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:: The Rule of Reason ::

:: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 ::

A Disgraceful 'Détente' 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 10:59 AM

The retreat and ultimate defeat of the West will be made possible by an alliance of pragmatism and altruism. Since the stated U.S. policy is to avoid "collateral damage" and loss of "innocent" civilian life, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have opted for two policies: To cripple our military by establishing "rules of engagement" to avoid collateral damage (especially to civilian infrastructure) and minimize civilian casualties; or, not to engage the enemy at all, but seek a diplomatic solution to a conflict.

This is our operating strategy not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah-ruled Lebanon. It accounts for the paradoxical, astonishing failure of Israel to defeat its militarily inferior foe. Israel failed because Bush and Rice engineered the failure in the name of "peace."

After allowing Israel to attempt to "shock and awe" Hezbollah into ashes with air strikes, and seeing that strategy fail, Bush and Rice allowed Israel to launch a delayed land offensive against Hezbollah into Lebanon. At the same time, they instructed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to not attack Lebanon's civilian infrastructure, even if Hezbollah fighters were using hospitals, schools and even homes to fire its rockets into Israel and from which to fire at Israeli troops. Despite this hamstringing, non-military policy, Israel advanced rapidly to the Litani River in Lebanon. U.S. satellites observed the advance, and Bush called a halt to it. Israel was suddenly in possession of the field but under "orders" to simply maintain a holding action.

General George Patton's philosophy of war it's not. He did not believe in "holding actions," but advancing and destroying the enemy.

According to the Debka File report (August 22nd), "Olmert's absolute compliance with Rice's directives without fully comprehending their military import threw Israel's entire war campaign into disorder." At the behest of the U.N., Israel subsequently surrendered its gains, knowing full well that Hezbollah would simply fill the vacuum.

When one thinks that our leadership's craven pragmatism has reached its limit, that it must acknowledge the utter failure of its policies, what followed was an even greater example of its moral turpitude: Both the U.S. and Israel turned to Syrian president (dictator) Bashar Assad to assist in the resolution of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.

Instead of conceding that their policy was wrong, the U.S. and Israel compounded their irrational policy by following it to its logical conclusion: by sending out "peace feelers" to the enemy.

The U.S. then handed the "moral" task of enforcing a peace between Israel and Hezbollah to the U.N., which ordered the assembly of a multinational force to create a "buffer zone" between them. With one or two exceptions, the nations sending troops to serve in this capacity are hostile to Israel. France is no friend of Israel, and three of these nations are Islamic. The others are "neutral." Two other dictatorships, Russia and China, refuse to consider U.N.-imposed economic sanctions against Iran; Russia needs the revenue, and China needs the oil.

Was the hamstringing of Israel an obscene "gesture" to Iran, intended to be an inducement to "talk" about its pursuit of nuclear weapons? Very likely. The cowardice is obvious to our enemies. Why isn't it obvious to the cowards? Were any lessons learned by Bush, Rice and Olmert? Apparently not. To minds that regard reality, language and principles as "fluid," with no anchorage in reality, no lessons are possible. Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the European appeasers all pose as "realists" in global politics, but reality is not their sole reference. Their rule of thumb is: Reality is what you make it. Reality, however, is not cooperating.

The comparison was made elsewhere by another astounded observer: Just as we did not conduct a war against blitzkrieg and kamikazes in World War II, we should not be conducting a war against "terrorism" but against those nations that facilitate terrorists or encourage them.

The current, unbelievable mess is made possible also by a concern about what the world - the Arab world and Europe - would think of the U.S. if it used its strength to defeat its enemies once and for all. But the concern about what the world will think of the U.S. is a symptom of a perilous lack of self-confidence, not only in the capacity to act, but in its own value and worth. The U.S. will not act with pride.

Economist Walter Williams, in trenchant article on Capitalism Magazine, "Will the West Defend Itself?" (August 23rd) posed this question:

"Think of it. Currently, the U.S. has an arsenal of 18 Ohio class submarines. Just one submarine is loaded with 24 Trident nuclear missiles. Each Trident missile has eight nuclear warheads capable of being independently targeted. That means the U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria, or any other state that supports terrorist groups or engages in terrorism - without risking the life of a single soldier."

But, our policy, based not on self-defense, but on global consensus and approval, regards our strength as a liability.

Thomas Sowell, in another Capitalism Magazine article, "Point of No Return?" (August 22nd) also paints a disturbing picture of what the "realists" in Washington and Europe refuse to see about the nature of our enemies. By his analysis, we are either reaching the "Munich pact" point, or have already passed it.

What is one of the major contributing factors to a lack of self-confidence? Multiculturalism, or the policy that no culture is superior to another (though Islamists claim otherwise). Moral relativism, which predates multiculturalism, is another factor. It takes a "global village" to imbue such nihilistic ethics, and a "world community" to teach the proud and the strong a lesson in humility.

Bush and Rice are Kantian manqués par excellence: altruism, or the sacrifice of the good to evil, is the moral fuel that powers their pragmatism. Their maxim is: peace. Period. Not "peace at any price," not even "peace in our time." Just "peace," with no projection of the consequences.

Career pragmatists come in two varieties: those rendered insensate to reason and insulated against reality; and those hostile to reason. In either case, the corrupting power of pragmatism is evident. And, it is futile to point to a pragmatist's intelligence. One might ask: can't these people see what we are seeing, and reach the same conclusions about what is happening and what ought to be done about it? But intelligence is no guarantee of a fealty to reality or a commitment to rationality.

The fear of taking a proud, selfish moral stand against the West's enemies and a queasy reluctance to take action against them have exponentially multiplied the perils to the U.S. and Western civilization in a pattern just as ominous as that which occurred in the 1930's, when a sustained policy of appeasement for the sake of "peace" resulted in World War II.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran read Hitler's book of how to treat appeasers and other "useful idiots." For the last two weeks his military has conducted "war games," including the firing a missile from a submarine and numerous surface-to-surface missiles. He inaugurated the opening of Iran's first heavy water producer. He has in his possession two or three Soviet nuclear warheads obtained in 1993 by Iran after that other "Evil Empire" collapsed. While their fissionable material has expired, undoubtedly they have served as adaptable models to place onto long-range Iranian missiles, to be targeted on Israel.

Ahmadinejad has laughed at the West all the way fulfilling his mission of being the new Muslim "Mahdi," or "expected one," giving the U.S. and the U.N. the equivalent of a Bronx cheer. His immediate goal: the erasure of Israel. His long-range goal: to establish a new Persian empire in the Mideast.

The rumblings you hear in the distance are the Persians, the Tartars, the Huns and the Visigoths rallying around their Farsian fuehrer.

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:: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 ::

New restaurant bears Aldolf Hitler's name 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 10:31 AM

File this under impressive:

When Hitler's Cross restaurant opened four days ago in a Bombay suburb, local politicians and movie industry types were on hand to celebrate beneath the posters of the Nazi leader and swastikas.

The owner insisted then — and still does — that the name and theme of his new eatery is only meant to attract attention, even if it has outraged Bombay's Jewish community.

"It's really made people very upset that a person responsible for the massacre of 6 million Jews can be glorified," Elijah Jacob, one of the community's leaders, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

But owner Puneet Sablok has refused to back down, and apart from Bombay's 4,500 Jews, there's been little controversy in India, where Holocaust awareness is limited, Hitler is regarded as just another historical figure and swastikas are an ancient Hindu symbol, displayed all over to bring luck. There are just 5,500 Jews in all of India.

"It's just to attract people. There is no intention to hurt anyone," said Sablok about his spacious restaurant, which serves pastries, pizza and salad in Navi Mumbai, a northern suburb of Bombay, which is also known as Mumbai. [AIJAZ ANSARI, Associated Press Writer]
What's next? Himmler's Death's Head Bistro? Quisling's Croissants & Pastries? Goering's Gelatos?

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:: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 ::

The Mind Games of Diplomacy 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 11:25 AM

"Hugh Kenrick did not attach any significance to dreams. He once wrote to his mother that they were 'but the skewed, tilted, involuntary recollections of one's experiences and thoughts.' Tonight, however, he had one of his infrequent dreams, and if he had been able to remember it, he might have seen some relationship in it between its events and those of the last month."

The events of that last month, in Sparrowhawk: Book Four - Empire, were the struggles and triumph of securing passage of Patrick Henry's Stamp Act Resolves in the Virginia General Assembly in May 1765. Hugh, an ally of Henry's, had spared no effort to help secure the passage of those Resolves, which would serve, for the first time, to unite the colonies to oppose Parliamentary authority. It had been a Herculean struggle, pitting Henry and his allies against the gods of privilege, deference and complacency, whom Henry calls the "Tidewater grandees" and a "great weight of ballast."

Hugh, some days after passage of the Resolves and the dissolution of the General Assembly, and exhausted from the effort, falls asleep on a divan in the home of his friend, Jack Frake. In his dream, he first imagines that, browsing through the used bookstalls in London, he discovers a lost play by Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Henry the Second, about the conflict between King Henry and Thomas á Becket. He sees it being performed by London's leading actors.

"Then, with unaccountable abruptness, the stage figures merged, and Hugh imagined himself, at times with Patrick Henry, and, oddly enough at times, with an older Thomas Jefferson [at the time, a law student, and with whom Hugh has struck up an acquaintance], delivering speeches on liberty to a malodorous assembly of men of Becket's time. Somehow, he knew that his scruffy audience understood every word he spoke, but also that what he was saying was unintelligible to every man in it. The serfs, the knights, the tradesmen, the princes all gaped up at him with cows' and sheep's eyes. He was standing on a dais with Patrick Henry and Jefferson, and turned to them to remark, 'We may as well be speaking Dutch, or Algonquian, or court German, sirs. Ought we to go on, before they take us for sorcerers, and burn us at the stake?'"

Contributing to Hugh's dream, by way of his subconscious, was his memory of the opposition to Henry's Resolves by men in the General Assembly who knew that Henry was right but were fearful of Crown authority and the punishment it could impose. The Tidewater grandees refused to acknowledge the reality of their dilemma. The political leadership of that era was proof against reason, and was eventually displaced by men who adhered to reason. Understanding it helped me to grasp why own political leadership is proof against reason and reality.

I often think we are faced with the same conundrum, speaking reason to those who can read, write and think, but to no effect. We see no consequences, no concessions to reason, no admission of fault. Unreason and illogic seem to move of their own power toward certain tragedy with a hubris oblivious to reality.

If one could corner someone like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and explain to her why her and President Bush's Mideast policy can only guarantee disaster for Israel and the U.S., and that the best way to secure "peace" in that region is to defeat the Islamists of all suasions, and to such a thoroughly humbling degree that neither they nor their creed could ever recover to challenge, and then threaten, Western civilization.

Could we reasonably expect her to agree? No. And she wouldn't. Given her record, and the long, sorry record of our foreign policy's repeated attempts to reconcile good with evil, which she hopes to make work this time, one should be one hundred and ten percent certain that one would be rebuffed and dismissed, with a parting caution by her not to meddle in the rarefied realms of foreign policymaking and implementation, to leave peace-making to the professionals and the initiated.

The truth is that modern foreign policymaking is founded on the same non-causal mysticism as alchemy and astrology, and is on the same level of illogic, fantasizing and wishing. Well, the policymakers must think, the stars are in the right positions, so that, if we mix the right base metals with the right precious ones, the stars will exert an ineffable influence and produce peace and amity.

Search long and hard, you will find no better premises in especially American foreign policymaking to date.

The main premise is: Evil, such as Hezbollah, is open to reason. It can be persuaded of the "evil" of its own evil and lured to coexist with the good. If evil would deign to agree to a mutual compromise of ends with the good, all its past butchery and destruction can be forgiven.

Conversely, if Israel can be persuaded that the "aspirations" of the Palestinians, Syria, and Iran are no less or more legitimate than Israel's wish to exist unmolested, then peace and amity in the Middle East are feasible ends and a compromise can be worked out that will satisfy all conflicting parties. After all, goes the thinking, good and evil are merely relative terms, and there is no reason to become fixated on absolutes.

What can account for this absurdity? The philosophical fallacy identified by Ayn Rand as the primacy of consciousness (as opposed to the primacy of existence), that is, the premise that mind moulds reality. Our foreign policy, inculcated in university graduates in foreign relations studies, goes something like this: If those responsible for evil acts, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the IRA, Al-Quada, etc., can be persuaded that their perception of reality is wrong -- for example, that Israel's wish to exist is no less or more legitimate than Hezbollah's wish to exterminate Jews-- then they can be brought into the camp of the "reasonable" and "practical" and a "deal" can be struck.

To borrow a line from the film, Cool Hand Luke, good and evil need only "get their minds right," and all will be well. Diplomacy, or the wizardry of adjusting reality to the exigencies of peace, can work wonders.

All these mental gymnastics wiggle around the fact that evil is evil, intent on achieving its purpose, which is destruction, which it will achieve, unless it is stopped and eradicated. But recognizing that evil is evil, that it is anti-reason and anti-life, requires a moral judgment. This is something our policymakers have refused to make.

Note Bush's pretence that if he does not talk directly with Hezbollah, he cannot be accused (or, in modern jargon, "perceived") as dealing with evil, thus keeping his promise that his administration would never consciously recognize the terrorist organization. Instead, he has pursued "peace" through third parties and the United Nations, first turning to the U.N. as a moral touchstone with the authority to sanction action (just as he did with Iraq).

Now, seeing that the U.N.'s "moral authority" carries little weight with Hezbollah, which has shown nothing but contempt for U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon and which continues to regroup and rearm itself while a ragtag force of "buffer zone" enforcers is assembled, Bush wants the U.N. to pass another resolution that will empower U.N. forces to disarm Hezbollah. Disarming killers will somehow transform them into non-killers. It is blaming guns and rockets for aggression, not the men who use them. If the killers do not have weapons, they cannot do "violence" and will turn to "democratic" processes to achieve their ends. (It "worked" in Iraq, didn't it?)

Which, of course, would mean Hezbollah's complete takeover of Lebanon's government. After all, Lebanon's president has already called Hezbollah his country's "militia" -- why not make it official? -- and said that he does not plan to disarm it. And the U.N. would be reluctant to empower its forces to attempt to disarm Hezbollah without risking their being cut to pieces by a force more formidable than the U.N.'s (since when has a U.N. force ever achieved a military victory?). The situation in the Mideast can only progress to a more complicated, intractable mess, unless Israel reasserts its right of self-defense and thumbs its nose at the U.N., just as Hezbollah has, and pursues its original purpose, to destroy Hezbollah, instead of agreeing to a truce with it.

So, the evil will remain, and our policymakers will huddle again to try to figure out why their wizardry has not worked. Reality will always out, no matter how often and how magically it is denied. Our policymakers are a new species of "Tidewater grandees," and hopefully they will be replaced by men of reason before it is too late and we and Israel are burned at the stake.

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:: Monday, August 21, 2006 ::

Policing insurgents--or fighting militant Islam? 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 2:03 PM

Terence J. Daly, a retired military intelligence officer, says that the US should not make killing jihadists its primary goal at today's New York Times.

There is a difference between killing insurgents and fighting an insurgency. In three years, the Sunni insurgency has grown from nothing into a force that threatens our national objective of establishing and maintaining a free, independent and united Iraq. During that time, we have fought insurgents with airstrikes, artillery, the courage and tactical excellence of our forces, and new technology worth billions of dollars. We are further from our goal than we were when we started.

Counterinsurgency is about gaining control of the population, not killing or detaining enemy fighters. A properly planned counterinsurgency campaign moves the population, by stages, from reluctant acceptance of the counterinsurgent force to, ideally, full support.

American soldiers deride "winning hearts and minds" as the equivalent of sitting around a campfire singing "Kumbaya." But in fact it is a sophisticated, multifaceted, even ruthless struggle to wrest control of a population from cunning and often brutal foes. The counterinsurgent must be ready and able to kill insurgents - lots of them - but as a means, not an end.
Daly then proceeds to outline his vision for an American police force that would be charged with securing Iraq alongside more conventional military forces. Daly envisions a force that would be less prone toward "killing people and breaking things" than the military, but still be able to compel the governed.

Stringent population control measures like curfews, random searches, mandatory presentation of identity documents, searches of businesses and residences without warrants and preventive detention would be standing operating procedure. For such measures to be acceptable to the public, they must be based on solid legal ground and enforced fairly, transparently and impartially.
Daly's op-ed inadvertently reveals why the American expedition to Iraq had turned into such a debacle. America's problems are not caused because it lacks an appropriately structured force to establish and maintain "a free, independent and united Iraq;" it is a debacle because such an end has become America's goal in the first place.

Consider for a moment what it took for Saddam to achieve a "united" Iraq-just one leg of today's American mission. Killing fields, rape rooms, foreign invasions, etcetera, each were part of Saddam's arsenal to maintain "unity" between the Kurdish north and the Sunni and Shi'a south. Does anyone, after three years of war, still maintain that any of these three tribes wants to be unified with the others?

Also consider what it would take to achieve an "independent" Iraq. Today, Iraq is wholly dependent upon America for its security, such as it is. There is no force within Iraq that has evidenced even the hope of effectively governing Iraq's disparate elements without massive support from America. All the while, Iran's position in the region strengthens, with the recent victory of Hezbollah in Lebanon, its unchecked nuclear munitions program, and its position as fountainhead of all things jihadist. Iraq, as is, will likely never be independent.

Lastly, consider what it would take to truly make Iraq "free." Political freedom is a consequence of a culture's recognition that coercion is immoral and impractical. It is the fruit of the respect for man's mind as his only tool of survival. How then, after all the years of Islamic mysticism, tyranny and brutality, are the Iraqi people suddenly going to achieve their own philosophic enlightenment? How will the presence of an American policeman, as Daly proposes, convince a jihadist that he does not have a moral right to impose his creed by force and that his attempts at self-martyrdom is nothing more than a brutal nihilistic fetish?

Rather than police Iraq, America ought to be focused on its own security first. It certainly has an host of threats arrayed against it. Freedom for Iraq is not our concern; it would be far better to leave Iraq in civil war and allow it to sort out its own future then let larger threats to America go unchecked. The crisis in Iraq is not the source of jihad-it is the symptom-and until America subdues Islamic terror's spiritual head, its body will continue to thrash about, and continue to put America's own freedom at risk.

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:: Friday, August 18, 2006 ::

Beheading Nations Veritas 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 11:24 AM

Veritas, an infant political party in Britain, recently sent an email circular to voters. Its principal subject was the unopposed Islamization of Britain. Addressed to Muslims who are dissatisfied that Britain isn't an Islamic island paradise, the circular suggested that if Muslims don't like the culture, the language, the history, or even other Britons, then they should emigrate or re-emigrate to countries that are more amenable to the strictures of their creed and compatible with their frankly barbaric social customs and ethos (and perhaps even surrender their British passports at the exit door), and not expect all Britons to discard their identities and squeeze into a Mohammedan mould.

I responded that while this was good, reasonable advice, I believed it overlooked an important element in the phenomenon. Muslims will reply to it by cocking a very vile snook. The advice asks Muslims to be reasonable, but they are here, by and large, to conquer and not open to reason. Reason has never been an ally of conquerors. This has been stated repeatedly by their spokesmen, by their clerics, by their muscle, in Britain, and in the hapless nations on the Continent. They are not here to assimilate, to learn the value of freedom, individualism, or capitalism, or the rule of rational law, or to glory in the superiority of Western civilization and to share its fruits.

They are here to help destroy it all (with a great assist from multiculturalism and its advocates in office and out of it, and no one should doubt that they know how to exploit that political solvent). To level it first, and then lord over what's left. They want segregated "no go" areas in which to live in Western countries where neither the police nor national law may intrude or overrule Sharia law and the crimes committed under it.

I recently came across a frightening article, "Beheading Nations: The Islamization of Europe's Cities." It describes in lurid detail the method of Islamic revanchism, bogus as that is. I quote one paragraph of it, to substantiate my claims above:

"In an online story in the Daily Telegraph that was removed 'for legal reasons,' former Muslim Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo warned that British Muslims could soon form a state within a state. Dr. Sookhdeo believed that 'in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim Sharia law....In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future -- and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate....Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic strictures....'"
The "Beheading" article goes on to say: "The next step will be pushing the Government to recognize Sharia law for Muslim communities...." I imagine that the next step would be for venal politicians and jurists to advocate that Sharia law be made coequal with common law, so as to placate "disgruntled" Muslims and not rile them to the point that they would begin rioting French-Muslim style and declaring war on non-Muslims. A government that has surrendered the power to enforce objective law within its legal boundaries is no longer a government. Common law would then be displaced at the point of a gun, town by town, then county by county. Look at Lebanon, whose population is about one-half non-Muslim. Hezbollah rules it, establishes its policies, and makes war. Its parliament is a joke.

Need I say more? I strongly recommend the "Beheading" article, written by someone named Fjordman (a pseudonym?). It is packed with sobering facts.

I wonder for what "legal reasons" the Sookhdeo article was removed from the online Telegraph. Did it "offend" someone's sensibilities? Anyway, I can only hope that the Veritas appeal rouses enough Britons to move their representatives to throw back the new Huns, or at least caution them to keep a low profile and stay the hell out of the way of people who want to live on earth. Perhaps if they succeed, the same phenomenon can be nipped in the bud here in the U.S. It is not as advanced a problem here as it is in Britain or in Europe, but moral vacuums invite conquerors to fill them. Patterson, New Jersey, is our own Bradford. Its Muslim population danced in the streets and passed out candy in sight of the rising plumes of smoke from the World Trade Center across the Hudson River.

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:: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 ::

The real trouble with Islam today . . . 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 3:15 PM

Today's New York Times offered an interesting take on the nature of Islamic rage. Irshad Manji, a fellow at Yale University and the author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith," offered the following observations:

Last week, the luminaries of the British Muslim mainstream - lobbyists, lords and members of Parliament - published an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, telling him that the "debacle" of both Iraq and Lebanon provides "ammunition to extremists who threaten us all." In increasingly antiwar America, a similar argument is gaining traction: The United States brutalizes Muslims, which in turn foments Islamist terror.

But violent jihadists have rarely needed foreign policy grievances to justify their hot heads. There was no equivalent to the Iraq debacle in 1993, when Islamists first tried to blow up the World Trade Center, or in 2000, when they attacked the American destroyer Cole. Indeed, that assault took place after United States-led military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.

If Islamists cared about changing Iraq policy, they would not have bothered to abduct two journalists from France - probably the most antiwar, anti-Bush nation in the West. Even overt solidarity with Iraqi suffering did not prevent Margaret Hassan, who ran a world-renowned relief agency in Baghdad, from being executed by insurgents.

Meanwhile, at least as many Muslims are dying at the hands of other Muslims as under the boots of any foreign imperial power. In Sudan, black Muslims are starved, raped, enslaved and slaughtered by Arab militias, with the consent of an Islamic government. Where is the "official" Muslim fury against that genocide? Do Muslim lives count only when snuffed out by non-Muslims? If not, then here is an idea for Muslim representatives in the West: Go ahead and lecture the politicians that their foreign policies give succor to radicals. At the same time, however, challenge the educated and angry young Muslims to hold their own accountable, too.
Sure, but that's not going to happen until people like Irshad Manji come to realize that the aim of angry young Muslims is no value that exists on this earth.

How can I say this? Consider how Muslims terrorists revel in their own self-immolation. A real freedom-fighter fights to secure a better tomorrow for himself and those he cares for; risking death, yes, but not actively seeking death out. In contrast, a Muslims terrorist so loathes his infidel enemy that he actively seeks his own martyrdom, and will plan things like using his own baby to bring down an airliner, as this report chillingly details.

There is no earthy cause for such venom, and that is precisely the problem with Islam today. It is an ideology divorced from this earth, and we in the West must reconcile this fact, or we will be forever doomed to live under the threats of its adherents.

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Help put The Objective Standard in America's libraries 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 1:33 PM

I support this effort 100%, and urge RoR readers to help out as they can:

The Objective Standard is now available to all libraries through EBSCO Subscription Services. Library sales are an important part of the journal’s success, so please contact your school’s librarian and urge him to subscribe (he will be familiar with EBSCO). If your efforts result in your school’s library (or any library) purchasing a subscription, I will give you your own one-year subscription or renewal at half price—that is: $19.50 for the online-only version or $24.50 for the print and online versions combined. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly at 800-423-6151.

Sincerely,

Craig Biddle, Editor
The Objective Standard
www.theobjectivestandard.com
Phone: 804-747-1776
Fax: 804-273-0500

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:: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 ::

The Fascists in our Midst 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 10:19 AM

On August 10th President Bush, speaking about the foiled, London-based plot to blow up ten planes with liquid-based devices assembled during flight by Al-Quada linked would-be suicide bombers, said, "The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."

Before addressing this subject, let us first define and clarify the meaning of the term fascism. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1956), defines fascism as "any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible suppression of opposition." The American Heritage Dictionary (2nd edition, 1982) is less exact in its definition, and, frankly, woozier: "A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism."

Surprisingly, while the Oxford English Dictionary discusses the Italian Fascismo, it defines neither that term nor fascism, limiting itself to the Mussolini phenomenon, a startlingly blinkered identification that excludes its occurrence in such countries as Spain and Argentina.

Ayn Rand, in her article, "The Fascist New Frontier," remarks: "The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open....Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretence of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal." She cites the definition of fascism found in The American College Dictionary (1957): "a governmental system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc.), emphasizing an aggressive nationalism...."

She notes further that the "fascist-Nazi axis scorns material comfort and security, and keeps extolling some undefined sort of spiritual duty, service and conquest.....The fascist-Nazi axis offers nothing but loose talk about some unspecified form of racial or national greatness." (Emphasis Rand's).

This last notation perfectly implicates Islamofascism. Miss Rand may be forgiven for omitting religious greatness, for when she wrote "The Fascist New Frontier" (a damning indictment of President John F. Kennedy, which her publisher, Bennett Cerf at Random House, refused to include in a collection of her essays) religion as such did not play much of a prominent role in politics. I imagine that Islam at that time (the 1960's, the PLO, for example, being founded in 1964) was as far removed in her mind as a credible peril as, say, ouija boards. And it is the advocacy of religious greatness that characterizes Islam. All of it.

Bush's use of the term Islamic fascists apparently offended Muslims everywhere and moved their spokesmen to write letters of indignation and make public statements.

In Britain, the merest hint that Islam motivated the would-be plotters caused its Muslim spokesmen to take curiously defensive and offensive positions. The Los Angeles Times of August 13th reported that, "In an open letter to several newspapers, the leaders of much of Britain's establishment Muslim community, including six Muslim lawmakers, said British foreign policy is 'putting civilians at increased risk, both in the U.K. and abroad,' and said the government should focus less on domestic anti-terrorism laws and more on reorienting its policy in the Middle East.

"While emphasizing that 'attacking civilians is never justified,' the letter
said that 'the debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an
immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East [read Lebanese civilians, not Israeli] not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, but is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all.'"

Yes, Islamic terrorism does threaten "us all." How many Muslims died in the World Trade Center, and on the London underground last July 7th, and in Iraq? Between Shi'ite and Sunni terrorist acts in Iraq, about 1,000 Muslims die a month. Some brotherhood of Mohammed. No mention of Hezbollah's and Hamas's use of civilians as shields to deter Israeli strikes. Islamists are hypocritically selective in their public grieving for "innocent" civilians.

The Los Angeles Times article continues:

"Shahid Malik, a Labour Party member of Parliament from an area that was home to one of the July bombers, said Israel's bombing campaign in Lebanon and Britain's failure to condemn it are issues of substantial frustration.

"'Obviously, I think everybody would condemn Hezbollah and their actions,' he said, "but it's critically important that we say the actions of Israel, and the reactive inaction of us in the West, is [sic] contributing to increasing anger and frustration among Muslims in the U.K., in America, and across the world. And invariably, if you're angry and frustrated, then you're more likely to be susceptible to voices that are sinister.'"
I contend that these statements are more sinister than an open call to behead and massacre infidels. These are veiled threats. What would alleviate the "frustration" of young Muslims are the wholesale conversion of Britain to Islam and Sharia law, Britain's immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the dissolution of Parliament. Then British Muslim youth will no longer be angry and frustrated and susceptible to sinister voices urging them on to violence. They'll become "good Britons."

On this side of the Atlantic, Muslims have been equally disingenuous. Daniel Pipes, an authority on Islam and the Middle East, in an article on FrontPage Magazine on August 14th, "At War with Islamic Fascists," quotes a number of them. Leading the pack are representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"CAIR's board chairman, Parvez Ahmed, sent an open letter to President Bush: 'You have on many occasions said Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism.'"

Perhaps he is concerned that Bush is waking up to the true nature of Islam.

Pipes reports that Nihad Awad, also of CAIR, called the term (Islamic fascists) "ill-advised" and "counter-productive," and suggested that we "take advantage of these incidents (the arrest of the London plotters) to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims."

Excuse me? It would be untoward to start a "religious" war against Islam and Muslims, when Islam and Muslims are waging a "religious" war against the West? One supposes there would be no strife if we would all just roll over and submit to Islam, acquire a taste for goat meat and self-flagellation, and replace the Constitution with Sharia law.

In his article, Pipes subsequently bursts the balloon of Muslim sensitivity and objection to the term, citing its use by Bush numerous times in the past, when no one, not Muslims, not the press or news media, raised an eyebrow.

Pipes then discusses, and questions, the use of the term Islamic fascist or Islamofascism. He asserts it is inappropriate.

"I applaud the increasing willingness to focus on some form of Islam as the enemy, but find the word fascist misleading in this context. Few historic or philosophic connections exist between fascism and radical Islam. Fascism glorifies the state, emphasizes racial 'purity,' promotes social Darwinism, denigrates reason, exalts the will, and rejects organized religion -- all outlooks anathema to Islamists."
I have the highest regard for Daniel Pipes, but even he has lapses of insight. It surprised me when I encountered that statement. I agree with Ayn Rand that the differences between socialism and fascism are superficial and merely formal; likewise, the differences between German Nazism and Italian fascism are superficial, since they were both "crude" forms of planned economies and total power over a nation's citizens. Fascism has properly become synonymous with Nazism. And when one examines the supreme goal of "radical" Islam, which is the establishment of a global caliphate, what would it entail but much the same thing as global fascism of the secular German variety?

Islamofascism would glorify the caliphate (or the state), emphasize not racial "purity," but religious purity, promote religious (and therefore social) Darwinism by asserting that Muslims are superior to everyone else, denigrate reason (since when has any religious faith been regarded as a paragon of reason?), exalt the will (Immanuel Kant's anti-reason can be applied equally to Islam as to Christianity; Christians began martyring and sacrificing themselves long before Muslims got the idea), and uphold organized religion, which, in this instance, would be Islam and only Islam.

And what else would a grand caliphate be but a governmental system with a strong centralized system (controlled by theocrats) that permitted no opposition or criticism, that controlled all affairs of the globe, and that emphasized an aggressive global "nationalism" (next stop, South America, China?)? Models for Islamofascism already exist. Look at Iran, but also at Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, and even Iraq. Where are their Anglican, Methodist, Jewish or atheistic billionaires and sheiks? How many billions do their regimes spend on their welfare programs, open only to Muslims? Hezbollah also boasts of a welfare state for loyal Muslims, just as the Nazis had for loyal, allegiance-swearing Germans.

And, what is the visceral difference between watching old clips of Nazi rallies at Nuremberg, showing tens of thousands of Germans giving the Nazi salute, and recent footage of tens of thousands of Islamists (Pipes's preferred term) giving their mass salutes in Beirut, Gaza, and Tehran? Does the object make a difference? In Germany, it was to Hitler and National Socialism; in the Mideast, it is to Allah or Mohammad and the local dictator or mullah that commands the selfless, "spiritual" dedication to the cause.

Pipes quotes an editorial from the Washington Times, "It's Fascism":

"Fascism is a chauvinistic political philosophy that exalts a group over the individual -- usually a race or nation, but in this case the adherents of a religion....It also describes Thursday's terrorists. It very accurately describes the philosophy of Al-Quada, Hezbollah, Hamas and many other stripes of Islamism around the world."
And, unfortunately, Pipes still doesn't get it. He still believes that peaceful, law-abiding American (or British) Muslims pose no threat to the country, and that they ought to be more proactive in denouncing "radicals" who give Islam a bad name by blowing up planes and pizza parlors and subways and firing rockets into Israel and committing atrocities such as they did in Beslan. But the reason we do not hear more from these "law-abiding" "moderate" Muslims is because their creed silences them.

A belief in Islam short-circuits their minds. The either/or factor stops their thinking cold, rendering them as thoughtless and inarticulate as the creed requires them to be. Islam does not tolerate divided loyalties: not between the Constitution and a mullah or imam, not between reason and faith, not between Allah and the deity of any other creed, not between freedom of expression and a prohibition of representations of Allah and Mohammad. I have said it before here and elsewhere: subject the Koran and Hadith to a vivisection to rid them of their belligerent, homicidal, and authoritarian dictates, and Islam would no longer be Islam, but a creed as innocuous and pacific as the Amish or Quaker. Force is an integral element of Islam, lending the creed a natural predilection for totalitarianism.

The short-circuiting of the minds of rank-and-file Muslims allows their leaders to speak with forked-tongues and advance the goal of Islamifying Western societies. We see it happening in Britain and Europe, and it is occurring in the U.S., as well. It is not "rights" that Muslims seek in Western societies, but privileges and a special, protected status. To use a football analogy, organizations like CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council carry the ball to the goal post, while lesser Muslim advocates run interference.

Yes, Islam can inculcate nothing but Islamic fascists. And American Muslims must face their either/or: to repudiate Islam, or remain a quiet, sanctioning fifth column.

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:: Monday, August 14, 2006 ::

The Agony of Self-Defeat 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 5:29 PM

This report on the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah reveals everything wrong with the half-hearted war against militant Islam.

For the first time in a month, no rockets were fired into northern Israel, but few Israelis who fled the war were seen returning and Israel's government advised them to stay away for now.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah declared that his guerrillas achieved a "strategic, historic victory" over Israel. But President Bush said Hezbollah was defeated, and Israel's prime minister maintained the offensive eliminated the "state within a state" run by the militants in southern Lebanon.

Israeli soldiers reported killing six Hezbollah fighters in four skirmishes in southern Lebanon after the guns fell silent, highlighting the tensions that could unravel the peace plan. [KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writer]
If Hezbollah was truly defeated as President Bush claims, Hassan Nasrallah would not be in a position to declare anything, let alone that he and is “Party of God” was victorious in battle.

So who wins in such a situation? When evil is allowed to exist despite its many premeditated transgressions, only evil can benefit. Score yet another victory for altruism and the policy of self-immolation.

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:: Saturday, August 12, 2006 ::

Circling the Wagons 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 10:50 AM

In a crisis, if a rational moral standard is discarded, pragmatism, allied with altruism, is the only recourse open to men attempting to end the crisis. Then the only deciding factor in a resolution is "pressure" on the conflicting parties to abandon or compromise their positions. A pragmatic standard, after all, would require recognition not of an absolute, non-negotiable value, but the fluid, subjective "ethos" that renders all values "value-neutral," and satisfy no one but the pragmatists. If a value is said to be no better than any other, it is implied that it cannot be so important that its defense is worth the risk of destruction, "violence," or a "disproportionate" action.

The news media reflects this philosophy in its choice of phrases and terms in reporting the Israeli-Hezbollah war. The reportage of the conflict, in general, is as far removed from reality as the thinking of the diplomats who are scrambling to stave off a wider conflict and evade having to take a moral stand.

There are no heroes in any news report. For example, John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, when appointed by President Bush to that position, was billed and subsequently excoriated by the press and media as a "hardliner" contemptuous of the U.N. and likely to start fist fights with the America-haters on the Security Council or in the U.N. cafeteria. But Bolton's tough talk mellowed; he has predictably succumbed to the corrupting ethic of the U.N.'s value-neutral pragmatism. It is Bolton who worked with French U.N. ambassador Jean-Marc La Sabliere on the wording of the resolution calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.

MSNBC reports that Bolton told the Associated Press, "We're still pressing for a vote on a resolution as early as we can, but we've got to reach agreement, and there are still a lot of issues that need to be considered. So, when will the vote be? It's hard to say at this point."

Certainly not Mike Hammer speaking. Bolton subsequently, at France's behest (and on instruction from Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), agreed to amend the wording and points of the resolution to accommodate the concerns of Arab League diplomats. And, yesterday, Rice announced a cease-fire "deal" that all parties, but most especially Israel, can "live with." A policy of pragmatism must necessarily focus on and require the submission of the victim, in this instance, Israel, not on the aggressor, in this instance, Iran, by way of Hezbollah. Absolutes, such as Israel's right to self-defense, are not options when pragmatists are "brokering" a peace. The rule that the "best defense is an offense," initially subscribed to by Israel (after years of retreat) is not to be found in any diplomatic manual.

La Sabliere, of course, acted on instructions from French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy (at the behest of President Jacques Chirac), who, according to BBC News, asserted that "there could be no military solution to the crisis -- so Israel must stop the shooting, as well as Hezbollah." France, so chic and sophisticated and worldly in some respects, is Europe's premiere connoisseur of pragmatism. Douste-Blazy recently met with his Iranian counterpart in Beirut and praised Iran as a "stabilizing force" in the Mideast. I am betting that the Iranian foreign minister retreated to a restroom out of earshot, and doubled up in laughter.

France, of course, seeks to ingratiate itself not only with its Arab friends, but also with its own hostile, refractory Muslim population.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, very likely surrendering to "pressure" from its alleged ally, the U.S., has indicated he is open to a U.N.-sponsored international force to secure the border between Israel and Lebanon. Which is tantamount to expecting the Visigoths to protect Rome against the Huns.

The U.S., ready to "negotiate" its commitment to Israel's existence, has also predictably allowed France to set the terms of resolution. BBC News reports that "France is at the center of intense diplomatic efforts to bring about a cease-fire in Lebanon, in the face of grave risks that the conflict could spread out of control. Does France hold the key to peace in the Middle East?"

No. It holds the key to further strife there, in the form of more attacks on Israel. There are no terms of reconciliation possible between Israel's wish to survive and the Arabs' wish for Israel to perish, either immediately or by bleeding it to death from endless suicidal concessions.

The Associated Press reported on MSNBC: "At an open Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Qatar's Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani, speaking on behalf of the Arab delegation [to the U.N.], warned Israel that continuing attacks on Lebanon will 'sow the seeds of hatred and extremism in the area' rather than restore peace and stability."

One must wonder if the reporter who filed this story presumed Jassem was speaking tongue-in-cheek. First, it was Israel that was attacked. Second, it is Lebanon that has served as the Arab world's "neutral" launching pad for rockets and other assaults on Israel, acting as a "democratic" proxy for its enmity for Israel. Third, the "seeds of hatred and extremism" were sown decades ago; the hatred and "extremism" emanating from diplomatic lounges and the "Arab street" show no signs of abating.

The West's concept of a "stabilized" Mideast is based on a Hegelian notion of the marriage of thesis and antithesis -- Israel coexisting with the Arabs -- to attain some ethereal apotheosis in human evolution and "multicultural" relations. The Arabs' concept of a "stabilized" Mideast is simply the obliteration of Israel. Name one ayatollah, imam (abroad or here at home), Iranian president, Jordanian king, Palestinian or Hamas thug, Syrian dictator, Hezbollah cleric or Saudi or Pakistani madrassa that hasn't preached that concept and goal and never minded its being known to the West. Which concept is dotty, and which is "realistic"?

Hitler was being "realistic" in his appraisal of France and Britain's moral fiber and commitment to the sovereignty of nations he wished to conquer. The diplomatic waffling of Britain's Neville Chamberlain especially only emboldened Hitler to move into Poland, the Rhineland, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Similarly, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken the measure of the U.S.'s commitment to defend Israel. He has already dared to send Iranian "volunteers" to fight alongside Hezbollah, in addition to supplying rockets and other war matériel by way of Syria.

Significantly, there has not been one news item anywhere reporting that Ahmadinejad, a pig for publicity, has denied the charge.

Correspondents of mine have precisely described as "reactive" overall Western behavior since 9/11 and the Islamic declaration of war on the West, and particularly on the U.S., while the creation of Homeland Security, TSA and all the nascent totalitarian restrictions being imposed on Americans they likened to erecting a virtual Maginot line (which the Germans, when they moved on France, simply bypassed) to keep out the Hun.

I'll go one better, and liken our current policy to a permanent circling of the wagons, or building a stockade to repair to next to a frontier town, with no hope that the cavalry will ever come to the rescue by eradicating the Indian war parties and lifting the siege, because it's pinned down up at Little Big Horn. That is what our policy has done, transformed the world into a frontier in which civilized men exist in constant peril, and the Indians may roam and raid at will, untouchable, because that is their "lifestyle" and their grievances over encroaching civilization are legitimate and beyond judgment.

That is, the West has accepted, indefinitely, as a norm, a state of siege. A state of siege requires the diminution of the freedom and liberties of the besieged, which is what we are witnessing now in the U.S. The besiegers will do as they please, and keep probing for weaknesses, or find a way to bypass our Maginot line. And all we will do is "react."

It is certainly pragmatic to prohibit paying passengers from taking liquids, make-up, toothpaste and laptop computers on board commercial planes to thwart suicide bombers. But this is merely another example of a siege philosophy, a policy to protect the country from enemies the Bush administration refuses to acknowledge and attack. Do these restrictions on Americans serve to preserve freedom, liberty and other rights that creatures like Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security, claim they are serving? Hardly.

What is preventing the U.S. from dealing with Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia as they should be dealt with, that is, as enemies dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the U.S. and candidates for a thorough, debilitating military reduction? For one thing, our State Department. John Bolton hales from the State Department. Condoleezza Rice now heads that department. Both have been either seduced or corrupted by it. One would need to go back more than half a century to find the name of an individual in that department who boasted an iota of moral courage.

Our State Department is markedly anti-American. It has been staffed by leftists, One-World loons, and Hegelians for decades. It has worked to undermine or sabotage every semi-assertive, semi-rational policy adopted by various occupants of the White House over the last forty or so years, rare as those policies have been.

Another disruptive factor is multiculturalism, which acts as a cognitive anticoagulant that stops the West from formulating and adopting a solid, assertive, and self-assertive moral policy vis-à-vis its enemies. One isn't likely to proclaim freedom, individual rights and press freedom (too much) if one is convinced that those values aren't superior to or any better than abject submission to religious tyranny or other form of "cultural" collectivism. They are just "different," beyond judgment, beyond comparison.

A mind poisoned by multiculturalism and suborned by political correctness will see no difference between, say, Rudolph Evans's magnificent statue of an intransigently proud Jefferson in the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial and the degrading, obsequious figure of a Muslim bowing to Mecca. Such a mind would shudder at the prospect of swearing eternal hostility to anything, never mind to every form of tyranny over the mind of man. That kind of language is banished from the minds of our pragmatic policymakers.

But, these are the kinds of minds that are preparing the U.S., Israel and the West for future turmoil and disaster.

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:: Monday, August 07, 2006 ::

Our Islamic Nemesis, Then and Now 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 7:54 AM

Browsing through the thousands of pages of a diplomatic history of the United States commissioned by the State Department, I came across this interesting paragraph about the efforts and obstacles of the U.S. to establish civil relations with foreign powers under the Articles of Confederation, before adoption of the Constitution:

"The Confederation's lack of power was an even more significant factor in the abortive negotiations over American sailors held captive in Algiers. Unlike relations with Spain...Algiers held all the advantages. The guarantee of safe passage in the Mediterranean was always available: namely, to pay suitable tribute to the Dey [Muhammad III, Emperor of Morocco, 1757-1790]. This route was followed by European powers, who found it less expensive to pay the pirates than to fight them. Such recourse was not open to Americans. Although the issue was never as vital to America's survival as other problems in foreign relations, none was more painful. For Jefferson, who was given the task of ransoming the American captives, the solution lay in arms. He wanted to join a federation that would sweep the pirates from the sea once and for all, and was distressed over France's submitting to Algerine demands. [John] Jay's reaction was more cynical; he sensed that Europe had no interest in challenging the pirates, and would relish the prospect of a war between America and the Barbary States, from which Europe would benefit...."

(From The Emerging Nation: Foreign Relations of the United States Under the Articles of Confederation, 1780-89, Vol. 3. National Historical Publications and Records Commission, 1996)


Jefferson at this time was minister to France, and John Jay minister to Spain. What impressed me was the echo from that distant era of Europe's toleration of the Barbary pirates, in particular France's, and Europe's unwillingness to "sweep the pirates from the sea once and for all." The U.S., at the time strapped for cash to launch a navy that would have satisfied Jefferson's recommendation, could do little else but emulate the European policy and pay tribute. In 1786 the U.S. representative, John Barclay, negotiated a "non-molestation" treaty with Morocco, whose "emperor" was paid $10,000 in gifts to sign it. But Tripoli, Algiers and Tunis for the next three decades continued their seizures of American vessels and enslaving their crews and passengers. After the Dey's death, Morocco also resumed its depredations.

It should be noted here that during the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Barbary pirates would turn over seized American vessels to the British navy—for a price, of course.

As president, Jefferson took the first concrete steps to counter the Barbary looters by sending a squadron to combat Tripoli, which had declared war on the U.S. because it didn't think it was receiving enough in tribute. (For details, see the adventures of Stephen Decatur). Jefferson, struggling with a contentious Congress, was unable to deal effectively with the other Barbary States. It fell to President James Madison to finish the task of reducing Algiers, Tunis, Morocco and Tripoli and forcing them to cease their plundering of American vessels (1815).

One must observe that neither Jefferson, Jay nor Madison responded to the Barbary "crisis" by proposing to "democratize" the Barbary States for the sake of "peace" in the Mediterranean, or rebuild towns damaged by American bombardments, or pay compensation to "innocent" Muslims affected by the fighting. And all they got in the way of European response to the idea of an international military effort to subdue the Barbary States was indifference and expressions of "such is life" tolerance of Barbary extortion. Further, Jay was correct in his assessment of Europe, in that it benefited from American action at no cost to it, not even in an expression of gratitude. Today, Europe is similarly benefiting at the expense of the U.S. expending blood and treasure fighting the wrong war.

The historical parallels of and differences between that age and this one are noteworthy, not only in terms of actions taken, but in terms of a nation asserting its right to reply to force with force. Jefferson and Madison were not by nature "men of war," but they nonetheless settled on war instead of continuing to pay tribute to barbarians and submitting to their extortion. Their decisions were not governed by an unreasoning, emotional anathema to "violence." In that era, the U.S. had to wait until it was solvent enough to dispatch a navy to end the "crisis." And when the causes of the "crisis" were dealt with, there was no more crisis to bedevil the country.

When one watches the frantic, contemptible relief with which the U.S. and Europe react to the least chance for "peace" between Israel and Lebanon (re the recent U.N. Security Council resolution to end the fighting, but condescending to allow Israel to defend itself), one cannot help but sense that it is not "peace" they are seeking, but release from the responsibility of taking a moral stand, in this instance, on the right of Israel to retaliate with force against a power seeking its destruction. Thus, Hezbollah, a more vicious and dangerous band of killers than the Barbary pirates ever could be (they were not being financed with Iranian oil revenues), is being treated as an ineluctable metaphysical fact that must be dealt with on its own terms.

Somehow, think President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Prime Minister Blair, France and other parties, the perilous conflict in the Mideast can be reduced to the level of a Hatfield-McCoy feud of "proportionate," tit-for-tat "reciprocal" actions, refereed by the United Nations, which has in the past, more than once, demonstrated a virulent hatred of Israel (and of the U.S.).

Underscoring the nature of the conflict, King Abdullah of Jordan, who has criticized the U.S. and Israel over the war, according to the BBC, "stressed the only way to achieve peace was to end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands."

Concretely, he was referring to the territories Israel won and kept after being attacked by its Arab neighbors. More broadly, he was referring to the claim by Hezbollah, by the Palestinians, by Syria, by Iran, that Israel itself "occupies' Arab land, and that its destruction would bring "peace" to the Mideast.

A moral stand in this and in any other "crisis" that involves aggression would be a refusal to sacrifice the good to evil and a "proactive" policy to preserve the good. This is not our present policy. Now we are asking Israel, the good, what one commentator called the "frontline of civilization in the Mideast," to jeopardize its existence by accommodating an unacknowledged evil, Islamofascism. This is a totalitarian movement which, as one Iranian ayatollah recently proclaimed, will one day rule from Spain to Iran, by jihad or by diplomacy.

There would be no need for a U.N. sponsored "international" force to patrol the Israeli-Lebanese border if Israel were allowed to eradicate Hezbollah "once and for all." As for the Lebanese government, it should fall. The Lebanese should learn the hard way that it should not pay to form a "democratic" alliance with totalitarian killers.

Our Islamic enemies understand us, all too well, and are advancing because they grasp that the West is unwilling to assert not only its right to exist, but its moral superiority. When will our political leaders begin to understand our enemies and act to vanquish them? Only when they grasp the fact that retaliatory violence is the only answer to force and terror.

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:: Thursday, August 03, 2006 ::

Weather inflation 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 9:42 AM

It's 9:24 AM as I write this, and I'm looking up the weather for Northern VA. It says it’s 90°, but also that it "feels like its 107°."

Huh? It's 90°. When I go outside, it feels like a hot Northern VA 90° always does—hot and sweaty—but nothing like 107°. So what's up with all this weather inflation? Isn't saying that it’s 90° at 75% humidity good enough? Why do weathermen feel the need to declare that it "feels" like 107°? And if it was really 107°, would they then turn around say it felt like it was 124°?

In my book, humidity "feels" like its either off or on; it's either humid, or its not. And while humid pretty much equals misery, I just don't buy that it "feels like" seventeen extra degrees of misery.

It feels #$%^&* humid, plain and simple. So why not say as much?

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