Monday, August 28, 2006

The Rejectionist Generation

Geneive Abdo spent two years traveling the country and interviewing a wide variety of Muslims in America. These quotes are from her piece in the Washington Post:

I found few signs of London-style radicalism among Muslims in the United States. At the same time, the real story of American Muslims is one of accelerating alienation from the mainstream of U.S. life, with Muslims in this country choosing their Islamic identity over their American one.

A new generation of American Muslims -- living in the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- is becoming more religious. They are more likely to take comfort in their own communities, and less likely to embrace the nation's fabled melting pot of shared values and common culture.
... [snip] ...
From schools to language to religion, American Muslims are becoming a people apart.
... [snip] ...
"I know I don't have to fit in," she [Ismahan, a computer scientist in
Michigan] said. "I don't think Muslims have to assimilate. We are not treated like Americans. At work, I get up from my desk and go to pray. I thought I would face opposition from my boss. Even before I realized he didn't mind, I thought, 'I have a right to be a Muslim, and I don't have to assimilate.' "
... [snip] ...
Despite contemporary public opinion -- or perhaps because of it -- Muslim Americans consider Islam their defining characteristic, beyond any national identity. In this way, their experience in the United States resembles that of their co-religionists in Europe, where mosques are also growing, Islamic schools are being built, and practicing the faith is the center of life, particularly for the young generation. In Europe and the United States, young Muslims are
unifying around popular imams they believe understand the challenges they face in Western societies ...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Hollow Years

I've been reading about the 1930s lately. One chapter from The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s struck me as particularly interesting. I wanted to share several quotes which I included below.

Chapter IX - The Nightmare of Fear
-----

The possibilities of surprise attacks were dire; the only parry against them would be preventative attacks impossible to envisage in a peaceful democracy or else the threat of massive reprisals. The defense debate was slipping into nightmare. ... It was certainly an encouragement for defeatism.
-----

The Journal of Julien Green, the delicate Franco-American writer, is full of rumors of war for the end of the month, panics, images of catastrophe. "The people I see have fallen prey to panics," he notes in 1932. "This happens three or four times a year." And in 1934: "Life is impregnated with this general fear."
-----

In 1935 police and civil authorities distribute posters and brochures: "Precautions to be taken against bombs from planes" and "Instructions for protection against air attack." Julien Green's diary records the passage of policemen and their explanations: "(masks, shelters, don't panic, stay calm, everything). I wonder when and how we shall escape from this hideous age."
-----

In September 1930 the NRF [Nouvelle Reveu francaise] dismissed present peace as "a latent war smouldering beneath the treaties." Two year later, in July 1932, Romain Rolland himself announced that war was coming. Uncontrollable war on the other side of the world confirmed both fear and impotence.
-----

That summer [1938] Montherlant, half-jokingly, told a young friend: "Don't worry about your future - in another year you'll be killed in the war." The lad replied: "That's what my mother tells me."
-----

One thing no one bothered to pretend was that force existed to be used. ... The dominant doctrine was the "the power of the defensive constitutes the most important and least questionable lesson of war." Prudence, protection, avoidance of risk: The army would be ready, but to do nothing much.
-----

Pacifism and antimilitarism went hand in hand.
-----

The next chapter of The Hollow Years, the final chapter, opens with this quote from the poet and essayist Charles Peguy.
It is bad manners to expect victory when you don't feel like fighting.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Approaching the Nadir

No one ever accused me of being a blind optimist, but if you had told me that 5 years after 9/11 we would be in the current dismal situation, I would have laughed you out of the room. After all, the attacks that Tuesday morning were a wake-up call. Right? If you had told me that we would still be fighting the Taliban five years later I would have simply not believed you. Who would have? The Taliban? Five years later?

Bush, who once seemed to have the will, fortitude and political support to wage The Long War, is now the lamest of lame ducks. Without some unforeseeable change in circumstances in the next two years, Bush will leave the US worse off than he found it in terms of our security, foreign policy and finances. To me he was always the least bad choice but that is hardly praise.

Not that I place too much blame on Bush personally. The problem rests with our political class as a whole, not merely with one party (and of course, beyond that, with the American people themselves). Clinton tried the twin strategies of ignoring al Qaeda and forging a grand bargain between Israel and Arafat’s PLO. Both failed miserably. Bush tried surgical, decapitating military efforts (so surgical that in some ways each resembled a coup d’etat more than a war) followed by democratization. It is too late for any reasonable success in either Afghanistan or Iraq. We are left with choosing between different shades of failure.

Clinton tried ignoring and accommodating them. Bush tried liberating and democratizing them. Yet each year the enemy expands its efforts against us. It’s a dark time, the season of the pessimists.

Iran will build the nukes its messianist tyrants lust after. Politically they have out maneuvered us. Any military strike on the Shi’a theocrats will at best delay the program while reaping substantial political gains for them, both domestically and with Muslims worldwide, from Birmingham to Lahore to Sydney. I’m half-convinced that they want us to attack so that they can collect the political jackpot. Look at Hezbollah’s big win in Lebanon.

The era of the precision bombing is over if it ever existed. In material terms Hezbollah lost the Battle for South Lebanon. But Hezbollah can replenish missiles and men. The mere survival of Hezbollah was victory. The same goes for Iran but the stakes are higher and the stage is larger. Any strike against Iran that leaves the theocrats alive and in power is a victory for them and for global jihadism. In boxing terms, we are the heavyweight champions and as such we cannot win on points. If we enter the ring, we must be focused on a knock-out, whether with the first punch in Round 1 or with the last in Round 12. To leave our enemy standing, even if he is bruised, broken and blinded, is defeat.

To many people this stinks of ‘disproportionate force’, the latest sin among the international community. And Americans, from political elites to my mother, don’t like seeing lots of dead bodies on the news. Photos of glass-eyed babies pulled from the rubble tend to elicit sympathy. They would much rather ‘win hearts and minds’. (The thought of stopping the dissemination of such images never crosses our minds. Another failure of imagination.)

We cannot simultaneously wage war and win hearts and minds. In Iraq and Afghanistan we have chosen to do neither.

Since Vietnam Americans (not just our political and military leaders) have become ‘allergic to casualties’, American casualties and casualties in general. But, to quote Nathan Bedford Forrest, “War means fighting and fighting means killing.” By refusing to kill we refuse to fight. How can one win if one refuses to fight?

The list of lost opportunities in Iraq staggers the mind. As we all have seen, merely taking Baghdad did not win the war, only the battle. Over the next phase of the war we should have used such draconian but proven methods as shooting looters, razing insurgent cities like Fallujah and Rammadi, killing al Sadr and crushing his militia, mining and fortifying the borders with Iran and Syria. But this is beyond the capacity of Bush and the current class of American leaders, of either party.

(As the descendent of many generations of southerners who is married to a Japanese national I have an idea about how nations are conquered: kill or maim a significant percentage of men between 15 and 50; destroy the cities, infrastructure, crops, and homes; bankrupt everyone by making the currency worthless; reduce the populace to such a state of destitution that people must spend their waking hours looking for food rather than plotting insurgencies. American troops brought chocolate and shoes to the Japanese only after the government surrendered unconditionally and most people were living on 600 calories a day. First win the war; then win the hearts and minds.)

Where does this leave us? The picture is not pretty. As even supporters of the war in Iraq acknowledge, Iraq is fighting a civil war. Perhaps we can yet stop this somehow, but after three years of floundering who thinks we can suddenly save the day? The consequences of this Sunni-Shia civil war range from terrible to abyssmal.

Iran is rising. It has never been stronger militarily, politically or financially. Its missiles can reach Israel and probably central Europe, perhaps as far as Vienna. Its prestige among Sunnis is probably at or near an all time high. Iran controls one blatant proxy with Hezbollah, whose leader is now the greatest Arab-wide hero since Nasser. Iran controls a near-proxy with Syria. Iranian agents and bagmen crawl over Iraq. Iran’s influence over Hamas increases with each passing crises.

Our allies are in increasingly dire straits. The global Sunni insurgency against the West has soldiers in every country in Western Europe. Our closets allies weaken by the day as they are caught between a fifth column of immigrant terrorists and their supporters and a culture of denial and human rights legalism. Crowds march in European capitals with signs saying “We Are All Hezbollah.” Britain could crackdown on its Muslims, increasing surveillance, incarceration, and profiling, but only at the cost of further alienating them, of providing yet more grievances, more material for jihadist propaganda. The Brits can ignore or accommodate or arrest their domestic jihadists. Each path leads to more conflict.

The time for easy solutions has long passed, not just in Britain but throughout Europe. This quote from Livy, which I found, fittingly, in the opening pages of Shirer’s The Collapse of the Third Republic, seems apt:
We reached our last days when we could endure neither our vices nor their remedies.

Israel’s security falls in inverse relation to the rising popularity of anti-Semitism. From the Norway to Malaysia, from Tehran to Berkeley, from the offices of UN to the studios of the BBC, anti-Semitism infects the world, spreading like a pop culture fad (“it’s this season’s must-have accessory”). In marketing terms, anti-Semitism has gone viral. It’s the hate that fits everyone. It matches whatever you’re wearing, whether a burqa or a Che t-shirt. Anti-Semitism unites the far Left and the extreme Right; the educated and the ignorant; the pious and the secular; the sophisticated and the crude. In a perverse way Jew-hatred is the greatest unifying force in the world today.

Of course, things can always get worse. And they probably will.

Friday, August 18, 2006

UK Prisons Bursting with Foreign Inmates

"The number of foreign prisoners in jails in England and Wales is rising four times faster than home-grown inmates, new figures show.

Dramatic increases over the past six years have piled fresh pressure on already overcrowded prisons. One in every seven inmates is now a foreign national. The prison system currently houses criminals from 168 countries.

... [snip] ...

Jamaica tops the table of foreign prisoners, with 1,564 nationals, including 134 women. Nigeria has the second largest contingent, followed by the Irish Republic, Pakistan, Turkey and Somalia."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"The Mentality and Hate That Is Here Today"

From the talking heads on Sunday morning tv to the Muslim Public Affairs Committee we hear the same argument: They are mad about Iraq. They angry about Palestine and Afghanistan and Lebanon. They feel they are under seige. Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee said
"It's not hard to comprehend the mind of a Muslim." He said young British Muslims look around the world and "everywhere they are getting bombed," so they increasingly respond by saying, "Don't just sit down and take it -- let's fight them."

Later in the same piece we hear from "a leading voice of the young Muslim community" "The root is foreign policy. Only a half-wit wouldn't understand that this is about British and American policies in the Middle East."

A law student attending a mosque near the house of a suspect in Walthamstow said "It's his (Bush's) wars that have breeded the mentality and hate that is here today. And what we're angry about is that our Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn't represent the beliefs of the people."

Why does a British born guy in a Walthamstow, whose parents came from Pakistan before he was born, care so much about what's happening in Iraq or Palestine or Lebanon? He doesn't share a language. His ancestral homeland is not involved, as combatant or victim. (Kashmir has never been mentioned as a motivating cause in any of the coverage I've read.) He has defined himself, not as British or European or even Pakistani, but as Muslim. The ummah does not recognize the structure of the nation-state system. As Mark Steyn says

That's the issue: Pan-Islamism is the profound challenge to conventional ideas of citizenship and nationhood.

Let's accept the notion that the policies and actions of a Nation-State are inviting a violent reaction from a self-defined People. Those who put forward this idea never seem grasp the implications of that idea. I was being half-sarcastic in this post about the two mosque recently set on fire. But this kind of violence is covered under the same principle. In this case a self-defined People reacted to government policies they feel are against their interests, beliefs and way of life. They reacted by setting fire to two mosques. There are lots of mosques in Britain. If you were an anti-Muslim arsonists it would be a target-rich environment.

The horrifying idea is that the Nation-State may become irrelevant as various Peoples struggle against one another directly. Holland gave us a preview of this in the fall of 2004, with tit-for-tat church and mosque fires and arson attempts. The riots in Crunella last year were another reminder.

It's not just Muslims who are angry. I think there are a lot of people in Britian who paraphrase the Islamists quoted above.
"It's not hard to comprehend the mind of many Brits." He said young Brits look around the world and "everywhere they are getting bombed," so they increasingly respond by saying, "Don't just sit down and take it -- let's fight them." The root is domestic and immigration policy. Only a half-wit wouldn't understand that this is about British policies at home. It's the Muslims attacks that have breeded the mentality and hate that is here today. And what we're angry about is that our Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn't represent the beliefs of the people."

Pan-Islamism Challenges the Idea of the Nation State

Mark Steyn:
Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Airline Policy and Investigations

The BNP has a suggestion for one thing that should be kept off of planes: Muslims.

The British National Party Executive's solution to this problem is to ban immediately, ALL MUSLIMS from flying out of (and in to) Britain until the
security situation has been fully resolved.

During recent international football competitions, a similar ban on English football hooligans was carried out, when many football fans had their passports confiscated and travel restricted.

If white working class men can be treated in this fashion it must be possible to apply a similar ban to Muslims.

It will never happen. But we'll see how this kind of thing plays in the next election. There are currently 'many dozens' of investigations in the UK.

Peter Clarke, the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch, said police were engaged in 70 separate terrorism investigations, the most ever. "This is unprecedented and the flow of new cases shows no sign of abating," Clarke said. "If anything, it is accelerating." (emphasis added)

If the jihadists succeed with one or more "apocalyptic" attacks, then we will see an election, as the Labor goverenment will fall. Oh, and probably more mosque burning and the like.

British 'Youth' Protest Government Policies

I think they are protesting the goverenment's policies.

Sixteen firefighters took almost two hours to put out the fire at the Al-Birr mosque in the town of Basingstoke, south-east England, which was reported to them about 3.30am (12.30am AEST) today. No-one was injured.It was the second suspected arson attack at a British mosque since 24 people, most of them of Pakistani origin, were arrested in pre-dawn raids on Thursday in connection with the alleged plot. ... [snap] ...

Youths attacked a mosque in Blacon, north-west England, on Thursday night, causing minor damage.


Why would 'youths' want to attack a mosque? Maybe this helps.
A mosque in Walthamstow, east London, is emerging as the hub where a number
of the terror suspects may have met each other and become friends, writes Abul
Taher.

At least eight suspects worshipped at the Masjid-E-Umer mosque regularly, three of whom were well known to those that run it.

It looks that maybe British policy is putting civilians at risk, just not the way the Muslim Public Affairs Committee thinks. We have to remember that these arsonists are alienated and angry. Everywhere they look around the world they are being bombed. Some Brits feel that their way of life is under seige. A tiny minority are saying "Don't just sit down and take it -- let's fight them."

We have to understand the root causes of this violence. Clearly government policy is driven this frustration.

British Fear Street Violence Over Arrests

Seems that some people, 'youths' probably, may want to demonstrate for the innocence of their commards and, surely, also for the essentially peaceful nature of their religion, through mob violence in the streets of Britain.
PREPARATIONS to head off possible violence on the streets are being made in the wake of the alleged terrorist plot uncovered last week.

Talks are being held with local authority leaders in seven areas of England where it is feared tensions could boil over.

New measures to win over the Muslim community are to be considered as Islamic leaders predict protests. Yesterday a mosque was set alight in what police believe could be the first in a series of revenge attacks.

Reaction to the UNSC Resolution

An Unmitigated Disaster
The resolution represents a near-total victory for Hizbullah and its state sponsors Iran and Syria, and an unprecedented defeat for Israel and its ally the United States. ... [snip] ...

By handing a victory to Hizbullah, the resolution strengthens the belief of millions of supporters of jihad throughout the world that their side is winning and that they should redouble efforts to achieve their objectives of destroying Israel and running the US out of the Middle East.
The Worst Government in the History of Israel
Mr. Olmert, Mr. Peretz, Mr. Halutz: You have squandered the lives of our soldiers. You have squandered our opportunity to free the nation of Israel from a deadly enemy. You have set the stage for the next war.

By September, we will be under attack once more. Do the decent thing: Resign, all of you, and let Mr. Netanyahu and General Ya'alon (who was kicked out because he refused to go along with the disengagement) take over.

Resign, Mr. Olmert. Resign in shame for your incompetence.

Olmert Cannot Remain in the PM's Office
You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. ...[snip]...

[T]he day Nasrallah comes out of his bunker and declares victory to the whole world, Olmert must not be in the prime minister's office. Post-war battered and bleeding Israel needs a new start and a new leader. It needs a real prime minister.
Shalom, Ehud, and Goodbye
Ehud Olmert's days are numbered as prime minister. The slapdash, haphazard and wholly indecisive way he has handled the Hezbollah war has doomed his chances of remaining in office past the end of this year, probably before then and maybe very soon. ... [snip] ...

Benjamin Natanyahu will succeed Olmert as prime minister.

Government and IDF Racked by Leadership Crisis
Relations between the country's political and military leadership are at the lowest point in the country's history, on the verge of a crisis. In addition, there is a growing lack of confidence between Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, the first CoS to hail from the air force, and many of his general staff colleagues from the ground forces, who say he and his "blue clique" [blue being the color of the air force uniform-ed] do not fully appreciate the nature of ground warfare.

According to informed sources, there is an almost total breakdown in trust and confidence between the General Staff and the PM's office. They have described the situation as "even worse than the crises that followed Ben Gurion's decision to disband the Palmach, and Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan's cynical decision to place all the blame for the Yom Kippur fiasco on the IDF's shoulders.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Pace Quickens

I don't have anything new to add on the Londonistan Airline Bombing Plot. The details unfold by the minute. But I did notice that Anderson Cooper is at Heathrow tonight. He was in Israel yesterday. But that was yesterday.

The pace of war quickens. It was exactly one month ago, on July 11, that bombs exploded on a commuter train in Mumbai, India. The attack killed 179 people. The Indian PM accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists.
We are also certain that these terrorist modules are instigated, inspired and supported by elements across the border without which they cannot act with such
devastating effect," Singh said. "Pakistan in 2004 had solemnly given an assurance that Pakistani territory will not be used to promote, encourage, train and abet terrorist elements directed against India. That assurance has to be fulfilled before the peace process or other processes can make progress," Singh said.


Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? Hezbullah captured the two Israeli soldiers just after that. The Israeli-Hezbullah combat didn't start until days after the Mumbai bombing. You can search Gateway Pundit for all the other attacks since Mumbai, one month ago. The murderer in Seattle who killed one woman. The attacks in Thailand. In one month.

The attacks are coming faster and in greater variety - from lone assassins to death squads and suicide cells, from large complex teams attacking civilians to an entrenched military group acting as a proxy for a near-nuclear power.

Then there is August 22.
This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the
month of Rajab of the year 1427
. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1).

That's also the day when Ahmadinejad said Iran would reply to the UN offer regarding its nuke program. He's been saying that since June. Why on earth would Iran plan the reply 10 weeks in advance? To the day? Could this be the end of the world? Since it's also the day when the Paris Hilton disc hits the stores, so I think the odds are better than even.

I guess we'll find out in 11 days.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday War Linkfest

IDF Calls Nasrallah’s Bluff
"If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity... We will bomb Tel Aviv."
[snip]
An Israeli military spokesman said that if Tel Aviv were bombed, Israel would deal a "painful" blow to Lebanese civilian infrastructure. Asked for clarification, an Israeli source said that the government would most likely "for starters, turn out the Lebanese lights." Several hours after Nasrallah's threat, Israeli jets bombed Hezbollah strongholds in south Beirut, igniting several huge explosions.
Your move, pansy-boy.

Islamists Attack British Embassy in Iran (Iran Focus)

Radical Islamists attacked the British embassy in Tehran on Friday and called for the expulsion of the British ambassador from Iran. [snip]

They threw stones at the embassy building, shattering several windows, and tore down the embassy plaque on the gates of the compound.

Several British flags were set on fire during the demonstration.


Egyptian Judges: End Peace with Israel (YNet)

Judges in Egypt called upon the government to dissolve its peace agreement with
Israel
, on the grounds that it is inconceivable for Egypt to coexist peaceably with Israel while the IDF operates in Lebanon. The judges expressed support of popular resistance against Israeli advances, which, in their eyes, is the only way to protect the Arab ummah (greater nation).

In a statement issued Thursday, Egyptian judges censured "the barbaric Israeli attacks on the Palestinian and Lebanese people." [snip]

The Egyptian union of professional associations, boasting seven million members, announced that they intend to hold a general, hour-long strike on Sunday…


Lebanese Packaging Found in German Train Bombs (Expatica)
German investigators declined Friday to discuss a news report that packaging from Lebanon was found in two bombs that were planted four days earlier on German railway trains. A federal prosecutions spokesman, Ullrich Schultheis, said, "When assessing supposed or genuine clues, it has to be remembered that they might have been put there to mislead the investigation."

Iran Racing to Resupply Puppet Army (NY Sun)
Iran is racing to resupply Hezbollah across the Syrian border ahead of a possible cease-fire being ironed out this week at the United Nations. Meanwhile, Israeli jets have begun a new bombardment of Beirut's suburbs and Hezbollah is threatening to launch a missile attack on Tel Aviv.

Israeli military and intelligence officials here say Iranian technicians were aboard a flight to Damascus on Monday with the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki.

Iran Says UN Security Council Must Close (Iran Focus)
“The United Nations and the Security Council are so weak that they cannot issue a resolution against Israel, but when it come to Iran using peaceful nuclear energy they immediately issue a resolution”, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told Friday prayers worshippers in Tehran. His comments were aired on state television.Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardians Council, said that the United Nations was an instrument in the hands of large world powers.

“The support of Muslims for Lebanon’s Hezbollah in any shape or form is an absolute necessity”, he added.“They must close down the UN and its Security Council”, he said. Jannati is a key ally of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.On Tuesday, he called on Muslim nations to provide arms to Hezbollah.

Welcome to 1938 (Victor Davis Hansen at NRO)
When I used to read about the 1930s — the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the rise of fascism in Italy, Spain, and Germany, the appeasement in France and Britain, the murderous duplicity of the Soviet Union, and the racist Japanese murdering in China — I never could quite figure out why, during those bleak years, Western Europeans and those in the United States did not speak out and condemn the growing madness, if only to defend the millennia-long promise of Western liberalism.
[snip]

Not any longer.
Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Oslo Synagogue, Roman Shops Vandalized

Oslo synagogue vandalized:

On Saturday evening a man defecated on the steps of Oslo's synagogue, then smashed two windows there." ...

"The entire incident was immortalized by the synagogue's security cameras. No one was in the building at the time, but neighbors quickly summoned police. When they arrived the culprit had vanished."

One could hope that the video would be used to capture the thug. One could hope that he would be arrested and sent to prison. One could ... but why bother. It's Scandanavia. Even if he is caught the punishment will be some laughable nonsense like sensitivity training or values courses when the asshole needs to be beaten down hard.

This is in addition to the 20 shops defaced with swastikas in Rome. Such is the state of Europe in the 21st century.

German Police Hunt Train Bomber

German police hunt train bomber after devices found:
"A day after the discovery of two unexploded suitcase bombs on the German railways, federal prosecutors took charge and launched an anti-terrorist inquiry Tuesday.

The railway station in the western city of Koblenz was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after lost-and-found staff noticed a gas canister inside a bag that had been handed in the previous day. "