Thursday, December 07, 2023

Hugh Hewitt runs the numbers are determines McCain is not inevitable (phew). 

Before viewing the Geert Wilders interview linked below, I had neither seen nor read much from the Dutch parliamentarian. The interview reveals him to be serious, certainly forthright, and articulately non-apologetic in his defense of Dutch culture and identity (and by extension Western culture and identity) against the Islamization process well underway in his country and the wider West. Fox interviewer Greg Palkot, on the other hand, comes across as what you might call the Nolo Contendere Westerner whose idea of coexistence is based on self-censorship: never, ever mentioning what makes Islam in Wilders’ choice of English “retarded,” a belief system that fails to accept, let alone uphold, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, equality before the law, and other basic precepts of Western-style liberty. Palkot practically begs Wilders’ to soften, i.e. censor, his views so as not to inflame the Islamic world, including those “moderates”...

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As confused as the state of American conservatism seems, particularly as wrangled over in today's dead-heat contest between Mitt Romney and John McCain in Florida, it's Reagan-clarity itself next to what passes for the Tory Party in Great Britain.

"Tory MPs back Hillary Clinton for president" reports the Sunday Telegraph.

Tory MPs are forging links with Hillary Clinton as the traditional alliance between the Conservatives and the Republican Party shows signs of increasing strain. One Conservative MP is so convinced by the Democratic senator and wife of former president Bill Clinton that he travelled to the US this month to work on her campaign. Simon Burns, the MP for West Chelmsford, has spent nine days pounding the streets as a member of Team Hillary. Other Tories backing Mrs Clinton include Alan Duncan, the...

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I don't think Fox's Greg Palkot will ever be the same after this fascinating, extended interview with Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.


It seems that Mark Steyn is still weighing his words. Or is he? At this point, it’s hard to tell. Today at The Corner, he draws on British Lefty attacks on himself as “one response” to my contention that in pointing to “Islamism” and not to Islam for the explanation of sundry incursions of jihad and sharia into the West, Western thinkers (Mark included) are in effect shielding Islam from urgently needed scrutiny and analysis. Actually, that’s not exactly how Mark puts it. He invokes British Lefty attacks as a reponse not to my argument but to what he calls my portrayal of him as a—and here he strings together a slew of words adding up to a personal attack (on himself). This is a pity because it may lead readers to imagine an ad hominem attack where there is none. There is, instead, an attempt at a discussion. What I have highlighted in...

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After Claudia Rosett lobbed a soaring journalistic salvo at the Pentagon last week in the form of an explosive piece on the distinctly fishy resume and record of Hesham Islam--the "personal close confidante" of Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England who, Bill Gertz has reported is behind the termination of Stephen Coughlin--it was only natural to wonder what would happen next. Would Islam be given the gate? (Dream on.) Would Congress get involved? (Unclear.) Would anyone do anything? (Apparently not.) Well, kind of like the Kremlin of old, the Pentagon works in inscrutable ways. Today, Claudia posted an incremental, if bizarre update on the story:

Last Friday NRO ran my article, “Questions...

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Over at The Corner, Mark Steyn replies to my post below, which discusses the use of words like "Islamism" and "Islamofascism," which, I maintain, effectively shields or obscures the tenets of Islam itself in considering what precisely drives jihad terror and, to me, the greater threat of creeping sharia.

Mark writes:

I do use what she regards as the weasel word "Islamism", but I generally reserve it for a particular strand of hyper-Islam. Its solitary appearance in my column was in reference to a speech by Osama bin Laden. Islam itself is a profound challenge to any free society, for reasons I explain in my book, and it's true that in many ways Islam and Islamism function as a good cop/bad cop routine in the pressures they exert on western nations. But it's useful to have a word that distinguishes depraved death-cultists...

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I'm going to assume Mark Steyn won't mind if I reprint chunks of his column this week. After all, one of his dogs and one of my dogs are siblings, so we're practically family.

Steyn writes:

My favorite headline of the year so far comes from the Daily Mail in Britain: "Government Renames Islamic Terrorism As anti-Islamic Activity' To Woo Muslims." ... So henceforth, any terrorism perpetrated by persons of an Islamic persuasion will be designated "anti-Islamic activity." Britain's Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, unveiled the new brand name in a speech a few days ago. "There is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief," she told her audience. "Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic."

Well, yes, one sort of sees what she means. Killing thousands of people in Manhattan skyscrapers in the name of Islam does, among a certain narrow-minded...

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"We think that killing one Jew far from the field of battle is more effective than killing one hundred Jews on the field of battle, because it attracts more attention," George Habash once told Oriana Fallaci during an interview. More "effective"--the terminology repels--he declares? Certainly much easier for Arabs still reeling in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel's third victory over massive Arab armies since the Jewish state's  inception in 1948.

"Shattered by that war, as all Palestinian leaders were, Habash had formed his Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) three months afterward," Claire Sterling writes in her book The Terror Network, discussing the murderer who "exported terrorism from the Middle East to Europe for the first time."

"That first tentative foreign venture of Dr. Habash's proved momentous. The El Al plane he hijacked, whose thirty-two Jewish passengers were held hostage by the Algerian government for five weeks, attracted gratifying attention. During...

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Famously, Washington, DC was built on a swamp. This must explain the swamp feverishness of our leaders, particularly when it comes to subjects like Islam (it's peace! it's peace!) and  jihad (make it go away!) and Islamic jihadist threats to the Republic (fire the guy who mentions it!).

This last bit, of course, refers to the termination of Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon's sole expert on Islamic law and how it validates jihad terrorism. According to the Washington Times' Bill Gertz, this termination was  instigated by Hesham Islam, the "personal close confidante" to the Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, because Coughlin didn't present a sufficiently goo-goo-eyed vision of Islam (the religion, not the confidante).

Today, as noted below, Claudia Rosett laid out a new set of reasons why Hesham Islam's cousel is not to be trusted. This even includes a series of questions raised about  the veracity of Islam's resume. The official reaction? Too soon to tell from my perch at swamp's edge, but it is not far-fetched to imagine dull, glassy-eyed inaction--i.e., stonewalling--on the part of the Pentagon.


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Claudia Rosett digs up brand-new and very troubling information about the "personal close confidante" to the Deputy Secretary of Defense behind the termination of Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon's leading authority on Islamic war doctrine.



So says John Gapper of the Financial Times. It's hard to decide what is more pathetic: "Davos Bill" as he "tarnishes," or this FT columnist bemoaning the dulling patina.

Noting the absence at Davos of Bill Clinton, "the quintessential Davos man"--the columnist clearly thinks being a Q.D.M. is a good thing--Gapper  writes: Davos is a place ideally made for Mr Clinton in his post-presidential incarnation. He embodies the aspects of the US that are still admired by the rest of the world after nearly eight years of George W. Bush.

Oh, what "aspects" are those? And there's more than one such rest-of-the-world-admired "aspect"? Thank you, thank you!

He is eloquent, thoughtful, sensitive to inequality and suffering outside US borders and determined...

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Writing at Human Events, Alyssa A. Lappen and Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld put something important on the line:

All presidential candidates promise to fix our economy, but no one discusses the need to better safeguard our financial markets.

So, what do the candidates for Leader of the Free World plan to do to better safeguards the Free World's financial markets?? Because, boy, do they need safeguarding.

Lappen and Ehrenfeld continue:

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), approved Bourse Dubai’s purchase of 20% of the America's largest electronic exchange, New York-based Nasdaq,  on Dec. 31, 2007.

Sneaked that one by us, didn't they?   This may soon give Dubai access to the troubled Boston Stock Exchange (BSE), through Nasdaq’s proposed BSE acquisition, which is now pending before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “Foreign ownership of our capital markets may make it more...

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Many readers have asked where to find Stephen Coughlin's thesis To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say about Jihad. Here is the link. Carol Iannone discusses the thesis here. Barack Obama's Middle East advisor?

Well, sort of. Robert Malley, the advisor in question, once served as such, as Ed Lasky reports in a must-read essay posted at The American Thinker. Of hackle-rasing parentage--Malley's Syrian-born father made a career out of anti-Western, pro-PLO advocacy and became a friend of Arafat's at the height of PLO terrorism--Robert Malley, funded in part by anti-US, anti-Israel billionaire George Soros, espouses radical policies of engagement with America's enemies (Hamas, Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Syria, etc.) and disengagement with America's allies (chiefly Israel).

Next time Obama sounds off about "hope" someone should ask him about Malley.

AP reports:

An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam, an official said.

...[A judge] said that only President Hamid Karzai can forgive Kambaksh because he had confessed to violating the tenets of Islam.

Rhimullah Samandar, the head of the Kabul-based National Journalists Union of Afghanistan, said Kambaksh had been sentenced to death under Article 130 of the Afghan constitution. That article says that if no law exists regarding an issue than a court's decision should be in accord with Hanafi jurisprudence.

Hmmm. Isn't that the same Afghan constitution the United States helped  draft and certainly helps protect?

Hanafi is an orthodox school of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence followed in southern and central Asia.

Samandar called for Karzai to...

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"As the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom nears, the fabulists are at it again trying to weave their own version of the war. The latest myth is that the `surge' is working."

So begins the lead essay in Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section by Andrew J. Bacevich called "Surge to Nowhere." Given my own misgivings about the so-called surge--(discussed most recently here) whereby American-won security is supposed to trigger an Iraqi nationwide round of  Kumbayah (or, as policy papers put it, "reconciliation")--I paid close attention.

Bacevich discusses what I agree are clanging expressions of triumphalism from surge proponents. From President Bush, to many at AEI, to surge candidate John McCain, the "fabulists"  believe the "surge" itself is the key to "winning" in Iraq. This strikes Bacevich, as it does...

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The Telegraph story headline sounded promising:

Tories attack Islamic terrorism 'rebranding'

Aha. Now we'll see some correction to British Home Secretary Jacqui  Smith's jibbering about changing the already ridiculously non-informatively named "war on terror" to a further divorced-from-reality effort against  "anti-Islamic activity."

Conservative MPs have attacked Jacqui Smith's apparent rebranding of Islamic terrorism as "anti-Islamic activity"...

Uh-huh, good.

The move comes after the Home Secretary's first official speech on radicalisation, in which she repeatedly used the phrase "anti-Islamic" to describe the activities of Muslim extremists....

OK. Let's hear something. Conservative MP Philip Davies complained that the Home Office appeared to be spending too much time discussing what to call terrorism as opposed to actually fighting it.

Fine, and....  "Whenever anyone refers...

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We seem to have arrived at a strange junction where neither jihadist apologists nor surge enthusiasts want to hear the facts about Islamic law.

If you want to know what I mean, read today's column.

All I can say about the story below is that it is not a joke. I mean, it IS a joke--only it's not meant to be a joke. So who gets the last laugh? Not us, I'm afraid.

From the Daily Mail:

Government renames Islamic terrorism as 'anti-Islamic activity' to woo Muslims

By JAMES SLACK - Last updated at 22:16pm on 17th January 2008 Ministers have adopted a new language for declarations on Islamic terrorism. In future, fanatics will be referred to as pursuing "anti-Islamic activity". Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that extremists were behaving contrary to their faith, rather than acting in the name of Islam. Security officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam is inflammatory, and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion.

In her first major speech on radicalisation, Miss Smith repeatedly used the phrase "anti-Islamic". In one passage...

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Context here and here.

Morton A. Klein of the Zionist Organization of America has written a weighty and comprehensive response to the statements President Bush made in Jerusalem last week in which the president, among other things, as Klein notes, "called for Israel to end the occupation that began in 1967 rather than the conditions of Arab rejection and violence which produced it." Calling for an end to Arab rejection and violence, of course, would leave the "peace process" subject to what the State Department has called the "tyranny of the first stage"--a cracked, beyond-Orwellian term for the first-stage requirement that the Palestinian Authority stop PA terrorism against Israel as a condition of final-stage negotiations.  

Klein goes on to document the wild, almost-unremarked upon deviations from long-established American policy President Bush now follows, as well as the delusional whoppers underpinning this new Bush policy. Here...

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Turns out it isn't just offers of marriage Nicolas Sarkozy throws around. If you are an Arab Islamic country, preferably with pots of oil, he is very likely to offer to share nuclear technology with you--for those moments when the well runs dry, as it were. To date, as Brussels Journal notes, he's signed agreements with Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and now UAE--declaring that access to civilian nuclear technology "ought to be a right for all peoples."

No word on what he think about access to oil.

His strategy? Oh, it's big, alright.

BBC reports: "After signing the deal with Algeria last month, Mr Sarkozy said: `The sharing of civilian nuclear [technology] will be one of the foundations of a pact of confidence which the West must forge with the Islamic world.' "

Why do I not feel confident?




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...because that hat is filled with 900 highly sophisticated missiles and other massive goodies for Saudi Arabia. I'm talking about the president's cart-before-the-horse foreign policy vis a vis "the kingdom." Having just offered a $20 billion arms package to the Saudis (subject to Congressional approval), the president has yet to extract a single Saudi initiative  that could possibly be construed as being helpful to the US. In other words, Saudis still finance jihad, charge a bundle for oil, fight Americans in Iraq, support Hamas, teach (and export) jihad education K-12, and so on. Of course, the president's brain trust might say, what is really important is building up a bulwark against Iranian aggression--hence that massive arms package:

Well, lookee here:

Saudi Arabia yesterday expressed its reservations about what it termed "provocative" statements...

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Andrew Bostom discusses Stephen Coughlin's magnus opus, To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad, which was accepted recently by the National Defense Intelligence College.  Since the Pentagon has  decided  what  it  doesn't know doesn't hurt the  nation, the rest of us would do well to read up on it.

Three new books about the recently ended second marriage of French President Nicolas Sarkosy have made news in France even as reports emerge that he may already have tied the knot with his latest girlfriend.

So what? Well, he does head an advanced state, and he and George W. Bush have lately been falling all over each other, trying to outsell advanced nuclear and military technology to Jihad Central Saudi Arabia. What kind of leader thinks this is a good idea? Leaving Bush aside (for the moment), consider this tidbit from the "most sensational" of the three Sarkozy marriage books, as reported by the Washington Post:

In the book, [his former wife] is also quoted as saying that after the couple's dovirce in October, the president went on a dating binge, and often stayed out at nightclubs singing karaoke until 4 a.m. "Nicolas does not look like a president of the republic," the book quotes her as saying. "He has a real behavioral problem."


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Seven-plus years ago, Mazir-i-sharif  became a part of US history when John Michael Spann was killed, the first American combat casualty in Afghanistan. The scene was a Taliban riot at the prison, where, not incidentally, Spann had earlier interrogated John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban.

This month, Mazir-i-sharif again makes headlines--one or two, anyway--as the site of the prison where, Reuters reports, a 23-year-old Afghan journalist named Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh has been detained for three months. Yesterday, some dozens of journalists and actvitists staged a protest seeking his release.

The charge?

Kambakhsh is accused of making "blasphemous comments"--namely, "for distributing an article which said Prophet Mohammad had ignored the rights of women."

Isn't US-liberated Afghanistan grand?

The most recent headline for this story, by the way, was "Afghan journalists seek release of colleague."...

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Bill Gertz has more on the termination of Stephen Coughlin here, while Steven Emerson reveals how grave the story really is during an interview on Hannity and Colmes in which he describes the motivation for Coughlin's removal this way:

[Coughlin] had offended a top aide to the deputy secretary of defense, Gordon England, whose aide, Hesham Islam, I believe is an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent who has brought in groups to the Pentagon who have been unindicted co-conspirators.


The Associated Press reports on  Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs, and his views on Guatanamo Bay:

The chief of the U.S. military said Sunday he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been "pretty damaging" to the image of the United States. ...He stressed that a closure decision was not his to make and that he understands there are numerous complex legal questions the administration believes would have to be settled first, such as where to move prisoners.

Details, details. The admiral also noted that some of Guantanamo Bay's prisoners are deemed high security threats....Asked why he thinks Guantanamo Bay, commonly dubbed Gitmo, should be closed, and the prisoners perhaps moved to U.S. soil, Mullen said, "More than anything else it's been the image — how Gitmo has become around the world, in terms of representing the United States."

In other words, the overriding concern...

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While the rest of us have been checking tear-tracks and measuring "bounce," Investors Business Daily's editorial page has taken the trouble to zero in on substance--the presidential candidates' actual positions on Islamic terrorism (jihad). First, IBD noted total radio silence among all the Democratic candidates when it comes to jihad terrorism in their recent debates, pointing out that all the Republicans are quick to acknowledge the threat and dissuss  it.

Today, however, IBD concludes: "For all [the GOP] stump talk of defeating Islamic extremists, there is a paucity of detail."

Fear not, GOP. IBD has done the heavy lifting, pulling together an excellent  list of initial steps to take, excerpted below.

Put these in your talking points...and smoke the opposition.

IBD's ideas are:

• Restricting R-1 and R-2 religious...

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Received a nice note from the parents of 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, one of the four Haditha marines still in legal jeopardy. Since my column updating the case was written-- a column that also wonders what happens to the men behind the damaging and by now disproven cries of "massacre" (Rep. John Murtha, Time magazine's Tim McGirk)-- Lt. Grayson has become the fourth and final Haditha marine  ordered to a Court Martial. His parents sent me a link to a website devoted to following their son's case, which I strongly recommend to readers. It includes a link to the invaluable DefendOurMarines site, where readers can keep up with all the Haditha cases, among...

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An excellent editorial reminder from IBD that  no Democrat "gets it" when it comes to Islamic jihad--and all the Republicans consider it a threat:

We scanned the transcripts of Saturday's debates hosted by ABC News and tallied up the references to Islamic terrorism. The rhetorical divide between Democrats and Republicans on that score alone — ignoring the yawning gaps in policy — is stunning.

None of the four Democrat presidential candidates — despite running for an office that demands they lead the ongoing global war against Islamic extremists — could bring himself or herself to define the enemy we face as Islamic.

Their combined references to "Islam" or "Islamic" totaled zero — even though moderator Charles Gibson prompted them with a question about "Islamic radicals" threatening the U.S. with nuclear terrorism. But Democrats refused to go there. Out of respect for their constituency, there was a complete...

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Maureen Dowd jumps on the Political Tears beat to explain Hillary's NH win:

The Obama campaign calculated that they had the women’s vote over the weekend but watched it slip away in the track of her tears. At the Portsmouth cafe on Monday, talking to a group of mostly women, she blinked back her misty dread of where Obama’s “false hopes” will lead us — “I just don’t want to see us fall backwards,” she said tremulously — in time to smack her rival: “But some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready and some of us are not.” There was a poignancy about the moment, seeing Hillary crack with exhaustion from decades of yearning to be the principal rather than the plus-one. But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect...

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Frank Gaffney today fired off a column outraged over the dismissal of  Stephen Coughlin from his post at the Pentagon where Coughlin was the sole expert in Islamic law charged with  instructing  military leaders in jihad doctrine.

Gaffney wrote:

If allowed to stand, the effect of Maj. Coughlin's dismissal would be a surgical strike on a man who is arguably  one of the most knowledgeable opponents of Shariah--not only in the Defense Department, but inside the entire US government.

Frank Gaffney's consternation is well justified. Cutting the Pentagon off from the fact-based brief on Islam provided by Stephen Coughlin is a massive setback to any catch-up effort to teach our military leadership the basics on jihad, which, across the board, they sorely lack. Such a lesson is crucial to any successful strategy in the so-called War on Terror--and one that has been missing all these years since 9/11.


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Thomas Sowell offers some sanity   to fill the void till primary results are in:

Among the Democrats, the choice between John Edwards and Barack Obama depends on whether you prefer glib demagoguery in its plain vanilla form or spiced with a little style and color.

The choice between both of them and Hillary Clinton depends on whether you prefer male or female demagoguery.

He also has some wise words to say about the GOP field. Read it all.

Steve Emerson takes a break from investigating jihadist terror networks to investigate the mindset of the cultural smart set (as represented by Time's longtime movie critic Richard Schickel) on the subject of jihadist terror networks. The occasion is a review in the LA Times of Daniel Silva's latest thriller, The Secret Servant, which Schickel uses as a springboard to pooh-pooh the existential threat posed to civilization as we used to know it by the advent of Islamic terrorism. The point of such terrorism--the advancement of Islamic rule--doesn't ever enter Schickel's mind. Naturally.

While praising the book's entertainment value, Schickel takes issue with a character known as The Sphinx,...

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For writing forthrightly about the transformation of significant areas of Great Britain--such as East London, for instance, as Robert Spencer reminds us today--Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, has provoked GB's Islamic leaders to charge him with promoting ethnic "division," not to mention racism. reports:

"It is clear from this latest racist and prejudice[d] article that he is determined to create unnecessary division and hatred towards Muslims," said Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, the country's...

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Just finished an interview with Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (USA ret.) for his radio show, Stand Up America. We talked about the Coughlin Affair, and later about the congressional candidacy of the next guest, Lt. Col. Allen West (USA ret.), who is running as a Republican in Florida's 22nd District. Long impressed by Col. West for his leadership and experience, I  was delighted to hear from him that there are nine other GOP candidates for Congress who are also Iraq veterans. They definitely deserve a closer look.


In a column noting the faux-histrionics that animate the politics of John Edwards and Mike Huckabee--both of whom invoke fighting powers that be, being on the outs with establishment, etc.--George Will today ends up with what NRO characterized as a valentine to Barack Obama. Will writes:

Barack Obama, who might be mercifully closing the Clinton parenthesis, is refreshingly cerebral amid this recrudescence of the paranoid style in American politics. He is the un-Edwards and un-Huckabee - an adult aiming to reform the real world rather than an adolescent fantasizing mock-heroic “fights" against fictitious villains in a left-wing cartoon version of this country.

Haven't noticed the "refreshingly cerebral," myself yet--but I was drawn to the invocation of adulthood, particularly since George Will was kind enough  blurb my book The Death of the  Grown-Up. Have I missed something in Obama?...

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The media prate on about "change" vs. "experience," and we are all diverted by the play of personality and the sweep of celebrity on the presidential hustings.  Which isn't to say that selecting the next President of the United States isn't important. It is hugely important.

But the most significant issue is utterly ignored by candidates and voters alike.

That issue is the fact that we live in an era which, barring reversal, will probably be remembered as the era of  the Islamization of the Western world.

This process is well underway, and worse, is going forward not just unimpeded, but almost completely   misunderstood.  Worst of all, it is being helped forward  by  those whom we implicitly  trust to defend us.

I have been sparingly posting recent news reports from the Washington Times' Bill Gertz concerning the sacking...

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The Washington Times' Bill Gertz is reporting that Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon's specialist on Islamic law, has been fired from his position on the military's Joint Staff. This is dire news. It shows that the Pentagon has decided to emulate the ostrich and turn away from the rational, fact-based assessment of sharia and the institution of  jihad  as presented by Coughlin, and embrace the  politically correct, reality-challenged propaganda of Islamic apologists such as Hasham Islam, key adviser to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. More to come.  


Caucus Day Yawns. I mean, Dawns. And despite the wall-to-wall coverage (which I admit to having had the fun of contributing to in my CNN gig on "Lou Dobbs"), today's contest in Iowa is, in fact, anything but a yawn. It is the tensest political horserace in memory.

This blog's hoped for outcomes and predictions:

First and foremost, a Hillary defeat. The Democratic coronation we were all  led to  believe  in certainly appears to have been, shall we say, pre-empted with Hillary now polling a possible third-place finish. Good. Anything to thwart the return of the Clinton Crime Family (Mark Levin's felicitous phrase) to the White House. An Obama victory would likely solidify his apparent lead in NH, whose primary takes place on January 8. This could knock Hillary our for the count. I'm trusting the GOP nominee--any one of them--can deal with the inexperienced and, quite frankly, extremely naive Obama later.  (I'm sorry. I just can't take John Edwards and his $400 haircuts, and his courtroom summations...

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Wedged in between Christmas and New Year came this item from The Washington Times' Bill Gertz. Looking ahead to 2008, I believe it will  develop into one of important stories of the year. 

Muslim pressure Pro-Muslim officials at the Pentagon are putting political pressure on one of the U.S. military's most important specialists on Islamist extremism, according to defense officials. Stephen Coughlin, a specialist on Islamic law on the Joint Staff, met recently with Hasham Islam, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England's close aide. The officials said Mr. Islam, a Muslim who is leading efforts for the Defense Department's outreach to Muslim groups, sought to convince Mr. Coughlin to take a softer line on Islam and Islamic law elements that promote extremism. There is also evidence that a whispering campaign is under way to try and discredit Mr. Coughlin as a "Christian extremist with a pen" and force him out of the building, according to the officials. Mr. Coughlin came under fire from pro-Muslim...

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I agree with my good friend Michelle Malkin that the American infusion of troops into  Iraq, well known as "the surge,"  was The Story of 2007. Certainly not the Virginia Tech massacre, and not the Barry Bonds steroid scandal, as MSM organizations maintain.

And I agree with William Kristol of the Weekly Standard that Gen. David Petraeus is the Man of the Year--not Vladimir Putin as determined by Time magazine.

That doesn't mean, of course, that The Story of the Year  has an ending, or that The Man of the Year's hour is  over.

Clearly, what happens next in and around Iraq will be the story of 2008 just as much---and in a way more so--than the selection of the next president.

I just reread my own columns discussing the surge to reconsider my perceptions and reservations, and see how they have fared as events have unfolded.

The first surge column dates back to December 2006. Assuming the surge's  tactical success, my question for the future was:

"Looking back on, lo, our many costly years of liberation and occupation in Iraq, what would it turn out that we had actually won? In other words, what, in this best-case scenario [of surge success], is `victory' supposed to look like?"


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Michael Kidd is the man at the back of this photo, the one behind,  from L to R, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray and Gene Kelley. The picture is a publicity still from one of my  all-time favorite movies,   "It's Always Fair Weather," a positively brilliant musical comedy about postwar America told through the lives of  three ex-GIs who reunite in New York City ten years after the war's end.

Playing one of the GIs was Michael Kidd. It was his debut in front of the camera. But he made his remarkable career behind the scenes, both on the stage  ("Guys and Dolls," among many others) and on the screen ("The Band Wagon," among many others), as one of America's  most inventive and inspiring  choreographers. He died over Christmas at age 92.

In reconsidering his work, preserved in a string...

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Just got a Christmas greeting from my favorite Army colonel, LTC Allen West (ret.), recently back from Afghanistan. You may remember Col. West--I guess I should say at this point "no relation" except, of course, friendship.

Col. West is the commander who, back in the early days of Iraq, came to national attention for having fired off his gun near the head of a suspected insurgent in order to extract information about  ambush and assassination plots targeting him and his men. After this interrogation, there were no more attacks on Col. West or his men.

But there was a big. fat, PC controversy. The New York Times recounted it thus: "Expressing concern that his behavior could send the signal that abuse was acceptable as a means to an end, the Army relieved Colonel West of his command and contemplated court-martialing him on assault charges."

In other words, to borrow  a phrase,...

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I've heard various stories about how insistent Daniel Peterson, a West Indian immigrant to Canada, was when it came to making sure his five children got musical educations. One of those children was Oscar Peterson, the magnificent jazz pianist, who died today at age 82. How exceedingly fortunate the entire world is that Daniel Peterson was such a good father.

Time to give the Christmas carols a rest and listen to Oscar. Me, I'm heading first for "You Stepped Out of a Dream."

Oscar Peterson, RIP.

..."Lou Dobbs Tonight," tonight , which starts at 7pm EST on CNN.

There is something sick and lunatic about our lawmakers' and media's obsession with the destructon of CIA tapes of  waterboarding  a couple of senior jihadist leaders--tapes the CIA was under no obligation to make in the first place.

But there is a greater problem here.

What does it say about our desire to survive as a nation when our leaders are more concerned with protecting our mortal enemies from temporary duress (35 seconds of waterboarding is considered a long session) than with saving American lives?

They say they are concerned with America's continued moral well-being. There is no degradation of our precious moral high ground (if that's what they want to talk about) in coercing actionable intelligence from jihad leaders. Such coercion, including waterboarding, is not undertaken to procure phoney testimonies in a show trial, to punish political opposition, or for sadistic delight. It is undertaken to save American lives.

Andy McCarthy wrote a terrific piece on this subject here: 


Read More »

That's the title of Chapter 4 of my book The Death of the Grown-Up. Too bad I couldn't have included the following report out of North Carolina, where a Christmas pageant erupted into a melee... among the parents in the audience. According to the principal:

...chairs were thrown, obscenities were yelled and three mothers physically punched each other while two other mothers attempted to break up the fight.

Several people called police, but the twin sisters [parents] involved in the fight had left by the time they arrived, according to Roberts.

An e-mail from Superintendent Terry Grier to media Wednesday morning said that the three female parents involved had a history of disliking each other.

Oh. Well, that explains it.

The full story is here;

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