Saturday, September 30, 2006

Islamic Fascism 101: On all they’ve done to earn the name

"Fascist" ...The word sounds simplistic, even now, 60 years after WWII. We have basked in victory since the cold war days, and antiquated ideologies like Fascism sound simplistic. The problem with this thinking is that the Arabs have BEEN fascists for almost 100 years, since the turn of the 19th century. We have no choice, now, but total victory...T

Make no apologies for the use of “Islamic fascism.” It is the perfect nomenclature for the agenda of radical Islam, for a variety of historical and scholarly reasons. That such usage also causes extreme embarrassment to both the Islamists themselves and their leftist “anti-fascist” appeasers in the West is just too bad.

First, the general idea of “fascism” — the creation of a centralized authoritarian state to enforce blanket obedience to a reactionary, all-encompassing ideology — fits well the aims of contemporary Islamism that openly demands implementation of sharia law and the return to a Pan-Islamic and theocratic caliphate.

In addition, Islamists, as is true of all fascists, privilege their own particular creed of true believers by harkening back to a lost, pristine past, in which the devout were once uncorrupted by modernism.

True, bin Laden’s mythical Volk doesn’t bath in the clear icy waters of the Rhine untouched by the filth of the Tiber; but rather they ride horses and slice the wind with their scimitars in service of a soon to be reborn majestic world of caliphs and mullahs. Osama bin Laden sashaying in his flowing robes is not all that different from the obese Herman Goering in reindeer horns plodding around his Karinhall castle with suspenders and alpine shorts.

Because fascism is born out of insecurity and the sense of failure, hatred for Jews is de rigueur. To read al Qaeda’s texts is to reenter the world of Mein Kampf (naturally now known as jihadi in the Arab world). The crackpot minister of its ideology, Dr. Zawahiri, is simply a Dr. Alfred Rosenberg come alive — a similar quarter-educated buffoon, who has just enough of a vocabulary to dress up fascist venom in a potpourri of historical misreadings and pseudo-learning.

Envy and false grievance, as in the past with Italian, German, or Japanese whining, are always imprinted deeply within the fascist mind. After all, it can never quite figure out why the morally pure, the politically zealous, the ever more obedient are losing out to corrupt and decadent democracies — where “mixing,” either in the racial or religious sense, should instead have enervated the people.

The “will” of the German people, like the “Banzai” spirit of the Japanese, should always trump the cowardly and debased material superiority of decadent Western democracies. So al Qaeda boasts that in Somalia and Afghanistan the unshakeable creed of Islam overcame the richer and better equipped Americans and Russians. To read bin Laden’s communiqués is to be reminded of old Admiral Yamamato assuring his creepy peers that his years in the United States in the 1920s taught him that Roaring Twenties America, despite its fancy cars and skyscrapers, simply could not match the courage of the chosen Japanese.

Second, fascism thrives best in a once proud, recently humbled, but now ascendant, people. They are ripe to be deluded into thinking contemporary setbacks were caused by others and are soon to be erased through ever more zealotry. What Versailles and reparations were to Hitler’s new Germany, what Western colonialism and patronizing in the Pacific were to the rising sun of the Japanese, what the embarrassing image of the perennial sick man of Europe was to Mussolini’s new Rome, so too Israel, modernism, and America’s ubiquitous pop culture are to the Islamists, confident of a renaissance via vast petro-weatlh.

Such reactionary fascism is complex because it marries the present’s unhappiness with moping about a regal past — with glimpses of an even more regal future. Fascism is not quite the narcotic of the hopeless, but rather the opiate of the recently failed now on the supposed rebound who welcome the cheap fix of blaming others and bragging about their own iron will.

Third, while there is generic fascism, its variants naturally weave preexisting threads familiar to a culture at large. Hitler’s brand cribbed together notions of German will, Aryanism, and the cult of the Ubermensch from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Spengler, with ample Nordic folk romance found from Wagner to Tacitus’s Germania. Japanese militarism’s racist creed, fanaticism, and sense of historical destiny were a motley synthesis of Bushido, Zen and Shinto Buddhism, emperor worship, and past samurai legends. Mussolini’s fasces, and the idea of an indomitable Caesarian Duce (or Roman Dux), were a pathetic attempt to resurrect imperial Rome. So too Islamic fascism draws on the Koran, the career of Saladin, and the tracts of Nasserites, Baathists, and Muslim Brotherhood pamphleteers.

Fourth, just as it was idle in the middle of World War II to speculate how many Germans, Japanese, or Italians really accepted the silly hatred of Hitler, Mussolini, or Tojo, so too it is a vain enterprise to worry over how many Muslims follow or support al Qaeda, or, in contrast, how many in the Middle East actively resist Islamists.

Most people have no ideology, but simply accommodate themselves to the prevailing sense of an agenda’s success or failure. Just as there weren’t more than a dozen vocal critics of Hitler after the Wehrmacht finished off France in six weeks in June of 1940, so too there wasn’t a Nazi to be found in June 1945 when Berlin lay in rubble.

It doesn’t matter whether Middle Easterners actually accept the tenets of bin Laden’s worldview — not if they think he is on the ascendancy, can bring them a sense of restored pride, and humiliate the Jews and the West on the cheap. Bin Laden is no more eccentric or impotent than Hitler was in the late 1920s.Yet if he can claim that his martyrs forced the United States out of Afghanistan and Iraq, toppled a petrol sheikdom or two, and acquired its wealth and influence — or if he got his hands on nuclear weapons and lorded it over appeasing Westerners — then he too, like the Fuhrer in the 1930s, will become untouchable. The same is true of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad.

Fifth, fascism springs from untruth and embraces lying. Hitler had contempt for those who believed him after Czechoslovakia. He broke every agreement from Munich to the Soviet non-aggression pact. So did the Japanese, who were sending their fleet to Pearl Harbor even as they talked of a new diplomatic breakthrough.

Al-Zawahiri in his writings spends an inordinate amount of effort excusing al Qaeda’s lies by referring to the Koranic notions of tactical dissimulation. We remember Arafat saying one thing in English and another in Arabic, and bin Laden denying responsibility for September 11 and then later boasting of it. Nothing a fascist says can be trusted, since all means are relegated to the ends of seeing their ideology reified. So too Islamic fascists, by any means necessary, will fib, and hedge for the cause of Islamism. Keep that in mind when considering Iran’s protestations about its “peaceful” nuclear aims.

We can argue whether the present-day Islamic fascists have the military means comparable to what was had in the past by Nazis, Fascists, and militarists — I think a dirty bomb is worth the entire Luftwaffe, one nuclear missile all the striking power of the Japanese imperial Navy — but there should be no argument over who they are and what they want. They are fascists of an Islamic sort, pure and simple.And the least we can do is to call them that: after all, they earned it.
Click here for full article

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big Mo in GOP's corner

Here's more of the midterm election predictions I have been following Once again, it seems that the Drive-by-media have shamelessly hyped the Dem's chances this November. We will hold the house. In the Senate, things are dicey, but we will hold there as well, mainly because of New Jersey and Maryland among other quite possible gains. I think we lose Ohio and Pennsylvania and one or two others, coming in around a 3 seat overall loss. In the house, perhaps 5 seats lost tops. Still good enough to win the war and confirm the judges (as H.H would put it!)...T

WASHINGTON -- Even the most partisan Democrats have said all year they expected their 6- to 10-point advantage over the Republicans in the party-preference polls to tighten as Election Day neared.

But certainly no one expected the midterm congressional elections to tighten as much as they have so early in the general election cycle.

Earlier this month, the Gallup Poll reported a 4- to 6-point advantage for the Democrats, which fell to 2 to 3 points, and is now down to a "dead heat" among likely voters who say they will vote Republican (48 percent) and those who say they will vote Democratic (48 percent).

This is not to say the GOP will dodge the bullet and still hang on to majority control of the House. Democrats have maintained an advantage all year among registered voters and still do. But historically, the turnout record among registered voters has lagged behind likely voters, a group that pollsters consider to be a much more accurate measurement of the electorate's preferences.

Midterm elections tend to draw a smaller voter turnout than presidential elections, and Gallup pointed out, in an analysis of their latest findings, that if the race is a dead heat nationally among likely voters, Republicans have the potential to offset the Democrats' lead among registered voters "with greater turnout" from their base. That's because the Republicans are better at the voter-turnout game than the Democrats -- a talent they demonstrated in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

But for the first time this year, Gallup not only said the battle for control of Congress is a dead heat, it said that if the GOP's much-improved numbers "persist until Election Day, it suggests Republicans would be able to maintain their majority-party status in the House."

All of this is the result of some amazing campaigning by President Bush (that has lifted his anemic job-approval scores to 44 percent) and several weeks of speeches refocusing the nation on the war on terrorism and connecting it to the war in Iraq. Polls show his strategy has been a key factor in moving the numbers in the GOP's direction.

Democratic strategists such as Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, conceded that Bush's efforts to elevate the terrorism issue in the campaign "has been marginally effective. The Republicans got a bounce out of the 9/11 speech. The president does have the ability to change the debate in the country. The problem is, it is not sustainable."

In fact, additional polling data released by Gallup within the past week or two suggested that not only is the president changing the voters' attitudes on the Iraq war but the Democrats' failure to shape a clear, convincing message about dealing with terrorism and Iraq has hurt them.

Here's what the nonpartisan Gallup Poll has to say about all this in a separate analysis of its numbers:

"Americans are more positive about the war on terror, and voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports Bush on terrorism rather than one who opposes him. By a slight margin, Americans tend to think that the country will be safer from terrorism if the GOP retains control of the House, rather than if the Democrats take control.

"And voters are now as likely to say that the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror as say it is not," Gallup said.

Missing from all the yearlong political analysis we've heard about the GOP's troubles is the unspoken realization that the Democrats are in deep trouble, too. To be sure, a majority of Americans still disapprove of Bush's handing of the war in Iraq, but only one in four now "believes the Democrats have a clear plan on Iraq -- fewer than those who say this about the Bush administration," Gallup said.

"Also, Americans are about equally likely to say they would vote for a candidate who supports President Bush on Iraq as to vote for a candidate who opposes Bush," the analysis said.

What should worry Democratic campaign officials "is the fact that only 14 percent say the Democrats have a clear plan but Bush does not, while a greater percentage (23 percent) says Bush has a clear plan but the Democrats do not," Gallup said.

This is all pretty strong stuff from the premier polling organization in the country, known for its caution and evenhanded approach to the vicissitudes of voting trends in the elections.

But a survey of the past week's polls and what is happening in many of the races appeared to confirm Gallup's findings.

The Los Angeles Times, which polled 1,347 registered voters, last week reported, "On virtually every comparison between the parties measured in the survey, Republicans have improved their position since early summer.

"In particular, Republicans have nearly doubled their advantage when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism," the newspaper said.

Of course, this election will not be decided by a national vote but by who wins in some 30 competitive congressional districts and a half-dozen Senate races. There's no doubt the Democrats will gain seats on Nov. 7, but Gallup's numbers suggest the Republicans clearly have the momentum right now.
Click here for full article

Monday, September 18, 2006

Building Red America

This piece is a companion to the previous post. Not only have the Republicans caught up to the Dems in the midterm election polls, negating the possibility of a takeover of either house, but their leaders cynically realize it, and attribute it to factors that...well, read on, you won't be disappointed!...T

WASHINGTON -- In this autumn of their discontent, Republicans tremble as November nears. But now comes yet another book by a gloomy liberal anticipating permanent Republican dominance. Thomas B. Edsall of The New Republic, in ``Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power,'' argues that inexorable social forces, augmented by the conservatives' superior reservoirs of anger, ruthlessness and cynicism -- he neglects only the word ``wickedness'' -- favor Republicans, ``the party of the socially and economically dominant.''

The parties are almost at numerical parity, but Edsall, who until recently was a Washington Post political reporter, says Republicans represent people ``more broadly skilled in economic combat'' and ``more accustomed to the rigors of the market.'' Hence Republicans can maintain ``a thin but durable margin of victory.'' Their technique is ``the symbolic manipulation of controversial sociocultural issues touching upon national security, patriotism, race, sex, and religion.''

``The GOP,'' Edsall laments, ``has achieved a gradual erosion of the popular consensus behind the major progressive and social-egalitarian movements of the twentieth century.'' But what actually ``achieved'' that? Edsall says the principal Republican objective has been to break ``the trust ... between the government and millions of its less advantaged citizens.'' But he acknowledges that Republicans have been helped ``inestimably'' by ``the daily inefficiencies of government'': ``The monopoly nature of government guarantees that the public services will often lag in quality behind those delivered in the competitive private sector.'' Hence ``the declining credibility of non-market solutions to economic problems'' and the demoralization of ``backers of a redistributive agenda.''

Edsall complains that conservatives pursue an agenda that does not have the public's ``decisive support.'' Whatever that means, liberals like Edsall are ineligible to make that complaint. They increasingly have abandoned persuasion and legislation and resorted to litigation and judicial fiats to advance an agenda the public finds unpersuasive.

If Edsall is symptomatic, liberalism is lost in a time warp, thinking in antiquated categories. Edsall approvingly quotes a Democratic activist's opinion that there are twice as many angry conservatives as there are angry liberals: ``Liberals by their very nature don't get as angry as conservatives do.'' Edsall, who evidently has not noticed the vitriol of the liberal blogosphere, is so blinded by his own anger he misperceives Republican realities.

The GOP, he says, courts whites ``whose interests are overwhelmingly focused on tempering, if not altogether rolling back, the civil rights movement.'' Please. Who favors rolling back guarantees of voting rights and equal access to public accommodations?

If Edsall really thinks Republicans are marching efficiently in lock step, he has missed bitter intraparty arguments about spending, immigration and nation-building. Edsall says the conservative agenda is ``to dismantle the welfare state.'' Oh? With a prescription drug entitlement that is the largest expansion of the welfare state since enactment of Medicare in 1965? With a 38 percent increase in discretionary domestic spending unrelated to homeland security -- including a 135 percent increase in the Education Department's budget -- since 2001?

When Edsall says middle- and working-class cultural conservatives vote for Republicans who then use their power ``for noncultural objectives,'' he is voicing a familiar liberal lament: All would be well if voters would vote based on important issues -- material, economic concerns; their wallets -- rather than unimportant ones such as abortion, the definition of marriage, the coarsening of the culture and other moral anxieties. But if those issues are unimportant, why is it that liberals, adamantly supporting partial-birth abortion and celebrating judicial redefinitions of marriage, are so uncompromising about them? As Edsall says, liberalism has become bifurcated. The largest faction looks to government for material help. But the socially liberal ``post-materialist'' cadre ``overwhelmingly sets'' the party's agenda.

Edsall notes that one-third of American children -- and almost 70 percent of African-American children -- are born to unmarried mothers. Then, in an astonishing passage about this phenomenon, which is the cause of most social pathologies, from crime to schools that cannot teach, he explains how Americans differ concerning what he calls ``freedom from the need to maintain the marital or procreative bond.''

``To social conservatives,'' he writes, ``these developments have signaled an irretrievable and tragic loss. Their reaction has fueled, on the right, a powerful traditionalist movement and a groundswell of support for the Republican Party. To modernists, these developments constitute, at worst, the unfortunate costs of progress, and, at best -- and this is very much the view on the political left as well as of Democratic Party loyalists -- they constitute a triumph over unconscionable obstacles to the liberation and self-realization of much of the human race.''

Looking for the real reason for the rise of ``Red America''? Read that paragraph again.
Click here for full article

Republicans gain in midterm polls

As I have been predicting, the polls have lately swung dramatically in the favor of the Republicans and the administration's policies. The Tsunami predicted for the fall now looks to be no more than a few whitecaps, even to to the point of possible R-GAINS in the Senate or House. The 1st of two articles, here...T

Republicans appear to be gaining on the Democrats in the 2006 midterm campaign because of growing confidence in the economy, falling gas prices and President Bush's sustained political offensive on the terrorist threat, according to pollsters and campaign strategists.

The most significant political movement in the past week or two has been in the battle for control of Congress. National preference polls on the so-called "generic ballot" question -- which party's candidate voters say they would choose -- show Republicans have narrowed the once-substantial lead Democrats held and are now trailing them by three percentage points, independent pollster John Zogby said Friday.

Mr. Zogby credited the Republican Party's sudden political turnaround to "the president's focus on the war on terrorism, a rebound among his own base," and the Democrats' failure to lay out a clear plan of their own on "how are we're going to get out of Iraq and what they would do about terrorism that's better than the Republicans."

Democrats "are not giving their Democratic base what it needs to hear on those issues," Mr. Zogby said. "Republicans are severely wounded. The Democrats should be crushing them, and they are not."

Top election forecasters have pointed to an anti-Bush and anti-Republican "wave" that they predict will return the Democrats to majority power in the House, but Mr. Zogby said, "I don't see the landslide that others are seeing. That doesn't mean it can't materialize, but as of today, it's not happening and this is mid-September."

Some pollsters, such as Gallup, still show the Democrats enjoying larger, 12-point leads in the generic surveys. But Mr. Zogby's numbers mirror a tightening in several other voter-preference polls, including a Fox News poll of likely voters, and what campaign strategists and political reporters say they are seeing in the battleground states.

The Republican Party's improving polls coincide with a number of positive developments on the economic front that Republicans hope will further lift their political prospects in November. The price of oil dropped to nearly $62 a barrel Friday from a high of $77 last month, as gasoline prices continued their descent to a national average of $2.62 per gallon, though many battleground states were reporting lower prices for regular.

Some of the lowest averages included Iowa, $2.32; Indiana, $2.36; Missouri and Ohio, $2.25; Minnesota, $2.35; Michigan $2.37; and Kentucky, $2.34.

As gas prices fell, the stock market was rising, with the Dow Jones industrial average soaring to 11,560 Friday, 162 points from its all-time high, that boosted worker pensions -- and a consumer confidence survey showed Americans were "in a decidedly more optimistic mood," the Ipsos poll reported Friday.

The Republicans' improving poll numbers were also reflected in a number of tighter House and Senate races, while a separate Zogby poll showed that Republicans in three high-profile Senate races -- in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio -- had improved their poll numbers significantly in just the past week or two.

Much of the party's gain was the result of Republicans coming home to their party as Mr. Bush focused on the issues that most deeply divide the country -- Iraq and the war on terrorism.

"The base is finally coming around. Democratic intensity has been strong for the last year, but Republican intensity all of a sudden has increased," said Republican campaign strategist John Brabender, who is advising Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania in his re-election campaign.

"Some of the positive things that are happening in the economy are starting to cause some excitement among Republicans," Mr. Brabender said.

"We're seeing a tightening up in the congressional races, too, in the last 10 days. The president is putting out a much more targeted message, talking about the security of the country. For the first time, he's playing more offense than defense and that's helping Republicans," he said.
Click here for full article

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Analysts predict gas at $1.15 a Gallon

Time for a mirror check, all my wacko conspiracy-thoeorist friends. The price of oil is determined by global market forces, and always has been, at least since deregulaation in 1981 (hmm, who was Prez in those days?...)...T

WASHINGTON — The recent sharp drop in the global price of crude oil could mark the start of a massive sell-off that returns gasoline prices to lows not seen since the late 1990s — perhaps as low as $1.15 a gallon.

"All the hurricane flags are flying" in oil markets, said Philip Verleger, a noted energy consultant who was a lone voice several years ago in warning that oil prices would soar. Now, he says, they appear to be poised for a dramatic plunge.

Crude-oil prices have fallen about $14, or roughly 17 percent, from their July 14 peak of $78.40. After falling seven straight days, they rose slightly Wednesday in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, to $63.97, partly in reaction to a government report showing fuel inventories a bit lower than expected. But the overall price drop is expected to continue, and prices could fall much more in the weeks and months ahead.

Here's why:

For most of the past two years, oil prices have risen because the world's oil producers have struggled to keep pace with growing demand, particularly from China and India. Spare oil-production capacity grew so tight that market players feared that any disruption to oil production could create shortages.

Fear of disruption focused on fighting in Nigeria, escalating tensions over Iran's nuclear program, violence between Israel and Lebanon that might spread to oil-producing neighbors, and the prospect that hurricanes might topple oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil traders bet that such worrisome developments would drive up the future price of oil. Oil is traded in contracts for future delivery, and companies that take physical delivery of oil are just a small part of total trading. Large pension and commodities funds are the big traders and they're seeking profits. They've sunk $105 billion or more into oil futures in recent years, according to Verleger. Their bets that oil prices would rise in the future bid up the price of oil.

That, in turn, led users of oil to create stockpiles as cushions against supply disruptions and even higher future prices. Now inventories of oil are approaching 1990 levels.

But many of the conditions that drove investors to bid up oil prices are ebbing. Tensions over Israel, Lebanon and Nigeria are easing. The hurricane season has presented no threat so far to the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. peak summer driving season is over, so gasoline demand is falling.

With fear of supply disruptions ebbing, oil prices began sliding. With oil inventories high, refiners that turn oil into gasoline are expected to cut production. As refiners cut production, oil companies increasingly risk getting stuck with excess oil supplies. There's already anecdotal evidence of oil companies chartering tankers to store excess oil.

All this is turning financial markets increasingly bearish on oil.

"If we continue to build inventories, and if we have a warm winter like we had last winter, you could see a large fall in the price of oil," said Gary Pokoik, who manages Hedge Ventures Energy in Los Angeles, an energy hedge fund. "I think there is still a lot of risk in the market."
As it stands now, the recent oil-price slump has brought the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline down to $2.59, according to the AAA motor club. In the Seattle area, prices per gallon have fallen to $2.856 currently from $3.071 a month ago, a decline of 7 percent, according to AAA.

Should oil traders fear that this downward price spiral will get worse and run for the exits by selling off their futures contracts, Verleger said, it's not unthinkable that oil prices could return to $15 or less a barrel, at least temporarily. That could mean gasoline prices as low as $1.15 per gallon.

Other experts won't guess at a floor price, but they agree that a race to the bottom could break out.

"The market may test levels here that are too low to be sustained," said Clay Seigle, an analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consultancy in Boston.

On Monday, the oil-producing cartel OPEC hinted that if prices fall precipitously, OPEC members would cut production to lift them. But that would take time.

"That takes six to nine months. If we don't have a really cold winter here [creating a demand for oil], prices will fall. Literally, you don't know where the floor is," Verleger said. "In a market like this, if things start falling ... prices could take you back to the 1999 levels. It has nothing to do with production."
Click here for full article

Monday, September 04, 2006

Leak Plugged

Frog March yourself straight to hell, Joe Wilson... Posted by Picasa
Click here for Permalink

Why abduct us? We cede our values for free

Steyn gets it exactly right, here. Any sign of weakness is interpreted as an Gold-embossed invitation to attack us. They view us as corrupt, lazy, fat hedonists who will ransom all, for a moment of luxury. After viewing "The path to 9/11" on the 10th and 11th on ABC, rent "United Flight 93" . If these don't convince you, chances are you are beyond reach. We must be bold and audacious in our mission, more so than the modern world's sensibilities can palate, I fear...T

Did you see that video of the two Fox journalists announcing they'd converted to Islam? The larger problem, it seems to me, is that much of the rest of the Western media have also converted to Islam, and there seems to be no way to get them to convert back to journalism.

Consider, for example, the bizarre behavior of Reuters, the once globally respected news agency now reduced to putting out laughably inept terrorist propaganda. A few days ago, it made a big hoo-ha about the Israelis intentionally firing a missile at its press vehicle and wounding its cameraman Fadel Shana. Shana was posed in an artful sprawl in a blood-spattered shirt. But it had ridden up and underneath his undershirt was spotlessly white, like a summer-stock Julius Caesar revealing the boxers under his toga. What's stunning is not that almost all Western media organizations reporting from the Middle East are reliant on local staff overwhelmingly sympathetic to one side in the conflict -- that's been known for some time -- but the amateurish level of fakery that head office is willing to go along with.

Down at the other end of the news business, meanwhile, one finds items like this snippet from the Sydney Morning Herald:

"A 16-year-old girl was tailed by a car full of men before being dragged inside and assaulted in Sydney's west last night, police say . . .

"The three men involved in the attack were described to police as having dark 'mullet-style' haircuts."

Three men with "mullet-style" hair, huh? Not much to go on there. Bit of a head scratcher. But, as it turned out, the indefatigable Sydney Morning Herald typist had faithfully copied out every salient detail of the police report except one. Here's the statement the coppers themselves issued:

"Police are seeking three men described as being of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance, with dark 'mullet-style' hair cuts."

That additional detail narrows it down a bit, wouldn't you say? The only reason I know that is because the Aussie Internet maestro Tim Blair grew curious about the epidemic of incidents committed by men of no known appearance and decided to look into it. One can understand the agonies the politically correct multicultural journalist must go through, distressed at the thought that an infelicitous phrasing might perpetuate unfortunate stereotypes of young Muslim males. But, even so, it's quite a leap to omit the most pertinent fact and leave the impression the Sydney constabulary are combing the city for mullets. The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby wrote the other day about how American children's books are "sacrificing truth on the altar of political correctness." But there seems to be quite a lot of that in the grown-up comics, too. And, as I've said before, it's never a good idea to put reality up for grabs. There may come a time when you need it.

It's striking how, for all this alleged multiculti sensitivity, we're mostly entirely insensitive to other cultures: We find it all but impossible to imagine how differently they view the world. Go back to that video in which Fox's Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig announced their conversion to Islam. The moment the men were released, the Western media and their colleagues wrote off the scene as a stunt, a cunning ruse, of no more consequence than yelling "Behind you! He's got a gun!" and then kicking your distracted kidnapper in the teeth. Indeed, a few Web sites seemed to see the Islamic conversion routine as a useful get-out-of-jail-free card.

Don't bet on it. In my forthcoming book, I devote a few pages to a thriller I read as a boy -- an old potboiler by Sherlock Holmes' creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1895 Sir Arthur had taken his sick wife to Egypt for her health, and, not wishing to waste the local color, produced a slim novel called The Tragedy of the Korosko, about a party of Anglo-American-French tourists taken hostage by the Mahdists, the jihadi of the day. Much of the story finds the characters in the same predicament as Centanni and Wiig: The kidnappers are offering them a choice between Islam or death. Conan Doyle's Britons and Americans and Europeans were men and women of the modern world even then:

"None of them, except perhaps Miss Adams and Mrs. Belmont, had any deep religious convictions. All of them were children of this world, and some of them disagreed with everything which that symbol upon the earth represented."

"That symbol" is the cross. Yet in the end, even as men with no religious convictions, they cannot bring themselves to submit to Islam, for they understand it to be not just a denial of Christ but in some sense a denial of themselves, too. So they stall and delay and bog down the imam in a lot of technical questions until eventually he wises up and they're condemned to death.

One hundred ten years later, for the Fox journalists and the Western media who reported their release, what's the big deal? Wear robes, change your name to Khaled, go on camera and drop Allah's name hither and yon: If that's your ticket out, seize it. Everyone'll know it's just a sham.

But that's not how the al-Jazeera audience sees it. If you're a Muslim, the video is anything but meaningless. Not even the dumbest jihadist believes these infidels are suddenly true believers. Rather, it confirms the central truth Osama and the mullahs have been peddling -- that the West is weak, that there's nothing -- no core, no bedrock -- nothing it's not willing to trade. In his new book The Conservative Soul, attempting to reconcile his sexual temperament and his alleged political one, Time magazine's gay Tory Andrew Sullivan enthuses, "By letting go, we become. By giving up, we gain. And we learn how to live -- now, which is the only time that matters." That's almost a literal restatement of Faust's bargain with the devil:

"When to the moment I shall say
'Linger awhile! so fair thou art!
'Then mayst thou fetter me straightway
Then to the abyss will I depart!"

In other words, if Faust becomes so enthralled by "the moment" that he wants to live in it forever, the devil will have him for all eternity. In the Muslim world, they watch the Centanni/Wiig video and see men so in love with the present, the now, that they will do or say anything to live in the moment. And they draw their own conclusions -- that these men are easier to force into the car than that 16-year-old girl in Sydney was. It doesn't matter how "understandable" Centanni and Wiig's actions are to us, what the target audience understands is quite different: that there is nothing we're willing to die for. And, to the Islamist mind, a society with nothing to die for is already dead.
Click here for full article

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ABC's 'The Path to 9/11'

Here's an excerpt that should garner your attention. "The Path to 9/11" airs Sunday, September 10th on ABC. Please help get the word out...T

This is the first Hollywood production I've seen that honestly depicts how the Clinton administration repeatedly bungled the capture of Osama Bin Laden. One astonishing sequence in "The Path to 9/11" shows the CIA and the Northern Alliance surrounding Bin Laden's house in Afghanistan. They're on the verge of capturing Bin Laden, but they need final approval from the Clinton administration in order to go ahead. They phone Clinton, but he and his senior staff refuse to give authorization for the capture of Bin Laden, for fear of political fall-out if the mission should go wrong and civilians are harmed. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in essence tells the team in Afghanistan that if they want to capture Bin Laden, they'll have to go ahead and do it on their own without any official authorization. That way, their necks will be on the line - and not his. The astonished CIA agent on the ground in Afghanistan repeatedly asks Berger if this is really what the administration wants. Berger refuses to answer, and then finally just hangs up on the agent. The CIA team and the Northern Alliance, just a few feet from capturing Bin Laden, have to abandon the entire mission. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda shortly thereafter bomb the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, killing over 225 men, women, and children, and wounding over 4000. The episode is a perfect example of Clinton-era irresponsibility and incompetence.
Click here for full article

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Waiting Game

In another powerful article, Victor Davis Hanson on the West’s increasingly enervated response to Islamic terrorism (Thank's LGF). This really is the recapitulation of Munich & Chamberlain, redux...T

The Waiting Game: Do we really need further convincing of the threat we face?

Hezbollah’s black-clad legions goose-step and stiff-arm salute in parade, apparently eager to convey both the zeal and militarism of their religious fascism. Meanwhile, consider Hezbollah’s “spiritual” head, Hassan Nasrallah — the current celebrity of an unhinged Western media that tried to reinvent the man’s own self-confessed defeat as a victory. Long before he hid in the Iranian embassy Nasrallah was on record boasting: “The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win because they love life and we love death.”

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad trumps that Hitlerian nihilism by reassuring the poor, maltreated Germans that there was no real Holocaust. Perhaps he is concerned that greater credit might still go to Hitler for Round One than to the mullahs for their hoped-for Round Two, in which the promise is to “wipe” Israel off the map.

The only surprise about the edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf that has become a best seller in Middle Eastern bookstores is its emboldened title translated as “Jihadi” — as in “My Jihad” — confirming in ironic fashion the “moderate” Islamic claim that “jihad” just means “struggle,” as in an “inner struggle” — as in a Kampf perhaps.

Meanwhile, we in the West who worry about all this are told to fret instead about being “Islamophobes.” Indeed, a debate rages over the very use of “Islamic fascism” to describe the creed of terrorist killers — as if those authoritarians who call for a return of the ancient caliphate, who wish to impose of 7th-century sharia law, promise death to the Western “crusader” and “Jew,” and long to retreat into a mythical alternate universe of religious purity and harsh discipline, untainted by a “decadent” liberal West, are not fascists. It is almost as if Alfred Rosenberg has returned in a kaffiyeh to explain why Jews really are apes and pigs, and why we must recapture the spirit of our primitive ancestors.

Next, in the manner that Hitler was to be understood as victimized by the Versailles Treaty, so too we hear the litany of perceived grievances against the Islamic fascists — George Bush, the West Bank, Gaza, or now Lebanon. But does anyone remember that bin Laden quip, four years before 9/11, when Mr. Bush was still governor of Texas: “Mentioning the name of Clinton or the American government provokes disgust and revulsion.”

Even as we split hairs over whether terrorists flocked to, or were created by, Iraq, the jihadists make no such distinctions between their theaters of operation. Listen to al Qaeda’s Aymin al-Zawahiri: “The Jihad movement is growing and rising. It reached its peak with the two blessed raids on New York and Washington. And now it is waging a great heroic battle in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and even within the Crusaders’ own homes.”

“Even within the Crusaders’ own homes” would include, I think, the planned attacks against opponents of the Iraq war, such as Canada and Germany. Their often shrill, and sometimes blatantly anti-American, antagonism to the 2003 war still earned them no exemption from efforts to chop off the head of the Canadian prime minister or to blow up hundreds of Germans on passenger trains.

Here at home we witness “al-Qaedism” — fanatics shooting Jews in Seattle, murder at the Los Angeles airport, an SUV running over innocent pedestrians in San Francisco or driving over students in North Carolina, sniping in Maryland. And we shrug them all off. Surely such incidents can be explained, are not connected, occur at random — anything other than the truth that the constant harangues of the Islamic fascists really do filter down, even if randomly and spontaneously, to a number of angry and alienated young Muslim males in the West.

Some cling to the notion that Islamic rage is not the manifestation of an elemental hatred, but is merely about land. That’s about what bin Laden said in 1998 when he urged all Muslims to murder all the Americans: “to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an obligation incumbent upon every Muslim who can do it and in any country — this until the Asqa Mosque (Jerusalem) and the Holy Mosque (Mecca) are liberated from their grip.

”But the long overdue withdrawal of soldiers from Saudi Arabia (who were out in a godforsaken desert and nowhere near the “Holy Mosque”) had no more effect on al Qaeda than did the Israeli departure from Gaza and Lebanon on Hamas and Hezbollah. As in the case of Hitler’s serial demands for return of the “stolen” German Sudetenland and then Czechoslovakia, land was never the real issue. Perceived loss of pride and status, hatred of the Jews, and unbridled contempt for a liberal West were.

The truth is that we are in a pause, a lull in a great storm that broke upon us five years ago on September 11. We are waiting to see when and where and how — not really if — the Iranians test their envisioned bomb. “Another 9/11” is now part of the lexicon, suggesting that most Americans accept that an amorphous enemy that tries to knock down the Sears Tower, to blow up the Holland tunnel, to explode airliners over the Atlantic, and to slaughter commuters from London to Madrid to the Rhine may finally get lucky once — and that once could be a death warrant for thousands of Westerners.

After 9/11 we were at war with a fascist creed that had trumped any damage to the homeland wrought by all earlier enemies, whether Germans, Italians, Japanese, or Russians. But now, five years later, we are in a holding pattern, waiting in a classic bellum interruptum — whether in exhaustion from this long war in Afghanistan and Iraq, or complacent due to our very success hitherto in preventing jihadists from enacting mass murder in the United States.

So we are in limbo — a sort of war, a sort of peace. Lulls of this nature are not such rare things in history. The Athenians and the Spartans between 421-415, or the Western Europeans between October 1939 and May 1940, likewise thought the squall had passed — the respite a sign that the enemy was satiated, or was occupied elsewhere, or had had a change of heart, or that times of transient calm might mean permanent peace

We all wish it were so, but in private also fear that the worst — whether from al Qaeda, Iran, or their epigones — is to come.

Our pundits and experts scoff at all this concern over Islamic fascism — as crude propaganda, neo-conservative war mongering, a veiled agenda to do Israel’s bidding, conspiracies to finish turning America from a republic into an empire, or just old-fashioned paranoia.

Their argument for thinking the danger is slight is that either we have already won, or we don’t really have a credible enemy to defeat other than a few thugs better left to the FBI and federal attorneys: the jihadists may sound like Nazis; but they lack a nation-state and thus the means to harm the West to any great degree. Intent is irrelevant, if the means are absent. Sure, there is a Mein Kampf, but no Wehrmacht in the Middle East.

There are three rejoinders to this notion that the Islamic fascists are hardly serious enemies, and cannot be compared to the old-time fascists who once started a war that led to 50 million deaths.

First, Islamic fascism is already the creed of the government of an oil-rich and soon to be nuclear Iran. Secular authoritarians like Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf could easily fall, and the nation’s nuclear arsenal with him, into the hands of the madrassa Islamists. It is not inconceivable to envision several nuclear bombs among one or more theocratic governments in the years to come.

Second, in an age of weapons of mass destruction, global terrorism, and culpable deniability, authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes can, without being traced, subsidize and sanction killers, who in turn, with the right weapons, can kill and maim tens of thousands.

Third, in an interconnected and often fragile world, the mere attempt to blow up trains, jets, and iconic buildings results anyway in millions of dollars in damage to the West: ever more expensive airline security, cancelled flights, and money-losing delays and interruptions in a general climate of fear.

Each time Mr. Ahmadinejad opens his mouth, or Mr. Nasrallah shoots off a primitive rocket, the global stock market can dip, and the price of petroleum spikes. A good dissertation is needed to ascertain how many billions of dollars Ahmadinejad has conned for his theocracy by means of his creepy rhetoric alone, through price hikes on the daily export of his oil. Since this war has progressed, oil has gone up from $25 a barrel to over $70, now adding an additional $500 billion per annum to the coffers of Middle East dictatorships.

Given Iraq, Afghanistan, and the acrimony at home — so similar to the debate right before Pearl Harbor over the earlier discounted fascist threat to the United States — we apparently are waiting for the enemy to strike again, before renewing the offensive.

So while we keep our defenses up at home, foster democracy in the heart of the Middle East in Afghanistan and Iraq, and hope the globalized march of modernity undermines jihadism faster than it can disrupt the 21st century, we also wait — for the next blow that we know will come.
Click here for full article