Thursday, January 31, 2008
Today in a time of crisis America faces ever more politicians eager to trade on their military credentials. Former disgraced General Wesley Clark is constantly in the wings. John Kerry attempted to trade on his dubious military record, running as a war hero, after he had made his career blasting his fellow soldiers as war criminals. John McCain has practically hung up a 'War Hero for Sale' sign presenting his past as a key credential for the Presidency. Before them Bob Dole ran for office on little more than lethargy and a war injury, not inflicted by the enemy. Triple amputee congressman Max Cleland shamelessly allowed his injuries inflicted by his own carelessness with a grenade on base, to be represented as a combat injury too.
In Israel the situation is a good deal worse and the generalship is simply the first step to a political career. Israel's two most disastrous Prime Ministers were former generals Rabin and Sharon, one of whom signed a deal with the terrorists and the second ethnically cleansed Gaza of Jews opening the way for Hamas.
It should be apparent that the willingness to trade on a military reputation is itself a warning sign of careerism, of men who began working to promote themselves politically even while still in the military, as was the case with Kerry and Sharon. That kind of cynical self-promotion often creates a dangerous precedent. The reality is that real heroes are reluctant to trade on their wartime experiences for political gain, it's cynical figures who are all too willing to position themselves as political heroes. And cynicism goes hand in hand with corruption. It's no real surprise then that of the two Senators who survived the Keating Five purge, John McCain and John Glenn, both were men who had become larger than life legends.
This too forms a pattern. President Grant's administration was one of the more corrupt of the period. Rabin and Sharon's histories in public office were ripe with corruption and Sharon's son Omri is now headed for jail. Jackson's spoils system combined with his assault on the banks in favor of his cronies nearly destroyed America's economy for a generation. In such men the bold ruthlessness that brings them to victory in war was married with a boundless egotism, excepting perhaps Grant. This type of personality is perfectly on display in John McCain, the quickness to anger, the determination to have his way, the willingness to sell out to the highest bidder while maintaining a self-righteous facade.
After a war heroes go home, they raise families, they work 9 to 5 and they try to forget the past. The public needs heroes though and must have them, yet the ones who step forward are themselves often a self-selecting group, men willing to create their own image on the public stage and then stand in awe of it. The public wants Cincinnatus but instead repeatedly finds itself stuck with Caesar.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Fred Thompson tried to short circuit the traditional campaign process with the kind of small scale people first campaign that won him his Senate seat and failed to register with most voters. Despite being fairly charismatic and promoting some rather good ideas, Thompson got in the game too late and his campaign never took off.
Rudy Giuliani tried to head off the traditional primary process by aiming for the states where he was polling strongly. It seemed like a bold strategy and if New York and California pay off, that might still be the case, but after Florida that seems less likely. By taking himself out of the state by state primary grind, Giuliani also took himself out of the campaign focus and allowed McCain and Romney to be annointed as the front runners, by the time Florida rolled around, the party was treating him as an also-ran.
Ron Paul created a fanatical cult following on the internet that generated money, threats against reporters and a fantastic spamming campaign that will undoubtedly be studied by crazed fanatics and Goebbels wannabes for some time to come, but one that also proved to be as weak and ineffectual at the voting both as it did in the real life polls.
The common thread here was that non-traditional campaigns failed to bring home the prize and the original anointed candidates, Romney who was anointed by the party and McCain who was anointed by the media, are winning. It may be bad news for those who wanted a change and for those who wanted genuinely conservative politics, but the same lowest common denominator that produced Bush, may well insure that Romney becomes the next Republican president, as underwhelming as that may be.
Primaries for some time have reliably given us the triumph of the most non-objectionable candidate, which despite his many flaws is what Romney is. Romney and McCain as the front runners represents the solid victory of the establishment. In contrast to the Democratic party, where the Clinton machine is fighting Soros' MoveOn.org and Obama's stalking horses to the death, the Republican party is stably moving forward another liberal Republican, who is not fundamentally different from Bush. A few years from now, we will likely be looking at a Republican President, a Republican Congress and a general mess at home and abroad, but we won't be looking at Obama or Hillary in the White Houses and those are major pluses already.
Fred Thompson believed he could succeed by campaigning toward the people, rather than the press. Giuliani believed he could use a creative strategy to corral the primaries. Ron Paul believed a fanatical cult could hand him the election. They were all wrong because they forgot that the primaries are more about paying obeisance to the party for its pilgrimage across the primary states. It can't be controlled, only obeyed.
It's instructive to remember that the most famous maverick Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, only became President through a series of long shots and though he was popular with the American people, the Republican party hated him so bitterly that it tore itself apart to keep him out of public office, giving rise to the Wilson Presidency and WW1.
The Republican party does not like mavericks, even as it canonizes Reagan, the party remains uncomfortable with him and his policies. The race has never been this close going into Super Tuesday, but we're still likely to see the party doing what it can to unite around Romney and keep McCain out. That is probably for the best because McCain is an unstable figure with disturbing positions on global warming and open borders. Romney is the likely candidate but there is plenty there for me to be wary of and very little to embrace.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
On the food chain of vile and disgusting behavior, 9/11 Conspiracists are one step above the Westboro Baptist Church. They comprise a collection of loons, who are the meeting place where the far-right and the far-left meet. As Dustin Hoffman said about the Weatherman in the aftermath of a bombing at his home "At a certain point the radical right and the radical left merged. They shook hands." 9/11 conspiracies are where the far- right and the far-left have shaken hands over their joint hatred of America, the American government and their endorsement of any means that would overthrow it.
The far right and the far left have both extensive experience in historical revisionism. The far right has dedicated enormous efforts to Holocaust denial. The far left has created a blanket of silence over the crimes of Communism and the murder of uncounted millions by Stalin and the USSR. At 9/11 for the first time they joined bloody hands for a project of historical revisionism that fuses their common belief that the American government is a force of evil and any problem must be laid at its door with the not so subtle corollary that terrorists are ultimately our allies in overthrowing the force of evil that is the US government. Like the Neo-Nazis who secretly think the Holocaust was a good idea that didn't go far enough and the Left-Wingers who think that Stalin's brutalities would be a fitting answer to Haliburton and the Bush Administration, their modern heirs approve of 9/11 and the murder of thousands of Jew Yorkers and the Apostles of Globalization and Capitalism. They however can't admit it. And that's where 9/11 denial comes from.
9/11 denial is not a reasoned process. I live in Lower Manhattan and I saw the first posters blaming the US government and claiming Muslim terrorists weren't at fault mere days after the attacks when downtown itself had been shut down. Their first reaction even while the rescue efforts went on was to defend their ideological allies in Afghanistan. They held phony memorials for the victims of September 11th and of "American atrocities around the world." They could never permit themselves to admit that thousands of innocent people died at the hands of Islamic terrorists, because they cannot admit to the existence of any evil beyond America. Denial was a reflex.
The milder forms of 9/11 denial involved describing the attacks as "blowback" for CIA operations or calling it "payback" for supporting Israel. By now these forms of 9/11 denial have gone mainstream as the rhetoric of Noam Chomsky gives way to Newsweek editorials and the stump speeches of Ron Paul. These though were just the gateway for the hard core conspiracists who would go on to argue that the CIA and the Mossad were actually behind the attacks. Here Arab conspiracy theories finally fused with Western radical conspiracy theories. Arab conspiracy theories originally fed by Western works like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Nazi literature came full circle to be embraced in Russia, France, Germany and Berkeley. The Far-Right and the Far-Left shook hands with each other and then shook hands with Muslim terrorists for a grand alliance that had David Duke delivering lectures in Arab countries, Noam Chomsky writing the introduction to a Holocaust denier's book and radical Muslim organizations participating in Neo-Trotskyist Anti-War rallies.
The one thing that unites this evil alliance is their burning desire to bring down Western civilization onto a burning pyre out of whose ashes they plan to build their perfect societies. But for that to happen, America must fall. The American Far-Right and Far-Left have long indulged in fantasies of leading a revolutionary campaign to overthrow the US government. The Far-Right has The Turner Diaries, a novel of the overthrow of America accompanied by the classical Nazi program of genocide and dropping nuclear weapons on Israel. The Far-Left has endless revolutionary texts predicting the fall of capitalism, the onset of a fascist tyranny followed by a bloody revolution and purges as a socialist utopia emerges out of the flames.
Both seek to resurrect their glory days under Stalin and Hitler, yet at the same time both recognize that they are incapable of actually leading and fighting that revolution. Islam's bloody jihad represents their answer. In their propaganda Islam is the force of the oppressed coming to bring down the American government and to do the bloody work the David Duke's and Noam Chomsky's are too cowardly to take on themselves. Islamic terrorist attacks forces governments to adopt security measures that radical movements can then use as ammunition to argue that we are living under a tyranny and radicalize their more moderate cousins. To the Far-Right and the Far-Left, Islamic terrorists are the cannon-fodder with which to secure their revolution and their Utopian society. 9/11 was exactly what they had dreamed of for a long time, the glorious act of wholesale destruction to which the Oklahoma City bombing or the ALF's bouts of environmentalist vandalism could only aspire to.
With Bin Laden and his cohorts providing the wholesale destruction, the Far-Right and the Far-Left maintain their side of the partnership by providing the propaganda that stigmatizes every action America takes and redirects the blame for even the actions of the terrorists back onto America. While the terrorists stab us from the front, they stab us in the back. 9/11 denial serves as a key tool in undermining the War on Terror by not only arguing that there is no actual terrorism but that it was carried out by the US government itself.
This is a common practice by the allies of Muslim terrorism. In Russia apologists for Muslim Chechen terrorists claim the KGB is actually behind many of the attacks attributed to the the Chechens. In Israel some left-wingers and Pro-Islamic conspiracy theorists like Barry Chamish have claimed that Israel was behind many of the attacks attributed to Hamas. In the US Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney inspired an outpouring of anger from the Indian-American community when she claimed that Islamic terrorist attacks in India had actually been carried out by the Indian government. Time and time again the patterns recurs across the world. When Muslim terrorists blow up a building or open fire on a crowded bus, their apologists quickly come out claiming that the government was behind it. The so-called 9/11 Truth Movement is only a piece of that larger movement which seeks to shift the blame from Muslim terrorists for their attacks to the government of that country. The conspiracy theories and shoddy collections of absurd evidence, the painfully amateurish documentaries and pasted flyers are just the propaganda tools for the world's largest form of historical revisionism, Terrorism Denial.
The milder form of Terrorism Denial is pervasive within the Democratic party and among Liberals where the usual approach to terrorism is to ignore its existence or to argue that global warming and the extinction of the penguins are far graver threats. On the political fringes though terrorism denial is widespread and well-organized, backed up by rhetoric and arguments, by phony claims and phonier documentaries of government involvement and shadow worlds of conspiracies and secret insurgencies. Terrorism Denial victimizes Jews as much of the world deliberately pretends that Palestinian terrorism consists of a few rock throwing little boys. Terrorism Denial victimizes much of the world from Australia to America to Europe as Islamic attacks are ignored and Islam itself is praised as a religion of peace.
Terrorism Denial, of which 9/11 Denial is only a subset, is the blindfold wrapped across the eyes of civilization, that in turn becomes its strangling cord.
Monday, January 28, 2008
The sham that is the Democratic primaries has now finished the process of devolving into the Victim Olympics it was always destined to become as voters are invited to choose which candidate to feel sorry for, that nice Mr. Obama being smacked around by the Clinton machine or that nice Mrs. Clinton being smacked around by the Obama machine.
Personally I feel sorry for neither and anyone who does is an idiot, so feel free to cut the following out and pass it along to them.
Yes poor Obama, he's just a junior Senator who clawed his way to power by stabbing his own mentor in the back and then exploiting the marriage problems of his two opponents, to make a run for the Presidency, a job he's as qualified for as he is to launch rockets for NASA. Poor Obama, all he has is a multimillion dollar war chest, several states in his pocket and the backing of most of Hollywood. Truly he's running against the odds.
From Day 1 the Obama camp began whining about how much they hated negative campaigning the way a mosquito begins piteously whining even before he starts drinking your blood. It's no surprise then that the Obama campaign began the negative campaign with their infamous remake of Apple's 1984 commercial that cast Hillary Clinton as a shrieking tyrant. Except being the cowardly liar that he is Obama wouldn't take responsibility for the commercial but was happy to have his campaign tout it as a breakthrough in internet campaigning. Today the Obama camp still produces its fair share of smears, slanders and slimes but whines non-stop that they're being savaged by the Clinton machine.
Now we have the pathetic spectacle of black politicians asking Bill Clinton to take it easy on Obama, because apparently the normal rules of a campaign don't apply to him. Bloggers and vloggers everywhere are whining that the Clintons are beating up on Obama. Somehow they got the impression that he's supposed to get a free pass to the White House because he's just so nice and good looking.
It would have been hard to find a Democratic presidential candidate more unqualified for the job than Hillary Clinton, yet somehow Obama managed to pull it off.
As a candidate, Obama has exactly three selling points.
1, he's charming.
2, he's black
3. he talks about change a lot
Oh did I mention he's black yet? If Bill Clinton has the "charming 3 day drunk" routine down pat, Obama has the minority boy scout routine down just as good. The problem with Obama's routine is that unlike Bill's it scripted. Force Obama to go off script and you can see in 5 seconds why he belongs anywhere but the Presidency. Obama delivers great scripted speeches but at press conferences and question and answer sessions he quickly devolves into completely insane statements about tornadoes killing tens of thousands in the midwest and using nuclear weapons in Pakistan.
The only people dumber than Obama are the people who think he represents some sort of great force for change or is a deeply ethical ex-cokehead. Obama is first and foremost a politician and he's a dirty politician. He ran this campaign dirty because he's run every campaign dirty from the moment he forced his mentor out of the race for her own seat by having his lawyers disqualify her signatures. Obama doesn't represent change, he represents the triumph of a completely unqualified candidate with a sharp political machine and the media on his side.
If you want a boy scout for President, there's millions of them across America. If you want someone who promises you change, vote any non-incumbent politician. If you want a black man, there's 38 million of them out there and most of them would be a better choice anyway. If you want Obama, grow up.
Poor, poor Hillary. She's just the former First Lady of a power couple that just missed being impeached and being imprisoned because the country still places some value on the dignity of a President, more than she ever did when she used the White House as the base for a crime ring that raised money from just about every convicted felon in America. By the time her husband's presidency had ended and her staff was stealing furniture and smashing equipment, it was the sad end to one chapter and the sad beginning of another.
After carpetbagging her way into the Senate seat from a state she didn't even live in and a state her husband routinely screwed on budget allocations, Hillary is now positioned to become President thanks to a powerful politician machine at her back. So over in New Hampshire Hillary almost cried? You would almost think that campaigning wasn't supposed to be tough. Ed Muskey cried in New Hampshire and unlike Hillary he cried for real and no one felt sorry for him either. Plenty of tears were shed by the people who went to jail because of the Clintons and those who died because of them. Yet we're expected to hold a national moment of silence because a politician on a campaign trail almost cried.
To hell with whether the moment was calculated or not, peering into the labyrinthine maze inside the reptilian minds of the Clintons is as worthless a task as playing three card monte in Times Square. It doesn't matter if she actually felt shaken or was only pretending, campaigns are tough and they're meant to be tough. As tough as a campaign is, the average Presidential term is a thousand times as hard. Anyone who can't hack it on the campaign trail, couldn't even begin to tackle the White House. But here's the irony, we know Hillary Clinton can and did. If she almost shed a tear, it wasn't because the going was tough, it was because the going wasn't going her way. That's the difference between a good loser and a bad loser.
Hillary Clinton isn't a victim. She's a millionaire with two undeserved mediocre terms in the Senate and the country's most powerful political machine on her side. She has a grown daughter, a string of dead pets and a husband who's either the worst thing or the best thing about her campaign. She's not being persecuted because she's a woman anymore than Obama is being persecuted because he's black, gender like race is a convenient shield for a woman who never had any pity to spare for the women her husband threatened, molested, blackmailed and abused. Hillary Clinton cares as much for women as Obama does for black men, both are egomaniacs who are adept at exploiting their minority status as a brand that shields their own crimes and deficiencies.
Hillary Clinton doesn't belong in this race or the Senate, unlike Obama though she has actual abilities beyond a winning smile and glib delivery. Her abilities though all involve secret files, knives planted in the back and ruthless maneuvering for power. If she's taken the brunt of the beating in this campaign, it's because her ruthlessness was obvious from the start. After decades of the Clintons, no one in the Democratic party is seriously in denial that she has the morals of a vulture with a stomachache while Obama benefits from the fact that virtually no one had heard of him until only a few years ago and new thieves on the block tend to pick more pockets than the same old ones everyone already knows to beware of.
Hillary Clinton is not a victim, she's the leading candidate for the President of the United States. She's a two term Senator and has more money and power than most men or women in America have ever had or will have. She wouldn't need to posture as a victim if she didn't have so many victims of her own left behind in a long trail all the way back to Arkansas. Anyone who feels sorry for her had better take a long hard look at that long trail and ask themselves if they're really amoral enough to wipe all that away just because on a campaign trail the woman responsible shed a tear.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
The idea of ending foreign aid and intervention in Israel's domestic politics may seem appealing at first glance but a serious look at what would happen gives us a whole other picture.
First of all it's highly debatable whether Ron Paul could even end foreign aid to Israel because it has too much bipartisan support and Ron Paul has no track record for winning legislative brush wars. The Presidential veto is not absolute power.
Secondly, Ron Paul's own statement betray the same pattern of thinking that has driven administration after administration to pressure Israel.
Ron Paul in the US House of Representatives, January 29, 2003
And above all, the Arab Muslims are tired of us.
Angry and frustrated by our persistent bullying and disgusted with having their own government bought and controlled by the United States, joining a radical Islamic movement was a natural and predictable consequence for Muslims.
We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, and we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanation of why he and his allies are at war with us.
Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it.
Now it's not particularly ambiguous where Ron Paul's sympathies lie here, with the Muslim terrorists. This is par for the course on the far right, but it once again pins the blame on Israel. Now what happens under a Ron Paul presidency when there are no US troops in Iraq or Saudi Arabia and no foreign aid but the terrorism continues?
A man who has structured his entire foreign policy on giving in to terrorist blackmail, will hardly turn back from meeting the final terrorist demand. Israel's existence. After all in Ron Paul's worldview, America helped set up Israel which caused Islamic rage. There can only be one form of acceptable restitution, aiding in the destruction of Israel. It would be a small step to take for a man whose base already rages against Israel, whose closest political friends like Pat Buchanan view Israel as evil.
It would be a small step for the man whose own newsletters suggested Israel was behind the original World Trade Center bombings, called Israel "an aggressive national socialist state" and accused it of muzzling the American media, to contemplate. And even if he didn't, his administration is sure to be packed with those who would.
Thirdly, Ron Paul is backed by a whole constellation of bigots and neo-nazis who don't just want an end to foreign aid to Israel, they want a whole lot of dead Jews. Ron Paul's base of support comes from the far right and from the far left, among his supporters are people like Pat Buchanan, David Duke, Joseph Sobran, Paul Findley, Don Black, Theodore Beale and Bill White whose hatred for Jews verges on the psychotic.
Apologists for Ron Paul claim that he is beholden to no one, but a short look at Ron Paul's appearance on Meet the Press demonstrates that he's quite willing to play political games and pass the pork and the legislative kickbacks so long as he doesn't formally vote for them. Throw the Saudis and criminal white supremacist businessmen like Carl Story and Vincent Bertollini into the mix and things will get ugly fast. As Ron Paul's Meet the Press appearance demonstrates, his incorruptible image is a lie just like everything else about his campaign. The exposure of a criminal botnet operating out of the Ukraine and stolen credit card donations to Ron Paul as well as serious amounts of fraud by Ron Paul supporters not to mention donations from white supremacists like Don White should raise serious questions about where all those millions are really coming from and what they're buying.
But tell you what, let's put all of that aside for a minute. Let's imagine that Ron Paul becomes President and America becomes completely isolationist. No more foreign aid, no more interference. What happens next?
1. For starters, American companies begin boycotting Israel again in order to comply with the Arab boycott. With no legal restraint, the high tech boom in Israel is going to begin running into trouble as American companies are forced to choose between dealing with the Sheiks and dealing with Israel. Some will choose to maintain innovation and civilization, others will choose oil money. Since many companies comply with the boycott anyway and since despite the boycott, Israel's products do continue to be resold and relabeled through the Muslim world, this may not be a worst case scenario but it isn't something to shrug off either.
2. America's departure does not free Israel, it creates a power vacuum and there are at least two players ready to step into that vacuum, the EU and Russia. Russia already has a fleet in the area and a naval base in Syria. It has Gaydamak's party in Israel, nuclear reactors in Iran and a whole raft of new weapons to unload. The EU is funding multiple Israeli groups such as Peace Now while funding the Arab terrorists and pressuring Israel. Getting rid of American pressure will simply substitute EU pressure in its place. And unlike America, the EU genuinely hates Israel and wants to see it gone.
The only real thing keeping the EU in check is America. In 1948 America served as a buffer against the British backing of Egypt and Jordan, a backing so intense that England provided weapons and training and even flew planes over Israeli positions in the Negev to create an international incident. King Hussein of Jordan described the British envoy putting a paper in front of him, telling him it was a request for troops and telling him to sign it. British troops were already landing at Aqba when American pressure and a backlash from the British public over a military adventure put a halt to the plan. Meanwhile during the Six Day War, the USSR fielded a plan to land troops in Hafia and lead an Arab uprising. The plan was well underway before it was aborted.
Despite the absurd statements by some political candidates, American troops will never fight for Israel, but America as a world power helps balance Russian and EU interference in the Middle East. With the Quartet, we've seen Russia and the EU muscle their way in further. Without America, Israel would have to face numerous superpowers on its own.
If Israel had a strong secure government, it could survive the diplomatic standoff and show enough strength to avoid anything nastier. But then again if Israel had a strong secure government, American pressure would never be a problem in the first place. Sharon said "No" to the State Department and meant it. Olmert can't say "No", he can only say "Maybe" and his wife is a member of the EU funded Peace now. As bad as things are with Rice in the driver's seat, would you really like to see the EU calling the shots?
I am personally opposed to foreign aid for Israel. I am also opposed to Ron Paul, not because Ron Paul is bad for Israel, but because Ron Paul is bad for America and the world. His foreign and domestic policy would be catastrophic and that would impact everyone. The struggle against the Jihad is a global one and it needs the remaining free countries of the world working together. An isolationist order would fall to the Jihad one by one, outnumbered and surrounded because in the end it only takes a single liberal politician a few years to dismantle everything that conservative politicians have done before, Rabin and Clinton are both excellent reminders of that. Israel or America as islands in the Caliphate would not survive for long as free nations, they would fall by violence or treachery or the decay of their morale in the face of a long siege.
And all that is secondary to the fact that Ron Paul cannot be President and will not be President. He is not a serious candidate, he is a spoiler candidate meant to insure a Republican does not become President. The real consequence of the Ron Paul campaign is to be a spoiler candidate, to have Ron Paul run as a third party candidate and bring Hillary Clinton or Obama to power.
Supporting the Ron Paul campaign for whatever reason insures that you are counted among the ranks of 9/11 Deniers, Holocaust Deniers, Neo-Nazis, Conspiracy Theorists, Anti-Semites who are the real engine behind the Ron Paul grass roots effort and when you join with them, you become their useful idiot. And when Ron Paul is trounced, whatever happens next, the numbers of his supporters will be used to prove that there is widespread support for investigating 9/11 conspiracies, an anti-Israel foreign policy and the various radical agendas of the far left and the far right.
When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas and the Ron Paul campaign has some big ugly bloodsuckers on it. They don't support Ron Paul because they "love freedom", they support him because they hate freedom. The biggest tragedy in the lives of men like Pat Buchanan, Joseph Sobran, Don White and David Duke is that they were born too late and in the wrong country to join the SS and they've been trying to compensate for it ever since. The Ron Paul campaign harnesses every dirty trick operation that the Buchanan and Duke campaigns have used, every slimy tactic, for one last go at it. Some in Lehi once thought they could make a devil's bargain with the Nazis, but when you bargain with the devil, the devil always wins. The Ron Paul campaign is willing to co-opt Jews but its heart and its base remains in a very dark place.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Exodus Chapter 18
א וַיִּשְׁמַע יִתְרוֹ כֹהֵן מִדְיָן, חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֱלֹהִים לְמֹשֶׁה, וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַמּוֹ: כִּי-הוֹצִיא
יְהוָה אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמִּצְרָיִם.
1 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel His people, how that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.
What made Yitro's action so individual on hearing over what G-d had done to Moshe and the Jewish people? Let's consider the difference between Pharaoh and Yitro. At every turn Pharaoh might repent while a plague was going on but once the plague was in the past, it no longer mattered to Pharaoh. Even in the aftermath of the death of the firstborn, once it was over, Pharaoh led an attack on the Jews even leading his men down into the sea.
Why did Pharaoh behave this way? Because to him what G-d had done was indeed in the past. It was what G-d HAD DONE and therefore irrelevant and indeed to many people today, what G-d has done in the past is irrelevant. Even to many who accept what is in the Bible actually happened, will say that it has no relevance to modern times. The defect is a failure to accept that G-d is eternally aware and to assign to him some dusty corner of history. This is the modern attitude and it was the attitude of Pharaoh.
This is what made Yitro's attitude so individual, because when Yitro heard what G-d had done, he came to worship G-d, even though it was what G-d had done, past tense. As an individual he broke from the common attitude that G-d has no relevance to the future only to the past, instead Yitro responded by blessing G-d, Baruch Hashem Asher, speaking not in the past tense and indicating an acceptance of G-d in the present and the future. Like Avraham, he had recognized as an individual the power of an eternal G-d.
At Sinai in the 10 Commandments, G-d bridged the past and the present and the future by declaring that I am the G-d who took you out of Egypt and that you may not in the future have any other gods besides me. When Amalek had attacked the Jewish people, they had shared in the attitude of Pharaoh, that what G-d did in the past is no longer relevant. They had attacked the weak who had lagged behind because Amalek feared men but they did not fear G-d. In response G-d vowed a personal war against them, not merely against a people because no individual nation could resist G-d as he had proven in Egypt, but against the mental attitude that Amalek had exemplified.
This is why the war between Amalek and G-d continues from generation to generation. It is a war between those who relate G-d to the past and those who are willing to accept him in the present and the future.
To see last year's dvar torah on Parshat Yitro click here)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Meanwhile during the second terrorist attack we once again saw the virtue of letting people be armed instead of disarmed;
The terrorists, armed with knives and a pistol snuck into a building used by the high school. They entered a classroom where tutors were holding a meeting, and stabbed two of them. Two of the tutors were armed and managed to overpower and kill the terroristsBin Laden's son and his wife are getting an excessive amount of positive coverage, despite the fact that Bin Laden Jr has defended his father and his wife has questioned whether Bin Laden was even responsible for 9/11. The Daily Mail has an interesting snapshot of this woman, who in actuality was Muslim all along and claims Arab parentage.
A few days ago, her neighbours in the tranquil Cheshire village of Moulton knew Jane as just another slightly dotty grandmother who sat on the parish council. She was a bit odd, granted, with a face unnaturally smoothed, it was rumoured, by Botox and the surgeon's scalpel.
She was always off on exotic jaunts to the Middle East, and spoke of her devout Islamic faith - but all in clipped English tones. And, of course, there was the small matter of her five former husbands, as well as her latest, who at 27 is young enough to be her son.Today, she is taking family loyalty to a somewhat improbable level, insisting again that the Bin Laden patriarch might just be innocent. With a jaw-dropping combination of stupidity and naivety, she says in her best school ma'am voice, when I raise the question of the Twin Towers: "I mean, do you know - beyond all doubt - that he did it? "If so, I'd like you to show me the evidence. I don't think it's nice to make assumptions about someone when you don't know the facts."
She concedes, though, that one day Saudi will be her ideal place to live. "I would like to settle in Saudi with him. Of course, I'd keep my home in Cheshire - I am British, after all - but a woman's place is by her husband's side."
But doesn't he already have a home? And a wife and child?
"Yes, but I'd set up another home nearby, and he would come and go between the two. It is quite normal, really. I don't mind at all - why should I? I'm not jealous of his wife. "I have spoken to her. Lots of married men in this country have girlfriends. At least he is being honest."Somewhere along the way, she also acquired the name Zaina Mohamad al Sabah - presumably when she converted to Islam as a teenager?
"I never said I converted," she exclaims angrily. She won't elaborate, but has previously claimed Arabic parentage. Her parents are reported as being a George and Beryl Hanson. She refuses to clear up the matter. "My religion is a very private matter. It doesn't matter how I became a Muslim. Only that my Islamic faith is very important to me."
For all the holes in Jane's story - all of which give the impression that even she doesn't know who she is - we do know that she was a Muslim by the time she got married for the first time, at the age of 16.
Meanwhile via Hockey Hound the NGO Monitor has an interesting look at the NGO rhetoric over Hamas' manufactured crisis.
At Jammie Wearing Fool, Bush Deranged Syndrome causes millions to be squandered bashing Bush
Lemon Lime Moon looks at Britain's Three Little Pigs ban
This time it is the 3 Little Pigs, that famous ,valiant trio who fought off the wicked, ugly, satanic wolf of evil who tried with all his might to destroy their home and eat them alive! Sound familiar? Of course it does. Don't we wish that there were manly men in government who didn't fear wolves in sheep's clothing? Yes, of course we do. And, of course, it is axiomatic that anyone who tries to destroy the Three Little Piggies automatically aligns themselves with the Wicked, Evil, Rotten, ravening wolf.
Over at IsraPundit, Time to Say Goodbye to Israeli Arabs?
Those who wish to stay and be part of the Jewish state should know that their loyalty lies only with this country. They cannot protest on behalf of those who wish to destroy it. All the others, such as Ra’ed Salah and Ahmad Tibi, must decide where they want to live. If they think that another “Palestinian state” should be established here, instead of the State of Israel, they should get up and leave. They can fight us – but from the outside. Not from within us, and not at our expense.
Over at Barbara's Tchatchkas' is a Cinnamon Stillwell article, Honor killings: When the ancient and the modern collide
Also at question are the vagaries of the Arab honor/shame culture, in which men's "shame" (or that of the family or tribe) at the prospect of women's sullied "honor" (or chastity) must be avoided at all costs. Honor killings are not, as the apologists would have us believe, simple acts of domestic violence akin to those that take place in all communities. They are specific to Muslim religion and culture and must be addressed as such if ever honest debate about the matter is to ensue.
Regrettably, silence is the more typical reaction to these crimes. Fearful of giving offense or being branded with the ubiquitous "Islamophobia" label, law enforcement, journalists, social workers, government officials and, most of all, Western feminists are allowing a grave threat to women's rights go unaddressed. The misguided purveyors of multiculturalism — an ideology that holds that all cultures or religions are equivalent and none (save for the dominant, or Western, culture) worthy of condemnation — have rendered the West incapable of addressing evils where Third World cultures are to blame. But the truth is Western culture offers the greatest boon to women's rights and must therefore be vigorously defended, even if that means stepping into the realm of the politically incorrect.
Via Something and Half of Something, one of the craziest Ron Paul supporters yet caught on tape.
Finally a plea from the parents of a terror victim to bring Annapolis to an end
We, the corporate body of the Jewish nation, have been privileged with the divine heritage of the Land of Israel , promised in an eternal covenant to our forefather Abraham on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal , overlooking Elon Moreh in Samaria . As the beneficiaries of this priceless treasure, we cannot consider our Holy Land as a commodity on the international exchange. The Almighty’s gift may not be surrendered for a bowl of porridge – a paltry sum of “payment,” resulting from a misguided vision of wished-for tranquility. We, the children of Israel , are the guardians of our Holy Land for all the generations to come until the Final Redemption. This, then, is our sacred mission, never to be forsaken. We must concentrate our efforts and gather our strength in unity, to fulfill the objective of being a light unto the nations.
In the State of Israel, we have created benefits for all humankind through the study and teaching of Torah, which is G-d’s divine message for ethical advancement of all societies. Moreover, we have shared with all nations Israel ’s breakthroughs in state-of-the-art medical care, pharmaceutical research, solar energy development, hydroponic farming and social justice.
Our only son, Hillel Eliyahu Lieberman HY’D, fulfilled the “mitzvah” (religious obligation) of making “aliyah,” thereby trailblazing in the true pioneering spirit, the settlement of the Holy Land of Israel, just as our American forefathers had created the first colonies of this young nation in the Western hemisphere by building settlements (towns and villages). Unfortunately, as a result of the mirage of the Oslo Agreement’s promises of peace that could not become a reality, a violent “intifada” left him a victim of cruel, deceitful Arab terrorism as he walked, wrapped in a prayer shawl on the Sabbath between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in the Year 2000, to his institution of higher Torah learning, Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai, located in the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem (a.k.a. Nablus), Samaria. Once again, the conferences subsequently held on the Wye Plantation and more recently in Annapolis have pressured Israel with a false promise of “peace” to result from surrounding, hostile neighbors’ recognition of Israel , to surrender slices of its tiny, vulnerable land, viewable from north to south and east to west in a matter of minutes by aerial flight.
Our seven orphaned grandchildren, who commute to high school and college via Samarian highways, do not enjoy the sweet taste of the oft-promised peace. They have been detained on their daily travel by explosives planted by terrorists alongside the road, by burning tires that turn bus drivers and passengers into “sitting ducks,” by suspicious packages blocking progress until a robot pulverizes the source of danger, and by sirens alerting Elon Moreh residents of a terrorist climbing up the Mountain of Har Kabir with a bomb wrapped inside the carcass of a sheep.
Surely, we Americans of all faiths care about the safety and security of “our children,” locally and globally. Therefore, we are totally committed to fighting terrorism – in this post-9/11 era – with strength, not surrender; with backbone, not bending; with vigor, not veering off the vector of our goal of true peace; instead of with “piece” offerings to those who aim to murder freedom lovers throughout the world.
The Government of Israel must resist any American governmental pressure, because such interference will negate our mutual relationship of respect and honor, and our mutual plan for global peace and prosperity, for free trade zones and for a flourishing economy. Inadvertently encouraging violence violates our shared purpose for the era of peace when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and they shall not learn warfare anymore” (Isaiah).
Rabbi Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Z. Lieberman
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Lincoln responded, "It's all our land."
Rather than thinking like Lincoln, Israel today insists on the defeatist thinking of a General Meade. We retreat behind what we delusionally believe to be 'secure borders' and congratulate ourselves for 'getting them off our land' by retreating from our land. But it is all our land and we may no longer believe it but they do. They believe it is their land and they will take it from us.
Lincoln understood that there was no alternative to winning the war. Either the Union was preserved or America would be destroyed. While many Democrats and military men pressed for compromises, he had the vision to press on. At one time Israel's leaders understood what Lincoln did, that retreat was death. Today Israel's leaders continue to believe they can retreat with honor. That there is a compromise that will avoid confrontation.
But there is no such compromise. We either recognize that it's all our land or lose to those who do.
The uncompromising position is the most difficult one to take and even more difficult to maintain in the face of setbacks. It is so difficult because not only does it demand extraordinary resources and risks, but there is no certainty of success. Compromise always seems more appealing because it appears to be less of a gamble. Compromise says, "I win some, you win some. I lose some, you lose some." It's not just the seemingly higher moral ground, but it's the safer bet. The problem is that when war is a zero sum game, compromise is simply self-destruction. You cannot compromise with those whose endgame is your destruction. You can only fight them or slowly cut your own throat.
The Civil War dragged on endlessly under weak generals whose battle plans focused on defeating armies that refused to fight on their terms. After all this time Western military forces have gained some strategic ground in understanding how to fight guerrilla forces and insurgencies but the political leadership continues to lack the will to fight such wars. The average politician is still in love with phrases such as "The Middle Way", "A Political Solution" or "Peace with Honor."
Peace is a virtue when offered to those who are willing to live in peace. Peace however is a crime when offered to those who are unwilling to live in peace. Political solutions in a zero sum game only help the enemy and draw more blood and deliver more pain. That is exactly what Israel has done in the face of the terrorist threat and in the process has turned the Intifada that began as a political problem into a grave threat to Israel's existence.
For a decade and a half Israel's leaders have been giving away the country while promising security. Yet their security promises consist of repetitions of, "We got them off our land." But of course we didn't. We just got them off the part of our land that we haven't given away yet.
Our enemies understand that their struggle with us is a zero sum game, one in which they will either gain everything or lose everything. They do not need to win on the battlefield because they know that their occasional killing sprees are only a means to continue forcing Israel to seek a political solution. While the Arabs are overmatched by Israel on the battlefield, Israel is overmatched by the Arabs when it comes to politics as long as they hold the twin trump cards of oil and terrorism.
After a decade and a half of compromises, surrenders and political solutions, proclaiming "It's All Our Land" has become one of the most difficult things to say in Israeli politics. Peres repeatedly taunts the right by demanding that they present an alternative to negotiations. Each time the right has failed to do so, it has failed to simply say, "It's All Our Land." This was once the theme of Betar and the Likud. If Israel is to perish, "Let's Make a Deal" will be the theme of the victorious party. If Israel is to survive, "It's All Our Land" will be the theme of the victorious party.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Dr. Kuntzel's book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 is well worth reading
Despite common misconceptions, Islamism was born not during the 1960s but during the 1930s. Its rise was inspired not by the failure of Nasserism but by the rise of Fascism and of Nazism.
It was the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 in Egypt, that established Islamism as a mass movement. The significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas.
The starting shot for this campaign, which established the Brotherhood as an antisemitic mass movement, was fired by a rebellion in Palestine directed against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini. The Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out of Egypt and Palestine!"
“This burgeoning Islamist movement was subsidized with German funds,” Küntzel writes. “These contributions enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to set up a printing plant with 24 employees and use the most up-to-date propaganda methods.” The Muslim Brotherhood, Küntzel goes on, was a crucial distributor of Arabic translations of “Mein Kampf” and the “Protocols.” Across the Arab world, he states, Nazi methods and ideology whipped up anti-Zionist fervor, and the effects of this concerted campaign are still being felt today.
Their Jew-hatred was also inspired by Nazi influences: Leaflets called for a boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, and the Brotherhood's newspaper, al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt," which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and allegedly Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world, attributing every evil, from communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."
The Brotherhood's campaign used not only Nazi-like patterns of action and slogans but also German funding. As the historian Brynjar Lia recounts in his monograph on the Brotherhood, "Documents seized in the flat of Wilhelm Stellbogen, the Director of the German News Agency affiliated to the German Legation in Cairo, show that prior to October 1939 the Muslim Brothers received subsidies from this organization.
Nowhere, however, had the hatred against Jews become more deeply entrenched than in Egypt where the Muslim Brothers called on the Palestinians to kill the Nashashibis in the name of God and who mobilized the masses in support of the Mufti against Jews.
The Mufti's so-called "Arab Revolt" took place against the background of the swastika: Arab leaflets and signs on walls were prominently marked with this Nazi symbol; the youth organization of the Mufti´s political party paraded as "Nazi-scouts", and Arab children greeted each other with the Nazi salute. Those who had to pass through the rebellious quarters of Palestine attached a flag bearing the swastika to their vehicles so as to insure protection against assaults by the Mufti's volunteers.
It was not until May 8, 1945, however, that the ideological approach between the Mufti, the Muslim Brothers and the Nazis reached its peak. This became obvious as early as November 1945. During this very month, the Muslim Brothers committed the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in all of Egypt´s history: The core of antisemitism had thus begun to shift from Germany to the Arab world. On the anniversary of the Balfour-declaration, demonstrators rampaged the Jewish quarters of Cairo. They plundered houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, devastated the synagogues and then set them on fire. Six people were killed, several hundred more were injured.
Substitute religious for racial purity, the idealized ummah of the rule of the four righteous caliphs of the mid-7th century for the mythical Aryan "Volksgemeinschaft", and most ideological and organizational precepts of Nazism laid out by chief theoretician Alfred Rosenberg in his work The Myth of the 20th Century and by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, and later put into practice, are in all essential respects identical to the precepts of the Muslim Brotherhood after its initial phase as a group promoting spiritual and moral reform. This ranges from radical rejection of "decadent" Western political and economic liberalism (instead embracing the "leadership principle" and corporatist organization of the economy) to endorsement of the use of terror and assassinations to seize and hold state power, and all the way to concoction of fantastical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories linking international plutocratic finance to Freemasonry, Zionism and all-encompassing Jewish world control.
Not surprisingly then, as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and '40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and "supreme guide" Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini - incidentally the later mentor (from 1946 onward) of a young firebrand by the name of Yasser Arafat.
A central role in the propaganda offensive was played by a Nazi wireless station, now almost totally forgotten. Since the 1936 Berlin Olympics a village called Zeesen, located to the south of Berlin, had been home to what was at the time the world’s most powerful short-wave radio transmitter. Between April 1939 and April 1945, Radio Zeesen reached out to the illiterate Muslim masses through daily Arabic programmes, which also went out in Persian and Turkish. At that time listening to the radio in the Arab world took place primarily in public squares or bazaars and coffee houses. No other station was more popular than this Nazi Zeesen service, which skilfully mingled antisemitic propaganda with quotations from the Koran and Arabic music. The Second World War allies were presented as lackeys of the Jews and the picture of the "United Jewish Nations" drummed into the audience. At the same time, the Jews were attacked as the worst enemies of Islam: "The Jew since the time of Muhammad has never been a friend of the Muslim, the Jew is the enemy and it pleases Allah to kill him".
One of its regular listeners was a certain Ruhollah Khomeini. When in the winter of 1938 the 36-year-old Khomeini returned to the Iranian city of Qom from Iraq he “had brought with him a radio receiver set made by the British company Pye ... The radio proved a good buy… Many mullahs would gather at his home, often on the terrace, in the evenings to listen to Radio Berlin and the BBC”, writes his biographer Amir Taheri.
Even the German consulate in Tehran was surprised by the success of this propaganda. “Throughout the country spiritual leaders are coming out and saying ‘that the twelfth Imam has been sent into the world by God in the form of Adolf Hitler’” we learn from a report to Berlin in February 1941. So, “without any legation involvement, an increasingly effective form of propaganda has arisen, which sees the Führer and Germany as the answer to every prayer… One way to promote this trend is sharply to emphasize Muhammad’s struggle against the Jews in the olden days and that of the Führer today.“
While Khomeini was not a follower of Hitler, those years may well have shaped his anti-Jewish attitudes which in turn would later shape the attitudes of his most ardent follower Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In November 1945, just half a year after the end of the Third Reich, the Muslim Brothers carried out the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Egypt's history, when demonstrators penetrated the Jewish quarters of Cairo on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. They ransacked houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, and torched the synagogues. Six people were killed, and some hundred more injured. A few weeks later the Islamists' newspapers "turned to a frontal attack against the Egyptian Jews, slandering them as Zionists, Communists, capitalists and bloodsuckers, as pimps and merchants of war, or in general, as subversive elements within all states and societies,"
In the following decades, large print-runs of the most infamous libel of the Jews, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were published at the behest of two well-known former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.
While the conflict between Zionism and anti-Zionism appeared on the surface to be about land, it concealed within it a far bigger conflict, over the question of how to relate to modernity. While the modernisers as a rule sought compromise with the Zionists, the Islamists denounced any attempt to reach an understanding with the Jews as treachery.
Islamism, or fascism with an Islamic face, was born with and of the Muslim Brotherhood. It proved (and improved) its fascist core convictions and practices through collaboration with the Nazis in the run-up to and during World War II. It proved it during the same period through its collaboration with the overtly fascist "Young Egypt" (Misr al-Fatah) movement, founded in October 1933 by lawyer Ahmed Hussein and modeled directly on the Hitler party, complete with paramilitary Green Shirts aping the Nazi Brown Shirts, Nazi salute and literal translations of Nazi slogans. Among its members, Young Egypt counted two promising youngsters and later presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El-Sadat.
Hassan Al Banna knew that faith, good works and numbers alone do not a political victory make. Thus, modeled on Mussolini's blackshirts (al-Banna much admired "Il Duce" and soul brother "Fuehrer" Adolf Hitler), he set up a paramilitary wing (slogan: "action, obedience, silence", quite superior to the blackshirts' "believe, obey, fight") and a "secret apparatus" (al-jihaz al-sirri) and intelligence arm of al-Ikhwan to handle the dirtier side - terrorist attacks, assassinations, and so on - of the struggle for power.
Under a new, more radical leader, Sayyid Qutb, the al-Ikhwan fight for state power continued and escalated. A mid-1960s recruit was Ayman al-Zawahiri, present number two man of al-Qaeda and the brains of the organization. Osama bin Laden has the money, proven organizational skills, combat experience, and the charisma that can confer the air of wisdom and profundity even on inchoate or trivial utterances and let what's unfathomable appear to be deep in the eyes of his followers. But he's no intellectual. The brains of al-Qaeda and its chief ideologue by most accounts is Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahiri, 51, the organization's number two man and former head of the Egyptian al-Jihad, which was merged with bin Laden's outfit in February 1998 to form the "International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders".
The mad notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, suppressed in Germany since May 8, 1945, survived and flourished in the political culture of the Arab world. An especially striking example is the charter adopted in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, better known as Hamas.
In the Charter, the Jews are accused of being behind all the shocks of modernity: “They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. (They are) behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.” In addition, they are held responsible for every major catastrophic event in modern history: The Jews "were behind the French Revolution [and] the Communist Revolution. . . . They were behind World War I . . . they were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. . . . There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it. . . . Their plan," states Article 32 of the charter, "is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."
For example, in the “Letter to the American People” of November 2002, which the report repeatedly cites, bin Laden warns: “The Jews have taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense.” Osama goes on: “Your law is the law of rich and wealthy people. . . . Behind them stand the Jews who control your policies, media and economy.” Yet the report’s authors inexplicably fail to see the significance of these words and the ideology behind them.
The idea of using suicide pilots to obliterate the skyscrapers of Manhattan originated in 1940s Berlin.
“In the latter stages of the war, I never saw Hitler so beside himself as when, as if in a delirium, he was picturing to himself and to us the downfall of New York in towers of flame,” wrote Albert Speer in his diary. “He described the skyscrapers turning into huge burning torches and falling hither and thither, and the reflection of the disintegrating city in the dark sky.”
Not only Hitler’s fantasy but also his plan of action foreshadowed September 11: He envisioned having kamikaze pilots fly light aircraft packed with explosives and with no landing gear into Manhattan skyscrapers. The drawings for the Daimler-Benz Amerikabomber from the spring of 1944 show giant four-engine planes with raised undercarriages for transporting small bombers. The bombers would be released shortly before the planes reached the East Coast, after which the mother plane would return to Europe.
Hitler’s rapture at the thought of Manhattan in flames indicates his underlying motive: not merely to fight a military adversary, but to kill all Jews everywhere. Possessed of the notion that the whole of the Second World War was a struggle against an imaginary Jewish enemy, he deemed “the USA a Jewish state” and New York the center of world Jewry. “Wall Street,” as a popular book published in Munich in 1919 put it, “is, so to speak, the Military Headquarters of Judas. From there his threads radiate out across the entire world.” From 1941 on, Hitler pushed to get the bombers into production, in order to “be able to teach the Jews a lesson in the form of terror attacks on American metropolises.” Towards the end of the war this idea became an obsession.Some observers claim that political concessions by Israel would be enough to stop anti-Jewish hatemongering within the Arab-Islamic world. They are wrong. For Islamists, the issue at stake is not the welfare of individual Palestinians but the abolition of enlightenment, reason, and individual freedom – achievements whose spread is attributed primarily to the Jews.
The historical record gives the lie to the assumption that Islamic antisemitism is caused by Zionism or Israeli policy. In fact, it is not the escalation of the Middle East conflict that has given rise to antisemitism; it is rather antisemitism that has given rise to the escalation of the Middle East conflict - again and again.
There is a sure way of identifying the real roots of such antisemitism, and that is to look at the current attitude in this part of the world to Hitler and the Nazis. If Germans in Beirut, Damaskus, and Amman are greeted with compliments for Adolf Hitler, this can hardly be Israel’s doing. When Iranian cartoons show Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler, what on earth has this to do with Zionism?
When graffiti in Hampstead Garden Suburb combine swastikas with the words “kill all Jews” and “Allah” – what on earth has this to do with Zionism? Our historical excursion has, however, revealed that this combination is in no way accidental. The linkage of “kill all Jews”, “Allah” and the swastika indicates a specific ideology, one that is connected both historically and ideologically with Nazism and needs to be opposed with equal determination.
Those who view the Jews as such kind of global force of evil cannot sincerely criticise Hitler’s Final Solution. Instead they will deny the Holocaust to the outside world while secretly drawing inspiration from it, as a kind of precedent that proves it can be done, that one can murder millions of Jews. Every denial of the Holocaust contains an implicit appeal for its repetition.
The naivety or malice with which the political left has nevertheless yielded to the siren songs of Islamism is therefore frightening. Thus, in May 2006 Noam Chomsky met the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, and defended and praised Hezbollah’s insistence on keeping its arms, in defiance of United Nations decisions; Tariq Ramadan, an eloquent Islamist, has been given star treatment at European anti-globalization events; the Muslim Brotherhood’s TV preacher, Sheikh Qaradawi gets invitations from the left-wing Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone; while the Socialist Workers Party have made the strategic decision to ally with a British offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Muslim Association of Britain – in building the Stop the War Coalition. Last summer thousands of people were mobilised by this alliance to march through central London chanting “we are all Hezbollah now”.
Of course, a left which brands Israel as abstractly “evil” is not going to take Islamic antisemitism seriously. Demonising Israel entails becoming deaf to antisemitism. Or, as Sigmund Freud put it, “a participant in a delusion will not of course recognise it as such”.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
In any showdown between a multicultural society against the caliphate, the caliphate will always win among Muslims, simply because a multicultural society is incapable of defending its own existence and must tolerate the proponents of the caliphate.
The problem with multiculturalism and the reason why in the end Muslims and even many non-Muslims will choose a romanticized caliphate over the bleak reality of a multicultural system, is that in the end it stands for nothing. Tolerance of everything really means standing for nothing and embracing all cultures means lacking any culture of your own.
We have long since passed the point of orientalism and reached the stage where people do not value their own culture but only that of others. The culture of Africa, Asia and Native Americans is inherently considered to have more value than anything Europe, American or Jewish. Tolkien insightfully repackaged a national origin myth as fantasy thereby creating an English mythos that would survive and even thrive in a bloodless politically correct future. Most however have not been so lucky.
Multiculturalism is Western culture on a starvation diet. Whether calculatedly or not, it creates a deprivation and a hunger that winds up ultimately being filled by foreign cultures and beliefs. This vacuum of culture and faith, this starvation diet for the mind and the soul, creates an inferiority complex among liberals in the west, a complex that insures hatred for their society and a desire to identify with outsiders, even its enemies.
Browsing through the websites of liberal churches and temples one finds extensive celebrations of other people's religions. Studies of Islam, Buddhism and everything but their own actual faiths. Diversity is the priority in the new salad bar of civilizations. Two hundred Guatemalans emigrating to the United States is met with joy, but if two hundred Irish were to make the same trip, no one would much care. The story of the 55 member black congregation that converted in Cairo, Illinois is all the talk of the press, yet if 55 Jews were to join a synagogue, what Reform synagogue would care or even accept them if they lacked the means. Despite the blatant failures of multiculturalism, in America, Europe and Israel the cry goes up for more diversity.
America has long ago prioritized immigration from the Third World over immigration from the West, leading to a bizarre situation in which the United States takes in hundreds of thousands of people with no job skills and heavy social services needs while hardworking Irish immigrants in New York remain illegal, because their quota is ridiculously small. Meanwhile the actual Ireland is busy transforming itself into the New Ireland, a vision of Ireland that is no longer Irish in order to accommodate the tide of African immigrants. In Israel and America, the key Jewish social services venture is not aid for those displaced by expulsion and war, but lobbying to bring a million Ethiopians to Israel. In France Sarkozy is backing away away from his pledge to crack down on illegal third world immigrants. The pattern stays true everywhere.
If you starve people long enough of anything to feel pride in and find meaningful that is their own, they inevitably develop an inferiority complex, a state of mind that devalues what is their own and celebrates diversity not out of a genuine appreciation of other cultures, but out of a lack of their own culture.
Multiculturalism is the West's cultural anorexia, a mental disease masquerading as a moral cause, a culture forever trapped in looking in the mirror and seeing its own bloated corruption like an inverted Dorian Gray, seeing evils that are not there and others that are laughable in contrast with the brutal dictatorships of Islam.
If the West is suffering from anorexia, Islamism is the obsessive eater, gorging on everything in sight. The West has a fear of power but the East has a fear of powerlessness, their destructive collision forms a grotesque abusive relationship as the Islamists devour Western civilization while the multicultural apologists make excuses for them all the while.
Is it any wonder that having to choose between life in a multicultural society and an Islamist one, Muslims in the West ultimately choose the Islamist way? After all who would willingly choose to starve when they can feast? The lack of self-respect that multiculturalism shows its own society and culture only confirms to Western Muslims that there is no reason or basis for respecting it. The Caliphate emerges for them as a strong and appealing vision, all the more so because it is a myth and can never be realized. And best of all there is no reason to choose, because multiculturalism's fatal flaw is that it is willing to tolerate and give ground to even the beliefs that call for its destruction.
And so Muslims in the West can work as doctors, socialize, marry, receive benefits and have access to everything Western society has to offer while still supporting terrorism and Jihad. And it is no wonder, multiculturalism allows them to receive all the benefits of Western living while still being true to the Muslim code of conquering the Dar Al Harb. This makes the multicultural vision of promoting a moderate Islam or a reformed Islam laughable. After all why should Islam reform as long as it's winning?
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The most common objections made to waterboarding are that
1. It compromises the safety of our personnel in enemy hands
2. It is torture
3. Torture is useless for extracting information
The first and second arguments are easiest to dismiss.
In 1985 former Marine and DEA agent Enrique Camarena went undercover in Mexico in pursuit of Mexican drug lords. He was identified and tortured for two days straight on the probable orders of Mexico's Secretary of Defense, General Juan Arevalo and a doctor was used to bring him back from the brink of death time and time again before he was finally killed. Among the implements used were a tire iron, red hot metal pipes and a cattle prod. By the time his body was found, most of his head had been crushed.
Also in 1985 a former decorated Korean War veteran and the CIA Station Chief in Beirut William Francis Buckley was kidnapped by Hizbollah while working on a plan to rescue the hostages. His torture was videotaped and the videotape was sent to the US Embassy. Buckley was tortured for fifteen months and only his remains were left behind to be buried.
In 1985 the United States respected the full legal rights of drug dealers and Islamic terrorists. It assigned them lawyers and treated them as any other criminal suspects. That did not help Camarena or Buckley in the least, the very same sort of groups who use real torture do not care about reciprocity and that is why there is no sensible reason to treat them with kid gloves in the hopes that they will treat our captured personnel likewise. We know they won't.
United States prisoners have been tortured or assaulted in virtually every war in the 20th century from WW2 to Korea to Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan. The fact that the United States respected the rights of Nazi, Imperial Japanese, Communist and Islamist prisoners did not in any way restrain the followers of these totalitarian ideologies from abusing our captured soldiers. If anything it made it safer for them to do so knowing that there would be no retaliation.
The cases of Buckley and Campena are reminders of what real torture is. Waterboarding is not torture. Torture is a form of physical brutality that causes enduring physical damage. Waterboarding is psychologically, not physically, damaging. It does not leave permanent scars, it does not maim and does not kill. The potency of waterboarding is in its ability to break down psychological barriers, much as sleep deprivation, extended interrogations, hooding, intimidation, solitary confinement and other forms of psychological pressure do. When waterboarding opponents conflate physical and psychological pressure, they create a dangerous moral equivalence between the murderers of Buckley and Campena and those who are trying to bring them and their like to justice.
The third objection regarding the integrity of information obtained under the influence of such tactics is the most relevant. Indeed information directly obtained through torture is of dubious value. However the purpose of interrogation is to first break down mental resistance and then extract information. There is no one who can seriously argue that waterboarding is not an excellent tool for achieving the former. Contrary to the impression produced by TV shows such as 24 in which pain leads to immediate confession, the purpose of physical and psychological pressure is to break down the psychological defenses of the detainee in order to bring him to a state where he is prepared to provide truthful answers. That is why psychological pressure is more effective than physical pressure, attacking the source of the mental resistance, rather than sadistically savaging the body.
Opponents of waterboarding claim that uninterrupted waterboarding would cause death. Of course so would any activity that went on uninterrupted. Handcuffing a prisoner for a long enough period enough could cause death as well. And has. These same opponents typically focus on how emotionally traumatic waterboarding is. Which is of course the point.
Some forms of psychological pressure are used by law enforcement on a day to day basis. There are people who experience psychological trauma after an encounter with law enforcement. But if law enforcement personnel were not intimidating, they would be useless. In preparation for the 1972 Munich Olympics, police were equipped with candy and flowers to distribute in response to any trouble. The result was the infamous Munich Olympics Massacre because peace and love is simply not a useful deterrent.
To accomplish any goal, pressure must be applied and motion cannot exist unless energy is applied. In contrast to the methods used by terrorists and drug lords, waterboarding is a humane way of applying minimum pressure for maximum results. It is not a pleasant experience but it is a good deal more pleasant than the fatal consequences of not applying it. Though liberal opponents of waterboarding continue to insist that we live in a world where coddling prisoners would produce better results than vigorously interrogating them, but evil men fanatically dedicated to their cause will not surrender that cause unless the will that holds them to that cause is broken first.
(A Version of this article appeared at the Canada Free Press)
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The Egyptians behave in a seemingly insane manner, heading off in pursuit of their escaped Hebrew slaves even after the devastation of the ten plagues and even proceed down into the split sea. The Jews by contrast seem to complain endlessly once they are out of the sea displaying little faith in G-d.
In fact both behaviors are ultimately attributable to a lack of faith in G-d, but a different sort of lack of faith. The showdown at the sea follows a long series of punishments visited on Egypt by G-d. Why specifically punish Egypt, a bleeding heart type might ask. Why not have Moshe arrive in Egypt and spend the next decade or so urging Egyptians to repent backed by wonders and miracles, but not by punishments?
The key though is that the Egyptians lacked a specific kind of faith in G-d. A few plagues in Pharaoh had already been convinced that G-d existed and had great power, yet he irrationally continued to refuse to free his slaves. Each plague battered at his resistance, but none fully convinced him, not even the last. Clearly Pharaoh's faith in G-d was lacking in a specific area, the area of punishment.
Successful and prosperous people often believe in G-d but only in a G-d who rewards them but not a G-d who punishes them. That is where you get so many powerful and corrupt religious and lay leaders who profess to believe in G-d and yet behave in completely amoral ways. Like Pharaoh, they believe that when something good happens, it's from G-d, but when something bad happens, they reject a divine role in it. That was why the Pharaoh of Joseph's time was willing to believe in G-d because the famine was preceded by seven years of plenty and resulted in prosperity for him and for Egypt. It did not however make him into a moral leader and the ultimate outcome of his rule was slavery and oppression. Given great wealth, Egypt grew all the more arrogant and brutal.
The lack of faith of the Egyptians was in a G-d who punished in order to enforce justice as a higher moral authority. And so the Egyptians followed their escaped slaves into the desert and into the sea, madly certain that they would succeed. Such self-destructive hatred of Jews has no shortage of contemporary parallels, think of rockets being shot from the rubble of Gaza and Lebanon or Nazi Germany diverting resources from the front to transport and kill more Jews even as the war was being lost. Battered post war Russia plotting to wipe out its Jewish citizens at a time when the country needed to be rebuilt or Spain hounding the last of the Conversos and eliminating entire professions in order to hunt down anyone with Jewish blood.
Where the Egyptian lack of faith was manifested in a failure to believe in a G-d who punishes, as is the way of successful people, the Jews who had been oppressed and downtrodden, lacked faith in a G-d who brings good. As slaves they had no trouble relating to the idea of a G-d who punishes but had trouble believing in a G-d who provides for them, thus their complaints were focused on a lack of food and water.
Arrogance breeds a belief in immunity from punishment, oppression breeds a belief that punishment is only to be expected and a lack of belief in anything positive. Both represented opposite lacks of faith created by their mutual relationship. The Egyptians had grown used to having slaves and refused to accept that they weren't entitled to them. The Jews had grown used to having masters and refused to accept that G-d was a fundamentally different being than their Egyptian masters.
True understanding of G-d takes in the fact that he delivers both punishment and blessing, yet it is often easier to pick one or the other and practice dualism, to see G-d as a source of punishment or blessing exclusively, rather than both. By drowning the Egyptians in the same sea that he used to lead the Jews to safety, the unity of G-d was conveyed and yet not properly understood.
To this day if one looks at Israel, many Haredim are eager to believe that the 39 scud missiles that fell during the Gulf War were a punishment for violating Shabbat but few were willing to believe that the Six Day War and the Creation of Israel were a blessing from G-d. Vice versa, many "traditional" Jews are willing to believe that victories in wars are divine blessings but fewer are willing to believe that there are direct divine punishments too. Yet it is not one or the other, true understanding of G-d demands that it be both.
Friday, January 18, 2008
It's been a moderately short week yet an explosive one.
The Democratic and Republican races are both tangled up in confusion with two and four front runners respectively. Some Jews are getting excited over McCain's supposed plan to make Lieberman his VP. I find that to be a foolish mindset, as foolish as those planning to vote for Obama because he's black or for Hillary because she's a woman. You vote for the person or the policy, you don't vote for the race or religion. McCain is no more appealing to me simply because Lieberman is his V.P., nor would Lieberman as a Presidential candidate be any more appealing to me. As a matter of fact he would be less appealing to me. A certain amount of pride in the success of a fellow Jew, a fellow black man or a fellow woman is understandable, but not when it comes to voting who leads the country.
Meanwhile in Israel, Olmert is hanging on. Protests are going on over the Winograd Report as Israel bombs another empty building, a practice that began under Rabin, to appear tough. Shas has continued to keep its deal with the devil until the thin veil of claiming that Jerusalem will be given away last and only then will they supposedly quit. UTJ has a high asking price to join the government but if Olmert gives away Yerushalayim under a Haredi government, not all the Daf Yomi Shiurim in the world will be enough to wash away the blood they have so callously spilled with their greed.
The blood of their brothers cries out from the earth and they hear nothing but the clink of the shekel.
Front Page Magazine has some interesting articles this week including David Hornik's look at A Day in the Life of a Gaza-Belt Israeli Community that shows where the new frontier is the real cost of the Gaza Disengagement.
(Via Lemon Lime Moon) an interesting FPM article on the Putin-Osama connection, considering that Palestinian and modern Arab Marxist terrorism was born out of the halls of the KGB and the Soviet Ministries, this is not too far fetched, particularly when backed up by statements made by assassinated ex-KGB man Litvinenko, who one presumes knew enough to be worth killing in such a gruesome fashion.
Alexander Litvinenko revealed, in his articles and interviews included in the Allegations, that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB – one of whom, Aiman al Zawahiri, is bin Laden’s second-in-command.
As the former leader of the terrorist organisation Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al Zawahiri was on international lists of most wanted terrorists for many years. In 1997, he suddenly re-surfaced in Russia, where he undertook a special training course at a secret FSB base in Dagestan. After that, he was sent to Afghanistan, and joined Al Qaeda as bin Laden’s number two. Meanwhile, the FSB officers who had supervised him in Dagestan were promoted and re-assigned to Moscow. It was from them that Alexander learned about al Zawahiri.
These and other facts of FSB involvement in international terrorism, revealed by Alexander, have tremendous implications. Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror’. The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as ally, it secretly supports and manipulates the Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.
As Alexander writes: “It is possible to destroy the whole international terrorism tomorrow, along with Russian Mafia. All you need to do is disband the Russian special services.”
FP: What interests does Putin have in helping Al Qaeda and other jihadi terror groups?
Stroilov: To stir up trouble, in the world in general and in the Middle East in particular. The most obvious consequence of that are sky-high oil prices, which are both the source of KGB junta’s wealth and the salvation for their regime.
Meanwhile paralleling the previous story on Israel's crackdown on Blogger, word that Gulag aka Google turned over the IP address of a blogger to the authorities at Israel Matzav. Considering Yahoo and Google's actions in China, this is not too surprising but for those looking for an exit, I would strongly recommend using a company that does not do business in Israel if you're an Israeli, that doesn't do business in the UK if you're British, etc... Companies are motivated to cooperate with foreign countries primarily if they do business there. Worldwide companies like Google or Yahoo are the least secure in this regard.
On a common note, At My Flander Fields there's a post on the new law, which is a topic I'll be covering next week too along with definitions of extremism.
The measures of repression being passed by them are aimed at those ordinary and patriotic people of our Western countries who are expressing those freedoms which are traditional to all Free People.
The forces and methods described are not only those of persons or organizations in the USA. They are not practiced only in the UK. The application of those methods and ideas are not limited to Europe.
Layers of bureaucracy have been added within our systems in order to make sure that an appearance of legality has been retained for the public. The maze of administrative layers allow the leftists to deny that an agenda is being undertaken by them while giving an appearance of unbroken traditional legality. The layers absolve any one identifiable person of responsibility or of charges of malfeasance. Responsibility and accountability are instead replaced with a bureaucratic irrationality and plausible deniability. Spread throughout our societies is a tangled web of leftist visions administered by an elusive loosely organized centralized system.
It's a quite good description of the totalitarian nature of the modern bureaucratic system that stifles and criminalizes free speech in the name of human rights, which are somehow now incompatible with freedom.
Lemon Lime Moon meanwhile writes on the analogy between abuse victims and the state of Western society in response to the Jihad in Europe, America and National Madness
"Whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad" is how the saying goes and we can see it in the works today with nations of the West giving themselves over to their enemies to be raped and abused with not a whimper or a word. Bomb the west and get free education, welfare, foreign aid and a place to live away from your own abusive governments. Leave your sharia run situation , leave Mexico with its corruption and come take from the nations you hate. Live off them and abuse them while doing it. It is like a big, fat ,slovenly, abusive man sitting in his underwear while his timid little half dead wife brings him more pork rinds and beer to stuff down his greedy gullet.
The west has become like a half mad, abused woman, taking the beatings and standing up for her abuser when the law comes to call. Europe and America have even given themselves over to sleep with the enemy, giving every concession. Like the abused woman the west wrings it's hands in self deprecation and thinks, 'if only we were better people this would not be happening to us'. This is madness.
For those interested in the continuing implosion of the Ron Paul campaign, Eric Dondero at Libertarian Republican has all the coverage.
At Keli Ata, a note on how the AP wire services minimizes terrorist attacks against Israelis.
And at Mark Steyn via LGF, is an interesting story about what human rights investigators get up to.
Meanwhile for those following the case of the 7 imprisoned girls, my own reading of the non-english news suggests that contrary to english A7 reporters which people have picked up, they are not all being released after the police filed an appeal.