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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Going Quietly Into the Night 

I mentioned before that I would be posting sporadically over the next week...it will actually be more like a hiatus. I leave town tonight and likely won't be posting again until after Memorial Day.

It will be a good vacation. I'm going to empty my head, see many old friends, and eat good food. I'll have the chance to walk an old country road, sit in the lake cabin, fish and watch the pelicans come in for a landing, ever hopeful that I might toss them a part of my catch. I'll get to watch the sun set and the moon rise without worrying about getting up early in the morning unless it's to jump in the boat for some early fishing.

With all that dancing through my head, I leave you to your own devices. It's time for me to finish up what I have to do today so I can go spend some time in vacationland. I feel like a kid watching the clock on the last day of school. Heh. Take care until I get back.


Hijab Not Essential to Islam 

Amir Taheri is a smart guy, to judge by the stuff he's written that I've read. He's also far more familiar with Muslim customs and history than I. Let's see what he has to say about those stupid rags they make their women wear on their heads:
All these and other cases are based on the claim that the controversial headgear is an essential part of the Muslim faith and that attempts at banning it constitute an attack on Islam.

That claim is totally false. The headgear in question has nothing to do with Islam as a religion. It is not sanctioned anywhere in the Koran, the fundamental text of Islam, or the hadith (traditions) attributed to the Prophet.

This headgear was invented in the early 1970s by Mussa Sadr, an Iranian mullah who had won the leadership of the Lebanese Shiite community.

In an interview in 1975 in Beirut, Sadr told this writer that the hijab he had invented was inspired by the headgear of Lebanese Catholic nuns, itself inspired by that of Christian women in classical Western paintings. (A casual visit to the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, or the Louvres in Paris, would reveal the original of the neo-Islamist hijab in numerous paintings depicting Virgin Mary and other female figures from the Old and New Testament.)

Sadr's idea was that, by wearing the headgear, Shiite women would be clearly marked out, and thus spared sexual harassment, and rape, by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian gunmen who at the time controlled southern Lebanon.

Read the whole thing to find out about how the hijab controls insanity-inducing rays from Muslim women's hair, how it enforces gender-apartheid, and more. These are things to remember the next time you hear some dewy-eyed Lefty wax poetic about how wonderful Islamic culture is, and how quaint their "ancient" or "ethnic" or whatever clothes are. After you show them the video of Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl, and people jumping from the highest windows of the WTC, you can point them to this article (or any other history of the hijab, as I've seen this sort of story before told the same way) and show them why they're full of shit for yet another reason.

The hijab is a political statement. It shows the domination of Muslim men over their women and it's a subtle claim of sovreignty of Islam and sharia over whatever country they're in. It's NOT ancient, it's ripped off from Christianity, and lastly and most damning, they had to invent it to protect themselves from Muslim predators.

Whether you love or hate my politics, please understand well: we are going to have to fight the Islamists sooner or later. If we were to suddenly pack up everything in Iraq and go home, they would come to us. They won't quit, they won't change on their own (at least not for hundreds of years) and they won't leave us in peace. The first step to beating them is to publicize thier lies, and we might as well start by pointing out that the rag they wrap around their women's heads is a fraud and they are causing legal problems in several countries for absolutely no reason. The hijab should be banned throughout the free world just to make that point.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

One Reason the Sarin Shell is Important 

It knocks down just one more smarmy insinuation made by everybody's favorite droning moonbat. Quote:
It appears, as they peel away the weapons of mass destruction issue, and--we may yet find them, Chris. Look, I want to make it clear: Who knows if a month from now, you find some weapons. You may. But you certainly didn't find them where they said they were, and you certainly didn't find them in the quantities that they said they were. And they weren't found, and I have talked to some soldiers who have come back who trained against the potential of artillery delivery, because artillery was the way they had previously delivered and it was the only way they knew they could deliver. Now we found nothing that is evidence of that kind of delivery...

John Effing Kerry sure does know how to sound like a dipshit when one of his quotes is brought up a couple of weeks after he said it, don't you think?

Senator Kerry, here's a news flash for you: the WMD issue isn't done. It's not just going to go away. Your fellow travellers on the left should be told that just because they say we haven't found any sign of WMDs doesn't mean that we haven't found any sign of WMDs. Indeed, we have found several interesting signs of WMD activity, including samples of several different varieties. And we're not even close to being done looking. There are many square miles of ammo dumps yet to search, not including any secret ones, plus the whole of the Syrian desert. Senator, you should make your Leftist friends aware that they don't get to be the sole judge of reality. It would help them as they try to craft a coherent message.

Just sayin', is all.


God Save the Queen 

Make fun of John Edwards if you must (I do), but he was right that there are two Americas. In America #1, goofy screwballs walk giant puppets down the street, malicious cartoonists lampoon our troops who are not only trying their best but succeeding, traitorous future senators proudly claim to have participated in crimes against humanity and Howard Dean EXISTS.

In America #2, people say the pledge AND MEAN IT, people donate money so Iraqis can have an alternative to the treacherous Arab media, people generally try to do the right thing and honor is still alive. This is my America.

Britain, it would seem, also has a dichotomy going. Britain #1 is home to the same puppet-walkers of America #1, plus they hate all things American and love all things Saddam. They don't understand the point of a military at all, never mind a strong one. A freakazoidal Imam screams treason and treachery from a London mosque. And if they know nothing else, they JUST KNOW THAT BUSH LIED AND SO DID BLAIR!!!!

Britain #2 is the one where people march in protest of stupid gun-control laws that have the violent crime rate in Britain skyrocketing for a couple decades now. They're hard-headed and stout-hearted. Tony Blair, one denizen of this part of Britain, gives outstanding speeches filled with the kind of oration that his predecessor Churchill would have loved. I could live in this Britain if America #2 wasn't my first love and home.

Via His Majesty (of the Rottwelier empire, not the British), we have evidence that Britain #2 must be the ones they sent to Iraq:
OUTNUMBERED British soldiers killed 35 Iraqi attackers in the Army’s first bayonet charge since the Falklands War 22 years ago.
The fearless Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders stormed rebel positions after being ambushed and pinned down.

Despite being outnumbered five to one, they suffered only three minor wounds in the hand-to-hand fighting near the city of Amara.

The battle erupted after Land Rovers carrying 20 Argylls came under attack on a highway.

After radioing for back-up, they fixed bayonets and charged at 100 rebels using tactics learned in drills.

Charge ... tactics from drills

When the fighting ended bodies lay all over the highway — and more were floating in a nearby river. Nine rebels were captured.

An Army spokesman said: “This was an intense engagement.”

It was "an intense engagement". No shit. I'm glad we broke away from them while we still could.


Spent Rocket Launcher Found 

Holy crap. If you follow the link to find the source, be aware it's the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which will require registration to view the thing.

Sometimes I think these shoulder-fired rocket launchers scare me more than chemical weapons. I mean, I hear a LOT about how hard it is to make sure the chemicals are delivered and disbursed widely and evenly in order to kill lots of people. With these launchers, it sounds like it's basically point and click and PRESTO! A planeload of people gone.

Now for the $10 million question: how come I read about this in a smallish blog and didn't hear about it last night on CNN? Something's not right with our news delivery (understatement alert).


John Kerry, Part Deux 

Dust in the Light tells us about a modern-day retread of John Kerry's traitorous behavior from the early 70s, happening again as I write this:
The accounts that Massey relates aren't pleasant. "Trigger happy" American military personnel throwing the corpses of Iraqi civilians in a ditch. Orders from "senior government officials" to wipe out peaceful demonstrators. Marines firing on Iraqi motorists with their hands up at checkpoints. "Fallujah is just littered with civilian bodies." The 31-year-old sergeant told his commanding officer, "We're committing genocide."

It was really, really hard for me to go on reading after that. These people always pull out the G word sooner or later, and this is very much sooner. No doubt he has every bit as much proof of these "war crimes" as Kerry did in the 70s. The parallel is nearly unique. This is what you get when you have a soldier who says "I participated in war crimes" and you don't lock him up for life. If Kerry had been locked up like he should have been, the world would be a better place, Taxachussetts would not be saddled with a droning moonbat senator and we wouldn't be faced with the spectre of a possible [cough] Kerry [retch] presidency.

As for Jimmy Massey, well, he just sounds like a dirty, scummy little punk bitch really interesting guy with a load of horseshit lies nifty story to tell.


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Patriot Act 

Full disclosure: I haven't read the Patriot act. Neither, it would seem, have many of those who march in the streets against it. Neither, too, it would seem, has the unfortunate Mr. Williams in this article:
MacDonald: Why doesn’t Mr. Williams just come right out and say it: he doesn’t think counterterrorism investigations should be conducted in secret. In his world, if the FBI has received a tip about an Al Qaeda cell in Phoenix that is planning to detonate a dirty bomb in Las Vegas, the Bureau should seek a wiretap warrant in open court, with notification to the cell members. If intelligence agents want to search the group’s hard drives, they should inform the cell in advance to give them an opportunity to challenge the search. Court TV could broadcast the legal wrangling between the cell’s attorneys and intelligence agents; legal experts could provide running commentary about the likely scope of the FBI’s investigations.

Left- and right-wing libertarians who whine about the totalitarian secrecy of anti-terrorism investigations are a little late to the game. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which created the “secret court” that oversees espionage and terrorism investigations, was passed in 1978; the anti-secrecy forces should have made their case back then. But they would have lost: even the self-righteous members of the Church Committee, puffed up with the post-Watergate conviction that Americans face no greater threat than their own government, conceded the obvious: intelligence operations to pre-empt foreign threats could not be conducted in public. Yes, administration requests to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for wiretap orders and search warrants for terrorists and spies are made behind closed doors. And Mr. Williams’s alternative would be . . . what, exactly? Osama Bin Laden’s dream team cavorting on CNN? The judges who sit on the FISA Court are regular Article III federal judges temporarily recruited from the district court bench; no Patriot Act hysteric has ever even attempted to argue that they somehow lose their constitutional independence while sitting as the FISA Court.

You bet this court is “not just any regular criminal court we’re familiar with,” in Mr. Williams’ plaint. Of course it’s not: its role is not to adjudicate a prosecution of a crime after it has occurred, but to oversee the pre-emption of a future threat. Intelligence investigations are the most potent weapon in the war on terrorism, and in that war, speed and secrecy are of the essence. The full panoply of due process rights, such as open trials, are appropriate when the government wants to put someone in prison for a previous crime, not when it is seeking to anticipate an enemy attack. Or does Mr. Williams dispute that the United States is facing an enemy dedicated to the country’s destruction?

As usual, Mr. Williams mischaracterizes Patriot Act provisions. Section 213, the sneak and peak section, does not allow the government to forever conceal that it has conducted a search; it requires notice after a reasonable period of time. Delayed notice of a search is not a new “vast expansion of government power,” but one granted by appellate courts for decades. The documents available to the government under section 215 are not private and thus not governed by the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. Mr. Williams should blame the Supreme Court for that, not the drafters of the Patriot Act; the Supreme Court has long held that records in third party hands enjoy no constitutional privacy protections.

And, for that matter, I'm not aware of ANY constitutional privacy protections for ANYBODY, ANYWHERE, ANYHOW. Privacy rights are a traditional American right and should be safeguarded to the extent possible, but they are not guaranteed by the constitution. The right not to be blown up by an airplane full of nutjobs in turbans screaming "Allahu Akbar" without due process IS a constitutional right, however, and thus it trumps the privacy rights of some terrorist planning to do that very thing.

Here ends the legal lesson for the day. But while that article is longish, it's well worth a full read. MacDonald, in my view, complete rips Williams a new one. She kept putting up good arguments, and he kept avoiding them while setting up straw men and then knocking them flat. Not the way to actually win a debate.


Islam IS the Problem 

Or so says at least one muslim:
Strange coincidence that the Nick Berg video was released almost
simultaneously with the video of Palestinian 'freedom fighters'
displaying the severed head of an Israeli soldier on a table.
Al-Jazeera had the head blurred out, and the Nick Berg video was
casually mentioned near the end of their news bulletin, and that was
that. No extensive discussions with Arab 'intelligentsia' followed, no replaying of the video over and over again for days (as the Abu Ghraib images), no talk shows with enraged, fist shaking, name-calling Arab figures discussing the effect of these videos on the 'image' of the Islamic or Arab world. Just shame and guilty silence. Apparently, pictures of an American female soldier taunting a naked man with underwear on his head is much much more gruesome to Arabs. I guess not everyone is perfect.

So, to distance myself from the shameful hypocritical Arab and Muslim masses. I wish to denounce this barbaric act and the pathetic ideology that fueled it, to disown any person from my part of the world who would justify it, and to offer my sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and countrymen of Nicholas Berg.

And for Muslims, who are definitely going to say 'this isn't the real Islam':

"When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives." Surat Mohammed:4

Grow up, and leave the 7th century.

Some angry readers have interpreted the above last statement as an
attack against fellow Muslims. That was not what I had intended. I
usually do my best to avoid theological debates on Islam for safety
considerations but I'll indulge them just this once. My purpose was to point out that Islam indeed excuses such barbaric acts. This is not the same as saying that all Muslims believe in such acts or commit them, moderate Muslims exist, but Islam is not moderate. Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists have not deviated from Islam, in fact all their practices are derived from the Quran and Hadith.

So yes, Islam is the problem here. Poverty, economic conditions, abuse by so called colonialism, and political frustration are not. Similar conditions elsewhere in the world have not prompted non-Muslims to commit suicide bombings or fly planes into towers. Islam, along with favourable cultural, tribal, and social values existing in the Arab world has prompted that drive. Islam and the Quran alone are not the root cause.

The solution is not however to alienate all Muslims, or to expel them, or annihilate them. It is up to 'moderate' Muslims and their clerics to carefully examine their scriptures and to reform, the same way Jews and Christians did. The Quran is a book, and its tenets were appropriate for a certain era in history. Most of it does not apply today, so it is not 'untouchable'. You either believe in the whole book, together with its violent verses, or you should stop claiming to be a consistent believer. You cannot select verses which appeal to your argument and ignore the rest.

How would you explain these, for instance:

"The just retribution for those who fight Allah and His messenger, and commit horrendous crimes, is to be killed, or crucified, or to have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or to be banished from the land. This is to humiliate them in this life, then they suffer a far worse retribution in the hereafter." Surat Al-Ma'ida:33

"O believers, do not take Jews and Christians as allies, they are
allies of one another. Those among you who ally themselves with these belong with them." Surat Al-Ma'ida:51

I can go on and on, but I would rather not. I have intensively examined the Quran and Sunna, and I might have a few things that would scare some pious believers. Maybe, some other time, when I'm in a safer environment, I would devote a website or a book to the subject.

Unbelievable. I'm sure I've read a better and more important blog post telling the truth about Islam, but I have absolutely no idea what it might have been right off hand. This one is important enough that I quoted nearly the entire thing just so I could make sure I have a copy to reference later.

Stay safe, Zayed. Those bastards would love nothing better than to make a video of your death after you laid them wide open like that.


Security Council Showdown Redux 

It's happening again:
New York and four European capitals — London, Madrid, Moscow and Paris — were selected as finalists Tuesday in the race to host the 2012 Olympics.

Four cities failed to make the cut: Havana; Istanbul, Turkey; Leipzig, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The field was trimmed by the International Olympic Committee (search) executive board based on a report assessing the technical capabilities of the nine cities.

"Technical capabilities?" That's what you look for in a software developer or a piece of scientific equipment, not an Olympics host city. No, this is a grudge match between the big players from the UN Security Council showdown during the run-up to the Iraq war. It will give the "international community" a chance to bash the US. I can just see some smarmy Euroweenie getting up and making a speech a la the Nobel committee throwing their prize's prestige away. He/she'll get up before the group and explain how they really, really wanted to give it to New York or even London, but political considerations forced the committee to choose Paris. "And that should be interpreted as a strong message to George Bush".

After the Salt Lake City debacle, how can this group ever be trusted with anything again anyway?


Monday, May 17, 2004

Cell Rage 

I spent 4 years going to school in the Fargo area, and managed to refrain from trashing a local store. This guy didn't make it.

Although I can sympathize with his plight to a point, having recently renegotiated my plan with Sprint.


My Kind of Candy 

Heh. Gimme some.


Note To Search-Engine Visitors 

Yes, the Berg Execution really did happen. No, you won't find political ammunition in the tape to use against George Bush or America. I've viewed the entire tape and broken parts of it down frame-by-frame, analyzing the individual frames next to each other in some cases to try to find any seams, scrubs, fades, or any other little tricks. Nada. It's completely legit, and the CIA says it was likely Zarqawi that spoke on the thing, although of course since the scared little girls had their big bad masks on, nobody can really know for sure.

Finally, no, I'm only a little amused by your clever emails, and not really impressed with the threatening ones. It's pretty easy to be an anonymous coward, and anonymous cowards are pretty easy to ignore. I do have to admit I was amused by the enterprising Arab who found it necessary to write me in Arabic, though. That was a pretty cool touch, though it's lost on me and the translator I tried didn't give me much to go on except that I think I'm supposed to be some sort of female puppy.

This post brought to you by my noticing that the search engine referrals just keep on coming from folks who seem to be under the impression that the Berg video was faked.


Nerve Gas Attack on US Troops 

Boy, do I ever see how this will play out:
A roadside bomb containing deadly sarin nerve agent exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday. It was believed to be the first confirmed finding of any of the banned weapons upon which the United States based its case for the Iraq war.

Two people were treated for "minor exposure," but no serious injuries were reported.

The deadly chemical was inside an artillery shell dating to the Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) era that had been rigged as a bomb in Baghdad, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief military spokesman in Iraq.

So now they're actually attacking us with the chemical weapons that never existed. I haven't done a look around the liberal blogosphere yet, because I already know that they're saying things like "yeah, but that's an old weapon" (never mind that it existed in Iraq all through the time such weapons were prohibited and as such constitutes a complete justification for the war in itself).

They're talking about how the poor little murdering bastards couldn't possibly know that it was a chemical shell and they'll call for the US military to train these people in the proper use of their munitions in order to avoid a repeat occurrence. They'll remind us that the US gave Saddam all his weapons (reality break: in the 80s, Saddam got 1% of his military support from the US, and France was the source of several times more). There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth about how the US soldiers were arrogant in refusing to all be killed by the bomb and instead unilaterally survived. And besides, Bushitler and HallibuGhraibNoBloodForOil.

Please believe that these people are most assuredly *NOT* anti-war. They are merely on the other side. I wish they would just admit it openly.


Only In America 

I mean it. This literally could only take place in America. I wish I could have been there to see. I could have participated as a representative of the Transgendered Mongolian Bloggers for Christ or something.


Grasshopper Application 

If you read this blog regularly, then you know I really, really, REALLY enjoy the Belmont Club. It's the most bullshit-free reading available today, for pay or free. Today's effort is no exception, as Wretchard takes up the unique phenomenon of how the media is intent on saying down is up, hot is cold, backward is forward and the US is losing the war in Iraq.

Wretchard, I know you check your referrals from time to time, and I noticed you checked my humble page at least once because I check my own referrals. On the small chance you might happen back here and notice this post, please consider this my application to sit at your knee and try to learn your wisdom.

Oh, and thanks for all the great posts lately. You're on a roll.


Genocide Still Ignored by UN 

I need to mention this again:
A month ago, Adam came home from school to find the government-backed Janjaweed burning his village in western Darfur. He watched more than 20 armed militiamen spur their horses through the inferno, slaughtering any who refused to leave and rounding up their cattle.

Running home, Adam found his two older brothers lying dead in the dirt outside the family's straw shelter. Inside were the bodies of his mother and father, who had been shot in the neck and the stomach.

"They killed my whole family," Adam remembers, shaking as he speaks. "Lots of girls were captured. I lost control and started screaming and crying. And then the Janjaweed snatched me and took me away on horseback. They made me their slave."

Since February, millions of innocent civilians have been caught up in civil war as the Janjaweed work to rid the Darfur region of its 80 black tribes, in the name of suppressing the rebels.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed, villages have been emptied, and traumatised refugees speak of mass murder and rape, of wells being poisoned with the bodies of dead children.

This probably wouldn't bother me so much but for a few important points:

1) I am a white male. I have endured angry accusations not for what I have done, but for what other white males have done to black people. I think that is unfair. Here we have Arabs doing similar things to black people. I still get condemnation, but nary a word about what these Arabs are doing under the UN's nose. Forget the Arab Street™, the American Street™ is getting pissed.

2) The UN allowed a genocide to burn itself out a decade ago in Africa. Now they're doing it AGAIN. And in between they had that wonderful America-And-Israel-Are-Racist confab in Durban, South Africa to make their hypocrisy complete. All these people who want to turn Iraq over to the UN have yet to explain to me how this will not foster an all-out civil war and probable genocide there, too. And nobody has explained to me how this would be better than the present situation.

3) I sponsor a child through Compassion International (a wonderful outfit, I highly recommend them) who lives in Ethiopia. He could be threatened by all this mess if it spills over too near him. I don't want a horde of Arabs riding down on his village, raping the women, slaughtering the adults and taking the children for slaves. It just doesn't sit right with me somehow.

I first heard the phrase "political correctness" back in the mid 80s from a college professor who was a parent of one of my high school speech teammates. It instantly made me think of Orwell's 1984 at the time, and nothing's changed since then. Political correctness is a phrase and a concept worthy of the cossacks and gulags, and it will kill us all yet if we don't smack it down.


Saturday, May 15, 2004

Sporadic Posting 

I'm going to be posting sporadically between now and the end of the month. I've got a ton of RL stuff to take care of, and big changes in my life going on. I'll probably not be posting at all from next Friday for about 10 days. I'll likely be back to regular posting by early June or so.

Just in case you needed to know.


Berg Execution NOT a Fake 

Just thought I'd throw that out there. The blog has been hit with quite a few search engine referrals (I've heard the same about other blogs lately) for things like "Berg execution fake". Charles Johnson had noticed this a few days ago and did some IP tracing...turns out most of the searchers are in Arab countries.

If they really wanted to hear conspiracy theories, they should skip the search engines and go directly to the daily Kos or Democratic Underground, which are both almost members of the Arab world already anyway.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Boston Globe Messes Up 

...Really, really bad:
Boston residents got more than they bargained for this morning when their copy of the Globe came complete with graphic photos depicting U.S. troops gang-raping Iraqi women.

Problem is the photos are fake. They were taken from pornographic websites and disseminated by anti-American propagandists, as first reported by WND a week ago.

Stick a fork in that rag. It's done and has lost so much credibility that it will never be able to seriously be used to back up an argument again.

Next up: CNN will cite an ArabNews.com report to substantiate allegations that top members of the administration have secretly been sleeping with Saddam Hussein.


Letters From the Front 

Why is it that every single time I read an online letter from a soldier, it points out some aspect or other of our defeatist media that is full of shit? Here's another one. It makes a bunch of salient points about the Iraq conflict, but this one struck me especially:
Our units, in fact, are operating w/in 500 meters of the most sacred Shia religious sites in these cities, and you should notice that the local people are not resisting. This is what the pessimists amongst you are preventing you from understanding. Something like this would have been impossible before Sadr and his militia thugs went into there to hijack Iraqi Shia Islam. The people of Najaf and Karbala know we are not there to conquer and occupying the religious sites; we are there to liberate them from this would-be tyrant who is trying to hijack them. His uprising has been contained, despite Sadr's desperate efforts to expand.

Good stuff. And straight from the front, with no warped media lens to screw it up. I like it.

I'll trust the word of someone whose butt is on the line WAY before I'll trust the talking heads on CNN (whose butts are more likely to be well-padded than on the line).


Arab Reaction to Beheading 

About like I figured:
Arab media have reacted cautiously to the beheading of an American civilian on a video issued by an associate of Usama bin Laden, with some newspapers conspicuously playing it down or even ignoring it.

However, to my huge surprise, there are at least some small voices condemning the thing:
"This shows how base and vile those who wear the robe of Islam have become," said Abdullah Sahar, a Kuwait University political scientist.

The video was released on the Internet too late Tuesday evening for the columnists of Middle East newspapers. But many Arabs said Wednesday that the grisly execution, attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's (search) group, surpassed the U.S. military's abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, which has been the top story for the past 10 days in the Middle East.

Hope springs eternal. Of course, some Arabs just hate that their hard-won sympathy generated by the Abu Ghraib incident had been squandored, and it would be harder to make bogus charges stick to Americans in the future:
In the video, the masked militants said they were taking revenge on Berg, 26, of West Chester, a suburb of Philadelphia, because of the abuses at the Baghdad prison.

Mustafa Bakri, editor of Al-Osboa weekly newspaper in Egypt, said Berg's execution will only harm efforts to expose American offenses against Iraqis.

"Such revenge is rejected," Bakri said of the execution. "The American administration will make use of such crimes just to cover their real crimes against Iraqis."

And of course, the Arab press, never squeamish when there's a chance to blast America, suddenly gets moral on us:
Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, the big two satellite networks, aired carefully edited snippets of the video. In Al-Arabiya's edit, a militant is seen drawing a knife and jerking Berg's torso to one side. The rest is not shown.

"The news story itself is strong enough," said Jihad Ballout, spokesman for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television. "To show the actual beheading is out of the realm of decency."

Decency. Yep, that's what comes to mind when I think of the Arabs.

I should take this time to make clear that while I blast Arab culture fairly broadly, I know (as do my detractors) that I'm not talking about every single Arab. I'm talking about the Arab world as a whole. You notice how every single Arab country except the new Iraq is a dictatorship of one flavor or another? And many of them blame the US for that, because we "propped up" regimes. Typically this is shorthand for the aid we gave and are giving to Jordan and Egypt in exchange for them behaving like humans toward Israel and others, and earlier for not siding with the Soviets.

I met and worked with several Arabs when I was in college in the late 80s. As a rule, I found them to be different, but no better or worse than any other group. Some were gregarious, some were quiet, some were assholes. A lot like everyone else. I did find that the stronger their ties to their home country, and the more seriously they took their Muslim faith (those who were Muslim; some were Christian), the more likely they were to be complete assholes. I don't know if that observation has any additional meaning or not, but it's interesting to note just the same.


Double Standards Galore 

Turns out the U.S. isn't the only country to have some of its people stray outside the bounds of what's strictly legal or moral:
In the early 1990s, for example, soldiers from states that take a very expansive view of humanitarian law, then participating in the United Nations mission to Somalia, engaged in sadistic offenses every bit as despicable as those in Abu Ghraib. In one instance, Canadian soldiers spent an evening amusing themselves by the torture and murder of a captive Somali teenager — and they took photographs. This was not the only abuse (or unlawful killing) ascribed to the unit, which was later disbanded. (A pattern of conduct all the more noteworthy since the Canadian military has largely reinvented itself as a peacekeeping force designed to support U.N. missions.)

Goodness gracious, but I thought Canada was among those condemning our government? Could it be that they are being......hypocritical? Why, this is a bigger outrage than 9/11!!!!!!
In another example, Belgian soldiers were photographed swinging a Somali child over a bonfire. The Belgians were later acquitted because, according to the military courts in Brussels, there was insufficient evidence and "[i]t could not be established that physical violence had been inflicted." Belgian authorities also investigated the death of a child after two days allegedly locked, by Belgian soldiers, in a metal container without food or water.

But I thought Belgium was, along with France and Germany, one of the most enlightened countries in the world and a staunch supporter of human rights! They couldn't be......goddamn hypocrites, could they?
The fact is, the potential for abuse — including individual "incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" as detailed in General Antonio Taguba's report on the 800th Military Police Brigade in Iraq — is inherent in virtually every aspect of human endeavor, regardless of the "atmosphere." Human beings are what they are.

And there, I think, lies the answer. War provides good cover for it, but the seeds for depraved behavior lie in the innermost core of each of us, and we'll be subject to that danger for as long as we remain what we are...human.

The U.S. has absolutely no monopoly on horrible behavior, and when all the facts are out any sane reading of them will, I believe, show that America has a better record than most or all of its biggest current detractors.

So we should just keep policing ourselves as we have been, punish those who "go over to the dark side", and complete our mission.


Why I Like Being a Protestant 

Because I don't have to take babbling like this seriously:
"The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves," Lajolo was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.

Wow. That's...deep.

First we had Bush=Hitler. Then Bush=Osama, U.S.=Taliban, Israel=Satan, and so on. Now Abu Ghraib > 9/11. Riiiiight. I'm used to hearing nonsensical blather like this coming from Yellow Times, Democratic Underground, and even occasionally Slate. The Vatican usually kept blather like this to the odd muttering under its breath, but I guess times change.


Ain't It the Truth 


Tuesday, May 11, 2004


I just really like this (scroll down).


Amber Alert 

Some headlines have gone missing. Imagine that. And our news media so dedicated to bring us all a fair, balanced picture of America and everything. Can't imagine why they aren't splattered all over every paper from here to Australia.


American Hostage Beheaded 

We have castigated ourselves about the Abu Ghraib problems, and rightly so. Those abuses should not go unpunished, and fixes should be implemented to try to avoid a repeat.

But let's keep our eye on the ball here, people. Don't lose perspective. Naked Iraqis humiliated is a bad thing, but at least it's something we can make restitution for. What our soldiers did was a picnic compared to what they do to us and each other.

I don't understand their purpose. Do they think we will respect them more for ever-more-subhuman behavior? Do they really think they can make us fear them? Well, maybe the way one fears a rabid skunk. But if you have a .22 and know there's a rabid skunk about, he's not really that dangerous.

Here's hoping our boys can put the poor skunks out of their misery before they hurt anybody else to make a point nobody understands.


The Saddam-9/11 Connection 

And now there's this to add to the gradually lengthening list of evidence of a connection not only between Saddam and the Islamists, but also between Saddam and the 9/11 atrocities.

Yes, I realize this one piece of evidenceisn't enough alone to say Saddam pulled the trigger. In fact I don't think he pulled the trigger at all. I do believe he had some or all of the 9/11 hijackers over for a slumber party and some nice training at Salman Pak. I do believe he probably contributed some or all of the funds to set those guys up in the US until they could organize the thing. I think he was in contact with at least Atta right up until 9/11, and I believe he must have celebrated like there was no tomorrow when it happened almost (repeat: ALMOST) without a hitch.

Salman Pak. The meeting with Atta in Prague which was claimed, then disclaimed, and now claimed again. The murals and statues found by our troops invading Iraq that celebrated 9/11. Saddam's well-documented hatred of us and willingness to do whatever it takes to kill people who piss him off. Saddam's attempt to assassinate G. Bush Sr. Wispy stories suggesting possible Arab involvement in other things, such as the downing of flight 800 or the OKC bombing.

I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist by hobby, but I've always tried to keep a firm line between that and the real world. That line is gradually getting thinner lately, for some reason.


I Don't Get It 

What do you suppose this is all about? If they just wanted to get a closer look at an El Al plane, couldn't they just have infiltrated a baggage handler into El Al or something?


Monday, May 10, 2004

Iraqi Fakery 

Not surprising:
At a press conference by human rights groups in Baghdad on Sunday, numerous former prisoners came forward to tell of abuse including beatings by soldiers and sleep deprivation. The accounts resembled those found by U.S. investigators at the notorious prison.

Fallujah native Abdul-Qader Abdul-Rahman al-Ani, his left elbow wrapped in bandages, his right forearm bound in a cast, recounted how he was beaten by soldiers who picked him up last month. The soldiers tied him and two others arrested with him to a tree and sodomized them one after the other, he told journalists.

"I ask President Bush," he said. "Does he agree with this?"

As Ani, 47, repeated his story, he was interrupted by Jabber al-Okaili, a member of one of the human rights groups that organized the gathering. "He's lying," al-Okaili shouted. "He's a liar!"

Al-Ani was rushed to an office, where al-Okaili and others unwound the bandage on his left arm and found the elbow unscarred and healthy. They cut off half of the cast on his forearm, even as al-Ani insisted, "By God, it's true, everything I say is true."

And some people are absolutely mystified why a lot of us are taking the reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere with a few hundred-pound blocks of salt. While real abuses seem to actually (for once) have occurred, the general consensus among even those reporting it seems to be that it was relatively uncommon and isolated (although perhaps not unique to those already caught). That sounds about right to me.

But this is another in a long line of reasons why I trust our military, who outed themselves, over Arabs like this clown, who had to be outed by somebody else.


Occupation Goes Bad 

No, not that one...this one:
An Unmee report last June quoted Eritrean women as saying Irish peacekeepers on the mission had used prostitutes as young as 15.

The Eritrean government said: "The fact that Unmee has to date not taken any concrete actions and shown no co-operation to correct its modus operandi and clean up its activities, exposes to grave danger the peace and stability of the people and government of Eritrea, as well as the security and stability of our region."

I'll hold my breath until the New York Times, France, and Michael Moore denounce these barbaric practices and demand Kofi Annan's resignation.

(hat tip: Tim Blair)


Another Homicide Bombing Foiled 

That has gotten to be such a common type of headline in Israel that it's not really worth much of a post, but in this case I made an exception for what I assume is an obvious reason:
suicide bomb attack was thwarted with the arrest of a Palestinian woman, whom according to Palestinian reports is a hermaphrodite who goes by the name of Ahmed.

I sense an opportunity for conservatives here to pit the Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgendered (GLBT) wing of the Leftist Asshat Brigades™ against the wing dominated by the International Solidarity Movement (pro-Palestinian Asshat Brigades™). But that's probably just me.


Friday, May 07, 2004

Light posting 

From now until Sunday night or Monday, I'll be out of town and not posting much if at all. Try to find a way to continue your life knowing that you temporarily won't have me to show you the important stuff you need to know.


Michael Moore Admits Lying 

Turns out he knew all along that Disney wouldn't distribute his new propaganda film.

I've never read a Moore book or seen a Moore film. I've read/seen lots of excerpts, mostly when people are pointing out inaccuracies and outright lies in them. I'd actually like to read or see all his work at some point, but I refuse to do it in a way that would involve money going from my pocket to his, and I want to do it legally. Plus Moore's not worth a trip to the library to check out his filth. I guess I'll get to review his work when I find somebody that was sappy enough to buy it but nice enough to lend it to me.


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Moonbat Watch: Thomas Friedman 

I'm really, really tired of the UN-Worshippers' worthless preaching. Friedman gets a whole bunch wrong throughout the article, but here's the section where he veers off and falls out the other side of the looking glass:
Mr. Bush needs to invite to Camp David the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the heads of both NATO and the U.N., and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

The UN has no standing to enter Camp David. Even less the leaders of those Arab cesspits countries. The French and Russians shouldn't even be allowed in our country until they beg for our forgiveness for their efforts to stop us from taking out Saddam while taking kickbacks and various other clever forms of profiting on the backs of the Iraqis.
There, he needs to eat crow, apologize for his mistakes and make clear that he is turning a new page.

Bull. He needs to tell them to keep their stink out of our presidential retreat in the future. ESPECIALLY the despots from the Middle East, whose state-run media bash us every day nonstop without interference using lies, distortions and false innuendo.
Second, he needs to explain that we are losing in Iraq,

Assumes facts not in evidence. In what way are we "losing in Iraq"? Because we've lost some people? If you could get an honest answer out of the terrorists, I think you'd find they're not doing so hot, having lost a huge number of their fighters, particularly over the last month. I went into this campaign expecting we'd lose over 10,000 in the first 6 months and perhaps a slow reduction in casualties thereafter. Even with those numbers I still supported the action. I've been incredibly happy with how things have been going.
and if we continue to lose the U.S. public will eventually demand that we quit Iraq, and it will then become Afghanistan-on-steroids, which will threaten everyone.

And as everyone knows, Iraq never threatened its neighbors before the evil US decided to "unilaterally" (with 30+ partners) invade just to get the oil (which we haven't yet and never will see). Riiiiight.
Third, he needs to say he will be guided by the U.N. in forming the new caretaker government in Baghdad. And fourth, he needs to explain that he is ready to listen to everyone's ideas about how to expand our force in Iraq, and have it work under a new U.N. mandate, so it will have the legitimacy it needs

The UN doesn't have any legitimacy. What are you talking about? Besides, if we asked those particular Arab countries their advice on how to fight the war, they would likely recommend that we conduct live-fire training exercises against ourselves.
to crush any uprisings against the interim Iraqi government and oversee elections — and then leave when appropriate. And he needs to urge them all to join in.

Hey, Mr. Friedman! Yeah, you, in the rubber nose with the orange curly hair and makeup! Take a break and let some actual journalists take over. You're going to hurt yourself.



Stuff like this makes me realize some people have way more time than others.


Salvadorans Make Their Presence Felt 

I might even be related to this guy:
One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.
In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Cpl. Toloza stabbed several attackers swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to the unit's rescue.

"We never considered surrender. I was trained to fight until the end," said the 25-year-old corporal, one of 380 soldiers from El Salvador whose heroism is being cited just as other members of the multinational force in Iraq are facing criticism.

Actually, I only say he might be related because my brother-in-law is from El Salvador. But I think my brother-in-law is probably less apt to be fighting Iraqis than dandelions in his lawn.* Still, they're from the same gene pool, so it could be true.

It seems to me that a lot of the non-American fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been featured enough in our media. They are making sacrifices, taking chances and dealing with victories and defeats every bit as much as our boys, and I'd like to know a little more about their stories. After all, these are the ones that have proven with more than just words that America can count on them in a pinch, and we should be ready to do the same for each of those countries, should need arise.

* I only said that so my sister will see it and tell Mauricio. The things I don't do to make family life interesting.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

What Do You Get 

...when you dose a sentient ferret with speed and PCP and give it a piece of charcoal?

It ain't pretty. I don't get the joke on about 80% of the episodes of this cartoon, but I laugh at them anyway. Then I wonder why I was laughing. Then I take them and post them around my cube at work. Well, the work-safe ones anyway. Which is about 20% of them. Maybe.

A truly bizarre and wonderful cartoon that would never have made it in the pre-internet world.


Rall's Ugly Little Mind 


Michael Moore in Perspective 

Tim Blair shows a comparison that throws Michael Moore's ridiculousness into the stark relief it so richly deserves. Mheh. No matter if I move toward the center or not, Michael Moore will always be a moonbat.


ACLU Finally Gets One Right 

Check it out:
For the past 40 years, the cross has been a part of the city logo of Redlands, Calif. (search) It appears on government buildings, official stationary and police uniforms, but according to the American Civil Liberties Union (search), it has to go.

"For a city seal to contain a sectarian religious symbol that reflects the views of only one segment of the community reflects an endorsement of a religion, and it's not constitutional," said Ben Wisner of the ACLU.

Finally the ACLU does something I can agree with. A religious symbol really has no business on official government documents, seals, etc.

This is far, far different from abolishing Christmas trees or the 10 commandments on government property. In those two cases, the items in question are not part of the official business of the government, but are merely adjuncts to government property that reflect the values of (a large part of) the people being governed.

It has been said that the first amendment provides freedom OF religion and not freedom FROM religion. The Dan Nelson corollary to that theorem would be that government should be FREE of religion but also TOLERANT of it. The ACLU has never shared the view that government should be tolerant of religious faith and symbols, and that is one of the reasons I despise it in spite of its lofty stated purposes.


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Seeking Sanity 

Is there no SANE, CENTER-left source of news/info? Must they all be moonbats like Kos, Democratic Underground, etc? Even my hometown paper's opinion page is full of Leftist bile more days than not. I'm being pulled into the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and I'd really rather stay closer to the center. Thing is, if it's a choice between right wing crazy and left wing crazy, I'll take the right.

Still, I'd appreciate the opportunity to read some left-center material that isn't knee-jerk anti-American, isn't mean, nasty and full of inconsistencies, and isn't completely negative. I need to move closer to the center. Maybe I need to start another blog for more thoughtful, considered posts and keep the Frozen Toaster as my rantblog.

Anybody who has ideas for sane reading material please share them in comments.


Global Warming 

Here's an interesting article on the global warming debate:
Argument one asserts that ground-based temperature measurements have been corrected adequately for environmental effects, including especially the urban "heat island" effect, and that the pattern of global change in temperature which results -- about a 0.60 C increase over the last 100 years -- is likely to have a human cause. In actuality, that part of the claimed increase in temperature which occurred over the last 20 years is contradicted by two alternative measurements of atmospheric temperature made from weather balloons and satellites, the patterns of which agree with each other and show little or no long-term trend of temperature change. At the very least, this discrepancy casts doubt on the adequacy of the heat island correction which has been made to the records.

Argument two, after papers by statistician Michael Mann and co-authors, asserts that both the peak magnitude and the rate of temperature increase over the last 100 years are exceptional by comparison with the preceding 900 years. But recent published papers by other scientists have demolished this argument and shown that Mann's work is statistically unsound; both its historical analysis and its projected peak of warming at the recent turn of the century are now known to be flawed. And anyway, irrespective of recondite statistical arguments, many earlier published geological studies show that the rate and magnitude of climate change over historic times lies within the envelope of natural variation.

The third IPCC argument rests upon complex computer models which attempt to predict the rate of warming for the increasing rate of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through to the year 2100. However, these models are unable to simulate 20th century climatic history accurately, and also fail when tested against the last 20 years of accurate data from satellites and weather balloons. A primary reason for the mismatches is probably that the computer models assume an unrealistically high temperature sensitivity for atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation.

I used to take for granted that there was at least some warming happening, even though I had doubts about whether the warming was attributable to human activity. Over time I've read a lot and thought about it, and this article outlines some of the same things that have led me to question whether there is even a measurable warm-up.


More of This, Please 

See, now, if I saw more of this kind of thing I'd be a lot happier about the ME situation.


US Out of the UN Now 

You remember how I mentioned a certain genocide that the UN was ignoring? Well, now, the host and perpetrator of that apparently still-ongoing genocide is now about to take its place proudly on the UN's Human Rights Commission:
African nations have ensured that Sudan gets a seat on the chief U.N. human rights watchdog and angered rights groups who want more liberal democracies to win a place.

Fourteen vacant seats will be filled on Tuesday and on Wednesday for the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission. Many have been decided by regional groups before the voting in the Economic and Social Council in New York.

Sudan has been the target of worldwide criticism, including an expression of concern from the Geneva-based commission in late April. It has been accused of backing Arab militia destroying villages, raping and killing black Africans in the Darfur region.

"A government that engages in wholesale abuses of its citizens should not be eligible for a seat at the table, especially a country just criticized by the commission," said Joanna Weschler, U.N. delegate for Human Rights Watch, one of 10 advocacy groups that issued a protest statement.

On the positive side, it really startled me that a major human rights group took time out from bashing the US for not providing hourly hot-towel massages to the Gitmo detainees to actually condemn somebody who was guilty of violating human rights. If they keep doing that, I may even be forced to reevaluate my opinion that they are pond scum.

Reality warps just a little bit more.


Monday, May 03, 2004

UN Covering Up Murder? 

I linked to the original story somewhere, but I can't find it now:
The Associated Press account states chillingly, "When he had shot all those he could see, Ali paced around the vans [in which the Americans had been riding], searching for more victims."

The carnage continued until Ali's weapon jammed. The surviving Americans then stormed the Jordanians' guard shack, where they found his four comrades hiding. The Americans grabbed their weapons from them and killed the assailant, firing 16 bullets into his body.

Because Kosovo media operates under heavy U.N. censorship, the whole truth about this atrocity may not be known for some time. But terrorism expert Dan Pipes warned this week, "If the Hamas connection does materialize, it could mean that the organization has in fact begun in earnest its war with the United States."

If it comes out the UN is covering up something, this could spell the end of American involvement in the UN. But I suppose that's too much to hope for.

HOWEVER...if a link to Hamas is proven, we have all the political cover we need to allow Israel to *REALLY* go to town on Hamas. That would be so delicious to throw back into the Euroweenies' faces as we high-five Israel and increase their military aid.


Questionable Arab Info 

I like to bash Arab culture a lot. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest one is that Arab culture really sucks a lot.

However, sometimes I come across some info that is so bad that I find it questionable. This article in FrontPage is one such article:
Shoebat confirmed the widespread sexual abuse of both boys and girls in Palestinian society. "It is a strange society. Homosexuality is forbidden but if you're the penetrator, not the penetrated, it's okay." He is describing prison sexuality. "If you're a teenage boy with no hair on your legs other boys your age will pinch your butt and tease you. Once, I saw a class of teenage boys turn gymnastics into a sexual orgy. And once, on a hiking trip, I saw a line of shepherd boys waiting for their turn to sodomize a five year old boy. It was unbelievable."

Shoebat's father also told him stories about starving Arab men who would barter sex for meat from Iraqi soldiers. His father, Achmed, was also traumatized in childhood when he witnessed his aunt being raped by a male relative. According to Shoebat, teenage boys prey upon younger children; older male relatives prey upon pre-adolescent and adolescent boys and girls. They do not have intercourse with the girls since this would render them un-marriageable and bring shame upon their families. I heard many stories in both Afghanistan and Iran about the male preference for anal sex, even within marriage, either as a form of birth control or as a preferred homosexual practice.

Some will remember "Shoebat" as the rare Palestinian who listened to that little inner voice telling him loudly and frequently that he was scum for doing the things he was doing.

Anyway, can anybody tell me whether the claims in the FrontPage article are true or false? Any links to further info? I'm curious if these sorts of charges could possibly be true. I intend to buy the new book referenced in the article and follow up on the bibliography if possible. I've heard isolated stories of depraved behavior among some Muslim societies (notably the non-Arab Afghan culture) but I never heard it asserted that this was the norm. If so, and I can confirm it through sources I trust, my distaste for (some) Arabs is going to broaden to include more than just the kook fringe of Al Qaeda.


Ted Rall: Dog Excrement 

The man is dirtier than potting soil.

UPDATE: The dirty pigs changed the cartoon. Luckily, not much slips by the blogosphere. We'll Fact Check Your Ass™. The original I was commenting on can be found here.


C&F Rides Again 


Jihad in the Koran 

Via Jihad Watch I found this list of passages in the Koran having to do with war/jihad. Go. Read some or all of them. Tell me whether it's as I say and Islam's holiest book encourages its adherents to kill non-Muslims at every turn, or if it's as my detractors claim and jihad is just a struggle for inner peace or other such crap.

By far the number one thing people throw at me in discussions about the militancy of Islam versus that of Christianity is to point at violence and war in the Bible. This, they claim, makes Christianity the same as or worse than Islam. To which I reply "utter bullshit". You may have had a point back when there were actually active Christian terrorist groups or states (a la the KKK, or in the case of states, the European nation-states of 300+ years ago), but these days the only major religion I'm aware of that's actively under arms is Islam. Look at a map of the world with all the significant conflicts, and tell me how many are not Muslims against somebody else.

Sudan. India/Kashmir. Iraq. Afghanistan. Indonesia/East Timor. China. France. Britain. Chechnya. Thailand. Singapore. Malaysia. Nigeria. Spain. Georgia. Bangladesh. Pakistan. Uzbekistan. Israel. Kosovo/Balkans. Everywhere you look, there is a war between Muslims and their victims du jour.

As I've told Ben in comments, I'm willing to adjust my view of Islam as a whole, just as soon as their elusive "moderates" stop letting their minority-view-holding coreligionists attempt to kill or enslave everybody they see.


Reading Assignment 

I direct you to the most evenhanded and objective treatment of Euro-American relations I can recall reading. It's pretty long, and in truth I've only read half of it so far myself, but it's definitely worth a full reading.


Scumbag Diplomats Lie 

Okay, maybe that's a little extreme. But some British diplomats who last week condemned Tony Blair's policies toward the Middle East suddenly turn out to have their hand in the cookie jar:
In a letter published last week, 52 former British diplomats condemned the invasion of Iraq and the Government's support for Israel.

The letter failed to disclose, however, that several of the key signatories, including Oliver Miles, the former British ambassador to Libya who instigated the letter, are paid by pro-Arab organisations.

Some of the others hold positions in companies seeking lucrative Middle East contracts, while others have unpaid positions with pro-Arab organisations.

The disclosure last night prompted allegations - denied by the diplomats - that they were merely promoting the interests of their clients. Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, said: "If an MP had made statements like these without declaring an interest in the subject they would have been before the standards and privileges committee we would have had their guts for garters.

I love Tony Blair. He's just like Bush in a lot of ways, even though in pretty much opposite parties. They both understand the scope and nature of the war we're in. They both drive their detractors out of their minds (much like Clinton did in the 90s) and they both almost always land on their feet in the end. In short, they are consummate politicians and very fun to watch.

(Hat tip: LGF)


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