It is good news for us at the beginning of the new Iranian year,' says an email I received from Iran this morning. Akbar Ganji, a journalist and dissident who has been in Evin Prison since April 2000, and spent 80 days on hunger strike last year, has been freed. There are pictures here; and see this report and profile from the BBC:

What say you Lindy Scott on Cuba?...on Guillermo Fariñas?

The AP via Marathon Pundit,
Cuban dissidents and their supporters on Friday commemorated the crackdown that jailed 75 opponents of the government three years ago, asking the world not to forget them.

Saturday marks three years since the March 18, 2003, crackdown was launched, prompting governments and rights groups around the world to condemn Fidel Castro's communist government. Cuban officials said the roundup was needed to protect the nation from "mercenaries" paid from abroad to undermine the socialist system.

Sixty of the 75 people rounded up remain jailed. Fifteen were released on medical parole."This isn't just any anniversary," veteran Cuban rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said Friday. "This marks the third year after the most intense wave of repression against political prisoners in many years--not only in Cuba, but in this hemisphere."

And Babalu Blog writes,

Blog for Cuba, Wall Street Cafe, Uncommon Sense, El Cafe Cubano and others are reporting on the rapid deterioration of Guillermos Fariñas' health. It seems Mr. Fariñas, barring some miracle, will pay for his cause with his life.

And Stephanie Scott can write here,
I just don't understand why we're so harsh on Cuba when there are plenty of other injustices going on around the world that we casually ignore, perhaps you could enlighten me.
When your Dad can go to Cuba and speak out for Fariñas release. Speak out next time you attend class there Stephanie. That's the enlightenment I seek. When Fariñas can go on speaking engagements like the symbol of Abu Garib, then Liberty has scored a victory.

Meet the man Abu Ghraib turned into a symbol - part 2

I thought the hooded fellow made to stand on the box --wondering if he was getting a jolt from those wires-- was just cashing in with the West in speaking engagements.

I got accussed of a crude moral relativism for it.

The difference in moral behavior is stark and absolute.

The contrast is between water boarding and getting shot in head like CPT's Fox.

The contrast is detention in Gitmo for the duration of the war, or being held hostage now as the remaining three CPTers or the rest of the hostages.

The moral clarity is there for all to see.

Now it turns out our alleged torture victim wasn't even the fellow with the hood.

He's a fake. It wasn't him. Rantingprofs rounds up the Salon story that finds the fraud and reviews the NYTs retraction, concluding:
The bottom line is that while the real man in the picture is living quietly, this man figured out exactly what Western media outlets and human rights organizations would want to hear. And that's what he told them.
The real victim alive, living peacfully and freely; and a fake victim cashing in on the Western media.

Let me repeat again, the real heros of the Abu Garib story. The American Army and the troops who saw an abuse and used the system to bring the abusers to justice. The system that allowed the fellow in the hood to return home peacfully and intact.

....go to the Taguba Report. Here's the citation for the guys who followed the US Army's system for when things go wrong. They won't see a dime. Their only reward is a clean conscious. No cameras to document their heroism and humanity. No opportunity to cash in for them. Only this cite,
4. (U) The individual Soldiers and Sailors that we observed and believe should be favorably noted include:

a. (U) Master-at-Arms First Class William J. Kimbro, US Navy Dog Handler, knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the MI personnel at Abu Ghraib.

b. (U) SPC Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company discovered evidence of abuse and turned it over to military law enforcement.

c. (U) 1LT David O. Sutton, 229th MP Company, took immediate action and stopped an abuse, then reported the incident to the chain of command.
UPDATE: Here's powerlines take: Duped Again! and Backyard Conservative. Also Meidacrity

Final Thought: NYT ends with,
Meanwhile, it is not clear what happened to the real hooded man, Mr. Faleh. An Army spokesman said he was released from American custody in January 2004. Tribal leaders, and the manager of a brick factory next to the address where prison records say he lived, said they had never heard the name. Besides, they said, detainees often make up identities when they are imprisoned. Mr. Qaissi's attorneys said they have not attempted to search for him.
Maybe he's witht the terrorists; the Muslim extremists. Butchering Iraqis with car bombs?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Katherine Grahm: Safeguarding Our Freedoms As We Cover Terrorist Acts

Kesher Talk recalls the 1977 take over of B'nai Brith Headquarters in Washington DC. One of the Hannifi Muslims demands was Hollywood shouldn't release the movie The Message because it came to close to depicting Muhammed. Kesher links a description of the even from John Leo's blog,
Later, a group of black American Muslims attacked three buildings in Washington, D.C., taking 149 hostages. One of their demands was that The Message must not be released. In a 39-hour siege, a reporter was killed and many hostages were stabbed, beaten, or shot. The movie, in an Arabic version, was shown in the Middle East. The English version, never released, appeared for the first time on a DVD last November 1, not long after the appearance of the Danish cartoons.
While googling for the post, Kesher Talk found this editorial by Katherine Graham. She recalls the event and talks about the Media's responsiblities covering terrorists acts. She wrote it in 1986 but all applies today. I found this paragraph interesting too,
Tragically, however, we in the media have made mistakes. You may recall that in April 1983, some 60 people were killed in a bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut. At the time, there was coded radio traffic between Syria, where the operation was being run, and Iran, which was supporting it. Alas, one television network and a newspaper columnist reported that the U.S. government had intercepted the traffic. Shortly thereafter the traffic ceased. This undermined efforts to capture the terrorist leaders and eliminated a source of information about future attacks. Five months later, apparently the same terrorists struck again at the Marine barracks in Beirut; 241 servicemen were killed.
Makes you appreciate why the Gov likes to keep secrets.

Illinois Republican Project: Terrorists Casing Chicago Or Just Confusion?

Illinois Republican Project: Terrorists Casing Chicago Or Just Confusion?: "This story is a bit disturbing: "Sears Tower employees Thursday reportedly received bulletins from building management reassuring them that there is no terror threat. But those bulletins failed to explain the incident ABC7 reported, that three suspicious looking men in a rental car pulled up to the building recently, got out and began studying the building. According to law enforcement sources, they took pictures before building security ran them off, but they never got their identification. Those sources tell ABC7 the car was rented to a fake name.
No kidding.. hope someone is data-mining their calls.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tiger Hawk: George P. Shultz and the origins of the Bush Doctrine

Tiger Hawk goes to hear George Shultz and finds another atonishing speech Shutz gave back in 1984,
Shultz's message was at once both optimistic -- "the world has never been in a situation of greater promise than now" -- and concerned -- "the terrorists must not be allowed to abort this opportunity." The challenge, he said, is to develop a sustainable American strategy against Islamic terrorism that will carry us through a very long war.

Shultz's speech Wednesday afternoon, of which I will write more in a subsequent post, led me to the astonishing realization that he understood threat of terrorism, and particularly Islamic terrorism, long before virtually anybody else in the foreign policy establishment of either party. On October 25, 1984, more than 21 years ago, he gave a speech1 in New York City that today appears startlingly prescient, and can fairly be said to be the foundational document of current American policy. Shultz spoke then of the nature of terrorism, the moral confusion of the West in the confronting of it, and the requirement that it be preempted by military force, if necessary. Considering what has transpired in the years since then, Shultz's argument is arresting. Excerpts follow below, with bold emphasis added and my commentary in italics.
Go over and read it. The parts on moral confusion and duration especially important for us today.

Democratyia's interview with Kanan Makiya

from Part II of Democratyia's interview with Kanan Makiya,
Alan Johnson: You have called the inter-agency process—the co-ordinated efforts of the White House, State Department, Department of Defence, and CIA—'the great albatross of our lives'. In your opinion 'Many of our problems afterwards in Iraq are a consequence of … squabbling within the U.S. administration'. You said to one journalist that '[t]he enemies of a democratic Iraq lie within the State Department and the CIA, who have consistently thwarted the president's genuine attempt … to do something very dramatic in this country. Fortunately they have not totally succeeded.' What was the basis of these inter-agency disputes and what were their consequences?

Kanan Makiya: The little story of the Future of Iraq project unfolded against the backdrop of a much larger problem in the preparations for war. There was tension—I would even call it warfare—between the different branches of the US government. This has still has not been written about properly. Deep internal American conflicts hobbled the whole enterprise from the outset. Matters reached the level of hatred between and among Americans. Iraqis were portioned off by different agencies. Some were close to the Department of Defense, some to the CIA, some to State, and so on. The warfare at the heart of the Bush administration was shaping the agenda rather than any positive plan.

The change in the United States government's position that brought about such tensions within the administration goes back to September 11 - a transforming moment in American political culture. From that day a small minority of influential people in the United States government emerged who said that the way forward was democratic change in the region, starting with Iraq. They argued that US foreign policy towards the Middle East had rested for 50 years on support of autocratic regimes (like Saudi Arabia, like Saddam in the 1980s, like Mubarak's Egypt) in the interests of securing oil supplies, or whatever it might be. This policy had led to a level of anger at the United States inside the Arab world that provided fertile breeding ground for organisations like Al-Qaeda.

So, at the strategic level, what needed to happen was a dramatic change in US policy. The US should reach out to peoples not governments, to focus on democratisation as opposed to stability, and so on. That school of thought emerged in the Pentagon,led by people like Paul Wolfowitz. It ran headlong against the State Department's traditional accommodationist policies. The conflict was between those agencies that were wedded to the policies of the past and those breaking new ground. The former were often in the State Department - people who knew that part of the world in a very particular way. They had been Ambassadors, they had hobnobbed with the Saudi ruling families, and they had developed certain preconceptions about how the Arab world worked. By contrast those who were pushing for a dramatically new policy, like Paul Wolfowitz, were not shackled by such a past, nor burdened by the weight of those prejudices. But they did not necessarily know the Middle East as well. They were not Arab linguists, and these people tended to reside in the Pentagon and in parts of the White House.

In this struggle the CIA was close to the State Department. The Pentagon was close to the White House (though the White House had no single view). The struggle could have been a healthy one resulting in a plan of action for post-2003 had there been sufficient control of these divisions from the top. There wasn't. Bush just laid down a policy and was not a man for the details. And the National Security Council did not opt clearly for this or that way forward. Instead they set up something called the 'inter-agency process'. This involved representatives from the different warring agencies who would sit down and compromise over every single decision. The result was not that there were no plans, as people say, but that there were too many plans that were no longer coherent because they were picked apart in this inter-agency process until they were a little bit of this and a little bit of that. For instance, the Pentagon was for a provisional Iraqi transitional authority rooted in and stemming from the Iraqi opposition. The State Department was dead set against that. And its intense dislike of the Iraqi opposition drove them to support what I think was the worst possible strategic formula for the transition: an American military occupation of Iraq with all that that entailed in terms of responsibilities for the minutest of details in the post war period.

2002 Iraqi Intelligence Correspondence concerning the presence of al-Qaida Members in Iraq.

Pentagon has finally started releasing the captured Iraqi documents.

The Jawa Report starts with the Iraqi Intelligence Services biography of Al Zarqawi. According to a commenter, it translates as a flattering story about him.

Somebody set up DePaul's Conservatives

Marathon Pundit finds more details,
The jackal who used permanent marker to write the "N" word and swastikas also scrawled "DePaul Conservative Alliance" in the public areas of a DePaul dormitory.

Obviously this was a set up by some nut, or a cunning, yet cruel attempt to discredit the conservative group. I know most of the members of the DCA. They are not racists.

Nor were they ever suspected by the police in regards to the recent vandalism in that dorm.

Father Dennis Holtschneider, the President of DePaul is fully aware of all the details of the case. As are Denise Mattson and Robin Florzak of DePaul's public relations office.
I looked like a setup from the get go and DePau's administration awful quick to react and get TV coverage of it.

It just seems awfully odd DCA would vandalize the dorm and include their name.

Holtschneider should go; because of the way he treated of DCA (read Marathon's full post).

DePaul owes use alums and everyone else in Chicago --especially African Americans-- an explaination for how they can get sucked in so quickly into these plots.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Enough Politics..go to Mars

From a friend on the Hill... google maps Mars.

Just what are Liberals defending?

I can't start my day now without reading Norman Geras. Here's an email sent to him,
You may be interested to know that last night I was at an employer awards dinner in Manchester, sponsored by a number of organizations but ultimately a product of the local offshoot of the National Employment Panel. The final award goes to the 'most inspiring individual'. These are usually moving stories of (for instance) single parents who started a succesful business, people who have overcome literacy problems to have a successful career etc. Last night the winner was a woman - S - whose husband was a doctor in Iraq and was asked to participate in a death squad that would kill soldiers refusing to fight. He refused and had his ears cut off. S and her husband then smuggled the family to Holland. They could not earn enough to support a family of six, so S came to Manchester with her three youngest children. She is a qualified teacher. She would not claim benefit and after 40 rejected job applications secured herself a job as industrial cleaner, proving herself to be reliable, dedicated and hard-working. In her halting, accented English she expressed her happiness at being here in the UK, and in our city too. (Last night's event is expected to get coverage in the Manchester Evening News, but the organizers are not sure when.)

Imagine - a regime where doctors cut off people's ears. My point is if 'liberals' want to defend the status quo ante in Iraq, just what are they defending?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chicago's Stand up for Denmark ralley

Today's ralley inspired by Christopher Hitchens in Slate,

Also check Backyard Conservative for more.

UPDATE: Welcome to Michelle Malkin readers. You found us on a sunny day in Chicago but it was still cold and windy. It shows below. Thanks for your visit.

UPDATE: A link to Andrew's video.

Oliver Kamm on why we were right to invade Iraq

Read the whole thing. Strange the case even needs to be made,
We no longer have to bear one major risk: a psychopathic despot overcoming a porous sanctions regime, and using oil sales to pay for resumed WMD production. The absence of WMD was a huge intelligence failure; so it is fortunate that we are no longer reliant on Saddam's word. As Professor Graham Pearson, of the Bradford University school of peace studies, has written, focusing on stockpiles is misconceived: "In an aggressor state, there is no requirement to have such stockpiles as the national strategy is not one of having an ability to retaliate in kind but rather ... to use chemical and biological weapons at a time of its choosing." Saddam did possess dual-use facilities that, according to Charles Duelfer of the Iraq Survey Group, could quickly have produced chemical and biological weapons.

We have no assurance that the struggle to establish a constitutional society in Iraq will succeed. But we can be certain that the security of the region and of ourselves, as well as the welfare of those to whom we have obligations, will be damaged if we fail to support Iraqis against theocratic and Ba'athist totalitarianism. We at least have the advantage in that struggle of having confronted Saddam at a time of our choosing.
When you don't wait for a time of your own choosing, you're left with Kerry's War of Last Resort. That would have been a war of anniliation.

We've done that before after the pacifists and appeasers had us wait until the tyrants chose the time of war. It's devasting for our foes when the pacifists have the United States wait.

Speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

I remember in the 1970's one could still read classifieds around every Dec 21, Stalin's birthday , in the Daily World (Now Peoples World Weekly) and find a few personals congratulating Uncle Joe on his birthday: your memory will always be with us, you were a great hero to the workers of the world, or sometimes just as simple warm wish to my Uncle Joe.

He was a hard God for many comrades to part with and they weren't about to let go. There will always be a tiny but influential group of Americans enamored with tyrants and profound cruelty.

Here's Haartz via Normsblog on how the transcript of Khrushchev's 20th Party Congress speech made it out to the world,
The secret speech was delivered on February 25, 1956, in the evening. The 1,400 delegates at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were suddenly invited to a final, closed session, in the Central Committee building in Moscow. The representatives of the foreign delegations were not allowed to enter the hall. When Nikita Khrushchev, the party's first secretary, began to speak, the delegates could hardly believe their ears. Some of them fainted from shock. Without any prior preparation, Khrushchev began a sharp and unprecedented attack on his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier.

During the four hours of his speech - 26,000 words - Khrushchev described Stalin as a "despot," condemned the "cult of personality," and accused him of "crimes that caused cruel violence." He criticized Stalin for "most cruel repression," for inventing the concept of "an enemy of the people," and determined that he "had severely distorted the principles of the party."Immediately after the speech, the delegates scattered, without any discussion taking place.

But word of the secret speech spread quickly. Officials cited from it at party meetings, and it began to engineer a process of reforms. First hints of a secret, historic speech delivered at the Soviet Communist Party congress reached the West a few days later. The U.S. administration, as well as the governments of Britain,West Germany, France and others, were eager to learn the contents of the speech. The assignment, naturally, was given to the intelligence organizations. But the Israeli Shin Bet beat out all the others.

Civil War or Ethnic Cleansing?

Strategy Page on situation in Iraq via Austin Bay,
….The violence has shifted away from American troops, who are suffering 60 percent fewer casualties this month than in the past year. and more towards Iraqi security forces and civilians. Part of this is because there are simply more Iraqi police and soldiers patrolling the streets and policing the neighborhoods. Where there are about two American advisors for every hundred Iraqi security troops, these Americans are there to advise, not fight. And the Iraqis are doing the fighting, and taking the casualties. American troops are still making raids and patrols, but there has also been a sharp decline in terrorist attacks. Some six months of sweeps and battles in western Iraq has shut down many of the Sunni terrorist sanctuaries. Indeed, many al Qaeda terrorists have fled western Iraq for towns and villages on the Iranian border. Iranians don’t like to advertise the fact, but they do provide support to al Qaeda, despite al Qaeda’s attacks on Shias (for being heretics.) Iran would also like to see a civil war (ethnic cleansing of Sunni Arabs) in Iraq. If that were to happen, Shia Arabs would be 75 percent of the Iraqi population, and likely to side with Iran on many issues. ..
There is no potential for Civil War in the way it's been discussed in MSM. It would be the slaughter of Sunni Arab villages. It's not going to happen either. Especially if we check the Iranians from further meddling. Shia Arabs in Iraq not all that sympathetic to Iranians.

It's time Democrats take a stand on something.

It be easier to vote Democratic again if the folks below but some voice behind their votes and spoke out publicly against the swamp left taking over the party.

Hastert's statement on Feingold's move to censure Bush via Lynn Sweet's Blog,
(Washington, D.C.) House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) released the following statement in response to recent news reports regarding a censure resolution against President Bush being introduced in the Senate.

(Washington, D.C.) House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) released the following statement in response to recent news reports regarding a censure resolution against President Bush being introduced in the Senate.

"The President and Republicans in Congress have worked hard to pass strong measures to protect our national security. Last week, the PATRIOT Act was signed into law with the help of 66 House Democrats despite Democrat Minority Leader Pelosi and a majority of Democrats voting against the bill. This week, the House Republican Leadership will bring to the floor a bill to fund our troops so they can fight and win the Global War on Terror.

"While we work to defend our country, there are some liberal Democrats who have taken the extreme viewpoint to propose censuring or impeaching the President who is committed to fighting a war against terrorism overseas instead of here in our streets. It is our hope that the 66 Democrats who voted with us on the PATRIOT Act would not support the House Democratic Leadership or the extreme viewpoints of their colleagues that the enemy is the President of the United States. It's time Democrats take a stand on something. Political jabs at the President of the United States do nothing to protect our citizens."

The following Democrats voted with House Republicans in favor of the PATRIOT Act:

Robert Andrews (D-NJ)
Brian Baird (D-WA)
John Barrow (D-GA)
Melissa Bean (D-IL)
Marion Berry (D-AR)
Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA)
Timothy Bishop (D-NY)
Dan Boren (D-OK)
Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
Allen Boyd (D-FL)
Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)

Russ Carnahan (D-MO)
Ed Case (D-HI)
Ben Chandler (D-KY)
Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Robert Cramer, Jr. (D-AL)
Artur Davis (D-AL)
Lincoln Davis (D-TN)
Norman Dicks (D-WA)
Chet Edwards (D-TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN)
Gene Green (D-TX)

Jane Harman (D-CA)
Stephanie Herseth (D-SD)
Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Tim Holden (D-PA)
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Steve Israel (D-NY)
Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Ron Kind (D-WI)
Jim Langevin (D-RI)
Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Sander Levin (D-MI)
Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)
Jim Marshall (D-GA)
Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)

Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
Brad Miller (D-NC)
Dennis Moore (D-KS)
John Murtha (D-PA)
Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)
Mike Ross (D-AR)
Steven Rothman (D-NJ)
Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)
John Salazar (D-CO)
Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
David Scott (D-GA)
Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Vic Snyder (D-AR)
John Spratt (D-SC)
Ted Strickland (D-OH)
Gene Taylor (D-MS)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Albert Wynn (D-MD)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Treating women as beasts...

Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: There Is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century,
The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.
And from Nick Cohen's tribute to Iranian Dissident Maryam Namazie,
Namazie is on the right side of the great intellectual struggle of our time between incompatible versions of liberalism. One follows the fine and necessary principle of tolerance, but ends up having to tolerate the oppression of women, say, or gays in foreign cultures while opposing misogyny and homophobia in its own. (Or 'liberalism for the liberals and cannibalism for the cannibals!' as philosopher Martin Hollis elegantly described the hypocrisy of the manoeuvre.) The alternative is to support universal human rights and believe that if the oppression of women is wrong, it is wrong everywhere.

The gulf between the two is unbridgeable. Although the argument is rarely put as baldly as I made it above, you can see it breaking out everywhere across the liberal-left. Trade union leaders stormed out of the anti-war movement when they discovered its leadership had nothing to say about the trade unionists who were demanding workers' rights in Iraq and being tortured and murdered by the 'insurgents' for their presumption.

Former supporters of Ken Livingstone reacted first with bewilderment and then steady contempt when he betrayed Arab liberals and embraced the Islamic religious right. The government's plans to ban the incitement of religious hatred have created an opposition which spans left and right and whose members have found they have more in common with each other than with people on 'their side'.

As Namazie knows, the dispute can't stay in the background for much longer. There's an almighty smash-up coming and not before time.
The big clash sadly is within Western Liberalism itself. It can't stay true to it's own Universal Values when confronted with tyranny aboard and the response of a Republican President they didn't vote for. They'll betray Arab Liberals before they'll join a universal struggle for liberal values.

Christan Peace Team's Tom Fox, and Wafa Sultan: different paths of non violent protest

Belmont Club writes a must-be-read post on the two different paths offered by Christian Peace Teams, and Wafa Sultan,
Both Fox and Sultan employed nonviolent methods to achieve their ends. Given the death threats leveled on Hirsi Ali, the Danish caricaturists of Mohammed, Salman Rusdie and others it is arguable that Dr. Sultan by her open opposition to Islamism is showing as much personal courage as anyone in the CPT. Since Dr. Sultan probably has relatives and friends in Syria or the Muslim community in America, she is likely in a more vulnerable situation than a Western Peace Activist who is only in the Middle East temporarily.

To Tom Fox's question "How do you stand firm against a car-bomber or a kidnapper?" -- a question to which he never provided an answer except to say it was not fighting -- Wafa Sultan's answer is that you start by denouncing it. You begin by intellectually opposing the ideology that drives it; that legitimizes it; that portrays it as attractive to children from their cradle. The CPT website, on the other hand, says that denunciation is part of the problem, because it dehumanizes the denounced; hides our Western guilt; and shows a lack of tolerance and respect for Islam.
So, I'll be at the demonstration of support for Denmark tomorrow.

Meet the man Abu Ghraib turned into a symbol

This guy is going to cash in big with speaking engagements in the west. Here's what happened to him per the NYT,

The prisoners were sleep deprived, he said, and the punishments they faced ranged from bizarre to lewd: an elderly man was forced to wear a bra and pose; a youth was told to hit the other adults; and groups of men were organized in piles. There was the dreaded "music party," he said, in which prisoners were placed before loudspeakers. Mr. Qaissi also said he had been urinated on by a guard. Then there were the pictures.

"Every soldier seemed to have a camera," he said. "They used to bring us pictures and threaten to deliver them to our families"
Today, those photographs, turned into montages and slideshows on Mr. Qaissi's computer, are stark reminders of his experiences in the cellblock. As he scanned through the pictures, each one still instilling shock as it popped on the screen, he would occasionally stop, his voice breaking as he recounted the story behind each photograph

He's going to cash in on those pictures.

Now, go to the Taguba Report. Here's the citation for the guys who followed the US Army's system for when things go wrong. They won't see a dime. Their only reward is a clean conscious. No cameras to document their heroism and humanity. No opportunity to cash in for them. Only this cite,
4. (U) The individual Soldiers and Sailors that we observed and believe should be favorably noted include:

a. (U) Master-at-Arms First Class William J. Kimbro, US Navy Dog Handler, knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the MI personnel at Abu Ghraib.

b. (U) SPC Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company discovered evidence of abuse and turned it over to military law enforcement.

c. (U) 1LT David O. Sutton, 229th MP Company, took immediate action and stopped an abuse, then reported the incident to the chain of command.
Only in the US Army does a 1LT stop an abuse, report it up the chain of command, and start an investigation like this. I doubt that could happen in NATO or any other Army in the world.

And then the tragic Christian Peace Activist, Tom Fox.

The murderers spared his family the videon beheading. The terrorists learning video of atrocieties doesn't go over very well with the west. No music party, or standing hours on end, or even getting urinated on. Just torture with knives (terrorists don't humiliate, they slice) and then a few shots in the head.

No Book tours or speaking egagements for him. Not even as favorable a placement for your obit in the NYT when there is a picture of Mr. Qaissi, healthy and free, started off to his fortune; after his stay at Abu Garib.

Those are the symbols of Abu Garib. Uglier then we thought.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

NormsBlog on the WMD assumption

From the NYT via NormsBlog,
The Iraqi dictator was so secretive and kept information so compartmentalized that his top military leaders were stunned when he told them three months before the war that he had no weapons of mass destruction, and they were demoralized because they had counted on hidden stocks of poison gas or germ weapons for the nation's defense.

Train Pictures

Posted some pictures taken at Rochelle's train-spotter pavilion.

Harry's Place on the murder Christian Peace Makers Tom Fox

Harry's thoughts which I share as well,
Mr. Fox seems to have been a brave and decent and well-meaning man. But I'm afraid his belief that the presence of Christian pacifists in Iraq could help bring peace to that country was tragically mistaken. And the CPT-- which came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the invasion-- has seemed much more concerned about preventing America's use of force than in stopping the vastly more brutal violence of the Saddam Hussein regime and the post-invasion "resistance."

I hope the three remaining CPT hostages can somehow be spared, though it's hard to be optimistic.

I also hope that those who signed this rather pathetic letter can bring themselves to acknowledge that those responsible for Mr. Fox's brutal murder were the ones who actually committed it.
And then this commment by Oscar (,
Analysis of the battle of ‘victimhood’ and ‘guilt’ needs some first principles to be established. The transference of guilt from perpetrator to the supposed ‘trigger’ for barbaric actions should be desconstructed – as far as possible away from the heat of ideology.

1. Language of ‘peace’ cannot be removed from the manifest power struggle. The ‘peace activists’ (sincere though they may be) are engaging in a specific battle that has clearly identified the American (and Israeli) state as the cause of war and therefore the obstacle to peace. They persistently excuse overtly barbaric actions such as suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, sadistic kidnappings under the rubric ‘resistance to occupation’ that they ultimately assert is the responsibility of the ‘causus belli’ (i.e. America and Israel). Like so much barbarity – its justification is made in the name of a ‘just cause’ and is often labelled ‘peace activism’. It is undoubtedly true that many state regimes (including those of America and Israel) have undertaken similarly barbaric acts in the name of justice and peace. However, in the current international context states are scrutinized and liable to a rule of law that we all know cannot be applied to ‘the resistance’.

2. The psychological and emotional attractions of using ideology to legitimise barbarity should be examined. There is a difference – a gaping hole indeed – between the stated ideologies under which people perpetrate atrocities and what their complex motivation might actually be. In other words every sicko, psychopath and sadist will be attracted to joining a cause that enables sick behaviour, legitimised under the name of ‘peace and justice’ with guilt being transferred to ‘the enemy’. This gap is seriously unacknowledged in the current debate. A return to such old favourites, popular in the sixties – now generally disregarded and trashed – as Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism and the Invasion of Compulsory Sex Morality are worth resurrecting. OK a lot of it might seem dated in our context – but these texts are a very good springboard for creative revision. Reich was highly perceptive in his early and total rejection of fascism and communism in the late 1920s/early 1930s – and his definition of ‘emotional plague’ is as valid today as it was then.

Come on people – do climb out of your ideological trenches and bring some serious, in depth, imaginative thinking to this debate.

Where did the CIA Prisons go?

From the Jurist via PJ Media ,
[JURIST] The Council of Europe [official website] said Wednesday that an investigation into allegations that the US Central Intelligence Agency operated secret prisons [JURIST report] in Europe revealed no "smoking gun" evidence that proved the existence of the prisons. COE Secretary General Terry Davis [official profile], presenting his findings on alleged illegal detentions and rendition flights on European territory based on official replies received from all 46 COE member states, also said that it was "virtually impossible" to determine whether the CIA used European airspace for extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text].
PJ Media has become the start of the day for me now.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Land of Sad Oranges: We're interested.

Lisa tells Norm to follow,
The Land of Sad Oranges "My blog is still being born. I'm gonna share thoughts and stories from Palestine with whoever of you is interested.

My new friend -Lisa Goldman, who has her own blog too- put this idea in my mind, and i appreciate it. I suppose the situation in Palestine and Israel a real mystery for many people, and those who know something fail to hear all voices from this spot.

Hoping i'd be able to add to your knowledge, and awaiting your comments."

Abajo Fidel

Mark Rhoads over at Illinois Review finds,

According to Associated Press on March 10, "While Cuba played the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, a spectator in the stands raised a sign saying: "Down with Fidel," sparking an international incident that escalated Friday with the velocity of a major league fastball.

The image of the man holding the sign behind home plate was beamed live Thursday night to millions of TV viewers _ including those in Cuba. The top Cuban official at the game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan rushed to confront the man."

Puerto Rican police had to explain to the Cuban officials that it was not a crime to hold up a protest sign at a baseball game in a free country. Now the Cuban baseball team, that includes team doctor Tony Castro, a son of Fidel, is protesting the "lack of respect and security" for their team. The entire Cuban state has gone ballistic over one tiny protest sign.

Wonder what our Evangelical-Leftist Lindy Scott, who sent his kid to school in Cuba, would say?

One little sign has a big impact on tyrants. A little word from Scott might help Dr. Biscet.

UPDATE: Mark Rhoads tells us what Lindy would say.

Al-Qaeda's last warning to the American people from Rakan Ben Williams

On translated over at MEMRI and described below,
On March 10, 2006, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) posted, on the Islamic websites, a final warning to the American people, on behalf of "Rakan Ben Williams" who defines himself as "Al-Qaeda under cover soldier, USA [sic]."
In the following warning, Rakan Ben Williams warns that, unlike after the 9/11, Madrid, and London attacks, which are still being investigated, "[after] the coming attack there will be no one to analyze and investigate, because the mind and the heart will be unable to comprehend it… This will not be a single operation", the report added, "but two; one bigger than the other, but we will begin with the big one and postpone the bigger one, in order to see [how] diligent the American people is [in preserving] its life. If it chooses life, [it must] carry out the demands of the Muslims, and if it chooses death, then we are its best perpetrators." The warning appeared in Arabic and in English.

Judy Baar Topinka - Everyone’s favorite life-time Smoker

--Posted by Westside's Guy at U of I

Before college, I often disregarded the area south of Chicago, writing it off as a non-factor both politically and socially. However, my time spent here in this simple and surprisingly comfortable central Illinois town has given me new perspective on the importance of cities not on a Metra line. Champaign County, home to $300 drinking tickets and endless miles of cornfields, has taken up residence in my heart. The upcoming Illinois gubernatorial primaries are taken very seriously all over the state, with particular emphasis in this area. Residents do not just care about government agricultural subsidies, but rather about state wide issues and policies, a fact sometimes missed by candidates. Governor hopefuls must give the same due and attention downstate as the do to Chicagoans. Blagojevich’s refusal to live in Springfield and instead remain in Chicago isolated him from an already alienated demographic hurt by inattention and neglect. The Republican primary is going to be interesting to say the least, and as in prior elections, central and southern Illinois may indeed hold the key.

NOTE: I have not followed the election as closely as I should to confidently make these predictions, but please accept it nonetheless.

People trust Bill Brady. His commercials speak too many in this area and to small town residents in general. The commercial invokes a sense of pride in one’s work, a fact inherent in small business owners and self employed farmers. Work ethic and integrity are put to the forefront, a trait missing from a Republican Governor in quite some time. As Bush was able to do in national elections, Brady’s wealth seems to evade people, rather focusing on the shared quintessential upbringing and his identification as a “good ol’ boy.” I don’t know the sentiment or poll numbers up north, but Brady should pull in significant votes throughout Illinois, especially in towns with less than 10,000 people.

Jim Oberweis comes off as to radical to be a seriously considered candidate. I’ve read a few interviews he did here with students, and he can’t help but offend people. His takes on immigration, regardless of its merit, alienate him from many voters. Rural constituencies fail to identify with a candidate farther right than themselves, and also with a man of considerable wealth and power who will look out for the “little guy.” Oberweis will get votes if only preying on people’s ignorance and prejudices, but not much else. Even though I would sell my soul for a chocolate-marshmallow milkshake right now from his magnificent ice-cream chain, I still wouldn’t vote for him.

Finally, on to everyone’s favorite life-time smoker and Republican front runner: Judy Barr Topinka. For a large spectrum of reasons I love JBT. Not only is she from Riverside, a town which has been very kind to me, but a distant friend of the family. People like her in many circles, and she appeals to moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats alike, enhancing her voter base statewide.

Around these parts, Brady may have been considered an early favorite, but her recent commercial featuring former Gov. Jim Edgar eliminated doubt of her victory. (On a side note, it really amazes me how people celebrate and worship Jim Edgar like he is such an able politician. He was a mediocre governor at best, and yet everyone loves him. It’s like Jimmy Carter, everyone finds him so lovable and tend to forget his disappointing and unsuccessful Presidential term. What makes people completely change their opinion of someone once they leave office, is it because they no longer fear their ineptitude? This still puzzles me.)

Regardless, the fact that she is a woman and her political views, coupled with Blagojevich’s ineptness these past four years will make her Illinois’ first female governor. (I can remember a year ago when Blagojevich spoke at a rally for the Illini basketball team and was soundly booed by the audience. It was hard to hear him over the protests). Honestly, I think she will bring credibility and honesty back to the Republican party and perhaps turn the tide of Democratic thinking in this state. I really like Judy’s political views, or maybe it’s her red hair, either way she’s got my vote.

cross posted at Illinoize