Saturday, April 23, 2005

Modern Barbarians

The religion of peace recently held a conclave in Tehran. Here's part of the report of the proceedings:

More than 400 men, women, and children gathered at a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday to pledge their commitment to carry out suicide bomb attacks against both Israelis and Americans in Iraq. "Some 440 volunteers, most of them women, signed up today," said Mohammad Ali Samadi, spokesperson for the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement.

Ah, yes. The word woman in fundamentalist Islam is evidently just another word for having nothing left to lose. Where are the macho Iranian men? Aren't they eager to give their all for Allah? How many Iranian mullahs, we wonder, are prepared and eager to make the same sacrifice they are enjoining upon their women and children? The mullahs' message to the faithful is let's you and him fight.

The ceremony... included the showcase of video footage depicting Israeli soldiers being killed in suicide attacks....

It is apparently totally appropriate in Islam to encourage children to watch such gruesome images and to urge them on to murders of their own. In this country that would be child abuse. Of course, it should be considered child abuse in Iran as well, except that they're so blinded by their religious fanaticism and hatred that all they care about, their only goal in life, is to kill people who don't share their religion. We would do well to keep in mind that these people are striving mightily to build the ultimate suicide bomb.

Each of the group's 400-plus new recruits -- some of whom donned headbands with the inscription 'there is no God but Allah' -- were confronted with a difficult choice: to train for suicide attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq; to train for suicide attacks against Israelis; or to assassinate British author Salman Rushdie, the author forced into hiding after the late Ayatollah Khomeini ordered Muslims to kill him.

One wonders which of those options was most attractive to the attendees. Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Rushdie who once asked, "What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist." For his freedom of expression Rushdie has spent the last fifteen years, and may spend the rest of his life, hiding from those who think the best way to deal with distasteful opinions is to kill the person who voices them.

Once more now with conviction, repeat after me: All cultures are equally "valid". No cultural narrative is superior to any other. All cultural norms are relative.

Mysterious Corpses

The media have provided only sketchy explanations of the mysterious discovery of dozens of bodies found floating recently in the Tigris river in Iraq.

California Yankee tries to make sense of the reports and in the process tells us a couple of things we didn't know:

First there were reports that as many as 200 people were being held hostage in the mixed Sunni-Shia village of Madain. Iraqi government security forces backed by US troops arrived in strength on Monday. They encountered no resistance and found no trace of hostages or hostage-takers. There followed articles that the hostage reports may have been exaggerated.

Yesterday there were reports that 50 bodies had been pulled from the river. This of course was thought to confirm the original hostage story. The BBC reports that the story is even more complicated. The 50 plus bodies didn't show up all at once:

They said they had started to appear in the al-Suwayra stretch of the Tigris nearly two months earlier, on 27 February. On the first three days, 27 bodies were retrieved, while during and after the supposed hostage crisis only six corpses were pulled from the river. But in the 26 days between 26 March and 20 April, there was a steady flow of cadavers. A total of 33 were retrieved during that period, an average of just over one a day.

The police statistics said that of 60 bodies 56 were men, two women and two children. Fifty-three had died of gunshot wounds, five had their throats cut and two were beheaded. Only seven of the corpses were identified by relatives. So the identity of the bulk of the victims is still not clear. It's not known whether the victims are all Shia Muslims, abducted and murdered by Sunni militants. The killing may not have been one-sided. We may never know.

It sounds as though these unfortunates may have been victims of a war that's being waged within the war. They may well be victims of clan and tribal retributions for offenses which perhaps have little or nothing to do with the larger struggle in Iraq.

From John Hathaway

Ya gotta luv this guy...

From the link.

It is against such a backdrop that the euro price of gold should surpass the trading range of the past two years. A breakout in euros will serve notice to the market that gold is not a subset of the weak dollar play. Once it has crossed this threshold, gold will begin to attract capital from assets parked in all currencies and asset classes including commodities and high yield credits, the two most recent investment bubbles. The bull market in gold, which commenced in August of 1999, will shed its stealth mode. Its pace will quicken and become difficult to ignore. We stand at the end of the beginning of the first leg in a multi year bull market in the metal. The significant accumulation that has occurred during the past five years will not yield easily to the sharply higher prices that lie ahead, because those price gains will be spurred by financial market developments that make gold's appeal quite obvious, even to its detractors.

Kudos to John Ruiz Dempsey

It's about time somebody takes a stand against a system designed to impoverish and enslave the citizens of a country. Obviously someone is sick and tired and isn't going to take it anymore.

Visit this link for details.