Thursday, December 07, 2023

Photo: The bar at The Breslin


I think, on balance, this is the most alarming story I've heard in a very long time. And that takes in a lot of alarming stories. What is most disturbing about this story is the gall of the Muslim demand, the confidence with which it was presented, and the threat that followed the rejection of the demand. And keep the location in mind: This is not happening in some poor Coptic neighborhood in Egypt under Islamic subjugation -- but rather in the Flatiron District of Manhattan!

From the Gothamist (via Atlas Shrugs):

The lovely-looking restaurant and bar The Breslin begins lunch service tomorrow, and co-owner Ken Friedman (The...

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A propos of this week's column, the Islamic jihad against a political cartoonist who drew a political cartoon critiquing the violence of Islam continues.

Via Earthtimes:

Copenhagen - A Danish newspaper cartoonist who was a central figure in the Prophet Mohammed cartoon controversy was Friday whisked from his home after a suspicious parcel was found on the doorstep. Kurt Westergaard had not been expecting any delivery, triggering the alert. Several nearby houses were also evacuated as a precaution.

Army bomb experts despatched to Westergaard's home decided to destroy the parcel....

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This week's syndicated column:

Pakistani jihad death squads were much in the news this week. In Peshawar, Pakistan, they bombed a marketplace, claiming more than 100 lives, and in Chicago, they were thwarted, according to an FBI affidavit, from carrying out a planned attack on a newspaper in Denmark to kill two Danish journalists, cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and cultural editor, Flemming Rose.

It's important to link these events to put them into proper perspective. According to the FBI, the Danish operation — busted in Chicago with arrests of David Coleman Headley (aka Daood Gilani) and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, both of Pakistani origin with American and Canadian citizenship,...

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One of my most wired-in readers wrote in to say this piece I wrote more than six months ago could run today as prophecy that came true. I don't know about the crystal ball, but maybe it captures a moment in time we seem only now to be fully appreciating. It's called: "What Do You Mean `If We Ever Want to Leave Afghanistan?' "  

From April 3:

Beware, America. You are about to be duped by an alliance of Obama-niks and Bush-ites who, together, are laying the groundwork for nation-building in Afghanistan -- nation-building in Iraq having worked out so well (insert acid shot of sarcasm here). Only they are not going to call it "nation-building."

Worse, they are forging ahead without heeding the...

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Hallejulah, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition -- in this case the Chicago Sun-Times, which in today's follow-up story on the Paki jihad death squad targeting Kurt Westergaard, Flemming Rose and Jyllands-Posten runs this illustration online:

The Chicago Sun-Times has just asserted it is not subject to Islamic law.

Which newspaper wants to go next in the name of liberty?

Remember that big, mysterious FBI raid a week or so ago on that Illinois meat-packing plant -- I mean, on that Illinois Muslim meat-packing plant? Well, now we know what the feds were up to, as detailed in this federal affadavit. They were looking for jihadi killers, would-be Islamic assassins of Kurt Westergaard and Flemming Rose, for "crimes" against Mohammed -- a cartoon.

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Two Chicago men have been arrested on federal charges that link them to planning terrorist acts — including targeting a Danish newspaper that published a controversial cartoon of the prophet Mohammed in 2005.

Dubbed “The Mickey Mouse Project,” the two men are accused of plotting to target the employees at facilities of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, which ran the cartoon.

The cartoon depicted Mohammed wearing...

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A must-read piece by Paul Belien today about new, totalitarian European Union "hate crime" legislation that promises to outlaw objections to, even disapproval of, Islamic practices such as sharia, or homosexual marriage.

Paul writes:

If all goes as planned, the 27 member states of the European Union will soon have a common hate crime legislation, which will turn disapproval for Islamic practices or homosexual lifestyles into crimes. Europe’s Christian churches are trying to stop the plan of the European political establishment, but it is not clear if they will be successful.

Last April, the European Parliament approved the European Union’s Equal Treatment Directive. A directive is the name given to an EU law. As directives overrule national legislation, they need the approval...

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Behold one of Gen. McChrystal's Afghans, one of the little people US forces "must protect from everything that can hurt them" in the Grand Bush-Obama Scheme to Win Buy Hearts and Minds.

What has ruffled our little man's feathers today, along with those of thousands...

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Here's a heartwarming little story for you courtesy MEMRI, thanks (?) to Andy Bostom.

Remember the day Saddam Hussein was hanged? Well, that day happened also to be Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's son's wedding day, so, naturally, Maliki took Saddam along to the wedding ... after the hanging. The gorey details from former Iraqi MP Mish'an Al-Jabouri, who is the owner of Arrai TV:

Mish'an Al-Jabouri: ... [al-Maliki] executed President Saddam Hussein on the day [Al-Maliki's] son was married, and the body was brought to the wedding celebration. Al-Maliki is a sick person, and his hatred is manifest in a horrifying way."

Interviewer: "The body was brought there? That's the first time I hear this."


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This week's column:

Where Do Obama and McChrystal Differ?

Not on much. Neither wants to destroy the Taliban -- just tamp it down to the point where an as-yet nonexistent Afghan state can function. Which is why -- prediction time -- McChrystal won't quit when Obama gives him fewer troops than McChrystal is asking for.

McChrystal's assessment clearly states that what the general calls his "new strategy" -- an intensification of "population protection" at the expense of "force protection" -- is his top priority, not increased troop levels. But this is ignored in the debate, and certainly by most conservatives, who only emphasize the need to "give the general the forces he needs to win." What it is that McChrystal actually wants to win -- namely, the support of the Afghan people -- is rarely mentioned.

And how to win that Afghan support? The man has a plan. As the New York Times' Dexter Filkins recently put it: "McChrystal's plan is a blueprint for an extensive American commitment to build a modern state in Afghanistan, where one has never existed. ... Even under the best of circumstances, this effort would most likely last many more years, cost hundreds of billions of dollars and entail the deaths of many more American women and men. And that's if it succeeds."


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Readers of this site are famliar with John Bernard, the 26-year-veteran of the USMC whose son Lance Corp. Joshua Bernard was killed in August while fighting in Afghanistan. In a powerful essay at his blog, Let Them Fight, John Bernard examines Gen. McChrystal's "counterinsurgency" strategy of population protection through the prism of military history and finds its chances of success dim, to say the least.

Bottom line:

What we have here is the General involved in a great social experiment, with the plains of Afghanistan as his personal laboratory and our Marines and Soldiers as the rats.

Yes. This is the problem. Social engineers as generals. It's nothing new -- witness, for example, the forced feminization of the military going back peacetime decades -- but the consequences in time of war are different.They end up in hospital wards...

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What a headline:

T. Boone Pickens on Iraq:  "We leave there with the Chinese getting the oil."

Depressing story here.

Let's Make a Deal: Afghans register on Oct. 14 at the first Afghan Business Conference to learn how to bid for military contracts in Helmand Province.


i continue to be struck by something Marine Sgt. Maj. Jim Sauer (ret.) wrote, that you can rent an Afghan but you can't buy him.

This is a terrible concept to grasp while watching the US trying to buy Afghans by the thousands, which is the cornerstone of the Bush-Obama "counterinsurgency" plan to win Afghan hearts and minds. Did I say win hearts and minds? This is about buying hearts and minds, and it isn't pretty. The US is spreading big dough and oodles of stuff across Afghanistan in exchange, the lonely-hearts, I mean, counterinsurgency, theory goes, for Afghan loyalty. As Gen.McChrystal puts it to villagers wherever he goes: "What do you need?"


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From USA Today this week:

Highway safety campaigns across the USA increasingly are reflecting the nation's diversity.


State traffic agencies are tailoring safe driving campaigns to reflect growth in minority groups and even refugee communities where English is not fully understood.


In Ohio, officials designing a seat-belt campaign aimed at the state's large Somali refugee population wanted to adapt the popular "Click it or ticket" slogan but found that "ticket" doesn't translate.

"They don't have a government in Somalia, so 'ticket' doesn't mean anything to them," says Tina O'Grady, administrator of the state's Traffic Safety Office. "We ended up translating it as 'Strap it, or lose your livestock,' which also means your money or income or livelihood."

Strap it or lose you livestock? Somehow, I don't think we're putting Safety First.


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I wish I agreed with Dick Cheney but I don't. How could I? He, along with the rest of the conservative establishment, still considers Iraq a "success," adding in remarks last night:

Iraq has the potential to be a strong, democratic ally in the war on terrorism, and an example of economic and democratic reform in the heart of the Middle East.

Is he kidding?

The former vice president also endorses the current PC, See-No-Islam "COIN" strategy in Afghanistan...

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An update on this story, "Making the World Safe for Sharia -- in Iraq" (via Jihadwatch and Baron Bodissey):

"Sharia Slowly Advancing in Najaf and Basra, for Non-Muslims Too"

Baghdad (AsiaNews) –For the past ten days, no one has been able to drink or buy alcoholic beverages in Najaf because of a bylaw adopted by local authorities. The decision comes as the latest in a series, suggesting that Sharia is being slowly implemented in Iraq, and that it also applies to non-Muslims. Najaf is considered a holy city for Shia Muslims because the first Shia imam and fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, is buried there. Because of the city’s special nature as a Shia holy city, the provincial council ruled unanimously that “drinking, selling or transporting alcohol of any kind in whatever quantity” was inappropriate since such activities are incompatible with Islam. Violators, even if they belong to...

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Who would have thought that a 64-year-old Bundesbank director from Berlin would emerge as a free-thinking, clear-thinking iconoclast striking out at the Reign of Islamic Correctness in Germany? His take on Germany's Islamic immigration woes includes the proposition that Berlin never recovered intellectually or artistically from having murdered its Jewish population during the Nazi regime, with the resulting vaccuum having been filled by left-wing activists, drop-outs and a Turkish-Arab underclass.

While the establishment strips him of his bank duties, tries to shut him up, and may even put him on trial for "racial incitement," he refuses to recant. At Brussels Journal, my friend and IFPS colleague Paul Belien reports:

Thilo Sarrazin, a Bundesbank director who criticized Turkish and Arab immigrants in a recent interview, has been punished by his employer and may lose his job. Apart from receiving threats by Islamist extremists, he may also be taken to court by the German authorities on charges of “incitement to racial hatred.” For many Germans, however, the 64-year old Mr. Sarrazin, who until last May was Finance Minister in the regional government of the state of Berlin for the Social-Democrat SPD, is a hero.


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This one stinks out loud. I am referring to the military trial of Army Ranger 1Lt. Michael Behanna of Oklahoma for the charge of murder of an Al Qaeda operative in Iraq in which military prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence provided by the military prosecution's own expert witness from the defense team until after the trial wrapped up. As a likely result, Behanna, 25, was sentenced in March of this year to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder. 

Bright spot: tireless parents (mother on team that convicted Timothy McVeigh, father former state investigator) and the entire Oklahoma Congressional Delegation, now pressing the clemency board for fair treatment. Details (petition, defense fund info, and news, including a recent, compelling LA Times two-part story on the case) at Defend Michael.

An aside: One of the many reasons I came to harbor animosity toward George...

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From the Boston Globe's Kevin Cullen, an update on yet another travesty of military "justice," which consigns young American men like Larry Hutchins and Evan Vela, to name two, to rot in prison for the "crime" of being US soldiers in a war.

Cullen writes: 

We are a forgiving lot, we Americans. We believe in redemption as much as anybody, and that would explain why we released Laith al-Khazali to the bosom of his family.

(Personally, I would call it appeasement, but be that as it may.)


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The attack on the US solider by an Afghan policeman for drinking water during the Muslim fasting-time of Ramadan reminded me of this story in the Brussels Journal from the  2008 Ramadan season:

Tramp Beaten Up For Drinking Beer During Ramadan

A forty-year old homeless man almost died when he was beaten up in Brussels by a man and his father, both Muslims, because he was drinking beer during the Ramadan. Rachid, the 19-year old culprit, beat his victim Serge with an iron bar with nails.

A few days ago Serge had an appointment with a doctor in a policlinic in Blaes Street. He arrived early and, since he had to wait, Serge opened a can of beer. At that moment an elderly Muslim who lives above the policlinic came downstairs. He objected to Serge drinking a beer in public during Ramadan, the Muslim...

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Searching for updates (couldn't find any) on the Afghan soldier who fired on US troops in Afghanistan early this month, killing two and wounding two before escaping, I came across this September 12 story from the AP:

American shot over drink of water In Kabul, the capital, an American service member and an Afghan police officer got into an argument because the American was drinking water in front of the Afghan police, who are not eating or drinking during the day because of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the district chief, Abdul Baqi Zemari. The police officer shot the American and seriously wounded him, while other American troops responded and seriously wounded the police officer, Zemari said. Lt. Robert Carr, a U.S. military spokesman,...

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A couple of stories from the front, I mean, pump, via my friend, Marine Mom. The Washington Examiner reports:

According to a Pentagon report submitted to the House Appropriations  Defense Subcommittee, a gallon of fuel costs taxpayers about $400 by the time it arrives in the remote locations in Afghanistan where U.S. troops operate.

But don't worry. Marine Gen. James Conway is still fighting the good, I mean, green fight. Who cares about boots on the ground when our carbon footprint is growing? Aviation Week reports:


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Someone send this photo to Gen. McChrystal. It answers his question to local  villagers: "What do you want?"

(To kill Americans.)


More command dysfunction from the front.

From the NYT's long magazine story about Gen. Stanley McChrystal -- sonorously titled "His Long War" -- a perfect illustration of the circular crash course commanders have ordered US troops to run according to a dizzy-making "strategy" to make them like us.

First, the article set-up. Afghanistan. McChrystal. Dust. Setting down in his Black Hawk helicopter in an Afghan town surrounded by bodyguards and commanders, stripping off his protective gear to walk the streets ... "What do you need here?" he repeatedly asks villagers like some glorified door to door salemans ......

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This is London?

No, this is London. The link goes to a must-see video of "protestors" -- barbarians of death of destruction -- voicing their "objections" ("head on a stake") to Geert Wilders' continued existence (snapshot below).

Meanwhile, the Telegraph's Ed Smith writes:

While the media castigate the “far-Right” Geert Wilders for daring to speak up for fascistic ideas like freedom of speech, gay rights and parliamentary democracy, this event in London...

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Paul Avallone has drawn my attention to an enlightening essay by Ann Jones that helps explain why, after eight years (and counting) of intensive and expensive US training of Afghan military forces and police, the numbers on the page don't match the boots on the ground. Not even close. As Jones writes:

Although in Washington they may talk about the 90,000 soldiers in the Afghan National Army, no one has reported actually seeing such an army anywhere in Afghanistan. When 4,000 U.S. Marines were sent into Helmand Province in July to take on the Taliban in what is considered one of its strongholds, accompanying them were only about 600 Afghan security forces, some of whom were police....

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One more story about Yale President Richard Levin.

Seems that Denmark's Kurt Westergaard was not the only international visitor to have passed through Yale this semester. Queen Rania of Jordan also came through New Haven just a week or so before the Danish cartoonist. She was there to speak and celebrate an exhibition at Yale of art by women from the Islamic world called "Breaking the Veil."

Note, the "veil" being broken is not the veil of Islam, but rather what exhibition organizers saw as post 9/11 "misperceptions" in the Western media about Arab/Muslim women. Breaking such "veils" would seem to require a major load of Palestinian agit...

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Here is the response of Yale President Richard Levin to Michael W. Steinberg, a founder of the Yale Committee for a Free Press, the alumni group that has called on Yale, the Yale Corporation and the Yale University Press to restore the imagery of Mohammed, including the Danish Mohammed cartoons, to the recent Yale book about the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

Dear Mr. Steinberg,

On behalf of the Yale Corporation we thank those alumni/alumnae who joined you in writing to us about the decision of the Yale Press this summer not to publish images of the Prophet Mohammad...

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Meanwhile, the Guardian reports (via Andy McCarthy)...back in Afghanistan:

American officials are drawing up plans (see picture above) to de-radicalise inmates in Afghanistan's prisons, which have been described by the top US commander in the country as a breeding ground for insurgents. Ideas under discussion include establishing religious rehabilitation centres and sending prisoners on the hajj pilgrimage ....

Former Taliban officials have been recruited to advise on ways to revolutionise the country's poorly funded and badly organised prison system ....

General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, believes that the prisons are a big problem in the fight against the Taliban. In a leaked assessment of the eight-year campaign in the country, he concluded ... "There are more insurgents per square foot in corrections facilities than anywhere else in Afghanistan. ...


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Your mission.

1.Watch this Youtube (you have to click on "read more" to make it show up) that Glenn Beck unearthed of WH communications director Anita Dunn expressing her admiration for her two fave philosophers: Chairman Mao and Mother Teresa.

2. Bless Glenn Beck for unearthing it.

3. Then decide if Anita Dunn was, as ABC's Jake Tapper is twittering (which I think still qualifies as reporting) just "joking."

4. Then see if your head is exploding.



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This is an example of a black-ball ballot box, used famously by 19th-century men's clubs to vote down a potential member via secret ballot (a black marble). After watching the blackballing of Rush Limbaugh this week -- and, as I argue below, the blackballing of conservatism -- I realize the contemporary version would have to be made of glass. There was nothing secret about what happened -- which is part of the reason it was so frightening.

This week's syndicated column:

Before I get to the chilling implications for free conservative speech underscored by the vicious, public campaign to blackball Rush Limbaugh as a potential owner of an NFL team, I want to provide a little context about the pre-existing NFL comfort zone of expression.

I will start with two words: Keith Olbermann. In addition to his nightly gig on MSNBC -- a numbing blend of Leftist politics and something approaching Tourette's...

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"NFL Casts Doubt on St Louis Rams Ownership Bid by Rush Limbaugh" reports the Washington Post.Why? Because of his political point of view.

That means that political correctness has corrupted free discourse to the point where a man is blackballed for speaking his mind if, accordind to the leftist dictates of political correctness, what's on his mind -- in this case, traditional conservatism -- is deemed beyond the pale. This isn't satirical. This is reality beyond Orwell.

Here's the story.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell raised considerable doubt Tuesday about whether conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh could secure the approval of the league's other franchise owners necessary for him to become a partial owner of the St. Louis Rams. Goodell said...

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When Geert Wilders is "very happy" about something that the British Home Office is "disappointed" in, you know it's a good day.

The headline from The Guardian says it all:

"Geert Wilders wins appeal against exclusion by UK: Tribunal backs plea by far right [sic] Dutch politician banned by Jaqui Smith"

From the story:

Today a Home Office spokesman said the government was "disappointed" by the ruling. He said: "The government opposes extremism is all its forms. The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view."

Notice how much the British...

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More on this story from UPI:

In early September, following a rash of murderous suicide bombings in Baghdad as U.S. forces pulled out of urban areas under a December 2008 withdrawal plan, Maliki sacked several senior generals at the Interior Ministry, which commands much of Iraq's security apparatus.

He also forced out Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, director of the U.S.-backed and funded Iraqi National Intelligence Service set up by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in April 2004.

Shahwani, a Sunni, has close ties to the CIA and apparently fled to the United States following his dismissal. He was a general in Saddam's army, but after the Iraqi dictator's disastrous invasion of Kuwait in 1990 he masterminded an abortive coup against him in 1996.


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Reading Gen. McChrystal's Afghanistan assessment is easier than reading tea leaves, but judging by the murkiness of the debate about Afghanistan, few in the media or politics have read it. I say this having watched public discussion turn disagreement over troops levels into The Question of Consequence regarding overall strategy. Conservatives, listening to "the commander in the field," play McChrystal as The Hawk who wants to crush America's enemies into rubble (or, at least, more rubble than they are already in) as opposed to Obama The Wimp, whose hesitation and apparently dwindling support for a "surge" in Afghanistan threaten to turn McChrystal's winning strategy into a politically correct and ineffective recipe for defeat.

But what really separates Obama and McChrystal? Judging by publicly available statements and writings, nothing much. Which is why -- prediction time -- McChrystal probably won't quit when Obama gives him fewer forces than McChrystal is asking for.


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Photo: At least Handsome Dan still breathes free


This week's column zooms in on a small but symbolic sector of the Western front where the war on sharia has been lost without any comprehension of the battle having taken place. 

I am referring again to Yale, where the New Yale Order -- deference to sharia norms regarding free speech about Islam -- was unexpectedly interupted by what you might call the incursion into the New Yale Atmosphere by  free-speaking Kurt Westergaard, whom Canada's National Post recently dubbed in a front-page headline "the most hated man in Mecca." Ditto for Yale. Which is a down and dirty (dhimmi) way for the university to grub for Islamic lucre.


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Just as it hard to look away from a wreck, it is hard to look away from Yale. At a Motooon "panel" this week, three Yale profs delivered presentations "describing what made the cartoons offensive for many people ... and how the West's response heightened tension." Funny, I never knew waving white flags could heighten tensions.

Anyway, one of the panel profs, Andrew March, DPhil from old Oxford dontcha know, finds the cartoons "objectionable," according to the Yale Daily News account of the discussion, but he is also someone who finds good things to say about incest, polygamy, and Tariq Ramadan. Here is the extract from his article, "Marriage, Sex and Future Persons in Liberal Public Justification: Is There a Right to Incest?" forthcoming from Journal of Applied Philosophy (hat tip Seth Corey '78, co-founder, with Michael Steinberg...

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Last year, more than 100,000 Swiss citizens signed a petition sponsored by the Swiss People's Party (SVP) approving a national referendum on the question, yes or no, of whether the contruction of more minarets, the towering symbol of political Islam, should be banned in Switzerland. And yes, they should be banned. Minarets, indeed, mosques, are not seen by the movers and shakers of Islam as belltowers and churches are seen within Christianity. As Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said of mosque construction in Europe, "The minarest are our lances, the mosques our helmets, and the believers our army."

The Swiss People's Party wants the Swiss people to vote on this aspect of Islamization. That extremely important vote, yes or no on the ban, will finally take place on November 29.

Today, however, the Swiss federal commission against racism...

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The cost of sending your child to Yale (plus feeding and sheltering him) is: 47,500 bucks. (Per year, natch.)

Here, courtesy a current student, is a sample of what you get for it:

"The more perspectives you are able to receive on an event, the better you are able to conduct yourself in the context of embracing diversity."

Notice the student doesn't regard "more perspectives" as data from which to draw a conclusion or render a judgment. Nope, that all went out with the Dead White Male. Today's Yalies "receive" perspectives" so as to "conduct" themselves in "the context of embracing diversity." 


Turns out, my IFPS colleagues noticed Omer Bajwa at Kurt Westergaard's Yale talk. I previously mentioned Bajwa, billed as the Muslim chaplain of the Yale Muslim Student Association, for having  told an Islamabad audience that "Muslims will win the final victory in the West if they conform to their beliefs and disseminate the message of Islam with wisdom and politeness." No doubt Bajwa was conforming to and disseminating Islam's message during his display at the Westergaard talk, but he did so with neither wisdom nor politeness. 

First, Bajwa, whose official title is Yale's "coordinator of Muslim life for the University," made the baseless announcement that  the “well-known Islamophobes Daniel Pipes and Geert Wilders" were behind Westergaard's Yale appearance.

Well-known "Islamopobes"? Remember, this is a man of the (some) cloth speaking -- the one who co-signed a letter...

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Frederick Kagan this week at NRO mans the battlements in defense of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. More on his arguments (What do you mean Gen. McChrystal is politically correct?) another time. Meanwhile, there is a point in passing that requires comment because, while made in passing -- while always made in passing, tossed off as a given, an objective fact -- it is the faulty fulcrum of the entire nation-building argument. The point in question is that "surge" strategy in Iraq was a success, and that Iraq was a success.

I don't agree. As I've noted in "All Those Boots on the Ground But No Imprint" and elsewhere, the surge in Iraq left little more impression on the sands of Mesopotamia than the receding tide:

This, to clarify, is not the antiwar Left writing. I am writing from a pro-military, anti-jihad point of view that has long seen futility in the U.S. nation-building...

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Here (above) we see Canadian General Jonathan Vance on a happier day in Deh-e-Bagh, Afghanistan, where, back in July villagers were all smiles  Canadian troops "pledging to do such things as rejuvenate nine mosques and create a wheat co-operative," as The Windsor Star reported.


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Gen. McChrystal in London last week:

“We don’t win by destroying the Taliban,” he said. “We don’t win by body count. We don’t win by the number of successful military raids or attacks, we win when the people decide we win.”

That would be the Afghan people, naturally, McChrystal's unseemly and increasingly unhinged obsession. He continued:

“Why isn’t the situation better after eight years?” he said. “Afghans’ expectations have not been met. ...

McChrystal said a clear change in “mindset” was needed because many current tactics are counterproductive and producing hostility and skepticism among Afghan civilians who must be convinced the coalition forces will improve their safety and quality of life.

Guess what, General? The United States of America has already tried improving Afghan safety and quality of life, and on a colossal scale, and it just didn't stick. And back then, between 1946 and 1979, there was no Taliban "insurgency" complicating the social work of nation-building.


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For the record:

Yale should have honored Kurt Westergaard with applause, accolades and gratitude for the Dane's brave, unflinching, unqualified defense of freedom of speech. Instead -- and I say this having read multiple reports and heard several first-hand accounts -- Yale as an institution treated Westergaard as an object of unconcealed derision, the distasteful and unfortunate consequence of a free society in which the right to free speech requires lip service even as the exercise of that right inspires only scorn and disapproval.

Yale's treatment of Kurt Westergaard, however, reflects on Yale, not Kurt Westergaard. Once again, in the wake of the Yale-Yale University Press decision to censor Mohammed imagery from its new book about Mohammed imagery (namely, but not exclusively, the Danish Mohammed cartoons), Yale has revealed a willful disregard for freedom of speech, particularly in regard to Islam -- indeed, particularly in deference to Islam. Given Islam's role today as the leading ideological opponent of free speech, this is a grave and shameful development.


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This week's syndicated column: Today's column is for all hawkish Americans currently wrestling with looming doubts about the pointlessness of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and clubbing those doubts down with the much-mentioned perils of leaving Afghanistan to "the terrorists." In short, it's about how to "lose" Afghanistan and win the war.

And what war would that be? Since 9/11, the answer to this question has eluded our leaders, civilian and military, but it remains the missing link to a cogent U.S. foreign policy.

It is not, as our presidents vaguely invoke, a war against "terrorism," "radicalism" or "extremism"; and it is not, as the current hearts-and-minds-obsessed Afghanistan commander calls it, "a struggle to gain the support of the (Afghan) people." It is something more specific than presidents describe, and it is something larger than the outlines of Iraq or Afghanistan. The war that...

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The first Yale Muslim Chaplain, Omer Bajwa, may have just written a letter with University Chaplain Sharon Kugler extolling "the progress that Yale is making to build a community of true religious understanding" (and bemoaning the appearance by Kurt Westergaard at Yale to speak) but just a few years ago on a trip to Islamabad, Pakistan, he was talking about building a different kind of religious community.

Here's what he's reported to have said while visiting the Women's Institute of Science and Humanities (WISH) in islamabad.

Muslims will win the final victory in the West if they conform to their beliefs and disseminate the message of Islam with wisdom and politeness.

Muslims will win the final victory...? Final victory? "Final victory" doesn't fit into "a community of true religious understanding." It is the endgoal of jihad.

This comment appears in a posting...

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Somehow, and I do not know how, both Kurt Westergaard and Jytte Klausen ended up speaking at separate appearances at Yale yesterday, also the same day the alumni group, the Yale Committe for a Free Press, sent off a second letter to Yale protesting the censorship of all Mohammed imagery, including Westergaard's cartoon, in Klausen's Yale University Press book The Cartoons That Shook the World.

Not exactly a harmonic covergence, but a convergence nonetheless.

What follows are highights from some of the reports tracking these criss-crossing events.

I'm going to start with the good news -- the excellent letter from Yale alumni that I did not write but happily signed: 

Simply stated, Yale must not be the arbiter of what is "safe" to publish. Such censorship corrodes the intellectual freedom that is the foundation of the entire university community. It also violates Yale's own explicit policy: "Above all, every member of the university has an obligation to permit free expression in the university. . . . Every official of the university . . . has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed."


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This past June, I had the honor of meeting Kurt Westergaard at his sunny, art-filled home in Denmark -- make that, his sunny, art-filled, state-security-services-hardened home in Denmark. In addition to being an unbowed advocate for free speech, Kurt, along with his wife, are gracious hosts, and they served my IFPS colleagues and me a traditional Danish feast. We spoke, among other things, about Kurt's then upcoming trip to the United States, now in full swing. Indeed, he should have just about arrived at Yale now to give a talk, after appeances yesterday in Manhattan and at Princeton. 

In today's Daily Princetonian, Kurt has an op-ed called "Why I Drew the Cartoon," explaining how an assignment from his editor at Jyllands-Posten to draw his impression of...

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If the answer is yes, and there is currently an internal review at USAID and plans for congressional hearings by US Rep. Delahunt to find out, then that obviously means that we, Joe and Josephine Taxpayer, are funding the Taliban via an elaborate kickback/extortion scheme taking place right under US noses..

According to GlobalPost, whose August reporting got the investigative ball rolling, the Taliban's financial kickback machine is "highly formalized" to the point where "the Taliban actually keeps an office in Kabul to review major deals, determine percentages and conduct negotiations...."

Precise amounts are almost impossible to pin down, but it is, according to those knowledgeable of the process, a conservative estimate that the amount going to the Taliban is in the tens of millions of dollars a year. If the allegation that the Taliban takes 20 percent off big contracts is true, it is possible the Taliban is receiving as much money from the billions of dollars in assistance funds as it does from what traditionally has been its leading source of income: drugs.


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Four years ago today, a small Danish newspaper named Jyllands-Posten printed a page (above) of cartoons of Islam's prophet Mohammed by twelve Danish artists. In so doing so, the newspaper was breaking multiple Islamic laws. But the newspaper, indeed, the country of Denmark, does not operate according to Islamic laws. This cultural, historical and legal fact was the very point of the publishing exercise.

The decision to publish the cartoons of Mohammed came about due to rising confusion on this same point. A Danish publisher of a children's book about Mohammed had been unable to find Danish artists to provide illustrations. The artists, it seemed, were afraid of Islamic consequences, and were thus submitting to Islamic prohibitions on depictions of Mohammed, which stem from Islamic prohibitions on depictions of "animate life." Flemming Rose, the features editor of Jyllands-Posten,...

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