Friday, December 30, 2005

Book Review: The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo

Edited and written by David Gordon
Volume 8, Number 2
The Despot Named Lincoln
The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War by Thomas J. DiLorenzo (Forum, 2002; xiii + 333 pgs.)

Why is The Real Lincoln so much superior to Harry Jaffa’s A New Birth of Freedom? Jaffa offers a purely textual study: he considers, as if he were dealing with Aristotle or Dante, every nuance he can discover or manufacture in Lincoln’s speeches. Professor DiLorenzo follows an entirely different course. He compares Lincoln’s words with what he actually did, and the result is a historical rather than a mythological figure.

Our author confronts those who portray Lincoln as the Great Emancipator with a simple but devastating question: If Lincoln was so much opposed to slavery, why did he not endeavor to abolish it peacefully through a scheme of compensated emancipation? "Lincoln did pay lip service to various compensated emancipation plans, and he even proposed a compensated emancipation bill (combined with colonization) in 1862. But the man whom historians would later describe as one of the master politicians of all time failed to use his legendary political skills and rhetorical gifts to accomplish what every other country in the world where slavery had once existed had done; end it peacefully, without resort to warfare" (p. 52).

How might Jaffa and his fellow Lincoln idolaters reply? Perhaps they will allege that Lincoln judged compensated emancipation politically impossible to realize and for that reason did not pursue it. To this, DiLorenzo has a ready response: "Slavery was already in sharp decline in the border states and the upper South generally, mostly for economic reasons . . . there is evidence that there was growing political support within the border states for gradual, peaceful emancipation that would have ended slavery there" (p. 51).

But what if Lincoln took a different view? Here I think one must answer that he did not even investigate the question. Would one not expect a sincere opponent of slavery to devote considerable attention to the feasibility of peacefully ending it? Further, "Roy Basler, the editor of Lincoln’s Collected Works, commented that Lincoln barely mentioned slavery before 1854, and when he did, ‘his words lacked effectiveness’" (pp. 54–55).

As DiLorenzo ably argues, Lincoln’s real concerns lay otherwise. Throughout his political life, he enlisted under the banner of Henry Clay’s "American System." Proponents of this plan favored a strong central government in order to promote economic development. In classic mercantilist fashion, Clay and his supporters wanted the government to direct the economy through spending on "internal improvements," high protective tariffs, and a nationalized banking system.

Our author does not confine himself to a mere description of Lincoln’s economic goals. He is an economist of distinction and readily locates the fallacies in these interventionist programs. As one would expect from someone trained in both public choice and Austrian economics, he at once seeks the self-interested motivations behind policies that profess to secure the national good.
"[P]rotectionism . . . was a means by which a government could dispense favors to well-connected (and well-financed) special interest groups, which in turn provided financial and other support for the politicians dispensing the favors. It benefits both those industries that are protected from competition and the politicians, but it harms everyone else. . . . The same can be said for another element of mercantilism—tax-funded subsidies to politically well-connected businesses and industries. These subsidies generally benefit only those businesses that are lucky enough to get them, at the expense of the taxpayers generally" (pp. 56–57).

Those inclined to defend Clay and his disciple Lincoln on the grounds that government must provide us with "public goods" such as roads would be well advised to read DiLorenzo’s discussion of the internal improvements voted by the Whig-dominated Illinois legislature. The Illinois program proved a complete financial disaster, and other states that invested in internal improvements fared no better. "What all this suggests is that the Hamilton/Clay/Lincoln agenda of government subsidies for road building and railroad corporations was wildly unpopular throughout the nation and had been an abysmal failure in every instance" (p. 83).

The financial exactions of tariffs and internal improvements fell with especial force on the South. The states in this region depended heavily on trade, and as a result paid most of the tariffs. "Since they were so dependent on trade, by 1860 the Southern states were paying in excess of 80 percent of all tariffs, while they believed that most of the revenue from the tariffs was being spent in the North. In short, they believed they were being fleeced and plundered" (p. 126).

Small wonder that the South was not prepared to put up with Lincoln’s plans for even higher tariffs, and debate over secession stressed these financial exactions. Like Charles Adams, in his excellent When in the Course of Human Events, DiLorenzo traces the onset of war to Southern resistance to the nationalist economic program, and Lincoln’s determination to enforce it. "To a very large extent, the secession of the Southern states in late 1860 and early 1861 was a culmination of the decades-long feud, beginning with the 1828 Tariff of Abominations, over the proper economic role of the central government. Lincoln and the consolidationists wanted to construct a massive mercantilist state, whereas it was primarily Southern statesmen who always stood in their way. These statesmen apparently believed that secession was their trump card" (pp. 128–29).

DiLorenzo is amply prepared for the objection that even if the Southern states justly opposed Lincoln’s economic plans, they had no legal right to secede. In this view, Lincoln had a constitutional duty to preserve the union by any means necessary. Quite to the contrary, DiLorenzo shows that dominant legal opinion granted states the right to depart. Nor was this exclusively a Southern view of the matter. During the War of 1812, many in New England favored abandoning the union; and our author, relying on the research of Howard Cecil Perkins, points out that the majority of newspaper editorials in the North from late 1860 to mid-1861 recognized the right of secession.

Once the war began, Lincoln conducted himself as a thoroughgoing dictator, and DiLorenzo gives a full account of the president’s suppression of civil liberties. Here we are on familiar ground, but our author shows great dialectical skill in prosecuting his case. I found particularly impressive his identification of a line of defense essayed by some of Lincoln’s advocates. Sometimes, writers on Lincoln and civil liberties describe in great detail Lincoln’s suppression of liberty, but conclude with praise for his "moderation." DiLorenzo with great force notes the discrepancy between evidence and conclusion.

Among the guilty is the foremost of all historians who have written on the topic, James G. Randall. "In chapter after chapter of his 595-page book Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, he [Randall] dutifully describes not mere problems but the destruction of constitutional liberty. He concludes almost every chapter with a string of excuses. . . . The establishment of a dictatorship was not the overthrowing of the Constitution but merely ‘out of keeping with the normal tenor of American law.’ Nor were thousands of arbitrary arrests an example of tyranny but only ‘unfortunate,’ and made, after all, with ‘the best of motives’ " (p. 160).

Incredibly, the same pattern recurs among Lincoln’s partisans when they describe the gross violations of international law committed, with Lincoln’s entire approval, by Generals Sherman, Sheridan, Butler, and many others. After his bombardment of Atlanta, "Sherman’s army went on its usual binge of looting and burning. . . . It has been estimated that more than 90 percent of the city was demolished" (p. 186). As if this were not enough, Sherman expelled the remaining civilian residents from the city. Nevertheless, Mark Grimsley, a leading military historian, "downplays the suffering of the citizens of Atlanta by saying that ‘only’ a few thousand of them were evicted from their homes" (p. 187). In the face of Sherman’s march to the sea and Sheridan’s burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Mark Neely writes that "Sherman and his ‘fellow generals waged war the same way most Victorian gentlemen did, and other Victorian gentlemen in the world knew it.’ Total war, according to Neely, was just not Sherman’s cup of tea" (p. 198).

To attack Sherman and his cohorts is fortunately not very controversial, even in these times of abject Lincoln worship; but to state the obvious clearly is no small virtue. Professor DiLorenzo undertakes a much more difficult task, though, in his treatment of Reconstruction. Here he undermines completely the arguments of the dominant approach to this period among contemporary American historians.

Early in the twentieth century, W. A. Dunning and his students at Columbia University portrayed the Reconstruction period as, in the words of Claude Bowers, a "tragic era," dominated by corruption. The Republican Party, easily controlling new black voters, established puppet governments in the conquered Southern states. The party "used the power gained from this to plunder the taxpayers of the South for more than a decade after the war ended" (p. 202).

One might think such blatant corruption hard to defend, but a group of historians began the task in the 1930s. Our author rightly notes that many of these historians were Marxists, but this is a restrained understatement. In fact, several of this movement’s leading lights, such as James Allen and W. E. B. DuBois, found Lenin greatly to their liking; and the Communist Party actively propagated the new line. By smearing the older view as racist and pro-Southern, the new partisans triumphed.

DiLorenzo will have none of this nonsense, and he patiently dissects their sophisms. A chief method of the group is the misleading comparison. "These Marxist and ‘liberal’ revisionists argue that Reconstruction wasn’t all that bad compared to, say, what happened when the Japanese invaded Nanking in the 1930s. . . . After all, Kenneth Stampp has argued, there were not even any mass executions of former Confederates after the war" (p. 203).

The unstated premise of Stampp’s argument is that Southerners were enemy aliens who deserved whatever their Northern masters dished out to them; if so, anything less than total terror counts as merciful. Had Stampp, no doubt preoccupied with World War II, not presupposed this, he would have seen that a bad policy does not become good because worse things are possible.

In like fashion, Eric Foner, the reigning pontiff of the new school, has some good words for the Radicals’ corruption. Was not the situation even worse in the North? DiLorenzo’s reply exactly strikes its target: "The fact that corruption was even worse in the North proves the Dunning School’s point; since massive corporate welfare was relatively new to the South, it hadn’t quite equaled the North in terms of political corruption. The expansion of government, which Reconstruction facilitated, caused such corruption" (pp. 231–32).

This outstanding book has left me at wit’s end. As everyone knows, I like to charge authors with having committed logical fallacies; but Professor DiLorenzo offers me almost nothing. At only one point do I think I have caught him out. In reply to those who criticize Dunning for racism, since he doubted the wisdom of at once extending the vote to uneducated blacks, DiLorenzo notes that these same critics "virtually deify" Lincoln (p. 204). But Lincoln was a white supremacist of the first order. To be consistent, must not those historians who dismiss Dunning’s interpretations as racist "be just as skeptical of what has been written about Lincoln over the past 100 years and even reevaluate much of their own scholarship?" (p. 204).
So drastic a conclusion does not follow. Consistency requires these historians only to discount Lincoln’s racist remarks; they may admire Lincoln for other reasons, without sinning against logic.

A few minor points: it should have been noted that some states opposed the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. (p. 111); not all Whigs favored the American System: John Tyler was a Whig as well as Henry Clay (p. 235) [This fact is pointed out in DiLorenzo's book...not sure why the reviewer mentions this]; and the author of the article discussed on p. 231 was Stanley Coben, not "Cohen." My frustration at being able to find so little wrong with the book will not prevent me from congratulating Professor DiLorenzo for a magnificent contribution to history, vital reading for anyone concerned with the defense of liberty.

Andrea Levin: Spielberg Smears Israel

Andrea Levin
December 30, 2005

Steven Spielberg and an army of well-paid consultants and spinmeisters are pulling out all the stops to promote Munich and fend off damaging criticism of the movie about the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes and the effort to track down the crime's masterminds. The campaign has even included courting family members of the slain men for endorsements to blunt a gathering storm of negative commentary from the likes of David Brooks in the New York Times, Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic and Andrea Peyser in the New York Post.

Briefly, the movie presents, via pulse-pounding scenes of kidnaping, death, stalking and more death, the message that Israel was brutal, bungling and immoral in its reaction to the massacre. True, the hostage-takers were also brutal; but dispossessing Palestinians, we soon learn, lies at the root.

Cultured Palestinians passionately explain: "We are for twenty-four years the world's largest refugee population. Our homes taken from us. Living in camps. No future. No food. Nothing decent for our children."

In Munich there are no Palestinians clamoring for the destruction of Israel - as all Palestinian groups did then and, regrettably, leading groups continue to do today. On the contrary, in a contrived encounter between Avner, the movie's lead, and a PLO member, the latter insists he simply wants a homeland.

He also blames Jews for turning the Palestinians "into animals" and charges them with exploiting guilt over the Holocaust.

In all of this one sees the biases of Tony Kushner, the radical playwright brought in by Spielberg to reshape the script. Kushner has repeatedly called the creation of Israel a "mistake," blamed Israel for "the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people,"and advocated policies to undermine the state.

Israelis in the film, including Prime Minister Golda Meir, do make their case. But the language is often self-incriminating and vengeful. Meir says:

I don't know who these maniacs are and where they come from. Palestinians- they're not recognizable. You tell me what law protects people like this...Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values.

The charge that Israel believed targeting terrorist leaders compromises its values rather than affirms its obligation to seek every means to defend itself against aggression is pure Hollywood concoction. But spiraling self-doubt about the use of force is central to Munich, with one team member, an ambivalent bomb-maker who eventually blows himself up, lamenting:

We're Jews, Avner. Jews don't do wrong because our enemies do wrong...we're supposed to be righteous. That's a beautiful thing. That's Jewish....

Thus, not only, in the film's account, was it futile to assassinate terrorist masterminds, because new and worse replacements sprang up to escalate the violence, but eliminating terrorists ostensibly destroyed the souls of the Jewish hit team.

During the movie's production, numerous Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed Spielberg's central themes. But the Hollywood director, along with Kushner, ignored them and insisted on their own dark story.

In fact, historical accounts of Israel's decision to target leaders of Black September, the group responsible for Munich, emphasize that the assault at the Olympics was part of a worsening series of terrorist attacks against Israel in 1972. Lod Airport had been struck twice in May with 32 killed.

Only days after the September 5 Munich atrocity, an Israeli official was shot in Brussels, and two weeks later a letter bomb killed an Israeli in London.

Any nation supine in the face of such intensifying terrorism invites ever more fearsome attack. Yes, Israel's new counter-campaign was reprisal for the Munich murders, but it was aimed at fighting back against a broad terrorist threat. What the various teams dispatched by Israel sought to do was standard in its general goal: Shift the balance and force the adversary onto the defensive, disrupting operations, planning and command structure.

None of this common sense about self-defense and the context in which the Olympic massacre and Israeli reaction occurred are part of Munich.

Instead, Israel's action battling its adversaries is cast as aberrant, bloody and counterproductive. It is no different from the assault of the terrorists and ostensibly spawns far greater violence.

Thus Munich is not fictionalized fact, but a falsehood at its core.

Small falsehoods too promote its thesis of Israeli culpability. For instance, Meir is said to have shunned attending the murdered athletes' funerals for fear of being booed because she refused to negotiate with the terrorists - yet as the Jerusalem Post reported one week after the killings, a poll found her the most popular figure in the nation. Meir as the war-like Israeli, refusing to settle matters in peaceful dialogue, fit the picture, but not the facts.

The movie concludes that Israel should have, in Avner's recommendation, "arrested" the terrorists "like Eichman." And, perhaps inspired by Kushner's theme of the mistaken existence of Israel, an embittered and hounded Avner abandons his homeland for all-American Brooklyn.
Munich offends on other counts. A leitmotif linking Jews and money will make more than a few viewers wince. A Mossad handler growls: "I want receipts!"

We're not the Rothschilds, he says, just a small country. "We need receipts. You got me? Whatever you're doing somebody else is paying for it." Or: "A Jew and a Frenchman - we could haggle forever."

In other coarse invocations of supposed Jewish banter and attitudes, a team member demands a comrade drop his pants to "see if he's circumcised" when the teammate doesn't understand the need for Jewish violence. An argument among the team has one Israeli shouting: "The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood!"

This and much like it is what passes for deep dialogue by two of America's leading entertainment lights. Indeed, it is stunning to watch Munich and realize that its director brought Schindler's List to the world. Where that was artistry drawn from truth, Munich is cinematic manipulation rooted in lies.

Evidently, exploring essential truths about Jews murdered 60 years ago by a regime that no longer exists and is widely reviled is one thing.

Defending the truth about Jews who, over the last half century, have continued to be targeted for murder by Palestinians, Arab states, and in recent decades Iran, and whose stalkers have enjoyed the support of the UN, scores of NGO's, and perhaps attendees of Hollywood dinner parties, is quite another.

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Andrea Levin is executive director of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

FrontPage Magazine's Woman of the Year: Oriana Fallaci

By FrontPage Magazine
December 30, 2005

After spending most of the last century fighting against fascism, Oriana Fallaci continues to demonstrate the enduring grip of Orwellianism: she is to be tried in Italy for thought-crime. For spending her childhood fighting Hitler and Mussolini, and for dedicating the last four years of her life to rousing the West to the danger posed by Islamofascism, she more than merits designation as FrontPage Magazine’s Woman of the Year.

Oriana Fallaci has rebelled against fascism most of her life. She is not an ideologue, bound to implement any given ideology. Hers is a defensive mission. She is, by her own designation, neither a conservative nor a leftist, finding defects with both. Like FrontPage Magazine, her main concern is fighting encroaching totalitarianism, not advancing a narrow partisan agenda ruled by either orthodoxy.

This is, in fact, her second honor from FrontPage Magazine. David Horowitz bestowed the Center for the Study of Popular Culture's prestigious Annie Taylor Award upon Oriana in a special ceremony in New York last month. In his speech, he called the Italian firebrand author and journalist “a warrior in the cause of human freedom.”

How right he was.

Oriana commenced her lifelong insurrection against totalitarianism early, fighting the Axis powers as part of the Resistance. For her actions, the fascists tortured her father, who defiantly refused to collaborate. The lesson stuck. Oriana smuggled weapons to anti-Hitler forces within Germany. After Mussolini received his just deserts, she became a journalist, acting as a war correspondent in Vietnam. In the following decades, she would earn a reputation as one of the world’s most probing interviewers.

Over her career, she met with the world’s leading figures – for good or ill – interviewing everyone from Kissinger to Qaddafi. She examined a rage-filled Yasser Arafat, who revealed to her that he liked little boys. She sat down with the Shah and the Ayatollah Khomeini (separately, of course) – the latter so infuriating her that during one of his rants, she ripped off the headscarf she was forced to wear in his presence. After making an international impact in her chosen field, she retreated into semi-retirement.

Then after a lengthy hiatus, Oriana Fallaci found herself lured from a self-imposed exile by the clarion call of 9/11.

She spoke and wrote forcefully about the peril a free, pluralistic, democratic, and secular society faced at the hands of an Islamic jihad. She condemned terrorism everywhere and called out the Euro-leftists who marched in solidarity with Palestinian terrorists – including some elements of the Vatican. Straining against the vivid memories of a war correspondent and every inclination of her heart, she supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, writing of her anguish:

I hate [war] as the pacifists in bad or good faith never will. I loathe it. Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns…When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.

It was in this period that she committed her unpardonable sin: she published “the trilogy” of books examining the threat of jihad in detail: The Rage and the Pride, The Force of Reason, and The Apocalypse.

The cancer-stricken 75-year-old woman was promptly demonized by the Islamic world, by the European Left, and even demonized as a racist by Newsweek.

Her crime? She exposed the threat of Islamic jihad – from without and within. Europe, she wrote, is becoming “an Islamic province, an Islamic colony.” Describing increasingly Muslim Europe, she wrote, “In each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Quran.” When Shari’a rules certain areas of Christendom’s ancient home continent, and French girls cannot go through certain Parisian neighborhoods without wearing a burqa without fear of being raped, few could argue with her insight.

She frankly says she is against Islam, not because she opposes religious freedom, but because she believes in it. As she has said, after 9/11, “they want to come impose it on me, on us.” She calls herself “a Catholic atheist,” and she realizes the world cannot survive half-secular and half-theocratic, anymore than it can survive half-slave and half-free.

Unlike Daniel Pipes, she has written that there is no moderate Islam, that radicalism is ingrained in the religion itself, but that does not mean there aren’t any moderate Muslims. However, she recognizes some Muslims have risen above (or ignored) a literal interpretation of the Koran, as adherents of Judaism and Christianity did before them. In this, she is echoing both Muslim apostates and Muslim fundamentalists, each of whom insist jihad is the truest expression of the religion of Mohammed, and those who shun that path are displaying infidelity to the Prophet. As with Salman Rushdie, a fatwa was soon issued for the septuagenarian.

Her frank truthfulness was also too much for the sensibilities of unfree Europe. In 2002, she faced charges in France that her book The Rage and the Pride promoted “racism,” the plaintiffs apparently unaware “Muslim” is not a racial designation. (Fallaci supported Operation Iraqi Freedom to give Arabs the gift of self-determination.)

Two years later, she learned she would face similar charges in her native Italy, over the same book. In April 2004, an Italian leftist judge allowed the Muslim-instigated lawsuit to go forward on the grounds that her works were “without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith.” However, FrontPage Magazine columnist Robert Spencer has examined the allegedly “offensive” passages that “defame Islam” – 18 in all – and found each one undeniably rooted in Islamic theology and history.

The plaintiff, Adel Smith, president of the Muslim Union of Italy, could as easily be charged by the loose anti-religious discrimination statute that has snared Fallaci. He calls on fellow believers in the Religion of Peace to “eliminate” and “die with Fallaci.” He also refers to Christianity as a “criminal association” and has demeaned the Crucifix as a “miniature cadaver.”

However, Europe is Europe, and now for refusing to live according to Shari’a law, a woman who helped free Italy from Il Duce is on trial for speaking her conscience about the next impending, Islamofascist threat.

Since the trial, she has taken refuge in Upper Manhattan, during what she openly anticipates will be the final year of her life, estranged from the people she loves and the land she helped free. Yet in her exile, she has rallied another democracy in danger of slouching into pre-9/11 complacency. She tells all the American anti-terror crowds she can that the media are collaborating with America’s enemies. America faces an implacable enemy out to impose an all-encompassing legal code upon the entire infidel world, and the media continue to portray the jihadists as poverty-stricken victims of Yankee imperialism, someone with whom to enter into a dialogue. This is blurring the West’s vision of the true nature of the enemy and obscuring the stakes if we fail.

The media, though, are not the all-important problem. Most importantly in her view, Americans have lost their passion for freedom. They have specifically lost The Rage and the Pride, the patriotism that comes from being a believer in liberty and the burning desire to protect our “Shining city upon a hill” at all costs. That’s what she’s trying to stir, and the world will be safer in 2006 if it catches spark from her flame.

Previous honorees:
2004: John O’Neill
2003: Col. Allen B. West

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ann Coulter- Kwanzaa: A Holiday From the FBI

Ann Coulter
December 29, 2005

President Bush's 2005 Kwanzaa message began with the patently absurd statement: "African-Americans and people around the world reflect on African heritage during Kwanzaa."

I believe more African-Americans spent this season reflecting on the birth of Christ than some phony non-Christian holiday invented a few decades ago by an FBI stooge. Kwanzaa is a holiday for white liberals, not blacks.

It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga, aka Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers and a dupe of the FBI.

In what was probably ultimately a foolish gamble, during the madness of the '60s the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the organization, the better. Karenga's United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American '60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police.

Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the '60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. They did not seek armed revolution. Those were the precepts of Karenga's United Slaves. United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented "African" names. (That was a big help to the black community: How many boys named "Jamal" currently sit on death row?)

Whether Karenga was a willing dupe, or just a dupe, remains unclear. Curiously, in a 1995 interview with Ethnic NewsWatch, Karenga matter-of-factly explained that the forces out to get O.J. Simpson for the "framed" murder of two whites included: "the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, Interpol, the Chicago Police Department" and so on. Karenga should know about FBI infiltration. (He further noted that the evidence against O.J. "was not strong enough to prohibit or eliminate unreasonable doubt" – an interesting standard of proof.)

In the category of the-gentleman-doth-protest-too-much, back in the '70s, Karenga was quick to criticize rumors that black radicals were government-supported. When Nigerian newspapers claimed that some American black radicals were CIA operatives, Karenga publicly denounced the idea, saying, "Africans must stop generalizing about the loyalties and motives of Afro-Americans, including the widespread suspicion of black Americans being CIA agents."

Now we know that the FBI fueled the bloody rivalry between the Panthers and United Slaves. In one barbarous outburst, Karenga's United Slaves shot to death Black Panthers Al "Bunchy" Carter and Deputy Minister John Huggins on the UCLA campus. Karenga himself served time, a useful stepping-stone for his current position as a black studies professor at California State University at Long Beach.

Kwanzaa itself is a lunatic blend of schmaltzy '60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. Indeed, the seven "principles" of Kwanzaa praise collectivism in every possible arena of life – economics, work, personality, even litter removal. ("Kuumba: Everyone should strive to improve the community and make it more beautiful.") It takes a village to raise a police snitch.

When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from "classical Marxism," he essentially explained that under Kawaida, we also hate whites. While taking the "best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism" – which one assumes would exclude the forced abortions, imprisonment for homosexuals and forced labor – Kawaida practitioners believe one's racial identity "determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding." There's an inclusive philosophy for you.

Coincidentally, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another charming invention of the Least-Great Generation. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA's revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani – the same seven "principles" of Kwanzaa.

With his Kwanzaa greetings, President Bush is saluting the intellectual sibling of the Symbionese Liberation Army, killer of housewives and police. He is saluting the founder of United Slaves, who were such lunatics that they shot Panthers for not being sufficiently insane – all with the FBI as their covert ally.

It's as if David Duke invented a holiday called "Anglika," and the president of the United States issued a presidential proclamation honoring the synthetic holiday. People might well stand up and take notice if that happened.

Kwanzaa was the result of a '60s psychosis grafted onto the black community. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural nonsense that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga's United Slaves – the violence, the Marxism, the insanity. Most absurdly, for leftists anyway, is that they have forgotten the FBI's tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa.

Now the "holiday" concocted by an FBI dupe is honored in a presidential proclamation and public schools across the nation. Bush called Kwanzaa a holiday that promotes "unity" and "faith." Faith in what? Liberals' unbounded capacity to respect any faith but Christianity?

A movement that started approximately 2,000 years before Kwanzaa leaps well beyond merely "unity" and "faith" to proclaim that we are all equal before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). It was practitioners of that faith who were at the forefront of the abolitionist and civil-rights movements. But that's all been washed down the memory hole, along with the true origins of Kwanzaa.

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Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must).

Victor Davis Hanson: Hollywood's misunderstood terrorists

Posted on: Thursday, December 29, 2005
The Honolulu Advertiser

When terrorism goes to the movies in the post-Sept. 11 world, we might expect the plots, characters and themes to reflect some sort of believable reality. But in Hollywood, the politically correct impulse now overrides all else. Even the spectacular pyrotechnics, beautiful people and accomplished acting cannot hide it.

Instead, moviegoers can anticipate before the opening credits that those characters who work for the American government or are at war with terrorists will likely be portrayed as criminals, incompetents or people existing on the same moral plane as killers.

Take this fall's "Flightplan," in which the U.S. air marshal on board and a flight attendant turn out to be the true terrorists. Meanwhile, four Middle Eastern males are unfairly put under suspicion in the lynch-mob atmosphere on the plane.

The film warns us that the real threat after Sept. 11 is certainly not young Middle Eastern males on planes who might hijack or crash them into iconic American buildings. No, more dangerous in Hollywood's alternate universe are the flight officials themselves — who in reality on Sept. 11 battled terrorists only to have their throats cut before being blown up with all the passengers.

A slickly filmed "Syriana" is the worst of the recent releases. The film's problem is not just that it predictably presents the bad, ugly sheik as a puppet of American oil interests while the handsome and good independent crown price is assassinated for championing his oppressed people against Western hegemony. Or that the conniving corporate potentates have big bellies and Southern accents while the goodhearted, sloppily dressed George Clooney is double-crossed by his stylish, pampered CIA bosses safe in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

"Syriana" also perverts historical reality. Everything connected with the oil industry is portrayed as corrupt and exploitative, with no hint that petroleum fuels civilization. Hollywood producers might not see many oil rigs off the Malibu coast, but someone finds and delivers them gas each morning for their luxury cars.

And who are the really greedy? Do the simple arithmetic of pumping petroleum in the desert: After expenses of typically under $5 a barrel, rigged cartels in the Middle East — run by Iranian mullahs, Gulf royals or Libyan autocrats — sell it on the world market for between $50 to $60. They don't merely price-gouge Americans in their SUVs, but also Third World struggling economies in places like Africa and Latin America.

Plus, in the real world outside Hollywood, does the United States really assassinate Gulf royalty who wish to liberalize their economies and give women the right to vote?

Contrary to the premise of "Syriana," the gripe against contemporary American foreign policy is just the opposite. Realists, isolationists and leftists alike damn the United States as naive or foolish for obsessing over democratic reform in Afghanistan and Iraq, pressuring Saudi Arabia and Egypt to hold valid elections and insisting that the terrorist patron Syria leave the voters of Lebanon alone.

The price of gas skyrocketed after the American invasion of Iraq. And oil companies, especially French and Russian, were furious when Saddam Hussein's kleptocracy fell — and their sweetheart deals were nullified by a new democratic Iraqi government.

Moral equivalence is perhaps the most troubling of Hollywood's postmodern pathologies — or the notion that each side that resorts to violence is of the same ethical nature. Steven Spielberg best summed up the theme of his recently released film about the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and the subsequent Israeli hunt of the perpetrators: "A response to a response doesn't really solve anything. It just creates a perpetual-motion machine."

Spielberg's "Munich" assumes just such a false symmetry between the killers who murdered the innocent athletes and the Israeli agents who hunted them down — each in their own way victimized and caught in a cycle of "perpetual" violence.

Lost in this pop moralizing is the reality of 1972, when none of Israel's neighbors were willing to accept the existence of the Jewish state within even its original borders. Then there was no chance that Israeli agents would storm an Olympic event and murder athletes — but every probability that the Soviet bloc, Western Europeans and Middle East autocracies would never hunt down international terrorists who had done so to Israelis.

Actors, producers, screenwriters and directors of Southern California live in a bubble, where coast, climate and plentiful capital shield the film industry from the harsh world. In their good intentions, these tanned utopians can afford to dream away fascist killers and instead rail at Western bogeymen — even in the midst of a global war against Middle East jihadists who wish to trump what they wrought at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

If Hollywood wants to know why attendance is down, it is not just the misdemeanor sin of warping reality, but the artistic felony that it does so in such a predictable manner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Robert Spencer: Radioactive Mosques?

Robert Spencer
December 28, 2005

New revelations that federal officials are checking mosques for radiation levels has the Council on American Islamic Relations in an uproar. CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper fumed: “This creates the appearance that Muslims are targeted simply for being Muslims. I don’t think this is the message the government wants to send at this time.” A CAIR statement claimed that the monitoring “could lead to the perception that we are no longer a nation ruled by law, but instead one in which fear trumps constitutional rights. All Americans should be concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims.”

Indeed, the mainstream media has made much of potential Constitutional issues, trumpeting the fact that the radiation monitoring has been done without search warrants -- even though no actual searches have been carried out. Also, Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse maintained that “FBI agents do not intrude across any constitutionally protected areas without the proper legal authority,” and that it does not monitor groups in general but only acts on specific information. Is there any such information in this case? Roehrkasse spoke of official concern with “a growing body of sensitive reporting that continues to show al-Qaida has a clear intention to obtain and ultimately use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear” weapons.

This has been public knowledge for years. Not long after 9/11, Americans discovered plans for constructing nuclear weapons in a former Al-Qaeda safe house in Kabul. A 2003 CIA report stated that jihad terrorists “have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological and radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attacks.” Other reports have claimed that Osama bin Laden himself met with Pakistani nuclear scientists; that Al-Qaeda has already obtained nuclear material on the Russian black market, and that jihadists already having brought those nukes into the United States. Others asserted that Al-Qaeda was planning to smuggle nuclear material into the U.S. from Mexico. But even if none of that is true, there is no doubt that jihadists are working in that direction. Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the masterminds of 9/11, has declared that “in killing Americans…Muslims should not exceed four million non-combatants, or render more than ten million of them homeless.”

But of course, no Muslims who believe that four million Americans should be murdered are actually on American soil, right? Unfortunately, we have no way to know this for sure. Political correctness and unproven assumptions have kept the media and even law enforcement officials from asking the hard questions they should ask of Muslim leaders in the U.S. Absurdities consequently abound. One police official lamented: “We’ll come back from a Kumbayah meeting with a local mosque and realize that these guys who just agreed to help us are in our terror files!” The most notorious example of this phenomenon may be former Cleveland Muslim leader Fawaz Damra, who signed the Fiqh Council of North America’s condemnation of terrorism and now faces deportation for failing to disclose his ties to terrorist groups. Damra, widely respected as a moderate voice up until his arrest, was never expelled from his communities in Brooklyn or Cleveland (or evidently even reprimanded) despite having said at a 1989 Islamic conference that “the first principle is that terrorism, and terrorism alone, is the path to liberation.”

The core problem is that peaceful American Muslims have not moved to expose, expel, or separate themselves from those who hold such sentiments. There is no wall of separation in the American Muslim community between Muslims who accept American pluralism and just want to live ordinary lives and those who hold to the same ideology of jihad and the destruction or subjugation of infidels to which Osama bin Laden has dedicated his life. There is no easy or reliable way to distinguish a Muslim who may be working to launch a chemical or nuclear strike in the U.S. from one who abhors the very idea. Do the Muslims who hope to perpetrate such violence operate or at least congregate in mosques? Yes, they do. Sahim Alwan, a onetime leader of the Yemeni community in Lackawanna, New York and president of the mosque there, has the distinction of being the first American to attend an Al Qaeda training camp. Maher Hawash’s transition from secular Intel exec to jihadist was accompanied by an increase in his Islamic fervor and frequent mosque attendance.

This doesn’t mean that every Muslim in the United States is secretly plotting a nuclear strike. But with all the evidence that Al-Qaeda is making every effort to launch such an attack, would it really be wise to risk everything on the assumption that none are? Hooper’s outrage over unequal treatment supposedly being accorded to Muslims founders on the fact that it is only Muslim groups that have declared their desire to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. We would be foolish -- suicidally so -- not to take all necessary steps to protect ourselves accordingly. If Hooper were genuinely concerned about the unfair targeting of Muslims, he could direct the efforts of his organization to making concerted efforts to work with law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists in the United States, and to turn Muslims in America away from the jihad ideology. The fact that he does nothing toward either of these ends, and instead raises false Constitutional specters against genuine efforts to protect this country from a catastrophic attack, speaks volumes. There is no Constitutional right to harbor radioactive material. This monitoring should continue.

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Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of five books, seven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). He is also an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

John J. Miller: Xmas in Narnia

December 22, 2005, 8:47 a.m.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Aslanmas?

If ever there were a case for taking Christ out of Christmas, it's arguably in Narnia.

There is no Christ in Narnia — there is only Aslan, the lion who dies for the sins of others and returns in glorious triumph. So instead of Christmas, shouldn't the Narnians celebrate Aslanmas? And shouldn't Lewis have left Father Christmas out of his books entirely?

This is more than just a rose-by-any-other-name semantic dispute, because it goes to the heart of a fundamental criticism that many people level at The Chronicles of Narnia: The books are full of maddening inconsistencies.

When we first encounter Narnia in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, for example, we learn that a permanent winter has descended upon the land. This creates a problem later in the story, as Leland Ryken and Marjorie Lamp Mead describe in their new book, A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe:

Another friend [of Lewis's], poet Ruth Pitter, recalled with pleasure her good-natured "win" over Lewis, when she caught him in a textual error in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: where did the beavers obtain certain foodstuffs (e.g., potatoes, flour, sugar, oranges, milk) for the dinner they provided for the Pevensie children, given that it was winter and (by Lewis's own setup of the story) no foreign trade was allowed? According to Pitter's memory of the conversation, Lewis had no answer and was "stumped."

Maybe the food was smuggled into Narnia from Calormen, a country to the south. But that's pure speculation. And even if this were the case, it is a flaw on the part of Lewis: A good story doesn't create puzzles for readers; it answers questions before they're even asked. Lewis is perhaps under a special obligation to explain the food, given that the feast with the beavers is one of the most sensual passages in the book. Where did those big rodents get their chow?

The beavers create other problems as well. "There's never been any of your race here before," says Mr. Beaver to the Pevensie kids. As we learn later in the series, however, this isn't true. Perhaps this can be chalked up to Mr. Beaver not knowing any better. Yet his statement is actually the result of Lewis not knowing any better. When he started writing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, he did not plan to compose six sequels. Later books suffer from some near-sightedness that found its way into the first one.

Gee, Toto, I Don't Think We're in Middle Earth

Narnia simply wasn't prepared with the meticulous attention to detail that J. R. R. Tolkien lavished upon to Middle Earth. And Tolkien famously criticized Narnia as an awkward mishmash of a world. It must have pained him to do so: He and Lewis were not only colleagues at Oxford, but also personal friends. Tolkien played a key role in Lewis's decision to become a Christian, in what is probably one of the most significant conversions of the 20th century. The author of The Lord of the Rings might not have finished his own masterpiece but for Lewis's unflagging enthusiasm and encouragement. So he probably would have liked to return the favor and cheer on Lewis in the writing of Narnia. Yet Tolkien was a relentlessly honest man and he could not hide his antipathy for the Narnian project: "I hear you've been reading Jack's children's story," he told a mutual friend. "It really won't do, you know!" (To his buddies, Lewis was known as "Jack.")

Perhaps Tolkien was jealous that Lewis could whip out seven books in seven years — the man wrote at a delirious speed, and Tolkien couldn't have kept pace even if he had tried. Yet his critique of Narnia contains both substance and merit. Tolkien believed that Lewis veered too close to Christian allegory. Lewis denied this, calling his tales suppositions: "Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would have happened."

Maybe you have to be an English major to care about the difference between an allegory and a supposition. Tolkien's primary objection to Narnia, however, raised another issue entirely. He thought that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was an irritating blend of different cultural traditions: centaurs and fauns from the Greeks, dwarves from the Norse, and so on. And that's even before we get to this strange business about Jesus, Aslan, and Father Christmas.

Lewis was a great borrower, and it drove Tolkien bonkers. In Perelandra, a science-fiction book published in 1943, Lewis makes a reference to "Numinor." This was meant as a kind of tribute to Tolkien, who wrote of the "Numenor," which was a kingdom of Middle Earth. Note the slightly different spelling, which may be the result of Lewis being sloppy or thinking the word's root was "numinous." Whatever the case, it was not in keeping with Tolkien the philologist's carefully crafted linguistics. It was a dabbler's error, the sort of dumb blunder that Tolkien strove to banish from Middle Earth.

The Numenor-Numinor controversy is of course an exceedingly small thing for casual readers of Tolkien and Lewis. The introduction of Father Christmas into The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, on the other hand, is obvious and jarring, even if you don't compose elaborate letters from Father Christmas every year (as Tolkien did). Shouldn't St. Nick just stay on our side of the wardrobe?


Perhaps. But he does play an important role in Narnia. Lewis has a wonderful line early in the book about how the White Witch has made it "always winter but never Christmas." If we cross out the Christmas half of it, the line doesn't carry nearly half the punch: the witch doesn't seem nearly so terrible, nor does the plight of the Narnians seem quite so grave. That's especially true for children, for whom Christmas is a time of magical importance. And the arrival of Father Christmas presents the first clear evidence that the tables have turned against the witch. "I've come at last," he says to the Pevensie kids. "She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The witch's magic is weakening." With that, the spell over Narnia begins to break.

It is of course possible that Lewis might have accomplished the same trick, from a narrative standpoint, without importing Father Christmas. It is also perfectly legitimate to stand with Tolkien and declare that Father Christmas has absolutely no business sledding around a fantasy world in which there is an Aslan but not a Christ. But perhaps this misses the point. The Chronicles of Narnia, after all, are written for children. My own kids love the Father Christmas scene, and I suspect that on some level they grasp its real meaning. To say that it doesn't belong in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is to argue against the actual experience of countless readers who also have enjoyed it and grasped it. In the end, it may in fact be a very grown-up kind of critique — sober and logical, but blind to the imaginative sensibilities of kids. Can you picture an 8-year-old who would care about the spelling of Numenor/Numinor? That's a discussion for adults — and even then, only for adults of a very certain type. Narnia, by contrast, is a great big fantasy playground — and as Lewis makes clear throughout the Chronicles, grown ups can't go there. So maybe Father Christmas is a kid thing, and you just wouldn't understand.

So is it Christmas or Aslanmas in Narnia? Maybe we should just leave it a mystery, like the beaver's food. Or we could call it Xmas, using "X" in the algebraic sense of "solve for X." But let's remember that most kids don't like algebra either.

If you've made it this far, it probably means that you haven't yet suffered from Narnia fatigue. Here are three other pieces I've written for NRO on C.S. Lewis and Narnia: a general appreciation, an argument on the order in which the Narnian books ought to be read, and first impressions of the new movie.

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

Western Muslims' Racist Rape Spree

By Sharon Lapkin
December 27, 2005

In Australia, Norway, Sweden and other Western nations, there is a distinct race-based crime in motion being ignored by the diversity police: Islamic men are raping Western women for ethnic reasons. We know this because the rapists have openly declared their sectarian motivations.

When a number of teenage Australian girls were subjected to hours of sexual degradation during a spate of gang rapes in Sydney that occurred between 1998 and 2002, the perpetrators of these assaults framed their rationale in ethnic terms. The young victims were informed that they were “sluts” and “Aussie pigs” while they were being hunted down and abused.

In Australia's New South Wales Supreme Court in December 2005, a visiting Pakistani rapist testified that his victims had no right to say no, because they were not wearing a headscarf. And earlier this year Australians were outraged when Lebanese Sheik Faiz Mohammed gave a lecture in Sydney where he informed his audience that rape victims had no one to blame but themselves. Women, he said, who wore skimpy clothing, invited men to rape them.

A few months earlier, in Copenhagen, Islamic mufti and scholar, Shahid Mehdi created uproar when – like his peer in Australia – he stated that women who did not wear a headscarf were asking to be raped.

And with haunting synchronicity in 2004, the London Telegraph reported that visiting Egyptian scholar Sheik Yusaf al-Qaradawi claimed female rape victims should be punished if they were dressed immodestly when they were raped. He added, “For her to be absolved from guilt, a raped woman must have shown good conduct.”

In Norway and Sweden, journalist Fjordman warns of a rape epidemic. Police Inspector Gunnar Larsen stated that the steady increase of rape-cases and the link to ethnicity are clear, unmistakable trends. Two out of three persecutions for rape in Oslo are immigrants with a non-Western background and 80 percent of the victims are Norwegian women.

In Sweden, according to translator for Jihad Watch, Ali Dashti, “Gang rapes, usually involving Muslim immigrant males and native Swedish girls, have become commonplace.” A few weeks ago she said, “Five Kurds brutally raped a 13-year-old Swedish girl.”

In France, Samira Bellil broke her silence – after enduring years of repeated gang rapes in one of the Muslim populated public housing projects – and wrote a book, In the hell of the tournantes, that shocked France. Describing how gang rape is rampant in the banlieues, she explained to Time that, “any neighborhood girl who smokes, uses makeup or wears attractive clothes is a whore.”

Unfortunately, Western women are not the only victims in this epidemic. In Indonesia, in 1998, human rights groups documented the testimony of over 100 Chinese women who were gang raped during the riots that preceded the fall of President Suharto. Many of them were told: “You must be raped, because you are Chinese and non-Muslim.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that in April 2005, a 9-year-old Pakistani girl was raped, beaten with a cricket bat, hanged upside down from the ceiling, had spoonfuls of chillies poured into her mouth, and repeatedly bashed while handcuffed. Her Muslim neighbours told her they were taking revenge for the American bombing of Iraqi children and informed her they were doing it because she was an “infidel and a Christian.”

In Sudan – where Arab Muslims slaughter black Muslim and Christian Sudanese in an ongoing genocide – former Sudanese slave and now a human rights’ activist Simon Deng says he witnessed girls and women being raped and that the Arab regime of Khartoum sends its soldiers to the field to rape and murder. In other reports, women who are captured by government forces are asked; “Are you Christian or Muslim?” and those who answer Christian, are gang raped before having their breasts cut off.

This phenomenon of Islamic sexual violence against women should be treated as the urgent, violent, repressive epidemic it is. Instead, journalists, academics, and politicians ignore it, rationalize it, or ostracize those who dare discuss it. In Australia, when journalist Paul Sheehan reported honestly on the Sydney gang rapes, he was called a racist and accused of stirring up anti-Muslim hatred. And when he reported in his Sydney Morning Herald column that there was a high incidence of crime amongst Sydney’s Lebanese community, fellow journalist, David Marr sent him an e-mail stating, “That is a disgraceful column that reflects poorly on us all at the Herald.”

Keysar Trad, vice-president of the Australian Lebanese Muslim Association said the gang rapes were a “heinous” crime but complained it was “rather unfair” that the ethnicity of the rapists had been reported.

Journalist Miranda Devine reported during the same rape trials that all reference to ethnicity had been deleted from the victim impact statement because the prosecutors wanted to negotiate a plea bargain. So when Judge Megan Latham declared, “There is no evidence before me of any racial element in the commission of these offences,” everyone believed her. And the court, the politicians and most of the press may as well have raped the girls again.

Retired Australian detective Tim Priest warned in 2004 that the Lebanese gangs, which emerged in Sydney in the 1990s – when the police were asleep – had morphed out of control. “The Lebanese groups,” he said, “ were ruthless, extremely violent, and they intimidated not only innocent witnesses, but even the police that attempted to arrest them.”

Priest describes how in 2001, in a Muslim dominated area of Sydney two policemen stopped a car containing three well-known Middle Eastern men to search for stolen property. As the police carried out their search they were physically threatened and the three men claimed they were going to track them down, kill them and then rape their girlfriends. According to Priest, it didn’t end there. As the Sydney police called for backup the three men used their mobile phones to call their associates, and within minutes, 20 Middle Eastern men arrived on the scene. They punched and pushed the police and damaged state vehicles. The police retreated and the gang followed them to the police station where they intimidated staff, damaged property and held the police station hostage.

Eventually the gang left, the police licked their wounds, and not one of them took action against the Middle Eastern men. Priest claims, “In the minds of the local population, the police are cowards and the message was, 'Lebanese [Muslim gangs] rule the streets.'”

In France, in the banlieues, where gang rape is now known simply as tournantes or ‘pass-around,’ victims know the police will not protect them. If they complain, Samir Bellil said, they know that they and their families will be threatened.

However, Muslim women in the French ghettos are finally fighting back against gang rape and police non-action. They have begun a movement called, “We’re neither whores nor doormats.” They are struggling against the intrinsic violence that plagues their neighbourhoods and the culture that condones it. In most French prosecutions, the Muslim rapists state that they do not believe they have committed a crime. And in a frightening parallel with the gang rapists in Australia, they claim the victim herself is to blame and accuse her of being a “slut” or a “whore.”

According to The Guardian, during the recent French riots, a Saudi Prince with shares in News Corporation boasted to a conference in Dubai that he had phoned Rupert Murdoch and complained about Fox News describing the disturbances as “Muslim riots.” Within half an hour he said, it was changed to “civil riots.”

Swedish translator, Ali Dashti, stated that in Sweden when three men raped a 22-year-old woman recently, they said one word to her. “Whore.” Such stories, according to Dashti, are in the Swedish newspapers every week. And, the politically correct “take great care not to mention the ethnic background of the perpetrators.” Sweden’s English newspaper The Local reported in July that Malmo police commander Bengt Lindström had been charged with inciting racial hatred. He sent e-mails from his home computer to two city officials. To the head of healthcare, he wrote: “You...treat old Swedes who have worked hard building up the fatherland like parasites and would rather give my taxes to criminals called Mohammed from Rosengärd.”

In Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden, the police have admitted, Dashti says, that they no longer control the city. “It is effectively ruled by violent gangs of Muslim immigrants.”
Ambulance personnel are regularly attacked and spat upon and are now refusing to help until a police escort arrives. The police are too afraid to enter parts of the city without backup.

In early 2005, Norwegian newspapers reported that Oslo had recorded the highest ever number of rape cases in the previous twelve months. However, Fjordman explained, the official statistics contained no data regarding “how immigrants were grossly over represented in rape cases”, and the media remain so strangely silent. Oslo Professor of Anthropology, Unni Wikan, said Norwegian women must take responsibility for the fact that Muslim men find their manner of dress provocative. And since these men believe women are responsible for rape, she stated, the women must adapt to the multicultural society around them.

The BBC pulled a documentary scheduled for screening in 2004, after police in Britain warned it could increase racial tension. “In these exceptional circumstances... Channel 4 as a responsible broadcaster has agreed to the police’s request...” The documentary was to show how Pakistani and other Muslim men sexually abused young, white English girls as young as 11.

The number of rapes committed by Muslim men against women in the last decade is so incredibly high that it cannot be viewed as anything other than culturally implicit behaviour. It is overtly reinforced and sanctioned by Islamic religious leaders who blame the victims and excuse the rapists.

In three decades of immigration into Western countries, Islam has caused social upheaval and havoc in every one of its host countries. No other immigration program has encountered the problems of non-assimilation and religious ambiguity. Everywhere in the world, Muslims are in conflict with their neighbours. And as Mark Steyn recently said, every conflict appears to have originated by someone with the name of Mohammed.

In July 2005, Melbourne Sheik Mohammad Omran told Sixty Minutes that “...we believe we have more rights than you because we choose Australia to be our home and you didn’t. “In the same interview visiting Sheik Khalid Yasin warned “There’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend, so a non-Muslim could be your associate but they can't be a friend. They're not your friend because they don't understand your religious principles and they cannot because they don't understand your faith.”

Despite being told over and over by Islamic scholars, and witnessing massive influxes of Islamic crime, Western countries continue to believe in the reality of assimilation and moral relativism.

In Australia, Lebanese Christians have assimilated and become a respected part of our community. The Premier of Victoria is a Lebanese Christian as is the Governor Of New South Wales. However, Lebanese Muslims have encountered serious problems because of their refusal to accept our right to live our way of life. Nothing so clearly demonstrates that it is not an issue of race — but of culture.

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Sharon Lapkin is a former Australian Army Officer and a postgraduate student at the University of Melbourne.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

From Touchstone Magazine's "Daily Reflections":

Saturday, December 24

Hebrews 1:1-14: Today's Gospel from Matthew calls Jesus "Emmanuel," which means "God with us," and in the very last verse of that gospel Jesus promises to be with us all days, even to the end of the world. The mystery of the Incarnation implies that God is permanently with us. The permanence of what God has wrought in Christ is a major thesis of this first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which stresses the theme in a series of contrasts.

First, the permanence, the ultimacy, the absolute finality of God's revelation in Jesus is contrasted with the previous and partial revelation of God in the ancient prophets. In times past, says the Sacred Text, God spoke in fragmentary and varied ways, but in these last of days He has spoken to us by a Son.

Second, the permannence of Jesus is contrasted withose mutable, those come-and-go revelations of God in His angels. In verse 7 the angels are called "winds" and "flames of fire," but the next verse addresses the Son like this: "Your throne, O God, stands forever and ever."

Third, the permanence of Jesus is contrasted with the heavens themselves and the earth on which we stand: "They will perish . . . You will roll them up like a cloak, like a garment they will be changed." But speaking to Christ, the author constrasts such fugacity with the eternal stability of God's Son: "You remain . . . You are the same, and Your years will have no end." Later on, this same epistle will speak of "Jesus Christ, yesterday, today, and forever."

This book, like all the New Testament, was composed during a period of great political stability, but in almost every other way that era was marked by instability and mediocrity. For instance, we may contrast the shallow theater of that age with what had been accomplished centuries before by Sophocles and his friends. We may observe the disparity of the philosophical climate of this period with the robust thought of preceding centuries in which Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle had addressed humanity.

The age in which the New Testament was composed was an age in search of a ground on which to set its feet, and age in quest of constancy and enduring substance. The philosophy of the elite at this time was Stoicism, a sophisticated pursuit of permanence within the structure of the soul itself. But the preachers of the Gospel insisted that the true source of permanence was not the human soul, but God, who made Himself available to man in Jesus Christ.

In our own age of instability and mediocrity this must also be the truth living in the consciousness of the disciples of Jesus. We possess in our hearts, and therefore we proclaim with our lips and in our lives, the true foundation and ground of our existence, that throne which endures forever and ever.

Amy Wellborn:The Dark Side of Christmas

December 22, 2005, 8:37 a.m.
A Sword Will Pierce Your Heart
The dark side of Christmas.
By Amy Wellborn

About a year ago, my husband and I traveled across the chilly cornfields of Indiana to the frigid cornfields of Ohio to have our younger son baptized.

It was not quite, but almost, spur of the moment. A bishop, an old friend of my husband's, would be visiting his mother for a few days after Christmas, and yes, he could certainly squeeze a baptism in. The parish church was available, the bishop's sister and mother would be witnesses, and there you have it: insta-baptism.

Perfect timing. A baptism is a happy occasion centered on a baby. Christmas is another happy time centered on a baby, and a fine opportunity to focus ourselves on the vaunted Real Meaning of Christmas. Babies, love, and family. Comfort, joy, and peace.

But perhaps not so fast.

The discussion about Christmas in our society is endless and loud. The self-proclaimed defenders of Christmas go about daring salespeople to wish them "Happy Holidays," boycotting businesses that sell "Holiday Trees," and reminding one and all that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

Which he is. But I say that many of the Defenders of Christmas have it almost as wrong as the secularists. Their vision of Christmas — centered on words, a rather generic baby, and nostalgic visions of families and fireplaces — actually gets no closer to the real Real Meaning of Christmas than do generic wishes for peace and joy in this holiday season.

What they forget, neglect or conveniently ignore is what we can not-too-dramatically call the Dark Side of Christmas.

The really traditional Christian remembrance of the Nativity is not about sweetness. It is about awe, fear, and trembling, and it is shot through with hints of suffering to come.

Mary, with a scandalous pregnancy. Joseph, courageous enough to take her on despite it. A birth among farm animals. The threat of death, from the very start, necessitating flight. Mary, told by the prophet Simeon that because of her son, her soul will be pierced by a sword (Luke 2:35).

We view the elements of the story in a nostalgic haze — how sweet to be born with the goats. But is it? Is it sweet? Would you want to give birth among goats?

How charming that Mary and Joseph had to wander before and after the birth of the child. Charming until you remember the reasons why, the doors shut in the face of a heavily pregnant woman, the threat of death from a jealous king.

Look at it closely, with clear eyes. At every turn in this story of this baby there is threat and fear and powers circling, attempting to strike at the light.

We might forget, we might wrap up Christmas in good cheer, but Christian tradition doesn't. It's striking that the next day — the very next day — after Christmas, the Church remembers not glad tidings, angels, and shepherd boys, but a bloody death by stoning. St. Stephen it is, the first Christian martyr.

St. Stephen is followed by St. John on December 27th, who may not have met a violent death, but who, the tradition tells us, died in a prison of sorts, in exile for his faith, far away from the "civilized" powers that had sent him there.

December 28th brings us back to babies, but with no relief — it is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, remembering the children Herod ordered slaughtered, according to Matthew's gospel, in his rabid fear of the rival king.

The message is clear and hard: Following this baby, as he reaches to us from the resin manger, looking out at us with the soft-eyed cattle and docile sheep, comes at a price.

There is an edge to Christmas, a harshness, and a different kind of promise than that implied by the easy words of peace and glad tidings. It is a mystery, all of it. The Word made flesh indeed, but into a world that was from the beginning set against it, that sought with every bit of strength at hand to stay in the darkness.
So it was that our baby's baptism was on that day, December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The heart skips a beat now. Not so fitting, perhaps, as we contemplate the lovely soft living baby being washed, but in the shadow of sorrow.

My baby's baptism in Ohio was, according to earthly judgment, a disaster. The weather was miserable, icy, and cold. No one's cameras would work. The bishop decided we might as well immerse the baby fully, which was okay with us, but turned out to be not okay with the baby, who commenced screaming his lungs out at the unexpected bath, and not okay either with the bishop's elderly mother, who was quite horrified. And circling around us the whole time was our three-year-old, who seemed to have absorbed the demons driven out of his brother during the exorcism part of the rite, and who would not, in the face of many and varied threats, be still. He raced like — yes — a demon, in and around the church, constantly, through the whole affair. I've helped out at many baptisms in my work in parish ministry but this one was, I think, the worst.

But perhaps it was more fitting than it first appears. Trivial problems, yes, but still an apt metaphor for the Christian life begun there, and yet to come for Baby Michael: not the warmth of a tidy, neat manger scene, with everyone gathered in comfort, calm, and peace, but something startling and new, a shock to the system, entered upon in a world of frustration and discord, circled by forces intent to disrupt.

Glad tidings of comfort and joy, and Merry Christmas indeed. But without awareness of the risk of discipleship, and the reality that the baby in the manger ends up hanging on a cross, those words have about as little power to change the world as "Happy Holidays."

Amy Welborn is the author of 12 books, most recently of The Catholic Woman's Book of Days. She blogs at

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cam Edwards: PETA's Ties to Eco-Terrorism

Cam Edwards
December 23, 2005

This week’s revelation that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been the subject of an FBI investigation into the animal rights group’s possible ties to terrorism has stunned many liberals. PETA’s general counsel, Jeff Kerr, called the investigation “shocking and outrageous”, saying “it's an abuse of power by the F.B.I. when groups like Greenpeace and PETA are basically being punished for their social activism."

Two things here. First, how is PETA being punished? They’re being investigated. There’ve been no charges. There’ve been no indictments. They’re not being punished at all.

Secondly, and really the broader question: Should PETA be investigated for possible ties to terrorist groups like the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, two domestic terror groups responsible for a series of arsons, bombings, and other violent acts that have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage? Again, many liberals say no. At the popular lefty website, a front page story decried the investigation, saying “Everything that many of us consider moral (taking care of the environment, opposition to the war, freedom to speak our minds, to protest, etc.) is on the FBI's ‘there might be a terrorist connection list.” So what are the chances that the liberals are right? Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the FBI’s files on PETA. I do, however, have an internet connection. Five minutes on Google can get you some pretty interesting information.

Did you know, for example, that PETA gave $1500 to the Earth Liberation Front back in 2001? That would be the same Earth Liberation Front recently described as one of the nation’s top domestic terror threats. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, this “gift” (acknowledged in PETA’s end of the year tax return) is the only public donation the Earth Liberation Front has received.

PETA’s tax returns show some other interesting payments as well. A $2,000 payment to a David Wilson, at the time a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front. A $5,000 payment to Joshua Harper, a self-described anarchist who faces terrorism charges for smoke bombing an insurance company with ties to a medical research firm. Harper, incidentally, denies being a terrorist. He did tell the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, however, that he has a spark of hope “"a spark of hope in every broken window, every torched police car and every mink running free as their hearts desire." He also says his ultimate goal is the “complete collapse of industrial civilization”.

Harper’s not the only animal rights extremist with a gift for eloquence. How about this quote from… well, let me wait to tell you who actually said this.

“I think it would be a great thing if, you know, all of these fast-food outlets and these slaughterhouses and these laboratories and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it's perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows, and you know everything else along the line. Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”

Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds an awful lot like an endorsement of violence. But PETA’s non-violent, so that quote couldn’t have come from one of its leaders, right? Wrong. Those are the words of Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s Director of Vegan Outreach. But hey, this is just one guy. Surely this attitude isn’t common at PETA, right? Well, here’s another quote, this time from PETA’s head, Ingrid Newkirk.

“We are complete press sluts.”

Whoops. Wrong quote, although she did say that in the New Yorker magazine back in 2003. This is the quote I was looking for.

“I will be the last person to condemn ALF.”

She’s right. PETA doesn’t condemn the Animal Liberation Front. In fact, Newkirk has written a gushing biography of the terrorist group entitled “Free the Animals”. She’s provided financial support for the ALF publication No Compromise. PETA has, over the years, compared ALF to the French Resistance, called the terrorist group the “army of the kind”, and has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the defense funds of ALF members charged with crimes.

In fact, Newkirk herself ended up as a footnote in the trial of Rodney Coronado, an ALF member convicted of firebombing a laboratory at Michigan State University. Newkirk received two packages from Coronado, one the day before the bombing, the other shortly afterwards. The second package was actually intercepted by the FBI. Inside the package were documents stolen from the lab. U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer said Newkirk had “arranged to have the package[s] delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.”

Again, you don’t need to have a top secret clearance to learn these things. You just need to do some digging on the internet. After learning these facts, I’m not “shocked and appalled” that the FBI is investigating a possible tie between PETA and eco-terrorists. I’d be shocked and appalled if the government wasn’t looking into PETA.

I’ve been fortunate enough to write a few columns on the animal rights extremists for, and after every one I always get a few emails from people criticizing me for writing about these organizations. They’d rather I highlight the positive stories of animal lovers, of which there are many. I’ll make these folks a deal. As soon as I start seeing some of these animal lovers renounce PETA, ALF, and others who condone violent terrorist actions, I’ll write a nice story about an animal lover. If not, I’ve got a great story in the pipeline about a number of animal rights extremists recently arrested in New Jersey, including one guy facing charges of “making a terrorist threat”. The peaceful, nonviolent activists strike again.

Cam Edwards is the host of “Cam and Company” on and Sirius Satellite Radio. A veteran talk show host and political analyst, he also blogs at .

Charles Krauthammer: Impeachment Nonsense

December 23, 2005
Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- 2005 was already the year of the demagogue, having been dominated for months by the endlessly echoed falsehood that the president ``lied us into war.'' But the year ends with yet another round of demagoguery.

Administration critics, political and media, charge that by ordering surveillance on communications of suspected al Qaeda agents in the United States, the president had clearly violated the law. Some even suggest that Bush has thereby so trampled the Constitution that impeachment should now be considered. (Barbara Boxer, Jonathan Alter, John Dean and various luminaries of the left have already begun floating the idea.) The braying herds have already concluded, Tenet-like, that the president's actions were slam-dunk illegal. It takes a superior mix of partisanship, animus and ignorance to say that.

Does the president have the constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches against suspected foreign agents in the United States? George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr (one critic calls him the man who ``literally wrote the book on government seizure of electronic evidence'') finds ``pretty decent arguments'' on both sides but his own conclusion is that Bush's actions were ``probably constitutional.''

In 1972, the Supreme Court required the president to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on domestic groups, but specifically declined to apply this requirement to snooping on foreign agents. Four appeals courts have since upheld presidential authority for such warrantless searches. Not surprisingly, the executive branch has agreed.

True, Congress tried to restrict this presidential authority with the so-called FISA law of 1978. It requires that warrants for wiretapping of enemy agents in the U.S. be obtained from a secret court. But as John Schmidt, associate attorney general in the Clinton administration, writes: ``Every president since FISA's passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act's terms.'' Indeed, Clinton's own deputy attorney general testified to Congress that ``the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes,'' then noted a few minutes later that ``courts have made no distinction between electronic surveillances and physical searches.''

Presidents always jealously guard executive authority. And Congress always wants to challenge the scope of that authority. This tug-of-war is a bipartisan and constant feature of the American system of separation of powers. President Bush's circumvention of the FISA law is a classic separation-of-powers dispute in the area in which these powers are most in dispute -- war powers.

Consider the War Powers Resolution passed over Nixon's veto in 1973. It restricts, with very specific timetables, the president's authority to use force. Every president since Nixon, Democrat and Republican, has regarded himself not bound by this law, declaring it an unconstitutional invasion of his authority as commander in chief.

Nor will it do to argue that the Clinton administration ultimately accepted the strictures of FISA law after a revision was passed. So what? For the last three decades, presidents have adhered to the War Powers Resolution for reasons of prudence, to avoid a constitutional fight with Congress. But they all maintained the inherent illegitimacy of the law and the right to ignore it. Similarly, Clinton's acquiescence to FISA in no way binds future executives to renounce Clinton's own claim of ``inherent authority'' to conduct warrantless searches for purposes of foreign intelligence.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales chose a different justification for these wiretaps: They were covered by the congressional resolution shortly after 9/11 authorizing the use of ``all necessary and appropriate force'' against al Qaeda. Gonzales' interpretation is based on a plurality Supreme Court opinion written by Sandra Day O'Connor that deemed legal the ``executive detention'' of U.S. citizen and enemy combatant Yaser Hamdi. ``Detention'' is an obvious element of any authorization to use force. Gonzales argues that so is gathering intelligence about the enemy's plans by intercepting his communications.

I am skeptical of Gonzales' argument -- it implies an almost limitless expansion of the idea of ``use of force'' -- while the distinguished liberal law professor, Cass Sunstein, finds it ``entirely plausible'' (so long as the wiretapping is limited to those reasonably believed to be associated with al Qaeda). Sunstein maintains that ``surveillance, including wiretapping, is reasonably believed to be an incident of the use of force'' that ``standardly occurs during war.''

Contrary to the administration, I also believe that as a matter of political prudence and comity with Congress, Bush should have tried to get the law changed rather than circumvent it. This was an error of political judgment. But that does not make it a crime. And only the most brazen and reckless partisan could pretend it is anything approaching a high crime and misdemeanor.

© 2005, Washington Post Writers Group

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Debbie Schlussel: Spielberg's Munich Pact

Debbie Schlussel
December 22, 2005

When Steven Spielberg began filming Munich in June 2004, he set the tone for his fictional movie about Israeli agents who hunted down the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the slaughter of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Spielberg abruptly stopped filming and closed up shop. Why? Because the 2004 Summer Games were happening in August, and Steven Spielberg didn’t want to upset the terrorists.

That’s what Munich is about: not upsetting the terrorists. And rolling over while they attack and kill us. In Steven Spielberg’s world, not going after terrorists brings peace. In the real world, not going after terrorists brings more bloodshed.

When Spielberg began filming in 2004, it was well known that his film was based on George Jonas’ Vengeance – a book discredited as bunk by both Israeli Mossad agents and Palestinians with actual knowledge of the events depicted. So Spielberg claimed the movie was not based on Vengeance. If it’s not based on the book, then why do the credits of this film say it is?

Spielberg lied.

But not as much as he and admittedly anti-Israel scriptwriter Tony Kushner lied in this two-and-a-half-hour-plus celluloid fairy tale. Like the book on which it’s based, Munich is long, boring, and filled with fakery.

Spielberg’s Golda Meir is unsure about going after the Munich terrorists. She wavers and constantly seeks reassurance that this is the right thing. But the real-life Golda Meir could not have been more certain and intent on killing these terrorists.

Spielberg’s “Black September” terrorist group is named after the Munich terrorists, who murdered the Israeli athletes in September. The real-life “Black September” is so named after Jordan’s massacre of 10,000 Palestinians in September 1970 – causing many Jordanian Palestinians to flee for safety in the West Bank and Israel.

Spielberg’s Palestinian terrorists have deals with CIA officials in which they are paid not to harm American diplomats. Real-life Palestinians in 1973 beat to death U.S. diplomats, like Cleo Noel and George Curtis Moore in the Sudan, with Yasser Arafat personally giving the orders. (They were tortured to death and beaten so badly, authorities could not tell which of the two was black and which was white.)

Spielberg’s Palestinian terrorists have cute, young, innocent, piano-playing daughters who will be fatherless. But he never shows the cute, young daughters of the Israeli athletes who were made fatherless – and whose fathers, unlike the Palestinian terrorists, were innocent victims with no choice in the matter.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents say bigoted things like, “The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood,” and go around killing innocent people at whim. The real-life Mossad agents who hunted the Munich terrorists went to great pains to avoid killing innocents (whether or not they were Jewish), a reason it took so many years and financial resources to get all but one of them. (Jamil Al-Gashey lives safely under the protection of the terror-state Syria.) In real-life, they killed only one innocent man whom they mistakenly believed to be a terrorist – a Moroccan waiter in Norway – for which those Mossad agents responsible were tried, convicted, and imprisoned, something that does not happen in the Spielberg version of events. Spielberg’s Mossad agents complain that Israel has no death penalty, so killing the terrorists violates Israeli law. Real-life Israel does have a death penalty for Nazi war criminals, like Eichmann, and recognized that the Munich terrorists were equally worthy.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents cry and brood a lot, unsure of themselves and why they are pursuing terrorists. Been there, seen that before – in the left-wing Israeli film Walk on Water. But it bears little resemblance to the real Mossad agents who hunted the terrorists. They were not metrosexual, sensitive guys – as badly as Spielberg and Kushner would like them to be. Like Golda Meir, they could not have been more certain of the just purpose of their mission.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents question why they should kill terrorists who murdered innocent people, when they will be replaced by other terrorists. Using that fallacious logic, why have a justice system at all? Bank robbers who go to jail will be replaced by more bank robbers. Ditto for child molesters, rapists, al-Qaeda terrorists, etc.

Then, there is something I haven’t read in other critics’ accounts of Munich – something that made me sick to my stomach. Are the lives of the innocent Israeli athletes so worthless that the scenes in which they are murdered by Palestinian terrorists are interspersed with the self-doubting Mossad agent having sex? How would Steven Spielberg like it if a loved one was shown being bludgeoned in between scenes of a law enforcement official bouncing up and down on top of the agent’s naked wife? This happens twice, the first time with a pregnant woman and a sexual position I thought was reserved for NC-17 and X-rated movies. Thanks for cheapening these murdered athletes’ lives, Spielberg.

From the beginning of this movie, the memories of these innocent victims of terrorism are desecrated, their lives morally equated with Palestinian terrorists’ lives. The work Kushner and Spielberg expended to create this undue symmetry of the asymmetrical is the hardest work they did in the entire film.

What can you expect from the man who said his meeting with Fidel Castro “was the eight most important hours of my life”?

Using voiceovers from TV and radio news accounts of the Olympic massacre, Spielberg presents the media confusion over whether the Israeli athletes and their Palestinian captors survived. Spielberg shows scenes of families of both Israeli athletes and Palestinian terrorists sobbing – as if their relatives are on equal moral footing. After it is confirmed the Israeli athletes were murdered, Spielberg uses news footage showing pictures and names of the Israeli dead. Interspersed with that, he shows Golda Meir and Israeli generals looking though photos and announcing the names of the Palestinian terrorists. They’re equal in this movie – Get it?

That’s the message of this movie: An eye for an eye doesn’t work. Instead we should just allow our enemies to take out both our eyes, with no end in sight. Israel tried Spielberg’s route, and the country’s experience was just the opposite of Spielberg’s message.

When Israel won the Yom Kippur War, when it hunted down the Olympic terrorists, when it invaded Lebanon and had Yasser Arafat in its sites in Beirut, the world respected Israel – and so did its Islamic enemies. And terrorist attacks stopped or slowed. When Israel showed weakness – signing empty peace treaties, like Oslo; pulling out of Southern Lebanon in an hour; and giving away Gaza – the world disdained Israel, and so did the Palestinian terrorists. That's when the terrorist attacks acceleterated. Many more Israelis have been murdered and maimed in the twelve years after the Oslo accords than in the twelve years before.

In Munich, repeated scenes of the Israeli athletes being taken hostage by the Palestinian terrorists show a poster of Masada in the background at their Olympic quarters. Masada was a famous mountain fortress in Israel, where ancients Jews made their last heroic stand against the Romans. Masada became a symbol of Jewish heroism that inspired the imagination and spirit of the founders of Israel.

But the symbolism of the Masada poster is lost on Spielberg. In his Munich vision of the world, he doesn’t want a heroic last stand against terrorists. He just wants us to roll over and die without a fight.

Steven Spielberg built tremendous political capital with the making of Schindler’s List. But he blew it all on Munich. And he just wrote his epitaph with it.
There are a lot of people named Abu in this film – Abu Youssef, Abu Salameh, etc. But the biggest Abu is the one in the credits, Abu Spielberg – Minister of Disinformation.

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