Saturday, September 16, 2006

Obituary: Oriana Fallaci

[I did not share her atheistic leanings but Ms. Fallaci was a truly remarkable woman. Fallaci was an extremely courageous individual of rare conviction and insight...her death is a great loss. I certainly shared her assessment of the growing threat of Islam and her books "The Force of Reason" and "The Rage and the Pride" are must reading. - jtf]

Oriana Fallaci, Incisive Italian Journalist, Is Dead at 77

By IAN FISHER
Published: September 16, 2006
The New York Times

ROME, Sept. 15 — Oriana Fallaci, a dissecting interviewer of the powerful and an iconoclastic journalist who became an icon herself, died Friday in her home city of Florence, Italy. She was 77.

Ms. Fallaci, who also had a home in Manhattan, was known to have suffered from cancer for the last decade. Paolo Klun, an official with the RCS publishing group, which carried Ms. Fallaci’s work, told The Associated Press that Ms. Fallaci had gone back to Florence days ago as her condition worsened and that she had died at a private hospital there.

Known in recent years for writing angrily against Islam, Ms. Fallaci became famous in the 1960’s and 70’s for her war journalism and her long, aggressive and revealing interviews with prominent people. She was once described in The Los Angeles Times as “the journalist to whom virtually no world figure would say no.” Among her subjects were Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the Iranian revolution; Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader; Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister; Indira Gandhi, the longstanding Indian prime minister; Nguyen Van Thieu, the South Vietnamese president during the war years; and Henry Kissinger, President Richard M. Nixon’s secretary of state.

Mr. Kissinger called his experience with Ms. Fallaci “the most disastrous conversation I ever had with any member of the press.” At the height of his power and celebrity in 1972, she had coaxed him to admit that at times he felt like “the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse, the cowboy who rides all alone into the town.” Mr. Kissinger later wrote in his memoirs that the quotation harmed his relations with Nixon.

A glamorous figure with high cheekbones, a black curl of eyeliner and an ever-present cigarette, she believed that she had the right to ask or say anything, and did so in writings translated into more than 20 languages. In interviews she could be in turn incisive, flattering and blunt, taking her subjects by surprise.

“How do you swim in a chador?” she asked Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, not long after he came to power in Iran. His reply, she wrote in The New York Times, was that she was not obliged to wear one, because it was a garment for proper Islamic women. She tore off her chador, and Ayatollah Khomeini stalked off.

Her boldness earned her a new generation of admirers — and many detractors — after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted her to end years of silence with warnings about Islam. In three books beginning with “The Rage and the Pride” (Rizzoli, 2002) and in many interviews, she sharply criticized not only Islamic extremists but also Islam itself. She accused the West of having become too complacent and tolerant to understand the threat she believed Islam presented.

The “sons of Allah breed like rats,” she wrote, condemning the growing immigration of Muslims in Europe, including her homeland.

“Europe is no longer Europe,” she told The Wall Street Journal in 2005. “It is ‘Eurabia,’ a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty.”

Her warnings endeared her to many conservatives and won her, a lifelong atheist, an audience with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. But she was also accused of racism, and in Switzerland and Italy she was charged with violating laws against vilifying religion. In 2003, the left-wing Italian newspaper La Repubblica called her an “exhibitionist posing as the Joan of Arc of the West.”
Born June 29, 1929, in Florence, she was made a lookout for the Italian Resistance at the age of 10 by her antifascist father, Edoardo, a cabinet maker. The early brush with danger became a pattern.

As a journalist, she covered wars from Vietnam to Central Asia to South America. In Mexico City in 1968, days before the Summer Olympics were to begin there, she was shot three times, dragged down steps by the hair by soldiers and left for dead in clashes in which several hundred protesters were killed.

“Alas, nothing reveals man the way war does,” she told an interviewer in 2001. “Nothing so accentuates in him the beauty and ugliness, the intelligence and foolishness, the brutishness and humanity, the courage and cowardice, the enigma.’’

But it was her interviews that made her famous and her books staples on college campuses around the world. Never married, she fell in love with one of her subjects, the Greek poet and activist Alekos Panagoulis, who was convicted of trying to assassinate Greece’s military ruler, George Papadapoulos, in 1967. Mr. Panagoulis was killed in 1976 in a car crash that Ms. Fallaci maintained was an assassination. Her novel “A Man” was a barely concealed story of his life.

Her other books included a collection of her interviews, “Interview with History” (1976); “If the Sun Dies” (1966), about the American space program; “Letter to a Child Unborn” (1976), a novel about a single woman’s conversation with a child she aborted; and “The Force of Reason” (2006), on Islam, Europe and the angry reaction to her post-Sept. 11 book “The Rage and the Pride.”

In recent years she was a private and solitary figure, working out of her townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and visiting Florence and a house she owns in Tuscany. She is survived by a sister, Paola, who was with her when she died, Italian news reports said.
For a woman who relentlessly prodded her interview subjects into self revelation, Ms. Fallaci said she did not like to talk about herself.

“To speak of oneself means to lay bare one’s own soul, expose it like a body to the sun,” she told an interviewer in 1979. “To lay bare one’s own soul is not at all like taking off one’s brassiere on a crowded beach!”


Related
Review: 'Inshallah' (Dec. 27, 1992)
Fallaci Directs Her Fury Toward Islam (newyorker.com)
The Rage and the Pride (italian.about.com)
Interview With Deng Xiaoping (english.people.com.cn)

The Pope's message of greater dialogue achieves the opposite

[Gee whiz...I'm stunned that the reaction from the "Muslim world" is a less than measured response lacking in any sort of ability to engage the subtle nuances of an academic discussion...go figure. - jtf]

By Melanie McDonagh
http://www.telegraph.co.uk
(Filed: 16/09/2006)

There is, I am afraid, such a thing as being too clever by half. Pope Benedict is a case in point. He is a former academic and this week he addressed a gathering of other academics at a university in Regensburg. In this congenial environment, he let himself go and delivered a nuanced address on the subject of faith and reason, snappily titled "Three Stages in the Programme of De-Hellenisation". The gist, to spare you the trouble of looking it up, is that belief in God is entirely consistent with human reason and the Greek spirit of philosophical inquiry. By using the reason God gave us, we become, in a way, more like him. Fair enough, you might think. No harm in that.

But there was, of course. If the Pope had stuck to quoting Plato (which he did) to illustrate his point, he wouldn't now be in the position of, as the Muslim News put it, alienating a billion Muslims. His mistake was to cite a series of dialogues between a learned Byzantine emperor and a scholarly Persian Muslim about the truth of their respective religions, which was probably written while Constantinople was being besieged by the Turks. The emperor in question, Manuel II Paleologus, referred during the seventh dialogue to the Koran's teachings about spreading the faith by the sword. And this, said the emperor, could not come from God because violence was the opposite of reason, and God himself cannot act contrary to reason.

What interested the Pope was the emperor's insistence that God's nature meant that he cannot act irrationally. Unfortunately, Benedict quoted verbatim from the emperor's words: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." And this remark, which the Pope described as "rather marginal to the dialogue itself", was what almost every prominent Muslim has seized on. It wasn't so much that the remarks got lost in translation from the German – it was the quotation marks.

The very fact that the Pope cited the adjectives "evil and inhuman" was taken as evidence that he agreed with them. As a British Muslim youth organisation, the Ramadhan Foundation, said crossly, "If the Pope wanted to attack Islam… he could have been brave enough to say it personally without quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor." In fact, the Pope was out to attack something very different – the contemporary, secular idea that faith is simply a matter of personal opinion. If he's having a go at anything, it's not Islam, it's the patronising notion that you get, say, in David Hare's play Galileo, playing to rave reviews at the National Theatre, that religion is incompatible with independent thought.

And indeed, with conspicuous exceptions, the reaction from the Islamic world hasn't been what you might call measured. Admittedly, it was easy to take the Pope's remarks out of context, given that it takes a bit of effort to track down his address in full, or indeed to understand it. But not impossible – yet hardly anyone seems to have made the effort. The row has yet to escalate to the level of the Danish cartoon controversy, but it's not looking good.

The Pakistani parliament unanimously called on the Pope to retract "this objectionable statement". The head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt declared that he had "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world".

Ali Bardakoglu, the head of Turkey's state-run directorate of religious affairs, called the Pope's remarks "provocative, hostile, prejudiced and biased". The deputy leader of the Turkish ruling AK party, Salih Kapusuz, got off the fence to declare that "he has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages… Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks is going down in history for his words… in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini".

And in Lebanon, the Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah demanded an apology for this "false reading of Islam".

In fact, the speech itself suggested that the Pope understood perfectly well that there are nuances to the Islamic idea of jihad. He cites an early verse in the Koran that "there is no compulsion in religion". And in respect of the verses that exhort Muslims to take up arms for the faith – and no, we're not talking merely about a spiritual struggle, but the real thing – he notes that there are differences between Mohammed's treatment of Christians and Jews, and of pagans.

If you're looking for a real critique of Islam in the speech, there is one tucked away in the text, but hardly anyone noticed. The Pope suggests that the Islamic idea of God is so transcendent that he cannot be seen in terms of human reason. He cites one medieval Islamic scholar, Ibn Hazn, who says that God is entirely remote from our rational categories.

This may not sound like much to get worked up about, but Benedict plainly sees this approach as the opposite of the Christian way of looking at faith and reason. And indeed, a Rome-based Muslim theologian, Adnane Mokrani, has pointed out that this is only one Islamic view of God's nature, and other schools of Muslim thought are very different. Now that's proper religious dialogue.

As for the Pope's notional Islamophobia, he's had rather a good record until now in terms of the issues that agitate Muslims. He was sympathetic to their reaction to the Danish cartoons, and he was strongly opposed to the conflict in Lebanon and the war in Iraq.

The irony of this row is that it is the opposite of what the Pope was trying to achieve. Benedict ended his speech by hoping for a new dialogue between the sciences, religions and cultures "which is so urgently needed today". It looks, from this miserable episode, as if you can only have a conversation that deals – however remotely – with Islam on Muslim terms. Not much of a dialogue, then.

News: Pope condemned for 'insulting Prophet'

William F. Buckley: Stumped by Morality?

September 16, 2006
William F. Buckley

The divisions on the question of how to deal with terrorist suspects reminds us that there is confused reasoning in town. This is not unexpected, but this time around it gives especially interesting paradoxes.

Sen. John McCain -- miraculously still alive, given what he was made to suffer in Vietnam -- voted against authorizing "alternative interrogation practices," rejecting the toughness President Bush and his advisers deem necessary to cope with their problem. Most unexpected was the intercession of Colin Powell. As a former secretary of state and close adviser to presidents, he'd have been thought in favor of executive authority in matters touching on war.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., head of the House Armed Services Committee, said simply that he would do whatever the president asked. Gen. Powell introduced an objection of arresting nature. He said that a departure from the Geneva Convention rules would encourage the world to "doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."

It's worth it to pause for a minute with some basic questions, illuminated by a hypothetical case.

Habib Sulaiman, age 22, is picked up by security agents in London. He has been frequenting the airport, spending unaccountable time at international departures gates of British Airways. A search of his apartment brings out files focusing on airport transport. Telephone records disclose calls to a number that French authorities have listed as suspect. Sulaiman declines to answer any questions. One month later, he finds himself in Guantanamo. What is to be done with him?

Routine questioning, of the kind he has been subjected to ever since he was picked up, has accomplished nothing.

Hypothetically, he could be shot and buried. But of course we do not do that kind of thing.

We could just keep him in his Guantanamo cell. Just keep him there, let the months go by, turning -- maybe -- into years. But that, too, is something we don't go in for, certainly not in theory.

So after a while the commandant says, "Let's try something a little more persuasive than solitary confinement."

Like what? Like alternative interrogation practices.

A question before the Senate was whether to continue to abide by what is called Common Article 3. The Geneva Convention that begot Article 3 sought to prohibit inhumane treatment of combatants seized in wartime. In the language of the convention, the design was to prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity."

Legal questions arose. Gen. Michael Hayden of the CIA has said that clarifications have to be made, since outrages to human dignity can be adduced by imaginative, and even not really imaginative, detainees -- certainly Mr. Sulaiman could after awhile persuasively maintain that life in a cell in Guantanamo is an outrage against personal dignity.

Another matter, on which Mr. Bush is absolutely decisive, has to do with the auspices of Common Article 3. The Geneva Convention that came up with it was talking about treatment of organized combatants, and of course terrorists are militantly non-military. The point here is that Congress has the authority to modify its endorsement of the Geneva protocol by acting on the vagueness not only of the prohibition, but also of the category -- "combatants seized in wartime" -- being dealt with.

It was a maudlin mistake of Gen. Powell to take these questions and run them together under the rubric of morality. The eternal question, in international engagements but also in national and even local engagements, is how to balance competing claims: the claim to personal sovereignty and the claim to security for the community. Before airplanes existed, one didn't need expedited detentions based on suspicious activity.

As Congress closes in on the request of the commander in chief, elected legislators will need to review these questions. They should not be asked to define what exactly they condone, in the way of alternative interrogation practices. But they should not be dumbfounded into inactivity by general appeals to the Ten Commandments.

Copyright 2006 Universal Press Syndicate

Friday, September 15, 2006

Muslims-Only Day at Great Adventure

[Talk about something that I never thought I'd see...the future is so bright...we've got to wear shades...and turbans...and hajibs. - jtf]

Amusement Park Apartheid
By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com
September 15, 2006

Minarets tower over two of the tallest roller coasters in the world, on the flyer announcing today’s big event at Six Flags’ Great Adventure & Wild Safari. On this day, the park will be “transformed,” as thousands of Islamists from across the northeast come together in Jackson, New Jersey for "The Great Muslim Adventure Day." Regrettably, Muslims will be the only ones having fun, as non-Muslims have been told that they are not welcome.

The event, which also goes by the name "Muslim Youth Day," is being sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a militant organization tethered to the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami. "Muslim Youth Day" has been celebrated since September of 2000, when the first one took place. At the time, it was heralded a huge success. As one paper put it, “More than 8,000 Muslims, both orthodox and non-practicing, jammed into the amusement park…”

Speaking at the 2000 event were officials from numerous radical Islamist organizations. This included Yusuf Islahi, a high-ranking Jamaat-e-Islami leader. During his speech, he stated to the crowd, “The owner of the Six Flags Great Adventure never imagined even in his wildest dreams that a mere recreation area of this kind would be filled with Allah's praise; that speeches on the subject of Islam would be delivered; Dawah towards Islam be given; Allah would be remembered; the cries of Allahu Akbar would be heard everywhere.”

The next "Muslim Youth Day," held on September 8, 2001, faired even better than the first, with 10,000 people attending. The momentum was soon to stop, though, as the organizer for the events, Tariq Amanullah, perished only three days later during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. This was ironic, because just prior to the assault, he had been working on an ICNA website that was soliciting its viewers to give “material support” to Al-Qaeda, through one of the terror group’s main financing and recruiting sites, Jihad in Chechnya (www.qoqaz.net).

Another "Muslim Youth Day" wasn’t to occur until three years later, in September of 2004. The flyer put out by ICNA for this event caused a lot of controversy. The upper right-hand corner read, “ENTIRE PARK ALL DAY, FOR MUSLIMS ONLY!” Another part of the flyer stated, “All rides FREE! NO long lines! 100’s of rides & shows! Muslims only!!” And sandwiched between the two statements was the Six Flags logo. It seemed to many that Great Adventure had become a bigoted park. People were outraged. And to make matters worse, the organization it was allowing into its gates was tied to radical activity overseas.

Appearing on Fox News’ ‘Heartland with John Kasich’ was the Investigative Project’s Lorenzo Vidino. When asked about the 2004 event, Vidino stated the following: “The Islamic Circle is related to a radical Islamic party out of Pakistan that wants to overthrow the Musharraf government and [bring about] the creation of an Islamic state in Pakistan with Islamic law, and basically a radical Islamic theocracy. Members and leaders of ICNA have endorsed suicide bombings in Israel. They have said that the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was a Zionist conspiracy and that Muslims were not behind it. They have endorsed jihad in Chechnya, even though they claim the word jihad might have a double meaning. They clearly say they want jihad (holy war) in Chechnya and Palestine and claim that suicide bombers in Israel and Palestine are not murderers.”

Speaking at ‘Muslim Youth Day’ 2004 was Imam Zaid Shakir, a teacher at the Zaytuna Institute located in Hayward, California. At a speech Shakir had given at Northwestern University in Chicago, entitled ‘Jihad: A Just Struggle or Unjust Violence,’ he stated, “We’re not a people who believe in perpetual revolution. We’re a people who believe in perpetual peace, if that’s possible… But if that isn’t possible, then there are circumstances where we are justified to fight.” Also speaking at the event was Ingrid Mattson, the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In September of 2002, in an article about the effect of 9/11 on Muslims, Mattson is quoted as saying that it was “logical,” albeit wrong, for terrorists to attack the World Trade Center, since “Israel has attacked and oppressed Palestinians for decades, and Israel gets $3 billion a year in military assistance from the U.S. government.”

Today’s event will be no different. The park will be implementing the same exclusionary policy as before. This was confirmed by “Park Information” at Great Adventure. When asked if non-Muslims were allowed to attend, a park representative stated, “The public will be prohibited from entering.” The rep said it was “a special day.”

The park will also be offering the same type of radical lecturers. Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, an instructor at Al-Maghrib Institute, is the featured speaker today. In a talk he gave in 2001 about how to deal with Jews, Qadhi stated that the Holocaust was a hoax and that “Hitler never intended to mass destroy the Jews.” He said that the vast majority of the world’s Jews are not really Jews. He stated, “As for 80 to 90 percent of the Jews in our times, they are Ashkenazi, i.e. Khazars, i.e. Russians, Turko-Russians. Look at them – white, crooked nose, blonde hairs – This is not the descendants of Yakub (Jacob)! These are not a Semitic people. Look at them! They don’t look like Semites, and they are not Semites.” He said that information concerning this conspiracy was being hidden from the world by Jews (“Yahud”) and Christians. One has to wonder if he will be mentioning any of this at the park.

The latest roller coasters, a drive-thru Wild Safari, tiger and dolphin shows, Bugs Bunny, fireworks – Six Flags’ Great Adventure contains everything to make a child’s day a day to remember. But when one is dealing with the Islamic Circle of North America, a militant Islamist organization connected to radicals overseas who wish the world would convert to their beliefs, one can expect something else as well – something sinister. And no one else will be there to see, because they’re not being let in.

According to ICNA, today, Great Adventure will be “transformed” into the Great Muslim Adventure Day. 15,000 people are expected to attend. The question is: Is ICNA using Six Flags’ facilities or is it the other way around? Or is that the near future? Why are we allowing this to happen?

If you have any questions, please contact the park.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.

Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of
Americans Against Hate and the host of The Politics of Terrorism radio show.

Charles Krauthammer: The Tehran Calculus

September 15, 2006
The Washington Post
Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- In his televised 9/11 address, President Bush said that we must not "leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.'' There's only one such current candidate: Iran.

The next day, he responded thus (as reported by Rich Lowry and Kate O'Beirne of National Review) to a question on Iran: "It's very important for the American people to see the president try to solve problems diplomatically before resorting to military force.''

"Before'' implies that the one follows the other. The signal is unmistakable. An aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities lies just beyond the horizon of diplomacy. With the crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the military option.

The costs will be terrible:

Economic. An attack on Iran will likely send oil prices overnight to $100 or even to $150. That will cause a worldwide recession perhaps as deep as the one triggered by the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Iran might suspend its own 2.5 million barrels a day of oil exports, and might even be joined by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, asserting primacy as the world's leading anti-imperialist. But even more effectively, Iran will shock the oil markets by closing the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world's exports flow every day.

Iran could do this by attacking ships in the Strait, scuttling its own ships, laying mines or just threatening to launch Silkworm anti-ship missiles at any passing tanker.

The U.S. Navy will be forced to break the blockade. We will succeed but at considerable cost. And it will take time -- during which time the world economy will be in a deep spiral.

Military. Iran will activate its proxies in Iraq, most notably, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Sadr is already wreaking havoc with sectarian attacks on Sunni civilians. Iran could order the Mahdi Army and its other agents within the police and armed forces to take up arms against the institutions of the central government itself, threatening the very anchor of the new Iraq. Many Mahdi will die, but they live to die. Many Iraqis and coalition soldiers are likely to die as well.

Among the lesser military dangers, Iran might activate terrorist cells around the world, although without nuclear capability that threat is hardly strategic. It will also be very difficult to unleash its proxy Hezbollah, now chastened by the destruction it brought upon Lebanon in the latest round with Israel and deterred by the presence of Europeans in the south Lebanon buffer zone.

Diplomatic. There will be massive criticism of America from around the world. Much of it is to be discounted. The Muslim street will come out again for a few days, having replenished its supply of flammable American flags most recently exhausted during the cartoon riots. Their governments will express solidarity with a fellow Muslim state, but this will be entirely hypocritical. The Arabs are terrified about the rise of a nuclear Iran and would privately rejoice in its defanging.

The Europeans will be less hypocritical because their visceral anti-Americanism trumps rational calculation. We will have done them an enormous favor by sparing them the threat of Iranian nukes, but they will vilify us nonetheless.

These are the costs. There is no denying them. However, equally undeniable is the cost of doing nothing.

In the region, Persian Iran will immediately become the hegemonic power in the Arab Middle East. Today it is deterred from overt aggression against its neighbors by the threat of conventional retaliation. Against a nuclear Iran, such deterrence becomes far less credible. As its weak, non-nuclear Persian Gulf neighbors accommodate to it, jihadist Iran will gain control of the most strategic region on the globe.

Then there is the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days. The mullahs are infinitely more likely to use these weapons than anyone in the history of the nuclear age. Every city in the civilized world will live under the specter of instant annihilation delivered either by missile or by terrorist. This from a country that has an official Death to America Day and has declared since Ayatollah Khomeini's ascension that Israel must be wiped off the map.

Against millenarian fanaticism glorying in a cult of death, deterrence is a mere wish. Is the West prepared to wager its cities with their millions of inhabitants on that feeble gamble?

These are the questions. These are the calculations. The decision is no more than a year away.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Apocalypse Will Be Blogged

[Read on and then tell me all about how we can negotiate in good faith with these lunatics...jtf]

By BERNARD HAYKEL and SAUD AL-SARHAN
The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com
September 12, 2006

Nearly every organ of the American news media marked the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 yesterday. But the Web sites affiliated with many of militant jihadism’s top thinkers, including Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and Sulayman al-Alwan, remained silent. That shouldn’t surprise us: the Salafi strain of Islam, to which most jihadis subscribe, prohibits commemorating anniversaries.

Celebrations other than the holidays of Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha are considered reprehensible adaptations of non-Muslim ways. What’s more, the jihadis normally use the lunar calendar, by which the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, fell on July 19.

Perhaps more remarkable was the fact that this year, a number of Web sites affiliated with Al Qaeda did commemorate the day — no doubt because they knew Americans would. Osama bin Laden and his associates have generally referred to the Sept. 11 attacks as “the attacks on Manhattan,” “the invasion of Manhattan” or the “attacks of Jumada,” the lunar month in which they occurred. But this year, a number of jihadi sites have referred instead to Sept. 11.

Some messages yesterday were clearly meant for Western consumption, reminding the United States that Al Qaeda is still active and bent on future attacks, and even posting images overlaid with threats in English.

What follow are excerpts, translated from the Arabic, from texts posted on jihadi Web sites about the anniversary.



A jihadi Web site associated with Al Qaeda posted the following plea beneath images of the American, Israeli and Danish flags. The text was interspersed with animated images of American company logos, including one with a row of praying Muslims dressed as Coca-Cola bottles.

With God’s help and yours, let us make the fifth anniversary of the events of Sept. 11 the beginning of a boycott of all Zionist-American products that are sold in Arab and Muslim countries. Many continue to buy these products despite all they see and hear about the killing, torture and destruction that Muslims are faced with due to the Crusader and Zionist-American war. Let us boycott these products because we do not need them, nor are they to be considered absolute necessities. Here is a list of the companies and products that should be boycotted:

Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Nike, Mars, McDonald’s ... “Pepsi” stands for “Pay Every Penny to Save Israel.” ...

I’m against America even if it turns this life into a paradise

I’m against America even if a mufti issues a fatwa in its favor from within the glorious Kaaba

I’m with Osama no matter where he might be, so long as he carries a banner on the battle front

I’m with Osama whether he gains a quick victory or attains the rank of the martyrs.



A submission to a Qaeda Web site called for readers to sign their names to the following statement:

In the name of God the merciful and the compassionate, Monday morning is the fifth anniversary of the glorious attacks on New York and Washington accomplished by the 19 heroes of the Muslim community — may God have mercy on them and raise them to the highest rank for their sacrifice. They pressed America’s nose into the ground and allowed the whole world to witness the destruction of its economic and military citadels. In so doing, they crushed the myth with which America had terrorized the world, namely that it was the greatest power on earth and no one was strong enough to confront, let alone make an enemy, of it....

That day changed the world, even by the admission of our enemies, and created ... a world divided into two camps, as our sheik and leader Osama bin Laden — may God protect him — has stated: “A camp of belief and another camp of hypocrisy and disbelief.” Choose for yourself, o Muslim, which camp to belong to: that of belief, Islam and jihad under the banner of the holy warriors or that of hypocrisy and unbelief under the banner of America, the crusading West and those hypocrites who have banded with them. Our congratulations to all and we beseech God to show us in America another black day like that blessed Tuesday.



A poster calling himself Abu Lujayn Ibrahim contributed the following to a Saudi site that often posts jihadi material but is not controlled by Al Qaeda.

The text was interspersed with gruesome photographs of dead and mutilated children in the Middle East.


Before my eyes is a veil that does not permit me to see those killed in the twin towers, nor to remember them on this day. Indeed, I don’t see those killed in the twin towers nor remember them on this day! Do you know why?

Because their fallen are not purer or better than our fallen. And because the blood of my Muslim brothers and that of my family in Palestine ... and in Iraq and in Afghanistan and in every location in which Muslim blood is shed has blocked my vision ...filled my retinas with black lines so that I can see only our martyrs and injured being slain by America’s weapons and its support .... Yes, Sept. 11 is the anniversary of the fall of American arrogance into history’s garbage dump, and of the rebellion against injustice.



Hamid ibn Abdallah al-Ali is a Kuwaiti ideologue of jihadism — the only Qaeda intellectual to have posted a text specifically for the Sept. 11 anniversary. The sheik cites an article by Leonard Peikoff, heir and executor to Ayn Rand, that appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

In his article “End States that Sponsor Terrorism,” Leonard Peikoff, one of the leading ideologues of American extremism, concluded that America’s policy of appeasement toward the Muslim world led to Sept. 11. For 50 years, he writes, American administrations have relinquished their true ownership rights over Muslim oil resources, which they discovered and developed the technology to extract. The solution, according to Mr. Peikoff, is for the United States to eliminate the states that sponsor terrorism with the most lethal weapons at its disposal.

This is exactly the kind of rotten thinking that animates those living in the extreme west of the globe, from where they spread their rot to the rest of the world — these politicians of underdevelopment, criminality and mass extermination of humanity. This is the arrogance of fascism, of which Bush has accused Muslims recently: in this case it is the fascism of the cross standing on the tribunes of oil. In short, it means that they own our oil that is in our land; they own our blood, which they can shed at will; they own our present and future, and they have the right to change our history and our education!...

Hunger, disease, thirst and regional wars instigated by poverty all stem from the greed of the West, its thirst for plunder and desire to control the world’s wealth. These in turn lead to a rate of destruction every year that equals the destruction World War II effected over six years.

The mercenaries who dominate the World Trade Organization ... the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ...the bloodsuckers of the world’s poor, the immiserators of nations and the thieves, murderers, shedders of blood: these are the ones who control the international political system. They are the ones who spread their armies throughout the world, terrorizing and stealing the wealth of nations while enslaving them. They are the ones who are exterminating the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and other places. They are the ones who ally themselves to the despotic rulers in order to suck the blood of the people, using companies that are owned by the leaders of their countries and headed by murderers and criminals.



This essay, called “The Day Smoke and Dust Covered New York’s Sky,” was posted to a Qaeda-affiliated Web site:

What a beautiful morning it is today, an amazing morning when we witnessed this great power flailing in every direction as if it were a slaughtered headless animal....
Some believe that if Bush were to leave then the situation would improve and become stable. But the eternal truth is that there is no difference between Bush and the one who preceded him, or the one who will succeed him, and for a very simple reason: cloning is an inherent property of the American presidential personality. Every new president is a perfect copy of the previous one...

Three children, 10 or 11 years old, who watched the recently released film “United 93” at the theater zealously and gleefully cheered when the plane hit the tower, as if they were watching a goal being scored in a soccer match against an opposing team. What is it that makes these children so happy about this crash that they stand up and strongly applaud? Ask yourselves, oh Americans, what is it that made those 19 young men engage in such a legendary and miraculous act...?

Naturally, you will not bother to investigate, because you are not concerned with the reasons, and even if you find the answer you are incapable of understanding it. Therefore, nothing will change, and your troops will continue to invade our lands in order to teach us lessons about the virtues of American freedom and the well-known methods for spreading them, like flushing the Quran down the toilet, or one of your soldiers’ stepping with his filthy foot on the face of a prisoner, having placed a metal chain like a dog leash around his neck, as we saw in Abu Ghraib.

You will witness anew men as brilliant as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and as determined as Muhammad Atta, whom you saw on the monitoring screens full of self-assurance in his blue shirt.... Who knows, perhaps we will see another glorious day soon!

Bernard Haykel, an associate professor of Islamic studies at New York University, is the author of ’’Revival and Reform in Islam.’’ Saud al-Sarhan is a Saudi Arabia-based analyst of Islamist groups.

George Will: Liberalism as Condescension

George Will
The Washington Post
September 14, 2006

EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. -- This suburb, contiguous with Chicago's western edge, is 88 percent white. A large majority of the customers of the Wal-Mart that sits here, less than a block outside Chicago, are from the city and more than 90 percent of the store's customers are African-American.

One of whom, a woman pushing a shopping cart with a stoical 3-year-old along for the ride, has a chip on her shoulder about the size of this 141,000 square- foot Wal-Mart. She applied for a job when the store opened in January and was turned down because, she said, the person doing the hiring "had an attitude.'' So why is the woman shopping here anyway? She looks at the questioner as though he is dimwitted and directs his attention to the low prices of the DVDs on the rack next to her.

Sensibly, she compartmentalizes her moods and her money. Besides, she should not brood. She had lots of company in not being hired: More than 25,000 people applied for the 325 openings.

Which vexes liberals like John Kerry. (He and his helpmeet last shopped at Wal-Mart when?) In 2004 he tested what has become one of the Democrats' 2006 themes: Wal-Mart is, he said, "disgraceful'' and symbolic of "what's wrong with America.'' By now, Democrats have succeeded, to their embarrassment (if they are susceptible to that), in making the basic numbers familiar:

The median household income of Wal-Mart shoppers is under $40,000. Wal-Mart, the most prodigious job-creator in the history of the private sector in this galaxy, has almost as many employees (1.3 million) as the U.S. military has uniformed personnel. A McKinsey company study concluded that Wal-Mart accounted for 13 percent of the nation's productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s, which probably made Wal-Mart about as important as the Federal Reserve in holding down inflation. By lowering consumer prices, Wal-Mart costs about 50 retail jobs among competitors for every 100 jobs Wal-Mart creates. Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion).

People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart -- it has one-fifth of the nation's grocery business -- save at least 17 percent. But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democratic Party's leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times more applicants than there were jobs at this store.

The big-hearted progressives on Chicago's City Council, evidently unconcerned that the city gets zero sales tax revenues from a half a billion dollars that Chicago residents spend in the 42 suburban Wal-Marts, have passed a bill that, by dictating wages and benefits, would keep Wal-Marts from locating in the city. Richard Daley, a bread-and-butter Democrat, used his first veto in 17 years as mayor to swat it away.

Liberals think their campaign against Wal-Mart is a way of introducing the subject of class into America's political argument, and they are more correct than they understand. Their campaign is liberalism as condescension. It is a philosophic repugnance toward markets because consumer sovereignty results in the masses making messes. Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots, and announce -- yes, announce -- that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by ... liberals.

Before they went on their bender of indignation about Wal-Mart (customers per week: 127 million), liberals had drummed McDonald's (customers per week: 175 million) out of civilized society because it is making us fat, or something. So, what next? Which preferences of ordinary Americans will liberals, in their role as national scolds, next disapprove? Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?

No. The current issue of The American Prospect, an impeccably progressive magazine, carries a full-page advertisement denouncing something responsible for "lies, deception, immorality, corruption, and widespread labor, human rights and environmental abuses'' and of having brought "great hardship and despair to people and communities throughout the world.''

What is this focus of evil in the modern world? North Korea? The Bush administration? Fox News Channel? No, it is Coca-Cola (number of servings to Americans of the company's products each week: 2.5 billion).

When liberals' presidential nominees consistently fail to carry Kansas, liberals do not rush to read a book titled "What's the Matter With Liberals' Nominees?'' No, the book they turned into a best-seller is titled "What's the Matter With Kansas?'' Notice a pattern here?

georgewill@washpost.com

(c) 2006, Washington Post Writers Group

Ann Coulter: If Only Bin Laden Had a Stained Blue Dress

Ann Coulter
http://www.frontpagemag.com/
September 14, 2006

If you wonder why it took 50 years to get the truth about Joe McCarthy, consider the fanatical campaign of the Clinton acolytes to kill an ABC movie that relies on the 9/11 commission report, which whitewashed only 90 percent of Clinton's cowardice and incompetence in the face of terrorism, rather than 100 percent.

Islamic jihadists attacked America year after year throughout the Clinton administration. They did everything but blow up his proverbial "bridge to the 21st century." Every year but one, Clinton found an excuse not to fight back.

The first month Clinton was in office, Islamic terrorists with suspected links to al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center.

For the first time ever, a terrorist act against America was treated not as a matter of national security, but exclusively as a simple criminal offense. The individual bombers were tried in a criminal court. (The one plotter who got away fled to Iraq, that peaceful haven of kite-flying children until Bush invaded and turned it into a nation of dangerous lunatics.)

In 1995 and 1996, various branches of the Religion of Peace – al-Qaida, Hezbollah and the Iranian "Party of God" – staged car bomb attacks on American servicemen in Saudi Arabia, killing 24 members of our military in all. Each time, the Clinton administration came up with an excuse to do nothing.

Despite the Democrats' current claim that only the capture of Osama bin Laden will magically end terrorism forever, Clinton turned down Sudan's offer to hand us bin Laden in 1996. That year, Mohamed Atta proposed the 9/11 attack to bin Laden.

Clinton refused the handover of bin Laden because – he said in taped remarks on Feb. 15, 2002 – "(bin Laden) had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him." Luckily, after 9/11, we can get him on that trespassing charge.

Although Clinton made the criminal justice system the entire U.S. counterterrorism strategy, there was not even an indictment filed after the bombing of either Khobar Towers (1996) or the USS Cole (2000). Indictments were not filed until after Bush/Ashcroft came into office.

Only in 1998 did the Clinton-haters ("normal people") force Clinton into a military response.

Solely because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Clinton finally lobbed a few bombs in the general direction of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

In August 1998, three days after Clinton admitted to the nation that he did in fact have "sex with that woman," he bombed Afghanistan and Sudan, doing about as much damage as another Clinton fusillade did to a blue Gap dress.

The day of Clinton's scheduled impeachment, Dec. 18, 1998, he bombed Iraq. This accomplished two things: 1) It delayed his impeachment for one day, and 2) it got a lot of Democrats on record about the monumental danger of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

So don't tell me impeachment "distracted" Clinton from his aggressive pursuit of terrorists. He never would have bombed anyone if it weren't for the Clinton-haters.

As soon as Clinton was no longer "distracted" by impeachment, he went right back to doing nothing in response to terrorism. In October 2000, al-Qaida bombed the USS Cole, killing 17 sailors and nearly sinking the ship.

Clinton did nothing. This is only an abbreviated list of Clinton's surrender to Islamic savagery. For a president who supposedly stayed up all night "working" and hated vacations, Clinton sure spent a lot of time sitting around on his butt while America was being attacked.

According to Rich Miniter, author of "Losing Bin Laden," Clinton's top national security advisers made the following classic Democrat excuses for doing nothing in response to the Cole attack:

Attorney General Janet Reno "thought retaliation might violate international law and was therefore against it."

CIA Director George Tenet "wanted more definitive proof that bin Laden was behind the attack, although he personally thought he was."

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "was concerned about the reaction of world opinion to a retaliation against Muslims and the impact it would have in the final days of the Clinton Middle East peace process." (How did that turn out, by the way? Big success, I take it? Everybody over there all friendly with one another?)

Secretary of Defense William Cohen "did not consider the Cole attack 'sufficient provocation' for a military retaliation."

Less than a year after Clinton's final capitulation to Islamic terrorists, they staged the largest terrorist attack in history on U.S. soil. The Sept. 11 attack, planning for which began in the '90s, followed eight months of President Bush – but eight years of Bill Clinton.

Clinton's own campaign adviser on Iraq, Laurie Mylroie, says Clinton and his advisers are "most culpable" for the intelligence failure that allowed 9/11 to happen.

Now, after five years of no terrorist attacks in America, Democrats are hoping we'll forget the consequences of the Democrat strategy of doing nothing in response to terrorism and abandon the Bush policies that have kept this nation safe since 9/11. But first, they need to rewrite history.

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Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Brigitte Gabriel: Because They Hate


[Brigitte Gabriel's new book "Because They Hate" is a compelling narrative describing her childhood in Lebanon and the subsequent invasion of her country by Muslim fundamentalists. Her book is also a warning about what the future holds for America and the West if we do not confront this menace in immediate and very straightforward fashion. "Because They Hate" is very moving, informative and highly recommended reading. - jtf]

Brigitte Gabriel
http://www.FrontPageMag.com
February 20, 2006
[Editor's Note: Below are selected excerpts from Brigitte Gabriel's speech delivered at the Intelligence Summit in Washington DC, Saturday February 18, 2006].

We gather here today to share information and knowledge. Intelligence is not merely cold hard data about numerical strength or armament or disposition of military forces. The most important element of intelligence has to be understanding the mindset and intention of the enemy. The West has been wallowing in a state of ignorance and denial for thirty years as Muslim extremist perpetrated evil against innocent victims in the name of Allah.

I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators shouted “Allah Akbar!” My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town. At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word "infidel."

I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13 I dressed in my burial clothes going to bed at night, waiting to be slaughtered. By the age of 20, I had buried most of my friends--killed by Muslims. We were not Americans living in New York, or Britons in London. We were Arab Christians living in Lebanon.

As a victim of Islamic terror, I was amazed when I saw Americans waking up on September 12, 2001, and asking themselves "Why do they hate us?" The psychoanalyst experts were coming up with all sort of excuses as to what did we do to offend the Muslim World. But if America and the West were paying attention to the Middle East they would not have had to ask the question. Simply put, they hate us because we are defined in their eyes by one simple word: "infidels."

Under the banner of Islam "la, ilaha illa allah, muhammad rasoulu allah," (None is god except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) they murdered Jewish children in Israel, massacred Christians in Lebanon, killed Copts in Egypt, Assyrians in Syria, Hindus in India, and expelled almost 900,000 Jews from Muslim lands. We Middle Eastern infidels paid the price then. Now infidels worldwide are paying the price for indifference and shortsightedness.
Tolerating evil is a crime. Appeasing murderers doesn't buy protection. It earns one disrespect and loathing in the enemy's eyes. Yet apathy is the weapon by which the West is committing suicide. Political correctness forms the shackles around our ankles, by which Islamists are leading us to our demise.

America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up and identify the real enemy: Islam. You hear about Wahabbi and Salafi Islam as the only extreme form of Islam. All the other Muslims, supposedly, are wonderful moderates. Closer to the truth are the pictures of the irrational eruption of violence in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed printed by a Danish newspaper. From burning embassies, to calls to butcher those who mock Islam, to warnings that the West be prepared for another holocaust, those pictures have given us a glimpse into the real face of the enemy. News pictures and video of these events represent a canvas of hate decorated by different nationalities who share one common ideology of hate, bigotry and intolerance derived from one source: authentic Islam. An Islam that is awakening from centuries of slumber to re-ignite its wrath against the infidel and dominate the world. An Islam which has declared "Intifada" on the West.

America and the West can no longer afford to lay in their lazy state of overweight ignorance. The consequences of this mental disease are starting to attack the body, and if they don't take the necessary steps now to control it, death will be knocking soon. If you want to understand the nature of the enemy we face, visualize a tapestry of snakes. They slither and they hiss, and they would eat each other alive, but they will unite in a hideous mass to achieve their common goal of imposing Islam on the world.

This is the ugly face of the enemy we are fighting. We are fighting a powerful ideology that is capable of altering basic human instincts. An ideology that can turn a mother into a launching pad of death. A perfect example is a recently elected Hamas official in the Palestinian Territories who raves in heavenly joy about sending her three sons to death and offering the ones who are still alive for the cause. It is an ideology that is capable of offering highly educated individuals such as doctors and lawyers far more joy in attaining death than any respect and stature, life in society is ever capable of giving them.

The United States has been a prime target for radical Islamic hatred and terror. Every Friday, mosques in the Middle East ring with shrill prayers and monotonous chants calling death, destruction and damnation down on America and its people. The radical Islamists’ deeds have been as vile as their words. Since the Iran hostage crisis, more than three thousand Americans have died in a terror campaign almost unprecedented in its calculated cruelty along with thousands of other citizens worldwide. Even the Nazis did not turn their own children into human bombs, and then rejoice at their deaths as well the deaths of their victims. This intentional, indiscriminate and wholesale murder of innocent American citizens is justified and glorified in the name of Islam.

America cannot effectively defend itself in this war unless and until the American people understand the nature of the enemy that we face. Even after 9/11 there are those who say that we must “engage” our terrorist enemies, that we must “address their grievances”. Their grievance is our freedom of religion. Their grievance is our freedom of speech. Their grievance is our democratic process where the rule of law comes from the voices of many not that of just one prophet. It is the respect we instill in our children towards all religions. It is the equality we grant each other as human beings sharing a planet and striving to make the world a better place for all humanity. Their grievance is the kindness and respect a man shows a woman, the justice we practice as equals under the law, and the mercy we grant our enemy. Their grievance cannot be answered by an apology for who or what we are.

Our mediocre attitude of not confronting Islamic forces of bigotry and hatred wherever they raised their ugly head in the last 30 years, has empowered and strengthened our enemy to launch a full scale attack on the very freedoms we cherish in their effort to impose their values and way of life on our civilization.

If we don't wake up and challenge our Muslim community to take action against the terrorists within it, if we don't believe in ourselves as Americans and in the standards we should hold every patriotic American to, we are going to pay a price for our delusion. For the sake of our children and our country, we must wake up and take action. In the face of a torrent of hateful invective and terrorist murder, America’s learning curve since the Iran hostage crisis is so shallow that it is almost flat. The longer we lay supine, the more difficult it will be to stand erect.

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Brigitte Gabriel is an expert on the Middle East conflict and lectures nationally and internationally on the subject. She's the former news anchor of World News for Middle East television and the founder of AmericanCongressforTruth.com.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Joel Mowbray: CAIR's Congressional Candidate

September 12, 2006
RealClearPolitics
Joel Mowbray

Today's Democratic primary in Minnesota's very blue fifth Congressional district could prove historic. If he wins, Keith Ellison would be all-but-assured to be the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress. It would also mark the first time that someone ascended to Capitol Hill courtesy of key support from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Ellison has received financial and other help from executives at CAIR, which has deep connections to supporters of Islamic terrorism. Also among those who have contributed money to the candidate are an official from a group that participated in a "tribute" to the Iranian despot Ayatollah Khomenei and leaders of what is considered the political front in the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood.

While Ellison could be genuinely ignorant of the disturbing records of some his supporters, he at least owes voters an explanation--and hopefully, an apology. Assuming he does, though, he needs to re-build his credibility by being more forthcoming about the true extent of his past with the Nation of Islam.

It appears he's not ready to apologize anytime soon, however. Though his campaign staff initially gave assurances that Ellison would be available for interview, the candidate for reasons unknown never returned this columnist's repeated phone calls.

Awad's assistance

At a fundraiser two weeks ago that the campaign estimates raised approximately $15,000 to $20,000, one of two speakers besides Ellison was Nihad Awad, the founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This wasn't Awad's first assist. A month earlier, he apparently delivered to the campaign "bundled" checks amounting to just over $10,000. ("Bundling" is the practice of one person soliciting multiple checks for a campaign.) The campaign denies the contributions were bundled, but seven checks from residents of Virginia, Awad's home state, and Texas, where Awad has strong ties, were received by the campaign on July 22. One of the checks was for $2,000 from Awad himself, and on the next day, the campaign logged a contribution from CAIR's Director of Government Affairs, Corey Saylor.

Though it claims to be simply a civil rights group for Muslims, CAIR is at best agnostic on Islamic terror, and at worst, a cheerleader for it. Two of its officials have been convicted on terrorism charges, and as an organization, while CAIR forcefully attacks critics of radical Islam, it has yet to condemn by name any Islamic terror organization other than al Qaeda--which it denounced only reluctantly several months after 9/11.

CAIR's former communications and civil rights coordinator was convicted in 2004 on terror-related charges of plotting to wage violent jihad against the U.S., and the founder of its Texas branch last year was convicted of terror-related charges.

Given CAIR's history, though, the convictions are not exactly surprising. The parent organization of CAIR is the Islamic Association of Palestine. Though CAIR bristles at that characterization, its two founders, Awad and Omar Ahmad, were both high-ranking IAP officials when they founded CAIR in 1994, and they maintained close relations for years afterward. IAP, which appears to have ceased operations within the past two years, was an openly anti-Semitic organization long believed to be Hamas' political front in the U.S. A civil court judge in Illinois last year confirmed those suspicions when he declared that there was "strong evidence that IAP was supporting Hamas."

Both of CAIR's founders have given rhetorical support to Islamic terrorism. In a speech at Barry University in Florida in 1994, Awad declared, "I'm in support of the Hamas movement." Addressing a youth session at the 1999 IAP annual convention in Chicago, Ahmad praised suicide bombers who "kill themselves for Islam": "Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam, that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam." (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)

Although CAIR has repeatedly condemned "terrorism," it has pointedly refused invitations to do so by naming specific Islamic terrorist organizations. In November 2001, the Washington Post asked a CAIR spokesman to condemn Hamas or Islamic Jihad. He refused, explaining, "It's not our job to go around denouncing." Given a similar opportunity to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February 2002, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper called such queries a "game," and added, "We're not in the business of condemning."

But for those unfamiliar with the group, CAIR is very much "in the business of condemning"--but only when it comes to TV shows, Israel, or U.S. policy.

Cash from Awad's Associates

Also of concern are other contributors to Ellison's campaign.

· Shahzeb Gaziani gave $500 on July 22. He is an official with the Peace and Justice Foundation, whose president was a featured speaker at a December 2004 event titled, "A tribute to the great Islamic visionary Ayatollah Khomenei." Khomenei, of course, called America the "Great Satan," was responsible for the kidnappings of Americans at the Embassy in Tehran, and his regime helped create Hezbollah.

· Esam Omeish, who gave $500, is president of the Muslim American Society, which authorities believe is the political front in the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ideological forerunner of al Qaeda and many other Islamic terrorist organizations.

· Samir Abo Issa gave $500 on July 22. In 2003, he helped post bail for Abdelhaleem Ashqar, who is now facing trial on terror-related money laundering charges.

Ellison's defense

In a written statement, Ellison's campaign said, "As part of Keith's overarching philosophy of peace, he supports reaching across the ideological and religious barriers." What barriers? The ones that divide those who don't support Islamic terror from those who do?

Keenly aware that Awad's embrace of Ellison is creating controversy, the campaign claims it was local Minnesota Muslims who invited Awad, even though it is Ellison who has known him for almost two decades. Communications Director Jim Leinfelder defended the relationship with Awad, noting that CAIR's executive director was at a Presidential gathering shortly after 9/11. But it was precisely because of that incident that outcry over Awad and CAIR skyrocketed. And after IAP shuttered in the wake of being found liable in a civil court in 2004 for supporting Hamas, focus on Awad has only intensified.

Credibility problems

It's not just his refusal to explain his relationships with Awad and others that is troubling. Ellison's credibility is thin, considering his lack of candor this spring when he apologized to the Jewish community for his past "ties" to the Nation of Islam. He appears to have understated both the duration and nature of his affiliation with the NOI.

Though Ellison claims he didn't recognize NOI's anti-Semitism while involved with the organization, news accounts from 1997 suggest otherwise. According to the Star-Tribune, Ellison served as the NOI spokesman at a public hearing concerning anti-Semitic comments allegedly made by then-executive director of the Minnesota Initiative Against Racism Joanne Jackson. Reading the NOI's statement at the meeting, Ellison said he and his colleagues were there to "stand by the truth in the remarks attributed to her." Even though Jackson claimed she was misquoted, Ellison added that she "had every right to say that some of the most racist whites she has ever met were Jewish."

Ellison's claims of ignorance ring hollow given some of the NOI's anti-Semitism came out of his own mouth.

Which brings us back to his current company. Awareness of Awad's true nature has sharply increased in recent years. A simple Google search would have made Ellison's campaign leery of any affiliation.

Unfortunately, local press coverage has been appalling. Almost nothing about CAIR or Ellison's ties to Awad have been reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. National Democrats, though, should know all about CAIR, as leaders from the party, such as Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Chuck Schumer, have denounced the organization.

But if Ellison wins today, the media could begin showering "the first Muslim ever elected to Congress" with tremendous affection, creating a ripe opportunity for Democrats to pander to a new minority group.

How will the Democrats respond? Will they shun the politician who accepted CAIR's embrace, or will they join in the celebration and sacrifice principle in the process?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Michelle Malkin: A post-9/11 vocabulary test

Sept. 6, 2006 / 13 Elul, 5766
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/

What have you learned since the Sept. 11 attacks five years ago? The mass murder of 2,996 innocent people on American soil forced open my eyes to the Islamic holy war against the West, freedom, and modernity. The battle has raged not for years or decades, but for centuries — well before the Crusades began.

The indelible sight of workers plunging from the Twin Towers — head first, feet first, solo, hand-in-hand — roused me from slumber. The photos of children who were incinerated on United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 77 compelled me to start paying attention to the beliefs, goals, language, and lies of those who would gladly kill my children the same way. The Flight 93 hijackers' final exclamations as they drove the plane into the ground is a Muslim warrior leitmotif I will never again ignore: "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!"

So, how much do you know? Take a post-9/11 pop quiz. It's never too late to start pulling your head from the sand:

Jihadis. These are our enemies--from Mohammed Atta and company to the Butchers of Beslan, to the throat-slitters in Karachi and Baghdad and Mindanao, to the bombers of Bali, Madrid, and London, to their funders and imams and enablers worldwide. They are not "freedom fighters" or "militants" or "rebels" or "evildoers" of unknown geographic and religious affiliation. Apologists claim "jihad" means a peaceful Muslim striving for spiritual perfection. But the late Ayatollah Khomeini rebuked Religion of Peace propagandists back in 1942: "Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those (who say this) are witless."

Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish, an ex-Muslim whose father founded the terrorist Fedayeen in Gaza and killed 400 Israelis, had her own recent rejoinder for the p.c. whitewashers who have redefined jihad as a kinder, gentler struggle: "In the Arab world we were only taught one meaning for Jihad, and that is: A religious holy war against infidels and armed struggle against anyone who is not a Moslem."

Infidels/Kafirs. Anyone who is not a Muslim.

Sharia. This is the set of Islamic legal principles and traditions that our enemies seek to impose on us. It's a path that leads inexorably to the subjugation of women, stoning of adulterers, "honor killings" of rape victims, bans on beauty pageants, cinema, and the viewing of soccer matches, death threats against authors, filmmakers, cartoonists, and apostates who renounce Islam, and calls for beheadings of all who insult their faith.

Caliphate. A Muslim world government ruled according to sharia. It is what American al Qaeda Adam Gadahn envisions in his latest "Convert or die" propaganda video when he asserts "Islam is the only religion acceptable to God" and "God recognizes no separation between religion and state." It is the dream not just of Osama bin Laden, but of Islamic imperialists throughout history.

Taqiyya. Religious deception. Jihadists are taught in al Qaeda training manuals to lie. To fabricate tales about how their captors treat them (see Gitmo). To lie in claiming "There is no compulsion in religion" while forcing conversions at gunpoint (see the "Holy Jihad Brigades" conversion video starring Fox News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig). To conceal their true mission (see hijackers' visa applications). Dissimulation for the sake of Islam is sanctioned by the Koran.

Dhimmitude. The official state of inferiority of non-Muslims under Islam; the bowing and scraping of vanquished infidels to their intellectual and military conquerors. You saw it in the immediate post-9/11 appeasement of Muslims angered by the name "Operation Infinite Justice" (it was an insult to Mohammed). You saw it in the cowards of the mainstream media unwilling to defend free speech during the Mohammed cartoon rage. You saw it in the mau-mauing over the faked Koran-flushings at Camp Delta. You see it in our government's persistent pandering to grievance-mongering groups yelling "Islamophobia" and filing lawsuits at every turn.

You see it in the refusal to profile at the airport, limit immigration from terrorist-enabling countries, and shut down Saudi pilot training programs — even to this day — for fear of hurting feelings. You will see it throughout the week-long commemoration of 9/11 as pundits and scholars deemphasize the jihadi roots of the terrorist attacks in favor of "dialogue" and "tolerance" and self-flagellation.

Submitting to ignorance is submitting to defeat. Honor the victims of 9/11 by making a pledge:
"I will not submit."

Denis Boyles: 9/11 + 5

http://www.nationalreview.com
September 11, 2006

Modern Europeans may not believe in God, but they certainly believe in the Devil.

The small town of St Riquier, near Abbeville, is essentially a big churchyard: Ecclesiastical buildings, including a huge abbey and a vast church, completely dominate the small village, and everything else fits in around them. The town is a good representation of the medieval world of which it was once an important part, a world in which every aspect of life was seen through the prism of faith. In the eighth century, when they started laying bricks in St Riquier, it wasn’t possible to even conjure a thought, let alone a deed, that didn’t have spiritual implications.

Today, of course, politics shapes everything we know about the world. Nothing transpires without being quickly deconstructed in order to understand how it fits into the new world of secularized faith. Since this includes even hurricanes, once thought to be the work of an irritable God, but now known to have been made by the Bush administration’s environmental policies, it isn’t surprising that 9/11 has been reduced to something less than what it was by all those in the European press who need to see it as something else.

Even if you’ve never soiled your fingers by touching a French or British or German newspaper, you will know already the views you will find there because they are essentially restated on a daily basis near where you live by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others similar.

Today, for example, the editorialist at the Times laments the lost “possibilities” created by the attack, counts “the sins of the Bush administration” and echoes what the Times’s op-ed crew have been saying this last week on the BBC, that having suffered on 9/11, Americans need to suffer more in order to avoid a “relapse into a self- centeredness that became a second national tragedy. We have spent the last few years fighting each other with more avidity than we fight the enemy.” This, from the folks who tried to politicize the Boy Scouts while giving cover to a president so lost in his own personal troubles that he ignored the growing peril of al Qaeda in the first place. “The president will remind the country that he has spent most of his administration fighting terrorism,” concludes the paper, “and his opponents will point out that Osama bin Laden is still at large.”

Of course, “his opponents” must include virtually every newspaper and broadcaster in Europe, almost all of whom have been reporting American failure in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere for years. The EuroPress is the global edition of the Huffington Post, where no idea is inane provided it’s served with a big dose of anger. The BBC’s World Service, for example, has just wrapped up its own commemoration of 9/11 with an anthology of anecdotes from Muslims who felt that they were the victims of what the World Service called “an American witch-hunt” in the weeks and months following the attack on New York. Today’s programming includes interviews with left-wing American academics and journalists all of whom have predictable views: the U.S. (along with Israel, of course) is the real enemy of the world and the threat of another terrorist attack on America is just a politically-driven myth.

This narrative combining futility and failure is everywhere today. In Le Monde, the 9/11 story is also built on the Washington Post’s piece about bin Laden’s great escape, but adds to an AFP item the huge amount the U.S. is willing to spend to catch the guy. Suddeutsche Zeitung sardonically observes that the U.S. hasn’t the slightest idea where to find its “public enemy no. 1.” In Britain, the Independent runs down the “bitter legacy of 9/11” in numbers, Harpers-style (“7 per cent — People in UK who think US-led war on terror is being won, according to YouGov,” etc.).

This comes on the heels of the angry coverage, including the Guardian’s, of Bush’s speech acknowledging CIA “secret prisons.” Europe is a room full of old ladies, and the CIA is a mouse, but as we all know, the great non-communicator does little to make converts among those who see the U.S. as a nest of rodents. Not that he could, of course, but really, you have not heard miscommunication until you have heard Karen Hughes, Bush’s overseas p.r. diplomat, reply to an extremely skeptical World Service interviewer who had asked how she was going to convince the rest of the planet the U.S. was not the enemy. She said she was inviting some Muslim youth over to her house for ice cream and pizza. Hold the sausage, Karen.

We’re all true believers, of course. Those on the right are just as anxious as those on the left to write the gospel of political faith. But printing it in black and white doesn’t make it simple. Besides, as Le Figaro carefully points out, we already know that belief in the wrong hands has terrible consequences. When perverted faith becomes politics, as it has for Islamic jihadists, the result is 9/11. When politics becomes faith, however, the result is the journalistic jihadists in the European media and their nonstop exorcism of the Great Satan.

ITEMS

Fromage news. Nicholas Sarkozy is in the U.S. and Le Monde is on the story: Sarko likes America’s “fluidity and energy,” which is the diplomatic equivalent of describing a woman by admiring her personality. According to Reuters, his rival, the hyper-hirsute, self-published poet and premier, Dominique de Villepin, announced that France was no longer interested in fighting a “war on terror.” Jacques Chirac, meanwhile, is wiggling to find a friendly prosecutor who won’t toss him in le pok√© when his term expires next year. The bloggers at Eursoc have the goods. The surprise of the week was French television’s broadcast of a sensitive re-enactment of flight 93. It made the hijackers look like, uh, terrorists.

Hard Labour. The serial suicide of the British Labour party, in advance of Blair’s departure, continues apace, as this interview with the apparently late Gordon Brown in the Times demonstrates. The alternative? The empty Izod that is David Cameron, often running slightly to the left of New Labour. The BBC carries his latest pronouncement against free market economics. “I want India to be India and Britain to be Britain.” And Cameron to be Blair, no doubt.

Innocents abroad. The British are brilliant at sending their William Boots to darkest America, where they meet the incomprehensible natives and their quaint folk ways. Here’s the Observer’s hapless Paul Harris outraged at the eccentricities of federalism in the New World: “In some places you can't vote if you have a prison record. In others, you can.” Plus, all the license plates are different. It’s like hard math. Paul, in some places, you can vote if you’re dead — and if you vote for Hugo Chavez. It’s a political miracle.

— Denis Boyles is author of Vile France: Fear, Duplicity, Cowardice and Cheese.

Peter Kirsanow: The Real Jack Bauers



There are real reasons we haven’t been attacked again.

http://www.nationalreview.com
September 11, 2006

The United States hasn’t been hit by a terrorist attack in five years — about five months longer than most had predicted immediately after 9/11.

Vice President Cheney often reminds that this record isn’t an accident. There are a number of reasons why we haven’t been hit. Some of the reasons we know about: the efforts of the military in Afghanistan and Iraq; the Patriot Act; generally heightened security; the SWIFT program; NSA surveillance; intelligence coordination with allies, etc. Other reasons are less discernable.President Bush indicated that many of the victories against terrorists would be hidden from view; they will never be recorded in history. Many of these victories have been won by the military’s elite units — special-forces/counterterrorism units and others that the media knows little, if anything about. Indeed, Kiefer Sutherland got more coverage in five minutes at the Emmys than all of the Rangers, Green Berets, Marine Force Recon, SEALs / DevGru, and Delta operators combined.

And that’s as it should be. Very little public information is available about elite warriors so that terrorists are kept in the dark until it’s too late. Most of what the general public knows or suspects about elite forces comes from fictional accounts in movies, television shows or novels. Sure, lots of people know or have met Green Berets or SEALs, particularly people living near the southern Virginia and southern California coasts or in central North Carolina (it’s fairly certain, however, that every woman in the U.S. who’s ever set foot in a local watering hole has met a SEAL, who’s usually using the ingenious cover of a slightly overweight sales rep from Cleveland). Videos about SEAL and Green Beret physical training are a cottage industry. And there are several books by former Special Forces operators. But none of these accounts provides more than a non-classified peek into the training, techniques, and operations of elite warriors. Yet what the peeks reveal is astonishing nonetheless.

The superhuman physical conditioning of special-forces personnel is legendary. Anyone who’s worked out with elite athletes such as pro-football players or Olympians on the one hand and Rangers and SEALs on the other will tell you there’s no comparison — not even apples and oranges. Put your money on a SEAL breezing through a month of two-a-days at any pro football training camp versus a pro-football player surviving just a couple of days of SEAL training.

Interminable running, incessant push-ups, and spine-fusing overhead presses are standard features of special-forces PT. Each unit, however, has its own peculiar brand of hell. Stress fractures from Delta’s nonstop 40 mile marches with 50 pound rucksacks and hypothermia from the SEALs’ repeated nighttime immersions in frigid surf require team members to transcend ordinary limits of human pain and endurance. At the Delta, SEAL and Force Recon levels it’s less about physical invincibility than about extraordinary mental discipline.

There are plenty of tough, brave, superbly conditioned soldiers among the roughly 1 million U.S. Army personnel on active duty and in the Guard and reserves. Yet fewer than 4000 are Green Berets. And only a handful are Delta operators.

The latter cohorts must not only possess exceptional physical prowess but have the reflexes, instincts, intelligence, and presence of mind to make multiple rapid fire judgments under impossible circumstances with absolutely no margin for error. They’re experts in demolition, surveillance, escape and evasion, hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, hostage rescue — i.e., every aspect of counterterrorism. They can handle the most exotic weapons imaginable, several adapted specifically for their use. They’re the most lethal individuals on the planet. And among the most level-headed, dedicated, and trustworthy.

Although their operations are clandestine, it’s widely acknowledged that forces such as Delta and the SEALs played crucial roles in Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Given the nature of the threat of terrorism, it’s likely that there are numerous other operations around the world in which special forces are presently engaged. Since their operations are largely classified, we won’t know when one of them has made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Someone will be missing from Coronado or Ft. Bragg, but we won’t know who or why, and we won’t get a chance to thank him. It happens with enough frequency that funds such as the Special Operations Warriors Foundation have been established to assist the children of fallen elite warriors.

While it may be apocryphal, Winston Churchill is often quoted as having said (supposedly paraphrasing Orwell) “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” We owe it to these gentlemen not to take for granted the undisturbed sleep we’ve enjoyed the last five years. Without them we might not have been so fortunate.

— Peter Kirsanow is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He also is a member of the National Labor Relations Board. These comments do not necessarily reflect the positions of either organization.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bruce Springsteen: Empty Sky

I woke up this morning
I could barely breathe
Just an empty impression
In the bed where you used to be
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to the empty sky

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

Blood on the streets
Yeah blood flowin' down
I hear the blood of my blood
Cryin' from the ground

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

On the plains of Jordan
I cut my bow from the wood
Of this tree of evil
Of this tree of good
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye

I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)

John J. Miller: Blacklisting ABC

A 9/11 miniseries that Clinton and the Left hate.

By John J. Miller
http://www.nationalreview.com/

The liberal blacklisting of an ABC miniseries on 9/11 has begun in earnest.

On Thursday, the New York Post reported that former President Clinton has written to ABC’s brass: “The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely.” In the Washington Post, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright described one scene as “false and defamatory” and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger — last seen trying to sneak classified documents out of the National Archives — said the show “flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.”

The Path to 9/11 is scheduled to air on Sunday and Monday nights. More than anything else, its enemies seem to hate the fact that it directs most of the blame for the disaster of five years ago on someone other than President Bush. The anti-ABC drumbeats began about a week before Clinton’s involvement. Here’s what one lefty blogger had to say: “Back in 2003, CBS was forced to pull its miniseries ‘The Reagans,’ after conservative groups lambasted the network for crossing the line into advocacy against the Reagan administration. A similar effort should perhaps be undertaken to compel ABC to pull ‘The Path to 9/11.’”

Aren’t these guys supposed to be against preemptive strikes? They’ve certainly announced their opposition to pressuring networks over such matters, or at least former senator Tom Daschle has: When CBS axed The Reagans, he said that it “smells of intimidation to me.”

Unlike recent movies such as Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center and United 93, the ABC miniseries doesn’t concentrate solely on the events of 9/11. It does dramatize that day, but the bulk of the show focuses on what led up to the catastrophe: the failed attempt to destroy the Twin Towers in 1993, the embassy bombings in 1998, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, and so on. The main character is FBI agent John O’Neill (played by Harvey Keitel), who leads a counterterrorism operation aimed at nabbing Yousef, Osama bin Laden, and their ilk. He is a diligent G-man, but the miniseries is, for the most part, a chronicle of massive failure.

The show is based on the work of the 9/11 Commission; chairman Thomas Kean, a Republican, played a role in its development. ABC spent $40 million to produce it. Even in Hollywood, that’s not chump change — especially for a television program.

If nothing else, The Path to 9/11 makes one thing abundantly clear: Hard-working law-enforcement officials had multiple opportunities to stop the terrorists before they wreaked their havoc, but inept leadership, mainly by political appointees of the Clinton administration, got in the way. Secretary of state Madeleine Albright comes off as a shrill obstructionist, CIA director George Tenet appears wimpy, and ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine (played by Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond) is a word that rhymes with witch.

Worst of all is former national-security adviser Sandy Berger. He is the closest thing in the film to a villain who isn’t an actual terrorist. In one scene, a group of military operatives surrounds bin Laden in his remote Afghan compound. “Do we have clearance to load the package?” asks an American who is leading them. Berger refuses to give it — he simply flicks off his video-conferencing camera — and a remarkable opportunity to snatch or kill bin Laden slips away.

President Clinton’s appearances are confined to images from news conferences and his deposition: There he is denying his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, then explaining it away, and finally announcing his determination to battle terrorism. He comes off as fatally detached from America’s greatest challenges. In fairness, though, the miniseries does allow for a different interpretation: Although Clinton brought the Lewinsky mess upon himself, Republicans are to blame for letting it become a national distraction — and one that had bad consequences for O’Neill and his fellow terror hunters. Also, it’s worth mentioning that in Monday’s installment, when the miniseries turns to the early days of the Bush administration, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice (played very effectively by 24 veteran Penny Johnson Jerald) comes off as an ignoramus, especially in a scene when she downsizes the responsibilities of counterterror official Richard Clarke (an unsung if earnest hero, by the film’s lights, and played by Stephen Root of Office Space). To call this a pro-Bush miniseries, as its critics surely will do, is a bit too simple.

Directed by David Cunningham, The Path to 9/11 is an exercise in gritty realism. During stretches of it, viewers will feel like they’re watching actual events unfold as they really did — with the addition of handheld cameras being placed just so. The script, written by Cyrus Nowrasteh, moves along at a brisk pace.

At a question-and-answer session following a screening last month in Washington, D.C., Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic member of the 9/11 Commission, challenged the film’s authenticity. “There was no incident like the one portrayed,” he said of the scene in which Berger vetoes the bin Laden operation. He also objected to the negative portrayal of Albright: “I was disturbed by that aspect of it.”

Kean, for his part, described the miniseries as “pretty accurate.” He also added: “It’s dramatized in a couple of areas, but it’s a dramatization that’s true to the story.”

Adds Nowrasteh, in an interview with NRO: “The Berger scene is a fusing and melding of at least a dozen capture opportunities. The sequence is true, but it’s a conflation. This is a docu-drama. We collapse, condense, and create composite characters. But within the rules of docu-drama, we’re well documented.”

Viewers, of course, will mostly connect with the drama and the characters. There is some fine acting in this miniseries — I especially liked Prasanna Puwanarajah as a vexed Pakistani who works with the CIA to capture Yousef. The most memorable character may be Ahmed Massoud, the Northern Alliance commander who fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan and was assassinated hours before 9/11. Played skillfully by actor Mido Hamada, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the most romantic images of Che Guevara, he’s a real scene-stealer. He speaks the best line in the whole miniseries, shortly after Berger’s refusal to authorize that bin Laden job: “Are there any men left in Washington, or are they all cowards?”

I have a question of my own: Where can I get an Ahmed Massoud t-shirt?

— John J. Miller is national political reporter for National Review and the author, most recently, of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.