Monday, July 30, 2007

"The Clash of Civilizations?"

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 28, 2007

"The Clash of Civilizations?" This is the title of a well-known book of essays published by Foreign Affairs. Only, I think, in the West would this phrase be followed by a question mark.

To our Islamist enemies the issues are crystal clear. The concepts are easily understood, simple and straight-forward. In their own words, they are soldiers in a righteous war, a war between Muslims and non-Muslims. There is little room here for ambiguity. Their goals in this war are to destroy Christianity, undermine the power of the West and subject the world to sharia law.

In the West, by contrast, the issues are confusing and our goals are muddled. We are still mired down in a battle of legalistic semantics. While we are attempting to more precisely define the enemy, they simple say, "Death to the infidel!" and plant another bomb.

Sooner or later we are going to have to face up to a disturbing truth: throughout the universal ummah the Islamist message -- regardless of its conspiracy theory lunacies and its surrealistic expectations -- resonates. It gains more eager converts daily. Of course, it's that same old siren song of victimization, only sung in a different voice. It offers those same old promises: the promise of power regained, the promise of a new found relevancy for previously irrelevant peoples. It offers self-respect and dignity -- and a shiny new sword.

We keep talking about the "moderate Muslims", as though they could (even assuming that they would want to) somehow extricate us from this growing peril. To me, these 'moderate Muslims' are behaving in almost exactly the same way as those Eastern European countries -- Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, et al -- behaved at the beginning of WWII. They were hedging their bets. They were waiting on the sidelines to see who would come out stronger, the Axis or the Allies. Unfortunately for them, they bet on the wrong team and ended their days on the frozen tundra of the Russian steppes.

For most Westerners, certainly for most Americans, it's so much easier to accept the concept of a peaceful religion which has been 'hijacked' by a fanatical few -- as Germany had been 'hijacked' by the Nazis -- rather than having to contemplate the awful alternative: that a major world religion could, itself, be violent and that we are, indeed, in the first days of an inevitable and bloody "Clash of Civilisations".

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Those Notorious Greeley Girls

Published by Political Grind - August 13, 2007
"Short of adopting Shariâ law, nothing would appease these Islamists!"
--Faultline USA


When you're right, you're right. As unpleasant as it may be, I think it's finally time for us to face up to the facts and issue some apologies. A more thorough examination of the historical evidence appears to support what the liberals have been telling us all along -- that we Americans were, indeed, responsible for the rise of radical Islam.

There, I've said it and I feel better now.

Of course, I'm not referring to those controversial actions of our present war mongering Bush administration. Nor even those awkward missteps of that bumbling Clintonian gang. No, we're not talking here about Reagan or Carter or any of the preceding administrations or any of their misguided foreign policy blunders. This has little to do with any of our politicians or statesmen or generals or religious leaders.

In fact, the likely instigators in this sordid affair held no major governmental posts whatsoever. And while many of them, although somewhat 'on in years' are still with us, they probably won't be found anywhere near Washington D.C. Rather, they're spread all across America, living out their quiet normal lives in virtual anonymity, neatly tucked into their warm quilted comforters.

Who, then, are these mysterious Golden-agers? And what did they do that so infuriated the peaceful Muslim ummah and set the Middle East ablaze?

They are, God bless them, the notorious Greeley Girls. And what they did was dance. And their dancing changed our world.

The facts of the story are as follows. In 1948, a relatively unknown author and minor administrator from the Egyptian Ministry of Education was sent to the United States to study our educational system. A shy, quiet, somewhat droopy little man, with an almost comical Charlie Chaplin moustache, his name was Sayyid Qutb (pronounced 'kut-tib'). Unfortunately for the fastidious Mister Qutb, his unhappy sojourn in America would prove to be more than a classic case of culture shock; it would soon become a deeply traumatic experience from which he would never fully recover.

By 1950, Qutb had made his way to that infamous hotbed of sin and licentiousness, Greeley, Colorado, where he enrolled at Colorado State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Colorado. Although forty-two years old, the hyper-sensitive and deeply pious Sayyid was, by all accounts, still a virgin. And evidently, almost everything about the 1950s free-wheeling Greeley cultural scene deeply shocked him and offended his tender sensibilities.

He found Americans brash, materialistic, immoral and self-indulgent. He was astonished by the Greeleyite's apparent obsession with their well-manicured green lawns, and their ungoverned drinking of alcohol and wanton indulgence in hedonistic pleasures. He found the men to be shallow and brutal, their sports, football, wrestling and boxing, savage and pointless, and their ignorance of the world profound.

But Qutb saved his most vicious and vehement condemnations for those pretty Greeley coeds.

"The American girl," he would later write in his book 'The America I Have Seen', "is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs -- and she knows all this and does not hide it."

Whew! Thirsty lips and shapely thighs -- those Greeley Girls must have been pretty hot stuff. We can just picture these promiscuous bobby-soxers, provocatively sauntering about the Colorado State campus in their ankle-length plaid skirts and sexy penny loafers. No wonder poor Sayyid was so scandalized. But, for our Twentieth-Century Savonarola there was still worse to come.

Qutb devoted some of his most lurid and lascivious purple prose attempting to describe what he perceived to be the Greeley Girls most wanton debauchery -- their sensual and suggestive dancing. "They danced to the tunes of the gramophones, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire..."

For those of you who weren't around, or those who may have forgotten, the most popular record of 1950 was that catchy little alphabetical love song "'A' - You're adorable", sung by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters. Also big that year was "The Tennessee Waltz", by Patti Page and the immortal "Mona Lisa", by Nat "King" Cole. The big bands of the 30s and 40s were starting to fade away but the Tommy Dorsey Band was still around and still drew large crowds of enthusiastic fans. Doris Day was hugely popular, and Frank Sinatra was just beginning his epic journey to stardom. A new age of "bebop" jazz was being ushered in by talented musicians like trumpeter Miles Davis and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, whose intricately-scored and heavily-orchestrated new recordings were heralded as the "Birth of the Cool".

Yet somehow, in the midst of all this soulless hedonism, between June 1948 and May 1949 the Great Satan had managed to extricate itself from its frenetic self-indulgence long enough to have flown 278,228 flights into Soviet-blockaded Berlin carrying over 2 million tons of food and supplies which, at the cost of 31 American lives, most likely saved a whole generation of Berliners from starvation and possible death. And somehow, this decadent self-centered nation managed to find the time to vote 5.43 billion 1950 dollars in foreign assistance to help some of its former enemies to rebuild war-ravaged Europe.

Of course, in Sayyid Qutb's moral ledger book, all of this Yankee magnanimity would count for little. For, he had seen the notorious Greeley Girls dance, and that was all he needed to see.

In 1951, Qutb returned to Egypt and became a leader of the fundamentalist, anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood. Considered one of the most influential Islamic theorists, his writings would become the theoretical basis for radical Islam. Eventually, Sayyid Qutb was accused of plotting against the Egyptian government and imprisoned. He was executed in 1966.

Among his many pupils and ardent followers was Ayman Zawahiri, who would later become mentor to Osama bin Laden.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Comments transposted from Political Grind:
Debbie Hamilton
Sounds like he needed to get laid, doesn't it? I've said all along, at the root of Islamic terror and hatred is the silly restrictions placed upon the people by the religion itself.

Very nice article and thanks for sharing.

Right Truth
spree here--- EXCELLENT PIECE. I knew I liked you from your comments and now I see why.
Stuart Jones
This is an excellent post. I think the point of it is to illustrate how extremely sexually repressed many Muslims are, and the way that distorts their view of the Western World. The whole tone of the article is sarcastic, as a way of illustrating absurdity. As a matter of perspective it is important to note that the actions described here took place in 1948. A time widely regarded later as one of innocence, sexism, naivete� and sexual repression. My mother was college class of 1949 and she wasn�t even allowed to be seen on campus in her gym shorts, as that would be considered improper for a lady. These were the days of Ozzie and Harriet, decades before the sexual revolution of the 1960�s or the mass marketing of pornography in the 1970�s.

There is a Muslim woman who works in my office who never shows any flesh except her face and hands. It was 100F here last week and most of the women in the office wore shorts, sleeveless tops and sandals. Our office is air conditioned, yet one still has to walk across a big asphalt parking lot to come and go and, even with A/C, I could feel the heat; yet the Muslim woman stayed covered up. The Muslim men in the office dressed for comfort, along with the rest of us. This obvious double standard is directly contrary to the past century of the evolving roles of the sexes in the West. Even in Victorian times, Western women weren�t that modest.

It seems that traditional Islamic society has a difficult time dealing with sexuality. In all public gatherings, women and men sit separately. In the extreme case of Afghanistan in the 1990�s, wounded Taliban warriors would rather die than be treated by a female doctor. Women weren�t allowed to leave their homes without a man. They were required to cover themselves head-to-toe in public. Rape victims were stoned to death for being unclean. The penalty for adultery was death for the woman. Women were worse than second class citizens. They were indeed treated as less than dogs, all in the name of Islam. This wasn�t just a foreign culture; it was misogyny taken to a murderous extreme.

I have asked Muslims on many occasions about the modesty and the segregation. Their answer is to explain that seeing women�s hair or legs would be distracting to the men. It would also send the wrong signal that the woman is of loose morals. It is understandable how someone raised in that society would be surprised by the Greeley Girls.

It is worth noting that it is a matter of great debate as to whether or not the Koran requires these practices. Like the tradition of men wearing beards, much of this seems to be a matter of tradition and culture, rather than religion. In pre-revolutionary Iran, in Egypt and in today�s Turkey many women dress in Western attire.

Fundamentalist Islam is an extremist movement who want the whole world to return to the ways and attitudes of 7th century Arabia. They may seem crazy, but they are willing to kill and die to achieve their ends. I personally could not imagine women in the West living this way and I would not want to live in a world like that. We all have to face the ugly reality that militant fundamentalist Islam has to be stopped, by reason and logic if possible, by force if necessary.
Roger Gardner
The point I was trying to make with Greeley Girls was that, short of changing our entire culture and adopting Shari'a law, there was nothing we could do to escape the subsequent wrath of the Islamists. Stuart Jones seemed to come the closest to understanding this. I was going to write some positive comments to his Bush piece, but after seeing his complimentary comments on my Greeley Girls, I'm afraid it would look a little incestuous.
Excellent article and so well-written. Pure quality! You are exactly right. Short of adopting Shariâ law, nothing would appease these Islamists!
Crossposted to Faultline USA - August 23, 2007
C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator\My Documents\Published articles & comments\Faultline USA Those Notorious Greeley Girls.mht

Crossposted to Chron Watch Forum - December 23, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Revisiting Kasserine Pass

Published by Political Grind - August 23, 2007
"We can not walk off the field and give the Islamists a victory."
-- Stix blog


Of all the reasons put forth in the recent congressional debates supporting the case for immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, the least defensible is that Iraq has become "a mess". Since when do wars not create "a mess"? It is perhaps too easily forgotten that conducting a war has always been a contentious business, not just contentious between adversaries, but also contentious between allies.

On December 8, 1941, immediately following Roosevelt's stirring Declaration of War address, it's probably safe to say that virtually all Americans agreed that we had been treacherously attacked and were now in a state of war. It is also safe to say that this was fated to be the last time that all Americans would agree on almost anything at all concerning the prosecution of this war.

Beginning with the very first major strategic decision -- which war to fight first, the war in the Pacific or the war in Europe -- there was bitter disagreement. When FDR decided to allocate the major portion of our resources to the European Theater, this caused immediate anger and resentment among those Admirals of the Pacific Fleet who were advocating a Japan First strategy. Throughout the entire course of the war Churchill, de Gaulle, Stalin and FDR were in constant disagreement over almost every major strategic decision. When America finally chose to enter the European War by way of North Africa, to many, this decision was incomprehensible.

Code-named Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa began in November, 1942 and almost immediately descended into chaos. Although it was quite clear who commanded the German forces in Tunisia (the inimitable Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel), the Allies, by comparison, were in almost total disarray. In theory, Eisenhower had full control of the Allied forces in the area. He, however, was stationed 400 miles away from the front in Algiers. His appointed representative in the area was Major General Lucien Truscott, who was himself based 200 miles away from the action in Constantine.
Subsequently, the actual on-the-ground command fell to British Lieutenant General Sir Kenneth Anderson. But Anderson had some major problems of his own. A large part of his force was the 19th French Corps, who would only take orders from General Alphonse Juin who, in turn, would only take orders from General Henri Giraud who, after the British attack on the French fleet at Mers el Kebir, harbored some deep resentments against the British. To add to this internecine squabbling, the Americans quickly developed a profound dislike of Anderson, whom they found to be cold and aloof.

To put it in a nutshell, for the Allies in 1942 and 1943, things in North Africa were definitely "a mess".

In February, 1943, the Americans had their first major engagements with Rommel's battle-hardened desert troops at Kasserine Pass. For the under-trained and woefully unprepared GIs the results were, predictably, near disastrous. Of the 10,000 Allied fatalities, 6,500 were Americans.

So, what was our national response to this military fiasco?

We immediately brought our bloodied troops back home and said, To hell with this war, let somebody else fight the damn thing. Right?

Hardly. Despite these terrible losses, and major losses suffered in the Pacific throughout 1942 and into 1943, somehow we found the courage to persevere.

If, after our ignoble withdrawals from Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia, anyone truly believes that our national standing in the world would best be served by once again retreating from the field of battle and demonstrating to our enemies that we lack the will to win, that we are, indeed, a paper tiger then, by all means, bring the troops back home.

If, however, one believes that by our leaving Iraq the region would quickly descend into chaos, that Syria and Iran would immediately be strengthened and that all of our Islamofascist enemies would be emboldened, then we need a little patience -- maybe a lot of patience. And perhaps a little bit of that 1940s courage.

Comments transposted from Political Grind:
You're right; getting out of Iraq because it's a 'mess' is just silly. But there are other reasons. The Iraq government cannot make the political agreements it needs to. If the surge ends and the most basic agreements have not been made, I would support a Korea-style pullout.
Blandly Urbane's blog: DeMediacratic Nation
With things turning a bit with the tactical "surge" do you think it might be appropriate to give the pols more time or is it too late for them? I would agree that the "surge" should not be indefinite, but oof, I'm not too crazy about an Iraq like Korea.
Stix Blog
I think that we should stay until the Iraqi government can stand on it's own 2 feet. We did this in Japan and Germany after WWII. IT took them a while to get things together and we are really still in both countries, but we let them control their own governments, we are just their army.
If we had the same MSM and Congrecritters we have now, we would have bowed out of WWII very early. D-Day would have been th tipping point. So much went wrong on that day, more people died on D-day than the whole Iraqi War. Every war has its ups and downs, look at the Battle of the Bulge. the Battle of the Bulge was a totally intelligence failure, but did we run from the field, no. We hunkered down and adapted and overcame the advance.
NO matter what you think about why we got in the war, we need to see this thru or our reputation in the World will be smashed. Vietnam, Lebanon and Mogadishu brought about the Islamists eagerness to come after us. Bin Laden called us a "paper Tiger". If we fail in Iraq, this will prove him right and many more attacks on us and our allies will come.
The one thing that bothers me a lot is that people are so upset about the political advancement in Iraq. That is why we have the "Surge". Without the scutrity of getting rid of the terrorists, there will be no political gains in the Iraqi government.
As President Bush said, This is going to be a long war(War on Terror). We can not walk off the field and give the Islamists a victory.
What political advancements? There are MILITARY advancements, but I see no POLITICAL advancements.
Blandly Urbane's blog: DeMediacratic Nation
Military is political...As I commented earlier, I don't want to us in Iraq forever, but I'm not sure what we're expecting overnight; in the scheme of things all that has happened in Iraq has been overnight.

The pols in Iraq have to be given time and with "military advancements" they will begin to see the light (hopefully) and not mess around too much like our pols, that think they have endless amounts of time for everything and that their actions/inactions have consequences as well.

I sure don't want us to be having this argument on the homefront 10, 20 years from now, but if we have to have a contingent there for that long so be it. Let's not jump all over boogeying out and leaving a contingent now either, otherwise the contingent may as well leave at the same time everyone else does.

We have too much to lose to be overly pessimistic as so many have been.
Snooper's blog: Take Our Country Back
I find it "komically" sad that the idgits that say we should get out of Iraq due to the "failures" of the Iraqi government to comply with some mystical miracle.

I wonder if the idgits even know how old/young the government is that Maliki was elected to lead. Just in case they don't know, Maliki has been the leader of Iraq for ONE YEAR.

Our own pathetic CONgress Critters cannot gret it right and we are 230 years old/young.

Leftinistra. BAH!
Blandly Urbane's blog: DeMediacratic Nation
We're putting our blood on the line so we can't be realistic about how long this could all take. It's pretty much been 'gee it's not done yet?' like this is some kind of two hour action flick.

Like you said Snoop, our congress complains and they don't do a damn think except ignore the obvious all the time because they're too busy listening to themselves.
Snooper's blog: Take Our Country Back
It is the microwave mentality that will do us all in.

I remember many missions that took MONTHS to organize and execute.

If we had the same thought waves on many Americans, the missions would NEVER have been accomplished.
Blandly Urbane's blog: DeMediacratic Nation
Here, here....absolutely great post. Each side of an argument can use its logic or what it considers logic to further the discussion; unfortunately because of this much gets missed. I can see all sorts of arguments against this analogy, not logical mind you.

Our nation is at a very interesting crossroads, which I believe would be more damaging than the aftermath of Vietnam to our national psyche, the military, our international standing and ultimately about the only nation on the planet that can really get the ball rolling.

Sorry if the comments are skittish, I had to bounce all around with other things going on here.

A Matter of Respect

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 15, 2007

Of all the negative characterizations that can be made of a person or a people, the worst is not necessarily that they are morally corrupt, or even that they are absolutely evil; one can be morally corrupt and absolutely evil yet still be powerful and respected. No, the worst fate of all is simply to be dismissed as irrelevant.

During the course of the last millennium, for whatever reasons, as the Western and the Far Eastern worlds progressed and their societies evolved and prospered, the Muslim world, in general, and the Middle East, in particular, stagnated and became increasingly irrelevant. Unfortunately, the considered Islamic response to this self-perceived inferiority was to become even more fanatical and intolerant in their religious zeal (Wahhabism), which of course only served to push them deeper into the backwaters of cultural and political irrelevancy -- "digging their way out of the well", as it has been so aptly put.

Then, with the advent of that much-maligned Twentieth-Century technology, soon they began to discover the undeniable efficacy of transatlantic terrorism.

In our present turbulent era, whatever else one may have to say about jihadist Islam, one can no longer call it irrelevant. And to a previously irrelevant people, the power of this nascent relevancy, even if it be an infamous relevancy, is enticing, perhaps even irresistible. Today, you may notice, when a Muslim speaks to an infidel about Islam you can catch a gleam of pride in his eye. He has become relevant again. We are learning how to pronounce his name and we are listening attentively to his views.

One can only hope that -- with a little courage and a lot of willpower on our part --this new found violent relevancy will be short-lived and soon find its way to that abandoned graveyard of mutant ideologies.

An Alternative Christian History

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 12, 2007

What if we just switch names?

Jesus receives messages from God and travels to Jerusalem to preach his revelations. He is rejected by the religious establishment and forced to leave the city. He takes up his new residence in Bethlehem and through his preaching succeeds in creating a large loyal following.

He sustains this new movement by raiding passing caravans and -- after receiving special divine dispensation -- beheading the defenders. He then marries several wives, including -- after receiving special divine dispensation -- a nine year old girl. Next, he raises an army and attacks Jerusalem where, after putting all of his enemies to the sword, he succeeds in capturing the city.

His new found religion flourishes and after many bloody wars spreads over the entire geographical area. He dies. There ensues a violent dispute over the succession between Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Saint Paul is assassinated and his followers go into exile. Saint Peter is proclaimed to be Jesus' legitimate successor.

Several generations pass and eventually the Pauline exiles find a new leader in Saint Jerome. Under his inspired leadership they rise up and attack Jerusalem. They lose the battle and Saint Jerome is beheaded. The Jeromists become a persecuted minority within Christianity and spend the next fourteen centuries waiting for revenge. Their symbol is the severed head of Saint Jerome.

This religion is known the world over as a religion of peace.

Crossposted to Chron Watch Forum - January 2, 2008

The Ambassadors of Peace

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 11, 2007

It appears that we in the United States are in the process of becoming a passive, "non-judgmental" society; above all else we value political correctness, tolerance and dialogue.

But when we are slaughtered, where is the anger? The moral outrage? When we are attacked, what is our response?

We oppose naked brutality with the pitiful weapons of empathy and rationalizations. The pathetic scenario has become all too familiar.

After the slaughter of the innocents, we "come together" in our candlelight vigils, we play our guitars and sing our folk songs, we pray for peace and leave our flowers on the graves. We dutifully honor the dead and seek to understand the murderer's point of view. And finally, we seek "closure" and we tell ourselves that we must "move on" -- which basically means that we must forgive and forget.

The only anger we seem capable of conjuring up is that ineffectual, misplaced anger directed against ourselves, or more precisely, against those among us who have chosen to fight back against the bullies. Here, ironically, the anger and the self-righteous moral outrage upon which it is based are unequivocally relentless and vehement.

We are the children of the children of the 60s. We are the ambassadors of peace. We confront the murderous beast with love and understanding. We smile at him and sing him a song and put a little flower in the barrel of his gun and hope for the best.

God help us.

"What this country needs"

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 13, 2007

"What this country needs", according to some of our friends on the political left, "is a uniter, not a divider." Someone (obviously a Democratic president) who will bring this country together and put an end to congressional partisan bickering. Someone who will "reach across the aisle" to their political opponents in order to "get something done."

As reasonable as this sounds, this is exactly what we don't need. What we do need is a strong decisive leader, someone who will have the courage to lead this country through these perilous times without recourse to the latest polls or concern for his or her personal popularity. Someone in the tradition of Washington. Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The most important issue facing us today is not congressional unity, but the growing threat of Islamofascism. Whether we like it or not, we are at war, at war with an enemy who has made its intentions toward us crystal clear. While we, in order to more precisely define our enemy, endlessly dither over legalistic semantics, they simply say, "Death to the infidel!" And we, my friends, are the infidel.

Democracies by their very nature dislike going to war. But does anyone seriously believe that we would have been better off remaining an English colony? Or that this country should have turned a blind eye to slavery? Or that somehow, if he had conquered England, Hitler would have been content to stop there and not threaten the United States? Understandably, traditional Western democracies prefer to sit down with their opponents and discuss the issues in a gentlemanly manner. Unfortunately, our enemies seldom play by the same rules. Tolerant liberalism is a good method for dealing with tolerant liberals, but a disastrous method for dealing with intolerant radicals.

Even before America had actually become a nation, there were anti-war movements. Surprisingly, according to eminent historian David Mucullough in his book "1776", two-thirds of the American colonists were against the War for Independence. Before 1861, the North was deeply divided over the prospects of going to war with the South. There were numerous anti-war demonstrations, violent anti-draft riots and several presidential assassination attempts -- one of which was, of course, successful. Prior to our entry into World War II, the United States was deeply isolationist, and several anti-war organizations denounced Roosevelt as a warmonger who, according to the highly-vocal America First Committee, was "lying to the American public" in order to bring the nation into an unwanted and in their view, unnecessary war.
Many people hated George Washington. Many people hated Abraham Lincoln. And, God knows, a lot of people hated FDR. But today, we commemorate their successes and honor their unwavering leadership.

A great leader does not strive to attain consensus but, rather, persuades us -- however difficult and frightening it may be -- to honestly face up to our challenges and somehow gives us the courage to do the right thing.

We can only hope that such a leader emerges before the 2008 presidential elections.

Monday, July 9, 2007

My haunted TV

Published by Political Grind - September 5, 2007
"No. This one will never forget...ever."
Snooper - Take Our Country Back


My television set is haunted. The ghosts -- there are two of them -- can materialize on my screen suddenly and without warning. Generally, they make their intrusion right in the middle of an interesting program or movie; and, even though they were assigned no major role in the production, their unexpected appearance is so startling, so overwhelming and powerful, that they immediately dominate the screen, upstage the actors and trivialize the plot.

They are, like most ghosts, the uneasy vestigial remains of an existence cut short prematurely and violently. These visitations shock me into remembering them, or perhaps reproach me for having forgotten them. We existed, they say, we existed exactly the same way as you are existing right now. We are gone now, but you must never forget us.

These unsettling apparitions show up repeatedly on my screen in the most unexpected places -- comedies, documentaries, even old episodes of "Cops".

Last night, for example, I was watching a rerun of Bryan Singer's 1995 "The Usual Suspects" when, at precisely 34 minutes and 37 seconds into the movie, suddenly, there they were and almost immediately, the intricate and sinister machinations of the fictional crime lord Keyser Soze were rendered foolish and inconsequential.

Once again, the ghosts of those two tragic towers reappeared, dominating that familiar skyline, eloquent in their silence, incomprehensible in their size and majesty. We are gone now, they said, but you must never forget us.

Comments transposted from Political Grind:
Right Truth
Excellent. You know, I do the same thing when watching movies. I never forget what's missing from newer movies either. Nice post.
Snooper's blog: Take Our Country Back
Sometimes, when I am not paying attention, usually when I am blogging and casually listening to the shows everyone else is watching, I will look up and either see the Twin Towers or not when they should be there.

When I was a wee lad, my Dad would pick me up from school and we would have a snack or two as we sat and watched the hole being dug for the towers.

No. This one will never forget...ever.
What a beautiful, haunting, and unexpected tribute! This is the finest example prose poetry - our psalm, our prayer, our lament. We will never forget!
Miss Beth
I never thought of it quite this way, but you're absolutely right, Roger...watching old movies (and not so old) and there they are...and I remember once saying, even in the futuristic sci-fi's the towers are always there--and now they're not. Newer movies without them just don't "feel" right, you KNOW there's something missing, and if you're old enough to remember (none of my grandkids ever will), you know EXACTLY what's not right and what's missing.

Excellent post, my dear!
Crossposted to Chron Watch Forum - January 1, 2008

"Islam vs. Islamists": the latest PBS controversy

Published by Real Clear Politics - July 11, 2007

Recently we learned that PBS had refused to air an anti-Islamist documentary "Islam vs. Islamists", which they themselves had commissioned, in its intended form because it was, in their view, too alarmist. For me, this was the last straw. It's time for this particular viewer to bid a final sad farewell to a dear old friend: PBS. Why? Because their increasingly pervasive multicultural bias has made it virtually impossible for them to air any informative and objective programming without investing it with some form of liberal propaganda.

Times, however, are changing and the stakes are becoming higher. I can no longer hide behind that gentlemanly expedient of just agreeing to disagree with my liberal friends. Their relentless obstructionist multiculturalism is putting my life -- indeed, all of our lives -- in jeopardy.

Every time the PBS left wins a battle, we come closer to losing the war. Every time the ACLU wins a lawsuit that impedes our ability to monitor a possible terrorist plot, every time an Immigration Attorney blocks a community's attempts to control their illegal immigrant problems, every time Amnesty International or the International Red Cross lays claim to the purported moral high ground and subsequently makes it more difficult for us to effectively interview a captured enemy combatant in order to get information on a current terrorist cell or a planned attack, such as those recently thwarted in London and Glasgow, we lose vital ground to the enemy.

And, to be fair, it's not just the anti-Bush PBS liberals who are to blame for this increasingly dangerous national 'head in the sand' state of denial.

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks statements from our own government were often confusing and contradictory. President Bush informed us forcefully -- if somewhat ambiguously -- that we had been attacked by a group of 19 Middle Eastern terrorists, 17 of whom had come from Saudi Arabia -- a nation which was, nevertheless, to be regarded as one of our staunchest allies in the region. We were further informed that although all of the terrorists were Muslims, we were definitely not at war with Islam, which he described as a 'religion of peace'. Then -- in one of the most remarkable misreading of public sentiment ever made by an American President -- we were admonished not to consider launching some Twenty-First Century American-style "Kristallnacht" against those peaceful Muslims living amongst us.

Finally, and incomprehensibly, we were advised that the best thing that we could do to fight this new "War on Terror" was to go about our business as usual and continue going out to dinner and shopping at our malls -- because to change our "way of life" in any way would somehow constitute a "victory for the terrorists". Imagine FDR giving this advice to his beleaguered radio audience in one of those "fireside chats", in 1942.

Unfortunately, in the years since 9/11, President Bush has made, and continues to make, many such inscrutable statements.

Given these often confusing messages, together with the relentless attacks against the current administration from the internationalist left, it's no wonder that half of this country finds it so hard to believe that we're in a righteous war -- and, of course, this national ambiguity is one of our enemy's most valuable weapons.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Whom would Jesus bomb?

Published by Political Grind - August 20, 2007

"Whom would Jesus bomb?" My neighbor's bumper sticker poses this loaded question or, more precisely, issues this provocative challenge. It is, of course, meant as an admonishment, an indictment aimed at those of us who supported the war in Iraq, those of us who, after decades of not responding to the escalating Islamic terrorists attacks against us, finally, after the horrors of 9/11, said, enough is enough and decided to fight back. Its obvious purpose is to shame us, to demonstrate how, once again, we are on the wrong side of the moral equation. Not only are we immoral, they tell us, but we are also sacrilegious.
There are, however, a few problems with this equation. In the first place, we're not bombing anyone. The vision that this conjures up is of squadrons of American B-52s carpet-bombing the poor people of Iraq into submission. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of bombs that are being used in this conflict are those ubiquitous, cheap but effective IEDs, the jihadists' favored weapon of choice. And these deadly homemade (or increasingly Iranian-made) bombs are being used daily against us and our allies and innocent Iraqi civilians.
Of course, they say, if we had not gone into Iraq in the first place, none of this would be happening. Let's consider this argument for a moment. If we had not invaded Iraq, if we had succeeded in confining the war to Afghanistan, can anyone seriously doubt that the mujahideen would be coming in droves to Afghanistan to wage jihad against us there, just as they came there to fight the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s? We would be the same infidels fighting the same jihadists, for the same reasons, only we'd be fighting them on different soil. And, incidentally, Saddam Hussein would still be adding to his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, ruthlessly murdering his own people and threatening his neighbors.
However, this still leaves us with that disarming bumper sticker question. And although of course its highly speculative, the answer must surely be that Jesus wouldn't bomb anybody. Indeed, if he followed precedent, he would allow himself to be captured by the enemy, imprisoned, tortured and finally executed. He would do this because that is his role; his divinely ordained role was, after all, to become a martyr, history's preeminent martyr. But should this be our role? Are we all preordained to be martyrs? I don't think so. There are many lessons to be learned from the example of the life of Christ; however, lessons on how to conduct a successful war may not be among them.
Perhaps the question should be reframed. How about, "Whom would Muhammad bomb?" Muhammad was, after all, a consummate warrior who was in the business of making martyrs, not becoming one himself. Here, the answer seems pretty obvious; all you have to do is read the Koran. Muhammad would bomb the infidel which, of course, is you and me. He would do this because that is his divinely ordained role.
Whether we like the idea or not, we must face up to the fact that we are presently at war and we cannot allow ourselves to be made to feel guilty for defending ourselves against a murderous enemy obsessed with our destruction.