Sunday, August 21, 2005

Domine Quo Vadis?

Here's the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's speech to Muslims on the subject of combating terrorism in the world today. Benedict's verbatim speech should be read because it is almost certain to be misinterpreted and distorted in the coming days to suit competing political agendas. (Speculation alert) Benedict, in giving this speech on his first trip back to his homeland as Pope, may be deliberately reprising John Paul's first visit to his homeland Poland in 1979. On that occasion, as Peggy Noonan writes, John Paul asked the one question which any Communist regime is unwilling to answer or even discuss. But it hung in the air in despite of the commissars, and set the agenda for the coming decade. Eastern Europe was never the same again. And the issue, of course, was whether man had an inherent transcendence and a right to be free.

Is it possible to dismiss Christ and everything which he brought into the annals of the human being? Of course it is possible. The human being is free. The human being can say to God, "No." The human being can say to Christ, "No." But the critical question is: Should he? And in the name of what "should" he?  ... You must be strong with love, which is stronger than death. ... Never lose your trust, do not be defeated .... Never lose your spiritual freedom.

The erudite Benedict is certainly aware of the parallel. He asks in turn, 'can we survive, except as brothers?' Whether he has found the fulcrum of history, as John Paul did, remains to be seen. But like his predecessor he has put the unmentionable on the table and must now, as John Paul did, accept the danger that comes to all who do business with serious memes. Although the Pope's speech was delivered to Muslims, his real audience is inevitably going to be the West in general and Christians in particular. Realistically, Benedict's message will reach ordinary Muslims only at third hand in a heavily distorted way; it can hardly be expected to sway them. But the signal it sends to the West, at least to those who look up to him as a moral and religious leader, is that here is something we cannot look away from. Ambiguous though it may be, his message has run the PC blockade.

Some commentators may view Benedict's remarks as inflammatory, akin to mentioning the old feud in a room of Hatfields and McCoys. It may have the opposite effect. Perceptive Muslim leaders will understand that the West is awakening, and that the time to speak clearly is nigh.

Text Comments
Dear Muslim Friends!

It gives me great joy to be able to be with you and to offer you my heartfelt greetings. I have come here to meet young people from every part of Europe and the world. Young people are the future of humanity and the hope of the nations. My beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, once said to the young Muslims assembled in the stadium at Casablanca (Morocco): “The young can build a better future if they first put their faith in God and if they pledge themselves to build this new world in accordance with God’s plan, with wisdom and trust” (Insegnamenti , VIII/2, 1985, p. 500). It is in this spirit that I turn to you, dear Muslim friends, to share my hopes with you and to let you know of my concerns at these particularly difficult times in our history.

This is the "pastoral" passage, emphasizing the brotherhood between people of all religions.
I am certain that I echo your own thoughts when I bring up as one of our concerns the spread of terrorism. Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction, and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair. Those who instigate and plan these attacks evidently wish to poison our relations, making use of all means, including religion, to oppose every attempt to build a peaceful, fair and serene life together. Terrorism of any kind is a perverse and cruel decision which shows contempt for the sacred right to life and undermines the very foundations of all civil society. If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancour, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace. The task is difficult but not impossible. The believer knows that, despite his weakness, he can count on the spiritual power of prayer.

Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The life of every human being is sacred, both for Christians and for Muslims. There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values. The dignity of the person and the defence of the rights which that dignity confers must represent the goal of every social endeavour and of every effort to bring it to fruition. This message is conveyed to us unmistakably by the quiet but clear voice of conscience. It is a message which must be heeded and communicated to others: should it ever cease to find an echo in peoples’ hearts, the world would be exposed to the darkness of a new barbarism. Only through recognition of the centrality of the person can a common basis for understanding be found, one which enables us to move beyond cultural conflicts and which neutralizes the disruptive power of ideologies.

Here the Pope depicts terrorism -- the 'new barbarism' -- as a common threat and suggests that collective action against it is possible.

"We can succeed in eliminating" ...

 "There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values."

During my meeting last April with the delegates of Churches and Christian communities and with representatives of the various religious traditions, I affirmed that “the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole” (L’Osservatore Romano, 25 April 2005, p. 4). Past experience teaches us that relations between Christians and Muslims have not always been marked by mutual respect and understanding. How many pages of history record battles and even wars that have been waged, with both sides invoking the name of God, as if fighting and killing the enemy could be pleasing to him. The recollection of these sad events should fill us with shame, for we know only too well what atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other’s identity. The defence of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization. We get a rare glimpse into how the Catholic religious bureaucracy works -- through councils, delegations, meetings, etc. That is the operational way in which the Pope manages his message.

This paragraph is also an mea culpa for actions of violence the Catholic Church has performed in the past, but interestingly and explosively, it contains the e tu -- "with both sides invoking the name of God". Benedict says, 'we have sinned, but so have you'.

Although Benedict is doing nothing more than state an historical fact, this paragraph crosses an invisible line that no head of a major Christian Church has crossed before. It is the mildest of je accuses, tempered by an admission of equal historical guilt. But it is indicative of how charged today's atmosphere is that merely to utter these words is so difficult.

In this regard, it is always right to recall what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said about relations with Muslims. “The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God . . . Although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people” (Declaration Nostra Aetate, No. 3). The Pope proposes that religious enmity between Christian and Muslim become a thing of the past in classic ecclesiastical language. Note in passing the immense historical memories of both Islam and the Catholic Church. When Benedict speaks of the "new barbarism" he is making reference to Attila and Hulagu Khan, not speaking figuratively.
You, my esteemed friends, represent some Muslim communities from this country where I was born, where I studied and where I lived for a good part of my life. That is why I wanted to meet you. You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith. Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation. As Christians and Muslims, we must face together the many challenges of our time. There is no room for apathy and disengagement, and even less for partiality and sectarianism. We must not yield to fear or pessimism. Rather, we must cultivate optimism and hope. Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends. Young people from many parts of the world are here in Cologne as living witnesses of solidarity, brotherhood and love. They are the first fruits of a new dawn for humanity. I pray with all my heart, dear Muslim friends, that the merciful and compassionate God may protect you, bless you and enlighten you always. May the God of peace lift up our hearts, nourish our hope and guide our steps on the paths of the world. Therefore, the Pope seems to say to the Muslims in the room, survival is in our hands and that means yours too.

"You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith. Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation."


Blogger moderationist said...

Throughout history, tyranny breeds terrorism. Freedom breeds peace.

8/21/2005 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Wretchard, I was happy to see Pope Benedict's remarks linked to the Free Muslims Coalition website. Good for them.

8/21/2005 04:12:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Also, as an aside... still chuckling over the statement in the Noonan piece re. the Polish communists' secret directive to help schoolteachers "explain" John Paul's visit: "The pope is our enemy, it said. "Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous..."

Tee hee.

8/21/2005 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...

Geeee.. isn't it funny how no one is interested in talking about winning the war and bringing freedom and democracy to the benighted peoples of Iraq?

Or has the depressing developments of the last few weeks taken the wind out of your sails?

Here's a poll for all of you to ponder:

Where is Iraq headed?
1) An Islamic theocracy -- like Iran
2) Civil war along ethnic and sectarian civil war -- like Lebanon, only bigger
3) A gruesome combination of the above
4) A functioning democracy along Western lines, with peaceful political pluralism and rights for everyone

And if either 1, 2 or 3 comes to pass, who bears the blame?

8/21/2005 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/21/2005 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Jibes are the only thing that remain. The movement which once boasted it would rule the world through the vanguard of history calls it a triumph when they can camp out on a Texas field. Or crows when a constitutional convention is postponed for a week. Celebrates when rockets miss an LHA. But the sneers are empty now; the mantle threadbare.

In a way the only power you had was that of cant and obscurantism. People are waking up now, both in the Muslim world and in the West. In the catalogue of human ideas the Left will rate no higher than the Cathars.

8/21/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...

That's all very convenient, Wretch, but you're avoiding the simple fact that your side has just created in Iraq a problem that's going to make Lebanon look like a breeze. Or is there no responsibility at all?

8/21/2005 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...

The problem already existed in Iraq. We didn't create it, we are correcting it.

You should have included an additional possible outcome: A function democracy as defined by, and supported by, the majority of Iraqis

8/21/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

"In the catalogue of human ideas the Left will rate no higher than the Cathars."

That's a classic.

90% of today's politics is about intergenerational conflicts, for the most part within states and confessions rather than between them. This is something the US, France and the Arab world for instance have in common.

In the US the generation of the 60's is still close to the zenith of its influence, but also about to be permanently eclipsed as its members die off. In retrospect it will be seen as the generation to which vanity was everything.

8/21/2005 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Pope doesn't address what to do with the current crop of brainwashed jihadists. I see a lot of calls in Middle East newspapers for a reform of their education system so they quit producing these walking time-bombs. But it seems to me that the bitter reality is either Gitmo or death for most of their young men between the ages of 18 and 35.

I'm wondering, too, about Wretchard's comment that the Pope's message won't reach most Muslims. It seems to me to be equally possible that *his* mantle of authority may be even stronger than the screeching imam they are forced to listen to every Friday. I'll be watching to see both how it's reported (doubtless the Muslims will be claiming victimhood) and what the letters to the editor columns contain.

Yahoo - a simple question for you. What would it take to convince you that you're wrong?

8/21/2005 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I think that is an excellent speech. But I wonder if it will carry any weight politically with the (theoretically) Catholic nations of the world, many of which have been extremely lackadaisical in this struggle.

8/21/2005 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Blanknoone said...

I think the Pope commits a fundamental misunderstanding when he says, "with both sides invoking the name of God, as if fighting and killing the enemy could be pleasing to him."

The Catholic Church had a period, thankfully over, when killing the enemy was considered "pleasing to Him."

However outdated the Pope thinks that idea, Islam is still in that phase, and is not likely to escape it given its prevalence in their religion's founding documents and teachings. Read the Koran and it is hard to escape that killing the enemy is anything other than fulfilling Allah's will. The Prophet himself expanded Islam with the sword, as did his most esteemed successors.

The mainstream currents of Islam do indeed consider "fighting and killing the enemy" pleasing to God. And the more radical fringes consider not only pleasing, but a holy obligation.

The Pope is (mis)projecting a Christian philisophical perspective on the Muslim world, and it will fall on deaf ears. Muslims know what Islam teaches...and that is why there is virtually no denunciation of radical Islamists by the supposed Moderate Muslims. They know that the radicals hold the high ground when it comes to Islamic political philosophy.

8/21/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I shall be interested in the reaction to this speech and not just in the Islamic world.

8/21/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Not that it's worth the effort, but a better question might be, what makes the yahoo happy? Sneering at war's lack of peace, mocking peace's lack of war, denying any linkage among war and peace, crime and punishment, justice and power, ignorance and tyranny, what makes the yahoo happy?

That out of my craw, let me compliment the treatment of the Pope's words, Wretchard. Sublime Sunday selection and valuable interpretation. I'm not Catholic, not disciplined enough to've ever dug into any religion to find out why so many so better than I have devoted lives to it.

But I do have sense enough to thank goodness for a fighting Pope. If he intends to fight for the little guy, the little guy is everywhere, and everywhere in need of such a defender.

8/21/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I think it was Donald Sensing that speculated that Islam's current spasms will create a sizable group of disaffected Muslims ripe for conversion to Christianity. I won't even register an opinion on that, accept to say that, in my humble opinion, a mass Muslim to Christian conversion would be a great joke on history and a giant step forward for civilization.

There is something majestic about compassion and decency that draws the human heart. If only Nixon can go to China, maybe only the Pope can go to Egypt.

Or maybe once more I am being a romantic.

8/21/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...


The Pope is (mis)projecting a Christian philisophical perspective on the Muslim world, and it will fall on deaf ears. Muslims know what Islam teaches...and that is why there is virtually no denunciation of radical Islamists by the supposed Moderate Muslims...."

On the contrary, I think the Pope knows exactly what he is talking about. Much of what we are doing in Iraq, what the Israelis are doing in Palestine, and what the Pope is saying is designed to avoid a world wide conflagration which will occur if the West becomes frightened and enraged by further atrocities. Our responses remain measured, but an Islamic nuke, or a successful chemical weapon attack with mass deaths and, while no one can predict in sdvance what will tip us, once it happens we will "Let loose the dogs of war" and the Muslim world will be devastated. (I leave out bio attack because if an infectious disease spreads it will destroy the third world via "blowback" much more than damage us.) No one can truly desire such an outcome and thus we wage war with one hand tied behind our back. It is up to the Islamic world to recognize what they are risking and begin their reformation and join the civilized world. Thus far, the omens do not look good but we need to do all we can to diminish their risk and ours.

8/21/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Blanknoone, you're right but, 'cultivate optimism' might well involve a deliberate attempt to bleed whatever power out of the past that blocks a better future. Not advocating pangloss or pollyanna, but rather an all-fronts fight against an epidemic psychological disturbance spreading through the human race. By now, the end of the summer of 2005, we've figured out much of what's wrong with us. If we stay here, what will happen to us? If we don't stay here, where will we go?

It no longer matters whether or not we have a choice. It never did matter, really. If we do, then we're using it regardless, if we don't, then all is moot, anyway.

The real question might be, why should we not assume that we do? What's to lose if we're wrong? What's to gain if we're right?

8/21/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The best Defense is a Strong Offense, Condensed version:

Franz-Xaver Zeiser, who is nine years younger than the 78-year-old pope, said he often would visit the family, since they were his closest neighbors.

Joseph, then a teen, "had a giant teddy bear back then, and he often used it to scare me," recalled Zeiser.

"One day I had enough and decided to get my revenge," so he said he left a large hammer outside the Ratzinger house.

"When Joseph came at me with his teddy bear again, I raced outside and grabbed the hammer. Then we stood, grimly facing each other, me gripping the hammer and him his teddy bear. Eventually we both put down our 'weapons,' and that was the end of that," said Zeiser.

8/21/2005 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

The pope is speaking towards what 99% of the Muslims claim about Islam, that it is really a religion of peace. This gives them another opportunity (not that they haven't already had several thousand!) to put up or shut up. Spiritually and tactically it was a great move.

8/21/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Mighty encouraging that Pope Benedict's remarks go beyond the problem of Islamic fanaticism and jihadism. When he declares, "The defence of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization", isn't he talking to much of the Muslim world? There are not many non-Wahhibist/Taliban and Shiite theocratic Muslim countries today that vigorously defend religious freedom within their borders, happily tolerate sectarian differences within Islam and lend legal and social respect to their Christian, Jewish, Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindi and Confucianist citizens. In varying degrees, secularism and religious tolerance as codified and practiced in several Islamic countries are being politically endangered and socially eroded. This line between civilized modernity and throwback parochialism and intolerance needs to be held firm and then advanced, for the sake of the entire world. The Pope is so right about this.

Muslims might wish to take note that, for reasons both obvious and obscure, freedom of religion and equal rights for women go hand in hand with prosperity and advancing civilizations. (And so WHY is the US tolerating the prospect of a country we liberated from a hideous dictator becoming an Islamic republic in which individual liberties are circumscribed from the outset and surely will be restricted further in these Islamist times?)

8/21/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The dignity of the person and the defence of the rights which that dignity confers must represent the goal of every social endeavour and of every effort to bring it to fruition."

"When Benedict speaks of the "new barbarism" he is making reference to Attila and Hulagu Khan, not speaking figuratively."

Maybe us old f...., who observed the birth and "life" of the "New Left" have some worthwhile insights into today's problems?
The Prophet: David Horowitz.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

8/21/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

james, h.m.,
My hope is that the Iraqi People are not the Dopes that our left has become.

8/21/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Hi Wretchard, nice analysis of the Pope's speech. I agreed with most of your analysis of it.

I look at it as the beginning of the reversal of Pope John Paul's later years when he was swept up in a sort of Stockholm Syndrome vis a vis the Muslim world after getting shot by one.


1. John Paul's "Apology Tour" of the ME, where he issued statements of regret of how mean the Christians were at every stop.

2. His refusal to denounce Islamic violence directed at Christian minorities in Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, East Timor, and Sulewesi.

3. Post 9/11, his messages were against the abstract evil of "terrorism" and not the teachings of some in Islam. At that stage in his life, had the Aztec religion still existed, no doubt John Paul would have emphasized the positive (nice temples!) and ignored the negative (misguided actions of a few cutting out living human hearts).

4. For a Pope that confronted what was evil by Church doctrine - abortion, communism, Western materialism, failure of Bush to meet "just war" doctrine in going to war in Iraq - John Paul preferred to not discuss evil aspects of Islam. A curious omission that I think reflected his later, possibly senile years, of preferring "peace" in any form over "confrontation & physical war". Which discouragingly suggests that if he was convinced that the Soviets would have fought for East Europe with guns and bombs, he would have held his tongue because peace is paramount - or refrained from condemning Western materialism if his condemnation could have resulted in angry Gucci-loving Gihadis bombing churches in retaliation.

Not that Pope John Paul was the lone ostrich, head in sand. We have a Christian President unable to name the enemy, preferring instead to go to war against a technique they use. "The War on Terror". Some of Bush's more partisan fans claim it is pure guile on Bush's part, a *wink-wink* effort to avoid saying what everyone knows while he secretly drains the pestilential swamps of radical Islam. I reject that because any succesful war the US has waged in the past has called out the exact nature of the enemy, what they are doing that must be ended, and why we must unite and fight. Our Revolutionary War was not against any Redcoats with muskets that oppress colonists. It was against England, which we took care NOT to describe as the "noble civilization of peace" in the American Declaration of Independence. The Spanish American War was articulated not on "finding and hunting down the few misguided evildoers who bombed the USS Maine", but on general evils of the Spanish Empire. In WWII, movies made to educate the soldiers and civilians "Why We Fight" - took pains to detail what was wrong about Nazi Germany, why they must be defeated beyond "The War to eliminate Blitzkrieg and Japanese torpedo bombers". I also reject the interpretation of Bush being so clever and slick that the "WoT" is a *wink-wink* everyone "knows" what he really means - because it has also come with a complete failure of strategic communications. Not only externally with Muslims or America's traditional allies, but he has also been nearly incoherent with the American public on who the enemy is, what we need to do - in a timespan that has already exceeded Americas involvement in WWII. And the veneer of ultracompetency of the Bush people got peeled back not only with the massively botched postwar phase, but with the huge miscalculations made going into Iraq (WMD galore, Turkey will be with us for sure before invasion starts, the future President of Iraq, Chalabi is a friend of Israel)

I am sadly convinced that Bush's 2 main concerns with terror are (1) preventing the "Big Event' at home, but otherwise (2)focusing on what the business community wants with respect to prospering despite the terror menace - hence maintaining Open Borders and simply building in terror risk premiums to keep decent profit margins in services and commodities like oil.

It is good that Pope Benedict is facing the Islamic menace that John Paul refused to acknowledge - starting in the tenative but deeply significant manner he tied terrorism to Muslims. His message may not reach the crowds in Cairo exactly as he said it - Wretchards point - but the religious message of one religion that has taken up barbarism again - made by the Leader of the largest sect of the Christian Faith - cannot easily be ignored by other theologians of the Christian Faith, or the theologians and scholars of Islam's most prominent religious centers.

I daresay the next time the Muslims wipe out an entire Christian village in Sierra Leone or bomb a whole congregation at mass in Pakistan - this Pope may actually take notice of it and condemn Islamic religious intolerance rather than apologize for it.

PM Blair's recent willingness to name the enemy is also a good sign.
PM Howard has called a spade a spade since after the Bali bombing.

But Bush is still stubborn, as long as his cronies are making money. He has recently reversed Pentagon & State Dept efforts to relabel the conflict as a "struggle with radical Islam", telling his subordinates to stick with his 4 year old "War on Terror" slogan mixed in with his 2-year Party-line follow-up "And Iraq is the Central Front in the War on Terror, so Support the Troops!" - sloganeering.

It would be a tremendous pity if we have a current leader who otherwise displays balls and resolve who remains a spineless jellyfish on this matter and Border Control - and we have to wait on the next President to tell us who the enemy actually is so we can finally start a serious struggle. President Bush is also bedeviled by inarticulateness on a number of fronts.

At least, we know that Romney, Owens, Hillary, and Gov Warner of Virginia are articulate people. It would just suck to have to wait until the 2008 Presidential campaign until crucial matters left on the table from 9/11 are finally dealt with.

8/21/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


Watching Truepeers battle Ash yesterday just has to validate the concept that nihilistic sophism contains its own reward. Both Yahoo and Ash have fully identified their own self worth (vide Dr. Sanity, ShrinkWrapped, Neo neo-con, Neurocon et. al). Who are we to argue with them?

The ashcan of history is vast and can easily contain them and the disease they carry. They are the dead past, ambling zombies carrying a bit of contagion but not really worthy of engagement. Let them rest with the Cathars.

B16 (to me) is offering good advice coupled with a subtle warning. I'm unconvinced that it will reach the right ears but it will provide a historical record of an attempt to reach a rational conclusion to the conflict on the part of the RC. In part, at least, he is speaking to future historians.

8/21/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

meme chose said,

"In the US the generation of the 60's is still close to the zenith of its influence, but also about to be permanently eclipsed as its members die off. In retrospect it will be seen as the generation to which vanity was everything"
Harry BeleBannana Bellows at the young reporter,
The young reporter chuckles in response.

8/21/2005 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The Pope and World Youth Day in Cologne.

"Cologne is also the place where St Ursula and the legendary 11,000 virgins were said to have been martyred by Attila the Hun"

Cologne was also nearly completely flattened by Allied strategic bombing in WWII. Every single building around the Cologne Cathedral was flattened, yet the cathedral itself, a soaring Gothic masterpiece in stone, held upright only by fragile compression in its flying buttresses, was by fortune alone little damaged, standing alone in a vast plain of rubble as the war wore down and sputtered to an end.

8/21/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I skipped the interchange, having read and regretted reading the ashcan before:
Then the first Ashcan post I read said:

"Pushing Leon Klinghoffer in his wheelchair off the Achille Lauro is Evil therefore bomb Iran.

Vaporizing Iraqi children getting candy from GI's,help me out here;what do you say,evil? Therefore invade Iran.

Beheading western civilians while chanting a medieval dirge:evil! Therefore Occupy Iran.

A bunch of Saudi’s fly planes into WTC, therefore invade and occupy Iraq.

Do I correctly understand your logic?

I congratulated myself for valuing my time.

8/21/2005 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeo said...
"The problem is that even the very definition of evil has been subverted by the leftists.

Ash seems to be suffering from this malady, and plenty of other people do, too.

8/21/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Addendum to 9:49:
"And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand."

8/21/2005 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger someguy said...

Wretchard: I don't know if you've heard of Sandro Magister. But he has some very good columns on the Catholic Church. His latest, "From Cologne to the Conquest of Europe: How the Muslim Brotherhood is Challenging the Pope" notes that the Pope deliberately refused to meet with the Muslim delegation in a mosque. Magister then goes on to speculate that one reason he did might have to do with the origins and character of the German Muslim community. Interesting stuff.

8/21/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some of "us" would refuse to meet them in a church.

8/21/2005 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Main article: World War II casualties World War II was the single deadliest conflict the world has ever seen, causing many tens of millions of deaths.
In total, almost 60 million people lost their lives in World War II - about 12 million soldiers and 45 million civilians.
Estimates on the precise number vary widely, although most experts calculate the full civilian and combatant losses at 55 million, including the estimated 11 million lives lost due to the Holocaust, consisting of 5.6–5.9 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews made up of Poles, Roma, homosexuals, communists, dissidents, Afro-Germans, the disabled, Soviet prisoners as well as others.

Approximately, Allied forces suffered 14.2 million deaths, and Axis forces 6.8 million deaths of which 5 million were German.

The Soviet Union had the largest death toll, suffering an estimated 20 million civilian casualties along with 8 million Soviet soldiers killed.
The repatriation of two million Russian soldiers previously serving under Germany (pursuant to the terms of the Yalta Conference), who had surrendered to advancing American and British forces, resulted for the most part in their deaths.
Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II.
Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ... The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, was the wartime meeting from February 4 to 11, 1945 between the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
Out of the fatalities of the Second World War only about 15 % belonged to the Axis Powers.

8/21/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I'm going to add Newt Gingrich to my list from the earlier post since I overlooked him.

Gingrich is certainly articulate, brilliant in a Clinton way.

And like Clinton and the last brilliant President before Clinton, Nixon, Newt is somewhat morally challenged.

But we have gone since about 1998 without really working on big ideas America must embrace, the big challenges that America must confront but politicians have tried to put off, and the solutions that work outside the rigid ideology that killed Hillarycare and Bush's "private SS Accounts" that give the rich a huge shelter but help those little guys and gals too, my Club for Growth advisors say."

We may look to a Gingrich or a Gingrich-lite (like Hillary) that can face the stuff Bush and leaders of both Partys have ignored.

Immigration, the Rise of China and Communism that Works, the New energy crisis, the collapse of healthcare coverage in America, the Federal debt, Medicare woes, loss of America's scientific and technological leadership, America's globally uncompetetive school system, the challenge of Islam, globalization and the threat to the middle class, the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.........

With brilliance and clear communications.

A change from "spreading the pork" and "fighting those evildoer kinda folks."

8/21/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

C4, congrats on yet another well-fired-at-wrong-target missive. The reason GWB makes rhetorical war on the tactic is because the tactic is the problem. Should the leader of the west come out against Islam (and "radical Islam" is still Islam, until islam itself says it's not), and vastly complicate the wests many friends--as well as the neutrals--within Islam? To what avail?

It will still be the tactic that we have just-war rights against.

I do understand that you are speaking to the problem of maintaining domestic support for the war against the tactic.

So, let's say you write the speech and GWB delivers it. What happens? A few thousand American fence-sitters may have a temporary second thought about something or other, and meanwhile a billion Muslims may conclude that bin Laden was right all along. Sure, let's leap out into space and hope to hell we don't validate the idiotarian story, that the problem with Islam is nothing more than the American loose-cannon crusader right-wing war-monger prez.

8/21/2005 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

In 1940 Churchill made a famous proclamation to the effect that the British would fight to the death against a Nazi invasion, that even if the Island was lost, the British cause would never die. Even if the hour grew very dark, Churchill foresaw the New World proudly donning the mantle, and the burden, of the Old World to keep civilization's promise alive in its stead.

Clement Attlee at this time made an extraordinary statement, often overshadowed by Churchill's stirring tribute. In a single sentence he defined the enemy, not just the who, but the why. As an insight into our current war, I do not know its equal:

"The Germans kill not only men, but ideas."

It was the idea of Britain that men fought and died for, sacrificing their lives that England should live on.

And now a great man is striving to bring life and ideas to the Muslim world, long known for its murder of both. A German man, long ago freed from a murderous ideology by the sacrifice of Allies, is spreading the ideas of physical and spiritual liberation to those who have never known them.

A good reason, if any were needed, to defend liberty and decency as often as we can. The butterfly effect works on man, as well.

8/21/2005 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...


After the failure to find WMD, the Bush administration has used liberty, freedom, democracy, etc etc as the main rationale for the war. So in response to your question, simply the delivery of a functional democracy in Iraq without descent into Lebanon-style bloodshed or Iran-style theocracy would be a good outcome. But it doesn't look like we are going to get that either.


Your answer is facile, and like Wretchard or Bush you use big words to cover for the vacuity of the results. The situation on the ground is not what was so loftily promised.

What part of sectarian bloodshed do you not understand?

What part of second-rate citizens do you not understand?

What would it take for the full import of the phrase Shia theocracy to percolate through your skull?

How long will you be able to maintain a straight face while claiming that this is what is best for the Iraqis, this is what George Bush promised them?

How long, in short, before you learn to call a spade a spade?

8/21/2005 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger saoirsemd said...

Powerful message this is. One could also imagine the not so subliminal message that "there will never be any universal Caliphates as long as freedom and choice are sacred humn gifts."

8/21/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger cwoo2005 said...

I like this blog - what template is used? Thanks from an Advertising

8/21/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Re religious tolerance: For their own good, Muslims are going to have to decide that being a good Muslim means giving respect to non-Muslims (and women). Until then, they're doomed by sucking the oxygen out of their own societies and economies and by ticking off the West on account of the Islamists they're producing who act out against us. Islam must co-exist and play friendly with peaceable others, weaving more pluralism within the weft of its society to thrive. It certainly must co-exist and play friendly with us the West if it wants to survive, given the current trajectory of terrorism and our alienation and militarism. The question for moderate Muslims seems to be whether a liberalized and religiously tolerant Islam is still Islam. The answer needs to be it used to be and can be again, but strong moderates (oxymoronic?) need to affirm the need for religious tolerance and stand up to the Islamists to save their civilization. Meanwhile, the purists seek to force and enforce a strict uniformity to strangle same.

C-4, Hillary's articulate like a jackal howls sweet.

8/21/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

What is your solution?

8/21/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

^Above to yahoo.

8/21/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Yahoo, I honestly don't know if I'm up to the task of fencing with you over the issues you raise in your previous post.

Ten jillion turgid paragraphs have been flung your way over the last few years, and nothing has taken your POV anywhere other than where it began: "There are problems, and you said you'd fix 'em, and you haven't!"

Okay. You're right. Neither GWB nor any of the philosophers of the right have been able to do a damn thing about the core problem of our times: nearly half the voters in the nation which leads the free world, don't want to.

8/21/2005 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...


Puh-lease. Is that the best you can do now? Asking like an innocent ingenue: "What is your solution?" After creating the biggest clusterfuck imaginable, after creating a strategic blunder of gigantic proportions where Iraq could now easily fall under Iranian sway? Is this what the promise of 2003 was?

Wasn't it the Bushies who had all the answers?

It is good at least that you don't have the chutzpah to deny the obvious. Unlike Buddy, who is still bloviating with big words and noble abstracts, because the hard facts right now are just too hard for him to swallow.

8/21/2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Since we're back to "Dancing With Idiots" territory, I feel free to toss Big Pharaoh post into the hopper. I never thought I would see Mubarak allow opposition. He's definitely a President for Life type (kinda like Roosevelt). Wonder what might have induced him to take his foot off of the oppositions neck? Probably just chance, I guess.

8/21/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, Yahoo, this morning I sat down, logged on, and read the Pope's grand concept speech, and was moved to try to contemplate his encomium to high meanings, for awhile this Sunday. As I said above, I'm not up for playing dueling Googler, pasting position papers, statistics, dates and who said what when where, endlessly with someone who will fault everything this country is trying to do, anyway, regardless. Sorry!

8/21/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...


It's alright. Wash your hands of the whole affair. It's not like you can really do anything fruitful about Iraq anyway. Not at this late date.

Sure you had good intentions and all that. It's just that you and your ilk had no friggin clue what you were getting into. Ignorance + hubris = unintended consequences and unforeseen disaster.

Greetings from the Islamic Republic of Iraq. And thanks for all the cheerleading, Buddy! :-)

8/21/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

james h.m.,"Muslims might wish to take note that, for reasons both obvious and obscure, freedom of religion and equal rights for women go hand in hand with prosperity and advancing civilizations."

This is one of the terrorist's stated complaints.

Hopefully the Pope's statements will find a resonance with those in the muslim community with clear vision. Their weak response to the Wahabists is troubling.

8/21/2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...

Dead American soldiers in Iraq send their greetings too. Their blood waters the soil of an Islamic Iraq.

They died to slake your bloodlust.

8/21/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...


Bushies never said they had ALL the answers, but gave us some good answers in representing the agentic West, unlike the incessantly carping, hand-wringing and candlelight vigiling kumbaya/ fear and loathing conflictedness of the western Left. Some answers create additional problems, of course, but the Bushies will eschew paralysis and self-blame in favor of dealing with the new kinks.

My worry is that State Dept. guidance (rather blue and Dem in hue) has allowed the Iraqi slide toward Islamic governance in paean to multiculti goodness and as a thorn in Bush's side.

8/21/2005 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, Yahoo, you've definitely got a point there. Things could turn out unimaginably bad. We could lose. Radical Islam could spread and destroy western culture. The only thing standing in the way of a new Dark Age is the people fighting against it. You couldn't be more right. Maybe GWB loses and Democrats will get the next turn at bat. I'm sure Radical Islam is worried sick about that.

8/21/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The situation on the ground is not what was so loftily promised.

Wasn't it the Bushies who had all the answers?

And what has the opposition promised? What answers come from the Left, or the fossil that is the far Right? Can you even bring yourself to ask the right questions, or do you only know how to complain?

How sad it must be to no longer be able to see the world, or hear its rhythms, or feel its shifting under your feet. How melancholy existence is when you can no longer taste the sweet joy of victory, or the stinging tears defeat, or the dust that rolls off your words.

How pathetic it is to only be able to speak. Noises are all you have to offer, recitations of representations that were never meaningful in the first, useful only as signs for the still sane to be thankful for what they have retained despite all the castration of honor and nobility that has permeated our culture.

You are meaningful only as contrast, the needed shadow to give the best of our society its shape, and its color.

Enjoy your limited and fruitless condition, as you can.

8/21/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...


George Bush is the best thing that ever happened to Radical Islam. Ponder that for a while.

8/21/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

James H. M.,

Omar at Iraq the Model has a good post up that gives the best evidence I've seen that the democratic process is beginning to take hold in Iraq. The Sunnis are going to have to make common cause with the Kurds and with secular Shi'a in order to block action by the Shi'a religious plurality. It looks as if that concept is beginning to sink in.

People seem to be forgetting that the proposed constitution is subject to a referendum. I doubt that the current draft will be the last draft. Secular Shi'a are thick on the ground around Baghdad and they are definitely bright enough to make common cause with the Sunni Kurds as well as the standard issue Sunni.

8/21/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...


Pompous words are all very well, my lad, but the new Iraqi constitution is stripping women's rights as we speak.

Any suggestions as to how to reverse that? Or do you even intend to try?

What about that 100,000+ strong army you sent in there? That isn't working too well in bringing about freedom and democracy, is it? We are headed straight back to another Iran.

But you know what? Feel superior all you like. You effed up and the only way for you to deny it is to bandy meaningless words and phrases - "see the world, or hear its rhythms, or feel its shifting under your feet."

Speak your fancy phrases to the Iraqi women who are getting whipped for not wearing the right clothes. They feel your rhythms alright.

As I said, big words are all you have left. They don't hide the stark nakedness of your 'achievements' in Iraq.

8/21/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Good Ole Charlie said...


Please shut up. Nothing personal, pal, but you do remind me of the whinny brats to whom I try to teach chemistry.

And don't repeat the same old, same old arguments of the loony left. Think for yourself man!

You remind me of a whiner asking for extra points after bombing on a test (for which, read recent election).

"Make It New". Good advice, don't you think? We've seen all the tired leftist arguments and slogans.

Have a novel thought.

Thank you.

8/21/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...


Try and explain the New Theocracy (TM) first. Deny it please. I would love to see it not happen.

8/21/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

It may blow your mind, laddie, but I am proud, immensely proud, of what we have achieved in Iraq already. Whatever comes immediately after, we have moved the entire world forward and have changed all the terms of debate. Even when arguing against it, our enemies now use the language of freedom. The earth is shifting under your feet, though I don't suppose you can feel it.

That might be too nuanced for you, but I did try to use small words.

8/21/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

George Bush is the best thing that ever happened to Radical Islam. Ponder that for a while.

No need to ponder, yahoo. In a nanosecond one can know that Islamism had been gathering steam before GWB ever took office and that 9-11 happened less than eight months into his new administration. That 9-11 occurred and Bush confronted terrorist Islamists in Afghanistan and took out a dangerous Arab dictator in the ME is the only reason we're even discussing radical Islam. We can't fight them without acknowledging their existence, but Bush has not elevated their prestige by fighting them.

Not dealing with them and their sponsors on their own turf and not engaging them with arms and counter propaganda would be the best thing that could ever happen to Radical Islam. That was the 90s (unless you think an errant missile or two and a phalanx of scared and overly legalistic lawyers was devastating to Radical Islam).


I pray that Iraq will end for the better. The war was a good fight and for the right reasons. May the Iraqis and US facilitators insist on the best way for small-l liberal self-governance (hopelessly ethnocentric here!)

8/21/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If we are defeated in creating a liberal democracy, it will be a righteous defeat. Such a lexicon eludes Mr. Yahoo (that means you can't understand the use of the words, yahoo), but it is true nonetheless.

Only great people try to climb the highest mountains. In noble efforts, honor is found even in defeat.

8/21/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Wretchard, thank you for finding the full text and for your quite capable analysis. Thank you.

I found two points to be quite interesting.

First, the mention of the new barbarism brings up the Mongols who invaded and destroyed the Moslem caliphate at the height of its strength, and the Turks who converted to Islam and launched their own reign of terror over the Moslem world and tried to conquer Christian Europe as well. This new barbarism may refer to current Moslem terrorists, but it also raises the spectre of Western vengeance, which would be vastly more total than anything the Moslem terrorists can manage.

Second, the fact that a Pope spoke to Moslems about religious freedom, terrorism, and bringing the religions together also signals that the "right" of Moslems to prevent free practice of Christianity in their countries or neighborhoods is no longer acceptable. He is warning that Christians will refuse to become dhimmis.

8/21/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The situation on the ground is more important than the Constitutional Document.
Iraq is in flux.
If, in elections, the people want a Mohammedan Republic, good for them.
We are NOT in conflict with Mohammedans, we are in a struggle with Terrorists.

The are no Wink & Nod Wars.

Bush has said we are not at War with Mohamedans, Radical, Moderate or Secular. BELIEVE him.
We are not going to depopulate the Mohammedan countries, or convert them all to Roman Catholics.
21st century Jeffersonian "Church & State Wall of Seperation" is not a World Standard. Not even in England.
It may not become the Standard in Iraq. If it is not that is okay, the POLICY of the US is to "Support an emerging democratic government". If they democraticly decide on a Sharia influenced government we will have succeeded in achieving our policy goals.

Goals, those the US articulates are achieved.

8/21/2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

I think Buddy Larson, in his 10:55 post, hit the mail on the head.

The money quote:

"Okay. You're right. Neither GWB nor any of the philosophers of the right have been able to do a damn thing about the core problem of our times: nearly half the voters in the nation which leads the free world, don't want to."

Yahoo, this would be a trivial exercise with a united West. We'd stroll in, behead the sheiks and imams, and give he followers a choice: convert or die.

But the West's esprit has been gravely, possibly mortally, wounded. I don't have the answer to that, any more than B.Larson does. Yahoo, Ash, Cedrford, et al, I'd like to hear your take on his quote.

8/21/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger yahoo said...

Andy McCarthy in the NRO Corner:

"For what it's worth, this is where I get off the bus.

"..if several reports this weekend are accurate, we see the shocking ultimate destination - the United States is pressuring competing factions to accept the supremacy of Islam and the fundamental principle no law may contradict Islamic principles.

"...even if I suspended disbelief for a moment and agreed that the democracy project is a worthy casus belli, I am as certain as I am that I am breathing that the American people would not put their brave young men and women in harm's way for the purpose of establishing an Islamic government. Anyplace."

Emphasis McCarthy's.

Let's remember the "Pottery Barn" rule that was invoked in the run-up to the war in Iraq: you break it, you own it.

The Bushies need to take responsibility for their bull-in-china-shop bravado.

It's just not enough to say, "Oops." It's the same as your concept of "righteous defeat."

America will soon be calling for the removal of the administration officials responsible for this, up to and including the President.

8/21/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Hey Rat,

While I agree with you, it is their choice, but didn't Iran just have an election? Do they conform to your idea of Democracy? If Iraq adopts a constitution that has Islam as the main source of legislation, does that qualify as Democracy and hence a policy success?

8/21/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Bloodlust? Lessee, I think I became truly anti-Saddam the moment I saw photos of his army invading Kuwait. I think, looking back, it was the hung Kuwaitis, the guys he hung in the streets by throwing a noose over a neck and a tank barrel, and elevating the gun to lift the poor guy off the ground. Then some other things happened for about the next dozen more years, a thousand or so bloody acts of terror against unsuspecting civilians, culminating in 911 only because there hasn't been another incident to over-culminate it, that made going to the center of the terror and toppling the then-currently worst of the terror governments, seem like a matter of little choice, to the point that whatever came afterwards, we were finally at least engaging the enemy.

If we lose the war, we still fought it, at least. Bloodlust is the absent-an-argument charge, as nonsensical as it is easy to throw, and anyone not over there getting shot at feels rotten enough already that kids are getting killed. And you're right, Yahoo, it'd be better if old farts in their 50s like me were patrolling the streets instead of our kids. But the charge that this war is a result of American bloodlust can only be made by people who must think that the last terror incident was always the final one, and that the bad guys must surely have finally gotten it out of their systems with that last train or building or ship bombing, and that now, everything'll be just ducky, so long as we do nothing in response. This widespread de-facto position, among anti-OIF people, is so strange, so anti-historical, that I can't help but wonder what prompts it?

8/21/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Iranian election was bogus in that all the candidates had to approved by the Mohammedan Council of Elders. The Elders took control in a Revolution and have never validated their Rule with OPEN elections
Free elections in a one party country are not exactly free choice affairs
In Iraq there will be multiple viewpoints and Parties represented in the electorial mix.
Big difference

8/21/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Folks, this is a memebot - probably Soros funded for use in the time leading up to ANSWERS big "Days of Sniveling" back to school demonstrations in September.

We'll probably be seeing a few more now and again until the demos fizzle.

Don't forget - Soros got a good deal on these bots due to defective logic chipsets so "ignorant" and "stupid" aren't applicable as responses. They're just time and space wasters so skimming past them is the best thing to do.

8/21/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Wretchard, regarding the correspondence between Liberals and Cathars, it is actually fairly extensive. The core of Catharism was a gnostic vision of reality, with the material world being the product of an Evil usurping demi-urge, and the method of freeing the Good specks of human spirit being the perfecti's total rejection of the material world. That is exactly the theology upon which contemporary anti-capitalist, self-loathing western "liberalism" rests. It has nothing whatsoever to do with traditional liberalism, but is a dualistic, rejectionist, anti-materialist pacifism run amok.

In other words, it really is the same as Catharism.

8/21/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I suggest you read this article in WSJ for insights to the negotiations taking place in Iraq, now.


It is to long to cut and paste in it's entirety and needs to read in toto to see the picture.

8/21/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Iraq is in flux.
If, in elections, the people want a Mohammedan Republic, good for them.
We are NOT in conflict with Mohammedans, we are in a struggle with Terrorists.

desert rat, I respectfully submit that, in today's world, a democracy is not very democratic with half of its people dis or less enfranchised in law than the other half. May I remind you that even the UN documented a correlation between failed Islamic societies and economies with institutionalized unequal rights? And please show us where Mohammedism these days is not sliding toward Islamism or at least not fighting it?

It's frustrating that our envoys and Iraqi leadership haven't been able to steer the liberated country from Islamic governance, which is vulnerable to radicalization and a clear loser in the Big Civilization War to come. Islam within a vibrant and pluralistic polity is not.

8/21/2005 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger The Beak Doctor said...

Who cares about Iraq? As far as I'm concerned, everything is going entirely according to plan: Americans and Europeans are being given a graphic demonstration of what our societies will look like if Islamic colonisation of the West is allowed to continue. Things are definitely changing, because even the BBC is waking up to the fact that "moderate" organisations like the MCB have pulled a huge con trick on us. The more of a disaster that Iraq turns into, the better.

8/21/2005 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In the Constitutional Referendum, coming in October, women will be voting. It is my understanding that the if the proposed Constitution is not ratified then Iraq's current constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law will continue in place.

This document guarantees equal rights for all genders. It also places ratification levels required of the Proposed Constitution at pretty high levels.
I suggest you read the WSJ article linked to in an earlier post.
Very informative.

8/21/2005 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Please listen to President Bush. We ARE NOT at WAR with Islam.
We are not engaged in a Clash of Civilizations.
We are not anti-Sharia
We are at War with Terrorists.
Not Islamists.
He continues to say it, please, please BELIEVE him when he does.

There is NO anti-Islamist Policy promoted by the US Government.
Perhaps there should be, but

8/21/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ash, the election in Iran was among candidates pre-approved by the theocracy. It can't be considered a real expression of the will of the people. But if it was such, then, hopefully, the next election will bring someone up who doesn't advocate the obliteration of one of our allies. GWB has been pointedly asked in at least one presser what would be his take on a duly-elected theocracy in Iraq. his answer was along the lines of, the system of popular elections under a constitution is about the best we can do, the most we can offer, and if such took place, then at least it would have to perform according to the will of the people, or suffer being voted back out of office at the next election.

This, GWB believes, and the majority of American voters believes, is an improvement over a Saddam continuing his vast subversion of peace and commerce, and handing over someday to even crueler psychopathic sons with even grander megalomanias.

Yahoo's complaint that "even now Iraqi women are being stripped of their rights" is a little astounding considering that nobody in Saddam Iraq had any rights at all, which wasn't even in the same league with the problem they DID have--the threat of death by torture at the whim of the secret police.

And, "Arab Spring" exists in fact. The spread of democracy--imperfect but magnitudes better than the alternative--over an area from the Baltic Sea to Egypt and Kuwait (whose new women's suffrage law means it can't be voted back out) that had little chance of ever changing any autocracy, oligharcy, or dictatorship except by bloody revolution, is a direct result--according to everyone from Bush supporters to new western ally Ghaddafi of Libya--of OIF. Yes, OIF struggles to institute its goals. For some, that it hasn't been easy, that it will require years of hard work and more fighting, is sufficent reason to throw up our hands--us and the free Iraqis--and declare defeat, and turn the mideast over to Al Qaeda(with AQ's sworn intentions, and all its vast potential to extort the west into pauperhood thru the oil weapon, while continuing apace to demoralize our populations with increasingly depraved acts of terror).

8/21/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


I agree that it is their choice and if they at least choose to govern themselves democractically and constitutionally that will be a definite step forward. There is a risk however that by adopting Islam as the main source of the constitution that Clerics will be elevated to a position vetting all Laws of parliament. An Iranian style theocracy with Cleric approved candidates could result.

We are, however, not even at the point where a constitution is even tabled much less ratified. We are hardly out of the woods yet.

8/21/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

many things COULD happen
Leaving the choice to those that will have to live with the choice.
As Bush is paraphrased, 'It about all we can do'.

It is a question of how much influence will be permited. If not agreeable to a sizable minority the Constitution will not be ratified. Then they will get to go back and try again.
Under the TLA they will still have an emerging democracy, with everyones rights guarenteed, on paper.

8/21/2005 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger jfreddd said...

Interesting report on the BBC NEWS | UK:

"Muslim leaders 'in denial' claim

Britain's most powerful Islamic body is "in denial" about the prevalence of extreme views among its members, one of its founders has told the BBC.

"The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) pledged to tackle extremism "head on" after the 7 July attacks in London.

"But in a BBC Panorama special, Mehbood Kantharia and other prominent British Muslims question the MCB's commitment to meeting this challenge.

"The MCB has branded the programme "deeply unfair" and a "witch-hunt".

(statements by Sir Iqbal Sacranie denying the charge)

"Mehbood Kantharia was a member of the MCB's central working committee between 1997 and 2004, but has since left the organisation.

"He told Panorama: "It is my personal view that because they are in a state of denial they cannot become real, you know, sort of like, forthright, really forthright about wanting to do something about the kind of extremism that prevails."


Then follow points of fact negating Sacranie's circumlocutions regarding the alleged 'moderation' of the MCB. It seems like progress to see the 'Sacred Sacranie' and the MCB being held to account by the Bilious Beeb, no?

I posted this in a comment over at American Future, as well., seeing as how I can't figure out which is The World's Best Blog.

8/21/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Look at Iraq's TLA as the Articles of Confederation.
Not perfect, but good enough to get US to a Constitution.
From November 15, 1777, when it was ratified by Congress, until replaced by the United States Constitution on May 23, 1788, when ratified by the 9th state, New Hampshire.
Eleven years to work out our own Constitution.
The TLA will surfice for as long as needed.

8/21/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ash, the new document must be ratified by referendum--a two-thirds majority in all 18 districts. Even a single district that does not deliver a two-thirds majority will send the document back to floor debate. This may be exasperating--but it will also put every issue in the nation up for an airing that will in the end expose the flaws in all the positions, and subject every Iraqi to the rigors of compromise. If they can rise to it, the war on terror going forward is much more likely to diminish. If the western left can find a way to help, it would be nice, and in the end better for everyone. We can always let John Kerry be president later. For now, the other guy won, last November, and is the foreign-policy boss until his term ends. That's how it works. 'Spose to, anyway.

8/21/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...


8/21/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


I think you've got the constitutional ratification process wrong. The bar is not nearly so high. I'm working from memory here but I think the Parliament must pass it with a simple majority. If 3 of any of the 18 provinces reject it by 2/3 margin then it will be rejected.

8/21/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

Yahoo belched: "Ignorance + hubris = unintended consequences and unforeseen disaster."

Hmmmm... Who could that have been?

Ah! I know! Yahoo's idols!

Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Ho Chi Minh, Hussein, both of the North Korean bad-hair dwarfs...

Buddy, Undead Doug - who am I forgetting in this list?

Y'know, Yahoo, the problem I have with the likes of you is your basic nihilism - you have no solutions to offer, only ridicule, sophistry and despair.

The jihadis will no doubt save you for last at the wall...

8/21/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Lab Rat--no see, long time, how Houston dese daze?

Ash, I thought I heard a talking head on the TV lay out that rule-set. I shoulda checked it out. Sorry for the crappy bad-fact post.

8/21/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Islam as Offical Religion
Equal Rights for ALL
Constitution Ratification

Article 7 [State Religion, Freedom of Religion, Arab Nation]
(A) Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation. No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets of Islam, the principles of democracy, or the rights cited in Chapter Two of this Law may be enacted during the transitional period. This Law respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice.

Article 12 [Equality, Life, Liberty, Personal Security]
All Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to gender, sect, opinion, belief, nationality, religion, or origin, and they are equal before the law. Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his life or liberty, except in accordance with legal procedures. All are equal before the courts

Article 61 [Deadlines]
(C) The general referendum will be successful and the draft constitution ratified if a majority of the voters in Iraq approve and if two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates do not reject it.

Iraq - Interim Constitution

8/21/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

I've been hanging around, enjoying the repartee - unfortunately, as much as I enjoy assisting in the assimilation of dead-memebots of yahoo's sort, life has intervened in the last several months.

However, I'm back! And there are Lefties to be beaten about the head and shoulders with facts!

Houston is still here - hotter and wetter than yahoo's fevered fantasies.

And yourself?

8/21/2005 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, back to bloviating meaningless abstract concepts, for MY ass!

8/21/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

Buddy said: "Well, back to bloviating meaningless abstract concepts, for MY ass!"

But, you don't have to!

Unless you've gone Hillary on us...

8/21/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger jfreddd said...

from the proposed constitution:

(A) Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation.

What is good in this is the article, 'a', e.g. Islam is considered 'a source of legislation'. We USA-Americans are justifiably proud of our 'no-establishment' constitution, but our friends in the UK still have an established Church [of England, right?], and look what that does for them!

This reference to Islam as 'a' i.e. one possible, but not necessarily required source of legislation is a very strong statement when viewed in context. Legislation need not have umma, or sharia sanction to be legitimate: that's good.

8/21/2005 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The hill country is browner than I've seen it in years, rainfall is way off, I feel like dropping down 71 to I-10 just to see something green. The caliche dust is so thick, I found a hat the other day and when I picked it up there was a cowboy under it. I was digging him out and he said to make it a big hole as he was sittin' on his horse.

8/21/2005 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger jfreddd said...

another cool constitutional zinger:

Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his life or liberty, except in accordance with legal procedures. All are equal before the courts.

This is explicitly secularist and anti-sharia. Sharia courts give mucho rights to Muslim males and mucho-de-nada to their wimminfolk and even less to X'ns, atheistix, etc.

Getting sharia courts out of Basra might take some doing, of course.

8/21/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

I'll see if I can send you some of the rain we've been getting every day - it's been wetter than a moonbat's armpits here.

8/21/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

j. fred,

Do you have a link to that? You're right on the money concerning the importance of 'a' versus 'the' but there are other areas I'd like to study.

Desert Rat,

Thanks for the link to the current transitional authority.

Lab Rat,

Nice to hear from you - do memebots bring you out of hiding?

8/21/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I know, lab rat, I can hear it from here %#@+*&#!

J.fred (Muggs?), that sure does sound like clean language to me. There's some real incentives to the constitution...the oil trust if adopted allocates property share to citizens, and @ $65/bbl, that ain't hay. Civil War means $65/no bbls. I'm optimistic.

8/21/2005 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Stockton said...

Your blog could get you recruited - or fired
Terrence Ryan knew Scott McNulty in passing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, ... and Sun Microsystems Inc.
Very interesting blog! Enjoyed it!

I have a HIPPA Rule site & blog. It pretty much covers HIPPA Rule related stuff.

You're welcome to check it out if you have time :-)

Best wishes!

8/21/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The link is for the CURRENT Constitution, not the Proposed one.

This is the "Law" they are operating under NOW

Such as the LAW is.

8/21/2005 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In a daze, I thought Buddy had finally lost it.
Daze continued, as I tried to imagine Phoenix being hot and wet.

Then considered maybe 'Rat was on sabbatical in Houston, finally, I realized I had the wrong 'Rat in mind!

Welcome back Lab Rat!

Two 'Rats on one thread is quite an honor, thank you!

Half Dead Doug.
(sleep deprived)

8/21/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The hill country is browner than I've seen it in years, rainfall is way off,"
With McCain observing melting snow in the summer, plus your observations, global warming is now officially confirmed.
And Nuke Physicist/Climatologist says it is definitely man's activities, so please calm down.

8/21/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And Nuke Physicist/Climatologist McCain sez..."

8/21/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

From WaPo, so consider the source, but:

BAGHDAD, Aug. 20 -- Kurdish politicians negotiating a draft constitution criticized the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Saturday for allegedly pushing them to accept too great a role for Islamic law in his drive to complete the charter on time....

...The working draft of the constitution stipulates that no law can contradict Islamic principles. In talks with Shiite religious parties, Kurdish negotiators said they have pressed unsuccessfully to limit the definition of Islamic law to principles agreed upon by all groups. The Kurds said current language in the draft would subject Iraqis to extreme interpretations of Islamic law.

Kurds also contend that provisions in the draft would allow Islamic clerics to serve on the high court, which would interpret the constitution. That would potentially subject marriage, divorce, inheritance and other civil matters to religious law and could harm women's rights, according to the Kurdish negotiators and some women's groups.

Of course, the enemy of good and all, but shouldn't we voice concern that Islamic law tends to become more stringent and onerous in practice these days and not less so? Shouldn't we be sure that State isn't pushing through a compromised constitutional deal in the interests of compromise and (discredited) ME realpolitik and that the Bush administration isn't just grateful to keep any kind of "forward" momentum in Iraq?

I still support the war and our President, hugely so, but am less confident about some of the advisors and advice we're sending to the front from our old diplomatic corpse. Why is it the new Pope is articulating more clearly than our State Department, and for all to hear, that religious tolerance and freedom constitute a bulwark against barbarity?

8/21/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Speaking of horses, do you know what part of hers Madonna fell off of?

8/21/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

James hm, here's a good roundup on that issue, from Instapundit. Wish I knew what to think. I have confidence in Condi, but, you know, as yahoo said, I'm just a cheeleader.

Doug, well, at least she finally got that taste of Olde England!

8/21/2005 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Now it's Chee, first thing you know he'll be just another cheese eater.

8/21/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

That pork rind feller stole my "r".

8/21/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


Puh-lease. Is that the best you can do now? Asking like an innocent ingenue: "What is your solution?" After creating the biggest clusterfuck imaginable, after creating a strategic blunder of gigantic proportions where Iraq could now easily fall under Iranian sway? Is this what the promise of 2003 was?

Wasn't it the Bushies who had all the answers?

It is good at least that you don't have the chutzpah to deny the obvious. Unlike Buddy, who is still bloviating with big words and noble abstracts, because the hard facts right now are just too hard for him to swallow."

I was serious. What is your solution you Muslim fundamentalism?

8/21/2005 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...


Colin Powell certainly was of a mind with/ succumbed to the old State political perspective from most reports. Like you I, too, believe that Condi hasn't gone over to the other side, but she has a great deal of institutional bias, Europhilia and Arabism to identity and purge in State while tackling a daunting foreign policy agenda. It seems like either some old-think is slipping through, or we're pushing for any barely acceptable resolution in Iraq with our elections and also the Iran issue looming on the horizon. Or, just maybe all will be well with the current constitutional process and all concerns are as ridiculous as fretting over Gaia's hot flashes.

Be sure to let us know when the crappies have bumps on them so we can really worry then.

8/21/2005 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


8/21/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How I Do Hate That Hagel!
.Hagel added: "It would bog us down, it would further destabilize the Middle East, it would give Iran more influence, it would hurt Israel, it would put our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a terrible position. It won't be four years. We need to be out."
Yup, everything was just peachy their prior to our arrival.
Stable, a rock.
Iraq, that is.

8/21/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Cutler, It was better when you called him a Muslim fundamentalism ;)

Has someone told Hagel he has a chance to be on Hillary's ticket in '08?

8/21/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/21/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Great Minds and all.

8/21/2005 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Photo finish and you won, Doug!

8/21/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Buddy, Rick (and selected others! ;-)

Great discussion.

I am beginning to admire the new Papa...

That the Left has nothing but despair to offer is more and more clear.

I'm amazed at how long it took me to see this; perhaps it's because I am a reformed lefty myself!

Jamie Irons

8/21/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Family Man said...

Winer's OPML Roadshow rolls into Berkeley
My old friend Dave Winer is taking a new tact in evangelizing his latest invention-driving cross country on barnstorming tour.
My wife and I were looking for some Anorèxia informatio and somehow found your Anorèxia blog. I keep telling her we need to create a blog urselves. We only have a regular Anorèxia site which is at It's a Anorèxia related site. It isnt anything special but you may still find something of interest.

We enjoyed your blog! thanks!

8/21/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

James hm, I hate to admit to being a sheep (on top of a vacuous, big-word-using bloviator who can't swallow), but I figure the top of the administration is paying closer attention to this process than to anything else at the moment. I'm sure of three things, no one can help without knowing what's going on in private, the process is threatening to become byzantine, and the Americans are resisting that and trying to stick to a very short list of clear principles (Bush Doctrine). The people we put into office need a core that will trust them, or their efforts are doomed. Here's a good way to step back for a moment (via Michael Barone thru Instapundit), an essay getting some attention, about what makes a noble cause.

And--no bumps on the crappies yet, tho the catfish have gone to mud.;-)

8/21/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I have wondered about the option of leaving the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) in place. Rat's links bring that option back in focus. It could very well be true that the best option is the TAL. But, I sense that TAL has a shelf-life which may not be durable. There are various reasons for this.

I will say the main reason is that it is a "transitional" document with unsolved issues (I don't think there is any death penalty in it - as one example). Another problem is that it may require the US military to stay much longer and play a much greater role than first envisioned. This could be very taxing on our military (but, then we are still in South Korea, Japan, Germany and so forth).

Also, I don't think it has all the infrastructure necessary to run a full judicial system, military system, the ability to wage war, monetary system, or various others systems such as legal ownership of land, intellectual rights, the development of sound Securities laws, budgets and so on. That's not to say those laws could not be developed under the TAL.

If Rat's optimistic assumption that the TAL is durable - then we have no real near term problem with the failure to draft a constitution.

If any of you legal experts care to comment on the possibility of extending the TAL for a decade or so please do.

8/21/2005 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Al-Qeada wishlist:

The world and its ideas are so far away from their objectives, that there is simply no reason to negotiate with them. You have to dig them out, I am afraid. Going after the jehadi's from a police/military angle may well be the ostensible way to go about it, but the bigger and long-term fight is to attack this from all angles and mainly target their ideology through making it impossible for them to achieve their objectives.

In any case, Louis Althusser said that, "Ideology has very little to do with "consciousness".... It is profoundly unconscious.,004300140003.htm

8/21/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Along that line, Sam, the power of belief, One Million Hear Pope.

8/21/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Yep, looks like Dr. Dasgupta is saying much the same as the Pope.

8/21/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

Rick Ballard said: "do memebots bring you out of hiding?"

Well, I've had some family and work emergencies/obligations that were monopolizing my time but, yes, dead-memebots like yahoo tend to flush me out of my cage.

It's good to be back - Wretchard, as usual, pokes me with a rhetorical stick and the rest of you put me through the maze trying to follow all the twists and turns of the comment thread. It's aggravating, though, when a cheerleader for a dead theology gets on and beats the stuffings out of the same old dead strawmen - like trying to reason with an autistic child, a one-track mind and the best you can do is not let them hurt themselves or anyone else.

As far as the seeming silence/cautiousness on the part of the Administration, has it occurred to anyone that now is not the time to waste political capital? We're in the doldrums leading up to the '06 mid-term election cycle - why waste the message too far ahead? I'd expect to see action on Iran and Syria after the mid-terms. Comments?

Also, we won't be pulling out of Iraq, we'll negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement and have permanent bases there that will be a regular duty station like Okinawa or Germany.

8/21/2005 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

Say, is Vercingetorix still around? I miss watching him burn down the dead-memebots rhetorical villages...

8/21/2005 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Jihad lives on in Saudi after Ufi killed:

The killing of Saudi Arabia's Al-Qaeda leader Saleh al-Ufi has dealt a blow to the network's local branch but is unlikely to mark the end of a wave of terror attributed to Islamist militants in the kingdom.

Ufi was shot dead by Saudi security forces in the holy city of Medina Thursday, at the same time as another operation against Al-Qaeda suspects in the capital Riyadh, the latest in a series of gunbattles since militants launched a spate of attacks in the oil-rich Gulf country in May 2003.

8/21/2005 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

Cutler said: "I was serious. What is your solution you Muslim fundamentalism?"

Cutler, keep asking yahoo that question. You won't get an answer because a) it doesn't have one and b) it would have to be positive and that goes against it's basic nihilistic programming.

8/21/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

I thought that as important as this was historically I should post at least once wearing my atheist hat.

"How many pages of history record battles and even wars that have been waged, with both sides invoking the name of God, as if fighting and killing the enemy could be pleasing to him. The recollection of these sad events should fill us with shame, for we know only too well what atrocities have been committed in the name of religion."

I'm quite impressed by an acting Pope who drops all the normal semantic games, philosophical misdirections, and outright lies that would normally be associated with a discussion about a role religion has played throughout history.

Further, specifically stating that "these sad events should fill us with shame," makes me wonder if he would go as far as describing the lack of shame as a sin.

This isn't at all what I expected from the 'panzer pope.'

I live in interesting times.

8/21/2005 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


IANAL - I interpret the TAL to refer criminal code questions back to the law that was in existence as of June 30, 2004. The code in effect at that time is specfied in the Iraqi constitution of 1969 which provides for capital punishment. Except that CPA directive #7 specfically prohibits the imposition of capital punishment. Clear as mud, like so many other things.

I say, hang Saddam and see if anyone complains.

Actually, that's why Saddams trial continues to be postponed. He won't be tried and hanged until the new constitution is approved through referendum.

8/21/2005 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraq seeks justice in Sharia:

One argument in Iraq is that before applying Sharia, the clerics should first make sure that Iraqis have enough food on the table. An Islamic writer supported this view, saying, "Sharia cannot be implemented on empty stomachs." And sadly, the stomachs in Iraq are empty.

The insurgency, too, will have to stop so that some degree of normalcy can be restored. Over 26,000 Iraqi civilians are reported to have been killed since the US-led invasion. If the insurgency rages the killing will continue, with or without Sharia.

8/21/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Buddy Larsen said,

"The reason GWB makes rhetorical war on the tactic is because the tactic is the problem."

It should also be obvious that the "War Against Terrorism" is also "a struggle against terrorists" and so calling it a war against a "tactic" is slicing it apart in a way that has little value.

Having said all that I share Cedarfords distaste for what the "WOT' has become, a point of vanity for a President whos oratory skills have never been his strong point.

8/21/2005 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I heard Ann Coulter say in a recent interview on TV that the terrorist KIA number about 50,000. Don't know if this is since 911, or since OIF, or what.

8/21/2005 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Jordanian police have detained an undetermined number of Iraqis as well as other foreign Arab suspects in the Friday rocket attack that barely missed a U.S. warship in Aqaba.

"We don't want Jordan to harm a quarter of a million Iraqis (living in Jordan) because of one Iraqi" involved in the Friday attack, Kubba said.

8/21/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

I hate to admit to being a sheep (on top of a vacuous, big-word-using bloviator who can't swallow), but I figure the top of the administration is paying closer attention to this process than to anything else at the moment.

Buddy, ewe certainly aren't a sheep or a dumb cheeleader to trust and support the Bush administration in its struggle/ war on terror. Likewise, I hope it isn't unfaithful of some of us who very much believe in Bush Doctrine (sounds like a landscaping manifesto) to wonder aloud every now and then whether it is being well-served by our crats and mats in government, given how bureaucracy and diplomacy are often afflicted with entrenched ways of doing things and partisan biases. You must be right that Bush and advisors are savvy enough to know when our own agents are at odds and cross purposes with stated policy, but can the Good Guys win the political games within games each and every time, or might they have to settle for draws and a few losses? Wrt Iraq, here's hoping that we have private assurances and have made astute behind-the-scenes calculations that Iraq will stay (mostly) secular, democratic and allied with us, and not become an Islamist, freedom-suppressing republic that some Americans to include some State personnel have very little problem with.

But got a more basic question than that, which probably has been addressed ad nauseum here, but it goes to the Pope's theme of religious tolerance, freedom and Christian (Jew?)/Muslim co-existence: is the promotion of Democracy enough to stave off militant Islamism, or should we be advocating more directly for secular governance and law, for the separation of mosque and state and civil versus Sharia rights? When democracy can essentially vote itself out by diminishing civil liberties through legislatures and choices at the ballot box, not to mention how a religiously inclined judiciary can be activist, is this still the major prescription for the Muslim world for reducing terrorism? Then, again, Egypt is a "secular democracy" and look how many terrorists it has spawned. Maybe the Pope will next speak on the spiritual importance of embracing economic freedom, innovation and productivity and about the heavy wages of corruption.

8/21/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Abakan, my point was that C4's idea for a GWB declaration against "radical Islam" is without a doubt exactly what radical Islam would love to hear. Presently, the prez' position is difficult to misconstrue (in error or by design) as crusader aggression, as it takes such clunky, unpoetic pains to say in effect, "You fellas worship however you want, none of my business, say whatever you want in your madrassas, call me a pig and a monkey to your heart's content--but until you quit the mass-murdering, we will have to try to stop you."

If the west wanted to step-up to a broader level of hostilities and force the whole thing to a conclusion no matter what form that conclusion might take, then GWB's narrowing rhetoric would of course deserve C4's criticism. IMHO. in the meantime we are trying to maintain old and establish new bonds of alliance with many diverse interested Arab and otherwise Muslim parties. Popping off to heat up the home crowd could get Musharref, say, killed. Then what? Oops? I'd say, the stakes demand circumspection, and Americans ought to wise up and quit demanding such cut-and-dried treatment of a fluid situation.

The Maginot line was well-located and a dramatic international statement of pre WWII French resolve. And after the French had invested everything in it, the blitzkreig fired up and simply went outside the margin, leaving the entire doctrine and all the material invested, utterly useless. Worse than useless, as it misled the French, handed over freely the grand opening to the enemy, and caused the fall of France. All because nobody had the guts to talk sense to the French civilian cry for a strong show.

8/21/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Sunday developments:

_A car bomb exploded near a restaurant in a Shiite district of Baghdad, killing four civilians, police said.

_The U.S. military said it has ordered a criminal investigation into the June death of Mohammed al-Sumaidaie, the 21-year-old cousin of Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, who alleged that U.S. Marines killed his unarmed relative in cold blood during a raid in western Iraq.

_Residents said hundreds of people from the western town of Rawah have fled their homes after days of clashes between U.S. and Iraqi forces and insurgents.

_A British soldier was wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra, in Iraq's largely Shiite south, Iraqi police said.;_ylt=AiyHR_MsX7iQUYjyKdGZlhes0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

8/21/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

To Buddy Larsen,

I agree with you. I also agree with Cedarford in a very precise and narrow fashion.

I actually have no problem with the concepts clearly outlined in the WOT. My problem with the term is that it seems that the real meaning of the term and the concepts that flow from it were not understood by a very large percentage of the English speaking American populus.

So, the term itself has become only a distraction.

So, here's how it worked in my mind.

The struggle against terrorism has many elements one of which is "WAR"
the conditions of which were specifically outlined in the Bush Doctrine. In the actual war we wont have to worry about the name of the enemy.

Locally the terrorists will have 'names' as they are captured, jailed, or killed. By locally, I mean within individual cities all over the world.

8/21/2005 08:09:00 PM  
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8/21/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

In letter, Saddam casts self as martyr:

During Saddam's rule, Palestinian students were exempted from university fees and the government built a housing complex in the Baladiyat neighborhood, about 10 miles east of Baghdad, where hundreds of them lived.

In other areas, the government rented apartments on behalf of the Palestinians paying little money to landlords who did not dare to object.

8/21/2005 08:17:00 PM  
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8/21/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

James, I'd say that having been handed a war with an array of iffy countermeasure options, GWB has opted for an alliance with the ordinary people of the mideast, a trust in their common sense, and the attempt to install a constitutional democracy in place of a butcher dictator megalomaniac is what had to follow, as a natural expression of that policy.

Sure, it was from the get-go an iffy proposition, and yes, fraught with peril, but remembering the options he had on the morning of 9-12-01, and looking at those various attendant risk/reward ratios, this one had promise, and unlike others, was scalable.

And so far, despite the enemy's best efforts, and the drag of the domestic left, it isn't far off the original broad assumptions (the intensity of the insurgency was probably underestimated--but not to the extent that we lack the power to win).

Much has been accomplished. This is Iraq, for crying out loud, having a constitutional convention--and Saddam is in jail, awaiting trial.

Mubarek said yesterday (was it?) that Sharon is the only person who can make peace for Israel. These sort of earthquakes are happening more or less regularly nowadays. Libya, what a turnaround, Lebanon booted Syria.

Many other such pre-OIF unimaginables, have become new facts on the ground.

If we throw it all away now, due to flighty impatience, or boredom, or ennui, or dumbshit partisan domestic politics, then we're fools who weren't heavy enough for the task, and we'll deserve everything that will surely, as sure as God made little green apples, follow.

8/21/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

OK, Buddy, you've convinced somebody who was for the Iraq War and continues to support our efforts there to be for the war and our efforts there. Sorry if I sounded like I was expressing dumbshit politics!

Btw, whatever happened to the "delete comment" icons? Egypt is an Islamic republic, and neither the late hour here nor my advanced dementia can explain why I typed above that Egypt is a "secular democracy". Clearly, it was a test and nobody read it.

8/21/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Hagel Says Iraq War Looking Like Vietnam:

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the U.S. is winning in Iraq but has "a way to go" before it meets its goals there. Meanwhile, more needs to be done to lay out the strategy, Lott said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I do think we, the president, all of us need to do a better job, do more," Lott said, by telling people "why we have made this commitment, what is being done now, what we do expect in the process and, yes, why it's going to take more time."

8/21/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

James, LOL, that was RICH! I run those tests too, clearly. And, glad I was able to not move your position. It wasn't easy!

8/21/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I don't recall much, if any, disgust or hand-wringing over Afghanistan's ratified constitution - an absolute mess of a document if ever there was.

Preside over the establishment of an Islamic Republic? We did it once, we'll do it a second time.

But mark my words: It'll be a cold day in hell (say, a good 20 years, at least) before we willingly march down this road again.

8/21/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

A rather wolfish dog named Ben just took a number of spirited runs at me, circling closer and closer each time, until I had continued jogging and shouting well past its owner, who was for a while talking obliviously on her cellphone. Since I was thinking about world affairs at the time, if I were superstitious I might take that as an omen.

Seriously now, I was quite impressed with this speech, since it is clearly intended to say, look dear Muslims, we honor your faith for these reasons. Benedict thus implies: If we're wrong about who you are, it's time you said so, inadvertantly or not, by rebutting the head of Catholic Christianity, and then we can come to know what we are really dealing with.

This line stands out:
“The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God"

This is clearly a challenge to Islam to respond by making clear whether or not it is a sacrificial religion. not just because of the Abraham reference. Only people who have moved beyond the search for divinity in sacrificial gestures (e.g. hunting infidels) (and I don't mean the Eucharist, btw) will talk of God as a subsistent being; such terminology requires a mind clear about the difference between the sacred and God. Muslims, who tend to make an idol of their law perhaps don't see this clearly. The Pope is trying to give us a lesson in the finer points of religion.

8/21/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Truepeers, with such a mind as yours, I'd trust no barking dog to be only a barking dog. ;-) (joke, joke,joke!)

8/21/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Roger that Buddy,

If we throw it all away now, due to flighty impatience, or boredom, or ennui, or dumbshit partisan domestic politics, then we're fools

We're not throwing it away, it looks like enough of us share a simple common sense that we'll be OK as a voting republic.

Contrary to the MSM, the once and future free country of Iraq is our ally in the heart of the enemy. Just like West Berlin was during JFK's airlift, just like SoKo has been since 53.

Americans are a peace-loving people. We go to war slowly and grudgingly.
But during war, like now, we spool up resources and bring new thinking to the game. For Americans, war is the way back to peace. Therefore, any path, method and hardship that gets us there faster is the way to go.

8/21/2005 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

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8/21/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

One nasty attack within the US and we'll have Abrams in Teheran within a month, Trish. Unless we glass it.

There has been too much focus on small unit tactics here over the past couple of months. We are conducting excellent live fire training exercises, we're so deep inside the splodeydopes OODA loop that the Sunni imams are distributing flyers urging everyone to get involved in the elcetion process. If they agree that it's over, it's over.

It's not clean, efficient or pretty but wars seldom are.

8/21/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Well Buddy, you're right, you just gotta wonder what it is they see in you when they're sizing you up as infidel.

8/21/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Truepeers, if I weren't trying so hard not to be nasty, I'd say "a forehead?"

8/21/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Lugs like Yahoo revel in our defeat,humiliation,embarrassment,etc. because they are souless zealots without a cause,their utopian laughable to grownups.So all they can do is carp,criticize and pray to their fallen idols that more young warriors will meet the bad end of an IED so they can dance on their graves.
Just had to get that off my chest.
I recommend a biographical sketch on Yassir Arafat in the latest Atlantic Monthly.It is an indictment of the Arab world(or much of it) as corrupt,tribal and probably hopeless.All we can is do what we must .I'm not a Catholic ,but appreciate the Pope taking a moral stand against evil in a vague confused age.

8/21/2005 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

because the moslems are who they are and because the europeans are who they are, I view the pope's remarks not so much as a threat but as marker. Its a speach that takes its meaning as a function of the way things go. that is, we won't know what the speach "really means" until events have unfolded in the coming years in a suffiently formed way so as to give the pope's speach "meaning."

Things right now are unformed.

Europe, because it has become so atheistic has lost its memory. But the pope has not lost his memory. What is so striking about the pope's speach is that we are hearing someone speak who has a european memory. There is immense threat in that--to moslems.

As I've mentioned before, if/when the europeans ever return to christianity--their historical memory will also return. When their historical memory returns--there will be no place for the moslems in europe.

The reason I think the speach is a marker however rather than a threat, is because Europe currently is atheistic. so Europe has no memory. And because Europe has no memory they have no understanding of the terms which I think the moslem (clerical) audience and the pope both understood.

so the questions that will determine the actual meanings of the popes words will be not just whether the 1.)moslems reject terrorism but also 2.)whether the europeans return to christianity.

fyi we in the USA cannot be disinterested in this stuff for many reasons. But the formost reason that come to my mind is that if/when the europeans kick out the moslems--those moslems have to be returned to the countries of their ancestors because if they come to the USA they'll want only to murder this country? Why? because they will find this country chaulk full of mortal enemies: christians & jews.

8/21/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Something is certainly happening, as we speak. And not just in the mideast, but the far east, too.

8/21/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

A marker. Yes, that's exactly it Charles.

8/21/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

An olive branch, handed over with rolled-up sleeves.

8/21/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I warned you, Buddy:
The Place is destabilized!

8/21/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Charles, Christianity is growing pretty quickly in Africa. What kind of historical memory will that create? Maybe that's the final battleground between the two faiths?

8/21/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Rick Ballard brings a very important point on the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) and the fact there is no death penalty allowed within its framework: "... CPA directive #7 specfically prohibits the imposition of capital punishment... Actually, that's why Saddams trial continues to be postponed. He won't be tried and hanged until the new constitution is approved through referendum..."

This is a travesty. Saddam was a monster and needs to be given his last cigarette (and then dispensed with). Without the death penalty many other terrorists will go unpunished.

The lack of a death penality is probably well known to terrorists - which leads to more car bombs and more dead American troops; Iraqi men, women, and children. The terrorists know when caught they will get a nice cotton and 3 meals a day for their deeds.

Michael Yon noted that the terrorists who was caught before detonating a huge road bomb will got to jail and live in relative comfort. In fact, Yon said many Iraqis would pay 5000 dinar to stay at Abu Ghraib prison receiving good meals, clean water, clean clothes and nice bunk. This soft glove treatment must stop. We need the death penalty in Iraq.

Which brings us back to the TAL and it's short comings (including the lack of the death penalty). If anyone has any other comments on using the TAL as legal constitution for a long period of time speak up.

[Yon describes a terrorist caught red handed]:

One of the terrorists does a double take at the lead Stryker, blowing his cover. The call instantly goes out to "Block left! Lock 'em down! Two pax!" ... When we turn toward them, one man spooks and bolts... He's running so fast that it's freaky to watch... The man is just a cowering heap on the sidewalk. Chris Espindola flex-cuffs him... LT Keneally's voice calls over the radio that when they caught the stripe-shirted man they found an IED radio transmitter in his pocket.

[picture of blue radio with extra key pad]

LTC Kurilla didn't want to leave the bombs buried in the road, so he pulled the Strykers further back, and tried to use the terrorist's radio control to detonate them. He dropped down inside the hatch and asked the terrorist how to use the transmitter. In the most shocking admission of guilt imaginable, the terrorist walked the Commander through the steps: 1) Re-install the AA batteries in the back, 2) Connect the 9-volt battery on the side. 3) Flip the black switch on the side. 4) Press #1 on the weird keypad. 5) Press #7... Kurilla then asked the terrorist where he lived. Without hesitation, he told us. He lived with his mother. She was the only one home when we arrived. It was as if she knew we were coming. Many people saw us capture him; someone must have called on a cell phone to warn her that trouble was brewing. We searched everywhere... She smiled the whole time, as if to say, That's my boy! The translator heard her say to her son, "Don't worry. You will be released soon." She smiled at me.

The most serious terrorists do not fear prison here. Captain Jeff VanAntwerp, who commands Alpha Company, recently told me that Iraqis joke among themselves that they would pay 5,000 dinar per night to stay at Abu Ghraib prison. It's air-conditioned, the showers are good, the food is good, and the water is good. The mother seemed to know this and it curled in contempt behind her smile.

See Jungle Law 40% down

8/21/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Well if NK really does disarm, then it's official: a barely articulate chump from Texas can have more world historical signifcance that all the gnostic word masters combined. That'll keep em busy re-writing the history books.

8/21/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, I thought we were going to give them more oil, grain, nukes, and etc like Brilliant Bill, but what did I know?

8/21/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I hate to bring down a shower of bricks on my head, but have you noticed how few of those mideast-specialty instant "down-with-America" parades we've been seeing in occupied Iraq? Sure, the little punk shoulda been dispatched, but things have ground down to the quick over there, the fundamental truth is spilling out, those American soldiers are there to help the people, not enslave them, and i can't help but believe that neighborhood moved in our direction just a tad, on that incident. Of course, the IED coulda gone off and killed soldiers, so what I'm saying here is largely a crock of sh*t, I realize.

But still. God love the American soldier, he makes war only in order to repair broken peace (ht Tony).

8/21/2005 10:15:00 PM  
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8/21/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Sunnis Warn Against Constitution Draft:

A day before the deadline for the new constitution, Sunni Arabs appealed Sunday to the United States and United Nations to prevent Shiites and Kurds from pushing a draft through parliament without their consent, warning it would only worsen the crisis in Iraq.

Leaders of the Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurdish factions planned final talks on Monday morning according to officials of all three groups. "I am not optimistic," said Kamal Hamdoun, a negotiator for the influential Sunni minority. "We either reach unanimity or not."

8/21/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Sam, they're all professional traders, playing table stakes poker at a table in the middle of the bazaar. The cards don't count until all the bluffs are wotked through. Iraq has potential to be a wealthy, respectable, leader among the nations of the region. The conferees know this better than anyone. The challenge, the dangers, were in getting the game going. Now that everyone's in and ante'd up and has a big bet going, the hand will play out. It's human nature. Don't do it quite yet, but get ready to pop the champagne cork.

8/21/2005 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Dear ultimate melons,

please loan me back those first 25 years I wasted carousing and living like a gnostic cathar word-master who didn't know no words.

8/21/2005 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Buddy, I share your optimism. Just posting some, what I think, are the more interesting articles I come across from time to time. Just make sure that champagne is none of that fancy shmancy French stuff. Heck, how about just tapping the ol' keg of Bud Light?

8/21/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

ha--now yer talkin'! I've been following your hilites, and a biggie that i never saw on google news either, is Scotland Yard's busting an AQ plot to kill Parliament with cyanide. Can you imagine? what is now a story that made neither google nor Sam's Snips, had it succeeded (and it was highly serious, and well-developing), would've been right up there with 911. Or beyond 911, an actual decapitation of a great western nation. Staggers the imagination.

8/21/2005 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


I like marker much better than warning. This is the phrasing that caught my eye:

"The defence of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization."

It takes about a week to unpack that one.

8/21/2005 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Buddy, it was the Cathars who got the "kill them all and let God sort them out" treatment, wasn't it? If you got off with only 25 years, that's, well??? that's some kind of inflation in justice or discounting in coconuts...

8/21/2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

eyelids drooping, off to arkansas. chow, all.

8/21/2005 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Just a bit of the transcript from Sunday's Meet the Press if you didn't catch it:

MR. DAVID GREGORY: Our issues this Sunday: The war in Iraq. And at home, war protesters hold vigils across the country as the debate over prolonged U.S. involvement rages. But first, on Thursday, Senator Feingold became the first senator to call for a specific withdrawal date from Iraq, and he joins us now for his first live interview. Explain why you've taken this step at this point. Why set this target date?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, it's been a long time coming. I tried first to simple offer a resolution a couple of months ago to ask the president to give us a sense of his own of how long this will take and give the world a sense of when we might finish what some people call an American occupation.

MR. GREGORY: Do you think that target date is knowable, that a success date is knowable at this point and that the president is simply holding back?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, I think it's possible. Why wouldn't you want a vision, an idea of when we can measure success in terms of time and when the American people can know that our brave and courageous men and women can come home?

MR. GREGORY: This target would be December 31 of next year of 2006, but you say it's not a deadline.

SEN. FEINGOLD: No, it's not a deadline. I went to 17 town meetings in Wisconsin this month already in northern Wisconsin. And people said, "You know, if we don't have an idea of how long this thing's going to last, let's just cut and run."

MR. GREGORY: Senator, how do you define success in Iraq?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, I define success in Iraq as being what is most consistent with the security of the American people, in general, and that means whatever we do there should be consistent with the fight against these terrorists all around the world. One of the reasons I was opposed to the Iraq War in the first place is it wasn't even on the list that the president and the State Department put out of 45 countries where al-Qaeda was operating. So basically, we have to figure out a way to do as much as we can in a reasonable period of time, without doing too much, to allow these terrorists to promote and train people who are going to try to kill Americans.

MR. GREGORY: There is a violent insurgency that continues to rage. There is even the underpinnings of civil war now in Iraq. If by the end of December 31, 2006, the end of next year, these problems are not solved, the mission is not complete, do you still believe U.S. forces should come home?

SEN. FEINGOLD: I think that we have to make a tough assessment at that point, but I believe that the process is more likely to succeed if we have these guidebooks. Look, we're not going to stay there till the very last insurgent is captured or killed.

MR. GREGORY: But you say "a tough assessment." But if the mission is not complete, if your goals, if the administration's goals are not achieved, you still believe it's time for U.S. troops to come out?

SEN. FEINGOLD: No, there could be flexibility. There could be--look what we're doing with the constitution right now.

MR. GREGORY: But what...

SEN. FEINGOLD: It wasn't achieved by a particular date, so you add a little more time.

MR. GREGORY: Senator, why give the insurgents any kind of road map of our intentions?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, of course, I haven't proposed a deadline.

More importantly, let me tell you the conversation I had in the Green Zone from one of the top generals in Iraq when I was there with Senator Clinton and Senator McCain. I said, "Off the record, your own view, would it help if we had a timeline to let the world know that we're not staying here forever?" And this is what he said, verbatim. He said, "Nothing would take the wind out of the sails of the insurgents more than having a timeline in place."

MR. GREGORY: But you yourself said just a couple of minutes ago that if we are not successful by the end of next year, you would agree to extend that deadline.

SEN. FEINGOLD: I said for a limited period. I don't think it's indefinite.

MR. GREGORY: How long would that period be?

SEN. FEINGOLD: It depends on the circumstance.

MR. GREGORY: But it still goes to the bottom line point, which is if the goals are not achieved, if there is still an insurgency, if there is continued sectarian violence, the prospect of civil war, do you then still advocate bringing troops home before their success?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Potentially. There are three different possibilities. One is the success. The second is we get close to success and then we have to have a little more time. A third possibility is that the situation simply has become so inconsistent with our overall goal of fighting terrorists around the world that we may have to say, "Look, we have to come home anyway."

MR. GREGORY: Even if--even if it means effectively...

SEN. FEINGOLD: Potentially.

MR. GREGORY: ...admitting failure?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Yes, because the question here is do we succeed in the fight against al-Qaeda and the extremist elements around the world that are attacking us? That's number one.

MR. GREGORY: Given the American sacrifice in Iraq, the loss of life, do we not owe it to those who have lost their lives to see this mission through to its absolute successful conclusion?

SEN. FEINGOLD: What we owe the brave men and women who have fought in Iraq, especially those, I think, from Wisconsin, is a good policy, a policy that is consistent with fighting the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11, 2001. We owe them that.

MR. GREGORY: Do you believe that the United States is better or worse off with Saddam Hussein out of power?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, it's much better to have Saddam Hussein out of power, but we are actually weaker rather than stronger because of the way in which this Iraq operation has been conducted. We have given the terrorists an opportunity to train and recruit terrorists that are being exported all around the world.

MR. GREGORY: Senator, will you be a candidate for the presidency in 2008?

SEN. FEINGOLD: You know, I'm really focusing on these issues right now. This war in Iraq and the need to get us back to the fight against terrorism are the things that are really affecting me personally, as well as in my job.

MR. GREGORY: What you're outlining, though, is a potential platform. Is it something that you're considering?

SEN. FEINGOLD: I'm considering the platform for whoever runs. Whether or not I would run...

MR. GREGORY: Right, but for yourself?

SEN. FEINGOLD: ...whether or not I run or not, I'm going to think about later.

MR. GREGORY: Final question: Can an anti-war Democrat be successful in 2008?

SEN. FEINGOLD: I think a Democrat who cares about national security, who gets this right, a Democrat who says, "Look, this administration has lost its way and gotten away from going after those who attacked us on 9/11" and who is willing to say that the Iraq invasion had some problems and that what's going on now is a problem, I think all of that can be part of a winning candidate.

8/21/2005 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

ha, didn't see those last few--"unpack" is the word ringing me all day long, wrt B16's message. Much indeed to unpack, every chosen syllable. Theocratic language is so careful, as if "in the beginning was the Word" means what it says.

Peers, well, I'm not sure if my accounting is particularly up to audit...coconuts I don't get but it's a damn funny word which ought to be used more. Coconuts!

8/21/2005 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Cutler said: "I was serious. What is your solution you Muslim fundamentalism?"

Cutler, keep asking yahoo that question. You won't get an answer because a) it doesn't have one and b) it would have to be positive and that goes against it's basic nihilistic programming."

I know, unfortunately when I was really young I was flying a kite and ran head first into a wall. It explains, among other things, my stubborness in the face of impossibility. [sic]

8/21/2005 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Or beyond 911, an actual decapitation of a great western nation. Staggers the imagination."
Sher wood be a lock to be a best seller in Holmes Around the World, though.

8/21/2005 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The NCAA will be calling about that Coconut Comment.

8/21/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The rest of you soldiers line up BEHIND the guys from Wisconsin!
"SEN. FEINGOLD: What we owe the brave men and women who have fought in Iraq, especially those, I think, from Wisconsin, is a good policy, a policy that is consistent with fighting the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11, 2001. We owe them that."

8/21/2005 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"One nasty attack within the US and we'll have Abrams in Teheran within a month, Trish. Unless we glass it."

One nasty attack by the Iranians?

Rick, I've come to the conclusion that if the US were attacked by a network of Guatemalen terrorists -or three-headed space aliens - tomorrow morning, at least a few here would be calling for regime removal in Teheran. I can't explain it, but I think it's a fair assessment.

8/21/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi leaders need to beat draft deadline as Saddam ready to ”sacrifice his soul”:

Iraq's political groups negotiate the future of the Iraqi nation and seek a final draft of the country's first democratic constitution.

In a letter published on Sunday, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said that he would sacrifice himself for Arab nationalism and to end foreign occupation.

8/21/2005 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Speaking of proselytizing by the people of the Cross, the Christian and Catholic churches are doing a fine job in China and Asia as a whole. About 10% of China is already Christian/Catholic, and even the Pope's words are heeded by the non-catholic denominations.

In fifty years, China won't even have to be a rival or an enemy when it's jam packed with christians with low tolerance for islamic fundamentalism, along with a strong desire to align with the West.

If China is the future, then the future is already won. Only the Islamists don't know it.

8/22/2005 01:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Trish - the neocons are desperately banging the war drums on and trying to tie everything to Iran - and the need for a "quick surgical strike" followed by a cakewalk liberation led by only a few thousand "Special OPS Heroes". Yes it sounds familiar. After the Iraq "cakewalk" the war drums were banging for "easy regime change" in Syria. Now neocons say Syria is inoperative as Israe...err America's greatest threat and Ledeen and pals are onto Iran.

Practically, the neos and their acolytes in the conservative ranks can cry all they want. The people and Congress will not back another pre-emptive war until they have confidence in intelligence credibility and half our military ground combat force is no longer tied up in Iraq.

Buddy - The reason GWB makes rhetorical war on the tactic is because the tactic is the problem. Should the leader of the west come out against Islam (and "radical Islam" is still Islam, until islam itself says it's not), and vastly complicate the wests many friends--as well as the neutrals--within Islam?

You had be scratching my head on that one and a subsequent post NOT to mention radical Islam is the problem because if Muslims fail to agree with it, then they are all going to go against us.

The "tactic" of terrorism is just one of many tools radical Islamists use to create a system of violence and intolerance against the infidel. Yes, it is the tip of the spear, but no more vital in the success of the overall structure of Jihad than legal dhimmitude, indoctrination madrassahs and indoctrination camps, the cultivation of communities to support the Shaheed and glorify them in posters, schools, mosques and internet sites. The financiers of not just terrorists but insurgents, more intolerant mullahs preaching hate and Jihad websites. And the media and religious figures that reject human rights and wish to treat the kuffar as a dog and spread more and more hate and false historical grievances. Not just those calling for specific acts of terrorism and recruiting martyrs.

It does little good to wage war against an army by limiting your conflict to lopping off spearhead tips from their shafts and they are thrown at you, seek to bend their tip with pliers, or insist that your military van only attack the spearthrowers on the enemy side and ignore their other forces. Because the enemy is attacking all levels of our defense.

Terror is just one element of many structures radical Islam has aimed at us intending us harm. Keeping the pretense that the whole of Islam as a "religion of peace" is crap.

If we fail to begin using strategic communications after pissing away 4 years and fail to actively commit to the battle of ideas and instead just spend 100 billion a year chasing or defending against a few thousand "evildoers" whose ranks are restored with eager Jihadis monthly and whose networks are still improving----in the long term -----a war fought in such a PC sensitive, limited way - the WoT - will be a war we lose.

Other than that, Bush's WoT, has no flawed elements to it.

8/22/2005 02:12:00 AM  
Blogger luminary said...

Christ, God, "No".

8/22/2005 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

C4, nice visuals--but I meant something different than what you rebutted. Words. The American president's every tic is mined for meaning, and distorted, by the enemy. Why not let him be our most dovish hawk, and rob the enemy thus of a critical rally point? Operations to proceed apace, of course. The weakness in specifying what is unacceptable behavior, without referring to underlying pathology, is of course what every school principle and workplace supervisor faces daily in the project of maintaining order. Johnny hits his classmates, principle calls parents, sez johnny must quit hitting classmates. parents cooperate maybe. But call parents and tell them that their homelife must really suck, and suddenly you have the kid, the parents, the school board, and maybe a tort lawyer and the local statehouse representative, after yo ass. And, to boot, are perhaps no closer to, but much farther away from, your original goal of restoring order within your sphere of influence.

Granted that narrowing the complaint may not suffice, and after that situation has been proved, you may indeed have to take on the school board.

However, what if your staff, and many of the other parents, are getting the message out that Johnny's homelife sucks? Maybe you get your system order restored, and will have finessed the widened strife that will surely, as you gamble on losing your job and bankrupting yourself in court, have a deleterious effect on your own family?

(sorry for overstretched analogy--but at least I avoided bending spear points with pliers)

8/22/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

WSJ on Iran, this morning

8/22/2005 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Dean Douthat said...


Just like West Berlin was during JFK's airlift, ...

That would be Harry S. Truman in 1948, 12 years before JFK took office.

8/22/2005 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Buddy, I see no problem with Johnny's home life. All that is necessary is to give hime a warning and the next time he mis behaves kick his butt out the door. Maybe this won't fly today in our looney PC siciety but it is a method that worked for centuries.

8/22/2005 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This article explains the Administrations challenge better than most I've read.

"... Wartime presidents must lead their people. In this, Mr. Bush has fallen flat. It's not enough to say we must complete the mission. It's not nearly enough to repeat the truism that our soldiers are performing bravely, with skill and humaneness not seen before in history. As important as those facts are, they pale in comparison to what we aren't told: What is the mission? Who are our enemies, and where are they? How are we going to attack and defeat them? What, specifically, are they trying to do and how are we going to stop them? We know none of those things from the President. To say what he says again and again -- without saying much else -- leaves wartime opinion-making to Vladimir Putin, Russell Feingold, Chuck Hagel and Cindy Sheehan. ..."

"... As the Washington Post reported last Wednesday, "The day after burying their son, parents of a fallen Marine urged President Bush to either send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether. 'We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out,' said Rosemary Palmer, mother of Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder II." What Ms. Palmer says now is precisely what our professional military has said about every war since World War II. They are saying it now but only quietly, in confidence, and almost exclusively to each other. They know that this war needs to be fought -- hard, fast, and effectively -- to be won at the least cost in American lives. They will do that, and win, if they are allowed to do the job as it must be done. If.

In a meeting a couple of weeks ago, a senior DoD official said that in Iraq, "we're not winning yet, but we're holding our own." How can that be, two years into the fight, unless we are hobbling our forces politically? The objective in Iraq is not a Nixonian "peace with honor" but victory. And victory cannot be achieved in Iraq alone. Back in June, I asked another senior DoD official a question that obviously discomfited him. It was simple enough. I began with the fact that we have mensurated (i.e., three dimensional, accurate within a yard or two) targeting coordinates for the terrorist sanctuaries in Syria. (The fact that Syria is a sanctuary for terrorists who kill Americans in Iraq has not been disputable for more than a year.) I asked why, then, weren't we attacking the sanctuaries? He gave an answer that -- from the look on his face -- made him even more uncomfortable than the question. He said, "There are nations with which we don't want to go to war now." And therein lies the rub. President Bush must not write the plans for the GWOT on a palimpsest of Vietnam. ..."

Wartime Leadership is not related to Election Cycles

8/22/2005 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

OT, except connection to comments re vanity of the 60's.
Burned, Baby, Burned.
Watts and the Tragedy of Black America. By John McWhorter.
Don't miss this definitive piece - much more than Watts.
"In teaching poor blacks that picturesque battle poses were an "authentic" substitute for constructive intentions, the "Burn, Baby, Burn" ethos ultimately did more harm than good to a people who had already been through more than enough."

8/22/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What is it about bending spear points with pliers that's wrong?

8/22/2005 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Calculus of the New York Times:
So those Million or so folks that showed up for Benedict, what are they good for?
...about 15 devoted "feminists" showing up to see some 50 plus year old bitter hag "leaders."

8/22/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

""The pope is our enemy, it said. "Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous..."
Maybe they thought John Roberts was coming?

8/22/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(taking a tip from the WaPo)

8/22/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger James Fletcher Baxter said...


The missing element in every human 'solution' is an
accurate definition of the creature. The way we
define 'human' determines our view of self, others,
relationships, institutions, life, and future. Important?
Only the Creator who made us in His own image is
qualified to define us accurately. Choose wisely...
there are results.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.
Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe. selah

"Got Criteria?" See Psalm 119:1-176
semper fidelis

8/22/2005 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger tony said...

Hi, I was just surfing around blogger and found your blog. I took a quick look around and it seems pretty interesting.

If you want, I'd love some feedback on my dog obedience training tips site.

It's brand new so I'd love to hear any feedback you might have. As you can see it's basically dedicated to giving out some dog obedience training tips. Maybe you or someone you know might find it usefull.


8/22/2005 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger nellodee said...

No muslim I know (and i know quite a few) describes their faith as the religion of peace--every single one says that Islam means submission.

8/22/2005 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are options that we could start with vis a vie Iran, well short of supporting a Kurdish Insurrection or Saturation Bombing

From WSJ OpinionJournal
"... Perhaps it's time to try a different strategy. We aren't referring here to economic sanctions via the U.N. Security Council. China and Russia aren't likely to agree to sanctions, and even if they did (after many months of haggling) Iran may think it can ride them out in a world of $60 oil.
Leaving aside--but not ruling out--the option of military intervention, the Iranian regime is vulnerable to diplomatic pressure from without and even more so to democratic pressure from below. Yet the Bush Administration has given comparatively little support to Iranian pro-democracy groups, and it has made no effort to organize bans on Iranian participation in prestigious international forums or at sporting and cultural events. Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy suggests, for starters, barring the Iranian national soccer team from the World Cup.

Perhaps even this is too militant for the likes of Chancellor Schröder. But it would be the beginning of a serious Iran policy. "


8/22/2005 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Family Man said...

Google Makes Major Play for Desktop Ownership
Today Google releases a beta of Google Desktop 2 , a thoroughly revamped version of the computer-searching program.
I just read some of your blog and liked the sample fax cover letter entry you made. I dont have a blog but do have a regular sample fax cover letter site that talks about the fundamentals of sample fax cover letter which is pretty cool but would like to convert it to a blog sometime.

Ok then, nice chatting with you. Have a great day!!


8/22/2005 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In the LA Times a story:

"Coping with Iran's nuclear ambitions"

By Fariborz Mokhtari, a professor at the Near East South Asia Center of the National Defense University in Washington

IRAN'S NUCLEAR POLICY is more about nationalism and pride than weapons and energy. If the United States' policy toward Iran ignores the national pride of the Iranian people, it could cause lasting repercussions that will set back relations between Iran, the United States and U.S. allies for a long time to come. ..."

The Professor explains why yhe Iranians will not be dependent of outsourced fuel for the electical power plants.
Past US belligerance,ie: support for Saddam's Iraq in the Iran/ Iraq war, etc.

LA Times

He closes promoting the Bush Doctrine of Democratic Renewal

"... Rather than threatening Iran, the United States should recognize that the way to change its policy is through soft diplomacy and education. It is crucial to distinguish the Iranian people from their clerical rulers. The people, especially Iranian youth, must be cultivated and persuaded that the best hope for their national ambitions does not lie with the policies of the regime. If the people are persuaded, their rulers will follow, and Iran's policies will change ..."

8/22/2005 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

quite right
Everyone must sumbit to both their God and/or the People that speak for God.
Supreme Imams and the like.

8/22/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

August 22, 2005
Breaking: Agreement Reached Over Iraqi Constitution
Omar at Iraq the Model report this insider scoop:
National Assembly member Bahaa Al-Aaraji just told Al-Iraqia TV that an agreement has finally been reached among the leaders of political bodies on the final draft of the constitution and that disputes over issues like federalism, distribution of resources and the role of Islam have been solved.Via Glenn Reynolds
Dr. Rusty Shackleford at 09:31 AM

8/22/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I gave you my opinion on Kristan.

8/22/2005 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Last ot for a while:
. Anyone Care to defend Bush Admin on this?

8/22/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Yet the Bush Administration has given comparatively little support to Iranian pro-democracy groups, and it has made no effort to organize bans on Iranian participation in prestigious international forums or at sporting and cultural events."
This is Ledeen's Lament: we continue to act like our dearly departed Kevin:
Iran is a Democracy gradually headed toward reform.
State Dept Nonsense.
A Demoncracy is more like it.

8/22/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Could the Sunnis be the solution to the problem of al Qaeda in Iraq ?
Recent events have shown that the marriage of convenience between domestic opponents to the new Iraqi government and foreign terrorists seeking to foment a civil war may be headed for annulment.

8/22/2005 08:34:00 AM  

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