The Daily Demarche
What if... we gave up in 2001?
Friends, my apologies for the light content of late- I'd forgotten how much has to be done in preparation to leave the First World for the Third. Buying consumables (rations for the next year) and making sure my family has all the things we will need in a place where there is almost nothing to buy has become the focus of my days, to the detriment of this blog. Smiley is equally, if not more, busy with Smiley: The Next Generation and preparations for the Smiley Family relocation. It'll get better here eventually, just no promises as to when- sorry, but that is the best I can do.
In the mean time here is an excellent, if somewhat chilling, speculative article in a sort of counter point to our first group-blog project ("What If We Never Invaded Iraq
")- an article that examines what might have happenned had we chosen not to meet al Qaeda's challenge. The article is long, but worth the read. Hat tip once again to Larwyn.Dark Diary -By Alan Dowd
There are those who believe that people are merely a part of history, pieces of driftwood carried along by forces and currents often beyond our control. Others argue that history is shaped by individuals—that the right person in the right place can alter the course of human events.
Certainly Osama bin Laden shifted the historical tide on September 11, 2001. As General Tommy Franks put it, bin Laden created a “crease in history” on 9/11, a fault line that changed how we piece together the past, how we live the present, how we look at the future.
To their credit, Americans have—so far—resisted the winds unleashed on that Tuesday morning four years ago, winds that could have blown us to defeat and despair. But what if they had not? What if Americans had allowed bin Laden and his followers to write the story of our time?
The following is a dark diary of what might have followed.September 20, 2001
In an historic address to a special joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush honored the eight House members, three Senators and 187 staffers, civil servants, and tourists killed on September 11 when United Airlines Flight 93 plowed into the western face of the U.S. Capitol.
“They were standing their post, and we can do no less,” the President said, fighting back tears. The special session was held at the Washington Convention Center, where Congress has been gathering under heavy security since the staggering terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Capitol.
Bush refused to characterize the coordinated assaults as acts of war, and took pains to distance himself from comments made by Pentagon officials, who argued that the U.S. should use 9/11 as a rationale for “ending states that sponsor terrorism.” Instead, Bush said that “America’s enemies are the criminals who carried out these attacks—not the states where they hide.”
September 30, 2001
British newspapers reported that Washington has quietly asked British Prime Minister Tony Blair to tone down his hawkish rhetoric. Blair has called on the Western allies to “identify the machinery of terror and to dismantle it as swiftly as possible.” Spelling out what some in America have dubbed the “Blair Doctrine,” the British leader declared: “Those who harbor or help terrorists have a choice: either cease your protection and promotion of our enemies, or be treated as an enemy yourself.”
October 7, 2001
Appearing on “Meet the Press,” Vice President Dick Cheney downplayed any rift between the two transatlantic partners, but he also panned calls for a global counteroffensive against terrorism. “What do they propose—that we send thousands of American boys to fight in a place that has already defeated the British and Soviet empires?”
Later that afternoon, Bush asked the Afghan government to hand over bin Laden, and then dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to meet with Taliban emissaries.
November 11, 2001
On a kind of two-month anniversary, crowds totaling perhaps 15 million gathered all across the Muslim world to taunt the U.S. Critics in the West warned that America’s feeble response to 9/11 was emboldening fanatics who have lost any sense of respect for U.S. strength or determination.
December 13-16, 2001
Car bombs exploded outside the U.S. embassies in Kuwait City and Ankara, killing 204 people, including 73 Americans. The Taliban government, “acting only as a messenger,” delivered a statement from bin Laden claiming responsibility and issuing another warning: “The battle will go on until the infidel leaves our land. The crusaders know not where we will strike, but we do. We will fight them on our terms and at a time of our choosing.”
Bush announced plans for an international summit on terrorism “to bring an end to this scourge.” The conference will be held in Nevada at Nellis Air Force Base under tight security.
December 22-25, 2001
Worldwide air travel came to a shuddering halt for the second time since 9/11, after an American Airlines passenger jet packed with Christmas travelers exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. All 218 aboard were lost, including 181 Americans. Flight 63 was bound for Miami after taking off from Paris.
Hours later, the BBC received an e-mail claiming that a man named Richard Reid carried out the “martyrdom mission with technical assistance from al-Qaeda.” Reid, whose name was found on flight logs, was a British citizen with links to Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called twentieth hijacker from 9/11.
January 3, 2002
Reeling from the autumn anthrax blitz and “Bloody December,” Bush launched air strikes against a half-dozen terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan. “We have given the Afghan government enough time to turn over the terror mastermind,” Bush declared. “Now we will act in a measured way.”
Noting that more of his countrymen died in the World Trade Center than in the Gulf War, Blair sent British warplanes to participate in the strikes. Australian and Spanish ships also supported the operation.
Senator Joe Lieberman was among a small handful to criticize Bush’s response. “Summits and pin-pricks are simply not enough to stop this assault on our way of life,” he said. “To borrow the parlance of the Cold War, we cannot contain al-Qaeda; we must roll it back.”
February 2, 2002
Organizers of the Salt Lake Olympic Games called off the opening and closing ceremonies, but promised to hold “a safe and secure” Winter Olympics.
March 2, 2002
Defying calls from Afghan strongman Mullah Muhammed Omar to boycott the Nellis Summit, Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf and Jordan’s King Abdullah traveled to the United States for the two-day counterterrorism conference. Other world leaders refused to attend, citing, ironically, possible terrorist attacks.
March 11-12, 2002
More than two full months without a terrorist attack ended violently, as bombs ripped through morning commuter trains in Madrid and London. At least 115 were killed in London and another 191 in Madrid. Some 2,200 were injured in the simultaneous bombings. An al-Qaeda Web site issued a statement purportedly from bin Laden praising the attacks as “retaliation for complicity with the crusaders.”
Trying to quell an all-out revolt within his own Labour Party, Blair pledged that British forces would not participate in further military action in Afghanistan.
April 2, 2002
Citing a “rising tide of terror that demands the use of our resources close to home,” Bush denied a request from the Filipino government for assistance against Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda-linked guerilla group that controls parts of the island of Basilan.
April 26-May 2, 2002
Musharraf and four of his top military officials were killed by a truck bomb in Karachi as their motorcade snaked through the city. The Indian government immediately moved its military to a high state of readiness and warned that it would act preemptively “to defend its people and territory.”
Vowing to “promote friendship among all Islamic peoples,” a military junta with even closer links to the Taliban swept into power in Pakistan, promising to “restore order.” In an interview, bin Laden endorsed the new Pakistani government as “unspoiled by collaboration with the Zionist-crusader alliance.”
August 21-28, 2002
In the most daring attacks on the U.S. homeland since
September 2001, heavily armed terrorists seized a hospital in San Francisco and a dormitory on the campus of the University of Richmond in Virginia.
Led by a man named Suleyman al-Faris, the hospital attackers demanded America’s withdrawal from Saudi Arabia and held 189 hostages for almost eight days. The Richmond attackers, who took at least 212 students captive, made no demands, refusing even to talk with local imams who implored them to spare the innocent. One imam offered to trade places with the hostages, to no avail.
The dual standoffs ended when the terrorists in San Francisco began to execute hostages, triggering operations to retake both the hospital and dorm. Split television screens captured the twin ordeals and climactic gun battles that claimed three federal agents, ten National Guardsmen, 27 students and 51 hospital patients. All 18 terrorists—ten in San Francisco and eight in Richmond—were killed.
It was later discovered that al-Faris, ring leader of the bloody attack, was an American citizen who had traveled to Afghanistan and trained with al-Qaeda. Before his conversion to radical Islam he was known as John Walker Lindh. All of Lindh’s accomplices were either American or Australian.
August 30, 2002
French president Jacques Chirac told an E.U. conference that “The position of leader of the free world is again vacant. If our American friends are too preoccupied to lead, we must choose our own path to security.”
September 11, 2002
In a stirring speech at Ground Zero, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani warned that: “Bin Laden is tearing our civilization apart—people are no longer traveling; colleges look like prisons; our government is in hiding; our allies are turning away; our enemies are mocking us…. I had hoped that September 11 would serve as a wake-up call—and as the high-water mark for terrorism. But rather than spurring us into action, it has trapped us in a cocoon of fear.”
October 12, 2002
On the same day that terrorists killed 202 vacationers at a resort in Bali, the Taliban-style government of Pakistan issued a chilling statement calling on “our brothers to rise up with the assurance of our protection.” According to one CIA analyst, “that’s a not-so oblique reference to the country’s nuclear arsenal.”
October 15-20, 2002
Saudi attackers launched what the Pentagon called “a highly coordinated assault” against U.S. forces at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, while Americans stationed in Kuwait exchanged automatic-weapons fire near Camp Doha. Local security forces failed to respond to either attack, prompting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to conclude, “We will not stay where we are not wanted.”
Congress easily passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of U.S forces from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
November 2, 2002
Executing what Washington called “a precision hit,” al-Qaeda operatives murdered an unnamed U.S. diplomat and his driver in Yemen. Ali Qaed Sinan al-Harthi, mastermind of the USS Cole attack, took credit for the strike.
“Bin Laden’s followers are predators,” Bush said grimly, “our citizens have become their prey.”
January 18, 2003
Flanked by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that the Super Bowl would be postponed. “We will be changing the venue and the date in order to provide the best opportunity for our fans and players to enjoy the game in a safe environment,” he explained.
Pointing to “a highly credible and highly specific threat,” Ashcroft praised the NFL for cooperating with federal authorities to take this unprecedented step.
January 27-February 12, 2003
Explosions rocked the government district in Amman, and rescue workers succumbed to caustic fumes and blistering skin as Jordan reeled from the deadliest terror attacks worldwide since September 2001. Jordanian sources reported that a cloud of poison enveloped a wide swath of the capital after ten buses exploded throughout the city. At least 4,100 people were killed, with thousands more treated in hospitals and makeshift decontamination facilities outside Amman. Officials estimate between 100 and 200 Americans among the dead. According to the White House, the poison cloud was sulfuric acid.
A video recording by a man identifying himself as Musab al-Zarqawi warned that more attacks would follow if Jordan continued to cooperate with the United States. Washington confirmed that Zarqawi is a Jordanian with ties to both al-Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence.
On the same morning that a U.S. medical relief plane was downed over Amman, the New York Times published excerpts from a CIA memo warning about the possibility of Baghdad transferring material to Zarqawi for use against U.S. interests. But according to CIA director George Tenet, “the intelligence was too murky...we just couldn’t connect all the dots.”
King Abdullah was not harmed by Zarqawi’s attack, but his government was toppled. A committee of clerics sympathetic to bin Laden emerged to govern the once-moderate Arab nation. “This is a great step toward our new caliphate,” an aide to bin Laden announced.
February 9, 2003
NASCAR officials cancelled the 2003 Daytona 500. “In light of what’s happening here and overseas, it’s just too dangerous,” a spokesman explained.
April 8-9, 2003
U.S. forces completed an ignominious withdrawal from bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Shadowed by a massive statue of himself in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, a strutting Saddam
Hussein mocked America’s flight: “The father was too weak to finish the battle. The son was too cowardly to continue it.?
September 1, 2003
Amnesty International released the most comprehensive report to date on the deteriorating state of affairs in the Middle East. Using e-mail messages, Web sites, smuggled video, faxes, and cell-phone transmissions, Amnesty pieced together “an animal frenzy of state-sanctioned violence in Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Pakistan—a latter-day Reign of Terror that has butchered thousands, ceded the streets to vengeful Islamic sharia-enforcers, and imprisoned millions.”
October 19-30, 2003
Terrorists rammed an 18-wheeler loaded with gasoline into the Boulevard Mall in suburban Buffalo. Survivors say the truck crashed through the entrance to the mall’s food court, with fire engulfing the eastern half of the upscale shopping center. At least 158 were killed in the attack, many of them children. Another 250 people were being treated for severe burns at area hospitals.
Minutes later, news helicopters beamed pictures of another fuel truck bursting into flames on a bridge over Lake Erie, blasting a massive hole into the span and sending cars careening into the water. With just 17 killed and 13 injured, casualties were relatively low, but the fiery images were devastating to a violence-weary nation.
In a videotaped message broadcast a day later, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed connected the two fuel-truck attacks and praised what he called “our Yemeni brothers in America…. We gave them the training and tactics; they chose the targets and timing.”
Investigators recovered surveillance footage of at least six men stealing three different fuel haulers from a truck stop in western New York on the morning of October 19. New York State Police intercepted the third truck on Interstate 290. During their initial interrogation, Sahim Alwan and Faysal Galab hinted that other elements of their terror cell were planning additional attacks. Ashcroft convened a press conference to share the chilling news with America. “Information obtained during interrogations indicates that the cell was also planning to attack a middle school,” a grim-faced Ashcroft explained.
Ashcroft’s statement sent a cascade of fear across North America, as law enforcement agents in Canada and the U.S. intercepted hundreds of tanker trucks. Average gas prices shot from $4.20 per gallon to $10, with scores of pumps left dry by the scare.
Across the eastern seaboard, parents rushed to pull their children out of school. By October 24, 6,700 of America’s 15,000 school districts had canceled classes.
On what CNN described as “a night of rage,” armed clashes were reported outside mosques and Islamic centers across the U.S., leaving 19 people dead and forcing governors in Michigan, New York, and Virginia to activate the National Guard. Twenty other governors declared dusk-to-dawn curfews.
In a televised address to the nation, a beleaguered Bush seemed to speak to both bin Laden and the American people: “By word and deed, we have proven that we only want to end this carnage.”
November 18-19, 2003
Bush announced that he would not seek re-election in 2004. Not coincidentally, a day later, a congressionally appointed commission released a report heaping scorn on the administration for not acting “to preempt or respond in kind to the terrorist onslaught.” According to the commission, “by failing to go on the offensive, the administration gave al-Qaeda the opportunity to gather support and resources, enhanced bin Laden’s influence, and weakened moderate forces in the Muslim world.”
December 19, 2003
Libya tested a missile that brings nearly every country bordering the Mediterranean in range. “Thanks to our North Korean and Pakistani friends, we have matched special weapons with our new rockets,” Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi gushed.
December 24, 2003
Appearing for the first time on live television, bin Laden declared “victory over the infidel.” He mocked Bush for failing to defend the American homeland. “Look at me. I do not hide, but you do. You are the coward, you and your decadent society,” railed bin Laden. “To end this carnage, use your power to remove every last Zionist from Jerusalem.”
February 10, 2004
In testimony before a House committee, Tenet painted a grim picture of bin Laden’s expanding base of client states: “OBL and Zawahiri spend most of their time in Pakistan. Basilan has been transformed into a virtual al-Qaeda state. Atef is based in Indonesia. Khalid shuttles between Somalia and Yemen. Zarqawi is something of an enforcer in Jordan, Kuwait, and Iraq. Omar controls Afghanistan.”
March 3, 2004
Frayed by weeks of tense security duty outside Washington, D.C., National Guardsmen opened fire on a car that failed to stop at their checkpoint. Three children and two adults were killed.
April 13-29, 2004
The so-called “Christmas Truce” ended as terrorists detonated a dirty bomb in downtown Chicago. Mixing the worst of 9/11 and Amman, the attack showered radioactive material across a half-mile stretch of Adams Street. While only 83 people were killed by the initial blast, 227 others succumbed to heavy doses of radiation exposure in the first week after the bombing. With hospitals overwhelmed by radiation-poisoning cases, the immediate death toll could top 1,000, and cancer deaths will spike for years.
“The bomb appears to have been made of TNT and radioactive material crammed into the back of a rented moving van,” according to one FBI agent.
The van was traced to Jose Padilla, an American citizen with links to al-Qaeda. Padilla, a Muslim convert who traveled to Pakistan, arrived in Chicago sometime in 2002. However, federal agents lost him soon after his arrival. “As he came in, CIA should have handed him off to FBI, but bound by civil-liberties safeguards, the agencies were not allowed to communicate with each other,” conceded one Justice Department official.
May 1-5, 2004
Stung into action by the dirty-bomb attack in Chicago, the lame duck Bush administration vowed to begin “an all-out war on terror.” A flurry of activity at military bases all across the nation underscored the seriousness of U.S. intentions. But the buildup came to a sudden halt after two soldiers were killed and 15 injured when an attacker lobbed grenades into a barracks at the headquarters of the 101st Airborne in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. News outlets initially reported that the attack came from a breach of the base’s heavily guarded perimeter, but Army spokesmen later confirmed that the attacks came from inside the sprawling facility. Sergeant Hasan Akbar was detained after the attack, which left the nation paralyzed with fear.
Any hopes of the American people overcoming that paralysis were dashed when bin Laden issued a stunning double-edged threat: “Be warned,” he began, “our martyrs have infiltrated your military. If you attack our brethren, we will carry out more martyrdom missions against your army. If your stooges in Europe attack, we will strike them. And if the Zionists attack, we will rain missiles on their cities. America lacks the will to stand up to our martyrs.”
Checkmated by what he called “an axis of evil,” a humiliated Bush ordered U.S. forces to stand down.
October 2, 2004
Bush defiantly rejected calls to postpone U.S. elections. Promising “to defend our most cherished right,” Bush said that Washington would deploy units from the military and the new Department of Homeland Defense to protect voters in all 50 states. “We can respond to an act of terror committed virtually anywhere in the country,” Bush stated.
Bush also unveiled an ad campaign encouraging Americans to consider voting via the new Internet-based “WebBallot.” A 30-second TV spot assured viewers that, “It’s safe and secure—for voters and their votes.”
January 20, 2005
With the nation on hair-trigger alert, the 44th President was forced to take the Oath of Office at Andrews Air Force Base. “Humbled by the realities of a new era, America will chart a new course,” he explained. “In the century past, we planted freedom on foreign soil. Now to protect our own freedom we must turn homeward.”
September 11, 2005
The Washington Post published excerpts of Rumsfeld’s memoir Defeat Without War. According to Rumsfeld, “The enemy is not only bin Laden. The enemy is the regimes that spawned and nurtured him…. When the masters of terror came together to wage a global guerilla war against us, we ignored history’s lessons on appeasement and failed to take the fight to the enemy. Our cities then became battlefields, by which time we had already lost this war.”
Peace activists protested the release of the book at the Manhattan offices of the book’s publisher. According to their spokesman, “Rumsfeld’s martial language presents an obstacle to the only viable solution to this tragedy: apologies and aid transfers to disrespected Islamic nations.” They underscored their commitment by daring to move their protest outdoors—where they exposed themselves for more than an hour to the potential dangers of New York City’s now mostly-empty streets.
Far fetched? Maybe. But the idea that the Twin Towers would be reduced to smoking holes in the skyline of NY by September 11th was pretty farfetched on September 10th, 2001, too.
“the River Tiber foaming with much blood"- corrected
I am still plowing through the GAO report I mentioned yesterday, a post on that subject is forthcoming. In the meantime I have received an e-mail that led me to a new blog today (thank you LARWYN)- Mystery Achievement
- two posts in particular: The Enemy We Treat Like a Friend: Part One
and Part Two
. These posts are actually translations of posts by Oriana Fallaci
from the Italian language blog Eddyburg
. Fallaci represents a rare side of ultra-liberal Europe, and it is the Eurocentric positing of items such as the following that grabbed my attention:Thus, three days after the latest massacre, when Pope Ratzinger renewed the theme of dialogue, I was astonished. Your Holiness, I speak to you as a person who admires you very much. Who loves you, because you are right about so many things. Who, because of this, is mocked along with those nicknamed “devout atheist,“ “sanctimonious layperson,“ “clerical liberal.“ A person, above all, who understands politics and its necessities. Who understands the drama of leadership and its compromises. Who admires the stubbornness of faith and respects the renouncements and generosity that it demands. But I must pose the following question all the same: do you really believe that the Muslims would accept a dialogue with Christians, or with other religions, or with atheists like me? Do you really believe that they can change, reform, quit planting bombs? You are a very erudite man, Your Holiness. Very cultured. And you know them well. Much better than I. Explain to me then: When ever, in the course of their history--a history that has lasted for 1400 years--have they changed and reformed?
Of course Fallaci has been branded a heretic by many in Europe, she does not adhere to the psuedo religion of political correctness that dictates all cultures are equal and therefore above reproach. Her clarion calls that Italy has as much to fear from Islamofascism as do America and Britain (or Spain for that matter) have been ingored, or worse, belittled. She has been persecuted and her books have been subject to lawsuits seeking to repress them. Perhaps after the series of attacks in London continental Europeans are paying more attention to Fallaci and her arguments, but that is what we thought might take place after the murder of Theo Van Gogh as well(as an aside Mohammed Bouyeri, who stbbed and shot Van Gogh in November of last year told the court
"I did it out of conviction. If I ever get free, I would do it again." He was sentenced
to life in prison today.) Fallaci has a simple wish for her countryman- that they open their eyes:Oh, that for a week or a month they might understand that they are hated and despised by the enemy that they treat like a friend, and that he is completely indifferent to the virtues known as Gratitude, Loyalty, [and] Mercy! They would indeed be roused from their apathy, their inertia, their indifference. They would indeed believe in the announcements of Saad al-Faqih and the explicit, clear, [and] precise warnings pronounced by Bin Laden and Company. They would avoid taking underground trains. They would travel by automobile or bicycle. (But Theo van Gogh was killed while riding his bicycle.) They would knock off the good-naturedness (or servility) They would trust the immigrant who sells them drugs or cleans their houses a little less. They would be less cordial towards unskilled workers who, waving a worker’s visa in our faces, claims to want to be like them, but in the meantime beats the hell out of his wife--his wives--and kills his daughter [for wearing] blue jeans. They would even renounce the litanies of the “Voyages of Hope,” and perhaps they would realize that, in order not to lose Liberty, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little bit of liberty. That self-defense is legitimate defense, and that legitimate defense is not barbarism. Maybe, they would even cry out that Fallaci was right; that she didn’t deserve to be treated like a delinquent. But then, they would begin anew to treat me like a delinquent. To call me a retrograde xenophobic racist, etc. And when the attack will come, we’ll hear the usual nonsense: It’s the Americans’ fault; it’s Bush’s fault.
Fallaci is a realist, however, and she sees little hope that her countrymen will heed her call. She firmly believes that Italy will be struck, and is willing to go so far as to predict when such a strike might occur, and she does not pull any punches- she sees it happening within the next year:
Nonetheless, regarding an attack on Italy, I fear two things: Christmas and the elections. We might slide by for Christmas. Their attacks are not rude, showy strikes. They are refined crimes, well-calculated and well-prepared. They need time to prepare themselves, and I don’t think they’ll be ready by Christmas. But the will be ready by the 2006 elections--the elections they want to see won overwhelmingly by pacifism. And of us, I fear, they will not be content [just] to massacre people. Because this is an intelligent and well-informed Monster, my dears. A Monster who (on our dime) studied in our universities, our renowned colleges, our luxurious schools. (With the money of their parents; be they sheikh or honest day-worker). A Monster who is not only knowledgeable about engineering, chemistry, physics, airlines, and subways: he is also knowledgeable about Art. Art, that their presumed “Beacon of Civilization” has never known how to produce. And I think that, along with our people, they want to massacre come work of art. How hard would it be to blow the Cathedral of Milan or Saint Peter’s Basilica sky-high? How hard would it be to blow Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi, and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence--or the Palace of the Doges in Venice--sky-high? How hard would it be to blow the Leaning Tower of Pisa--a monument recognized in every corner of the world, and therefore even more famous than the Twin Towers--sky-high?
But we cannot escape. We can confront the monster with honor, [with] courage; and by remembering the words that Churchill said to the English when he went to war against Hitler’s Nazism. He said “We will pour out tears and blood.” Oh, yes: we too will pour out tears and blood. We are at war: do we or do we not want to get this through our heads?!? And in war, you cry. Period.
I hope she is wrong, for the sake of the people of Italy. For that same sake, and for the sake of all the people targeted by al Qaeda simply for existing, I hope she is taken seriously- but I doubt she will be. We have Bin Laden's own words that tell us what his goal is, and we continue to see members of "allied" governments paying tribute to OBL and his cause- for example Egyptian Member of Parliament Hamadein Sabahi recently had this to say:
"The responsibility for the slaughter of [the Egyptian ambassador in Iraq] lies, first and foremost, with George Bush, his administration, and his military forces, occupying Iraq."
"When the conflict is directed against the Americans, it is good. Any weapon that kills an American is good. Any gun aiming at the Marines is good. Any kidnapping or slaughtering of an American in Iraq is good."
"I support Al-Qa'ida when it kills Americans."
It is hard for me to believe that Europeans, or for that matter Americans, still doubt that there is a threat to us and our way of life. On a statistical scale the threat may be small, but it is growing, and it is embodied by an insatiable enemy. LARWYN, who sent me the link to the posts refernced today, also sent me a few snippets from the history and literature books which I found interesting, and so reproduce here for you, I hope they make you stop and think. Of course if you have read this far in this post hyou probably already agree. I've left LARWYN's comments attached to the pieces as received:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”—Sir Winston Churchill, from The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899
Rudyard Kipling: Of all his politically incorrect poems, none violates more of the Ten Commandments of Multiculturalism than this one:
THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit
And work another's gain.
Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine,
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch sloth and heathen folly
Bring all your hope to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
No iron rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man's burden,
And reap his old reward--
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"
Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.
Take up the White Man's burden!
Have done with childish days--
The lightly-proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise:
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.
If one moves past the conditioned response to Kipling’s politically incorrect tropes, this poem seems strangely apropos to our time. Replace “White Man” with “Anglosphere” or “America”, and it is not 1899; it is 2005, and the poem is our poem.
Enoch Powell’s famous "Rivers of Blood" speech in 1968.There have been other reminders of it recently-and this one is uncannily prescient:
" We are on the verge here of a change. Hitherto it has been force of circumstance and of background which has rendered the very idea of integration inaccessible to the greater part of the immigrant population — that they never conceived or intended such a thing, and that their numbers and physical concentration meant the pressures towards integration which normally bear upon any small minority did not operate. Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. Powell concluded his speech with this: As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”… Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.
Regardless of his racist motivations, regardless of any demagogic ambitions he might have had, Enoch Powell was right. He lived until 1998, long enough to see that much of what feared had already come to pass. In 1968 he was in the unenviable position of someone in 1931 warning of the danger that Hitler posed to the world. Regards, LARWYN
Larwyn has sent me an e-mail asking me to let everyone know that the Churchill quote and the poem + speech excerpt respectively have come from the following blogs: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/
. Sorry for any confusion, we had no intention of not giving credit where due.
Link-O-Rama (or, too tired to blog)
After a long weekend in the car for a too short visit home for the wedding of my best friend from that ancient period known as "grade school" I am too tired for deep thoughts today. In light of that- here are some links worth exploring.
I am planning a post on the GAO report 21st Century Challenges Reexamining the Base of the Federal Government
- an ambitious post on an ambitious paper:The report is organized in three sections. The first section sets the stage by providing the rationale for reexamining the base of the federal government and the scope of GAO's effort. The second section is organized around 12 areas of federal activity and includes narratives discussing emerging changes in each area as well as several illustrative reexamination questions for each area. The third section provides some perspective on various strategies, processes, and approaches that should be considered as a possible means to address the issues and questions raised in this report.
The report is very sweeping, as you can imagine. I'll focus on the Homeland Security and International Challenges portions of the report, for those of you who like to read ahead.
As always, for a well written and thought out post from the other side of the aisle Irecommendd a trip over to Total Information Awareness
where, among other things, Eric gloats and chortles over the Karl Rove issue that is lighting up the beltway.
American Future has a great weekend roundup of some of the British editorials
responding to the latestattackss there, and Gandleman at The Moderate Voice has an excellent post on the British policy that suspected suicide bombers are to be shot in the head
(mug tip to Barcepundit
) that asks how we are to deal with the new risk of "friendly fire" in our cities- and he provides a good round up of opinions in answer to the question.
Finally, fellow FSO blogger Consul at Arms has a seemingly stream of consciousness post and linkfest of his own up, entitled "If Kerry was President..."
. If I could get away with it I'd print this one out and paper my office with it.
So, a hot cup of tea, a good night's sleep and then back to the salt mines, with a nice GAO report to fill the empty spaces- can't wait to see how the plan is going to shape up and fix the government in the next century.
(End of post, such that it is)
Al Jazeera supporters are right.
As London recovers from the latest act of terror to strike the city a terrorist and mass murderer in Iraq begins his march to justice. Saddam has begun his day in court, unfortunately media coverage is minimal due the continued threat to the west posed by al Qaeda and its sympathizers. Luckily al Jazeera is covering the trial
:Long-bearded Saddam, who was wearing a white shirt, a suit jacket and glasses, appeared to be defiant and stared directly into the judge's eyes, who in turn seemed uncomfortable and avoided eye contact with the ousted president.
I'd be uncomfortable too, looking into the eyes of a man who ordered a province of his own country to be gassed, although I assume al Jazeera finds the judge's revulsion to be a victory of will for Hussein. Not surprisingly, some of their readers feel the same way (from the comments on the AJ site):he lived like a lion and even living like lion. these pupets don't dare to look into his eyes. they know he can not do a thing but their guilty and fear don't let them to look into his eyes. salute to a lion heart.
andsaddam husseins trial should be open so that the whole world can understand the history of these past crimes and that there are many others deeply implicated, particularly the usa.
Luckily, there are other sources of news to refer to- the Internet allows anyone interested in learning more to do so, easily. Take this view
of Saddam, for example:A man describes how Saddam Hussein's secret police shoved a dissident's baby into a sack with a vicious cat that scratches it. Undercover agents throw a man to his death from the roof of a building.Iraqiya state television is reviving images of life under Saddam as a court prepares to announce his trial date.``I wish they were here to see the day when Saddam is finished,'' a tearful woman who lost her relatives under Saddam tells viewers of Iraqiya, which broadcast footage of abuses filmed by members of Saddam security forces as they committed them.Grainy footage of senior officials, including Ali Hassan al-Majid - nicknamed Chemical Ali because his men allegedly gassed 5,000 Kurds in 1988 - shows them questioning Shiites after a failed rebellion in 1991.One official calmly smokes a cigarette and then kicks one of them in the face. The bound men were later executed. Other reminders include a blindfolded man with his hands bound behind his back being pushed off the roof of a building.Another scene captured on video shows a man being held on the ground with an arm extended. The arm is beaten with a club until the bone breaks.
So, for perhaps the first and last time, I agree, at least in part, with sentiments expressed on the al Jazeera site- the trial of Saddam Hussein should be open and transparent, it should be broadcast on the satellite channels and the Internet, the entire world should have the opportunityto view the process of the rule of law in action. The lion of the desert will quickly be exposed as the hyena he is, or was- with full apologies to hyenas.
(End of post.)
Visa Waiver and the next threat -Updated!
This post has generated a good amount of e-mail.. In light of the events in London today I've taken two of the most interesting and pasted them in at the end of the post- click the link at the end of the preview to read these comments.
Thanks to everyone for the comments over the last few days, especially to Melanie who pointed out a very interesting article on the American Enterprise Institute website- Jihad Made in Europe
. This relatively short article covers a wide range of ideas, two of which are central to this post: the idea that the next al Qaeda top-level figure might come from Europe, and the threat presented to the national security of the United States by terrorists entering the country under the Visa Waiver program.
First, a little background. The Department of State provides the following description of the program
:The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established in 1986 with the objective of promoting better relations with U.S. allies, eliminating unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are screened prior to admission into the United States, and they are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.
Citizens from the following countries are exempted from the need for a visa to travel for tourism or business:Andorra, Iceland, Norway, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Italy, San Marino, Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, Finland, Monaco, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom.
Let’s examine that list for a moment: France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe, largely unassimilated, and purportedly making up 70% of the prison population
in that nation. Anyone think there might be some radicalizing of young men happening there? Spain saw its government elected on the strength of jihadi simultaneous attacks- and responded by blaming American foreign policy. In the Netherlands a film maker was brutally murdered for criticizing Islam. The Dutch response? Open a center for Arab cultural studies
. At least some of the September 11th hijackers are known to have spent time studying in Germany. I think we can safely assume they have friends there. No one needs to be reminded about what took place in London recently.
While this truly demonstrates that Islamofascism is a global threat, it also points to the very real possibility that the next attack on American soil will be carried out by men who simply flew into the United States on the strength of their European, or other waiver program country, passport. I am by no means saying that a visa interview will stop all terrorists- but thanks largely to the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 there is at least a chance if the would-be terrorist has to face a American officer before traveling:
Section 305 requires specialized training for consular officers for the purpose of identifying applicants who pose safety and security threats, particularly those inadmissible under INA 212(a)(3)(A) and (B). As a part of the program the Secretary must work with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to provide to the Bureau of Consular Affairs reports, bulletins and updates relevant to terrorism and the screening of visa applicants who pose a threat to the United States.
To be fair the law requires that all foreign nationals entering the U.S be screened through a database system for known or suspected terrorists. That’s great if the person is a known entity, not so great if he is not. While Consular officers have a short amount of time for interviews at a visa window, immigration inspectors have far less at the arrival counter- and will most likely have no idea of the cultural issues surrounding the nice fellow with a British passport and the odd accent, who is here to attend a conference on urban planning, the better to learn to identify weaknesses in infrastructure.
Combine the above, then, with this (from the AEI piece):
What was once unquestionably an import has gone native, mutated, and grown. Some of what the Europeans are now confronting--and for the United States this is very bad news--is probably a locally generated Islamic militancy that is as retrograde and virulent as anything encountered in the Middle East. "European Islam" appears to be an increasingly radicalizing force intellectually and in practice. The much-anticipated Muslim moderates of Europe--the folks French scholar Gilles Kepel believes will produce "extraordinary progress in civilization," a new "Andalusia" (the classical Arabic word for Moorish Spain) that will save us from Osama bin Laden's jihad--have so far not developed with the same gusto as the Muslim activists who have dominated too many mosques in "Londonistan" and elsewhere in Europe.
For organizations like al Qaeda, this may mean that the future will be decisively European. From its earliest days, al Qaeda viewed Europe as an important launching platform for attacks against the United States and its interests. Now, Western counterterrorist forces, which have traditionally tried to track Middle Eastern missionaries in Europe, would be well advised to start searching for radical European Muslim missionaries in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Although some of the reasons put forth by Europeans to explain their Muslim problems are undoubtedly valid, a wise U.S. counterterrorist policy would downplay the external causes of Islamic activism in Europe. We should prepare for the worst-case scenario and assume that European society itself will continue to generate the most lethal holy warriors. In doing so, American officials should be skeptical of their own ability to identify through profiling which Muslim Europeans might engage in terrorism against the United States. Stamps in passports indicating travel to Middle Eastern countries can't tell you much, since holy-warrior pilgrimages are not required to fortify jihadist spirits and networks. Living in London, Leeds, or Manchester can be more than enough.
The author concludes, as Melanie indicated in her comment that launched this post, that the Visa Waiver program has to go:
This means, of course, that the Bush administration ought to preempt fate and suspend the visa-waiver program established in 1986 for Western Europeans… The transatlantic crowd in Washington--the bedrock of America's foreign-policy establishment--might rise in high dudgeon at the damage this could do to U.S.-European relations. The State Department's European and consular-affairs bureaus might add that they no longer have the staff to handle the enormous number of applicants. Ignore them.
The Visa Waiver program is flawed, there can be no doubt- radical Islam is well established in the EU, and the passports held by the subscribers to the ideology of hate that is preached in the mosques there have enormous potential as the catalysts for horrifying new attacks. Our allies across the pond have shown little proclivity, outside of Great Britain (and precious little there), to address the underlying issues of the threat within- we can hardly count on them to screen out the threats for us. Is the end of the Visa Waiver program a realistic possibility? I do not know. Our goal, as stated by then Secretary of State Powell, is “secure borders, open doors.” How would the EU nations react to the end of the program- in effect a closing, if not barring, of the open door? What would the economic impact on the U.S. be if tourism from Europe plummeted, even for the short term as a new visa program geared up (such a sea change would take considerable time- the authors suggestions not withstanding)? Do our leaders have the courage to honestly and openly address the loophole that the program provides for the increasingly hostile Westernized Muslim radical to do harm to the United States? Only time will tell.
BEGIN UPDATE:Dear Doc:
Instead of hiding behind the veil of even-handedness why not call a spade a spade. Let's face it a Swedish blue-eyed mother of three is not going to blow up the Capitol. Neither is a French white (or nearly all) back-packer. These people don't really pose a problem. So why not impose a visa program on all non- white Europeans: specifically the Muslim variety.
We are far more advanced then we were in 1986. How about modernizing the program that allows those people who pose no problem to move around freely. In other words the CEO of Daimler Chrysler poses no threat. I am thinking at the top of my head here, but surely there are ways which would discriminate between those who are "unknown" to the US as against people who are. How about getting waivers in the same way as applying for a H1 visa, or by getting an American or several Americans to vouch for those who would like a waiver.
I think you are on the right track here in that the US cannot afford to let in undesirables. But the US also wants and needs to interact with the rest of the world in a seamless less annoying way than applying for a visa.
Several friends of mine who have visited the US in the last few years have noted how the airports resemble a nation with a siege mentality. This of course is understandable, especially after 911. But by the same token, these Australians are people who the US would dearly like to attract as visitors.
The problem as I see it is that political climate does not allow discrimination against the very people who pose a threat even US residents- Muslims.
Maybe the American people would go for a system whereby restrictions on followers of Islam are tightened even further while we see a relaxation for the rest of us.
Just think[ing] aloud here of course.
You know, we could take a lesson from the British in the wake of the
London bombings. The PM summoned Muslim leaders to instruct them to get
their houses in order, that anti-national crimes and behavior will not
What do we in the US do? We send key leaders to visit mosques and fawn
over Muslims as a way of demonstrating our respect for them and to
reassure them that all forces of the Government will be used to protect
them. Which is pretty much the same thing we'd do if a group of Muslims
in the US did something good, as well as bad.
Where's the incentive for good behavior?
Islam and the Great Debate
I was going to post today on our relationship with Mexico vis-a-vis terrorism, our porous border and the largely unknown illegal population in the United States, based on this article:HOMELAND INSECURITY
-Mexico's help with terrorists? Not unless U.S. enacts reforms Ex-foreign minister testifies before senators, says cooperation will come at cost of amnesty.On Tuesday, former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: "No border security is possible without Mexican cooperation" and "there can be no cooperation [from the Mexican government] without some sort of immigration reform package."
I'll definitely address this issue at some point in the future- but today our good friend Marc Schulman at American Future has asked us to join in on a conversation
he has been having with a few readers related to Tom Friedman's current NY Times piece: A Poverty of Dignity and a Wealth of Rage.
The key to Friedman's piece is this exchange:Why are young Sunni Muslim males, from London to Riyadh and Bali to Baghdad, so willing to blow up themselves and others in the name of their religion? Of course, not all Muslims are suicide bombers; it would be ludicrous to suggest that.But virtually all suicide bombers, of late, have been Sunni Muslims. There are a lot of angry people in the world. Angry Mexicans. Angry Africans. Angry Norwegians. But the only ones who seem to feel entitled and motivated to kill themselves and totally innocent people, including other Muslims, over their anger are young Sunni radicals. What is going on?
Schulman, on his blog, responds to Friedman with a "thank you":How refreshing it is to read someone as widely influential as Friedman who dares to puts the blame squarely on Islam itself, instead of on the Bush- and Blair-blessed nostrum that Islam is a peaceful religion that's been hijacked.
That is where the fun begins. If you have not yet clicked over to American Future to read the post
please do so now, I'll wait. The comments are well written, well reasoned and incredibly far reaching, covering every topic from the resurrection of Whabism in Saudi Arabia, possible collusion between the Saudis and the U.S. government, the lack of a credible leader of the anti-Jihad Muslims and the need for the Muslims of the world to stand up and solve this problem themselves. I am not going to try to address all of these issues here, but will offer my two cents on a few of them.
First, I am glad to see the Friedman piece. I agree wholeheartedly with the following sentiment contained in that piece:Some of these young Muslim men are tempted by a civilization they consider morally inferior, and they are humiliated by the fact that, while having been taught their faith is supreme, other civilizations seem to be doing much better," said Raymond Stock, the Cairo-based biographer and translator of Naguib Mahfouz. "When the inner conflict becomes too great, some are turned by recruiters to seek the sick prestige of 'martyrdom' by fighting the allegedly unjust occupation of Muslim lands and the 'decadence' in our own."
I have long argued that the favorite leftist mantra that poverty causes terrorism is easily proved wrong by the vast preponderance of amazingly poor people who do NOT blow themselves up on a regular basis in order to seek a better life for their people. I am glad to see an Arabist promote this idea. Shame and humiliation coupled with religious indoctrination are easily forged into hate.
The Muslim world has often decried extremist acts of terror, often, but not loudly or for a prolonged period of time. Many of the refutations of these attacks have been feeble, or pro-forma. No strong leader has stood up and said "This is wrong, it has to stop." A few days ago I posted on the Ku Klux Klan and al Qaeda. The Klan ceased to be a viable terrorist organization in the U.S. when the harsh spotlight of public scrutiny made it impossible for them to recruit and to operate. No such condition exists in the Muslim world today- images of a lone cleric or two speaking out against terror, juxtaposed with scenes of people dancing in the street in celebration are hard to square. There are no Muslim "freedom riders", no marches in the streets of Londonstan, there is no Muslim dream to equal that of Dr. King's.
Finally, as Marc indicates in his response comments, the war on terror is not being waged as a long term large scale global war- there has been no call for sacrifice in the U.S. If you do not have a family member or a close friend in the military either in the Middle East or about to deploy there, the war hardly touches your life. You might buy a ribbon decal, or fly the flag in front of your house, but beyond that it is all "Desperate Housewives" and Splenda. It is hard to take the Color Code terrorist warning system seriously. Until your bus blows up on the way to work, that is.
The great debate will continue to rage, at least in the blogosphere, thanks to bloggers like Marc and his readers (and you- our readers). The question is, will this argument- is our battle against Islam or is it limited to an extremist subset- ever see the light of day in our overly PC world? Why are we not calling, loudly and repeatedly, for the Muslim world, who loves to claim that their peaceful religion has been hijacked, to solve this problem? When the KKK was terrorizing blacks (primarily) in the U.S. the black population of America did not depend on Tanzania to help defeat them. The outrage came from non-racist whites (and of course black Americans), and it was this white outrage that finally destroyed the Klan.
We can fight Islamic terror until the end of time, and without strong Muslim internal dissent, without a destruction of the recruiting base that OBL and his ilk draw from, we just might end up fighting them forever. Mr. Friedman's Bahraini friend wants to know "why are we [Muslims] in every story." I want to know why Tom's moderate friends aren't in more stories- and why they consider themselves part of the "we" that kills Russian school children, London commuters and anyone else they consider to be "other".
Freedom is not free.
The title of this piece has become cliche in recent decades, a mantra of the right to be ignored by the left, repeated so often by people who take their freedoms for granted that by and large it has lost its impact in the U.S. For a great many people, though, this statement is an altruism, they live it every moment of every day. No matter where these people are, they are our brethren, especially if they are imprisoned, held in solitary and threatened with death, or worse, as is the case of Akbar Ganji
Ganji is an Iranian writer who has written about the Iranian government's involvement in the 1998 murders of those who seek to reform the mullahcrocy. He has been in prison on and off since 2001, much of that time in solitary confinement. Many people have called for his release, including President BushThe President calls on all supporters of human rights and freedom, and the United Nations, to take up Ganji's case and the overall human rights situation in Iran," a statement released by the White House yesterday read. Calls for comment to U.N. spokesmen were unreturned at press time last night."The President also calls on the Government of Iran to release Mr. Ganji immediately and unconditionally and to allow him access to medical assistance.
In addition to the leaders of the world speaking out for Ganiji, a simple Google search turns up a large number of sites devoted to him. One of the best, entitled simply "Free Ganji
" has a collection of translations of his past work, well worth the read. Ganji recently managed to have a letter smuggled out of his solitary confinement cell which is also available through the invaluable MEMRI, they have translated the message and posted it
"The entire world knows of hundreds who have been incarcerated in Iran's prisons in recent years merely because they had different thoughts. Nevertheless, the liars deny that there are prisoners of conscience in the Islamic Republic. Tehran's Islamic Prosecutor [Saeed Mortazavi] fabricated a few stories about the circumstances of my arrest. Once he made up [the story] that I was in solitary because I began a hunger strike, and the next day he denied I was on a hunger strike, and falsely claimed that I was in solitary to teach me a lesson. Recently he has been telling various stories that I am in solitary because I suffer from mental problems, and require medical supervision.
"What does this medical supervision consist of? The person is imprisoned in a dark unventilated dungeon, and is denied visits even if he is in need of medical supervision. In addition, he is prevented from reading newspapers or using the phone, and is denied the 20-minute period in the sun and fresh air given to every [other] convict.
"The Islamic prosecutor said he wanted to punish me until I have 'sobered up and understood the error of my ways and recanted, just like others in the Islamic prisons.'"
"Denying [Opinions] and Signing Recantations are Tactics Invented by Stalin, and the Islamic Republic [in Iran] has now Adopted Them."
"I want the world to know: I am not sick, and I have not been on a hunger strike. My weight loss, from 77 to 58 kilos, is the result of the torture to which I have been subjected this past month. Why are the authorities refusing to allow the press to photograph me and to publish [the photos]?"
"What the Islamic prosecutor doesn't know is that Ganji may die, but the love of freedom, and the thirst for political justice will never die. Ganji may die, but humanism and the love of one's fellow man, and the hope and expectations for a better future, will never die.
"I will spend my time in solitary, but my heart will continue to beat for freedom. And some of the time I will hear prisoners cry for the windows of their solitary cells to be opened, to let the sun in."
So the next time you hear someone say that "freedom isn't free" think of Akbar Ganji, and tell that person about him. Make sure that person knows that the bumper sticker slogan is still true, and that for much of the world it is an intensely current fact of life. And when you are confronted with someone who decries the Guantanomo prison, and the war in Iraq, remind them that our battles are with people like those who have imprisoned Ganji. Make sure they understand that we live in a society where a reporter can invent a story about the flushing of a Koran down the toilet and people die half the world away. Ganji lives in a world where he dares to speak the truth and faces the possibility of paying for it with his life.
When we can summon the righteous indignation of the world against regimes and dictators who oppress their own people, and can count on the world to force these regimes to listen to their own people we will have made great strides in the promotion of freedom and democracy. In the mean time, I would like to say thank you to all the men and women who have given their lives, suffered wounds and offer today their own futures to pay the price for our freedom. Mr. Ganji, may your voice be heard and you and your people someday know the freedom that you crave and so deserve.
This is going to be a short post- it regards Karl Rove. I admire the man's work in the elections, but if an investigation determines he did indeed reveal classified information, he has to go.
It is not just a matter of having revealed classified, although that is enough in and of itself, it is also a matter of doing what is right- it is a matter of honor. That is not a word we use too often anymore, and that is damn shame.What is left when honor is lost? Publilius Syrus
(End of post)
Al Qaeda and the Klan
The G8 leaders stood united behind Tony Blair as he addressed the world in the immediate aftermath of the attacks- in silence. Now is not the time for silence; it is the time for a clarion call to action. Our leaders, the leaders of the Western world and all nations that cherish freedom and liberty must work together to determine a cogent strategy against the extremism that threatens every Western nation. Our foes may be content for now to target the U.S. and our allies in the GWOT , but we must not forget that this is not their ultimate goal. The restoration of the caliphate
and the ancient borders of the peak of the Islamic empire are their goals. Far fetched, to be sure, but they believe they can do it. And that belief is a dangerous thing.
Every jihadist that fights in Iraq and makes it back out of the country, either before or after order is restored to the nation, is a walking knowledge base. They are learning how to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs) they are learning how to fight in an urban environment, how to communicate in combat situations and how to form cells that can work in crude, but effective, independence. Where will they go when the war in Iraq is over? Will they go “home”? Home to the Europe that welcomed them with more or less open arms, provided shelter and sustenance, the freedom of religion to practice as they see fit and the freedom of travel to go abroad to train and wage jihad? What will they do when they get there? I doubt they will open falafel stands- in fact I fully expect that they are already returning and plying their new trade. They will have garnered valuable skills, and passed the test- emerging from Iraq alive- that makes them valued recruiters and trainers. It also means that the nations from which they are emerging should be afraid- very afraid, of their return.
At the top of that list of nations that have the most to fear from returning jihadis: Saudi Arabia
The NBC News analysis of Web site postings found that 55 percent of foreign insurgents came from Saudi Arabia, 13 percent from Syria, 9 percent from North Africa and 3 percent from Europe.
That is a huge percentage, more than four times the number from the next leading supplier of murderers. Can our Saudi allies do nothing to close the border? Or do they prefer not to, hoping that the jihadi element of Saudi society will meet its end in Iraq at Coalition hands? If this is the case it is a dangerous game that the Saudis play. We will not, no matter what the effort, destroy all of the terrorists who oppose us in Iraq. Some will inevitably escape. In addition to the deadly skills they will take with them, they will have made connections both ideological and physical to the vast amorphous terror network that is commonly know as al Qaeda- for example the perpetrators of the London attack, here to for unknown, ensured that their evil deed would not only rocket to the forefront of the media‘s attention, but would remain there by using al Qaeda in the name of their group. Were they ordered to commit the attack by bin Laden, or one of his remaining top level men, or did they act independently? Does it really matter? They claim to be aligned with, or to at least adhere to the same principles as, bin Laden and his followers-and that may really be all that al Qaeda is today- a name in which to perpetuate terror against the West.
This leads me to a source I would not normally refer to on this blog, but for once (at least for a portion of the article) Mother Jones has hit it on the head:
Which brings us to an important question: What is Al Qaeda? The network is perhaps best understood as a set of concentric rings, growing more ill defined as they spread outward. At the core is Al Qaeda the organization, which bin Laden and a dozen or so close associates formed in 1989, and which eventually expanded to 200 to 300 core members who have sworn an oath of allegiance to bin Laden, their emir, or prince. It was Al Qaeda the organization that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
The second concentric ring consists of perhaps several thousand men who have trained in Al Qaeda's Afghan camps in bomb making, assassination, and the manufacture of poisons. Beyond that ring are as many as 120,000 who received some kind of basic military training in Afghanistan over the past decade. An undetermined number of those fighters are now sharpening their skills as insurgents from Kashmir to Algeria.
The Madrid attacks in March are emblematic of what is emerging as the fourth and perhaps most ambiguous -- and potentially most dangerous -- ring in the Al Qaeda galaxy. The attacks were carried out by a group of Moroccans with few links to Al Qaeda the organization. Some of the conspirators did try to establish direct contact with the inner core of Al Qaeda, but that effort seems to have been unsuccessful, and they carried out the attacks under their own steam. These attacks may well represent the future of "Al Qaeda" operations, most of which will be executed by local jihadists who have little or no direct connection to bin Laden's group. This is a worrisome development, because it suggests that Al Qaeda has successfully transformed itself from an organization into a mass movement with a nearly unlimited pool of potential operatives.
I will part company with Mother Jones at this point, because I do not see the pool of applicants that al Qaeda has as basically unlimited. In fact, to me this pool of potential terrorists is what the next phase of the GWOT should be all about. We are already actively engaged with the current crop of jihadis, and may indeed already be too late to stop the next generation. This will be a long, long, battle. Our enemy is prepared for a lengthy war of attrition, and is counting on being able to replenish their pool of recruits as time goes on. In a conventional war we would strike at the enemy’s ability to produce materiel, targeting factories and supply lines. In this war that means one thing: the jihadis themselves. The big question, of course, is how to do this. Is there a model to draw upon to base the battle against the al Qaeda recruiters? There might be, and it might come as a surprise: the destruction of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Klan had a long and somewhat storied history in the U.S. prior to its eventual downfall- supported by a large percentage of the population, tacitly if not implicitly. It took the eventual refutation of the people of the nation to drive the KKK back to the fringes of society- we will never be quit of the KKK, but they no longer present a viable threat to any segment of the nation. We will most likely never be quit of al Qaeda, either. But we just might be able to deprive them of the materiel (recruits) that they need to continue to wage their "holy" war. There are a lot of "ifs" in this idea, and it is by no means a quick solution, more a long term strategic goal than a silver bullet.
The first of the conditions is the establishment of a viable democracy in Iraq, where liberty and freedom for all is the reality. And that, after all, is the biggest if. If we, and our allies, can find the resolve to stay the path in Iraq while continuing to fight the ideological war at the same time the rest of the conditions should fall into place.
I plan to continue this post soon, following up on the idea that the destruction of the Klan might offer a path towards ending the flow of martyrs that bin Laden and his ilk depend upon- I am still working on it, and have written as much as I can tonight. Stay tuned, and as always your comments and e-mails are much appreciated.
Religious Visas- a threat?
Occasionally we receive e-mails that are too good to resist sharing, and we invite the author to do a guest piece, or re-publish something he or she has posted elsewhere. This is one of those e-mails that evolved into a guest piece. The text below is unedited by The Daily Demarche (with the exception of reformatting links for this space). The author served a visa tour in a high volume post, and speaks from experience. - Dr. D
The LA Times has a story about the currently-incarcerated Lodi imam being known in Pakistan for his fiery anti-American rhetoric, but nonetheless receiving a visa to come to the US as a religious worker. The story may be found here.
The story points out that the imam had made flagrantly anti-American speeches, but that the consular officers who interviewed him did not see the imam as a threat to the US. There are three possibilities for why that is, which I do not know, not having seen the imam's application or the vice-consul's notes. One is that no one in the Embassy knew about what he was saying in other settings. Two is that someone knew, but no one thought to enter any lookout on him in the State Department's computer database (called CLASS). Three is that the vice consul was aware of everything that he had said, but that the officer didn't feel there was any grounds for denying the visa.
The reporter highlighted the problem of vice consuls on the visa line not knowing everyone's background, but the article missed the larger hole in the R-1 visa, which is that the State Department's regulations (the Foreign Affairs Manual) do not permit consular officers to refuse an R-1 under section 214(b), which is the catch-all refusal used to turn down applicants (tourist, business, student, etc) that the officer feels are not being truthful, or has other suspicions about. Some categories, like H-1bs and L-1s (the visas used by temporary workers, particularly in software engineering for example), are exempted from 214(b), and R-1s are as well (although that is an interpretation found in the FAM, not actually part of the text of the Immigration and Nationality Act, like it is for H-1bs). Consular officers use 214(b) as an important anti-terrorism tool, as it is the only generic refusal that lets them say no to someone who gives off bad vibes, and it is a serious flaw that someone going for a religious worker visa (which could very plausibly include some extremists whom we wouldn't want in the country) is exempt from that.
So, in theory, a vice consul on the visa line could find this imam in front of him or her, and know exactly what this imam had preached about the need to destroy America, but have no plausible grounds to turn down the visa application- it is pretty obvious that the imam is a qualified member of his religion, and if he has an invitation from a real mosque, then the vice consul cannot refuse under 214(b). The only option would be to try to refuse under 212(a)(3), which is for someone deemed to be a terrorist threat, but this is unlikely to stick based only on inflammatory rhetoric. This is what the reporter missed in this story- the fact that R-1s are exempted from 214(b) is a serious hole in our first line of security, the visa issuance process.
Those of us who have served on the visa line would love to have stronger tools to refuse suspect cases. 214(b) is a great tool for most non-immigrant visas, but the concept (a catch-all, non-appealable refusal) needs to be extended to other categories to allow us to refuse those who give us "bad vibes," even if they haven't yet broken any laws. Remember, the "20th hijacker" was refused entry by an immigration inspector who couldn't identify anything wrong with him, but just had a funny feeling. Like it or not, that's our best defense at catching someone who intends us harm but hasn't yet committed any crimes, and our consular officers need to have more flexibility to turn those people down
To the families and friends who lost loved ones in London today- you are in our thoughts and prayers. The murderous thugs who purport to represent the peaceful religion of Islam have once again proven that they are bent solely on terror, to be used to achieve their singular goal- a world united under the sword of Islam.
Will these attacks open the eyes of those in Europe, and in the U.S., who still view the global war on terror (GWOT) as a non-event? That is, unfortunately, doubtful. How many more of these attacks will it take? I have no answer for that question. Do today's Britons remember the days of the IRA? Do they recall the fact that they had to remove waste bins from the streets to deter IRA bombers, and that they had to send their military into Ireland many, many times before the troubles were even somewhat resolved? Perhaps they have forgotten. Today was a rude reminder. History has taught us, in the very streets of London, that terrorists can not be dealt with through submission.
Efraim Halevi, ex-chief of the Mossad sees it clearly. As he stated in his piece today
reacting to the London bombings:We are in the throes of a world war, raging over the entire globe and characterized by the absence of lines of conflict and an easily identifiable enemy. There are sometimes long pauses between one attack and another, consequently creating the wrong impression that the battle is all over, or at least in the process of being won.
Generally speaking, the populations at large are not involved in the conflict, and by and large play the role of bystanders. But once in a while, these innocents are caught up in the maelstrom and suffer the most cruel and wicked of punishments meted out by those who are not bound by any rules of conduct or any norms of structured society. For a while, too short a while, we are engrossed with the sheer horror of what we see and hear, but, with the passage of time, our memories fade and we return to our daily lives, forgetting that the war is still raging out there and more strikes are sure to follow.
Now is the time for the leaders of the world, especially the G8, to come together and decide. They must decide if there is a GWOT, or is there not. If they agree that there is and the "T" needs to be defined. I have written this here before- we are not fighting some amorphous concept called terror- we are fighting al-Qaeda and the rest of the Islomofascists who seek a world that is controlled by their twisted religion. I remind you once again of the words of Osama bin Laden- his mission statement, if you will:
1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.
(a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them - peace be upon them all.
It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people, without regarding their colour, sex, or language.
(b) It is the religion whose book - the Quran - will remained preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Quran is the miracle until the Day of Judgment. Allah has challenged anyone to bring a book like the Quran or even ten verses like it.
Aas a demonstration of the "best of manners" these evangelists kill us in our places of work, on our way home to see our families and as we go about the business of our lives. Thinly veiled as a strike against our foreign policies, a reaction to our deeds around the world, these men ignore all of the good that has been done by free peoples for the oppressed- many Muslim, for the sake of their stated goal- total global domination.
And so, London is calling. The wail of sirens and the cries of the injured and dying mingled with the grief of those they leave behind are yet another notice to us that the war still rages on. How will we respond? There really aren't many options. Halevi again:
There will be supreme tests of leadership in this unique situation and people will have to trust the wisdom and good judgment of those chosen to govern them. The executives must be empowered to act resolutely and to take every measure necessary to protect the citizens of their country and to carry the combat into whatever territory the perpetrators and their temporal and spiritual leaders are inhabiting.
The rules of combat must be rapidly adjusted to cater to the necessities of this new and unprecedented situation, and international law must be rewritten in such a way as to permit civilization to defend itself. Anything short of this invites disaster and must not be allowed to happen.
The aim of the enemy is not to defeat western civilization but to destroy its sources of power and existence, and to render it a relic of the past. It does not seek a territorial victory or a regime change; it wants to turn western civilization into history and will stop at nothing less than that.
It will show no mercy or compassion and no appreciation for these noble values when practiced by us. This does not mean that we can or should assume the norms of our adversaries, nor that we should act indiscriminately. It does mean that the only way to ensure our safety and security will be to obtain the destruction, the complete destruction, of the enemy.
Will we be able to agree as to who the enemy is, and what must be done, before it is too late?
An open letter to the G8:
As you come together at Gleneagles this week I hope there are a few things you will keep in mind.
First, please remember that those young men and women who are outside the site, and the embassies of your various nations, throwing rocks, destroying cars and clashing with police
are simply misguided ideologues. They want what you want, and what I want- a better world. They are just a little confused about how to get there. You see, they have largely had the world handed to them- it would be their oyster were they not vegans. Their intentions are good- it is only that they have been misled by the Pide Piper of Aid- Bono
, and his minions. Decades of aid have had no impact on poverty in Africa- but most of these kids do not have decades of experience. You have to admit the Live 8 packaging was slick, and the slogans
are pretty good.
Second, please remember that no matter how ridiculous the messengers, the message is valid. Poverty in Africa can be made a thing of the past- and at least one man in Africa has a more or less clear view of what is needed. The man? Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi. Now that he is a more or less accepted world figure again (thank you, Bush Doctrine) we might want to listen to him
:``Pleading to the G-8 to lift debts won't make a future for Africa,'' said Gadhafi, wearing his traditional African dress while praising Africa's natural resources and treasures. ``We need cooperation between the big and the small countries in the world.''
Please do not think for a single moment that I am endorsing the call for simple debt forgiveness or increased aid, however. There is little evidence that such actions would make any difference. Poverty can not be eradicated by simply giving money to the poor in Africa- were it that simple the billions that have been given in the past would have made a visible difference. In addition what are they going to buy with it? Nothing that is produced in Africa today will make a difference in the lives of the poorest of the poor. As a result any aid that is pumped into the afflicted nations (and was not immediately scooped up by the plutocracy) would simply flow right back out as they turned to their foreign colonial masters to purchase the food and drugs they so desperately need. No, if poverty is truly to be eradicated in our lifetime I urge you to seize this opportunity to help the nations of Africa begin the “long march” to economic independence.
The first step will be the hardest- the establishment of rule of law and the basic infrastructure of a stable, self-perpetuating economy. Micro loans, trade partnerships and co-ops allow local populations to have some say in their own economic recovery. These initial steps may need to be augmented with the continuation of some sort of aid, such as food and medicine in the early stages, but the goal should be to allow poor nations to wean themselves off their dependence on aid as soon as possible. Once shown that they can do it, such a process should not be hard. No person wants to be dependent on outside assistance for his or her own survival, or that of their family. As the economy shapes up the deisre for more control over their lives politically and in matters of self regulation will naturally emerge- recall if you will that the American Revolution was largely a matter of the deisrev for economic freedom and self-governance. Natins who commit themselves to reform for the benefit of their people will need to know that they can count on us for assistance in establishing their own legal society, and protection from those who would hold them in oppression if need be.
This approach is not what the rock throwing youth of America and the EU want, it is not what the rock stars of the world want. It is however, I venture, what the people of the poorest nations on earth want- the means and ability to support themselves, and the ones they love.
So, as you meet and ponder the question of how to end poverty please keep in mind that it is an end that you seek. Finally, please do not take my word for it. Try something that never seems to occur to the left: ask the people of Africa what they want, and listen to them. Did they want ten rock concerts, none of which took plae in Africa and none of which included an African performer? Do they want cars to be vandalized and police beat up in their name? Or do they want a future, which they control? Even Gadhafi can see it- and he can’t be any crazier than those poor misguided youths in the streets of Scotland. Finally, keep in mind what exactly it was that brought the rogue Libyan leader back in line, and if the need becomes acute share that lesson with the lads and lassies in the streets. After all, the knife cuts both way, and a taste for the rule of law might just be what these kids need. I just don't have the patience to ask them how rock concerts and wanton destruction can possibly help in Africa.
I hope that everyone had an excellent 4th of July. After a frantic weekend of moving I belatedly realized that I had committed a rookie mistake- the new place does not have internet access! I am now relegated to the wandering masses looking for a wi-fi "hot-spot" saddled by the large laptop I purchased so that I could watch DVD's on it while traveling. Ah, technology. Anyhoo, now that I have crawled out of the primordial ooze that is life with no connectivity I expect to be posting away again shortly- as soon as I unpack. Look for more tomorrow, thanks for stopping by.
(End of post.)