The Watcher’s Council submissions this week are extraordinary, but this one rises head and shoulders above them all. I don’t want it to be buried in the long list of articles that makes up the Watcher’s Council submissions. This deserves to be read, read again, shared, analyzed, and otherwise trumpeted far and wide, because it is phenomenally important. It is the most direct statement I’ve yet seen, not about the nature of Islam, but about the nature — the nihilism and depravity — of the violence committed in Islam’s name. Moreover, it refuses to let the West pretend that the violent is anomalous, rather than being an intrinsic part of modern Islam. In the same way, it is a scathing indictment of the moral cowardice and political correctness that renders the West incapable of acknowledging that modern Islam is very, very sick. Its stark reality must be countered or it will destroy the world much more surely that Chicken Little fears about the earth warming.
I was trolling through Facebook, where one of my friends posted this article about last weekend’s events in Kenya. (Read only if you have a very strong stomach or, if you don’t, are willing to be sick to yours.) One of his friends, in turn, commented that Al Shabab’s acts are the kind of things that give religion a bad reputation. I thought that was a surprisingly ecumenical comment.* I sat for quite a while afterwards trying to think of a single religion other than Islam that has, in the last, say 300 years, done anything even remotely like that. I came up empty.
Until people are willing to admit that the problem isn’t religion, or even some generic “extremism,” but is, in fact, Islam, I don’t see us making any progress whatsoever in pushing back the barbarian onslaught.
*I know “ecumenical” isn’t quite the right word, since it pertains to all Christians faiths, not all faiths, but I’m tired, and it was the best I could come up with.
As you’ve gathered, I do not support President Obama’s promised “show” strike against Syria to protest the Assad regime’s alleged use of toxic nerve gas against a community that presumably supported the al Qaeda rebels. To justify my position, I’ve pointed to the fact that there is no benefit to the U.S. in getting involved in Syria. That still leaves the question, though, of why I, a Jew, wouldn’t want to see every country of good will make its utmost efforts to protest the use of poison gas against civilians.
It’s not that I think a Syrian civilian’s life is less valuable than a Jewish civilian’s life (or an American’s life, for that matter). Based on the available news, I assume that those who died were just ordinary people, trying to live in a nation torn apart by an internecine tribal, Muslim battle. If that assumption is correct, those who died are innocent victims, no less than those who lost their lives in Nazi gas camps and mass graves throughout the Pale. So why don’t I want to help?
Well, there are several reasons. My first response relates to my family history. What’s happening in Syria is not genocide, a la Hitler, who wanted to remove an entire race from the earth. There was no military objective underlying Hitler’s decision to round up 6 million people and killing them. Indeed, it was militarily stupid, because it diverted resources that were desperately needed for a two-front war.
In this regard, I know my views about “ordinary war” versus genocide are informed by my Mother’s experiences. While she’ll go to the grave hating the Japanese guards who so brutally controlled the concentration camps in Indonesia where she spent almost four years of her life, she’s never been that hostile to the Japanese people. “They were fighting a war,” she says. “In this, they differed from the Germans, who were destroying a people.”
What’s happening in Syria is a civil war. In the hierarchy of wars, civil wars are always the most bloody and least humane, in much the same way that, in the area of law, the most vicious cases are divorces. Your opponent is close enough for you to hate wholeheartedly.
In Syria, we are witnessing a fight between two closely-related, rabid dogs. These war dogs can be put down entirely or they can be ignored. They cannot be trifled with in an inconsequential way, or they will turn the full fury of their wrath on the trifler, even as they escalate actions against each other. If America goes in, she must go in to destroy one side or the other. Doing less than that is futile and tremendously dangerous, especially because these are Arabs….
And that gets me to the main reason I’m opposed to intervening despite gas attack that Assad’s troops launched. Perhaps to your surprise, I’m not going to argue that “Let the Muslims kill each other there, because it’s good riddance to bad rubbish.” I certainly don’t mind Syria being so busy internally that she has no time to harass Israel. However, that pragmatic response is most definitely not the same as delighting in the destruction of her innocent civilian population.
Instead, my sense of futility in getting involved in Syria is that what we’re seeing is simply how Muslim Arabs fight. They don’t do polite warfare, with rules. They do balls-to-the-wall warfare, with women and children as primary targets. Their cultural preference when fighting war is rape, mutilation, torture, mass-murder, civilian massacres, and soaking-their-hands-in-their-victims’ blood.
When we oppose gas warfare, it’s because it is so wildly outside the rules by which Western warfare has so long abided: we fire things at the enemy, whether guns, or cannon, or missiles. Our culture accepts projectile warfare, but has been for at least a century extremely hostile to non-projectile warfare, whether it’s gas attacks, civilian slaughters, or concentration camps.
Within the context of the Muslim world, when it comes to warfare, anything goes. If we stop one type of atrocity, they’ll come up with another one, because they have no parameters.
Also, to the extent all Muslim/Arab wars are both tribal and religious, they have no concept of civilians. Whether you’re a newborn infant, a teenage girl, a mentally handicapped man, or a doddering old lady, if you belong to “the other” tribe or religion (and everyone does) then you are automatically an enemy and a target. Today’s baby becomes tomorrow’s adolescent rock throwers. That young teenage girl might give birth to another member of that tribe. The mentally handicapped man is proof that the other religion or tribe is corrupt. As for the doddering old lady, she almost certainly raised someone among your enemy.
I’m not saying anything surprising, here. It’s why the Palestinians so enthusiastically target Jewish schools.
Incidentally, it’s worth noting that we did not go to war against Germany at the end of 1941 because it was harassing and killing German Jews. We tend to leave countries alone, even when they slaughter their own people. We went after them because they were trying to take over Europe. To the extent the Roosevelt administration knew about the genocide, it kept it under wraps. There was no way Roosevelt was going to take America to war over a bunch of Jews. It was only after the war that everyone was shocked — shocked! — to learn about the scope of Nazi atrocities.
My daughter rather inadvertently pointed out how ridiculous this “mass slaughter of civilians” yardstick is. For one of her classes, she is required to read three newspaper stories a day. I suggested the report about Kim Jong-un’s order that his former lover and her entire band get machine-gunned to death. I also told her that the regime forced the family’s of those executed to watch their loved ones die, and then shipped all the families, lock, stock, and baby off to the concentration camp system. “They’ll be lucky if they die there quickly,” I added. “The camps are that bad.”
When she heard this, my daughter, bless her heart, came back with a question that gets to the heart of Obama’s flirtation with bombing Syria: “Then why aren’t we planning to attack North Korea, instead of Syria?”
Excellent question, my dear, especially considering North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. We have shown for decades our willingness to stand aside when tyrannical regimes kill their own people — provided that those murders do not implicate American interests. Even during the Cold War, our incursions into other countries were to protect non-communists from communists. Since we couldn’t attack the Soviet Union directly, we engaged in containment by proxy. In other words, our national interests were at stake, because the Cold War was a direct threat to American interests.
In Syria, however, both sides embrace Islam and hate America. There are no parties there that need to be protected to further America’s security interests. We should certainly decry the deaths of the civilians, but the average American on the street seems to understand better than the pettish, petulant Obama that this is one where we should stand aside. This is their culture and they will defeat it only when they want to, not because of half-hearted, ineffectual, silly efforts on our part.
Obama is sort of beginning to grasp this fact, and he’s trying to save face by approaching Congress. He assumes that the Senate will support his war cry, because Democrats are slavishly echoing him and there are a few Hawkish Republicans (like McCain) who support him. He fully expects, however, that the House will vote him down, thereby saying him from the consequences of his own threats and posturing. It’s quite obvious that he also expects that there will be a pitched battle on the House floor, exposing Republican callousness to a disgusted America.
Obama’s hope that Republicans display each other to their worst advantage in their own form of internecine warfare is misplaced. Considering that only 9% of the American people believe intervention in Syria is a good thing, if the Republicans display even minimal good sense in opposing a strike, they will get the full support of the American people.
Sometimes a person puts something so elegantly that you have to sit back and admire it. James Taranto does so with the peculiarly coincidental nexus of Islam and violence:
“Two assailants hacked a man to death on a busy southeast London street Wednesday afternoon before delivering a rant about Islam to bystanders, leading Prime Minister David Cameron to cut short a diplomatic trip to Paris to deal with what he described as a likely terrorist attack,” the Washington Post reports.
A reader sent this to us as an “Out on a Limb” submission. Christina Lamb, whose Twitter bio describes her as an “author, foreign correspondent, long time follower of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” had the same idea, only without irony. She tweeted yesterday (quoting verbatim): “are we not jumping to conclusions calling beheading an islamist terrorist attack & not violent madmen using name of islam?”
Say what you will about Twitter, it has a way of forcing people to reduce complex ideas to their essence. The proximity and brevity of Lamb’s two formulations–an “Islamic terrorist attack” and “violent madmen” killing in the name of Islam–make obvious what a lengthy exegesis might obscure: that they denote exactly the same thing. As a matter of pure logic, her statement is the equivalent of asking “Are we not jumping to conclusions by assuming A instead of A?”
Yet rhetorically and emotionally there is a world of difference between the formulations. Whereas “Islamic terrorist attack” puts the focus on a systematic threat, “violent madmen” puts it on the idiosyncrasies of the particular perpetrators. The former tends to induce vigilance, the latter resignation. It’s what psychologists call a “framing effect.”
As was to be expected (and all of you predicted), the media is rushing to indict . . . America for having failed to give two Chechen immigrant brothers the love they needed. Because of this, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 years old, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 old, became disaffected losers longing to kill. Or, as their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Maryland, told reporters: “This has nothing to do with Chechnya.” Instead the Bomb Brothers were “losers — not being able to settle themselves [in America] and thereby just hating everyone who did.”
There’s your narrative: this was just like Columbine all over again. Islam was merely a religious bagatelle attached to two young men who would have been ticking time bombs regardless. And most importantly as far as the Left is concerned, there’s no indication that these boys acted under al Qaeda’s guidance. They were truly Americanized in that they were self-starters, arriving at terrorism due to their own disaffection and diligence.
To which I say, who cares about al Qaeda? al Qaeda does not have to be involved in every attack before the bombing can be labeled as bona fide Islamic terrorism. al Qaeda is just one head of the hydra. It’s not the beast itself.
The problem is Islam — by which I don’t mean the garden-variety faith that millions of people practice as a party of their ordinary, non-hate-filled lives. That’s a housebroken version of Islam, and I highly approve of it.
No, the problem is the very core of Islam — its Jihad element — which is a magnet for disaffected people. The chicken and egg debate (i.e., which came first, Islam or disaffection?) is irrelevant. The only thing relevant is that Islam comes last, right before the bomb explodes. Whether Islam breeds terrorists or just provides an attractive justification for malevolent people doesn’t matter. There it is, sitting like a big ticking egg, just waiting to go BOOM!
I’ve quoted my cousin, the former prison minister (Christian), dozens of times here, but I think it’s important to say again what he once wrote in an email to me:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
The core of Islam, which is built around Mohammad’s demands that his followers go forth and kill, both creates and attracts killers. Until we address and de-fang Islam, there will always be “disaffected,” “lone wolves,” who just “coincidentally” have as their last words “Allahu Akhbar.”
The day the bombing took place, I looked at the MO and thought it more likely than not to be a Muslim attack. I stated:
There are two ways Boston can go. It can be a liberal mugged by reality and get over its delusional belief that, if America will just do whatever the Islamists want, they will leave us alone, or it can go the way it went with gun control — enacting liberty-limiting laws that do nothing to prevent future tragedies, and allowing its native son, John Kerry, to grovel apologetically before the authors of this bloodshed.
That question remains.
The Chechen angle, however, throws in a twist that ought to have Bostonians thinking even harder than before. Liberals could explain away a Middle Eastern Islamic attack by focusing on Palestinians, Iraq, or Afghanistan. But how do you explain away two boys raised, mostly, in America, attending good schools, and having no connection whatsoever to the Middle East? Is this the moment when some liberals begin to realize that Islam has issues? Or will they once again rationalize this away as two crazy, murderous people who just coincidentally happen to have been Muslims, and who just coincidentally filled their Facebook pages with violent Muslim propaganda?
Good questions, and ones that only Bostonians and their liberal ilk around America can answer.
I’ll say only that, between (a) Kermit Gosnell’s mass murder spree, which the MSM ignored because of its anti-abortion connotations, and (b) the MSM’s repeated missteps regarding the Boston bombing (including their instant “Tea Party murderer” narrative), this has not been a good week for the mainstream media. They, of course, will forgive themselves. I’m just wondering if the American people will be stupid enough to forgive them too.
There’s an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. But what in the world is left to say after you’ve been fooled a thousand times and keep going back for more? That goes beyond shame into realms of Darwinian stupidity. If Americans forgive again, we deserve what we get.
I’m guessing that a majority of Americans (a slim majority, but still a majority) know that America entered WWII because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. What few stop to consider is why we ended up fighting, not only the Japanese who had just bombed us, but the Germans as well, since they, after all, had not yet done anything to us. The answer to that unasked question is that, for reasons known only to a megalomaniac, a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack, Hitler declared war on the United States. The United States took up the challenge with gusto. Within months, America had become a war machine, cranking out ships, tanks, guns, airplanes, and trained troops. If Hitler hadn’t acted, Germany might have won the war. England, after all, was on the ropes by the time America came in to help out.
It’s a little chilling to think that, were we to replay December 1941 with Obama in the White House, America would simply have ignored Germany’s declaration of war. We would have heard that we have no quarrel with the Germans, who are a peaceful people, except of course for a handful of madmen. We would have been told that, if these madmen killed our citizens, we would bring the actual killers to justice, but that we had no quarrel with the nations or ideology that gave birth to those killers and that are hard at work to raise an army of madmen.
As our administration and media talked, Hitler would have tightened his grip on Europe; fought a single front war against the Soviet Union; killed all the Jews, Gypsies, mentally disabled, and homosexuals in Europe; and then enslaved all Slavs and Communists (never mind that Naziism was a variation of socialism itself). At the end of the day, our government would have said that we’re scarcely in a position to criticize the Nazis, since America was once a slave country itself. Congress would then have announced economic sanctions, but the Executive office would have failed to enforce them.
But we don’t need a hyp0thetical December 1941 to imagine what our current administration would do. We can watch it in real-time today. There is a saying that “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” — and it’s funny that you should mention Egypt right now. As if 9/11/01 and 9/11/02 weren’t strong enough declarations of war, Islamist clerics are actively calling all Egyptians to wage war against the west, starting with kidnapping:
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to restart their revolution to press for Islamic law and called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, the SITE Intelligence Group said Friday.
In a video released on jihadist forums and translated by the US monitoring service, Zawahiri also lashed out at President Barack Obama, calling him a liar and demanding he admit defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa.
Criticizing the new Egyptian government — led by a president drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood — as corrupt, he said a battle is being waged in Egypt between a secular minority and Muslims seeking implementation of Shariah law.
I’ll admit that this is a challenging war because we are fighting, not a single nation, but a geographically diffuse ideology, but it is still war. After all, what do you call it when a vast and recognizable group of individuals announces that it intends to kill and enslave your people, and then uses arms to carry out that promise?
We should be addressing this war on all fronts: militarily, economically, and ideologically. Instead, we are pretending it’s not happening. To give credit where it’s due, George W. Bush figured out the military part and, with Iran, the economic part. His problem, though, was that, as leader of a pluralist country, but he couldn’t bring himself to break through political correctness to admit that we are at war with a huge ideological foe. After all, many Americans who are good, decent people share the same label (i.e., “Muslim”) as that foe. We confuse linguistic nuances with substance.
A problem of nomenclature, though, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that we have an active, resolute, powerful, and devious enemy. We therefore do not fight that foe by excusing it. Instead, we fight it by using every breath of free speech to challenge it in every way possible — debate, media, leaflets dropped from airplanes, and whatever else could work.
Obama has been the ultimate Islamist apologist. He has only half-heartedly imposed sanctions against Iran, given a blank check to the Palestinians (who are a front in this Islamist jihad), weakened Israel (which is an ally in this existential battle), demoralized troops and energized enemies in Afghanistan by setting a certain pull-out date, and undermined a nascent democracy in Iraq by pulling out all troops without leaving a provisional force. As for what just happened in Benghazi, that’s a chapter in itself, one that includes institutional cowardice and politicizing, lying, cover-ups and, with the imprisonment of a video maker, the destruction of our First Amendment.
Not only is Obama not much of a leader, he’s totally unsuited to military leadership. You have to love your country to lead your military. Obama doesn’t. You have to believe in your country’s values to lead your military. Obama doesn’t. You have to courage to lead your military. Obama doesn’t. At every level, in every way, Obama fails as a military leader. Let’s fire him from the job before it’s too late and we find ourselves defeated in the war we continue to pretend doesn’t exist.
Froggy, who blogs at BlackFive, attended the funeral of Ty Woods, one of the former Navy SEALS who died trying to defend the consulate in Benghazi that State Department policy left completely exposed. Dorothy Woods, Ty’s widow, had the emotional strength to deliver a powerful eulogy for her husband. Froggy was especially struck by two things that she said:
“It is easy to write a book about being a Navy SEAL, but it is very hard to write an obituary for one.”
“To all the Operators here today I give you this charge: Rid the world of those savages. I’ll say it again, RID THE WORLD OF THOSE SAVAGES!”
I won’t comment directly on what Dorothy Woods said, because I think it needs no comment. I will, however, pair it with a discussion of Pamela Gellar’s important Free Speech victory against the New York Transit Authority. It all started when Pamela Geller, who blogs at Atlas Shrugs, wanted to put up an add in the subway system:
Please study the ad carefully to confirm to your own satisfaction that says nothing about Islam or about Muslims generally. Instead, it asks that American citizens “defeat jihad,” which the paragraph above describes as the side of “the savage” in a way. Jihad is not a religion, it is not a race, and it is not a religious practitioner. It is a doctrine: it is a Holy War intended to kill or subjugate those whom the jihadists deem are “infidels.” It is about conquest, rapine, death, and slavery.
In the face of protests from Muslim groups (including CAIR), the subway system backed down on the ground that the ad was “demeaning.” PowerLine asks the right question: Demeaning to whom?
“Demeaning”? Again, demeaning toward whom? Jihadists. Are jihadists now some kind of protected class?
They are to those Muslims who understand that jihadists (coincidentally, I’m sure) all happen to profess the same faith. And one of their numbers was upset because, you know, even though his is a religion of peace, if you upset the jihadists, their co-religionists might have to get violent:
Abdul Yasar, a New York subway rider who considers himself an observant Muslim, said Geller’s ad was insensitive in an unsettling climate for Muslims.
“If you don’t want to see what happened in Libya and Egypt after the video — maybe not so strong here in America — you shouldn’t put this up,” Yasar said.
So, the ad doesn’t mention Muslims, but Muslims understand it to mean that they are savages, which they assure us they are not. Still if you don’t take down the ad, they will be forced into savagery — and it’s all your fault, you infidel!. Oooh, I’m so confused.
But aren’t they [the words] offensive only to jihadists, which is to say, mass murderers and their supporters? If you advocate mass murder, shouldn’t you expect to be offended? At a minimum?
Opponents say the ads imply that Muslims are savages.
But wait! Aren’t we constantly told that jihadists aren’t really Muslims? That Islam is staunchly opposed to terrorism? So how are all Muslims encompassed within the term “jihad”?
“We recognize the freedom of speech issues and her right to be a bigot and a racist,” said Muneer Awad, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. But he said he hopes the MTA and elected officials “take on a leadership role in denouncing hate speech.”
So now jihadists are a race? I am so confused! And does CAIR really think that denouncing jihadists constitutes “hate speech?” If jihadists can’t be denounced, then who can be?
This is the sort of confusion that is, in its own way, clarifying.
Fortunately, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer managed to cut through the confusion in order to reach the correct conclusion: Pamela Gellar’s ad was protected Free Speech. The transit system must place her ads on its subway trains.
Dorothy Woods knows who the savages are. Pamela Geller knows who the savages are. And you and I know who the savages are. “RID THE WORLD OF THOSE SAVAGES.”
Most politicians would have pandered in response to the question a CAIR person posed in the video below. Not Allen West. As he said, near the end of his own answer to the question, “I’ve been on the battlefield….” Maybe we ought to make battlefield experience a prerequisite for honest politicians. It seems that having faced real guns a good indicator that the politician will have the strength to face rhetorical guns:
Hat tip: Earl
My brain is slowly warming up here so I’m not yet capable of original content. Instead, let me offer other people’s wonderful stuff.
To get this set started, you have to begin by reading a speech that the Ayatollah Khomeini made in 1942, in which he stated explicitly that Islam is not a religion for wimps, but for conquering warriors (emphasis mine).
Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [Allah’s law; the Sharia]. . . . Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.
There are a lot of people out there upon whom the Ayatollah could spit (if he were still alive). Fortunately for the Ayatollah’s cause, and very unfortunately for ours, all of the “spitees” are on our side of the cultural divide. At FrontPage, you can see video interviews with three front-line anti-Islamic (not anti-Muslim, but anti-Islamic) warriors regarding the West’s systematic refusal to stand up to the way in which critics of Islamism are silenced, with the silencing coming from both Muslims and the Left.
Nick Cohen continues this matched set with a discussion about the way in which the literary world, from the moment in 1989 that the Ayatollah issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, engaged in aggressive, total self-censorship. I guess one could say that one can’t expect the warrior spirit from writers, but it would be nice if at least some of the writers and publishers had a warrior spirit. To the extent that they set the mental tone for a generation, since the late 1980s, their tone, sold to universities, politicians, and other self-styled elites, has been preemptive surrender.
Speaking of those elite universities, Harvard continues to ally itself with the anti-Israel cause. When I’ve suggested that our children not go to Harvard (assuming they could even get in) because I consider Harvard antisemitic, Mr. Bookworm has demanded that I find one instance of overt antisemitism from Harvard. He’s correct that there is none. What there is, though, is covert antisemitism, which takes the form of an academic bend profoundly hostile to Israel and supportive of the Palestinians — Palestinians who, just coincidentally, dream of a genocidal purge in Israel that leaves the land and waters running red with Jewish blood. Stephen Walt, a Harvard professor, provides a nice example of the Harvard viewpoint — he plays a numbers game, which conveniently allows him to ignore little issues such as competing values in an existential war or the fact that the Islamists initiate attacks and we merely retaliate in way that, we hope, prevents further Islamist initiations. By the numbers, he says, we deserve to be hated. This is where your tuition dollars go.
And speaking of those values, Gerald M. Steinberg does a nice job identifying Israel’s values (which are remarkably harmonious with the most enlightened Western values), and reminding us that the Left, the Muslims, and the UN (but I repeat myself), have engaged in a steady drumbeat of lies, manipulation, and bullying to make it appear as if Israel is a repressive, totalitarian culture, worthy of scorn and destruction.
And finally, not about Israel, but a link reminding you what the American Left thinks like. (I originally wrote “looks like,” but “thinks like” is more accurate.)
Would anyone care to explain to Mr. Bookworm the difference between an extremist sect breaking its country’s laws by discriminating against women, and a country that has as an integral part of its law and culture murderous attacks on women, “witches,” children and gays?
He professes to be bewildered.
If you’re old enough to have lived through the 1970s, you recognize my post title: Gilda Radner’s famous character Roseanne Roseannadanna would let loose with a foolish tirade, and then wrap it up by saying “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” Someone needs to resurrect that character, or at least that catch-phrase, to appreciate fully what’s going on right now with the Koran burning.
Everyone I know thinks that that Pastor Terry Jones is an insensitive, ill-mannered, publicity-seeking lout for having burned the Koran. That he did so is un-American, not because it is illegal, but because it runs counter to deep American values that find repugnant the thought of book-burning, especially burning religious books, and that embrace a pluralism that shows respect for different religions. Ordinary Americans, not crude attention seekers such as Jones, understand that America is blessed with a huge population of peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims, and that it’s a rude, mean-spirited slap in the face to treat their holy book so badly. Can I make it any plainer that I am disgusted with what Jones did?
Sadly, however, significant numbers of Americans, all (almost all?) liberal (including Lindsay Graham, who is RINO through and through) think that what Jones did requires government intervention, in the form of federal laws banning Koran burning, or religious book burning, or all book burning, or Islam insulting, or whatever the liberal thinks will work to placate the Muslims so that they don’t riot and murder innocent UN workers. (And while, God knows, I hold no brief for the UN, to invade a UN compound and murder workers in cold blood is the slaughter of the innocents.)
Those who are willing to pass such laws fail to understand two things. First, one of the things that makes America uniquely American is the reverence we hold for free speech, even ugly free speech. While we draw the line at two types of free speech — pedophilia and direct incitement to violence, a la “go out and lynch the person right now” — we otherwise believe that free speech can only benefit us. Ugly, mean speech should be countered by smart speech, compelling speech, apologetic speech (if necessary), persuasive speech, etc.
If we allow the government to ban ugly speech, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation that sees the government determining what’s ugly. I can tell you with certainty that, during the first two years of the Obama administration, he and Congress, working together, would happily have banned all anti-Obama speech on the ground that it was racist hate speech. It’s a slippery slope and a censoring government will always slide you down to the midden at the bottom of the hill as quickly as possible.
Second, the other thing that the pro-censorship crowd utterly fails to understand is that banning Koran burning or book burning or smack talk about Islam is only the beginning. Those who haven’t been paying attention don’t appreciate that this is the religion of perpetual outrage. “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”
If we ban Koran burning, the agitators amongst the Muslims will riot about pigs on tissue boxes, something that excited much outrage in England a few years ago. If we ban pigs on tissue boxes, they’ll start killing over abstract ice cream logos that, if held at a certain angle and viewed with one eye half closed, could possibly be understood to be Arabic script for Allah, something that also happened in England. If we ban ice cream labels, they’ll agitate wildly over people entering Muslim-driven cabs with alcohol bottles or seeing eye dogs, as Muslims did in St. Paul, Minnesota. If we ban alcohol and dogs in cabs, the jihadists and their useful idiots will storm embassies because of cartoons, which is what happened all over the world over some Danish cartoons (pictures that were skillfully augmented by exceptionally vicious anti-Mohamed cartoons that an Imam drew when he didn’t get the proper reaction to the original cartoons). And of course, if we ban cartoons people have already drawn, the Islamists will hunt down people who merely suggest drawing cartoons, as happened to poor Molly Norris, who had to go into permanent hiding for her suggestion.
If you pay a blackmailer, he won’t go away. He’ll come back for more. “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” Those who wish to drain the American bank account by chipping away at Constitutional freedoms will discover themselves bankrupt, burqaed and muzzled. The radical Islamists will not be grateful for our sacrifice, they will be delighted by our obeisance, and they will push and demand more and more and more. Further, because they know we haven’t got the stomach for the fight, each demand will be accompanied by bloodshed, along the lines of the Mafioso who slices off an ear or a finger, or blows away a knee cap, to make his point.
To those who say “But they’ll kill our troops,” I have one more thing to say: What the hell do you think the Islamists have already been doing to our troops for the past eight years? Everything the troops have been fighting and dying for goes away if we unilaterally surrender our Constitution and bow to our new sharia overlords.
“It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”
UPDATE: This post perfectly illustrates the one-way street nature of sharia and its adherents.
I was very surprised to see an AP wire story reporting that Islamic militants (as opposed to mere “militants” or “insurgents”) were holding “Christians” (as opposed to mere “people”) hostage. Even more surprising, the AP reported that the Islamic militants were probably affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity one apparently couldn’t acknowledge during the Bush years.
Just as I was thinking to myself, “Well, that AP worm has certainly turned, with this surprisingly honest report,” I read another wire story about the Chandra Levy murder trial. You remember that story, right? A decade ago, Rep. Gary Condit’s career was destroyed when an affair he had with Levy (which was definitely an unprincipled, immoral thing to do, since he was married), got morphed by the media into an unofficial murder charge. Now, the probable actual murderer is on trial.
This is what the AP says about the defendant: “Ingmar Guandique, a native of El Salvador, is on trial for the murder and attempted sexual assault of Levy nearly a decade ago.”
Now I, not having been born yesterday, verbalized yet another thought to myself: “What are the odds that Guandique is an illegal immigrant?” Turns out the odds are 100%. Somehow, though, the AP just couldn’t bring itself to put that adjective out there.
Let me remind the open borders crowd that one of the virtues of having legal as opposed to illegal immigration, is that it enhances our government’s ability to weed out the killers before they cross our borders.
UPDATE: This Philip Terzian post about the WaPo best seller list seems like an appropriate coda to a post on media bias. I especially like the way Terzian describes the media’s inability to recognize its own bias:
One of the inherent difficulties of defining left-wing bias in the press to journalists is that it is something like describing the ocean to fish: It is so pervasive, and such a comfortable, nurturing environment, that it is hardly noticed.
Yeah — what he said.
The Washington Post has a piece that ostensibly educates WaPo readers about the true nature of today’s terrorists. Interestingly (or do I mean typically) it tries to erase Islam from the equation:
3. Al-Qaeda is made up of religious zealots.
To the contrary, rank-and-file terrorists who claim to be motivated by religious ideology often turn out to be ignorant about Islam. The Saudi Interior Ministry has questioned thousands of terrorists in custody about why they turned to violence, and found that the majority did not have much formal religious instruction and had only a limited understanding of Islam. According to Saudi officials, one-quarter of the participants in a rehabilitation program for former jihadis had criminal histories, often for drug-related offenses, whereas only 5 percent had been prayer leaders or had other formal religious roles.
In the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, second- and third-generation Muslim youths are rebelling against what they consider the culturally contaminated Islam that their parents practice and that is promoted in their local mosques, favoring instead the allegedly purer Islam that they discover online or via imams from the Middle East. But the form of Islam they turn to is often highly unorthodox. For example, the Hofstad group in the Netherlands — a network of radicalized young Muslims — practiced a sort of do-it-yourself Islam cobbled together from Web sites and the teachings of a self-taught Syrian imam who is also a former drug dealer.
And groups linked to al-Qaeda, including in Somalia, have been begun using anti-American hip-hop music or “jihad rap” in their recruitment videos, even though such music is considered counter to the extremist version of Islam promoted by the terror network. Rather than Islam leading young recruits toward al-Qaeda, it may be an ignorance of Islam that renders youths vulnerable to al-Qaeda’s violent ideology.
Maybe I’m reading the above text wrong, but it seems to say that, if you’re not deeply familiar with Islamic doctrine, at a scholarly level, then you’re not religiously motivated. And if you’re not religiously motivated, of course, than you’re not really an Islamic terrorist. Instead, you’re just one more piece of the “man-caused disasters” currently plaguing the West.
As far as I’m concerned, if you use Islam, no matter how limited your understanding, as the justification for slaughtering civilians all over the world, than you are by definition an Islamic terrorist.
Jessica Stern, who wrote the above, works for the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. As far as I know, the Hoover Institution is a somewhat conservative outlet. On the other hand, she’s also a Harvard Law lecturer. I think, though, that what one mostly sees in the above few paragraphs is the curse of the Ivory Tower. In that rarefied little world, unless one has achieved the abstract professorial knowledge Stern and her colleagues enjoy, one is not the real thing. Those men and women hollering “Ala Akbar” as the last words in their (and their victims) lives are just making it up as they go along.
If you read nothing else today, please read Fouad Ajami’s devastating indictment of the Islamic culture, a culture that encourages perpetual disaffection and anger with the world at large:
‘A Muslim has no nationality except his belief,” the intellectual godfather of the Islamists, Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote decades ago. Qutb’s “children” are everywhere now; they carry the nationalities of foreign lands and plot against them. The Pakistani born Faisal Shahzad is a devotee of Sayyid Qutb’s doctrine, and Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, was another.
Qutb was executed by the secular dictatorship of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966. But his thoughts and legacy endure. Globalization, the shaking up of continents, the ease of travel, and the doors for immigration flung wide open by Western liberal societies have given Qutb’s worldview greater power and relevance. What can we make of a young man like Shahzad working for Elizabeth Arden, receiving that all-American degree, the MBA, jogging in the evening in Bridgeport, then plotting mass mayhem in Times Square?
The Islamists are now within the gates. They fled the fires and the failures of the Islamic world but brought the ruin with them. They mock national borders and identities. A parliamentary report issued by Britain’s House of Commons on the London Underground bombings of July 7, 2005 lays bare this menace and the challenge it poses to a system of open borders and modern citizenship.
Read the rest here.
Contrary to the red-necked cretin liberals envision when they think of the average conservative, I’m sophisticated enough to understand that not all, or even most, Muslims are radical Islamists — but they certainly adhere to a faith that encourages a particularly malevolent radicalism that seeks to spread its tentacles throughout the world. And if you’re a silent Muslim, who doesn’t speak out against your religion’s excesses, you are complicit. In a PC world where no one but a group member can criticize the group itself, silent members are as bad as the active ones.
Unless you’ve been visiting some other planet somewhere in the universe, you already know about Comedy Central’s South Park debacle. That’s the one, of course, that saw Comedy Central, the oh-so-hip-and-edgy (meaning often offensive) television station brutally censoring a South Park episode that implied that Mohamed was walking around wearing a bear suit — when it turned out to have been Santa in the suit all along.
Comedy Central made this censorship decision when a New York Muslim suggested that airing the show as written might result in a Theo Van Gogh moment. That would mean that someone associated with the show would soon be appearing on the streets of New York with multiple stab wounds, a partially severed head, and a wildly hostile-to-Western-culture letter impaled on his chest.
There are a couple of points I want to make about this whole embarrassing debacle — embarrassing for Comedy Central, which shows that it’s offensive only when it’s safe; and a debacle, because it’s one more nail in the coffin of the free speech that has always been an integral part of America’s political and social culture.
My first point riffs off something David Hazony said in a Commentary blog post about the South Park episode (emphasis mine):
The core of liberal society is the belief that every new thought, every iconoclasm, every “dangerous” idea, can be uttered somewhere, by someone, as long as it doesn’t openly incite violence — and that every sacred cow is ultimately just a cow.
(I urge you to read the whole post, but the above sentence is the one that intrigued me.)
In the old days, the notion of incitement to violence examined whether the speaker literally incited violence. For example, the speaker might say to the crowd “Kill the President” or “Kill the Congress person” or “Kill all the meter maids” or something equally incendiary. The threat of violence wasn’t implicit in the speech; it was explicit. No civilized society could countenance speech that simply and directly inflamed blood lust. We in America have always been willing to trade in the world of ideas, but the civil contract demands that we stop short of demanding someone’s head on a pike.
We’ve now entered a brave new world that redefines “incitement to violence” away from its traditional meaning of explicit demands for blood, death or revolution. Now, “incitement to violence” includes speech or images that hurt someone’s feelings or offend their sensibilities. As a society, we used to say that it was just tough if someone’s sensitivities were roughed up by speech that falls far short of calling for that person’s (or someone else’s) blood. We recognized that our civil contract — our constitutional contract — requires for its health resilient people who can deal with hurt feelings.
Now, however, we see our media and political outlets repeatedly defining as incitement speech that lacks any calls for violence but that merely makes the crazy man angry. Where we would once police the crazy man, we now police ourselves. Everything we say must be run through the filter of “will it make the crazy man angry?”
Except of course, we’re not talking about any random crazy man. We’re talking about the sharia-obsessed Muslim crazy man. And by making that man — that sharia man — the standard by which incitement must be judged, we’re veering sharply away from a constitutional standard of free speech, and placing ourselves squarely within that man’s sharia code. Which really means that the second American Revolution, the one that sees us forever part ways with our current system of government, will begin, and end, not with flaring muskets and brave midnight battles, but with a whimper and a bowed head.
What’s even worse (I’m at my second point, now), is that we’re out-sharia-ing sharia, and caving, not to the demands of the moderates, but to the extremists. (Frankly, we’ve become such a PC, identity-politics obsessed culture that we’d cave to moderates too if we felt it would spare the feelings of someone defined as a victim in the PC lexicon.) The wholesale ban on any Mohamed images whatsoever is an extremist ban. Take for example this truly beautiful medieval painting, which I got from a pre-911 book:
Isn’t that exquisite (despite the scanning flaws arising from the picture’s spread across two pages)?
Not only is it beautiful, it’s also a picture of Mohamed. The swaddled little baby in the far left corner, with his face fully revealed, cradled in the arms of two loving angels, is Mohamed himself. Some medieval Muslim, inspired by Christian iconography surrounding the birth of Christ, painted this reverential scene of Mohamed’s birth.
Admittedly, the above painting seems to be a rarity. Other medieval Muslims painted Mohamed too, but they carefully veiled his face, to avoid something that could be considered a blasphemous or inaccurate image. (Considering that there are no contemporary images of Mohamed, just as there are no contemporary images of Jesus Christ, the fact is that all images are inaccurate, reflecting the artist’s faith and skill, rather than a carefully limned image of known features.) The medieval era, therefore, produced myriad pictures, such as this one, portraying Mohamed’s marriage to one of his wives:
Mohamed, on the left, has a veil neatly drawn across his face. The artist has reverentially drawn a scene without exposing himself to the inevitable risk of erroneously portraying the prophet’s face. Incidentally, if you’re really thinking this through, as the radicals seem not to have done, you might conclude that, although a bear costume isn’t a neat, curtain-like little veil, the effect is identical: Mohamed is hidden from view.
All of the above, of course, is art historian persnickety-ness. The real issue is that fact that we, a free society that has never let government dictate to us the terms of our religious worship, are meekly allowing a religion to which we do not subscribe to dictate the terms of our social, political, artistic, ideological and intellectual behavior. The proscription against potentially blasphemous images of Mohamed should apply only to Muslims. The fact that Muslims wish to apply it to all of us tells us volumes about their jihad mentality (a world at war, with a winning Islam and a losing everyone else) and our self-abasing victim approach to those chest-thumpers in the Islamist camp who want to make now the time, and this the place, for their world conquest.
Sadly, Comedy Central isn’t an anomaly. Instead, it seems to be a harbinger of things to come. It’s conduct is the thin of edge of the wedge when it comes to a cultural decision to give in and, by giving in, give away the constitutional freedoms that generations of our forebearers fought bravely to defend.
UPDATE: A friend reminded me that Zombie created a full post with exquisite Islamic iconography showing Mohamed’s face. Please check it out, as the images are better than anything I’ve included here.
Michael Yon, Joan Rivers and a little boy clutching the Play-Doh his grandparents gave him. That looks like a peculiarly disparate list of people but, in fact, all three people are bound together by one thing: the TSA Department of Homeland Security.
As you already know, on Monday, the TSA Customs detained and handcuffed Michael Yon because he refused to tell them his income. (You can hear a detailed interview here.) On Sunday, the TSA an airline booted Joan Rivers, famed comedienne and 76 year old grandmother, from a flight to Costa Rica. And right before Christmas, the TSA, in full Grinch mode, confiscated a little boy’s Play-Doh, even though Play-Doh is not on the ever-lengthening list of forbidden items for flying.
The TSA Homeland Security, in its defense, would say that Yon’s passport, which shows him traveling to the world’s hot spots is suspicious; that Joan Rivers’ has too many names (Joan Rivers and her married name, Joan Rosenberg); and that Play-Doh is virtually indistinguishable from some types of plastic explosives. (What the TSA no one will ever concede, of course, is that the attack on Yon may well have been a vendetta, triggered by an article Yon wrote describing the way in which Homeland Security forced a friend of his to reveal her email password so that they could read her emails with him.)
There is a peculiar kind of logic to this reasoning: after all, everything has the potential to be a weapon. That thing over there, on the other side of the room, may look like a chair, but it can also be used to bash people over the head. The pepper container on the table can, if thrown in someone’s eyes, easily disable them. Indeed, we already know, from past experience with terrorists, that baby formula can actually be an explosive, underwear can blow up, shoes can detonate planes, and box cutters can cut throats, not just boxes.
The problem then, isn’t to identify the potential weapons, but to identify the potential weapon bearers. Again, looks can be deceiving. Everybody has the potential be dangerous. I may be a 5 ft tall, middle-aged Mom, but I also know some nasty self-defense techniques, and am surprisingly strong. That pretty blond woman in line at the airport could be a radical intent on destroying anything in her path — and wearing the explosive underwear to prove it.
The fact, though, is that suburban Jewish moms, pretty blonds, aged Jewish comediennes, famed war correspondents, and other people haven’t been wearing exploding shoes and underwear, using their babies as weapons of mass destruction, or cutting people’s throats with box cutters. Only one demographic has been doing that: Muslims.
Logic, then, would dictate that Homeland Security would expend its energies most efficiently if it would primarily target Muslims. It shouldn’t solely target Muslims, of course. It is always possible that the pretty blond, the suburban homemaker or the Jewish comedienne is a convert to Islam (otherwise, why would she commit mass murder?), and that she and her cohorts are relying on her apparent separation from Islam to make her a one woman weapon of mass destruction. An efficient anti-terrorist enterprise would therefore profile Muslims on a regular basis , while keeping a weather eye on everyone else.
But as we all know, and have known since George Bush called Islam a religion of peace (or maybe he meant a religion of pieces, usually body parts) we’re not allowed to profile Muslims. This is an enemy whose name we dare not speak. Doing so, after all, might hurt someone’s feelings. What’s so bizarre about all this is that, in the past, when cultures targeted a class within them, they did so based on propaganda and innuendo, not actual fact. For example, the Nazi war against the Jews was based on a claim that Jews were (a) seeking world domination; (b) raping blond women and (c) eating Christian babies. The problem for the Nazis, however, was that the only actual evidence of this was . . . non-existent. Jews were good citizens wherever they lived and many places were miserably poor and completely isolated from the surrounding blond, Christian population. To sustain their attack against the Jews, the Nazis had to invent facts and evidence like crazy.
The Muslims, however, unlike the Jews (or, indeed, the American blacks so often falsely accused of raping or even looking at white women) are doing something. They are blowing things up; they are hijacking planes; they are beheading people; they are writing and preaching mass murder. They are shining huge neon lights on themselves, loudly announcing their intention to destroy, in the most painful way possible, every mother’s son and daughter of us. And we, in the name of political correctness, aggressively ignore them. Has there ever before been a society that ignored the clarion call of its enemy the way we do ours?
Obama finally admitted that there was a “screw up” (and isn’t the great orator crude in his speech?), because we didn’t “connect the dots.” What he implies is that we, as a society, want to connect the dots. We don’t. We dare not. We’re more afraid of offending political sensibilities than we are of planes and buildings being immolated, with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands, dead.
What happened to Michael Yon, Joan Rivers and one little boy is the inevitable result of our insane policy: if we concede that there is some type of war going on, but we resolutely refuse to name the enemy, than everyone becomes the enemy. Every chair and toy is a weapon, and every grandmother an aggressor. In order to fight a war, you have to have an enemy. During the Bush years, our enemy was a tactic (terrorism). That was bad enough, but now things have degraded so much that our enemy is just a result (“violence”). A culture cannot fight chimeras. It cannot take a resolute stand against . . . nothing whatsoever but weasel words.
The one thing I can say with absolute certainly is that, if we go on at this rate, we are doomed, for we will implode without our enemy ever having to touch us again.
I got a letter from a good friend who not only linked me to this worth-reading Uncle Jimbo post, but who also added “Has anyone noticed that all of the airplane incidents since 9/11 have been perpetrated by muslims?” Since I live with a liberal, and I know the score, my response to him was swift and assured.
Dear friend, you’ve been reading too many right wing wacko blogs. These attacks haven’t been perpetrated by Muslims, who belong to a religion of peace (or do I mean pieces?).* They’ve been committed by individual delusional men who just coincidentally happen to have misunderstood the profoundly peaceful (or do I mean pieceful?) doctrine that the Warlord . . . um, peace-bringer Muhammed created 1,400 years ago. After all, in 1,400 years of Muslim history, organized Islam has consistently committed itself to peace. Indeed, Islam’s peaceful tendencies strongly remind me of the lyrics in Tom Lehrer’s MLF (multi-lateral forces) Lullaby:
A considerable amount of commotion was stirred up during the past year over the prospect of a multi-lateral force, known to the headline writers as mlf. much of this discussion took place during Baseball season so the chronicle may not have covered it but it did get a certain amount of publicity, and the basic idea was that a bunch of us nations, the good guys, would get together on a Nuclear deterrent force including our current friends, like France, and our traditional friends, like Germany. Here’s a song about that called the MLF Lullaby.
Sleep, baby, sleep, in peace may you slumber,
No danger lurks, your sleep to encumber,
We’ve got the missiles, peace to determine,
And one of the fingers on the button will be German.
Why shouldn’t they have nuclear warheads?
England says no, but they are all soreheads.
I say a bygone should be a bygone,
Let’s make peace the way we did in Stanleyville and Saigon.
Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn’t happen again.
We taught them a lesson in nineteen eighteen,
And they’ve hardly bothered us since then.
So sleep well, my darling, the sandman can linger,
We know our buddies won’t give us the finger.
Heil–hail–the Wehrmacht, I mean the Bundeswehr,
Hail to our loyal ally!
Will scare Brezhnev,
I hope he is half as scared as I.
* Just as a “by the way,” the proprietor of The Religion of Peace, a website that documents Muslim-inspired acts of terrorism committed just since 9/11, recently received a very graphic death threat from some practitioners of that same peaceful religion. I guess that little experience falls into the same category as “the most dangerous place to be is a peacenik, anti-war rally.” Those people are scary.
I’ve been saying for some years that the biggest mistake the Islamists made was impatience. Demographically, between their fecundity and the sterility of Western culture, Muslims were headed towards societal tipping points all over Europe within a couple of decades. Had they set tight, they could have completed what they started in the Middle Ages and finally lost at the Gates of Vienna: the Islamist takeover of Europe.
But they couldn’t wait. They took down the Twin Towers, bombed trains and subways, blew up school children, exploded night clubs, killed Van Goghs, harassed women, and engaged in myriad other acts that made Westerners aware of their presence as something more than just enshrouded women and cheap labor. It’s still unclear whether the West has the will to fight, but the West certainly got timely notice to have the ability to fight. While the Islamists are certainly spoiling for the fight and, indeed, glory in the bloodshed, there’s no doubt that war brings the risk of loss and — as I said — the Islamists could have avoided this risk altogether if they had just waited until critical mass, when the West would have lost before the fight began.
For the last few months, I’ve going around saying exactly the same thing about the American Left, which took its victory, a victory that spread across many states but that never really exceeded more than a few percentage points in any given area, and decided that it had a sweeping mandate. And what a mandate: destroy the economy, socialize medicine, and make American supine before all of the world’s worst actors. Dennis Prager has had the same thought, and wrote a really great article on the subject:
There may be a major silver lining for conservatives and for America’s future thanks to the foreign and domestic policies of President Obama and the Democrat-controlled House and Senate: For the first time in their lives, millions of Americans are coming to understand the left.
It is difficult to overstate how important this is. For decades, the left has largely controlled the news media, the arts, the universities and the entertainment media. And vast numbers of Americans have imbibed these leftist messages and the leftist critiques of conservatives. What these Americans have never been able to do is to see what the left would actually do if in power.
1. The left wants America to abandon its defining commitment to individualism and replace it with a European-style nanny, or welfare, state. At most Americans’ core is an abiding belief that we are supposed to take care of ourselves, our families and our neighbors, and not rely on the state to do so.
2. The left is naive about evil. Most Americans deemed Communism evil; the left ridiculed President Ronald Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and often undermined the fight against the Communist world. So, too, the left is naive about Islamic terror and undermines the fight against it.
The smoking gun was the nearly universal denial by the left that his Islamic beliefs had anything to do with Maj. Nidal Hasan’s mass murder of fellow servicemen at Fort Hood. One of many examples was this reaction to the shootings by Evan Thomas, Editor at Large at Newsweek: “I think he’s probably just a nut case. But with that label (Muslim) attached to him, it will get the right wing going…”
3. The left is more interested in redistributing wealth than in creating it. This should have been as obvious to Americans as the brightness of the sun. Finally, Americans are coming to realize that the left’s goal is now, as it always has been, equality, not prosperity.
4. The left is far more interested in power than the right is. This, too, should have been self-evident, but finally, people are realizing that those who are preoccupied with creating an ever-expanding state are obviously far more interested in amassing power than those who want a smaller state.
5. The left is preoccupied with America being loved, and in pursuit of that end, compromises some of America’s core values. Examples abound here, too. To cite a few: the Obama administration’s neglect of those in Iran risking their lives for freedom in that tyranny; the administration’s refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan leader visited Washington, lest the president annoy China’s dictators; the American government siding with Hugo Chavez against the Honduran government, which had legally removed a Chavez clone from the Honduran presidency; and the president’s obsequious apologies for America wherever he goes.
Dennis Prager gives global examples of the ideology powering the Left. Phyllis Schlafly gives particular examples of those people closest to the president. And a scarier bunch of rogues and ideologues you’ve never seen. So far, the media has been working overtime to keep ordinary Americans from learning too much about these pillars of academe, now all0wed to put their theories into effect in the real world, but word is leaking out. And in keeping with Prager’s theory about knowledge giving the American people power, the Left’s inability to keep its worst actors and ideas off the national stage may prove to be America’s greatest strength.
This is an important story that’s getting almost no play in the American press: the Indian government believes that an American Muslim who was arrested in connection with a plan to attack the Jyllands-Posten paper, was not only behind the horrific Mumbai massacre, but was also plotting attacks against Indian nuclear power plants. The Jawa Report has the details. I just want to say that it’s a total coincidence that this guy is a Muslim. He is clearly a walking DSM diagnosis who simply has a compulsion to attack entities and countries he feels are hostile or a threat to Islam. But really, it has absolutely nothing to do with his understanding of the Prophet’s directives to slaughter any entities or countries that are hostile or a threat to Islam. And because I know you, I’m shocked that you would even think otherwise. Shocked.
In a field rich with excellent conservative writers, I always think Mark Steyn is the best. The joyful days, though, are the days when he outdoes even himself. In this week’s column about the fluffy multiculturalism that reared its head both before and after Hasan’s deadly terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Steyn outdoes himself. Here are a few excerpts, but you have to read the whole thing to get the flavor:
The truth is we’re not prepared to draw a line even after he’s gone ahead and committed mass murder. “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said Gen. George Casey, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.” A “greater tragedy” than 14 dead and dozens of wounded? Translating from the original brain-addled multicult-speak, the Army chief of staff is saying that the same fatuous prostration before marshmallow illusions that led to the “tragedy” must remain in place. If it leads to occasional mass murder, well, hopefully it can be held to what cynical British civil servants used to call, during the Northern Irish “Troubles,” “an acceptable level of violence.” Fourteen dead is evidently acceptable. A hundred and forty? Fourteen hundred? I guess we’ll find out.
The brain-addled “diversity” of General Casey will get some of us killed, and keep all of us cowed. In the days since the killings, the news reports have seemed increasingly like a satirical novel the author’s not quite deft enough to pull off, with bizarre new Catch 22s multiplying like the windmills of your mind: If you’re openly in favor of pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, then the Pentagon will put down your e-mails to foreign jihadists as mere confirmation of your long established “research interests.” If you’re psychotic, the Army will make you a psychiatrist for fear of provoking you. If you gun down a bunch of people, within an hour the FBI will state clearly that we can all relax, there’s no terrorism angle, because, in our over-credentialized society, it doesn’t count unless you’re found to be carrying Permit #57982BQ3a from the relevant State Board of Jihadist Licensing.
An eyewitness heard those words — Allahu Akbar — come out of the killer’s mouth. Private Joe Foster, though, is still ready to do his job, as he did at the time of the shooting, and that despite a bullet strike on his femur.
UPDATE: You must — MUST — check out Mudville Gazette to see the way in which CNN twisted Private Foster’s words. It’s shocking.
Insane people reflect the obsessions of their times. In the old days, insane people heard messages from the Devil. In the post-nuclear age, they were in contact with Martians. And nowadays, if their Muslim, Islam gives the impetus to their urges. Indeed, Islam is an all-purpose blank check for bad behavior. As my cousin, the prison chaplain, says:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
Math was never my strong point at school, but I managed to grasp the concept of a Venn Diagram. The beauty of a Venn Diagram is that it’s a nice visual for the common denominators that may bind together otherwise disparate facts or events. On the Venn Diagram of massacres on American soil, one of the largest areas of overlap is Islam. The fact that these attacks aren’t necessarily generated at Al Qaeda headquarters is irrelevant. Indeed, the absence of Al Qaeda involvement is helpful, because police work probably finds it easier to catch groups than lone individuals.
Nevertheless, the President and the media are very busy assuring ordinary Americans that Islam had absolutely nothing to do with Hasan’s murderous rampage at Fort Hood. Some examples:
- President Obama says “don’t jump to conclusions.” On the one hand, he’s correct. On the other hand, (a) he didn’t take his own advice when it came to Henry Louis Gates and “stupid cops” (although maybe he learned his lesson then); and (b) it’s very clear that he wants to steer Americans away permanently from even thinking that Islam is connected to death.
- The BBC says “Shooting Raises Fears For Muslims In US Army.” Mark Steyn has the perfect riposte to this headline: it is “the grossest bad taste to default every single time within minutes to the position that what’s of most interest about an actual atrocity with real victims is that it may provoke an entirely hypothetical atrocity with entirely hypothetical victims.”
- Chris Matthews expresses confusion at the way religion is even mentioned in connection with Hasan’s rampage (and the hell with him invoking Allah’s name at the height of his killing spree).
- NPR says “the motive behind the shootings was not immediately clear.”
- The New York Times suggests that this arm chair jockey, who just sat back and listened, snapped from the stress of war. Yeah. Right.
Just to offset this type of quisling behavior, let me offer to you a long list of articles that call murder in the name of Allah — whether the killer is alone or in a group, rational or irrational, American or non-American — by its true name: Jihad.
Mark Steyn: “What happened to those men and women at Fort Hood had a horrible symbolism: Members of the best trained, best equipped fighting force on the planet gunned down by a guy who said a few goofy things no one took seriously. And that’s the problem: America has the best troops and fiercest firepower, but no strategy for throttling the ideology that drives the enemy — in Afghanistan and in Texas.”
Rusty Shackleford: “Hasan was a devout Muslim who, prior to his transfer to the Texas base, attended a conservative mosque on a daily basis and was known by associates to occasionally rant about U.S. involvement in the War on Terror. Press accounts also claim that Hasan had at one time been the subject of an FBI investigation because of an internet posting bearing his name which justified suicide bombings. [Para.] No one should be shocked that Hasan would turn to murder and terror. The only thing shocking about Hasan’s actions is the amount of carnage.”
Jennifer Rubin: “Listen, ignoring reality and feigning indifference to the views and behavior of Major Hasan is how we wound up with 13 dead and 30 wounded, right? Perhaps we should be candid for once. The American people can figure this one out — and those who continue to play dumb will earn only their contempt.”
Roger Simon: “The immediate reaction of the mainstream media on learning of the activities of Nidal Malik Hasan was to say that he was crazy. And no doubt that was true. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), could probably place Major Hasan comfortably in several categories. [para.] Of course, the same could be said of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Usama bin Laden and various other mass murderers of recent history. Nevertheless, the attempt was to explain away Hasan’s actions as pathological and thus avoid dealing with, or even – to the degree possible – mentioning the ideology to which his neuroses adhere (hint: it begins with an “I”). [para.] This strategy is a form of what is popularly known as political correctness, which I submit is also a pathology and a quite virulent one – in this case, arguably the cause of death of the thirteen men and women murdered at Fort Hood.”
J.R. Salzman: “[Y]ou don’t get PTSD from sitting on your ass around Walter Reed. Not only is it not possible to “catch” secondhand PTSD, but it is not that kind of a place. I would know, I was a patient there for nine months. The place is simply not that stressful or chaotic. When I was there my PTSD got better, not worse.”
Leon de Winter: “There is only one term that adequately describes the massacre at Fort Hood: a terrorist attack. The media tries to avoid this term, but the more that is known about the killer, the more it becomes clear that this premeditated and deadly attack on unarmed soldiers and civilians was driven by his belief that Islam should rule the world.”
Robert Spencer: “Major Hasan’s motive was perfectly clear — but it was one that the forces of political correctness and the Islamic advocacy groups in the United States have been working for years to obscure. So it is that now that another major jihad terror attack has taken place on American soil, authorities and the mainstream media are at a loss to explain why it happened – and the abundant evidence that it was a jihad attack is ignored.”
Michael Ledeen: “I’m all for waiting until all the evidence is in from Texas before reaching any conclusions, but that should apply to everyone. Notably to the FBI, which seems to have developed a conditioned reflex that requires the Bureau to announce, within seconds of any act of murder, ‘there is no evidence of terrorism.’ Which, in this case, is ridiculous, since it was precisely that. [para] All of which brings us back to one of the nastiest problems we face: the indoctrination of Americans in this country. If you look beneath the surface of these plots and murders, you will often find that the actual or would-be killers have attended radical mosques. They don’t come to jihad by sitting quietly at home and reading the Koran. They hear sermons, they are guided in the paths of terror, and they choose to become terrorists. And in this country, those radical sermons and that incitement is traditionally treated as ‘protected speech.’ It’s protected by the First Amendment, and its guarantee of freedom of religion.”
Jamie Glazov: “The murders by Malik Nadal Hasan at Ft. Hood, TX are not a ‘lone wolf incident’ as being described by most media organizations. Hasan had been taught the ideology that is being advocated by hundreds of Islamic scholars and Imams in the U.S. We as a country can continue to deny there are numerous Islamic leaders and their supporting organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, MSA, and MANA, to name a few, who advocate killing innocent men, women, and children whom they allege ‘oppress Islam.’”
Victor Davis Hanson carefully looks at the number of Islamists who have plotted or carried out attacks against civilians (and Ft. Hood’s soldiers were, within their home base, tantamount to civilians), and politely destroys the argument that it’s just coincidence that so many mass murderers, and attempted mass murderers, in the past decade have been Muslim.
David Horowitz: “The Ft. Hood killings are the chickens of the left coming home to roost. Already the chief political correspondent of The Nation has decried even mention of the fact that the jihadist killer Hasan is a Palestinian Muslim. According to The Nation this is ‘Islamophobia.’ This fatuous attempt to protect America’s enemies carries on The Nation’s 60-year tradition as the leading fifth column collaborator with America’s enemies — defender of the Rosenbergs, defender of Hiss, defender of their boss Stalin, defender of Mao, defender of Castro and now defender of Islamic terrorists. But The Nation is only the tip of an iceberg. The fifth column formed out of the unholy alliance between radical Islam and the American left is now entrenched in the White House and throughout our government. And in matters like the Muslim jihadist Major Hasan our military is its captive.”
Phyllis Chesler: “Sudden Jihad Syndrome, (it’s not all that “sudden” by the way), Personal Jihad Syndrome, call it what you will—these terrible acts should not be psychiatrically diagnosed and excused. In Islamist culture what Major Hasan did is a glorious act, a desired act; it is not the act of someone who is considered psychiatrically deranged. At the risk of being called a racist, allow me to suggest that we must connect the dots before it is too late. Islam now=jihad=hate propaganda=9/11=the tragedy at Ft. Hood. [Para.] That means Islam now, and its followers of all colors and ethnicities, is at war with the entire world, is dreaming of a Caliphate to be achieved through violent jihad. I doubt that Major Hasan is a Sufi Muslim.”
Bruce Bawer: “Could there be a more bitter contrast? At Fort Hood, so many courageous GIs, all of them prepared to risk their lives fighting the Islamic jihadist enemy in defense of our freedom, several of them now dead. And, on our TV screens, so many apparently craven journalists, public officials, psychiatrists, and (alas) even military brass — all but a few of whom seemed unwilling to do anything more than hint obliquely at the truth that obviously lies at the root of this monstrous act.”
John Weidner (who is kind enough to link to me): “Pacifism, or rather nihilism disguised as fake-pacifism, is one of the sicknesses of our time. No matter how many times it’s proved wrong, a large portion of the populace will continue to believe that looking and being weak will make them safer and will prevent violence and war. But pacifism causes war. [Para.] Whoever gave the orders that American soldiers should not carry their sidearms or other weapons on our military bases murdered those soldiers who died at Ft Hood. Charlene was an Army brat, and she says that personnel carried their weapons on the base when she was young. Somebody (the phrase “death panel” springs to mind) disarmed the very men and women who are sworn to protect us using violent force when necessary. INSANE! SICK!”
Cross-posted at Right Wing News