Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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This week's column examines the embargo the media, from left to right, slap on fact after death. They may think it's good manners (or good politics), but it's not only a disservice to readers and viewers, it's dangerous for democracy.

Something about the death of a famous liberal person turns the media into grieving widows whose dictum against speaking "ill" of the dead eliminates all sober analysis of the life in question. Once, death in the passing parade came to us, more or less, in "just-the-facts, ma'am" obituaries. Now, breaking, live and for the duration, a celebratory loop plays on about even the most mixed and controversial public lives.

Notice I said "mixed" and "controversial," restrained terminology to describe the life and times of Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose death triggered a media dump of Hallmark-curlicued...

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It is bad enough -- awful enough, dispiriting and dangerous for the Republic -- for our own media to airbursh away Ted Kennedy's criminal behavior at Chappaquiddick, where Mary Jo Kopechne died 40 years ago this summer, kicking into action the Kennedy fixers and shills that kept the first-term senator politically "viable." (More on this in this week's column.) But being told that the American media set a good example of "forgiveness," or that America is to be congratulated for being the "land of second chances" is almost worse. It's no compliment; it's just evidence that our shamefulness is world-renowned.

From The Telegraph:

Ted Kennedy’s career shows that America is indeed the land of second chances.

In Britain, as today’s...

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The Times Online (UK) today notes:

"Four British soldiers die for sake of 150 votes."

The story is about British losses to secure Election Day safety in a sector of Afghanistan where thousands were eligible to vote and 150 showed up.

Regardless of how many showed up, there is something wrong here -- something that the headline-writers could have emphasized with one more word. The headline should read:

Four British soldiers die for sake of 150 Afghan votes."

It makes you wonder: Why are British (and, of course, American) soldiers dying for the sake of Afghan votes? If Afghans want to vote so much (and that is debateable), why aren't Afghan forces fighting for their own people? More important question:  Why do we care so much about whether...

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Iraqi strongman wannabe Nouri al-Maliki has failed to join the latest incarnation of Iraq's leading parliamentary bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance.

Reports the Wash Post:

The new Shiite coalition will be led by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a conservative party that is among Iran's closest allies in Iraq. It also includes the movement of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr; the Fadhila Party; former Pentagon ally Ahmed Chalabi; and former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari.

In other words, it's old home week at the Shiite coaltiion: All of these characters and parties have been in and out of Iraq's leading political alliance, with its list headed by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, since the 2005 parliamentary elections. All that's really missing this time around is Maliki and his Dawa Party.

Alliance leaders said they invited Maliki to join but refused to guarantee that he would keep his job if the alliance obtained a majority of seats.

...

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I interupt the wall-to-wall coverage of the death of Lionofthesenateted Camelotisgonekennedy (sick-making) to bring another breaking obituary. This news isn't exactly breaking, because the death in question, that of Saudi billionaire and serial libel tourist Khalid bin Mahfouz, took place on August 15. But it's fresh, all right, as there has been no coverage of it that I can find in Western media. As the subhead below notes, "Libel tourism is so effective that the Western media apparently fears even to report serial suer Khalid bin Mahfouz's death."  Rachel Ehrenfeld and Millard Burr assess the Saudi's death -- and why...

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Turki's two faces (thanks to Ruth King): Neither likes the idea of US oil independence.

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Turki al-Faisal is extremely upset with talk, just talk, of US oil independence, even from the vassal-in-chief. Today, in Foreign Policy, the Saudi  inveighs against such "demagoguery."

It's an amusing read, actually, and quite revealing of the depth of fear even the lip-serviced prospect of American Independence from Saudi Arabia inspires in the desert chieftains.

He writes:

"Energy independence" has become a byword on the American political scene, and invoking it is now as essential as baby-kissing....

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When Nathan Hale, Yale Class of 1773, was caught in New York gathering intelligence on the British, he was hanged as a rebel spy. His very famous last words are said to have been: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." He was 21 years old. Notably, his statue by Bela Lyon Pratt, which stands on Yale's Old Campus, was a gift of Yale alumni 141 years after Hale's death --  testament to the reverence sucessive generations of Americans at Yale felt for him.

In a description of the statue of Nathan Hale, there is this suddenly pertinent fact about this 1914 gift from Yale alumni:

Unable to afford the renowned Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, they commissioned the piece from his former assistant, Bela Pratt.

"Unable to afford" ... they economized? They didn't turn to a Saudi Arabian oil well, I mean, "prince" for cash?

How times have changed. I wrote extensively...

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Andrew Bostom illuminates the reason the media is blind to the significance and potential consequences of the Riqfa Bary story at the American Thinker today: why, as he puts it, "Rifqa Bary faces death for her apostasy from Islam, while the media ignores the solid religious and institutional grounding for the practice."

The story of the 17-year-old apostate from Islam who says she ran away from home in Ohio and sought refuge with a Florida church group to avoid becoming a victim of an "honor killing" at the hands of her Sri Lankan Muslim family has largely played out online at such blogs as Atlas Shrugs and Jawa Report. Big Media have ignored the story -- Fox News excepted. But, as Andy notes, Fox's "coverage...

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Warning: The following images may be "inflammatory" and/or "tasteless."   It is up to you to determine which are so.



1) The Saudi Arabian flag.

Earlier this summer in Copenhagen, speaking in the Danish parliament, Wafa Sultan projected an image of the Saudi flag on the wall behind her and explained the symbolism:

Would you please take a look at the Saudi flag. The writing on the flag translates, "No God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet." Underneath that religious statement there is the large sword. It represents the superiority of Islam and its desire to impose it by force on the non-Muslim. This statement is the underlying foundation of Islam.

...

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No, I have not just raised the curtain on a new Mel Brooks musical number, with the "imam," center stage, about to break out singing: "Autumn ... at Ya-le ... means Ram-adan...."

Behold Yale's Coxe Cage where in October 2008 hundreds of area Muslims, including Yale students, gathered for an Islamic service. (Story and slide show here.) I found this stunning East-meets-absorbs-West image while researching this week's column in which I make the case that Yale probably censored the Motoons in accordance with Islamic law to please potential Muslim donors who fund the extension and entrenchment of such law.

Along the way, I found a bumpy trail of disjointed factoids that, even though they don't ...

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The pictures tell the story. From the (UK) Sun:

Sick ... Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi, in suit with walking stick, beside Gaddafi's son last night

 

Cheers ... crowds wave Scottish flags and 1992 pics of Megrahi

Prince Andrew's upcoming royal visit to Libya is now "in doubt."

In doubt?

 



This week's column sums up what I think is really going on at Old Eli:

The official story is that fear of Muslim violence drove Yale University Press (YUP) to censor the Danish Muhammad Cartoons and other imagery of Muhammad from an upcoming book about, well, the Danish Muhammad Cartoons. That's what Yale, its administration and press, says publicly, matter-of-factly, and, it seems, without shame.

But it is a shameful thing. Yale's decision to censor pictures of Muhammad from an academic text about them is one of those watershed moments that history will record as institutional capitulation to sharia (Islamic law) at one of the storied centers of Western learning, American branch. It also happens to be my alma mater.

Yale is hardly...

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From today's Christian Science Monitor:

Despite intensive last-minute lobbying by the US government, the Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and killing 270 people is on his way home to Libya today after serving just eight years of a life sentence in a Scottish prison.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is said to be suffering from a terminal illness, was released today on compassionate grounds by Scotland's justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill. At around 2:30 in the afternoon in Scotland, a commercial jet dispatched by Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi touched down in Glasgow to whisk Mr. Megrahi home to a hero's welcome. ...

Megrahi was the only man ever convicted in the 1988 attack, which killed 189 Americans, making it this country's single largest terrorist attack on civilians before Sept. 11.

...

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UPDATED 8.19.09:

I never met Robert Novak, wasn't influenced by him, and, truth be told, didn't much read his column or see him on TV. I was mainly aware of him as a very famous conservative columnist marked by a reflexive and implacable hostility to Israel. I learned only today at DebbieSchlussel.com that he also had a shocking affinity for Hamas. Having passed away, he is now the subject of quite unstinting appreciations from fellow conservatives, even those who are known for their strong support for Israel.

Particularly when it comes to media figures, it is not "speaking ill of the dead" to discuss their passionately, publicly argued opinions. Why is Novak's support for Hamas now overlooked by so many of his peers?

Here, from a November 24, 2001...

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Last week's column, which I am posting today (below), opens like this:

Question for Americans: How can we as a nation even consider using our military for another "surge" in Afghanistan when the "surge" in Iraq has left little more imprint on the sands of Mesopotamia than the receding tide?

On one of my final proofreads, I changed a word. Originally, it read, How can we ... even a consider  "surge" in Afghanstan

when the "surge" in Iraq has left no more imprint on the sands of Mesopotamia than the receding tide?

At the last minute, I hedged, thinking well, maybe there is just a teeny tiny bit of a post-surge US imprint, so I changed "no" to "little."

That, as this morning's Wash Post confirms, was a mistake. Seems the Iraqi government wants to hold a referendum in January on booting US forces out ahead of schedule, which to my mind promises to erase any and all residual US influence. I'm fine with this because I would like to see US forces leave yersterday and take their "surging" comrades in Afghanistan with them for a major realignment of US policy that would never again place infidel America in the unworkable, failed strategy of fighting for the soul of Islamic nations. What is disturbing about the story is the non compos mentis US/Pentagon reaction.

...

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"Swimmers told to wear burqinis" reports the London Telegraph today. And no, those early 20th century suits (above) give a woman far too much freedom of movement and essential Vitamin D to be permissible in  21st-century Islamo-British swimming pools. The Telegraph explains:

 

Under the rules, swimmers – including non-Muslims – are barred from entering the pool in normal swimming attire. Instead they are told that they must comply with the "modest" code of dress required by Islamic custom, with women covered from the neck to the ankles and men, who swim separately, covered from the navel to the knees. When does the madness stop? Or, more to the logical and essential point, when does the immigration policy that...

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Illustration by Pat Crowley

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Over the weekend, Roger Kimball reported two new facts related to the  enforcement of sharia prohibitions at Yale University Press against publishing imagery of Mohammed -- and especially imagery of Mohammed that illustrates the sacralized links between Mohammed and jihad violence.

Not only was Yale Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer in on the Motoon-censoring consulation with author Jytte Klausen, but also one...

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Jytte Klausen, Yale Dhimmiversity Press author, today in a Dutch newspaper:

Klausen vindt het geen principezaak. ‘Als er echt gevaar dreigde, zou ik vinden dat de cartoons uit het boek moeten. Ik ben geen Geert Wilders.’

Translation:

Klausen does not think it is a matter of principe [to have the cartoons published]. "If there is a real danger, the cartoons should be removed from the book. I am not Geert Wilders." No one needs to draw a picture to show that In this free speech fiasco at Yale, there's no free speech hero.

But with this latest retreat, we begin to get some almost comic relief.  Klausen's concession...

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Behold the guardian of Yale Dhimmi-versity Press: John Donatich, dressed for a hard day's work in the Ivory Tower snipping out what he calls "gratuitous" images of Mohammed through the centuries. Mohammed by Old Masters  and Mohammed by sketch artists; Mohammed in a 19th-century woodcut by Dore and Mohammed in a 21st-century caricature by Westergaard. I refer, of course, to Yale University Press's decision to delete all imagery of Mohammed in a book about imagery of Mohammed, which, as Roger Kimball reports today in a fine bit of detective work, appears to have emanated from Yale University's highest offices. The book's title is The Cartoons That Shook the World. Sans pics, the book also should be re-titled: [Expletives Deleted] That Shook the World. Or just: ...That Shook the World. It makes as much sense.

...

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It's official. Islamic law extends to New Haven, Connecticut where Yale University Press has chosen to submit to the dictates of sharia and not reproduce the 12 Danish Mohammed Cartoons in a new book about ... the 12 Danish Mohammed cartoons. Indeed, in keeping with sharia's dicates, the book, The Cartoons that Shook the World by Jytte Klausen, will include none of the originally planned images of Mohammed, including, as the New York Times reports, "a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí."

How was this editorial gag put in place? The Times reports (via View from the Right):

Yale University and Yale University Press consulted two dozen authorities,...

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LTC Timothy Karcher was the last American commander of Sadr City, and the officer who personally signed over jurisdiction of that hellish sector to Iraq in June. As some readers know (from the links  here), shortly after the sign-over and shortly before leaving Iraq, LTC Karcher was the victim of a roadside bomb attack in which he lost both legs above the knee. In a follow-up roadside bomb attack, one of his soldiers, Sgt. Timothy David, a veteran of six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was killed. No statements of outrage and gratitude followed, from either American or Iraqi leadership. No vows of finding or bringing in the killers followed, either. In fact, aside from a few mainly local mentions, nothing followed.

Despite the void, however, LTC Karcher's life story continues. For most of the summer, he has been hospitalized at Walter Reed, and for most of the summer his wife has been blogging about his medical progress -- his slow and painful and purposeful medical progress. Here is Mrs. Karcher's most recent entry

...

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Well, was it? I have always feared that pumping additional troops into Iraq could achieve no more than stop-gap success because the strategic formula of the surge depended on triggering impossible Iraqi reactions to US-created security -- namely, what we took to calling Iraqi "political reconciliation." It was rampant violence, the surge theory went, that prevented the warring sects of Iraq from achieving "political reconciliation." Remove the violence, our PC-Bush administration/PC-Pentagon fantasists said, and an Iraqi Republic of Kumbaya would break out.

Never mind that this formula made zero religious, historical, cultural or anthropological sense. We, Occidental hangovers that we are, so ordained this Occidental assumption about the Islamic peoples of Iraq -- that without car bombs in markets every day, Jeffersonian democracy or something would flower. Hence, La Surge, a strategy that was never more than a military catalyst for a Hail-Mary-hoped-for Iraqi political reaction. 

Now this.

...

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Today's column is, at root, an expression of horror at the extent to which pandering dhimmitude characterizes our military strategy in Afghanistan. We inferior-minded infidels will do anything, it seems, to win the approval of the Islamic masses. We will sink endless billions into their country; build endless infrastructure; provide state-of-the-art security; train untrainable armies and police forces, and on and on. Now, according to our new commander  in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (photo above), in our effort to "protect [the Afghan people] from everything that can hurt them," we will even ask our troops to think twice under fire. All of this we will do in the effort to win Afghan "hearts and minds," which, our geniuses (West Point '76, many of them) have decided, will win this overnight, as one general recently put it. "Winning hearts and minds" -- awful phrase with unfortunate...

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The war in Afganistan, in case you didn't know, in the words of Gen Stanley McChrystal, is "a struggle for the support of the Afghan people."

And you probably thought it was a hangover from the war on terror. Nope. We are now waging a campaign whose strategic priority (if you can call it strategic) Gen. David Petraeus calls "first and foremost ... a commitment to protecting and serving the people." And that would be the Afghan people. And no this is not the Peace Corps talking. This is the military's way of explaining what Gen. McChrystal calls a "holistic counterinsurgency campaign."

Holistic? There's more. Going pretty zen for a Joint Chiefs Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen puts it this way: "It's not about how many enemy we kill; it’s about how many civilians we protect." (And when you can snatch the pebble from my hand ...)

It's also about how many civilians we pay. (Plus ca change,...

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Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff specuiates about the political steps that may have led Prez O to honor Mary Robinson with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Robinson is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002) who led the infamous 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism  that immediatey preceded 9/11. Durban, remembered for its vicious outpouring of anti-Semitism -- the US and Israel walked out --  is not the sort of resume-builder to garner America's highest civilian honor, except, of course, in times of "hope and change."

Worth noting is that it is more than a notorious anti-Semitic hatefest and, as Paul's post also lays out, animus toward Israel, a key US ally, that marks Robinson's career. As High Commissioner, the former president of Ireland...

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From the daily digest "Publishers Lunch," news of a new aquisition:

NON-FICTION: HISTORY/POLITICS/CURRENT AFFAIRS Activist, "Green for All" organizer, and blogger Ibrahim Abdul-Matin's GREEN DEEN: How American Muslims Go Green, illustrating the synergies between Islam and environmentalism, and offering Muslim Americans practical steps for going green that help them align their personal and community practices with their aspirations for a better world, to Johanna Vondeling at Berrett-Koehler (World).
 

An industry wag writes: "I can see it now. Coming soon -- THE GREEN JIHAD: HOW TO DESTROY THE WEST WITHOUT DESTROYING THE PLANET...!"
 



Time for some arithmetic, folks.

Behold the pie chart, which comes from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). It shows all sources of Afghan civilian casualties to date this year. Such casualties are widely, if not exclusively, portrayed by US civilian and military leadership as The Stumbling Block to our winning "hearts and minds," or "trust," in Afghanistan. Such trust is widely, if not exclusively, depicted at the key to victory. As a starry-eyed Brig. Gen. Steven Kwast,  commander of 5,000 airmen at Bagram Field, Afghanistan, put it to the Air Force Times yesterday: "Victory in this conflict is about winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people and engendering their trust. When the Afghan people trust us and believe us when we tell them what we’re going to do, we will win this overnight."

When the Afghan people trust us...How long, oh Lord, does this line...

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Today's NYT Sunday Books Section has an enthusiastic, if less-than-informative front-cover review by Fouad Ajami of Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, a new book I have not yet had a chance to read. It is one of those reviews in which the reader learns more about what the reviewer thinks of the subject at hand -- Islam in Europe -- than the author. Ajami writes:

In his “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe,” Christopher Caldwell, a meticulous journalist who writes for The New York Times Magazine and other publications, gives this subject...

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The Friday arts section of the New York Times was bait on a hook for Old Movie fans with a layout built around a large and lovely photo portrait of Cary Grant.

No, not the one above, but this one here:



I don't know what's with the sepia tones -- as opposed to b&w -- but there you have it.

So, I picked up the story by Mike Hale, preparing to enjoy a bit of time travel -- a considered look back over Grant's movie career pegged to a festival of his films opening at BAMcinematek, which, despite the Mittel Europa overtones, is the Brooklyn Art Museum's repertory film theatre. The headline promised a deservedly, if routinely, appreciative, critically cogent appraisal -- "Once Upon a Time a Real Leading Man."

For a movie critic (which, speaking of once upon a time, I once was), a Grant retrospective is kind of like a vacation: a string of first-class, top drawer movies, a number of lesser entertainments, some real clunkers, but all in all, a dazzlingly memorable career created by a dazzlingly memorable actor -- a heroically designed leading man whose sense of style we can now appreciate as an early form of performance art, who happened also to have a genius for romantic, even screwball comedy --- not easy at all. And not common at all. He was unique. Grant has a tremendous run of movies in the late 1930s including The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing up Baby (1938), Gunga Din (1939), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), and, to top it off, The Philadelphia Story (1940).

...

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This time, the body politic has lost its head. Really. There can be no other explanation for the group outrage directed at anyone who dares to wonder why it is that Barack Hussein Obama refuses to release his long-form, orginal birth certificate from whatever Hawaiian vault it is in to settle the "natural born" controversry once and for all. And there can be no other explanation for why it is that no one in the media has ever seen fit to ask him why he hasn't done so. If he has nothing to hide, why hide it? Of course, if he does have something to hide, he may have put over a giant fraud on the American people.

Will we ever know the truth? Probably not unless the media transform themselves from Protector of the Throne to good, old-fashioned fact-gatherers. I'm not holding my breath. Indeed, at this rate, what future historians may one day look back on as the strangest aspect to this extremely...

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With this week's column, I am delighted to present an original caricature by noted cartoonist Pat Crowley (although I am afraid the joke is on us).

"Obama's Secret: Safe With the Media"

Barack Obama’s birthday is coming up on August 4, and I hereby urge the president to bestow a big daddy party favor on the nation that elected him: a verifying look at the original, “long-form” version of his birth certificate.

Before I explain why, it’s important to grasp the weird fact that this simple request, requiring nothing more than the merest nod of the close-clipped, presidential head, ranks as fightin’ words to, of all people, American journalists. Right-wing, Left-wing, these ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate seem to want nothing less than to gain access to the one piece of evidence that could lay the “natural born” issue to rest once and for all. Not quite kicking but definitely screaming, the...

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While I was away not much minding the store for the past couple of weeks, I find that the Obama birth certificate story has finally garnered a widespread level of MSM  attention -- exclusively targeted at making it all go away, of course, along with anyone at all intrigued by it.

So I wrote this week's column (to come) about it, just in time for the president's August 4 birthday.

Meanwhile, I find a couple of fascinating new points have been added to the perplexing tale. One that I didn't know is the fact that Hawaiian state law makes birth certificates available for children born out of state, even out of country, so long as their parents claim Hawaii as their legal residence in the year prior to birth. I had heard, vaguely, from a State Department friend how Hawaii was known as a popular transit point through which foreign-posted Americans, for example, could sometimes  "pick up paper" for their...

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It has been an extremely unsettling experience witnessing the public geysers of adulation rising up and over the life and times of Walter Cronkite for many reasons, but the myths and lies being re-perpetrated about the 1968 Tet Offensive, which figure so prominently in the making of Cronkite's outsized prominence on the American stage, deserve special mention.

In obituary after obituary, the media have made the glib, matter-of-fact, even approving link between Cronkite's Tet "stalemate" broadcast and LBJ's "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America" reversal on Vietnam without ever noting that Tet, contrary to Cronkite's and other MSM reports, was a military and political fiasco for North Vietnam -- not for the US and South Vietnam. At least not until the the story was turned into the Big Lie back in the US., and psychological and proganda victory for the communists ensued.

Such historical ignorance on Tet...

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Photo: Harvard's Skip Gates -- busted for showing i.d.?

Afghanistan, Russia, trillions in deficit, trillions in budget, the economy, unemployment,  North Korea, California's bankruptcy, oil dependency on cartel of jihad, Hamas, a US soldier captured by the Taliban ... and the 44th President of the United States ignorantly and divisely inserts himself front and center into a local Boston police matter in which no charges stand.

It happened in the last question (as recorded in the  transcript) of the Obama press conference last night:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you? And what does it say about race relations in America?

...

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Been re-reading Peter Braestrup's indispensable Big Story: How the American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington (more on that later), and something in the way Braestrup characterized the "pacification" program in South Vietnam caught my eye.  

It first comes up on early in the book (p. 28 of my Anchor Books paperback edition) where Braestrup is analyzing what he came to understand as the limitations and fallibilties of the press corps in Vietnam, his own included. (Braestrup had left the New York Times to become Saigon bureau chief for the Washington Post before Tet.) Discussing the program of "pacification," he writes: "It was the U.S.-South Vietnamese response, often shrouded in the Great Society rhetoric of social uplift ("winning hearts and minds"), to the Vietcong effort to "control" the rural population" (emphasis added).

...

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More from the Boston Globe on what may turn out to be the evolution of an Iraqi strongman, noted earlier here. Seems that Iraqi prime minister Maliki, whose reputation for "weakness" and malleability helped secure him his leadership post back in 2006, is concentrating powers, arresting and threatening rivals, and generally not showing all that much respect for what  Charles Krauthammer likes to refer to in Iraq as "the institutions of a young democracy."

The Globe reports:

 

Although Iraq’s parliamentary elections are not until January, the campaign has already begun, and Maliki has shown a determination to fight with a tenacity and ruthlessness borrowed from the handbook of Iraq’s last strongman, Saddam Hussein. From Diyala, where men under Maliki’s command have arrested and threatened to detain a host of his rivals, to Basra, where security...

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I do have to write the thing first, but I am very happy to announce that my second book, The Hollow Center, will be published by St. Martin's Press, which also published The Death of the Grown-Up.

 

 

 

 



Honduras Inauguration Day, January 2006: Now-ousted President Manuel Zelaya taking the oath of office next to his wife and then-Congress President Roberto Micheletti, who is now serving as acting-president. 

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Writing yesterday at NRO, Andy McCarthy picks up on Honduran-born legal scholar Miguel Estrada's LA Times piece explaining, as Andy writes, "why the ouster of aspiring dictator Manuel Zelaya was not a `coup,' as the Obama administration mind-bogglingly claims."

Of course, once you understand Obama as a professionally alienated, Marxian leftist, there is nothing "mind-boggling " about it. I think the mind-boggling part comes in when you realize that such a man with such an ideology now guides US policy. Andy continues:

In fact, the removal of Zelaya from office was compelled by the Constitution of Honduras. That is, it represents, through and through, the rule of law the Obama administration would rather pay lip-service to than heed. As Miguel explains, the only dubious aspect of the episode is Zelaya's transfer to Costa Rica when, as a matter of law, he should have been arrested and tried for treason (power grabs of the type Zelaya attempted, Miguel notes, are officially defined as treason under Article 4 of the Honduras Constitution)....

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Photos: This week's protests in Iran. Still wondering why the women are still wearing their head scarves.

Intriguing interview by Alyssa Lapin at the American Thinker with Faryar Nikbakht, an advisor to Roozbeh Farahanipour, leader-in-exile of the secular Iranian party Marz Por Gohar (MPG), which "spearheaded" the anti-regime demonstrations of July 9, 1999. This week, Farahanipour clandestinely and dangerously returned to Iran for the first time in ten years to try to organize...

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Photo: LTC Karcher transferring authority for Joint Security Station Sadr City in Northeast Baghdad to a representative of the Iraqi prime minister on June 20.

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This week's column grew out a post I wrote earlier this week in response to the news about Lt. Col. Timothy Karcher, the last US commander of Sadr City who himself signed over jurisdiction for the area to Iraqis last month. Ten days after the Iraqis took over, LTC Karcher's vehicle drove over an Iranian special, an EFP. and he lost both legs above the knees in the blast. As far as Iraq goes, as far as the US media go, the White House, the Congress, the Michael-addled people, it is as if it never happened. But it did happen, and Americans should know.

An additional point: I have argued that Maliki, in declaring "victory" over US forces in Iraq, has (further) shown himself to be no no ally of the US. I would also argue that Maliki, in completely ignoring this attack on a US commander of a blood-drenched zone considered "sacred ground" to both American and Iraqi soldiers, and failing to demand an end to such attacks and an investigation into this one, just continues acting according to non-ally type. This week, he asked the US to release five top Iranian terror-ops the US seized in 2007, "clearly [seeking] to exploit the situation diplomatically" -- with Iran, of course, as the New York Times put it.

...

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Photo: The few, the very, very few, the Afghan security forces

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So the Marine "surge" into Helmand Provice, Afghanistan continues apace, but, according to the New York Times,  mission commander Brig.Gen. Larry Nicholson  is having initial problems implementing his "drink tea, eat goat, get to know these people" strategy to win the "trust" of the Afghan people. It's not just that "we Muslims do not like them [US]." Now, it's becoming apparent, in the the Emperor-has-no-clothes words of Capt. Brian Huysman, commander of Company C of the First Battalion, Fifth Marines in Nawa: "We can't read these people; we're different. They're not going to tell us the truth...."

Whether he knows it, Captain Huysman has just launched a wrecking ball into the whole politically correct (multi-culti), self-censoring (Islam-free) underpinnings of the US misadventures in the Middle and Near...

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Photo: LTC Timothy Karcher meeting with Sadr City leaders shortly before signing over jurisdiction to Iraq last month on June 18 -- and shortly before losing both legs in an Iranian-supplied roadside bomb on June 28.

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I just this morning received the following email from a reader about my most recent column "Allies Don't Declare Victory Over Each Other":

I appreciate your fervor and feelings about Mr. al-Maliki's comments, but I must say that your biting commentary regarding the quote from Lt. Col Karcher has driven me to reply....You may not be aware, but on the day of the signover of the combat positions in Sadr City [DW: according to media reports, the signover was 10 days earlier], Lt. Col. Karcher's convoy was hit by a IED attack ... and Karcher [lost] both his legs. During the return of the convoy after evacuating casualties, they were hit again resulting in [the death of his driver].

...

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The Washington Post reports on Afghan prez politics today, noting that none of the 41 candidates is even talking about the Taliban war. Rather, they stick "to themes they knew would resonate with Afghan audiences."

Namely?

"They denounced civilian casualties by foreign forces" -- that's US troops, of course -- "and called for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.

Steam.

There were a few other themes mentioned in the article, including corruption in government and invoking "past military triumphs" ( invoking "holy war" and "holy warriors" in Jalalabad). But the denunciations of the United States ("foreign forces") and calls for negotiating with the Taliban are what stand out. Remember, these are themes, we are told, that "resonate with the Afghan...

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After running many years in the Washington Times, my weekly syndicated column has changed Washington addresses. I am very pleased to announce it will now be running every Sunday in the Washington Examiner. Here is the latest:

"Allies Don't Declare Victory Over Each Other"

I've been stewing over something really lousy that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been saying since June 20: that Iraqis have won a "great victory" over the "foreign presence in Iraq."

That "great victory," as he calls it, is the June 30 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq's cities. That "foreign presence," as he calls it, is the United States -- the thousands of mainly young American men who have fought a vicious enemy under the harshest conditions for more than six long years, with 4,321 Americans killed, many thousands wounded, often grievously so, and some small, tortured number wrongfully ensnared by the U.S. military justice system in apparent deference to Iraqi political considerations.

...

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...And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Massachusetts: John Hancock Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward Jr., Thomas Lynch Jr, Arthur Middleton Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carrol of Carrollton Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross...

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Looks as if it may not be so easy to carry out Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson's orders in southern Afghanistan, where 4,000 marines have deployed this week -- his orders being, basically, as he told his officers, "drink lots of tea, eat lots of goat, and get to know the people. That's why we're here."

Why? The people don't like us. At all. The New York Times reports:

The mood of the Afghan people has tipped into a popular revolt in some parts of southern Afghanistan, presenting incoming American forces with an even harder job than expected in reversing military losses to the Taliban and winning over the population.

It's hearts-and-minds time, folks -- this time around re-packaged as "trust." In a nutshell, some people got it, some...

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Just read a big, frontpage story in the Wash Post about 4,000 Marines now deploying into Helmand and other southern provinces of Afghanistan. Presumably, the Taliban is reading the story, too -- maybe their partly Yale-educated official is doing the translation. I am sorry to say it should not only put their jihadist hearts at ease, it should give them more than a few yuks.

This deployment, the headline tells us, is "a Crucial Test for Revised U.S. Strategy." (Uh-oh is right.) And what is that strategy? On the one hand, the Taliban is off the hook. On the other, we have given our men Mission Impossible. "Our focus is not the Taliban," Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson told his officers. "Our focus must be getting this government back on its feet."

...

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Been keeping special tabs on Iraq's Maliki since he declared Iraq's "great victory" over the United States on June 20.

Really gotta keep an eye on that guy. As MEMRI puts it today, "Outside critics are already accusing him of following the path of Saddam Hussein to create a new dictatorship in Iraq. For example, he has been arresting some opponents or imposing harsh conditions on his former partners in the United Iraqi Alliance. Hmm. A New York Times article this morning also noticed Maliki's strongarm showing, reporting: "He seems to be making a conscious effort to cement his image as a strong ruler by using many of the same tools of power as ... Saddam Hussein." 

What about...

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Anne Applebaum writes in praise of Morocco this week as the not-Iran. Certainly, Morocco doesn't move terror armies around the globe (Hezbollah) or kill American troops (in Iraq), but that's a plus she doesn't mention. What intrigues her about Morocco is that the government "admitted to carrying out crimes" under the last king (d. 1999) and in 2004 set up a " `Truth Commission' " along South African and South American lines" -- not that I would call South Africa or South America paragons of much at the moment.

Anyway, the main point to this Truth Commission, Applebaum writes, is that it has resulted in what she calls  "a kind of social peace" -- perfect for a submissive, I mean, Islamic country. The country has moved from "traditional monarchy to constitutional...

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From Powerline this week:

In condemning the removal of Honduran President Mel Zelayaya by the Honduran military, Pesident Obama stands shoulder to shoulder with the Fidel Castro and his thug epigones Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega.

That's telling it like it is -- "it" being the new kind of American history we're living through in the run-up to the nation's birthday party this weekend -- the history of how the US found common cause with the hemisphere's most virulently anti-American thugs. Powerline asks: "Why is Obama standing with Castro, Chavez and Ortega to support [power-grabbing Honduran prez] Zelaya? The company...

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