Friday, November 30, 2007

An Iranian Saturday

The four sure things in this world are death, taxes, the intent of Iran’s Khomeinist theocracy to build a nuclear arsenal, and the absolute necessity of stopping them. Saturday’s Paris meeting of Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, all United Nations Security Council members, plus Germany will consider yet another round of sanctions aimed at inducing Iran to halt its nuclear program.

Today saw one last attempt by the EU to gain some concessions from Iran on their nuclear program prior to the Saturday meeting. It was just the most recent in what has proven to be a wholly fruitless attempt by the EU to convince Iran using stern diplomatic language and mean looks. The end result to this charade was more than predictable. Read the story here. Iran is convinced that the West is too weak, greedy and corrupt to take any actions to stop it, be they economic or military.

Certainly nothing the EU has done to this point has given theocracy any reason to doubt their belief. Germany and France, who together are deeply involved in the Iranian economy, have refused to engage in meaningful sanctions. And EU military capability is, sad to say, a bit of an oxymoron.

Nor could Iran be any more correct in their assessment of the US, hamstrung as we are by a wholly partisan Democratic leadership that values power above our national security. We have Obama promising to drink with Ahmedinejad in Tehran if he’s elected. The Democrats are as a group flatly refusing to consider military action against Iran. And today, that constitutional scholar, Joe Biden, promised that he will lead the impeachment of President Bush if Bush takes any military action against Iran.

We could see meaningful sanctions come out of the meaning Saturday, even if China forces the sanctions outside of the UN Security Council by their veto power. Let us hope, as this may well be the last round of sanctions with any hope of keeping the nuclear genie from escaping the Iranian bottle. If not, than Joe Biden aside, we need to be prepared to attack Iran and make them pay a very heavy price indeed. Their's is a regime every bit as evil, expansionist and dangerous as was Nazi Germany. It needs to be treated similarly.


Watcher's Council Results

The winning council post for the week was Buchanan's New Book: “Prepare Ye for the End” by Rightwing Nuthouse.

The winning non-council post for the week was Have Our Copperheads Found Their McClellan in LTG Sanchez by yours truly.

You can find the full results of the vote here.


Interesting News From Around the Web

They are calling it a “dirty-bomb plot” thwarted. Police caught two Hungarians and a Ukrainian with a pound of weapons grade powdered uranium. Uranium is considered weapons grade when it consists of 85% or greater uranium 235. The uranium recovered by the police was 98.6% uranium 235.

‘The Prophet would have not have disapproved of 9/11, because it was carried out in his example. When he came to Medina, the Prophet had a revelation, of jihad. After that, it became an obligation for Muslims to convert others, and to establish an Islamic state, by the sword if necessary.” An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The choice of questions and questioners approved by CNN amounts to a fiasco. Gateway Pundit tells the sordid tale.

Some problems are surfacing in Britain’s NHS. More than 90,000 patients die and almost one million are harmed each year because of hospital blunders, according to a just released report.

Al Qaeda and Iran are the wolves at the door. China is not far behind, and poses a much more potent threat.

And in the “working hard for a good cause” category, one enterprising Chilean prostitute has auctioned off 27 hours of sex for approximately $4,000 to be donated to a charity for poor children. To break that down, that’s about $150 per hour or . . . well, probably best to stop the itemization there . . .

According to Sarkozy, the cause of the riots in the Parisian suburbs were the result more of a “thugocracy” than social problems. As to the social problems, Sarkozy seems likely to beat the unions in France as he seeks to reform the French economy.


Iraq Military & Security Roundup

Security continues to improve throughout Iraq. Even a turkey stuffed Murtha can see it. Bill Rogio provides a good overview of operations. Black Five and CENTCOM have individual engagement reports. DOD has some very positive news about Iraq unit effectiveness and improvements in their intelligence capability. And Michael Yon has up the third in his his riveting report from his embed with British forces:

Security continues to improve in Iraq, as reported by the NYT:

Recent American military data indicates that for the fourth week in a row, the nationwide weekly number of attacks is at its lowest level since January 2006. The number of civilians killed, as measured by the American and Iraqi governments, continued to decline in November. The number of weekly casualties, wounded as well as killed, suffered by Iraqi civilians, Iraqi forces and American forces, increased last week by 56 percent but was still below the level for most of 2006 and 2007.

Apparently, even Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa) can see it. He just returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Iraq and proclaimed "I think the 'surge' is working." I am amazed. Meanwhile, Blackfive is pondering the ingredients in Murtha’s Thanksgiving meal

Bill Rogio at the Long War Journal describes the major operations being conducted:

As al Qaeda in Iraq attempts to re-establish its networks in the Northern provinces, the Iraqi military and Multinational Forces Iraq have been shaping the battlefield in the north for a showdown with the terror group. Iraqi and US forces received a big boost the past week when a significant number of Iraqis formed a Concerned Local Citizens group in the region. Meanwhile, the Islamic Army of Iraq in Mosul has vowed to dig in and fight the Coalition.

Read the entire post.

Blackfive has the story of a successful night air assault northeast of Baghdad

Centcom has daily news releases on the result of operations over the past week:

Coalition forces detained 12 suspects during operations Thursday targeting al-Qaeda operations in central and northern Iraq.

Coalition forces detained 12 suspects, including two local leaders of al Qaeda, Tuesday and Wednesday during operations targeting al-Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq.

During operations north of Bayji, Iraq, Coalition forces observed several individuals begin to maneuver in and around the area reported to be a logistical sanctuary and safe haven where terrorists allegedly plan and coordinate attacks. Perceiving hostile intent, the ground force called for supporting aircraft to engage, killing two terrorists.

Iraqi Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained one suspected al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist commander and two suspected extremists, as well as uncovered 18 improvised explosive devices during three separate operations Nov. 25 targeting criminal groups within Iraq. The Habbaniyah Special Weapons and Tactics team, along with U.S. Special Forces, conducted a raid west of Baghdad specifically targeting an AQI commander. The individual is reported to be responsible for murder and intimidation campaigns against Iraqi Police and their families in Saqlawiyah, and multiple improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces.

DOD is reporting signficant increases in Iraqi unit effectiveness:

Iraqi security forces have taken “huge steps forward” in growing and moving toward independent operations, a senior commander in Iraq said today.

And they’ve made this progress despite fighting a war on their own soil and working through an immature bureaucracy, said British Army Brigadier S. M. Gledhill, deputy commanding general for the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq. The command is charged with helping the Iraqis to organize, man and equip their force and to develop the ministries of Defense and Interior.

“Fundamentally, Iraqis are now taking ownership of the battle space themselves. I think this is an extremely positive move and it really demonstrates their capability,” Gledhill said to a group of Internet journalists and “bloggers” in a conference call.

“An increasing number are moving into the leading role, and I have every confidence that over the next 12 months Iraqi battalions and brigades will increasingly take the lead in the battle space,” he said.

In the past year, the Iraqi security forces have rocketed to nearly a half million, including both the police and army. The 158,000-member armed forces are expected to grow to 190,000. The police forces number more than 300,000, Gledhill said. A year ago, the police forces numbered less than 200,000, and the armed forces were about 135,000 strong.

Between the army and national police, 191 Iraqi battalions are in the fight, with more than half operating without coalition force support, he said. . . .

Read the entire article. And in a related story, the Iraqi intelligence cycle - gathering, processing and coordinating targets - is now producing results on par with U.S. forces.

And last but not least, do read Michael Yon’s Men of Valor Part III. Its riveting.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Of Federalism & Hookers

The federalization of criminal law is both a waste of resources and a gross assault upon the Constitutional concept of federalism - that the powers of the federal government are limited and there are spheres of governing that can and should be restricted to the states.

Yet the federalization of criminal law continues apace. The latest is legislation approved by the House to make prostitution a federal crime. How we get there is a bit of very well intentioned insanity.

The genesis of this legislation arises out the criminal enterprise of human trafficking – itself already a federal crime. Under federal laws, a person is guilty of trafficking if they hold someone else in "a workplace through force, fraud or coercion." In cases where human trafficking is found, it usually involves prostitution or forced labor. There are highly committed activists who are convinced that trafficking is evil and very widespread. The former is beyond argument, the latter is dubious:

The government estimated in 1999 that about 50,000 slaves were arriving in the country every year. That estimate was revised downward in 2004 to 14,500 to 17,500 a year. Yet since 2000, and despite 42 Justice Department task forces and more than $150 million in federal dollars to find them, about 1,400 people have been certified as human trafficking victims in this country, a tiny fraction of the original estimates. Some activists believe that if all prostitutes were considered victims, the numbers would rise into the predicted hundreds of thousands.

Read the article. So there you have it. If the facts do not bear out their beliefs, these activists are still too emotionally committed to acknowledge reality. So with full confidence in their motivation, they just change the underlying definitions. And a Democratic Congress says fine. Amazing.

The federal government has no business whatsoever inserting itself as a matter of federal law into the wholly local matter of prostitution. That is a purely local concern. Someone living in Washington should not be paying their tax dollars to prosecute a pimp and his girls in Florida just so an activist can sleep better at night. Raise your hand if you feel it more appropriate for the FBI to intestigate national issues, such as terrorism, rather than play vice cop.

Former Chief Justice Rhenquist spoke to precisely this issue when he said:

The pressure in Congress to appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime needs to be balanced with an inquiry into whether states are doing an adequate job in these particular areas and, ultimately, whether we want most of our legal relationships decided at the national rather than local level."
And from the same ABA bulletin in which the Rhenquist quote appears:
. . . [A]n increase in the volume of federal criminal cases, driven primarily by additional cases that could as well be tried in state courts, diminishes the separate and distinctive role played by federal courts. The role of the federal courts is not to simply duplicate the functions of the state courts. Although many of the newly federalized laws may be rarely used, their presence on the books presents prosecutorial opportunities that may be exploited at any time in the future. There are many other adverse implications of the federalization of criminal law that [a 1998 ABA Report] treats, including the impact for the federal prison system, local law enforcement efforts, on citizen perception of state and federal responsibility, and on the application of limited federal resources. Where federal and state laws exist for the same crime, a citizen prosecuted for a state crime is subject to a set of consequences appreciably different from one prosecuted for a federal crime, and sentencing options—including the length of sentence and location and nature of confinement—as well as opportunities for parole and probation, will differ greatly.

Read the memorandum here. If you want a snapshot of what happens when there is no real federalism, one need only look across the pond to the UK and the EU


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interesting News From Around The Web

Saudi Arabia says they have captured 200 al Qaeda types who planned attacks on the oil infrastructure.

Geert Wilders, a conservative Dutch politician, is making a film to highlight the "fascist" passages in the Quran. Muslim immigrants now account for 1,000,000 of the 16,000,000 in population of the Netherlands.

Musharaff has stepped down as Pakistan’s military commander and been sworn in as President.

“Iraq? What does that have to do with anything?” According to the Hill, “Congressional Democrats will focus on the economy next week in an effort to win political advantage from public fears about an approaching recession.” Perhaps they can explain how spending our tax dollars to fund billions in pork in the Defense and Water bills is helping our economy while they are at it.

Beware!!! Iraq is more dangerous . . . Things are so bad that the UN has had to step in . . . to help Iraq deal with the large scale return of refugees.

But despite this horrendous security situation, Iraqi’s decide to celebrate Baghdad Day anyway

Bank of America now changes its recommendation on New York Times stock to “sell.” Go Pinch. Maybe Murdoch will do us all a favor and make an offer.

Jules Crittenden covers the “mood swing” as Americans begin to see Iraq as going well. That is very bad news for the Copperheads.


Democrats & The Future of Iraq

The Democrats are going apoplectic. Not only does it appear that we will succeed in Iraq, but we will maintain a long term presence to provide internal and external stability. This would be fatal to all the non-principles (America is Bad, Bush is Incompetent, Partisan Political Gain, Iraq was a Mistake, Peace Through Superior Surrender-Power) that our Democrats hold dear. Poor Joe Klein at Time Magazine is even demanding we toss out the Constitution to prevent this one. And Harold Myerson, the legal scholar at the Washington Post, sees this as a nefarious plot by President Bush. Indeed, he warns "Bush's efforts to make the U.S. presence permanent would drape the necks of the Republican presidential and congressional candidates with one large, squawking albatross. " It sounds as if Republicans could be tagged with the eternal shame of success.

With the pax Americana taking hold in Iraq, with Iraqi forces increasing daily in size and effectiveness, and with the drawdown of U.S. forces having begun, it was reported yesterday that President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki had agreed to begin negotiations on the future of U.S. forces in Iraq. Basing troops long term in Iraq would be done, at the invitation of Iraq and for precisely the same reasons as justified statitoning troops in post-war Germany, Japan and Korea: to provide for the internal stability of a nascent Democracy and to protect against external threats. As to external threats to Iraq, Amir Taheri has pointed out that the countries surrounding Iraq have long been planning how to carve it up after the inevitable Democrat-led U.S. withdrawal. And as to internal stability, this from the NY Sun, quoting General Lute:

"From the Iraqi side, the interest that they tend to talk about is that a long-term relationship with us, where we are a reliable, enduring partner with Iraq, will cause different sects inside the Iraqi political structure not to have to hedge their bet in a go-it-alone-like setting, but rather they'll be able to bet on the reliable partnership of the United States," he said.

"To the extent it doesn't cause sectarian groups to have to hedge their bet independently, we're confident that this will actually contribute to reconciliation in the long run," he said.

The agreement in principle "signals that we will protect our interests in Iraq, alongside our Iraqi partners, and that we consider Iraq a key strategic partner, able to increasingly contribute to regional security," the general said.

Read the entire article. (H/T Don Surber)

A stable Iraq is the last thing radical Islamists, Middle East despots, or our Democrats want. According to Time Magazine’s Joe Klein:

The Democrats are lining up. . . . to block any Bush attempt to pass a Status of Forces Agreement treaty with Iraq. The question is, Will Bush try to bypass the Senate by making the SOFA an executive agreement with the Iraqi government? The answer is, of course he will.

. . . But any agreement that opens the door to permanent bases should require Senate approval. . . .

What an ass Joe Klein is. One, a SOFA agreement does not, itself, directly obligate us to station any troops on foreign soil. It merely sets the terms of how such soldiers will be treated in a foreign country. Moreover, SOFA agreements – which we have with virtually every country where our troops are stationed - are not and never have been treaties requiring Senate approval. The President negotiates and signs those agreements as Commander in Chief. As to the whether the Congress can dictate troop deployment once hostilities are ended, that implicates the Constitutional separation of powers between the President as Commander in Chief with day to day control of the military and the Congress whose authority is limited to budgeting and declaration of war. Apparently those nuances of Constitutional law are beyond the grasp of Mr. Klein. Just like the Second Amendment, it would seem that the Constitution need not be consulted when it conflicts with an end that the left is emotionally invested in achieving.

As to the Democrats “lining up,” well, I guess its not as if we have any vital national security interests at stake in Iraq and the Middle East:

Obama has definitively stated that he will "not maintain permanent bases in Iraq." Is it just me, or does that phrasing seem carefully worded?

You can read Hillary’s letter to the White House on the issue here. I love Hillary’s take on this. “To be clear, attempts to establish permanent bases in Iraq would damage U.S. interests in Iraq and the broader region . . .” She does not elaborate on this point, but I would love to hear her explain this in a debate. This is the logic of the far left. America can only succeed by losing. We can only achieve a lasting peace through defeat. It is nihilistic insanity.

John Edwards, though, takes the cake. In demanding a complete withdrawal from Iraq, John Edwards states that “Bush is planning to pursue a 'Korea-style' American occupation of Iraq for 10 years or more.”

How is our stationing of forces in Korea an occupation? An occupation denotes imposing military control over a region. Stationing troops in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government would be no more of an occupation than was the stationing of our troops in Germany or Japan after their own democratic governments been formed. They are there only at the host country invitation and to provide internal and external stability. And in every foreign country that our soldiers have been so stationed, that is precisely what has occurred. If Mr. Edwards is claiming that Korea does not want our troops there, the man has no touch with reality. The last politician who planned to remove our forces from the Korean peninsula was President Carter. And it was the Koreans who went nuts.

It would seem that our Copperheads are walking ever ever further down the road of defeat in Iraq and the world at large. It is a dangerous road for them indeed.


Annapolis, Iran & Realpolitik

With every major Middle East country but one represented at Annapolis today, the ostensible agenda is to discuss peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But, as Bernard Lewis pointed out in yesterday's WSJ, any major breakthrough in the peace process is unlikely. So what is under the surface that has driven all of these parties together? In a word, Iran.

The Khomeinist Shia theocracy in Iran has been the single greatest destabilizing agent in the Middle East virtually since its inception nearly 30 years ago. Now with a nuclear program that seems all but assured to begin producing a nuclear arsenal in the very near future, the threat Iran poses to the entire Middle East is growing exponentially. And while the rest of the Middle East countries are at Annapolis, Iran is hosting its own Middle East "peace" summit for all of the other parties espousing concern with the Palestinian question - i.e., Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. The participants are expected to unanimously agree to a final solution.

Israel does not scare Saudi Arabia, nor any of the other Middle East countries. Iran does. It keeps them up at night. And they are at Annapolis because of it.

This today is a perceptive analysis from Stephen Erlanger of the NYT:

The Middle East peace conference here on Tuesday was officially about ending the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. But there was an unspoken goal just below the surface: stopping the rising regional influence of Iran and Islamic radicalism.

That is why, despite enormous skepticism about the ability of the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a final peace treaty, there is enormous relief among the many Sunni Arab countries in attendance that the United States has re-engaged in what they see as the larger and more important battle for Muslim hearts and minds.

“The Arabs have come here not because they love the Jews or even the Palestinians,” said an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They came because they need a strategic alliance with the United States against Iran.”

Hovering over Annapolis are deep anxieties over the challenge from a resurgent Shiite and non-Arab Iran, with its nuclear program and its successful allies and proxies in southern Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Those Arab nations fear that the tide of history is moving away from them, and that they are losing their own youth to religious militancy.

“There is a genuine concern and fear among political classes in the Arab world that the Islamic trend hasn’t reached its plateau,” said Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief for Al Arabiya television. “They worry that Iran and its allies act as if this may be the beginning of the end of America’s moment in the Middle East.”

. . . “They’re very worried about militancy and their public’s great sympathy with Hezbollah and Hamas,” Mr. Telhami said, speaking by telephone from Cairo. “They were all stunned by the Hamas takeover of Gaza” in June.

. . . Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, put it pithily. “Everybody at Annapolis has something in common,” he said. “It’s not love of Israel or the Palestinians. It’s fear of Iran. Everyone needs a relative to protect them from Iran.”
Read the article here. And Tom Friedman's column today is of a similar vein. He sees fear of Iran and radicalism driving the agenda, but notes that it will take more courage than fear to succeed in achieving something akin to a peace at the Annapolis summit.

(H/T israel matzav)


A Real Iraqi Benchmark

It's axiomatic that if you want to know the true morale of a military unit, you ask the private. So hats off today to the Washington Post for doing essentially that in attempting to gauge how Iraqis themselves feel about the security situation in their county. WaPo asked Baghdad's cab drivers:

Haider Abbas, a 36-year-old taxi driver, had only a few moments to answer what is often a life-or-death question in this city: Would he drive a passenger home?

The home, on that scorching afternoon last month, happened to be in Adhamiyah, a notoriously dangerous neighborhood where several cabbies had been gunned down. Abbas hadn't been there in two years. But the fare pleaded that it had become safer, so the cabbie reluctantly agreed to go.

"To tell you the truth, I thought I had just traded my life for 5,000 dinars," or $4, said Abbas, who was shocked when he arrived in the traffic-jammed streets of Adhamiyah to see shops open and people strolling in the road. "Then I suddenly realized that security really is returning to Baghdad."

In a city where few residents believe official statements on declining violence, whether from the U.S. military or the Iraqi government, some of the most reliable figures on security improvements can be found on the odometers of Baghdad's taxi drivers.

After years of sectarian warfare whittled down the list of neighborhoods where they could safely work, cabbies are once again crisscrossing nearly all of Baghdad. Every day they assess the constantly shifting boundaries between danger and security, hoping that life will return to normal, but mindful that this is still a city where anyone could be killed at any moment for no particular reason.

. . . According to interviews with a dozen cabbies across the city, however, the mood now is far more hopeful than at any point since the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, which plunged the country to the brink of civil war.

Abu Ahmed, 32, who lives just outside the fortresslike Green Zone, said that after the attack on the Shiite shrine, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, he could no longer drive on roads leading out of the capital. Even within the city, he said, it would have been suicide to travel to neighborhoods such as Ghazaliyah, Sholeh and Amiriyah.

"If you took a passenger to those areas," he said, "there was a good chance you would never come back."

Today, Abu Ahmed said, he takes passengers to any neighborhood in the city and any region of the country except for volatile Diyala province. "But I never go onto the side streets in the dangerous neighborhoods -- just the main roads," he said. "And sometimes I still have fear in my heart."

The office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the number of attacks in Baghdad has plummeted from 1,442 in April to 323 last month. But instead of official pronouncements, the cabbies rely more on friends, family members, fellow drivers and what some consider a sort of innate intuition about the roads.

"We call the taxi driver in Iraq a roving reporter," said Haider Abbas, the driver who was surprised by the bustle in Adhamiyah. "We know every single neighborhood, and we can read the minds and hearts of the people who hire us."

. . . Cabbies gripe that the improved security situation also makes it harder to eke out a living. A growing number of Baghdad residents now feel comfortable driving their own cars around the city, obviating the need for taxis. The skyrocketing cost of fuel has made it harder to make ends meet. And high unemployment has led many young men to plop a yellow "TAXI" sign atop their vehicles, adding to the competition for passengers.

For taxi drivers who used to take passengers from Baghdad to Syria, the increased sense of security -- combined with strict new visa rules in Syria -- has stopped the exodus to the border, ending their source of income. . . .

Read the entire story.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Slandered By The Prince of Wales

Reposted From Feb.27, 2007

England, never known for its culinary accomplishments (never seen a "Billions and Billions Served" sign at a fish and chips shop, have you?), has none the less seen fit to make slanderous accusations about our own venerable institution, McDonalds. Yes, Prince Charles, the monarch in waiting whose subjects' waist lines are ever increasing, has lashed out blindly and without provocation to claim that McDonalds is what lies in the bottom of the belly of the beast -- Britain's growing problem of obesity. And in an act of even greater outrage, he has called for a ban on McDonald's tasty fare.

The Telegraph has published an article documenting the Prince's intemperate remarks while in the UAE -- and then go even one better. They publish on the page a comparison between that staple of British food, available on every UK street corner, the Cornish Pasty (Ohhhhh my but they are delicious) and a BIG MAC. In traditional British understatement, they do not comment upon the comparison, but you can almost hear the author clearing his throat and shuffling his feet. It shows that by comparison, the BIG MAC is DIET FOOD. Lolllllll

Apparently, the Prince does not consume the same fare as the rest of the working class populace of Britain, else he would be outlawing that sinister Pasty while knocking back a Big Mac and fries to show how health conscious he is.

I think Ben Johnson, a loyal subject of the British throne who graced this earth some four centuries ago, should have the last word on this matter. And in so doing, he shows us that a true Englishmen need have no recourse to a McDonald's burger in order to attain near "divine" proportions:

Hymn to the belly

Oom! room! make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,

The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.

He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught 'em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He's made of himself that now he cries swag;

Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.

Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!

All which have now made thee so wide i' the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break'st all thy girdles . . .
. . . . . and break'st forth a god.

From: Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue,
Ben Johnson, 1618.


"Give 'Em Surrender" Harry Reid

Reposted from April 20, 2007.

We as a nation now have two "Harry" bookends to our historical period. At one end is Harry Truman, who led us to victory in World War II, utterly defeating Japan and Germany. Truman then led us part way into the Korean Conflict, where we decimated the North Korean Army and then pushed back the Chinese hordes that crossed the Yalu. That Harry had a nickname. It was "Give 'Em Hell" Harry. And now, at the opposite end of the spectrum in time and substance, we have "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry, the Senate Majority leader.

"Give 'Em Surrender" Harry declared our nascent counterinsurgency stategy a failure and the Iraq war lost yesterday, making an analogy between Bush's surge and the futility of the Vietnam War.

As evidence that the surge had failed and our loss as a nation complete, “Give ‘Em Surrender” Harry cited to the violence in Baghdad of Wednesday - a series of 4 car bombs, 3 of them suicide bombs, for which Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility. To amplify “Give ‘Em Surrender” Harry’s analogy to Vietnam, this act of violence is his Tet Offensive.

For those who might not know, Tet was the defining event of the Vietnam War. It was a mass offensive by 84,000 North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers and Viet Cong. And it was a total military failure. Within thirty days of its start, the U.S. had killed 50,000, completely decimating the Viet Cong and taking a sizable chunk out of the NVA. U.S. losses were 1,100 soldiers. Nonetheless, the mass offensive shocked the press. Walter Cronkite led our nation's journalists in portraying the Vietnam Conflict as unwinnable and Tet as a victory for the North Vietnamese. It led directly to our withdrawal from the "quagmire" of Vietnam.

Back to Give ‘Em Surrender Harry. His defining "Tet" event is not quite as large. Give ‘Em Surrender Harry just declared that the United States and its nascent counterinsurgency operation have failed and been defeated by four members of al Qaeda.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The foe we face in radical Islam is every bit as much an existential threat to us and Western Civilization as Nazi Germany. We are one dirty bomb on Wall Street away from a recession. We are one nuclear explosion in a major port city away from much worse. And we are a series of coordinated attacks on our malls and infrastructure away from going into the initial stages of martial law.

As "Give 'Em Hell" Harry's predecesor, FDR, told the nation on December 9, 1941, "the United States can accept no result save victory, final and complete," against such an existential foe, else there would never be "security for any nation-or any individual . . ." Give 'Em Surrender Harry obviously never read that speech discussing American values, American resolve, and the unthinkable consequences of failing to defeat such a foe. You can find FDR's speech here. If you have not read or heard it, it is very much worth taking the time and effort to do so. And someone might wish to pass it on to Give 'Em Surrender Harry.

Though the threat we face may be dire, "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry is declaring our defeat at a point when our losses are minimal by any measure. To date, our soldiers lost in Iraq number 3,315. Each is a tragedy, and as a former soldier and the father of soldiers, I deeply appreciate and grieve for each one. I am in no way belittling their loss when I point out, for the benefit of "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry, that 3,315 killed in Iraq is 3% of the losses we sustained in WWI to defeat German aggression; it is 1% of what we sustained defeating the Nazis in WWII; it is 6% of what we sustained in destroying the North Korean Army and then driving back the Chinese hordes in the Korean Conflict; and, it is 6% of what we sustained in Vietnam before we were pulled out.

And, just so you know, the U.S. has never lost an engagement in Iraq or Afghanistan involving a platoon size element or larger of U.S. soldiers. A platoon is about thirty men. Do you understand how significant that is?

With that track record, how can we possibly lose to Islamic extremists in Iraq or Afghanistan - or anywhere else in the world for that matter? Well, that is unless we are forced to embrace defeat predicated upon "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry's Tet Offensive of four al Qaeda suicide bombers.

Do you think Give 'Em Surrender Harry really means it when he says the surge has failed and our nation has lost in Iraq? Or is it just "Give Em Surrender" Harry who has decided that he wants us to lose? Is it just "Give Em Surrender" Harry who wants to insure that the surge does not succeed? And is it just "Give Em Surrender" Harry who is putting his quest for raw power above the horrid ramifications of a defeat for our national security and our foreign policy?

"Give 'Em Surrender" Harry offers no assessment of the costs that may arise out of his embrace of defeat. The mantra of "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry and his fellow Democrats has been that we cannot give President Bush a "blank check" to continue the war. I think any reasonable assessment of the costs of fighting a greatly emboldened radical Islam, flush with the victory of defeating the United States in Iraq, would utterly dwarf the costs of seeing Iraq to a stable democracy with all the major players - Sunni, Shia and Kurd - invested in its success.

To put it bluntly, Give 'Em Surrender Harry's claim of defeat in Iraq is cowardice, cynicism and hypocrisy writ on a grand scale. And in my view - traitorous. Perhaps we should nickname him "Benedict" Harry.

Update: Lest you think that last suggestion too over the top, consider this. Give 'Em Surrender Harry's statement that the Iraq war is "lost" is already having reverberations around the Islamic world. Read this from The Volokh Conspiracy:

Iranian Press TV reports, in response to Reid's statement:
Leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, has said the US has lost the Iraq war, and Bush's troop surge has failed.... Reid's comments came a day after 200 fatalities were reported in bombings in Iraq, despite a much touted US Security Plan which the White House said sought to root out insurgency."

A Republican party e-mail also reported the following as translations of items from Al-Jazeera Online, and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, "The Leading Arabic International Daily"; please let me know if the translations are inaccurate:
"Yesterday the leader of the Democratic majority in Congress, Harry Reid, announced that he conveyed to Bush that the United States lost the war in Iraq and that the additional America forces that were sent there will not succeed in the achievement of any positive progress."

"Leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, has said the US has lost the Iraq war, and Bush's troop surge has failed.... Reid's comments came a day after 200 fatalities were reported in bombings in Iraq, despite a much touted US Security Plan which the White House said sought to root out insurgency."

As I have said before, it may well be quite proper -- and certainly constitutionally protected -- for people to criticize the war; and sometimes the benefits of such criticism, even of the "war is lost" variety and even when said by leading U.S. politicians, outweigh the costs. Yet it seems to me hard to doubt that this statement will have grave cost.

. . . Yet my suspicion is that the harm will be quite substantial indeed.

It is one thing for a dissembling Joe Biden to pronounce the surge a failure, or a New York Times cheerleading for the far left to call the war lost, but quite another when a leader of the Democratic Party and the Senate Majority Leader does so. I am quite willing to bet that Give 'Em Surrender Harry is now the new poster boy for a much energized radical Muslim recruitment from Terhan to Ridyah to Morroco to London, Rome and Washington D.C. Does anyone doubt for a moment that Wahhabi / Salafi clerics the world over, even as you read this, are not praising Give 'Em Surrender Harry's pronouncement as "Allah's will" and pointing to it as proof that more bloodshed will ultimately see radical Islam ascendent throughtout the world.

And if you want to forecast how Give 'Em Surrender Harry's statement will impact upon the average Iraqi who has a choice between supporting us and the Maliki government or the insurgents, be it al Qaeda in Iraq or the Iranian backed Mahdi Army, if you turn to the book authored by General Petraeus, the Army's field manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency, you will find this:

1-134: . . . The populace may prefer the HN [i.e., Iraqi] government to the insurgents; however, people do not actively support a government unless they are convinced that the counterinsurgents - [i.e., U.S. and Iraqi forces] have the means, ability, stamina, and will to win."

Give 'Em Surrender Harry may succeed in his clear objective of gaining political power in the '08 election, but at what cost to America in blood and gold?

Update: Now we know that, in the violent events of last Wednesday that "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry cited as proof the surge has failed, 3 of the 4 al Qaeda bombs were greatly limited by defenses put in place by the surge.


Islam & Defunding the UN

Reposted From March 31, 2007

The reason we face the problem of radical Islam today is that, in its entire history, Islam has seen no Renaissance, no Reformation, no Period of Enlightenment. These titanic events in Western history led to the development of secular values that came out of, but were separate from, the Judeo-Christian religion that birthed them. And these events gradually took religion from the sphere of a government imposition and moved it into the realm of the individual and local community.

The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment were each developed through the process of critical thought - the questioning and challenging of religious ideals and dogma. It was this critical thought that allowed the West to seperate the wheat -- the belief in God and universal concepts of moral behavior -- from the chaff of religion – dogma that restricted development in all aspects of society: political, artistic, scientific, philosophical. Thus, today do our universities turn out the finest scientists, the finest writers, the finest mathematicians and astronomers, while the universities in Saudi Arabia primarily turn out Wahhabi clerics. And it is why the West leads the world in science and the arts while the morals police in Saudi Arabia hunt down sorcerers and the Saudi courts apply Wahhabi Sharia law to order the flogging of victims of gang rape.

There are seeds from which a Muslim Enlightenment could yet occur. They would require criticism and debate to take root. Yet these seeds are under mortal threat today from the growth of Wahhabi / Salafi Islam.

The seeds which would allow for an Enlightenment lie in Islam's earliest history. Year 1 to Muslims begins with Hijra, Mohammed’s emigration to Medina in 622 A.D. When Mohammed died, Islam was still largely confined to Arabia. It is important to note that, before Mohammed died, he left his followers with a concept most clearly stated in a hadith - an authenticated saying of Mohammed. That hadith provides that the ummah – the community of Muslims – can “never agree on an error.” Complimenting this in the Koran, it says “People, you order what is right, forbid what is wrong, and you believe in God.” (3:110)

These concepts, taken together, allow for the evolution of Islam. And in another critical development following Mohammed’s death, as Islam progressed, there came the concept of ijtihad (see here and here). Ijtihad is the practice of reasoning from the texts, the hadiths, the sunna and the works of scholars to determine what Islam should mean, what it should approve and disapprove. If there will ever be a moderation of Islam, it will come from those concepts of the hadith and the Koran mentioned above, and from the practice of ijtihad.

The remainder of Islam's history tells us why these seeds of an Enlightenment never took root. Following Mohammed’s death, Islam spread at a pace never before or since duplicated. Its rapid expansion – by the sword – continued almost unchecked for the next several hundred years. Actually, in this regard, for any Muslim to criticize the West as imperialistic is irony of the highest order. The West are pikers compared to the Islamic caliphates. Within 130 years following the Hijra, Arabic Muslims had conquered the Middle East, Turkey, all of North Africa, and the better part of Spain, and they were fighting battles inside France.

Through about 1100 A.D., Islamic society, led by the Arabs, far outshone the West in learning and technology. It was a far more enlightened society than what was to be found in Europe at the time. Indeed, at the turn of the first millenium, the premier city in the world was not London, Paris or Rome, but Baghdad. But, along with this vast expansion powered by the belief in Islamic destiny came the desire to control the precise nature of Islam by the Caliphs. At the end of the tenth century, the “gates of ijtihad” were ordered closed by the Caliphs and the Muslim philosophers cooperated. The concept of free reasoning fell from grace in Islam. This closing of the gates of ijtihad is credited by many scholars as the cause of the stagnation of Islam in succeeding centuries.

But there was much worse on the horizon. In the late 12th century came invasion by the Turks, followed closely by Ghengis Khan and the Mongol horde in the thirteenth century. For the Arabs, this was a catastrophe of titanic proportions. They were overrun, and it was the Turks, practitioners of Sufi Islam, not the Arabs, who emerged as the leadership of Islam. And into this time of turmoil was born Ibn Taymiya, the man whose philosophy and writings would be the foundation for Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi Islam.

Taymiya started from the proposition that Islam was from God, and it was God’s intent that Islam should spread to the four corners of the earth. In this light, Taymiya saw the success of the Turk and Mongol conquers as a punishment from God because Arab Muslims had allowed Islam to be corrupted. His answer was to return to what he believed animated Islam at the time of Mohammed. He was puritanical and a literalist. The Islam he envisioned was one of absolute tenets – dogmatic and beyond questioning.

Fast forward to eighteenth century Arabia, where Ibn Wahhab was born. Wahhab embraced the teachings of Taymiya and built upon them, arguing that any deviation therefrom was heretical and that the offender should be put to death. Wahhab promoted a triumphalist and imperialistic religion that saw anyone not in its membership as an enemy to be converted, conquered or killed. There has been little if any deviation from Wahhab's original dogma through to the modern day. Indeed, for example, one aspect of Wahhabi doctrine, taught in Saudi schools at least as recently as 2003, is that it is permissible to enslave “polytheists.” That comes from a Saudi textbook. If you are a Christian, by the way, you are a polytheist. Wahhabism is the soul of radical Islam. To go against any tenet of Wahhabi Islam is to conduct impermissible innovation and thus, to be labeled takfir, an unbeliever, – and subject to losing your head.

To continue with the chronology, Wahhab found his way to Najd, a backwater of Arabia controlled by tribe of the Sauds. Wahhab partnered with the Sauds and what followed, over the next two centuries, was an incredibly savage conquest of the Arabian peninsula by the House of Saud. And in each place they conquered, they imposed Wahhabi Islam.

Fast forward now to the 20th century. Two events of note occur. Turkey, home of Sufi Islam and the caliphate presiding over the majority of the Islamic world, came into World War I on the side of Germany and was ultimately defeated. Its Middle Eastern empire was divided up among the European counties. Attaturk took power in Turkey and divested Islam from politics, secularizing the country. This was, in essence, the first step towards a revolution in the Islamic world – the divorcing of religion from the nation state and limiting it to the private lives of Turkish citizens. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, Wahhabism has infected Turkey, and today we see the creep of Islamism into the state apparatus. Turkey has withdrawn from the precipice of a revolution to moderate and modernize Islam that its combination of secular government and classical Sufi Islam may have led.

The second event of note was the triumph of Wahhabi Islam with the conquest of Arabia by the House of Saud. Indeed, even before the final conquest, Wahhabi Islam had already influenced – or infected, if you like – many of the other schools of Islam. Two prime examples are the Pakistani Deobandi school that today is the basis for the Taliban, as well Islam in Egypt, from whence arose the first truly modern radical Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.

But Wahhabi Islam only truly became an engine of conquest with the growth of the oil industry and the influx of billions of petrodollars into Saudi Arabia. Today, Saudi Arabia is spending these billions to spread its brand of Islam to the four corners of the world and to supplant the other schools of Islam. Other than oil, Saudi Arabia’s main exports are Wahhabi clerics, Wahhabi mosques, and Wahhabi schools to every corner of the world. Further, the petrodollars are used to fund the Middle East studies program at most major colleges in the Western World – whose teaching invariably cover, cover for, and cover up Wahhabi Islam – and to fund Wahhabi organizations such as CAIR that perform much the same function in Western society at large.

I do not know that Wahhabi Islam also influenced and radicalized Ayatollah Khoemeni. But, given that he took Iranian Shia Islam out of its historically nonpolitical role in Iran and thrust Shiaism, for the first time in history, into the political realm with the creation of Iran’s theocracy, I would suspect that it did. I would be absolutely amazed if some scholar did not eventually catalogue such an influence. (Update: See this from Francis Fukuyama in the WSJ making this connection)

To sum up, the whole of the Islamic world is endangered by the growth of Wahhabi Islam. And Wahhabi Islam holds it dogma to be beyond question – upon pain of censure or even death. If there is to be a moderation and modernization of Islam – a Reformation and Period of Enlightenment if you will – it will not will arise out of Wahhabi Islam without tremendous bloodshed.

Ultimately, in the world of ideas, it is only through questioning and critical reasoning that advancements occur. To put an Islamic face on that, it is only through the embrace of ijtihad and the concepts of Islam discussed earlier that there is any chance that Islam will finally see a great historical change to moderate and modernize from Wahhab’s vision of 7th century Islam into a form of Islam that can coexist with the rest of the world in the 21st century. And Western society has an obligation not to be coerced into silence, but to openly criticize what we find dangerous and wrong in Islam. If our voice is cowed, how can we expect the voice of would be moderates in the world of Islam to stand up - and withstand the inevitable Wahhabi onslaught to their existence. The cost to humanity and the world if Islam does not have its Reformation and Enlightenment will almost assuredly be apocalyptic.

Which brings us to today, and the United Nations Human Rights Organization. I have already posted that I believe the UN exists in an alternate Islamic universe. It finds fault with illegal acts or human rights violations only in Israel. See here and here. But we have now reached the final Islamic straw.

Friday, March 30, 2007, Islamic countries pushed through a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council demanding a global prohibition on the public defamation of religion. Lest there be any doubt about which religion they are concerned with, the only religion mentioned in the resolution is Islam. As stated in the minutes from the UN Human Rights Council meeting:

The Council expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations; notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions, and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities, in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001; urges States to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination including through political institutions and organizations of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement to racial and religious hatred, hostility or violence; also urges States to provide adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions, to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and their value systems and to complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance; . . .

The UN is only doing the work of radical Wahhabi Islamists at this point. If there is ever to be a peaceful coexistence with Muslims, the West cannot gag itself as CAIR and the Islamists at UN would have us do. We can coexist with Muslims as long as they are not trying to kill us and impose their religion by coercion or by working fundamental changes to our Western secular values with ridiculous charges of Islamaphobia. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. Thus, it is their religion that needs to change. It needs to go through its Reformation, and there needs to be a period of Enlightenment. The clearest way to stop this transformation from ever occurring is to outlaw criticism of Islam. This would be putting a nail into the coffin of Western civilization, in addition to insuring the ultimate domination of the Wahhabi philosophy in Islam.

If this is what we can expect from UN as reformed, it needs to be defunded by the U.S. In the Senate hearings for his confirmation as the new U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad has argued against defunding the UN but has also stated that the UN faces a “mortal threat" if it fails to reform. There are no reforms on the horizon. It is time to allow the UN to subsist on Rials until it does.

Update: This post cross linked at the American Thinker Blog


Interesting News From Around The Web

Amir Taheri takes a detailed look at the good and bad in Iraq beyond the security situation itself. He has harsh words for the government of Iraq.

Iran is hosting its own Middle East peace summit with all of the attendees being those whose invites to Annapolis were apparently lost in the mail. The participants are expected to unanimously agree to a final solution.

Iraqis are returning to Baghdad in large numbers.

Don Surber is celebrating V-I Day. It is a bit early for that – there still seems to be a lot of fighting to do, and Iran is going to be something between a significant and a huge problem until the Khomeinist theocracy is no longer.

There is the Stop the ACLU Roundup at Miss Beth’s Victory Dance. I am not reflexively anti-ACLU at least to the extent that I will listen to what they have to say before making my decision that its bad for America. Its just happens to be that decision is the one at which I invariably arrive.

We knew that President Bush welcomed the Goracle to the White House to honor his Nobel Prize, but did anyone realize that it was a low carbon event in Gore’s honor?

A 17th century book believed to be bound in the skin of a priest hung, drawn and quartered for treason as part of the famous Gunpowder Plot is up for auction in the UK.

Posterizing Democrats over at TNOY. Hilarious.

Hate America bias amongst our friends at Der Spiegel? I do hope they enjoy the good life they are going to have in the EU.


France's "Punk Jihad" Riots Worst Than 2005

The riots among the Muslim youth in the “suburbs” of Paris promise to be worse than 2005. The rioters are more violent and the response from France’s Interior Minister has been anything but decisive. This from the NYT today:

The number of police officers injured during clashes by French youths in a suburb north of Paris rose to 86 after a second bout of violence overnight in which 60 officers were hurt, including six who are in serious condition, police officials said.

Of the six in serious condition, four were hurt as a result of gunfire, said Francis Debuire, a representative of the General Union of Police Officers in the district where the fighting took place. One of the four lost an eye and another officer’s shoulder was shattered by a bullet after some of the youths used shotguns as well as firebombs and rocks.

Police union officials expressed concern that the violence was more severe than the fighting that had occurred in the Paris suburbs over three weeks of rioting in 2005. “The violence over the last days has been worse than two years ago in terms of its intensity,” Mr. Debuire said.

. . . Among the marchers, a young man who identified himself as Cem, 18, but who refused to give his full name, said: “This is war. There is no mercy. We want at least two policemen dead.”

Police officials said the government had ordered as many as 130 extra officers in addition to the 450 officers who confronted the youths on Monday night, and officers were being brought in from across France as reinforcements.

As in the 2005 riots, the youths on Sunday and Monday nights were attacking the police mostly with firebombs, rocks and other projectiles, but this time they also had guns. Mr. Debuire said youths used shotguns. . . .

Read the here. This from PJM’s Nidra Poller, gives a bit more background:

Monday 11 pm

Violence is spreading from Villiers le Bel to a dozen neighboring communities. At least twenty policemen have been injured so far tonight (forty injured last night according to the latest figures), some of them critically. The insurgents are using firebombs, iron rods, baseball bats, and firing buckshot. Journalists are attacked, their cameras are stolen. The mayor of Villiers le Bel is running a crisis center from an undisclosed location. Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie is strangely absent, silent, or ineffectual. This is not the way it is supposed to be happening in the Sarkozy government. Don’t be surprised if Alliot-Marie is replaced early next year.

. . . Police investigators and several eyewitnesses corroborate the patrolmen’s version of the accident. The police car was going at a normal speed, no sirens, no hot pursuit. The mini-motorcycle came down a side street at high speed and made a left turn, crashing directly into the police car. The police remained on the scene for approximately twenty to thirty minutes until the fire department ambulance arrived.

President Sarkozy, on a state visit to China, issued a plea for calm. It must have seemed quite logical from where he’s standing… but it’s totally inaudible here on the receiving end.

Monday morning

The tally on Sunday’s punk jihad outburst is heavy and rising.

. . . According to concurrent reports, the rage broke out immediately. The police claim the motorcycle ran into their patrol car at an intersection; the enraged know better—the police car in hot pursuit of the innocent boys, Moushin and Larami, smashed into their motorcycle. Moushin’s uncle was outraged because the bodies were left lying in the fire station. But it seems that the forces that came to pick them up had to turn back because they were attacked. The boys had gone out to do a little bit of rodeo, a favorite sport in the banlieue projects. Le Parisien posted You Tube videos filmed by reckless kids.

Reckless, yes, but when they get wrecked it’s the fault of the police, the Peugeot dealership, and McDonald’s.

The euphemism for these enclaves — “quartier sensible”—bears a nugget of truth if correctly translated as “touchy neighborhoods.” Villiers le Bel is in the administrative district of Sarcelles / Garges-les-Gonesses about 20 km north of Paris. Not so long ago Sarcelles was the home sweet home of Jewish refugees from North Africa; today it is their nightmare. They endure constant attacks and harassment from the permanently enraged African-Arab-Muslim residents who live cheek by jowl with their still neat clean streets.

Socialist leader François Hollande is demanding the truth, the whole truth and of course the right truth on this incident—it has to be the fault of the police, the fault of the brutal Sarkozy government, the fault of deaf ears turned to the suffering of youths in this, the touchiest of touchy neighborhoods. . . .

Read the entire post at PJM. France has an incredble problem with its immigrant Muslim community that it needs to solve. Sarkozy has discussed cutting off "foreign" - i.e., Wahhabi / Salafi - involvement in existing Muslim community prior to his election. To say that sounds like too little is a bit of an understatement.

Previous Post: Riots in France Again


The EU - Europe’s Grand Experiment In Socialism

One of the defining characteristics of today’s left is a belief in the power of the central government to cure all ills of society. The left of today does not trust the individual to exercise responsibility nor to govern themselves at the local level. Power is collected in the central government and ever more control is taken over the daily lives of citizens through regulation and statute. Democracy is minimized. Free speech is manipulated through government investment in, if not ownership of, the media and through government use of its masses of taxpayer funds to manipulate national discourse. Further, in the world of the left, free speech bows to multi-culturalism.

The ultimate manifestation of this philosophy today is the grand socialist experiment that is the European Union. And as the EU grows in power, its omnipresent influence is felt ever more in European society.

This from an article in Der Spiegel:


How Brussels Regulates our Daily Lives

. . . The European Commission in Brussels wants to protect European citizens even more effectively against danger and disease. Soon there will be a well-intended -- but mostly completely unnecessary -- regulation for every aspect of life.

One-year-old Diego didn't have a chance. Try as he would, he simply couldn't get the old "Made in China" lighter or the new "child-safe" version from France to light. Older children like Tessa, who is almost five, managed to coax a flame from the Chinese model after only three minutes. It didn't take her much longer to light the French version.

From a bureaucratic standpoint, the pre-pubescent subjects' efforts to play with fire -- all in the name of scientific research, of course -- were a complete success. Under an European Union regulation that goes by the code K (2007) 1567, as of March 11, 2008 only "child-safe" disposable lighters will be approved for sale in the EU. But first the lighters' "child safety" must be demonstrated in a test laboratory. Under the regulation, a lighter is deemed acceptable (that is, child-safe), if no more than 15 of 100 kids aged less than 51 months manage to light it.

There are exceptions, of course. For one thing, the regulation does not apply to higher-priced lighters. That's because the bureaucrats in Brussels are convinced no one would allow children to gain access to expensive lighters. But even the bureaucrats sometimes have their doubts about their own basis research. Now they warn that even a lighter labeled as "child-safe" in the future is "not necessarily safe for children," adding that lighters should continue to "be kept out of reach of young children."

In all seriousness, the EU's inspectors are keeping themselves busy coming up with more and more regulations to govern even the most hidden corners of human existence, and that will cover the length and breadth of the EU -- from Inari in northern Finland to Limassol on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Current regulations already run the gamut from protections against fine dust and noise to soil conservation to protections for workers against solar radiation and protections for non-smokers. A green paper for a "smoke-free Europe" is currently under discussion. The German state of Hesse recently opposed EU bureaucrats' efforts to redefine the term "wine" so that it would exclude non-grape-derived products like its traditional Äppelwoi ("apple wine," a local take on cider). The Hessians were successful -- for now.

EU Commission President José Manual Barroso and his 26 commissioners have nothing but good intentions. Anxious to dispel their image of bureaucrats well removed from the realities of daily life, they seek to portray themselves as the guardian angels of Europe's citizens, the protectors of the old and the young, and the guarantors of a life free of danger.

According to the EU Commission's new "Consumer Protection Strategy Paper," the EU must demonstrate to Europe's 493 million consumers that it has their best interests in mind. This new zeal has led to many a bizarre or even completely nonsensical EU directive, even though many of the new regulations are fundamentally justified. But when taken together, they create new control mechanisms on top of old ones already notorious for their intrusiveness and inefficiency.

Measuring the Obvious

For example, many European cities and regions, at Brussels' behest, are now developing so-called noise maps. To produce the maps, precise noise readings must be taken on every street, whether in downtown areas, in industrial zones, along railway lines or in expensive and leafy residential neighborhoods.

Some communities have already completed the mammoth project, while others are dragging their feet. All are furious about the new requirement.

"We are drowning in a sea of data," complains Munich Mayor Christian Ude. And in the end, no matter how costly the measuring process is, the results reveal what everyone has known all along: that it's louder on busy, high-traffic streets than in exclusive, villa-filled residential neighborhoods with maximum speed limits of 30 kilometers per hour.

Like Munich, many cities developed noise maps years ago. But now Brussels is dictating a new set of criteria, which means that the entire process has to be repeated from scratch. It's "a lot of bureaucracy" and "completely useless," says Ude.

The EU's self-proclaimed protectors of the general health and well-being are especially interested in food hygiene regulations. Their goal is to fully regulate the production, transport and sale of food products from the producer to the consumer's plate. Once again, the underlying concept makes perfect sense, and yet the new rules, while failing to prevent spoiled meat scandals or the excessive use of pesticides, have in fact served up all kinds of new absurdities. A Westphalian pig farmer who fattens his animals in his own forest, just as his grandfather did, runs afoul of the law if he allows the pigs' liquid manure to seep straight into the forest soil instead of draining it through standardized concrete pipes.

In some cases the Brussels bureaucrats' zealous rush to implement new standards has cost ordinary citizens their livelihoods. For instance, a regulation that requires all legal cheese production facilities to have running water and electricity spells the end of many Alpine cheeses. The small dairies that traditionally make these cheeses simply cannot afford the investments needed to satisfy the Brussels requirements.

Europe's "Specific Hygiene Regulations" cover every product and every producer, from "meat from hoofed animals kept as pets" to "frogs' legs and snails" and "animal fats and cracklings."

Anyone who, milk pail in hand, hopes to find fresh milk from the farm these days will have a lot of searching to do. Under Paragraph 17, Section 1 of the Animal Food Hygiene Regulation, "the sale of raw milk or cream to consumers is prohibited."

Only in exceptional cases are dairy farmers permitted to sell untreated milk to customers, and only when they are in compliance with a long list of detailed requirements regulating everything from the condition of the floors in the farmer's milking room to the material used to make his doors.

Of course, the dairy farmer mustn't forget to post a warning sign that reads "Raw milk -- Boil before consuming" in a "visible and legible manner at the selling location."

Part 2: Are Europeans Dim-Witted and Unable to Cope with Life?

There is only one thing the Brussels bureaucrats have forgotten in their zeal to slap regulations on just about everything: the often-evoked "responsible citizen." The Europeans of the 21st century appear to be dim-witted and unable to cope with life -- and wholly dependent on the dictates of Big Brother in Brussels. When it comes to protecting the population from its own supposed lack of common sense, Big Brother is enthusiastic.

For example, in the past, a German who wanted to build a small vacation house on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca ran the risk of building on top of a toxic waste site. In response to such hazards, the EU commissioners submitted a draft guideline for "soil protection" which is currently being debated in the European Parliament. Under the guideline, government agencies throughout Europe would be required to test the condition of the soil on every piece of property, from the Arctic Circle to Sicily, and identify "contaminated" sites.

The authors of the draft guideline say that its purpose is to protect the environment. Europe's soil faces all kinds of threats to its purity, from industrial chemical residues to agricultural pesticides, erosion, salt-water intrusion and the adverse effects of rapid development.

But because the EU has only partial jurisdiction in this area, it is essentially left up to the member states to decide what to do with the results of the soil tests.

Moreover, because the EU is so good at imposing regulations, non-profit organizations, businesses and citizens are demanding increasingly comprehensive protections for both the working and private spheres. "Bureaucracy is in demand," says Volker Hoff, a Christian Democrat and the minister for European affairs in the German state of Hesse.

A Tireless Effort to Regulate Everything

Advocates for the protection of consumers, children, animals, patients and practically everything else are tirelessly proposing new things that they are convinced require regulation or, in some cases, ought to be banned outright. The EU administrators in Brussels are only too pleased to comply, while the representatives of the member states are quick to give the go-ahead.

. . . In truth, even legal experts find the well-intentioned flood of regulatory fervor overwhelming. Last year the president of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court, Hans-Jürgen Papier, warned "against the constantly increasing regulation of virtually all areas of society and the economy, as well as large segments of private life."

The "expanded apparatus of the Brussels EU Commission" contributes to the fact "that there is now a layer of overregulation that exceeds the reasonable scope of the law," says Papier, the chief justice of Germany's highest court. For this reason, says Papier, the legal system runs the risk "of suffocating the individual responsibility and self-determination it is in fact intended to guarantee." Torsten Stein, a European legal expert at Saarland University, warns that one day EU citizens will become aware "that, long after the end of absolute rulers, a new authority has established itself that once again claims the authority to decide what is good and what is bad for subjects."

Undeterred by such doubts, officials in Brussels continue to perfect a system of total control. . .

Read the entire article. Several months ago, I read a critique by one of our leftist pundits of Fred Thompson, a conservative one-time Senator who was then considering a bid for the Presidency. A significant criticism was that Mr. Thompson had not initiated any new laws or regulatory efforts during his time in the Senate. And therein lies the difference between today's neo-liberal left and the conservatives. The left considers Mr. Thompson a failure for his restraint. A conservative would consider that a great accomplishment. At any rate, if the axiom is true that you get the government you deserve, Europe is in sad straits indeed.


As Overall Violence in Iraq Dwindles, Iran Increases Their Tempo

Any suggestion that Iran's Khomeneist theocracy is stepping back the violence in Iraq by its proxies, the so-called "special groups," is belied by facts on the ground. A little over a week ago, a special group killed and injured scores of civilians when they bombed a market in Baghdad, attempting to disguise it as an al-Qaeda attack. And a few days ago, several hundred thousand Shia in southern Iraq signed a formal petition expressing their outrage at the violence Iran is causing in their areas as Iran attempts to extend its influence. Now this today:

. . . Shiite extremists using weapons linked to Iran have risen to their highest levels in months in and around Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, despite a 75 percent decline since May in overall violence in the area.

"I remain very concerned in our sector about these special groups," Col. Don Farris, the top U.S. commander for northeastern Baghdad, told reporters by videoconference. "They're very lethal. They're organized. They're sophisticated. And I have not seen that their operations have declined or diminished in any way, shape or form here in the last several months."

In October, Farris said, his 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division experienced the highest number of attacks using the armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles linked to Iran since arriving in February. The spike -- nine attacks, compared with the previous high of seven -- comes despite suggestions by U.S. officials that Iran has curbed its support of fighters in Iraq.

"These are the Iranian-made weapons that are being employed by these special groups, these Shia extremists that are receiving funding, support and training from Iran," Farris said, adding that the special groups "operate from within the heart of Sadr City."

In the past six weeks, he said, the brigade has captured two Iraqi operatives, one of whom admitted to receiving training in Iran. A U.S. base in the area was also attacked this month by bombs using 107mm rockets and explosives, which Farris said were of the same types as those made in Iran.

Read the story here. And here is more information on the "special groups" from the Long War Journal:

Background on Iranian influence in Iraq and the targeting of the Special Groups

Coalition forces began targeting the Iranian networks and captured senior members of Iran's Qods Force in Baghdad in December 2006 and Irbil in January 2007. Iranian surrogates — the Qazali and Sheibani networks now collectively referred to as the Special Groups — stepped up their attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces in January 2007.

In January 2007, the Qazali network conducted sophisticated operations against US forces at the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center, kidnapping and killing five US soldiers during the aborted operation. Multinational Forces Iraq has stated Iran is behind the Karbala raid, and satellite imagery discovered a mock-up of the Karbala complex at a camp inside Iran. In March 2007, Coalition forces captured Qais Qazali, his brother Laith Qazali, and several other members of the Qazali network. Qais Qazali was a spokesperson and senior aide to Muqtada al Sadr. Coalition and Iraqi security forces have been heavily targeting these "Special Groups" and "Secret Cells" since General David Petraeus' briefing on the Qazali and Sheibani networks on April 26.

In July, US forces captured Azhar al Dulaimi, the tactical commander behind the Karbala PJCC attack. In early September 2007, Multinational Forces Iraq announced the captured of “a highly-sought individual suspected of being an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force” operative in Karbala.

One of the most significant captures occurred in the spring of 2007, when the US captured Ali Mussa Daqduq. Daqduq is a senior Hezbollah operative who was tasked by Iran to organize the Special Groups and "rogue" Mahdi Army cells along the lines of Lebanese Hezbollah. Documents seized during Daqduq's capture, along with statements made during interrogations and information given by other captured Special Groups operatives confirmed Iran's significant role in the Shia terrorist insurgency.

On September 20, Multinational Forces Iraq captured Mahmud Farhadi, an Iranian Qods Force officer in charge of the Zafr Command. Farhadi commanded one of three units subordinate to the Ramazan Corps of the Qods Force, which commands the operations in Iraq.

On October 7, General David Petraeus said the Iranian ambassador to Iraq is a Qods Force intelligence agent.

Read the article here. Iran's Khomeinist theocracy wants to extend its influence over Iraq's Shia population. They do not want a democracy to succeed in Iraq and they do not want a continued American presence protecting Iraq. The violence they are formenting is aimed at extending their influence, rekindling Sunni-Shia violence, and attacking the U.S. How long before we "make a statement" that these continued actions carry a greater penalty for Iran than the long term possibility for gain? Iran's theocracy has to be made to pay a price or this will not end.


More Facts And Arab Commentary In The Saudi Gang Rape Travesty

This is an update to the case of the 19 year old “girl from Qatif” who was gang raped a total of 14 times by seven men. When the matter was brought before the Saudi Court by the woman’s husband, they sentenced the attackers to short prison sentences, but also sentenced the girl from Qatif to judicial flogging of 90 lashes. When the case became public, her brother attempted to murder her for bringing shame upon the family, and she attempted suicide. On appeal, the Saudi Court increased the sentence of her attackers, but also increased her sentence to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail after the Court dismissed her attorney. According to Arab News, the girl from Qatif has not yet been told this news by her family.

This case is shining a very clear light on the medieval Sharia law practiced in Saudi Arabia and the heavy handedness of an Islamic system used to operating above review or criticism. And thanks almost entirely to the efforts of al Lahem, the girl's attorney, the case is raising a lot of questions in Saudi Arabia itself. Our own CAIR, those great defenders of Human Rights who have advocated adopting Sharia law in America, have yet to take notice of the case.

It is a “slap in the face of justice,” according to Lubna Hussain, writing in the Arab Times.

It is a tale that is more reminiscent of the cruel callous punishments meted out to women in medieval times. And yet sadly it is a case that is making headlines in the 21st century.

. . . I will never forget reading about this case when it was first documented several months ago. I blinked hard in disbelief at the ridiculous contents of the article and the trite absurdity of the allegations. It was enough to offend the sensibilities of any reasonable minded human being and yet, it seemed at the time, that those who are in charge of our judicial system were totally devoid of any sense of justice. It is this peculiar irony that has subsequently subverted and distorted the outcome of a trial that will no doubt characterize the level of injustice that we can expect to be afforded through the courts.

Here is a young woman who has had to suffer the unimaginable ordeal of being brutally raped by seven men 14 times but nonetheless decided to take the remarkably brave step and approach the authorities expecting at the very least a fair trial and perhaps, albeit unrealistically, a degree of compassion.

Indeed, as has been shown by the insanity of the proceedings she would have been well advised to privately deal with the physical and psychological scars that this heinous act had incurred. Instead of being applauded for breaking social taboos and enduring the consequences of revisiting the trauma that she must have acutely suffered in bringing her case forward, she now stands in the same dock as her rapists accused of being complicit in perpetrating the crime. According to the courts, she should not have been with a man who was not her male guardian in the first place. The judges looked into their crystal ball and saw that she had “the intention of doing something bad” and this therefore constituted a very good reason for her to be gang raped. Always the woman’s fault, but of course!

. . . Even though the judgment in this case is shocking, it is hardly surprising when you analyze the twisted reasoning it is based upon.

. . . So what is the wider message being delivered to us citizens who may, God forbid, find ourselves at the mercy of the justice system here? Stay at home and keep our mouths shut. And to the outside world? I will leave this to your imagination. Suffice it to say that no amount of money spent on PR is going to be able to whitewash the irreparable damage caused by grave injustices such as this.

Read her commentary in the Arab News. And see also this commentary in the same paper.

ABC News has obtained the girls story from Human Rights Watch, and you can compare it with what the Saudi Justice Ministry’s account. They now claim – based on the testimony of her attackers - that the girl was complicit in her own gang rape. The Ministry is in a full court press to deflect attention from this incredible injustice of this case and the medieval system of laws and justice in Saudi Arabia. It is a legal system with no safeguards, very few objective guides, and it is shrouded in secrecy. The girl’s lawyer, himself under threat of losing his license to practice law over this case, has now filed a suit against the Saudi Justice Ministry claiming that their recent claims of the facts in this case are false and have defamed the girl from Qatif.

This from ABC News.:

. . . In a December 2006 interview in Khobar, Saudi Arabia the woman gave a full account of her testimony to Human Rights Watch, describing the incident as she did before the court. She was meeting a male acquaintance, a former boyfriend, when the attack took place:

"I [was] 19 years old. I had a relationship with someone on the phone. We were both 16. I had never seen him before. I just knew his voice. He started to threaten me, and I got afraid. He threatened to tell my family about the relationship. Because of the threats and fear, I agreed to give him a photo of myself," she recounted.

"A few months [later], I asked him for the photo back but he refused. I had gotten married to another man. He said, 'I'll give you the photo on the condition that you come out with me in my car.' I told him we could meet at a souk [market[ near my neighborhood city plaza in Qatif.

"He started to drive me home. …We were 15 minutes from my house. I told him that I was afraid and that he should speed up. We were about to turn the corner to my house when they [another car] stopped right in front of our car. Two people got out of their car and stood on either side of our car. They man on my side had a knife. They tried to open our door. I told the individual with me not to open the door, but he did. He let them come in. I screamed.

"One of the men brought a knife to my throat. They told me not to speak. They pushed us to the back of the car and started driving. We drove a lot, but I didn't see anything since my head was forced down."

"They took us to an area … with lots of palm trees. No one was there. If you kill someone there, no one would know about it. They took out the man with me, and I stayed in the car. I was so afraid. They forced me out of the car. They pushed me really hard ... took me to a dark place.

Then two men came in. They said, 'What are you going to do? Take off your abaya.' They forced my clothes off. The first man with the knife raped me. I was destroyed. If I tried to escape, I don't even know where I would go. I tried to force them off but I couldn't. [Another] man … came in and did the same thing to me. I didn't even feel anything after that.

"I spent two hours begging them to take me home. I told them that it was late and that my family would be asking about me. Then I saw a third man come into the room. There was a lot of violence. After the third man came in, a fourth came. He slapped me and tried to choke me.

"The fifth and sixth ones were the most abusive. After the seventh one, I couldn't feel my body anymore. I didn't know what to do. Then a very fat man came on top of me and I could no longer breathe.

"Then all seven came back and raped me again. Then they took me home. … When I got out of the car, I couldn't even walk. I rang the doorbell and my mother opened the door. She said you look tired.' I didn't eat for one week after that, just water. I didn't tell anyone. I went to the hospital the next day.

. . . "The criminals started talking about it [the rape] in my neighborhood. They thought my husband would divorce me. They wanted to ruin my reputation. Slowly my husband started to know what had happened. Four months later, we started a case. My family heard about the case. My brother hit me and tried to kill me."

. . . New York-based Human Rights Watch researcher Christoph Wilcke, who studies the Saudi legal system, said the woman would need a pardon from King Abdullah himself or from the provincial governor to be spared the lashings and jail time. The punishment will also be reviewed by the Supreme Judiciary Council, which will scrutinize the ruling, according to the Ministry of Justice.

You can compare that with the story now coming from the Saudi Justice Ministry as reported the other day by CNN. It has additional facts about the Saudi Court system and its medieval processes:

She was convicted of violating the kingdom's Islamic law by not having a male guardian with her.

The attacks took place in March 2006, when the woman was 18 and engaged to be married.

The government statement said that according to the woman's signed confession, she called a man on her cell phone and "asked to be with him alone, illegally." The two met at a marketplace, then rode in the man's car to "a dark area of the beach, and stayed there for some time," the ministry said.

The group of attackers "saw her in a compromising situation, her clothes on the ground," the statement said. "The men at this point assaulted her and the man with her."

The woman knew that being alone with a man who wasn't her husband was illegal, "and therefore she violated the covenant of marriage." However, the woman was engaged -- not married -- at the time.

After the incident, the woman and the man did not come forward about the assaults or press charges until someone contacted the woman's husband "telling him what happened, and about his wife's affair and adultery," the ministry said. "She then confessed ... the husband therefore came forward to the police and formally complained nearly three months after the incident."

The woman and her companion "exposed themselves to this heinous crime, causing the crime to take place because of their violations of the pure Sharia ruling" -- the country's strict Islamic law.

The case was handled through regular court procedures, and the woman, her male companion and the attackers all agreed in court to the initial sentences, the government said in a previous statement.

The woman's husband told CNN earlier this week that "from the onset, my wife was dealt with as a guilty person who committed a crime. She was not given any chance to prove her innocence or describe how she was a victim of multiple brutal rapes."

Asked about the ministry's statement Saturday, the husband declined to comment publicly.

. . . Earlier this week, the woman's husband blamed his wife's treatment on a judge with a personal vendetta. Al-Lahim told CNN that the head judge in the three-judge panel that considered the case was opposed to his client from the beginning. Both said they believe the man forced the woman to meet with him, but said she was not allowed to present that in court.

Under Saudi law, women are subject to numerous restrictions, including a strict dress code, a prohibition against driving and a requirement that they get a man's permission to travel or have surgery.

The attorney for the girl from Qatif has now filed suit against the Saudi Justice Ministry for defaming his client. This from Arab News, which alsso highlights the debate this case has ignited in Saudi Arabia:

The lawyer for a victim of kidnapping and rape who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison said yesterday he would file a complaint that states the Ministry of Justice defamed his client.

The defamation suit would be filed through the Ministry of Culture and Information because the defamation of his client occurred through a statement the Ministry of Justice issued through the Saudi Press Agency on Saturday.

The lawyer, Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, is disputing claims made by the ministry, including that his 19-year-old client had confessed to the moral crime of having an “illegal affair” with an unrelated man.

Arab News has made several attempts to get the Justice Ministry’s reply to this case, . . .

On Sunday, Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Obeikan, a former judge and current member of the Saudi Fatwa Committee (responsible for issuing religious edicts), represented the ministry on a program aired on Lebanon’s LBC network. Al-Lahem faced off with the sheikh as the two debated the course of this case. The victim’s husband also called in and confronted the sheikh. (The victim and her husband have signed a marriage contract but have never lived together because they have not had a public wedding yet, which is the final step of marriage under Saudi custom that allows them to live together.)

The lawyer and the husband reject claims by the ministry that the young woman had confessed to her moral crime. They said the judges were using witness testimony by the men who were found guilty of abducting and gang-raping not only the woman but the man she was with at the time.

“The ministry’s official statement, concerning the girl, was cited directly from the assaulters’ testimony,” Al-Lahem said during the program on Sunday.

On Saturday the Ministry of Justice said the basis of the decision to punish the woman was because she had arranged to meet the man to “exchange forbidden affairs through illegal khalwa ... they both confessed to doing what God forbids.”

“All she said during the police investigation and her only testimony in front of the judges was that she went to meet that guy to get back the pictures with which he was blackmailing her,” the woman’s husband told Arab News. “It’s obvious now that they published this because they wanted the husband to feel ashamed and shut up.”

. . . The local Arabic press has marginalized the story and have published only the ministry statements verbatim. One headline declared “Ministry Reveals Qatif Story” while some newspapers headlines have called the rape victim an “adulteress.”

Avoiding the words “rape” or “adultery”, Sheikh Al-Obeikan blamed the girl for “what has happened” and underscored the court’s belief that she committed a crime of illegal affair and “stained the matrimonial bed” and thus deserved the punishment she received.

At that point Al-Lahem interrupted and objected to the ambiguous language being used by the sheikh. “What illegal affair are you accusing her of? Khalwa is a minor crime in Shariah,” said Al-Lahem.

Sheikh Al-Obeikan repeated what was said in Saturday’s ministry statement: “Doing what God forbids.”

“Are you accusing her of adultery?” asked Al-Lahem.

Al-Obeikan: “We all know what forbidden act. The ministry does not want to announce that word.”

Meanwhile, Al-Lahem has not yet received a copy of the verdict from the court as required for the appeals process to go to the Court of Cassation. The husband was scheduled to receive the documents on Saturday.

“I went to the court on Saturday, but they told me (the document) is not ready and I can get it after a week,” said the rape victim’s husband, who added that throughout this last trial he has not received any documentation regarding his wife’s case: “Not even a copy of the police investigation records.”

Apart from all that is happening in this case, the victim of kidnapping and gang rape is recuperating with her family in deep distress after last week’s sentence, according to a source close to the case. The young woman, who was an 11th-grade student at the time of the rape, had dropped out of school because of the distress. Her family has not told her about the latest developments in the case to avoid further distress.

If you would like to contact the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C. at (202) 342-3800 or by e-mail at If you are wondering why our own champions of human rights, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), has not yet taken a stand on this case, you may contact them through the form on their website. This is the same organization who seek to ascede to Sharia law in the West. They attempt to portray women's rights in Islam as benign and any criticism of Wahhabi / Salafi Islam as being "Islamaphobia." Right.