All posts by Tanstaafl

Insufficient Postage

Zawahiri Letter Shows Iraq’s Importance to al-Qaeda’s Jihad
October 07, 2005

First, the letter shows the al-Qaeda leadership’s increasing sensitivity to public opinion. Zawahiri writes of the importance of popular support for al-Qaeda, and rebukes Zawahiri for the Iraq insurgency’s “brutal tactics — noting that hostages can just as effectively be killed with bullets rather than by beheading.” I’ve written before (most recently in the Weekly Standard) of al-Qaeda’s increased efforts to tailor their message to appeasement-minded Westerners. Apparently, Zawahiri has also given some thought to how he can bolster al-Qaeda’s image in the Muslim world.

Second, the letter shows Iraq’s current importance to al-Qaeda’s jihad.

Letter to Zarqawi

(Speculation alert) Implicit within Zawarhiri’s message is an admission that the insurgency is headed for defeat unless it changes it’s policies and thereby its fortunes. Al Qaeda must have viewed with mounting alarm the increasing numbers of Iraqi troops that the US can field against them. The campaigns against the Euphrates and Tigris lines and the seize and hold operations now in progress must be hurting them. Therefore, despite their theological antipathy for the Shi’ites it must have occurred to them that their car bombs, beheadings, outrages and gratuitous murders — all dutifully reported by a media thinking it might chill American resolve — were working against them; this brutality was driving the Shia and the Kurds into American arms. And now Zawahiri admits this policy may be leading to their defeat.

Seized Letter Outlines Al Qaeda Goals in Iraq
By Susan B. Glasser and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 12, 2005; A13

Al Qaeda’s top deputy urged the leader of his Iraq branch in July to prepare for the inevitable U.S. withdrawal by carrying out political as well as military actions, and he lectured him that he risked being shunned by an Islamic world angered over his gruesome and not “palatable” killings of fellow Muslims, according to an intercepted letter released yesterday by the U.S. government.

The 6,000-word letter from Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri, to Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi amounts to a detailed portrait of al Qaeda’s long-term goals in Iraq and the Middle East, and includes a striking critique of how Zarqawi has gone about waging his war against not only U.S. troops but also Iraqi civilians. The letter was posted yesterday on the Web site of Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte — http://www.dni.gov — after senior intelligence officials released excerpts of it last week.

Zawahiri’s Advice

…we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media…

Obviously Iraq is far from the senseless quagmire the Sheehanistas, Codepinkos, and miscellaneous naysayers argue it is. We’re fighting al Qaeda there. They know they can use the media to undermine us. They’re counting on a repeat of Vietnam. Woe to the pacifists, Crusader withdrawal won’t satisfy the Jihadis because the true goal of the Jihad is to restore the Caliphate.

P.S. Methinks the Jihadis doth protest too much.

More On Bush’s Speech

Two critiques of Bush’s recent speech I commented on a few days ago. The first is relatively succinct:

Defining The Enemy
Posted 10/7/2005

Over and over, President Bush called the terrorists “Islamic radicals.” It was a stunning departure from his usual rhetoric marginalizing the religious aspect of the long-term threat America faces. In past speeches, Bush has described an otherwise amorphous enemy of “evil-doers” motivated by a rather nebulous thing called “evil ideology.”

With Thursday’s speech, he also abandoned his mantra that Islam is a “religion of peace.” He called it a “noble faith,” and left it at that.

The president could have gone even further to explain what motivates the terrorists. He left the impression they are all heretics distorting the idea of jihad and defiling their scripture. He said they were “driven by ambition.”

Yet self-immolation is the antithesis of earthly ambition. Suicide bombers are inspired not by earthly gain, but by the Quranic promise of endless carnal delights in paradise — rewards that are reserved for jihadists who “slay and are slain” battling the infidels in the name of Allah. No fewer than 26 chapters of the Quran deal with holy war and the rewards for martyrs, or shaheeds.

The unpleasant truth is, Muslim terrorists are getting all these terrible ideas — from violent jihad to self-immolation to even the beheadings we’ve seen in Pakistan and Iraq — straight out of the text of their holy book.

The second is a point by point rebuttal of Bush peppered with Iraq War skepticism far more rational than anything I’ve ever heard from anti-war leftists:

News & Views
by Srdja Trifkovic
Friday, October 07, 2005

These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus—and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Contrary to what Mr. Bush seems to be suggesting, “the idea of jihad” does call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus and it is a distortion of that idea to suggest otherwise. “The idea of jihad” is a highly developed doctrine, theology, and legal system of mandatory violence against non-believers. It made Islam the first political ideology, already in Muhammad’s lifetime, to adopt terrorism as a systemic tool of policy, not as a temporary and unwelcome expedient.

Both via Jihad Watch.

freeh_clinton

Clinton Asleep At The Wheel


Freeh decries Clinton’s ‘moral compass’
Clinton spokesman: Book ‘a total work of fiction’
Friday, October 7, 2005; Posted: 5:48 a.m. EDT (09:48 GMT)

In his upcoming book, “My FBI,” Freeh says Clinton failed to pressure Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to let the FBI question suspects the kingdom had in custody.

“Bill Clinton raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he understood the Saudis’ reluctance to cooperate and then he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the Clinton library,” Freeh writes.

. . .

Jay Carson, Clinton’s spokesman, said Freeh “wasn’t even present for the meetings he describes. President Clinton repeatedly pressed the Saudis for cooperation on the Khobar Towers investigation and his pressure led to the eventual indictments.”

Clinton aides challenge claim by ex-FBI chief
By Howard Kurtz
The Washington Post

Under strong pressure from former President Clinton’s advisers, CBS’ “60 Minutes” has agreed to read a statement denying a charge being made on tonight’s program by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

In the statement, Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national-security adviser, challenges Freeh’s assertion, also made in his new book, that Clinton failed to press Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to cooperate with an investigation of the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in that country, and used the occasion to ask for a contribution to his presidential library.

It’s a little strange how every mainstream news story about Freeh’s book and upcoming 60 Minutes appearance include, or are even dominated by, a pro-Clinton counter-point. The above articles are among the current top matches. Search Google or Yahoo and see for yourself.

It’s as if they wouldn’t report the story until they had some opposing points to print with it. Wouldn’t it be great if they did this every time? Unlike say how Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill, and Dan Rather (speaking for Bill Burkett) got to sucker punch Bush on prime time TV during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The following article provides some counter-counter-point in support of Freeh.

How the Left Undermined America’s Security Before 9/11
By David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 9, 2005

Underlying the Clinton security failure was the fact that the administration was made up of people who for 25 years had discounted or minimized the totalitarian threat, opposed America’s armed presence abroad, and consistently resisted the deployment of America’s military forces to halt Communist expansion. National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was himself a veteran of the Sixties “antiwar” movement, which abetted the Communist victories in Vietnam and Cambodia, and created the “Vietnam War syndrome” that made it so difficult afterwards for American presidents to deploy the nation’s military forces.

Berger had also been a member of “Peace Now,” the leftist movement seeking to pressure the Israeli government to make concessions to Yasser Arafat’s PLO terrorists. Clinton’s first National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake was a protégé of Berger, who had introduced him to Clinton. All three had met as activists in the 1972 McGovern presidential campaign, whose primary issue was opposition to the Vietnam War based on the view that the “arrogance of American power” was responsible for the conflict, rather than Communist aggression.

What Causes Jihad?

Compare and contrast the following viewpoints. The first, from an article posted on Jihad Unspun written by an American “activist writer”, reviews all the popular arguments blaming everyone but the “terrorists” for terrorism:

MILLER: Viewing Terrorism Through A Different Lens
Oct 08, 2005
By Jason Miller

Why do the “terrorists” and other people of the Middle East hate us? The truth is much more complicated than George Bush’s disingenuous, propagandistic explanation to the American public. However, Bush’s assertion was accurate in one sense. When he said, “They hate what we see right here in this chamber,” he captured the true focus of the ire of the Arab world: the US government.

Since the internal combustion engine became an indispensable aspect of economic vitality, the United States government has invaded, exploited, manipulated and cheated Arab nations in its ongoing quest to purloin their precious oil. Preying upon internal strife and ongoing unrest amongst varying factions and sects of the Islamic faith, the US government has raped the people of the Middle East for decades. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Acts of retaliation against the US are the result of victimized people attempting to thwart their over-powering, deceitful oppressors in Washington.

The second points out the elephant in the room:

Why Ask Why?
Terrorist attacks aren’t caused by any policy except that of the bombers themselves.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Oct. 3, 2005, at 8:00 AM PT

Never make the mistake of asking for rationality here. And never underestimate the power of theocratic propaganda. The fanatics look at the population of Bali and its foreign visitors and they see a load of Hindus selling drinks—often involving the presence of unchaperoned girls—to a load of Christians. That in itself is excuse enough for mayhem. They also see local Muslims following syncretic and tolerant forms of Islam, and they yearn to redeem them from this heresy and persuade them of the pure, desert-based truths of Salafism and Wahhabism.

bush20051006

Getting Warmer


President Discusses War on Terror at National Endowment for Democracy
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, D.C.
October 6, 2005

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus — and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Congratulations! We’ve finally officially identified the enemy. Now maybe we can work on understanding what really motivates them. For instance, the Jihadis are not the ones distorting the idea of Jihad. That would be the work of the apologists for Islam and the willfully ignorant multiculturalists who pretend Jihad is nothing more than soul searching or defensive war.

It All Depends What You Mean By Peace

Mark Steyn: Islamist way or no way
October 04, 2005

I found myself behind a car in Vermont, in the US, the other day; it had a one-word bumper sticker with the injunction “COEXIST”. It’s one of those sentiments beloved of Western progressives, one designed principally to flatter their sense of moral superiority. The C was the Islamic crescent, the O was the hippie peace sign, the X was the Star of David and the T was the Christian cross. Very nice, hard to argue with. But the reality is, it’s the first of those symbols that has a problem with coexistence. Take the crescent out of the equation and you wouldn’t need a bumper sticker at all. Indeed, coexistence is what the Islamists are at war with; or, if you prefer, pluralism, the idea that different groups can rub along together within the same general neighbourhood. There are many trouble spots across the world but, as a general rule, even if one gives no more than a cursory glance at the foreign pages, it’s easy to guess at least one of the sides: Muslims v Jews in Palestine, Muslims v Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims v Christians in Nigeria, Muslims v Buddhists in southern Thailand, Muslims v (your team here). Whatever one’s views of the merits on a case by case basis, the ubiquitousness of one team is a fact.
. . .
As Bassam Tibi, a Muslim professor at Gottingen University in Germany, said in an interesting speech a few months after September 11, “Both sides should acknowledge candidly that although they might use identical terms, these mean different things to each of them. The word peace, for example, implies to a Muslim the extension of the Dar al-Islam — or House of Islam — to the entire world. This is completely different from the Enlightenment concept of eternal peace that dominates Western thought. Only when the entire world is a Dar al-Islam will it be a Dar a-Salam, or House of Peace.”

The Legacy of Jihad

The Forbidden History
A Review of The Legacy of Jihad. Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims edited by Andrew G. Bostom.
Bruce Thornton

Attempts to reformulate the doctrine of jihad have been going on for a century, but with scant success, for such redefinitions fly in the face of centuries of orthodoxy. On this issue, the words of Clement Huart, though written in 1907, are still pertinent today: “The reformers of Islam may be right [that jihad is not holy war]. The intention of Mohammed, in what he said of jihad, may have been misunderstood and misrepresented. But into this question we do not desire to go. For what we are considering is, what Mohammedanism is and has been –– that is, what orthodox Mohammedanism teaches concerning jihad, founding its doctrine of a certain definite interpretation of those passages in the Koran which speak of jihad. Until the newer conceptions, as to what the Koran teaches as to the duty of the believer towards non-believers, have spread further and have more generally leavened the mass of Moslem belief and opinion, it is the older and orthodox standpoint on this question which must be regarded by non-Moslems as representing Mohammedan teaching and as guiding Mohammedan action.” The widespread support among Islamic peoples everywhere for terrorist jihad shows that Huart’s comments are as true today as they were in 1907. The Islamists are not “distorting” Islam, but rather the reformers and so-called “moderates” are.

ofx_sickle

Outfoxed: Unfair and Unbalanced

Say you think Fox News is politically biased and uses slick techniques to hoodwink viewers. They have the gall to call it "news". What do you do? Robert Greenwald interviewed some politically biased friends and used slick techniques to hoodwink viewers. He has the gall to call it a "documentary".

The interviewees include Noam Chomsky acolyte Jeff Cohen, leftist media reform champion Bob McChesney, The Nation correspondent John Nichols, socialist politician Bernie Sanders, Democrat politician Chellie Pingree, former TV newsman and left-wing blogger Walter Cronkite, ex-Fox employee and left-wing blogger Clara Frenk, and ex-Fox employee and Bush-bashing Iraq War critic Larry Johnson.

Of course Greenwald doesn’t come right out reveal this bias. Instead he leads his viewers to believe he sought out concerned professionals and neutral media experts. Bernie Sanders “independent Congressman”. HAHAHAHAHA! After a bit of research on the internet it’s obvious these people are so left of center that their opinion about Fox is about as predictable, and as useful, as a Muslim’s opinion of the Crusades.

And couldn’t they find even one ex-employee with some really juicy dirt? All we get is some whining about how out of place the poor partisans (who, other than Johnson, don’t reveal their partisanship) felt at Fox. That and a couple of emails similar to what anybody who gets email from their boss sees every day. Examples of Fox employees fired for their political views: zero. Fox’s real crime? Pinko McLefty gets a bad vibe, she’s not used to having her ideas challenged by Righty, and you know, like there’s a lot of pressure to do work and stuff.

Throughout the movie we hear the occasional anonymous voice, disguised by the same distortion effect almost 40 years of 60 Minutes has conditioned viewers to associate with the testimony of really serious whistle blowers. You might assume these would-be Deep Throats have substantial accusations to make. Nope, it’s just another slick gimmick.

If you thought the film’s subtitle, Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, meant you’d see some examples of, say, Rupert Murdoch waging war on journalism, guess again. But we do get to play name the zillionaire media mogul who created a cable news network, forbade the use of certain phrases, used innovative special effects, and blurred the line between news and entertainment. Hmmmm, "proud internationalist" Ted Turner? NNNNNNNNNNNNTTT! Sorry, you are politically incorrect. Ted came first, but he’s a liberal so he doesn’t count.

There were many trivial points. Like, some people say certain common phrases are a nefarious attempt to editorialize. Then again, some people say you can find such phrases just about anywhere you care to look for them.

Did you know Bill O’Reilly tells his guests to shut up alot? You would have learned that former Democratic speech writer Chris Matthews bullies people too, if only Outfoxed had been a truly objective documentary concerning abusive interview techniques.

Watch Outfoxed closely and you’ll notice the interviews have been cut up and glued back together with very subtle crossfades. Greenwald didn’t provide any examples of Fox News using this sneaky trick.

A central theme of the film is that Fox cheerleads for Bush and the RNC. This reflects a paranoia amongst leftists that says more about how out of touch with history and reality they are and how much they hate Bush than it does about Fox. To make their point Outfoxed reveals that Fox follows the president everywhere and reports his statements. Oh the humanity! You’d never guess there was a time, not long ago, when every news organization reported what the president said and did. Back then it was called "reporting". Nowadays reporters brazenly try to influence elections, back then they sometimes kept a secret or two to avoid hurting their president or country. The standards are different today. Any news outlet that doesn’t inject snide anti-American comments into their reports is ipso facto a right-wing mouthpiece.

Back in the day the press fawned over FDR and Kennedy even while they pretended to be above politics. Disgust over Vietnam and hatred of Nixon flushed out Cronkite (making his moralizing in this film more than a little ironic). Shortly afterward Dan Rather followed his mentor’s lead. By the early 70′s the charade of objective TV news was over. For several decades thereafter anyone looking for TV news that didn’t have an anti-corporate, anti-military, anti-conservative, homophilic, pro-feminist, multiculturalist, evironmental alarmist bias had a hard time finding it. For leftists it was the Golden Age of Journalism. Until Fox News came along.

Outfoxed would have you believe that Fox uses dirty tricks to get high ratings, and their viewers are gullible misinformed rubes. Poll statistics show Fox viewers think differently than NPR listeners. QED. It apparently never occurs to leftists that anyone but them is intelligent enough to discern a political tilt in their TV news, or that Fox’s popularity may result from supplying a legitimate demand for news that simply isn’t tilted leftward. They seem similarly dumbfounded by the failure of left-wing talk radio, in spite of the use of real dirty tricks.

Clearly Outfoxed is full of gaffes. But the piece de resistance is the deliberately misleading portrayal of Bush’s cousin’s role in the 2000 election. Greenwald made a documentary dedicated to this very subject so he should know the facts. How then can he imply Bush’s cousin, who worked at Fox, called Florida for Bush? Is Greenwald from some alternate universe where documentaries about bias repeat demonstrable canards? This more complete account makes it clear that all the networks, based on information from VNS, announced Gore the winner before the polls had even closed. Obviously this earlier call, which Outfoxed never mentions, had more impact on the vote than the call for Bush later in the night – and contrary to what Outfoxed implies, in no case was any call unilaterally made by Bush’s cousin. You’d have to be unfair and unbalanced to argue otherwise.