Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King

Watching some of the tributes this evening to Martin Luther King I wondered: If King's I Have Dream speech and his Letter From a Birmingham City Jail were delivered/written today would someone without any prior knowledge of King think the principles he articulated in these were conservative or liberal (or neither)?

Reply to a Muslim

A friend passed our post A Moderate Muslim Perspective on to a Muslim friend of his and received this reply:

I agree about Muslims needing to change themselves. It comes from the Koran that God does not help a people before they help themselves. Unfortunately, attacking them is only reinforcing their teachings. Namely, that the west is intent on reestablishing colonialism and are willing to use violence to do it (as they did before). Most of those people have heard all of the horror stories about western rule and have no desire to return to it. Anyone fighting against the west is going to be perceived as a hero, no matter how sketchy a human being he is. If we want them to stop attacking us, we have to stop attacking them. It seems pretty simple to me.

This is our response which we've edited just a little:

I have to say that I don't understand what your Muslim friend is getting at in the passage where he says:

Unfortunately, attacking them [Muslims] is only reinforcing their teachings. Namely, that the west is intent on reestablishing colonialism and are willing to use violence to do it (as they did before). Most of those people have heard all of the horror stories about western rule and have no desire to return to it. Anyone fighting against the west is going to be perceived as a hero, no matter how sketchy a human being he is. If we want them to stop attacking us, we have to stop attacking them. It seems pretty simple to me.

This is very difficult for me to make any sense of. The U.S. has come to the defense of Muslims far more often than it has attacked them. In Kuwait, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Somalia, Americans died to defend Muslims, sometimes against putative Christians. In none but the first of these was there any real national interest at stake.

The Islamists expressed their gratitude by attacking the U.S.S. Cole, the WTT, Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and various other targets around the world until they succeeded in murdering 3000 of our citizens on September 11th, 2001. Following 9/11 Americans fought and died in liberating fifty million Muslims from crushing oppression in Afghanistan and Iraq and did far more than anyone else in the world, when all charitable and military aid is factored in, to relieve the suffering of Muslims in the Indian Ocean basin in the wake of the tsunami. All the oil-besotted Muslim nations put together didn't contribute as much to disaster relief as did the U.S. And still the radical Muslims hate us.

Your friend says that they hate us because we're trying to colonize them, but where is the evidence of that? Did we stay in Kuwait? Did we not leave Saudi Arabia when the Saudis insisted? Did we colonize Afghanistan? If all we wanted was oil why didn't we invade the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq? It would have been much easier.

Their hatred, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the fact that we're "attacking" them. It has everything to do with the fact that we are "infidels", our values are not their values, and, to their enormous chagrin, the infidels are a lot more powerful and successful than they are. It has also to do with the fact that we are all that stands in their way of realizing their dream of destroying Israel and Islamicizing the globe. As long as these facts remain they will continue to seek to destroy us. Their religion and their pride demand it.

Black Ops

Seymour Hersh, who's reputation as an investigative reporter has had its ups and downs, has a new revelation in New Yorker magazine., whose own reputation for accurate and balanced reporting has had its ups and downs as well, gives us the report from which the following is excerpted:

WASHINGTON - The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday. Hersh quotes one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon as saying, "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible."

The former intelligence official told Hersh that an American commando task force in South Asia is working closely with a group of Pakistani scientists who had dealt with their Iranian counterparts. The New Yorker reports that this task force, aided by information from Pakistan, has been penetrating into eastern Iran in a hunt for underground nuclear-weapons installations.

Hersh reported that Bush has already "signed a series of top-secret findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as 10 nations in the Middle East and South Asia."

Let's hope that this, like a rare planetary conjunction, is a remarkable instance of both Hersh and Truthout being simultaneously correct and that matters are as this report states. It is somewhat reassuring to think that this president is as serious about fighting the war against terrorists as they are about fighting their war against us.

New Year's Wishes

It's a little late, but we wanted to bring this column by Dennis Prager to your attention. Prager lists seven wishes he has for the new year, and we agree with all of them. Especially wishes 2 and 6:

Wish No. 2: The ACLU will create a leftist Boy Scouts. The ACLU and other leftist groups are highly accomplished at destroying good institutions such as the Boy Scouts. But they rarely build good institutions. So instead of trying to destroy the Boy Scouts -- because the Scouts require its members to make an oath to God and country and because the Scouts believe that boys and men who publicly announce they are sexually attracted only to males should not be Scouts -- the ACLU should build something for boys in the image of its values.

Since it is so easy to destroy, dear leftists, why not try to build? Start perhaps with a Progressive Boy Scouts that will have no oaths to God and will welcome all males who announce they are homosexual. Then one day we will see which Boy Scouts produces better people.

Quick. Name one organization begun specifically by atheists, and which incorporates atheism into its mission, that's doing any good anywhere in the world ....We couldn't either.

Wish No. 6: All those who drive in the left lane slower than drivers in the other lanes will be given fines and threatened with long prison sentences, perhaps even capital punishment.

There are things Americans can learn from Europe -- perhaps the most significant is how to drive properly. In Europe, driving schools apparently teach something that seems to be ignored in American driver's education -- that the left lane is for passing other cars, not for passing time.

Why do people do this? Why do they pull into the left lane and then drive at the same speed as the traffic in the right lane? It's very irritating, and there needs to be a study done on it. We suspect that being on the left dulls one's ability to think about what one is doing, but all we have is anecdotal evidence, culled mostly from blue states.

The Religion of Peace Strikes Again

This chilling news from the New York Post reminds us of the savage nature of Islamic fanaticism.

January 16, 2005 -- The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online - and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday.

Hossam Armanious, 47, who along with his wife and two daughters was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home early Friday, would regularly debate religion in a Middle Eastern chat room, one source said.

Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site He "had the reputation for being one of the most outspoken Egyptian Christians," said the source, who had close ties to the family.

The source, who had knowledge of the investigation, refused to specify the anti-Muslim statement. But he said cops told him they were looking into the exchanges as a possible motive. The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room.

"You'd better stop this bull---- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you," was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange. But Armanious refused to back down, according to two sources who use the Web site.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy would neither confirm nor deny that cops and prosecutors were looking into the religion motive, saying only that "nothing is being ruled out." But a relative of the mayor who answered the phone at Healy's home said there was information the murders were "religion-related." "There are several theories we are looking into, but we are not commenting on any of them at this time," said Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Guy Gregory.

Armanious' fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia - who would have turned 16 yesterday. "She was very religious and very opinionated," said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS.

A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment. "When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia," said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore's great-uncle.

The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross. Also found murdered were the wife, Amal Garas, and the parents' other daughter, Monica.

Fred Ayed, the deacon at St. George and St. Shenouda Church, where the deeply religious family attended services, said he's worried that the murders could have a ripple effect. "I am concerned for the safety of our community," said Ayed, who knew Hossam for 30 years. "People are scared because one family was slain like cows," said Moheb Ghabour, publisher of a local newspaper for the Coptic community.

Osama Hassan, director of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, described the relationship between Copts and Muslims as cooperative if not friendly. "I think there might be people that can get into physical fights, but not to the point of murder," Hassan said.

Both the deacon and uncle poured cold water on the theory that the family were the victims of a robbery gone wrong. "This is not a robbery, Ayed said. "We found all of the jewelry in the house. They didn't take anything."

It may be that this horrific crime was not committed by the people who issued threats against Armanious, but if it was indeed the product of Islamic fanaticism then we are given another tragic glimpse into the future these psychopaths have in store for us unless they are defeated.