Tag: Islam

Sailors Seized

I see our detente with Iran is going just swimmingly.

Look, I think it is important that we move toward more normalized relations with Iran. The cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been heating up rapidly in recent weeks after the Saudis executed a Shiite cleric, the Iranians condemned the act and sent protesters against the embassy and Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE broken off diplomatic relations. We can’t take a side in this.

But it’s increasingly clear that the Obama Administration can not carry out this difficult feat of diplomatic jujitsu.

At this point, the sailors need to be returned immediately. Iran is testing us.

The No Fly Fraud, The Donald and the Death of Civil Liberties

In this corner, we present the Democratic Party. Fresh off of Obama’s lackluster Oval Office speech, they are pushing to ban people on the federal no-fly list from buying guns. Never mind that the list is arbitrary and secretive. Never mind that it’s difficult to find out why you’re on the list and almost impossible to get off of it. Never mind that there are several hundred thousand people on the list, including the odd PhD Candidate and the occasional 4-year old. Never mind that this would deprive people of a basic civil liberty without due process. Never mind that terrorists will simply get their guns illegally. There’s an election coming up. Time to sow some panic!

And in this corner, we have the Republican frontrunner. Fresh off making false claims that he saw video of thousands of American Muslims celebrating 9/11, calling for Muslims to be registered and saying that some mosques should be closed, today he said that we should just stop letting Muslims come into the country. He clarified later that this would include US citizens currently abroad although he didn’t clarify if this meant military personnel. In support of this, he cited a bunch of unscientific online polls from anti-Islamic groups. Never mind that we’ve had a total of 40 people killed on American soil by anything remotely Islamic in the last five years (against five million American Muslims and 70,000 total murders in that time). Never mind that it would be unconstitutional. Never mind that there would be no practical way to do it without forcing everyone to declare their religion to the government. Never mind that his campaign is drifting further and further into something that can only be called fascism. There’s panic to sow!

So one party wants to take away civil liberties based on secret lists. The other wants to bar people from the country based on their religion.

And people wonder why I vote libertarian.

The Donald’s Imagination

The longer this goes on, the more I think that Donald Trump’s candidacy is designed specifically to wreck the Republican Party and get Hillary elected. Either that, or this is a big publicity game to him. Either way, I’m rapidly losing patience with it.

This week, fresh off saying that we should be surveilling mosques and maintaining a database on Muslims, Donald Trump made the assertion — one he has since repeated — that thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the fall of the Twin Towers.

First things first. This claim is totally false. The Trumpeteers have fixated on a paragraph from an old WaPo story that described the FBI investigating reports of people celebrating 9/11. But nothing came of that and there certainly weren’t thousands of people dancing in the streets. And it certainly wasn’t on television. You can read Kessler’s long article where he responds to various conspiracy theorists and Trumpeteers claiming that no, this totally happened. But it didn’t. Had Americans been celebrating 9/11, it would have been front page news, not buried in some obscure MTV broadcast or the 15th paragraph of a WaPo story or whispered by someone who knows someone who saw it. The objections are rapidly settling into “no Jews were in the Twin Towers” territory.

But … that’s really beside the point. The point of Trump’s statement is not whether American Muslims celebrated 9/11 or not. The point is that Trump, since the Paris attacks, has been blowing a dog whistle.

Let’s take a step back…

In the 1960 Presidential race, John F. Kennedy was only the second Catholic to ever run for President and the first to be elected. During the campaign and after his election, there were people who openly said that being Catholic meant his loyalty was to the Vatican, not to the United States (this for a man who fought in World War II and acted with genuine valor when his torpedo boat was sunk). Numerous religious organizations opposed Kennedy for this reason and it probably cost him hundreds of thousands of votes. Nixon, to his credit, decided to leave the religious issue alone. But it was garbage. Catholics have long proven to be just as loyal to the United States as anyone else.

As a Jew, I grew up having my loyalty to the United States questioned. Jews, I was told, were loyal to Israel not the United States. People told me this to my face. People said this about my family (which included my father, an Air Force Colonel who stayed in the reserves until they tore the uniform off his back). This clamor grew loudest when the traitor Jonathan Pollard was caught. But it was still garbage.

Similar but less intense bigotry surfaced in 2008 when Mitt Romney looked like he might become the first Mormon presidential candidate. His loyalty wasn’t questioned, but people openly mocked his religion and questioned his sanity regarding the so-called “magic underwear”. Thankfully, by 2012, this has calmed down. But there were decades when Mormons were seen as “the other”, a crazy cult that would do God-knows-what if they ever got power.

Donald Trump is simply continuing this long and disgraceful legacy of questioning the loyalty of a religious minority. This isn’t about facts; it’s about saying, over and over again, that Muslims are fundamentally disloyal to the United States and can’t be trusted. In doing so, he is wading directly into racially charged waters and appealing to a very ugly element of our society. This manifested over the weekend when he retweeted bogus and racist crime stats sent to him by an admitted neoNazi.

It was not American Muslims who attacked us on 9/11 (in fact, a few dozen Muslims died when the towers fell). It was not an American Muslim who tried to detonate a bomb in his shoe or in his underwear. It was an American Muslims who definitively proved that Al-Qaeda has caused 9/11. And we have seen thousands of Muslims serve our country with honor and many die fighting the War on Terror.


Now, it was an American Muslim who murdered 13 people at Fort Hood. It was an American Muslims who tried to bomb Times Square (and it was also one who alerted the police to the danger). There’s certainly a case to be made for keeping an eye on radicals. But over the past 25 years, we have lost way more people to crazed “right wing” terrorists (Oklahoma City) or white supremacists (Charleston) or our own damned government (Waco) than we have to American Muslims.

As I noted in a previous post, George W. Bush was very careful, after 9/11, to walk the line of denouncing extremism while not casting aspersions upon American Muslims. It was walking that narrow line that allowed him to be as effective as he was in destroying radical terrorists. It’s a pity to see the Republican front-runner abandon this. Because, in the end, it’s not only bad for the War on Terror, it’s bad for the Republican Party. People won’t forget that, at a tense time, Donald Trump was perfectly willing to play to bigotry and prejudice.

But … if his goal is to pave the way for Clinton, it suddenly all makes sense, doesn’t it?

The President and ISIL

With recent pushes into Kurdish territory and the beheading of 21 Christians in Libya, there is a growing fear that ISIL is growing more and more powerful. The President has asked for an authorization for the use of military force (finally). I’ll get to that in a moment. But my first concern is that he’s been making the argument, yet again, that ISIL doesn’t represent “real” Islam, even dragging out the old arguments about the Crusades as a moral equivalence.

The thing is that ISIL doesn’t agree with him. They are not like Al-Qaeda, which was an amorphous terrorist movement dedicated to bringing about the caliphate but operating within the modern world. ISIL wants to create the caliphate right now and the caliphate they want to create is violent, barbaric, medieval and based heavily on old-school Islam and literal interpretations of the Koran:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

(You really should read that entire article. Think Regress has posted a lame response that basically ignores Wood’s point: that while many Muslims don’t take the Koran’s more violent texts at face value, organizations like ISIL do.)

When the President says that violent extremists like ISIL are not the real face of Islam, he is both right and wrong. The face of Islam can be one of tolerance and peace. But it can also be one of intolerance and violence. Islam has gone through periods of enlightenment and gone through periods of horrific fundamentalism. At this point in history, it hangs in the balance caught between hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims and violent sects that, while a minority, wields enormous power and influence. We’ve seen in pre-war Afghanistan and in the ISIL-controlled territory what these people want: beheadings, slavery, crucifixion, stoning. Their ideology recognizes no authority other than “pure” radical Islam. Whether they represent a minority or not is beside the point. The Nazis were never a majority in Germany. The Communists were never a majority in the countries they ruled with an iron fist. But they were able to control massive parts of the world and enormous armies through violence, intimidation and bloodshed.

The “most Muslims are good” argument, while based in truth, has no practical meaning. Most Germans are good people. We still had to defeat them in two wars. Most Russians are good people. We still had to fight a dangerous and tense Cold War against the Soviet Union. Most Japanese are good people. We still had to drop two atom bombs on them. It doesn’t really matter what the vast majority want when the monsters have the floor. The problem is that while most people are good, they are also easily persuaded or coerced to do bad things or stand aside while bad things are done. This is true of everyone in the world. There is not a religion or country that isn’t capable of doing horrible things. The question is: who is in charge? We’ve seen what happens when people like ISIL are in charge: entire regions of the world become unspeakably violent.

The President has finally asked Congress to recognize the semi-war we’ve been fighting for a while. I think they should do so, but with some limitations. A land war is not necessarily going to solve ISIL (although letting them overrun Baghdad or Kurdistan — as they’ve threatened to — would be a disaster). In fact, it could play right into their apocalyptic prophecies. But I do know that we can not disengage. It’s important that we keep ISIL and AQ from reconciling (which the President’s rescue attempt threatened to do). The longer ISIL survives and the more territory they conquer, the more legitimacy and power they will accumulate in the eyes of radical Muslims. Stopping them might mean air support, training, weapons and/or money to the forces opposing ISIL. If that means what we end up propping up one side in a bloody decades-long struggle for the soul of Islam … well, that’s what it means. We have a national interest in preventing the rise of ISIL to a real caliphate. The only way it will end is when this supposed peaceful majority rises up and ends it.

Benghazi Eternal

Like an illegal alien, I have decided to “step out of the shadows” and lay down a quick post. The reason why is that I’ve noticed quite a bit of crowing today about the House Intelligence Benghazi report from some of my friends. As much as I know how the fascination some people have over the whole thing perplexes them, I read the report and will explain why the conspiracy theories are not going to stop.

There are two important aspects of Benghazi. The first is the one I’m personally more interested in: what the nature of the CIA’s activities there were and why Ambassador Stevens was there when the security situation was deteriorating and he had even noted this himself.

The only thing the report really says is that the CIA totally wasn’t there to collect weapons and send them to Syria (which, as we know now, would have provided them to ISIS). Instead, they were just gathering intelligence about foreign entities who were doing it.

So the questions I have are:

1. Why did this operation require the presence of an ambassador?
2. Who was moving these weapons to Syria?
3. Was the CIA enabling or facilitating these foreign entities?

Keep in mind that the report doesn’t say that the CIA was actually trying to stop the flow of weapons to Syria and it’s obvious to us now that they weren’t going to call in any airstrikes against those “entities” who were doing it, right?

This report makes the claim that there were no “specific” threats about the attack on the compound and even says right in the beginning that the “CIA ensured adequate security” for the facilities at the Annex. Obviously not, or Stevens would hardly be dead. If anything, the locals the CIA itself had hired to guard the facility appear to have aided the attack. Once the rescue operation was underway, their team couldn’t even get to the hospital to recover Stevens’s body. Their intelligence about whether the militia guarding the hospital were friendly was even wrong.

The headline that the media is going with today is that there was “no intelligence failure” but that isn’t true. There WAS an intelligence failure because the CIA couldn’t even see an attack coming right under its own nose in a jihadist-controlled area and still doesn’t entirely know who did it or why. Their job is to get that kind of information. That they don’t have it is an intelligence failure.

So what you have with that first aspect is:

1. We still don’t know what the CIA’s operation in Benghazi was intended to accomplish or why Stevens was involved.
2. The CIA and the State Department practiced the worst sort of incompetence before, during, and after the incident. It’s really clear when you read the report that this is true.
3. Absolutely nobody has ever been held accountable for the failures.

The lack of accountability is pretty typical of these types of reports, I might add. The political-bureaucratic class always protects itself. And that goes to the second important aspect of Benghazi: the failure of policy and resulting political ass-covering. The report is pretty gentle on the Obama Administration for sending Susan Rice out to blame the whole attack on a stupid YouTube video.

The truth is that the White House had enormous inventive to avoid the impression that this was a “failure of policy.” In fact, its entire Libyan policy (which never even had the blessing of Congress) has since turned into a disaster with our embassy in Tripoli abandoned and ISIS now setting up shop in Libya to take over and expand their war even further. Benghazi was just the first evidence that the policy was a failure.

In 2012, Obama and his Administration were telling us that bin Laden was dead and al-Qaeda was heading for strategic defeat. He was ending the wars and that was pretty important for his re-election.

As we know now, al-Qaeda was not on the run and one of its affiliates or some of its sympathizers helped kill our Ambassador. At the same time, the Administration was totally ignoring what was going on in Iraq. Proving that he learned absolutely nothing from what happened in Benghazi, Obama dismissed ISIS’s strength and got to be surprised by one of his policy failures all over again not less than 2 years later when they suddenly overran Mosul.

Again: zero accountability for it.

I don’t know whether or not the House Intelligence Committee knows what the CIA’s true role in Benghazi was or if they’ve just decided that it’s better not to share that information. Either way, to believe this report, you have to suspend your disbelief about the credibility of the CIA. Nothing I read in this report gives me any reason whatsoever to do so and there’s plenty that leads me to doubt it.

We’re being asked to trust people who have consistently proven that they don’t deserve it; by their lack of cooperation, poor transparency, and appalling incompetence. And that is why the Benghazi conspiracy theories aren’t going away.

Useful Idiots

Although Lenin gets credit (probably not deserved) for coining the phrase, the basic premise reveals mountains concerning the human condition. I always liked the phrase ,”The path to Hell is paved with good intentions”, another window which we can peer through, but to get seemingly good/honest people to do your bidding, to garner unwitting support for a malignant cause through charitable/peaceful acts, genius.

The latest example of a truly useful idiot comes from Hollywood land, where idiots rule and high falutin’ causes pointed anywhere near world peace and understanding, beating those swords into plowshares, are de rigueur:

Sean Stone, son of controversial director Oliver Stone, converted to Islam in Iran last week and says he’s already experiencing a Hollywood backlash.

Maybe the “backlash” he is experiencing has more to do with the dogma practiced in Hollywood as learned through the old USSR, that religion of any kind is a weakness and a disease, the sooner eradicated the better.

I consider myself a Jewish Christian Muslim.

Now I want to give him a hug, how noble and worldly (and stupid). I’m trying to wrap my brain around that. The Koran teaches that all infidels should be killed, umm, does that mean that the Muslim side of him wants to kill the Christian side? This is like saying that you are a both liberal and conservative, a vegan and a carnivore, can like Kate Upton and Marrisa Miller (OK, that one is a bit hazy).

Interesting that he chose a country like Iran to convert to that religion of peace, the same country that has probably more blood on it’s hands (through it’s backing and support of every terrorist organization on the planet) and that same place where the destruction of Israel and all Jews in general stokes their nuclear ambitions.

Here is Sean on The Factor last night, Ahmadinejad is just misunderstood, yeah, that’s it.

“I don’t care if I get criticized. If I can open up a debate about religion and create some understanding, then it is worth it.”

They aren’t criticizing you, they are laughing at you, laughing at your stupidity naivete. First off, to think that you converting to Islam will somehow make for a better world, a world more peaceful and tolerant, that is just goofy, and sooooooooo Hollywood.

But here is the bigger picture, wake the eff up, those Iranian enablers of yours would separate your head from your neck if it not for your conversion, and just remember, don’t even think about changing your mind, they are the exact antitheses of “pro choice”, their dopey apostasy laws mandate that you lose your life if you have a change of heart. Obviously, Sean, you did not think this one out very well.

And why the trip to terrorist land for his conversion, he couldn’t find any Islamic mosques here in America?

Peel It Slowly

The religion of Islam, comedy gold. How great would it be if all those whacky Islamist were like the Amish, ya know, eccentric in their own ways but peaceful and rather endearing. Colloquial interactions are similar, instead of “thee’s” and “thou’s”, Muslims use “Jihad” and “death to America”, but they don’t quilt and would not know Shoe Fly Pie if they stepped in it. I’m trying to imagine a movie version of “Witness” with a Muslim spin, a shot through the gut John Book, delirious, finds himself smack dab in a Muslim village. Looking around he sees, women (or at least he thinks they are women) clad head to toe in black sheets, a couple of gay guys swinging lifeless, strung up by the neck on one edge of the village, a bloody pulp of a mess mixed in with one of those black sheets and half covered with rocks on the other edge, and bearded men approaching him with long scimitars in hand, not good.

Much has been made about the Arab Spring, and how, just possibly, a new age of Democracy will take root and flourish in the Middle East, don’t hold your breath:

EGYPT: Radical Islamists Win 80% of Run-Off Seats In Stage One

I’m sure job one on their new governmental agenda will be a new peace agreement with Israel.

I can’t think of anything more dysfunctional and antithetical to world peace then a Sharia complaint government. Any country that gives two cents of authority to Islamic clerics and considers blasphemy laws as judicial or morally justified is a train wreck waiting to happen. Government and religion does not mix, that is why we hold them separate (and invest considerable effort in defining that separation) here in America.

And probably the biggest problem with granting power and authority to these nut job clerics is that they are not only psychotically obsessed with sex, but they are so hypocritical and backwards in what they consider proper application. Two examples of their lunacy:

They equate shopping in the produce section of their local supermarket with going to a titty bar;

An Islamic cleric in Europe says that women should avoid bananas, cucumbers, zucchini and other phallic fruits and vegetables. They may arouse sexual thoughts and that would be horrible.

See, this one baffles me, knowing how horny all these Muslims are (more on that in a bit) I would think that they would want all their wives greased and ready to rumble.

I guess they realize their own lack of will power and self control, so now more than ever, what women wear in public needs to be regulated.

The recent emergence of the hardline Salafi trend in Egypt after the January 25 revolution has given way to a series of controversial fatwas that mainly focused on women, Copts, culture and democracy.

Preacher Mustafa al-Adawi issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslim women from wearing high heels because they are a source of seduction for men.

“A woman can only wear high heels for her husband but she is not to do so outside her house,” he said.

And heavens knows, we don’t want those horn dogs any more revved up then they already are.

It is no coincidence that when they raided the Bin Laden complex they found a stash of porn that would fill a NY land fill, ditto with Muammar Gaddafi when his palaces were gone through, his porn collection, love nests, and the discoveries of his males enhancement items, he was one sex machine.

If all these clerics would spend less time worrying about procreation and more on adhering to their holy book and leading a life more in tuned with it, the 13 year old females of the villages would not have to worry about their impending wedding night, and women in general would feel safer, more loved and more respected.

When going produce shopping is turned into a sexual adventure, and actual time/energy is wasted on regulating said activity for the sake of their religion, the sane world (as if they need more examples) needs to heap even more derision on those that can’t seem to drag themselves out of the 12th century.

You would not know..

That the Islamists are predicted to have scored big in the Egyptian elections if you were watching the usual LSM DNC propaganda outlets.

Judges overseeing the vote count in Egypt’s parliamentary elections say Islamist parties have won a majority of the contested seats in the first round. The judges spoke on condition of anonymity because official results are expected to be released later Thursday.

They say the Muslim Brotherhood could take 45 percent of the seats up for grabs. The liberal Egyptian bloc coalition and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party are competing for second place.

Together, Islamist parties are expected to control a majority of parliamentary seats by March. This week’s vote was the first of six stages of parliamentary elections that will last until then.

Yeah, these are not complete yet, but the trend is not a coincidence to people like me that predicted exactly that end result. Obama seems to be hell bent to outdo Carter. Carter lost Iran: Obama is on pace to give away Egypt, Libya, and more.

Ain’t the world loving us yet?

Raid on UBL compound yields intel bonanza

Yes, killing bin Laden was a great thing, but this was a far better score for us:

The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.” The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid that killed bin Laden, officials told POLITICO.

“They cleaned it out,” one official said. “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?” U.S. officials are about to find out. The material is being examined at a secret location in Afghanistan. “Hundreds of people are going through it now,” an official said, adding that intelligence operatives back in Washington are very excited to find out what they have. “It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” the official said.

This is going to give us an intelligence bonanza. For one it should give us many other names of al Qaeda personnel as well as possible plans for other attacks. Maybe even whom Osama was working with in Pakistan? Most important of all though is that it will force all al Qaeda operatives and operations to assume they have been compromised and to try and break off. That’s going to stop plots in progress, flush out people that try to run, and in general going to disrupt operations for a long time. This war we are in with these monsters is going to be won on information. Right now we scored a major break with this raid. Let’s hope they use it to our full advantage and send a whole bunch more of these bastards to visit Osama in hell.

Time to rethink U.S. – Pakistani relations…

As I suspected and as the news hinted, it now looks like we finally got Osama because the US went at it alone instead of telling the Pakistanis we were going after him as was the case in the past. That’s because the Pakistanis were actually playing us and helping him.

American diplomats were told that one of the key reasons why they had failed to find bin Laden was that Pakistan’s security services tipped him off whenever US troops approached. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID) also allegedly smuggled al-Qaeda terrorists through airport security to help them avoid capture and sent a unit into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.

The claims, made in leaked US government files obtained by Wikileaks, will add to questions over Pakistan’s capacity to fight al-Qaeda. Last year, David Cameron caused a diplomatic furore when he told Pakistan that it could not “look both ways” on terrorism. The Pakistani government issued a strongly-worded rebuttal.

But bin Laden was eventually tracked down and killed in compound located just a few hundred yards from Pakistan’s prestigious military academy in Abbotabad. The raid by elite US troops was kept secret from the government of Pakistan. Only a tight circle within the Obama Administration knew of the operation. In December 2009, the government of Tajikistan warned the United States that efforts to catch bin Laden were being thwarted by corrupt Pakistani spies.

Explains why the guy was so effective at hiding out for so long, despite our major effort to find and bag his ass. The Pakistanis played us, and played us good, and this revelation should reshape our policies and actions towards them. At a minimum we should stop giving them any money or aid. And we should be seriously concerned that so many in the military and intelligence agencies of a nuclear armed Pakistan are in bed with al Qaeda, a sworn enemy, that has repeatedly said it wants to nuke the west. Doesn’t this qualify Pakistan as a terror enabling state: our worse night mare? This is going to be one heck of a foreign policy problem for us. At least Pakistan now should be made aware that any WMD action by al Qaeda means we obliterate their country. Might serve as a deterrent, might not. We are dealing with insane religious fanatics and evil men here in most cases.

Think about it: how can we ever feel secure with al Qaeda having ties to a government that not only has sympathies for their cause, but has nukes? And what’s China’s role in all this? Pakistan is one of their proxies – against rival India – and I am sure China has going-ons there that are definitely not in our interest. Seriously, while the death of bin Laden is a big score, the revelations that come with it should make us wearier than ever that we can win this war against the terror enablers without resorting to a brutal “hammer them all down” approach. Does the west reach a point where it simply looks at the cost vs. return and decides that since these people want to drag us all back to a dark age that it’s us or them? These revelations are not good for anyone I think, but we can not ignore them. Looks like team Obama is going to have to do some serious growing up here.