Friday, May 20, 2005

Don Feder: Buchanan's Moral Confusion

By Don Feder May 20, 2005

The intellectual unraveling of Pat Buchanan is a sad sight. A decade ago, his writing was so incisive. He spoke with clarity and authority. At the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, Pat issued a clarion call, when he told delegates: "There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself."

Thirteen years later, Pat Buchanan has turned into a gloomy, muttering, obsessive crank. Today, he reminds me of nothing so much as the great Russell Kirk’s description of libertarians: "carping sectarians." On foreign policy, Buchanan has gone so far off the deep end that even Jacques Cousteau couldn’t find him.

Still, I didn’t understand the full extent of Pat’s moral confusion until I read his column of May 11, 2005. ("Was World War II Worth It?") Although he doesn’t have the courage to come right out and say it, the clear implication of the column is – no.

The occasion for Pat’s rambling revisionism was Bush’s visit to Moscow and appearance with ex-KGB apparatchik Vladimir Putin, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Putin (who’s still a Communist at heart) had the chutzpah to claim, "Our people not only defended their homelands, they liberated 11 European countries." (And did the Mongol Horde liberate 13th century Russia?)

President Bush put the matter in perspective, when he observed that, "V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but not of oppression…The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs in history."

Like yelling at the addled uncle who once took a blow to the head, the whole thing set Pat off. "If Yalta was a betrayal of small nations as immoral as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, why do we venerate Churchill and FDR?" Pat asks rhetorically.

"If the West went to war to stop Hitler from dominating Eastern Europe and Central Europe, and Eastern and Central Europe ended up under a tyranny even more odious, as Bush implies, did Western Civilization win the war?"

That's not what Bush implied. It’s what Buchanan believes.

On what basis? Were gulags worse than Auschwitz? Was the Katyan Forest worse than the slaughter of 100,000 Kiev Jews at Bari Yar? Were the deaths of several million Ukrainians worse than the Holocaust? Admittedly, in the century past, the Communists racked up a higher body count. But they had 70 years to work on it (in the case of China, North Korea and Cuba, it’s an on-going project), compared to the 12-year Reich.

Perhaps Pat has a magical calculator for figuring the sum of oppression, torture, and mass murder. I don’t know how he reached his conclusion, unless – as I suspect – he cares about the victims of the Red terror but is blasé about graves dug by the Swastika.

Again, Buchanan writes: "If the objective of the West was the destruction of Nazi Germany, it was a ‘smashing’ success. But why destroy Hitler? [Pat really puzzles over this one. – DF] If to liberate Germans, it was not worth it. After all, the Germans voted Hitler (in). If to keep Hitler out of Western Europe, why declare war on him and draw him into Western Europe? If it was to keep Hitler out of Central and Eastern Europe, then, inevitably, Stalin would inherit Central and Eastern Europe. Was that worth fighting a world war – with 50 million dead?"

I always expected an isolationist of the Left to someday make the argument that American involvement in World War II was a tragic mistake. I never thought a so-called conservative would be the first to reach that bizarre and immoral position.

Was there ever a war that solved all of a nation’s (or humanity’s) problems? Yes, Communism was still in existence in April of 1945, and in control of more territory than before the war.

But the same reasoning could be applied to any war America has waged. For instance, the Civil War was fought to free the slaves, as well as to keep the Union together. But at the end of the war, the position of African-Americans had only marginally improved. They would continue as second-class citizens for roughly another hundred years. And by the Civil War’s centennial, its wounds still weren’t healed. So – what, then? Should we have allowed the South to go its way, giving us two powerless, truncated nations instead of a United States?

What about Vietnam – the left’s favorite war-we-couldn’t-win? By the fall of Saigon, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia had slipped behind the Bamboo Curtain, and America lost more than 50,000 young men. Was it worth it? In a way, it was. By stopping the Communist advance – sapping the strength of Ho Chi Minh and his successors – we managed to keep the rest of Southeast Asia (including Indonesia and the Philippines) free.

Poland was the line drawn in the sand. Britain and France did not go to war in September of 1939 to keep the Germans out of Warsaw, but to keep Hitler and his allies Hideki Tojo and Benito Mussolini from overrunning the world. (That Churchill saw this as early as 1935 is one of many things that made him great.)

Buchanan’s analysis assumes that Hitler would have been satisfied with conquering lands in the East, if London and Paris hadn’t forced him to fight in the West. But Der Fuhrer (a veteran of 1914-1918) had always planned to knock out Russia first, and then deal with the West. He wanted living room ("lebensraum") in the East but believed he had to subdue the West to foreclose the possibility of future threats to his empire. To imagine that Nazi plans didn’t also encompass the Western Hemisphere is naïve in the extreme.

In a way, this is all irrelevant. Japan declared war on us, then sealed it with a kiss at Pearl Harbor. Hitler, who consistently underestimated the U.S., followed suit. Should America’s position have been: Well, maybe we can beat the Nazis and Japs, but then Stalin will inherit Eastern Europe, so – what the Hell? – let’s sue for peace and give the Empire of Rising Sun all of the Philippines and whatever else strikes its fancy. And perhaps Hitler will settle for Milwaukee (at least initially).

The tragedy of Yalta was that it gave Stalin’s occupation of Eastern Europe an air of legality. But by April 1945, the Red Army’s conquest of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic states, etc. was a fait accompli. What does Buchanan think the Allies should have done at that point in time – launched their exhausted armies against Stalin’s legions? Can he even remotely imagine voters in America and Britain standing for another World War, on top of the one we’d just fought, and against a regime we called our ally for the past 4 years?

Yes, it’s a pity we couldn’t send Stalin to Hell along with Hitler. (If nothing else, it would have saved us a half-century of the Cold War and tens of thousands of American deaths in Korea and Vietnam.) But that wasn’t to be, regardless of what decisions were made at Yalta.

In an interview with The Washington Times (published on May 17), Buchanan complains that he has little in common with many folks who say they’re conservatives. Buchanan: There are "a lot of people who call themselves conservatives but who, on many issues, I just don’t consider as conservative. They are big government people."

Perhaps. But then what can we say of a utopian who won’t fight unless we can assure him the outcome of a perfect world?

If there ever was a conflict worth fighting, it was World War II. If you ask the average Pole, Hungarian, Czech, or Lithuanian, they’ll probably say the same – even if they did have to endure a half-century of Communism as a result.

Buchanan owes a cosmic apology to the families of the Americans who fell at Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, and in the North African and Italian campaigns. To the survivors of Auschwitz, Dachau, and Bergen-Belsen, there’s really nothing he can say that they’d be interested in hearing.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

Bergen County Record: Springtseen Concert Review

Scaled-down Springsteen concert hits the Meadowlands

Friday, May 20, 2005
By Scott Fallon

Gone were the theatrics- the stage slides, the piano jumps.

On Thursday night at Continental Arena it was just Bruce Springsteen and his music.
Armed with only an acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano and organ, Springsteen gave a performace as powerful a performance as any he has given with the vaunted E-Street Band. It was a night where Springsteen displayed a quiet fury that hit the audience in its guts, head and heart.

He began the 25-song set playing the under-appreciated "My Beautiful Reward" on a pump organ that sounded like the equivalent of a full band. He strummed furiously as he played his new album’s title track, “Devils & Dust” - a tale of lost trust - with the Iraq War and American foreign policy as a backdrop. Springsteen acted like a crazed Pentacostal minister stomping his foot and distorting his voice during a blusey rendition of "Reason To Believe." Three songs later he joked about the trials of parenthood before launching into the touching "Long Time Comin'."

The concert was a striking departure from The Rising tour of 2003 in which Springsteen he and the E-Street Band sold out football and baseball stadiums nationwide, including an unprecedented 10-night stand at Giants Stadium. It was reminiscent of 1996's The Ghost of Tom Joad tour, the first time Springsteen set out without a rock n' roll band behind him.

About 9,000 fans packed a cordoned section of an arena that normally holds upward of 20,000 for a concert. They were treated to a side of Springsteen that is rarely accessible in large venues.
He spoke to the crowd early and often, first reminding them to turn off their cellphones. "I'd rather not sweep the chainsaw out there while my relatives are here," he joked.

Between songs he talked about the trials of parenthood, joked about how every country singer has to have a song about his mother and detailed a meeting with one of his heroes, Roy Orbison, who at the time was working on a song about a windsurfer.
"I just thought, 'That's not going to fly,'" he said to laughs. "A song about surfing maybe, but windsurfing?"

The banter aside, the night was highlighted with Springsteen's kinetic energy. Songs that may have seemed flat on "Devils & Dust" were given new life on stage. "The Hitter," which plodded along under the weight of poor production, was given a sense of immediacy with Springsteen sitting on a stool, strumming his guitar and offering a haunting narrative to take shape and have meaning. "Matamoras Bank" -- about a Mexican border jumper who dies while crossing - was given political overtones when Springsteen called for a president "with a humane immigration policy" before playing the song.

At the same venue where only three days ago noted journalist Seymour Hersh was booed for criticizing President Bush at a college commencement, Springsteen was applauded before "Matamoras Banks" and after "Devils & Dust" - his most caustic songs of the night.

Equally as important Thursday was Springsteen's reworking of his staples. "Promised Land" turned from a fist-pumping anthem into a subdued dirge as he slowed the song's pace and used the body of his guitar for percussion. "Further On Up The Road" seemed to gain snarling power that its full-band version as Springsteen pounded his aguitar as if he was trying to break it.
"It is fun and exciting playing this way," he said near the end. "And it's fun doing it with you."

My Beautiful Reward /Reason to Believe /Devils and Dust /Lonesome Day/ Long Time Comin' /Black Cowboys /The River/ Real World /Part Man Part Monkey/ All The Way Home /Nebraska /Reno /The Wish/ Paradise/ The Rising/ Further On Up The Road/ Jesus Was An Only Son /Leah/ The Hitter /Matamoras Banks

ENCORE:Ramrod /I'm On Fire /Land of Hope and Dreams/ Promised Land /Dream Baby, Dream

Jonah Goldberg: A Pox on Everybody
Jonah Goldberg (archive)
May 20, 2005

This Newsweek thing has me disagreeing with everybody, even the people who say everybody's wrong.

First, the obvious: Newsweek messed up. Nobody disputes that, not even Newsweek. That in itself makes the Newsweek episode very different from the CBS "memogate" scandal. CBS stonewalled, whitewashed and distorted as much as it could at every turn. Dan Rather is still agnostic about whether those memos were real, and his former producer, Mary Mapes, is sticking to her guns like a marooned Japanese soldier looking to shoot down planes years after the war's over.

Beyond the fact that Newsweek messed up, opinions fly out in all directions. I've gotten stacks of e-mail from readers insisting that Mike Isikoff - the reporter most responsible for the mistake - is, in the words of one, an "anti-American Trotskyist." This is nonsense on stilts. Isikoff is simply a reporter, better than most, who messed up. More about the press in a moment.

Conservatives are also suddenly molly-coddling Islamic fanatics as if they can't help themselves from rioting. Look, birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, and jihadi nutbags have to riot. Such is the nature of things. Normally, conservatives grasp this - but that's when the riots are inadvertently caused by something President Bush does or says. When Newsweek accidentally causes riots, the "gotcha" logic kicks in.

Condescension toward the Muslim "street" is bipartisan. Indeed, liberals aren't saying the jihadi riots are inexcusable, they're saying the protests were justified because America is surely guilty of things just as bad. After all, freed detainees have reported that the Koran was desecrated, and we know things got pretty hardcore at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. This argument holds that because the Koran story was "fake but plausible," Bush's defenders have no right to get too righteous.

There's more than a little truth to this. (Still, the idea that a Koran-sized book could be flushed in the first place never passed the smell test; if the U.S. military has such toilets and is keeping them secret, I'm filing my FOIA request tomorrow.) America has not been playing by Queensbury rules with captured terrorists.

But there's also a heaping, steamy pile of hypocrisy here too. When "artists" dip the crucifix in urine or spackle the Virgin Mary with manure, this same crowd waxes Olympian in it haughty contempt for anybody who even complains about it. Imagine for a fraction of a second their reaction if Christians in this country broke into deadly riots over such things. If you think anybody at The Nation would pause before denouncing Christian American rioters as subhuman fanatics, you should lay off the crack.

In a recent column, David Brooks makes similar arguments about the mistakes of the left and right. But he goes too far himself when he says that ideological bias has nothing to do with Newsweek's mistakes. "Whatever might have been the cause of their mistakes, liberalism had nothing to do with it," he wrote.

I'm sorry, I don't buy this either. Newsweek has run countless stories about the alleged mistreatment of prisoners. The piece in which the Koran allegation appeared was the umpteenth iteration of the same story we've heard so many times before. Isikoff may have bollixed this story, but the fact he was still hammering away on this theme isn't irrelevant.

We are in new territory when it comes to the media's relationship with the military. During World War II, reporters happily subjected themselves to censors and wore military uniforms. Today, they agonize about whether to wear American flag pins on their lapels. In 1987, Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace openly boasted at a conference that being a journalist trumped being an American. When Wallace was asked if warning American soldiers about an imminent ambush might be a higher duty than getting 30 seconds of videotape, he snapped back: "No. You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!"

After 9/11, the president of ABC News told a roomful of journalism students that he couldn't take a position on whether the attack on the Pentagon - by thugs who butchered innocent civilians with box-cutters - was "right or wrong. . As a journalist I feel strongly that's something that I should not be taking a position on."

In the 1990s, Michael Isikoff had several of his stories famously spiked or delayed by editors at the Washington Post and Newsweek. The allegations within were explosive, but better sourced than the Koran story. But these pieces revealed President Clinton's extramarital adventures.

Why would his editors want to think twice about running them, but not the Koran story? Within 48 hours after 9/11, the news networks agreed to discontinue showing Americans leaping to their deaths from the twin towers on the grounds that it would be too disturbing for the American public. Why is disturbing the American public taboo, but disturbing our enemies around the globe OK?

Regardless, there is a way to unite rather than divide here. The one person who cannot be defended in any way is the guy who leaked the Koran story in the first place. If it were true, he'd be a jerk. That it's false makes him something even worse.

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online, a member group.
©2005 Tribune Media Services
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Ali Al-Ahmed: Hypocrisy Most Holy

Muslims should show some respect to others' religions.
The Wall Street Journal
Friday, May 20, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

With the revelation that a copy of the Quran may have been desecrated by U.S. military personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Muslims and their governments--including that of Saudi Arabia--reacted angrily. This anger would have been understandable if the U.S. government's adopted policy was to desecrate our Quran. But even before the Newsweek report was discredited, that was never part of the allegations.

As a Muslim, I am able to purchase copies of the Quran in any bookstore in any American city, and study its contents in countless American universities. American museums spend millions to exhibit and celebrate Muslim arts and heritage. On the other hand, my Christian and other non-Muslim brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia--where I come from--are not even allowed to own a copy of their holy books. Indeed, the Saudi government desecrates and burns Bibles that its security forces confiscate at immigration points into the kingdom or during raids on Christian expatriates worshiping privately.

Soon after Newsweek published an account, later retracted, of an American soldier flushing a copy of the Quran down the toilet, the Saudi government voiced its strenuous disapproval. More specifically, the Saudi Embassy in Washington expressed "great concern" and urged the U.S. to "conduct a quick investigation."

Although considered as holy in Islam and mentioned in the Quran dozens of times, the Bible is banned in Saudi Arabia. This would seem curious to most people because of the fact that to most Muslims, the Bible is a holy book. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia we are not talking about most Muslims, but a tiny minority of hard-liners who constitute the Wahhabi Sect.

The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail the arrest and deportation of many Christian worshipers every year. Just days before Crown Prince Abdullah met President Bush last month, two Christian gatherings were stormed in Riyadh. Bibles and crosses were confiscated, and will be incinerated. (The Saudi government does not even spare the Quran from desecration. On Oct. 14, 2004, dozens of Saudi men and women carried copies of the Quran as they protested in support of reformers in the capital, Riyadh. Although they carried the Qurans in part to protect themselves from assault by police, they were charged by hundreds of riot police, who stepped on the books with their shoes, according to one of the protesters.)

As Muslims, we have not been as generous as our Christian and Jewish counterparts in respecting others' holy books and religious symbols. Saudi Arabia bans the importation or the display of crosses, Stars of David or any other religious symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment. TV programs that show Christian clergymen, crosses or Stars of David are censored.

The desecration of religious texts and symbols and intolerance of varying religious viewpoints and beliefs have been issues of some controversy inside Saudi Arabia. Ruled by a Wahhabi theocracy, the ruling elite of Saudi Arabia have made it difficult for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others, as well as dissenting sects of Islam, to visibly coexist inside the kingdom.

Another way in which religious and cultural issues are becoming more divisive is the Saudi treatment of Americans who are living in that country: Around 30,000 live and work in various parts of Saudi Arabia. These people are not allowed to celebrate their religious or even secular holidays. These include Christmas and Easter, but also Thanksgiving. All other Gulf states allow non-Islamic holidays to be celebrated.

The Saudi Embassy and other Saudi organizations in Washington have distributed hundreds of thousands of Qurans and many more Muslim books, some that have libeled Christians, Jews and others as pigs and monkeys. In Saudi school curricula, Jews and Christians are considered deviants and eternal enemies. By contrast, Muslim communities in the West are the first to admit that Western countries--especially the U.S.--provide Muslims the strongest freedoms and protections that allow Islam to thrive in the West. Meanwhile Christianity and Judaism, both indigenous to the Middle East, are maligned through systematic hostility by Middle Eastern governments and their religious apparatuses.

The lesson here is simple: If Muslims wish other religions to respect their beliefs and their Holy book, they should lead by example.

Mr. al-Ahmed is director of the Saudi Institute in Washington.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Jeff Jacoby: Why Islam is Disrespected

The Boston Globe
May 19, 2005

It was front-page news this week when Newsweek retracted a report claiming that a US interrogator in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Everywhere it was noted that Newsweek's story had sparked widespread Muslim rioting, in which at least 17 people were killed. But there was no mention of deadly protests triggered in recent years by comparable acts of desecration against other religions.

No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano's ''Piss Christ" -- a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine -- was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O'Connor, appearing on ''Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.

There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph's Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred.

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers -- ''They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols" -- was any reader surprised?

The Muslim riots should have been met by outrage and condemnation. From every part of the civilized world should have come denunciations of those who would react to the supposed destruction of a book with brutal threats and the slaughter of 17 innocent people. But the chorus of condemnation was directed not at the killers and the fanatics who incited them, but at Newsweek.

From the White House down, the magazine was slammed -- for running an item it should have known might prove incendiary, for relying on a shaky source, for its animus toward the military and the war. Over and over, Newsweek was blamed for the riots' death toll. Conservative pundits in particular piled on. ''Newsweek lied, people died" was the headline on Michelle Malkin's popular website. At, Paul Marshall of Freedom House fumed: ''What planet do these [Newsweek] people live on? . . . Anybody with a little knowledge could have told them it was likely that people would die as a result of the article." All of Marshall's choler was reserved for Newsweek; he had no criticism at all for the marauders in the Muslim street.

Then there was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who announced at a Senate hearing that she had a message for ''Muslims in America and throughout the world." And what was that message? That decent people do not resort to murder just because someone has offended their religious sensibilities? That the primitive bloodlust raging in Afghanistan and Pakistan was evidence of the Muslim world's dysfunctional political culture?

No: Her message was that ''disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States."

Granted, Rice spoke while the rioting was still taking place and her goal was to reduce the anti-American fever. But what ''Muslims in America and throughout the world" most need to hear is not pandering sweet-talk. What they need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done to the Koran. It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent human beings in the name of Islam. It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole. It is trains in Madrid and schoolbuses in Israel and an ''insurgency" in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred and exhortations to ''martyrdom."

But what disgraces Islam above all is the vast majority of the planet's Muslims saying nothing and doing nothing about the jihadist cancer eating away at their religion. It is Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a pro-democracy organization, calling on Muslims and Middle Easterners to ''converge on our nation's capital for a rally against terrorism" -- and having only 50 people show up.

Yes, Islam is disrespected. That will only change when throngs of passionate Muslims show up for rallies against terrorism, and when rabble-rousers trying to gin up a riot over a defiled Koran can't get the time of day.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is

Jody K. Biehl: The Murder of a Muslim Woman

By Jody K. Biehl
Spiegel Online May 19, 2005

In the past four months, six Muslim women living in Berlin have been brutally murdered by family members. Their crime? Trying to break free and live Western lifestyles. Within their communities, the killers are revered as heroes for preserving their family dignity. How can such a horrific and shockingly archaic practice be flourishing in the heart of Europe? The deaths have sparked momentary outrage, but will they change the grim reality for Muslim women?

The shots came from nowhere and within minutes the young Turkish mother standing at the Berlin bus stop was dead. A telephone call from a relative had brought her to this cold, unforgiving place. She thought she would only be gone for a few minutes and wore a light jacket in the freezing February wind. She had left her five-year-old son asleep in his bed. He awoke looking for his mother, who, like many Turkish women in Germany, harbored a secret life of fear, courage and, ultimately, grief. Now her little boy has his own tragedy to bear: His mother, Hatin Surucu, was not the victim of random violence, but likely died at the hands of her own family in what is known as an "honor killing." Hatin's crime, it appears, was the desire to lead a normal life in her family's adopted land. The vivacious 23-year-old beauty, who was raised in Berlin, divorced the Turkish cousin she was forced to marry at age 16. She also discarded her Islamic head scarf, enrolled in a technical school where she was training to become an electrician and began dating German men. For her family, such behavior represented the ultimate shame -- the embrace of "corrupt" Western ways. Days after the crime, police arrested her three brothers, ages 25, 24 and 18. The youngest of the three allegedly bragged to his girlfriend about the Feb. 7 killing. At her funeral, Hakin's Turkish-Kurdish parents draped their only daughter's casket in verses from the Koran and buried her according to Muslim tradition. Absent of course, were the brothers, who were in jail.

The crime might be easier to digest if it had been an archaic anomaly, but five other Muslim women have been murdered in Berlin during the past four months by their husbands or partners for besmirching the family's Muslim honor. Two of them were stabbed to death in front of their young children, one was shot, one strangled and a fifth drowned. It seems hard to fathom, but in the middle of democratic Western Europe -- in Germany, a nation where pacifism is almost a universal mantra -- murderous macho patriotism not only exists but also appears to be thriving. It may even be Germany's liberalism -- and its post World War II fear of criticizing minority cultures -- that has encouraged ultra-religious families to settle here. The problem is that much of this insular and ultra-religious world is out of public view, often hidden in inner-city apartments where the most influential links to the outside world are satellite dishes that receive Turkish and Arabic television and the local mosque. Tens of thousands of Turkish women live behind these walls of silence, in homes run by husbands many met on their wedding day and ruled by the ever-present verses of the Koran. In these families, loyalty and honor are elevated virtues and women are treated little better than slaves, unseen by society and often unnoticed or ignored by their German neighbors. To get what they want, these women have to run. They have to change their names, their passports, even their hair color and break with the families they often love, but simply can no longer obey.

Precise statistics on how many women die every year in such honor killings are hard to come by, as many crimes are never reported, said Myria Boehmecke of the Tuebingen-based women's group Terre des Femmes which, among other things, tries to protect Muslim girls and women from oppressive families. The Turkish women's organization Papatya has documented 40 instances of honor killings in Germany since 1996. Examples include a Darmstadt girl whose two brothers pummelled her to death with a hockey stick in April 2004 after they learned she had slept with her boyfriend. In Augsburg in April, a man stabbed his wife and 7-year-old daughter because the wife was having an affair. In December 2003, a Tuebingen father strangled his 16-year-old daughter and threw her body into a lake because she had a boyfriend. Bullets, knives, even axes and gasoline are the weapons of choice. The crime list compiled by Papatya is an exercise in horror. And the sad part, said Boehmecke, is that it is far from complete. "We'll never really know how many victims there are. Too often these crimes go unreported." In many cases, fathers -- and sometimes even mothers -- single out their youngest son to do the killing, Boehmecke said, "because they know minors will get lighter sentences from German judges." In some cases, these boys are revered by their community and fellow inmates as "honor heroes" -- a dementedly skewed status they carry with them for the rest of their lives. Currently, six boys are serving time in Berlin's juvenile prison for honor killings. "In a way, these boys are victims, too," she said. Sometimes they are forced to kill their favorite sister.

One of the unsettling truths about Hatin's death and the plight of many Muslim women is that it took the comments of three Turkish boys and the outrage of a male school director to get people to notice. When the murder first happened, it sent no shock waves through the mainstream German press. It only became big news when a group of 14-year-old Turkish boys mocked Hatin during a class discussion at a school near the crime scene. One boy said, "She only had herself to blame," while another insisted, "She deserved what she got. The whore lived like a German." The enraged school director not only sent a letter home to parents, but also to teachers across Germany. The letter ignited a media fury. Less known, however, is that the letter also hit a nerve among educators. "Teachers from across the country wrote back saying they had had similar experiences," Boehmecke said. They reported Turkish boys taunting Turkish girls who don't wear headscarves as "German sluts." "That's the part no one has written about. Clearly there is huge potential for similar violence across Germany," Boehmecke said. "Not just in the big cities, but all over. It's a problem many politicians haven't been willing to face."

But that is not entirely true. Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the revelation that several of the 9-11 plotters lived hidden lives in the up-scale German city of Hamburg, politicians and everyday Germans have more closely scrutinized the private lives of their friendly Turkish grocers, housecleaners, taxi drivers and even colleagues. At the same time, religious Muslims tightened their ranks, becoming more protective of each other in a world increasingly fearful of and hostile toward Islam. German legislators, for their part, began rethinking the traditional delicacy with which the nation has handled its immigrants. For decades, German legislators lived under the shadow of the country's Third Reich past and the fear of appearing racist if it singled out a particular community or religion for scrutiny or special treatment. "People were afraid they would be called Nazis if they dared to bring up issues of human rights in the Turkish community," said Serap Cileli, a Turkish author and filmmaker who at 15 was forced into an arranged marriage.

When Cileli fell in love with another Turkish man and threatened to break free, her mother came to Turkey, kidnapped her two children and took them to Germany. She then gave Cileli an ultimatum: give up the lover or never see the kids again. At first Cileli chose the kids and a life in Germany. But unlike many other stories, hers has a happy ending -- the lover later followed her to Germany and, after an enormous struggle with her family, the pair married and now live together with her children. She has written prodigiously about her experiences and now helps Turkish women escape oppressive families.

For the greater part of a decade, however, Cileli was unable to find a publisher for her work. "Everything I wrote from 1994 to 1999 was rejected, even by newspapers," she said. "They told me I was writing about a minority issue and they were afraid of appearing racist." That changed following Sept. 11, she said, when suddenly the hidden lives of Muslims became a hot topic and her writing and views are now widely published and even translated into her native Turkish.

Last year, a virtual tectonic shift occurred when Germany -- long considered a Mecca of religious tolerance by Muslims -- took its first step toward enforced secularism. Five of the nation's 16 states voted to ban teachers and other public officials from wearing headscarves to work. In October, after much lobbying, Turkish women's groups scored a coup when the government passed a law making it illegal for parents to force their children to marry. Turkey, a secular Muslim state, has long had such a law. The November murder in neighboring Holland of filmmaker Theo van Gogh -- who was shot and stabbed to death by an Islamic extremist angry over his depiction of the violence inflicted on Muslim women in forced marriages -- galvanized the Netherlands and sent shock waves across Europe. As a result, Germans, too, began to take a second look at the 3.2 million immigrants -- 2.5 million of whom are Turkish -- living among them and to talk about the serious flaws of the nation's 1960's immigration policies. The program brought thousands of Turkish workers to Germany, but provided no real means of integrating the Muslim Turks or helping them understand Western concepts like individualism, human rights and equality. Now, Cileli said, perhaps, honor killings and other horrors experienced by Muslim women will finally be given the scrutiny they have long deserved.

Frightened for their lives

The new laws are a vital step toward empowerment, said Cileli, but unfortunately, the corpses of disobedient women offer a more compelling reason for many young women to stay put. Plus, she said, laws don't take into account the psychological terror under which the women live. "These girls are frightened for their lives," she said. "If they do manage to get away, it would be an illusion to say the girls would run to the police." Besides, laws only cover civil marriages -- not religious ones. In many cases, families force their young daughters into Muslim weddings at very young ages (sometimes as early as 12 years old) and then only unite the couple civilly when the girls turn 18. Though subtle, evidence of the seclusion in which religious Muslim women live in Germany abounds. Turkish tea rooms are often packed with men, while women are often at home caring for children. They rarely can be seen on the streets alone after dark. At a memorial vigil held a few weeks after Hatin's death, a mere 120 people showed up. Almost none were Turkish. In fact, most were from a lesbian and gay organization that -- outraged by the crime -- organized the make-shift ceremony.

The ceremony underscored another disturbing reality: It is often not the Muslim community that first expresses outrage over how its women live, but those on the outside. "It's often very frustrating for us that more doesn't come from within," Boehmecke said. "We've been trying to bring attention to the plight of women for years, but with little success." Cileli sees it in harsher terms. "It not only took the death of a white man" for people to prick up their ears, she said, but of a "white European" man (van Gogh). "A European was killed because he defended us -- and the world press stood up to listen. But how many women died before him?"

A statistical black hole

Astonishingly, the first extensive data the German government collected about the lives of Turkish women was published last summer, as part of a study done by the Ministry for Family Affairs. The study showed that 49 percent of Turkish women said they had experienced physical or sexual violence in their marriage. One fourth of those married to Turkish husbands said they met their grooms on their wedding day. Half said they were pressured to marry partners selected by relatives and 17 percent felt forced into such partnerships. So far, the Turkish community has been sluggish in its response to such data and even to the question of honor killings. But last week -- about three weeks after Hatin's death and under heavy pressure from activists -- the Turkish Association of Berlin and Brandenburg held a round table discussion about the plight of Muslim women. At the talks, the group issued a 10-point plan calling for a "zero tolerance" stance on violence against women and encouraged other Turkish and Islamic organizations to "actively recognize" and address the problem.

Will it help? Because the group is secular, it will likely have little sway with deeply religious Turks. "The truth is, we can't reach those who aren't interested," the group's spokesman, Cumali Kangal, conceded.

The response among Germany's devout Muslims is equally tough to gauge as there is no single organization the community looks to for leadership. Instead, the community is divided into about three dozen groups, each with its own leadership. Ali Kizilkaya, the chairman of the Council of Islam, one of the largest umbrella organizations, has decried Hatin's murder as "an abuse and affront to the Muslim religion." He insists Islam does not condone honor killings.

But try telling that, said Boehmecke, to the hoards of young boys who taunt Turkish girls in schools and their families who tacitly encourage such behavior. Educators at the grassroots say their numbers are rising, she says. Indeed, the German weekly Die Zeit reports that the percent of schoolgirls wearing headscarves in the Berlin district where Hatin was killed has gone from virtually none to about 40 percent in the past three years. Which one of today's smiling schoolgirls, Boehmecke wonders, will be next year's victim of honor?

Suzanne Fields: Lessons From Ancient White Males
Suzanne Fields (archive)
May 19, 2005

Like Rodney Dangerfield, the humanities in Washington "don't get no respect." Not as much as they should, anyway. We're a company town and the company makes politics. But like a blind squirrel who finds an acorn once in a while, politicians and the journalists who cover them gather occasionally with others who crave more profundity than the noise in political rhetoric to listen to the annual Jefferson Lecture.

The lecture is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Established in 1972, it's delivered by a distinguished intellectual honored for his public achievement, the highest honor the federal government bestows in the humanities.

This year Donald Kagan, Sterling professor of Classics and History at Yale, followed David McCullough, Walker Percy, Saul Bellow and Robert Penn Warren to deliver the 34th annual Jefferson Lecture, and he declined to patronize politicians with insecure egos.

"In Defense of History" was not for faint-hearted liberals, or politically correct journalists. It was filled with big ideas that sprang from the minds of the dead white males so enthusiastically trashed on the modern campus. Anyone who wants to be up to speed on the importance of the classical Greek historians, tragedians and philosophers can read it at

The professor, who has been described as "a combination of John Wayne and Winston Churchill," lives up to both, shooting from the hip and hitting his targets with rare eloquence, teaching and provoking. As a cultural conservative, he dares to attack the post-modern mindlessness that can pass for academic thought in the teaching of literature, philosophy and history. This pervades the political culture in Washington as well as the campus lecture hall. He's eager for us to understand that what we call "liberal studies" should be essential reading for every citizen of democracy, mechanic as well as minister, plumber as well as professor, with the challenge to aim for the highest public and private aspirations.

"The training of the intellect was meant to produce an intrinsic pleasure and satisfaction, but it also had practical goals of importance to the individual and the entire community, to make the humanistically trained individuals eloquent and wise, to know what is good and to practice virtue, both in private and public life," he says. This is ought to rattle the bones of everyone on Capitol Hill.

"Such was the understanding of the ancient Greeks and of the Renaissance humanists," he continues, "but not, I fear of many teachers of the humanities today, who deny the possibility of knowing anything with confidence, of the reality of such concepts as truth and virtue, who seek only gain and pleasure in the modern guise of political power and self-gratification as the ends of education."

A critic for The Washington Post inevitably sniffs that these ideas are "boilerplate," a cheap appeal to the neocons in power in Washington who criticize multiculturarists and academic deconstructionists on college campuses. But the professor speaks with experience in the culture wars. He has been a professor at Yale for 36 years, and lost a major battle a decade ago when Yale returned a $20 million gift to set up an interdisciplinary program for the study of Western civilization, which he thought would counter the "politically correct opinion" pervasive on campus. He saw it as a substantial loss for everyone. "Even if we conservatives are all stupid, crazy and ill-informed," he told the Yale alumni magazine, "we have the absolute value of providing an alternative to what students are being told by everyone else and helping them see through the cant."

You won't find many politicians or policymakers in Washington rushing out to Borders or Barnes & Noble to find one of Don Kagan's books on the Greeks, and that's too bad because they could find needed lessons. In trenchant analyses of the ancient Greeks at war, which run to many volumes, he dissects the interplay of circumstance and choice, the relationship of leadership to preparedness, the interaction of personality and politics. "The Peloponnesian War was not caused by impersonal forces unless anger, fear, undue optimism, stubbornness, jealousy, bad judgment, lack of foresight are impersonal forces," he writes. "It was caused by men who made bad decisions in difficult circumstances."

Don Kagan counts Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and Otto von Bismarck among his heroes. At Yale he assigns his students to form a "hoplite phalanx," the famous strategic lines of ancient armies that allowed each soldier to lean right to cover his unprotected side with the shield beside him. It's not modern warfare, but it shows how a man depends on the guy next to him. Take note, Don Rumsfeld: Technology changes, but not the lessons of history.

©2005 Tribune Media Services
Contact Suzanne Fields Read Fields's biography

Ann Coulter: Newsweek Dissembled, Muslims Dismembered!
Ann Coulter (archive)
May 18, 2005

When ace reporter Michael Isikoff had the scoop of the decade, a thoroughly sourced story about the president of the United States having an affair with an intern and then pressuring her to lie about it under oath, Newsweek decided not to run the story. Matt Drudge scooped Newsweek, followed by The Washington Post. When Isikoff had a detailed account of Kathleen Willey's nasty sexual encounter with the president in the Oval Office, backed up with eyewitness and documentary evidence, Newsweek decided not to run it. Again, Matt Drudge got the story.

When Isikoff was the first with detailed reporting on Paula Jones' accusations against a sitting president, Isikoff's then-employer The Washington Post -- which owns Newsweek -- decided not to run it. The American Spectator got the story, followed by the Los Angeles Times.

So apparently it's possible for Michael Isikoff to have a story that actually is true, but for his editors not to run it.

Why no pause for reflection when Isikoff had a story about American interrogators at Guantanamo flushing the Quran down the toilet? Why not sit on this story for, say, even half as long as NBC News sat on Lisa Meyers' highly credible account of Bill Clinton raping Juanita Broaddrick?

Newsweek seems to have very different responses to the same reporter's scoops. Who's deciding which of Isikoff's stories to run and which to hold? I note that the ones that Matt Drudge runs have turned out to be more accurate -- and interesting! -- than the ones Newsweek runs. Maybe Newsweek should start running everything past Matt Drudge.

Somehow Newsweek missed the story a few weeks ago about Saudi Arabia arresting 40 Christians for "trying to spread their poisonous religious beliefs." But give the American media a story about American interrogators defacing the Quran, and journalists are so appalled there's no time for fact-checking -- before they dash off to see the latest exhibition of "Piss Christ."

Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas justified Newsweek's decision to run the incendiary anti-U.S. story about the Quran, saying that "similar reports from released detainees" had already run in the foreign press -- "and in the Arab news agency al-Jazeera."

Is there an adult on the editorial board of Newsweek? Al-Jazeera also broadcast a TV miniseries last year based on the "Protocols of the Elders Of Zion." (I didn't see it, but I hear James Brolin was great!) Al-Jazeera has run programs on the intriguing question, "Is Zionism worse than Nazism?" (Take a wild guess where the consensus was on this one.) It runs viewer comments about Jews being descended from pigs and apes. How about that for a Newsweek cover story, Evan? You're covered -- al-Jazeera has already run similar reports!

Ironically, among the reasons Newsweek gave for killing Isikoff's Lewinsky bombshell was that Evan Thomas was worried someone might get hurt. It seems that Lewinsky could be heard on tape saying that if the story came out, "I'll (expletive) kill myself."

But Newsweek couldn't wait a moment to run a story that predictably ginned up Islamic savages into murderous riots in Afghanistan, leaving hundreds injured and 16 dead. Who could have seen that coming? These are people who stone rape victims to death because the family "honor" has been violated and who fly planes into American skyscrapers because -- wait, why did they do that again?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure it's entirely fair to hold Newsweek responsible for inciting violence among people who view ancient Buddhist statues as outrageous provocation -- though I was really looking forward to finally agreeing with Islamic loonies about something. (Bumper sticker idea for liberals: News magazines don't kill people, Muslims do.) But then I wouldn't have sat on the story of the decade because of the empty threats of a drama queen gas-bagging with her friend on the telephone between spoonfuls of Haagen-Dazs.

No matter how I look at it, I can't grasp the editorial judgment that kills Isikoff's stories about a sitting president molesting the help and obstructing justice, while running Isikoff's not particularly newsworthy (or well-sourced) story about Americans desecrating a Quran at Guantanamo.

Even if it were true, why not sit on it? There are a lot of reasons the media withhold even true facts from readers. These include:

* A drama queen nitwit exclaimed she'd kill herself. (Evan Thomas' reason for holding the Lewinsky story.)

* The need for "more independent reporting." (Newsweek President Richard Smith explaining why Newsweek sat on the Lewinsky story even though the magazine had Lewinsky on tape describing the affair.)

* "We were in Havana." (ABC president David Westin explaining why "Nightline" held the Lewinsky story.)

* Unavailable for comment. (Michael Oreskes, New York Times Washington bureau chief, in response to why, the day The Washington Post ran the Lewinsky story, the Times ran a staged photo of Clinton meeting with the Israeli president on its front page.)

* Protecting the privacy of an alleged rape victim even when the accusation turns out to be false.

* Protecting an accused rapist even when the accusation turns out to be true if the perp is a Democratic president most journalists voted for.

* Protecting a reporter's source.

How about the media adding to the list of reasons not to run a news item: "Protecting the national interest"? If journalists don't like the ring of that, how about this one: "Protecting ourselves before the American people rise up and lynch us for our relentless anti-American stories."

Ann Coulter is host of, a member group.

©2005 Universal Press Syndicate
Contact Ann Coulter Read Coulter's biography

Asbury Park Press: Springsteen Kicks up "Dust" in Pa.

Concert Review
Springsteen kicks up "Dust" in Pennsylvania
Published in the Asbury Park Press 05/19/05

Imagine this:A community has gathered in the darkness. Friends and strangers sit next to one other and they are waiting for some word. You get the feeling that this community has been isolated for some time, cut off from the larger world, either by disaster or fear.

One of their own, though, has ventured forth beyond the walls, traveled far in the wide world and come back home. He has seen some things, heard some things and done some things — most of them terrible, some of them extraordinarily wonderful. As the pilgrim stands before the crowd, he makes no grand pronouncements. He seems puzzled by both the evil and the beauty in the world. All he can promise, as he begins to tell his tale, is to share his story as faithfully as possible with the hope that, possibly, he and his fellow citizens will together find the courage to begin to make some sense of it all.

This seems to be the sort of drama that Bruce Springsteen is up to these days during his solo acoustic tour in support of his recently released "Devils & Dust" album. That tour made a stop at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pa., on Tuesday night.

The show lasted nearly 2 1/2; the enthusiastic and respectful audience members seemed to know that they weren't going to hear "Rosalita" or "Jungleland." He opened the show with "My Beautiful Reward," a quiet song from the "Lucky Town" album; it's a song about finding your heart's desire and realizing that the searching and yearning continue. He played it on a small pump organ, giving it a churchlike feel.

Virtual one-man band

Immediately after that somber beginning, Springsteen played a nearly unrecognizable version of "Reason to Believe" (a song from "Nebraska") that examines the lives of people clinging to what seems a fruitless faith in something or other. Springsteen played it as a harsh blues, his voice somehow electronically distorted and every footfall a thunderclap of amplification. Throughout the show, Springsteen was something of a one-man band, moving from guitar and harmonica to organ and piano with ease.

He played eight of the dozen songs on "Devils & Dust," a record that Springsteen has said chronicles the lives of people "whose souls are at risk."

And, in fact, most of the songs he played either explicitly or implicitly deal with the burdens and joys of faith. He traced his own journey of faith back to his childhood catechism classes, by way of prefacing his own version of the Pieta, "Jesus Was an Only Son."

When it comes to lambasting a fundamentalism that he believes can be toxic, Springsteen has realized that ridicule can be an effective tool. He prefaced his performance of the reggae-influenced B-side "Part Man, Part Monkey" with a rap about efforts to discourage the teaching of evolution in public schools. In New Jersey, he said, joking with the audience, "we believe in evolution — it's our only hope." Apart from that comment and a call for a humane immigration policy before a song about a Mexican man dying in his attempt to make it to America ("Matamoros Banks"), he kept politics out of his concert.

And while the harsh strictures of some theology are condemned in "Part Man, Part Monkey" and in the premiere of the never-before-performed "The Iceman" (from his "Tracks" collection), Springsteen and the people he sings about seem convinced that a life without faith may be a life lost.

From the stately "Real World" to the radio-familiar "Promised Land," the audience heard songs in which the power of faith is extolled. There is a line in "Promised Land": "Mister, I ain't a boy, no I'm a man/And I believe in a promised land." Sung in 1978 as a kind of youthful brag, the singer states it as a simple fact in 2005.

And the joys of this world were explored in such songs as "Ramrod" and the new "Maria's Bed."Springsteen closed the show back at the pump organ and played "Dream Baby Dream," a song by the band Suicide.

His voice at times filled with emotion, he kept singing, "All I want is to see you smile," but it was sung in the voice of a man who is not sure at all moments whether smiles will endure — or dreams, for that matter.

At some point in the song, Springsteen moved away from the organ and music continued, ghostly and ethereal. He walked off the stage still singing the refrain.

And the gathered community stood and cheered.Maybe, some of them were surely thinking, it is time to move again into the wide world full of sorrow and hope.

Robert Novak: Howard Dean, Unmuzzled

May 19, 2005
The Chicago Sun-Times

WASHINGTON -- After Howard Dean last weekend declared Tom DeLay ought to be in jail, a longtime Democratic operative told me the party's national chairman had momentarily ripped off his muzzle but that it soon would be restored. My source erred, however, in believing that Dean ever had been muzzled. It's just that nobody has paid much attention to his rants.

Since his election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Feb. 12, Dean has studiously avoided most national television exposure. But he has been talking constantly to party gatherings across the country, and his intemperate language at these outings contradicts the notion that he has been kept under control. That he will leap onto the national stage Sunday by accepting a long-pending request to appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert raises concern among the Democratic political players whether he will contain himself.

Dean's election by the DNC membership was a case of the inmates seizing control of the asylum. After the 2004 election, party leaders spent more than three months in a fruitless effort to find an alternative to Dean. Their fears of money drying up under Dean have largely been realized, but they have deluded themselves into thinking the former Vermont governor who screamed his way out of any hope for the 2004 presidential nomination was under firm restraint.

The party's congressional leaders, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, sat down with the newly elected Chairman Dean for a heart-to-heart talk. They politely urged him to restrain his rhetoric, to organize rather than inflame. Dean thereupon buried himself seeking Democratic converts in the "red" states of Republican America, giving the impression that he was heeding the pleas of the congressional leadership.

He was not. He has described the Republican leadership, in various venues, as "evil," "corrupt" and "brain-dead." He has called Sen. Rick Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, a "liar." He has referred to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh as "drug-snorting."

What he said last weekend differed from this invective only in that it was presented to an urban forum and so became public knowledge. Addressing the Massachusetts Democratic convention in Lowell, Dean declared: "I think DeLay ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence down there courtesy of the Texas taxpayers." Dean would jail DeLay without trial, without indictment and without accusation of any crime.

National chairmen are supposed to fire up the troops, but Dean's rhetoric crosses a line. What he said was too much even for so tough a partisan Democrat as Rep. Barney Frank, who attended his state's convention in Lowell and was appalled by Dean's language.

Dean's deficiencies as face and voice of the Democratic Party were supposed to be overcome by his legendary prowess, evident by his run for president, raising funds in small packages. That so far has proved a grievous disappointment. First quarter figures show the DNC received only $13 million from inviduals, compared to $32 million raised by the Republican National Committtee (RNC). Overall figures were $34.2 million by the RNC, $16.7 million by the DNC.

Dean has not always kept himself faithful to the Democratic message. On Feb. 23 at Cornell University, he blurted out that Social Security benefits -- if the system is left unchanged -- 30 years from now will be 80 percent of what they are now. That was a shocking departure from the party line that nothing has to be done.

But the only place that Dean's Social Security departure appeared was in the Cornell Daily Sun, the student newspaper. His limited exposure generally means that little of what he says is communicated to the public. He has been convinced that he has nothing to gain from face-to-face debates on television with his cool, well-organized Republican counterpart, Ken Mehlman.

Accordingly, anticipation of Howard Dean, cut loose and unmuzzled, on "Meet the Press" Sunday is unsettling for the party's faithful. This will be his first exposure as chairman on a major network interview, and Russert predictably will be well prepared with a rap sheet of the chairman's verbal assaults. The prospect that Dean will make juicy additions to that collection unnerves Democrats.

Copyright 2005 Creators Syndicate

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bergen County Record: U2 Concert Review

U2 touches down in N.J.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


U2 in San Diego (March 28)

The Irish supergroup U2 brought their own brand of political rock-and-roll theater to a sold-out crowd at Continental Arena Tuesday, complete with glittery confetti flying, glow-in-the dark runways, smoldering dry ice and the ever-strutting, ever-sensitive front man Bono.

"Tonight, Jersey is going Irish," said the lead singer, dressed in black leather coat, black pants and dark shades as he stood at the lip of the stage. Making a dramatic entrance just before 9 p.m., the band launched into fiery performances of "City of Blinding Lights" and "Vertigo." Both are from from their latest album, "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

The band quickly backshifted into songs from their past, including "Elevation" from 2000's "All That You Can't Leave Behind" and "Electric Co." from 1980's "Boy."A giant oval runway surrounding the stage made for plenty of interactivity with the audience, with Bono often patrolling it as he sang and even taking a little girl from the audience for a stroll down it early in the concert.

Bono introduced the song "Miracle Drug" by preaching of how religious faith and scientific progress should be complimentary - not contradictory - practices. "The people of God should not be afraid of the people of science. They need each other," he said.

Guitar player The Edge - in fine form along with the rest of the band - transmitted the telltale, militant guitar riffs that open the U2 classic "Sunday Bloody Sunday" as Bono changed into a starred-and-striped leather coat and white bandana. With his ominous, soulful wail as strong and strenuous as it was when the band first came up in the ’80s, the lead singer augmented the song’s middle by preaching words of coexistence and religious tolerance.

Despite the earnestness of much of the night's concert, their were a few light-hearted moments. Bono and band mates occasionally swaggered their way around opposite curves of the giant runway until meeting in the middle, being playful with each other during such other hits as "Where the Streets Have No Name" from the 1987 masterpiece "The Joshua Tree."

But the mood never stayed light for long. As opposed to Bruce Springsteen, whose political grandstanding during the "Vote for Change Tour" put off many die-hard fans, a U2 concert without political activism would be like a day without sunshine.

"My first impression of America was a man walking on the moon. We thought, Americans are mad. But when they put their minds together, they do incredible [expletive]," Bono said, drawing cheers. "It was the best of this country. So that’s what we're saying to President Bush, Tony Blair. ... We are saying, ‘Lead, and we will follow. Because we don't want you to put a man on the moon. We're asking you to bring mankind back to earth. We're asking you to end extreme poverty in our lifetime, in places like Africa.’ "He then called upon the audience to help do their part, by getting involved in the One Campaign, which Bono launched earlier this year. The campaign asks Americans to lobby their elected officials so that developing countries ravaged by poverty and AIDS can get assistance from the United States. "We have the technology, the resources, the know how."

With that, he asked the audience to take out their cellphones and raise them on high, in a symbolic pledge of their support. "They're dangerous little devices, those cellphones," he said. "I'm not looking for your money. It's all right. Relax. I'm looking for your voice. ... Take out your cellphone and light up the night."

The band never sounded more together than during its performance of "(Pride) in the Name of Love," a bitter-sweet, triumphant anthem paying tribute to Martin Luther King. The audience never sounded as together, either, as the band eventually stopped playing and let the crowd chant a portion of the song without accompaniment. The 90-minute set might have seemed short - but then came four encores that included all four band members joining one another at the outermost limits of the stage's runway for a quiet performance of "Yahweh" from the new album. And, for a band whose latest album brings them back to their post-punk roots, it only seemed a fitting climax that they ended where they started - with another, even more rousing version of "Vertigo."

* * *Here is the list of songs performed by U2 at their concert Tuesday night, May 17, at Continental Arena. Songs are listed from start to finish, song titles first, followed by album and release date.

1. "City of Blinding Lights" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
2. "Vertigo" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
3. "Elevation" from "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2000)
4. "Electric Co." from "Boy" (1980)
5. "An Cat Dubh" from "Boy" (1980)
6. "Beautiful Day" from "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2000)
7. a few verses of "Blackbird" by The Beatles sung by Bono, accompanied by The Edge
8. "Miracle Drug" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
9. "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
10. "Love and Peace or Else" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
11. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" from "War" (1983)
12. "Bullet the Blue Sky" from "Rattle and Hum" (1988)
13. "Running to Stand Still" from "The Joshua Tree" (1987)
14. "Pride (In the Name of Love)" from "Unforgettable Fire" (1984)
15. "Where the Streets Have No Name" from "The Joshua Tree" (1987)
16. "One" from "Achtung Baby" (1991)

17. "Zoo Station" from "Achtung Baby" (1991)
18. "The Fly" from "Achtung Baby" (1991)
19. "Mysterious Ways" from "Achtung Baby" (1991)
20. "Original of the Species" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
21. "All Because of You" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
22. "Yahweh" from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)
23. "40" from "War" (1983)
24. Vertigo (encore) from "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" (2004)

Philadelphia Inquirer: U2 Concert Review

Posted on Mon, May. 16, 2005

Great songs also on U2's agenda

By Dan DeLuca
Inquirer Music Critic

The Man Who Would Save the World brought a long to-do list to the sold-out Wachovia Center on Saturday:

Educate date-night U2 fans about the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Don a white headband that uses the Muslim crescent, the Star of David and a crucifix to spell out "CoeXisT."

Discuss how the July '85 Live Aid concert "changed [U2's] life, and set us on a course" leading to One, the organization that intends to "make poverty history."

And - lest even ardent fans get tired of the messianic preaching from a band built around the notion that rock-and-roll is not about rebellion so much as duty ("One life," the song goes, "you got to do what you should") - shut up every once in a while, and sing.

Check, check, check and double-check. At the first of U2's four Philadelphia shows on its Vertigo tour - the Irish rockers play the Wachovia again Sunday, then return Oct. 16-17 - Bono gave the people what they paid up to $160 for: two-hours-plus of rousing rock-star heroics, during which U2 revisited its back catalog and invested familiar anthems with enough fervent belief to give even the most skeptical observers goose bumps.

The show confirmed impressions made by last year's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and its predecessor, All That You Can't Leave Behind.

After spending the '90s gamely trying to explode their self-made image of pompous sanctimony by experimenting with irony and electronic dance music, U2's musicians have gotten back to what they do best: singing and playing heart-on-their-sleeve songs like they mean them, man.
At the Wachovia, that meant connecting new material such as the opening "City of Blinding Lights" and "Vertigo" with the kinetic, early-1980s songs "The Electric Co." and "The Cry."

While standbys such as "I Will Follow" have been jettisoned, they've been replaced by new songs of spiritual seeking such as "Yahweh," or nearly forgotten tunes such as the stately sing-along and show-closer "40."

Of course, U2 isn't entirely about the guy who introduced himself to two young girls - brought them on stage for "Into the Heart" - by saying: "My name's Paul, but I call myself Bono." He got a little help from the locked-in rhythm section of Adam Clayton and the martial beats of the band's Dorian Gray drummer, Larry Mullen Jr.

If you shifted focus from the bloke who dropped bits of Frank Sinatra's "Send in the Clowns," and the Beatles' "Blackbird" into the set, you'd have noticed the guy who calls himself The Edge. He was the one with the skullcap, shooting off sonic projectiles "Bullet the Blue Sky," playing roiling slide-guitar licks on "Beautiful Day" and switching to piano on the fragile "Running to Stand Still." And making it clear that - despite the outsized ambitions of its grandiose front man - U2 is, first and foremost, a great rock-and-roll band.

Contact music critic Dan DeLuca at 215-854-5628 or

Philadelphia Inquirer: Springsteen Concert Review

Posted on Wed, May. 18, 2005

Springsteen rewards the faithful
By Dan DeLuca
Philadelphia Inquirer Music Critic

Bruce Springsteen was standing onstage in a flannel shirt at the sold-out Tower Theater, chuckling to himself as he told a shaggy dog story about the late Roy Orbison, when he revealed the key to the universe.

“You gotta have faith,” he blurted out. “And that’s what this next song is about.” The tune in question was “With Leah,” one of the upbeat numbers on Devils & Dust, the stripped-down new album at the core of Tuesday’s stunning solo show in Upper Darby.

But that succinct summation of Springteen-ian philosophy could have applied just as well to almost any song in his catalog, which was selectively sampled in 2 1/4 hours that began and ended with the Boss seated at the pump organ, first on “My Beautiful Reward,” and lastly on a transfixing cover of “Dream Baby Dream” by the 1980s synth-pop pioneers Suicide.

Devils & Dust is full of songs about characters who go looking for something to believe in -- and often as not, come up empty handed. And without it, they’re in trouble. At the Tower, armed with a harmonica rack and an acoustic guitar, the 55-year-old Jersey guy quickened the pace of the title cut, singing in the voice of an American soldier in Iraq hoping to find “the love that God wills/And the faith that He commands.” But instead, his “God filled soul” winds up poisoned by death and destruction.

Springsteen introduced “Reno,“ the song whose graphic imagery got D & D banned from Starbucks, by joking that the album would be available “at Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme stores everywhere.” It depicts a man whose only glimpse of grace comes from dreamy remembrances during a visit to a prostitute. Like many D & D songs, it was more convincing onstage than on CD.

And the faith-seekers weren’t limited only to the new album, which was performed almost in its entirety. There was the “sister who prays for lost souls, then breaks down in the chapel after everyone‘s gone“ in “Incident on 57th Street,” the 1973 romance that Springsteen gorgeously rendered on piano. And “Reason to Believe,” from 1982’s Nebraska, which was recast as a stylized foot-stomping field holler with distorted vocals, but would have worked better if you could actually hear what Springsteen was singing.

The Philadelphia market embraced Springsteen early, and he has a tradition of rewarding longtime fans here with rarely played obscurities. The shocker was “Iceman,“ a sturdy ballad and Darkness On the Edge of Town outtake that had never been performed live. It too fit the evening’s theme of a quest for belief in something bigger than oneself, proclaiming “the search” to be “better than the shadows of your Daddy’s church.“

Springsteen clearly has weighty matters on his mind. In the intro to “Jesus Was An Only Son,’ he talked about how “our choices in life gain value by what we sacrifice.” And before “Matamoros Banks” he scolded President Bush, who he opposed in campaigning for John Kerry on the Vote for Change tour last fall, for not having “a humane immigration policy.”

But he was also loose, talkative, and, at times, goofy. He joked about his Catholic education and persistent religious imagery _ “all that brainwashing worked” - and said that when he now returns to the convent “where he was tortured as a child” they give him free beer.

And he mugged his way through the reverb-heavy, reggae-flavored “Part Man, Part Monkey,” another resurrected rarity that’s a pointed take on the evolution vs. creationist debate. (In introducing the song, which was a regular on the Tunnel of Love tour in the 1980s, he said that “the President was elected on the monkey vote” and ended the song with a quip: “We’ve come a long way, baby. And we’re goin’ back!“)

There were times when the E Street Band were missed - on “The Rising” and a needless “Land of Hope and Dreams,” in particular. And Springsteen’s voice and guitar were augmented by prerecorded strings and synthesizers on a handful of songs, which wound up constricting more than freeing him.

He needn‘t have bothered. This tour isn’t about communal uplift: it’s about struggling to find a safe place to keep darkness and doubt at bay, and Springsteen making an intimate connection with his audience.

To that end, he used a variety of moves to keep things fresh. He played electric piano on a sobering “Wreck On the Highway,” 12-string guitar on “Further On (Up the Road)” and frequently employed a haunting, wordless falsetto, most effectively on the boxing drama “The Hitter.”

And of the several songs presented in reworked versions, none was more arresting than the penultimate encore, “The Promised Land.” Usually, it’s a fist pounder, a shout-out to the heavens that “I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man!” On Tuesday, it was all quiet tension, with Springsteen tapping the guitar strings, trying to summon the strength to believe. But knowing that he has to find the faith, somehow.

Contact music critic Dan DeLuca at 215-854-5628 or

PETA's Controversial TeachKind Educational Programming

How PETA Indoctrinates Your Kids
By Steven Milloy
Fox News
May 18, 2005

Radical animal-rights activists may be the last people you'd think would be planning school lessons for your children. Well, think again.

Through its innocuous-sounding "educational" programming arm known as TeachKind, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has found a way to reach school children starting as young as kindergarten with its extremist agenda. The opportunity for PETA to gets its message into the classroom has been paved, at least in part, by various laws on the books in at least 12 states mandating humane education in public schools — thus creating a demand for curricula centered on teaching children about the humane treatment of animals.

Naturally, PETA is only too happy to provide ready-made lesson plans, videos and handouts to already overworked teachers.

"Kids who hurt animals may be on a dangerous path that will only get worse if it is not corrected. Psychiatrists, FBI profilers and law enforcement officials have repeatedly documented that kids who abuse animals rarely stop there," TeachKind warns.

Its fact sheet, entitled "Animal Abuse and Human Abuse: Partners in Crime," points out that "violent acts toward animals have long been recognized as indicators of a dangerous psychopathy that does not confine itself to animals," and goes on to detail how many notorious school shooters, including Columbine's Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were known to mutilate animals prior to their attacks on humans.

Indeed, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association, participation in animal torture is one of the early warning signs of a severe emotional disturbance in a child, ranking alongside fire-setting as a strong indicator of future criminal behavior as well as the likelihood of psychopathy in adulthood.

While there's no question that the small number of children who torture animals are quite disturbed and that all children should be taught how wrong such behavior is, it's quite another matter for PETA to capitalize on this issue as an opportunity to indoctrinate children with PETA's own radical, catch-all definition of what constitutes "animal cruelty." And that's precisely what PETA is doing through TeachKind.

As its Web site prominently touts the animal cruelty-psychopathy connection with quotes from FBI criminalists and others, a closer inspection reveals that the bulk of TeachKind's educational efforts are actually crafted so as to make children believe that everyday behaviors, such as eating a diet that contains meat or animal products, are unmistakably, unequivocally acts of animal cruelty.

PETA's frightening of young children by equating, or even associating, truly disturbed behavior such as mutilation of a family pet with common everyday practices such as eating hamburgers amounts to nothing less than ideological child abuse.

PETA even accuses schools across America of being major perpetrators of animal cruelty. They oppose basic learning methods widely practiced throughout our educational system such as insect collection, field trips to zoos or aquariums, and dissection in the classroom.
"Hearing a lot about violence in schools? You can do something to help. Cut out dissection!" announces their Web-based anti-dissection campaign, which even mentions how a young Jeffrey Dahmer "became fascinated with blood and guts" as a result of participating in a biology assignment involving dissection. With this assertion, PETA is inviting impressionable young minds to believe that all it takes is one experience with a dissection assignment to walk away a psychopathic serial killer.

In addition to encouraging kids to refuse to participate in dissection assignments, the campaign even coaches kids on the exact wording to use in their formal written objections so as to "provide the basis for a possible legal case."

A significant portion of TeachKind's curriculum is devoted to persuading children to adopt a vegetarian diet as a way to avoid participating in "animal cruelty." PETA's Web-based materials provide the warped logic that if farmers treated a cat or a dog the way they treat livestock, they would "be prosecuted for animal cruelty and locked up" — once again stressing the theme of hypothetical criminality for those who eat meat.

PETA even tries to scare kids away from drinking milk, a food so controversial that it occupies its very own wedge on the latest FDA food pyramid for optimal nutrition. A series of trading cards called "Don't Be a Milk Sucker" available from its website, features cartoon characters suffering a host of illnesses PETA attributes to milk consumption such as ear infections, obesity, acne, and even diabetes!

Nor does milk consumption escape PETA's definition as a distinctly cruel act against animals. We meet "Milk-Stealing Ming," who is depicted with his mouth directly attached to an unhappy cow's udder, alongside a "wanted poster" describing his crimes and exclaiming, "cows make milk for their babies, not for maniacs like Ming."

If we are to take at face value PETA's irresponsible suggestion that "animal cruelty" — as defined by their radical, catch-all parameters — is a reliable indicator of psychopathic tendencies, I suppose it's just a matter of time before we all read about Milk-Stealing Ming's future adult crime sprees in the headlines.

Steven Milloy is the publisher of, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).

Michelle Malkin: It's Not Just Newsweek

May 18, 2005

If you want to hear an earful, ask an American soldier how he feels about our news media. You will invariably hear an outpouring of dismay and outrage over antagonistic and reckless reporting. I have stacks of letters and e-mails from soldiers and their families sharing those frustrations. During the Vietnam War, those sentiments would get packed away -- private hurts to be silently borne for decades.

But today the Internet has allowed soldiers on the front to disseminate their views -- breaking through the media's entrenched, anti-military bias -- in unprecedented ways. In the wake of Newsweek's publication of its unsourced, mayhem-inducing and now-retracted item about Koran desecration by U.S. military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, a sergeant in Saudi Arabia immediately responded on a blog called The Anchoress (

I have placed my life and the life of my fellow soldiers in danger in order to achieve a measure of the freedoms we enjoy at home for the Iraqi and Afghani people. As soldiers, we all understand that we may be asked to participate in wars (actions) that we (or our countrymen) don't agree with. The irresponsible journalism being practiced by organizations such as Newsweek, however, [is] just inexcusable. At this point, because of their actions and failure to follow up on a claim of that magnitude, they've set the process back in Afghanistan immensely . . .
I don't regret serving my country, not one bit, but to have everything I'm doing here undermined by irresponsible journalists leaves me disgusted and disappointed.

Military bloggers across the Web this week echoed the sergeant's disgust with American journalism. And it's not just Newsweek.
It's the New York Times and CBS News and the overkill over abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. It's the Boston Globe publishing porn photos passed off by an anti-war city councilor as proof that American GIs were raping Iraqi women.

It's the constant editorial drumbeat of "quagmire, quagmire, quagmire."
It's the mainstream media's bogus reporting on the military's failure to stop purported "massive" looting of Iraqi antiquities.
It's the hyping of stories like the military's purported failure to stop looting of explosives at al Qa Qaa right before the 2004 presidential election -- stories that have since dropped off the face of the earth.

It's the persistent use of euphemisms -- "insurgents," "hostage-takers," "activists," "militants," "fighters" -- to describe the terrorist head-choppers and suicide bombers trying to kill American soldiers and civilians alike. It's the knee-jerk caricature of American generals as intolerant anachronisms. It's the portrayal of honest mistakes in battle as premeditated murders.
It's the propagandistic rumor-mongering spread by sympathizers of Italy's Giuliana Sgrena and former CNN executive Eason Jordan about American soldiers targeting and/or murdering journalists.
It's the glorification of military deserters, who bask in the glow of unquestioning -- and largely uncorroborated -- print and broadcast profiles.

And it's the lesser-known insults, too, such as the fraudulent manipulation of Marine recruits by Harper's magazine. In March, the liberal publication plastered a photo of seven recruits at Parris Island, S.C., under the headline, "AWOL in America: When Desertion Is the Only Option." None of the recruits is a deserter. When some expressed outrage over the deception, the magazine initially shrugged.
"We are decorating pages," sniffed Giulia Melucci, the magazine's vice president for public relations, to the St. Petersburg Times.

As Ralph Hansen, associate professor of journalism at West Virginia University and a rare member of academia with his head screwed on straight, observed: "Portraying honorable soldiers as deserters is clearly inappropriate. And I don't see any way Harper's could claim that they weren't portraying the young Marines as deserters. A cover is more than just art. I think that someone had a great idea for a cover illustration and forgot that he or she was dealing with images of real people."

The members of our military are more than just an expedient means to a titillating magazine cover or juicy scoop or Peabody Award. Too often since the "War on Terror" was declared, eager Bush-bashing journalists have forgotten that the troops are real people who face real threats and real bloodshed as a consequence of loose lips and keyboards.
It's not just Newsweek that needs to learn that lesson.

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and maintains her weblog at
©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Contact Michelle Malkin Read Malkin's biography

Thomas Sowell: Newsweak?

May 18, 2005

It was perhaps appropriate that Dan Rather received the prestigious Peabody award in journalism at the same time when Newsweek magazine was finally backing away from its false story about Americans flushing the Koran down the toilet at the Guantanamo prison.

At least Dan Rather's forged documents didn't get anybody killed, as the phony Newsweek story did. What is even more revealing -- and appalling -- about the mainstream media is that they are now circling the wagons around Newsweek, to protect it from criticism, just as they circled the wagons around Dan Rather last year, and now give him an award this year to put the frosting on the cake.

If the forged documents at CBS and the phony story at Newsweek were just isolated mistakes, that would be one thing. But media liberals have made themselves accessories after the fact, by springing to the defense of such indefensible misconduct.

In a sense, that is good. It makes it easier for the public to see that the forged documents and the fake story were not just odd things that happened to a couple of people but were symptomatic of a mindset among many others who sprang to their defense.

Someone referred to the story about George Bush's National Guard service as "too good to check." In other words, it fit their vision so well, and scored a point that they wanted to score against President Bush, that it hardly seemed worthwhile to check out the facts.

That is almost certainly what happened with the story about Americans flushing the Koran down the toilet at the Guantanamo prison. It seems unlikely that Newsweek simply made up the story out of whole cloth. But, once they heard it, it was "too good to check."

All this goes back to a more fundamental problem with the mainstream media. Too many journalists see their work as an opportunity to promote their own pet political notions, rather than a responsibility to inform the public and let their readers and viewers decide for themselves.

It is not a question of being "fair" to this or that side but of being honest with their readers and viewers.

Columnists and editorial writers are expected to offer opinions but reporters are expected to report facts. However, that distinction is increasingly blurred, with the front page of the New York Times often providing classic examples of editorials disguised as news.

What happened to Dan Rather last year and to Newsweek this year is that the disguise fell off when the "news" that they were trying to sell turned out to be fake and all that was left exposed was their animosity toward the Bush administration.

The Peabody award to Dan Rather drives home the point that the mainstream media have learned nothing and are thumbing their noses at their critics -- and ultimately at those readers and viewers who are looking for enlightenment, rather than spin.

Abraham Lincoln said that you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. The steady erosion of the audience that watches CBS, ABC, and NBC television news, and the declining circulation of the leading newspapers, all indicate that more and more people are unwilling to be fooled.

The swift rise of talk radio, Fox News and the bloggers all reinforce the conclusion of a growing disillusionment with the mainstream media that once had a monopoly and abused it.

A reader recently suggested this formula: Monopoly plus discretion minus accountability equals corruption. That kind of corruption can be found not only in the mainstream media but also in two of our most important institutions, the public schools and the federal courts.

Both the schools and the courts flatter themselves that their job is to change society. So does much of the media. But what qualifies these people to be world-changers? They are usually poorly informed about science, uninformed about history and misinformed about economics.
And who elected them to change the world while pretending to be doing something else and betraying their trust?

©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Contact Thomas Sowell Read Sowell's biography

Jonah Goldberg: Invasion of the America Snatchers
Jonah Goldberg (archive)
May 18, 2005

Huge chunks of the American population have been body-snatched by zomboid creatures from Canada, or possibly - shudder - Europe. That's the only conclusion one can draw from the latest monumental study from the Pew Center for the People and the Press. OK, it's not the only conclusion you can draw, but it's the one I'm going to draw.

I remember being horrified by when I first saw the remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." In the final scene, one of the last remaining normal humans in the city runs up to Donald Sutherland, thinking he's completely normal, too. When she gets close, Sutherland slowly raises his finger to point at her, and begins his alien shriek, sounding like someone had dropped a hungry piranha down the front of his wide-wale corduroys.

Well, if you look very closely and study body language and speech, you may just discover that the liberals screeching at conservatives aren't in fact Americans at all. They are Europeans taking on the form of Americans.

According to the Pew Center, the less you like to fly the American flag, the more likely it is you are Democrat. The more you think hard work and personal initiative aren't the ticket to the good life, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. The more you believe the United Nations is a better steward of international relations, while America is a negative actor on the world stage, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. The more you believe that the government is there to help, the more likely it is you are Democrat. The less seriously you take religion, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. Flip all of these values around and the more likely it is you are a Republican - or that you vote that way.

Of course, I'm speaking in terms of statistical generalities. Obviously, there are a great many flag-waving, God-fearing, government-mistrusting, U.N.-hating Democrats out there. But they are the exceptions to the rule.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study is what it says about class and ideology in America. And what it says is that they don't have that much to do with each other, which runs contrary to generations of leftish stereotypes. Poor Americans who believe in the American ideal of by-your-bootstraps success are likely to vote Republican. And rich Americans who cringe at the idea of hanging a flag from their porch vote Democrat. Wealth has become a poor predictor of political affiliation. The richest blocs in the GOP and Democratic Parties - Pew calls them "Enterprisers" and "Liberals" - are roughly equally affluent. Forty-one percent of both groups make more than $75,000 per year (though there are nearly twice as many "Liberals" as there are "Enterprisers"). The largest segment of the Republican base - "Social Conservatives" - make less than Liberals.

So what does all of this have to do with body-snatching Europhiles? Well, basically, everything. The ideas, assumptions and prejudices held by the statistically typical Democratic voter, according to the Pew study, are quite simply, European. Europeans believe in a strong social welfare state, for rich and poor alike. Europeans are cynical. They look askance - these days - on patriotic sentiment (hence the rush to form a new European nation). The church pews of Europe would make a great hideout for bank robbers since they're always empty. The United Nations is, in the typical European's worldview, the last best hope for mankind. From the death penalty to gay marriage, the more similar you are to a typical European in your political and social outlook, the more likely you are to be a Democrat.

We've seen this before. At the time of our nation's founding, there were a bunch of Americans who clung to European values. Today we call their descendants "Canadians." Up north, the government isn't something to be distrusted so much as something to be obeyed. For example, when the government told the people to switch to the metric system, they did. Our government told us to do the same thing at about the same time, and America barely even noticed.

For many generations after the American Revolution, the idea of emulating European politics was nigh upon heresy. It wasn't until Woodrow Wilson, who encouraged Americans to see themselves as citizens of the world, that borrowing ideas from the continent became fully politically acceptable. Prior to Wilson, writes Richard Hofstadter, Americans considered the United States to be the "anti-Europe." But it was FDR's New Deal which helped "assimilate the American into the 'European' political experience," in the words of Daniel Boorstin. George Kennan's childhood reminiscence illustrates the typical American frame of mind prior to the New Deal. When "times were hard," he wrote, "as they often were, groans and lamentations went up to God, but never to Washington."

So, if you're worried about the Europeanization of America, let me quote from the original "Body Snatchers": "They're here already! You're next! You're next! You're next.."

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online, a member group.
©2005 Tribune Media Services
Contact Jonah Goldberg Read Goldberg's biography