January 25, 2005

Stay Tuned

Very suddenly I went from not having enough work on my plate to having a lot of it. Such is the life of a freelance writer. Feast, then famine, then feast. Now is a time of feasting.

It's late Monday night and I'm going to bed. Don't go away. Your regularly scheduled opinionated blather will recommence shortly.

In the meantime, argue amongst yourselves in the comments about love, death, war, life, god, the universe, and everything. And be nice! Don't make me come in there with the battle axe.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 25, 2005 12:39 AM
Comments

OK - I'll bite (severe insomnia). And given that list of topics, I think I'll choose...WAR.

I saw this editorial by Robert Spencer in the Washington Times yesterday:

http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20050123-100613-4895r.htm

(If anyone is interested in addressing it - a link would be nice).

Money quote:

"A State Department that really had America's interests at heart would immediately terminate all aid to Egypt, Indonesia, the Palestinians, Jordan, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Albania — and even Iraq and Afghanistan, and any other state — until each demonstrably ends all support — material, educational, religious — for jihad warfare, and grants full equality of rights to any non-Muslim citizens.
It should also reconfigure our global alliances on the same basis. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the rest should be put on notice that continued friendly relations with the United States absolutely depend on an immediate and comprehensive renunciation of the jihad, including a reformation of their schools to end the teaching of jihad warfare. It cannot be enough for a state to denounce and renounce terror; each must renounce Islamic jihad as a means of undermining the integrity of other states."

For obvious reasons I would leave Iraq and Afghanistan off that list. His basic point applies most strongly to Saudi Arabia. They continue to finance the building of literally thousands of madrasses around the world, producing another generation of jihadists to kill us. How can we possibly continue to treat them as allies? Is it possible that Bush is waiting to deal with them until after we get the oil flowing in Iraq?

Posted by: Caroline at January 25, 2005 02:50 AM

From my old memory of reading Machiavelli's The Prince I recall that the recommended strategy is to embrace or stay close to your enemies - as a means to keeping a close eye on them and to influence their behavior as much as possible.

So the error isn't that we provide these countries with all sorts of aid and assistance, rather it is that we fail to leverage that to get the behavior that we want.

Abandoning them, while feeling good, would most likely cause them to seek friendships and alliances (and money) elsewhere. Which wouldn't be good for us.

By all means we should be threatening the removal of aid while demanding (at minimum) that they cease to oppose us - both directly and indirectly.

Posted by: too many steves at January 25, 2005 03:04 AM

I just saw that LGF linked to the same editorial yesterday.

Posted by: Cammie at January 25, 2005 06:04 AM

FYI: PBS FRONTLINE topic tonight is Islamic extremism in Europe.


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/front/

Posted by: Ben at January 25, 2005 07:06 AM

Caroline: "Is it possible that Bush is waiting to deal with them until after we get the oil flowing in Iraq?"

That's probably only one of many reasons. It's like the only saying goes: if you're going to break-up with your girlfriend on Wednesday, make sure you have a date lined-up for Saturday night.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at January 25, 2005 07:44 AM

RAMBO

This story falls into the propaganda category,I guess.
Hey wait--- ALL media stories now fall into that category don't they?It just depends what angle is being pushed.Anyway,this story appeals to my sentimental side and more importantly I truly believe that it reflects a fairly general attitude towards US forces by the people of Afghansistan.Despite the MSM cynicism,Afghansitan is a remarkable SUCCESS story on so many different levels.

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=26772

Posted by: dougf at January 25, 2005 10:05 AM

Ben - I will definitely watch that tonight.

Dougf - that's not propoganda - its just another small piece of the truth. However, any chapter in a book called "Propoganda" needs to address the sin of 'commission' vs 'ommission'. One is no less guilty of propoganda for ommitting true stories that come to one's (journalistic)attention - than for outright fabricating stories. There is undoubtedly "propoganda by ommission" in the MSM where Iraq is concerned.

2many steves and Kay - thanks for taking the time to address that post. Spencer is actually providing a great opportunity to address the current policy from both the way left of Bush (energy policy) as well as from way right of Bush (in the latter case by forcing him to explictily address JIHAD with our allies - rather than this euphemistic term "WOT"). But evidently we're mostly still mired in both PC and energy dependence. I personally think Spencer is somewhat out of line on that post. Obviously one has to exclude Iraq and Afghanistan but it would also be insane to write off Pakistan. But i seriously think we need a vigorous national debate regarding Saudi Arabia. There is no possible way that we can continue to even remotely pretend that they are our allies. What percent of our oil comes from SA? How badly do we need them? Do we give them any aid? Is the administration doing anything whatsoever to confront them re the continued explosion of hate-spewing madrasses and mosques they are funding (thousands slated for SE Asia in the near future).

Frankly - I am surprised that policy towards SA isn't galvanizing a vigorous debate between the far left and the far left and everyone inbetween. Why is that? These Wahabbis are out to kill us!

Posted by: Caroline at January 25, 2005 05:19 PM

All in due time, all in due time. Once we have a firm foothold in the Middle East via Iraq we can move on to these problems. And who knows, the example in Iraq might serve as warning, and will force some of these corrupt regimes to shape up, before the hammer comes down on them. They have to know it's coming eventually.

Many leftists like to toss out Saudi Arabia as a red herring from time to time. These are duplicitous and dishonest gripes on their part, since most of them would not advocate military nor diplomatic actions against said nation. They only want to harp upon the supposed failings of the Bush administration.

In my view, these aren't failings at all, just crafty strategy.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at January 25, 2005 06:28 PM

Since this is an open-topic thread:


http://www.worldpress.org/Europe/1437.cfm

"As a female Muslim stand-up comedian in Norway, 26-year-old Shabana Rehman is breaking a host of stereotypes at once. Audiences are invariably surprised when Rehman appears on stage in Oslo, clad in a head-to-toe burqah. The garment is “not very practical when you are assembling a bit of furniture from Ikea,” she tells them, though it can be “useful for scaring away children.”

As part of her act, Rehman strips off the burqah to reveal a skimpy red cocktail dress. Thus transformed, she rails against arranged marriages, Shariah law, and female genital mutilation.

Just as edgy are her jokes about Norway’s political correctness. She has no patience for the people she calls “halal hippies,” liberal Norwegians who are blind to fundamentalist oppression. “If an Asian country dropped a nuclear bomb on Norway...these people would run to the nearest bookstore to buy a book about Oriental culture,” she says." ....

“She is an important voice,” Norway’s minister of immigration, Erna Solberg, told the Sunday Times. “Her humor allows her to go further than others and incite real reflection.” But Oslo’s liberal Dagsavisen was more critical, saying her “mix of stand-up comedy and commentary is a provocation completely devoid of nuance.”"

I am not familiar with the Norwegian press but it strikes me as quite ironic that it is the "liberal" paper that is critical!!

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