Rich in natural resources such as chromite, platinum, gold, silver and nickel, Zimbabwe experienced a moderate economic boom in the 1970s. But poor management has plunged the country into poverty, according to the U.S. State Department's background notes on the country.
Both government and academic experts say that although many countries in Africa are experiencing increasing prosperity, Zimbabwe is imploding. Zimbabwe is among the few African countries that are not enjoying an average of 6 percent growth, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said at a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on December 3. Eighty percent of Zimbabwe's citizens are unemployed; one-fourth of the population has left the country; there are food shortages and hyperinflation, she said.
Adding to the dismal economic picture is the brutal repression of human rights proponents. The 2007 crackdown by the government of President Robert Mugabe has been the worst ever for defenders of freedom in Zimbabwe, Frazer said. Nongovernmental organizations have reported more than 6,000 instances of human rights abuses; 3,463 victims of government attacks have required medical treatment.
As recently as November 22, cadres of ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, Mugabe's socialist party) members severely beat 22 members of the National Constitutional Assembly, a pro-democracy civil society organization, Frazer said.
Several current and former high-level government officials familiar with the authors of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran described the report as a politically motivated document written by anti-Bush former State Department officials, who opposed sanctioning foreign governments and businesses.
The report released this week said Iran once had a covert nuclear weapons program, but shut it down in 2003.
The authors' aim is to undercut the White House effort to increase pressure for sanctions on Iran and to argue that Iran dropped its nuclear-weapons program in 2003 because of diplomatic efforts in which the authors had participated, the officials said.
"One has to look at the agendas of the primary movers of this report, to judge how much it can really be banked on," said David Wurmser, a former Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, who has worked with the report authors.
Several of the current and former government officials interviewed say that if Iran suspended its covert program in 2003, it did so because the U.S. and its allies had invaded and taken control of neighboring Iraq.
The argument this week over how to confront Iran is a continuation, carried out by many of the same players, of the battles during Mr. Bush's first term between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John R. Bolton. It gets worse, read the entire article -- these guys are dangerous. Is it possible, Bush and Cheney decided to make this NIE public to reveal these guys?
Capitalist democracies around the world should be very concerned about the level of socialism being discussed at the United Nations' climate change meeting in Bali.
Not only are international hands being extended to collect funds from countries like the United States in order to help poorer nations deal with a problem that might actually be disappearing since global temperatures peaked in 1998, but climate change is also being used as a means of stripping intellectual property rights from companies that have created new more eco-friendly energy technologies.
If such a power-grab for the so-called benefit of the downtrodden actually comes to pass, capitalism as we know it will cease to exist.
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Koran 24:2)
In the last few weeks, in three widely publicized episodes, we have seen Islamic justice enacted in ways that should make Muslim moderates rise up in horror.
A 20-year-old woman from Qatif, Saudi Arabia, reported that she had been abducted by several men and repeatedly raped. But judges found the victim herself to be guilty. Her crime is called mingling: when she was abducted, she was in a car with a man not related to her by blood or marriage, and in Saudi Arabia, that is illegal. Last month, she was sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes with a bamboo cane.
Two hundred lashes are enough to kill a strong man. Women usually receive no more than 30 lashes at a time, which means that for seven weeks the girl from Qatif, as shes usually described in news articles, will dread her next session with Islamic justice. When she is released, her life will certainly never return to normal: already there have been reports that her brother has tried to kill her because her crime has tarnished her familys honor.
We also saw Islamic justice in action in Sudan, when a 54-year-old British teacher named Gillian Gibbons was sentenced to 15 days in jail before the government pardoned her this week; she could have faced 40 lashes. When she began a reading project with her class involving a teddy bear, Ms. Gibbons suggested the children choose a name for it. They chose Muhammad; she let them do it. This was deemed to be blasphemy.
Then theres Taslima Nasreen, the 45-year-old Bangladeshi writer who bravely defends womens rights in the Muslim world. Forced to flee Bangladesh, she has been living in India. But Muslim groups there want her expelled, and one has offered 500,000 rupees for her head. In August she was assaulted by Muslim militants in Hyderabad, and in recent weeks she has had to leave Calcutta and then Rajasthan. Taslima Nasreens visa expires next year, and she fears she will not be allowed to live in India again.
It is often said that Islam has been hijacked by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates.
But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?
Usually, Muslim groups like the Organization of the Islamic Conference are quick to defend any affront to the image of Islam. The organization, which represents 57 Muslim states, sent four ambassadors to the leader of my political party in the Netherlands asking him to expel me from Parliament after I gave a newspaper interview in 2003 noting that by Western standards some of the Prophet Muhammads behavior would be unconscionable. A few years later, Muslim ambassadors to Denmark protested the cartoons of Muhammad and demanded that their perpetrators be prosecuted.
But while the incidents in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and India have done more to damage the image of Islamic justice than a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the organizations that lined up to protest the hideous Danish offense to Islam are quiet now.
I wish there were more Islamic moderates. For example, I would welcome some guidance from that famous Muslim theologian of moderation, Tariq Ramadan. But when there is true suffering, real cruelty in the name of Islam, we hear, first, denial from all these organizations that are so concerned about Islams image. We hear that violence is not in the Koran, that Islam means peace, that this is a hijacking by extremists and a smear campaign and so on. But the evidence mounts up.
Islamic justice is a proud institution, one to which more than a billion people subscribe, at least in theory, and in the heart of the Islamic world it is the law of the land. But take a look at the verse above: more compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.
If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?
When a moderate Muslims sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.
The Goldwater Institute is giving Ayaan Hirsi Ali their 2007 Goldwater Award. She will be speaking at a local resort today to accept the award, at a dinner with an introduction by Steve Forbes. I found out about this event while searching for articles for Rantburg. When I found out about it, I sent a link to my brother, who posted it on his blog. The Goldwater Institute found out about his posting and contacted him to comp him 2 tickets for promoting the event! Fortunately for me, my brother's wife knew I would be more exited about going to the dinner than she - so I get to go! Life is good! :-)
well i'm quite disagree with you the way you have presented your case and it help me understand that why we do have such problems in this world? coz people like you with a limited knowledge and desire to gain popularty always play mischif with things like this, let me make it clear for your understanding the verse you have mention from the Koran 24:2 make me buy 2 doller whole Koran after this i realize why we have this problem, you see if you are a chirstian and if i tell you that the bible says as stone the person to death for the they commited fornication or i say that bible teaches the christians to kill the infant babies and kill people from behind you wana know where is says ?here are few of them which i come across:- punishment for children?: detornomy ch21:v8-21
God and mosess advice to kill everything but keep vergins for your self? numbers 31:17-18&35-40
detornomy: 20:16 joshwa 6:21 and 10:28,
well here i'm giveing you atleast the full discription but what you have presented is a deseption, and its forbidden by all means of moral values, why you hold up the full verse? to prove your point ? how devilish? its in humen and immoral if you have some morals. any how what i sujest you is that when ever you read and place something front of people kindly cheak it up, you talking about the punishment let me open your little brain little wider, do you know the rape rate in most democratic and highly civelised country i suppose (USA) sisty case of rape is REPORTED every hour! every hour? yes read the FBI report 1992. wow real bold at the same time you know how many rapes take place in saudi arabia ????????? guss if you can ???? come on try reported cases try ok unreported cases ???/ one and single one in this year of 2007 if you cheak the crime list countrys in the world saudi arabia is no whare to be seen! any how thats not my argument here my argument is why we face certun problems in our socites b'coz we all wants to get some popularity no matter what it may cost brother this is internet where millions of them reading it you are indirectly fuleing there belives hence the anger has to come out how and where if its not you may be it your nighbour who have to pay for your spred miss information. thats all i hope you understand and please dont follow you holly media like BBC or CNN or what ever but cheak it up by your self as i got to pay for 5$ koran.
Hirsi actually pulled her punch for the NYTimes; she actually believes (or at least said so once) that the only way to cure Islam is to nuke Mecca (although I don't think she has put that in writing yet).
Our troll's comments are actually about the same comments that the most sophisticated Islamic apologists use (although with the spelling and grammer cleaned up grammer, etc.)
Actually there were a few moderate Muslim reactions to the teddy bear nonsense, but I didn't see any in the news about the other incidents.
You won't get far with your Bible argument with Christians, drdeer, unless you can cite some New Testament passages. And offhand I can't think of any that would support your argument. But I can think of a few that would nullify it.
A couple years ago a seven years old Irani girl was beheaded by her father for suspected rape by her uncle (BTW, and it seems to be a pattern into those "honor defenders" the guy didn't touch a hair of the raper).
THe judge released him. He released him because according to Shariah, it was up to the father to seek punishment for crimes against the children. Shariah, the law dictated by God through Muhammad without a single comma changed.
The Mulsims do have moderate sects (like the Sufi) but they are eclipsed by the radical Shia and Wahabbists/Salafists that have grabbed political power. And it traces back to oil money in Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Until we defund and/or decapitate the governments and leaders who distribute the money and support to the radicals, the Moderates voices will never be heard.
Islam must come to terms with "An eye for an eye" and embrace allegory, and focus internally on spirituality and the individual, as have Judaism and Christianity.
Time for Islam to grow up, or die.
If it fails to come to terms with the modern world, Islam will force its own destruction sooner or later. The more violent radical Islamo-fascism becomes, the more likely the horror of a death of its holy places and followers in superheated radioactive nuclear plasma.
But there is hope, there are moderate sects of Islam that are growing. To quote someone who knows the history of Islam, Most Muslims who devoted their major efforts to developing the spiritual dimensions of the human person came to be known as Sufis. The Sufi traditions provide a path out for Islam.. Sufi-ism is growing in Iran, and is a threat to the mullahs there with the emphasis on spiritual instead of temporal and wordly power. the Mullahs in Iran are crackign down on it because it is such an immediate threat to the radical Shia version of Islam they control.
Islam needs to become more concerned with perfecting the spirit than controlling the government. Wahabbism and Salafism are aberrations and distortions that shoudl be chased out of existence. If Islam does not drive out the worldliness, the worldliness will destroy it as it almost did Christianity.
The difference now is that Christianity had a reformation that strengthened the Catholic Church and the Christian faith by allowing for peaceful diversity of Christian beleif (the protestants) and removing worldly power from the Catholic Church (no army or ruling power for clergy) forcing it to focus on spirituality. The Reformation is now seen as vital and good by Cathoics and Protestants alike, and was a key event in saving the West.
The oproblem is that Islam has become so violent and captive to totalitairans, that it will force military action against it.
The Ibadis ,Druze, the Yadzis, and the Imamates all provide paths away from destruction fo Islam yet remain true to the core beleifs required of a follower of the God of Abraham.
So, Drdeer, there is a choice for you and other Mulsims.
Do you bow to the authoritarians who demand tribal behavior in the name of God, or do you have the courage to stand up and believe in God the Merciful and Almighty, and the fact that He has given us reason, and we MUST use his gift of reason in our faith - and INTERPRET the scriptures in modern terms?
Do you have the courage to turn your faith toward perfecting your relationship to God instead of forcing it on others, or killing those who disagree with you how to do so?
Do you have the courage to draw closer to God and force out those who entangle Him in the world to the detriment of His Creations, including us humans?
Its a question we Christians faced centuries ago.
Time for you to answer. If you and other Mulsims continue to support the path to violence the Wahabbists and radical Shia have chosen, sooner or later Mecca will be destroyed in nuclear fire, and Mulsims slauightered in the tens of millions.
YOU Chose. And you chose by your actions. If you choose not to act, these days that is the same as backing the radicals that will force your detruction.
...sooner or later Mecca will be destroyed in nuclear fire, and Muslims slaughtered in the tens of millions.
Which, BTW, is why we are trying to make Iraq a working democratic, but Islamic nation. It is my belief, as goes Iraq, so goes the rest of the Middle East. If the Iraq experiment works, the Middle East will become more civilized and integrate with the rest of the world while retaining their own uniqueness. If not, they will descend into death, fire and ruin. Mostly because the Western nations will have determined that they don't give enough of a shit to try to reform your barbaric asses anymore and will just go for the cheaper, faster flatten everything route.
Islam cannot have a protestant reformation because the root of the evil is in the Coran itself. The more people refer to the book and the more violent, contempt and hate-filled they are.
Also don't overestimate Sufism: several of the ideological leaders of Sudan's genocidical junta are sufis.
The protestant reformation in Islam (BTW Islam has had a LOT opf reformations but every time it has been for more violence and mind control) is about as absurd as a believing in a Protestant reformation for nazism.
The interesting thing here is that while there are violence-encouraging verses in the Bible (most in the OT), they had all been reformed by the time of the Talmud (about the time of Constantine). For example, the 'eye for an eye' verse had been reformed centuries before and the reformation had been to say this meant monetary compensation and the 'kill the caanite' verses were established as being no longer applicable since there were no more caanites.
The Koran was given 3 centuries or so after the Talmud and, although there was an effort on the part of philosophers in the middle ages to reform it to be less violent, this reform failed in the face of Koranic originalism reinforced by the Hadith and Sunna.
There were extremist Sunnis and extremist Shia throughout muslim history who took to slaughtering infidels for imagined grievances or forcing conversions, etc. and never has the Moslem world come to grips honestly with this, nor with the tens of millions of slaughtered Hindus (maybe a hundred million) nor the slaughtered Armenians, etc. A few scholars are now trying to start an awakening on this and they run into the Drdeer types.
I don't know what the end will be but we should certainly praise the NYTimes for allowing Hirsi Ali to have her piece published.
The differnce between the Bible and Coran is that in the former the possibility of G.d sending other prophets and correcting the message in order to adapt it to newer times was ever open. In Islalm (except betwen the arch-herectic Ahmadists, who are considereed non-Muslims by others) Muhammad is the last prophet. In fact the only one since the message of Jewish priophets and CHrist is said to have been distorted by Jews and Christians while in reality (according to Muslims) they toild same thing thta Mushmmad.
In Fcta, at least between Wahabists (don't know for others) not only there would be no further prophets but Coran has coexisted with God since the beginning of times. It is not ven clear it was created and could be amended by God himself.
About the Bible: the "An eye for an eye" in the Bible (basically the same was tiold in Hammurabi's code of law) meant it imposed limits on revenge/punishment to make them proportional to the offence and was thus a progress respective to "I will kill you for a scratch" of former times. Once society was pacified it became possible to abandon the "an eyes for an eye" rule.
But in Islam everything is frozen to the state it was in 7th century Arabia or more exactly in teh state it was between 7th century Muslims.
The problem with the Koran vsBible comparison is that the Koran is considered the literal word of God. That means nothing that is said there can be a figure of speach, nothing can be a human's misunderstanding of the real universe etc. This makes Islam very rigid, and stuck (technologically as well as morally) in a world 1400 years ago.
To the extent that Muslims have advanced beyond the 7th century CE, it is because they are bad Muslims who have deviated from the Koran. That is why Afghanistan and Somalia regressed to a Dark Ages standard of living under Al Qaeda.
Most forms of Christianity agree that the Bible can be re-interpreted and that meanings can change over time. (e.g. the parable about a Camel getting through the eye of a needle is a term for a type of stone gate common in Jesus' time).
As a result Christianity has handled interest payments, Gallileo's telescope and dinosaurs without violence. I wish Islam could do the same.
Posted by: Frozen Al ||
12/07/2007 11:51 Comments ||
Never forget that preview can be your best friend. Mods, please strike my unintelligible comments at 10:37 am.
Posted by: Mark Z ||
12/07/2007 12:06 Comments ||
I'm not going to dispute your reference to Hamurabi because its not something I really understand at all.
However, saying the Koran is always literally taken has not precluded a long tradition of Koranic interpretation (تفسير, tasfīr).
There are verses that have been abrogated (fwiw, I think the Ahmadis say that most of the jihad verses of the 9th sura were abrogated after the conquest of Arabia). Verses that have been supplemented. Verses that have been clarified. This is made possible by the fact that the Koran has numerous inconsistencies, grammatical irregularities, uses obsure words, has words missing,
I've seen it argued that they did have a "Protestant Reformation," in the sense of getting rid of irrelevancies and excrescences--and that the current one resulted in Salafi/Wahabism.
And we all know about them, and how they treat heretics like the Sufi (must be contaminated with Christian ideas) and the rather lax Muslims you used to find who actually declined to stone converts to Christianity! (imagine that...)
This time there's a historic opportunity: the Koran and hadith say very little about how Muslims should live outside Muslim-controlled lands. If somehow the radical voices can be quieted, maybe Muslim scholars in the West can come up with some peaceful rules to cover the situation.
That presupposes a lot of things, though: cutoff of oil money, a more moderate (almost anybody would be) custodian of Mecca et al, treating anybody advocating a caliphate as an unwelcome foreign agent, etc. Even then I'd not guess the chances are good.
If the deerdr actually read the verses he cites, hge would know what he does not. Numbers 31:17 is about the followers of Balaam and a specific incident offensive to YHVH. What it is obviously not is a commandment to do likewise to all unbelievers, or indeed any other unbeliever, at any other time. There's no honest way to read it as a commandment applicable to anyone who was not there.
The Koran is different. It tells all followers to do violence here and now against Islam's supposed enemies. This sort of soft, pasty thinking makes false claims of moral equivalence appear plausible to the unstudied. But its bunk.
Posted by: Baba Tutu ||
12/07/2007 12:44 Comments ||
Another difference between the Bible and the Quran:
the angels in the Bible generally didn't choke the crap out of the people they appeared to.
Those of you who wish to "push the button", I have a question for you:
Have you seen combat, have you ever killed, deliberately, another human?
I have, personally, and via artillery and directing tank main gun and machinegun fire. I've seen the bodies of my enemies ripped open and apart by my efforts and those of my "band of brothers".
It changes you. Doenst prevent you from doing it again if you need to, but it does drive home the costs to your soul.
Thats why I am critical of your eagerness to shed blood - and in such horrific numbers when you say "nuke them all". Armchair generals whose asses are not on the line, and never have been, and who have NOT met the innocents you'd sentence to death due to your unthinking wanton bloodlust, well you disgust me. You're no better than Himmler and the other rabble-rousing brownshirts who never met a minority they didn't want to fry.
Human lives, even those of the enemy, are precious to God, and deserve as much protection as we can afford them - even those non-combatants on the other side. So there are limits but we have not reached them yet in my estimation. I fear that we are headed that way, and unless the moderates do stand up, we are accelerating to the point where they and other innocents will get caught up in the needed destruction of the radicals.
But we can afford a LOT more than you leave room for in your straw-man arugments. Its the harder path, but the better path.
Don't mistke the above for inability to act. If the time comes, people like me (and my son and nephews and nieces) are the ones that will have to do the dirty job while you sit comfy in your living room grinning over the blood that will be shed by others for you, so you dont have to get your hands dirty.
I did not mention Hammurabi. I think you've mistaken me for JFM.
I agree with you about abrogation. However the Muslims still insist that the Koran is the direct word of God.
It is also notable that while there is a strong tradition of interpretation of the Koran, the authorities have become more and more restrictive on how you can interpret the scriptures.
Big Pharaoh mentions a religious professeur who was fired for agreeing with one of the 4 religeous scholars of Islam. He points out that it is rediculous to hold someone up as a great religious scholar and then fire someone else for agreeing with him.
Posted by: Frozen Al ||
12/07/2007 13:37 Comments ||
(hit enter too soon)
Have no doubt. We will do it - the American Soldier/Marine/Sailor always has. But in cold logic of neccesity, not out of heat of hatred, and with regret that it had to come to this.
What OldSpook said: Desert Storm I showed me that it was necessary to overwhelm the other guy or else there would be American bodies coming home. And since the Moderate Muslim apprears to be only slightly less real that The Loch Ness Monster, I believe the only recourse is to remove the restraints we have been fighting under these last 6 years and get the job done, once and for all.
No I do not believe these two thoughts are conflicting, thank you for asking.
Deuteronomy 21 is indeed a violent and terrible text which dates to the vicious tribal warfare in late Bronze Age Canaan. Deuteronomy 20 is just as bad: if your enemy surrenders, enslave him, otherwise kill him without mercy.
These texts relate to events which took place over 3000 years ago. Civilization, and the Judaeo-Christian religion, has progressed beyond the actions of those barbaric pastorialists.
Islam is a relatively recent throwback which without drastic reformation is unable to exist peacefully with modern civilization.
As a former 11BC2, I don't personally wouldn't have "Regret it has come to this" feelings. More of, "You fuckers brought this on yourself".
Which brings me back to the Iraq point. If Iraq works, then I can see people willing to sacrifice more blood and treasure to help the people in the Middle East modernize. Both in their thinking and their technology. However, I feel our patience for doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is fading. Fast. Either we are going to leave them to their own hell, or help them their quicker. Make no mistake. The next ME nation we engage in combat with will NOT be rebuilt. It will be ground to ruin and then left for them to clean up themselves. If they still try to kill us, then I fear the worst will happen.
However, the course of the matter is still young. Only some 4-5 years into the process. We will see how things turn out when it is my son's turn to man the country's defenses in 17 years. It may be an entire different (I hope better) ball game. Or the ME might be glass.
Much of the baggage is not Islam, but is adapted tribal practces of the Bedouin and other morally primitive Saudis, like the Wahabbists.
This so utterly obvious that it astounds when people don't even hint at taking this into account.
I can't resist getting a few words in on this. If we look back to when Christianity went to war, it was during the time of Fuedalism in Europe.
It comes down to the way the people chose to be governed.
I don't have any easy answers on how to reform ME governments or the radical movements, but I do know that the early leaders and proponents of Enlightenment knew at the time that the actions of The Church weren't at all commensurate with the way people must govern themselves.
Posted by: Mike N. ||
12/07/2007 15:10 Comments ||
Vader, thats the sense of it once you get there. But once you get home the "you fuckers brought this on your self" (which I was thinking after the second day) fades to "damn I wish I hand't needed to do that, why didn't they listen?" (about a year after getting back and getting adjusted to life).
What worries me is the fuse is lit. And *we* cannot put it out. Its truly on the Muslims themselves to do it, and I have little faith in them unless Iraq works and establishes a more secular government and proves to be the "cradle" for a more spiritual less militant Islam that is not interested in governing anything other than their own relationship to God.
I honestly do not anticipate that things will change unless we can figure a way to break up the Mullahs Theocracy stranglehold in Iran.
I didn't say kill Muslims but destroy Islam, the ideology. Have it become a word as depised as Nazism and specially in its former strongholds.
We ever hear about those wonderful first centuries of Islam where there was real debate. But if presnt situation is the consequence of the closure of the door of the Ishtihiakl then why is that Islam has stagnated intellectually and ever somthered freedom not only in the terrtorioes who belonged to the CAliph but everywhere. Why is that it also affected Shias?
And now the politically incorrect explanation. There was no such golden age of Islam, or more exactly the factor was not Islam: it was contact with India and China, possession of the lands where Grek science had flkorished and the fact that dhimmis were still the majority (and did all the work: Btw most "Arab" mathematicians were assyrians), but once the dhimmis had been converted (to escape taxes and discvrimination) then reality struck. When you have to stop working five times a day and that the way to richness and heaven is not work and creation of riches but war and plunder it ceased to progress.
I still feel that way, and it has been 13 years. I feel no remorse, no regret. I feel bad for my friend that was killed in a training accident. Not the sap I shot that was shooting at me.
I honestly wish I could go back, but the wife vetos that idea unless I want a divorce (which I don't, hence I am still stateside). You are correct though. The fuse has been lit. WE can't put it out, but we can hand them the water. What they do with it is up to them. I think a lot more blood will be spilt over the issue, but I want it to be their blood not ours. Their misery, not ours. They sowed the wind, they will reap the whirlwind.
I think people are starting to catch on to how incompatible Islam is with Western values. A year or two ago, my Mom, who I regard as a weather vane for middle of the road political values, was parroting the standard Methodist line about Islam being a religion of peace, it's only militant jihadis doing bad things, blah, blah, blah. The other day we were discussing current events and she blurted out "It's not a religion. It's an ideology." Yay, Mom! I suspect she is not the only one.
SteveS: I am finding the same thing... in Canada. I have met people who are buying dogs as a way of helping keep their neighborhoods "Muslim free". There is something both horrifying and inevitable about this when our government refuses to acknowledge the problem let alone lift a finger to defend us.
ION, RUMORMILLNEWS > WEEPING ICONS AND STATUES A SIGN FROM HEAVEN OR A HOAX? Holy Mother Mary weeping around the world.
DREAM/VISION > MOTHER MARY asks - ARE YOU READY FOR THE FALL? MADONNA > "LIVE TO TELL" lyric > I was not ready for the fall ... too blind [the SUN]to see the writing on the wall ...You've learned your lessons well [PAN-WORLD LANGUAGES AND SYMBOLISMS - MODERN + ANTIQUITY]. "HEY YOU" > God-Heaven likes RIGGERS/BLUE-COLLAR???
GUNS-N-ROSES "DON'T CRY" Video + JOHN MELLENCAMP -A LITTLE BITTY ABOUT ... JOSEPH AND JAMES. BEFORE "PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN" and DEAD/CURSED GHOST PIRATES WALKING UNDERWATER, THERE WAS 1980's GNR!
T he world has become normal again. The years immediately following the end of the Cold War offered a tantalizing glimpse at a new kind of international order, with nations growing together or disappearing altogether, ideological conflicts melting away, cultures intermingling through increasingly free commerce and communications. But that was a mirage, the hopeful anticipation of a liberal, democratic world that wanted to believe the end of the Cold War did not end just one strategic and ideological conflict but all strategic and ideological conflict. People and their leaders longed for "a world transformed." 1 Today the nations of the West still cling to that vision. Evidence to the contrary the turn toward autocracy in Russia or the growing military ambitions of China is either dismissed as a temporary aberration or denied entirely.
The world has not been transformed, however. Nations remain as strong as ever, and so too the nationalist ambitions, the passions, and the competition among nations that have shaped history. The world is still "unipolar," with the United States remaining the only superpower. But international competition among great powers has returned, with the United States, Russia, China, Europe, Japan, India, Iran, and others vying for regional predominance. Struggles for honor and status and influence in the world have once again become key features of the international scene. Ideologically, it is a time not of convergence but of divergence. The competition between liberalism and absolutism has reemerged, with the nations of the world increasingly lining up, as in the past, along ideological lines. Finally, there is the fault line between modernity and tradition, the violent struggle of Islamic fundamentalists against the modern powers and the secular cultures that, in their view, have penetrated and polluted their Islamic world.
[..] Kagan is, almost always, worth going to the link and reading....
I'm not sure I understand post #1. The USA has cultural influence, military power, and economic power far beyond any other nation. If that's not a superpower I don't know what is.
We may or may not be a super-duper hyper power as postulated by French elites. There may be a dozen other Great powers all fighting for superpower status themselves. We might be confused and aimless but none of that lessons the USA's status.
Posted by: Helen Thomas ||
12/07/2007 17:14 Comments ||
Late yesterday I stumbled across an article about a "human rights complaint" filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) against Macleans, Canadas most widely-read news magazine, for running a "flagrantly Islamophobic" excerpt from Mark Steyns book, America Alone. At least two Canadian Human Rights Commissions have agreed to hear these complaints. Only then did I find Styens too-easily-missed late-night post from Wednesday on the controversy.
This is a big deal. The blogosphere has so far largely missed it, but this attack on Mark Steyn is very much our business. There may be an impulse to dismiss this assault on Steyn, on the assumption that it will fail, that Steyn is a big boy and can take care of himself, and that in any case this is crazy Canada, where political correctness rules, rather than the land of the free. That would be a mistake. The Canadian Islamic Congresss war on Mark Steyn and Macleans is an attack on all of us. Ill say more in a moment about how a Canadian case can reach into America, but lets first take a look at the goings on up north.
The complaints against Macleans for publishing an excerpt from America Alone have been filed by several Canadian law students and by Faisal Joseph, a former crown attorney. Macleans published a total of 27 letters over two issues in response to Steyns piecemore responses than any Macleans cover story received over the past year. Yet when the law students demanded a longer response, Macleans was willing to consider it. The students then insisted that Macleans run a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, with no editing by the magazine. They also demanded that the reply to Steyn be a cover story, with art controlled by them, rather than the magazine. At this point, Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Whyte showed them the door, saying he would rather let Macleans go bankrupt than permit someone outside of operations dictate the magazines content.
The tiff over the excerpt from America Alone is only the tip of the iceberg. The Canadian Islamic Congress has actually accused several Canadian news outlets of Islamophobia. CIC issued a report entitled "Macleans Magazine: A Case Study of Media-Propogated Islamophobia," in which at least 18 articles were said to show anti-Muslim bias. Canadas National Post has been similarly attacked. Here, journalist Andrew Coyne explains how he was accused of endangering Muslims merely for having penned the phrase: "...the massive backlash against innocent Muslims that failed to materialize..."
Although the more liberal Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has criticized CIC and defended Macleans, its worth noting that CIC has managed to successfully intimidate MCC in the past. Coyne notes that a spokesman for MCC resigned his post last year when the president of the CIC accused him of "smearing Islam." The charge of de facto apostasy left the MCC spokesman fearing for his safety.
What about the article in questionthe actual excerpt from America Alone published in Macleans? Read it and youll see that Steyn is an equal opportunity savager. Enervated Europeans come in for every bit as much criticism as jihadi terroristsmore, really. The closer to home, the tougher Steyn gets. Of all Europeans, Steyn is hardest on culturally "dead" Belgians, the country where Steyns mother and grandparents came from. The only really vicious insult in the piece is hurled at Steyn himself. Lots more at site
Personally, while Im intellectually curious about Mormonism the topic du jour because of Mitt Romneys big religion speech this week I really cant get worked up about the topic.
Romney says that his faith informs his values, and I believe him. I also think hes generally right about the importance of faith in a free society. But, ultimately, I dont much care why hes a decent guy; I just care that hes decent. . . .
. . . historically, theology hasnt mattered that much to Americans. Mormons are a good example. Americans didnt want Utah to become a state because Mormon men took too many wives. Mormons dropped polygamy and bada bing Americans dropped their objections to Mormon statehood.
Irving Kristol has cited the fight over Utahs statehood as a quintessential expression of how America practices theological pluralism while insisting on moral conformity. It is the American way to care about what people do, not about what they think. Every religions theology has some wacky stuff in it, not only from the atheists perspective but from the perspective of pretty much every other religion. Its impossible to know how much this or that theological tenet guides a persons actions. All we can judge is the persons actions.
This is why I think many people get too invested in the tenets of Muslim theology. Defenders of Islam, as well as apologists for terror, often say Islam means peace and point to this or that quote from the Koran. Opponents of Islam will often say that Islam is a religion of violence and conquest and point to a different part of the Koran. As a literary exercise, both sides have good arguments. But at the end of the day, Koranic exegesis will only get you so far. Ultimately, a religion is what its adherents do in its name.
And for a significant minority of Muslims, it is simply the case that Islam is a religion of violence. How else are we supposed to react to a Sudanese mob chanting for the execution of a schoolteacher because she permitted her students to name a teddy bear Mohammed. The people who should be angry about this fact are the majority of Muslims who claim theirs is a religion of peace (and, it should be noted, some Muslims were indeed mortified by the spectacle).
I have liberal Jewish friends who are sometimes flummoxed as to how I could hang out, ideologically or personally, with Christian fundamentalists. My short answer is: Have you ever met any? I may not want some of them planning my next trip to Vegas, but the ones Ive met couldnt be nicer or more polite.
And the same goes for Mormons. Yes, I think theres some weird stuff in Mormonism, but they might say Same to you! about Jews. Still, all of the Mormons Ive met have been serious, kind, and morally upstanding. Republicans might also note that Mormons are among the most reliably conservative senators and congressman.
I think the objections to Mormon theology are often sound. But I think there are sound objections to pretty much every theology. Its a good thing for Romney that while theology isnt relevant to picking a president, morality is.
I hope they start shedding more light on Mitt the businessman vice Mitt the mormon. I've heard on a plethora of shows that Mitt is a hell of a savvy business guy. Exactly the type we need in the W.House vice 3 clown-fodder dem senators who couldn't lead a church congregation in silent prayer.
Good opening that serves as a summary for those who misconstured his previous speeches and writings.
The pope was making the Enlightenment's argument about the necessity for discourse mediated by reason in the search for truth; he claimed that his Christian faith is constituted through reason, that it can contain no tenets, and legitimate no actions, that are unreasonable. He was not claiming that Christians have never acted irrationally, violently; he was making a moral argument about what a Christian s faith demands, and he was making this argument as a religious leader desirous and capable of engaging in a serious and reasoned dialogue with people of other faiths about their respective convictions.
He was manifesting his awareness of the present circumstances by implying that Muslims must engage in such a dialogue if they are to have any hope of successfully combating "irrationality, violence," within their religious community.
And I see things the same way.
Beyond that, there are some serious stretching ov words by the article author whom I beleive misconstrues the arguments the Pope makes (for the writer's rhetorical convenience, and not neccesarily for the full truth of the matter).
But I also believe that the Pope may be overreaching when it comes to reasoning with the Radical Moslems - they have placed themselves beyond the reach of reason and refuse to engage the mind that God gave them. Give them a chance but there has to be a line somewhere.
Interesting read, although it is slanted against the Pope and from an academic protestant viewpoint.
Good quote that we may want to save here for use in Rantburg:
Muslim scholars and civil society need to challenge the pope on the terms and text of his debate rather than demanding an apology (Salmaan Keshavjee, September 15, 2006)
I am not Catholic and often find myself in disagreement with his arguments but I enjoy it enormously that a public figure should still be capable of making such arguments in the first place. I like this Pope.
The guns of war have fallen silent for Hollywood. Studio executives, who could once count on Americans filling theaters for just about any war movie they produced, are finding this year's war flicks to be a bunch of duds. "Lions for Lambs," Robert Redford's case against the war in Afghanistan, is a flop. It stars Mr. Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise and may not make back its $35 million price tag. Brian De Palma's "Redacted" played to empty seats. Even "The War," Ken Burns's much-anticipated World War II documentary that aired on PBS in September, met a less-than-explosive reception.
But Americans haven't lost their taste for war footage. They've just found a better place to see the type of war film they actually enjoy watching. Some of the hottest videos on YouTube are of actual battles that have taken place in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is footage that often hasn't made its way onto the nightly news or CNN--although some of it has--but it's largely unadulterated film that shows American soldiers in action, bringing the full weight of American military might to bear against the enemy. And in most of these films, it's clear who the enemy is. . . .
Much linkage in the body of the article. Time for another Rantburg Digital Film Festival?
Posted by: Mike ||
12/07/2007 06:16 ||
Top|| File under: Global Jihad
The same shift in operational thinking on the ground in Iraq should be matched by a shift in the operational thinking in the PAO [Public Affairs Office - those responsible for coordinating with MSM]. It should have been the suits who should have been exploiting the footage and technology to deliver the message and story directly to the American people, by passing the gatekeepers of an every decreasing viewership/readership. The footage is out there made by the troops themselves [because the General Officer Corps in manpower cost cutting did away with the combat photographer - and we see the price of that]. There are kids who have the tech skills to put this all together already in the ranks. It just takes the awareness and will to make it happen. That demonstrates the 'business as usual' approach that has hampered our 'leadership' in this conflict for years.
I apologize as we haven't had any new ones posted lately. The move out east has put new uploads on hold. Hope to remedy that after the New Years. That being said there are about 450 videos and vid links on the site. Subject matter is gritty, flag waving, warm, honest and anti-bad guy material. The kind of themes that make people like Redford and company get their panties in a knot.
Raw footage from actual troops is always welcome.
We have to give a great deal of thanks to Fred for Rantburg. His site has had a major influence behind the drive to show Minnesotans and the world what our MSM will not. In particular the Twin Cities media. Thanks again Fred!
I think there are some video games out there that were originally designed as recruitment and/or training tools, then grew.
Separately, the fact that these videos are troop-made, rather than coming from the Armed Forces advertising department, gives what is shown a lot of its power. Were it otherwise, the skeptics, especially those skeptics who are relatives and friends of the trooper who sent them the link, would cry "Propaganda!" and claim it was as imaginary as what comes out of Hollywood's back lots. That these videos contradict what is shown by the mainstream media has played a large part in the continuing shrinkage of their customer base.
Yep, just checked Amazon top selling video games. #3 [with a bullet] Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare "Armed with an arsenal of advanced and powerful modern-day firepower, players are transported to treacherous hotspots around the globe to take on a rogue enemy group threatening the world. As both a U.S. Marine and British S.A.S. soldier fighting through an unfolding story full of twists and turns, players use sophisticated technology, superior firepower, and coordinated land and air strikes on a battlefield where speed, accuracy, and communication are essential to victory."
Obviously, the American public isn't ready for contemporary war stories [written by Hollyweird hacks that are nothing but anti-American screed]. At this rate its only a matter of time before the profitable video game companies will buy the rights to the studios' IP and name.
AMoose- I think you are absolutely right. If someone puts out a well-made film that portrays the military in a positive light, it will be a huge box office success. It can't be cheesy, it must be authentic. Which means it must be based on a true story. Fortunately, there are countless stories of courage, fortitude, compassion, victory, resolve, and honor from over there. I'm sure if someone actually bothered to look, the positive stories would outnumber the negative stories. The stories are there, just waiting to be told, as many already have been.
Nobody, especially the American people, likes to lose. We are the good guys and it's high time we started showing it. Enough of this anti-American bull-hickey. I'm sick and tired of it.
If and when that movie does come out, you can rest assured that I will be there, ticket in hand, on opening night.
File this under a flat "no sh*t." At the core of most Americans is a belief that we are the good guys. Why? Because we are. The avg citizen gets it & is prolly sick of hollyweird trying to insult their intellect. Jimmy Stewart, the Duke, & those of that era would be sickened by the crap going on today from the left coast. I'd love to see a low budget pro-war movie of avg grunts on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. It would blow hollywood's little mind to see that the avg ground pounder is an astute professional of complexity who can operate under great deals of stress w/out drugs or comitting war crimes. It would also prolly bother that c*nt chucky rangel that 70% of the infantry are not minorities but the opposite. The American public wants to see the good stuff going on because they know it's out there.
BTW, it appears COD4 will probably sell around 3 million copies. For XBox, PS3, and the PC, its running around $50 a copy. That would be a 'box office' take of 150M. Not shabby. If I were a stock holder in any of those 'movie' studios I'd be in court suing the board for failure to perform it legal fiduciary responsibilities, using a public corporation for personal ends.
my son and all his friends are in that 3 million copies - they love it. I've tried, not very good yet (and hard to get time on the XBOX 360...) but the graphics and story/setting/tools are great. Well worth the $. Now, if my kids will just get me Unreal Tournament 3 for Xmas....
Posted by: Frank G ||
12/07/2007 22:06 Comments ||
Didn't learn until today that one of YOUTUBE's founders lived on GUAM for a time - TIME TO DO A "BOWZER" ARM-FLEXING ROUTINE ala SHA NA NA, in honor of my island.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.