Saturday, November 11, 2006

Concert Review: Bruce Springsteen in Birmingham

Bruce Springsteen @ NEC Arena

Nov 10 2006
By Andy Coleman, Birmingham Mail

So when was the last time there was a hootenanny at the NEC?

Actually, it was last night when rock'n' roll legend Bruce Springsteen brought his Seeger Sessions party to town - and invited 12,000 fans along for the ride.

Taking The Boss's latest album, We Shall Overcome, as the starting point, Bruce and 16 musicians delivered a mix of folk, blues, gospel and bluegrass that left the audience spellbound and, even after two-and-a-half hours, eager for more.

On the album, Springsteen and his Seeger Sessions band explore American roots music popularised by veteran folk icon Pete Seeger.

To help create the necessary nostalgic atmosphere at the NEC the stage was framed by velvet drapes and chandeliers hung from the rafters.

Most of the record was performed, from the hillbilly outlaw tale Jesse James, complete with ragtime piano, to the honky tonk O, Mary, Don't You Weep.

But there was so much more. Springsteen took a selection of his own songs and gave them a rootsy edge, with a little help, of course, from the vast array of musicians and instruments available.

As well as acoustic and steel guitars there were banjos, fiddles, an accordion, a tuba, trombones, trumpet, double bass and even a washboard.

For The Ghost of Tom Joad he was joined by guitarist Frank Bruno for a haunting duet, while You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch), from The River, was transformed into a riotous encore singalong.

Nebraska's Open All Night was given a sixties doo-wop makeover and Further On (Up The Road) from The Rising had vocals shared by four band members.

And let's not forget the olde time religion of Jacob's Ladder, When The Saints Go Marching In and This Little Light Of Mine which should have had the hardest of sinners repenting.

What a revelation this show was!


Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band Tour '06 delivered an energetic explosion of folk-fuelled, big band style music in an exhilirating two-and-a-half-hour set that had die-hard Brummie fans dancing in the aisles.

Upbeat folk songs from the Seeger Sessions including Old Dan Tucker and Mary Don't You Weep saw the 15-strong band jamming with sheer pleasure, violin, trumpet and banjo solos adding to the unique melting pot of the folk/gospel/blues experience created by this immensely talented band and not once did I miss earlier classics like Born To Run as a I was too busy singing along!

Opening with old concert favourite Blinded By The Light, a typically buoyant and fine-voiced Bruce, at times unable to contain his excitement, dancing across the stage, encouraged audience participation, mixing up folk numbers with recent material such as Devils and Dust and My City Of Ruins with more poignant fare When The Saints Go Marching In and Ghost of Tom Joad unforgettable highlights.

A re-arranged, folk version of Bobby Jean from his biggest-selling 1984 album, Born In The USA, was an unexpected treat, calling to mind the amazing longevity of this indisputed icon, whether winning an Oscar for socially-conscious songs like 1994's Streets of Philadelphia or providing pure entertainment with tonight's wonderfully diverse set-list.

With disappointing audience turnouts in America, Bruce's European tour dates have been sell-outs with the clearly thrilled audience no exception, old and young alike embracing the folk spirit with delighted dancing and hand-claps, and were graciously thanked for "taking a risk in coming out to see us".

A faultless, revved-up band performance and a superb Bruce prove why, Seeger-sessions or not, he will always remain The Boss.

-Malaka Chowdhury, Birmingham

Friday, November 10, 2006

Srdja Trifkovic: Rumsfeld's Long Overdue Departure

[My only quibbles with this piece involve the statements regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities. I have read far too much that clearly outlines how Iraq moved their WMDs to Syria in the late 1990s...this material was in fact, presented to Congress during that time and yet we continue to hear that Iraq had no WMDs or WMD capabilities. That being said, this war has been botched to an unbelievable degree and I couldn't be happier that one of the chief architects of this debacle has been removed. - jtf]

November 09, 2006

Had President George W. Bush fired Donald Rumsfeld a month ago, the Republican Party could have fared better last Tuesday—not much better, perhaps, but possibly well enough to retain control of both houses. Doing it late is nevertheless better than not doing it at all. Rumsfeld was a liability and an embarrassment, the embodiment of all that went wrong in Iraq. He disregarded sound military advice, ruled by intimidation, and made fundamental strategic mistakes.

Many staunch GOP loyalists would have liked to see Rumsfeld go in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib scandal two and a half years ago, and last April it looked, briefly, as if they may get their wish. They realized that shifting some of the blame for Iraq on the architect-in-chief of the war was necessary to halt the freefall of Mr. Bush’s approval rating. Several retired generals fired their guns, but Rumsfeld’s war of words with former generals soon spread to the lower ranks, with recent veterans of the Iraq war and Pentagon civilians resorting to weblogs to attack their current and former bosses. Ret. General Anthony Zinni spoke for many active-duty comrades when he blasted Rumsfeld’s arrogance and his inability to devise a viable strategic plan. As recently as last Saturday the Army Times published a devastating editorial calling on Mr. Bush to fire Rumsfeld.

It is ironic that Rumsfeld’s departure will not be lamented even by his erstwhile neoconservative associates, who now claim that he is not one of them. Had they conducted the war, they now say, it would have ended, victoriously, a long time ago. Richard Perle et al, judging by a fascinating Vanity Fair feature, are way beyond asking “how to win?” They are moving on to “who screwed up?”—and the culprits are supposed to be in the White House and the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld’s betrayal by the Neocon Central is well deserved. He could not have not known that he was surrounding himself with riff-raff of dubious integrity and uncertain loyalty. In 2001 he made Richard Perle chairman of the Defense Policy Board, the position which the latter had to resign in March 2003 after it was revealed that a venture capital firm in which Perle was managing partner would profit from the Iraqi war. Douglas Feith was crafting “intelligence” from whole cloth. The attitude of these people was evident in Paul Wolfowitz’s now famous Vanity Fair admission, that in seeking justification for war against Iraq “for bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.” That surprisingly frank statement reflected a manipulative Straussian mindset that knows no restraint and no moral bounds.

As has been pointed out in this column some months before the war, Rumsfeld and his neocon team (Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith) had long sought to construct an Iraqi pseudo-reality. They were among the founding members of the Project for a New American century (PNAC) established in 1997 and dedicated to “American global leadership.” In January 1998, in an open letter to President Clinton, PNAC said that the only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use, or threaten to use, weapons of mass destruction. This theme was to be a mainstay of the group’s public speaking and private policy advocacy for years.

There was no proof, then or later, that Iraq had any WMD capability; but in 2002 that objection was discounted by Rumsfeld in a phrase worthy of Hegel: “the absence of evidence does not mean the evidence of absence.” In making the same point he could sound like a Beria, like when he asserted that the failure of U.N. arms inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction “could be evidence, in and of itself [sic!], of Iraq’s noncooperation”; or like Descartes: his remark that “simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist” is a roundabout way of saying cogito ergo sum. (My favorite piece of Rumsfeldiana is a mix of Sartre and Groucho: “There are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.”)

Rumsfeld never repudiated his reasons for war. The intelligence that we were operating off was correct, he declared, and repeatedly expressed certainty “that we will, in fact, find weapons or evidence of weapons programs that are conclusive.” That did not happen, of course, and on the basis of that blunder alone Rumsfeld should have done the honorable thing, or Bush should have fired him back in 2003.

He was equally wrong in his often stated belief that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators, and yet he appears to have believed his own assertion: his initial plans called for the reduction of forces to 30,000 U.S. troops within three months of the invasion. His assurances to Jim Lehrer of February 20, 2003, have a melancholy ring today: “There is no question but that they would be welcomed. Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites.” He was also wrong in his expectation that a friendly government led by someone like Ahmad Chalabi would be able to take swift control, and that, faced with utter defeat, the fighting remnant of Saddam’s loyalists would surrender, assimilate, or be destroyed. Rumsfeld was not only wrong, he was seen to be wrong and “his critics within the Army have turned out to be right that this force would be too light to occupy, secure, and defend the country after the war.”

The deeper problem with Rumsfeld has less to do with Iraq than with his global vision. He remains an advocate of NATO expansion into Russia’s back yard, and he still favors the antimissile defense system whose assumptions are both politically and technically flawed. The 1999 “Rumsfeld Report” (of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States) stated that the system was needed because “a number of countries with regional ambitions do not welcome the U.S. role as a stabilizing power in their regions and . . . they want to place restraints on the U.S. capability to project power or influence into their regions.”

Eight years and three thousand American soldiers’ lives later the outgoing Secretary of Defense still doesn’t understand that to pursue global hegemony—for that’s what unrestrained projection of power is all about—will doom America. A strategic doctrine that demands the capacity to project power everywhere and all the time cannot be sustained either economically or physically, because the threat is limitless and open-ended by definition. No man who succumbs to this dangerous obsession should head the Pentagon.

Compared to Rumsfeld, Robert Gates will be a breath of fresh air. His appointment (he’ll be confirmed easily) heralds the approaching endgame in Iraq and the score-settling in Washington that, Andrew Bacevich says, promises to get downright ugly:

Still, whatever their political inclinations, Americans should welcome this debate. At a bare minimum, the eruption of blame and backstabbing will offer considerable entertainment value. To read [in Vanity Fair] that neoconservative David Frum, former White House speechwriter and author of a fawning tribute to Bush, has discovered that “the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas,” is simply a hoot. More substantively, the purging of political elites infesting Washington always has a cleansing effect. Figuring out “who lost Iraq?” ought to provide the occasion for throwing out more than a few rascals who hold office and discrediting others.

With Rumsfeld’s firing the Chistka is officially under way. Ladies and gentlemen, tighten the seat belts and have your sick bags ready.

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A Veterans Day Salute

By Tom Purcell
November 10, 2006

Today, Veterans Day, is a great day to read a book titled Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul. In it, John McCain shares a story about of a fellow named Mike, shot down in 1967 and captured by the Vietnamese. Mike grew up poor in Alabama, wrote McCain. "He didn't wear shoes until he was 13 years old. Character was his only wealth." Mike made a needle out of a piece of bamboo and gradually sewed scraps of red and white cloth into an American flag. He sewed the flag onto the inside of his prisoner's shirt. Every afternoon, the American prisoners hung Mike's flag onto the wall and said the Pledge of Allegiance. One day, the guards discovered the flag and confiscated it. They beat Mike severely, puncturing his eardrum and breaking several ribs. Later, after everyone else had fallen asleep, Mr. McCain noticed Mike in the corner under the light bulb. His eyes nearly swollen shut, Mike quietly picked up his needle and began sewing a new flag.

The book offers numerous other tales about servicemen and women that will give you goose bumps and bring tears to your eyes. One fellow explains how he was blown off the USS Astoria. He grabbed his rubber lifebelt and inflated it. It kept him afloat several hours. He became fond of the lifebelt, particularly since it was made in his home town of Akron, Ohio. During his next leave, he told his family his survival tale and showed them the lifebelt. His mother picked it up and was amazed at what she saw. She'd been an inspector at a local rubber plant where the lifebelts were made. Her inspection number was on the lifebelt that saved her son's life.

Another man, whose family practiced bigotry and racism during his childhood, taught his own children to treat every man with dignity and respect, regardless of their skin color -- because of what he experienced in World War II. He was Sgt. L.G. Pool, a Texas-born bull rider who he rode the Sherman tank he commanded with the same enthusiasm. He was always the first out front and the last to wrap up for the day. But one night, he ran out of fuel. He and his men, trapped five miles behind enemy lines, were "sitting ducks." Two other men volunteered to travel five miles on foot carrying a five-gallon can of fuel. They were guided to Sgt. Pool's tank by the sight and sound of gunfire. Sgt. Pool and his men were saved because of their bravery of the volunteers. One was Native American, the other African-American.

Other stories celebrate the best of the human spirit. There's a story about four chaplains on a sinking ship. There weren't enough lifebelts to go around and each of the four took theirs off and strapped them onto others. The chaplains died when the ship went down. After an American battalion pushed back the Germans near a small Belgian town, one GI heard church bells ringing. The town now in American hands, the GI went into town to celebrate Mass. He saw a priest begin the service, but there was no altar boy. The GI, a former altar boy, walked to the altar and performed the job. After Mass he followed the priest into the sacristy. He kept his hands in the prayer position, while the priest removed his garments. Beneath his garments, the priest wore a German officer's uniform -- he was a chaplain in the German army. The men shook hands and parted, both exhilarated by the truth that "even in war our common humanity, under the same God, can triumph over hatred and division."

It's an oddity of human existence that in the midst of the hell of war, as human nature is at its most violent, human goodness and beauty are at their highest. Such goodness and beauty are occurring now in our current disputes. Hopefully, someone will write a book about that soon. But it's something else to remember as we honor our veterans today, and pray for the men and women in harm's way now.

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Tom Purcell's weekly political humor column runs in newspapers and Web sites across America. Visit him at

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Patrick Buchanan: Return of Economic Nationalism

Patrick Buchanan
November 8, 2006
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Well, the American people have spoken, and in his own good time, Franklin will tell us what they have said."

So one wag explained the Democratic landslide that buried the Hoover Republicans in 1932. The country was voting against three years of Depression and the president and party it held responsible.

But what was it voting for? FDR supplied the answer: a New Deal.

All week, politicians and pundits will be putting their spin on the election returns, but there is a more certain way to know what Americans are voting for, and voting against. Which issues, in the tight races, did the candidates campaign on, and what issues did they consciously seek to avoid?

Among the more dramatic events of this election year was one that has been little debated: The return of the trade-and-jobs issue, front and center, to American politics.

Note: Almost no embattled Republican could be found taking the Bush line that NAFTA, or CAFTA with Central America, or MFN for China, or globalization was good for America and a reason he or she should be re-elected. But in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, attacks on free trade were central elements of Democratic strategy.

"Protectionist Stance Is Gaining Clout," ran a headline inside The Wall Street Journal election eve. "Democrats Benefit by Fighting Free Trade, and Next Congress Could Face Changing Tide."
The Journal focused on Iowa's 1st District, an open seat given up by GOP veteran Jim Nussle, who was running for governor. As the Journal related, "Bidding for a seat held by a free-trade Republican for nearly two decades, Democrat Bruce Braley had gained an edge by taking the opposite view: bashing globalization. ...

"Mr. Braley has made opposition to the Bush administration free-trade agenda a centerpiece of his campaign. He has run ads blaming the state's job losses on Bush's 'unfair trade deals.'"
Sherrod Brown, the Democratic challenger to Ohio's GOP Sen. Mike DeWine, also launched assaults on globalization and made the Bush trade deals a central feature of his campaign.

With the 2006 election, America appears to have reached the tipping point on free trade, as it has on immigration and military intervention to promote democracy. Anxiety, and fear of jobs lost to India and China, seems a more powerful emotion than gratitude for the inexpensive goods at Wal-Mart. The bribe Corporate America has offered Working America -- a cornucopia of consumer goods in return for surrendering U.S. sovereignty, economic security and industrial primacy -- is being rejected.

What is ahead is not difficult to predict.

The Doha Round of global trade negotiations is dead. Even if Bush cuts a deal with Europe, it could not pass the new Congress. In mid-2007, when Bush asks for renewal of his fast-track authority -- presidential power to negotiate trade deals, while cutting Congress out of any role save a yes-or-no vote -- it will be amended drastically or batted down handily.

But if the free-trade era is over, what will succeed it?

A new era of economic nationalism. The new Congress will demand restoration of its traditional power to help in shaping trade policy. When the U.S. trade deficit for 2006 comes in this February, it will hit $800 billion, pouring more fuel on the fire.

Even before Tuesday, wrote the Journal, "the Republican-controlled Congress (had) already showed its sensitivity ... helping derail a deal by Arab-owned Dubai Ports World to purchase the commercial operation at five U.S. ports and approving millions of dollars to build a wall to stem the tide of illegal immigrants from Mexico."

A rising spirit of nationalism is evident everywhere in this election, not simply in the economic realm. Americans are weary of sacrificing their soldier-sons for Iraqi democracy. They are weary of shelling out foreign aid to regimes that endlessly hector America at the United Nations.
They are tired of sacrificing the interests of American workers on the altar of an abstraction called the Global Economy. They are fed up with allies long on advice and short on assistance.

Other leaders in other lands look out for what they think is best for their nations and people. Abstractions such as globalism and free trade take a back seat when national interests are involved.

China and Japan manipulate their currencies and tax polices to promote exports, cut imports and run trade surpluses at America's expense. Europeans protect their farms and farmers. Gulf Arabs and OPEC nations run an oil cartel to keep prices high and siphon off the wealth of the West. Russians have decided to look out for Mother Russia first and erect a natural gas cartel to rival OPEC. In Latin America, the Bush's Free Trade Association of the Americas is dead.

We are entered upon a new era, a nationalist era, and it will not be long before the voices of that era begin to be heard.

Copyright 2006 Creators Syndicate

Robert Spencer: Islamic Law in Iraq

Robert Spencer
November 8, 2006

Shouting “Allahu akbar” and looking furious, Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to hang. Celebrations broke out anew in Baghdad, reminiscent of the heady days in 2003 when the Saddam statue was toppled; however, in the old dictator’s native Tikrit, marchers cried, “We will avenge you, Saddam!” In Jenin, meanwhile, preteen schoolgirls marched carrying pictures of the fallen tyrant and chanting, as their fathers and uncles and older brothers did during the 1991 Gulf War, “Beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv.”

But barring some Dickensian reversal, Saddam’s striking days are over, as is his era in Iraq. Said President Bush: “Saddam Hussein’s trial is a milestone in the Iraqi people’s effort to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law. It is a major achievement for Iraq’s young democracy and its constitutional government.”

With Saddam definitively gone, however, there remains a significant impediment in Iraq to the rule of law and constitutional government, at least in the Western sense of those terms as involving equality of rights of all before the law. For the Iraqi Constitution as it currently stands stipulates: “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.” This may seem innocuous enough in a land that is overwhelmingly Muslim, and indeed, many Western analysts have dismissed concern about this as hysterical. Charles Krauthammer declared in October 2005: “The idea that it creates an Islamic theocracy is simply false. Its Islamist influence is relatively mild….No law may contradict Islam. But it also says that no law may contradict democratic principles and that the constitution accepts all human rights conventions.”

Unfortunately, the intervening year has not been kind to this assessment. The Abdul Rahman apostasy case in Afghanistan gave a sobering indication that when the Sharia provisions of these nascent Constitutions came into conflict with “democratic principles” and “human rights conventions,” it was not Sharia that would fall by the wayside. The Iraqi government has thus far shown little interest in enforcing Sharia principles in Iraq, but it has also shown itself unwilling or unable, at least so far, to keep others from doing so – to the immense detriment of women and religious minorities in Iraq.

The crisis for Christians in Iraq has become so severe that Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Florida, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Policy, recently wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on behalf of the USCCB, asking her to act to protect Christians and other embattled religious minorities in Iraq. “We are especially and acutely aware,” wrote Wenski, “of the deliberate violence perpetrated against Christians and other vulnerable minorities. Christians continue to decline from a pre-war population of over 1.2 million to a current estimate of about 600,000. The growing and deliberate targeting of Christians is an ominous sign of the breakdown in Iraqi society of civil order and inter-religious respect and represents a grave violation of human rights and religious liberty.”

Wenski noted that “the recent beheading of a Syriac Orthodox priest in Mosul, the crucifixion of a Christian teenager in Albasra, the frequent kidnappings for ransom of Christians including four priests--one of whom was the secretary of Patriarch Delly, the rape of Christian women and teenage girls, and the bombings of churches are all indicators that the situation has reached a crisis point. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates that approximately 44% of Iraqi refugees are Christian, even though they represent only about 4% of the total population of Iraq.” Christians are being victimized, and some even killed, for selling alcohol – which they are forbidden to do under Sharia law. Christian women have been threatened with death unless they wear the hijab, in accord with Islamic norms.

Ironically, while the Sunni and Shi’ite jihad groups that are fighting against American troops in Iraq both maintain opposition to the Iraqi Constitution, their demand that Islam be the highest law of the land is already enshrined in it. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the father-in-law of Moqtada al-Sadr and the leading intellectual light of Iraq’s Islamic Da’wa Party, explained in 1975 that Islamic law must be the foundation of legislation, and that no legislative body could formulate any law that contradicted Islam. Or, as the Iraqi Constitution of today puts it: “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”

Unless this principle is directly confronted by Iraqi and, if necessary, American authorities, the status of women and religious minorities in Iraq will continue to erode, and Iranian hopes to create a Shi’ite Arab client state on its Western border will move closer to being realized. It is thus directly in the American interest to challenge the spread of Sharia in Iraq. If this is not done, the sentencing and eventual hanging of Saddam Hussein will do nothing to bring the people of Iraq any closer to the freedom that so many have fought so valiantly to secure for them.

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Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of
Jihad Watch. He is the author of six books, seven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith and the New York Times Bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). His latest book is the New York Times Bestseller The Truth About Muhammad.

Book Review: "Act of Treason" by Vince Flynn

Act of Treason
By David Forsmark
November 8, 2006
Act of Treason
By Vince Flynn
Atria, $25.95, 415pp.

It seems that every time I write a Frontpage column about thrillers that defy conventional liberal wisdom, a reader posts the question, "When is the next Vince Flynn book coming out?"
Here you go, just in the nick of time.

Act of Treason is Flynn's latest adventure starring paramilitary hero, Mitch Rapp, the CIA equivalent to Dirty Harry, whose exploits in defense of America regularly force him to defy liberal Washington politicians in much the same way that Harry Callahan had to mix it up with the San Francisco brass.

And whether you're a fan eagerly awaiting the next installment or a curious reader wondering what all the fuss is about, Act will make your day. Flynn's tale illustrates the folly of treating terrorists as a law enforcement problem -- of granting suspected combatants the innocent-until-proven-guilty standard and trying to meet the standards of evidence that an American court would require -- and of the circus that a hostile media would create if such a thing were even attempted.

The story opens with the Democrat ticket for president lagging in the polls because Americans just can't take them seriously on national security issues. But when an assassination attempt on their motorcade just before the election kills the prospective first lady, the ticket is swept into office on a mixture of sympathy and defiance. Call it the reverse-Madrid effect. Americans figure that if Al Qaeda is this afraid of the ticket, it must be good.

Rapp and his boss, CIA Director Irene Kennedy, will be first on the chopping block for the new liberal administration, but Kennedy assigns Rapp to track down the assassin during the transition period. Rapp captures the Bosnian-born killer in Cyprus and delivers him stateside after commandeering a secret CIA jet used to transport terrorists.

Unfortunately, Mark Ross, the ultraliberal vice president-elect, has gotten involved in the case, and the assassin is turned over to the Justice Department for trial, rather than sent to a CIA facility for interrogation. Ross also has leaked to Tom Rich of the New York Times (Rich: get it?) that the possibly innocent man was shot in both hands and knees by that notorious Neanderthal Mitch Rapp, putting his confession in doubt because of "torture."

As Rapp explains to a young operative who thinks the CIA will finally get some good press, "Every news story has its cycle. And when it's about the Agency, no matter how good it looks at the beginning, it eventually gets ugly. It all come down to our methods. They're vegetarians, we're meat eaters."

It's not revealing too much to tell you that Ross is the villain of the piece, having arranged the death of the philandering wife of his running mate in a way that would eliminate two vulnerabilities at once; Flynn lays out the conspiracy pretty early in the book. There is no 24-style unraveling of layers of shocking conspiracy here, just the undeniable pleasure of watching the usual suspects get their comuppance.

It's no wonder - and good news - that Flynn has been retained as a story consultant for TV's 24. That should put a check on any incentive the show's producers might have to atone for past politically incorrect sins.

So until Jack Bauer hits your TV screen again in January, confounding America's enemies at home and abroad, Mitch Rapp fits the action lover's bill quite nicely.

Flynn's writing has improved since his first novels, but he's still capable of churning out such blunders as, "Rapp's eye was locked in on Gazich. A literal tunnel." That's OK -- after all, Flynn sometimes get enough tradecraft detail right that former CIA Director Porter Goss once asked exasperatedly of his work, "Who cleared this?"

Even less believable but still irresistibly fun is Spy (Atria, $25.95, 483 pp.), the latest in Ted Bell's Alexander Hawke series. Filled with well done, if over the top, action scenes, the thriller moves along at a brisk clip with several cliff-hanging plots intersecting, overlapping and keeping the pages moving.

This is action comic book territory -- think Clive Cussler with hot button themes. Lots of them. If Vince Flynn is too politically incorrect for you, don't even think about picking up Spy.

Hawke coins them term "jihadistas" to describe his opponents as Al Qaeda collaborates with Venezuelan thugocrat Hugo Chavez to set up a secret training camp for terrorists in the Amazon jungle. The plan is to exacerbate the simmering low-level war on the Texas border as cover for their plan to use WMDs on America that were smuggled out of Iraq.

If recent news reports of a testosterone deficit in American males are true, these books are just what the doctor ordered.

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Frederica Mathewes-Green on Ted Haggard

November 7, 2006

Frederica Mathewes-Green writes:

I was in Denver for about a hundred minutes this weekend. I hadn’t planned it, but when I arrived at the airport Friday morning to begin my journey to Calgary, I was surprised to see that’s where I would change planes. The story about Ted Haggard had hit the news the night before, and I had been for some reason really moved by it. I walked through the Denver airport praying the Jesus Prayer for him: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on Ted.” That whatever needed to happen would happen, and that it would be used for Ted’s ultimate healing. And I prayed for his wife, Gayle, and their five children. I cannot imagine their pain.

I was probably not the only person who found his initial response suspicious: “I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver.” Imagine that you’re a guy, and a male escort you’ve never heard of suddenly announces to the press that you two have been in a sexual relationship for years. After you got through screaming “WHAT?!?” for a few hours, you would say, “This is really sick and creepy and repulsive. I have never met this guy. It is scary to think anyone could have this kind of full-blown delusional fantasy going on. This is some kind of John Mark Karr thing. I’m disgusted, and I feel stalked, and I am talking to the police about protection.”

So “I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver” was pretty feeble. “In Denver”?

But in the rush of travel, I didn’t catch any images of Haggard until the return trip Saturday; I didn’t know what he looked like. An airline rescheduling unexpectedly brought me back through Denver on the way home—that had the looks of something God-arranged. This time, while praying my way through the airport, I spotted some newspaper dispensers with Haggard’s name in the top headlines. I knelt to read the stories and saw that sad truths were coming to the surface.

But I also saw a photo of Haggard and for the first time connected a face with the name. So that’s the guy! I had seen this face before, I guess in photos of evangelical leaders. It sure had struck me as a crazy-scary one—somebody I’d instinctively step away from. The zones of his face are sending out conflicting messages. It looks like both terror and attack. The overall effect is frenzied.

Ted wrote in the letter read to his church on Sunday: “There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all my life.”

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, we speak of the impulses that move us toward any kind of sin as “passions.” You shouldn’t think of this term as related to “passionate.” It’s more like “passive” (as in “the Passion of Christ”; his passion is what he endured).

These impulses beat us up. They originate as thoughts, sometimes as thoughts that evade full consciousness. The roots are tangled with memories, shame, anger, fear—and the thoughts are also very often inaccurate.

All this mess damages our ability to see the world clearly. We go on misreading situations and other people, and venture further into confusion. The illness compounds itself, to the delight of the Evil One, who nurtures lies and has no compassion on the weak. To him, the weak are breakfast.

Eastern Christianity speaks of this as the darkening of the nous, that is, of the perceptive center of a person. (Most English bibles translate nous as mind, but that’s not quite it; the nous is not the rational intellect but a perceiving faculty. Thoughts and emotions are subsequent reactions to the nous’s perceptions.) The damaged nous is like a pair of glasses fitted with distorting lenses. It needs healing.

The Greek word represented by this kind of “passion” is pathos. It means “suffering.” It is because we are helpless in our suffering that Christ came. He took on vulnerable human form and went into the realm of death and defeated the Evil One. Now we are invited to gradually return to health by fully assimilating the truth that sets us free—by assimilating the presence and life of Christ himself. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” St. Paul said. This life fills and changes us like fire fills a piece of coal.

In the Eastern Christian understanding, sins are not “bad deeds” that must be made up in order to satisfy justice. They are instead like bad fruit, which indicates a sickness inside the tree (the analogy Jesus uses in Matthew 7:7–8). Sin is infection, not infraction. And God not only forgives freely but also sent his Son to rescue us when we were helpless.

With God’s help, we begin to heal. Like an athlete striving for the prize (I Cor. 9:24, Phil. 3:14, 2 Tim. 2:5), we resist succumbing to lying thoughts. The ancient spiritual disciplines—continual prayer, fasting, and love of others—are like the exercises in a time-tested workout routine. They make us stronger. When we fall, we get up. This is a life of continual repentance—and you can see in that word re-pent, “re-think.” Salvation is health, and health comes from knowing the truth and resisting lies. This gradually heals the nous so that it is restored to its original purpose: to perceive God’s light permeating all Creation.

St. Paul writes, “Be transformed by the renewal of your nous.” The biblical word for repentance, meta-noia, means literally the transformation of the nous. We are welcomed into God’s kingdom in an instant, as we see in the story of the Good Thief; but full healing comes slowly and will continue every day that we live.

So it is a mistake to present Christianity the way some churches do, as if it is the haven of seamlessly well-adjusted, proper people. That results in a desperate artificial sheen. It results in treating worship as a consumer product, which must deliver better intellectual or emotional gratification than the competition. And that sends suffering people home again, still lonely, in their separate metal capsules.

What all humans have in common is our pathos. Getting honest about that binds us together. And then we begin to see how the mercy of God is pouring down on all of us all the time, just as the Good Samaritan bound the wounds of the beaten man with healing oil. May God give this healing mercy to Ted and Gayle, and to their children. May God reveal his healing mercy to Michael Jones, who told the truth. May God have mercy on all of us.

(Access contributors’ biographies by clicking here.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Paul Sperry: Teaching Johnny About Islam

Paul Sperry
Investor's Business Daily
November 7, 2006

In our brave new schools, Johnny can't say the pledge, but he can recite the Quran. Yup, the same court that found the phrase "under God" unconstitutional now endorses Islamic catechism in public school. In a recent federal decision that got surprisingly little press, even from conservative talk radio, California's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it's OK to put public-school kids through Muslim role-playing exercises, including:

Reciting aloud Muslim prayers that begin with "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful . . . ."

Memorizing the Muslim profession of faith: "Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his messenger."

Chanting "Praise be to Allah" in response to teacher prompts.

Professing as "true" the Muslim belief that "The Holy Quran is God's word."

Giving up candy and TV to demonstrate Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

Designing prayer rugs, taking an Arabic name and essentially "becoming a Muslim" for two full weeks.

Parents of seventh-graders, who after 9-11 were taught the pro-Islamic lessons as part of California's world history curriculum, sued under the First Amendment ban on religious establishment. They argued, reasonably, that the government was promoting Islam.

But a federal judge appointed by President Clinton told them in so many words to get over it, that the state was merely teaching kids about another "culture."So the parents appealed. Unfortunately, the most left-wing court in the land got their case. The 9th Circuit, which previously ruled in favor of an atheist who filed suit against the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, upheld the lower court ruling.

The decision is a major victory for the multiculturalists and Islamic apologists in California and across the country who've never met a culture or religion they didn't like - with the exception of Western civilization and Christianity. They are legally in the clear to indoctrinate kids into the "peaceful" and "tolerant" religion of Islam, while continuing to denigrate Judeo-Christian values.

In the California course on world religions, Christianity is not presented equally. It's covered in just two days and doesn't involve kids in any role-playing activities. But kids do get a good dose of skepticism about the Christian faith, including a biting history of its persecution of other peoples. In contrast, Islam gets a pass from critical review. Even jihad is presented as an "internal personal struggle to do one's best to resist temptation," and not holy war.

The ed consultant's name is Susan L. Douglass. No, she's not a Christian scholar. She's a devout Muslim activist on the Saudi government payroll, according to an investigation by Paul Sperry, author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington." He found that for years Douglass taught social studies at the Islamic Saudi Academy just outside Washington, D.C. Her husband still teaches there.

So what? By infiltrating our public school system, the Saudis hope to make Islam more widely accepted while converting impressionable American youth to their radical cause. Recall that John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban," was a product of the California school system. What's next, field trips to Mecca?

This case is critical not just to our culture but our national security. It should be brought before the Supreme Court, which has outlawed prayer in school. Let's see what it says about practicing Islam in class. It will be a good test for the bench's two new conservative justices.

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Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. He can be conacted at

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mark Steyn: Election Season is Bad Time For Slip of the Quip

November 5, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times

My face time with John Kerry has been brief but choice. In 2003, I was at a campaign event in New Hampshire chatting with two old coots in plaid. The senator approached and stopped in front of us. The etiquette in primary season is that the candidate defers to the cranky Granite Stater's churlish indifference to status and initiates the conversation: "Hi, I'm John Kerry. Good to see ya. Cold enough for ya? How 'bout them Sox?" Etc. Instead, Kerry just stood there nose to nose, staring at us with an inscrutable semi-glare on his face. After an eternity, an aide stepped out from behind him and said, "The senator needs you to move."

"Well, why couldn't he have said that?" muttered one of the old coots. Why indeed?
Right now the Democratic Party needs the senator to move. Preferably to the South Sandwich Islands, until Tuesday evening, or better still, early 2009.

He won't, of course. A vain thin-skinned condescending blueblood with no sense of his own ridiculousness, Senator Nuancy Boy is secure in little else except his belief in his indispensability. We've all heard the famous "joke" now: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." (Rimshot!) Yet, tempting as it is to enjoy his we-support-our-dumb-troops moment as merely the umpteenth confirmation of the senator's unerring ability to SwiftBoat himself, it belongs in a slightly different category of Kerry gaffe than, say, the time they went into Wendy's and Teresa didn't know what chili was.

Whatever he may or may not have intended (and "I was making a joke about how stupid Bush is but I'm the only condescending liberal in America too stupid to tell a Bush-is-stupid joke without blowing it" must rank as one of the all-time lame excuses), what he said fits what too many upscale Dems believe: that America's soldiers are only there because they're too poor and too ill-educated to know any better. That's what they mean when they say "we support our troops." They support them as victims, as children, as potential welfare recipients, but they don't support them as warriors and they don't support the mission.

So their "support" is objectively worthless. The indignant protest that "of course" "we support our troops" isn't support, it's a straddle, and one that emphasizes the Democrats' frivolousness in the post-9/11 world. A serious party would have seen the jihad as a profound foreign-policy challenge they needed to address credibly. They could have found a Tony Blair -- a big mushy-leftie pantywaist on health and education and all the other sissy stuff, but a man at ease with the projection of military force in the national interest. But we saw in Connecticut what happens to Democrats who run as Blairites: You get bounced from the ticket. In the 2004 election, instead of coming to terms with it as a national security question, the Democrats looked at the war on terror merely as a Bush wedge issue they needed to neutralize. And so they signed up with the weirdly incoherent narrative of John Kerry -- a celebrated anti-war activist suddenly "reporting for duty" as a war hero and claiming that, even though the war was a mistake and his comrades were murderers and rapists, his four months in the Mekong rank as the most epic chapter in the annals of the Republic.

It's worth contrasting the fawning media admiration for Kerry's truncated tour of duty with their total lack of interest in Bob Dole's years of service two presidential campaigns earlier. That convention night in Boston was one of the freakiest presentations in contemporary politics: a man being greeted as a combination of Alexander the Great and the Duke of Wellington for a few weeks' service in a war America lost. But Kerry is the flesh-and-blood embodiment of the Democratic straddle, of the we-oppose-the-war-but-support-our-troops line. That's why anti-war Dems, outspinning themselves, decided they could support a soldier who opposed a war.

And as Kerry demonstrates effortlessly every time he opens his mouth, if you detach the heroism of a war from the morality of it, what's left but braggadocio? Or, as the senator intoned to me back in New Hampshire when I tried to ask what he would actually do about Iraq, Iran or anything else, "Sometimes truly courageous leadership means having the courage not to show any leadership." (I quote from memory.)

In fairness to Kerry, he didn't invent the Democrats' tortured relationship with the military. But ever since Eugene McCarthy ran against Lyndon Johnson and destroyed the most powerful Democrat of the last half-century, the Democratic Party has had a problematic relationship with the projection of power in the national interest. President Jimmy Carter confined himself to one screwed-up helicopter mission in Iran; Bill Clinton bombed more countries in a little more than six months than the Zionist neocon warmonger Bush has in six years but, unless you happened to be in that Sudanese aspirin factory, it was as desultory and uncommitted as his sex life and characterized by the same inability to reach (in Ken Starr's word) "completion." As for John Kerry, since he first slandered the American military three decades ago, he's been wrong on every foreign policy question and voted against every significant American weapons system.

To be sure, like Kerry in 2004 deciding that the murderers and rapists were now his brave "band of brothers," the left often discover a sudden enthusiasm for the previous war once a new one's come along. Since Iraq, they've been all in favor of Afghanistan, though back in the fall of 2001 they were convinced it was a quagmire, graveyard of empire, unwinnable, another Vietnam, etc. Oh, and they also discovered a belated enthusiasm for the first President Bush's shrewd conduct of the 1991 Gulf War, though at the time Kerry and most other Democrats voted against that one, too. In this tedious shell game, no matter how frantically the left shuffles the cups, you never find the one shriveled pea of The Military Intervention We're Willing To Support When it Matters.

To be sure, the progressives deserve credit for having refined their view of the military: not murderers and rapists, just impoverished suckers too stupid for anything other than soldiering. The left still doesn't understand that it's the soldier who guarantees every other profession -- the defeatist New York Times journalist, the anti-American college professor, the insurgent-video-of-the-day host at CNN, the hollow preening blowhard senator. Kerry's gaffe isn't about one maladroit Marie Antoinette of the Senate but a glimpse into the mind-set of too many Americans.

©Mark Steyn, 2006

Srdja Trifkovic: Fighting Jihad at Home

[BINGO!!!...Mr. Trifkovic nails want answers? are some friggin' answers!...God!..somebody make this man President.- jtf]
Thursday, October 19, 2006

To be operationally useful, the notion of “Fighting Jihad at Home” demands a clear definition of Jihad, the evidence that the activity thus defined is present in the United States, and a set of policy recommendations to counter it.

Jihad is the application of divinely mandated violence by Muslims against non-Muslims with the objective of (a) converting, (b) killing, or (c) subjugating and taxing the latter. The doctrine of jihad was Muhammad’s only significant original contribution to history.

Muhammad’s followers and successors were prone to war by custom and nature, accustomed to living by pillage and the exploitation of settled populations. Theirs was an “expansionism denuded of any concrete objective, brutal, and born of a necessity in its past” (Ibn Warraq), but Islam provided a powerful ideological justification for those wars—a justification that was inherently global in scope and totalitarian in nature. It shifted the focus of attention of the tribesmen from their internecine feuds to the outside world. The enormous aggressive energy and hunger for loot was henceforth to be directed outwards.

Jihad is not so much the means of spreading Muslim faith, as the means of spreading the rule of Islam. The view of modern Islamic activists, that “Islam must rule the world and until Islam does rule the world we will continue to sacrifice our lives,” has been solidly rooted in traditional Islam ever since the early divine sanction of violence that came to Muhammad in Medina: “O Prophet! Rouse the Believers to the fight,” the Kuran orders, and promises that a hundred Muslims would vanquish a thousand unbelievers (Kuran, 8:65). In dozens of verses Allah orders the faithful to fight the unbelievers,(9:123) “and slay them wherever [they] catch them.”(2:191) The end of the fight is possible only when “there prevail justice and faith in Allah” in the whole world.

Such scriptural basis made Islam different from all other major religions, in creating the foundations for a theocratic universal state with unlimited aspirations. From Muhammad’s second year in Medina on, Islam combined the dualism of a universal religion and a universal state and jihad became its instrument for carrying out the faith’s ultimate objective by turning all people into believers. Islam postulates the fundamental illegitimacy of the existence of non-Islam, and mandates permanent “rejection of the Other”—to use a fashionable term—by every bona fide Muslim as a divine obligation. To a Muslim Jihad does not necessarily mean permanent fighting, but it does mean a permanent state of war.

All jihad is “defensive” by definition: the legal formulation of the relationship of Muslims to others is based on the principle that Islam is a universal message to the whole of mankind which the whole of mankind must accept, or else submit to. Since no political or material power may hinder Allah’s will, any such “hindrance” is an act of aggression and Islam has no recourse but to remove it by force. All conquered lands are the House of Islam where ummah had been established, while the rest of the world belonged to the House of War inhabited by Harbis. The House of Islam is in a state of permanent war with the lands that surround it. It can be interrupted by temporary truces, but true peace comes with the completion of global conquest.

The reality of militant jihad as a centuries-long religious and legal institution of Islam has a rock-solid rooting in its scriptures, traditions, and jurisprudence. The most prominent Islamic jurist of all time, Ibn Khaldun, summed up the consensus valid to this day when he defined the holy war as a religious duty based on the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert all men to Islam by persuasion or force. He readily concedes that “Islam is under obligation to gain power over all nations.”

The apologists assert that Muslims are called by the Kuran to strive for peace, but the “peace” that is called upon believers to implement is impossible unless it is established under an all-pervasive Islamic rule. Such “peace,” resulting from jihad, does not only have the negative meaning of the absence of war, it is also a positive state of security that is attainable once Islam kills, converts or subjugates all infidels, and conquers their lands. This is exactly the same definition of “peace” as that used by the Soviet empire in the period of its external expansion (1944-1979): it is the objective, but it is fully attainable only after the defeat of “imperialism as the final stage of capitalism” and the triumph of the vanguard of the proletariat in the whole world.

Like communism and fascism, Islam offers a vanguard ideology; a complete program to improve man and create a new society; complete control over that society; and cadres ready, even eager, to spill blood—and all that thanks to the doctrine of Jihad. It breeds a gnostic paradigm within which the standard response to the challenge presented by non-Muslim cultural, technological and economic achievements is hostility and hatred. The alleged distinction between “extremists” and “moderates” is a Western construct—the difference between them may concern the methods to be applied but not the final objective: to rekindle the glory that was Islam under the prophet and his early successors.

The revival of the model of early Islam in a modern form mandated the reaffirmation of uncompromising animosity to non-believers and the return to violence as a means of attaining political ends. Terrorism offered the final release from tension by democratizing jihad, making it individualized. The theoretical basis was provided by Sayyid Qutb, the ideologue of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood executed by the Nasser regime. Since all non-Islamic states were illegitimate, Qutb concluded, an Islamic “vanguard”—obviously inspired by the Bolshevik model—is needed to wage jihad both locally and globally. His impact is reflected in al-Qaeda’s own theological justification for its actions. The US is waging an offensive war against Islam and terrorist operations were therefore Kuranically ordained defensive measures to protect the Muslim community from outside aggression.

The apologists for terror invoke sources and principles that are independent of any capricious or dubious interpretations of the Kuran or the Hadith. Even if the “moderates” genuinely disprove of al-Qaeda’s methods, as some among them probably do, they would be hard-pressed to reject the fundamental claim of the theorists and practitioners of terror: that their guidance as well as their methods are rooted in the orthodox Islamic sources and practices. The terrorists may differ from other Muslims in the exact command for action that they derive from the Kuran and the hadith, but they all speak the same language, literally as well as legally and theologically.

Unlike the civilization based on Christianity, to which warfare represents a departure from normality, Islam is devoid of any reasoned principle of justice or moderation. Unlike the “just war” theory rooted in Christian thinking, which has evolved into a secular concept instituted in international laws and domestic codes, Islamic jihad is an institution and a mindset, religious and political, that is inherently conducive to terrorism. It creates among its adherents the paradigm of a permanent cosmic war that breeds the terrorist Weltanscahuung. Antagonism towards the demonized “infidel” is rooted in the conviction that Islam is not only the true faith but the only faith with any truth. No matter how much a believer has been exposed to Western or secular thought, no matter which passport he carries or what clothes he wears, his instinctive first priority on meeting a stranger is to establish which side of this divide that person belongs.

Even the cornerstone statement, “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet,” goes beyond a declaration of monotheism and implies the radical division of the world into two camps. Antagonism towards non-Muslim religions, societies and cultures, is certainly not the trait shared by all Muslims, but it is an attitude mandated to all true Muslims and prevalent among most. Through jihad Islam has emerged as a quasi-religious ideology of cultural and political imperialism that absolutizes the conflict with other than itself, and knows no natural limits to itself.

In conclusion of this sketchy definition of jihad, let me say that it is not the jihadists who are “distorting” Islam; the would-be reformers are. Islam, in Muhammad’s revelations, traditions and their codification, threatens the rest of us. It is the religion of war and intolerance. It breeds a peculiar mindset, the one against which Burke warned when he wrote that “intemperate minds never can be free; their passions forge their fetters.” Until the petrodollars support a comprehensive and explicit Kuranic revisionism capable of growing popular roots, we should seek ways to defend ourselves by disengaging from the world of Islam, physically and figuratively, by learning to keep our distance from the affairs of the Muslim world and by keeping the Muslim world away from “the world of war” that it seeks to conquer or destroy.

As for the danger of Jihad here at home, a Muslim immigrant to the United States, or an American-born convert to Islam, is literally millions of times more likely to plot terrorist acts against his fellow citizens than a member of any other religious creed or political ideology (and Islam is both). It is not possible to wage a meaningful “Global War on Terrorism” without considering the technical, legal, moral, and cultural implications of this problem.

Yes, for the time being, America is in a better shape than Europe. It would be dangerous to assume that this is so because Muslims have better assimilated into this country’s culture. It would be an even greater folly to hope that America’s economic, political and cultural institutions act as a powerful source of self-identification that breeds personal loyalty and commitment to the host-society that is so evidently absent among the Muslims in Europe. There is ample evidence that Muslims in America share the attitudes and aspirations of their European coreligionists.

That things are not as bad in America is due to three factors. First of all, Muslims do not account for much more than one percent of the population of the US, in contrast to Western Europe where their share of the population is up to ten times greater. They like to pretend otherwise, and routinely assert that there are between 4.5 and 9 million Muslims in the United States, but impartial studies place the number at 3 to 4 million.

The second difference is in the fact that Muslim enclaves in Europe are ethnically more homogenous. Most Muslims in France, Spain and Benelux came from Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. In Germany and Austria they are mostly Turks. In Britain they are overwhelmingly from the Indian Subcontinent. Their group cohesiveness based on Islam is therefore reinforced by the bonds of ethnic, cultural and linguistic kinship. In the United States, by contrast, neither Arabs nor Sub-continentals enjoy similar dominance within the Muslim community, which is therefore not equally monolithic.

And finally, there are proportionately fewer U.S. citizens among Muslims in America. In France and Britain, by contrast, most Muslims are citizens of those countries and feel free to act assertively or criminally without fear of deportation. But as Citizenship & Immigration Services officials are well aware (and some readily admit off-the-record), the attitudes of Muslims coming here also tend to change once their status in America is secure: as soon as they gain citizenship, many rediscover the virtues of sharia and jihad.

Muslims in the United States don’t have different attitudes to their coreligionists in Europe. On the contrary, the image of America in the Muslim world is far more negative than that of any European country: 81 percent of Pakistanis dislike America while only 10 percent have a favorable image of it. That baggage comes to America with the Muslim immigrants and it is transmitted to their American-born children. In a survey of newly naturalized citizens, 90 percent of Muslim immigrants said that if there were a conflict between the United States and their country of origin, they would be inclined to support their country of origin. In Detroit 81 percent of Muslims “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that Shari’a should be the law of the land.

The picture becomes even more disturbing if we look at the incidence of terrorist threats America faces from the ranks of that one percent of its citizenry. The evidence is overwhelming, voluminous and unsurprising. On the basis of various surveys both in Europe and here it is reasonable to expect that, among a hundred Muslims, 250 sympathize with the motives of the terrorists and 5 are ready and willing to join their ranks and actively participate in their activities. The sense of hostile detachment from any recognizably American identity and values that breeds terrorist intent is not confined to any single group of Muslims. Doctors, musicians, students, and truckers have been convicted of it; it transcends class and affects students, doctors, criminals, soldiers and arty bohemians equally.

The problem is not limited to those Muslims who come to the United States as adults. In December 2003 Mukhtar al-Bakri, a naturalized citizen, and five U.S.-born youths from upstate New York were convicted of aiding Al-Qaeda and plotting attacks on Americans. The seven, known as the Lackawanna Cell, lived in a tight-knit Arab community, but to an uninformed outside observer, “most were all-American teenagers who played soccer together and enjoyed going to parties.” These “all-Americans” went to the Al Farooq training camp in Afghanistan in the summer of 2001; all but one returned to the U.S. They received sentences of between seven and 10 years in prison.

A similar sentiment of hostile detachment from America that ends in treason can be found among some American-born converts to Islam, both white and black. The tone was set in 1996 by Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, an NBA player, who refused to obey the League’s demand that players stand in a “dignified posture” when the national anthem is played. Look at al-Qaeda’s official spokesman, American-born convert Adam Yahiye Gadahn, white, born and raised in California. In 2003, Sergeant Asan Akbar of the 101st Airborne Division threw grenades into tents with fellow soldiers in Kuwait, killing an officer and wounding 13 others. He declared at the time of his arrest, “You guys are coming into our countries, and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children.” Akbar was born in the US to American parents, but once he became a Muslim, other Muslim countries became his countries, and Muslim women and children became his women and his children. The Americans, by contrast, became “you guys.”

In addition to various ad-hoc groups and self-motivated individuals who opt for do-it-yourself jihad, America is now home to the offshoots of international Islamist groups that have a long and distinguished pedigree, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Defense is impossible for as long as the American elite class refuses to accept that Islam as such, traditionally interpreted, poses a threat, and not some allegedly aberrant variety of it. The enemy is well aware of the opportunity provided by this failure. It sees the liberal mindset as his most powerful secret weapon, while despising it at the same time.

The outcome of the war will depend on our ability to halt this ongoing invasion. The precondition is to accept that a practicing Muslim who comes to the United States cannot be “absolutely and entirely” loyal to the United States by definition. The basis of the social and legal order and source of all obligation in Islam is the Kuran, the final revelation of Allah’s will that is to be obeyed by all creation. His divine sovereignty is irreconcilable with popular sovereignty, the keystone of democracy. Politics is not “part of Islam,” as this would imply that, in origin, it is a distinctly separate sphere of existence that is then eventually amalgamated with Islam. Politics is the intrinsic core of the Islamic imperative of Allah’s sovereignty.

The result of that imperative is that among some three million Muslims in the United States of America there are sufficient numbers of terrorist sympathizers and active human assets to justify expenditure of some $300 billion annually in direct and indirect homeland security costs, excluding military operations abroad. That money would not need to be spent if America had been prudent enough to devise a sane immigration policy back in the days of Lyndon Johnson. The tangible cost of the presence of a Muslim man, woman and child to the American taxpayer is at least $100,000 each year. The cost of the general unpleasantness associated with the terrorist threat and its impact on the quality of our lives is, of course, incalculable.

Off the record, anti-terrorism experts, law-enforcement and intelligence professionals will readily concede that the existence of a multi-million-strong Muslim presence in the Western world is the biggest problem they face in trying to battle terrorism. That diaspora is essential in providing the terrorists with the recruits who hold target-country passports, the infrastructure, the mobility, and the relative invisibility without which they would not be able to operate. And yet in polite circles, mentioning immigration, identity, loyalty, and common culture as a possible area of legitimate concern is verboten. The result is cloud-cuckoo land in which much of what is said or written about terrorism is not about relevant information that helps us know the enemy, but about domestic political agendas, ideology, and psychology.

It is especially noteworthy that the terms of the debate, as currently structured, reject the notion that religious faith can be a prime motivating factor in human affairs. Having reduced religion, literature and art to “narratives” and “metaphors” which merely reflect prejudices based on the distribution of power, the elite class treats the jihadist mindset as a curable idiosyncrasy. Its upholders are supposedly decent but misguided or else mistreated people who will change their ways if we give them more asylum visas, prayer-rooms at colleges and workplaces, and pork-free menus in schools and jails, more welfare, public housing, and taxpayer subsidies for Islamic social and cultural societies.

The belief that the problem can be legislated away or neutralized with public money goes hand-in-hand the elite class’s evident fear of an anti-Muslim backlash among the majority host-population. As the threat grows graver by the day, the elite class insists ever more stridently that counter-terrorist policies must not be pursued at the expense of liberal values, since any alternative would “play into the hands of terrorists.”

With the Rushdie affair an ominous pattern was set in the early 1990s, and now we see that it has crossed the Atlantic. It has two key ingredients.

The Muslim diaspora will condone religious justification for acts that challenge the monopoly of the non-Muslim host-state on violence, and it will use a highly developed infrastructure of mosques, Islamic centers and Muslim organizations either in open support of terrorists’ goals or else as a means of deception and manipulation in order to diminish the ability of the host-society to defend itself.

On the other hand the non-Muslim establishment—public figures, politicians, academic analysts—will try to appease the Muslim diaspora by insisting that “true Islam” is peaceful, and by ignoring or openly misrepresenting the problem of the immigrants’ attitudes and impact.
The same spirit of appeasement and pretense manifest in London in the early 1990s prevails in today’s Washington. The 9-11 Commission, the White House in its own Progress Report a year earlier, and a host of special reports and research papers published by various think-tanks and academic research centers, all opted for the path of pretense by ignoring the current significance and future dynamics of the Muslim diaspora in the United States.

If the elite consensus is not challenged and stopped, Islam will continue to be deployed by the promoters of postmodern liberalism as a tool in the destruction of traditional culture and institutions. The tool will subsequently escape all control, of course, but those seeking to exploit Islam’s destructive force fear such calamity less than they hate the old order they want to see dead. Their new global order requires hybrid identities that are expected to flourish once the old ones are eradicated. They seek to co-opt Muslim immigrants into the project, first as the means of eradication of the native communities and then as an ingredient in the new melange devoid of any clear cultural identity, group coherence, or historical memory. Being dysfunctional, it will supposedly provide millions of grateful recipients of their welfare, compassion, non-discrimination, inclusiveness, affirmative action, etc. The dynamics and legitimacy of the liberal society will be maintained indefinitely.

The proponents of co-opting jihad as a means of revolutionary change do not realize that the unassimilated and unassimilable Muslim multitudes pouring into Europe and North America from the greater Middle East, North Africa, and the eastern and western edges of the Sub-Continent, do not want to be their pliant tools. Being untouched by the self-loathing of the Western elite class, contemptuous of their hosts, they will never be passive subjects in a post-national, post-religious Utopia. They sense that they can become actors in their own right, supplant the enfeebled natives, and gradually take over this “candy store with a busted lock.”
The defense demands having no Muslims—practicing, believing followers of Muhammad—inside the walls. There is a direct, empirically verifiable correlation between the percentage of Muslims in a country and the increase of terrorist violence in that country (not to mention the general decline in the quality of life and civilized discourse).

Those Americans and Europeans who love their lands more than other lands and who put their families before other people, are normal people. Those who tell them that their attachments should be global and that their lands and neighborhoods belong to the whole world are sick and evil. The elite class has every intention of continuing to “fight” the war on terrorism without naming the enemy, without revealing his beliefs, without unmasking his intentions, without offending his accomplices, without expelling his fifth columnists, and without ever daring to win. It is up to the millions of normal Americans and their European cousins to stop the madness, and to win this war. The victory will come, as I’ve written in Chronicles, not by conquering Mecca for America but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America. It is time to start fighting Jihad at home by treating all forms of “Islamic activism” as an inherently seditious political, rather than “religious” activity, and, accordingly, to exclude the adherents of Muhammad from these shores—all of them, regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

The traitor class will scream blue murder, of course. It wants us to share its death wish, to self-annihilate as people with a historical memory and a real identity rooted in Europe and Christendom, and to make room for the monistic Utopia spearheaded by the jihadist fifth column. Their crime can and must be stopped. The crime of which Jihad’s Shabbos-goyim here at home are guilty far exceeds any transgression for which the founders of the United States overthrew the colonial government.

This article was first presented at the 17th annual meeting of The John Randolph Club in Rockford, October 15, 2006.
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