Thursday, November 30, 2006

TNR calls Southern Repubs "Racist"

The New Republic runs the gamut from centrist to far left to garbage, and garbage is represented here by a rabid ranting raver who claims that the South is marginalized from American life by its racism.

No sort of real analysis of the Repubs as the dualistic party that is torn between Southern cultural and religious social conservatives and Western libertarian fiscal conservatives with liberal social mores. That would be subtle.

Not a word about the blacks marginalizing themselves by voting en bloc Dem, but still being taken for granted and bypassed by border states like Maryland.

The problem is southern racism, according to this TNR northern Jewish writer, who must never have heard the many times I was personally told by the southern blacks in DC and St. Louis that they preferred living in the South, where people were not such hypocrites about race, like this author Perlstein obviously is. Of course, I worked among these blacks back in the days before drugs and welfare sent their community into a downward spiral, though it was beginning at the time. But back then, they would have sized up this Perlstein jerk as just another phony Northern creep.

And possibly a closet racist himself.

UN Success in Congo: Does a Swallow Make a Spring?

Peter Beinart has a piece in the New Republic extolling the UN's peacekeeping activities in the Congo, while eliding over the UN rapes and atrocities committed next door in Brazzaville.

Oh yeah, Peter talked about Rwanda without mentioning the passive complicity of present UN SecGen, the oafish Kofi Annan. This stooge got a Nobel Peace Prize for allowing a genocide of nearly a million people. And El-Baradei got one last year for allowing Iran to skirt the IAEA rules and still lobbies Condi Rice, a soft touch on the matter, to let Iran break the Nuke Proliferation Agreement.

This is the UN that Beinart wants the US to spend more money on, because they oversaw an election in Africa which, just parenthetically, has not been successful. [The opposition leader still keeps his militia at the ready to contest any attempt to run the country.]

This reminds me of the supremely oafish Jimmy Carter, who pranced into Ethiopia last year and after a day of looking around, declared everything kosher and the elections valid. Of course, professional monitors winced as the super-bantamweight Plains preacher-boy departed and dozens of people were killed in post-electoral chaos. That's not my department, said Jimmy [Werner von Braun] Carter.

The bogus fakery and posing of TNR on the UN reminds one of a fashion runway. The US ought to keep Bolton Ambassador and clean out the sewage generated by planeloads of finger-wagging UN desk-jockeys subsisting lavishly on a VIP dole.

Iran Directly Supplying Al-Sadr Militias?

US Intelligence has confirmed that Iranian sources are directly supplying Shiite militias with IEDs and other weapons used against US troops, ABC reports.

Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.

Evidence is mounting, too, that the most powerful militia in Iraq, Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, is receiving training support from the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah.

Two senior U.S. defense officials confirmed to ABC News earlier reports that fighters from the Mahdi army have traveled to Lebanon to receive training from Hezbollah.

While the New York Times reported that as many as 2,000 Iraqi militia fighters had received training in Lebanon, one of the senior officials said he believed the number was "closer to 1,000." Officials say a much smaller number of Hezbollah fighters have also traveled through Syria and into Iraq to provide training.

U.S. intelligence officials believe the number of Al-Sadr's Mahdi army now includes 40,000 fighters, making it an especially formidable force.

The choice for US policy planners is a political one. The crazed Iranian president made his political career in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and to allow him and his henchmen in the Iranian government to get away with this international law-breaking would compound the original felony, committed two years ago, of not taking on the Al-Sadr militias when they were merely several thousand very vulnerable fighters. Now they number in the dozens of thousands.

The whack-job Iranian president regards American indecision on retaliation as a total victory on his part and it encourages him to expand his activities, and discourages any restraining influences among the highest levels of Iranian elites who may have doubts.

Either the US goes to attack the source of the unrest in Iraq and Lebanon, or it retires in disgrace from the Middle East and lets the EU and UN take over, with Russia as an interested partner.

It's obvious that Ahmedinejad will have the nuke he wants before long, and that it will be transported via camelback to Israel, if need be. Does GWB sit on this information and wring his hands? Has he been completely neutered by this election, which actually was the usual setback for a party in power the sixth year of a presidency?

Are Gates and Baker going to talk to Iran and Syria, even against the august advice of Chiraq?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Iran Directly Supplying Al-Sadr Militias?

US Intelligence has confirmed that Iranian sources are directly supplying Shiite militias with IEDs and other weapons used against US troops, ABC reports.

Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.

Evidence is mounting, too, that the most powerful militia in Iraq, Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, is receiving training support from the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah.

Two senior U.S. defense officials confirmed to ABC News earlier reports that fighters from the Mahdi army have traveled to Lebanon to receive training from Hezbollah.

While the New York Times reported that as many as 2,000 Iraqi militia fighters had received training in Lebanon, one of the senior officials said he believed the number was "closer to 1,000." Officials say a much smaller number of Hezbollah fighters have also traveled through Syria and into Iraq to provide training.

U.S. intelligence officials believe the number of Al-Sadr's Mahdi army now includes 40,000 fighters, making it an especially formidable force.

The choice for US policy planners is a political one. The crazed Iranian president made his political career in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and to allow him and his henchmen in the Iranian government to get away with this international law-breaking would compound the original felony, committed two years ago, of not taking on the Al-Sadr militias when they were merely several thousand very vulnerable fighters. Now they number in the dozens of thousands.

The whack-job Iranian president regards American indecision on retaliation as a total victory on his part and it encourages him to expand his activities, and discourages any restraining influences among the highest levels of Iranian elites who may have doubts.

Either the US goes to attack the source of the unrest in Iraq and Lebanon, or it retires in disgrace from the Middle East and lets the EU and UN take over, with Russia as an interested partner.

It's obvious that Ahmedinejad will have the nuke he wants before long, and that it will be transported via camelback to Israel, if need be. Does GWB sit on this information and wring his hands? Has he been completely neutered by this election, which actually was the usual setback for a party in power the sixth year of a presidency?

Are Gates and Baker going to talk to Iran and Syria, even against the august advice of Chiraq?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Free Speech, Free Press, Fuhgeddabouddit!

An Azeri Writer has been condemned to death by an Iranian ayatollah, Salman Rushdie-style, for perceived insults to the Prophet Muhammed.

The BBC, in its permissive latitudinarianism, reports the story as matter-of-fact run-of-the-mill news from the Middle East and the fact that Azerbaijan is a place where British Petroleum has a huge stake in oil-investment upstream would never enter into the journalistically-challenged British propaganda network.

Oh, and the Republic of Georgia is where the pipeline from Azerbaijan passes through on its way to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, whence the crude oil is shipped to refineries in the UK. And if Georgia were a person, Vlad the Empoisoner would have already administered Polonium 210, because the Azeri oil competes with Soviet exports to Europe, which the former-Sovs wish to have completely under their control through oil blackmail. Vlad, the Short, almost invaded Georgia last month after it threw out four of his FSB, the successor to the KGB operatives, as they were planning their assassinations of senior Georgian politicians---0ops, maybe got a bit ahead of the curve there! Vlad the Short just signed a big agreement with Iran, concerning the sale of anti-air missiles for an oil and gas agreement.

Every story has its subtext.

Between Vlad's poison-purveyors and Ahmedinejad's nutty basijis, I'd hate to be that poor Azeri journalist.

Illegal Aliens on Murder, Crime Sprees

Lou Dobbs undergoes a hit piece in the current New Yorker by iconic Secular-Progressive Commissar Ken Auletta, largely for adopting a "populist" stance on illegal aliens' pervasive presence in the US spreads from border regions to the entire country as a whole.

And the story above concerning Rep Steve King of Iowa's research into Illegal Alien Murders supports a lot of the local news down here in South Florida, where drug wars are starting to proliferate as murderous Mexicans fight over turf.

The only good thing about the murder rate, above the death rates from Iraq and Afghanistan for US troops, is that a lot of the murders are of illegal aliens by illegal aliens. But many law-abiding American citizens are killed by illegal aliens, and more by drunk drivers who are illegals driving without valid licenses.

My house was robbed recently by some Jamaican illegals, who also broke into a house down the block. Of course, the Palm Beach DA cannot be bothered with the cases, as he is much more concerned with Rush Limbaugh's prescription violations. The PC runs the constabulary down here in Florida, and no local dead-tree press or TV news outlets like to dwell on the high percentage of illegals involved in murder, robberies, and car crashes.

I hope this story gets picked up by Dobbs and Buchanan and even the increasingly gun-shy O'Reilly, who is starting to mince and prance in a PC fashion in order to pick up more viewers and sell more books.

DeVito Struts Classy Stuff on "The View"

Demented Drunken Dwarf Danny DeVito spewed obscenities yesterday on Baba Wawa's show, something the NBC celebrity show Extra at 7PM deemed unnewsworthy, although it had another clip of another guest on the same show.

Just the MSM protecting Bush-bashings by degenerate drunks and other paragons of the left. The laughable ABC link above noted that some alert internet types:
The Internet is buzzing with rumors that Danny DeVito was inebriated during his Wednesday morning appearance on the daytime talk show "The View."

But of course, despite footage of the unusually foolish, even for him, antics of a Devito slurring his speech and spewing obscenities, his brave publicist avers:
he has no idea whether DeVito was drunk during his appearance but emphasized that the actor has never had a problem with drinking.

No, as in the old Irish joke, drinking isn't DeVito's problem, it's his solution.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kerry gets his just deserts.

John Kerry does not deserve better than this. DUmmieFUnnies recounts the sad demise of the opportunistic 3-month war hero of Vietnam, not in sorrow nor in anger, but in the total derision that this well-coiffed weasal weenie merits.

Link to the name of the Dem failed-candidate of 2004 and L0LROTFL.

Stop the Presses! Chirac Starts to Make Sense!

Jacques Chiraq gets one right in an interview with Haaretz.

Like a broken clock, Jacquo Chiraq can't be wrong ALL the time. And he stumbles onto the truth when he speaks about a subject the French actually know a lot about. Syria and the phoney stick-insect in charge of that sad country.

US NSC Advisor Steven Hadley concurred:
Hadley accused Syria of both supporting Hezbollah and trying to interfere in Lebanese politics, a year after it was forced to end its decades-long military presence.

"Here is Syria, which is clearly putting pressure on the Lebanese democracy, is a supporter of terror, is both provisioning and supporting Hezbollah and facilitating Iran in its efforts to support Hezbollah, is supporting the activities of Hamas," Hadley said during a visit to Riga alongside Bush for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

"This is not a Syria that is on an agenda to bring peace and stability to the region, and I think Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert said, under those circumstances, with that kind of Syrian policy, how can you talk about negotiating on the Golan Heights? Seems to me that's a sensible position."

The Haaretz piece continues:
Syrian President Bashar Assad has called on Israel numerous times to renew talks, but has simultaneously hinted that Syria would be willing to take military steps if talks did not succeed. Syria seeks the return of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. But peace talks between the two countries broke down in 2000.

Olmert has rejected the Syrian president's invitations for negotiations. The official Israeli position is that Syria must cease support of Palestinian terror organizations and Hezbollah guerrillas before renewed negotiations can be considered.

Damascus aids and abets Hezbollah in South Lebanon and shelters terrorist kingpin Kamal Mishaal of the Hamas leadership too scared to visit the West Bank.

I wish I could find the FT piece about two years ago, shortly before the Hariri murder by Assad's agents, that said in exhaustive detail how completely delusional and out of touch the Syrian leadership, disconnected from political reality, had become and how insane some of its policies could become.


NYT Faces Takeover by White Knight

White Knight Hank Greenberg appears ready to join forces with Morgan Stanley to wrench the NYT from the incompetent leadership of the Ochs/Sulzberger families who have essentially run the billion-dollar franchise into the ground both editorially and management-wise. The New York Post is gleeful in its reporting:
Greenberg has both the assets - Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.2 billion - and the temperament to jump into a fight over the future of the stumbling newspaper giant.

A major stock position would put Greenberg in league with already angry Times' shareholders, such as Morgan Stanley Investment Management, to battle the board over whether the founding Ochs-Sulzberger family should hold a powerful class of stock that accounts for a majority of the voting power at the company.

A Times spokeswoman said the Ochs-Sulzberger family has given no indication that it wishes to change the so-called dual-class structure.

Sources said Greenberg views the Times, which has a market cap of $3.3 billion, as a top-flight brand but one with an "artificially depressed" stock price.

Times shares have plunged almost 15 percent in the last year, a drop that has put enormous pressure on Chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr., the family scion who has been at the helm of the company since 1997.

Greenberg has both the money and the attitude to challenge the dynastic monopoly:
Shareholder watchdogs have slammed Times management as overpaid - criticism that forced Sulzberger and his cousin, Vice Chairman Michael Golden, to say in September they would forgo about $2 million in stock awards and pump it into a bonus pool for the company's employees.

Pinch is a notorious bantamweight when it comes to expressing his own philosophy in public, and has notoriously put his best writers behind a pay-per-view firewall which has depressed on-line viewership and generally angered long-time readers.

Let's wish Hank good luck and hope he can scare the NYT editorial board back into obedience to the laws of the USA.

Chavez Leading Latins Down Path to Fascism?

Gigi Geyer has written the following article about Hugo Chavez that makes him sound more like Benito Mussolini than Fidel Castro:
"I am sitting in the Centro Tolon in downtown Caracas at an "elegantissimo" Japanese sushi restaurant named Shoge. The tablecloths are immaculately white, the glassware virtually gleams, the waiters linger. My lunch for two persons is going to cost me $110!

"Looking out over the skyscrapers, you could easily think you were in one of the richest cities in the world. After all, Venezuela is the seventh-largest consumer of Scotch whisky globally, business is booming, and, as the locals put it, "Money is sloshing around everywhere."

"But wasn't this supposed to be a revolution? Isn't this the Bolivarian-socialist-Venezuelan (it does get a little long) new-style state of President Hugo Chavez, who has shaken up the hemisphere -- and the United States -- since his first election in 1998? At that time, he told me in a long interview, "We don't COPY other models; we INVENT them."

"But one is damnably hard-pressed to characterize this newly invented revolution -- or even to find it, for you see its handmaidens remarkably little in Caracas, even on the eve of the important Dec. 3 presidential elections.

"On the one hand, the mysterious Chavez now controls everything: the government itself, the judiciary, the army, the police, the education and health systems. He seems to be many men; he will appear on his television show "Alo, Presidente!" (the longest performance went eight hours and 20 minutes, putting him on a par with his hero, Fidel Castro) as a doctor, a Bolivian peasant, or a Venezuelan businessman, depending upon the political mood.

"Pedro Burelli, one of the former chiefs of Petroleos de Venezuela, the state oil company that for the last three years has been completely dominated by Chavez's hacks, says that Chavez can be at least five different people -- and that his aides have different names for the characters. I have seen him go from a most charming and amenable man to a dark paranoid seeking out enemies wherever they may be.
Ideology? Teodoro Petkoff, one of Venezuela's most prominent writers, told me of Chavez: "Eight years ago, he had a firm but diffuse feeling for democratic society, but it was not accompanied by a social form. He has changed much. Today, he is very authoritarian/militaristic, a mixture of Stalinism and fascism. In his language of forming the 'Socialism of the 21st Century,' I believe he has in his head a mixture of Cuba and 'Mein Kampf.'

"He believes in the value of propaganda. With the 'popular' classes, he produces identity and belonging, but it is clearly manipulative. In the beginning he was very sincere, but now he has changed greatly. This is really a regime 'caudillista' -- of the strongman, of the great caudillos of independence. All decisions depend upon him, and all public power is under him."

"Like so many dictators -- probably Argentina's famous Juan Peron of the 1930s is the closest model for Chavez -- he sleeps in different places every night and has eight rings of mostly Cuban guards around him. There are little-known lists of enemies -- his "Lista Tascon" of a half-million people, and the "Lista Maisanta" -- and these folks will never get a cent of government benefits and may be open to repression. There are the private militias formed within the army but loyal only to him; and above all, there are the "misiones," or missions to the 80 percent of the population that is poor. They are paid $200 a week to go to one or two hours of classes, 20,000 never seen or heard Cuban doctors care for them, and ironically, these formerly impoverished and forgotten Venezuelans now constitute one of the basic building blocks of the new consumption.
Edmond Saade, leading pollster and head of the Ven-Am Chamber of Commerce, notes that mass consumption went up 20 percent between 2003 and 2004; 19 percent between 2004 and 2005; and now 13 percent to 15 percent between 2005 and 2006.

"Meanwhile, the missions are costing the country $80 billion a year, while Chavez gives Cuba 100,000 barrels of oil a day plus transfer payments of $3 billion, a serious input into Cuba's $20 billion GDP. But with oil earnings of $150 million a day, Chavez can do a lot of buying of loyalty abroad -- and he does, from Iran to China and across Latin America.

"On the other hand, even as he was blasting President Bush as "the devil" in the United Nations earlier this fall (an action that was not appreciated here), and even as the regime has confiscated 4,000 apartments and is threatening landowners, business is booming, especially with the United States, with its $36 billion worth of Venezuelan exports a year. American businesses do not seem nervous here, and it is clear that Chavez, in contrast to his Cuban friend Fidel, insists upon being seen in the world as an elected president. (In fact, Castro has told him to be elected -- and to keep foreign businesses.)

If you look at Chavez's speeches, Douglas Bravo, a former Marxist guerrilla comandante who has broken with Chavez, said recently in an interview with the newspaper El Nacional, "This is a revolutionary government. But if you look at what it has accomplished, it is a neoliberal government."

Venezuela's long-term problem is not, however, political or even economic. It is cultural. Less than one-half of 1 percent of Venezuelans work in the oil industry, which produces 85 percent of foreign exchange and 50 percent of the country's GDP, and so the country has never had to develop a work ethic. In reality, Chavez's regime is different from the past only because he is distributing wealth to the poor. Despite his unpalatable methods, that is not to be despised; but the bigger problem is that there is still no real reinvestment, in either the poor people or the economy.

Now, THAT would be a real revolution for Latin America.

My two cents: Carlos Andres Perez tried real capitalism for a short time in the '90s, but the Venezuelans may not be ready for more than narcotic socialism. Unlike its hard-working neighbor Colombia, the Vees allow manana to run the country, along with the bipolar manic-depressive caudillo cacique and his clique at the top.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fouad Ajami on "Realism" Returning to the MidEast

Fouad Ajami sums up the situation better than anyone else. He diagnoses the real problems of the region while midget-twerps like Matt Lauer and Brian Williams pontificate on how Iraq has become a "civil war:"
The sin of George W. Bush, to hear his critics tell it, is that he unleashed the forces of freedom in Arab-Islamic lands only to beget a terrible storm. In Iraq and in Lebanon, the furies of sectarianism are on the loose; and in that greater Middle East stretching from Pakistan to Morocco, the forces of freedom and reform appear chastened. Autocracy is fashionable once again, and that bet on freedom made in the aftermath of the American venture into Iraq now seems, to the skeptics, fatally compromised. For decades, we had lived with Arab autocracies, befriended them, taken their rule as the age-old dominion in lands unfit for freedom. Then came this Wilsonian moment proclaimed in the course of the war on Iraq. To the "realists," it had been naive and foolhardy to hold out to the Arabs the promise of freedom. We had bet on the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, thrilled to these young people in Beirut's plazas reclaiming their country from Syrian tyranny. But that promise, too, has been battered, and in the shadows, the old policy of ceding Lebanon to the rule of Syria's informers and policemen now claims a measure of vindication. On the surface of things, it is the moment of the "realists," then: They speak with greater confidence. The world had lived down, as it were, to their expectations. And now they wish to return history to its old rhythm.

But in truth there can be no return to the bosom of the old order. American power and the very force of what had played out in the Arab-Islamic lands in recent years have rendered the old order hollow, mocked its claims to primacy and coherence. The moment our soldiers flushed Saddam Hussein from his filthy spider hole, we had put on display the farce and swindle of Arab authority.

Primacy and power. We can't shy away from the very history we unleashed. We had demonstrated to the Arabs that the rulers are not deities; we had given birth to the principle of political accountability. In the same vein, we may not be comfortable with all the manifestations of an emancipated Arab Shiism--we recoil, as we should, from the Mahdi Army in Iraq and from Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut--but the Shiite stepchildren of the Arab world have been given a new claim on the Arab political order of primacy and power. In the annals of Arab history, this is nothing short of revolutionary. The Sunni Arab regimes have a dread of the emancipation of the Shiites. But American power is under no obligation to protect their phobias and privileges. History has served notice on their world and their biases. We can't fall for their legends, and we ought to remember that the road to all these perditions, and the terrors of 9/11, had led through Sunni movements that originated in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Terror and ruin can come in Sunni and Shiite drapings alike.

It was not naive idealism, it should be recalled, that gave birth to Bush's diplomacy of freedom. That diplomacy issued out of a reading of the Arab-Muslim political condition and of America's vulnerability to the disorder of Arab politics. The ruling regimes in the region had displaced their troubles onto America; their stability had come at America's expense, as the scapegoating and the anti-Americanism had poisoned Arab political life. Iraq and the struggle for a decent polity in it had been America's way of trying to extirpate these Arab troubles. The American project in Iraq has been unimaginably difficult, its heartbreak a grim daily affair. But the impulse that gave rise to the war was shrewd and justified.

Nowadays, more and more people despair of the Iraq venture. And voices could be heard counseling that the matter of Iraq is, for all practical purposes, sealed and that failure is around the corner. Now and then, the memory of the Vietnam War is summoned. America had lost the battle for Vietnam but had won the war for East Asia. That American defeat had brought ruin to Vietnam and Cambodia, but the systems of political and economic freedom in Asia had held, and the region had cushioned the American defeat, and left a huge protective role for American power. Fair enough: There was Japan in East Asia, providing political anchorage and an example of economic success. There is no Japan in that arc of trouble in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are poor pillars, themselves prey to forces of radicalism--the first weak in the scales of military power, the second a brittle, crowded land with immense troubles of its own. That overall strategic landscape, too, should be considered as we debate and anguish over Iraq.

There were flaws in the intelligence and the military victory completely neglected to mop up, preferring a quick conquest of Baghdad. From then on, the incompetent desk-jockey Rumsfeld and his scattershot boss Cheney hijacked the post-war rebuilding from State Dept experts under Gen. Garner, elbowed out Khalilzad as co-honcho with Bremer, and let Jerrry Bremer manage to completely bungle every single decision during his tenure as Pro-Consul in Baghdad. If GWB had consciously set out to completely mismanage the situation, he probably would have been unable to mess up things more, even with his Harvard MBA. As Colin Powell told him before the invasion, you break it, you own it.

But Fouad has written another profound and brilliant book, The Foreigner's Gift, concerning the expedition into Iraq. This describes the opportunity which the Iraqis were given, a rare and priceless gift, to overthrow millennia
of historical detritus and to construct a new nation out of the horrific dictatorship of a ruthless savage. Perhaps like France was bled white in WWI and thus turned tail and skedaddled in WWII, the Iraqis had simply had too many good people, professional and artisanal and otherwise, eliminated by Saddam's frequent purges of brave independent souls. The herd had been culled of its bravest animals.

Or perhaps land succumbed to the ancient evils lurking in this basin of multiple religious sects and creeds and simply reverted to default position---a stasis of brittle paralysis devoid of true civic virtue.

So the Middle East reverts across the landscape, and Lebanon again has its best leaders murdered by an autocracy next door which has no pretense of being democratic, and fears democracy as a threat to its own vested interests. And desires the wealth and talent of Lebanon being sluiced into Damascus's hands.

And Iran asserts its own interest in the regional hegemony it seeks, by assisting Syria in Lebanon and against Israel, and assisting Moqtader Al-Sadr in Iraq.

And the Sunni autocracies of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan wring their hands and ask for US assistance, as do the beleaguered Sunnis now in Iraq.

James Baker may come now into the picture and start talking to Iran and Syria, but the prospect of any real success coming out of these pourparlers is probably far-fetched. The best he can do is persuade these two deluded autocracies, Iran and Syria, to relent a bit, copping a plea, so to speak, to let the US off the hook. And Baker will sell Lebanon down the river, as Kissinger did the Kurds in '75 in his negotiations with the Shah, as fast as can be imagined.

Realpolitik, they call it.

No One Left to Surrender To?

Christopher Hitchens uses the Beirut/London assassinations as a springboard to launch a missile:
The fate of those who criticize the Syrian presence in Lebanon is rather like the fate of those who oppose Vladimir Putin. The former are shot or blown up, and the latter are victims of exotic poisons. Nobody knows for sure if there is any direct connection between the positions they take and the outcome that befalls them, but it has to be said in both cases that neither the government of Syria nor the face of Vladimir Putin seems very downcast or contrite when these coincidences occur. And, as Gen. Strelnikov so rightly says in Doctor Zhivago, it hardly matters whether you burn the right village or the wrong one. The same deterrent point is made in either case.

In Iraq, the terrifying aspect of the violence is its randomness. You have a higher chance of being tortured to death with a drill if you are a secularist, a translator working with the coalition, an advocate of women's rights, or a Christian, but the atmosphere is one in which nobody—not even a preacher or practitioner of sectarianism—can feel safe. In Lebanon, the situation is also slightly volatile. Those targeted for murder have included a former prime minister backed by Saudi funds, the former chairman of the Communist Party, and most recently the leader of the Maronite Catholic right: a fairly broad spectrum of victims, if, essentially, a predictable one. But in Beirut two decades ago, the situation was more like it is in Baghdad today, with mayhem in almost every part of the city and splits within cracks within fissures of each militia, so that almost every block had its own warlord.

Christopher kicks the can down the road to the future of the region after the Bush-bashing US-hating Euroweenies collude in the collapse of opposition to extremists and the acquisition of Iran of a nuke:
This is the huge advantage that the forces of nihilism possess in the region. In the short term, it is true, a prudent Syrian or Iranian government would not wish for an implosion in either Lebanon or Iraq, and a sensible Pakistani regime ought to desire a peaceful Afghanistan. A next-door war of all against all can lead to interethnic and interconfessional rivalry within their own societies and in the meantime is a threat to the orderly exploitation of things—like the trade in narcotics—that benefit the regimes and their clientele. However, chaos is a tremendous way of waging asymmetrical warfare and canceling the vast military superiority of the United States. It also catches the attention of those locals who are caught in the middle and who know from long and bitter experience how to sniff the wind. Listen to us, say the Ahmadinejads and their proxies, we will always be here. Can you say the same for the Americans? Many considerations, including intense inter-Islamic Shiite-Sunni hatred, divide Ahmadinejad and Assad from the forces of al-Qaida, which would also prefer to see Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan in ruins than have these countries get a chance of modernism and secularism. But on this essential point, they are in agreement, and their wrecking activities tend toward the same objective. In due course, they will certainly fight each other. But the ruins over which they will be disputing will, they believe, have at least been abandoned by the West, as Afghanistan was after 1989. And the interest of human-rights monitors and others will have slackened accordingly.

Hobbesian anarchy certainly does get rid of pesky experiments like voting and representational government, as the Council of Guardians has effectively done in Iran and as Syria and Pakistan have never seriously attempted. CH concludes:
If this indeed proves to be the outcome, the victors will be able to rub their eyes at how easy it was. Barely five years after the eviction of the Taliban, three and a half years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and a year and a half after the Syrian army was forced out of Beirut by a show of mass popular and democratic unity, the memory of those brave fingers marked with the purple ink of the franchise has almost vanished. Tribalism and gangsterism are back, in a big way, with heavy state support from across the frontiers. And the United States, it seems, cannot wait to confirm the impression that it would rather deal with the aggressors. If the latest assassination in Lebanon caused any embarrassment to the enthusiasm of the Baker-Hamilton team for direct talks with Damascus and Tehran, the embarrassment wasn't evident. The Lebanese Cabinet may have bravely voted last week, in spite of a campaign of blackmail by Syria's death squads and religious proxies, to establish a tribunal to investigate the murder of Rafik Hariri, but in Washington, the talk is of getting on better terms with the people who, on all the available evidence, blew up his car. You may have noticed the new habit in the media of referring to the government of Lebanon as "American-backed" or "Western-backed." This is as if to imply that it is not an expression of Lebanon's remaining autonomy. But it is also cruelly ironic: Where exactly is this "backing"? Once again, it is becoming more dangerous to be a friend of the United States than an enemy.

Hitchens correctly deduces that the Baker/Gates inclusion into GWB's inner councils presages a strategery. Baker has always had a soft spot for the Syrians:
The objectionable thing about the proposed Baker-Hamilton "talks" is not that they are talks but that they give the impression of looking for someone to whom to surrender. And they have, apparently, no preconditions. It would be an excellent thing to have direct negotiations with Iran, for instance, with all matters on the table. But if the mullahs did not have to sacrifice their ongoing nuclear deception in order to get to that table, then all the efforts of the Europeans, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency to get them to do so would have been shown to be risible. With Syria, there is an even more intelligible precondition to be announced. Most people are unaware of this fact, but Damascus has always refused to recognize Lebanon as an independent state. There is no Syrian Embassy in Beirut. Implicitly and explicitly, this suggests that the country is regarded as an actual or potential part of a "Greater Syria." Is it really too much to demand that Syria acknowledge the self-determination, or "right to exist," of a fellow member of the Arab League? Without this line of demarcation, for one thing, the "withdrawal" of Syrian soldiers and police is a merely tactical thing; a retreat over the horizon while the Assad dynasty waits for better days. These "better" days may well not be long in coming.

Those elections in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon might just be a hiccup in the on-going sempiternal autocratic governments of the Middle East, which have never lacked for support from Europe and the US in the past. CH notes that Bush will be blamed for whatever happens anywhere despite his strong efforts and good intentions. The US media is entrenched against its country's policies no matter what, and the craven Euros fear retribution from their own violent unassimilated minorities, which toppled a Spanish government by terrorist methods. CH finishes with a dire prediction of a ghastly succession of disasters brought on by cowardice abroad and bloody factionalism in the heartland of Middle East:
Those who blame the violence in Baghdad on the American presence must have a hard job persuading themselves that the mayhem in Beirut and Afghanistan—and the mayhem that is being planned and is still to come—is attributable to the same cause. But the instigators are the same in all cases: the parties of god and their foreign masters. If we cannot even stand up for Lebanon in this crisis, even rhetorically, then we are close to admitting that these parties have won.

It may not take long for terror and assassination to cow any supporters of democracy. The murder of Hariri is going to be investigated by the UN. That should make a sorry spectacle as Syria tries to assassinate more investigators of its previous assassinations.

The downward spiral continues.

Compleat Ass Kerry Not a Likely Donkey Nominee

John Kerry has proven again and again that he is not as smart as George W. Bush, who had higher grades at Yale and who thumped him big-time in 2004, winning by 3.5 million votes, largely on evidence that Kerry's self-proclaimed military heroism was bogus. But Dems might counter that Kerry is more likeable than GWB. Not by a long shot. The arrogant Frenchified gold-digger marriage-billionaire loses to everyone else in the latest poll findings:
The survey asked respondents to rate 20 political figures on a "feeling thermometer." The warmer or more favorable they felt toward a person the higher score they gave them on a scale of zero to 100. Respondents were given the option of saying they did not know enough about the figure to offer a rating.

In the current poll, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican, ranked first with a mean score of 64.2, followed by Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, 58.8, and McCain, 57.7. All three are potential presidential candidates.

While Obama received a high score, 41 percent said they had not heard enough about the first-term senator to offer an opinion.

Bush finished 15th with 43.8, behind former Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat who lost the 2000 White House race to Bush, who was 14th with 44.9.

Kerry was last with a rating of 39.6. In three earlier polls this year, he never scored above 46.3.

While many presidential contenders have a chance to make "a good first impression" on voters, Brown said, "Kerry has to convince people who don't like him that they are wrong and that they should change their minds."

In the new likability survey, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ranked fourth with 56.1, followed by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, 55.8, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who won re-election this month as an independent after losing the Democratic primary, 52.7.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, was seventh at 51.1, followed by two other potential presidential contenders, former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, 49.9, and Hillary Clinton, 49.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, another possible White House contender, ranked 10th, at 47.7. Two in three respondents said they did not know enough about him to form an opinion.

But of one thing you can be sure. This will not deter camera-hog, mike-snuffer Kerry from continuing his hopeless, hapless political career making a fool of himself in the public eye while running for the Oval Office.

Feminized Politics: Just What the West Needs.

Gideon Rachman purports to be an expert on American foreign policy, but the ex-Economist writer keeps delving into extraneous topics like the candidacy of Segolene Royal in France's presidential election, and generalizing from that to profound-sounding inanities. Here's a taste:
Previous generations of women leaders had to play down their femininity. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir needed to show they were tougher than the men surrounding them. Meir is said to have remarked that: "I’m the only one in this cabinet with any balls."

But the new generation is different. Ms Royal (now universally known as S?gol?ne) has deliberately played up her feminine qualities. She has campaigned as what Le Monde called a "mummy candidate," introducing herself to audiences as the mother of a family of four and announcing that: "I want to do for the children of this country, what I was able to do for my own children." In her book The Truth of a Woman, published in 1996, she argued that a world run by women might be a less violent place. At a time when many French people seem to be longing for change in a generalised sense – but are frightened by specific social and economic reforms – the very fact that Ms Royal is a woman offers the promise of novelty and a fresh start.

Novelty and a fresh start, or more mommy at the helm nanny-state social modeling. On the fashion runway of politics, the frivolous French like to dabble in trendy twaddle. But, of course, Rachman does not examine the flip-side of the equation in this puff-piece. How will the burgeoning Islamic 20% of the French population [prove me wrong, but 33 years ago the French prefet of Rhone Prefecture told me the Arab population in his district was half-a-million, and the French deliberately avoid a census that reflects the true number of Muslims in their country] regard a female president. Probably as more proof that they live among cheese-eating.....never mind.

Mark Steyn makes many powerful points in his book America Alone, which is inching up the charts among US best-sellers. One of his chief theses is that Europe is depopulating in states which have adopted the so-called "social model" that provides cradle-to-grave nanny services to its citoyens. Steyn notes that abundant welfare and pension benefits persuade people not to have children, who in the past would have supported their parents in old age, because the state now supplants the parent-supporting kids that formerly also enriched their parents' lives. But nowadays, countries with plunging population rates [Germany will be down 15 million people by 2050 according to government calculations and also Spain and Italy] will not have the working population whose taxes will support their elders when 40% of Germans will be over 60 forty years hence, for example. In the meantime, natterers like Rachman gibber on about Global Warming, which of course a declining population sort of takes care of by itself, doesn't it?

In the meantime, Steyn notices population figures that indicate Muslims are proliferating like rabbits in their high-rise ghettoes surrounding Paris and other major French bourgs. Guess those hard-working Muslims will replace French ouvriers in the future?

Germany is avoiding this problem, that of immigration, by not allowing workers from Eastern Europe to fill jobs left vacant by German arbeiters. The fact that there is a 20% unemployment rate in former East Germany doesn't mean the unemployed will fill the many jobs begging for being filled. Evidently, the hard-working burghers prefer unemployment benefits to actual employment.

Does anyone besides Steyn and his entourage get the sense that the Europeans are busy exulting in US failure in Iraq while their own economic house slowly diminishes?

Maybe what Europe needs is more mothers and fewer nannies? Or super-nannies like Segolene?

Is Russia Ready for the WTO?

The Financial Times has a piece today about Russia, already a member of the G-8, succumbing to massive corruption which puts it on a world scale down with Nigeria and Sierra Leone, according to Transparency International. The OECD study on Russia simply describes the country as:
Bribing tax, fire, construction and almost any other inspectors has become a regular feature of doing business in Russia and kickbacks to officials in return for awarding lucrative state contracts have become particular prominent.

Large Russian businesses regularly contribute to various charity funds run by state enforcement bodies. However, the heaviest burden falls on small and medium-size business, which report that 8.5 per cent of the cost of doing business in Russia goes towards overcoming administrative barriers. "Building an honest, effective public administration is arguably the most important structural reform priority in Russia," the OECD finds.

The pervasive nature of corruption in Russia means that it affects every aspect of everyday life from renewing a passport to dealing with traffic police, according to the report.

As one Russian observer put it: "In the past you had to pay the bureaucrats to bend the rules. Now you have to pay them to do their job."

A joint survey by the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has also recorded an increase in the number of "unofficial payments" for licences and state procurement contracts. The OECD has the following summary of its findings, enumerated by the FT:
....instead of improving the poor quality of public administration, Moscow has focused more on amassing assets in strategic sectors of the economy, increasing corruption and opacity. The OECD attributes some of the "pathologies" in Russian bureaucracy to its Soviet inheritance, but others have been developed over the past 15 years.

The problem of weak institutions in Russia is combined with unchecked powers in some officials. "The patronage dispensed by individual officials – particularly those managing state property or large financial flows – can be enormous, [allowing them] to pursue narrow private or political ends." In some cases, "the ties between state bodies and private sector interests are so close as to raise questions about state capture," the OECD says.

Government attempts to reform the civil and administrative services have been so far limited to reorganising structures and redefining roles, rather than developing civil society institutions. "The biggest single weakness of government’s efforts is the lack of attention devoted to citizens’ ability to defend their rights when in conflict with the bureaucracy," the OECD says.

The expansion of state ownership – one of the main trends in Russian economy – will contribute to corruption, rent-seeking and opacity, it says.

Looks like the poison that venomous little KGB chief Putin is administering to his political enemies is also circulating, in a metaphorical manner, throughout the Russian economy.

Chicago: You Just Can't Make These Things Up

Mayor Richard Daley may want to consider house-cleaning. Maybe Chicago's mayor should start with his chairperson of Special Events. Read on and scratch your head in wonder:
A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event. The decision had both the studio and a prominent Christian group shaking their heads.

"The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ," said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association, a group of more than 11,000 churches of various denominations. "It's tantamount to celebrating Lincoln's birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln."

He also said that there is a nativity scene in Daley Plaza - and that some vendors at the festival sell items related to the nativity.

The city does not want to appear to endorse one religion over another, said Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Special Events. She acknowledged there is a nativity scene, but also said there will be representations of other faiths, including a Jewish menorah, all put up by private groups. She stressed that the city did not order organizers to drop the studio as a sponsor.

"Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza," Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement.

The sleepyheads at the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, which has organized the event for several years, did not immediately return calls for comment. I guess they were snoozing after a large helping of noodles and strudel. It may take them a while to realize the fun people are having at their expense.

But another Greek-American besides Cindy is in the mix:
An executive vice president with New Line Cinema, Christina Kounelias, said the studio's plan to spend $12,000 in Chicago was part of an advertising campaign around the country. Kounelias said that as far as she knew, the Chicago festival was the only instance where the studio was turned down.

Kounelias said she finds it hard to believe that non-Christians who attended something called Christkindlmarket would be surprised or offended by the presence of posters, brochures and other advertisements of the movie.

"One would assume that if (people) were to go to Christkindlmarket, they'd know it is about Christmas," she said.

Unless, of course, one works for Mayor Daley's Special Events office, where the chief job skill required appears to be complete and utter cluelessness.

Monday, November 27, 2006

NYC Crime Goes Down, Giuliani to Blame?

Rudy Giuliani had the incredible insight that enforcing laws on the books would drive down crime in NYC. Those who jumped subway gates and wiped windshields demanding dollar bills were arrested or forced off the streets.

And the Quinnipiac Poll has just released the results of the most popular politicians in the USA. Guess who sits at the very top? Rudy, the Great Giuliani. The man who will not compromise with crime or criminal terrorists.

The sad truth is that Rudy's popularity will not win him the presidential nomination. The next three most popular pols are McCain, Obama and Condi Rice. Except for Obama, who might be asked to be VP because of his age, none of the above may be among the top two candidates because of the mossback nature of the Republicans.

Actually, a McCain/Lieberman ticket would probably sweep in a Republican Congress on its coat-tails, but again, perhaps far too daring for the party of Rove's imagination.

Even Mitt Romney might have problems, but perhaps the Republicans have learned from the mid-terms and will realize that a move toward the middle will be necessary to ensure that the GOP does not become a permanent fringe party.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mark Steyn vs. Ralph Peters: Round One

Powerline has a good tennis match between Ralph Peters, whom I have favorably commented on heretofore, and Mark Steyn, one of my favorite columnists.

The subject: Whether Europe is choosing a suicide/genocide mode of bowing out of history's headlines as they reproduce themselves into a minority while immigrant Muslims proliferate like rabbits.

But first, Mark Steyn unmasks the fatuous imbecility that passes for Episcopalian "thinking" on this matter by quoting the new head "bishop" of this protean amorphous collection of buildings on expensive property that happens to be tax-exmept.
Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"
"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"

"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

Insular smug snobbery has always characterized that establishment, but what about real Christians? And their lassitude-laden, languorous homeland? Ralph Peters:
Have the Europeans become too soft for that sort of thing? Has narcotic socialism destroyed their ability to hate? Is their atheism a prelude to total surrender to faith-intoxicated Muslim jihadis?
The answer to all of the above questions is a booming "No!" The Europeans have enjoyed a comfy ride for the last 60 years - but the very fact that they don't want it to stop increases their rage and sense of being besieged by Muslim minorities they've long refused to assimilate (and which no longer want to assimilate).

Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having babies, Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time. When a third of French voters have demonstrated their willingness to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front - a party that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem like Human Rights Watch - all predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.

I have no difficulty imagining a scenario in which U.S. Navy ships are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims. After all, we were the only ones to do anything about the slaughter of Muslims in the Balkans.

Narcosis of the nanny-state indeed has eroded whatever the Euroweenies inherited after they tore themselves apart during two of the worst wars ever. Bled white in some countries and demoralized for collaborating [famously, the Dutch and Belgians and French] with Hitler, the Euros are doing a noisy recessional while crowing about their economic growth [read the FT for the latest hallucinations].

But Peters himself appears to be trying to re-position himself after stoutly supporting the Iraq Expedition. He now has second thoughts and is trying to do a Fukuyama as he sidles away from previous positions close to the neo-cons. But Mark Steyn has personally responded to Peters' article as well as in the Chicago Sun Times today.
I don’t know whether Mr Peters is referring to my book, because, as usual when this particular columnist comes out swinging, he prefers to confront unnamed generalized opponents: thus, he refers to “a rash of pop pundits” predicting Europe will become Eurabia. Dismissing with airy condescension “a rash” of anonymities means you avoid having to deal with specific arguments.

Had he read America Alone, for example, he would know that I do, indeed, foresee a revival of Fascism in Europe. He concludes: “All predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.” Which of us predicted anything about “going gently”? As I write on page 105 of my book: “It’s true that there are many European populations reluctant to go happily into the long Eurabian night.” What I point out, though, is that, even if you’re hot for a new Holocaust, demography tells. There are no Hitlers to hand. When Mr Peters cites the success of Jean Marie Le Pen’s National Front, he overlooks not only Le Pen’s recent overtures to Muslims but also the fact that M Le Pen is pushing 80. As a general rule, when 600 octogenarians are up against 200 teenagers, bet on the teens. In five or ten years’ time, who precisely is going to organize mass deportations from French cities in which the native/Muslim youth-population ratio is already – right now - 55/45?

As I’ve said innumerable times, the native European population is split three ways: some will leave, as the Dutch (and certain French) are already doing; some will shrug and go along with the Islamization of the continent, as the ever-accelerating number of conversions suggests; and so the ones left to embrace Fascism will be a minority of an aging population. It will be bloody and messy, as I write in America Alone, but it will not alter the final outcome. If you don’t breed, you can’t influence the future. And furthermore a disinclination to breed is a good sign you don’t care much about the future. That’s why the Spaniards, who fought a brutal bloody civil war for their country in the 1930s, folded instantly after those Madrid bombings. When you’ve demographically checked out of the future, why fight for it?

Ralph Peters is late to this debate. If he’s going to join the discussion, he might do better to tackle the facts. But that would require him to acknowledge real specifics rather than "a rash of pop pundits." You’ll notice that his column and mine differ not just in their approach to worldviews but in their approach to argument: mine cites four specific persons, their actions and assertions; his boldly batters anonymous generalizations. I know which I regard as more effective.

I'd like to see Christopher Hitchens and Fouad Ajami add some spice to this cous-cous dish, but we had better convert back to Christianity by the numbers and not by rapidly diminishing "stewards of the earth" on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Is Realism Better than Idealism?

Philip Stephens has a photo of him in the Financial Times that portrays the flaccid smug countenance of establishment superiority. He has been transforming himself into a Global Warming expert in recent weeks with much sound and fury, along with supercilious comments on American society, culture, and foreign policy that would put him right in the middle of the Euroweenie pantheon. However, he recants some of his views in the Friday FT:
It is not hard to imagine the form a realist US foreign policy might take. A bargain with Russia, for example, might ignore Vladimir Putin’s disdain for democracy. Instead, the US would secure Moscow’s co-operation in countering Iran’s nuclear ambitions and seeking to stabilise the Middle East by ending its already faltering efforts to promote democracy on Russia’s periphery. Ukraine and Georgia would be returned to Moscow’s sphere. As for Syria, why not strike a deal that acknowledges its interests in Lebanon? After all, the US has conspired before in Syria’s occupation of Lebanon.

I am not predicting these policy shifts. But it is as well to understand the dark side of a values-blind foreign policy. This was the frame of mind that saw the west arm the jihadists in Afghanistan during the 1980s – and then leave that country to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It was realism, too, that saw Europe and the US stand by as the Balkans fell to ethnic slaughter.

The means by which the US has promoted its democracy agenda can be criticised on many counts. But the debacle in Iraq, the inconsistency of application and the failures of understanding have been about means rather than ends. There is no long-term trade-off between realism and idealism. The spread of democracy is the surest guarantor of security and prosperity. That is something we will understand again after a few years of so-called realism.

So, the Democrats have won the electoral battle, but the long-term battle of what we used to call hearts-and-minds remains to be fought.

Why the Neo-Con Wilsonian POV Failed in Iraq

Bush's Decision to Invade Iraq was based on a number of geopolitical motives. Perhaps the least of these was to promote "democracy," but after the WMD was not found and Saddam's nuke program discovered to be nowhere near what it was thought to be, the promotion of democracy became an tiny intellectual fig leaf hiding a whole lot of reasons for aggression. Francis Fukuyama recently discovered that he was no longer a neo-con and has some second thoughts outlined here, as described in the link above[h/t Belgravia Dispatch]:
The first thing to say is that fighting terror by promoting democracy makes little sense as a justification of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Although the lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia and Egypt may indirectly fuel anti-Western jihad, in Iraq it has never done so. In non-democratic countries with which the US is allied (such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt), anti-regime violence naturally escalates or swerves into anti-American violence. The idea that a lack of democracy in countries overtly hostile to the US (such as Saddam’s Iraq or contemporary Iran) will have such an effect is logically implausible and unsupported by historical evidence.

To argue that creating democracy in Iraq will help defeat Islamic terrorism is to bank on a multi-stage process by which democracy, once established in Iraq, will spread to Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc by force of its inspiring example. Only then, after neighbouring dominoes (including governments allied with the US) begin to fall, would the democratisation of Iraq contribute seriously to draining the terrorists’ proverbial recruitment pool. Of course, such political revolutions, in the unlikely event that they actually erupted, would be wholly impossible to control or steer. That is reason enough to doubt that Cheney or Rumsfeld, for example, ever took seriously this frivolous bit of neo-con futurology.

The idea of a democratic cure for terrorism assumes that there are two separate causes of anti-American jihad: Middle Eastern autocracy, and unprincipled or opportunistic American backing for it. Anti-American jihad would subside, the theory implies, if either condition could be eliminated. Thus, the neo-con rationale for regime change in the Middle East seemingly justifies something much less radical, and presumably less difficult, than creating stable multiparty democracy in Mesopotamia: the gradual withdrawal of American support from the region’s corrupt oligarchies and oppressive autocracies. Putting daylight between the US and abusive Middle Eastern regimes should be enough to insulate America from the violent backlash such tyrannies produce.

Unfortunately, this pathway is blocked. The US cannot simply disengage from a region in which so many of its vital interests, including the steady flow of oil and the tracking down of terrorists, are at stake. Yet the paradox remains. From the impossibility of disengaging and the perils of engaging with autocrats, the neo-cons conclude that American interests require engagement with a democratic Middle East. The logic sounds impeccable at first. But it is based on the unfounded assumption that periodically elected governments in the region will necessarily be stable, moderate and legitimate, not to mention pro-American.

An even more fundamental argument against fighting terrorism by promoting democracy, however, is that no one in the US government has any idea how to promote democracy. Fukuyama accuses the neo-cons of chatting offhandedly about democratisation while failing to study or even leaf through the ‘huge academic and practitioner-based literature on democratic transitions’. Their lack of serious attention to the subject had an astonishing justification: ‘There was a tendency among promoters of the war to believe that democracy was a default condition to which societies would revert once liberated from dictators.’ Democracy obviously has many social, economic, cultural and psychological preconditions, but those who thought America had a mission to democratise Iraq gave no thought to them, much less to helping create them. For their delicate task of social engineering, the only instrument they thought to bring along was a wrecking ball.

One might have thought that this ‘remove the lid and out leaps democracy’ approach was too preposterous ever to have been taken seriously. But it is the position that Fukuyama, with some evidence, attributes to neo-cons in and around the administration. They assumed, he writes, that the only necessary precondition for the emergence and consolidation of democracy is the ‘amorphous longing for freedom’ which President Bush, that penetrating student of human nature, detects in ‘every mind and every soul’. Their sociology of democracy boils down to the universal and eternal human desire not to be oppressed. If this were democracy’s only precondition, then Iraq would have no trouble making a speedy transition from clan-based savagery and untrammelled despotism to civilised self-restraint and collective self-rule: sceptics who harped on the difficulty of creating a government that would be both coherent and representative in a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian and tribally fragmented country, simply failed to appreciate the love of freedom in every human heart.

Neo-cons, Fukuyama implies, seldom do the hard work required to learn about the evolving political and social dynamics of specific societies. Instead, they over-personalise any ‘regime’ that they dream of destabilising, identifying it with a single reprehensible ruler who can, in principle, be taken out with a single airstrike. But here again they walk into a serious self-contradiction. One of their principal claims is that a bad regime will have long-lasting negative effects on the society it abuses. A cruel autocracy puts down ‘social roots’ and reshapes ‘informal habits’. Thus, ‘Saddam Hussein’s tyranny bred passivity and fatalism – not to mention vices of cruelty and violence.’ It is very likely, in other words, that Saddam unfitted the Iraqi people for democracy, for a time at least. This is a logical implication of the neo-cons’ theory of ‘regimes’, but not one they considered, presumably because it would have knocked the legs from under their idealistic case for war...

...The proposal to pull Mesopotamia into the modern world, he says, is based on a facile optimism reminiscent of 1960s liberalism and publicly rebutted by the original neo-cons. Progressive dreams are bound to be dashed on the hard realities of social habit. One of the fundamental goals of neo-conservatism, in its formative period, was to show that ‘efforts to seek social justice’ invariably leave societies ‘worse off than before’. They were especially ‘focused on the corroding effects of welfare on the character of the poor’. All distribution from the rich to the poor and from whites to blacks is inevitably counterproductive. Progressive attempts to reduce poverty and inequality, although well-intentioned, have ‘disrupted organic social relations’, such as residential segregation, triggering a violent backlash and failing to lift up the downtrodden. According to the neo-cons, it is wiser to concentrate on the symptoms, using police power and incarceration to discourage violent behaviour and protect civilised values.

The neo-cons, according to Fukuyama, never explored the relevance of such warnings to US foreign policy. Proponents of the Iraq war, very much like old-style liberal advocates of welfare, ‘sought worthy ends but undermined themselves by failing to recognise the limits of political voluntarism’. Their failure in Iraq was just as predictable as the failure of American liberals to improve the lives of poor American blacks. In short, the plans of today’s idealistic hawks for creating Iraqi democracy show how utterly they have betrayed the neo-con legacy. Perhaps the deepest irony is that their enthusiasm for destroying the status quo and overthrowing the powers that be (without giving much thought to how to replace them) recalls the institution-bashing antics of 1960s student radicals more than the counter-revolutionary posture of the founding fathers of neo-conservatism.

Although the last paragraph by Stephen Holmes is a bit of rightie-bashing, the underlying problem is that when Clinton sent up the trial balloon of promoting democracy, under the guise of the so-called Tarnoff Doctrine in the early '90s, the balloon was blown out of the air by neo-cons and politicians like GWB, who thought "nation-building" a snipe hunt.

The switch to Wilsonian idealism by the neo-cons was always suspicious. Now it appears they are jumping ship as fast as they can recalculate their justifications to do so.

Politics By Assassination is Middle East Tradition

David Ignatius has a WaPo piece today with the following torso:
The Middle East needs the rule of law -- not an order preached by outsiders but one demanded by Arabs who will not tolerate more of this killing. Any leader or nation who aspires to play a constructive role in the region's future must embrace this idea of legal accountability. That is what the United Nations insisted this week, with a unanimous Security Council resolution demanding that the murderers be brought to justice.

Now the United Nations must find a way to make the rule of law real. It has chartered a special investigator, Serge Brammertz, to gather the facts and has called for an international tribunal to try the cases. It must make this rule of law stick.

But the killers always seem to win in Lebanon. That's the cynics' rejoinder, and, looking at the record of the past quarter-century, it's hard to argue otherwise. The healthy parts of Arab life keep being overwhelmed by the sickness. The more the United States and its allies try to support the forces of moderation, the more they seem to undermine them. Western ideas about democratic progress instantly produce deadly antibodies in the Arab body. The disease keeps winning.

Sadly, Ignatius is right, and it is predictable that the UN's "Investigative Inquiry" will submerge as the evidence and counter-evidence that crime forensics in the Muddled East produces surround the process. Professional assassins [remember the art form was invented in its derivation from "hashishiim" who killed the enemies of the Old Man of the Mountain while stoned] know how to cover their tracks as part of their metier and when caught, assassins tend to die quickly and unexplainably, so as not to reveal their paymasters.

Although Islam did have a cultural flowering from 850-1258, the political/economic trajectory of the Middle East has been downward relative to its neighbors since then. And one of the reasons for the Arab caliphs cession of their ascendancy to the Turks was that Arab caliphs rarely died a peaceful death. The Turks were able to counter this murderous tendency by killing all the brother-relatives of the Ottoman Caliph at his accession, and before that accession, sequestering them in the so-called Golden Cage. Read Lord Kinross's Ottoman Centuries for the details.
Ignatius ends his article on an downbeat note:
The idea that America is going to save the Arab world from itself is seductive, but it's wrong. We have watched in Iraq an excruciating demonstration of our inability to stop the killers. We aren't tough enough for it or smart enough -- and in the end it isn't our problem. The hard work of building a new Middle East will be done by the Arabs, or it won't happen. What would be unforgivable would be to assume that, in this part of the world, the rule of law is inherently impossible.

But the mass murders and then reprisals now occurring in Iraq indicate that assassinations have their democratized counterpart in civil war, or at least clan and tribal war on a broad scale.

Poor Lebanon merely suffers assassins who hide in Damascus and the mountains of the Shouf.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hyper-aggressive testoserone-charged whack-jobs provoke lawsuit

The Wall Street Journal has another bit about the super-patriarchal male-chauvinist dog/pigs posing as imam on a Minneapolis flight, where they knew they could get a crack-brained judge to cover their Sodomized behinds if they got in trouble:
Our item Wednesday about an incident in which airline passengers were alarmed by a group of imams praying in Arabic brought this interesting comment from reader Dennis Gibb:

Recently, my wife and I were on a trip to Europe and we changed planes at Kennedy Airport. When we reported for our overseas flight, we found that we were accompanied by a large number of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are a familiar sight in New York with their beards, long sideburns, black clothing and hats.

As we sat waiting for the flight, the rabbi with the Jewish men announced that they were all going to perform their normal sundown prayer early because they did not want to frighten anyone on the plane with what might, to the uninformed, have sounded like an Arabic prayer.

It is so PC that these supposed Islamic scholars have so little sensitivity to what is happening in the world that they would insist on imposing actual Arabic prayers on an airplane filled with people uniformed as to the reason or the nature of the activity?

This is an excellent point. Look at the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Web site, and you'll be hard-pressed to find any indication that CAIR cares about the feelings of Americans who, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, have perfectly understandable apprehensions about being on a plane with Arab men chanting "Allah, Allah."

We're not arguing that the passengers were in the right, only that if they overreacted, their overreaction was understandable in light of recent history. By demanding sensitivity while refusing to offer any in return, CAIR is behaving boorishly, abusing the good nature of the American character.

Practitioners of identity politics not only act like jackasses while insisting that they are entitled to sensitivity. They also claim to advocate "diversity" while demanding that others march in ideological lockstep. The Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., reports on one example:

It started out as a who's who of Twin Cities law firms joining forces to lure minority attorneys to Minnesota.

But the Twin Cities Diversity in Practice group set off a tempest when it excluded a firm that handled a pair of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging affirmative action.

The group's leaders said letting the Minneapolis law firm of Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand join the effort would hamper its mission: to make the bar more racially diverse. . . .

Maslon's managing attorney said she and others in her firm were mystified by the group's decision to deny them membership.

"We agree with their mission, absolutely agree with their mission," said Terri Krivosha, chairwoman of the Maslon firm's governance committee. . . .

The controversy centers on Maslon attorney Kirk Kolbo, who represented three University of Michigan applicants--two for an undergraduate program and one for the law school--who sued as part of a class action because of the school's raced-based admissions policies.

If Maslon itself had colorblind hiring policies, the exclusion would make sense, but Krivosha tells the paper that her firm is committed to "diversity": "We are moving on to work for an inclusive legal community and an inclusive law firm. Diversity is a bedrock of our firm." But the Twin Cities DIP group insists the firm be ideologically pure in its choice of clients.

The imams knew their provocative behavior would spark a reaction among passengers. These terrorist-wannabes are just looking for a lawsuit and know the enemies of America like the ACLU and CAIR will support them in the monkey-courts of activist jurists posing as judges.

Dartmouth Pussiecats Abjectly Capitulate in Sports

Just when you think you have seen the most extreme example of pre-emptive capitulation and abject self-humiliation, the Athletic Director Josie What's-Her-Name demonstrates why the Dartmouth athletic program is circling in the toilet on a soon to be downward trajectory. Here is an excerpt of Powerline's hilarious depiction:
Dartmouth College was founded by Eleazer Wheelock in part as a missionary school for Indians. For years its athletic teams were known as the Indians, until Dartmouth banned the name, the symbol and the mascot in 1974. Now a few Dartmouth Native American students have undertaken a public relations campaign raising cries of racism over...well, that would be difficult to say. Joe Malchow has brilliantly followed the train of events unfolding according to the students' script (beginning here).

On Monday President Wright weighed in with a message to all Dartmouth students, quoted in its entirety and discussed by Joe here. The contrast between President Wright's message and Joe's brief comments is not to President Wright's advantage.

Certainly the highlight of this installment of Dartmouth's Indian wars is athletic director Josie Harper's apology for the inclusion of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the upcoming hockey tournament at Dartmouth, and for all other travails ever suffered by Native Americans at Dartmouth. Ms. Harper seems to have been inspired by the apologies offered by Bill Clinton in days of old, for offenses he had not committed to those who had not suffered them. Thus spake Josie on behalf of the Pussycats in her letter to the editor of the student newspaper on Tuesday:

I am writing to strongly denounce the historical and recent affronts to the Native American community at Dartmouth and to offer the support of the athletics department in playing a leading role to combat racial, ethnic and sexist ignorance and intolerance on our campus.

At the same time, I must offer a sincere apology to the Native American community, and the Dartmouth community as a whole, for an event that will understandably offend and hurt people within our community. In late December, we will host a men's ice hockey tournament that includes the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. UND is one of 14 colleges or universities that continue to maintain a Native American name and image to represent their athletic teams.

Let me state clearly that UND's position is offensive and wrong. When we scheduled UND nearly two years ago to participate in our tournament, we did so without considering their team's nickname and symbol. Perhaps we should have, but I deeply regret that we didn't.

On Friday, as I was traveling on College business, a member of my staff met with the Native American Council to discuss our hockey tournament and to offer our apology for the pain that it will cause. In the days and weeks ahead, I will develop a specific and continuing plan to address issues of respect and tolerance within the athletic department as well as considering a policy for scheduling athletic contests against institutions that support offensive nicknames and symbols.

Zach Hafer is a 1999 Dartmouth alum, former member of the hockey team and supporter of Dartmouth athletics. He writes that he is not surprised "that the football team just capped another 2-8 season, given that the AD is spending her time meeting with 'aggrieved' students,' 'develop[ing] a specific and continuing plan to address issues of respect and tolerance within the athletic department,' and writing letters of profuse apology." Yesterday's Manchester Union-Leader devoted a good editorial to Josie's letter to the editor. The editorial quotes a UND official:
Don Kojich, executive associate vice president for university relations at North Dakota, referred all inquiries to the State Attorney General.

Methinks the lady AD doth protest too much.

The feminization of our athletic programs has now come to the point that Janet Reno rather than Fielding Yost or some real athlete is running athletics at the girlie-schools of the effete Northeast.

And the irony of the whole affair is that the North Dakota Sioux are probably proud to be the symbol of their state university's teams.

But Josie and the femi-nazi daughters of that Greek isle that begins with an L would never take that into account.

No wonder the Ivy League only attracts the feminized parts of the student body, regardless of gender. But Jules Crittenden has the final word:
[V]ictimhood is a trap, every bit as vile and destructive as the trap of subjugating others that we now reject. They are traps that ensnare us in the terrible past. Whatever we might have come from, we are the survivors now, who hopefully have moved beyond that. And for that, today, we should be thankful.

But you can be sure that the girlie-boys in the Ivy Schools will continue to be victims whenever they play real men outside their conference.

George W. Bush Ends as a Disaster

John Podhoretz is not one of my favorite righties, but his New York Post piece today outlines some of the vast obstacles that must be overcome because of GWB's catastrophic miscalculations. First, his last thoughts:
Conservatives will be arguing over the meaning of the defeat and how to change things for the better. But we need to understand a key aspect of the defeat - a cultural aspect.

For decades, Americans whose lives did not revolve around politics believed that Democrats were trying to use politics to revise the rules of society - to force America to "evolve" in a Left-liberal direction.

They didn't like the bossiness implied by this attitude and they were appalled by the unintended consequences of the changes instituted by left-liberals, mainly when it came to confiscatory tax policy and the refusal to maintain social order and safe streets. These consequences were marks of profound incompetence in the management of the country, and the Democrats were punished for it.

But over in the past few years, Americans began to get the sense that Republicans had become the party of social revision - that it had allowed its own ideological predilections to run riot and that a new form of political correctness had overtaken the party that had seemed more sensible and more in line with their way of thinking.

And, of course, there was and is Iraq. On all sides, partisans are trying to make the case that the election didn't revolve around Iraq. But it did, at least in this sense: Can anyone doubt that if we had won in Iraq in 2005, Republicans would have strengthened their hold on Congress in 2006 rather than losing both Houses? That voters would have rewarded the party of George W. Bush rather than delivering the "thumpin'" of a lifetime?

I agree with Podhoretz that Iraq was the tipping point. Could this have been avoided? Probably not.

But George W. Bush spent the last two weeks incessantly following the Democrat playbook---the Dems were feverish about keeping Iraq front and center in the final weeks of the campaign. Emanuel was losing sleep, according to the fawning MSM media, over the fact that some Dems were straying from the Iraq game-plan.

What did super-brain George W. do? Did he tout a record economy with the highest Dow and the lowest unemployment in decades? Did he note US GDP rising 21% in the last five years, according to Financial Times statistics? Did he incessantly and ceaselessly point out the absolute-zero number of terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11?The answer to the questions above is, no.

Instead, GWB time after time exhorted his voting base about Iraq. Every nite, the broadcast and cable TV news had him red-faced ranting about Iraq. Why did he play directly into Rahm Emanuel and the DNC's one area that they publicly and openly said had to be stressed and obsessed over publicly for them to get a large electoral victory? And why didn't he fire Rumsfeld a couple of months before the final laps of the election campaign?

Inquiring minds would love to know, but the answer is clear. John Kerry may have had lower grades than GWBush at Yale. But Kerry wasn't that much dumber on the campaign trail. George W. Bush did everything wrong in the final months of this election campaign. And he can repent for the next two years as his only refuge will be his veto power. We are stuck with the duck, the lamest duck in living memory---unless the feckless Carter and his Rose-Garden strategy are recalled [he was so stupid that he did this while not a lame duck], and Jimmy Carter is the only president in my lifetime dumber than George W. Bush.

Chinese Takeout

Chinese organ "donations" are one of the single biggest travesties in a world dedicated to hating the US and bashing Bush while Putin poisons his enemies, Assad kills Christian Lebanese politicos in a serial fashion, and Mugabe beggars his entire country while Darfur goes from one level of genocide to the next.

But of course, the BBC treads very lightly on these matters, which must be gleaned from more straightforward members of the Euro-press, which bashes the US because it knows, in its craven cowardly spineless fashion, that Bush won't retaliate as Putin might and Mugabe already has by banning the BBC from Zimbabwe, despite its kowtowing and ring-kissing of the Brit-educated tyrant.

So it was with a bit of surprise that I saw the picture worth 10,000 words, roughly the number of Chinese "criminals" executed last year, in the BBC link above. The assembly-line murder and looting of the very bodies of the prisoners reminds one of the Auschwitz dental crews prying gold from the teeth of gypsies and Jews and homosexuals.

Of course, that would be judgemental and possibly hurt BBC interests in China, so the text is laughably two-handed and easy on the murderous tyrants in Beijing.

Even Nancy Pelosi condemns the Chinese for its crimes against humanity, but the BBC is far to the left of Nancy and her SF peanut gallery.

O Canada, Your Turbaned Masses Yearning to take Over!

Canada is too close to the US border and some of the toxic seepage coming across into the Detroit area has infected Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, but I digress. Just when I think the spineless whack-jobs to the North are irredeemably twisted like former PM Chretien's mouth [and garbled gargling diction like Vermont Sen. Leahy, our Senator from Canada], a few great polemicists like Mark Steyn and this gentleman linked above give me hope that their brains are not totally Molsonized:
We might as well begin the story with that British MP, the bombastic George Galloway, because it was only earlier this week that Galloway, the vice-president of Britain's Stop the War Coalition and the darling of Canada's "anti-war" left, was on a whirlwind run of speaking engagements in Ontario -- one of which was a celebration to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

The SSNP is devoted to the creation of a "Greater Syria" that would engulf Israel and Lebanon along with several other countries that lie between the Euphrates and the Nile. For decades, the SSNP was known mainly as a shadowy terrorist organization distinguished by its practice of turning emotionally-disturbed young women into suicide bombers. But last year, right around the time Galloway was visiting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and praising him to the skies as "the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs," the SSNP was absorbed within Syria's ruling Baathist coalition.

If you're already wondering how any of this could possibly have anything to do with being opposed to war, just hang on. You're not alone. There's a reason, and it's directly related to what the historian Taj Hashmi, a former vice-president of the Canadian Muslim Congress, calls a "curtain of fear" that has fallen upon Canada's writers and intellectuals in the matter of addressing political currents at work in Canada's Muslim communities.

It's mainly a fear of being called Islamophobic, and because of it, too many people on the left in Canada have been reluctant to openly side with progressive Canadian Muslims in their struggle against elements that Hashmi says are "ultra-conservative and really, really reactionary," and which have found a particularly comfortable home for themselves in Canada's anti-war coalition.

'Enemy of my enemy'

"My personal view is that we should crush fascism wherever it comes up," Hashmi told me, "but many people on the left don't even see it when it's there. And one of the most dangerous things that is happening is that the left and the Islamists have found common cause, and it's very frightening."

Islamist doctrine -- as opposed to Islam, the religion-- rejects modernity and the separation of church and state, and counsels theocratic government based on interpretations of Islamic law. Earlier this year, a group of well-known progressive Muslims such as the novelist Salman Rusdhdie, Toronto's Irshad Manji and the Netherlands' Hirsi Ali authored a widely-distributed summation that described Islamism as "a new totalitarian global threat...a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others."

But are Islamists really the same as fascists? Fred Halliday, the Middle East scholar and professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, says he doesn't think so, but writing in the online journal Open Democracy, Halliday argues that it hardly matters, because just like fascism, Islamism is antithetical to everything the left has ever stood for. It is the sworn enemy of the left, "that is, the left that has existed on the principles founded on and descended from classical socialism, the Enlightenment, the values of the revolutions of 1798 and 1848, and generations of experience."

But if you regard the United States as a greater enemy of the left than even Islamism, "what you end up with," says Hashmi, "is 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.'" And that brings us back to the degeneracy of the "anti-war" activism represented by Galloway and his followers in Britain and in Canada, in their alliance with Islamists.

International Socialists

After several years of providing outspoken and unapologetic support for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Galloway was finally expelled from the British Labour Party in 2003 for inciting Arabs to take up arms against British troops. But Galloway soon found his way back into the British House of Commons (and onto the British television show Celebrity Big Brother, where last January he performed a "robot dance" in red tights, and lapped cream from the cupped hands of actress Rula Lenska). Galloway was returned to parliament for the London riding of Bethnal Green and Bow as an MP for the "Respect" coalition -- which is an open collaboration between British Islamists and the Socialist Workers Party.

The Socialist Workers Party has developed its own tortured logic for collaboration with Islamist reactionaries, and in Canada, the SWP's affiliate, the "International Socialist" group, has followed the same path.

You probably haven't heard of the International Socialists. They tend not to attract too much attention to themselves -- the last time IS activists were noticed by the general public was last year when they openly waged a campaign on behalf of ultra-conservative Muslim groups and against progressive Muslims, feminists and secularists who the IS accused of Islamophobia for opposing an Ontario proposal to incorporate Sharia tribunals into religious-arbitration courts for family disputes.

What's less widely known is that the key co-ordinator positions for the Canadian Peace Alliance, the Toronto Stop the War Coalition, and Canada's War Resisters Support Group are now all filled by members of the IS national steering committee.

One leading Canadian Islamist who regularly shows up in fawning IS propaganda, and who now routinely shows up in Canada's mainstream press as a leading spokesman for the Toronto Stop The War Coalition, is Zafar Bangash.

Bangash is not just some random, disaffected Muslim youth. A widely-published advocate of the form of theocracy embodied by the gay-lynching Khomeinist regime in Iran, Bangash heads up the Institute for Contemporary Islamic Thought, an Islamist think-tank formerly headquartered in London, and now based in Toronto, with centres in several cities around the world.

Khomeini supporters

Bangash is a disciple of Kalim Siddiqui -- the British Islamist most famous for supporting the Ayatollah Khomeini's death-sentence fatwa against Salman Rushdie. His institute describes itself as being dedicated to breaking the "stranglehold" of western ideas among Muslims, and coming to the aid of Islamic movements fighting for "Islamic revolutions and the establishment of Islamic states in other Muslim countries of the world."

Earlier this year, Hashmi and ten other prominent and progressive Canadian Muslims issued a warning, which first appeared in the Toronto Star, calling on all Canadians to reject the Islamist agenda and to stand shoulder to shoulder with Canadian Muslims to reject both Islamophobia and Islamism. "Islamism is not the new revolutionary movement against global forces of oppression, as a section of the left in this country erroneously perceives," Hashmi's declaration pointed out.

But Sohail Raza, communications director for the Muslim Canadian Congress, says far too many Canadian progressives have not heeded that warning, or are simply unaware of just how successfully the Islamists and their supporters in Canada have insinuated themselves into the Canada's "anti-war" left.

"We can't try to hide this anymore, and people should know what is going on," Raza told me the other day. "All this is making it very, very hard for us to do our work. There are leaders of the Canadian Islamic Congress, too, that are just as bigoted as the rest of them. These people are idiots, and as Muslims, we need to say it. And many of these people are very dangerous."

Fred Halliday and Maxim Rodinson [RIP] are two Marxists who are not buying the Eurotrash/Canuck version of a multiculti Islam as just another patchwork part of the quilt of nationalities and religious cultures on the playing fields of western civ.

But if you read the emphasized text above, you will notice that weirdos like Galloway, who is a corrupt fool unmasked and revealed as a feckless impostor by Christopher Hitchens in NYC last year, hate the US as the repository of Western values that they wish to dissolve and eliminate so an Oprah-fied nanny-state like the passive Finlandized Euroweenie social model will prevail everywhere.

Even some Canadians can understand that consumerized zombies not reproducing themselves---as Mark Steyn points out is happening in Canada, Europe and Japan in his excellent book America Alone---is not the answer to the great questions of the future.

Even smart leftists like Halliday and Rodinson figured that out.