Wow. I've moved up in the world. Well sort of.
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke
Wow. I've moved up in the world. Well sort of.
Carefully documented (for eg. here, here and here) by Tim Blair, and reported by none other than the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), Men of No Appearance have been hitting the streets of Sydney in rage. Note that they are the perpetrators of crimes.
An elderly Holocaust survivor strangled to death and dumped in a wheelie bin was a "very timid and very kind" woman who never bothered anyone, neighbours say.Also notice the description of the investigation:
Police have mounted an unusually big investigation, with a team of more than 20 detectives questioning local residents and shopkeepers about the murder.
Strike Force Miriam, comprising detectives from State Crime Commands Homicide Squad and Rose Bay Local Area Command, has been formed to investigate the death.SMH still sticking with "unusually big investigation".
Twenty detectives were assigned to investigate a death that was burdened by added sorrow once details of Mrs Schweitzer's life story emerged.No mention of the Strike Force set up to investigate her death.
From Gary Varvel:
Does this concern anyone? [H/T: The Belmont Club]:
The dialogue went like this:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about
“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.
He couldn’t have been
Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al
Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.
Wow! The guy that will run the house Intel committee fundamentally misunderstand the most prominent enemy of his country (and of the West). So, just in case you think this gap in understanding is a partisan matter, consider Trent Lott, incoming Republican Minority Whip:
Trent Lott, the veteran Republican senator from Mississippi, said only last September that “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people.”We're in lots of trouble if this is the quality of people the U.S. electorate want leading them in a war whilst they discard someone of Rick Santorum's calibre:
“Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion?” wondered Lott, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a meeting with Bush.
“Why do they hate the Israelis and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference?
“They all look the same to me,” Lott said.
Our growing challenge, however, is that Iran is not alone in its rhetoric, intent or capacity to threaten the security of the U.S. It is important for Americans to know that the threat is more complex, and has grown more complex.The enemy that has to be named is greater than Islamic Fascism.
Many Americans are sleepwalking, just as they did before the world wars of the last century. They pretend it is not happening, that it all has to do with the errors
of a single American administration, even of a single American president. Some even pretend that it will all go away if only the Democrat Party-including my opponent who did not even know the name of the former Iranian president whose presence kicked up a firestorm a few weeks ago by coming to America-is elected in November.
How do they propose to save us from these people? By negotiating at the United Nations? By removing U.N. Ambassador John Bolton office? By relocating American forces from Iraq to Okinawa? By abandoning the Iraqi people to Iranian and Syrian slaughter and domination? By engaging in more direct talks with a nuclear North Korea?
A debate is being contested over at PJM by Ralph Peters and Paul Belien over whether or not Eurabia is fact of fiction. The following two articles have appeared on the UK Telegraph's website today illustrating the inconclusivity of the matter (at least in the UK):
Islamic sharia law is gaining an increasing foothold in parts of Britain, a report claims...Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, says there is an "alternative parallel unofficial legal system" that operates in the Muslim community on a voluntary basis... Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks...predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.Against (Traditional Europe flexing muscle):
One in three people would support a ban on the Muslim full-face veil in public places, according to a new survey.The survey shows broader support for the prohibition of the veil under specific circumstances, with 63 per cent approving a potential ban in airports and at passport control, and 53 per cent saying the ban was a good idea in courtrooms and in schools.I am a self-confessed agnostic which a strong conviction either way. I have read Oriana Fallaci, Robert Spencer and Mark Steyn all arguing for the Islamisisation of Europe. I have on the ground anecdotal evidence suggesting a growing resistance being put up by traditional Europe to Eurabia. I am not sure. This is definitely a wait-and-see situation.
Failing to have convinced the public of the coming apocalypse created by global warming, our friendly local Shrubs have sought a more appreciative audience: the courts.
This despite the, at best, murky links between global warming/climate change and industrial activity.
A COURT decision not to allow the development of a new coal mine near Newcastle was today labelled dangerous and disastrous by federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell.
The NSW Land and Environment Court yesterday ruled Centennial Coal had failed to adequately consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from its proposed Anvil Hill coal mine in the Upper Hunter.
The Bush administration is defending its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new motor vehicles in the first case about global warming to reach the Supreme Court...Twelve states, mainly along the nation's Atlantic and Pacific coasts, three cities, a U.S. territory and 13 environmental groups are arguing that the EPA ignored the clear language of the Clean Air Act. Under the 1970 law, carbon dioxide is an air pollutant that threatens public health and the EPA must regulate it, they said.
Just when you thought the bloodshed in Iraq could not be worse. I think, hope and pray we've hit rock-bottom. From the Barnabas Fund's email newsletter:
...Christians like the thousands of frightened Iraqis who face Christmas in the context of escalating anti-Christian violence. In the most shocking report from Iraq we have received, a toddler was kidnapped in Baghdad in October 2006. The mother could not afford to pay the ransom, and so the kidnappers killed the child. They returned the body to the mother. The little child had been beheaded, roasted and was served on a mound of rice. In another incident a 14-year-old Christian boy was held down by his limbs and beheaded, or, as Iraqi Christians have described it, “crucified”. His Muslim attackers called him a “dirty Christian sinner” and chanted “Allahu akbar” (Allah is great).
This is the most barbaric of the events that the email discusses.
Stunned by the viciousness of this attack, earlier this evening, I called Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Barnabas Fund. He is a world expert on political Islam and his organisation clearly understands the Eurabia and Dhimmitude concepts seeking to assist Christians in the Dar-al-Islam (from Dhimmitude) and Dar-al-Harb (from Suicidialism).
He personally confirmed the veracity and accuracy of this information. There seems to be a complete and total media blackout of these massacres. Patrick is not sure why this is the case. He also seems to be circumspect about the nature of blogs to help him get his message out saying, in his usual self-effacing manner, that they are not nice to him. So brilliant bloggers, unite. Bring this catastrophe to light and make people aware of the suffering of Christians in Iraq. Let's not have another Armenia/Aramean genocide on our hands.
For those with the means, please donate some money to the Barnabas Fund's Christmas Appeal 2006 - Iraq. For those that are not able to contribute financially, please pray, and pray ceaselessly for justice to be served on those driving the violence and pray for the protection of those on the receiving end of the violence.
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Update: Here is the newsletter and the email in full.
Update II: Healing Iraq has spot reports from around Iraq regarding the upsurge in violence. Mohammed @ Iraq the Model on the same. This is not surprising and should have been expected. The US is flailing around trying to find someone to "help" them reduce the violence. Think Iran, Think Syria. Well, it would be at precisely this time that Iran and Syria would push the US's head under the water, by instructing their Iraqi proxies to increase their attacks, increasing pressure on the US to acquiesce to their demands. (H/T: LittleGreenFootballs). Interestingly, no mention of the suffering the Christians are facing. This probably reflects how marginalised they have become, even in the eyes of supporters of peace and stability in Iraq.
Update III: I have been provided further information by the Barnabas Fund supporting the claims made above. Understandably, due to the security of the eyewitnesses, I have been asked to preserve confidentiality.
In his fabulous book, "America Alone: The End of the World as we know it", gives him opinion of whether a society based on secular humanism can survive the Islamist virus:
Pre-modern Islam beats post-modern Christianity. In 2006, a dozen intellectuals published a manifesto against Islamism and in defense of "secular values for all." The signatories included Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch parliamentarian; Irshad Manji, the Canadian writer; and Salman Rushdie, the British novelist. All three are brave figures and important allies in the campaign against the Islamist tide. But they're making a mistake: secular humanism is an insufficient rallying cry. As another Canadian, Kathy Shaidle, wrote in response: "It is secularism itself which is part of the problem, not the solution, since secularism is precisely what created the Euro spiritual/moral vacuum into which Islamism has rushed headlong."This is point is also emphasised by Ravi Zacharias many a time in his numerous lectures and talks:
I'll say this as kindly as I can: the last 22 years of my life have been spent in the West. The equal amount in the beginning was spent in the East. And Western civilisation is being rocked to its foundations because Western man does not know the point of reference for the value system that he wants to espouse right now. See the Middle East still espouses Islam: there is some transcedent leverage to the culture. We in modern times are daring the lines in the West and we actually think we can survive without the espousing of a Moral Law. History cries out against the experiment.Here's a more abstract contrarian view from Nick Gillespie at Reason:
So which position can assure West's ability to endure and survive? Well, from Gillespie et al. we should infer that, "reason will come riding on a horse" and save the day. The problem is that if Reason is riding the horse, who or what is the horse? Theists such as Steyn, Zacharias and Shaidle (and C.S. Lewis) answer that the horse is the Judeo-Christian God. His Moral Law is, pace Gillespie et al., the brighest light for the post-Christian world.
With the collapse of socialism as a viable alternative social system (as Christopher Hitchens pointed out in a great interview in the November Reason), it only makes sense that conservatives and libertarians would start to line up on different sides of the barricades that surround the battleground of individual choice and autonomy. Why? In part, because the libertarian doesn't fear change or blindly respect "established authority" the way conservatives tend to.
More fundamentally, though, it's because, pace Goldberg, libertarians do believe devoutly in something. They believe, writes Hayek, that "to live and work successfully with others requires more than faithfulness to one's concrete aims. It requires an intellectual commitment to a type of order in which, even on issues which to one are fundamental, others are allowed to pursue different ends. It is for this reason that to the liberal [libertarian] neither moral nor religious ideals are proper objects of coercion, while both conservatives and socialists recognize no such limits."
Goldberg sniffs that such a world leads to--horrors!--"individualized, designer cultures" as opposed to, one presumes, mandated mass cultures that are forced on people whether they like it or not (substitute "religion" for "culture" to get a sense of whether more choice in human affairs is a good thing). He even quotes G.K. Chesterton ripping off Dostoevsky: "Chesterton pointed out that when a man stops believing in God, he won't believe in nothing, he'll believe in anything" and then neatly underscores his own flight from such a rigid, old-style world by adding, "God isn't necessarily the issue here." What a personalized reading of Chesterton.
Several weeks ago, I read an article in the Middle East Times quoting members of a Lebanese Christian Youth party. They were arguing for the rearming of Christian villages to defend themselves against Hezb'allah's oppression. More recently, there has been news that the Sunni and Druze are allying to mitigate the Shi'ite expansion supported by Iran and Syria.
Pajamas Media have just published an appeal by an Iranian dissident for help from the International Community.
Iranian dissident Zahra Kamalfar has been living with her children under unspeakable conditions in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for 73 days. A one-time demonstrator against the extremist theocracy with a lengthy prison sentence, she escaped from an Iranian prison when on a two-day furlough to visit her children. She ended up being buffeted from country to country. Now in imminent danger (possibly Monday, if the Russians cooperate) of being taken back to the Islamic Republic for the Mullah’s version of justice, Ms. Kamalfar speaks out in this dramatic video smuggled out of the airport to Pajamas Media.
I ask that Australian citizens contact the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, urging him to step in and support Zahra and her two children. In doing so, he will be supporting the democratic movement in Iran. I have sent him the following email (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Dear Mr Foreign Minister,
I am writing to you to draw you attention to the plight of an Iranian woman and her two young children.
Zahra Kamalfar has been jailed (along with her husband) for participating in protests in Iran in 2000. Her husband is still incarcerated. She fled Iran whilst visiting her children for two days.
Currently, her and her children are trapped in Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow in the transit area. The Russians have just permitted the Iranians to come to the airport to arrest her. Her children desperately require medical attention and she will almost surely be the recipient of unspeakable horror if she is arrested by the Iranian regime.
Pajamas Media, an online blog collective, has published her appeal for help at You Tube:
As a concerned Australian citizen, I strongly plead that our country avail itself of all diplomatic options to ensure the safety of Mrs Kamalfar and her two young children. Our country is a strong proponent of democracy in Iran. Let us demonstrate to the world that we support those Iranians who desire liberty in their own country, who desire life without being subject to tyranny.
I urge citizens of other countries to contact the relevant government ministry to help Zahra.
Update: Seems like the US is interested in providing Zahra and her kids asylum in the US of A. This continues a recent trend of people fleeing Muslim oppression in European countries being aforded protection by North Americans: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie, Wafa Sultan, etc etc.
Update II: Zahra and her children may be forcibly deported in the next few hours.
In his recent book, America Alone: the end of the world as we know it, Steyn argues that "Europe is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America Alone."
Unfortunately, America is also alone, einsam or lonely within. This loneliness is a product of its abandonment of God and his Moral Law. America was nurtured in this Moral Law. This was its anchor during its spectacular rise into an unrivaled - now and in antiquity - superpower. It has abandoned It. It has abandoned America.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn prophesied this in a lecture at Harvard in the late 1970s:
This debilitating dream [of the West] of a status quo is the symptom of a society which has come to the end of its development. But one must be blind in order not to see that oceans no longer belong to the West, while land under its domination keeps shrinking. The two so-called world wars (they were by far not on a world scale, not yet) have meant internal self-destruction of the small, progressive West which has thus prepared its own end. The next war (which does not have to be an atomic one and I do not believe it will) may well bury Western civilization forever.
Facing such a danger, with such historical values in your past, at such a high level of realization of freedom and apparently of devotion to freedom, how is it possible to lose to such an extent the will to defend oneself?
How has this unfavorable relation of forces come about? How did the West decline from its triumphal march to its present sickness? Have there been fatal turns and losses of direction in its development? It does not seem so. The West kept advancing socially in accordance with its proclaimed intentions, with the help of brilliant technological progress. And all of a sudden it found itself in its present state of weakness.
This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.
Just over a year later, the US was attacked, it appeased, and its lack of moral fortitude revealed, its hollow anthropologic centre bared for all to see.
Skipping forward to the present....
In an article discussing reasons for the GOP's shock defeat in Election 06, John McIntyre points to an precipitous decline in the belief of Americans that they are in a War with a stubborn and crafty enemy:
A final, underappreciated dynamic of this year's midterms is what I have called "the fading 9/11 effect." The country's focus and concern over terrorism was a crucial factor that powered Republican gains in '02 and '04 as well as President Bush's own reelection. But five years of success in preventing terrorist attacks have bred complacency among the American public. The country simply doesn't take the threat as seriously when Bush pounds the table and insists we are at war with an enemy that is coming after us relentlessly. That is why the carefully orchestrated votes on detainee rights and NSA wire-tapping did not have the same electoral success they would have had 2-4 years ago.
In a similar vein and context, Thomas Sowell laments the passing of American will:
No amount of security precautions can protect us from all the thousands of ways in which terrorists can strike at times and places of their own choosing -- and eventually strike with nuclear weapons. Our only hope is to get advance information from those we capture as to where other terrorists are and how they operate.
Squeamishness about how this is done is not a sign of higher morality but of irresponsibility in the face of mortal dangers.
Mark Steyn quotes Niall Ferguson as saying that America is "...the world's first superpower with ADHD.
He is of course referring to the tendency of the United States short attention spans and snappish impatience for results:
...America can't muster the will to take on pipsqueak enemies. We think we can just call off the game early, and go back home and watch TV. It doesn't work like that. Whatever it started out as, Iraq is a test of American seriousness. And, if the Great Satan can't win in Vietnam or Iraq, where can it win? That's how China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Venezuela and a whole lot of others look at it. "These Colors Don't Run" is a fine T-shirt slogan, but in reality these colors have spent 40 years running from the jungles of Southeast Asia, the helicopters in the Persian desert, the streets of Mogadishu. ... To add the sands of Mesopotamia to the list will be an act of weakness from which America will never recover.
He reinforces this idea in America Alone in a section called "Fighting Vainly the Old Ennui" by quoting Niall Ferguson as saying that the US is the "...clay feet of the colossus..." . Steyn continues with the following worrying sequence of thoughts:
In Vietnam, it took 50,000 deaths to drive the giant away; maybe in the Middle East, it will only take 5,000. And maybe in the next war the giant will give up after 500, or 50, or not bother at all. Our enemies have made a bet - that the West in general and the United States in particular are soft and decadent and have no attention span.
War historian and scholar, Victor Davis Hanson, in only September 2006, posited that the leadership of the USA is in the capable hands of the President and that he would not succumb to a bout of majority sympathy:
The truth is that war is a constant ying and yang, of challenge and response, the side winning that reacts the more quickly to change and commits the fewer mistakes—and keeps its head. So far, by any historical standard of casualties lost, the ambition of the mission (Iraq is 7,000 miles and the home of the ancient caliphate), and success gained, this war is hardly a debacle and surely can be won. But it would have been lost years ago, had George Bush once, just once, listened to his litany of critics (pull out, postpone the elections, post a timetable, go to the UN, more troops still, invade Iran or Syria, trisect the country) watched the polls, or in depression at the venom, given in. We need to take a breath and remember that.
However, this certainty has recently waned with his consideration of Bush's constitution of the "Baker Commission":
For all the present gloom, if Bush hangs tough and gets Iraq stabilized, does not appease North Korea and Iran, and sees movement in the Middle East toward more reform, then in 10 years he will be seen as a rarely successful American President.
Fortunately, President Bush is looking elsewhere for strategic advice:
The Bush administration is conducting its own review of strategy and tactics in Iraq in parallel with an examination of U.S. policy by an independent panel, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said.
The work, involving the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department and the White House National Security Council, has been going on ``fairly discretely'' for weeks, Hadley said aboard Air Force One as President George W. Bush traveled to an economic conference in Asia.
The Brontosaurus is being kept on life support by a President who is himself ill.
Update: The WaPo has reliably published a leak of the results of the President's alternate advice mechanism:
The Pentagon's closely guarded review of how to improve the situation in Iraq has outlined three basic options: Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out, according to senior defense officials.