Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In the Middle East

Nancy Pelosi in Syria, courtesy of photographs from the Associated Press. "Wearing a flowered head scarf and a black abaya robe, Pelosi visited the 8th-century Omayyad Mosque, shaking hands with Syrian women inside and watching men in a religion class sitting cross-legged on the floor. She stopped at an elaborate tomb, said to contain the head of John the Baptist, and made the sign of the cross. About 10 percent of Syria's 18 million people are Christian."

An Iranian diplomat confirms that Teheran wants to swap 5 men seized in Irbil, Iraq for 15 UK personnel seized at sea. "And sadly, some sort of swap could be in the works," says Former Spook.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, a Burlington NJ school drills against a terrorist, hostage-taking attack. The hypothetical bad guys: fundamentalist Christians called the "New Crusaders", according to LifeSite.

Andrew Sullivan argues that Teheran is showing the world that it is much better at treating prisoners than America.

Iran, that disgusting regime, is showing much of the world that it treats prisoners more humanely than the U.S. That's the propaganda coup they are achieving. And you know who set them up to score this huge victory in the propaganda war? Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, who authorized all the abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere throughout the war.

It's interesting, isn't it?


Blogger jane said...

Oh, sweet Jesus. What are we doing?

4/03/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger DWI said...

Trouble in the garden again! Another woman listening to the serpent!

4/03/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

On a good ole encyclopedia web-link, we looked up the Logan Act of 1799, last amended 1994. In brief, Logan "prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments" (problems arose during the French Revolution).

Most certainly, Citizen Kerry treacherously "negotiated" as a private citizen (uniformed or no) with America's North Vietnamese enemies during active hostilities. "Declared War" is not a factor. Distracted by Watergate, without confidence in an impartial Court, Nixon chose the easy way-- but ignoring Kerry's despicable sellout has proved a dangerous precedent.

As an ultra-partisan, extreme-Left Senator, Big John junketed off to Nicaragua for his Red Rat fix with Ortega in the early 1980s, and even Reagan let it lie. Now Mde. Frum/Pelosi simpers in Syria like April Gillespie visiting Baghdad after the Gulf War ("oh, Mr. Saddam, you're so big and strong").

Whether Logan's "private citizen"
stricture bears on Legislative rather than Executive Branch personnel, subverting U.S. interests to the Madam's extent compares with Senator Vallandigham's egregious Secessionist lobbying from Fort Sumter on. Does there not come a point where a responsible Executive is obligated to rein in excresences of Fonda/Kerry and Frum/Pelosi ilk? Lincoln expelled Vallandigham to the Confederacy, which refused the offer, whereupon the jerk slunk off to Canada for the duration.

If we could find a political dumpster deep and wide enough, national interest demands fitting Mde. Frum/Pelosi for a billowing camels-hair burqa and stuffing her headfirst into Assad's back-alley purda to find happiness with that creep's other harem-mates.

4/03/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

To Cross: (verb intransitive) To move from the Unmarked State to the Marked State; from non-being to being;

Pelosi 'made the sign of the Cross', as a theatrical gesture to Christians who have chosen to mark themselves as obedient/committed to the Righteousness that is Christ, evident in Jesus of Nazareth...

4/03/2007 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Jeha said...

It is not treachery, but mere stupidity.

Someone should remind Madame Pelosi that Ben Laden, when citing the rationale behind 9/11, was citing Beirut as an example of the lack of the resolve on the part of the US.

On the short run, we in Lebanon will end up paying for Madame Pelosi, as the Syrians draw comfort from her visit. A reading of the Syrian "press" gives me a chilling sense of "deja-vu"; those jokers think they have the upper hand.

On the long run, if amateurs like Madame Pelosi prevail in US policy, brace yourselves for another 9/11. The US would have fooled itself twice in thinking (again) that appeasement can yield results.

4/03/2007 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/03/2007 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"Hi! I'm Nancy Pelosi, and I LOVE your quaint Syrian ways. Are you interested in me selling out my country? Cheap, I'm a cheap-

What? You ARE? Let's call my friend Kerry!"

4/03/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Iraq Slogger quotes Syrian state media to describe the purpose of Pelosi's visit.

“Al-Sayyida Nancy Pelosi is in Damacsus, not concerned about the protestations of the neoconservatives,” al-Thawra writes, using a common honorific title for the Speaker.

Pelosi seeks to “correct United States foreign policy,” the paper continues, describing previous US policy in the region as a series of failures that have destroyed America’s moral standing, a policy that “knows no policy except war, siege, extortion of its friends, and the development of the enemy camp.”

4/03/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Deity said...

" Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer"
Perhaps Nancy Pelosi has a deeper intent than what we are looking at.

4/03/2007 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I can't fault Pelosi for her mosque protocols. She did not play "woman of cover" as Dubya endearingly called women of the "Religion of Peace" when she was outside the Mosque. Once going inside, she showed respect by removing shoes and putting the scarf over her hair. Once outside, off went the headscarf.

(Not too long ago, American Christian women covered their heads in church. A custom still well present in other Christian nations)

The visit is illustrative of another thing:

The only Muslim nations that offered substantial tolerance and accomodation to Christianity in recent years were Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon.
Now, only Syria is left as a generally tolerant country.

The idea of a "dual-use" - Christians being allowed to pray inside a Mosque, is unthinkable elsewhere in the Ummah.

4/03/2007 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"...in Syria to correct American foreign policy..."

Oh, well, that makes it all acceptable. Nancy Pelosi is the Chosen One, come to right the wrongs of America's government, with her own personal authority and the authority vested in her by virtue of her position as Speaker of the House of Representatives...

And what a position THAT is...

4/03/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Bill Buckley, talking about Global Warming, notes that if America had signed on to Kyoto, it would have cost between $100 and $400 billion dollars a year, which is considerably more than the bill for Iraq. I didn't realize it would have cost that much, though doubtless the benefits would have been staggering.

4/03/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I speak as both a Roman Catholic and an American. What Nancy Pelosi is doing is offensive to me in every respect. Affecting the posture of a supplicant dhimmi, she demeans Catholicism and Christianity. As a woman of a Western Republic, she insults us all by wearing a required symbol of female submission under Qur'an and Hadiths. And as a citizen acutely aware of the separation of powers, she engages in a bold affront to the Constitutional authority delegated to the Executive branch by engaging in foreign policy abroad.

This will do far more harm to this nation than her cheerleading DhimmiCrats at home could ever imagine.

4/03/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger bjbarron said...

I see no purpose to her visit other than political theater. I only see another urinal target in the making...Damascus Nancy?

Don't women, especially western women of power, realize how stupid they look wearing all that stuff?

4/03/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Over at National Review's "The Tank", W. Thomas Smith Jr., a former Marine has been reporting from Baghdad. Some of his observations:

First the bad: The fighting is heavier and the bombings more frequent than what we might imagine in the states.

For instance, we might read one day that there was a car-bombing in a Baghdad market that killed an untold number of people. The reality is there were probably four or more bombings just from my vantage point on that same day. And many more elsewhere in the country. That doesn't include mortar attacks and gunbattles. Intermittent shooting is throughout the day. Full-blown firefights are every night.

So much is not reported, because most of the journalists — particularly in this city — are hunkered down behind the relatively secure walls of the Green Zone.

More frequent than what we might imagine in the states?!

4/03/2007 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Somebody let me know when Andrew Sullivan prints one of his extended, big-word expositions on the glories of the treatment of homosexuals under Sharia or on the fantastic advances in AIDS research originating from any Islamic country.

Before today I was certain Nancy Dhimmosi could be no more reprehensible...I was wrong.

4/03/2007 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Emphasis said...

Her photo confirms to me that the US Army, the Marines, our Navy and our Air Force are at war, but the United States is not. It is sad, and extremely dangerous.

4/03/2007 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Emphasis: "...(American military) is at war, but America is not."

An interesting distinction, sadly, similar to a patient not recognizing a 1-degree elevation of body-temp and no other outward signs, as an indication of CHRONIC disease-process, but not ACUTE disease-process...

"America is NOT at war, I'm left and I declare this so!"

4/03/2007 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger AspergersGentleman said...

Like the spendthrift that discovers the savings account, Western women will flock to the dignity of Islam, as nothing else will be adequate and anything else will leave them wanting the respect and virtue.

Women are already tired of how they are portrayed in Axe Effect commercials, which reduce them to Pavlov's dogs.

In a country that refuses to watch their NBA, women will simply forget sport in pursuit of a higher purpose, having seen through the fickle and empty gaze of the limelight and seen the grotesque popular culture that gawks it out.

Pelosi is a politician painting her masterpiece; to judge the final product mid-brushstroke is to judge Cedarford an antisemite without first knowing every jew. Americans could be surprised, but Pelosi's challenge is to kick up America's spirit a notch without ruining its diverse flavinoid composition.

4/03/2007 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pakistani Militants Staging Raids Inside Iran: ABC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. has been secretly advising and encouraging a Pakistani militant group that has carried out a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran, ABC News reported on Tuesday, citing U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources.

4/04/2007 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Written by Joseph Ratzinger shortly before he became Pope Benedict XVI,
Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures
looks at the growing conflict of cultures evident in the Western world. The West faces a deadly contradiction of its own making, he contends.

Terrorism is on the rise. Technological advances of the West, employed by people who have cut themselves off from the moral wisdom of the past, threaten to abolish man (as C.S. Lewis put it)—whether through genetic manipulation or physical annihilation.

In short, the West is at war-with itself. Its scientific outlook has brought material progress. The Enlightenment's appeal to reason has achieved a measure of freedom. But contrary to what many people suppose, both of these accomplishments depend on Judeo-Christian foundations, including the moral worldview that created Western culture.

More than anything else, argues Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, the important contributions of the West are threatened today by an exaggerated scientific outlook and by moral relativism-what Benedict XVI calls "the dictatorship of relativism"-in the name of freedom.

Benedict xvi books .

Father Fessio on Pope Benedict XVI

Ignatius Press

4/04/2007 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I don't think there's any purpose to be served bashing Andrew Sullivan because he's gay. Or raising the specter of Jewish conspiracies, etc. Take Pelosi's hijab and all the rest as data. And what that data suggests is that there is a deep, deep division in the West that is practically paralyzing it. And no matter how large the giant, if he is paralyzed and incapable of movement, then he is helpless.

I suspect that before long the question of whether someone is gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile, Democrat or Republican will only be of quaint or passing importance. Things may get worse before they get any better.

4/04/2007 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I'm currently reading about Trotsky's campaign against the White Armies, and how, despite the Bolshevik's immense disadvantages, it's principal strength was its familiarity with with the methods of Terror. Trotsky had men shot whenever he suspected the slightest hesitation. He put machine guns behind the Red Army troops on the attack to ensure there would be no retreat. He smugly described his methods thus: "We must put an end once and for all to the papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life." This was the real Triumph of the Will. Trotsky beat the White Armies, not through battlefield strategy or tactics, but through sheer brutality.

And today Terror is working again. Surrender may be justified in the name of high principle, but it's really a shrinking from Terror; an inability to go on against it, not simply out of fear, but out of the horror of what it will take to fight it. What it will take to outface the Jihadis of the world. For many men, even brave men, Terror is so horrible that it cannot be faced without becoming stained by it. It is almost better to die than to become like them to fight them, though that remains to be seen.

What Trotsky forgot is that at some point necessity reduces men to animals, and on that day, Terror loses its effect. One day nobody may care about the niceties. And on that day we will look back upon the present and weep.

4/04/2007 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

People are mistaken if they think that simple outrageousness or injustice are enough to counter terror and lies. Terror and lies win against a normal crowd every time. I had always supposed that the famous rat scene in 1984 was drawn from Orwell's imagination. In fact, the Cheka used to do exactly that. It put rats in cages and heated one end so they would burrow through the innards of their victims. The Cheka always beat the crowds. Doubtless al-Qaeda can be pretty persuasive too.

Back when I was a kid I wondered how people could countenance the tyranny of Marcos. Couldn't they see? No they couldn't see. Any more than the people in Zimbabwe or Cuba or Teheran can "see". Men want to live, not to see. It takes time, patience and a lot of sacrifice to win back freedom once it is lost. Most of it is expended quietly; my own guess is that 99% of the bill for liberty is paid unseen. It costs not only more than we know, but more than we can know.

4/04/2007 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jeha said...

Actually, the idea of a "dual-use" - Christians being allowed to pray inside a Mosque, is more theory than practice.

This mosque was a Christian church of Saint John the Baptist, and was in "dual-use" at first. During Omeyyad times, the church was converted into a mosque, and a Christian church was build on the outskirts of the city.

An Omeyyad Caliph later tried to remove the tomb of Saint John the Baptists, but feared retribution from his Moslem subjects, who rever him as the prophet Yahya.

The tolerance in Syria today is actually the fact that all groups are more or less equally oppressed, except for Alawites. Madame Pelosi's can make all the empty gestures she wants, that will not improve the lot of minorities in the Arab world.

4/04/2007 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

What's interesting about the Sullivan quote is his aloofness about how the brits are being treated. He describes it as a propaganda victory for a horrible regime, in contrast to our supposedly horrible regime.

There are two possibilities he doesn't discuss: 1)The Iranians are not as nice as they seem on TV and the confessions and admissions are gathered forcefully; 2) the brits are willing to confess and write admissions of guilt without any threat of harm.

So is he surreptitiously advocating for us to actually be more forceful with our detainees so that we can win a propaganda battle against Iran (via forced happiness on TV)? There was a recent poll that showed Germans thought the US was more of a threat than Iran. Clearly this propaganda victory for Iran will not help these feelings. But Sullivan doesn't say whether he actually believes that the brits really aren't giving forced confessions, and there's a big difference between treating your POWs well, and torturing them to smile for the camera.

It's like he really wants to believe them, even though he knows they are pathological liars. Kinda like the UN really wanting to believe that Iran will give up its nuclear program even though they have been proven liars many times. How many times do they need to be proven liars?

4/04/2007 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Fred - I speak as both a Roman Catholic and an American. What Nancy Pelosi is doing is offensive to me in every respect. Affecting the posture of a supplicant dhimmi, she demeans Catholicism and Christianity. As a woman of a Western Republic, she insults us all by wearing a required symbol of female submission under Qur'an and Hadiths.

You don't speak as a very informed Catholic or American. Catholic women were expected to wear some sort of cover on their head if they planned on going into Church from inception all the way up to 1962-63 (Second Vatical Council)

Other countries and cultures and religions have dress codes. Learn to accept it, because you sure aren't going to change it.

As for Pelosi talking to foreign leaders...well part of the reason why Congress changed over was major regions of the world - the ME, Latin America, Europe complained that America refuses to talk to critical countries. The public took note of that and that was a factor in tossing the Republicans out. House Leadership has every right to conduct fact-finding trips and talk to foreign citizens and leaders.

Where it goes bad is like when Jimmy Carter did his idiotic stunt of undercutting US diplomacy with N Korea, made pronouncements "on behalf of America" in Venexuelan elections. (Clinton wanted to kill the fool).

Nothing Pelosi is doing is out of bounds. Bush has tried barring Congress from Cuba, a list of countries Israel doesn't want us to talk to, Venezuela - but even when The Hammer ruled the House, Congressional delegations went anyways. I'm no liberal. I am, however, conscious of how the silent treatment and economic embargo quickly brought Fidel Castro to his knees over the last 45 years.

4/04/2007 04:55:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"I don't think there's any purpose to be served bashing Andrew Sullivan because he's gay."


If that is directed to me, please explain immediately how it is gay-bashing to express my concern about the primitive treatment which would be visited upon gay people under Sharia and what is wrong with expressing it sarcastically. Your suggestion is an insult.

Finally, are you saying he has become less wordy in his writing?

4/04/2007 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

So called fact-finding missions are common practice but conducting a separate foreign policy is not. We will not know for sure what Pelosi is up to for some time but we should probably expect the worst. I suspect that Pelosi is attempting to trade the ME to the Islamists in exchange for the WH for the Democrats in '08.

My suspicions would be confirmed if we see Pelosi saying that "we can work with them" and some conciliatory rhetoric coming out of Iran/Syria/Hamas attributing the new spirit of diplomacy to the General Congresswoman's recent visit. Hilary or whomever would then leverage this "progress" into how the Democrat way will bring a generation of peace at home and abroad. You can fill in the blanks with everything Kerry said in '04.

As much as I would like to believe that playing nice would bring positive results Pelosi is on a fool's errand. The doomsday scenario for the West is an Iranian led Islamist bloc extending from Iran to Lebanon. Three out of those four pieces are already in place for the most part with only Iraq still in play.

All you have to do is look at a map of the ME to see that Iraq has enormous strategic value even if there was never a Saddam Hussein.

4/04/2007 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) has just finished a tour of the Middle East, including visits to Lebanon, Israel and the Palestenian areas. She didn't see any need to don the misogynetic dressings.

On the other hand we have the Swedish new Social Democrat Mona Sahlin. She's also putting on Islamic scarfs left and right:

I wonder why it is that liberal women are always so eager to adopt the various symbols of male chauvinism, while those women to the right know to stand up for their rights as women.

4/04/2007 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

I don't believe anybody's "bashing" Sullivan because he's gay, not in the least; we’re only noting that those Iranian captors whom he lauds would and horribly. The repressive regime has hideously criminalized homosexuality and Sullivan himself is a passionate proponent of gay rights/ gay marriage here in the US. He self-identifies as a gay man, as a man who decries torture, and as one who is very worried about “Christian fascists” and our liberties. There is a strange disconnect between what he normally is ardent about and the approving pass he gives these Iranians who have forcibly kidnapped innocents, made a woman cover herself out of submission to their religious sensibilities and then who’ve coerced her and the men victims into humiliating themselves on camera by saying what they most likely were loath to say. And that’s just what we know.

Sullivan is only adding a small voice to the propaganda coup that the criminal kidnappers and theofascist, violently intolerant regime have achieved for their domestic and regional audience. It’s that he has done so in a way that violates his own professed causes that makes some of us frustrated. Whether a situation is torture or humane treatment now appears to be decided more by snippets of film and not by the law of the land and record of the countries involved. Humiliation by panties and nudity in snapshots by US reservists constitute torture, whereas staged video confessions by propagandists on behalf of an ugly, inhumane regime are humane.

It would be a great day, one day, when Sullivan and others don't have the need to bring up issues of race, gender, religion, orientation, etc. in their lives and politics, but meanwhile, we might wish to be more consistent as to what policies and which polities best serve these interests, our liberties and humanity. The Iranian theocrats are the haters; by and large, not us.

4/04/2007 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Correction: "Humiliation by panties and nudity in snapshots by US reservists constitutes an official policy of torture..."

Too lazy to repost or correct the rest. Be tolerant!

4/04/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Nobody seems to have raised this issue: America is routinely castigated for dealing with repressive dictatorships. often, it is the political left which levels these charges.

Isn't the Syrian government exactly the sort of regime the US gets castigated for dealing with? And if that's the case, will Pelosi be castigated by the political left for dealing with the repressive, brutal oligarcy that is the Syrian government? Or will she get a pass, because she's upstaging Bush?

4/04/2007 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mastodon said...


That question about give Pelosi a pass for dealing with a repressive regime *was* rhetorical, was it not?

4/04/2007 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 04/04/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

4/04/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

In theory, there is nothing wrong with what Pelosi is doing. Practically speaking, though, it seems pretty clear that she is practicing foreign policy on her own.

4/04/2007 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Oh... to be on topic with Sullivan: What kind of inverted logic is that? Iran is much better at treating prisoners? Regardless of that, even if it's true - and we don't know what's happening behind the scenes, if anything, not to mention the obvious fact that this mission was primarily a propogandistic one, and we don't know what the treatment would be like under other conditions where parading the prisoners in front of a camera would not be a goal - Iran's treatment of it's political dissidents, journalists, and human rights workers is far worse than America's treatment of the same. Not to mention the fact that America doesn't deny freedoms to its populace Iran does.

When you treat your nominal "enemy" - and when Iran claims the Brit sailors violated borders and arrests them, they're treating them as an enemy - better than your own citizens, you deserve very little praise at all. When you mistreat prisoners but treat your population well, you're still guilty of and responsible for that mistreatment - no one denies Abu Ghraib occurred, it's only the argument that that's routine practice that's (rightly) disputed - but no one should even try to claim that the first case is on the same moral plane as the second one, let alone try to claim they're on a superior one.

4/04/2007 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard wrote:

"I suspect that before long the question of whether someone is gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile, Democrat or Republican will only be of quaint or passing importance."

I noticed you left out Muslim in that list. Will that faith always be suspect in your eyes?

4/04/2007 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Oh... beg your pardon, Mastodon, I didn't think I was ambiguous. Of course it was rhetorical.

On the other hand, if some in the future do criticise her, I'll be forced to admit that at least they're being true to their stance. Assuming it happens, of course. Pardon my cynicism, but I just don't see that criticism happening.

4/04/2007 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...


Thank you for pointing the ignorance you imagine I must indulge in with respect to pre-Vatican II custom and practice. I was born in 1955, so I know about the changes that began with Vatican Council II. You forget I was also a seminarian during the eighties.

We owe no respect for Dhimma and Shari'a, so Speaker Pelosi's symbolic gesture expresses the triumph of Islam over a fawning, submitting Western politician.

Your Bush Derangement Syndrome has blinded you from applying reason: the current junket to the ME exhibits considerably more than a "fact finding" mission. Some of the things that peterboston pointed out above express ideas that entered my mind when I first found out about this trip. Nevertheless, your objections to my disapproval do not obliterate the separation of powers. Diplomacy is not properly the role of an adversarial Congress. Were it so, we would have a truly divided government by writ if not by impulse.

4/04/2007 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger gdude said...

jane said:

"It would be a great day, one day, when Sullivan and others don't have the need to bring up issues of race, gender, religion, orientation, etc. in their lives and politics,. . . "

Why would that be a great day? What else is the stuff by which a society describes itself? Why are orientation and gender (people have sex, words have gender), race and religion viewed as unimportant and not fundamental? All of human history is a chronicaling of how societies expressed those universal basic elements of the human condition. Why do (even nominally conservative) Western moderns dismiss the very GROUND of our human existence? To talk of these things as not being of the highest importance IS the sickness of the Andrew Sullivan's.

The rest of your points were well made, though.

Thanks for the clarity on the Catholic history of the covering of the heads of women in church. Too many here bashing the Islamists for merely being faithful to their religion, and not discriminating against it for where it is wrong. Religion is not the enemy (though moderns will disagree.)

Thanks for the Trotsky bit, especially shooting the retreaters. My sons always thought that a shockingly funny part of their Stalingrad computer game. You're right. We in the West no longer have any idea . . .

4/04/2007 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Whether or not women ever wore headcover in Catholic churches is irrelevant. The Iranians put a wrapped scarf on that female British sailor as a symbol of submission. Pelosi chose to wear the wrapped scarf for the same reason although she will spin it as cultural sensitivity.

During the invasion of Afghanistan US forces used Iranian beaches for resupply. The Iranians consented to this with the proviso that the US not publicly disclose the use or establish any fixed facilities. Geraldo let the cat out of the bag while filming one such resupply mission. Did the Iranians consent because they wanted to assist the USA or because the alternative at that time was their own annihilation? The Democrats were smart enough to keep their mouths shut right after 9/11 and the wrath of a unified US was too much for the mullahs to contend with.

Although these events are not directly related the symbolism is clear enough. The parallel with the 30s is not exact but close enough to suggest that timidity will make things a lot worse before there is any chance of making them better.

4/04/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

If it's such a bad idea to talk to the Syrians, why was Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Saurbrey sent to Damascus last month? Just wondering.

4/04/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mastodon said...


I interpreted wretchard's comment to be acknowledgement of the fact that the distinction of "gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile, Democrat or Republican" is irrelevant should the nightmarish world envisioned by Islam come to pass.

Everyone will be in one of three groups - Muslims, slaves, or corpses. Other labels will not apply.

4/04/2007 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cedarford: You don't speak as a very informed Catholic or American. Catholic women were expected to wear some sort of cover on their head if they planned on going into Church from inception all the way up to 1962-63 (Second Vatical Council)

That's what Islam needs, their own Vat II council. If it comes along on the same timeline that ours did, we should see women ditching the burquas in about 2582 A.D.

4/04/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I'm sorry that I left out the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Shintos, Allawites, Bahai's and Mormons.

4/04/2007 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Rajesh said...

I wonder who here - if any at all - would similarly condemn this:


Thought so.

4/04/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


I guess I was just being naive and thought wretchard really was envisioning a time when criticizing someone simply because they were "gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile, Democrat or Republican will only be of quaint or passing importance." Then again, given wretchard response above, maybe he really is extending derision to ad hominem attacks to all, even Muslim.

4/04/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

ohmigod rajesh,

who would have thought that SHE too has "Affect(ed) the posture of a supplicant dhimmi, she demeans Catholicism and Christianity. As a woman of a Western Republic, she insults us all by wearing a required symbol of female submission under Qur'an and Hadiths."

4/04/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

"Jew and Gentile" already covers Islam, as well as every other religion. The real meaning of "gentile" is someone who is not Jewish.

But you're on the right track. "Gay and straight" did leave out asexuals, and bi-sexuals. And "Democrat and Republican" left out a multitude of political parties.

4/04/2007 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Peterboston -

Whether or not women ever wore headcover in Catholic churches is irrelevant. The Iranians put a wrapped scarf on that female British sailor as a symbol of submission. Pelosi chose to wear the wrapped scarf for the same reason although she will spin it as cultural sensitivity.

You make the typical logic error of anyone who sees an act of forced cultural or religious imperialism as symptomatic of submission or subjugation to the foreign culture whenever it's norms or conventions are respected by visitors.

A mindset that because POWs took off shoes before entering the Japanese POW commandant's HQ - it is "bundled in" with Japanese atrocities - and thus any American visitor to a Japanese home today must strongly resist and argue with them about taking off their shoes.

Cultural/religious imperialism, on the other hand, is when a recent immigrant, an occupying soldier, or tourist demands the "host" people or nation cease traditional activities the new arrival deems "offensive".

Americans are affected with a unique conceit about their "freedom" to dress, say, and do as they want in a foreign country.

Pelosi, as a visitor, dressed the same as Laura Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Mrs Tom DeLay, Lynne Cheney all did on THEIR visits to Mosques or in public in certain Islamic lands. Or their visits to Orthodox synogogues and Greek rites churches in the Holy Land.

Pelosi is a San Fran whack job and she may yet fulfill her ample potential to say or do something stupid abroad - but for now, she is dressing no different than any American woman would in similar circumstances. And as a Congressional Leader - she has every damn right to fulfill the Constitutional role given to Congress as a body in foreign policy. Visit, talk, fact find with Foreign leaders. Introduce legislation and funding based on those interactions and the Will of The People - as expressed through their electing Congressional Representatives and those Reps electing leaders - even be they as clueless and dismal as Hastert, Frist, Pelosi, DeLay.

Bush isn't the ONLY leader.

Grow up. Take the blinders off.

You don't get into Saint Peter's Basilica wearing a tube top. You don't walk into a Turkish Mosque with an open beer and a half-eaten hotdog. You don't go to a reflective park in Singapore and crank up your boombox for some fine hip hop since everyone else is so quiet sure it is your right as an American to express your God-Given Freedom of Speech amidst the Singaporeans...

Teresita -
If it was just the liberal reforms of Vatican II needed! I think it goes far deeper to the need for Islam to reform at it's roots that it must be a violent conquering religion that needs to kill and destroy until every person on the planet submits to it. It goes deeper than even the Enlightenment and Reformation.
The problem is as if 1/4 of all Christians were literalist Fundies who believed every word of the Bible was true...and the Bible was written as strict Mosaic code with all penalties spelled out for any infraction, where Jesus preached killing people who didn't agree with him, and as a warrior-preacher, Jesus personally slaughtered and ordered executions and raped captives..
With even a bigger problem - another 1/3rd of such Christians believed THEY were the weaker, less pure of faith compared to the Fundies who lived a life they wish they could so discipline themselves to.

Sort of like real Christians who admire people whose faith is so strong that they sacrificed themselves as saints and martyrs.

I personally don't believe Islam is reformable. I read the Qu'ran back in 2002. It scared me. I read Muslim history. It scared me, too. Enough that I thank the creator for sending the Mongols on them.

It will all end badly. Bush and his blunders will be history in under two years. The problem of the Muslims and the Decay of the West started by the implicit corruption of wealthy capitalists AND Soviet Agit-Prop will remain.

4/04/2007 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


You generalize to absurdity. This is not about headcovers or religious dictum. This is about the Speaker of the House wearing that particular style of scarf in Syria - today.

Had she done the same thing in Israel or in an Orthodox church in Turkey it would not have raised the ire it has. Syria does not merit respect. Islam in Syria does not merit respect. Pelosi paid deference to the enemy. That was wrong.

4/04/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

No matter where she goes, and what she wears, she's always a first class hypocritical B....

4/04/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What a swell:
Non union illegal employees in CA, minimum wage double standard, for her Tuna Packing, Slavedriving supporters.
(and a covered up past of out and out support for the Commies)

4/04/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Cedarford is correct. Pelosi , whether you agree with her or not, whether you think she had a right or not, was on a diplomatic mission. The strategy is smart whether she is or not. Diplomacy and common courtesy would dictate the voluntary following of local customs.

Pelosi is emphasizing the political and diplomatic failures of the Bush Administartion. It is politics pure and simple. The Democrats have traditionally been weak on defense. They usually attack the Republicans on domestic issues and the economy. That is not available to them this time.

Pelosi and the Democrats are playing to the Bush Administration weakness on foreign affairs. that is politics.

4/04/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

The fact that Cedarford completely does not understand the symbolism involved of an American Congresswoman wearing the hijab in an enemy Muslim country is exasperating. Compounding the error in his understanding, he goes on to rationalize his criticism of me by explicitly stating that I do not know my own religious tradition's pre-Vatican II practices. It is an insult that I cannot allow to stand. It is patently obvious that I was characterized as ignorant by his smarmy post.

There is a difference between the head covering that was once required INDOORS in a Catholic or Orthodox church, on the one hand, and the required hijab that is required attire for women in a Muslim country. The latter symbolizes submission to Shari'a Law and is meant to convey that women are chattel, unclean, and must be guarded because they are a continual source of temptation to Muslim males.

I object to an American elected official assuming the position of a dhimmi supplicant. The fact that I have issues with her and her party is irrelevant to the context. Those of us who are educated in these matter know that her understanding of what this means is idiotic and debasing (reverence for the Muslim culture).

4/04/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Wow,I agree with a whole sentence from Cousin Cedarford"Pelosi is a San Francisco whack job" Bingo! And that means more than it used to.
If you look at Zombie's photo essays of antiwar rallies in Sodom on the Bay;its a whole different world than your mama's 60's love-in with the Hog Farm and Jerry Garcia.
Pelosi's real constituents are vile,nihilistic Amerikkka-despisers.They want us to lose.Period.Have you seen the Jacobin mob in Portland burning a GI in effigy while chanting some bilge like"Hey hey GI/Go to Iraq and die"One member of the rabble defecated on a burning American flag.If this is legitimate dissent I don't recognize my country any more.San Fran Nan is their mouthpiece and under that Burkha or hijab or do-rag is Madame Defarge.

4/04/2007 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wright said...

About Mrs. Pelosi; If the "Road to Damascus is the Road to Peace" then she should look downward...at her bloody footprints, from walking through a pool of blood.


4/05/2007 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mastodon said...

Ash wrote"

"I guess I was just being naive and thought wretchard really was envisioning a time when criticizing someone simply because they were "gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile, Democrat or Republican will only be of quaint or passing importance." Then again, given wretchard response above, maybe he really is extending derision to ad hominem attacks to all, even Muslim."

I cannot speak for him; I will only say my point is that the very nature of Islam absolutely prohibits what you (apparently) wistfully envision as a noble future for mankind. You are in good company here, in fact a certain guy named Gene built a very successful sci-fi franchise on the whole idea.

Some here would not object to a society built on such a vision, but such a world is not compatible with the doctrines of the "Religion of Peace".

4/05/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mastodon said...

Ash - in that last post, "him" meant wretchard, not you. Sorry for the ambiguity of how I wrote that.

Cedarford -

Not having a long history on this blog and a consequent lack of personal animosities, I'm a little stumped by some of the vitriol directed both within and in response to your post.

I must agree with your opinion that Islam is not reformable and that blunders of Bush are unlikely to lead to a solution to the problem. As you said, Bush is not the only leader, and so is not alone in his culpability. He has been ably assisted by Congress from both sides of the aisle and by his predecessors in the Oval Office.

Rather than trying to win minor talking points on blogs that ultimately mean little, perhaps we should try to figure out what we can *do* about it. I've already written my Representative regarding the Pelosi fiasco, and will be writing my both my senators this evening - not sure of the value but I will continue to try. I write my senators about every other month so they may even recognize me now. :^)

In the final analysis, unless the readership has much greater influence on the course of events than I, debating among ourselves will not affect the behavior of the powers that be.

Perhaps a redirection of some energy is appropriate?

4/05/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger MacPhisto said...

If Islam is in fact not reformable, then what do you believe "the answer" to be? All-out war with Islamic nation-states? Something else?

4/05/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mastodon said...

I truly wish I knew.

I do not advocate extreme measures; while I do not believe that cults are reformable, *people* are.

One could start by helping publicize and support sites like faithfreedom.org. (At the risk of saying what the readership already knows, this site is by a former Muslim who examined the tenets of the faith and behaviors of its founder, determined them morally repugnant, and left the fold). In addition to his basic message about the reality of Islam, another key message is that he publicized his enlightenment and *still lives*.

Another would be to press our elected leaders to go on the offensive in the war of ideas by funding a resurgent Voice of America and other broadcast media to counter the vile filth spread by the likes of Al-Jazeera (sp?) and CNN. A problem there is, of course, keeping the moonbats out.

Perhaps I'm a hopeless optimist, but I really do find it hard to believe that most of the alleged Muslims in the West *understand* what Islam *really* is.

Perhaps all that is really needed is "full disclosure"?

4/06/2007 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

you might consider an approach similar to that of our founding fathers - the freedom of religion. You have the freedom to worship and believe as you like, but you are culpable fror you actions.

4/06/2007 07:20:00 AM  

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