Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mark Warner and the moderate challenge to HIllary

It's not at all clear that the primary system as a way to pick presidents works.

Case in point: last year Democrats, unified in their burning hatred for President Bush, were determined to pick the candidate most likely to give W his walking papers.

The solution was: John Kerry-???? As Kerry began sweeping through the early primaries, Democratic friends asked me what I thought about Kerry's electability. The idea was that JFK's war record would make it possible to sell him to the American people as a candidate who would be strong on terror.

My answer was: no way. Five minutes with JFK's senate record and it was clear that Kerry was close to being Karl Rove's dream opponent. Kerry was not going be credible on terror anymore than Max Cleland was going to be able to carrz Georgia, and for the same reasons: a good war record won't wipe out a bad senate record when the issues are put before the voters.

Which is exactly what happened. Kerry got pounded by his vote against funding the troops, and his cuts in intelligence (the "Wolves" television ad)--not to mention the Swift Boat Veterans. The end of it was that exit polls showed that only two states in the union--TWO!--thought that Kerry could be trusted to handle terrorism: Massachusetts and Maryland.

Kerry was a disastrous pick in the middle of the war on terror, and yet Democratic primary voters picked him in large part for his strength on that issue.

Now Democrats, worried that Hillary is not electable, are looking to Mark Warner of Virginia.

Quick advice: don't. Apart from the fact that as governor of Virginia his defense credentials appear to be zero, he's exactly the wrong kind of Southern moderate: he's a tax hike waiting to happen. One of the key reasons why Ohio went for Bush was that Bush pushed his tax cuts over against Kerry's tax hike record.

The idea of the Democrats nominating a Southern moderate makes sense--although a swing state candidate from the midwest deserves some serious consideration. But the key problem for the Democrats is to find a candidate whom the country trusts to defend freedom in time of war. Barring some sudden changes in the current state of the War on Terror, Mark Warner is just Southern-fried roadkill for McCain, Giuliani, Condi Rice or any other GOP candidate with serious national security credentials.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

McCain vs Giuliani--the case for McCain

Patrick Ruffini is checking the political winds with his on-line poll. George Allen is in the lead with Rudy Giuliani in second. John McCain gets dusted.

But McCain does much better in real polls with a real public.

Here's the polling data:

Dec 2004--43----------45
Feb 2005--47----------49
Mar 2005--43----------44
Mar 2005--41----------47
Apr 2005--46----------47
Apr 2005--40----------42
Average margin=+2.3% Giuliani

Feb 2005--42----------54
Mar 2005--41----------43
Mar 2005--38----------49
Apr 2005--42----------50
Apr 2005--38----------45
Jun 2005--35----------54
Average margin=+9.8% McCain

In a nutshell--Giuliani is a northern GOP liberal, and he polls like one. He does not offer a clear, sharp contrast with Hillary, except on terrorism. He can still probably defeat any Democratic nominee. But he is a markedly weaker candidate than McCain.

McCain is almost perfectly designed to appeal to the Perot voters who deserted the GOP in 1992 and 1996 for Bill Clinton.

Is McCain a RINO? Well, I've had my share of critical things to say about McCain. But: A+ on the War on Terror. An A for his loyal support of the President. An A+ for his call to expand the military. He can re-unify the country on the War on Terror. That is no small point: the most serious casualty of the mismanaged occupation in Iraq has been the national unity that we had prior to the fall of Baghdad.

On judges: I've been critical. But the compromise has worked so far. His tough rhetoric is exactly what Frist should have supplied. More to the point, McCain is dead-solid on pro-life. The Federalism talk is pitch-perfect; pro-life, but in a way that doesn't sound extreme to moderates.

It will be interesting to see how things develop with Giuliani v McCain--but if forced to choose, right now it's McCain.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

President Clinton--TAKE THE OFFER!

I never personally met Chelsea Clinton--she was a star that circled quite outside my direct orbit when she was at Oxford. But I do remember the scene she caused when shortly after September 11th a group of idiots started an anti-war rally in Oxford--and Chelsea showed up with her Secret Service agents to heckle the opponents of the war in Afghanistan. Rumor had it that she had signed up for the CS Lewis Society, but she doesn't seem to have actually dropped by any meetings. But my red-meat Republican friends who met her all seemed to think that she was cool...despite the misfortune of her birth...

Now it turns out that a love-struck African official has offered President Clinton 40 goats and 20 cows for Chelsea's hand in marriage. Which is apparently a very generous offer by African standards.

Personally, my suggestion is that the President should accept the offer...he's sure not going to get that much from any American suitor.

UPDATE: Puzzled to hear that at least one of my readers thought the last sentence was a slap at Chelsea--nothing of the kind...just a wry comment on some American men...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A short primer on Islam

From London's Daily Telegraph:

1 The five pillars of Islam.
First: "There is no god but God. Mohammed is the messenger of God." Allah is the Arabic word for God. He is absolutely one, eternal, the Creator and Ruler. He is the Merciful. Ninety-nine names of God are to be found in the Koran.

Second: Prayer five times a day, at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall.

Third: Almsgiving (zakat).

Fourth: The fast of Ramadan. During this month no food or drink are taken during daylight hours.

Fifth: The pilgrimage to Mecca, the hajj.

2 Sunni Islam. About 90 per cent of Muslims. There is no ruling hierarchy. Learned men, the ulama, decide on the right way to behave. Relations with God are strictly unmediated - imams and saints are not seen as intercessors. Two thirds of Muslims in Britain are Sunnis from the Indian subcontinent.

3 Shi'ite Islam. About eight per cent of Muslims. Iran is dominated by Shi'ism. Since the killing of Hussein, the grandson of Mohammed, in 680, at the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq), the Shi'ites have lived a largely persecuted existence, and they see Hussein's death as part of a salvific penitential response to sin. They await the return of the Twelfth Imam in succession to Mohammed, who is expected as the Mahdi at the end of time to bring peace and healing to the world.

4 The Koran. This holy book was dictated by Mohammed. It is believed to be the uncreated word of God. So it may not be amended, and is studied in the original Arabic; translations are held to be paraphrases. The book in which it is written is treated with respect.

5 Mohammed (570-632). The last prophet sent by God. Some Muslims say "peace be upon him" after his name or write "pbuh" or "saaw", the initials for Arabic words meaning the same. Mohammed is a human being; worship is of God alone.

6 Sharia. "God has not revealed himself and his nature, but rather his law," it is said. The Arabic for this law is sharia. It derives from the Koran and the customs (sunnah) of the prophet Mohammed, as recorded in records of his behaviour, known as hadith. Early consensus on the law was known as ijma.

There are four strands of Sunni Islam loyal to the four schools of law, named after the figures credited with founding them: the Hanafis, the Hanbalis, the Malikis and the Shafi'is.

A set of punishments of great severity are known as hadud (singular hadd). These include stoning or lashing for unlawful sexual intercourse, lashing for drinking alcohol, and cutting off hands for theft. In practice these are not always imposed.

7 Mosques. These are places where the community pray. Those who enter should be ritually pure. There are no priests in Islam. A senior leads prayers. The people face the direction of Mecca. The imam, the cleric who leads prayers, delivers a sermon, at least on Fridays. This is the day for public worship, but work is not prohibited.

8 Mecca. The city where Mohammed was born. During the hajj, pilgrims walk round the Kabah, the cubic building rebuilt by Abraham, with a black stone built into one wall. The Kabah is covered with a black cloth out of reverence.

9 The hijab. A woman's enveloping dress. In Mohammed's time the word referred to the tent-divider behind which women would sit when men were present. The intention is modesty.

10 Jihad. The Arabic for struggle, its primary meaning is the interior struggle to do good and avoid evil. It also refers to war against enemies of Islam. Conditions for its use include authorisation by the leading Muslim scholar in a state. Noncombatants, women and children are not to be killed. The terrorism we see now has been devised by political followers of radical Islam whose religion derives from the Wahhabi puritans of Saudi Arabia.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Harry Potter leads the War on Terror!

IowaHawk has the following [edited!]:


Harry was tranfixed by the sight of Dumbledore, lying on the carpet of his office, as the mysterious shadowy figure loomed over his limp and lifeless body. He froze in terror, desperately holding his breath as not to attract the cackling killer's attention. His scar began to throb uncontrollably.

[A spectre] turned around slowly, removing the hood, revealing a pair of menacing reptilian yellow eyes that trained themselves straight at Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid.

"Voldemort!" screamed Harry -- half in fear, half in rage -- and quickly trained his wand at the Lord of Dark Magic.

"Ah... Mister Potter, my old nemesis. We meet again," he said with a sickly smile.

"You were the one who planted the bombs that killed all the muggles on Platform 9 3/4!" [said Harry.]

"One and the same, dear boy."

"You were the one who caused our own owls to crash into Gryffindor Tower!"

"How very perceptive of you, Harry."

"You were the one who killed the entire Hufflepuff Quiddich team! The one who strapped dynamite on the Dementors! The one who filed that class action suit to release the Azkaban detainees!"

Voldemort sneered with an air of irritation. "No matter. I have grown weary of our conversation, Harry, and I am pleased to say it will be our last. Prepare to meet your doom."

Voldemort's eye's glowered and narrowed as he raised his crooked wand. The four friends prepared for the inevitable, then... the Dark Lord suddenly hunched, doubled over, and collapsed with a high pitched wheeze on the carpet.

"I'm afraid your dark magic is no match for a good swift British kick in the nuts," said Professor Dumbledore, leaping up and brushing himself off.

"Oh Professor, thank goodness you're alive!" cried Hermione.

"No time for that now, Hermione! Quickly, Harry, use the banishment spell I taught you! Quickly, before he gets back up!"

"No, sir," said Harry quietly.

"What... what do you mean, Harry?" asked Dumbledore, dumbfounded.

"I mean sir, maybe the Dark Lord and Professor Galloway and the Al-Dementor insurgents have a point. I mean -- we obviously have made them angry, what with all their bombs and soul-eatings and dismemberment spells. Maybe we have oppressed the dark magicians. Maybe the Sorting Hat does unfairly discriminate against Dementor students. Maybe the Muggles have stolen their lands. Maybe knee-jerk retaliation against Voldemort is exactly the sort of thing that will cause them to react with more and more spells."

Dumbledore looked at Harry in silence.

"And so maybe, Professor, just maybe... we should sit down with Voldemort and Professor Galloway to talk about how we can end all this sensless bombing and spell-casting, and start a real dialog between us and the Dark Arts community, and build real diversity and understanding here at Hogwarts."

"Now you're finally talking sense, my boy," gasped Voldemort, painfully rising to his knees.



Ron and Hermione panted in unison as they hopped on the Hogwarts Express and found an empty seat next to a laughing throng of second-years. The engine huffed slowly to life, and the train commenced its annual journey back to London.

"I have to say that was the most exciting year yet for Gryffindor," said Hermione. "Winning the House Cup again, Beckham on the Quiddich team, plus all of the explosions and deaths!"

"Yeah," said Ron. "But I'm a bit worried about next year. I ain't quite used to the idea of Voldemort as Headmaster, let alone the new Dementor House."

"Don't be such a stick in the mud Ron," said Hermione frowning. "We'll make loads of new friends and have brilliant adventures. And I can't wait to take that new Appeasement Against the Dark Arts from Professor Been."

"I s'pose," said Ron, opening a bag of Bertie Bott's. "But I'm really gonna miss some of the old crowd, like Dumbledore and the old house ghosts."

"Oh posh," said Hermione. "Look at it this way, Ron: Hogwarts might have lost Nearly-Headless Nick, but now we've gained Completely Headless Harry."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Terrorism in London--Round 2

The return of terrorism to London yesterday Thursday exactly two weeks after 7/7 suggests that this is going to be a long battle for Britain. Two teams of terrorists, two weeks apart, each using 3 subway bombs and 1 bus bomb. This suggests a co-ordinated plan to attack London over an extended period of time until Britain capitulates.

Running propaganda for the terrorists will be the BBC, which will not use the term terrorist in their broadcasts; and the Guardian, whose pro-appeasement propaganda is linked to elsewhere on this blog.

Hero of the day is John Howard, PM of Australia, who knows how to speak the truth in times of crisis:

[1] Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

[2]And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

[3]Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

[4]When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

[5]When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

If anyone doubts that Howard is correct, one might check the Counterrorism Blog:
The Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC)--a known Al-Qaida affiliate group active in North Africa--has released a statement applauding the 7/7 suicide bomb attacks in London and calling for additional parallel terrorist operations. According to the document released on July 19:

During the days following the London attacks, many people appeared on various Internet sites and forums started screaming, shouting and condemning what happened while blaming the Muslims…As long as Britain remains in a state of hatred and disbelief, then terrorizing it is a duty because it has appropriated the responsibility of fighting and wounding the Muslims and stealing their natural resources. Also, it supports America, the Jews, the Arab oppressors, and everyone else who is fighting against Islam in the new crusader war against so-called terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and against the mujahideen everywhere... It is incorrect to claim that [British] civilians are innocents since most of the men and women are considered combatants by Islamic law because general public surveys have shown that the majority of the British people support Tony Blair in his war against the Muslims and mujahideen.

Regarding the children and women, while children are indeed innocent civilians and should not be deliberately killed if they are recognized by the attacker as children; however, if it is difficult to distinguish children from other people surrounding them (i.e. in a group of people) then killing them is permitted...Islam has ordered us to terrorize our enemies and whoever denies that is an infidel himself. Terrorizing our infidel enemies is a legal obligation. Whoever says that Islam is not related to terrorism has committed an infidel act--terror comes from Islam.

Notice how exactly Al-Qaeda itself agrees with Howard: 1) They agree that the invasion of Afghanistan is part of why they want to bomb London. 2) They rebuke the BBC: they proudly call themselves terrorists, and insist that any Muslim who does not endorse terrorism is an infidel.

I close with this from former CIA Marc Ruel Gerecht:

Yet if one compares the number of Muslim volunteers who went to fight the Soviets (and let us assume that no more than 10,000 went, most of them after 1984, even though many analysts think the number of "Arab Afghans" was much higher) with the highest figures one hears for foreign holy warriors in Iraq (one to two hundred entering Iraq each month), the result is astonishing, and for would-be jihadists depressing. Traveling to Iraq from anywhere in the Arab world is easy. Language isn't a problem. Iraqi Sunni Arab fundamentalist groups are much better plugged into the larger Arab Sunni world than were their Afghan Islamist counterparts in the 1980s. The Syrian government, and probably others in the region, would love to help all comers. We should have seen by now thousands of holy warriors coming to Iraq. Suicide bombers have clouded our accounting by magnifying the individual commitment of each jihadist and the damage he can do.

We can only guess why Iraq has been so much less of a draw than Afghanistan. A reasonable guess, however, is that the Muslim, and especially Arab, world doesn't have its heart in this fight. Although Sunni Arabs rarely rose to denounce Saddam Hussein's slaughtering of Arab Shiites and Kurds, they knew full well the horrors of his rule. Although many are loath to say so publicly, they know the American invasion of Iraq and George W. Bush's rhetoric in favor of democracy have shaken the established order in the Arab world, and they are content to see it so.

W has sounded the trumpet for democracy--and the spectacularly inept bombers of yesterday's London strikes are not going to stop him.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Roberts: the next Souter...or the next Clarence Thomas

Conservatives are circulating not unreasonable fears that John Roberts will prove to be the next David Souter.

The counter-argument from Beldar is that Roberts is more likely the next Clarence Thomas. The key point is that Souter was an unknown in Washington with only John Sununu to vouch for him. By contrast Roberts--like Clarence Thomas--has a long track record of work for the Reagan Administration and within DC conservative legal circles. If he is not a true-Reagan-blue conservative, then he's been fooling a lot of people for a long time.

A further contrast was that Souter was a confirmed New England batchelor---Roberts is married to the former executive director of Feminists for Life. If Roberts has an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade and doesn't take it, he might come home to find that all the locks on the house have been changed....

Nonetheless, the point raised by conservative worry-warts is reasonable--this guy is not on-the-record to reverse Roe v. Wade.

It means nothing that Roberts wrote briefs arguing for the repeal of Roe v. Wade when he worked for Republican administrations. He was arguing on behalf of his client, the United States of America. Roberts has specifically disassociated himself from those cases, dropping a footnote to a 1994 law review article that said:

"In the interest of full disclosure, the author would like to point out that as Deputy Solicitor General for a portion of the 1992-'93 term, he was involved in many of the cases discussed below. In the interest of even fuller disclosure, he would also like to point out that his views as a commentator on those cases do not necessarily reflect his views as an advocate for his former client, the United States."

This is very shrewd politics for someone hoping to be a future Supreme Court Justice--by not affirming outright that he believes his briefs for Reagan Justice Department, he leaves a loophole for liberals; by not denying outright that he believes his briefs (and it's hard to imagine that he doesn't personally believe most of it or he wouldn't have worked there in the first place), he leaves a loophole for conservatives.

The end result is: Vague rhetoric about strict construction is not good enough: GOP presidential candidates should be asked point-blank to commit to choosing justices who will reverse Roe v. Wade.

McCain--the GOP's most famous moderate--has been willing to do that. Voters in Iowa, NH, and elsewhere need to press GOP presidential hopefuls to do the same.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Oxford to Muenster....and the next justice of the Supreme Court

Have been in transit from Oxford, England to Muenster, Germany...trying to do some finishing research on ancient papyri--which means I missed the announcement last night of Roberts to the US Supreme Court.

1) The nomination really looks absolutely bullet-proof. Unless there is something everbody in Washington (and five FBI background checks) has missed, there is no way he can effectively be filibustered or defeated.
2) The NY Times fears that he will overturn Roe v. Wade: The abortion-rights organization Naral immediately came out against the nomination. "If Roberts is confirmed to a lifetime appointment, there is little doubt that he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade," the organization said, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman's right to abortion. I hope this is the case.
3) The key point is that Roberts argued for exactly this as a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department. His out is that he can reasonably tell the US Senate that his job was to advocate for his client--hence his briefs represent the opinions of the Reagan Justice Department, not his own personal opinions.
4) No doubt this is correct--but his colleagues from Reagan Justice surely know what he really thinks about this, and presumably that is part of how he got his job. The other person who surely knows his personal views is wife--who happens to be executive director of Feminists for Life. Hmm--what are the chances that he and she have diametrically opposed views on this? Hugh Hewitt writes: "Judge Roberts and I were colleagues in the White House Counsel's Office in 1985/1986." When HH describes the nomination as "home run"--would he have done that if he thought Roberts would uphold Roe v. Wade?
5) The uncertainty about this is in part due to the way pro-lifers handled the 2000 nomination. McCain and Bush were both pressed to answer point blank whether they would nominate pro-life justices; McCain said yes, Bush said no: he would promised to appoint strict constructionists, but not pro-lifers. If McCain had been the GOP nominee in 2000, the situation would be quite different.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

CS Lewis , Yeats, and great poetry

CS Lewis--I think in his book, The Personal Heresy--once remarked that what he objected to in modern poetry was the glorification of sentiments that had only a limited place in the emotional life of a mature, corrected man. Consider this from Ace of Spades:

Words To Consider

With the world tearing itself apart, and the nasty partisanship even turning American on American, I always remember my dad reading me Yeats:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

"Son," he told me, closing the well dog-eared tome of poetry, "what I read you right there is what we call [baloney], and if I ever hear you talking that kind of [silly] let's-just-get-along loser-talk I will take you out to the shed and split your [silly] head wide-open sideways. Now go out there and win, win, win, you stupid [cry-baby] pansy!"

[]=edited by GrenfellHunt in accordance with the Richard Nixon Republican Dictionary.

Friday, July 15, 2005

NYTimes: Defending America

The gang over at Oxblog alerted me to the NY Times editorial on US defense: The Times called for a 100,000 man increase in the US Army.

Oxblog writes: WOW. THIS NYT EDITORIAL ACTUALLY IMPRESSED ME: Even an inveterate critic such as myself considers the NYT, as a newspaper and a cultural institution, to be impressive. But almost never would I say that about its endlessly recycled anti-Bush editorials. Yet today, I am impressed.

Oxblog concludes: the Times seems to understand that no matter how much value there is to be had from international cooperation and from the forthright consideration of America's numerous flaws, the successful waging of the war on terror must rest on a foundation of incomparable military power.

It looks very impresssive indeed...until you read how the editors think we should pay for this:
To pay for expanding the Army, the Pentagon should trim the Navy by at least one carrier group and the Air Force by two flight wings. Additional savings can be realized by further scaling back the Air Force's F/A-22 stealth fighter and the Navy's DD(X) destroyer, deferring further construction of Virginia-class attack submarines and acknowledging that ballistic missile defense is not ready to graduate from research to early deployment.

In other words, this is not a call to an overall strengthening of America's military power: it's a call to slash Navy and the Air Force, and redistribute resources to the Army.

No way. The increase in the strength in the Army and Marines makes sense. A bi-partisan group--including neoconservatives at the Weekly Standard--recently called for an increase in the Army and the Marine Corps of 25,000 troops per year over the next several years.

There is no justification for getting stingy on defense. Here are the figures from OMB:

Year---Deficit GDP--Defence GDP


2005---4.8---------3.8 (estimates)
2006---4.3---------3.5 (estimates)

The above charts are crystal-clear. As a percentage of GDP, the deficits run to finance the War on Terror (3-5%) are running far below World War II (7-30%) and substantially below the Reagan budgets at the height of the Cold War (5-6%). Similarly, the spending on defense as a percentage of GDP for the War on Terror (under 4%!) is running far below the figures in World War II (17-37%) or during the Reagan period at the height of the Cold War (6%).

Never before has America spent so little on defense in a time of national danger.

Gang--this is ridiculous. If we want to keep the freedom given to us by our parents we had better be prepared to make the financial sacrifices they made to defend our liberty.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why soldiers are smarter than Journalists II

Unless, of course, the journalist is a soldier himself. Ralph Peters, essential reading as always, lays it on the line.

Why soldiers are smarter than journalists

The appeasement chorus sings again over at the Guardian.

Rather than a point by point critique, read Faces from the Front, a brilliant military blog that is vastly more sophisticated in its analysis of the war than anything you'll find printed at the NY Times or the Guardian.

This post explains the war on terror from with the Islamic terrorist mindset--why it didn't begin with Iraq/Afghanistan and why appeasement won't work.

This post explains how the terrorists manipulate the western press in the hopes of achieving victory.

This post is a scorching critique of the disgraceful attempt of some Democrats to score political advantage by co-operating with the terrorists.

Gryffindor RULES!

A very silly individual over at the Ivy Bush claims: "Gryffindors don't read blogs. They volunteer to go to Iraq. Or go somewhere with Christian Peacemaker Teams. Slytherins read Hugh Hewitt." The work of a true Ravenclaw--or a Slytherian masquerading as one?

Hugh, naturally, is himself a Gryffindor.

And here at President Aristotle, we were years ago duly sorted into Gryffindor--where we read Aristotle, Aquinas, medieval scholastics, Harry Potter, and Hugh no particular order.

Clearly, our wounded honour must be avenged.

Our wand is drawn.

Duel at dawn, Ivy Bush?

Why Americans are like Golden Retrievers

An English friend of mine once remarked: "Americans are like big, friendly puppy dogs that always want to run into the room, jump up and lick you on the face. Sometimes its very appealing and sometimes its very annoying."

So perhaps its not surprising that the AKC has retrievers (labs and goldens) as their top dog for the umpteenth time running. I absolutely refuse to believe reports that poodles were ever America's most popular dog--someone has clearly somewhere mixed up statistics from France.

Meanwhile, here is a statistic from the same article: Since 1971, the average size of an American home has risen 55 percent, to 2,320 square feet.

You really notice the contrast in Europe, where houses are sizes of matchboxes. The social-democratic model, so beloved by Europeans, has simply been a disaster in terms of economic development: if Gerhard Schroeder were as dumb as George Bush, he might be able to cut his unemployment rate in half.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Terrorism in the hands of Justice

This is a new hit Iraq reality-TV show--where terrorists have to face reality.

From the WP.

Camera Iraq (just scroll down!)

Iraq Media Development with an article from the Guardian

Question: what do we have to do to get this shown on Western TV?

Two great sites

I noted below that there is excellent evidence linking Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. But see Deroy Murdock's classic site on this.

Michael Yon is reporting from Iraq, and it is classic stuff. If the mainstream press were this good, they would actually be worth reading. And if you have any doubts about our mission in Iraq, well, give it a read.

And what do we have to do to get Iraq TV's "Terrorism in the hands of Justice" broadcast here? (scroll on down at Michael Yon).

Baghdad suicide bombs down by 50%--what the NYTimes won't report

From Strategy Page: July 10, 2005: For the forth time in a month, a mixed battalion of American and Iraqi troops conducted raids on terrorist hideouts in western Iraq. These raids, and the ongoing (since May) operations in Baghdad, have cut the number of suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad in half. Over a thousand terrorist suspects have been arrested, and several hundred killed or wounded when they resisted with force. Increased cooperation from Sunni Arabs in western Iraq, and in Baghdad, is resulting in more suicide bombers getting caught, and bomb workshops, and cars rigged with explosives, getting seized. The American plan is to continue with these operations, using more and more Iraqi troops and police, until the terrorists are worn down to practically nothing. The number of police and troops increases each week. By the end of the Summer, the government expects to see a downward trend in terrorist violence.

The price of appeasement

8 years of Ronald Reagan led to...the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
8 years of Bill Clinton led to.........September 11th.

4 years of Jimmy Carter led to.....the fall of the Shah and the rise of terrorist Iran.
8 years of Ronald Reagan led to...the fall of Communism and the rise of democracy in eastern Europe.
8 years of Bill Clinton led to.........the rise of Al-Qaeda.
5 years of George Bush led to......democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon.

The truth about CIA agents

From the Media Blog:

CIA "officers" are not the same as CIA "agents", but surprisingly few in the media get the terminology right.

A CIA "officer" or "analyst" is an American who works for the CIA.

A CIA "agent" is a foreign citizen who is spying for the CIA.

Former CIA counterintelligence chief Jim Olson, when I took his class, told me that CIA officials hate it when media people get this wrong, so I thought I'd pass it on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Nuclear terrorism and the Guardian: "Invasion reduced the Threat of Terror"

When the Guardian is bad, it's awful; but when it's good, it's very good indeed.

Here's the point: imagine what would have happened if the London bombers had detonated in the subway any of the 1.77 metric tons of uranium that Operation Iraqi Freedom removed from Iraq.

Here the Guardian prints a devastating response to the cut-and-run chorus:

Would 7/7 have happened, and would it have been more or less deadly, if we had not liberated Afghanistan and Iraq? Should our policy be changed now? Is it time to run and hide?

The invasion of Afghanistan significantly reduced the capability of the old al-Qaida by removing the only regime it controlled. The invasion of Iraq acted as a deterrent to states that were nurturing a new generation of loosely affiliated "network terrorists".

Syria and Iran have been energetic sponsors of terror networks - as David Bryman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who served on the staff of the 9/11 commission, proves in Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism; and the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq made them pause to think about what they might gain and lose by continuing to be state sponsors of terror.

Other knock-on effects of the operations were a change of policy in Libya, free elections in Lebanon and the territory governed by the Palestinian Authority, and even limited voting in Saudi Arabia. The destruction of the al-Qaida camps and the attacks on assets and freedom of movement of leading terrorists downgraded their capacity to launch another attack like 9/11.

This did not remove their ability to attack in other ways, as Madrid and Bali showed, and would not stop a cell assembling in a country to perpetrate a single attack, as might be the case here. Some form of attack on London was inevitable, but imagine the kind of attack that al-Qaida could have mounted if it had retained its pre-9/11 links to, or control of, states.
[Boldface mine]

Exactly. Imagine the kind of attack that could have been mounted, if Saddam Hussein had extended access to his uranium supplies to Al Qaeda's Zarqawi, who was in Iraq and whom Hussein was cooperating with as part of his war against the Kurds. (I will not here press the point that it is simply not true to claim that the 9/11 Commission found no links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. See the devastating interview with Christopher Hitchens and then the Anchoress).

In July of 2004, the US government announced that it had brought back from Iraq 1.77 metric tons of uranium.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have completed a joint operation to secure and remove from Iraq radiological and nuclear materials that could potentially be used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program.

“This operation was a major achievement for the Bush Administration’s goal to keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists,” Secretary Abraham said. “It also puts this material out of reach for countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons.”

Twenty experts from DOE’s national laboratory complex packaged 1.77 metric tons of low-enriched uranium and roughly 1000 highly radioactive sources from the former Iraq nuclear research facility.

Those 1.77 metric tons of uranium are 1.77 tons of reasons why the war in Iraq was right, necessary, and a safeguard of democracy.

For those who need help imagining what nuclear terrorism would look like in the US, try this. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Karl Rove and the CIA: slanting the story at the NY Times

Only days after a major terrorist attack, the NY Times is focussed on its real enemy: George W. Bush.

The plan of attack is to focus on Karl Rove, and to minimize the reporting on the war on terror.

The spin is to ignore the basic fact that anyone in Washington knows: it's not a secret if you work at the CIA.

If you ask a government employee in the DC area what they do, if they work for the CIA, they'll nearly always tell you straight up--they're legally authorized to do so.

That's how you identify the NSA people--they're not allowed to tell you: they can't say more than that they work for the Defense Department. And of course when you then find out they work near Fort George G. Meade, Maryland (home of NSA headquarters), you know exactly what they do for a living.

Now covert ops in the CIA is obviously different. But to prove that Karl Rove broke the law, you would have to prove that a) Rove knew that she was covert ops; b) he deliberately revealed this to someone.

Based on the e-mail message, Mr. Rove's disclosures are not criminal, said Bruce S. Sanford, a Washington lawyer who helped write the law and submitted a brief on behalf of several news organizations concerning it to the appeals court hearing the case of Mr. Cooper and Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times. Ms. Miller has gone to jail rather than disclose her source.

"It is clear that Karl Rove's conversation with Matt Cooper does not fall into that category" of criminal conduct, Mr. Sanford said. "That's not 'knowing.' It doesn't even come close."

There has been some dispute, moreover, about just how secret a secret agent Ms. Wilson was.

"She had a desk job in Langley," said Ms. Toensing, who also signed the supporting brief in the appeals court, referring to the C.I.A.'s headquarters. "When you want someone in deep cover, they don't go back and forth to Langley."

The NY Times buries these paragraphs as the lines on the third page of the story.

The Dawn Patrol: Winning the pro-life war

The Dawn Patrol goes after NARAL protesting a pro-life clinic.

The reason they're protesting is that the pro-abortion people are losing. What's turned the tide are ultrasound machines. When young women actually get an ultrasound, Dawn points out, about 90% choose to have the baby.

Real science is pro-life.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Dawn Patrol to take on NARAL

Not, of course, for the first time!

I sent Dawn an e-mail about the Screw Abstinence slogan of the NARAL--and am delighted to hear she is going to put up a post on it. Dawn is simply irreplaceable: if you can imagine St Augustine as a nice Jewish girl from New York--or especially if you can't!--please do make The Dawn Patrol regular reading.

CS Lewis' critique of Roman Catholicism

John Miller over at National Review has stirred up a little discussion with his suggestion that in the Narnia tales, the ugly ape Shift is intended as a type of the Catholic Church:"I find it hard to see the ape Shift in The Last Battle, for example, as anything other than a satire of Roman Catholicism in general and the papacy in particular."

Miller then notes the objections of a reader:
In my Friday article on Narnia, I suggested that C.S. Lewis--in his depiction of the ape Shift, a character in The Last Battle--intended to satirize Roman Catholicism. A distinguished emailer replies:
"Shift is a too-clever-for-his-own good atheist who despises & cynically manipulates the Narnians who believe in Aslan (read Christians) & allies himself with the Calormenes (read Muslims) and eventually gets carried off--presumably to Hell--by their demon-god Tash (read Allah). I wouldn't be at all surprised if some French politician ended up this way, but I don't see that it has anything to do w/ the pope."

In defense, I will simply quote from A.N. Wilson's biography of C.S. Lewis:
"The Ape's pretense that the people can only speak to Aslan through him reflects the Ulster author's view of the papacy. 'I'm a Man. If I look like an Ape, that's because I'm so very old: hundreds and hundreds of years old. And it's because I'm so old that I'm so wise. And it's because I'm so wise that I'm the only one Aslan is ever going to speak to. ... He'll tell me what to do and I'll tell the rest of you.'

I find Wilson's interpretation persuasive. As a Roman Catholic myself, I don't exactly like it. But I do believe that's the effect Lewis was going for.

I side with Miller here: in fact, I offered just this interpretation of Narnia in a paper I gave to the Oxford CS Lewis Society back in Trinity of 2000.

I noted that Lewis had already begun his critique of Rome in The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933): The character Neo-Angular is a slap at T.S. Eliot and Anglo-Catholicism--the bishops as a barrier to a personal knowledge of Christ: “So you have met Mother Kirk [the Church]? No wonder you are confused. You had no business to talk to her except through a qualified Steward [bishop]. Depend on it, you have misunderstood every word she said.”

I then noted that the Ape in The Last Battle corresponds to standard Protestant mythology about Rome basically from the time of the Reformation on. The parallels here are clear:

1) Proclaims itself the sole interpreter of Aslan; cf. Newman, Vatican II.
2) Proclaims itself to be a Man, not an Ape; cf. Catholic doctrine of development; Newman, Vatican II.
3) The very name: Shift—picks up the two themes of shiftiness (deception) and development (change/shift).
4) The ape serves as a forerunner of the Anti-Christ, and begins the Last Days of Narnia.
5) The motif of the ape's ugliness and wrinkles is probably related to the Church of England's The Book of Homilies: "Which the idolatrous Church [of Rome] understandeth well enough. For she being indeed not only an harlot (as the Scripture calleth her), but also a foul, filthy, old withered harlot (for she is indeed of ancient years) and understanding her lack of natural and true beauty, and great loathsomeness which of herself she hath, doth (after the custom of such harlots) paint herself, and deck and tire herself with gold, pearl, stone, and all kind of precious jewels, that she, shining with the outward beauty and glory of them, may please the foolish phantasy of fond lovers, and so entice them to spiritual fornication with her; who, if they saw her (I will not say naked) but in simple apparel, would abhor her, as the foulest and filthiest harlot that ever was seen: according as appeareth by the description of the garnishing of the great strumpet of all strumpets, ‘the mother of whoredom,’ set forth by St. John in his Revelation" (Homily of the Peril of Idolatry, Part Third). [boldface mine]
6) Puzzle the Donkey is rebuked for following the Ape, rather than personal reason—a good parallel to the traditional clash of Roman authority and Protestant private conscience.

Nonetheless, the Last Battle is with Tash, not the followers of the ape. There is some reason to suggest that Lewis hoped for a return to a (purified!) Roman Church. In the end, Peter rules as the “High King” of Narnia under Aslan—the name is not likely to be coincidental: Rome as the chair of Peter. The use of the name English Edmund as a King of Narnia under Peter as High King possibly indicates hopes for a restoration of relations between Canterbury and Rome--with Rome reduced to primus inter pares (first among equals), a traditional (moderate) Anglican view of Rome.

Go Before the Throne

Will join La Shawn Barber and friends today on the feast of St Benedict in prayer.

Peace and grace...

Winning the War on Terror: a post-7/7 review of Hugh Hewitt's Blog

In the aftermath of a terrorist attack at least two emotions are common: anger and helplessness, a feeling that there is nothing personally one can do about terrorism.

Here's a partial solution: read Hugh Hewitt's Blog, and get to work.

Blog: understanding the information reformation that's changing your world (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005) is built on a Reformation paradigm: HH likens the rise of weblogs to the rise of the printing press in the late fifteenth century--with the subsequent effect on the Reformation and northern Europe's revolt against Rome.

The model has some valuable merits: it rightly appreciates the essential role of information flow in determing how humans act. For Aristotle, it is of the essence of man that he is a rational animal--but what we think is reasonable depends crucially on the information we have about our surrounding environment. We went to war against Al Qaeda because we thought Al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center building--if we had thought it was domestic terrorism such as Oklahoma City, we would have done something else.

It follows from this that one of the most important factors in human societies is who controls the information flow. For the last generation, most Americans have gotten most of their information about public life from three television networks based in New York: ABC, CBS, NBC. These networks have been staffed by reporters 85% of whom have never voted for a Republican for president (according to various surveys). The result has been a hard-left monopoly on the information flow in much of America's public debate.

There is no question that this has frequently had decisive consequences for American foreign policy. The Tet offensive of 1968 was a crushing victory for American forces that crippled enemy action in South Vietnam for years. But when CBS presented this to the American people as a defeat, the American will to win was badly maimed, and led eventually to American defeat.

The thesis of Blog is that the rise of weblogs has created a postmodern information system that allows free citizens to subvert the narratives established by the mainstream press. Part I of Blog retells some of the key stories: the fall of Trent Lott, the scandal of a journalist at the New York Times, the Swiftboat Veterans and the defeat of John Kerry--and most humiliatingly, the erasure of Dan Rather's credibility in the forged documents attack on George W. Bush. Part II is about the decline of the audience for the major networks, decline in circulation for major newspapers, and the corresponding rise in new on-line information sources: principally weblogs. Part III focusses on constructive suggestions for starting weblogs and making them work. All this takes up about 150 pages, then followed by various appendices--all told, a short read, and designed to be a short read: HH emphasizes the importance of speed in modern communications.

If HH likens the rise of weblogs to the Reformation, another analogy in the present period might well be the Committees of Correspondence that were organized in America starting in 1764. The Committees were the nerve center for the network of patriots that organized against the British, and kept the public informed of the nature and need for the revolution. Without the Committees of Correspondence there would have been no Revolution and no American Republic.

Today, victory in the war on terror depends upon an informed and well-connected citizenry that can mobilize information and public opinion to defeat global terrorism. War--according to Clausewitz--is not fundamentally about killing the enemy but about breaking his will to resist. The weblogs are essential to the information flow necessary to win the war on terror and energize the national will.

This role cannot be played by a mainstream press led by reporters who know little or nothing about war, don't speak Arabic, don't understand Islamic culture, and simply aren't qualified to cover the important events of the war. The alternative is the network of weblogs:

1. Strategy Page is probably the single best source of information for regular updates on the war in Iraq--written by military experts in close touch with the front lines, it is vastly superior to anything being written for the NY Times or any of the leading networks.

2. Numerous Iraqi citizens have weblogs in English that tell the truth about Iraq which the western press won't face and doesn't understand. Start with Iraq the Model and go from there.

3. Numerous US soldiers are also blogging from the front lines--and they'll be first to tell you that the press isn't getting the story right. The Mudville Gazette is Grand Central Station for milblogs.

4. Essential writing on strategy and the war on terror can be found at former Pentagon strategist Thomas Barnett. See also Iraq veteran Colonel Austin Bay. Terrorism experts have organized The Counterterrorism Blog.

5. Accurate information on the Middle East is all but impossible to get out of the mainstream press. MEMRI offers direct translations of key Arabic media--with a story that doesn't show up in the English-speaking press. The Foundation for the Defence of Democracies led by former CIA director James Woolsey is invaluable for the global defense of democracy. Arthur Chrenkoff regularly rounds up evidence in the war on terror that the mainstream press omits.

6. LaShawn Barber and Michelle Malkin have been sounding the alarm on border security (and see the Counterterrorism Blog on this as well!).

Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.

I ask ...for your patience in what will be a long struggle.

The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.
--George W. Bush/20 September 2001.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

How to tell the truth about Iraq--the pleasant (if partial) exception of the Post

Yes--that Washington Post.

While the NYT indulges in its disreputable jihad to blame 7/7 on the War in Iraq, the Washington Post puts truth first.

Point 1: Osama bin Laden opened a political and media office here [in London] as far back as 1994; it closed four years later when his local lieutenant, Khalid Fawwaz, was arrested for aiding al Qaeda's attack on two U.S. embassies in Africa. So: nearly a decade before the NYT claims that London's mullahs turned against Britain over the war in Iraq, Osama bin Laden already had an office in the city.

Point 2: Evidence shows at least a supporting connection to London groups or individuals in many of the al Qaeda-related attacks of the past seven years. Among them are [1] the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania; [2] the assassination of Afghan militia leader Ahmed Shah Massoud on Sept. 9, 2001; [3]outer rings of the Sept. 11 conspiracy, involving Moussaoui and the surveillance of financial targets in Washington and New York; [4] Reid's attempted shoe bomb attack in December 2001; and [5] the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Five terrorist plots linked to London Muslims--and all before the war in Iraq.

Point 3: On June 15, 2002, at an Islamic community center in Milan, Italy, a cleric with alleged ties to al Qaeda was overheard in conversation with an Arab from Germany, according to a transcript of the wiretap later published in Italy. The Arab spoke of his 10-person cell in Germany and the group's "interest" in Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, Egypt, Italy and France. "But the nerve center is still London," he reported.

Point 4: Al Qaeda's operatives continued to operate in Britain even after the closing of the London Al Qaeda office: Anas Liby, one of bin Laden's computer experts, had continued to live in the northern England city of Manchester...On May 10, 2000, the British police raided Liby's apartment...Left behind on his computer was an al Qaeda training manual that spelled out the organization's tradecraft in 180 pages of chilling detail -- down to the art of killing with "cold steel"

Point 5: bin Laden made clear in a speech not long after the raid why history made the country an implacable enemy. "The British are responsible for destroying the caliphate system. They are the ones who created the Palestinian problem. They are the ones who created the Kashmiri problem. They are the ones who put the arms embargo on the Muslims of Bosnia so that 2 million Muslims were killed. They are the ones who are starving the Iraqi children. And they are continuously dropping bombs on these innocent Iraqi children." So according to Al Qaeda itself, hatred for Britain long pre-dates the war in Iraq. And Al Qaeda use of Iraq as a pretext for terrorism pre-dates the war: the West's economic sanctions against Iraq were used by Al Qaeda as a recruiting tool.

So Iraq was a recruiting point for Al Qaeda before the war (economic sanctions); it remains a recruiting point for Al Qaeda today (the new democracy).

Point 6: For al Qaeda and its affiliates, the British capital has been considered an indispensable communications center. "They looked on London as the premier place for propaganda in the Western world," said Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA's special bin Laden unit in the mid-1990s...Just a few months after Sept. 11, bin Laden's chief deputy, Egyptian doctor Ayman Zawahiri, published from hiding a lengthy memoir-cum-holy war-treatise, "Knights Under the Prophet's Banner," as a 12-part series in the London newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. So London Arabic newspapers were printing Al Qaeda recruiting propaganda even before the war in Iraq.

But perhaps I've been too easy on the Washington Post: Today, several recent cases suggest the seeding of a new generation of British residents who traveled as volunteers to fight with the insurgency in Iraq.

The Post article neglects to cite a single one.

Nor does it show any net upsurge as a result of Iraq that even begins to balance the long line of pre-Iraq terrorism incidents mentioned earlier in the article.

How the Press lies About Iraq II--the case of the New York Times

Here from the morning's New York Times:

For years, there was a widely held belief that Britain's tolerance helped stave off any Islamic attacks at home. But the anger of London's militant clerics turned on Britain after it offered unwavering support for the American-led invasion of Iraq.

So: now the Times is into the blame-Iraq strategy. Where is the evidence that the pro-terrorist clerics of London needed the war in Iraq to turn them against Britain?

There is none.

And in fact, the evidence in the article indicates just the opposite:

Counterterrorism officials estimate that 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims living in Britain are supporters of Al Qaeda. Among that number, officials believe that as many as 600 men were trained in camps connected with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

So by the admission of the NYT itself: as many as 600 British Muslims had trained with Al Qaeda abroad even before September 11th.

No, the mullahs of Britain did not suddenly turn against Britain after September 11th--they'd been that way for a long time.

When the NYT suspends for a moment its pro-appeasement rhetoric, and lets the mullahs speak for themselves, the illusion is lifted:

Imran Waheed, a spokesman for a radical British-based group, Hizb ut Tahrir, which is allowed to function here but is banned in Germany and much of the Muslim world, said: "When Westerners get killed, the world cries. But if Muslims get killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, it's the smallest of news. I will condemn what happened in London only after there is the promise from Western leaders to condemn what they have done in Falluja and other parts of Iraq and in Afghanistan."

And in Afghanistan.

Will the NYT ever learn?

How the Press lies About Iraq--the secret British cabinet dossier and the Times of London

I woke up this morning to find the Times of London on-line publishing a secret British cabinet dossier about the recruitment of British Muslim terrorists.

The dossier is dated 6 April 2004, and was commissioned after the 3/11 Madrid bombings of last year.

The Times report is a classic example of how the Western media misrepresents the truth about the war in which we are now engaged--with the damning evidence supplied by the Times itself. Here writes the Times:

The Iraq war is identified by the dossier as a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism. The analysis says: “It seems that a particularly strong cause of disillusionment among Muslims, including young Muslims, is a perceived ‘double standard’ in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US.

“The perception is that passive ‘oppression’, as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to ‘active oppression’. The war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam.”

In an interview yesterday, Blair denied that the London terrorist attacks were a direct result of British involvement in the Iraq war.

And Afghanistan. The bold is my highlight. Note what the Times does: in a report that explicitly mentions both Iraq AND AFGHANISTAN, the Times begins by writing The Iraq war is identified by the dossier as a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism. It then implicitly accuses the Prime Minister of lying: In an interview yesterday, Blair denied that the London terrorist attacks were a direct result of British involvement in the Iraq war. Blair's summary is exactly correct: the dossier never states that British terrorism is a direct result of the Iraq war; it consistently lists the Iraq war as only one of a series of perceived grievances. The Times falsifies the content of the dossier: the clear assertion of the dossier that anger over Afghanistan was a contributing factor is neatly snipped out by the article's authors, and reduced by the Times to Iraq alone.

Why has the Times falsified the report? The reason is clear. Afghanistan had broad support among the British population. The British public had a clear sense that Islamic terrorists were a threat to the West. The Iraq war has been more controversial. Key parts of the West want to believe the illusion that it was Iraq alone that got Islamic terrorists angry at the West--thereby forgetting September 11th and the long history of pre-September 11th Islamic terrorism.

So the Times reporters manipulate the dossier to make it look as though Tony Blair is lying--which is absolutely disreputable. The dossier makes it clear that that Islamic anger towards the West is broadly-based and cannot be limited to the question of Iraq.

Having read the Times reporters' falsifications, I then began to read what the dossier really said.

Part 1

In this section the dossier makes it crystal clear that Muslim anger in Britain is wide ranging: "a perception of 'double-standards' in British foreign policy, where democracy is preached but oppression of the ummah (the one nation of believers) is practised or tolerated; eg in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya". (Part 1/Page 9) So: according to the dossier, key British Muslims think that the liberation of Afghanistan from the Neanderthal dictatorship of the Taliban is an act of "oppression". They think that the elimination of that dictatorship, the creation of a constitution, and the institution of democracy is an example of British "double-standards" with respect to democracy. If our Times reporters had included this quotation from the dossier it would have made it clear what we are dealing with: blood-thirsty fanatics who cannot be appeased, whose anger began long before Iraq, and whose thirst for vengeance will only be further envenomed by appeasement in Iraq.

Part 2

Here the dossier writes: "Polls between November 2001 and December 2002 suggested that a relatively small, but not insignificant number of British Muslims felt some sympathy for terrorist attacks on the USA, did not feel loyal to Britain, did not condemn British Muslims who fought against allies in Afghanistan or thought Muslims have gone too far in integrating into British society." (Part 2/Page 1) So: the dossier makes it crystal clear that even before the Iraq war Britain was harboring a small but not insignificant number of terrorist sympathizer who thought September 11th was justified, and thought that it was right for Muslims to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"[The] war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam." (Part 2/Page 3). And Afghanistan. So it's not just Iraq: British Muslims contain a section of pro-Taliban terrorist sympathizers who think that the war against terrorism in Afghanistan is an act of war against Islam itself. Appeasement, anyone?
(Part 2/Page 3)

How strong is the pro-terrorist sympathy among British Muslims? The dossier then cites a poll in which 47% of British Muslims say that if they lived in Palestine they would consider becoming suicide bombers--only 43% disagree. (Part 2/Page 3)

The polls cited by the report indicate that up to 13% of the 1.6 million British Muslims defend terrorism; up to 26% do not feel loyal to Britain (Part 2/Page 8). If up to a quarter of British Muslims are willing to tell pollsters that they don't feel loyal to Britain, what is the real percentage? If then roughly half of these (up to 13%) are willing to defend terrorism, how many will help those who practice it? And why worry about Iraq, when many British Muslims have no loyalty to Britain in the first place?

We can take only cold comfort from the fact that the dossier goes on to estimate active participation or support for terrorism among British Muslims at under 1% (Part 2/Page 9). The network of sympathizers is large, threatening, and will not be changed by appeasement in Iraq.

Part 3 is simply damning for the Times' "blame Iraq" view of the dossier. It begins with a chilling description of two British Muslim extremist groups, and their efforts to recruit British Muslims into terrorism against the West (with the caveat that direct acts of terrorism by British Muslims against Britain itself are nixed--foreign Muslims, however, are free to target Britain and the Queen). Then it pulls out the polling data: "up to 80%" disapproved of the war against Afghanistan; only 61% thought it would be wrong for a British Muslim to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan (Part 3/Page 9). So when nearly 40% of British Muslims are open to idea that it is right to go to war to defend the Taliban, it should be clear how deep the sympathy for terrorism among British Muslims is...and it didn't start with Iraq.

Part 4 further undermines the Times reporters' reading of the document.

It is clear that British Muslims showed more opposition to Iraq than Afghanistan: On whether it was wrong to bring down the Taliban: 33% Yes/42% No (November 2001). On the Iraq War: 10% favourable/80% unfavourable (March 2004) (Part 4/Page 16).

But then the polls ask if after September 11 further acts of terrorism against the USA would be justified. In December 2002 the figures are 11% Yes/79% No. After the Iraq war it shifts to 13% Yes/73% No (March 2004)--which is basically unchanged. A November 2001 poll asks about justifying acts of terrorism in general (as opposed to specifically against the USA): 7% Yes/67% No. In sum, these polls suggest that the willingness of Muslims to justify terrorism has not shifted substantially as a result of the Iraq War. (Part 4/Page 14)

Needless to say, these figures are not deemed important enough to make it into the Times' summary.

Today's article in the Times of London makes it clear what the West is facing. That journalists will lie, distort, and misrepresent the truth in time of war is not anything new. Western reporters sent home pro-Communist propaganda masquerading as journalism when Stalin was slaughtering millions in Russia. American journalists such as Teddy White and others presented Chairman Mao of China as a hero to the West when he was well on his road to being the greatest mass-murderer of modern times with some 70 million deaths to his most criminal credit. In 1968, American journalists falsified the truth about the Tet offensive, and helped lead the American people to defeat. In Nicaragua in the 1980s, western reporters glorified the Sandinistas as they set up a Communist dictatorship and eliminated a free press. What we are seeing now in the war on terrorism is simply a continuation of the Western practice of war-propaganda masquerading as journalism.

Today's article in the Times is a sorry contributer to this same tradition--with the important caveat that by putting the dossier on-line, the reporters inadvertently showed how false their summary of it was.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Pro-Abortion Mantra: Screw Abstinence!

It's so, well, twisted that you would think it's been made up: the new chant for the National Abortion Rights Action Leagues is:

Screw Abstinence

Complete with photographs of screws.

Well, we always knew that our pro-abortion friends had a couple screws loose...but we weren't expecting evidence so explicit, and so self-incriminating.

1. The universe in which humans live is not a universe designed for multiple sexual partners. Every additional partner is a new opportunity for disease transmission and major medical risks. Environmentalism for human beings starts here: encouraging multiple partners is as threatening to the human environment as burning Brazilian forests or harmful emissions into the ozone.

2. Legalized abortion both contributes to and creates a climate of sexual irresponsibility--with devastating social consequences:

Previous abortion: 1975: 18% yes. 2000: 45% yes.
Illegitimacy rate: 1975: 24.5%. 2000: 44%

To put it differently: what these statistics show is that Roe v. Wade in 1973 was a turning point towards sexual irresponsibility and rising illegitimacy. When 45% of US abortions are being done on women who have already had at least one previous abortion, that means that about 80% of the women who have one abortion will be back for a second. And that it turn means that we have we have an irresponsible sexual subculture: you can't be both anti-AIDS and pro-abortion. Legal abortion helps create the irresponsibility that leads to AIDS transmission.

3. The, um, screwy attitudes of the NARAL clinch the point: abortion is about creating the right to bohemian irresponsibility--it's not about making women's lives better.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Welcome to Hugh Hewitt readers: Tom Paine and blogging for freedom

HH, as always, is leading the charge for freedom over at

The bombing of London may well mark the next great phase in the War on Terror. And the significance of weblogs in this period is this: war is not fundamentally about killing people--it is about breaking the enemy's will to resist. The terrorists can not win militarily, and they know it. But with the aid of the MSM they have worked hard to undermine the West's will to fight. Every weblog that stays bold, brave and determined in the defense of liberty is to the War on Terror what Tom Paine was to the Revolution of 1776: the voice of freedom, the courage that keeps us free.

Our parents have been called the Greatest Generation for their perseverance in the Depression, their sacrifice in World War II, and their wisdom in winning the Cold War.

That was their time, this is ours.

For nearly a millenium and a half, dictators have ruled over Islam. That culture of dictatorship has produced a civilization magnificent in its religious riches, but deeply impoverished in freedom of thought, freedom of press, and simple civic justice--with terrorism as the inevitable consequence of these three.

Now September 11th and the new bombings in London have forced the West to bring to the Near East the same democratic values that our parents brought to Europe. We fight for our own freedom--and for the freedom of the Near East as the only sure way to bring victory in the War on Terror.

We are deeply mistaken if we think we can win without serious sacrifices. Victory depends on the willingness to bring to the War on Terror the same spirit of determination and sacrifice that our parents brought to World War II and the Cold War.

For this weekend, our British brethren are showing the kind of courage that keeps us free--a living exemplar of the words of Tom Paine in the bleak winter of the American Revolution:

December 23, 1776
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

The Guardian: the voice of appeasement in Britain

During the 2003 war in Iraq, I was scouring numerous websites across the world for the best information on the war. Day after day, the website that consistently had the best, the most detailed, the most comprehensive coverage was the UK's The Guardian--a hard left newpaper that makes the New York Times look like the National Review.

Now on the day after the terrorist attacks in London, The Guardian is true to form. The news coverage is superb. I haven't read every page of every British newspaper today--but I've read a lot, and once again The Guardian's reporters seem to be the best of the bunch.

But then there is the editorial page. Here--and quite inadvertently--it becomes clear that the real issue is appeasement. The left-wing British Muslim Tariq Ali writes: "But it is safe to assume that the cause of these bombs is the unstinting support given by New Labour and its prime minister to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." Note his words carefully--not Iraq alone, but Iraq AND Afghanistan.

Exactly. Contrary to the delusions of some, the millions who took to the streets in Europe in protest in 2003 were against the war in Iraq AND Afghanistan. They were not marching for peace: they wanted a full scale program of appeasement in the face of Islamic terror.

Tariq Ali again: "Ever since 9/11, I have been arguing that the 'war against terror' is immoral and counterproductive. It sanctions the use of state terror - bombing raids, torture, countless civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq - against Islamo-anarchists whose numbers are small, but whose reach is deadly".

Again: exactly. For these Islamofascists, the American decision to go to war in Afghanistan was immoral. The totalitarian torture-state run by the Taliban means nothing to Tariq Ali--and he is a "moderate" British Muslim. Only a complete Western surrender to the forces of terrorism will appease him and the professional terrorists who are even more extreme than he.

More: "The real solution lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine."

So: the liberation of Afghanistan and the institution of democracy is for Tariq Ali an "occupation" that needs to be ended immediately.

Nor can Tariq Ali be marginalized as a solitary voice. The Al-Qaeda group that claimed responsibility for the bombing declared: “The time of revenge against the Zionist crusader British Government has come. This is in response to the butchery that Great Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

And Afghanistan.

Too many Westerners--particularly in the US--are simply living in a dream world. For them, the war in Afghanistan was a brave and necessary retaliation; while Iraq was not. In Iraq they are ready to cut and run, and yesterday's bombing was a clarion-call for appeasement, a proof of the failure of Western policy.

A dream world. The bombing of London was not a response to Iraq, and appeasement in Iraq would not have prevented it. It is a part of the terrorist campaign to destroy the West, and it would have come regardless of Iraq, regardless of Afghanistan--the terrorists and their "moderate" sympathizers say so themselves.

It's time to face the truth and get to work.

British resolve: the view from the Goose

The library closed last night at 10.00pm, and I headed over with a friend to The Goose--a big pub right in the heart of Oxford.

Yesterday the terrorists were crowing about spreading fear across Britain. Not a sign of it. The crowd was young, carefree, and much more interested in their beers than their fears.

The television sets hung on the walls, SkyTV (a British channel) running tapes of Rudolph Giuliani--who was yards away from the bus bomb in London. Underneath, SkyTV ran a tickertape of families with requests for missing loved ones: Joe England, please call your or parents. Or again: Jill Scotland says she's okay. The rips and tears in the holes of human life transmuted into streaming video.

Apart from the television, nothing about the demeanor of the crowd showed any sign that Britain had just suffered its worst terrorist attack. The British calm came in clear contrast to the riots of only a few weeks before: across the Muslim world, rioting and protest and mobs and death had greeted the rumors that the Koran had been in abused in Western prisons. Yet now, faced with the fact that terrorists had murdered dozens of Britons and maimed hundreds more, there was no hate, no fear, no rioting, no wild crowds ranting for revenge.

Only the carrying on of the quiet constants of British life: good friends, good beer, and a good pub.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Lion Roars Once More

Churchill from Patrick Ruffini:

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

We are all Londoners now

So wrote an American professor to me a few minutes ago.

Over at Powerline, the voice of Churchill gives the British lion the roar:

As we stand with the people of Great Britain, we recall the words of Winston Churchill in his great speech of October 5, 1938:

[D]o not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning.This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.

A view from evening mass in England

Quiet. As quiet as the night of September 11th, this same parish mass.

All the old words, all the old prayers. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Yes...we must, of course. This is a prayer that comes from an ancient Jew who lived under Roman occupation and knew the power of hate to warp a human heart.

Forgive those who set off the bombs of London? Yes, forgive them, especially them. There is a need for justice, but also for grace. John Paul II after the assassination attempt on his life visits prison to extend forgiveness to his assassin. We can and should hope for both: prison for the terrorists, but forgiveness and grace as well.

And then from the liturgy: blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. We know now from two and a half millenia of human history that there is no more powerful force for peace than democracy: with less than a handful of exceptions, there are no cases of democracies going to war with other democracies. As long as Europe was divided by dictators, she was riven with wars among her daughters. Only after American leadership brought democracy to Europe could Europeans make peace among themselves.

So too the Islamic world. As long as the dictators rule the Middle East, it will remain a hothouse for incubating new terrorism. Now this spring for the first time in Islamic history we see the cool breezes of democracy blowing across the region: Iraq, Lebanon; and the slow liberalization of Egypt, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia.

Blessed are the peacemakers is a blessing that falls first and foremost on those who are bold to bring democracy to countries that have never known freedom before.

This is our hour. This is our time. And in this calling under Providence we shall prevail.

Terror on the North Atlantic

DATELINE: Oxford, UK--17.15pm local time/12.15pm Eastern time.

And so it returns.

Four bombs detonate in London, a direct attack on the North Atlantic alliance, and an attempt to destroy the war on terror.

The bombs targeted three London underground stations, a fourth exploded on a double-decker bus--the last perhaps targeting the area near the Israeli finance minister's hotel. Current sources are projecting deaths in "double-digits"--if it stays that low, then the terrorists have executed their plans poorly, for bombs in underground trains should produce hundreds of deaths.

8.51am blast hits the underground between Liverpool/Moorgate in the financial district--shades of September 11th and an effort to target the economic heart of the West.

8.56am blast hits the underground betwen King's Cross and Russell Square--and area I frequent because it is the British Museum stop.

9.17am blast hits the underground at Edgeware Road--a major stop for commuters entering the city. It would seem that London's reaction time is slow: it is now nearly a half hour since the first terrorist blast and the trains are still running.

9.47am blast hits the bus in Tavistock Square--nearly an hour after the first blast.

The decision to attack London in the middle of the G8 conference can scarcely be an accident--and can scarcely be thought to be well-advised. The allies have not always shown the unity and resolve they showed in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. To attack the allies now, to attack at a moment when all the leaders are in one place together can only rebuild Western resolve and hasten the terrorist defeat.

The ultimate purpose of war--Clausewitz wrote--is not to kill but to break the enemy's will to resist. Terrorism is a tool by the militarily weak, directed against those whom terrorists think strong in power but weak in will. This latest act of barbarism will strengthen the West and speed the day when the threat of terrorism is exterminated from the planet.

Americans can extend our deepest sorrow and sympathy to our British friends and heroes, and their families.

Meanwhile, we ask grace of almighty God to comfort the bereaved, give bravery to our leaders, and bring the forces of terror to swift and certain justice.