Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tragedy in Baghdad

A major tragedy in Baghdad occurred today:
Panicked by rumors of a suicide bomber, thousands of Shiite pilgrims broke into a stampede on a bridge during a religious procession Wednesday, crushing one another or plunging 30 feet into the muddy Tigris river. About 800 died, mostly women and children, officials said.
Read the whole article.

The Iraqis are as concerned about terrorism as we are. Security and stability are needed badly in Iraq. We need to get Iraqis trained to provide security as quickly as we can. I think we have trained about 26,000 Iraqis to date. We need to have at least 100,000 to 150,000 trained Iraqis who can take over the security of the country.

Our condolences to the families of those Iraqis whose lives were lost in this terrible incident.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:12 PM 0 comments links to this post

Al Queda claims responsibility for Katrina

But wait, now Al Queda says it was responsible for Katrina. This was, according to Al Queda, retribution for Afghanistan, Iraq, and, oh yes, Bruce Willis.

It will be interesting to see who else claims responsibility for Katrina. Of course, we know the Lefties think that President Bush is responsible for it, and everything else that goes wrong in the world.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:00 PM 1 comments links to this post

L.A. Pastor: "Katrina is revenge for slavery"

The Reverend Lewis E. Logan II, senior pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church,in South Los Angeles suggests:
That it is not a coincidence that the storm’s name is a sister. Katrina. For she represents the collective cries of mothers who have lost their sons (applause) to the brutality (louder applause) and the murderous grip of this racist white supremacist American culture (frenzied applause).
I can't imagine anything more outrageous.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 4:30 PM 0 comments links to this post

The Forces of Decomposition

William Bennett writes a lengthy article today in RealClearPolitics that a grievance culture has taken hold here in the U.S. and in the U.K. He posits that this culture obscures our focus and dilutes our efforts in the war in which we are currently engaged.
A grievance culture has taken hold in the West, both in England and America-and at exactly the wrong time. Where not long after 9/11 we were angry, we now have become sad, or depressed and confused; and too many have replaced our concept of evil with all manner of diagnoses of syndromes and root causes. We are at war, and yet we are indulging a culture of grievance. My friend Debra Burlingame-whose brother, Chick, was the pilot of flight 77 that was hijacked and smashed into the Pentagon-was recently asked if she missed the post-9/11 commonsense. She answered: "Truthfully, what I miss the most is the anger." I do too.

It is not just the terrorist threat that we have to deal with now, but the grievance culture under it, that has taken such a strong hold in the West. It may, in fact, prove the greater threat because it takes away our greatest protection against terrorism: moral clarity. Where once our law and culture were based on assigning blame on a perpetrator of wrong, and personal responsibility was a commonplace (as well as commonsense), a new psychology has taken hold in Western culture. Where once we punished and fought, we now psychologize and debate the causes of anger and terror. We, to borrow from Shakespeare, have made the wrong medicines of our great revenge.
Bennett may have something here. He continues:
Last month, in the wake of the worst attack in London since the Blitz, the other-wise forceful Prime Minister Tony Blair took a meeting with two dozen leaders of Britain's Muslim community to "address the root causes of the suicide bombings" that killed over 50 innocent civilians and wounded over 700 more. In an earlier time, perhaps, we would have known who and what was responsible for the death of those Londoners-the evil and barbaric actions of thugs, of terrorists believing in Islamist fascism. But, the so-called "moderate" Muslims who met with Tony Blair had been paying attention to the cultural shifts we have brought upon ourselves, and they played into them.

After all, they too saw responsibility as other than in the evil terrorists. As the Washington Post reported: "the most prominent of Britain's Muslim moderates -- acknowledged strong disagreements among themselves, with the government and with radicals in their community over who or what is ultimately to blame for the attacks." And, a Muslim member of the House of Lords stated, "many people are confused as to how to deal with [the bombings]."

Can one imagine Winston Churchill entertaining Germans with a list of grievances that led to the Blitz at 10 Downing? Or, Franklin Roosevelt listening to a group of Japanese at 1600 Pennsylvania who wanted to air their reasons for Pearl Harbor? Tony Blair should have thrown these "moderate" leaders who feed this theology and philosophy out on their ears. Unfortunately, however, those leaders are not alone and, to be honest, we too have mollycoddled supposedly "moderate" leaders as well-both at Crawford and in DC, both with members of the Saudi royal family as with members of Muslim so-called civil rights organizations.

Churchill and Roosevelt took the war to the enemy, they didn't ask their leaders about their grievance-their countries had heard them loudly and clearly enough, through their actions. But, what our countries today do not hear loudly and clearly enough, is the call of the rightness (if not righteousness) of their own cause. We have replaced what Lincoln called our "political religion"-our dedication to knowing the causes of equality and liberty upon which we were founded-with a politics of religion, and race, and nationality, and culture. We have elevated individual grievances, ethnic thumb sucking and hundreds-year-old resentments and envy above our mutual protection and our commonweal, a word you do not hear much anymore.
I couldn't agree more. Read the whole article. It is very enlightening.

Another tidbit:
Some days, we hear, the terrorism is caused because we're "occupying" Iraq; some days it's because we support Israel (which, until the liberation of Iraq, was the only country in the Middle East where Arab Muslims could vote freely and serve in government). But, there's a perhaps not-so-obvious problem with this "understanding," this "sympathy," and blame-game. We were not "occupying" Iraq on September 11, 2001 (we weren't even occupying Afghanistan). And Britain has pushed more than any other Western nation for Israeli withdrawal from the lands the Arabs say belong to them. No, it's not Iraq and it's not Israel. It's a corrupt philosophy attached to an evil arm that causes the massive slaughters.

There's a second problem as well. The so-called grievances of the Muslims are contrasted to nothing-there is no other side of the scale, there is no teaching of what we do right, there is no recogniztion of the wisdom and virtue of our own cause, from our Founding up until today. There is no reality check. One would think Muslims would be at least a little grateful to the countries that have liberated over 50 million of them in the last four years. Or to those same countries (the U.S. and Britain) who, the last seven times they mobilized their militaries, did so on behalf of Muslims. Not so. They are not.
More:
No, this is not a struggle against just any kind of extremism. It is a fight, it is a war-and we know who the enemy is. We should say it. It is Radical Islam. We called the Nazis the German Nazis; and we called the Communists the Soviet Communists. We should call our enemy today by what they are and who they are. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "the corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language." It is no accident we are seeing less and less support for the war in the most recent polling. We are corrupting not only our war, but our will to fight by corrupting our language about this war.

And this corruption of language and thought has led to the taking too seriously of the "Muslim grievance." We need to get up off the couch and tell Muslims that whatever pain they feel, it is not from British or U.S. wrongdoing; indeed, ours has been more their liberation and their medicine than their enslavement and affliction.
More:
We have it in our power to breed heroes and statesmen just as we have it in our power to breed terrorists and traitors. We breed by both example and instruction; and just now we need a great re-learning about what we are teaching and tolerating through our national example and instruction, both in how we treat the enemy as well as in how we treat our own philosophies of statecraft and soulcraft. Our only repatriation can come once we take seriously again our self-evident truths, our political religion. In understanding our Constitution and Founding as the basis of our laws Abraham Lincoln put it this way:

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;--let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap--let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;--let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

We've lost that teaching, that instilling of public faith in our own country and our own cause. We've replaced, and indeed denigrated, that extremism, if you will. Now, what Lincoln had in mind is a good deal different from today's teachings of the feckless thing we've replaced history and government with: social studies. Perhaps W.B. Yeats had it right, "The best lack all convictions, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
Where is Ayn Rand when we need her?
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 3:07 PM 0 comments links to this post

Gaza and Victory?

Joey Tartakovsky writes in RealClearPolitics.com about Gaza. He finds that disengagement was the act of a statesman and explains why:
Q: Israelis fear that Gaza could become “Hamasland” after the withdrawal.
A: Let Israel die.

—Hamas spokesman, in an interview with the Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, on August 18th.

The heartbreaking scenes in Gaza show us what the managed exodus of hundreds of families looks like. It means tearing down synagogues and kindergartens, exhuming graves, and ordering an armed force to resettle its own civilians against their will — at a cost of billions of dollars and what seems like as many tears. But Ariel Sharon’s abandonment of Gaza is the act of a statesman.

For disengagement is in Israel’s interests. Israel has no partner for peace among the Palestinians, nor any interest in waiting for one. Sharon began arguing in recent years that his country had better options than the continued occupation of lands crowded with 3.5 million Palestinians, the price for which Israel paid in terms of military, economic, and moral well-being. He observed, too, that if Israel didn’t act to exclude Arabs, whose birthrate is fourfold that of Israeli Jews, Jews would, within decades, become a minority in lands under Israeli control. Sharon will withdraw settlers and soldiers from the conquered territories — Gaza first and parts of the West Bank (much) later — while finishing a fence to seal a favorable border.

It is, or should be, in Israel’s diplomatic interests. The commitment to peace on the part of the “international community” is being tested: as Israel accedes to the decades-long demand of the United Nations and European and Arab states, will these groups pressure the Palestinians, too, to act for the sake of peace, as demanded by every Middle East peace text since Middle East peace texts began? We will see.

And disengagement is in the interests of Palestinians, who will soon have their chance to build a state. Theoretically, that is. There is little to suggest that Palestine will avoid the fate of its Arab neighbors: poverty, misrule, nepotism, and violence. But they won’t have occupation to blame. The impending disaster of Palestine belongs to them, not Israel.
While he makes a compelling argument, the disruption of the lives of Jewish settlers who lived there for nearly 40 years, the possibility of Gaza turning into a terrorist training camp and the proximity of Hamas to populated cities of Israel now, make one wonder if it really is in Israel's best interest. Perhaps, in the long run it will turn out to be. We shall see.

He continues....
The Israeli sin is occupation and the Palestinian sin is terrorism. But now Israel makes redress. What have the Palestinians done? Nothing. Actually, that’s not true: they’ve been busy partying. And praising themselves: “This pullout is the result of our sacrifice, of our patience,” said President Mahmoud Abbas. In another speech: “The credit [for the withdrawal] goes to the martyrs.” Abbas has no plans to confront the terrorists under his dominion. (Nor has a single terrorist been arrested during his tenure.) On the contrary, the martyrs are gearing up for a new round of holy war. Critics of the withdrawal warned that its greatest peril was that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah would interpret Israel’s sacrifice as their victory.

The critics were right. As Palestinian groups celebrate carnival-style, basking in praise from across the Arab world, one doubts that many of them actually believed that the end of occupation meant the end of fighting. Were that true, last week’s events would be cause to lay down their rifles; instead, they seem readier than ever to discharge them. Unless, of course, occupation referred not to the ’67 ceasefire borders, but to Israel proper. A newly-bold Hamas spokesman explains: “We do not and will not recognize a state called Israel. Israel has no right to any inch of Palestinian land.”

The cutthroats of Hamas, like Jack the Ripper in his infamous letter to a London paper, have informed their pursuers that they shan’t quit ripping till they do get buckled. Islamic Jihad took potshots at departing settlers, and even attempted a suicide bombing on the first day of evacuations, which Israel intercepted. But another bomber did make it through on the Sunday after withdrawal, maiming 10 in the city of Be’er Sheva. With these groups there is no “peace process.” There is a war process. Israel must meet the next wave of Palestinian shootings, stabbings, rocket attacks, and suicide bombings with retaliation swift and fierce.

Read more.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 2:50 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, August 27, 2005

End the Debacle Ms. Sheehan

From Arab News:

End the Debacle Ms. Sheehan
Steve Darnell, Arab News

It is time to put an end to the “Cindy Sheehan debacle” in Crawford, Texas. Since I am not one to sugarcoat a subject I will start by simply saying: Ms. Sheehan is a liberal nut case who needs to be put in her place.

I know these are strong words to use against a “grieving mother”, but the time for grief is over. Ms. Sheehan’s own hateful words ended her grievance.

Cindy Sheehan, who returned to her camp outside Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas Thursday after going to California to care for her ailing mother, is demanding to see President Bush over the death of her son in Iraq. Her son, 24-year-old Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq last year. She has also started protesting the war in Iraq and has since become the poster child for the anti-war wackos who are calling for the complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

For the record, Ms. Sheehan already saw President Bush in June of last year when Bush met with families that have lost sons and daughters in Iraq. At that time Ms. Sheehan seemed to appreciate the meeting. “I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,” Cindy said after their meeting, “I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.”

Now, apparently the grieving mother has changed her mind about President Bush, calling him the “biggest terrorist in the world”.

The Drudge Report produced transcripts of a speech Ms. Sheehan recently gave at San Francisco State University where she said, “We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!”

She continued her anti-war tirade saying, “The whole world is damaged. Our humanity is damaged. If he thinks that it’s so important for Iraq to have a US-imposed sense of freedom and democracy, then he needs to sign up his two little party-animal girls. They need to go to this war.”

“We want our country back and, if we have to impeach everybody from George Bush down to the person who picks up... in Washington, we will impeach all those people.”

Ms. Sheehan also proved her lack of intellect stating, “We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now.” I must admit, nuclear war is news to me. Has anyone else heard of this?

I think it is time for our gloves to come off. Many columnists around the country have “tip-toed” around the Sheehan controversy because they have respected the loss of her son. But now Ms. Sheehan is showing her true colors: Liberal activist, not loving mother. I think it is time to fight back.

Ms. Sheehan and other appeasers around the world provide the fuel that feeds the fire of terrorism. If not for this fuel, terrorists would realize that they do not have a chance to sway the minds of people and would end the bombing. Terrorists are not stupid, they understand that bombing innocent civilians will not change the minds of the strong, but will break the will of the weak. So they attack the weak and the weak fold.

Spain is a good example of this reasoning. Would the terrorists have attacked Spain if the whole population stood strong against terrorism? No. What would be the point?

Every time an appeaser voices his or her opinion against the war in Iraq terrorists gain hope that they can change the will of the people. So whether they want to admit it or not, appeasers protesting the war in Iraq are indirectly responsible for the death of the innocent. And the death of our soldiers.

In fact appeasers are directly responsible for the death of Ms. Sheehan’s son, not George W. Bush. If the whole country was united for the war in Iraq, I doubt if the terrorists would have started their suicide bombing campaign.

Using this logic Ms. Sheehan has become the biggest terrorist in the world, not George W. Bush as she so eloquently stated. And the liberal media has become her ally by spreading the word of her protest to the terrorists.

One other point: Every time Ms. Sheehan opens her mouth in protest she is dragging the legacy of her son through liberal muck. Her son was a hero who volunteered to serve his county and died protecting the constitution. Now his mother has become a traitor who is using the war on terror to wage a war against a president whom she does not like. What sense does this make?

Does Ms. Sheehan want her son to be known as the son of the liberal wacko from California sitting in a ditch in Crawford, Texas, or would she like her son to be known as a young man who died protecting the people of the United States?

She is no longer a grieving mother but has become a target in the battle against liberal activism and it is time the war was taken to the enemy.

Unfortunately her son’s good name will soon go down in history as the son of a wacko liberal instead of a war hero.


>— Steve Darnell is a self-syndicated columnist and can be reached at www.stevedarnell.com

Previous related posts:
An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan
Where the Focus Should Be
The "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" Tour
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:09 AM 2 comments links to this post

Friday, August 26, 2005

Italian Red Cross protects Iraqi Insurgents

More reason to be concerned about the Red Cross.
Italy's Red Cross treated four Iraqi insurgents and hid them from U.S. forces in exchange for the freedom of two Italian aid workers kidnapped last year in Baghdad, an official said in an interview published Thursday.

Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing chief of the Italian Red Cross, told La Stampa newspaper that he kept the deal secret from U.S. officials, complying with "a nonnegotiable condition" imposed by Iraqi mediators who helped him secure the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, who were abducted on Sept. 7 and freed Sept. 28.

"The mediators asked us to save the lives of four alleged terrorists wanted by the Americans who were wounded in combat," Scelli was quoted as saying. "We hid them and brought them to Red Cross doctors, who operated on them."
They took the wounded insurgents to a Baghdad hospital in a jeep and in an ambulance, smuggling them through two U.S. checkpoints by hiding them under blankets and boxes of medicine, Scelli reportedly said.

Also as part of the deal, four Iraqi children suffering from leukemia were brought to Italy for treatment, he said.

Scelli told the newspaper he informed the Italian government of the deal and of the decision to hide it from the U.S. through Gianni Letta, an undersecretary in Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government who has been in charge of Italy's hostage crises in Iraq.

"Keeping quiet with the Americans about our efforts to free the hostages was an irrevocable condition to guarantee the safety of the hostages and ourselves," he told La Stampa. He said Letta agreed.
I suppose Italy justifies this because they were able to rescue two of their citizens, but what lesson was taught to the terrorists?
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 7:40 AM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It has begun: Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza

As many of us have predicted, the Palestinians have taken advantage of Israel's departure from Gaza and fired rockets into Israeli cities.
A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza hit the Negev city of Sderot around noon Thursday. A second rocket was also fired, and landed between Sderot and Nir-Am. Over 5900 rockets and shells were launched from Arab Gaza at Israeli targets over the last few years.

Shas party MK Eli Yishai said that the rockets fired at Sderot were just an “appetizer” compared to what is to come. “Even before we have turned off the engines of uprooting and expulsion, our fears have proven true. The dream of an end to the season of Kassams has been shattered.”

Yishai called upon Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to hand over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority until PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas commits publicly to stopping the firing of rockets on Israeli towns. Yishai added that handing Gaza over as Kassam attacks continue is the equivalent of “an invitation to shoot Kassam rockets at the city of Ashkelon.”

The IDF has yet to respond to the attack, though PM Sharon has repeatedly promised to deal harshly with post-withdrawal terrorism emanating from Gaza. Other proponents of the withdrawal, as well, have promised that after such a withdrawal, Israel will be able to respond harshly to attacks over her borders.

Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal questioned why the IDF did not respond to Thursday’s Kassam rocket attack. He said that officials promised that following the Disengagement, any rockets fired into the western Negev from Gaza would be met with a stern response.

Moyal added he will not be responsible for the welfare of students in schools with rooftops that were not fortified to withstand rocket attacks, adding those schools simply will not open.

While many schools remain unprotected, none of the western Negev’s private homes are included in the plan. The Shabak (General Security Service), which is responsible for the security in and around Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch, however, is unwilling to take such chances, and has recently fortified the windows and roofs of the Prime Minister's Negev home against rocket attacks.

Thursday morning, Lebanese terrorists fired two Katyusha rockets at northern Israel. One hit the northern moshav [cooperative settlement] of Margaliyot, near Kiryat Shemonah and the other landed in Lebanese territory. No one was hurt, but damage was caused to a chicken coop.

A high alert has been declared in the north, and the IDF is investigating the attack. Israel has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations.
Well, that should certainly help.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 3:05 PM 0 comments links to this post

An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

From Clifford May in the Modesto Bee:
Dear Cindy Sheehan:

I know you want to talk to President Bush about the conflict in Iraq, the war in which your son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was tragically killed. I also know that while the president met with you previously, he is not eager to see you again - not now that you are affiliated with Moveon.org and supported by David Duke and handled by slick public-relations professionals.

So let me suggest an alternative: Come visit with me. Our meeting probably won't get much publicity, but I can promise you an interesting discussion. I could have some people join us - for example, a few of the many Iraqi freedom fighters with whom I've been working for the past several years, many of them women, as well as democracy and human-rights activists from Syria, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries.

You say you want to know, "What is the noble cause that my son died for?" They would answer: Your son died fighting a war against an extremist movement intent on destroying free societies and replacing them with racist dictatorships.

The Iraqis will want to tell you what life was like under Saddam Hussein - the mass murders of hundreds of thousands, the women and girls who were gang-raped by Saddam's cronies, the creative forms of torture that were ignored by the "international community."

I know several Baghdadi businessmen whom Saddam suspected of disloyalty. He had their right hands amputated. Want to meet them? The doctors who were forced to perform these amputations are worth chatting with as well.

It's true, as you and others have pointed out, that we did not find Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction. But don't be misled into believing that Saddam never had any. Indeed, he used chemical weapons against the Kurds, slaughtering thousands in villages like Halabja, where mothers laid down in the streets and embraced their children in their final moments. We can show you pictures. We can introduce you to survivors.

Like you, I wish America's intelligence agencies had known more than they did about Saddam's capabilities. But Saddam's intentions were never in doubt.

Cindy, you've been calling for the United States to get out of Iraq at a time when our enemies in that country include the most aggressive and lethal branch of al-Qaida, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Can you not see that if we were to retreat from Iraq now, it would be a historic defeat for the United States?
Read the whole thing...

The fact is that Cindy Sheehan and her backers do not want to discuss the situation reasonably. They want publicity and they want to create an impression that they represent a majority of Americans, which they most certainly do not.


Previous related posts:
The "You Don't Speak For Me Cindy" Tour
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 1:31 PM 0 comments links to this post

The Gates of Fire

If you want to get a true idea about what our servicemen are facing each day in Iraq, please read the dispatch from Michael Yon in Iraq. Michael is an author and journalist chronicling the events which will lead to a stabilized democracy in Iraq.

Excerpt:
Combat comes unexpectedly, even in war.

On Monday, while conducting operations in west Mosul, a voice came over the radio saying troops from our brother unit, the 3-21, were fighting with the enemy in east Mosul on the opposite side of the Tigris River. Moments later, SSG Will Shockley relayed word to us that an American soldier was dead. We began searching for the shooters near one of the bridges on our side of the Tigris, but they got away. Jose L. Ruiz was killed in action.

Although the situation in Mosul is better, our troops still fight here every day. This may not be the war some folks had in mind a few years ago. But once the shooting starts, a plan is just a guess in a party dress.
Reading the accounts in this dispatch and seeing the combat photos are more realistic and exciting than any war movie you might see. The men in our armed forces are truly remarkable and are truly heroes.

He concludes with:
Iraqi Army and Police officers see many Americans as too soft, especially when it comes to dealing with terrorists. The Iraqis who seethe over the shooting of Kurilla know that the cunning fury of Jihadists is congenit[al]. Three months of air-conditioned reflection will not transform terrorists into citizens.

Over lunch with Chaplain Wilson and our two battalion surgeons, Major Brown and Captain Warr, there was much discussion about the "ethics" of war, and contention about why we afford top-notch medical treatment to terrorists. The treatment terrorists get here is better and more expensive than what many Americans or Europeans can get.

"That's the difference between the terrorists and us," Chaplain Wilson kept saying. "Don't you understand? That's the difference."

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:11 PM 0 comments links to this post

The Tail that Wags the Blog

A very funny piece appeared last Sunday in the Washington Post by Joel Achenbach about his blog. (Hat Tip: Sandmonkey):
I constantly tell myself: Ignore the blog. Do your work. You are an enormous literary figure and cultural icon, not a mere "blogger." You must produce high-end journalism with grand themes and huge groaning multi-syllabic words like "eschatological," and you can't be dribbling away all your ideas on the blog. Be strong! Resist the blog!

And then . . . I hear it yowling.

The blog is hungry. The blog will not be ignored. It is an insatiable little beast, a creature still unclassified by science -- hairy, warty, slobbering, with its own fiendish agenda. I often fantasize about killing the blog, but I worry that it will respond just like the crazed computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey": It will try to kill me first
I know exactly how he feels.
The continual focus-grouping explains why most bloggers write as though their primary goal is to rise in the Google search results. The more you mention people like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the more readers you will have, and the more links, and the more you will rise in Google's estimation. I have nothing really to say about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and am not even remotely interested in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but I know that my blog will be read by more people if it mentions famous celebrities who might be secretly boinking, such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

And let me just add, purely for the sake of Google: sex, alien abduction, Oprah, Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan, jumbo hooters the size of watermelons, Dick Cheney, Mark of the Beast, Armageddon, free money.
Hilarious!
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:43 AM 0 comments links to this post

Egyptian Intellectual: Don't Let Opponents of Democracy Take Over in Middle East

From MEMRI:

Egyptian Author Tarek Heggy: The Muslim Brotherhood's Goal Is to Establish a Militarized Religious State as a Base for Waging War on the Infidel West

In an article in the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yousef, Egyptian author and intellectual Tarek Heggy responded to recent indications that Washington is ready to accept the risk of having the Muslim Brotherhood in power. In his article, Heggy points to the organization's fundamentalist, anti-democratic character, and asserts that while democratic reforms are necessary, they should not be made in a hasty manner that would allow the opponents of democracy to take power.

The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

The "Muslim Brotherhood" Aims to Take Over the Islamic World

"With eruption of public protests in Egypt against and the government's anti-democracy crackdown, public attention has focused on the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is a transnational organization, established in Egypt in 1928, which aims to take over the Islamic world. Its goal is establishing a Caliphate, a religious militarized state, as the base to wage war against the 'infidel' West. The Muslim Brotherhood today is the best-organized political force in many Arab countries.

"The hasty promotion of democracy may bring the Brotherhood to power in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and elsewhere. While some in Washington are ready to accept this risk, it may entail dangerous unintended consequences.

"It is important to understand the political thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood, in hopes of shedding some light on an issue many people in the world need to understand."

The Brotherhood Wants to Subject Politics to the Shari'a

"Unlike Western democracies, which guarantee the political participation of all citizens regardless of ideology, opinion or religion, the Brotherhood makes political participation of individuals in society subject to the principles of Islamic holy law (the Shari'a). While in the West, the legislative and judiciary branches of government monitor state actions to ensure they conform to democratic rules, the actions of the state would be monitored by the Brotherhood to ensure they conform to the rules of Shari'a.

"The Brotherhood guarantees freedom of belief only for the followers of the three revealed (Abrahamic) religions. The Brotherhood's position on religious minorities can be summed up by its insistence [that] a non-Muslim can never become president and [that] non-Muslims will be subject to the Shari'a principles on which the entire legal system will be based.

"While Western democracies guarantee absolute freedom of the individual as long as it does not impinge on the freedom of others, the Brotherhood limits the freedom of thought within the strict parameters of a code derived from the Shari'a. The Brotherhood calls for restoring hisbah, which allows a private citizen to prosecute any individual who commits an act he considers a breach of the Shari'a even if the plaintiff himself was not personally injured by it…"

Women's Political Participation Would be Limited to Municipal Elections

"In Western democracies, women enjoy the same political rights as men. But as far as the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned, women's political participation would be limited to municipal elections. There is no question, for example, of a woman ever becoming head of state. To further marginalize women and exclude them from any meaningful public role, the Brotherhood calls for educational curricula to include material appropriate for women, tailored to suit the female nature and role and insists on complete segregation of the sexes in classrooms, public transportation and the workplace.

"The organization calls for an economic system based on respect of private property. At the same time, however, it insists the system be based on the principles of Islamic Shari'a, which criminalizes charging interest on borrowed money, as by banks. They also call for state ownership of public utilities."

The Brotherhood Calls for Revival of the Caliphate

"Contrary to the democratic governmental system, based on peaceful rotation of power by elections, the Brotherhood calls for a government based on the principles of Shari'a and the revival of the Islamic Caliphate.

"The freedom of association enjoyed by civil organizations in a democracy would, in an Islamist system, be conditional on their adherence to the strictures of Shari'a.

"The Brotherhood opposes the notion of a state based on democratic institutions, calling instead for an Islamic government based on the Shura (consultative assembly) system, veneration of the leader and the investiture of a Supreme Guide. In this, they are close to the model established by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran, which enables diehard conservatives (a group to which the Supreme Guide belongs) to nip any reform or renewal in the bud."

The Brotherhood will Never Recognize the Legitimacy of Israel

"Over the last 57 years, the Brotherhood has opposed all attempts for a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The organization will never recognize the legitimacy of Israel.

"The Brotherhood calls for a constitutional and legal system based on the principles of Shari'a, including cruel corporal punishments in the penal code (stoning, lashing, cutting off the hands of thieves, etc.). The Muslim Brotherhood has never condemned use of violence against civilians, except when directed against Muslims.

"Finally, modern progress is realized by two tools – science and modern management. These are two disciplines of which the Brotherhood has not a vaguest idea. Instead, it promulgates a retrograde ideology, which can be deadly for sustainable economic development, growth in investment, and equality.

"Promoting democracy in the Middle East is an imperative necessity for all humanity. Given the right steps, the peoples of the Middle East (as Professor Bernard Lewis has repeatedly expounded) are capable of flourishing democratic societies. However, a hasty transformation is likely to be disastrous for the forces of progress in Egypt and in the Middle East."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Roz Al-Yousef (Egypt), May 13, 2005. The article, translated by the author into English, was published by The Washington Times on June 3, 2005.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The U.S., particularly the State Department, should heed intellectuals from the Middle East who want democratic societies to thrive there. They will be the ones who will be the advocates of democracy when it arrives.

If it is true that there are those in the administration who are willing to accept the risk of The Muslim Brotherhood acceding to power in Egypt, or other radical Muslim factions coming to power in other countries in the Middle East, I would hope they would re-think that policy. Our goal is to create democracies that are supported by a majority of the people. If radical organizations take over, democracy will end. We have to be careful.

Sometimes it seems that the administration is in a hurry because they want to accomplish lofty goals before the end of the current administration's term. In the case where radical groups who are enemies of Democracy and the West may rise to power, I would suggest that more time be taken to make sure of the right result, rather than try to accomplish something before the expiration of a political term if it might have significant unintended consequences.




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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:08 AM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More Deadly Appeasement by Israel

Israel’s Deadly Appeasement Process Continues

By Alex Epstein and Edward Cline

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is being portrayed as a wise (albeit unpleasant) move by Ariel Sharon. By addressing a longtime grievance of the Palestinians and their supporters--the presence of Israeli security forces and Jewish residents on the Gaza strip--we are told, Israel will abate the hatred that drives so many Palestinians to terrorism.

In fact, the Gaza withdrawal is a deadly act of appeasement toward Israel’s committed enemies: the Palestinian Authority (PA), its rabidly anti-Semitic Palestinian supporters, and other Arab regimes throughout the Middle East. It will only increase their hope and ability to achieve their long-standing goal: the obliteration of Israel.

Contrary to their pronouncements to Western media that they seek peace with Israel via a “reasonable” land-for-peace “compromise,” the PA and its supporters have proven by their actions--and by repeated statements in Arabic--that they seek to destroy Israel. Due to their racist, tribalist, primitive philosophy, much of the Arab world seeks the eradication of Jews--and, more broadly, Western Civilization--from the Middle East. In polls taken, 80 percent of Palestinians say they do not regard Israel as legitimate. As for Israel’s other Arab neighbors, they have attempted to destroy Israel in three previous wars.

Why have those who seek Israel’s annihilation turned from open warfare to the negotiating table? Because they have learned that this--combined with terrorism--is their most effective means of destroying Israel.

Observe what the absurdly named “peace process” has consisted of. The PA and its Arab neighbors deliberately keep the Palestinians in misery, indoctrinate them with anti-Semitism, and sponsor terrorism against Israel. They then blame Israel’s “occupation” of territories won in a war of self-defense (and crucial for Israel’s security today) for the Palestinians’ misery--and blame the Palestinians’ misery for Palestinian terrorism. The solution, they convince Israel and the West, is more land, loot, and power for the “downtrodden” Palestinians--money which the Palestinian leadership uses to fund still more attacks on Israel.

By relying on terror and unearned guilt, the enemies of Israel have been able to undermine Israel’s security and moral confidence in a way they never could by direct attack.

Consider the recent history. In response to his long record of terrorizing Israel in the name of “Palestinian liberation,” Yasser Arafat got recognition as the “legitimate representative” of the Palestinians. Under the Oslo accords, he was given billions in cash and a vast arsenal of deadly weapons for “security forces” that he would use to oppress Palestinians and terrorize Israel. Unsurprisingly, terrorism coupled with blaming Israel, having been handsomely rewarded, increased dramatically. Then, in 2000, Arafat was offered unprecedented territorial concessions; figuring he could get more by terrorism, he rejected the proposal and launched a second Intifada. The resulting escalation of terrorism, along with Arab nations claiming that anti-American terrorism stems from sympathy for the mistreatment of Palestinians, led to a promise from President Bush for a Palestinian state--and endless calls for Israel to show “restraint” in the face of a terrorist onslaught.

Terrorize Israel and blame it for the misery you inflict on Palestinians, the Palestinian leadership has been taught, and you shall be rewarded. Now, further terrorism and Israel-bashing have gotten the PA an unconditional withdrawal from Gaza--a crucial launching base for Arab wars of the past, and an easy means from which to further terrorize Israel. Smelling blood, Palestinians and their beloved terror organizations are already boasting: “Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem.”

Any further Palestinian terrorism, of course, will simply be blamed on Israel not conceding enough, and we will be told that peace can only be achieved if Israel takes more “risks for peace”--i.e., continues to give Palestinian murderers more resources with which to launch their aggression.

The only way to stop Palestinian terrorism is for Israel to identify the PA and its supporters as the evil they are--and to righteously defeat them. Not only should Israel retain Gaza, it should destroy the Palestinian leadership and do anything else necessary to eradicate the hope that drives Palestinian terrorism--the hope of Israel’s destruction.

Then, and only then, will Israel be able to adopt a new slogan of its own: “Yesterday Palestinian terrorism, today Palestinian defeat.”





Alex Epstein is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) in Irvine, CA. Edward Cline is a contributing writer to ARI. ARI promotes the ideas of Ayn Rand--best-selling author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and originator of the philosophy of Objectivism.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 4:58 PM 0 comments links to this post

Where the Focus Should Be

Scrappleface has been able to obtain a copy of the draft of President Bush's response to Cindy Sheehan.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 3:01 PM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Good news from Iraq

How about some good achievements in Iraq.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 6:21 PM 0 comments links to this post

Patriots and Traitors

Ex-Liberal in Hollywood discusses Patriots and Traitors.
Patriots and traitors have been part of the American landscape throughout our history. While one-third of Americans supported our long war for independence (1775-1783), the other two-thirds resisted our efforts, collaborated with the enemy, or opted out. As our soldiers endured unimaginable hardships and repeated defeats by the British, they also faced domestic ridicule and treachery from the anti-war factions and a hostile press. If not for the courage and tenacity of those patriots, human history would be far different than it is today.

Our patriotic minority has grown since then. But while a minority of American families still risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to support and defend the United States against our enemies, America’s gaggle of communists, socialists, propagandists and traitors continue to harass and ridicule our patriots and collaborate with the enemy. And if calling themselves patriots isn’t bad enough, these sociopaths use the First Amendment to attack the volunteers who defend it.


Read more...
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:54 PM 0 comments links to this post

THE "YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME, CINDY" TOUR

Melanie Morgan, talk show radio host and Co-chairman of Move America Forward and Deborah Johns, Marine Mom, have organized a caravan called the "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" Tour from San Francisco to Vacaville, home town of Cindy Sheehan, and then to Los Angeles, San Diego, and on to Crawford, Texas by Saturday, August 27th. You can see the itinerary here. Come out and greet the caravan when it comes near you.

Roseville resident Deborah Johns' son William is a Marine stationed in Iraq. She sympathizes with Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protester who lost her son to enemy fire 16 months ago. However, Johns believes a pull-out now would negate what troops are fighting for in Iraq. She takes exception to Sheehan's protest and plans to do something about it.

"It absolutely has mushroomed, but that's our liberal media," said Johns. "They continue to like to hear the negative and not the positive that's going on." Johns is organizing what could be hundreds of others to participate in a caravan leaving San Francisco on Monday. The caravan is destined for Crawford, Texas, in a gesture of support for President George W. Bush.

Johns believes it's important to demonstrate her support for the course Bush has chosen. "If God took my son and called him home, I would continue to stand behind our military men and women and I would continue to support our president of the United States," she said.

Sheehan's protest has also been fodder for conservative talk radio, which is urging listeners to join a number of caravans being organized by Move America Forward, a conservative Sacramento-based organization that, according to its website, is dedicated to supporting the troops and the fight against terrorism.

I attended a rally today to welcome the caravan to Los Angeles. Deborah Johns was there, along with several mothers of sons and daughters who are currently stationed in Iraq. One Mom on the caravan is a Gold Star Mother who lost a son in the war, and has 4 others serving in the Armed Forces.

These are women who understand how important it is to boost the morale of the troops and to let them know that they have supporters at home. They recognize that the job is not yet done, and we have to finish before we come home. When will we be finished? We will be finished as soon as we can turn the security of Iraq over to the Iraqis, and they are ready to take on that responsiblity. When will that be? We don't know, but that is when our job is done.

There were 5 or 6 anti-war protesters who came out, and caused a disturbance so that Deborah Johns was unable to speak to the group until someone gave her a megaphone. It was interesting to note that almost all of the supporters had American flags, sang America the Beautiful and God Bless America. The anti-war protesters had no flags, but just had signs saying that "War is not the Answer" and "No more war." Well, actually there was one flag. One fellow had a flag that had the peace symbol on one side and the gay pride flag on the other. I also noticed that the protesters did not join in the singing. Is that because they don't think America is beautiful, or don't want God to bless America?

The liberal media have given extraordinary and disproportionate publicity to Cindy Sheehan. They have tried to give the impression that Cindy Sheehan and her supporters represent the majority of America rather than a small group who are out of mainstream America. Over tne next week, America will hear from the other side, unless the media decides to downplay it.


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posted by Gary Aminoff at 4:48 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, August 22, 2005

Major Crisis in Saudi Arabia Today

A major crisis occurred today at the King Khaled National Guard Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

It turns out that somehow paper cups made in Israel were found in the hospital.
JEDDAH, 22 August 2005 — Paper cups with Hebrew writing disturbed both employees and medical staff at King Khaled National Guard Hospital on Saturday. The catering subcontractor for the hospital coffee shops began using them on Saturday after their usual supply ran out.

“We were shocked and angry,” said an employee. “How can Israeli products be allowed and how did they enter this hospital?” he asked.

The Filipino employee who works in the Al-Musbah coffee shop asked: “Why is everybody mad about the cups?” He was told: “Because they are made in Israel!”

According to hospital officials, the matter is being investigated and action will be taken.
Heads will roll.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 6:24 PM 1 comments links to this post

The Facts on the Ground are Different, Mr. President

I have the greatest respect and admiration for President Bush, but if he really believes what he says in this article, than he, and is his advisors, are not in touch with what is really happening with the Palestinians:
US President George W Bush said overnight Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was "a courageous and painful step" that may help revive the so-called roadmap to Middle East peace.

"Both Israelis and Palestinians have elected governments committed to peace and progress, and the way forward is clear: We're working for a return to the road map," he said in a speech to about 15,000 veterans.
"Palestinian President (Mahmoud) Abbas has rejected violence and taken steps toward democratic reform. This past week, Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by beginning to remove settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank," Mr Bush said.

Mr Bush said the US would work with Abbas's government to smother extremist groups - something Israel has made a precondition for progress on the internationally drafted peace plan.
Mr. Abbas has no way to control the Gaza territory, nor does he have any ability to "smother extremist groups." To believe anything else is to not understand the facts on the ground.


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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:37 PM 0 comments links to this post

Why has there been no Fatwa issued against Bin Laden?

From MEMRI.ORG :

In an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyasa, Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi, a Jordanian intellectual who resides in the U.S., asks why Islamic religious scholars haven't issued a fatwa against bin Laden. [1] The following are excerpts:

Terrorism in the Arab World Has Been Encouraged by Islamic Legal Scholars

"The First International Islamic Conference, [that convened] in Amman, Jordan in July 2005, was attended by a large group of Islamic legal scholars and clerics… The conference published a series of routine recommendations whose content has already been put forward at many other such events. The recommendations condemned the blind violence in the name of Islam [that exists] in a number of countries, and called for dialogue and coexistence among the followers of [Islam's] four schools of law and the various Islamic sects. Ultimately, these recommendations are insufficient. They do not point to the wound and do not heal the patient, because this conference lacks the power to implement the recommendations…

"Many of the clericsand the legal scholars who attended the First International Islamic Conference in Amman had themselves published fatwas that incited to murdering civilians, women, children, and the elderly, under the umbrella of 'religious Jihad.' Perhaps the reason for the intensification of terrorism in the Arab world, in the form to which we are witness today, was first and foremost the encouragement it received from Islamic legal scholars, under a mantle of religion that is in most cases false, hijacked, and defective. If the legal scholars – who have encouraged terrorism by means of these vocal religious fatwas – were acting properly, they would be issuing a fatwa calling to kill bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Zarqawi, and all Al-Qaeda leaders everywhere.

Is It Right To Condemn The West For Its Aggression Against The East And Not To Condemn The Muslim Who Murders His Muslim Or Non-Muslim Brother?

"The Al-Qaeda leaders have killed thousands of innocent people – Arabs and non-Arabs, children, women, and the elderly – who have nothing to do with the conflict in the Middle East… Is it [really the conflict that] prevents the legal scholars from issuing fatwas condemning these murderers and permitting killing them, and getting rid of their evil? Or is it that those legal scholars think it sufficient to condemn and to cite slogans, about tolerance, love, and cooperation, and other utopian slogans that in reality are not worth the ink used to write them and the considerable funds necessary to convene the festivals of religious exhibitionism that lack decisive resolutions…

"Doesn't the fact that to date not a single fatwa has been issued calling for killing bin Laden and the other Al-Qaeda leaders involved in terrorist operations in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt… prove that many of the legal scholars who claim to be opposed to the waves of terrorism actually embrace these terrorist operations and secretly welcome them?

"Isn't it akin to catastrophe, disintegration, mental annihilation, misguidedness, the absence of human sensibility, religious blindness... for some of the legal scholars to treat terrorism with a double standard, all the while accusing the 'infidels' of treating terrorism with a double standard...?

"Terrorism in Doha, for example, is prohibited, and sheikhs demonstrate to denounce and condemn it – while terrorism in Baghdad, Riyadh, Cairo, Sharm Al-Sheikh, Taba, and other places, is [considered] permitted and also restores the desecrated honor of the Islamic nation… Would it be right and fair to condemn the West for its aggression against the East and not to condemn the Muslim who murders his Muslim or non-Muslim brother who committed no crime?

Al-Qaeda Interpreted the Islamic Legal Scholars' Silence as an Endorsement of their Crimes

"The fact that to date no fatwa has been issued [calling to kill bin Laden] is what strengthened bin Laden, his men, and Al-Qaeda, and it is what is encouraging them to expand the circle of murder and terrorism in the Arab world. Moreover, Al-Qaeda interpreted the Islamic legal scholars' silence as an endorsement of their crimes…

"Who is more dangerous to Islam now? Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, or Salman Rushdie and [his] stupid and superficial story, The Satanic Verses ? Why did they permit, with a fatwa, the blood of Salman Rushdie, but did not issue a fatwa against bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and Al-Zarqawi?

"Who is more dangerous to Islam today, and in the past: bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, or Faraj Foda, Hussein Muruwwa, Mahmoud Taha, Al-Sadeq Al-Nayhoum, and other contemporary Arab intellectuals? Why were fatwas issued to kill them – and they were indeed murdered – and to date no fatwa has been issued against bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda leaders?…"



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Al-Siyasa (Kuwait), August 7, 2005.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:59 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sean Penn is Truly a Fool

This is a post from The Straight Scoop, and I felt I had to post it here also.

Sean Penn is in Iran helping to spread his anti-American ideology. He is publishing a journal of his travels in a SF newspaper. I'll touch on a few of his most idiotic statements here.

First, Penn loosely implies that the U.S. is wrong by not wanting Iran to get nuclear capabilities. Iran is "a nation of nuclear power", Penn says. I don't really know what "a nation of nuclear power" is, and Penn doesn't really explain his statement. I do know that there seems to be little reason for a country with one of the world's largest oil reserves to invest millions of dollars in building nuclear power plants when many of its people live in poverty. Any thinking person can see that Iran's nuclear program is a blatant attempt to build nuclear weapons.

Penn goes on to visit a mosque where extremists are screaming anti-American hate speech. Penn naively says, "And many, even among the worshipers at the Friday prayer service, do not subscribe to a literal interpretation of the call for 'Death to Israel' and 'Death to America.' However, in the mantra of chant, comes an adulated sense of horror."

ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME! Iranians are yelling "Death to America" and Penn thinks they're joking. I don't think I've ever read a quote that made me so angry and yet laugh so hard. Were the 9-11 hijackers joking? Perhaps those that bombed trains in Madrid and London didn't "literally" want to destroy Western Civilization. Maybe the Iranian insurgents pouring over the Iraq border and killing our American service people are some of the practical jokers that Penn has befriended.

Penn has absolutely no concept of what we are facing here. He thinks he can learn about a country like Iran by reading their state-run newspapers and meeting with government officials. The government of Iran is actively trying to subvert our efforts in Iraq. They are our enemy. Sean Penn can't see that even as hundreds of Iranians shout "Death to America" right in front of him.

If you want to read Penn's nonsense, click here, although I don't recommend it.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:53 PM 1 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Is Israel Responsible for the Plight of the Palestinian Arabs?

Saree Makdisi, a professor of English at UCLA, writes a misleading one-sided screed in today's Los Angeles Times, titled, "Israel leaves but Gaza is hardly free" about the poor Arabs left in Gaza after the Israelis leave.
PALESTINIANS CELEBRATED as Israel redeployed its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip last week. The move offers some relief to the people of Gaza after 38 years of brutal military occupation.
But, given its unilateral disconnection from any framework for a genuine peace, the withdrawal does nothing to address Palestinian aspirations. Palestinians will gain greater freedom of movement within Gaza's borders, but it seems inevitable that the territory will remain as isolated from the outside world (not to mention the West Bank and Jerusalem) and as subject to Israeli domination as before.

Quite apart from the question of Palestinian self-determination — which hinges on ties between Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem — the withdrawal also will do nothing to alleviate the social and economic crisis produced by the Israeli occupation.

A 2004 World Bank study revealed that, since the intensification of the occupation in 2000, average Palestinian incomes have declined by more than one-third. Nearly half of all Palestinians live below the poverty line of $2 a day. The World Bank's assessment of the cause of this dramatic deterioration in Palestinian living standards is unequivocal. "The precipitator of this economic crisis has been 'closure,' a multifaceted system of restrictions on the movement of Palestinian people and goods, which the government of Israel argues is essential to protect Israelis in Israel and the settlements. Closures, including the Separation Barrier, prevent the free flow of Palestinian economic transactions; they raise the cost of doing business and disrupt the predictability needed for orderly economic life."
You notice that she starts out by referring to a "brutal occupation." First of all, it technically isn't an occupation. Israel was attacked in 1967 by Egypt. Israel won that war, and therefore technically won the Gaza Strip as well as the Sinai from Egypt. It handed the Sinai back when Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel. Egypt did not want the return of the Gaza Strip because they didn't want to govern all those Palestinian Arabs.

Just as the United States won the war against Britain and kept the British colonies, and just as the United States won the war against Mexico, and kept Texas, Israel won the war against Egypt and kept Gaza. The Gaza Strip was never owned by the group who now calls themselves Palestinian Arabs, it was always Egyptian.

Second, as to a "brutal" occupation, who is it that has been brutal? Israel has only tried to prevent its citizens from being killed by brutal Arabs who blow up Israeli citizens in coffee shops, pizza parlors, night clubs, universities and other places where ordinary citizens hang out. Talk about brutality.

She talks about Palestinian Arabs being isolated from Jerusalem. First of all, they have no expectation or right to Jerusalem. West Jerusalem was Israeli since the State was formed. East Jerusalem was Jordanian. The Jordanians built a wall across Jerusalem and did not permit Jews to enter that part of Jerusalem. Israel won the 1967 war against Jordan, and unified Jerusalem. Whenever in history has a country that was attacked, and won a war, given back land that it conquered? Besides the war was won against Jordan, not against the Palestinian Arabs.

There are millions of Arabs who are citizens of Israel who have access to Jerusalem whenever they want. Even Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank or Gaza can come into Jerusalem whenever they want. The one thing that the world has to keep in mind is that as Israel declared in 1967, Jerusalem will never be divided again. There is One Jerusalem.

She also talks about the "...the social and economic crisis produced by the Israeli occupation." The fact is that the social and economic crisis was not produced by the Israeli occupation. It was a direct result of the radical Palestinians not being able to live peacefully with the Israelis. Israeli companies, prior to the intifada, employed thousands of Palestinian Arabs. I was even involved in a joint Israeli-American organization that was prepared to set up factories in the Palestinian areas to employ Palestinians about 8 or 9 years ago. All of that went by the wayside when the Palestinians decided they would rather have a war with Israel (the Intifada of the past five years) than have economic cooperation. The economic crisis is the fault of the Palestinian Arabs, not the Israelis. When the Intifada was started by Arafat I said that the Palestinians have foolishly discarded their economic future for some unrealistic and unattainable goal.

Makdisi says that a World Bank study finds that Palestinian Arabs income has declined by one-third since "...the intensification of the occupation in 2000" by Israel. Wait a minute. Did Israel just decide to intensify its occupation? What about the start of the intifada and the so-called "suicide bombings" in Israel. Isn't that why the "occupation" was intensified. How come all the blame for the problems of the Palestinians belongs to Israel? Don't the Palestinians have any responsibility for their plight?

I could go on paragraph by paragraph pointing out the lies in her essay, but I think the point has been made. Her argument that Israel is responsible for the condition of the Palestinian Arabs doesn't hold any water.



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posted by Gary Aminoff at 7:24 PM 3 comments links to this post

U.S. Backs Islamic Law in Iraqi Constitution

An article in The Telegraph (U.K.) says that the U.S. has abandoned any expectation of having the new Iraqi Constitution support Democracy and women's rights.
The United States yesterday finally abandoned the fading dream of turning Iraq into a beacon of secular democracy in the Middle East, as it backed demands for the new constitution to enshrine Islamic religious law.

This raises the prospect of new laws being assessed against verses from the Koran, and risks alienating the country's non-Muslim minorities as well as more secular Muslim groups, particularly the Kurds.

The move came 24 hours before the expiry of a deadline for the constitution to be approved, and will appease the Shias who dominated in January's election.

Though still not going as far as fundamentalist Islamic groups had demanded - they wanted Islam to be the "sole" source for legislation - the wording marks a fundamental concession by the US as it ends the possibility of a separation of religion and state. It paves the way for far more conservative social legislation, for example diminishing the divorce rights of women, as it could allow Islamic clerics to serve on the high court, which will be responsible for interpreting the constitution.

Last Monday Iraq's parliament approved a week long extension after no agreement on the constitution's composition could be reached by the Iraqi delegates, primarily due to disputes over regional autonomy, the division of oil revenue and the role of Islam.

If a compromise can still not be found by today then a further extension could be agreed. But it is possible that new elections would be held to restart the process again.

Such a dissolution of parliament would be a disastrous for a peaceful resolution to the political future of Iraq, heightening already fraught sectarian tensions.

Though not part of the constitutional committee, American diplomats have been frantically exerting pressure for the document to be produced on time with its ambassador saying the US has expended too much "blood" and "treasure" for the process to fail now.
What is so sacred about having the Constitution produced "on time?" Isn't it better to have it done right, even if that means it will take longer. It seems there are many unresolved issues besides Sharia law in the Constitution. Federalism seems to be an issue in contention right now. Let's give them more time to get it right.

It will be more of a failure to the U.S. if Iraq is not a functioning democracy - if Sharia is the basis for the legal system - than if it isn't produced on a particular date.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 6:30 PM 0 comments links to this post

The Wrong Time to Rub It In

From Israel Insider:

The wrong time to rub it in.
By Jack Engelhard August 21, 2005


Is this really the time to rub it in? We can expect Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas to rejoice as Israelis are being uprooted from their homes in Gaza and handing it all over to them. But what about the euphoria from the BBC and all the rest?

As the deportation was getting underway, the BBC reported that the land is being given back to the Palestinians. Wrong. Egypt occupied that territory. But that merely counts as an error, which is forgivable. Editorializing, however, does not belong in a program called BBC World News.

It is not news when a BBC reporter, Orla Guerin, tells her viewers that "most of the world agrees that the Jews did not belong there in the first place." That is opinion, for it is doubtful that the BBC, vast as it is, interviewed most of the world. At one time, the British Empire spanned the globe, conquered 103 nations and ruled the world from A to Z, from Aden to Zanzibar.

Did Britain belong there in the first place?

But picture this: Those are Arabs, not Jews, being deported. Those are mosques, not synagogues, being demolished.

Would there be enough words to express the world's outrage? Would there be enough buckets to collect the world's tears?

Today's war of Jew against Jew, Israeli against Israeli, is being fought on the ground, but also in the air, meaning the airwaves.

American television appears to agree with the BBC that "the Jews did not belong there in the first place," and this goes for Gaza and virtually all of Israel. Some news organizations already use the term "Occupied Jerusalem" for their datelines. Tel Aviv and Haifa cannot be far behind as being part of contiguous Palestine, as Jewish Israelis are assigned to ghettos.

Who speaks for Israel? From network to network, we find Dennis Ross, architect of the Oslo Accords, which even reasonable thinkers on the Left concede as folly. Another commentator who seems to appear everywhere is Ehud Barak. This ex-prime minister of Israel was booted from office after a disastrous tenure in which his gift-offerings included all of the West Bank (except for two percent), half of Jerusalem and the entire Golan Heights.

When Palestinian Arab rioters overran Joseph's Tomb, a lone Israeli soldier was left to withstand the assault, but bled to death when Barak refused to send timely help.

Such are the men to whom the networks turn for advice and wisdom. These men shape public opinion, and assure us that Ariel Sharon's Disengagement Plan is democracy in action. That is incorrect. Sharon brought the measure before his cabinet, and was turned down. He fired the dissenters and replaced them with his cronies. He also brought his plan up for a vote before his Likud party, and lost overwhelmingly. None of that stopped him.

All that suggests dictatorship in action, not democracy.

In its "Reality Check" editorial of August 18, the New York Times points out that Gaza "was never a part of the Zionist state intended by the United Nations partition plan." Maybe so, but why bring this up now, when the Jews are going, going, gone? Sounds like a kick in the pants.

John Podhoretz of the New York Post tells the Israelis of Gush Katif that it's time to go, the very moment that they are forcibly going. Conservative pundit and editor William Kristol faces television and registers his disgust at the bad behavior of some of the resisters in Israel. We must assume that Kristol would be a model of good behavior if US soldiers came knocking on his door to evict him and his family for being Jewish.

Israeli opinion-makers may also want to think before speaking. One of Israel's leading columnists, Nahum Barnea, recently shared these thoughts with Yediot Ahronot: "Israel can live without Gush Katif. It can even live without Jerusalem." Such reflections are reckless, hurtful and mean-spirited, especially at a time like this.
Sharon himself is petulant that while his operation is moving swiftly, it is not going smoothly. He terms the objectors as criminals. These are mostly Jewish kids (dare we say "Zionists"?) from in and around Gaza whom he was sworn in to preserve and protect, but who now face punishment at his insistence. Sharon has met the enemy.

Back here, those zippers of parenthetical comment that run along the bottom of the screen as the news is being spoken remind us that "the West Bank was taken from Jordan." Some context would be helpful in also reminding us that the land was "taken" due to wars imposed upon the Jewish State.

Moreover, Occupied Territory works both ways. Jordan was once Transjordan, land that was originally and legally parceled for the Jewish State -- by the British. This is never mentioned. Perhaps, for the sake of evenhandedness, we should likewise be reminded that Palestinians are the majority of the Jordanian population.

The BBC, again, shows us Arab Gaza sitting in squalor and blames Israeli "occupation." But the few Arabs in that land before most Jews arrived had hundreds of years without Israeli "occupation" to make the land fertile, but turned it into wasteland. (Whereas, the Israelis made the earth blossom.) Obviously, the BBC will not allow facts to disturb its partisan point of view.

If editorial liberties are fair game, some balance would seem to be proper, especially during this period when Israel is at odds with itself, and indeed making painful concessions to please the nations. Even some of Israel's enemies (as reported in the New York Times) concede that Israel is suffering. For humanitarian reasons alone, this might be a good time to give Israel a break and give politics a rest.

This is not the time to rub it in.

Those of us who weep with Israel are not asking for favors. We don't even ask for sympathy.

We do ask for integrity and a little less hypocrisy.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:52 PM 2 comments links to this post

Further Insult to America's Heritage at Ground Zero

According to an article in today's New York Daily News, the International Freedom Center planned for the site, has been advised to downplay America in its exhibits and programs at ground zero.
A global network of human rights museums is urging the International Freedom Center to downplay America in its exhibits and programs at Ground Zero, the Daily News has learned.

The outrageous request is the latest controversy to torment the Freedom Center, whose leaders have tried to dispel the perception that it would be a home for America bashers.

"Don't feature America first," the IFC has been advised by the consortium of 14 "museums of conscience" that quietly has been consulting with the Freedom Center for the past two years over plans for the hallowed site. "Think internationally, where America is one of the many nations of the world."

Those words rang hollow with some 9/11 family members.

"I can't think of a greater insult than to invite museums from other countries of the world to come and exploit what should be America's memorial," said Jack Lynch, who helped carry the body of his firefighter son Michael, 30, out of the rubble.

"If you're going to explore slavery, the Holocaust or women's rights, you should do it at Chelsea Piers or on the East River waterfront - anywhere but Ground Zero," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles, 51, was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

"After all, it was not slavery that caused the terrorists to attack us," said Burlingame, who has led the fight to bar the IFC.


The International Freedom Center, whose goal is to present a history of "Freedom" across the ages does not belong at Ground Zero. Please go to Take Back the Memorial and sign the petition to keep the International Freedom Center off of Ground Zero. There are plenty of other places it can go in New York. Also, write to Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg telling them about your displeasure of this exhibit at Ground Zero.

Also, read, "Making a Mockery of Ground Zero" and "The Great Ground Zero Heist." There are many other pertinent articles on the web site

As I have said in previous posts, any exhibit at Ground Zero should be about what happened there. It should be about the people who lost their lives there, and about the heroes of that event, the firefighters, police and ordinary citizens who performed extraordinary and selfless acts of courage.

Previous related posts:

"Take Back the Memorial"
"Un-American??"
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 2:05 PM 1 comments links to this post

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Death of Democratic Dreams

Surprising for the NY Times, an article in Sunday's edition details the demise of the Democratic Party's dreams of a major fundraising machine.
If you needed any more proof that Democratic politics were in a profound state of upheaval, consider this: on the eve of the 2004 election, there were three especially powerful groups, aside from the Kerry campaign itself, working to turn out votes for the party in critical states, and those were the Democratic National Committee, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and a lavishly endowed start-up known as America Coming Together. Nine months later, not one of these institutions has emerged entirely intact. First, Howard Dean staged a hostile takeover of the D.N.C. Then big labor unraveled on its 50th birthday. And finally, earlier this month, ACT announced that it was suspending most of its operations and closing down its state offices, effectively shuttering the largest independently financed turnout drive in history after a single outing.
Read more.

The Democratic Party is melting down and losing members. Those who remember the Democratic Party of FDR, Harry Truman and JFK realize that it is now the party of Michael Moore, Howard Dean and Cindy Sheehan. One wonders how many Democrats Cindy Sheehan has caused to leave the party, or, at the very least, to be embarrassed that they are Democrats.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 10:46 PM 0 comments links to this post

Hamas threatens more attacks after Gaza pullout

Reuters reports:
Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas said on Saturday it would fight to drive Israel out of the West Bank and Jerusalem after the Jewish state completes its withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip this year.

"Gaza is not Palestine," a masked spokesman for Hamas's armed wing told a news conference in Gaza City.

"As for Jerusalem and the West Bank, we will seek to liberate them by resistance just as the Gaza Strip was liberated," said the spokesman, surrounded by gunmen and militants with rocket launchers.
While this is no surprise to me, it might be to all of those on the left who thought that if Israel would only unilaterally evacuate from Gaza, the Palestinian jihadists would be satisfied, and Israelis and Palestinians would live together, side-by-side, peaceably for the rest of eternity.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 3:54 PM 0 comments links to this post

San Francisco Shuns Retired USS Iowa

This is what is so great about San Francisco. They love America and support the troops - not.
The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific.

Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

Feinstein called it a "very petty decision."

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in," Feinstein said.

San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel — the USS Pampanito, an attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year.

Officials in Stockton couldn't be happier. They've offered a dock on the river, a 90,000-square-foot waterfront building and a parking area, and hope to attract at least 125,000 annual visitors.

After the Korean war, the Iowa was decommissioned and placed in reserve in a Philadelphia shipyard for three decades. In 1988, it was recalled to duty escorting oil supply ships safely in and out danger in the Persian Gulf. In 1989, 47 sailors were killed in an explosion that tore through a gun turret during a training exercise.

The warship, decommissioned by the Navy in 1990, is currently anchored with a mothballed fleet in Suisun Bay, near the mouth of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta.

San Francisco's rejection of such a storied battleship is a slap in the nation's face, said Douglass Wilhoit, head of Stockton's Chamber of Commerce.

"We're lucky our men and women have sacrificed their lives ... to protect our freedom," Wilhoit said. "Wherever you stand on the war in Iraq ... you shouldn't make a decision based on philosophy."


There must be something in the water up there. I don't get it. San Franciscans would never have the right to disrespect the country and the military if it wasn't for the men who served on ships such as the USS Iowa.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 3:45 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, August 19, 2005

Miss Mabrouk of Egypt on the War in Iraq and the GWOT

Miss Mabrouk of Egypt has an excellent post on the upcoming elections in Egypt. She also comments on the Iraqi situation:
Another opinion-piece by Immanuel Wallerstein is re-saying what last week’s pieces in Slate and NYT were claiming: The War is Over – meaning the game is lost. Yani, “don’t get in, oh you’re in then get out of there” has been the national intelligentsias position since day one but no one ever seemed to bother to ask what the Iraqi people wish (which incidentally is that the coalition should leave after security has been achieved).
Personally, I say the war was over (won) the day the last battalion of Saddam loyalists took of their shoes and run into the desert; the statue fell and the ex-president was found in a rabbit-hole. The rest is charity with self-interest: killing off the last resistance is more attractive than putting the Muslim aliens residing in the US and Europe in intention camps and closing the entrance gates for fifty years ahead. Harsh as it sound and bizarre as it is, that is the option. Unfortunately, appeasing the terrorists and hoping future attacks will not happen because the US are kind will not work. Sad, I know.

Miss Mabrouk is a blogger who lives in Egypt, knows the Middle East and who always seems to have something insightful to say about Islamic terrorism, the Middle East and the GWOT (or GSAVE, as is now preferred).




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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:32 PM 0 comments links to this post

The U.N. Supports Second Coming of the Nazis

You need to read the post at Lump on a Blog about the U.N., its anti-semitism, and its support for those who want to see Jews die.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:14 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Secret of Gaza

David Frum asks the question, "Why is Ariel Sharon evacuating Gaza?"
It is not because he believes that a decent Palestinian state will emerge after the Israelis withdraw. Nobody believes that. The almost universal consensus among experts on the region is that post-occupation Gaza will became a Mediterranean Somalia: an unstable failed state in which gangs compete for power and extremist Islam finds a sanctuary.

Nor was Sharon responding to international pressure. His plan for unilateral evacuation surprised and displeased the United States and the European countries. They wanted Sharon to negotiate with Abbas. They wanted the deal to involve all the Palestinian territories, not just Gaza. And they wanted the whole thing to happen very, very slowly.

Israel’s strategic situation did not force Sharon’s hand: Israel was more than capable of holding Gaza for years to come. Domestic public opinion is not the explanation: Sharon won Israel’s 2003 elections by ITAL opposing END ITAL a Gaza withdrawal.

So why, why, why?

Let me try a theory.

Israel is the victim of an organized international hypocrisy.


He says that Ariel Sharon has decided to put an end to the belief that, if Israel would only leave the Palestinian territories, and give them a chance, a peace-loving Palestinian state, living side-by-side with Israel, would emerge and prosper.

He concludes:
Could it be that Sharon is calling the bluff of Western governments and the Arab states? By creating the very Palestinian state that those governments and those states pretend to want but actually dread – Sharon is forcing them to end their pretense and acknowledge the truth:

The Palestinian leadership is incapable of creating a state that can live at peace with anyone, not Israel, not the other Arab states, not Europe, not the world. Somebody else must govern the restless and violent Arab-majority territories west of the Jordan River. Israel has suffered four decades of condemnation for doing the job. Sharon is now resigning the task to anybody else who would like to step in and take over the job. Nobody wants to. But Egypt and Jordan may soon realize that they have no choice. If there is a secret behind Sharon’s plan – that is it.
Read the whole article.



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posted by Gary Aminoff at 2:47 PM 0 comments links to this post

Tears in my Eyes

Also read, "Tears in my eyes" at Misha's. This is a heart-wrenching time for Jews.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:21 AM 0 comments links to this post

Sharon's Gaza Capitulation

Aaron thinks that Sharon is committed to disengagement because he is compromised by his sons. Interesting stuff.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 10:51 AM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No Blogging Today

Sorry. I have been too upset about what is transpiring in Israel to blog. Probably back tomorrow.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 9:15 PM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

U.N. Poverty Funds Used to Fund Palestinian Political Aims

Fox News reports the following:
GAZA — The Gaza Strip is one of the poorest, most overpopulated areas in the world with 1.4 million Palestinians crammed into a 100-square-mile area. With 50 percent unemployment, the vast majority of Gazans live below a poverty line of $2 a day.

It's exactly the kind of situation that the United Nations Development Program was set up to deal with, and the U.N. is spending millions of dollars there every year.

But FOX News has discovered that not all that cash is going to alleviate poverty. Instead, some of it is funding a Palestinian political campaign under the slogan, "Today Gaza, tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem."

The article concludes with:
"This is simply outrageous," said Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. "The West Bank is disputed territory under the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. The United Nations has no business getting involved in sloganeering to call the Palestinians to also take tomorrow the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Gold claims the UNDP has also been giving money to organizations tied to Hamas. One UNDP bank transfer request, obtained by FOX News, shows the organization giving thousands of dollars to a Jenin-based organization with links to the militant group.

When the evidence obtained by FOX News was shown to UNDP headquarters in New York, officials said the funding was given "without their knowledge" and they said they were "surprised," but there has been no word if the funding will stop or if disciplinary action will be taken.
My only comment is that the United Nations has proved once again that it is a corrupt, biased, ineffective organization and has probably outlived its usefulness.


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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:32 PM 4 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Future of Terrorism - Al Queda's Plan

There is an excellent article in Der Spiegel written by Yassin Musharbash in which he reviews a book by Fouad Hussein called, "al-Zarqawi - al-Qaida's Second Generation."
If there is anyone who might possibly have an inkling as to what al-Qaida are up to, it is the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. He has not only spent time in prison with al-Zarqawi, but has also managed make contact with many of the network's leaders. Based on correspondence with these sources, he has now brought out a book detailing the organization's master plan.
The objective of Al Queda is a Caliphate in seven easy steps:
In the introduction, the Jordanian journalist writes, "I interviewed a whole range of al-Qaida members with different ideologies to get an idea of how the war between the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future." What he then describes between pages 202 and 213 is a scenario, proof both of the terrorists' blindness as well as their brutal single-mindedness. In seven phases the terror network hopes to establish an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.
Musharbash says:
Even for an Arab journalist it is no easy matter getting in touch with al-Qaida's inner circle. Nevertheless, Hussein, who is based in Amman, Jordan, has succeeded in turning his correspondence with the terrorists into a remarkable book: "al-Zarqawi - al-Qaida's Second Generation."
The article doesn't state if the book is published in English, but if you want a good summary of the book and Al Queda's plan for an Islamic Caliphate in the next 20 years, read the article
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:35 PM 1 comments links to this post

Mark Steyn: "Atta way to blow 9/11 panel's credibility"

Mark Steyn writes an article about the now discredited 9/11 Commission:
If you want to know everything wrong with the 9/11 Commission in a single sound bite, consider this from Al Felzenberg, its official spokesman, speaking Wednesday:

''There was no way that Atta could have been in the United States at that time, which is why the staff didn't give this tremendous weight when they were writing the report. This information was not meshing with the other information that we had.''

In fairness to Felzenberg, he was having a bad week, and a hard time staying on top of the commission's ever-shifting version of events. It emerged that the U.S. military had fingered Mohammed Atta -- the guy who plowed Flight 11 into the first World Trade Center tower -- well over a year before before 9/11. Or as the Associated Press puts it:

"A classified military intelligence unit called 'Able Danger' identified Atta and three other hijackers in 1999 as potential members of a terrorist cell in New York City."


Read the whole article.

What we need now is a full Congressional Investigation into what the Commission knew about relating to 9/11 that they didn't report, and what they didn't know that is relevant. The entire 9/11 Commission Report is meaningless.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 5:28 PM 0 comments links to this post

Has the Supreme Court Lost its Way?

Representative Ted Poe (R-TX)gave an address to Congress on the Supreme Court:
Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to ask a question, and that question is relatively simple. By what legal authority do justices of our Supreme Court use foreign world tribunals, global opinion, and the philosophy of European elites in making their decisions, those decisions that affect all Americans of this Nation? By what license, by what authority do members of America's highest court ignore our Constitution, the Constitution they took an oath to defend, and why do they cite foreign court decisions at all, decisions from England, the European Union, the World Court, Belgium, and numerous other nations? The Constitution clearly does not give them the power to abandon the scriptures of the Constitution. So where do they obtain such authority? Mr. Speaker, has the Supreme Court lost its way?
It is an excellent analysis of why the Supreme Court should be looking to the Constitution and not to foreign law to render its decisions.

He concludes:
Thomas Jefferson, who I cited earlier in writing the Declaration of Independence, years later, in 1820, saw the bleak future for our judiciary and predicted future judicial subversion. He said, ``The judiciary of the United States is the subtle core of individuals and miners constantly working underground to undermine the foundations of our fabric. A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone is a good thing, but independence of the will of the Nation is a travesty.'' And that will of the Nation, Mr. Speaker, is the Constitution uttered straight from the will of the people. Let us remember some of its words. How about the first words of the Constitution to bring us back, back home, back to a perspective of our law. Those words that say, ``We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.''

The Constitution belongs to the people. It is ordained by the people. It does not belong to the Supreme Court for them to bend, rewrite, reinvent, or ignore it under any circumstances. Section 1 of the Constitution dictates that ``The judges, both of the Supreme Court and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior. I ask this question: Mr. Speaker, does citing foreign court opinions constitute good behavior? History will reveal whether it does or does not. If, however, I carried on like this in my courtroom in Texas, I would have been removed from the bench, and rightfully so. People from where I come from would not stand for a judge citing foreign courts to make decisions that affect Americans.

Perhaps the Justices, Mr. Speaker, should think long and hard about the meaning of good behavior. Serving this Nation is a privilege; it is not a right. We are all accountable to the Constitution that have taken an oath to defend the Constitution.

All of us in this body, this House of the people, this House of Representatives took an oath, an oath that people throughout the lands have taken, people from school boards, police officers, firefighters, city councils, mayors, big cities, and little cities, legislators, Members of Congress; all judges, State, local, and Federal, and the judges of the Supreme Court. We have all taken the same simple and solemn oath, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. We owe it to the American people, we owe it to the Constitution, to follow that oath. That is our duty. That is our obligation, and we can do nothing but follow that oath.
The article should be read by anyone who is interested in The Supreme Court.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 4:51 PM 1 comments links to this post