Friday, June 03, 2005

George Neumayr: Kingdom of This World

http://www.spectator.org
By George Neumayr
Published 5/10/2005 12:06:30 AM

The gravitation of liberals to illiberal ideologies is uncanny. The more illiberal the ideology, the more likely liberals will endeavor to understand and defend it. Militant Islam enjoys the benefits of this phenomenon in this century, just as the totalitarians of the Soviet Union benefited from it in the last. Militant Islam's most powerful propagandists are not Muslims but self-hating Westerners who interpret militant Islam's history and doctrines with a sympathy they never extend to Western religion.

The latest illustration of this self-hatred is Kingdom of Heaven, an anti-crusader movie that contains Hollywood's idea of a happy ending -- Christians in retreat and Islam on the march. Owing to this species of death-wish liberalism, Islamic conquerors against the West don't even need to rewrite history. Defeated Westerners will rewrite it for them, making their imperialism by the sword look harmless. A few years ago PBS, making a great effort to refurbish Islam in the wake of 9/11, produced a documentary depicting the early Muslim warriors as 7th-century Alan Aldas. Kingdom of Heaven keeps this propaganda rolling, which director Sir Ridley Scott's spokesman didn't even bother to hide prior to the movie's release. He told the London press last year that the movie is designed to please Muslims. "We hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history," Scott's spokesman said.

What's meant by rectification of history here is the rewriting of history according to politically correct exigencies in the liberal mind. This need produces a ludicrous movie that looks as if it was assembled by a committee at the U.N. The movie's portrayals break down as: Believing Christians bad, Muslims and de-Christianized Knights good. Just as 9/11 inspired liberals to rework the concept of jihad to mean innocuous self-improvement, so in Kingdom of Heaven liberalism is trying to rework the concept of Knighthood, defining its true manifestation as a commitment to secularized social justice. The true knights, in other words, didn't risk life and limb to liberate the Holy Land from four centuries of brutal jihad but to oversee the building of wells and other public works projects. The good Knights, you see, didn't care a whit that Muslims armies had been assaulting Eastern Christianity in Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and had seized Jerusalem in a power grab that left the Christian Patriarch Sophronius, according to Edward Gibbon, mumbling in sorrow, "Behold the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet." No, the good knights sought political rather than religious salvation in the Holy Land. They just wanted to form a kingdom of this world in which all peoples could live in syncretistic harmony.

Ridley Scott's absurdly anachronistic, U.N.-style vision put considerable pressure on him to make stuff up in the movie. For example, he cobbles together a council of properly liberalized Muslims, Christians, and Jews to try and save Jerusalem from wild-eyed, primitive fundamentalists. Professor Riley-Smith of Cambridge University calls this part of the movie "utter nonsense." No such "confraternity" existed. The movie's so amateurish it wouldn't even be worth examining were it not a window on a mindset that will bedevil the West for a long time to come. The movie contains Big Lies, pervasive in the culture, that will make the preservation of what is left of Western civilization very difficult. Imagine if the attitude that informs the movie were present at the time of Islam's advances through the centuries on Spain, France, Italy, and Austria. Would Europe exist? Nope, and perhaps the Ridley Scotts would consider that a good thing. The people of Vienna in the late 1600s should have said to the Muslim armies, "Thank you for conquering us." That Europe is now internally disintegrating as it is Islamized is due to the disappearance of the Christian consensus that movies like Kingdom of Heaven applaud.

The Christianity without Christ that liberalism extols is a Christianity with no interest in Jerusalem. It is no wonder that CAIR and other Muslim groups are cheering this movie: it vindicates the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land, which even the very cautious historian Bernard Lewis has described as a polemical power grab that was designed to announce to the world that Islam had supplanted Judaism and Christianity. Jerusalem is not mentioned a single time in the Koran. But Islam, in order to supersede Judeo-Christianity, had to occupy Jerusalem and build a Dome of the Rock to overshadow the dome over Jesus Christ's tomb. The inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock, which predict ruin for Jews and Christians if they do not submit to Islam, make Islam's use of Jerusalem clear. Militant Islam was the new world order, the Dome of the Rock announced -- a message its Western dupes centuries later still don't not grasp and won't until they live under it.

George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.

Stephen Hunter Reviews 'Cinderella Man'


The Contender
Ron Howard's 'Cinderella Man' Rings True Until the Final Round
By Stephen Hunter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 3, 2005; Page C01

In all respects save one, "Cinderella Man" is so square you could shoot pool on its head. It's straightforward, honest, inspirational, the story of a straightforward, honest, inspirational guy -- and one thought you have right away is, how come they waited so long to make it into a movie?
And, unlike the last Ron Howard-Russell Crowe collaboration, "A Beautiful Mind," it is almost entirely trick-free. There's no business of the hidden subjective camera where we think we're seeing what would be considered "reality" when in fact we're inside a diseased mind. In this one, what you see is what you get.

What you get is the professional arc de triomphe of Jim Braddock, a New Jersey heavyweight of the '30s with a big heart, a good punch and fragile hands. After breaking his right, he fell from grace with the lords of the game -- the movie represents them as stuffy cigar smokers in three-piece suits sitting in a paneled boardroom. He lost his New York license, he couldn't get fights, so he went to work as a stevedore on the Hoboken docks to support his beloved wife and three kids. It was the height of the Depression and he was soon laid off his full-time job; the family just barely scraped by on his part-time work, the dole and a lot of huddling together during cold Jersey nights in a ramshackle, powerless apartment.

Then Jim caught a break, finally. After almost a fightless year, a highly ranked boxer dropped out of a bout, and Braddock was asked to fill in; out of shape, burdened by his wife's misgivings but desperate for a payday, he gave it a shot. And won. Instead of could have been a contender, he suddenly was a contender. He won again. And won again. Suddenly, four fights into his second chance, he was fighting Max Baer for the heavyweight championship of the world.

The story goes that during his time on the docks, he'd favored his left over the broken right and in so doing, built that arm into a ferocious punching piston, which he'd lacked initially. In a funny way, his misfortune made him a better boxer than he might have ever been otherwise.

You have to give it to Howard and Crowe for not giving in to the modern tendency in biography to discover and exploit the secret lives that so many great men have (and even more of us less-great ones!). Some biographers will even invent a nice juicy secret life for craven gain, such as the fellow who argued that Errol Flynn was a Nazi spy or the other who said J. Edgar Hoover partied in ball gowns. But Howard and Crowe never stoop, and Braddock, God bless him, defies any such temptations: He seemed never to have gotten drunk, chased babes, yelled or fought outside the ring. As solid a family man as any father who knew best, he was as humble as he was heroic and as heroic as he was strong and as strong as he was noble. He was just pure ring knight with Parsifal's singleness of purpose, who found himself within a one-two combination of boxing's grail.

In less able hands, surely such virtue would grow tedious halfway into Reel 2. But Crowe manages to keep it watchable by keeping it honest: You don't feel him preening or posing, you feel no smugness or self-awareness. He gives us a good man who doesn't know how good he is and for that reason takes no pleasure in his virtue, who just is and does without much fanfare.
Particularly now, when we're used to seeing jocks with the narcissism and ego of prima ballerinas, surrounded by gofers, sycophants and homeboys, to say nothing of diamonds, minks and silk lingerie -- these are the jocks I'm still talking about, not their girlfriends! -- it's an utter astonishment to see a family guy whose idea of a good time is to read bedtime stories to his kids, then sit by the fire with his wife, Mae (played well enough, though with an occasionally wavering Jersey accent, by Renee Zellweger). We're in an almost irony-free zone, where everything is exactly as it seems, and no subtexts are available for subtext-fanatics.

For example, Howard and screenwriter Cliff Hollingsworth largely avoid the temptation that the makers of that other inspirational story of a '30s jock, albeit a four-legged one, couldn't avoid: The latter made Seabiscuit a symbol for Roosevelt's New Deal, for a hope aborning which gave the unemployed millions the belief that better times lay just ahead. You thought: Is this a speedy pony or some kind of national salvation machine?

By contrast, the fighter is just a fighter, first, last and always. Crowe keeps him grounded in reality and Howard, who loves the smoky squalor of old-time boxing halls, stays away from the Lincoln Continental commercial cinematography that also bedeviled "Seabiscuit." Howard's Depression is scabby and cold, full of Hoovervilles (in Central Park, no less) and legions of damned men; Howard's casting director has a great time finding faces that could have been taken out of Walker Evans's Dust Bowl photos.

Even the boxing choreography is good, and it's so brilliantly photographed that it recalls the work that cinematographer James Wong Howe did on what is probably the best of all boxing movies, Robert Rossen's "Body and Soul," in 1947. (Howe filmed on roller skates so he could get in close and stay fluid.) There's no "Rocky"-style overamplification or any of Scorsese's stylizations from "Raging Bull." It's just the game, the thud of leather-encased fists smashing into human meat, of body punches, jabs and one-two combinations.

With all that going for it, one must ask, why didn't they just tell it completely straight?

In other words, why did they feel so compelled to create an utterly bogus Max Baer for the virtuous Jim to fight in the movie's admittedly compelling climactic, championship bout? I understand the melodramatic demands of the narrative: To show off Jim's virtue, Howard and Hollingsworth felt they had to deliver an equally outsize portrait of evil so that the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, decent and profane were made ever starker, so that the battle isn't so much between boxers as between moral systems.

But see, it was between boxers. These meanings that outsiders impose -- Schmeling as an Aryan demigod who had to be felled by the righteous Louis, Griffith as a noble gay icon destroying the bigoted Paret, Clay was seen as an uppity punk to be straightened out by Papa Liston (whose career as a mob enforcer was conveniently forgotten), Smokin' Joe putting the same uppity punk, now called Ali, in his place, then Ali, an icon of black selfhood, reclaiming the title against the same Joe -- have no reality inside the ring, where it's nothing but punch, will and pain-threshold.

"Cinderella Man" devises a whole new personality for Baer, turning him into a popeyed psycho and libertine, with two floozies on his arm or lounging in his hotel room in satins, a cretin who boasts of killing men in the ring and makes rude sexual suggestions to Mae. Craig Bierko plays the champ as a cross between Al Capone and Attila the Hun. Does he think this is his Oscar ride? Does he want to be the next Mr. T?

It's just not right. In fact, Baer was as beloved as any heavyweight in history, was seen as a friendly, clownish kind of guy, and when a fighter died after a fight with him, he was so upset he quit boxing for several months, then went 2-4 when he came back. It took an intervention by Jack Dempsey and a crash course in short punches to get him back on track. He fought one great fight -- against Schmeling -- and pretty much phoned it in from then on. As the great sportswriter Jimmy Cannon put it, "Baer was shaped to be a great pug, but his heart did not belong in that immense and thrilling body. It was a clown's heart. A heart that must have hurt by terror and fear in the years Baer was forced to pretend he was a fighter."

It's not enough to ruin the picture, but it does leave a bad taste in the mouth. Maybe, as an act of contrition, Crowe and Howard ought to collaborate on a last biopic: "Clown Man: The Max Baer Story."

Cinderella Man (144 minutes, at area theaters) is rated PG-13 for athletic violence and emotional intensity.

Pat Buchanan: Completing the Watergate Picture

http://www.townhall.com
Pat Buchanan (archive)
June 3, 2005

And so it turns out that the two most famous investigative reporters of all time were a pair of stenographers for an FBI hack who was ratting out President Nixon for passing him over as director.

That corrupt cop, Mark Felt, should be named co-winner of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize given to The Washington Post. For it appears Felt swiped the research for the Post's Watergate stories from FBI files, while Woodward did rewrite and Bernstein was on the coffee-and-Danish run.

The Post was scooped on the outing of "Deep Throat" by Felt's family. Understandably. The Felts resent that Woodward and Bernstein got rich and famous, while 91-year-old Mark, who did the dirty work, is feeding pigeons at the nursing home. The Felts now want their cut of the swag. Deep Throat was right, "Follow the money!"

And so the great mystery, "Who was Deep Throat?" reaches its anticlimax. He turns out to be a toady who oversaw black bag jobs for J. Edgar, violated his oath and, out of malice and spite, leaked the fruits of an honest FBI investigation to the nest of Nixon-haters over on 15th Street, then lied about it for 30 years.

Why did Felt lie? Because Felt knew he had disgraced himself and dishonored everything an FBI agent should stand for. He didn't want his old comrades to know what a snake he had been. Linda Tripp, savaged by the same press lionizing Felt, at least had the moral courage to go public and take the heat when she blew the whistle on Bill Clinton.

But to Bob and Carl and Ben and Sally, Felt is a "hero," a real Medal of Freedom man. And to them, perhaps, he is. For in the 1970s, a hero was any turncoat who would sink teeth into a president who was ending with honor a war into which the Liberal Establishment had plunged this country, and then cut and run when the body bags started coming home and their Ivy League kids started calling them names.

From the time Nixon nailed Golden Boy Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy and ran over all the liberal icons from Helen Gahagan Douglas to Adlai Stevenson, Nixon was the great hate object of the Left, second only to Tailgunner Joe.

In 1960, they thought they buried him in Cook County, when the graveyard wards came in for JFK. They thought they had the casket sealed when he held that "last press conference" after his defeat for governor of California.

But after 1964, Nixon led his party back to victory after victory, culminating in the 49-state landslide of 1972 over the antiwar movement propagandized by the Post. By 1973, all U.S. troops were home, the POWs were headed for Clark Field, every provincial capital was in Saigon's hands and Richard Nixon was at 69 percent. And the Establishment was beside itself with hatred.

And so they resolved to finish him. And by his failure to act decisively and ruthlessly to clean his campaign and White House of loyalists who had blundered and, yes, committed crimes, he became ensnared in a cover-up that would destroy his presidency. He gave them a sword, and they ran it right through him. And when he went down, Southeast Asia and everything 58,000 Americans had bled and died for went down with him.

And that is upon the conscience of us all.

But the Establishment did not care, for it had gone over the hill the day Nixon became commander in chief.

When you look back at it, what was Watergate all about? A black bag job at Larry O'Brien's place like the ones "hero" Felt used to run for Hoover. Liddy and Hunt on an escapade to get Daniel Ellsberg's file from his shrink, which probably would have been too heavy to carry anyway. And, oh yes, 200 pizzas Segretti sent with those 30 African ambassadors in native costume to Ed Muskie's D.C. fund-raiser.

Not one miscreancy committed by Nixon's men did not have its antecedent in the White Houses of JFK or LBJ. But they got away with it, including the distribution to the press of dirt on Dr. King, picked up by secret FBI photo and wiretap. What Segretti dirty trick remotely approaches that one, which the liberal press covered up?

Wednesday night, sipping a Chalk Hill, I watched as Ted Koppel, at his most oleaginous and unctuous, fed up one cheese ball after another to Ben Bradlee. What do you think of Buchanan calling Felt a "traitor," said Koppel, misquoting me.

"Gimme a break!" croaked Bradlee.

Well, you give us a break, Ben. All this bullhockey about how you and the Great Stenographers saved the republic is getting so thick the tourists will need to rent chain saws to cut through it.

©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Contact Pat Buchanan Read Buchanan's biography

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Michelle Malkin: The Truth About Guantanamo Bay

http://www.townhall.com
Michelle Malkin (archive)
June 1, 2005

The mainstream media and international human rights organizations have relentlessly portrayed the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as a depraved torture chamber operated by sadistic American military officials defiling Islam at every turn. It's the "gulag of our time," wails Amnesty International. It's the "anti-Statue of Liberty," bemoans New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. Have there been abuses? Yes. But here is the rest of the story -- the story that the Islamists and their sympathizers don't want you to hear.

According to recently released FBI documents, which are inaccurately heralded by civil liberties activists and military-bashers as irrefutable evidence of widespread "atrocities" at Gitmo:

A significant number of detainees' complaints were either exaggerated or fabricated (no surprise given al Qaeda's explicit instructions to trainees to lie). One detainee who claimed to have been "beaten, spit upon and treated worse than a dog" could not provide a single detail pertaining to mistreatment by U.S. military personnel. Another detainee claimed that guards were physically abusive, but admitted he hadn't seen it.

Another detainee disputed one of the now-globally infamous claims that American guards had mistreated the Koran. The detainee said that riots resulted from claims that a guard dropped the Koran. In actuality, the detainee said, a detainee dropped the Koran then blamed a guard. Other detainees who complained about abuse of the Koran admitted they had never personally witnessed any such abuse, but one said he had heard that non-Muslim soldiers touched the Koran when searching it for contraband.

In one case, Gitmo interrogators apologized to a detainee for interviewing him prior to the end of Ramadan.

Several detainees indicated they had not experienced any mistreatment. Others complained about lack of privacy, lack of bed sheets, being unwillingly photographed, the guards' use of profanity, and bad food.

If this is unacceptable, "gulag"-style "torture," then every inmate in America is a victim of human rights violations. (Oh, never mind, there are civil liberties chicken littles who actually believe that.)

Erik Saar, who served as an army sergeant at Gitmo for six months and co-authored a negative, tell-all book about his experience titled "Inside the Wire," inadvertently provides us more firsthand details showing just how restrained, and sensitive to Islam -- to a fault, I believe -- the officials at the detention facility have been.

Each detainee's cell has a sink installed low to the ground, "to make it easier for the detainees to wash their feet" before Muslim prayer, Saar reports. Detainees get "two hot halal, or religiously correct, meals" a day in addition to an MRE (meal ready to eat). Loudspeakers broadcast the Muslims' call to prayer five times a day.

Every detainee gets a prayer mat, cap and Koran. Every cell has a stenciled arrow pointing toward Mecca. Moreover, Gitmo's library -- yes, library -- is stocked with Jihadi books. "I was surprised that we'd be making that concession to the religious zealotry of the terrorists," Saar admits. "[I]t seemed to me that the camp command was helping to facilitate the terrorists' religious devotion." Saar notes that one FBI special agent involved in interrogations even grew a beard like the detainees "as a sort of show of respect for their faith."

Unreality-based liberals would have us believe that America is systematically torturing innocent Muslims out of spite at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, our own MPs have endured little-publicized abuse at the hands of manipulative, hate-mongering enemy combatants. Detainees have spit on and hurled water, urine and feces on the MPs. Causing disturbances is a source of entertainment for detainees who, as Gen. Richard Myers points out, "would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children's throats" if released.

The same unreality-based liberals whine about the Bush administration's failure to gather intelligence and prevent terrorism. Yet, these hysterical critics have no viable alternative to detention and interrogation -- and there is no doubt they would be the first to lambaste the White House and Pentagon if a released detainee went on to commit an act of mass terrorism on American soil.

Guantanamo Bay will not be the death of this country. The unseriousness and hypocrisy of the terrorist-abetting Left is a far greater threat.

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and maintains her weblog at michellemalkin.com
©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror
Should civil liberties always trump national security? In a time of war, Michelle Malkin insists, the survival of the nation must come first. In this provocative new book, Malkin offers a ringing justification for the most reviled wartime policies in American history: the evacuation, relocation, and internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II. She also defends racial, ethnic, religious, and nationality profiling as effective defensive measures in today's War on Terror.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Guardian: Springsteen Concert Review


Bruce Springsteen
Royal Albert Hall, London
Caroline Sullivan
Monday May 30, 2005
The Guardian

On arriving at the first of Bruce Springsteen's only two UK dates, everyone was presented with a card spelling out the rules for the night. This was a solo acoustic show, and there was to be no intermission, no late arrivals and, heaven forbid, no leaving foyer doors ajar. On the last point, they were rigorous. Spotting an open door on the upper tier, a steward gasped, "Oh my God", and sprinted to close it. "He's very strict, and he'll stop the show," she explained.

So Springsteen has become the sort of aesthete who gets thrown off his stride by an errant chink of light. Age and acoustic tours have a way of doing that to even former spit-and-sawdust types. They also implant the idea that it's acceptable to play for two hours without slipping in a single major hit (The River was as hitsy as it got).

Who'd have thought it - and the worry is, having acquired the gravitas to pull this kind of thing off, he'll probably never fully revert to being the rocking Boss. If that's the case, at least he's negotiating career midlife in a way that will cause the least embarrassment to his kids. There are worse things - ask Mick Jagger - than the role of introspective patriarch, and Springsteen is doing it with grace and maturity.

In a show dominated by the new Devils & Dust album, he covered the personal and the political with equal passion, giving a song about the death of his son's friend (Silver Palomino) the same weight as a rant about American racism toward Mexican immigrants (Matamoros Banks). He did it in an accent that has somehow migrated several states southwest of his native New Jersey, which imbued a folksy twang to his anecdotes. Not only is Springsteen a modern version of the politically-engaged Cash/ Guthrie agitator, he now speaks like them.

His singing voice has taken on the same weathered patina, and as he solemnly moved through the set, accompanying himself on harmonium and piano, they would have thought he made a creditable elder statesman of Americana.

Frank Schaeffer: Fundamentalists to the Right and to the Left

Fundamentalists to the Right,
Fundamentalists to the Left
What my hate mail tells me
about Christian factions today.-By Frank Schaeffer

To see the article on beliefnet.com:Click Here
(Complete article also below:)

I abandoned Protestant Christian fundamentalism many years ago for Greek Orthodoxy. I converted because the Orthodox tradition embraces paradox and mystery. For someone raised in a strict Calvinist home, relief from absolutist certainty was most welcome.

But Christian fundamentalism has not abandoned me. It's come back to haunt me in both liberal and conservative forms. I find myself a minor lightning rod in the culture wars: apparently, I haven't chosen sides well enough.

You see, I write novels and nonfiction for a living. My novels describe a boy growing up in Switzerland as the son of American Calvinist missionaries. In these books, I take what I hope is an empathetically amusing insider's look at what it's like to grow up in a home run by zealots who make it their life's work to separate themselves from the World.

My most recent nonfiction work, "Keeping Faith, A Father-Son Story About Love and The United States Marine Corps," I co-wrote with my son John. It's about the aftermath of his 1999 decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps.

So now I'm swimming in a vortex of indignant e-mail from members of both the "Christian right" and the "Christian left." Some Christian evangelical/fundamentalists who disliked my earlier novels find my latest one particularly offensive. They've written to me that they hate everything about it, starting with its "pornographic" cover (a bra and postcard of the Matterhorn are featured). In the book, the fourteen-year-old protagonist is torn between his volcanic burgeoning sexuality and a fundamentalist family so strict that he has never seen a movie, watched television, or danced.

Apparently, some fundamentalists recognize themselves in the parents portrayed in the book and don't like looking in the mirror. They also don't like sex. The gist of their angry letters is: Take a number, God will kill you soon.

On the other side of the fence, my liberal readers assume I must be "some sort of right-wing war monger" because the book I wrote with my son expressed admiration for the Marine Corps. They accuse me of being the sort of imperialist who would stone Jesus to death if given the chance.

These two groups of Christians presumably don't like one another, but from where I'm sitting, they are more alike than different. To these members of the religious right and left, there seem to be only two choices: for or against their dogmas. And, like certain fundamentalist Muslims much in the news of late, they too seem to have no concept of the separation of art, culture, and religion. Dogmatic purity must be adhered to in all endeavors and the slightest deviation is a serious offense. Moreover, no one with a sense of humor about religion (let alone sex!) need apply.

I know something about fundamentalism. I'm the son of a fundamentalist evangelist. My late father, Francis Schaeffer, was a guru/prophet to his evangelical followers. Almost 20 years after his death, thousands of his books still sell each year. My father was very influential in the beginnings of the so-called Religious Right. Through his voluminous writings, he provided intellectual underpinnings for the views of tens of thousands of fundamentalists on such issues as a literal interpretation of scripture.

The Christian fundamentalists who stumble across my novels because of the family name detest them because they're about religious people and are set in Europe, where my parents had their mission. Some evangelical readers take them as biographies and are offended that the parents in the stories are portrayed warts and all, thus besmirching the memory of Francis Schaeffer. Other fundamentalists just don't like anything that pokes fun at the narrow legalistic Christianity in which they have invested themselves and with which they are inflicting their children.

Meanwhile, one liberal reader e-mailed me about my Marines book: "You seem not to understand the simple purpose and message that was Christ's life... I, for once, am gladdened that MY [Catholic] church has demonstrated the backbone to speak against this criminal invasion [of Iraq]... Yes, Jesus was/is a radical and you seem to be the kind of person in the crowd throwing stones at him for challenging the status quo." Never mind that my son and I wrote our decidedly personal, non-political account before the Iraq war was even on the horizon -- in fact, before 9-11.

And, in a letter that appeared in the Los Angeles Times (April 17, 2003), another reader suggests that my problem is that not only that am I pro-Marines but that I'm white. "Schaeffer obviously suffers from guilt based on perceived privilege of class and race. (He is white, of course.) It is the use of young people like his son for imperialist projects in the invasion of Iraq that is the shame here, not a rejection of military service..." You get the idea.

Then a reader who liked the Marine book but hated my latest novel wrote: "WHY did you write these novels? Are you trying to insult the evangelicals? If so, you are succeeding... I admonish you, remove these books from the marketplace." Then this from a fan who used the fact that my son is currently deployed in the Middle East to amplify his critique: "In your 'Zermatt' you get cheap laughs at fundamentalists who actually believe in avoiding fornication even as your own 'heart,' your son, is in harm's way. Frank, God isn't mocked. A friend of mine just died of a massive stroke Friday night. Repent before it's too late. It isn't going to matter what Publisher's Weekly said about you back in 2003 when you stand before God's throne...."

So I'm caught in the shrinking space between two calcified political doctrines of the left and right. My correspondents seem so certain of everything -- especially that God is on their side.

I hope there is still room in our polarized country for Christians like me, who don't subscribe to any one-dogma-fits-all. It seems to me that life is too short, sweet, and mysterious for us to be able to exhaustively "explain" anything much, let alone explain everything with certainty.

For those of us who write, the choice these days seems to be between picking an ideological side (and learning to see things in black and white), or being wanderers unwelcome in either hostile camp. Come to think of it, that is not a bad place to be, at least for someone who believes in paradox and mystery.

Frank Schaeffer's new novel is "Zermatt." His most recent work of nonfiction, co-authored with his son, Corporal John Schaeffer, is "Keeping Faith, A Father-Son Story about Love And The United States Marine Corps."
For more information, visit: Frank Schaeffer.com

New Book Details Intimidation of Women Involved in Clinton Sex Scandals

Sen. Clinton Allegedly Intimidated Husband's Sexual Accusers

By Marc Morano
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
May 31, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - A new book detailing the alleged sexual improprieties of former president Bill Clinton also charges that current U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton played a major role in threatening and intimidating her husband's accusers.

Candice E. Jackson, author of "Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine," told Cybercast News Service that in addition to the "sexual abuse" she alleges was committed by Bill Clinton, "Hillary's involvement is just as devastating and just as important in all this." "[Hillary Clinton] was right there in the inner circle taking a lead in giving these women zero credibility, in attacking them in the public and through the press and in participating in all of these scare tactics, like hiring private investigators to threaten them and follow them," Jackson explained. Hillary Clinton is "either as misogynistic as her husband or she is simply willing to conspire to mistreat women if that's what it takes to preserve their political careers," Jackson added.

She said the former president's behavior toward numerous women "demonstrated sexual harassment and sexual abuse and ultimately misogyny on his part. Jackson said Bill Clinton was guilty of "a true lack of respect of for women that allowed him to use and abuse them and throw them away when he was done and do whatever it took to keep them quiet if they tried to speak up about it." Jackson is an attorney and formerly worked for the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has filed numerous lawsuits over the last decade targeting both Bill and Hillary Clinton for their alleged roles in various controversies.

Jackson's book details how Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey, both accusers of Bill Clinton, dealt with the White House spin machine as it allegedly attempted to discredit, bribe, audit, threaten and intimidate them. "The gravity, the seriousness of the mistreatment that they suffered, really just didn't come through in the mainstream press at the time," Jackson said.
Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and subsequent two terms in office were surrounded by a host of different women alleging sexual improprieties. Broaddrick alleged that then-Arkansas attorney general Bill Clinton raped her in a hotel in Little Rock, Ark., in 1978. "People need to remember this side of Clinton before writing him up as a hero for women." said Broaddrick in a press release regarding the book "Their Lives," which goes on sale Tuesday.

Willey alleged she was sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton in the White House in 1993 during his first term. "I appreciate [Jackson's] painstaking attempt to express the true nightmare Bill and Hillary put me through." Willey said of the book in a statement.

Jackson admits that one of her goals it to prevent Sen. Hillary Clinton from being elected president in 2008. Mrs. Clinton to expected to run for re-election to the Senate representing New York State in 2006 and then perhaps launch a Democratic bid to win the White House that her husband occupied between 1993 and 2001. "We have let the Clintons go to the White House once and I think this is a serious enough abuse issue to prevent them from going there again," Jackson said.

Jackson, who describes herself as a "libertarian feminist," hopes her book will open the eyes of feminists in the U.S. to the "importance of not allowing the Clintons to escape with a reputation for being pro-woman when they have truly destroyed women along the way. "The Clintons have really gotten away with a political reputation of being defenders of women's rights and women's issues," Jackson said. "To me that really says a lot about the state of feminism in this country. It seems like it doesn't even matter whether women are brutally mistreated as long as politicians support abortion rights," she added.

Calls to the New York City press office of former president Bill Clinton and the Washington office of Sen. Hillary Clinton were not returned.

David Horowitz: Vindication: There Is An Unholy Alliance

By David Horowitz
http://www.FrontPageMag.com May 31, 2005

Last fall I published a book called Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, which argued that the progressive left in the West was in a de facto alliance with the Islamic jihadists, an alliance that developed out of the left's support for the genocidal camapaign of Palestinian jihadists against the Jews, and its global assault on the world capitalist system called "anti-globalization."With the support of FrontPageMag.com and Newsmax.com, the Washington Times and National Review -- and of course talk radio -- the book has done pretty well. There are 50,000 copies in print and most of them have been sold. However, it went unnoticed in most of the conservative press and in all the mainstream (leftwing) press except the New York Times. There it was given a paragraph or two among 4 other books about Islam and dismissed by a shallow NYU professor as the work of a "relic."

The fact is that many people like this fellow refuse to recognize that there even is a left in the West, let alone that it is working day and night to undermine the institutions of American society, sabotage our nation's war on terror and help our enemies to prevail. To enlighten these deniers I put up a website at www.discoverthenetworks.org demonstrating the links between radical Islam and American progressives organizationally and also their shared agendas (e.g., opposition to the Patriot Act, bleeding heart concern for the terrorists mercifully locked up in Guatanamo etc.) Just as sophisticated liberals (The New Republic comes to mind) ignored my book, so others ridiculed the website. How absurd to think that American radicals and their less radical allies had any connection whatsoever to the Arab and Islamic forces ranged against us, even though a million of them marched to prevent the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and then went on to obstruct the Administration's war for freedom in the Middle East.

Or consider the assault on our terrorist incarceration center at Guantanamo Bay. This is a pen for keeping these terrorists off the field of battle which means from plotting to plant a dirty nuclear bomb in large American cities. According to The New York Times white shoe law firms have been mobilized by anti-American radical and lifelong advocate of Communist causes Michael Ratner to obstruct America's war effort and attempt to free the soldiers of the enemy.
According to the Times, Ratner is "coordinating the assigning of lawyers to [terrorist] prisoners." Of course the Times doesn't mention that Ratner is a former president of the National Lawyers Guild, created as a Soviet front and still wedded to its Communist heritage or that he is the current head of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which was launched by William Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy in lieu of the Commmunist Party they had originally designed and which has dedicated itself to defending terrorist states like Castro's Cuba and terrorist movements like the Communist guerilla armies in Central America during the 80s. Or that its members revere convicted terrorist and colleague Lynne Stewart for her Communist and pro-terrorist views. For that you would have to go to www.discoverthenetworks.org and check the references here and here and here, for a start. Naturally Ratner and his fifth column friends are also spearheading the Anti-Patriot Act movement and the Open Borders Movement.

All this information is readily available and consciously ignored by the Times and other fellow-traveling media of the "progressive" left; this leaves the impression that the unholy alliance we have described in detail is somehow a figment of our imagination. No one actually reading these profiles could reasonably come to such a conclusion, but we are aware that laziness is an unappreciated factor in human affairs. So it was a welcome email I received from a friend the other day containing an Iraq News Network interview with British Laborite, progressive, Saddam ally and hero of such letwing websites as Counterpunch.org and CommonDreams.org, which should settle once and for all whether there are large numbers of pro-terrorist leftists out there who consciously think of alliance with the jihadists:

Mohammad Basirul Haq Sinha: "You often call for uniting Muslim and progressive forces globally. How far is it possible under current situation?"

Galloway: "Not only do I think it's possible but I think it is vitally necessary and I think it is happening already. It is possible because the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies. Their enemies are the Zionist occupation, American occupation, British occupation of poor countries mainly Muslim countries. They have the same interest in opposing savage capitalist globalization which is intent upon homogenizing the entire world turning us basically into factory chickens which can be forced fed the American diet of everything from food to Coca-Cola to movies and TV culture. And whose only role in life is to consume the things produced endlessly by the multinational corporations. And the progressive organizations & movements agree on that with the Muslims."

Otherwise we believe that we should all have to speak as Texan and eat McDonalds and be ruled by Bush and Blair. So on the very grave big issues of the day-issues of war, occupation, justice, opposition to globalization-the Muslims and the progressives are on the same side.

Of course Galloway is on the left end of the progressive spectrum. Yet while his political recommendations are anathema to moderate members of that spectrum, their own critiques of the Bush Administrataion and the war in Iraq are generally so immoderate and often so parallel to the views of Galloway and his friends that it is hard to see how they are an opposing force. The loudest and most convincing hysterics leading the charge on the situations in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo belong to the New York Times and the moderate left. Coupled with the lack of interest at the Times and the New Republic in the political dossiers of the Michael Ratners and the anti-American, totalitarian sympathizers leading the charge in these cases, this silence suggests that the popular front decried by worthy liberals like Peter Beinart and Martin Peretz is still very much intact. An anti-war academic like Todd Gitlin would be appalled by Galloway's call. He has criticized Bolshevik groups like International ANSWER and his work is welcomed in sensible liberal venues like The New Republic (where mine is banned) and The New York Times. In Unholy Alliance, I analyze Gitlin's writings about patriotism and the war on terror and America and show there is little to distinguish from those on the left he claims to despise in his own condemnation of American society and his ill-concealed disgust with his country. The shared antipathy for the United States between open self-declared enemies like Galloway and Zarqawi and "liberals" who detest both is what allows liberals -- like the Wall Street lawyers mobilized by Ratner -- to be recruited to the destructive agendas of the anti-American jihad.

As noted, their entrance into the jihad is through such defense of democracy agendas as the abuses at Abu Ghraib (so minor in terms of the liberation of Iraq that the Imam Ali Sistani never uttered a word of protest over the incidents), the detaining of al-Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo and the effort to strengthen internal security controls.When these issues, all of which contain legitimate concerns when raised in proportionate measure, are coupled with the hysterical hatred of Bush and distrust of American purpose that is by now second nature to these same progressives, it is hard to see where Galloway's alliance ends and their progressivism begins. If liberals want the respect of conservatives they need to re-set their priorities. The first target on their agenda should not be the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, but the fifth column left and the war against us at home.

David Horowitz is the author of numerous books including an autobiography, Radical Son, which has been described as “the first great autobiography of his generation,” and which chronicles his odyssey from radical activism to the current positions he holds. Among his other books are The Politics of Bad Faith and The Art of Political War. The Art of Political War was described by White House political strategist Karl Rove as “the perfect guide to winning on the political battlefield.” Horowitz’s latest book, Uncivil Wars, was published in January this year, and chronicles his crusade against intolerance and racial McCarthyism on college campuses last spring. Click here to read more about David

Monday, May 30, 2005

Frank Schaeffer: Fathers, Sons and the Lessons of War

COMMENTARY
The Los Angeles Times
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and most recently the author of "Faith of Our Sons -- A Father's Wartime Diary" (Carroll & Graf/Avalon, 2004).

I never served in the military. Before my son unexpectedly volunteered for the Marines, I was busy writing my novels and raising my family, and giving little thought to the men and women who guard us. My attitude has changed. I did not choose to change. I was forced to.

When my son was at war in Iraq I felt anger toward my circle of oldest friends — mostly well-off, well-educated people. I didn't know one other parent with a son or daughter in harm's way or even in the military. And no leaders were asking Americans outside the military to make any sacrifices.
Were we all in this together or not?

My son, Marine Sgt. John Schaeffer, recently came home alive from two back-to-back combat tours in the Middle East.

A tall, thin figure slowly unfolded from a beat-up little car. John had driven all night to Boston from a base near Washington, where he had landed the day before. He did not want me to meet him there. "I'll need time to myself," my son said when he called from Kuwait on the way home. He said he wanted "to get my head in gear." I gave my wife, Genie, a head start. Mother embraced son. "I was so worried," Genie said. John held her as she sobbed. She pulled away to look up again and again to make sure he was really there. My wife gave me a great gift: time alone with my boy. John was bone-weary and lay stretched on his bed. I lay down next to him and was gripping him the whole time, an arm, a hand; it didn't matter. I just wanted to be certain that the nightmares I'd had about John being killed were lies.

"Once, we were in this convoy," John said. "I spotted this car getting between me and our following vehicle, and we don't like it when anyone gets between us. Then I see these tubes on the front seat that look like RPGs, so I draw a bead on the driver. If he had so much as touched those tubes I would have put one right into his chest."

John dozed a little and then roused himself. "It turned out those were just cardboard tubes. I came within a heartbeat of killing him because of friggin' cardboard tubes. I almost killed an innocent man, Dad." I kept holding my son, the way I used to when he was 2 and crawled into our bed after a scary dream. I asked John if he'd rather sleep than talk, and he said there would be time for sleep later. "My record was two hours short of five days straight with no sleep. Twenty-hour days were par for the course." With the relief flooding over, under and around me came an incredible exhaustion. I dozed, soothed by his voice. It was the first good sleep I'd had in months. I woke and John was asleep next to me. I left my Marine asleep in his room. I poked my head through his door every few minutes. At one point, I found myself kneeling by his bed watching him breathe. I found myself praying and crying for all the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives of those who were not coming home. For the first time in my life, I was weeping for strangers.

There are Americans on their knees next to fresh graves from Arlington to Bozeman, from Tampa to Fargo. There are young men and women learning to walk again and receiving skin grafts for horrible burns.

Before my son went to war I never would have shed tears for them. My son humbled me. My son connected me to my country. He taught me that our men and women in uniform are not the "other."

They are our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. Sometimes shedding tears for strangers is a sacred duty. Sometimes it's all we can do.