Sunday, June 20, 2004

This Weekend's Hits

The BBC: Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, from Saudi Arabia, who opened London's biggest mosque last Friday, is a respected leader who works for "community cohesion" and "building communities."

Not mentioned on the BBC: Some of the views of Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais. In his own words: In the name of Allah, the Jews must be "annihilated." They are "the scum of the human race, the rats of the world... the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs."

Tom Gross, on Living in a Bubble; The BBC’s very own Mideast foreign policy.

Back in February 2003, an Iraqi asylum-seeker living in Glasgow started e-mailing me, explaining his reasons for supporting the war. Over the past few weeks, my replies to him have been permeated by my hopeless, sullen mood. He has always been polite, even when we disagree strongly. But then last week, he snapped: "You can afford to despair. You aren't in Baghdad. You aren't in Basra. What do I say to my family [if I took your position]? Well thanks a lot for your support. The rest of us will keep on fighting for Iraqi democracy without you."

Johann Hari on Liberal despair won't help the Iraqis now; We need to support the majority of Iraqis. They want democracy.

Yet if the US Armed Forces were at least superficially suited to the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns, America singularly lacks a mechanism for swaying the hidden struggles which the War on Terror is now evolving into. Traditionally, the action space between a diplomatic protest and a Marine amphibious landing has been filled by clandestine action by the Central Intelligence Agency. But although that agency is supposed to have been revamped and strengthened after September 11, it is unclear whether it alone can bear the burden of the clandestine and twilight struggle within Islamic World. By charter and culture it fundamentally remains an intelligence gathering apparatus and not a secret army. America had a ready answer to Osama's direct challenge. But it is still evolving a response to the bid for power between vicious and still more vicious factions within Muslim countries.

Belmont Club on Phase 2

A NOTE to the beknighted editors at the Reuters news service:

Please don't dignify the monsters who committed this horrifying act by labeling them "militants." They took an innocent man hostage. They beat and tortured him. They demanded ransom. They ignored pleas for mercy from his family. Then, when their demands were not met, they cut his head off and posted the images on the Internet.

Nothing can justify such unrestrained cruelty. It serves no useful purpose, other than to strike terror into the hearts of civilized people everywhere.

Terrorists did this. Not "guerillas," or "rebels," or "dissidents," or "militants."

Let me spell it for you, in case you've forgotten: T-E-R-R-O-R-I-S-T-S.

When did that word become taboo?

Smash reacts to the coverage of the Paul Johnson beheading.

* There is hope for a relatively free, peaceful and prosperous society in Iraq even though the situation is very difficult and the challenges are enormous,

* The support and assistance of the American people (as distinct from the US Government) is essential to the progress of the Iraqi people. The best hope of Iraq turning out well in large part lies in the support and commitment of the American people.


* It is essential that we also support those Iraqis that are champions of a new Iraq and who are taking the initiative to improve the country in ways small and large. These people represent the future of the country and, in many ways, of the Middle East. By standing for freedom and a better life they are risking their lives

Back from Iraq, a Spirit of America update.