Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Meeting engagment

The worst place for a leader to be is behind those he seeks to lead, desperately calling out to a crowd that is increasingly outdistancing him, in a vain attempt to shift them this way or that. Sometimes opinion "leaders" put themselves in a retrograde position by ignoring what everyone around them plainly sees. Here's an example: writing in the context of the controversy generated by Pope Benedict XVI's remarks, ABC News says the 'Day of Rage' is not a day of rage..

London, Sept. 18, 2006 — Three words suddenly have a lot of Westerners worried and, it must be said, likely making some wrong assumptions about modern Islam. "Yaum al Ghadab" is Arabic for "Day of Rage." When the Qatari Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for a Day of Rage this Friday in response to Pope Benedict XVI's remarks about Muslims, it might have sounded like a call for street violence. ...

But why do Islamic leaders use what many Westerners regard as inflammatory language? Because it is not inflammatory, at least not in the context of Islamic culture. "We must not try to interpret Islamic terms and cultural signals by using our Western ideas," said Fawaz Gerges, a professor in the department of international affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and an ABC News consultant.

These hilarious semantic contortions are not the fault of Muslims, who are pretty straightforward about what they believe in, so much as the willful obtuseness of the politically correct Western cultural elite, which feels the need to interpret the world for a perfectly literate public, like some pedant who insists on reading out a poster to his students. It is so tellingly absurd that even retired clergymen from the Church of England find themselves compelled to blurt out the obvious. The rage is rage. The Times of London reports that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey challenged Islam to confront its "violent" strain.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech. Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole. “We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.”

Cardinal George Pell, leader of Australia's 5.1 million Catholics had said almost the same thing as Lord Carey shortly before.

The violent reaction in many parts of the Islamic world justified one of Pope Benedict's main fears," Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, said in a statement on Web sites of the Catholic Church of Australia. They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence," he said.

How has it happened that the most unlikely persons are speaking on what is apparently the most volatile of subjects? It is doubly surprising because there is a powerful reluctance within the organizational culture of Christian churches to voice any criticism of another religion. The statements by Pope Benedict XVI, Lord Carey and Cardinal Pell are really near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void left by Western cultural and political leaders -- a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently. This erasure of cultural borders caused by the near total desertion of the frontier by the so-called opinion-leaders has invited the most reckless elements of Islam across and raised the risk of real clash of civilizations. As Lord Carey put it: "We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times". It is a time made perilous not only by the absence of moderate voices within Islam but by the even more conspicuous absence of any leadership among Western politicians. It is a failure which will sooner or later lead to what military historians call a "meeting engagement" in which two forces, each possessed of its own momentum, blunder into each other with catastrophic results. A false kind of tolerance has abolished the fence between the piggery and mosque, the adult video store and the cathedral, the flaming match and the stick of dynamite and called it progress. It is no such thing. It is called stupidity.


Blogger rasqual said...

"A false kind of tolerance has abolished the fence between the piggery and mosque, the adult video store and the cathedral, the flaming match and the stick of dynamite and called it progress. It is no such thing. It is called stupidity."

Good heavens. So lucid. So obvious. So mad, this world has become.

9/19/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

I've said recently that the problems as you describe them arise from the atrophy of the agora, the commons of ideas, in the West.

When the agora was active in our culture, dangerous ideas could be confronted and debated. But the agora has been replaced by the one-way communication, where Those Who Know Best tell the hoi-polloi what is true and good and right. There is no longer a good way to confront The Anointed Ones within a debate.

Until the rise of the blogosphere, that is.

9/19/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Wretchard, you have absolutely nailed it with this remark:

The statements by Pope Benedict XVI, Lord Carey and Cardinal Pell are really near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void left by Western cultural and political leaders -- a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently.

I was thinking almost exactly the same thing about a week ago, when I first encountered and carefully read the Pope's remarks, which seemed to me lucid and calm and -- Heaven help us -- compassionate (toward Muslims), but I could not have stated this nearly as well as you have. Thanks.

Jamie Irons

9/19/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mastiff said...

In fairness to Fawaz Gerges, he is a Lebanese Christian and no friend of radical Islam. In his book, "The Far Enemy," he states that Salafi Islam was a necessary prerequisite to modern Islamist terrorism.

9/19/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


Let me just say that I really value your and Dymphna's writing, as well as your occasional pieces by Fjordman.

Jamie Irons

9/19/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...


Thank you! I appreciate that.

Unfortunately, all that time spent there means too little time spent here, arguing in Wretchard's fine abode. It's good to see that the quality of discussion here is as high as always.

9/19/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think America's citizens understand full well what is going on and are prepared to meet it and deal with it. At least the small majority who re-elected Bush last time understand although I despair of the politically correct left.

Our leadership *has* abdicated itself, insisting that the problem is not Islam and that Saudi Arabia is our ally in the face of all proof to the contrary.

I'm not sure what it would take to get the citizens involved in our government again, to get it to do what we WANT it to do, which is to confront Islamofascism, call it what it is, strike out at it, and chase it down until it is dead and eradicated. If that means that all Muslims are given a choice between "stop being a Muslim or die", so be it.

My sense is that Europeans are flailing about hopelessly, reluctant to go to war again and hoping against hope that their enemy will finally see reason, grow up and become rational. It's not gonna happen for Europe, and what is happening is not pretty but I can't see anyone there having enough vigor to do anything about it.

Russia and China are ciphers. They're both concerned with oil and energy but they're also both anti-religious so I can't see them throwing in with a bunch of religious froot loops who will demand that both of *those* countries convert immediately, too.

I simply cannot understand why a majority of Arabs don't understand that the light barreling down the tunnel towards them is *not* individual paradise with honey and dates for all.

9/19/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I have nothing against Fawaz Gerges, and he is certainly entitled to his opinion. But it is safe to say that the rage that has been manifested in certain places is exactly that. People can normally recognize a knuckle sandwich when they feel it, and it it almost makes it worse to call it something else.

And if Islam is indeed enraged at the Pope's remarks, it is better to understand it as that rather than to descend into one of those farcical British stage plays where the characters completely misunderstand each other and spend the entire production talking at cross-purposes.

9/19/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

And yet, there are signs of a building momentum.

Since 9/11/01 leftist - and very corrupt - governments in Canada and Germany were tossed out. Leftist challengers were defeated in Mexico and Bolivia, and just this week Sweden, of all places, elected a center-right government.

The Peace Party in Israel essentially no longer exists, so badly mugged by reality as to disavow itself.

In Australia bold proprosals concerning citizenship and alligance have been made.

The article from the self-confessed liberal Sam Harris yesterday despairing of his fellows ever getting the message about Islamic Facism was another crack in the leftist ediface.

And now, even the Pope and these other clerics have pointed out that Islam has serious and inherent flaws that render it unacceptable.

Momentum is building, and it is incredibly broad based in nature.

9/19/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

But the momentum that is building is building towards catastrophe.

I'm afraid we've already bought the ticket. We must now steel ourselves for the ride.

9/19/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger doug said...

Just wanted to thank Wretchard for an excellent posting, especially as 'rasqual' said, for his false tolerance summation.

I have regrettably(and I hope it's just my innate pessimism), come to the conclusion that the conflict with 'militant' Islam is a slow-motion train wreck. The train has already hit that bad section of track, but now time is in s-l-o-w s-p-e-e-d , wherein it is hard to see that the disaster is already upon us.

I don't think the eventual conflict can be avoided, now. If the conflict is both 'ideological'(Islamic Supremecism) and 'structural'( a dysfunctional and decayed Middle-East, that simply keeps producing nothing but rage), what events could happen that could alter the dynamic already in place? I just don't see any likely candidates.

Now it seems to be merely a question of waiting for the other shoe to drop, or maybe more accurately, for the curtain to open after the introductory music.

9/19/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger nonomous said...

As we discuss this, the focus has been on 'Islam' vs 'the west'. As I read the Pope's well reasoned arguments, he is addressing the schism within the west, not a holy war being waged by Islam. The Pope's message is aimed at Europe and the schism between those who evangelically preach empiricism/materialism and those who find empiricism an killing straight-jacket. The Pope's speech is one of the most intriguing messages to come from the Vatican in years. If the Pope had illustrated his arguments with contemporary 're-education camps' rather than Islamic 'forced conversions', the message would not be getting out to as many people...

9/19/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

On reading the ABC article, I couldn't help but look for a byline of Edward Said (may he rest in peace) and I thought of Churchill's comment when asked about the disposition of Stanley Baldwin's body - "Embalm, cremate and bury," he replied, "take no chances."

This kind of nonsense is killing people. We should not tolerate it any more than we tolerate stealing by our children.

I don't think the MSM has any appreciation of the damage they are doing to themselves. Granted, it does nothing but help the new media. Time to short sell more big media shares.

9/19/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

nonomous --

You're on target there. Fjordman has often said that Islamic extremism is the symptom, and not the disease itself. The disease is endemic in the West, and particularly manifests itself in Multiculturalism.

9/19/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

The statements by Pope Benedict XVI, Lord Carey and Cardinal Pell are really near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void left by Western cultural and political leaders -- a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently.

And the leading self-deniers of naming the foe and setting boundaries which with the Islamists may not cross or intimidate the West are it's ostensible "maximum beloved War Leaders, Bush and Blair - whob prattle on about "Islam is Peace"
. And how only a few abherrents have "hijacked the Religion of Tolerance".

What crap! If we end up having to end the secular Jewish, Bushie, Teddy Kennedy love of ROP, and the Marchurian Candidate McCain - at least, in the name of Allah, let us park their Jihadis POWs in camps adjacent to Hyannisport, Crawford, Kennybunkport, Fire Island, and wherever those ACLU Jews go when they retire.

9/19/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides said...
But the momentum that is building is building towards catastrophe.

I'm afraid we've already bought the ticket. We must now steel ourselves for the ride.

so in the end the europeans will kick out the moslems.

Americans of all stripes must ensure that those moslems return to the part of the moslem world from which they came.

Within 10 years the USA will have dropped the cost of water desalination to 1/10th current costs thereby making it economically possible to turn the world's deserts green and double the size of the habitable planet.

Large parts of north africa are going to need a skilled work force to inhabit the newly reclaimed land. They will be eurabians from eurabia.

9/19/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Fred Kaplan on Iran - Under the circumstances, abstract calls to unite and rebel have worse than no effect; they endanger the few struggling reformers by tagging them as agents of American imperialism.

In his closing, President Bush posed a challenge to the General Assembly: "The nations gathered in this chamber must make a choice. ... Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the Middle East, or will we yield the future to the terrorists and extremists?"

Which "moderates and reformers" is he talking about? What kind of "change across the Middle East"? What actions is he proposing the nations take? Or is he just reciting bromides, uninterested in the answers or in how "this chamber"—which, undeniably, has a dreadful record on such issues—might try to deal with them?

1. Bromides, Bush's default straterigization...
2. Maximum All-Wise most-beloved and self-appointed 2nd CHurchill on the planet out to oppose "appeasement" - to deaf ears, especially about "Jesus's favorite nation" - Our Special Friend.

The sad fact is that, even among Middle Eastern countries governed by aspiring or actual democrats, the United States is less and less a moral model. Our beacon has dimmed not because of who we are but because of what we've done. And President Bush made clear today that he's not going to do anything differently.

So come on, you Religion of Peace guys! Show the Beloved War Leader he is right...so he doesn't have to "stay the course" or advocate new wars his "Special Friend" wants.

9/19/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The skirmishers have been pouring out of the Trojan Camel now for sometime. they are fighting and winning. Even if their opponents knew they were in a battle would they know how to win? What would they fight with? Wine, beer, and cheese?

Benedict may not have walked into the conflagration intentionally but how can anyone not these days? Not today when every molehill is being turned into a mountain and commanded to go to Mohammed.

It seems our civilization is buying the fools bargain, however payment will be due with severe interest and penalties.

9/19/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


What would President Bush do? What is the UN for? Don't tell me it is for action. The UN is bromide central.

As in one of Wretchard's former blogs the goal for some is to become the homecoming king of the world.

9/19/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger reoconnot said...

Why is it that the slut who misappropriated mary's name can mock Christ without so much as a mild protest but none of us are free to question whether Mohammed is a false prophet?

Until that day returns none of us is free.

9/19/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


A leading conservative cleric in Iran, Mahmoud Mohammadi Araghi, the president of the Organization of Culture and Islamic Relations, has reportedly suggested that Muslim leaders dispatch a group of envoys to instruct the Pope Benedict XVI and Catholic cardinals on Islam. Araghi, whose organization supervises Iran's 60 cultural centres abroad and is under the direct guidance of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, made the suggestion in a letter to Muslim religious leaders worldwide, reformist Iranian website Baztab reports.

The idea, reportedly aimed at preventing the Pope from making other remarks offending Muslims, was sent to leading Islamic leaders including Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and internationally renowned Islamic preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Instruct Pope

9/19/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"and even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us, by the awful grace of God"

--Aeschylus (525-456 BCE)

9/19/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Some more words of wisdom:

"Where the Liberal moves, the Mainstream moves to follow them. In fact, wherever Liberals may stand, the Mainstream runs right between their legs."

9/19/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush warns Iranians of 'liberty' denied:

Still, a senior White House official said sanctions will not happen unless European nations fail in their bid to get Tehran to the negotiating table in exchange for a suspension of moves toward U.N. sanctions. Judy Ansley, senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council, said European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is trying "right now" to persuade Iran to engage in talks on that basis.

"You start the negotiations, the Iranians agree to suspend their enrichment activities, and in exchange, the United Nations will agree to suspend activities at the Security Council as negotiations go forward," she said, adding that "sanctions will be only if that fails."

Liberty Denied

9/19/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

so in the end the europeans will kick out the moslems.

We're talking about a slowly building rage here, that's about to become explosive. On both sides.

It seems to me that when it hits, it will be *much* cleaner and faster to just kill them.

9/19/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

More incoherent gibberish from Shitterfart, just so he can spew his knee-jerk antisemitism. Pavlov's dog was more of an independent thinker. It was all so predictable though - the Catholic Pope speaks of Islam, Muslims respond with rage, and someone blames it on the Jews!

9/19/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

FYI, Khadaffy's son has demanded that the Pope convert immediately to Islam.

"If this person were really someone reasonable, he would not agree to remain at his post one minute, but would convert to Islam immediately," Mohammed Gaddafi told an awards ceremony on Monday evening for an international competition to memorise the Qur'an.

"We say to the pope - whether you apologise or not is irrelevant, as apologies make no difference to us."

I had to pick myself up from the floor, I laughed so hard. Then I realized there are any number of dimwits in "intellectual circles" who will actually think this is a reasonable demand.

9/20/2006 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

Awakening to Fight Oblivion

Some days seem better than others. Pray this was one of them.

9/20/2006 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

The truth is ultimately that many of our leaders and opinion shapers are educated people, but ideologically stupid. Plain words become complicated, common assumptions become complicated - everything is overthought on the assumption that it can't just be that simple. What I want to believe and what I'm talk to believe just have to be, I just need to find the convoluted reasoning to explain it.


9/20/2006 01:35:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"I want to believe and what I'm taught to believe just have to be, I just need to find the convoluted reasoning to explain it."

9/20/2006 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Itis a pity about Gaddafi's son, a year or so ago he seemed to be [was pretending to be?] a modernizer.

9/20/2006 01:51:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

I date the surrender of western media intellectuals to radical Islam from the publishing of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses in paperback - 1993 or 94. The first hardback edition came out in 1989; the Iranian fatwa and world-wide controversy caught the Viking/Penguin publishers - and everyone else - by surprise.

Even so the publishers knew they had a money maker on their hands. Time to bring out the paper back. What to do? They didn't print the name of the publishing house or the address on the info page (on the other side of the title page); instead the publisher called itself an anonymous "Consortium".

And by the way what has happened to western artists? Usually artists are the first to register the pressures and attacks on freedom for art is where human beings encounter their greatest freedom. Where is the art mocking the pretensions of absolutist Islam? Or if art is too high falutin' then how about some decent satire? The self-serious rage of Militant Islam is a giant helium balloon next to your nose. We've all got pins but are afraid to use them - afraid of the bang, I guess.

Meantime look for the great artworks of Europe to come in for destruction as hot-head Islam's next targets. (Wonder what the appeasing left theorists will say. "Oh they were old and crappy, anyway." Or "The Pieta in its smashed state is even more majestic, etc..."

9/20/2006 02:07:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I think we are a very long way from any point which would provoke the Western cultural elite to resistance. It would take prolonged danger, real anguish and grinding hardship without hope of surcease to make them understand what they have forgotten to grasp: that they could die.

They need to reach the moment when the flip jokes nauseate; when they recall a McDonald's hamburger -- something they despised -- with infinite longing. They need to feel the way you feel when you are out in the sticks with someone looking to kill you, and have had little to eat for weeks.

Even then they will resist. The way someone who stood astride the world resists accepting he is in jail. They'll go to sleep each night thinking tomorrow the nightmare will be over, except that each morning will dawn with misery unending. Until the day they grip the bars with finality and know, know, that this is where they will die and God please give them another chance.

But what will it take to create those conditions? To what depths must we be plunged to effect the enlightenment of the Prodigal Children? No, their redemption comes at too high a price. We may have to fall so low that each and every one of us must adventure upon survival. I fear we must know real despair before we can expect to hope again.

9/20/2006 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The real danger signs were evident when the Nazis invaded Western Europe. That was as existential a threat against as brutal a foe as could be imagined. Yet while there were some brave resistants, as a whole the Resistance was a myth. Faced with the ultimate test, some cared. But many -- too many -- gave it a shrug. John Lukacs recently wrote a book, Five Days In London which describes with what difficulty Churchill persuaded the British cabinet to fight on. Western Europe was delivered by the brutal tenacity of the Soviet Armies and the brute power of America. Left to itself, it might even now be speaking German.

So what is there to encourage the casual observer that the worm will turn? So very little, it seems to me. And having so aspired to be European, many in America may now get their wish in more ways they would have anticipated.

9/20/2006 02:50:00 AM  
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9/20/2006 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger Quig said...

Wretchard old chap, I sense in your recent epistles a touch of despair!
May I take the liberty of recommending to you a snippet of a piece from Victor Davis Hanson?

“There is an American Street that is a far more powerful, and a more responsible force than any such populace in the Arab world. Like many of you, I tire of hearing “Death to America” from the mobs in Teheran or Jericho, and am sick of the usual coffee-house Middle Eastern hack intellectual that CNN drags out from London, who, during the past 5 years, in his condescension and pompous diction, and in the safety of a host Western humane society, starts listing various perceived grievances against the West, and then issues warnings (!) about the furore of the temperamental “Arab Street.”
I respect and fear the American version far more, because its anger is fuelled by reason and is slow and steady and furious when released. The world should not worry when the half-educated, fuelled by zealotry and nursed on conspiracy theory, starts chanting; but it should when a rational and patient American slowly fumes and decides he has had it with the Iranian “President”, Hezbollah’s fascism, the various thugs on the West Bank, the Sunni Triangle’s murderers, the primordial of the Hindu Kush, or some subsidized dictator in Pakistan or Egypt lecturing us”

This is, when fully aroused, a great and terrible thing to behold. And, as many American liberals will gleefully inform you, the heart of America is yet primitively conservative. Those “primitives” will be needed to save the liberals’ latte.

9/20/2006 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Wretchard and all others: I find a certain beauty in this Pope-inspired conflagration. Catholics have always seemed a bit strange to me; quite "foreign" in my part of America (at least, they used to be). But, like many Americans, I found Pope John Paul II an intriguing figure.

However, Ratzinger is truly fascinating to me. I did a quick tour of duty in Germany while in the Army and have nothing but love for Germans. After that tour of duty, I've always considered Germans the real deal in Europe -- kinda the straw that stirs the drink, to borrow a phrase made famous by Reggie Jackson.

The beauty from this conflagration? Pope Benedict XVI has proven himself to be quite worthy, in a very German kind of way, for the position of Pope.

There will be no blinking in the face of Islamic stupidity.

There will be no blinking in the face of academic stupidity.

Standards will be observed.

And it is, as nonomous and others have surely noticed, the academicians and the cultural elite in "our" communities who have been called out by this Pope.

Well done, well done, well done!

9/20/2006 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

An obvious argument, and effective (ht Marc Schulman).

In fact, it is diabolically brilliant.

Farewell, thee order of old. Jealousy and spite will serve you not.

Ahmadinejad is rousing a mob.

9/20/2006 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In my readings of the last few years I have achieved amazement over how easy it would have been to stop the Nazis.

A British officer's plan for an assassination of Hitler....
A positive response from Britain and France to the German General Staff's plan for a coup...
Even a small show of force when the Sudatenland was reoccupied or the Austrian Anshluss imposed....
Even a company of lightly armed troops to oppose the first German capture of an airport in Norway - which was led by merely a military brass band...
Stopping even a single train of German soldiers during the invasion of Holland....

But these "Bush Doctrine" moments are not, by and large, recalled largely, or with shame, or even with wistfulness. Instead, people prefer to dwell on the years of horror and heroism that followed.

Yes, Aristides, we are headed toward a major collision - but only so to avoid the smaller ones that would have, at most, popped an airbag or two.

9/20/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

We expect the impossible when we call for Islam's moderates to criticize their more extreme elements. They have been reminded about Dar al-Harb and have been placed in the trenches with a very explicit message that deserters will be shot. The Pope's message, IMHO, addresses this reality.

Those living in post-Christian and secular countries have greater freedom to choose. His statements about them are more condemning. He asks how they can be neutral given the urgency of the situation.

9/20/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

FYI, Khadaffy's son has demanded that the Pope convert immediately to Islam.

And Mubarek's son has suggested that Egypt start developing its own nuclear capability. I wonder if we'll toss a few more gazillion dollars in on top of the current $2 billion per year we're giving Egypt to help them finance their nuclear program.

9/20/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger NavyDoc said...

Excellent post as usual. Our parish priest gave his homily this Sunday on ecumenism, specifically about The United Methodist Church signing on to the Catholic- Lutheran agreement about the nature of justification through faith. It was a fine sermon, but the silent 800 lb. gorilla in the room was the furor over the Pope's remarks, including the burning of churches in the Mideast and the murder of a nun in Somalia. Left to ourselves, it took nearly 500 years for Catholics and Lutherans to find some common ground. I think it is likely that the challenge our Muslim friends present will cause many former antagonists in Western Civilization to reexamine their differences and work together (quickly I hope!). When I can hear a no nonsense sermon about Islam at Sunday Mass, I think it will be a sign of great progress.

9/20/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Enscout, He asks, and knows the answer:
Moral Equivalence.
To that, add Stockholm:
The pope's point, clear enough to everyone but people who riot for a living, is that reason and truth are under siege, and he wants to rescue them and put them once more to work in the public arena where reasonable truth-seekers can argue, debate, dispute and contend, and depart with their scimitars sheathed.

Certain old women among us, terrified of unsheathed scimitars, naturally counsel retreat, apology and escape.
The danger, writes author Karen Armstrong in London's Guardian, the chief repository of British media squishiness, is that Islamic violence is merely a myth fed by papal indulgence:
"We may even be strengthening [the myth] by falling back into our old habits of projection." The West, in this reading, bears the responsibility for Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon.

There's a shrinking market for squishiness like this. The Australian minister for multiculturalism called his country's Muslim leaders in for tea on Sunday and -- speaking of rioting -- read them the act:
"We live in a world of terrorism where evil acts are being regularly perpetrated in the name of your faith," said Andrew Robb, the minister.
"And because it is your faith being invoked as justification for these evil acts, it is your problem. You can't wish it away, or ignore it, just because it has been caused by others."
Unless the Muslims themselves do something about it, big trouble lies ahead for everyone. You don't have to be a prophet to see trouble coming.
Pruden on Politics

9/20/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Great quote (HT - Neo), over at Roger L. Simons' blog:

Besides, if Allah had wanted us all to be Muslims, it would have been so. To believe otherwise, is to question Allah.

9/20/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Don Bollman said...

"I don't think the MSM has any appreciation of the damage they are doing to themselves."

Two motives are driving the MSM , one banal & the other a world view held by most on the left. The first is conflict sells advertisements. Don’t underestimate the desire for a reporter or organization to get air time, get published or make a buck. The second (and much more significant) nearly all the MSM (the BBC & Reuters being the most notorious) cannot escape the intellectual blinders of multi-culturalism. It is the prism through which they view the world.

Multi-culturalism is essential to the left. With this tool they can advance their agenda without discussing the specific merits or costs of any initiative or action. Instead, they say there are no absolutes only cultural preferences. This philosophy permits one to attack others without having to offer coherent, logical or values based arguments. Tolerance, fair play and the free exchange of ideas are merely social constructs. Ultimately, it results in "I have your truth, you have yours." Of course, they don't truly believe this. Otherwise, why not let others just have their truths (e.g. agree to disagree)? But the philosophy is useful as a smokescreen. It disguises intent. Its flaw is for it to succeed it depends on its opponents to believe that tolerance and non-violence are universal values. If the multi-culturalist's opponents didn't believe in these standards they could quickly destroy its supporters. Should multi-culturalism's foes do so on what intellectual and moral basis could it proponents advocate that their values are so transcendent that they should be preserved? Multiculturalism's premise does not permit appeals to transcendence.

That is precisely what we face today with the radical jihadists. They reject multi-culturalism. They reject Western values that both the left and the right support. But viewed through the lens of multi-culturalism how can one oppose the radical jihadists?
Bottom line, if there are no universal values then one culture is as good as another.

With a multi-culturalist world view on what basis could the MSM criticize the radical jihadists? They can’t. And that's why they won't.

9/20/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Quig - The world should not worry when the half-educated, fuelled by zealotry and nursed on conspiracy theory, starts chanting; but it should when a rational and patient American slowly fumes and decides he has had it....

There are signs the voters have just about "had it", but Islamic barbarians are but one of many items on the "We've Had It!" list.

1. Had it with Open Borders.
2. Had it with concern about terrorist rights.
3. Had it with corrupt crony corporatism and the widening inequality of wealth distribution. Had it with the government people that have gone fiscally reckless in a quest to reward the same cronies.
4. Had it with Both Parties believing transnationalism is great for rewarding their fatcats, so are working to gut American industrial and technological competiveness..
5. Had it with the UN and how every crisis is "America's to solve".
6. Had it with NGOs that beg troops to come in and save "the suffering" in this craphole or that - then spend their time compiling legal dossiers to prosecute the same troops later.
7. Had it with America's failing schools.
8. Had it with activist judges rewriting the Constitution.
9. Had it with Islamic threats from leaders and punks that we wish to squash, leave them with no nation-building billions and troops to ambush, to squash again if they act up..
10. Had it with America's inability to provide the affordable, decent health care coverage that every other advanced nation manages to extend to all it's people.
11. Had it with lack of an energy policy.

So with all the stuff the people have "had it" with, the Islamic stuff is actually lower in most voter's minds than the domestic stuff..High gas prices and the threat of losing jobs and health coverage are far more important to people than "helping the people of Syria". Same with being invaded through Open Borders...Higher priority things will hopefully be addressed, and "fixing the UN" and most international things like "peace in Lebanon" are lower on the list..

RWE - I have achieved amazement over how easy it would have been to stop the Nazis.

I have achieved amazement that you think a major revanchist power with a booming economy and some of the most advanced technology in the world and near total political support to reverse the WWI damages it suffered would "be easy to stop".

Nahncee - And Mubarek's son has suggested that Egypt start developing its own nuclear capability. I wonder if we'll toss a few more gazillion dollars in on top of the current $2 billion per year we're giving Egypt to help them finance their nuclear program.

As long as Israeli nuclear missiles point outward at all it's unprotected neighbors, it is natural and rational for adjacent nations to seek strategic parity. The answer to stopping this is not in the commitment of the USA to a series of major wars it would fight alone to stop an understandable regional arms race to maintain one nations secret WMD monopoly. It is getting the whole ME to commit to being WMD-free, with set borders and guarantors. Just as Latin America, Subsaharan Africa, SE Asia, and Oceana sensibly have done.

As for the 2 billion, it only goes to the Egyptians as part of the Camp David agreement that was never intended to be lifetime welfare, but the clout of the Israel Lobby made so. For every 3 billion Israel extracts from the US, Egypt gets 2 billion, by treaty. And the Egyptians brag that they don't even have to lobby - since the Jews do the work to get the US taxpayer swag. Israel doesn't need it - but like Archer Daniels Midland getting a billion in pork courtesy of it's lobbies when they were raking in record profits - they get it simply to show they can. The 3 billion annual welfare check to Israel is considered a signal and acknowledgement of lobbying clout and ethnic power. China, BTW, does this historically, 180 deg different..weaker factions paid money tribute to stronger factions, smaller nations around China were considered vassal (or Tribute) nations expected to reward China with money and gifts for it's power..

9/20/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger greginboise said...

As usual, Kipling foresaw all of this:

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man—
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:—
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

9/20/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Russia and China are riding the tiger and they think that they're far enough back to be missed by the teeth.

9/20/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Being a bit slower than BC's sparkling commenters, perhaps I've got this wrong:

Fawaz Gerges insists, "We must not try to interpret Islamic terms and cultural signals by using our Western ideas."

Yet the Muslim world is entitled view things like Western cartoons through their narrow-minded cultural prism of grievance and paranoia.

Wretchard has it right: "hilarious semantic contortions," indeed.

9/20/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...


Except for #10, I'm in complete agreement with your list. Good job.

RE: #10 - If I'm sick I'd rather be here, thank you very much. And, I'm sure you would as well.

9/20/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

greginboise, thanks for that GREAT Kipling--it's a saver.

9/20/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

aristides said: "But the momentum that is building is building towards catastrophe.

What's the alternative momentum that ISN'T catastrophic? Sit on our butts and wait for the mullas to smuggle nukes onto our shores and blow our cities?

9/20/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Are you ready for a revolution?

F.B., no, you're right. This fire has already started.

9/20/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

The slow-motion train wreck is one way to look at it - but that implies the people involved can see it coming. For those of us who do see things coming, and dispair of the huge numbers who refuse to see, perhaps a more useful analogy is Nietzsche's famous Madman in Aphorism 125 of The Gay Science (Der Tolle Mensch, Die Froehliches Wissenschaft):

"I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves.
(from the Walter Kaufmann translation).

Remarkably like self-satisfied Burghers Nietzche describes, the left mocks our concerns while at the same time it is their own weakness when they were in power that has caused the Islamic cancer to reemerge - the last time it was rampant was the Mahdi in the Sudan in the 19th century - to threaten civilization.

9/20/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

aristides said (in revolution): "How can you ask for rights and representation when you do not afford them to your own people?"

Amadinijad presumes to be equal with civilized societies. What's the most effective way to dis-abuse his kind of that presumption? Answer: Show the jihadist's that God doesn't love them - Blast their evil institutions. Jihadists believe that "Allah" will save them because they belong to him. Show them that they haven't been saved, and it follows that they will doubt themselves. A change in their behaviour will then tempt them.

9/20/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Speaking of Sudan, the representative in the UN audience laughed when GWB in his speech yesterday mentioned "genocide" in Darfur. Cameras evidently caught it, tho i only heard the news of it on tv, in passing, on Fox, i believe it was.

9/20/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Yes it is good that the Church's are rising to the challenge because no one else is. Sure there are some scattered attempts by some in the Blogsphere but even there the larger bloggers with the power to make these stories catch fire stay away.

Most of the biggest bloggers are very reluctant to declare Islam the problem. For those I visit I believe they are guided by the hope that if they don't mention the obvious perhaps it will go away. For others it is driven by a misguided attempt to back President Bush's idea that Islam has been hijacked. Cause if it hasn't been hijacked then we will have some major problems bringing democracy to it. As indeed we are having.

Ralph Peters on Islam and those who warn about it!

9/20/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Great post, aristides (the 'revolution' link above).

9/20/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

NahnCee said...
" At least the small majority who re-elected Bush last time"

Bush won re-election by winning 53%the votes and received the most votes won by any Presidential candidate in US history. The fact that only 60% of the registered voters voted in the election and only have of the elibile voters bothered to register is another matter. The fact, however, remains that Bush won a solid majority, not small. You despair of the left, yet you parrot their propaganda

9/20/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Dear Wretchard,

I hope the state of things in Australia isn’t the cause of your evident discouragement. A lot of us attending Belmont Club take heart at the growing evidence of stiffening resolve in quarters we’d thought long lost to despair. I do agree with a lot of your assessments though, particularly about the Left. They have been allowed to go many decades without any serious puncture to their elaborate delusional construct, but now they’re dying the “Death of a thousand Pricks.” God knows, my Leftward-leaning friends have often called me as "that conservative little prick of conscience."

Like RattlerGator, I am particularly reassured that the Pope has perceived it is time to take a stand. Mind that he was simply pointing out that conversion coerced by threat of death or torture is BAD. He saw clearly that the intolerance of Islam could be best thrown into sharp relief by showing how they react to a statement that even the most secular non-believer can see is fair.

I just hope the Pope’s personal bodyguards are more than ceremonial; we can expect some rascally little mullah somewhere has already shrewdly calculated he can gain points and virgins by sending a symtex-girt emissary seeking a papal audience.

p.s. to greginboise: Thanks for posting so much of the Kipling. Let none doubt the worth of a liberal education! Right up there with Mark Twain!

9/20/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pine Tree Elementary School in Florida Teaches Alphabet to third graders w/Sex Acts Portrayed in Text.
Video on CNN Homepage.

9/20/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger rich said...

Lord Carey of Clifton, retired Archbishop of Canterbury, gave a speech at Newbold College, 9/18/2006, supporting Benedict while maintaining a conciliatory attitude towards Islam.

The link for the speech is:


The part of the speech dealing with Benedict is about three quarters of the way through a twelve page speech.

9/20/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger onesimus said...

Which of our founding fathers said our form of government was for a "moral people"?

This thought has caused me to question President Bush's case for democracy in the Islamic world.

Before you pillory me, point me to an Islamic George Washington, John Adams, et. al.

9/20/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mastiff said...

Does anyone else find it amusing that C4 launches a tirade against Jews (albiet secular Jews, and I thank him for the distinction), and then follows it up by citing Fred Kaplan?

9/21/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Quig quoted VDH: "“There is an American Street that is a far more powerful...."

That is the reason they (the jihadis) hide.It is the reason that they (the jihadis and their fellow travellers [still undefined]) must win without fighting the battle. It is the reason their method is terror.

Out in the open, they are dead men, quickly and unceremoniously. Their lies about seeking paradise, etc. are proved by this hiding. From their darkness they send forward only children and fools, while they hide.

If you recall, the troubles after Arafat died and before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza ended not long after the IDF began rocketing Palestinian terror leaders off their bicycles and out of their wheel chairs. A brutal, ugly game...which they (the jihadis, etc.) chose.

9/21/2006 03:04:00 PM  
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9/22/2006 08:07:00 PM  

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