I disagree with almost everything William Safire has written, and find his "On Language" stuff overrated; but I consider him the master of the 1000-word politics column. I agree with Molly Ivins often, I assume; I'm not sure, because I find her unreadable. I can't read those media-obsessed writers in the Nation: Eric Alterman, David Corn, et al. I deplore the existence of Frank Rich. I object to Robert Kaplan's idea fixe that U.S. power is the answer to all the world's problems; but find him an honest, clear-eyed writer from who one can learn things. Balkan Ghosts should be required reading. Kaplan has the sense of history, of tragedy, that so much right-wing writing lacks, including the stuff here. I think Jared Diamond places way too much faith in corporations as engines of change, but I think everybody should get his or her hands on Collapse and read it. I think the greatest newspaper in English is not the NY Times or the (London) Guardian, but rather the Wall Street Journal--followed not so closely by the Financial Times. (The left's allergy to learning about economics/finance is crippling.) The rigor of the WSJ's news coverage more than outweighs the philistinism of its editorial pages.
But all those guys who come on Fox TV and shout? Don't be embarrassing. They're hacks.
Never. And in fact, it's impossible to read the public record on Abu Graib and not conclude that orders for torture came from the top. In fact, the intellectual author of the torture policy now runs the justice department. No less than when your man Hitchens' bete noir--Kissinger--ran the show, our country is dominated at the top by war criminals. I'd like to see Rumsfeld and Saddam share a dock at the Hague. There'd be much to make small talk about."
Using this logic, let’s throw Bill Clinton in prison for bombing Bosnia and Kosovo (to save Muslims by the way) without Congressional approval, for selling weapons secrets to China, nuclear technology to N. Korea and for boinking Monica while Osama was planning 9-11 and his communist AG, Assistant AG and ACLU attorneys were busy preventing the FBI, CIA and DOD from doing anything about it. We can play this game all day long if you’d like Tom.
"What we're witnessing in Iraq is a power struggle over natural resources. The US always planned to plunk down a permanent military base in Iraq to protect its interests in the Gulf once it streamrolled Iraq. Long before that joke of an election, the US had quietly shut down its base in Saudi Arabia, cravenly conceding one of Bin Laden's major demands. That's what the Iraq War was about--creating a government that would let it run a base in the Gulf. (Bin Laden finds the US presence in Iraq distasteful, to be sure; but letting the infidel's army run free in the heart of Mecca--Saudi Arabia--made his blood boil.) The strategy has so far failed miserably. No matter how you cut it, the occupation has been a disaster. The Iraqi government doesn't even control the roads leading to Bagdad. The Shiites merely hate the U.S.; the Sunnis despise them bitterly. The government, with the great Chalabi himself installed--flagrantly, in full light of day--as oil minister(!), has no credibility."
You’re an excellent, eloquent writer Tom, but in the end this all just a gussied up way stating “No Blood For Oil”. You say the Iraq strategy has so far failed miserably and that the occupation has been a disaster. An argument can be made for that, no doubt, but it sounds to me as though that’s what you’re hoping for and that I find repulsive. Why would you hope for the worst? What kind of hatred drives you to feel that way? You know, I’ve heard a saying quite a bit lately that I think is very accurate and that is that George Bush isn’t hated because of the Iraq War, the Iraq War is hated because of George Bush. If this were Clinton’s war, it wouldn’t be condemned to the degree it is. Granted, there are those such as probably yourself and Nadir who would still be against the war, because guys like you use that clever and easy out of "I'm no fan of Clinton either", but overall it would have had much more support under a President Clinton.
"There may well be a philistine left that supports Saddam or apologizes for Islamic-inspired violence against civilians--although Hitchens' caricature of the anti-war movement, published elsewhere on this page, is about as subtle and accurate as one of McCarthy's sorry rants before the Senate. As I've said before, I see the battle between Bush and Saddam as a conflict between rival motorcycle gangs. One was packing guns, the other tire irons. The guys with the guns won. But now there are guys on the tire-iron side sneaking around taking potshots at the victors. The victors, too stupid to have figured what they were facing before they started the rumble, are utterly flummoxed."
So, there again, using this logic, I guess as your brother stated we should have just left him alone to rape and pillage his country and to continue to create and/or obtain a WMD arsenal. You can piss and moan all you want about no WMD, but you cannot deny that his intention was to have and use them. But I know that doesn’t matter to you.
"I oppose the war because I think it falls right in line with an unhappy history of neo-colonial rot. I'm sick of a world and an economy geared solely toward hoarding and consuming what I consider a ruinous resource: crude oil. So I moved to a small farm and set up shop as an agitator for sustainable agriculture. (Industrial agriculture, among its many sins, is a huge consumer of fossil fuel. It takes at least 3 calories of fossil fuel to create one food calorie in the US food system--a system that's now being written into the Iraqi constitution.)"
Another gussied up claim. “American Imperialism! American Imperialism!” Get off it. This claim doesn’t hold water and you know it.
"If you guys were to follow the logical end of your convictions, you'd end up running night raids in Bagdad. I hope it doesn't come to that."
Another bogus argument. We all know that every major U.S. city needs beat cops too, especially Detroit right now, but I’m going to become police officer any time soon either.
September 27, 2005
On my travels for the past few days, I have been reading a book which tells the story of a quite astonishing part of British history of which I was previously unaware. In 'White Gold', Giles Milton records the appalling details -- gleaned,it appears, from a wealth of historical documents including diaries and letters -- of a seaborne Islamic jihad against Britain which lasted for no less than two centuries.
From the early seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, thousands of British men women and children were kidnapped by Arab corsairs and sold into slavery in Morocco where they were kept in conditions of unspeakable barbarism. The astounding thing is that these British victims were not merely seized at sea where they ran the gauntlet of such pirates in places such as the Straits of Gibraltar. They were actually abducted from Britain itself.
Corsairs from a place in Morocco called Sale -- who became known in Britain as the ‘Sally Rovers’ -- sailed up the Cornish coast in July 1625, for example, came ashore dressed in djellabas and wielding damascene scimitars, burst into the parish church at Mount’s Bay and dragged out 60 men women and children whom they shipped off to Morocco. Thousands more Britons were seized from their villages or their ships and dispatched to the hell-holes of the Moroccan slave pens, from where they were forced to work all hours in appalling conditions building the vast palace of the monstrous and psychopathic Sultan, Moulay Ismail, who tortured and butchered them at whim. Most of them perished, but the book records the survival of a tenacious Cornish boy Thomas Pellow, who survived 23 years of this ordeal and whose descendant, Lord Exmouth, finally ended the white slave trade when he destroyed Algiers in 1816.
The book makes clear that this assault upon the British people (and upon Europeans and Americans who were similarly seized) was a jihad. The Sally Rovers, writes Milton, were called ‘al-ghuzat’-- the term once used for the soldiers who fought with the Prophet -- and were hailed as religious warriors engaged in a holy war against the infidel Christians who were pressurised to convert to Islam under threat of hideous punishment. What is even more striking was the response of the British crown. For almost two centuries, it made only the most ineffectual attempts to rescue its enslaved subjects. Those who had succumbed to the torture and inhumanity of the Sultan and converted to Islam were deemed to be no longer British and therefore outside the scope of any rescue. The pleas of Pellow’s parents were simply brushed aside. Popular outrage forced successive Kings to dispatch a series of feeble emissaries to try to get the Sultan to end this vile traffic and release the slaves, all to no avail.
But this went on for virtually two centuries. For almost 200 years the British state either sat on its hands or wrung them impotently while the Islamic jihad seized, enslaved and butchered its people. And then it appears, this staggering onslaught was all but airbrushed out of our history.
Food for disquieting thought.
Posted by melanie at September 27, 2005 11:20 PM
Heart of Darkness
From Zarqawi to the man on the street, Sunni Arabs fear Shiite emancipation.
BY FOUAD AJAMI
Wednesday, September 28, 2005 12:01 a.m.
The remarkable thing about the terror in Iraq is the silence with which it is greeted in other Arab lands. Grant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi his due: He has been skilled at exposing the pitilessness on the loose in that fabled Arab street and the moral emptiness of so much of official Arab life. The extremist is never just a man of the fringe: He always works at the outer edges of mainstream life, playing out the hidden yearnings and defects of the dominant culture. Zarqawi is a bigot and a killer, but he did not descend from the sky. He emerged out of the Arab world's sins of omission and commission; in the way he rails against the Shiites (and the Kurds) he expresses that fatal Arab inability to take in "the other." A terrible condition afflicts the Arabs, and Zarqawi puts it on lethal display: an addiction to failure, and a desire to see this American project in Iraq come to a bloody end.
Zarqawi's war, it has to be conceded, is not his alone; he kills and maims, he labels the Shiites rafida (rejecters of Islam), he charges them with treason as "collaborators of the occupiers and the crusaders," but he can be forgiven the sense that he is a holy warrior on behalf of a wider Arab world that has averted its gaze from his crimes, that has given him its silent approval. He and the band of killers arrayed around him must know the meaning of this great Arab silence.
There is a cliché that distinguishes between cultures of shame and cultures of guilt, and by that crude distinction, it has always been said that the Arab world is a "shame culture."
But in truth there is precious little shame in Arab life about the role of the Arabs in the great struggle for and within Iraq. What is one to make of the Damascus-based Union of Arab Writers that has refused to grant membership in its ranks to Iraqi authors? The pretext that Iraqi writers can't be "accredited" because their country is under American occupation is as good an illustration as it gets of the sordid condition of Arab culture. For more than three decades, Iraq's life was sheer and limitless terror, and the Union of Arab Writers never uttered a word. Through these terrible decades, Iraqis suffered alone, and still their poetry and literature adorn Arabic letters. They need no acknowledgment of their pain, or of their genius, from a literary union based in a city in the grip of a deadening autocracy.
A culture of shame would surely see into the shame of an Arab official class with no tradition of accountability granting itself the right to hack away at Iraq's constitution, dismissing it as the handiwork of the American regency. Unreason, an indifference to the most basic of facts, and a spirit of belligerence have settled upon the Arab world. Those who, in Arab lands beyond Iraq, have taken to describing the Iraqi constitution as an "American-Iranian constitution," give voice to a debilitating incoherence. At the heart of this incoherence lies an adamant determination to deny the Shiites of Iraq a claim to their rightful place in their country's political order.
The drumbeats against Iraq that originate from the League of Arab States and its Egyptian apparatchiks betray the panic of an old Arab political class afraid that there is something new unfolding in Iraq--a different understanding of political power and citizenship, a possible break with the culture of tyranny and the cult of Big Men disposing of the affairs--and the treasure--of nations. It is pitiable that an Egyptian political class that has abdicated its own dream of modernity and bent to the will of a pharaonic regime is obsessed with the doings in Iraq.
But this is the political space left open by the master of the realm. To be sure, there is terror in the streets of Iraq; there is plenty there for the custodians of a stagnant regime in Cairo to point to as a cautionary tale of what awaits societies that break with "secure" ways. But the Egyptian autocracy knows the stakes. An Iraqi polity with a modern social contract would be a rebuke to all that Egypt stands for, a cruel reminder of the heartbreak of Egyptians in recent years. We must not fall for Cairo's claims of primacy in Arab politics; these are hollow, and Iraq will further expose the rot that has settled upon the political life of Egypt.
Nor ought we be taken in by warnings from Jordan, made by King Abdullah II, of a "Shia crescent" spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This is a piece of bigotry and simplification unworthy of a Hashemite ruler, for in the scheme of Arab history the Hashemites have been possessed of moderation and tolerance. Of all Sunni Arab rulers, the Hashemites have been particularly close to the Shiites, but popular opinion in Jordan has been thoroughly infatuated with Saddam Hussein, and Saddamism, and an inexperienced ruler must have reasoned that the Shiite bogey would play well at home.
The truth of Jordan today is official moderation coupled with a civic culture given to anti-Americanism, and hijacked by the Islamists. In that standoff, the country's political life is off-limits, but the street has its way on Iraq. Verse is still read in Saddam's praise at poetry readings in Amman, and the lawyers' syndicate is packed with those eager to join the legal defense teams of Saddam Hussein and his principal lieutenants. Saddam's two daughters reside in Jordan with no apologies to offer, and no second thoughts about the great crimes committed under the Baath tyranny. Those who know the ways of Jordan speak of cities where religious radicalism and bigotry blow with abandon. Zarqa, the hometown of Abu Musab, is one such place; Salt, the birthplace of a notorious suicide bomber, Raad al-Banna, who last winter brought great tragedy to the Iraqi town of Hilla, killing no fewer than 125 of its people, is another. For a funeral, Banna's family gave him a "martyr's wedding," and the affair became an embarrassment to the regime and the political class. Jordan is yet to make its peace with the new Iraq. (King Abdullah's "crescent" breaks at any rate: Syria has no Shiites to speak of, and its Alawite rulers are undermining the Shiites of Iraq, feeding a jihadist breed of Sunni warriors for whom the Alawites are children of darkness.)
It was the luck of the imperial draw that the American project in Iraq came to the rescue of the Shiites--and of the Kurds. We may not fully appreciate the historical change we unleashed on the Arab world, but we have given liberty to the stepchildren of the Arab world. We have overturned an edifice of material and moral power that dates back centuries. The Arabs railing against U.S. imperialism and arrogance in Iraq will never let us in on the real sources of their resentments. In the way of "modern" men and women with some familiarity with the doctrines of political correctness, they can't tell us that they are aggrieved that we have given a measure of self-worth to the seminarians of Najaf and the highlanders of Kurdistan. But that is precisely what gnaws at them.
An edifice of Arab nationalism built by strange bedfellows--the Sunni political and bureaucratic elites, and the Christian Arab pundits who abetted them in the idle hope that they would be spared the wrath of the street and of the mob--was overturned in Iraq. And America, at times ambivalent about its mission, brought along with its military gear a suspicion of the Shiites, a belief that the Iraqi Shiites were an extension of Iran, a community destined to build a sister-republic of the Iranian theocracy. Washington has its cadre of Arabists reared on Arab nationalist historiography. This camp had a seat at the table, but the very scale of what was at play in Iraq, and the redemptionism at the heart of George Bush's ideology, dwarfed them.
For the Arab enemies of this project of rescue, this new war in Iraq was a replay of an old drama: the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258. In the received history, the great city of learning, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, had fallen to savages, and an age of greatness had drawn to a close. In the legend of that tale, the Mongols sacked the metropolis, put its people to the sword, dumped the books of its libraries in the Tigris. That river, chroniclers insist, flowed, alternately, with the blood of the victims and the ink of the books. It is a tale of betrayal, the selective history maintains. A minister of the caliph, a Shiite by the name of Ibn Alqami, opened the gates of Baghdad to the Mongols. History never rests here, and telescopes easily: In his call for a new holy war against the Shiites, Zarqawi dredges up that history, dismisses the Shiite-led government as "the government of Ibn Alqami's descendants." Zarqawi knows the power of this symbolism, and its dark appeal to Sunni Arabs within Iraq.
Zarqawi's jihadists have sown ruin in Iraq, but they are strangers to that country, and they have needed the harbor given them in the Sunni triangle and the indulgence of the old Baathists. For the diehards, Iraq is now a "stolen country" delivered into the hands of subject communities unfit to rule. Though a decided minority, the Sunni Arabs have a majoritarian mindset and a conviction that political dominion is their birthright. Instead of encouraging a break with the old Manichaean ideologies, the Arab world beyond Iraq feeds this deep-seated sense of historical entitlement. No one is under any illusions as to what the Sunni Arabs would have done had oil been located in their provinces. They would have disowned both north and south and opted for a smaller world of their own and defended it with the sword. But this was not to be, and their war is the panic of a community that fears that it could be left with a realm of "gravel and sand."
In the aftermath of Katrina, the project of reforming a faraway region and ridding it of its malignancies is harder to sustain and defend. We are face-to-face with the trade-off between duties beyond borders and duties within. At home, for the critics of the war, Katrina is a rod to wave in the face of the Bush administration. To be sure, we did not acquit ourselves well in the aftermath of the storm; we left ourselves open to the gloatings of those eager to see America get its comeuppance. Even Zarqawi weighed in on Katrina, depicting a raid on the northern town of Tal Afar by a joint Iraqi-American force as an attempt on the part of "Bush, the enemy of God" to cover up the great "scandal in facing up to the storm which exposed to the entire world what had happened to the American military due to the wars of attrition it had suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Those duties within have to be redeemed in the manner that this country has always assumed redemptive projects. But that other project, in the burning grounds of the Arab-Muslim world, remains, and we must remember its genesis. It arose out of a calamity on 9/11, which rid us rudely of the illusions of the '90s. That era had been a fools' paradise; Nasdaq had not brought about history's end. In Kabul and Baghdad, we cut down two terrible regimes; in the neighborhood beyond, there are chameleons in the shadows whose ways are harder to extirpate.
We have not always been brilliant in the war we have waged, for these are lands we did not fully know. But our work has been noble and necessary, and we can't call a halt to it in midstream. We bought time for reform to take root in several Arab and Muslim realms. Leave aside the rescue of Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar have done well by our protection, and Lebanon has retrieved much of its freedom. The three larger realms of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria are more difficult settings, but there, too, the established orders of power will have to accommodate the yearnings for change. A Kuwaiti businessman with an unerring feel for the ways of the Arab world put it thus to me: "Iraq, the Internet, and American power are undermining the old order in the Arab world. There are gains by the day." The rage against our work in Iraq, all the way from the "chat rooms" of Arabia to the bigots of Finsbury Park in London, is located within this broader struggle.
In that Iraqi battleground, we can't yet say that the insurgency is in its death throes. But that call to war by Zarqawi, we must know, came after the stunning military operation in Tal Afar dealt the jihadists a terrible blow. An Iraqi-led force, supported by American tanks, armored vehicles and air cover, had stormed that stronghold. This had been a transit point for jihadists coming in from Syria. This time, at Tal Afar, Iraq security forces were there to stay, and a Sunni Arab defense minister with the most impeccable tribal credentials, Saadoun Dulaimi, issued a challenge to Iraq's enemy, a message that his soldiers would fight for their country.
The claim that our war in Iraq, after the sacrifices, will have hatched a Shiite theocracy is a smear on the war, a misreading of the Shiite world of Iraq. In the holy city of Najaf, at its apex, there is a dread of political furies and an attachment to sobriety. I went to Najaf in July; no one of consequence there spoke of a theocratic state. Najaf's jurists lived through a time of terror, when informers and assassins had the run of the place. They have been delivered from that time. The new order shall give them what they want: a place in Iraq's cultural and moral order, and a decent separation between religion and the compromises of political life.
Over the horizon looms a referendum to ratify the country's constitution. Sunni Arabs are registering in droves, keen not to repeat the error they committed when they boycotted the national elections earlier this year. In their pride, and out of fear of the insurgents and their terror, the Sunni Arabs say that they are registering to vote in order to thwart this "illegitimate constitution." This kind of saving ambiguity ought to be welcomed, for there are indications that the Sunni Arabs may have begun to understand terror's blindness and terror's ruin. Zarqawi holds out but one fate for them; other doors beckon, and there have stepped forth from their ranks leaders eager to partake of the new order. It is up to them, and to the Arab street and the Arab chancelleries that wink at them, to bring an end to the terror. It has not been easy, this expedition to Iraq, and for America in Iraq there has been heartbreak aplenty. But we ought to remember the furies that took us there, and we ought to be consoled by the thought that the fight for Iraq is a fight to ward off Arab dangers and troubles that came our way on a clear September morning, four years ago.
Mr. Ajami teaches International Relations at Johns Hopkins University.
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
It's touching that you trust the man (Rumsfeld) who showed up in Saddam's office with a pair of bronze cowboy boots trying to sell him arms during a bloody war--a war in which Rumsfeld's bosses were also selling arms to the other side--to disinterestedly create "peace" and "democracy" in Iraq. When did Rumsfeld repent? When did he say, I was wrong?
Never. And in fact, it's impossible to read the public record on Abu Graib and not conclude that orders for torture came from the top. In fact, the intellectual author of the torture policy now runs the justice department. No less than when your man Hitchens' bete noir--Kissinger--ran the show, our country is dominated at the top by war criminals. I'd like to see Rumsfeld and Saddam share a dock at the Hague. There'd be much to make small talk about.
What we're witnessing in Iraq is a power struggle over natural resources. The US always planned to plunk down a permanent military base in Iraq to protect its interests in the Gulf once it streamrolled Iraq. Long before that joke of an election, the US had quietly shut down its base in Saudi Arabia, cravenly conceding one of Bin Laden's major demands. That's what the Iraq War was about--creating a government that would let it run a base in the Gulf. (Bin Laden finds the US presence in Iraq distasteful, to be sure; but letting the infidel's army run free in the heart of Mecca--Saudi Arabia--made his blood boil.) The strategy has so far failed miserably. No matter how you cut it, the occupation has been a disaster. The Iraqi government doesn't even control the roads leading to Bagdad. The Shiites merely hate the U.S.; the Sunnis despise them bitterly. The government, with the great Chalabi himself installed--flagrantly, in full light of day--as oil minister(!), has no credibility.
There may well be a philistine left that supports Saddam or apologizes for Islamic-inspired violence against civilians--although Hitchens' caricature of the anti-war movement, published elsewhere on this page, is about as subtle and accurate as one of McCarthy's sorry rants before the Senate. As I've said before, I see the battle between Bush and Saddam as a conflict between rival motorcycle gangs. One was packing guns, the other tire irons. The guys with the guns won. But now there are guys on the tire-iron side sneaking around taking potshots at the victors. The victors, too stupid to have figured what they were facing before they started the rumble, are utterly flummoxed.
I oppose the war because I think it falls right in line with an unhappy history of neo-colonial rot. I'm sick of a world and an economy geared solely toward hoarding and consuming what I consider a ruinous resource: crude oil. So I moved to a small farm and set up shop as an agitator for sustainable agriculture. (Industrial agriculture, among its many sins, is a huge consumer of fossil fuel. It takes at least 3 calories of fossil fuel to create one food calorie in the US food system--a system that's now being written into the Iraqi constitution.)
If you guys were to follow the logical end of your convictions, you'd end up running night raids in Bagdad. I hope it doesn't come to that.
Windows is clunky and combersome; macs are clean and user-friendly.
Does this therefore mean that "the system" descriminates against men?
Or could it possibly mean that women on average are taking a more serious interest in attending university?
Is it time now to eliminate affirmative action for women in college admissions?
Link to story - http://www.nola.com/newslogs/tporleans/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_tporleans/archives/2005_09_26.html
"I had the impression that at least 40 or 50 murders had occurred at the two sites," he said. "It's unfortunate we saw these kinds of stories saying crime had taken place on a massive scale when that wasn't the case. And they (national media outlets) have done nothing to follow up on any of these cases, they just accepted what people (on the street) told them. ... It's not consistent with the highest standards of journalism."As floodwaters forced tens of thousands of evacuees into the Dome and Convention Center, news of unspeakable acts poured out of the nation's media: evacuees firing at helicopters trying to save them; women, children and even babies raped with abandon; people killed for food and water; a 7-year-old raped and killed at the Convention Center. Police, according to their chief, Eddie Compass, found themselves in multiple shootouts inside both shelters, and were forced to race toward muzzle flashes through the dark to disarm the criminals; snipers supposedly fired at doctors and soldiers from downtown high-rises. In interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Compass reported rapes of "babies," and Mayor Ray Nagin spoke of "hundreds of armed gang members" killing and raping people inside the Dome. Unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies, "we couldn't count."The picture that emerged was one of the impoverished, masses of flood victims resorting to utter depravity, randomly attacking each other, as well as the police trying to protect them and the rescue workers trying to save them. Nagin told Winfrey the crowd has descended to an "almost animalistic state."Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence. The piles of bodies never materialized, and soldiers, police officers and rescue personnel on the front lines say that although anarchy reigned at times and people suffered unimaginable indignities, most of the worst crimes reported at the time never happened.
Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy
Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong.
Anti-War, My Foot
The phony peaceniks who protested in Washington.
By Christopher Hitchens
Updated Monday, Sept. 26, 2005, at 11:19 AM PT
Saturday's demonstration in Washington, in favor of immediate withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq, was the product of an opportunistic alliance between two other very disparate "coalitions." Here is how the New York Times (after a front-page and an inside headline, one of them reading "Speaking Up Against War" and one of them reading "Antiwar Rallies Staged in Washington and Other Cities") described the two constituenciess of the event:
The protests were largely sponsored by two groups, the Answer Coalition, which embodies a wide range of progressive political objectives, and United for Peace and Justice, which has a more narrow, antiwar focus.
The name of the reporter on this story was Michael Janofsky. I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper—to mention only two radical left journalists—who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.
The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" is by no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the "United for Peace and Justice" lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along … well, they just tag along.
To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.
Some of the leading figures in this "movement," such as George Galloway and Michael Moore, are obnoxious enough to come right out and say that they support the Baathist-jihadist alliance. Others prefer to declare their sympathy in more surreptitious fashion. The easy way to tell what's going on is this: Just listen until they start to criticize such gangsters even a little, and then wait a few seconds before the speaker says that, bad as these people are, they were invented or created by the United States. That bad, huh? (You might think that such an accusation—these thugs were cloned by the American empire for God's sake—would lead to instant condemnation. But if you thought that, gentle reader, you would be wrong.)
The two preferred metaphors are, depending on the speaker, that the Bin-Ladenists are the fish that swim in the water of Muslim discontent or the mosquitoes that rise from the swamp of Muslim discontent. (Quite often, the same images are used in the same harangue.) The "fish in the water" is an old trope, borrowed from Mao's hoary theory of guerrilla warfare and possessing a certain appeal to comrades who used to pore over the Little Red Book. The mosquitoes are somehow new and hover above the water rather than slip through it. No matter. The toxic nature of the "water" or "swamp" is always the same: American support for Israel. Thus, the existence of the Taliban regime cannot be swamplike, presumably because mosquitoes are born and not made. The huge swamp that was Saddam's Iraq has only become a swamp since 2003. The organized murder of Muslims by Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan is only a logical reaction to the summit of globalizers at Davos. The stoning and veiling of women must be a reaction to Zionism. While the attack on the World Trade Center—well, who needs reminding that chickens, or is it mosquitoes, come home to roost?
There are only two serious attempts at swamp-draining currently under way. In Afghanistan and Iraq, agonizingly difficult efforts are in train to build roads, repair hospitals, hand out ballot papers, frame constitutions, encourage newspapers and satellite dishes, and generally evolve some healthy water in which civil-society fish may swim. But in each case, from within the swamp and across the borders, the most poisonous snakes and roaches are being recruited and paid to wreck the process and plunge people back into the ooze. How nice to have a "peace" movement that is either openly on the side of the vermin, or neutral as between them and the cleanup crew, and how delightful to have a press that refers to this partisanship, or this neutrality, as "progressive."
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His most recent books include Love, Poverty, and War and Thomas Jefferson: Author of America.
Article URL: http://slate.msn.com/id/2126913/
Citizen Smash was at the “anti-war” demonstration in San Diego, and witnessed a revealing moment of dissension in the ranks.
JAMAL KANJ, a fiery Palestinian from a group called Al-Awda, takes the podium. “We Palestinians,” he begins, “have been subjected to GENOCIDE at the hands of the Israelis for generations.“ He rants on. ”In 1948, they forced us out of our homes, and today we must DRIVE THE JEWS FROM PALESTINE!”
Suddenly, a middle-aged man wearing a black “F the President” T-shirt rushes the stage, screaming at Kanj, “I’m TIRED of this CRAP! You people keep bringing this up! This is supposed to be an ANTI-WAR rally, not an ANTI-ISRAEL rally!”
Kanj yells back, into the microphone. Others in the crowd stand up and join in the shouting match.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has arrived in San Diego.
Red-vested “peace monitors” converge on T-shirt Man, trying to contain this sudden outburst of dissent. They are followed closely by the San Diego Police Department, who quickly take control of the situation and lead the man away.
As T-shirt Man exits stage right, ANSWER front man Carl Muhammed enters from stage left, strutting in front of the platform and waving a large Palestinian flag. Carl and his radical Palestinian posse face down the angry Israel supporters, and the entire rally begins to descend into chaos.
In an effort to regain control of the rally, CodePink maven Barbara Jaffe-Rose takes the podium, declaring her solidarity with the Palestinian cause. “As an anti-war Jew, I support the Palestinian Right of Return, and demand the end of U.S. aid to Israel.” She attempts to lead the crowd in a cheer: “Not one penny, not one dime, U.S. out of Palestine!”
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REVIEW & OUTLOOK Category 5 LawsuitTrashing insurance contracts in Mississippi.Monday, September 26, 2005 12:01 a.m.President Bush has promised to rebuild the Gulf Coast "higher and better" than before. But that task is going to be far more difficult if Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and his tort lawyer pals succeed in rewriting private insurance contracts after the hurricanes have hit.
For decades private insurers have had flood exclusions in their contracts--which is one reason the federal government decided to offer its own flood insurance. Yet Mr. Hood now says these exclusions are "unconscionable," and he is suing private insurers to cover all of Katrina's costs. Hot on his heels is tort kingpin Dickie Scruggs, whose own home was damaged and who promises to sue the industry for what he claims are deceptive business practices.
Wading through this muddled thinking takes some effort, but the first thing to understand is why insurers have flood exclusions. The simple reason is that floods are not a typical insurable risk. The entire point of insurance is to spread risk by collecting premiums from a large group of people who pay into a pool, which is then used to compensate the relatively few who suffer accidents. Floods don't work that way. The only people who buy flood insurance are those who are very likely to be flooded, making it impossible to spread risk. Floods also tend to wipe out entire regions, causing extraordinary losses. And they often result in repeat losses, because people rebuild in flood-prone areas.
Flood insurance has instead been offered by the federal government for 37 years, and FEMA, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, spends millions of dollars annually to promote this coverage in the Gulf Coast and other areas. It's true that few Mississippians actually bought this flood insurance--which explains Mr. Hood's populist suit--but that was because either they didn't bother or didn't want to spend the money because they assumed the feds would bail them out anyway if disaster struck. It was not because the public didn't realize they weren't covered by their private policies, which practically scream about the exclusion on the declaration page.
Private insurers do cover wind damage, however. Hurricanes therefore always result in wrangling over how much damage was caused by wind versus water. Adjustors often assign a portion of the damage to the private policy, and a portion to the government program. But what has never been in doubt is that insurers are not required to pay flood costs; their contractual flood exclusions have been approved by state regulators and upheld by courts everywhere.
Mr. Hood, a Democrat who fancies himself the Eliot Spitzer of the South, understands all this. Yet he is twisting facts and arguing that, exclusions notwithstanding, residents believed they were buying comprehensive hurricane insurance and that private insurers therefore have a duty to cover all Katrina damages. Even assuming this confusion existed, Mr. Hood is basically holding insurers responsible for Mississippians who didn't bother to read contracts they signed.
Mr. Scruggs's claim is even more disingenuous. As only a lawyer can, he's arguing that since the wind pushed the water during the hurricane, the flooding was in fact wind damage. This should be a legal nonstarter, given that most contracts exclude rising water no matter what the cause or circumstance.
Both men are demanding that private insurers pay for Katrina flood damage, though the companies never collected one dime of flood premiums over the years and have no such reserves. As it is, insurers may be on the hook for $60 billion. Sticking them with flood damage could add another $15 billion to the tab, which would certainly send several insurers into bankruptcy.
Insurance companies that survived would have to assume that flood liabilities are now theirs to pay, regardless of the contracts they write. They'd then have to charge everyone in the region higher premiums--by one estimate, as much as $500 a year--to cover this flood risk. Or they could take the more rational option of fleeing a state where contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on.
In other words, Mr. Hood is guaranteeing that victims of the next hurricane will have even less financial protection than Katrina's. And he's complicating the entire reconstruction effort by raising the cost of insurance for the contractors, union workers, homeowners and businesses that are all going to need liability and/or property and casualty insurance before they rebuild. The attorney general is a Category 5 destructive force all by himself.
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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From Walter Williams:
From Larry Elder:
1) I can't edit people's "comments". All I can do is delete them. I would like the capacity to edit "Comments" the way that I edit the Posts themselves.
2) I can't assign each Post to catagories. Thus I and visitors cannot view a list of all the "Affirmative Action" Posts. The blog cafehayek.typepad.com has this. Without it, people can really only see the Posts that have been recently updated. Nobody will ever search the "archives" since they group posts according to most recent update (or creation date?), which is an organizational non-starter. For example, if I recall that Tom published a Post about killing all white people, unless somebody had recently added a comment to it, how could I search for it? There's no way to do this by trying to recall, "When did Tom post that? Was it Nov. 2003?" Imagine instead that the blog editor had assigned it to the catagory, "Race Matters."
3) I wish the Create Comment feature included a header for the author to write an overview. That way if there are 100 comments, and you "hide" the comments so that you see only a stack of 100 entries, instead of only seeing the poster's name, you also see each comment's header. The editor of the blog can modify these headers to ensure that they make sense. This is the case for the reader blog at slate.com.
4) I wish that we had "nested comments" so that users could "comment on a comment". The reader blog at slate.com has this also. Without this feature, imagine a string of 50 comments, with some of them refering back to previous comments. In our current enviornment, we have to copy and paste from previous comments in order for readers to understand which of Nadir's stupid comments we are exploding.
5) I want a button that lets visitors request membership in the blog.
Without the above improvements, this blog site isn't too much better than email.
Does the ariticle discuss the relative credit histories and other economic facts (such as wealth) of the applicants? No. Does the article compare other non-white groups, such as Asians? No. But Sowell provides this information.
This would apply even to foriegn aid and many other activities.
I believe in having a democratic constitution, which we are lucky to have inheritted in this country. I also believe in the people changing it. I oppose, however, violating the constitution as an alternative to the difficult work of changing it.
I like some of the things that our federal government does. But I think that some of those things are unconstitutional. Rather than ignore the constitution, I would like to ammend it.
The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.
Well, this Galloway fellow last week in New York debated Paul's hero, the reformed leftist and pro-war hack (who's recently sounding more confident about the war in Iraq than GW Bush himself) Christopher Hitchens. Here is a link to the BBC's recording of it. I haven't listened to it yet, but it promises to be interesting.
don't qualify for AA. For example, at an elite university like UM-AA,
several thousand whites get rejected who would have been accepted if
they were black. However, in rejecting those several thousand whites,
only a few hundred blacks got accepted. The rejected whites are
correct that, "I would have been accepted if I were black." However,
if AA were eliminated, only the best few hundred of the several
thousand rejected whites would have been accepted.
A similar fact works at big companies like Ford. There are not huge
numbers of black professionals working at Ford. Eliminating AA at Ford
would not create a huge vacuum of open positions for whites.
On the other hand, proponents of AA just as drastically overstate the
benefits to AA-qualifying groups, and understate drawbacks.
As stated above, in this age of AA, there remain drastic
underrepresentation of blacks at big companies and elite universities.
So AA has certainly not solved the problem of underrepresentation.
Meanwhile, several other non-white groups have succeeded in
drastically getting themselves *over*represented at these
institutions, and they have done this *WITHOUT* AA!
This fact proves both that white racism is not stopping non-whites
from accessing and flourishing at these institutions, and that AA is
unneccessary for this to happen. Furthermore, since non-AA minorities
are doing so much better than AA minorities (in many measures, the non-
AA minorities are doing even better than whites!), this strongly
suggests that AA actually *hurts* those that it targets!
There is also the stigma associated with qualifying for AA, and the
studies showing that minorities at elite universities who get in due
to AA have much lower GPAs and graduation rates than their fellows who
had qualifications that would got them accepted without AA. Also: at
the elite schools where AA is an important tool, the majority of
blacks getting in are from very affluent families. Is it really
important to have a huge program just so Bill Cosby's kids don't have
to study as hard as his neighbor's kids for the SAT?
AA has become a big government program, and like all big government
programs, it causes more problems than it solves. Most of the
beneficiaries are white women, and white men who have "rent-a-negros"
fronting for them. A famous example would be the special AA
accomidations that enabled black Detroiter Don Bardon to get ownership
of Compcast, which he then quickly sold at a huge profit to a white
company. OK, so Don Bardon got to own Comcast for a year and make a
few hundren million bucks. That doesn't seem to be a good use of
For these reasons, I have taken my hero Frederick Douglas'
postion: "What shall we do for the negro? Nothing! It is the doing
that has caused all the michief. If the negro cannot stand, let him
fall." Douglas believed, as I do, that blacks will succeed better if
there is not a huge government mechanism that lables them as
handicapped and provides them special treatment.
9/8/2005 2:25:52 PM by Westside
We can remember back in April when the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s Russell Simmons was ‘brokering’ a peace between PETA and KFC over chickens.
Many hip-hop and rap artists, among many other genre’s artists and
The hip-hop community is well aware of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is affecting our population and the world as a whole. We in hip-hop culture are seeing prevention and awareness programs everywhere. BET’s Rap it Up campaign is a very high profile campaign that we are well aware of, and there are many other PSA’s that we hear and see.
We have lost artists to the disease; most notably in hip-hop and rap - the late great hip-hop gangsta rap icon Eric ‘Eazy E’ Wright. ; (R.I.P.)
ACT UP, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and AIDS activists and advocacy groups have released this letter that brings to the forefront one flaw in the PETA stand on animal testing.
How can some in hip-hop, or
Two days before People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) holds its 25th anniversary gala at Paramount Studios in
In a letter to PeTA spokesperson Charlize Theron, ACT UP!, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and numerous other AIDS activists and advocacy groups demanded that Theron set an example for other celebrity endorsers of PeTA and withdraw her support for the radical organization.
PeTA which publicly advocates a total ban on animal testing -- even if it means a cure to diseases such as diabetes or AIDS -- has actively courted
According to coalition organizer Genevieve Clavreul, "You cannot wear an AIDS ribbon and call yourself a PeTA supporter. It is an insult to the 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS and it is an insult to the memory of the 20 million people who have died from this terrible disease."
With the release of the letter to Charlize Theron, Patient Advocates Against PeTA is kicking off a campaign targeting
The following is a copy of the letter from Patient Advocates Against PeTA to Charlize Theron, dated September 7, 2005:
September 7, 2005
Ms. Charlize Theron
700 San Vicente Blvd. Suite G ***
Dear Ms. Theron,
As a world-famous actress who sets an example for people across the globe, we, the undersigned advocates of a cure for AIDS, oppose your endorsement of PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
PeTA opposes AIDS research that requires the study of lab animals. PeTA's President Ingrid Newkirk once said even if animal research produced a cure for AIDS, "we'd be against it."
We agree with you that animals should be treated with compassion, and we applaud your efforts to advance animal welfare. However, we value human life as well. Humane, responsible animal research represents the best chance and holds the greatest potential to find a cure for AIDS.
Today, there are 37 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. In the past 25 years, 20 million people have died from AIDS. By 2010, 44 million children will have been orphaned by the disease. Despite recent gains in medicine, 3 million people with AIDS died in 2003.
Your advertisements for PeTA -- and participation as an honorary committee member of its upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala on September 10, 2005 -- legitimize this group's opposition to AIDS research, jeopardizing the lives of millions worldwide.
Ms. Theron, you have a choice: You can choose to support the search for a cure to AIDS, or you can continue to support an organization that stands in our way. On behalf of the millions of people living with HIV and AIDS, we hope you will join our fight for a cure.
Patient Advocates Against PeTA
For a full list of those who signed this letter and for more information, visit the site of Patient Advocates Against PeTA HERE.
I am ashamed of the the spending by these Republicans. They blame all the over-spending on the democrats, but I see no evidence that they are any more in favor of small government. The entire Homelans Security and Patriat Acts are Big Government solutions, which means that they are stupid and inefficient. What a nightmare.
"What the court is saying is there is this power," he added. "That leaves the ball in the court of the legislature."
Right-Wing Myths About Katrina, Debunked
There are a lot of right-wing myths about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. ThinkProgress has created this guide to help you set the record straight.
1a. Hire as teachers only people with degrees in classic academic disiplines, such as: Literature, Linguistics, History, Math, Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, etc.
1b. Create processes and training programs for newly hired teachers, eliminating the expectation that their university educations educated them in how to teach.
1c. Eliminate interscholastic sports competitions. Leave athletic competition for private and public sports leagues.
1d. Make all schools K-12, and all schools small; eliminate mega-schools, the only justification for them seeming to be the creation of winning sports teams and ability to water-down curriculum with many non-academic "electives" in order to accomidate "teachers" who cannot handle serious academic courses.
1e. Make all K-12 curricula standard "old school" core academic courses; no more "electives."
1f. Create Trade Schools and Goofoff centers for students who refuse to participate in regular schools. At Trade Schools, students who refuse to participate in mandatory old-school curricula can learn how to weld and bake cakes, along with some rudimentary math, reading, and writing classes. Student who refuse to at least participate at a Trade school will go to a Goofoff center to play basketball all day. Students at Goofoff centers or Trade schools can always work their way back to regular schools.
1g. Eliminate mandatory attendance. Students who refuse to participate in regular schools will to to Trade school or Goofoff center.
2a. Eliminate non-academic majors, such as Education, Social Work, Communications, Journalism, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Criminal Justice, Ethnic Studies, and Business.
2b. Eliminate all non-basic, profitable research. Stop competing with private businesses for research. Confine research to topics that will not provide commercial profit. Focus on teaching, not winning research contracts and satisfying corporate sponsors looking to contract out their own work.
3. Businesses: For jobs previously requiring degrees in non-academic subjets such as business, require instead people with degrees in academic fields. Shift training for such jobs as Nursing and Physical Therapy to trade schools.