Wafa Sultan

americanrevolution is convinced that Islamic Fundamentalism may be our long-awaited replacement for communism as a long-term ideological foe in another battle where the primacy of democratic government is at stake. One of the loud voices in the verbal arena has been Wafa Sultan, an Arab-American doctor who has come upon notoriety by way of her particularly harsh tirades against Islam. A New York Times piece from last March explains that “even as she settled into a comfortable middle-class American life, Dr. Sultan’s anger burned within. She took to writing, first for herself, then for an Islamic reform Web site called Annaqed (The Critic), run by a Syrian expatriate in Phoenix. An angry essay on that site by Dr. Sultan about the Muslim Brotherhood caught the attention of Al Jazeera, which invited her to debate an Algerian cleric on the air last July.” The interview earned Dr. Sultan numerous death threats. She evidently is still making the rounds in circles where her message is pertinent and maintains a website.

While this video has been around awhile, it is certainly worth watching if you haven’t seen it.

Disunity on Display

patriotic-poster.jpg

 Joe Lieberman said earlier this week that “For the Senate to take up a symbolic vote of no confidence on the eve of a decisive battle is unprecedented. But it is not inconsequential. It is an act which, I fear, will discourage our troops, hearten our enemies, and showcase our disunity.” A word to the Congress-ever heard of keeping your problems in-house? In this age of instant proliferation of information, this may be too much to ask. But Lieberman has a point. The carping about the war that permeates the media and now the Congress is ineffectual except to showcase for the world our disunity and haplessness in a time of near-crisis. Capitol Hill is very much the epicenter of the political world, and as such, the messages it sends to the world on behalf of the American people carry much weight. The Congress would do well to remember this.

It is undeniable that the Iraq venture is a mess, and presents almost the perfect Catch-22 scenario. The first response to such a situation is finger-pointing. This catharsis is soon followed by a move to develop a solution-ideally, that is. But in our case, the finger-pointing stage, inaugurated over two years ago, persists. The Iraqi Study Group was a useless exercise–a brief pause in the action. The anti-war faction has, in this past few years, developed no feasible alternatives to the President’s [perhaps deservedly] much-maligned “Stay the Course” approach.

Today, America finds itself in a situation where the winning strategy is elusive, but essential. In the meantime, through the valiant yet largely unsung  efforts of tens of thousands of American soldiers, the nation is at least treading water in Iraq. They face a the worst sort of enemy- a guerilla bound to destroy America or die trying. In the face of this, the clear message America is sending from it shores is that the majority disapprove of its President, and a great many would prefer to pull out of Iraq and declare defeat. This is a clear message of weakness. It is also a clear message to American troops that most Americans and their elected officials are ready to say the 3,000 troops that have died and many thousands more who suffered severe injury did so in vain.

 America should demand of its elected officials that after years of anti-war rhetoric it is high time they do their part to end the grand display of national disunity and shut up until they can provide some useful alternatives.

Know Your Enemy

It strikes me that few Americans truly know how our enemies, the Islamic extremists, operate. Even as a political analyst, I admit I know much less than I should. The video below should open our eyes, then. If we believe we are fighting backward guerillas with only second-hand Soviet rifles, improvised exposive devices, and a death wish, we are gravely mistaken. The 911 Commission Report makes for some dull reading, but is a great start to learing about the evolution that has brought us today’s well-funded, technologically savvy terrorist organizations. These groups are well-versed in public relations, and understand how to affect perceptions. An area where this is key for them is in recruitment.

If you were an unemployed young Muslim with no prospects and a feeling that it might all be the fault of the West, then this recruiting video depicting the blowing up of American Humvees and tanks set to an energetic Arab ditty might just fill you with the spirit–of Jihad.

According to ForeignPolicyMag, who posted the video, “Al Zawraa began two years ago as an above-ground, hard-line Sunni TV station, based in Iraq, until the Iraqi government closed it down last November, around the time Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death. Today, it’s an underground station with brutal, no-holds-barred content, often amateur, shaky footage showing American soldiers crumpling to the ground after being shoot [sic], and alleged American atrocities against Iraqi civilians. The station’s anchors wear military fatigues and rail against the Shiite-led Iraqi government.”

That is what we’re up against.

The Break

The People’s Champ is so deep into the game his head hurts. As such, he’s taking a break to clear his head. He’ll be back no doubt, so keep tabs on the americanrevolution blog. In taking this mental vacation of sorts, he will do some light examination of the increasingly visible congruence between the failed appeasment strategy in response to Hitler’s early agression prior to WW2 and the appeasment strategy favored by today’s opponents of engaging the miscreant entities of the Middle East. If you wanna shout out about that, comment here or hit the very avtive global facebook group “american-revolution”

“An appeaser is on who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
-Sir Winston Churchill

Holla

They Took the News Lightly

That might be said of us soon. Our real lives are good, gas prices are bearable despite the fact many would have you believe otherwise. The dominant themes in the news (aside from tabloid material like the JonBenet Ramsey killer that we seem to have found isn’t) are the war in Iraq and to an increasingly lesser extent how the cease-fire will play out in Lebanon; and now there is a bit of Katrina thrown in for good measure, which should last all of a week if that. None of these affect our daily lives.

So why should we care? We can form opinions about what we hear, but all in all we haven’t enough of a sense of exigency to act on them.

I fear if this continues to be the case, as is likely in America, we risk the consequences of not paying due attention to the real problems at hand. According to Stanley Kurtz of National Review, the happy time is almost over.

“American politics is about to undergo a sea change. Our lives are going to be transformed on a more personal level as well. Sometime between now and five-to-ten years from now we’re going to be forced to choose between preemptive war with Iran, and living in a post-proliferation world. War with Iran will probably mean casualties on American soil. Iran has likely placed terrorist agents in the United States, with instructions to retaliate against civilian targets in the event of war. We’ll also likely see attacks on Persian Gulf oil shipments, and therefore a huge spike in the price of gasoline, with major economic consequences.”

I urge you to read his piece entitled “Our Fallout Shelter Future.” I detest opinion writers who proclaim imminent doomsday; I think Kurtz is not. His piece is pragmatic and sensible.

And a little sinister. Read it.

Absolving Ourselves of Responsibility

Responsibility for ones actions was once a cut-and-dried concept. It clarified our value systems if the roots of those values were otherwise murky. One’s adherence to a religion might have instilled in him a set of values that said that murder was wrong, for instance. And if the imminence of the fiery pits if Hell were insufficient to remind him of this, at least the threat of retaliation from either the law or the victim’s kin might give him second thoughts. Suppose it was something less heinous. One might speculate on land or stocks, and soon thereafter see the market fall flat. No injustice was done; he was aware of the risks, and as such must take responsibility for them and find some way to eat in the absence of all the money he lost. So it goes with many choices in life, be they moral or fiscal choices.

In the modern age, however, this concept is beginning to unravel as technology and social norms offer alternatives to taking responsiblity for ones actions. In some cases there are arguably benefits to these alternatives. Government-provided aid keeps many from starving to death who might be penniless either from simply bad luck or bad choices in life. Safer cars might allow a commuter who causes a wreck in the process of driving and talking on a cell phone to walk away instead of being perhaps killed. Medical technology can save the life of someone suffering a heart attack caused by a lifetime of poor diet choices. These are but a few examples; there is one example however that is far more controversial, but all the same in that it allows one to make mistakes without facing the consequences.

On Thursday August 24, theUS Food and Drug Administration ruled that the “morning-after pill” which provides contraception up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, would be available sans prescription for women 18 and older. It will only be sold in pharmacies, however. Women under 18 may still be able to obtain the pill with a prescription. The pill, marketed under the name Plan B, is said to actually prevent pregnancy, unlike the much more controversial RU-486, which takes effect after pregnancy and causes an abortion up to 49 after pregnancy occurs.

Women’s advocacy groups considered the decision a victory, but one such group, Planned Parenthood, echoed the concerns of many in expressing dismay over the age restriction, saying it “is troubled by the scientifically baseless restriction imposed on teenagers. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the western world — anything that makes it harder for teenagers to avoid unintended pregnancy is bad medicine and bad public policy.” FDA head (pending almost certain Senate confirmation) Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach contended that “there isn’t enough scientific evidence that young teens can safely use Plan B without a doctor’s supervision.”

And so now, where once unprotected sex carried with it a significant possibility of pregnancy, well, one can always go to Plan B if things got a little out of hand the previous night and the contraceptives were forgotten. Teen pregnancy ostensibly will fall with this ruling, and that would be nice. That’s so American, to be able to make a bad choice and to be able to sidestep the consequences by spending a few bucks.

Maybe that’s okay. I’m just pointing out a trend.

Nothing Happened

Well, August 22’s nuclear announcement from Iran came and went, and did so without incident. So benign was it in fact that on the evening of August 22, the story did not appear on the cnn.com homepage. Regardless of the absence of hoopla in the wake of the announcement, it actually arrived as Iran promised. It was none too surprising, and full of the ambiguities expected.

Iran has not publicly annouced yet whether it will agree to stop enrichment of uranium, though sources hint that Iran is likely not to agree thusly. The major focus of the response was the opening of dialogue on the issue. Iran evidently is ready for “serious negotiations” on the subject of nuclear development. That ought to be fun. Iran may act at times irrationally, but all the same it is well-versed in some pieces of diplomacy, notably stalling tactics. One can only imagine that the “dialogue” Iran seeks to engage in will be just that.

On the bright side, there was no nuclear attack on Israel.

The Night Journey

Back some months ago, before there was a war in Lebanon, one of the key concerns in the Middle East outside of Iraq was Iran’s nuclear program. European nations offered a juicy incentive package to Iran in exchange for a promise not to enrich uranium for military purposes. After much filibustering on the part of Iran, that nation responded to the West’s demand for an answer by June 29. They responded by setting their own deadline, August 22. Having no choice but to wait an additional couple of months for the results of Iran’s prolonged pontification, the world did so. In the meantime, focus shifted away from that story and to an escalating conflict in Lebanon. Iran then was only mentioned in the context of being the backer of Hizballah, the protagonist in the Lebanese conflict. The nuclear issue was temporarily forgotten.

Now a very tenuous cease-fire has been implemented in Lebanon. The relative calm that has ensued has afforded us a chance to look at other possible newsworthy items. And just as we emerge from our month-long fixation on the war in Lebanon, it seems that Iran’s self-imposed August 22 deadline for a response to the European nuke deal is suddenly here. And there is much reason for concern.

The Assosciated Press reports that on Monday Iranian officials turned away UN inspectors who sought to observe a subterranean nuclear facility. This consitutes a breach of the Nonproliferation Treaty according to the UN. The officials called the refusal by Iran “unprecedented,” and warned that this “could seriously hamper international efforts to ensure that Tehran is not trying to make nuclear weapons.” It seems we have seen this song and dance elsewhere before in a neighboring country once run by a man named Saddam Hussein.

And to provide further concern for the implications of Iran’s announcement Tuesday is its curious concidence with a certain date on the Muslim calendar. This from frontpagemag.com:

Farid Ghadry, the president of the Reform Party of Syria, has offered a provocative explanation for this delay. He asserts that the Supreme National Security Council of Iran chose the August 22 date “for a very precise reason. August 21, 2006 (Rajab 27, 1427) is known in the Islamic calendar as the Night of the Sira’a and Miira’aj, the night Prophet Mohammed (saas) ascended to heaven from the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on a Bourak (Half animal, half man), while a great light lit-up the night sky, and visited Heaven and Hell also Beit al-Saada and Beit al-Shaqaa (House of Happiness and House of Misery) and then descended back to Mecca.…”

Iran has promised to provide a “multi-faceted” response to the calls for a halt to nuclear proliferation. Realistically, this is probably a highly detailed response on paper, full of minutiae that will afford Iran the luxury of quibbling with the West over every word while nuclear enrichment goes on also. However, frontpagemag.com, ever the more alarmist type, has offered a much more ominous possible scenario:

…according to Ghadry, Ahmadinejad is planning an illumination of the night sky over Jerusalem to rival the one that greeted the Prophet of Islam on his journey. What the Iranian President, he says, is “promising the world by August 22 is the light in the sky over the Aqsa Mosque that took place the night before. That is his answer to the package of incentives the international community offered Iran on June 6.”

Whatever the answer is, we shall know on Tuesday. What we know now is this–regardless of what Iran says or does Tuesday, it will continue to be a proverbial thorn in our side for some time to come.

Stupid Stuff

Arab leaders Sunday requested more time from the UN for Sudan to lay out a plan for quelling violence in Darfur. Give them more time? Just how long are they willing to wait? Give me a break.
Story at Reuters

The ongoing cease-fire in Lebanon was greatly endangered over the weekend as Israeli forces attacked a Hizballah target. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was none too pleased, and Lebanon threatened to halt its troop deployment to the south. Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr didn’t go further with that threat, but said that if anyone incited more violence with Israel was an ally of the enemy Israel. He also announced that “all militant groups [will be assured] of harsh measures and a traitor’s fate if they incite Israeli retaliation.” This does not extend, however, to Hizballah; for Murr insists that “we consider that when the resistance (Hezbollah) is committed not to fire rockets, then any rocket that is fired from the Lebanese territory would be considered collaboration with Israel to provide a pretext (for Israel) to strike.”
Story at Forbes

Congressman John Kline (R-Minnesota) has offered an apology for his response to the Haditha incident where Marines allegedly killed a number of Iraqi civilians. “This was a small number of Marines who fired directly on civilians and killed them. This going to be an ugly story,” Kline said after hearing about the incident. Problem is, this hasn’t gone to court yet-he stated as fact what are as yet only accusations. Hey Kline, ever heard of innocent until proven guily? The initial outcry from Kline was just the kind of energetic pandering that so many GOP congressman engage in these days. This time, one got burned. Now if in the end he was right, may those guilty pay in full for committing such atrocities. But you get the point.
Story at Time