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Lessons We’ve Learned Since 9/11

September 07, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

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What have we learned in the 10 years since Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?  Several lessons spring to mind:

1. There is nothing President George W. Bush could have done to prevent terrorist acts in his first eight months in office, of which his post-9/11 critics would have approved.  Even after 9/11, liberals have loudly disapproved of profiling at airports, surreptitiously monitoring terrorist communications, and fighting al-Qaeda militarily abroad.  Imagine how they would have reacted if Bush had attempted any of these strategies pre-9/11.

2. Poverty does not cause terrorism; it is both unnecessary and insufficient to the task.  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253, was the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker.  American Taliban John Walker Lindh went to high school at a “California Distinguished School” in SoCal.  In contrast, poor people the world over—rice farmers in China, untouchables in India—do not rise up en masse to wreak havoc in suicide bombings.  Modern-day terrorism is caused by individuals’ adherence to an ideology that encourages terrorist acts against innocent civilians—an ideology that usually happens to be Islamist.  Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all modern-day terrorists are Muslims.

3. Liberals have amassed a formidable glossary of imprecations they invoke whenever commentators scrutinize the radical nature of Islam: alienating Muslims, being at war with Islam, being Islamophobic, demonizing the other, engaging in inflammatory rhetoric, hijacking a peaceful religion, singling out people because of their religion.  None of these terms is objective enough to mean anything.

4. The criticism that the U.S. shouldn’t be vocal in our support of Israel is specious.  In supporting Israel, our anti-terror stance gains consistency and moral credence to reformists in hostile regimes who are potentially open to our ideas.  Israel is also the U.S.’s front line in the war on terror, and, if supported, may have the guts to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities if we don’t get around to doing it.

5. Announcing that we are at war with Islam does not constitute recruitment propaganda for the enemy.  Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House, declared, “I don’t want [al-Qaeda] to be able to stand up and claim… ‘America is at war with Islam.’  That’s one of their main recruiting arguments.”  Actually, one of al-Qaeda’s main recruiting arguments is, “The infidel is wicked, and his weakness and inability to stand up to us prove that our cause is just.”  An argument that would hurt recruiting would be, “America is at war with Islam, and you are going to get blown to smithereens if you fight for us.”

6. Waterboarding isn’t torture—it’s a resistance training technique routinely carried out on U.S. special operations forces, and leaves no permanent physical or psychological damage.  Waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques have been spectacularly successful in uncovering imminent terrorist plots and killing 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

7. Troop surges are a winning strategy, as demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Libya.  As John McCain noted in his support for the second Afghanistan surge, half-measures in war “lead to failure over time and an erosion of American public support.”  We should never again fail to send an adequate number of troops to get the job done, as soon as they are needed.

8. Bush had to withhold from the public reams of documents about chilling terrorist threats we faced; when newly sworn-in President Obama was briefed on this intelligence, he suddenly did an about-face on almost every campaign promise he had made to reverse his predecessor’s policies.  In just his first 100 days in office, Obama implemented a surge in Afghanistan (followed by a larger surge later that year), asked Congress for $83 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan without funding benchmarks, stepped up Predator drone attacks in Afghanistan, supported renewal of the Patriot Act, invoked the state secrets doctrine, reversed his opposition to rendition, rejected Democrats’ call for a Truth Commission, filed a brief claiming the U.S. can indefinitely hold anyone who supports Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, supported denial of habeas corpus to Bagram prisoners, revived military tribunals at Gitmo, opposed release of Abu Ghraib photos, and failed to do anything to close Gitmo.  It seems as though Commander-in-Chief Bush knew better than Alinskyite community organizer Obama did after all.

9. War is less expensive than Democrats’ wasteful domestic social programs.  Eight years of the Iraq War—including training and preparation for the 2003 invasion—cost less ($709 billion) than Obama’s useless stimulus bill ($787 billion).  U.S. involvement in the Libyan conflict cost the same ($1 billion) as the first 48 hours of Obama’s failed Cash-for-Clunkers program.  Defense spending constitutes 20% of the federal budget, and foreign aid just 1%, whereas entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up 43%.

10. Liberals have learned absolutely nothing since 9/11, except that Islam is much more peaceful, tolerant, and pro-U.S. than they’d ever dreamed; KSM should be tried in the same court as people who eat trans fats while drinking Four Loko and smoking in bars; and Muslims were the real victims of 9/11.

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Random Thoughts on the Norwegian Terror Attacks

July 27, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

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Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Random thoughts and observations on last week’s terror attacks in Norway (per Thomas Sowell):

Just when the mainstream media was finally starting to learn that virtually every ideologically motivated mass murder attempted in the past 30 years has been committed by an Islamic extremist, some anti-immigration nut in Norway has to go and spoil it.  It’ll take us 30 years to retrain them.

The mass shooting perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik that left scores dead at a children’s day camp at Utoya Island “puts the spotlight on right-wing extremism in Europe,” as the New York Times helpfully noted, and “typifies a new breed of conservative extremists,” in the Financial Timeswords.  Yet the 9/11 attacks, the London bombing attacks, the Spain bombing attacks, the Mumbai bombing attacks, and eight million other blatant, graphic examples of Islamist-fueled mass murder somehow never seem to “put the spotlight on Muslim extremism” worldwide.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg mistakenly predicted that failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was “[h]omegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill…”  Attorney General Eric Holder urged us not to jump to conclusions about the ideological motivations of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, who delivered a PowerPoint presentation to doctors on slaughtering infidels and roared “Allahu Akbar!” before his murderous rampage.  The Council on American-Islamic Relations sniffed that Washington, D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad had no Muslim connection and was most likely a right-wing redneck.  But one loon in a Scandinavian village-state shoots up an island, and suddenly conservatism is on trial worldwide.

Some news outlets initially attributed the violence in Oslo to Islamic terrorists.  One such outlet was Al Jazeera.

A group called Helpers of the Global Jihad, which initially assumed the shooting had been committed by Islamic terrorists, immediately announced their support for the perpetrators of the attack before later renouncing it.

Some honest liberals are admitting that the World of Warcraft-loving, Dexter-watching, Unabomber manifesto-reading Breivik is not a stand-in for conservative thought, anti-Islamist concern, or worry about mass immigration accompanied by lack of cultural assimilation.  Froma Harrop, for example, writes, “What Breivik is not is a ‘right-winger’ in any conventional sense of the term.  Calling this crackpot such puts him on a political spectrum occupied by people arguing about real things in the current century.  Even ‘right-wing extremist’ is pushing it.  Once you place the likes of Breivik in the political debate, you distort the views of others concerned with similar-sounding issues.”

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, to whom the Norwegian shooter has been compared, was revealed to have had Muslim conspirators, including accomplice Hussain Al-Hussaini.  Clinton’s Justice Department inexcusably declined to follow up on leads linking McVeigh to Al-Hussaini.  Perhaps it would be prudent to wait a bit to see just who or what turns up in Breivik’s checkered past.

In the last two years, the media have jumped to the following conclusions: Jarred Lee Loughner, who shot Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was a Tea Party fanatic; James von Brunn, who opened fire in D.C.’s Holocaust Museum, was a conservative racist; Andrew Joseph Stack, who crashed his plane into an IRS building, was an anti-federal government conservative; James Lee, who tried to blow up a Discovery building, was an anti-government militia member; John Patrick Bedell, who fired on police in the Pentagon, was an anti-Obama zealot; and Michael Enright, who stabbed a Muslim cabdriver in lower Manhattan, was a bigoted Ground Zero Mosque opponent.  In fact, these kooks turned out to be leftists (Loughner), Bush-haters (von Brunn), anti-corporatists (Stack), environmentalists (Lee), 9/11 truthers (Bedell), and Ground Zero Mosque supporters (Enright).  Given the media’s track record on predicting the ideological leanings of would-be mass murderers, it’s odd there are so few reporters humble enough to wait and find out the full story about Breivik’s motives and associates before branding him a “radical right-winger.”

No anti-terror groups are likely to propose building an anti-Islamic monument on Utoya Island.

It will be interesting to learn why “right-winger” Breivik blew up Oslo’s Oil Ministry and not, say, the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.

The Oslo attacks were swiftly condemned by the Islamic Council of Norway, a lovely, state-supported organization that favors the death penalty for homosexuals.

The entire Oslo police helicopter crew inexplicably went on vacation days before the shooting at Utoya Island, an arrangement that prevented police from getting to the shooter until 90 minutes after the shooting began.  It’s not unreasonable to suspect that the serial killer timed his attack to coincide with the helicopter crew’s vacation.

Norwegian police typically don’t patrol the streets armed with guns—or any weapons, for that matter.  It seems unlikely that Breivik would have carried out his attack with such abandon in a better-patrolled area, say, Central Park.

In a column titled “Breivik and His Enablers,” New York Times op-ed contributor Roger Cohen writes that a good way to honor the death of recently deceased “Jewish girl” Amy Winehouse is “to confront the latest iteration of a European bigotry that kills.”  And Times editors wonder why no one reads their paper anymore.

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Conservatives: Yesterday’s Cold Warriors, Today’s Cowards

February 09, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

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If Hosni Mubarak is a crooked card dealer guaranteed to stiff anyone who plays at his table, most conservatives’ reaction to the events unfolding in Egypt has been to throw their support to the house rather than pro-Western Egyptian protestors, simply because the latter might not win the game against the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the early 1990s, when the U.S.S.R. disintegrated and Soviet provinces began deposing their Communist overlords and electing pro-reform leaders, I must have missed the barrage of sworn affidavits from fringe groups in every Eastern European state promising they would never attempt to form voting blocs that would influence their nations’ parliaments.

I don’t recall President Reagan speaking out against demoralized Eastern bloc peoples who yearned to breathe free, telling them to zip their lips, stay home, and put up with political oppression, because neo-Communist groups might someday try to swoop in and fill the power vacuum.

The number of conservatives who have been getting it wrong, and liberals who have been getting it right, on Egypt is embarrassing.

For example, Mark Levin claims that the Eastern European revolutions were different, because those nations had a “tradition” of democracy before they were enslaved by Communists.  Oh?  So no nation can become democratic unless it was democratic at some point in the first place?  Doesn’t that preclude half the world from ever becoming democratic?

When did the political party that won the Cold War decide it would be prudent to wave the white hankie and let monsters—I mean sweet, dear friends of the U.S.—like Mubarak stay in power over the wishes of their subjects?

If Mubarak were to stay in office, as most on the right are demanding, he would be unlikely to unilaterally meet protestors’ demands to institute freedom of the press and assembly, release hundreds of incarcerated political prisoners, and revoke the never-ending so-called emergency laws that give the Egyptian government perpetual unchecked power to crack down on anyone deemed a threat to its rule.

But a new leader—even Mubarak’s recently named vice president, Omar Suleiman—would have a plausible excuse to implement new policies, and the changing of the guard would allow Mubarak to save face.  Such pro-liberty developments would be especially likely if buttressed by the support of Egypt’s armed forces, which have pledged not to fire on the Egyptian people and have so far come down firmly on the side of the anti-Mubarak protestors.

Mubarak may be the new Iranian Shah of 1979, and President Barack Obama may be the new President Jimmy Carter, but that doesn’t mean the Muslim Brotherhood is the new Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Muslim Brotherhood, evil as it is, has 100,000 supporters in a country of 80 million, about .1% of the population.  Recoiling in mortal terror over the possibility of the Brotherhood managing to take over Egypt is like worrying that the Natural Law Party will win the U.S. presidential election and force everyone to practice transcendental meditation.

Even if the Brotherhood is better organized than most other political groups in Egypt, the bad example of Carter supporting the toppling of the Shah only to let him be replaced by the Ayatollah serves as a valuable warning that the West cannot let just anyone take Mubarak’s place.

As I wrote last week, the problem with our administration’s reaction to the turmoil in Egypt isn’t that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are doing too much—it’s that they’re doing too little.  They should not only encourage this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring down a dictator, but work with regional players, pro-Western dissident groups in Egypt, and opposition leaders (excluding the treacherous Mohamed ElBaradei) to ensure that power is transferred to the right people after Mubarak goes.  They should threaten to freeze military aid and withhold recognition of any new Egyptian government that does not meet certain preconditions such as honoring Egypt’s existing peace agreement with Israel.

No one agrees more than I that neither Egypt nor any Middle Eastern country would be safe with anything like the Muslim Brotherhood or any other faux-moderate, terrorism-supporting, Sharia-loving group close to the reins of power.  The fact that Obama would even speak to members of such an organization other than to tell them to get the hell out of the way is a deep, disfiguring scar on his foreign policy.

But when you’re playing a high-stakes game like regime change, sometimes you have to roll the dice and take a risk; you can’t always guarantee the outcome.  The Right should man up, encourage pro-Western forces to exert their utmost influence on Egypt, and stop lecturing Egyptians to accept the status quo of tyranny and terror.

Conservatives would do well to remember these words from George W. Bush’s second inaugural address: “The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations.  The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it.  America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.”

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Obama: “I Actually Supported the Mosque Before I Opposed It”

August 18, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

Computer-generated image of 1 WTC.
Image via Wikipedia

The landing gear of the American Airlines plane that terrorists flew into 1 World Trade Center on 9/11 smashed through an unoccupied building two blocks away at 45 Park Place where Muslims now wish to build a monument to Allah.  The engine of the plane landed in the street behind the building.

Presumably Islamist hijackers wouldn’t attack the rebuilt World Trade Center if the new mosque might be damaged in the process.  Will Obama thus be endorsing the building of the mosque as a creative, Islam-sensitive, preventive security measure in the war on terror?

It’s true that those who wish to build Cordoba House—now the swanky- and Manhattan-sounding Park51—technically have the freedom to do so, since they are purchasing the land and have the right to build whatever they want on it if they adhere to zoning regulations.

This right is contingent on the mosque’s funders not being supported by sponsors of terror from Middle Eastern countries with which we are at war—an assumption that is highly suspect and should be investigated vigorously and precipitously.  We already know, for example, that the chief sponsor of the Cordoba Initiative, which is providing $100,000 in funding for the mosque, is the radical Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has refused to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization.  We also know that President Obama sent Rauf, using taxpayer money, on a Middle East “good will” tour on which he will be hitting up Islamist leaders for donations for the mosque.

(Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced her preference to investigate, not the funders of the mosque, but the funders of opponents of the mosque, which leads us to the logical conclusion that she will soon be snooping around Harry Reid’s e-mails.)

Given that Muslims traditionally build mosques on territory they have conquered, a mosque near Ground Zero would be an incontrovertible statement of conquest regarding the terror attacks on 9/11.

Opponents of the mosque have attempted to prevent its construction through eminent domain laws by declaring the site a city landmark, but the New York City Council rejected that argument and allowed the project to proceed.

Mayor Bloomberg announced that building the mosque is an expression of the noblest principles of this country and that anyone who objects should keep quiet.

Last weekend, Barack Obama came out forcefully for the construction of the mosque in front of a bunch of Muslims at a White House-sponsored Ramadan dinner: “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.  That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan.”

Someone evidently told Obama that his instinctive loyalty to anything anti-American, especially Islamist, would probably not go over well with the rest of the country, so he backtracked the next day and announced that his strong desire to have the Ground Zero mosque built was not an “endorsement” but rather a general statement about the religious liberty of property owners.  Next Obama will be claiming that he didn’t say property owners have religious liberty—only that people have the right to express their opinions about whether property owners have religious liberty.

Hamas cofounder Mahmoud al-Zahar expressed solidarity with his ideological buds Obama and Bloomberg, claiming that Muslims absolutely, simply “have to build” the mosque there.

Members of the Cordoba Initiative may have the legal right to build, but those who justifiably oppose a mosque near Ground Zero have rights, too:

•    Construction workers and unions have the right to boycott work on the project, as New York resident Andrew Sullivan recently committed to doing (no, not that Andrew Sullivan—the patriotic one).  In the extreme, this could prevent the mosque from being built; at a minimum, it could drive up the costs of building the mosque, perhaps prohibitively, by awarding the work to higher bidding contractors.

•    Muslims who oppose the mosque have the right to boycott and refuse to attend or contribute financially to it; if enough do so, it could be driven out of business.

•    Private citizens have the right to open businesses close to the mosque that are offensive to Islamists—not to be jerks, but to make the point that Muslims are not as tolerant when we stick them in the eye by planting something culturally odious near a sacred site as we are when they do it to us.  See, for example, Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld’s plan to build a gay bar that caters to Islamic men a couple of doors from the mosque.  I also propose the following businesses: non-halal butcheries, lingerie shops, and liquor stores.

(Hey—let’s open a day care center right near the mosque, because surely Islamists oppose the notion that women might have careers and not stay home all day caring for their infants.  Whoops—Park51 is slated to include a day care center among its amenities!)

Just because those who wish to build the mosque have the legal right to do so does not mean the majority of Americans who oppose it have no legal recourse in preventing it from existing.  Call my suggestions the libertarian approach to preventing the Ground Zero mosque from fulfilling its planners’ intentions.

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Hasan Lawyer Considers Twinkie Defense, “American Panic Defense”

November 11, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

The problem with hate crime legislation is that it creates special classes of minorities who receive greater protection from harassment via harsher penalties for their would-be assailants.  One upshot is that groups perceived as chronically threatened because of their identity are given greater benefit of the doubt in bias-motivated crimes they commit against other groups.

If there were ever a group that U.S. law should consider shielding through hate crime legislation, it would be: Americans.  The U.S. should be uniquely interested in protecting its citizens against attacks for being residents of this country, in the same way it protects its citizens against foreign attacks and its soldiers against enemies on the battleground.

If there were ever a setting in which pro-American hate crime protections should be enforced, it is in the military.  American soldiers, more than any other group, actively display dedication to pro-American ideals.

If there were ever a cultural group in modern times that has demonstrated persistent, widespread hostility toward and willingness to engage in violent attacks against Americans, especially Americans in the military, it is radical Islamists.

Naturally, army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, who adhered to extremist Islamist ideology, sought connections with Al Qaeda, and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he massacred 13 soldiers and wounded dozens at Fort Hood last week, is being portrayed by the mainstream media and the present administration as a guy who needs OSHA counseling.

Muslim apologists have been telling us to not jump to conclusions (except that the killings were caused by stress), that the murders weren’t related to Islam, that it’s “speculation” that the military ignored warning signs regarding Hasan.  We get clueless gems like this from the New York Times on Monday: “It is unclear what might have motivated Major Hasan.”  Wusses like Lindsey Graham don’t help by claiming that the murders were “not about his religion—the fact that this man was a Muslim.”  (Wait—isn’t that a conclusion?)  It takes a hawk like Joe Lieberman to initiate hearings into Hasan’s conduct and the military’s failure to eject him for anti-American actions in which he engaged for years.

In the interest of preventing future attacks, I propose that we learn from the following warning signs:

•    Hasan identified as an Islamic fundamentalist, advocated for Muslims to “rise up and attack Americans” in retaliation for war against Muslims abroad, and espoused anti-Semitic views.

•    Hasan rejoiced over the murder of an army recruiter in Arkansas in June by an American convert to Islam.  According to Colonel Terry Lee, who worked with Hasan at Fort Hood, after the attack Hasan helpfully suggested, “Maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Times Square.”

•    In 2003 Sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar—another American convert—slaughtered two U.S. soldiers and wounded 14 more in a grenade and rifle attack on a base in Kuwait in retaliation for the war in Iraq.

•    Classmates in Hasan’s master’s program complained of his anti-American views and his insistence that sharia outweighs U.S. constitutional law.

•    Fellow psychiatrists reported that, at a Grand Rounds talk during his residency, Hasan lectured his audience on Koranic justice, including the proscription to behead nonbelievers or pour hot oil down their throats and set them on fire.  Hasan defended suicide bombers, a position he has taken in postings on jihad-themed websites.

•    Hassan called the war on terror a war on Islam and said that military service for the U.S. is incompatible with Muslim beliefs.  (He may be on to something!  About 0.6% of the country identifies as Muslim, compared to only 0.25% of the military.)  Hasan argued that Muslim soldiers should be exempted from combat as conscientious objectors.

•    At Fort Hood, Hasan received warnings from supervisors for attempting to convert his patients to Islam, though he maintains it was entirely their choice whether to receive castor oil or hot oil for their remedies.

•    The FBI had been investigating Hasan since 2008 and was aware that he had sent dozens of e-mails to Al Qaeda spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki.  Hasan and his family attended the mosque in Falls Church, Virginia where al-Awlaki served as imam in the months leading up to September 11 and where two of the 9/11 hijackers worshiped.

Even if Hasan’s admonitions to slaughter infidels were not evidence enough to convict him of some kind of crime, he should have been ruled unfit for his position by military officials.

Hate crime legislation has been justified as necessary due to specious defenses offered for crimes against minority groups, such as the claim by lawyers for Harvey Milk’s assassin that junk food contributed to his inability to control his actions, or the “homosexual panic defense” that some who feel threatened by advances from a gay person enter a state of irrationality that prompts them to murderously strike out.  Hate crime laws have also been offered to cover minority groups whom police might not adequately protect due to racial bias.  The solution to specious legal defenses and lapses in police enforcement is to treat members of all groups equally, not some groups better than others.

As a consequence of this inverted mentality, we are warned by our political leaders to ignore the cause of obviously jihad-motivated killing of U.S. soldiers and accept spurious explanations for the massacre such as stress over anticipated deployment in Afghanistan or the inability of a trained psychiatrist to listen to stories from combat veterans.

The latest enlightened word, from Fort Hood base commander Lieutenant General Robert Cone, regarding the military’s plan to prevent future violence: “What we’re looking for is people with personal problems, not at all related to their religion—not at all.”

I hear the sugar rush from the Halloween candy civilians sent in care packages can lead soldiers to do some crazy things.

Red Franco Sarto High Heels Trounce Hawaiian Print Rubber Slippas

June 07, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

Around the time President Obama was delivering his speech “A New Beginning with Muslims” in Cairo, Governor Sarah Palin was making introductory remarks for main speaker Michael Reagan to an audience in Anchorage.  Though Obama’s oration was approximately 17 times longer than Palin’s and focused on Middle East foreign policy, Palin’s informal comments embodied more understanding of the nature of Islamic extremism and the forces that motivate it than Obama’s entire homily.

In one speech, Obama managed to apologize for:

•    The Cold War, “in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations”—as opposed to the aspirations they fruitfully pursued under a leader such as Saddam Hussein

•    Western “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims”—as opposed to the rights they have under a leader like former colony Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad

•    Not having enough “mutual respect”—as opposed to the fawning respect Islamists shower on women, Jews, Christians, gays, and Westerners

•    Not letting women wear hajibs—as opposed to Islamists’ insistence that gays always be allowed to wear nooses

•    Not saying “openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors”—as opposed to the constant warmongering that glides so effortlessly off Obama’s tongue

•    Believing in “any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another”—rather than viewing those who uphold liberty the same as those who stone women for being gang raped

•    Having nuclear weapons and putting other countries at great risk—like when the Soviets whupped our butts in the Cold War and turned the rest of the world Communist

•    Defining our relationships with terrorist-sponsoring regimes by our “differences”—we say tomato, they say tomahto; we say Israel has a right to exist, they say dropkick Israel into the sea

•    Having the gall to use our military—Obama quotes Thomas Jefferson: “The less we use our power the greater it will be”; note to Obama: not using it at all does not mean we are therefore infinitely powerful

In the meantime, Palin said, “Those of us so proud to be Americans acknowledge that no, we’re not a perfect nation, but never, never do we have to apologize for being proud of our country.  When [Reagan] fought socialism and any sort of tyranny that he knew would ruin us, he stood strong on his knowing that the framework for positive change was freedom.  America is the greatest nation on earth, because our foundation is freedom.”  Sometimes simpler is better—ya know?

Obama scolded us for:

•    Viewing Islamic countries as hostile to American ideals—he added that the dancing in the streets after 9/11 was actually their version of Cinqo de Mayo; “Once de Septiembre,” I think we’d call it here

•    Citing verses in the Koran that incite violence against nonbelievers—as opposed to the ones that talk about Bambi and blue jays

•    Seeing Iraq as a “patron” rather than a “partner”—because Iraq was on the brink of ousting Hussein and establishing parliamentary elections just as we sent our foot soldiers into Baghdad and got in the way!

•    Believing that some forms of government are superior to others—though admittedly, I haven’t noticed too many ethnocracies or kleptocracies flourishing lately

•    Believing we should have a say in “which nations hold nuclear weapons”—because Nicolas Sarkozy could turn out to be as crazy as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; who knows?

Meanwhile Palin snapped, “Screw political correctness.  Be loud and strong.  [Don't] shy away from the tough issues.  Reagan’s ideas were the right ideas, and all we have to do is look back at his national security record to know that.  Remember how refreshing it was with his outrageous directness that Americans loved and praised and deserved?  His vision for the Cold War?  We win, they lose.  Why, today, do we feel we have to pussyfoot around our troublesome foes, the terrorists who still seek to kill Americans and destroy our allies?  Terrorists are still dead set against us and are set on destroying Israel.  It is war over there so it will not be war over here, and it had better still be our mission that we win, they lose!  Some in the press want to put anybody who dares speak up back in their place.  Those are the folks that want to tell me, want to tell you, to siddown and shuddup.  We will not do so.”  Drill, baby, drill!

Over on camel terrain, Obama lectured us with a straight face that America and Islam share principles of “tolerance and the dignity of all human beings”; that “throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality”; and that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance”; all of which is kinder than what Al-Jazeera regularly has to say about the religion in their nightly broadcast.

Up in moose country, Palin mused, “What we’re being fed today, it seems, is a steady diet of select, misrepresented news.  Why is it, considering how fast the world is spinning, and world-changing events that go on all over the globe, that it’s the same, big three, supposedly competing networks that have the same news content every night, and virtually the same exact viewpoint being spewed night after night after night?”  Go Aces!

Given the choice between (1) off-the-cuff remarks in an Anchorage auditorium by a hockey mom and former VP candidate who understands that rejection of liberty precludes our enemies’ being on the same moral plane as us; that courage in recognizing and labeling evil is needed to fight it; and that tossing around flowery language won’t reform an opposition who refuses to change; and (2) a scrupulously photographed, eloquently written (by someone else) bag of what could generously be called bromides, clichés, and chestnuts if they weren’t so blatantly wrongheaded—I know which I’d choose.

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