Tuesday, February 28, 2006


On Negotiating With Fantasists

As seen today at Powerline, under the heading "Name Your Children Well":
Those who have been wondering why I'm so convinced that the Bush administration is wasting its time (and worse) trying to promote a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians should consider this piece by Joel Mowbray in FrontPageMagazine. Mowbray reports on the recent two-day Palestine Solidarity Movement hosted by the useful idiots at Georgetown University, and starring baby Jenin, who was named after the non-massacre in that town. As Mowbray puts it, "Palestinian partisans are creating a fantasy world so vivid and so rich that it passes as its own reality. This kills any hope for rational debate."

For decades, the Palestinians have succeeded at little other than persuading themselves and most of the world that they are victims. This success makes it unlikely that they will succeed at much else in the coming decades.
"Baby Jenin", indeed. How about a Palestinian politician named Hitler? (And let's not forget that, in the Arab world, "Jihad" has been a popular given name for decades. "Osama" has become popular in recent years as well.)

On the subject of negotiations with fantasy-world dwellers, I couldn't agree more. Imagine, if you will, trying to settle a dispute with your neighbor, over some contentious issue or other. (Pick the issue that speaks to you -- a troublesome fence, a dog that keeps digging up flower beds, noisy children, whatever.) Imagine getting together with your neighbor to talk things over rationally... and discovering that your neighbor has his own, completely independent version of history and reality, intended to make him look good and you look bad. (No, it wasn't his noisy children, it was yours. No, the dog that kept digging was yours, not his. Yes, he keeps parking in your driveway, but that's only because your house should have been his in the first place, driveway included. And so on.)

Imagine, for that matter, that your neighbor refuses to talk with you openly without threatening you and your family, repeatedly.

It is impossible to negotiate in good faith with someone who isn't even honest with himself. And that, unfortunately, has been the history of Palestinian - Israeli negotiations from day one. The Palestinians insist on facts that never happened (such as the nonexistent Jenin massacre; or the forced expulsion of "Palestinians" by Israel, when actually it was Israel that pleaded that they stay). The Palestinians turn moral comparisons upside down (e.g. that Israeli curfews and checkpoints are worse than Palestinian terror bombings). The Palestinians reinvent language to suit their own purposes (by claiming, for example, that self-defense against terrorism is itself terrorism, whereas terrorism is not terrorism).

And then there are the outright lies. These take many forms -- the bald-faced lie (e.g. telling Israel that the PLO has "renounced terror", as the unlamented Arafat declared many times); the peaceful statement in English with a call-to-jihad translation in Arabic; broken promises of cooperation and coexistence (such as the infamous Israeli-Palestinian joint patrols, in which Palestinian policemen kept shooting their Israeli counterparts). And so on, and so on.

Certainly, the Israeli side is not blameless; there are many things Israel (or Israelis) could have done differently over the years. (Each and every Israeli has a list.) However, in the face of the insanities listed above, Israel has done the best it could, to negotiate in good faith while protecting her citizens at the same time.

But you can't negotiate in good faith with a liar. And when your opposite number isn't even honest with himself, your negotiations are doomed to failure from the start.

Many people have tried to suggest new approaches to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; some new way to break the log-jam. Personally, I'd suggest that, as a necessary precondition to negotiations that mean anything, we need to cut loose of our illusions. Forget about Jenin; forget about Mohammed al-Dura. Remember Deir Yassin and Baruch Goldstein if you must, but understand that these isolated incidents, which were roundly punished and compensated for on the Israeli side, are matched to thousands of equivalent incidents on the Palestinian side (none of which were punished or compensated for by Palestinians).

And to break away from the illusions, the Palestinians must let go of their role as the world's victims. They have been autonomous for twelve years now; they have no one but themselves to blame for their current status. It is not the UN's job to dismantle the stinking refugee camps; it is up to them. It is not Israel's job to maintain their roads or their electricity, or to collect their taxes; it is their job. It is not up to Saudi Arabia and Iran to pay for every Palestinian's livelihood, or up to Israel to provide jobs; the Palestinians must build a working economy for themselves.

When Palestinians start to take responsibility for their own destiny, a great many things will change, all for the better.

UPDATE: Am I exaggerating? I don't think I am... and I suspect my buddy Sol would agree. Have a look at his recent post:

That's what passes in the Palestinian Authority for inspiring children's poetry these days. Palestinian Media Watch has much more.


Monday, February 27, 2006


Hamas: Know The Facts

Thanks to HonestReporting.com for making this available.

(In case you're curious, by the way, I scored 7 out of 10 correct. I missed questions 1, 6, and 10... and I could claim 10 on a technicality. Give it a try.)

UPDATE: James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web" makes fun of a headline from the Arizona Republic: "Egypt Cool to Clamp Down on Hamas". Mr. Taranto comments, "Israel was doing it before it was cool."



The UAE Ports Debate Continues

...and I'm content, for the moment, to continue to sit on the sidelines. People far better informed than me have weighed in on both sides of the issue, leading me to continue to think that there's more than meets the eye here.

I'll say this, though. At least this whole imbroglio has had one positive result for the country -- it's caused the Democrats to finally get serious about national security. After months -- no, make that years -- of denying that we even were at war, or that we should be at war, or that we should act as though we're at war, prominent Democrats are attacking the President from the right, on the issue of national security.

Welcome aboard, folks. I hope you stay awhile; this war won't be over for some time.

UPDATE: A number of servicemen and servicewomen have spoken up about their own experiences in the UAE (in Dubai specifically). Smash has weighed in, on the subject of enjoying cold beer and hot barbecued pork ribs while in port. I've seen other reports of servicemen enjoying Corona beer in Dubai -- bottled in Israel, with most of the label still printed in Hebrew!

As I said, I think there's more here than meets the eye. It's still possible that President Bush and his administration, in a display of unprecedented political tone-deafness, simply didn't see the problem with rubber-stamping a deal that would benefit a putative ally such as the UAE. But I don't believe it. Nor do I think that he'd threaten, more than once, to use his first-ever Presidential veto without a damn good reason. (Would he do so because he stands to benefit, personally, from the deal? Oh, please. He left Iraq's oil alone, but can't resist this? I don't buy that either.)

There's still a piece or two missing from the puzzle. We could be seeing the unfolding of Bush's most ambitious rope-a-dope campaign yet; he certainly has been known to give his opponents a little ammunition, just so that he can watch them shoot themselves in the foot with it.

(He's also made serious miscalculations; remember Harriet Miers? But please note also that he did wind up with two new conservative Supreme Court justices, including a Chief Justice, which is what he wanted. Did he get that in the face of the Miers debacle, or because of it? You'll have to ask him.)


Saturday, February 25, 2006


Only in San Francisco...

Discovery News: Pooch Poo To Power San Francisco
San Francisco is hoping to convert its dog dung into energy that may be able to power everything from an electricity-generating turbine to a home stove, according to Norcal Waste Systems Inc., which oversees garbage collection, recycling and disposal for San Francisco and several other Northern California cities...

Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but the city's estimated 240,000 cats and dogs leave calling cards of their own.
There are times when I envy Smash. This isn't one of them.


Friday, February 24, 2006


Cartoons About The Cartoons

Follow the link (hat tip: Instapundit) for some American cartoon responses to the Islamist responses to the Danish cartoons (which were, in turn, solicited responses to a Danish newspaper, investigating why illustrators were afraid to draw images of Mohammed).

Now, if we could get some Muslim cartoonists responding to the American responses to... well, you get the idea.

For some reason, this one in particular (by Gary Varvel) appealed to me:

UPDATE: Tim Blair quotes Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, in an entry that deserves to be quoted in its entirety:
Current political disputes aren’t the first caused by cartoons. In this 2002 speech, Australian treasurer Peter Costello tells the story of New Zealand-born cartoonist David Low, a troublemaker in Britain during the 1930s:
Low’s regular depictions of the Fuhrer caused enormous diplomatic problems for the British Government, but they were to prove remarkably prophetic. Throughout the decade he portrayed the German dictator as a ludicrous, vain, pompous fool with unbridled ambition.

In 1933 the Nazis banned the Evening Standard and all newspapers carrying Low’s work because of a cartoon he had drawn depicting Germany’s withdrawal from the League of Nations.

In 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games Low received his first request to tone down his depiction of Hitler in the interests of “good relations between all countries”.

In 1937 the British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax visited Germany and met with the Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who told him that Hitler was very sensitive to criticism in the British press, and he singled out Low for attention.

Lord Halifax contacted the manager of the Evening Standard to see if Low could be toned down. He said:

"You cannot imagine the frenzy that these cartoons cause. As soon as a copy of the Evening Standard arrives, it is pounced on for Low’s cartoon, and if it is of Hitler, as it generally is, telephones buzz, tempers rise, fevers mount, and the whole governmental system of Germany is in uproar. It has hardly subsided before the next one arrives. We in England can’t understand the violence of the reaction."

It wasn’t only Hitler complaining about Low. In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain singled out Low while appealing to newspapers to temper their critical commentary of Germany. Chamberlain said:

"Such criticism might do a great deal to embitter relations when we on our side are trying to improve them. German Nazis have been particularly annoyed by criticisms in the British press, and especially by cartoons. The bitter cartoons of Low of the Evening Standard have been a frequent source of complaint."
Weird to think, from our remove, that anyone would ever have taken complaints from Nazis seriously.
Indeed. One might be tempted to say the same thing about criticism from Chamberlain. He actually asked political cartoonists to be gentle with Hitler?

Please note, by the way, that this is precisely what furious Muslims first called for, when the furor over the Danish cartoons broke: they wanted Western governments to rein in their cartoonists, so that Muslims need not worry about being offended. (The poor dears.)

These oh-so-offensive cartoons, by the way, are not too hard to find; search for "David Low" at http://images.google.com and you'll find them. Here's one I thought was apt:

That appeared in The Evening Standard, 8 July 1936.

Back to the present: according to Tim, Mr. Costello has a lot more to say as well. For example:
Anyone who believes Islamic sharia law can co-exist with Australian law should move to a country where they feel more comfortable, Treasurer Peter Costello says.

All Australian citizens must adhere to the framework in society which maintains tolerance and protects the rights and liberties of all, he said.


"Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes,” he told the Sydney Institute last night. “This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks, don’t enter the mosque.

"Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objections to those values, don’t come to Australia."
Good for him! And I'm delighted to see that Australian Prime Minister Howard is letting Mr. Costello have his say.


Thursday, February 23, 2006


Dershowitz and Bennett: The Betrayal of the Press

If ever there was a non-affiliated bipartisan effort, this is one. Bill Bennett, a right-of-center talk show host (and former cabinet secretary in the Reagan administration), and Alan Dershowitz, a left-of-center lawyer, author, and law professor, have written an editorial together about the American press, and its abdication of responsibility:
We two come from different political and philosophical perspectives, but on this we agree: Over the past few weeks, the press has betrayed not only its duties but its responsibilities.
If you've been reading this blog, or just about any center-right blog, you know what they're talking about: the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, and the refusal of the American press to print them.
What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation.
When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press -- an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms -- would be among the first to surrender.
My hat's off to The Washington Post for printing it, by the way. (Or have they adopted a policy of printing words, any words, about the cartoons, so long as they don't have to print the cartoons themselves?)

Cox & Forkum had the issue nailed, almost a month ago:

American journalists need to ask themselves: am I in that cartoon? And if so, then what, if anything, should I do about it?

We are not lacking journalists with guts, to be sure. But we need more... lots more.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Two Links

Two issues of the day deserve comment, perhaps, except that others have said what I'd like to say better than I could.

On the subject of David Irving, who was just sentenced to a three-year prison term in Austria for Holocaust denial -- specifically, claiming that there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz -- I'll admit that I'm conflicted. Freedom of speech is very important to me indeed, and I strongly believe that the proper answer to poisonous ideas is opposing ideas.

On the other hand, Austria -- and Germany, and France, and Israel, and the many other countries that have made public proclamations of Holocaust denial illegal -- have good reasons for doing so. The Holocaust was one of the worst crimes ever deliberately perpetrated by human beings against other human beings, period -- and it happened in living memory! Whole countries were perverted to the cause of finding Jews, numbering them so that not a single one could escape, and then systematically slaughtering them. I have a hard time faulting these countries for trying to prevent themselves from doing it again.

(Israel is the exception here, of course, as it is for many other issues. Israel outlawed public denial of the Holocaust for much the same reason that she outlawed proselytization. Even if the world catches fire again, Israel has seen to it that there will be at least one place where Jews need not fear forced conversions, as European Jews have feared for over a thousand years. And similarly, when all over the world, Holocaust survivors are sickened by idiots claiming it never happened (often, in the very next breath, also claiming that it should have happened), Israel is one place where one can be safe from this.)

Is it morally questionable to convict a man, in 2006, for actions performed in 1989, under a law passed in 1992? Yes, it is. Am I uncomfortable with a man going to jail because of what he chooses to say and write? Yes, I am.

But no freedom is absolute. Even if a child is old enough to use matches, that child might start a fire that threatens to burn the house down... and her parents would be perfectly justified in revoking her freedom to use matches for a while. Germany and Austria once deliberately lit a fire that raged all over the world for six years, leaving destruction almost everywhere it touched. I don't blame Europeans for watching their sparks very carefully indeed.

But neo-neocon has said it much better than I could:

To Germans and Austrians the danger of public promulgation of Holocaust denial may indeed (especially when the laws were first passed) have seemed like the danger of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Likewise--although to a lesser extant--to countries such as Poland, who have reason to know the Holocaust in a way that countries such as Britain and the US never can, Holocaust denial may seem a particular affront and a special danger. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound;" and so it is much easier for countries who have not experienced such a cataclysmic upheaval to be absolutist about protecting freedom of speech.
There's more, a lot more. Please go have a look.

On the subject of American ports coming, even partially, under the control of a United Arab Emirates company -- well, my knee-jerk reaction is the same as everyone else's: how could an American President, post-9/11, possibly suggest such a thing?

But this issue isn't as simple as it appears. For one thing, security at the ports will not be affected: what will change is the management of stevedores, the people who load and offload cargo (who will continue to be American union workers). The company in question was, until recently, a British company; the company has been acquired by another in UAE.

Another important point is that, no, not all Arabs are alike... nor are all Arab countries alike. The UAE has stood by us in ways that few in the Arab world even dreamed of doing. An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal has a lot to say about that.

Naturally, the Instapundit has an excellent summary of all this... and I have little to add, except to say that I'm reluctant to make up my mind when it's quite clear that some vital details aren't in yet.

(My friend the Sandmonkey seems to be similarly conflicted.)

It may well turn out that this was a shrewd move by the President, in terms of international diplomacy... but in the short term, it looks like a public-relations disaster at home. It is also, as the WSJ pointed out, a rare opportunity for Democrats to move to the right of the Administration on matters of homeland security (or appear to do so, anyway).

I'm not sure whether to admire the President's audacity, or to censure his stupidity, for trying to push this through... in an election year, no less! Reminds me a bit of Truman's decision to integrate the armed forces during an election year -- an action for which he took a tremendous amount of criticism, as you might expect. (Truman's action was, if anything, even gutsier, given that Truman himself was up for re-election that year, as President Bush is not.)

We're in for interesting times, that's for sure. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Occasionally unprofessional Varifrank is on a roll. Start here and just keep on scrolling downward.



The War Of The Line-Drawings


Their commentary ain't bad, either. Go have a look.



Wife-Beaters For Sale

Oh, for crying out loud, people...

BOSTON -- Building 19, a discount store known for its quirky sales circulars, described a package of sleeveless T-shirts as "wife-beaters" in a recent sales flier.

NewsCenter 5's Kelley Tuthill reported Tuesday that even store officials admitted that the flier went too far. It upset advocates for domestic violence victims.

"I can't say what I thought. I know what I thought, but I can't say out loud what I thought," Jane Doe Inc. spokeswoman Mary Lauby said.

The flier advertised a three-pack of men's undershirts as "wife-beaters."

"That does, you know, go to numbing and dumbing down and normalizing and suggesting that battering is a normal behavior," Lauby said.

Building 19 spokesman Jerry Ellis took the criticism seriously.

"They were right. It was awful and I am sorry it happened," Ellis said.

E-mails came into the discount store's Hingham headquarters where everyone was apologetic.

"It's a slang expression, a street expression, but we should have known better not to use it. I am supposed to read every word. Sometimes it's busy or I am lazy. We are working on a retraction," Ellis said.
THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE CALLED, based on the stereotype that men who beat their wives often wear sleeveless undershirts around the house. (Another citation here.)

Reminds me of the Washington DC politician who was vilified in public, endlessly, for using the word "niggardly". (In other words, he was slammed not for what he said, but for what people thought he said... thus giving rise to a new trend: the tendency to avoid saying things that can be misconstrued by people with heightened sensibilities and poor vocabularies.)

Speaking of heightened sensibilities and poor vocabularies, I, for one, wouldn't mind hearing what it was that Mary Lauby thought. (Come on, now. Does she really think that more husbands will beat their wives, because they saw the term in a Building 19 flier? Does she think that men will go out in droves to buy sleeveless undershirts, and think that now's the time to finally start beating their wives, now that they're dressed for the occasion?) All we know now is that she can construct a 20-word statement with a 9-word vocabulary.

Sheesh. Get a life, people.

UPDATE: hey, a new reader!


Monday, February 20, 2006


Mark Steyn Provides Much-Needed Perspective

Check it out:
It's easy to be tough about nothing. The press corps that noisily champions "the public's right to know" about a minor hunting accident simultaneously assures the public that they've no need to see these Danish cartoons that have caused riots, arson and death around the world. On CNN, out of "sensitivity" to Islam, they show the cartoons but with the Prophet's face pixilated so that he looks as if Cheney's ventilated him with birdshot and it turned puffy and gangrenous. C'mon, guys, these are interesting times. Anyone can unload the umpteenth round of blanks into the bulletproof Chimpy Hallibushitler, but why not take a shot at something that matters?
(emphasis added)

By all means, read the whole thing. (Hat tip: LGF.)



So What's A "Hate Crime" Again?

Allison Kaplan Sommer
is following a horrifying story in Paris:
PARIS - The French police arrested late Thursday night most of the members of the gang that abducted, tortured and murdered Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew from Paris.
Halimi was abducted on January 21 after a woman came into the mobile phone store where he worked and charmed him into a dinner date. The woman had been sent by the gang, which calls itself "The Barbarians."
Last Monday, a few days after the kidnappers ended contact with the family, Ilan was found near a suburban train station south of Paris, naked, handcuffed and gagged, with burns covering 80 percent of his body. He died on the way to the hospital.
"They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."
Here is Ilan Halimi, the man who went out on a date and was tortured and killed instead:

Apparently, The Barbarians, a largely Muslim gang led by one Youssef Fofana, have done this before, with at least six previous kidnap attempts on record. According to gang members currently under arrest, they specifically looked for Jewish targets, and, in the case of
Ilan Halimi, made a point of trying to evoke torture scenes from Abu Ghraib. (Youssef Fofana is still at large.)

Yet the Paris police is refusing to consider the possibility of antisemitism:
But the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told Parisian Jewish radio on Thursday that "no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action."
To which I can only reply: they are blind, or they are stupid, or they are cowardly.

How is it possible, to anyone who has ever heard of the Arab-Israeli conflict, to see Muslim Arabs murdering a Jew in cold blood, and not at least consider the possibility of a politically-motivated hate crime? Has Paris forgotten its increasingly virulent antisemitism of the past several years? Has France forgotten her own obligation to her Jewish citizens, and to France as a country, to make sure that Vichy never happens again?

Or are hate crimes only hate crimes when you disagree with the perpetrators?

No doubt the Paris police fear to further inflame the young Muslims of Paris, by calling this crime for what it is -- an attack on a Jew for being a Jew, one which, if not attacked vigorously at its source, will endanger many more Jews.

(Speaking of which -- let me offer my thanks to the journalists who are determined to keep Abu Ghraib in the news. They're trying to embarrass the Bush Administration, in which they are not succeeding; instead, they have contributed to the horrible murder of an innocent. And I am very much afraid that there will be more dead innocents, many more, whose murderers will claim inspiration from Western press coverage of Abu Ghraib.)

Judaism has many prayers for the dead. The most common, the Mourner's Kaddish, in fact does not mention death at all; it is an ancient prayer in Aramaic, extolling the glory of God, and praying for peace. There is also a common Hebrew equivalent of "rest in peace". But under these circumstances, I think a different prayer is more appropriate:

Ha-shem yinkom damo.
May God avenge his blood.

UPDATE: Gloria Salt seems to share my feelings.

UPDATE II: According to Allison, Fofana has been arrested in the Ivory Coast. Better still, in response to a huge outcry in France, Chirac's government finally appears to be taking this seriously.

I'm not the sort to suggest that Fofana should be made to suffer the way he made Ilan Halimi suffer. Let us hope, on the other hand, that France can offer a serious deterrent, so that would-be 'barbarians' are not tempted to try this sort of thing again.


Sunday, February 19, 2006


God Works In Mysterious Ways

I've heard it said that, when God spoke to Moses, He used language (and vernacular) that Moses would understand; ditto, no doubt, for Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, and anyone else you want to add to the list.

It didn't occur to me to wonder what vernacular would be used when Jeff Harrell gets tapped. Well, now we know, I guess!

God has helped many of us when we least expected it. And, as the man in the movie says, it doesn't matter if you refuse to believe in God. He believes in you.

Way to go, Jeff! For whatever reason and by whatever means, it sounds like you're doing a lot better now.


Thursday, February 16, 2006


More Photos From Abu Ghraib

Yes, it's true -- here are more photos from Abu Ghraib that the American press will certainly refuse to publish, because they demonstrate just how depraved and insensitive American troops can be.

Here's one, to whet your appetite:

Maj. Lisa Flynn MD provides oxygen to Tabark Addul Rahman, aka Baby Tabitha.
Flynn, the general and vascular surgeon for the hospital at Abu Ghraib, was primary
physician for the baby. Photo by Maj. Brad Wenstrup 344th Combat Support Hospital.

There's more. Go check 'em out, if you don't mind getting angry at the unfeeling callousness of Americans at Abu Ghraib.

American reporters, that is.



On Anti-Americanism and Superpowers

Via a commenter at Jeff Goldstein's site (in reference to Jeff's "Iraq's WMD: What Would You Have Done?", itself well worth reading), we find this gem from The Futurist:
In any case, having a strong dislike for America, yet not having the integrity to be honest about one's true feelings, makes such a person easy to defeat through skillful debate.

There are many ways to do this...

...if someone you believe to be a genuine anti-American says they oppose the Iraq War because "there were no WMDs" or "Bush lied about WMDs", then you can merely ask :

"So if WMDs were found, would you support the war?"

They can either answer "no", to which you can say "So why do you obsess over WMDs if you still would have opposed it anyway? That appears rather phony on your part."

Or they can answer "yes", to which you can ask them "But Iran and North Korea are openly admitting to the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and are threatening to use them. By your logic, invading them is fully justified, is it not?"

Either way, they are trapped. This is so simple, yet very effective. In reality, they oppose any action by the US because they oppose the very ideals of the US. Yet, they are too ashamed to admit it, and so hide behind phony guises.
I suspect the answer, in the second case, would be something like "Yes, and Bush invaded Iraq, which was never a threat, and refuses to invade Iran or North Korea, which are a threat -- until I change my mind again, anyway -- which just proves again what a lying cowardly evil idiot Bush is."

Nonetheless, the tactic is interesting -- argue over principles, not facts! Arguing over facts is pointless as this stage, because the two sides don't even agree on what the facts are. (Is it or is it not true that, in 2002, the entire world believed that Saddam had WMD stockpiles? Yes, it is true, and it's easy to prove, if your memory doesn't go back that far; but you can still argue forever with someone who simply refuses to accept this basic point.)

That, by itself, is noteworthy. But the post goes further, in describing anti-Americanism as a superpower in itself.

This made little sense to me, until I thought about it a bit. After all, what do the anti-America idiots have to counter the juggernaut that is the United States? Then again, Stalin contemptuously asked, "How many divisions does the Pope have?" We smile condescendingly at Stalin now; true, the Pope had no troops, no air force, no navy... but was a force to be reckoned with nonetheless. And anti-Americanism has increasingly become a force to be taken seriously in the world.

More to the point, anti-American groups are joining forces... and we may well see more of that. Muslims all over the world are destroying property associated with America, even though the source of their rioting (the Danish cartoons) has nothing to do with America. Europeans are quietly distancing themselves from the militant Muslims they used to support, but we may yet see a change of heart again.

Just as Democrats rallied in 2004 around the idea of "anybody but Bush", we may yet see a significant portion of ther world rally around the idea of anti-Americanism -- whatever America is for, they'll be against it, whether it helps them or not. And we may yet see a world war fought over this.

Of course, the Democrats lost in 2004, in large part because "anybody but Bush" is a negative strategy against a positive one. An ideology needs to have more to offer than "the opposite of what the other guy says"... all the more so, in the case of an ideology that people will live and die for.

For all that people, from all walks of life and all parts of the world, have learned to love hating the United States, it's still the place that much of the world's people yearn to emulate, or to emigrate. As somebody or other once said, immigration is the sincerest form of flattery. And, as such, people fighting the very idea of America will be fighting against their own deep-seated emotional conflicts, as The Futurist's post suggests.

By all means, read the whole thing. It won't take you long.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


An Antisemitic Cartoon Contest...

...in Israel. (hat tip: Meryl Yourish.)

Well, that's one response I was not expecting! Not to my taste, frankly... but, as The Sandmonkey (among others) have pointed out, it shows an undeniable Jewish sense of humor about the whole cartoon kerfuffle (and the Muslim response to it). "We'll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!" said Sandy. "No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!"

Anyone want to take bets on the chances of a similar Iranian contest?

And no, I have no intention of contributing to this contest. But I wish Amitai Sandy well. After all, the stated intent of the Iranian Holocaust-cartoon contest is to "prove" that the West isn't as devoted to free press as it claims. I enjoy the thought of showing that, yes, the Western world is willing to go a lot farther than Iran is.

(Heck, only last week I heard an idiot from CAIR on the radio, claiming that newspapers would never print antisemitic cartoons. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry; the Arab world being what it is, chances were good that the speaker himself had drawn antisemitic cartoons and gotten them published.)

In an NPR interview on the subject, Amitai points out that the Iranians would never dare hold an anti-Arab cartoon contest... because they're lacking the self-confidence to publicly ridicule themselves (or their Muslim brethren in this case). An Israeli antisemitic cartoon contest, on the other hand, barely qualifies as news!!

Wow. What a crazy world we live in. And thank God for the crazies with a sense of humor.

UPDATE: Speaking of the Danish cartoons, and of crazies with a sense of humor, there's this, which Tim Blair reprinted from cracked.com:


UPDATE II: Here's a great Dutch animation, titled "Gevoelig" ("sensitive"). Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE III: GatewayPundit points out than CNN, when discussing the Danish cartoons at length, insists on pixelating them, so as not to offend -- taking some of the images directly from al-Jazeera, which also pixelated them:

But four days later, CNN, in discussing the preponderance of Arab antisemitic cartoons, showed many of them on the air. Did they pixelate them too, so as not to offend? Of course not:

How is it possible that CNN does not see the blatant double-standard here? And how can CNN possibly justify this behavior to themselves, other than to admit that they are frightened of Muslims but not of Jews? And what does that admission do, to whatever shreds of journalistic integrity CNN might have left?

(Remember, CNN is the organization that justified keeping silent on Saddam Hussein's reign of terror and torture, so as to maintain access to Saddam's regime and keep a Baghdad bureau open -- apparently unaware that, by doing so, they had become a mouthpiece of Saddam, reporting only what he wanted them to report. Perhaps they are similarly unaware that, by publishing only those offensive cartoons that Muslims deem acceptable, they have become a mouthpiece for Muslim extremism.)

Here's my family's take on the matter. (My brother-in-law Noam came up with the idea, and my wife Galit did most of the graphic work.)

(Not as good as this one, but such is life...)



Happy Valentine's Day!

Granted, that was yesterday; sorry, I was busy elsewhere yesterday, and had no time to blog. I hope you had a great one!

Anyone who's known me for a while, of course, knows what I was doing all day yesterday -- I was with an ad-hoc barbershop quartet, delivering Singing Valentines! In this case, I was filling in on baritone with The Boston Wailers, a local quartet that I've known for years (and with whom I've had the pleasure of singing before).

Altogether, we delivered fourteen Singing Valentines, all over the greater Boston area (including two at my office in Cambridge). Here's a photo from one of them:

The lovely lady is my wife. I'm the ugly guy on the far left.


Monday, February 13, 2006


Al Gore in Saudi Arabia

...where he proceeded to pander to his hosts by trashing America:
JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Former Vice President Al Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks [...]

Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions. The former vice president said the Bush administration was playing into al-Qaida's hands by routinely blocking Saudi visa applications.

"The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake," Gore said during the Jiddah Economic Forum. "The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States."

Gore told the largely Saudi audience, many of them educated at U.S. universities, that Arabs in the United States had been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable."
My God. Has the man lost it completely?

"The worst thing we can possibly do"? No. Far worse would be do is to encourage the very people who are exporting terror, worldwide, and teaching their poison in the United States right now. Far worse would be to forget that 15 of the Sept. 11 hijackers were, in fact, Saudis -- some of them on expired visas, which diligent law-enforcement should have caught.

And far worse would be to bad-mouth the United States, at a time of war, outside the country, speaking to the very people who helped launch that war against us. We don't air our dirty laundry in public, Mr. Gore; some criticisms must be kept within the family.

I can't believe I voted for this man.



Cartoon Rioters Kick It Up A Notch

...by scrawling anti-Muslim insults on a West Bank mosque:

Israeli soldiers remove anti-Prophet Mohammed graffiti from the wall
of a mosque in the northern West Bank village of Nabi Alyas.
Hundreds of Palestinians have staged demonstrations in villages
in the northern West Bank after hardline Jewish settlers
scrawled insults against the Prophet Mohammed on a mosque.(AFP)

Let's get one thing straight, right now -- the identity of the graffiti scrawler, or scrawlers, is unknown. This is admitted openly, in the second-to-last paragraph of this AFP dispatch, which nevertheless fuels the fire with its headline, "Settlers scrawl Mohammed insults on West Bank mosque", and with its lead paragraph, "Hundreds of Palestinians have staged demonstrations in villages in the northern West Bank after hardline Jewish settlers scrawled insults against the Prophet Mohammed on a mosque."
(Why were so many unwilling to publish the Danish cartoons, which were not really that incendiary at all, whereas a fresh anti-Muslim insult is unhesitatingly photographed, published, and attributed to Israelis without evidence? Where's the reluctance to incite to further violence now?)

So. Let's get our ducks in a row here, people.

First, an unfortunately necessary disclaimer: the graffiti is indeed very insulting, particularly on the wall of a mosque. (I have not yet found any photos of the scrawlings from the front. What can be seen above appears to say, in bad Hebrew handwriting, "Mohammed = pig".) I would not condone antisemitic scrawls on the wall of a synagogue, and I do not condone this. I would like to see the graffiti "artist" found and prosecuted, regardless of who he is. ("She" would be phenomenally unlikely in this case.)

Having said that, however, let's remember that we don't know the identity of the scrawler(s). (I wish I could say, from the Hebrew writing, that it was not an Israeli who wrote it; but it looks inconclusive to me.) We do know, however, that Muslim rabble-rousers have not hesitated to blaspheme against Mohammed themselves and attribute it to non-Muslims; it should not surprise anyone if this turns out to be another example of the same.

Yes, it could have been a "settler", hardline or otherwise, or some Israeli not yet branded with that now-infamous epithet. I will certainly not deny that possibility. But Palestinians have been far more eager to provoke than Israelis in recent years... and spray-paint scrawlings on public walls is a common medium for that.

Remember, this took place in the West Bank Arab village of Nabi Alyas. So let's think of logistics -- a Jewish settler or two, armed with a spray can, sneaks undetected into a Palestinian village, where, if discovered, he or they would most likely be shot at best, or perhaps torn to pieces, simply for being there. (They would run a different sort of risk, a legal one, from Israeli authorities.) Yet they manage to spray-paint their slogans without being detected, without arousing the attention of the mosque's custodian, and they slip out again, still without being detected. Sounds likely, doesn't it?

Alternatively, if we assume the custodian's complicity ("I was opening up as I do every morning and I noticed this writing in Hebrew," the 67-year-old [Osman] Zamari said... "I didn't know what it was so I went to tell" other mosque officials who consequently protested to the local military authorities [who promptly sent troops to clean it up])... well, then it becomes a simple matter of the graffiti being spray-painted by people who lived there, ran no risks from anyone, and could continue at leisure.

(Although the photo doesn't show it, IRIS claims that the graffiti included a Star of David as well, which makes no sense at all if it was drawn by an Israeli. From the other side it makes sense, though -- antisemitism is part and parcel of Palestinian discourse these days, and it seems almost impossible for one Palestinian to insult another without calling him a Jew. The rabble-rousers thus also have a vested interest in dragging Israel and Jews into the conflict -- heck, they have already done so, with their Holocaust cartoons, for no reason at all.)

So let's summarize. Although we don't know yet to whom to attribute the graffiti, thousands have already rioted because of it, and people have already been wounded because of it. It will most likely get worse, in no small part because of the eagerness of the Main-Stream Media to fan the flames.

And, while we have as yet seen no Israeli involvement in The Cartoon Intifada, we have seen plenty of Palestinian involvement... and we've seen Muslims having no compunctions about slandering their own Prophet for political purposes. Please keep that in mind, as ever more headlines blame this latest provocation on Israel.


Sunday, February 12, 2006


The Backlash of Free Speech

Michelle Malkin says: "The Cartoon Wars heat up on cable television."

I don't know about that; the war itself seems to be raging as ever. But now the voices defending free speech are being heard, thank Heaven -- and more and more forcefully, too.

Glenn Reynolds, for example, made CNN, and did not waste the opportunity: "You guys blew it", he said, telling CNN -- on the air! -- that they betrayed the principles of free speech and a free press, which they claim to hold dear, by not showing the Danish cartoons to their viewers.

(For the record, this is by no means "merely" a theoretical issue. Remember, the Danish imams published their own additions to the twelve original Danish cartoons. Theirs were far more inflammatory than any of the Danish originals -- showing a Muslim being raped by a dog, for example -- and they were falsely and maliciously attributed to the Danish cartoonists! But CNN viewers didn't know that. How could they have known that, given that CNN never released the originals?)

A transcript of the CNN bit can be found here. Powerline cited Prof. Glenn's best moment as follows:
My beliefs are offended when gangs of ignorant thugs burn embassies, and where is the respect for my beliefs? Do I need to burn embassies to get respect for my beliefs? Because that's the message CNN sends. The message they send is, We will reward violence. And you're going to get more of what you reward, that's how it works.
Amen! At the risk of repeating myself, my hat's off to Glenn Reynolds for making the most of his short air-time to make the point he needed to make -- that CNN has blown it, big-time, by rewarding violence and deliberately keeping their own customers in the dark.

Free speech, of course, takes many forms. I've uploaded my own poor effort to www.DrawMohammed.com, where it won't be lonely; there's a lot of material there, ranging from mild cartoons to the intentionally obscene.

Stay tuned. We have the fortune, or the misfortune, to live in interesting times.

UPDATE: Prof. Glenn hits it out of the park again:
As I've said, when you reward violence and efforts at violent intimidation, you'll get more of them.

I also think that if the press is this scared of Islamic extremists, claims that Bush is manufacturing an artificial climate of fear regarding Islamic extremism ring rather hollow.
...or, rather, if the press is outraged at Bush for (supposedly) trying to make people afraid of Islamist terrorism, perhaps they should use themselves as the prime example. "Here, look -- see how scared we are? We've become too afraid even to run cartoons!"

In the same Instapundit post, I find myself, for the first time in a long time, openly agreeing with Andrew Sullivan:
The fundamental job of journalists is to give you as much information as possible to make sense of the world around you. And in this story, where the entire controversy revolves around drawings, the press is suddenly coy. You can see Saddam Hussein in his underwear and members of the royal family in compromising positions. You can see Andres Serrano’s famously blasphemous photograph of a crucifix in urine, called Piss Christ. But a political cartoon that deals with Islam? Not our job, guv. Move right along. Nothing to see here.
Well spoken, Andrew. Thank you.


Friday, February 10, 2006


Jyllands-Posten in English

If you ever wondered about the infamous 12 Danish cartoons, and the paper that originally commissioned them and printed them, here's the Website for their international edition, in English. (Hat tip: Powerline)



IRIS Nails It

As seen on the IRIS Blog:
Here is a must-read by Charles Krauthammer that misses an important point:
What passes for moderation in the Islamic community -- "I share your rage but don't torch that embassy" -- is nothing of the sort. It is simply a cynical way to endorse the goals of the mob without endorsing its means. It is fraudulent because, while pretending to uphold the principle of religious sensitivity, it is interested only in this instance of religious insensitivity.

Have any of these "moderates" ever protested the grotesque caricatures of Christians and, most especially, Jews that are broadcast throughout the Middle East on a daily basis? The sermons on Palestinian TV that refer to Jews as the sons of pigs and monkeys? The Syrian prime-time TV series that shows rabbis slaughtering a gentile boy to ritually consume his blood? The 41-part (!) series on Egyptian TV based on that anti-Semitic czarist forgery (and inspiration of the Nazis), "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," showing the Jews to be engaged in a century-old conspiracy to control the world?
This controversy has nothing to do with fairness or sensitivity. It has to do with the insistence of Islamists on the principle of the primacy of Islam, and a second-class status (dhimmi) for others. We do not understand this because the West cannot conceive that anyone could openly espouse inequality as a principle.

Many commentators have pointed out the "hypocrisy" of this protest. The best of the "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" observations has been this one by Tom Gross: Drawing a Line Under Hypocrisy. Unfortunately, it is wrong. Hypocrisy means to espouse a principle and then not follow it. We are just not listening to the demands. Islamists do not seek religious sensitivity; they demand the primacy of Islam.

Muslim cartoon protestors are not hypocritical, hypersensitive or ignorant, as is nearly universally believed in the West. If it were, the solution would be to act with extra sensitivity and also publicize Western tolerance of Islam. Enormous numbers of apologies have been proferred so far, including a new one from a Norwegian newspaper. The greatest example of this approach so far was the Danish cartoonist who donated money from the sale of his cartoon to Muslims as a way of proving he means them no harm.

Here is a piece that makes this case explicitly:
Threats to kidnap European diplomats and the armed takeover of the EU offices in Gaza are foolish and self-defeating. Those EU offices have disbursed over $3 billion to the Palestinians, and are one of the few life-support systems they have. If a poll were taken among Europeans today, there would probably be a considerable majority for leaving the empty offices to the gunmen and keeping the money for deserving causes in Europe.

One alternative use for those EU funds would be an education campaign to explain carefully to newspapers in the Arab world why their vicious cartoon depictions of Jews, and their now hackneyed way of depicting Ariel Sharon as Adolf Hitler, is in appalling taste.
Westerners do not get it. Islamists do not care about what Westerners see as "appalling taste." Such an "education campaign" would have no effect. What is needed is a paradigm shift.
(some emphasis added)

By all means, please read the whole thing. Even if you disagree with it, I hope you'll think about it.

For, as unpleasant as it may be to contemplate a global Islamo-Fascist movement that couldn't care less about accomodating us, it is nonetheless an explanation that works uncommonly well.

Remember Occam's Razor. When looking for an explanation, pick the simplest one that covers all the facts. (Or, as computer scientists like to say, don't add unnecessary variables.)

Yes, we can explain current events by saying that Muslims are sensitive to perceived attacks on their Prophet and their Koran (but are nonetheless the world's worst perpetrators of far worse attacks against other groups); that apologizing to them and appeasing them will calm them down (although it never has before); that it is the West that has provoked them to violence (although Islamists were violent long before 9/11, and indeed, Muslim terrorism long predates even the founding of Israel). We can twist ourselves into pretzels to accomodate them with our logic.

But if you assume instead that the Islamofascists live up to that name; that they long for a totally Islamic world, and care not at all for other cultures in their way; that any temporary quiet from them is just that, a pause for them to gather strength for the next battle -- well, that's a very simple, extremely unpleasant picture. But it describes the world we live in all too well.

Islamofascists have said repeatedly that there are three options: (a) they will convert us, (b) if they cannot convert us, they will destroy us, and (c) if they cannot do either (a) or (b), they will wait until they can.

I, for one, prefer to take them at their word.

By the way, IRIS also reprints today's Cox & Forkum cartoon, titled "If Only", which drives home an extremely important point:

Why have we never seen this?

UPDATE: Clifford D. May's opinion piece today at Townhall.com expresses many similar sentiments. Please go have a look.

UPDATE II: Slightly off-topic, on the subject of not giving in to Islamofascism, there's this, courtesy of Michelle Malkin:
Students in the Copenhagen council schools shall no longer be denied the choice of pork when they buy their daily hot lunch in the school’s canteen.

Out of consideration to pupils with a moslem background there is presently only halal-butchered meat - and no pork at all - in the daily hot meals which are offered at a price of 15 kroner (appr. 2,35 US $) in the canteens of the 49 schools run by the council of Copenhagen.

A political majority in the council’s committee for children and youngsters now demand that porkchops and meatballs be introduced on the menu.

“We need to see more freedom of choice in the canteens. It’s fine with me that the ethnic minorities can have halal-meat but those who want pork should find it available. When it comes to food there are many minorities and they should all be accomodated”, says Jan Andreasen, spokesman on educational issues for the [ruling] Social Democrats.
To which I can only say: bravo!

Mind you, the original article makes no connection between this and the ongoing controversy over Danish cartoons. Nonetheless, if this is not in response to the Muslim uproar over those cartoons, why do you suppose this decision was taken now?

(The decision to only serve halal meat was made in 2001, by the way. Coincidence? You decide.)


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


How To Deal With A Nuclear Iran

Nile Gardiner and John Hulsman have an interesting proposal, which they seem to think will work as a last-ditch attempt to deter Iran: invite Israel to join NATO.

In contrast to that, there is a most thought-provoking discussion going on at The Officer's Club blog, dealing with military options -- Israeli military options in particular.

Personally, I lean more towards the latter discussion than the former. While adding Israel to NATO might well be an admirable idea in its own right, I don't see this as a way to deter Iran from much of anything. (When was the last time NATO united to defend one of its member-states under attack? Perhaps more to the point, when was the last time NATO failed to do so?) I also would not be surprised to see significant opposition, within NATO, at the prospect of Israel joining their ranks.

The military options, contrary to conventional wisdom on the subject, are varied. One commenter at The Officer's Club has already reminded us that "loose lips sink ships" -- meaning that we should not be war-gaming this scenario with the enemy listening in. Nonetheless, Israel does have many options open to her, in terms of strategic assets she is known to possess.

And don't rule out the United States. As many have pointed out, it is certainly not coincidence that caused Iran to have U.S. troops on two of her borders, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Personally, my expectation is that it will be Israel that acts to rid the world of an Iranian nuclear menace... but quite possibly with significant help from the United States. A lightning assault upon Iran, without warning, is not in character for the United States... but it would be very much in character for Israel. Israel has a long history of doing what needs to be done, without waiting for permission, and dealing with the consequences later.

Both posts are well worth your time. By all means, have a look.



A New Cartoon

Here's my (first) contribution to The Cartoon Wars. The idea was my wife's; the artwork, such as it is, is mine.

Comments are welcome. Please address all fatwas to the guy who represents me in such matters: The Hon. John F. Kerry, 304 Russell Bldg., Third Floor, Washington D.C. 20510.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has some other new, original cartoons about this as well. Have a look.

Hippo Campy
, on the other hand, has, uh, more edgy cartoons. (As one of his commenters says, he's asking for a fatwa. Could be.) Thanks to Roger Simon's commenters for the link!

UPDATE II: Lest I be misunderstood, drawing (and posting) the cartoon above was not an act of courage. It's just a cartoon, folks... and hardly anybody visits this blog anyway. It is highly unlikely that I'll risk anything, anything at all, for posting my artwork online.

Printing the original Danish cartoons in a national newspaper -- well, you wouldn't think that would be an act of courage either, which makes it all the more astonishing that only three American newspapers to date have done so.

This, on the other hand, is an act of courage. (Hat tip: Michelle again.) The New York Press planned a special issue devoted to the cartoons and the furor that surrounds them; at the last minute, management got cold feet and forbade them from running the actual cartoons. In response, the entire editorial staff resigned en masse. My hat's off to them! -- their principles were more important to them than their jobs.

In an e-mail, sent out by former editor-in-chief Harry Siegel, he says, in part:
We have no illusions about the power of the Press (NY Press, we mean), but even on the far margins of the world-historical stage, we are not willing to side with the enemies of the values we hold dear, a free press not least among them.
Amen. Sometimes it doesn't matter so much if your actions can make a difference or not; there comes a time when a person must take a stand.

UPDATE III: Remember the Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest? www.israpundit.com has responded in kind:
The Iranian reply to the Danish published cartoons of Mohammed - some of which are satirical - depicting Mohammed of the head of a -surprise- violent religion is to sponsor a contest making fun of the Holocaust.

I did not know that the Danes are Jewish and would have thought that a parallel reply would be to make fun of Jesus. The Dutch have agreed to show their solidarity with the Iranians by publishing the cartoons. Bonding by kicking the Jews – nice!

In any case I assume that the Iranians intend the Jews to be made fun of in their new cartoon contest. Perhaps we can turn the tables on them.

Here is my idea – a picture with in the background a concentration camp with smoke spewing ovens in the back, labeled Auschwitz , and in front in full Nazi-SS uniform – Mohammed with a bomb turban.
Oh, my!

Personally, I much prefer the idea of one of the comments to that post:
I wouldn't do anything to offend mainstream Muslims (who are not our enemies). Instead, however, we should draw cartoons that say, "This is how Islamofascists PERCEIVE Mohammed (or Allah)." In other words, our cartoons, like mine above, are not actual depictions of Allah or Mohammed but rather depictions of the blasphemous and evil ways in which Islamofascists use Allah and Mohammed to justify their atrocities.

Hmm, I'm beginning to get ideas here! Stay tuned.

UPDATE IV: Cox & Forkum have already published their proposed entry to the Iranian contest.

Personally, I hope they enter the contest more than once!

UPDATE V: My my, 2010 has brought in some interesting new comments!

I've replied to some of them in a new blog post. Enjoy!


Monday, February 06, 2006


Hey, We Made The Newspapers!

Well, one newspaper, anyway...

The Boston-based Jewish Advocate ran an article about Solomonia.com and the Jewish Russian Telegraph, both of whom were up for blogging awards recently -- and, in passing, were kind enough to mention this blog, in the context of the face-to-face meetings they had recently with
Sam the Sandmonkey, Prof. Landes, and me:



Sunday, February 05, 2006


Thanks to Emanuel

That's Emanuel Ben-Zion, who of late has been commenting frequently here. Thanks for blogrolling me... and thanks for pointing me to the Arab-European League website.

Emanuel points out that the delightful folks of AEL, when they're not trumpeting the virtues of Hamas or demanding a boycott of Israel, have begun running antisemitic cartoons... in direct response to the Danish Mohammed cartoons, and in retaliation for them. Here, for example, is one showing Hitler in bed with Anne Frank (a new low in utter tastelessness)... and here's another one, showing two bureaucrats struggling to elevate the Holocaust body-count to six million:

The cartoon itself is not that remarkable. (I saw worse than that when I was in grade school.) But what I find interesting is the commentary that goes with it, which I'll quote here, unedited, in full:
After the lectures that Arabs and Muslims received from Europeans on Freedom of Speech and on Tolerance. And after that many European newspapers republished the Danish cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed. AEL decided to enter the cartoon business and to use our right to artistic expression.

Just like the newspapers in Europe claim that they only want to defend the freedom of speech and do not desire to stigmatise Muslims,we also do stress that our cartoons are not meant as an offence to anybody and ought not to be taken as a statement against any group, community or historical fact.

If it is the time to break Taboos and cross all the red lines, we certainly do not want to stay behind.

Isn't it interesting that, in response to perceived anti-Muslim slurs on the part of the Danish media, they respond... with antisemitism? Where's the logic in that? "If you insult our beloved Prophet, we'll retaliate by insulting your Jews!"

To which I can only say: bring it on, sports. We Jews have endured far, far worse than your silly kindergarten chicken-scratching efforts. Even if you ignore the pogroms, the centuries of Jew taxes, the expulsions from virtually every nation of Europe, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, and focus only on the drawings... heck, we've had centuries of far nastier artwork than that!

I think the Jewish people have amply demonstrated, over the centuries, that nasty illustrations don't bother us that much. (With the President of Iran openly threatening genocide, and the entire world standing by and watching idly, do you really think we have time to worry about such nonsense?)

The Muslims, on the other hand, have amply demonstrated that they can't handle a few simple cartoons, without taking to the streets by the thousands, threatening to cut off heads and burn down embassies.

We're not the ones with no sense of humor, sports. If you want to do battle with cartoons, do your worst... and remember that we can handle it a lot better than you can.

In the meantime, do check out Emanuel's blog, if you haven't already. He's got some good stuff there.

UPDATE: Thanks to Sol for pointing me to this cartoon:

Concisely put!

UPDATE II: Prof. Glenn seems to agree with me:
Even in the satire wars these guys are outgunned.
Heh. Indeed.

UPDATE III: And now the government of Iran is sponsoring a Holocaust cartoon contest. These folks just thrive on self-parody, don't they?

And again I say: bring it on. There is no cartoon you can publish that would cause Jews to riot the way Muslims already have. (It would also be difficult to come up with a new idea for Holocaust-denial cartoons; the Arab world has been publishing them for decades.)

Bill Bennett made an interesting comment on his radio show this morning: Iranian President Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier; he's said publicly, many times, that he doesn't believe the Holocaust ever happened. And now he's calling for cartoons, on a subject that he claims never happened. Hmm... self-parody, anyone?

Oh, and do I really need to point out, yet again, that the original Danish cartoons had nothing to do with Jews? Have Muslims forgotten how to insult and offend people without invoking Jews?

Here's a gentle hint to Iran -- if you want to grab public attention, try not demonizing Israel, Jews, or Zionists for a day or so. Now that would be news!

(Later -- yes, I know that the Iranian cartoon contest is officially sponsored, not by the Iranian government, but by Hamshahri, the newspaper of the Teheran municipality. In a practical sense, it doesn't make a dime's worth of difference. NO Iranian newspaper is going to publish such a thing without at least implicit approval from the Iranian government... and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that, in fact, the contest came at the Iranian government's suggestion.)



Scary Hillary

Thanks to Instapundit and Doc Searls, I found this gem on Yahoo News:

Don't forget to vote in 2008, folks.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering about the linked photo of President Bush, it was this:

Wow. In these Yahoo photos, President Bush looks good... particularly compared to the Junior Senator from New York.

You know, I've been hearing people (some people in particular, actually) scream about a "vast right-wing conspiracy" in the news media for a long time now... but this is the closest I've seen yet to having actual evidence for it. I must remember to check Yahoo News again soon, to see if they balance this out!

UPDATE: On a more substantive note, John Hinderaker of Powerline notes that, as much as Democrats have lately been crowing about President Bush's low popularity numbers (which actually aren't that bad, given that he'll never be allowed to run for President again), Hillary Clinton's numbers are even worse:
Hillary Clinton [...] scores only a 38% favorable rating in the latest Rasmussen poll. 47% view her unfavorably. Further, only 27% say they will definitely vote for Hillary if she runs in '08, while 43% say "no way."

As I recall, 43% is right around where John Kerry's "unfavorable" rating wound up on Election Day, so Hillary starts out viewed with the same level of suspicion that it took an entire Presidential campaign for Kerry to achieve. I also think that some of the people who say they would consider voting for Hillary will think twice when it sinks in that this means returning Bill Clinton to the White House in some undefined "first husband" role--a thought that should make just about everyone queasy.

Many have speculated on why Bill and Hillary remain married. Personally, I think that he stays with her primarily for this reason -- she can get him back into the White House, and she's the only one with any chance of doing so.

Bill Clinton, with all the power of the White House at his fingertips, but none of the responsibility of the Presidency? Now that's scary. (And heck, I say that as someone who voted for him... twice.)


Friday, February 03, 2006


Utter Stupidity

This seems to be the week for stupidity in the news -- criminally so in one case, another the harmless I-can't-believe-anyone-could-be-so-stupid sort of thing.

By criminal stupidity, I'm referring to Ivory J. Webb IV, the deputy sheriff of San Bernardino County, California, who gave conflicting orders to a man, and on that basis shot him, three times. The man he shot, Senior Airman Elio Carrion, is not only active-duty USAF, recently returned from Iraq; he's also a fellow policeman!

The details of the story are murky. From what I've heard so far, Airman Carrion was a passenger in a car that was pursued, in a high-speed chase, until the car hit a wall. Granted, under such situations, tempers run high.

But so far as I know, the car in question was doing nothing more than speeding; there was no reason that I've seen for officers to use lethal force. Indeed, there's a videotape of the incident, and Airman Carrion can be heard trying to calm down deputy Webb, right up to the moment that Webb shot him, three times.

Airman Carrion is in stable condition, thank God. No doubt we'll hear more about this in time to come. But I hope Webb lands in a prison cell, preferably with ex-USAF cellmates.

In a more harmless case of rank stupidity, it looks like Michael Yon might have to sue the U.S. Army... over copyright infringement! Michael's famous photo of Major Dave Bieger, and an Iraqi girl named Farah who had just taken the brunt of a terrorist attack, was published by the Army without Yon's permission... and the Army claims that Yon is not entitled to compensation for use of his work!

Mind you, the Army has had few, if any, civilian cheering squads as powerful, and as effective, as Michael Yon. He volunteered to go to Iraq, more than once, on his own money, as an embedded free-lance journalist, simply because he felt that the story needed to be told. He's written stories and taken photos, this one among others, worthy of the Pulitzer -- and every one of them makes the Army look good. Now the Army wants to save itself some embarrassment and a few thousand bucks, it seems, by alienating one of the best cheerleaders it had in this war.

(At least, that's what Army lawyer Alan Klein seems to be trying to do. If the Army is smart, they'll fire him... quickly.)

Mr. Yon, for his part, is no dummy. He has not only threatened to sue the Army, he has also -- as a Massachusetts resident -- appealed to none other than Senator Ted Kennedy, asking him, as a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, to help him with this.

My guess is that Senator Kennedy, already smarting over his embarrassing Alito debacle, will welcome a chance to come out swinging and get some positive headlines again... and make the Army (and, by extension, President Bush) look bad in the process. If the Army doesn't settle this, fast, Kennedy will make them sorry they didn't kiss Yon's feet while they had the chance.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Where's General Honore when you need him?

UPDATE: Michael Yon's dispute, at least, has been rectified. Michael explains in his own words here.


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