Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Assault on the Red Mosque

For those of you following the seige of the Red Mosque and the adjacent madrassa in Islamabad, Pakistan Bill Roggio gives some details of the army's assault on the compound and the killing of the leader of insurrectionists, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, early this morning.

The assault by Pakistani forces on the radical Islamist mosque known as the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, has resulted in the death of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, the mosque's leader. Ghazi was shot and killed in the basement of the Jamia Hafsa, a madrassa adjacent to the mosque, along with upwards of 100 "militants." Last evening, it was reported Ghazi was captured. Ghazi had sworn he would not be taken alive, but would die as a martyr.

The Pakistani government confirmed Ghazi was killed in the fighting, however, his body has not been recovered. "He was spotted in the basement and asked to come out. He came out with four or five militants who kept on firing at security forces," said Brigadier Javed Cheema, a spokesman for the Inter Services Public Relation branch. "The troops responded and in the crossfire he was killed. ... There are still certain areas to be cleared. The body is in the compound. The other militants were also killed in the fighting."

AllahPundit has more details at Hot Air, and Sky News has a helpful video.


The Man With No Base

The National Review's Byron York, writing in the WaPo, explains why he thinks Bush's presidency is all but over. The depressing thing about his column is that it may well be right. There's still much to admire about Bush but he seems determined to try to placate his implacable political opponents and to alienate his supporters.

York starts his essay this way:

Let's say you're a Republican president, a bit more than midway through your second term. You're scrambling to salvage what you can of a deeply unpopular war, you're facing a line of subpoenas from Democrats in Congress and your poll ratings are in the basement. What do you do?

You estrange the very Republicans whose backing you need the most.

That's precisely what President Bush has managed to accomplish during the two big political developments of recent weeks: the commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence and the defeat of comprehensive immigration reform.

York explains why many conservatives think that Bush should have pardoned Libby altogether, but for the record, I think Bush did the right thing in commuting Libby's prison sentence rather than pardoning him. Libby was, after all, convicted by a jury of perjury. Nevertheless, the sentence was indeed excessive, given the nature and context of the offense, and Libby will still, despite the commutation, pay a steep price for his dissimulations.

At any rate, the President's stance on immigration was unnecessarily insulting to his Republican supporters who thought him to be flat wrong on the matter. It was another Harriet Miers moment and, coupled with his addiction to government spending and his inability to bring the Iraq war to a timely conclusion, a lot of his base is starting to shuffle away.

Here are three things he can do to start bringing them back: Show more visible and energetic leadership on the war in Iraq, get the border fence built, and pardon (or commute) the sentences of border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. It is beyond comprehension that a President willing to grant a full pardon to millions of people who snuck into this country illegally has nevertheless failed to pardon two law enforcement officers who may have exercised poor judgment in shooting at a known drug smuggler.

What message does this send to Bush's base, to law enforcement, or indeed to the nation?



Evolutionary psychology is the name given to the discipline which used to be called sociobiology. In short, it asserts that all of our basic behaviors and drives are programmed by our genes which have evolved these characteristics in order to increase the likelihood that they would be perpetuated into future generations.

Richard Dawkins first gained fame for his book on this theory called The Selfish Gene. At any rate, Evo-Psych has led to an outpouring of explanations for human behavior, some of them interesting, some of them ridiculous, and most of them impossible to subject to empirical test. The only limit to Evo-Psych explanations is the imagination of the person doing the explaining.

A good example of this is an article by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa in Psychology Today magazine. The authors make a number of claims, some of which are simply wrong and many of which are ludicrous. An example of the former is the claim that:

Judeo-Christian traditions hold that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage.

This is not true. There's nothing in the Judeo-Christian tradition that suggests that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage. Monogamy is not enjoined upon Jews and Christians because it's natural or normal but rather because it is just. Polygynous societies tend to treat women as property, monogamous societies tend to treat them as equals. In polygynous societies a few men monopolize the majority of women, in monogamous societies each man and each woman have a chance to marry.

Despite its flaws, however, the article is an interesting read. Even more interesting, and certainly more amusing, is Fred Reed's blistering critique of it. Reed's essay can be found here and the link to the article is at the bottom of his post.