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Islamist bombing campaign in Thailand. Here. We as Westerners are too self-centered if we think that Islam is attacking only the West: ask India or Thailand. I am sure that it is the Thai Middle-Eastern policy provoking these killings.

Remember, "Peace" as in "Religion of Peace" means submission to Allah; in their view the world will be at peace when all have submitted, whether they want to or not.
Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld was in the news again on Wednesday. From the Washington Post: "Rumsfeld Assails Critics of War Policy;" from the DOD (Armed Forces Press Coverage): "Rumsfeld: Truth Powerful Weapon in War on Terror." Read the TRANSCRIPT (here) of his speech to the American Legion in Salt Lake City, UT.

Rumsfeld is always worth reading; he is a disciplined and logical rhetorician, who regularly gives voice to what the administration is thinking.

Comparing our current political division over the "War on Terror" to the "cynicism and moral confusion" and "appeasement" that encouraged the rise of fascism and Nazism during the 1930s, Rumsfeld called on Americans to learn the lessons of history and "face the central questions of our time:

With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?

Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?

Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply “law enforcement” problems, rather than fundamentally different threats, requiring fundamentally different approaches?

And can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America -- not the enemy -- is the real source of the world’s trouble?"

An aside: I like Rummy and tend to support him. But I fault him for the myriad poor choices and miscalculations in our current war in Iraq. He is the person in penultimate authority. From a corporate perspective, If we viewed DOD as a division in the larger Executive, based on overall performance and net results, Rumsfeld would have lost his job years ago. Having said that, Rumsfeld is a courageous and serious person, who embodies the best of the public service tradition.

"Fascism" and "Appeasement." Apparently, the White House is fully committed to employing the ghosts of the 1930s. I have a few questions about the analogy, as I do all historical analogies (some earlier indirect skepticism on my part here).

Notwithstanding, I welcome any serious conversation regarding the threat we face, and I appreciate another effort to take this debate to the public. However, extended discussions of 1938, as well as 1945, provide some insight at times, but most often cloud the reality that we are laboring under a completely different set of circumstances and assumptions today.

The world has changed:

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There has been a disturbing silence from the Women's Movement over the Islamic discrimination against women, including atrocities such as honor killings. Part of the reason for the silence may be BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome: an almost irrational hatred of GW Bush leading to a lack of critical thought). Another part may be the sickness of postmodern thought, rendering people incapable of affirming universal values.

Some feminists, though, are awake and alert and calling on their sisters to confront the danger radical Islam poses to women's rights. Read this essay from an Australian feminist. Hat tip Instapundit.
Earlier this week, in honor of the French about-face in relation to UN Resolution 1701, we tried to laugh through the pain. Now, for your further amusement, the Italians have come forward to fill the leadership void left by the French, although they seem to be getting cold feet as well.

Of course, who could blame them? The situation is awful. Whether 1701 was merely a delusion on the part of well-intentioned Westerners--or something worse, it is now clear that the cease-fire is, as the name implies, merely a strategic cessation of hostilities as the belligerents regroup and prepare for the next battle.

As the European diplomats shuffle back and forth between Middle East strongmen, holding back their force commitments until they receive assurances that they will not get caught in the middle of the next round of fighting, 1701 grows steadily more stale. The farce is reinforced by Hezbollah's tolerance of the Lebanese Army's presence in Hezbollah-controlled territory, as long as they don't do anything unacceptable: like enforce 1701.

To state the obvious: 1701 is DOA. Of course, this all brings up the question: what happens when the USA goes home for good? If we are headed for failure in Iraq, and if that means we will have to give up on our vision for Pax Americana, what becomes of Europe?

Are they capable of running their own affairs? Are they capable of maintaining popular government? These are all fair questions. Does anyone remember what Europe looked like before they had the United States to blame and, more importantly, to do their thinking for them.

Today we are fed the image of serene and cultured Europe as the bastion of peaceful and wise people, trying in vain to temper the barbarity and wantonness of the American cowboys. A few years ago I read a sports story in a major US newspaper, which pitted the "perennial football powerhouse Northwestern against the perpetually downtrodden Texas Longhorns;" it was a line only a fifteen-year-old could have composed. For those of us with a grasp of pre-1945 world history, the peacenik portrayal of Europe is equally surreal.

Once we are gone, do the Europeans go back to mass carnage every generation? Or is this new personality of paralysis in the face of lethal threats here to stay?
Nothing like a brisk walk in the snow after dark on a windy zero-degree night to make the return to your home seem like an escape into a heaven of warmth and light. We often do not appreciate something until we experience its opposite. In that vein, I invite you to visit this online Museum of Communism here. The Red, White, and Blue will look better after such a visit.

Since it is now 15 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, those among us who are under 30 have no good adult memories of Soviet Communism or its horrors. This museum can help.
In an earlier post prompted by President Bush laying a wreath in Hungary at the monument to those heroes of 1956, I offered a few thoughts in regard to the 1956 uprising in Hungary against the Soviet forces and their Hungarian puppets. I now learn that the memory of this uprising lives on in the American Hungarian community. If you are near Cleveland, you may want to attend this service. From the website of the Hungarian Reformed Church.

OCTOBER 14, 2006
100th Anniversary Celebrations & Commemoration of 1956 Revolution's 50th Anniversary at the West Side Hungarian Reformed Church, Cleveland, Ohio, on October 14, 2006. Our plans include a thanksgiving bilingual worship service, a wreath-laying ceremony, a festive concert and a banquet. We will also publish an Anniversary booklet.

(Okie Gardener again) The Tree of Liberty has been watered by the blood of tyrants and by the blood of patriots over the years.

I fear the joke is really on us, but in celebration of France's role (c'est bizarre) in the Lebanon-Israel-Hezbollah debacle, I am issuing a call for your best gag at the expense of the French. Here are a few to get the ball rolling:

1. An apocryphal Patton quote: "I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me."

2. From Jay Leno (back in the day): "I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get the Germans out of France!"

3. Q: What Does "Maginot Line" mean in French?
A: "Speed bump ahead"

The most thought-provoking essay I've read in a while, and I read a lot. Little is actually new, but brought together in a way to challenge the reader. From Mark Steyn. Read here. Link from the Rottweiler. A teaser:

"None of these pillars of what we used to regard as conventional society is quite as sturdy as it was, and most of them have collapsed. Many mainstream Protestant churches are, to one degree or another, post-Christian. If they no longer seem disposed to converting the unbelieving to Christ, they can at least convert them to the boggiest of soft-left political cliches. In this world, if Jesus were alive today he’d most likely be a gay Anglican vicar in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally-friendly car with an “Arms Are For Hugging” sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams.

Yet, if the purpose of the modern church is to be a cutting-edge political pacesetter, it’s Islam that’s doing the better job. It’s easy to look at gold-toothed Punjabi yobs in northern England or Algerian pseudo-rappers in French suburbs and think, oh well, their Muslim identity is clearly pretty residual. But that’s to apply westernized notions of piety. Today the mosque is a meetinghouse, and throughout the west what it meets to discuss is, even when not explicitly jihadist, always political. The mosque or madrassah is not the place to go for spiritual contemplation so much as political motivation. The Muslim identity of those French rioters or English jailbirds may seem spiritually vestigial but it’s politically potent. So, even as a political project, the mainstream Protestant churches are a bust. Pre-modern Islam beats post-modern Christianity."

Somebody remind the Chinese government that economic transformation is supposed to lead to political transformation. This article/editorial from the Washington Post reports on further crackdown on the media by the Chinese government. Garrett Epps, the writer, also surveys the current situation in China and why it's dangerous for us. Link from Instapundit.

As I've written before, I cannot accept the theory that economic liberalization will inevitably lead to political liberalization. China is a nation with thousands of years of central rule behind it and no indigenous tradition of limited government and citizen participation in government. Its current government/economic system may perhaps be described as mature fascism, a system that seems able to combine economic advancement and totalitarian government. I would love for time to prove me wrong.
In earlier posts I have mentioned that Benedict XVI is taking a clear-eyed view of Islam, and that this honesty is being more and more seen in the hierarchy. here ( For all his greatness, John Paul II did not seem to "get" the threat from Islam.) Here is a simple and honest column from the Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput: "In Christian-Muslim relations, peace not served by ignoring history
Healing of conflict requires honesty, repentance from both parties." Link from Jihadwatch.
From the New York Times (8-16-06):

"Hezbollah Leads Work to Rebuild, Gaining Stature"

"BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 15 — As stunned Lebanese returned Tuesday over broken roads to shattered apartments in the south, it increasingly seemed that the beneficiary of the destruction was most likely to be Hezbollah.

"A major reason — in addition to its hard-won reputation as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill — is that it is already dominating the efforts to rebuild with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran."

From the Washington Post (8-16-06):

"Hezbollah Balks At Withdrawal From the South:
Lebanese Officials Work on Compromise"

"BEIRUT, Aug. 15 -- Hezbollah refused to disarm and withdraw its fighters from the battle-scarred hills along the border with Israel on Tuesday, threatening to delay deployment of the Lebanese army and endangering a fragile cease-fire."
Some thoughts on Okie Gardener's assertions in re Resolution 1701:

1. I agree that this is a win for Hezbollah and Iran and a loss for our team.

2. I agree that we will pay for this debacle in the future.

But, then again, what choice do we have?

1. We are up to our eyeballs with war in Iraq. I am not positive that the American people will see our commitment in Iraq to its promised conclusion, but I am sure that one more straw on the back of this camel will break us. As I have written before, we are over-extended militarily, precariously stretched financially and divided politically. We are one economic panic away from full retreat. We are in no position to threaten Hezbollah—much less Iran. The Mullahs understand this, the Europeans love it and the Arab League sees it.

2. As for Israel, we handed them a month to crush Hezbollah. That was about three weeks longer than I thought we could squeeze them, and enough time to win--if it was going to happen. They were unprepared to make the most of their opportunity. They lose. We lose. But throwing good money after bad never saved a losing hand. Get out and wait for the next deal.

3. This may be Munich (although that seems a forced analogy, especially since we are fighting an "asymmetrical "enemy, which explains Israel's current failure in Lebanon; the new threat is not like the pathetic Arab land armies of the 1960s & 1970s or the fierce fascist "wehrmacht" of the late-1930s). We have not figured out how to defeat the new threat. Until we do, we should be cautious and conservative in making literal war on these amorphous terrorist appendages, even when they are connected to hostile rogue states.

4. And if it is Munich, I speculate that an invasion of Poland will follow. If these guys really are as bad as we think they are, they will eventually overstep their bounds. Until then, a real war in the Middle East will not play in Peoria.
From the BBC with a link from Darfur Information Center. Aug 8. More aid workers in Darfur have been killed in the last two weeks than in the last two years. The suffering of the people of the Darfur region of the Sudan continues, violence committed by fellow Islamic Sudanese aided and abetted by the Sudanese government. This is Muslim on Muslim violence, Arab on black. To read the article click this link and scroll down to Violence threatens Darfur relief.
Read article.

16/08: What He Said

In an earlier post I questioned the wisdom of the UN cease-fire deal in Lebanon. Historian Arthur Herman gives his analysis here. Link from Powerline. Feeling like 1938.
One of Niebuhr's key insights in Christian Realism, is that organizations or structures lack the ability to transcend themselves and so are incapable of repentence. Individuals may repent, but not corporations. Human structures (private businesses or governments) only change behavior when forced to do so. In part this is because the imperative of self-interest applies to organizations at least as much as to individuals. An office set up to monitor workplace safety will not declare the workplace safe and abolish itself: it will find new "threats" to justify funding and new hiring. Put another way, the individuals who make up that office will continue to justify their own pay and power and seek to expand both. This is why government programs never are abolished; the organization itself operates out of self-interest and is not suicidal. This principle also explains why the State Department always pushes for a diplomatic solution even when such a solution may be bad for our national interest. Diplomacy is what State does.

The recent episode of the disappering Egyptian "students" should cause us to ask if it is time to challenge higher education in the name of the common good. Schools and colleges will continue to act in self-interest; it is in their self-interest to have more students paying tuition, getting grants, etc. Foreign students help pay the bills and increase enrollment. We cannot expect institutions of higher education to transcend themselves, repent, and confess that they have wronged the country by pushing for more and more Middle Eastern students. We the people, through our government, must push to cut down on the numbers of students from predominently Islamic countries to a number we can keep good track of.
From the UK Telegraph, an article by a Brit on what is good about America. Link here. Link from Wizbang.
I cannot for the life of me see what Israel gets from the UN sponsored cease-fire. Hezbollah has demonstrated already their willingness to disregard UN mandates to disarm. Hezbolah has demonstrated already their contempt for UN observers on the Lebanese border. Why should we think that the results of the current UN deal will be any different than past attempts to stabilize the border? And, what of the fate of the captured Israeli soldiers? Plus, the biggie--Iran is not punished for sponsoring a war against a UN member. (see my earlier post on Iran in the region) I do not know why Israel is accepting this cease-fire, unless the US pressured them unmercifully.

For an even more pessimistic view see this article reporting thoughts by Walid Phares. (link from JIhadwatch).
In the current war we fight not an ethnic group, or a race, but those who are motivated by a set of beliefs. (Although there are ethnic correlations.) This article from The Sun presents the life of one of the suspects arrested in the recent plot to bomb airplanes. He was a convert to Islam from Methodism. "Don Stewart-Whyte, 21, changed his name to Abdul Waheed and grew a bushy beard, said his neighbours." Profiling is needed, but cannot be enough because of converts such as Stewart-White. Plus, profiling is passive defense. If we are not already monitoring mosques in the West, why not?

You've probably seen this scene in the movies: the hero(es) shoot/slice/smash the monster(s), but instead of a dead monster there now are two live ones attacking. The War against Radical Islam can feel like this. We kill the fighters, capture or kill some of the leaders, and the attacking swarm seems to grow. So, how do we win? Or, to put it more broadly, how do we respond to the threat?

One option is to pretend the monster does not exist. If we walk quietly, dismiss the testimony of those who claim to have seen the monster, and live an ordinary non-threatening-to-anything life, then all will be well. You know how that turns out in the moview: that guy gets eaten/killed/turned into a mutant. In real life it is difficult to imagine a different alternative. Western civilization is an affront to devout Muslims especially for being non-Muslim. Islam sees the world as the Realm of Submission (Islamic) and the Realm of War (everywhere else). Muslims are under religious compulsion to turn the entire world into the realm of submission to the glory of Allah (if Allah wills). Christians and Jews traditionally are allowed a place in the Realm of Submission as second-class citizens, as dhimmis, but are to be made to feel subjected. Pretending there is no threat will not make the threat go away.

Another option is to resist, but to dismiss the idea of winning and try for a draw. If we can just contain the monster in the swamp, then life can go on elsewhere. The broad historical context for the current war is the nearly 1400 year long war between Islam and everyone else. The Middle East was Christian until conquered, as was North Africa, and Asia Minor (where Turkey now is). Spain was conquered, but won back its freedom in the reconquista. Western Europe preserved its freedom with decisive victories in southern France and Austria, and hung on through long centuries of back and forth warfare in the Mediterranean especially Sicily and the Italian penninsula. Greece eventually was liberated. We could simply try for a draw, fighting to preserve what we have. But, in the movies the monster usually will not be content merely to stay in the swamp; and in real life Islamic ideology demands imperialism. (cont.)

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An ancient Coptic monastery in Egypt threatened. Link.

An Iranian Muslim convert to Christianity arrested. Link.

From Jihadwatch.
How do you kill an octopus? I don't really know, but I assume that rather than cutting each tentacle you go for the head.

It is becoming more and more obvious each day that Iran is a serious combatant in the Middle East against Israel and against U.S. interests. Iran arms Hezbollah, has Revolutionary Guards fighting in Lebanon, and threatens to exterminate Israel. Iran is working to undermine U.S. progress in Iraq, especially in the Shiite south. So far Israel and the U.S. have hacked at the tentacles.

Should we attack Iran? That course of action has great risks. Our present policy also has great risks. We have invested 2500 American lives in Iraq. Not doing anything has great risks. At a minimum, I would think we should be actively undermining the Iranian regime and blocking their ability to build and acquire weapons and to fund terrorists.

Iraq has been compared, usually ill-advisedly in my opinion, to Vietnam. One comparison does bother me: allowing the enemy to maintain safe sanctuaries and to receive patronage from outside the theater of combat.
Sometimes its hard to be too paranoid. Now seems to be one of those times. In earlier posts I have called attention to the apocalyptic world-view of the mullahs of Iran. In one post I linked to a possible reason to think that August 22, the day the Iranians have said they will answer the West regarding nuclear weapons, may hold terrible significance. Now, the dean of Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis of Princeton, warns what may be in store on that day. (Link from Drudge.) We live in interesting times. For my previous posts see here and here. Everything we know about Ahmadinejad, the ruler of Iran, indicates that he is driven primarily by religious motivation.
Here is the full text of Dr. Lewis' essay.
This article from the Havana Journal presents some of the rumors in Cuba regarding Castro and Santeria.
A few years ago (perhaps A Waco Farmer remembers exactly when), Tamim Ansary spoke at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. Just this past week I finally read his important book West of Kabul, East of New York : an Afghan American Story . I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Afghanistan, Islam, Americanization, and the current war with Radical Islam.

Mr. Ansary was born and raised in the old Afghanistan--before the communists, before the Soviets, before the Taliban. He moved to America as a young man, eventually becoming a writer and editor. He is uniquely positioned to help Americans understand how a person can love a traditional Islamic culture, even though the author no longer fits into that setting. He also helps the reader to distinguish between the relaxed Islam of traditional Afghanistan, and the harsh, militant Islam of the Taliban. In addition, he has provocative thoughts on the unintended consequences of westernization that helped lead to communism in Afghanistan, and then to the emergence of the Taliban in the context of the Soviet invasion.

On the personal level of the author, his is another fascinating story of Americanization and modernization, from the walled compounds of the old country to the open society of San Francisco, USA. His siblings also came to America: his sister becoming completely Americanized, his brother finding meaning in radical Islam, and he himself trying to understand himself as Afghan American.