Sunday, November 7, 2004

The Assault Begins

The assault on Fallujah has begun. For analysis of events visit Adventures With Chester:

The New York Times is reporting that the hospital was seized by the 36th Iraqi Commando Brigade in conjunction with US Special Forces. This is important in that it shows the high initial involvement of Iraqi National Forces.

NYTimes also reporting (same article) that thousands of Marines are moving from their base to a point north of Fallujah. Their base is likely Al-Taqqadam airfield, and they are likely moving across the western bridge they just seized. This makes sense; a large armored force will now be positioned on the eastern side of the Euphrates, and north of the city. That means it can either rapidly move along the highway toward Baghdad in pursuit of insurgents, or it can use the same highways to position itself on three different sides of the city, with the Euphrates on the fourth.

There's much more at his site.

The Coming European Civil War Pt. II

Readers who thought that perhaps Viewpoint was overstating the case somewhat when we expressed our concern that Europe is hurtling toward a religious civil war might wish to check out a pair of AP articles in the Washington Times. The first is titled Netherlands Braces For 'Jihad' and the second covers some of the same ground but provides a little more detail.

Europe, like the United States and Israel is confronted with an implacable enemy which believes that it is doing the will of God by destroying Western civilization. Those who see the war in Iraq as disconnected from the war against Islamic terror do not see things the way the Islamo-fascists do. For them there is only global jihad. They do not think in terms of national boundaries which are, in any event, artificial constructs imposed upon them in a time of weakness by the infidel nations of the West. Amsterdam and Fallujah, Madrid and New York are just different theaters in the global war that all Muslims everywhere are obligated to wage against the infidels.

One of the shortcomings of Senator Kerry's candidacy for the presidency was that he showed no indication that he grasped this crucial fact. His insistence that the war in Iraq is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time reinforces the impressison that he is oblivious to the Islamic threat to the West. He seemed to think that terrorism is merely the product of difficult or unjust economic "root causes", and that the way to end terror was to negotiate better living conditions for poor Muslims. This would reduce terrorism to the level of a "nuisance". The Senator's plan, of course, is as naive as Neville Chamberlain thinking he could negotiate peace with Adolf Hitler by conceding Czechoslovakia.

As Bernard Lewis, perhaps the foremost scholar on Islam today, reminds us, for Muslims there is only Dar al-Islam, the House of Islam in which Muslim law prevails and Dar al-Harb, the House of War, which is the rest of the world. In Dar al-Harb jihad will continue, interrupted only by temporary truces, until all the world either adopts Islam or submits to Muslim rule.

The Netherlands has long been regarded as one of the most tolerant of nations. It will be instructive to see how far their tolerance can be stretched.

Those Horrid Christians reminds us that religious bigotry is alive and well in America, but except for a few marginal folks no one listens to, the bulk of the hostility comes not from the right, but from the left and is directed specifically at Christianity and Christians.

Catholic League president William Donohue has compiled the following examples from newspapers and Internet sites after Bush's victory. Viewpoint thinks it appropriate to note that we don't think that all of these are examples of religious intolerance. Several of them evince an intolerance of common sense, perhaps, and others simply seem to be merely the ravings of the paranoid left, but here they are with our comments:

* In the Wichita Eagle, Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press wonders if President Bush understands that "he was not chosen god, bishop, rabbi or high priest?"

We're sure he does, Mr. Albom, so you're free to wonder about something a little more weighty, like why, as a reporter, you don't exert yourself a little more to understand better the people you write about.

* The publisher of Harper's magazine, John R. MacArthur, blasts President Bush and Sen. John Kerry for advertising "their subservience to Jesus Christ and the Christian god, without the least concern about whether it might offend me" and others like him.

Why should Mr. MacArthur be offended because George Bush and John Kerry claim to be subservient to Christ? And why should Mr. MacArthur's tender sensibilities be permitted to exercise a veto over a Christian politician's right to acknowledge that subservience when asked? And who is Mr. MacArthur that he thinks a man's religious freedom should be constrained by what he personally finds offensive?

* Ex-seminarian Garry Wills writes in the New York Times, "Can a people that believes more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution still be called an Enlightened nation?" He ends by saying that "moral zealots" will scare moderate Republicans with their "jihads."

Perhaps most people find a miracle engineered by a Divine mind to be much more plausible than a miracle engineered by Chance and mindless matter. The fervency with which the former is believed has nothing to do with how "enlightened" one is but rather with the implications of the belief. If the virgin birth did in fact occur it suggests that Jesus was in some sense divine. If evolution, or macroevolution, which is what Wills has in view here, did occur, it suggests that God is superfluous, life is a meaningless accident, death is the end for both individuals and ultimately the human race, moral obligation is a delusion, and nothing really matters. It may be "enlightened" to believe all that, but people can hardly be faulted for not being overly fervent about the depressing consequences of the belief.

* Maureen Dowd, a New York Times columnist who hates Bush, says the president "ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq."

If someone can explain what this means please be so kind as to explain it to us via our Feedback Forum. Meanwhile, we recommend Ms Dowd limit herself to decaf for a couple of days.

* Dowd's colleague Thomas Friedman accuses Bush's base of wanting "to extend the boundaries of religion" and of promoting "intolerance."

Imagine. Wanting to extend the boundaries of religion. How unspeakably insensitive and ignorant these yokels must be. And how tolerant of Mr. Friedman to refuse to tolerate it.

* Without providing one example, Margaret Carlson opines in the Los Angeles Times that Catholic bishops "demonized" Kerry's supporters by warning them that "they could go to hell just for voting for him."

We feel we're given a taste of hell whenever we're subjected to Ms. Carlson's tortured cogitations and witless slanders on CNN's Capital Gang. Sartre said that "hell is other people." We suggest that hell would be having to read the confused outputs of Ms Carlson's ruminations for eternity.

* Sheryl McCarthy of Newsday accuses Bush of "pandering to people's fears, petty interests and prejudices" against gays and others.

How so, Ms. McCarthy? How is it pandering to people's fears and prejudices to propose a constitutional ammendment that would codify what "enlightened" people have believed for over two thousand years, that marriage is a union of one man and one woman? Why is it somehow all of a sudden now disreputable for people to be concerned about the consequences of tinkering with the institution of marriage? Presumably Ms McCarthy would praise the president if he were to recognize the legitimacy of people's concerns about, say, corporate outsourcing of jobs. Why does she think it shameful of him to recognize people's concerns about the state of perhaps the most important institution in our cultural and social life?

* Sidney Blumenthal, writing in Salon, nervously claims that the new Senate majority is "more theocratic than Republican."

We need to thank Mr. Blumenthal for clearing this up. We had been led by the "old media" to believe that "theocratic" and "Republican" meant the same thing.

* In the same spot, Sean Wilentz embarrasses his fellow Princeton faculty by saying "religious fanaticism" has "seized control of the federal government."

Again, we stand corrected. We thought John Ashcroft had planned to resign.

It may be that some of the new senators have made some rather intemperate comments in the past, but this is not anything new in American politics. The problem for the secular left is that they are terrified of anyone who takes their faith seriously unless it is faith in the superstitions of the left such as the inherent justice of high taxes and the salutary effects of government regulations on small businesses, etc.

The lefties are in a panic over the prospect that there may be a couple more prayer groups and Bible studies on Capitol Hill now that a few more of the dreaded Christians are moving in. They recoil in horror from the nightmarish future they imagine these evil dolts have planned for us. Imagine the obscenity, they cry, of not being able to kill one's child as it's being born, or of not being able to marry however many people one wishes. Imagine how ghastly it will be if manger scenes turn up in the public square this Christmas and people start praying again at high school football games. The Republican jihadis doubtless have an odious secret plan to uphold their standards of decency on television. The trend toward cutting edge performances like that of Justin and Janet will surely be reversed. Creativity in the arts will be suffocated. Ads for male enhancements will lamentably no longer be able to provide essential and explicit information about how long their particular effects might be enjoyed. Women will no longer be portrayed as sex objects in beer commercials if these horrid Bible-thumpers have their way. The very thought of all this stifling, regressive censorship is enough to make one resolve to move to Canada, or France. Anywhere one can get away from people so stupid and ignorant as to actually believe in God, for heaven's sake.