MoonDawg's Den: February 2006

MoonDawg's Den

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The First Black Marines

As we near the end of Black History Month, I felt it important to mention the little-known story about the nation's first black Marines, thousands of whom served with honor and distinction in the Pacific Theater during WWII. They were known as the Men of Montford Point, which was their training ground in North Carolina (they were kept separate from the white Marines training at Camp Lejeune):

Despite the insults and the scrutiny they faced, the black troops scored as well as their white counterpoints in combat training. Of the 19,168 African-Americans who served in the Marine Corps during World War II, 12,738, went overseas in the defense battalions or combat support companies or as stewards.
Even more importantly, the executive decision to allow blacks to enlist in the Marines was a turning point in the history of civil rights:

Before Camp Montford Point was established, the blacks and whites in the United States armed forces had not been integrated. "But at the urging of his wife, Eleanor, and threatened by civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph with a march on Washington, on June 25, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802," said Carolyn Ferren, member of the Montford Point Marine Association. "It established the Fair Employment Practice Commission, which prohibited racial discrimination by any government agency. The integration of the Marine Corps marked the beginning of the end for officially sanctioned segregation in America."
While full integration of the U.S. military was still years away, the Men of Montford Point laid the groundwork for future advances. Imagine being the very first black recruit to report to a military training camp run by undoubtedly hostile officers and NCOs, as Howard P. Perry (photo) did in 1942. The bravery of Perry, and other men such as retired Gunnery Sgt. Reuben J. McNair, to defy bigotry and wear the uniform of a country that treated them as second-class citizens is still inspirational and moving:

With all the challenges of racism and intolerance the Marines of Montford Point faced, they never lost the determination and pride that it takes to earn the eagle, globe and anchor. "People have asked me why I would want to go to a place I wasn't wanted," said McNair. "Myself and other young black men in those days wanted to challenge the world and prove that we could do anything white people could do. I figured that the first place to show a change in the way black people were treated would be the military."
As it turned out, McNair was right - the military became the proving ground for demonstrating equality of the races. So take a moment today, and remember the Men of Montford Point.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Barney Fife, RIP

I didn't see much television over the weekend, and missed this sad news:

Emmy-winning comic actor Don Knotts dies at 81

I, like many others, grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show. Probably the funniest episode with Don Knotts was the one where Opie hits a baseball into a "haunted" house, then Barney and Gomer have to go into the abandoned house to find the ball. Needless to say, the pair do not paint any profiles in courage during their foray - especially since moonshiners using the house to ply their trade are manufacturing ghostly noises to frighten off the curious - classic stuff. We're gonna miss you, Deputy...

Friends for life

The sectarian violence caused by the horrible bombing of a 1,200 year-old Shia shrine in Iraq appears to be winding down. Fortunately that outrageous act did not spark the civil war that al-Qaeda hopes for, but it was still a terrible, tragic episode.

However my fellow Georgians from the ARNG 48th Brigade continue to create good news to help balance the bad, with small but important acts of kindness that will pay off in future goodwill. This month the 48th delivered new shoes to children in An Nasiriyah, which will allow the kids to attend school - in Iraq you aren't allowed into the classroom unless properly dressed, and some families cannot afford even a simple pair of shoes for their children.

A trooper from Jesup said that "We are making friends for life and that’s great for us here and for Americans back home." Judging from the reaction the 48th's soldiers got from the kids, such as the young girl in the photo here, I'd say he's right (of course, women are all about shoes anyway).

Friday, February 24, 2006

Craven Malaysians

Captain Ed discusses a development in the increasingly deranged Cartoon War: A major Malaysian newspaper, the New Straits Times, is in hot water with the Malaysian government for printing a cartoon that merely satirized the protests over the Danish Muhammad cartoons - it "featured a street artist offering 'caricatures of Muhammad while you wait'". But even this is apparently too much for thin-skinned Islamists:

It didn't depict Mohammed or even the Qu'ran in a bad light, but instead criticized the knee-jerk lunatics flooding streets around the world, killing people and burning embassies over cartoons. It shows yet again that the issue behind the protests isn't a blasphemous drawing of the Prophet, but a global instinct to violent reaction to any critical look at Islam or its practitioners.
A few years ago I spent a wonderful three week vacation in Malaysia. Certainly the government there is not a champion of free expression (imported Western fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan have their photographs censored - by hand! - with black markers, covering up any "naughty bits" that females in the photos might reveal, before the magazines are delivered to markets and bookstores), but it is still a fairly liberal country, where tolerance of all religions is embraced by the people - remarkable for a place that is officially a Muslim nation.

I pray that doesn't change in Malaysia, but it could given the cowardly response of the New Straits Times to the government reprimand. Instead of standing up for press freedom, the paper printed a groveling editorial saying "We should have been more sensitive - human error or not. So again, we apologise. And again, we will willingly accept any action deemed fit by the Government."

Such "sensitivity" will lead moderate Muslims down a slippery slope towards appeasement of fundamentalist reactionaries at every turn. As Capt. Ed says, "Once someone sells out, it becomes much easier to convince them to do it again."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Yul will be assimilated...

Instapundit brings us news of this NASA project, where a "Borg"-type hive of computers using artificial intelligence software have designed an advanced space antenna without human help:

'Borg' Computer Collective Designs NASA Space Antenna

Computers designing other machines by themselves? Didn't these NASA twits see Westworld??

First it's space antennas, next thing you know a royally pissed-off Yul Brenner robot is chasing you down the street...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Waiting for the outrage...

One of the holiest shrines in all of Shia Islam, the Askariya shrine in Samarra, was badly damaged by a terrorist bombing today. The 1,200 year-old shrine is said to contain the tombs of ancient imams descended from the prophet Muhammad.

This is an outrageous insult to the religion of Islam. Surely, all the thousands of Muslims worldwide who have been engaged in violent protests against silly cartoons of Muhammad will absolutely go ballistic over this far worse sacrilege, yes? It will not be long before vast mobs of angry Muslims pour into the streets to protest the bombing of the holy resting place of Muhammad's kin..., not long at all...

...still waiting...

...any time now, fellas....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush's First Veto?

President Bush has never used his power to veto a bill in his 5+ years as president. He threatened to veto the McCain Amendment that outlawed the use of torture, but when it passed 90 votes to 9 in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House, he was forced to issue a signing statement that basically said that the new law didn't apply to the executive branch.

Bush is now threatening another veto, this time of a measure to stop the sale of several major U.S. Ports to a United Arab Emirates Company--Dubai Ports World. This doesn't seem as ridiculous as vetoing a ban on torture. There are some reasonable arguments to be made for allowing the sale, mostly on the lines of a free market economy. However, there are some fundamental questions that should be raised: Why are we allowing foreign companies to own and operate our ports (a British company owned them previously)? How could this sale impact national security since our ports are already a weakness? Since 2 of the 9/11 hi-jackers came from the UAE, is this insistence by Bush a wise political move?

I'm interested to hear what the posters here at the Den think about this issue. I believe that congress should act to forbid the sale of our ports to any foreign entity. National security is simply not something we can outsource.


GARRY'S RESPONSE: Well first off, Jeff, we wouldn't be "selling" our ports, we would be extending existing contracts that we have with a company based in the UK, Peninsular and Oriental, to manage some terminal operations at these ports. What's at issue is that a firm owned by the UAE, Dubai Ports World, has purchased P&O. According to USA Today, P&O only manages about 30% of the terminal operations at each of the six U.S. ports in question.

As to the national security question, I don't think it's that big of an issue that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from the UAE. As has been demonstrated just this week, jihadists are everywhere, including right here in the United States. And the UAE has been a decent ally in the war on terror (albeit a squishy one, in the mold of Saudi Arabia).

That having been said, I do think there needs to be further discussion on the national defense implications of the P&O takeover. As James Lileks noted today, the deal "just doesn’t sit well". What kind of review process did the Committee on Foreign Investment engage in before it signed off on the deal? Did considerations about diplomatic relations with the UAE (I think this is what has Bush already talking veto) take priority over security concerns about having a foreign government involved in such a sensitive area? What safeguards are in place to vet employees of the firm? I think these are reasonable questions to ask.

World Cup kaput?

A parliamentarian who chairs the German government's agriculture committee warns that the World Cup may need to be called off in Germany this summer because of avian influenza, due to a "serious" outbreak that began there last week. Several hundred German soldiers have been deployed to the resort island of Ruegen, where the outbreak has mainly been concentrated, in an effort to contain the spread of the disease (this AP photo shows German troops decontaminating vehicles leaving the island).

Speaking of German troops, France has now gone on a "war footing" against the deadly H5N1 bird flu, which recently appeared in that country as well. Of course we all know what it means when the French go on a "war footing": you can expect them to sign a surrender agreement with the virus any time now...

Monday, February 20, 2006

The "Religion of Pieces"

The Cartoon War became deadlier over the last few days, with dozens killed in Nigeria as Muslim rioters targeted Christians and burned down churches, five killed in Pakistan when security forces battled thousands of protestors, and 11 people dying in Libya after police opened fire on protestors in Benghazi.

Meanwhile hundreds of Muslim rioters attacked the US Embassy in Indonesia, Palestinians burned more of their seemingly endless supply of Danish flags, as did thousands of Muslims in India and Turkey, and several journalists were arrested in Yemen and Algeria for even daring to publish the "offensive" Muhammad cartoons. There was also another protest march in London, and the U.S. saw its first demonstration over the dreaded drawings, as hundreds rallied at the Danish Consulate in New York City, where the photo displayed here was taken (via Gateway Pundit).

This weekend Mark Steyn had one of his usual brilliant, funny, and dead-on columns about what he calls "the religion of pieces", and related a chilling tableau from Norway last week:

Surrounded by cabinet ministers and a phalanx of imams, Velbjorn Selbekk, the editor of an obscure Christian publication called Magazinet, issued an abject public apology for reprinting the Danish Muhammed cartoons. He had initially stood firm in the face of Muslim death threats and the usual lack of support from Europe's political class, but in the end Mr. Selbekk was prevailed upon to recant and the head of Norway's Islamic Council, Mohammed Hamdan, graciously accepted the apology and assured the prostrate editor that he was now under his personal protection.

As the American author Bruce Bawer commented, "It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom."

More apologies and appeasement will only embolden the Islamofascists, a lesson many of our European friends have yet to learn.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What is the Real Question with the NSA Wiretaps?


In our last debate, we seem to disagree on whether or not the President is targeting "American persons" in the NSA Spying program. Troung and some of the other case law makes it clear that foreign surveillance without a warrant is fine; however, the FISA Court, as you have admitted, is still required for domestic wiretaps.

It seems to me that we are debating the wrong thing. I agree that statute allows for warrantless foreign surveillance. I think that it is ludicrous to suggest that we get a warrant to spy on someone outside of this country. What we disagree on is whether or not the government is indeed spying on "American persons." Is that a fair assessment of our debate?

My question, then, is this:

If we discover through hearings or investigation that "American persons" are the targets of warrantless electronic surveillance by the NSA and the Executive Branch, would you change your position on whether or not the President broke the law?

The reason I am posting this on the front page is that I think people on opposite sides of this debate are comparing apples and oranges. The question seems simple: if American persons are the target, the President has broken the law. If they are not, then what the President is doing is legal. Am I right?

Just a thought,

GARRY RESPONDS: I see from the comments that my friends Jeff & Alex have had a busy weekend! In response to Jeff's question: yes, if persons within the US (they need not be American citizens) were a) the specific target of a wiretap, and b) had wholly domestic communications intercepted after being so targeted, then that could be a Fourth Amendment violation, should the courts deem such surveillance to be "unreasonable". If so, then let the heads roll (in the metaphorical, not Islamic, sense).

Whether it would represent a violation of FISA is problematic - the statute has yet to be fully tested to determine if it is an unconstitutional encroachment on executive powers. Perhaps this will play out in the suit that the ACLU brought against the NSA last month, if the district court in Michigan allows it to proceed. If it is determined that there have been violations of FISA, the statute provides for criminal penalities of "a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both".


Why the caveat of letter "b" above? Why, if American persons are the target and their calls are intercepted without a warrant, is that not enough to say statute was violated?


Jeff -
Because existing Fourth Amendment case law clearly defines the executive's authority only regarding warrantless searches within the United States (and even then such searches could be legal if they meet the "reasonable" standard in the eyes of the court). But when it comes to warrantless surveillance of communications involving at least one party outside of the U.S., there has been no case before SCOTUS to clarify matters - however, the lower courts have time and again shown deference to the executive's inherent powers in this area.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Border War

StrategyPage has more on last month's "invasion" by what apparently were Mexican Army troops working in concert with narco gangs:

When he first came into office President Vicente Fox wanted to reform the military and police. He made some inroads. The problem is that the illegal drug business has bought many police officers and perhaps even military units. For several years the officers in the US Border Patrol have complained that many of the narcotics gangs along the border have far heavier weapons than US police forces in the area.
And more:
Mexico forbids the possession of military-type weapons, but the drug gangs have the cash to buy any equipment they want. The Mexican government now says its soldiers will not come within 5.1 kilometers of the border "without proper authorization." This could mean several things. One thing it should mean is a "heads up" phone call to US police and military headquarters across the border in areas where Mexican troops will operate.
Again I say: it's time to deploy our own Army to the border with Mexico. It's one things for these bastards to go up against CBP officers and local law enforcement - it would be quite another thing for them to mess with U.S. Army mechanized infantry units backed by close air support attack helos.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Time for Open Debate

I'd like to thank Garry for giving me the opportunity to post on his blog. I believe that one of the largest problems with our country's political system is that there is a lack of balanced and civilized debate. I hope that we can have both here on this site.

That being said, I think that most of what I will post on here will be debate topics--open-ended questions that deserve a serious look from both sides. Many of these questions will be posed from a leftist point of view--I am a liberal, of course--to a conservative audience, which I believe I have here.

Here we go with my first question (I'm still amazed that I'm posting on a conservative blog. It's kinda cool):

The following is a direct quote from President Bush in April of 2004:

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires a— a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

We now know that this statement by the President was not true. For nearly three years prior to making this statement, the President had been authorizing warrantless wiretaps on people in America, who are protected by the Constitution that the President says he values.

Now, I know the arguments from the right that warrantless wiretaps are okay. I disagree with them for a number of reasons, but that's not the question I want to pose. There are hearings coming at the end of the month that will further this debate, and I will post more about it then.

My question is this: I believe that a certain president was raked over the coals by the Republican party for this untrue statement that he made to the press:

I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time-never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people.

Why were Republicans so quick to demand transparency and accountability from the Democratic president Bill Clinton, but seem very slow to even ask uncomfortable questions of President Bush? Is this a double standard? Why or why not?

As people post comments, I will post replies. I hope that we can have a civil debate and get to the heart of some core issues that are affecting our democracy.

To read more from me, including my latest post on the Cheney hunting accident, visit my blog Confessions of a Mormon Liberal or my homepage, where you can find some of my fiction writing and music.


GARRY RESPONDS: Again, a warm welcome to Jeff, and please do visit the links to his blog and his homepage, you'll find them interesting I believe.

Regarding the Bush quote on wiretaps, my friend Jeff's premise is incorrect: the President did not authorize warrantless wiretaps "on people in America" - rather, the targets of these wiretaps were suspected terrorist operatives outside the United States. Given the broad swath of electronic communications that the NSA intercepts from these suspects (about 5,000 - 7,000 are monitored at any given time, according to the original NY Times
article on the program), it is not surprising that some of the intercepts will involve a party located within the United States.

But that is certainly not the same thing as making specific persons within the U.S. the primary object of such surveillance; as the NYT piece said, NSA "still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications". Perhaps the President should have been more specific in his statement, and instead of saying "a wiretap requires a court order", should have said "some types of wiretaps require court orders but others do not, and decades of established case law - not to mention legal opinions and executive orders issued by previous presidents - give the executive branch broad authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of electronic intercepts in protecting the nation from foreign enemies." At which point the audience might have fallen asleep, but what the heck.

As to Clinton, I never had a problem with that particular lie in front of the press corps. Politicians lying to the media is as American as apple pie, especially in the realm of sex. If I was ever president, my entire cabinet would be made up of Hooters girls and there'd be White House parties that would make Tailhook look like a Baptist (or Mormon?) church social. The problem was when Clinton lied under oath, induced others to give false testimony under oath, and suppressed evidence sought by the courts.

Questions for Garry:

In the same paragraph that says 5000-7000 overseas persons are monitored, the Times reports that "the N.S.A. eavesdrops without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time." How does this fit into your argument that American persons are not the "targets" of the wiretaps? These 500 people are put on a "list" according to the Times, and members of that list are monitored. Wouldn't that mean that they were "primary objects" of warrantless wiretaps?

You claim above that this program is supported by "decades of established case law." In that case, it should be easy to find a Supreme Court case that upholds the President's authority to perform warrantless wiretaps without a court order on persons in the United States since the FISA law was enacted in 1978. Alberto Gonzalez couldn't find one; would you please supply that information for me? I'll even take an appellate court ruling that affirms the same.

I believe that the "executive orders" to which you refer are from Clinton and Carter. Have you read the entire text of both executive orders, or just the snippet that was mis-represented by Drudge and other conservative blogs? If you haven't, you can find a good version of them under number 4 here (You might find the others points interesting as well).

Lastly, I share your cynicism of politicians lying to the media. I would suggest, however, that if President Bush were ever to testify under oath, he might fall victim to the same problems Clinton had. I guess he learned from his ill-fated predecessor.

I look forward to your answers.


Katrina hindsight

Instapundit points us to an initial analysis on the Popular Mechanics Science Blog that rips the draft report of the Senate Committee investigating the Hurricane Katrina response, finding it "riddled with poor logic, internal contradictions and exaggerations":

For now, though, here’s a quick overview of what seems to be the report’s most troubling shortfall: consistently blaming individuals for failing to foresee circumstances that only became clear with the laser-sharp vision of hindsight.

For example, the report states:

"Fifty-six hours prior to landfall, Hurricane Katrina presented an extremely high probability threat that 75 percent of New Orleans would be flooded, tens of thousands of residents may be killed, hundreds of thousands trapped in flood waters up to 20 feet, hundreds of thousands of homes and other structures destroyed, a million people evacuated from their homes, and the greater New Orleans area would be rendered uninhabitable for several months or years."

This statistic is referred to often, and refers to computer modeling of a direct Category 5 hurricane landfall in New Orleans. However, it's also a distortion. According to the data the Committee itself examined, 56 hours prior to landfall, Katrina was a relatively weak Category 3 storm, heading west in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next few hours, it began its turn north, but where the storm was going to make landfall along the Gulf Coast was any weatherman's bet (the average 48-hour margin of error is 160 miles). In fact, it was not until the next day, Saturday, that it became more of a certainty that the hurricane was heading toward New Orleans. Furthermore, hurricane forecasters and emergency managers tell PM that until about 24 hours before landfall, hurricanes are too unpredictable to warrant the sort of blanket evacuation orders the report describes.

Indeed, at 56 hours before landfall (which was around 6am CDT on Aug. 29), the National Hurricane Center was forecasting an aggregate probability of only 17% that Katrina's center would strike near New Orleans - meaning there was an 83% chance that it would not do so - hardly an "extremely high probability", as the Committee report would have it.

Moreover, as you can see from the NHC's tracking map at the time (which is a composite of several different computer forecasting models), the potential strike zone covered about 500 miles of the Gulf Coast. At 56 hours before landfall, any slight jog in the storm track could have sent it far to the east or west of New Orleans.

When my state reserve unit in Georgia was activated for Katrina response, I spent part of the time working shifts in the National Guard's Joint Operations Center at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, where there were TV monitors showing the cable news coverage of the storm's aftermath. Those of us working in the JOC that week would either shake our heads in disgust or simply laugh out loud at the inaccuracies and distortions being propagated by the media; now nearly half a year after the disaster it appears the distortions continue.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Liberals in the Den?

Please extend a warm welcome to a new Guest Blogger at MoonDawg's Den: Jeff from Utah, who runs the blogsite Confessions of a Mormon Liberal.

Jeff is a liberal in the tradition of JFK (except for the womanizing part) who waxes eloquently even when he's wrong.

So my friends, when you start seeing left-wing screeds appearing here, don't think that I've gone insane - just check at the bottom of the posting, and you'll find Jeff's name there. I hope you all enjoy the new Fair and Balanced Den.

I know I ordered 'extra crispy', but this is ridiculous...

So how does one react when a newspaper in Denmark prints cartoons that you find offensive to your religious beliefs? Why, you burn down the local KFC, of course!

Beware, infidels - your accursed fast food joints shall be laid waste by the wrath of Allah - Death to the white devil, Colonel Sanders!

UPDATE: The Fast Food Jihad continues, as the pious followers of the "Religion of Peace" wreak vengeance upon that Zionist son of a syphilitic she-goat, Ronald McDonald. Praise be to Muhammad!!

(Via Michelle Malkin)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Offensive history

My friend Hoodie has a post today about a controversy raging in Houston over the name of the name of the city's new Major League Soccer franchise, the "Houston 1836". The "1836" refers to the year Houston was founded by brothers Augustus C. and John K. Allen. But it was also the year that Sam Houston's army won independence from Mexico in the Battle of San Jacinto, and this has the Latino PC-police in Houston up in arms.

Somehow even referring to Texas independence in a sports team's name is offensive to Hispanics (although at least they aren't in the streets burning Texas flags and threatening to behead infidel gringos). Why? Are they saying that it's a bad thing that Texas is no longer a Mexican territory?

Speaking as a tejano (someone of Mexican descent born in Texas) myself, I would tell any other tejanos who are offended by Houston 1836 that if they yearn to live under Mexico's rule, the border is just a short 6-hour drive away. Otherwise, cálmate, shut the hell up, and enjoy the soccer.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Quick hits...

~ Condi Rice says that Iran and Syria are intentionally trying to "inflame sentiment" for their own purposes in the Cartoon War, echoing Austin Bay who is calling the whole affair an "information warfare operation" by some Muslim governments, which have become adept over the decades at using propaganda to stir passions and deflect attention from their own miserable governance of their nations.

~ Once again Jimmy Carter's idiocy made me embarrassed to be from Georgia, when the peanut-brain turned Coretta Scott King's funeral into a political soapbox. If there were any justice in the world, one day in the future someone would stand up at Carter's own funeral and recount how his horrendous foreign policy during his presidency was in large part to blame for the problems we face today with Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

~ I have to give Bill Clinton credit (even though I believe my doing so could be one of the signs of the Apocalypse), he showed a lot of class by subtly reminding Carter and the disgraceful Joseph Lowrey that the whole reason they were there was to honor Mrs. King.

~ The AP has a story today about a woman who mailed condoms filled with explosive materials to various places around Boston. The 40 year-old woman said she sent the pyrotechnic prophylactics to protest "being mistreated by men". Sure, makes sense to me - I guess the next time I get upset with the female species I'll make an IED out of an IUD...

Monday, February 06, 2006

"Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam"

People are now dying in what Austin Bay has dubbed the Cartoon War, with Muslim protests, some involving violent attacks against Western diplomatic missions, taking place in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, Indonesia, Egypt, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Morocco, England, France, and Turkey.

A more peaceful gathering of Muslims and non-Muslims took place in Denmark, which of course is where the first shots of this "war" were fired. Those attending called for "dialogue". I'm not sure just how useful it is to engage in a "dialogue" with people who threaten to kill you if you dare to offend them.

Someone who has firsthand experience with such people was interviewed about the Cartoon War in the German magazine Der Spiegel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch politician who had to go into hiding because of death threats received after she wrote a book critical of how women are treated under Islam. In 2004 she teamed with Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh to make a movie called "Submission", which covered the theme of her book. Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim radical for daring to make the film, with a note pinned to his chest by the killer addressed to Hirsi Ali. She believes the Cartoon War will result in the same type of self-censorship that has afflicted Holland since that killing:

We could see the same thing happening that has happened in the Netherlands, where writers, journalists and artists have felt intimidated ever since the van Gogh murder. Everyone is afraid to criticize Islam. Significantly, "Submission" still isn't being shown in theaters.
The calls for "dialogue" and the feckless reaction by the U.S. government to this mob assault on press freedoms are surely more of what Hirsi Ali describes as the "tradition" of the West "turning first one cheek, then the other". She says that such a response will only incite and empower Muslim radicals:

Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.
Given the "spineless" response of the U.S. and some European governments so far, it unfortunately seems that Hirsi Ali's prediction will be proven correct.

UPDATE: Add Belgium and New Zealand to the list of countries at the beginning of this post.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The "Religion of Peace"

More from yesterday's post about "cartoonish outrage" - Michelle Malkin points us to photos from Reuters and AFP taken today in London of Muslims protesting as part of an "International Day of Anger" against some cartoons of Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper last fall and reprinted recently in publications around Europe (reports say this will be followed by an "International Week of Being Really Ticked-Off" and an "International Month of Indignant Huffiness").

Behold the adherents of the self-described "Religion of Peace", calling for people to be "slayed", "butchered", and "exterminated":

This one below is my favorite - never mind press freedom, freedom in general is apparently against the will of Allah:

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cartoonish Outrage

In late September the largest daily newspaper in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten, printed 12 different cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad "as part of an ongoing public debate on freedom of expression, a freedom much cherished in Denmark" (UPDATE: accidentally uploaded the wrong cartoon from J-L in this post; the correct one is now displayed). Unfortunately for the newspaper, freedom of expression is little cherished in many parts of the Islamic world, and the publication of the cartoons sparked outrage in Denmark and in several Muslim nations, with street demonstrations, boycotts of Danish exports, death threats to the 12 cartoonists, and bomb threats against the newspaper's offices.

The international outrage increased in recent weeks as several European newspapers, in a surprising display of intestinal fortitude, republished the offending cartoons to show solidarity for press freedom (although in typically feckless French fashion, the editor of a French newspaper that printed the cartoons was fired this week when things began to get too hot). Even more bravely a Jordanian paper, al-Shihan, printed some of the cartoons, with the paper's editor imploring, "Muslims of the world be reasonable". Yeah, that's gonna happen.

Our thin-skinned Muslim friends are upset because Islamic tradition prohibits depictions of Muhammad. Well, boo-freakin-hoo, Achmed. At least your religious icons haven't been immersed in urine or portrayed as a nekkid chick or covered in elephant dung.

You didn't see Christians taking to the streets by the thousands for such things - why? Because Western culture embraces the idea of tolerance - tolerance for thoughts and ideas that may be contrary to your own. But in some (not all) Islamic cultures, tolerance extends as far as the edge of the sword used to convert, subjugate, or kill any non-believers (Bin Ladin is fond of quoting the Koran on the subject: "slay the pagans wherever ye find them"). It is useful to be reminded that intolerance is an aspect of militant Islam that must be prevented from becoming entrenched in the majority of Muslim societies - if it isn't already.

UPDATE: Via Michelle Malkin, I've learned there's a blogosphere campaign to support Denmark against Islamic censorship (click the image).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"A beacon of hope"

The Washington Times has a compelling story about an Iraqi army officer who lost the use of his legs after a bullet severed his spinal cord during an attack. The injured officer, a 28 year-old Captain named Furat, has been an inspiration to others during his recovery at a U.S. Air Force hospital in Iraq.
A decorated officer with the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Brigade of the 5th Iraqi Army Division -- also known as the Tiger Battalion -- based at Camp Falloc, 54 miles northeast of Baghdad, Capt. Furat loves Iraq and fought its enemies with a passion that won praise from American and Iraqi troops.

Not nearly enough credit is given to the thousands of Iraqis who risk life and limb to serve in their new government's security and military forces; their sacrifices are often ignored by the American media. The Iraqis fighting alongside the U.S. military against those who would destroy their country's chance at freedom should be remembered and honored for their bravery.

(Via Michael Yon)