Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Let's work through
this logic.
"Is it just me or is Condoleezza Rice's defense of the Bush administration's pre-9/11 counterterrorism efforts deeply unconvincing? Rice is rebutting the charge, made by former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, that the administration effectively ignored the Al Qaeda threat prior to 9/11.

"She makes three specific points in response: 1.) The pre-9/11 proposals made by counterterrorism holdovers from the Clinton administration (e.g. Clarke) were either ineffective or impossible to implement. 2.) The Bush administration did, in fact, make Al Qaeda its top priority prior to 9/11, but the plan it developed was going to take years to implement. 3.) The 9/11 attacks were inevitable by the time Bush took office--since the plans for the attacks had been set in motion back in 1999. There was, as a result, nothing Bush could have done at any point between January 2001 and September 11 to prevent them.

"None of these points seems likely to get the administration off the hook. The first point is moot, since there was nothing forcing the Bush administration to adopt its predecessor's proposals (a fact highlighted by Rice's claim that the Bushies developed their own proposals). The second point is undermined by the third point: If the reason you couldn't stop the 9/11 attacks between January and September of 2001 was that they were more or less inevitable by 1999, then why would you adopt a counterterrorism plan that would take years to pull off, conceivably allowing dozens more terrorist plots to be set in motion--and, therefore, at least by Rice's logic, to become inevitable--long before the plan would have any effect."
Ok. So:

"There was nothing forcing the Bush administration to adopt its predecessor's proposals."
So they had 9 months to formulate a plan to prevent 9/11?

"If the reason you couldn't stop the 9/11 attacks between January and September of 2001 was that they were more or less inevitable by 1999, then why would you adopt a counterterrorism plan that would take years to pull off, conceivably allowing dozens more terrorist plots to be set in motion--and, therefore, at least by Rice's logic, to become inevitable--long before the plan would have any effect."
So the Bush team was supposed to have realized in January of 2001 that an attack was inevitable in September of 2001 and therefore adopt plans that would prevent it in time?

The argument that they were inevitable because the were in motion in 1999 relies on that hindsight. You cannot then turn around and say that the Bushies are liable because they should have known that they didn't have enough time. That's stupid. By that logic Clinton is much guiltier. And you don't even need that fallacy to know that a much larger portion of the responsibility lies with Clinton.

People make mistakes. Even in the world of intelligence. Even when lives are at stake. Good people and bad people make mistakes. Smart people and dumb people make mistakes. I don't blame people for mistakes. I blame people for the failure to learn.

I suggest that perhaps greater blame lies with the people who knew Bin Laden was connected to the 1993 WTC bombings yet declined an offer to arrest and deliver him to them. See.
On March 3, 1996, U.S. ambassador to Sudan, Tim Carney, Director of East African Affairs at the State Department, David Shinn, and a member of the CIA's directorate of operations' Africa division met with Sudan's then-Minister of State for Defense Elfatih Erwa in a Rosslyn, Virginia hotel room. Item number two on the CIA's list of demands was to provide information about Osama bin Laden. Five days later, Erwa met with the CIA officer and offered more than information. He offered to arrest and turn over bin Laden himself. Two years earlier, the Sudan had turned over the infamous terrorist, Carlos the Jackal to the French. He now sits in a French prison. Sudan wanted to repeat that scenario with bin Laden in the starring role.

Clinton administration officials have offered various explanations for not taking the Sudanese offer. One argument is that an offer was never made. But the same officials are on the record as saying the offer was "not serious." Even a supposedly non-serious offer is an offer. Another argument is that the Sudanese had not come through on a prior request so this offer could not be trusted. But, as Ambassador Tim Carney had argued at the time, even if you believe that, why not call their bluff and ask for bin Laden?

The Clinton administration simply did not want the responsibility of taking Osama bin Laden into custody. Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger is on the record as saying: "The FBI did not believe we had enough evidence to indict bin Laden at that time and therefore opposed bringing him to the United States." Even if that was true ? and it wasn't ? the U.S. could have turned bin Laden over to Yemen or Libya, both of which had valid warrants for his arrest stemming from terrorist activities in those countries. Given the legal systems of those two countries, Osama would have soon ceased to be a threat to anyone.

After months of debating how to respond to the Sudanese offer, the Clinton administration simply asked Sudan to deport him. Where to? Ambassador Carney told me what he told the Sudanese: "Anywhere but Somalia."

In May 1996 bin Laden was welcomed into Afghanistan by the Taliban. It could not have been a better haven for Osama bin Laden.

Steven Simon, Clinton's counterterrorism director on the National Security Council thought that kicking bin Laden out of Sudan would benefit U.S. security since "It's going to take him a while to reconstitute, and that screws him up and buys time." Buys time? Oh yeah, 1996 was an election year and team Clinton did not want to deal with bin Laden until after it was safely reelected."
Now granted this is fingerpointing with some hindsight but... I submit that the failures of the Clinton administration over 8 YEARS are slightly graver than the failures of the Bush administration over the course of 9 months. This is what Clarke said in 2002:
"Um, the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.

Second point is that the Clinton administration had a strategy in place, effectively dating from 1998. And there were a number of issues on the table since 1998. And they remained on the table when that administration went out of office???issues like aiding the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, changing our Pakistan policy -- uh, changing our policy toward Uzbekistan. And in January 2001, the incoming Bush administration was briefed on the existing strategy. They were also briefed on these series of issues that had not been decided on in a couple of years.

And the third point is the Bush administration decided then, you know, in late January, to do?two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy, including all of the lethal covert action findings, which we've now made public to some extent.

And the point is, while this big review was going on, there were still in effect, the lethal findings were still in effect. The second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.

So, point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.

The sixth point, the newly-appointed deputies???and you had to remember, the deputies didn't get into office until late March, early April. The deputies then tasked the development of the implementation details, uh, of these new decisions that they were endorsing, and sending out to the principals.

Over the course of the summer???last point???they developed implementation details, the principals met at the end of the summer, approved them in their first meeting, changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance.

And then changed the strategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline."
And this is what he said about saying that:
"Asked at the commission hearing Wednesday whether he intended to mislead journalists and their readers in 2002, Clarke said no.

"When you are special assistant to the president and you're asked to explain something that is potentially embarrassing to the administration, because the administration didn't do enough or didn't do it in a timely manner and is taking political heat for it, as was the case there, you have a choice," he said.

One "choice that one has is to put the best face you can for the administration on the facts as they were, and that is what I did."
So you lied then? Or you're lying now?

All I demand is consistency. If you blame Bush then you MUST also blame Clinton and Kerry.

I agree with Instapundit. This guy is either dumber than a post with morals to match, or he's still on the payroll.

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
. . .
Do you get it now? Do you understand what you are being told? You are being told that you have no right to self-defense and
this is where that kind of reasoning ends up.
"Man Who Killed Armed Intruder Jailed Eight Years
By Will Batchelor, PA News

A man who stabbed to death an armed intruder at his home was jailed for eight years today.

Carl Lindsay, 25, answered a knock at his door in Salford, Greater Manchester, to find four men armed with a gun.

When the gang tried to rob him he grabbed a samurai sword and stabbed one of them, 37-year-old Stephen Swindells, four times.

Mr Swindells, of Salford, was later found collapsed in an alley and died in hospital.

Lindsay, of Walkden, was found guilty of manslaughter following a three-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.

He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Sam Haworth said: "Four men, including the victim, had set out purposefully to rob Carl Lindsay and this intent ultimately led to Stephen Swindells' death."

"I believe the sentences passed today reflect the severity of the circumstances."

Three other men were charged with robbery and firearms offences in connection with the incident, which took place in February last year."

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
. . .
Well I can't say it any better than
this.
"We tried appeasement once before...
By Mark Steyn
(Filed: 23/03/2004)

A neighbour of mine refuses to let her boy play with "militaristic" toys. So when a friend gave the l'il tyke a plastic sword and shield, mom mulled it over and then took away the former and allowed him to keep the latter. And for a while, on my drive down to town, I'd pass Junior in the yard playing with his shield, mastering the art of cowering more effectively against unseen blows.


That's how the "peace" crowd thinks the West should fight terrorism: eschew the sword, but keep the shield if you absolutely have to. Yesterday, The Telegraph reported that two Greenpeace activists had climbed up to Big Ben to protest at the Iraq war. Don't ask me why Greenpeace is opposed to the liberation of Iraq. It's been marvellous for the eco-system: the marshlands of southern Iraq are now being restored after decades of Saddamite devastation.

Nevertheless, the Greenpeace guys shinned up St Stephen's Tower, just as a couple of months before that a Mirror reporter blagged his way into a servants' gig at Buckingham Palace just in time for the Bush visit, and a couple of months before that an Osama lookalike gatecrashed Prince William's party.

History repeats itself: farce, farce, farce, but sooner or later tragedy is bound to kick in. The inability of the state to secure even the three highest-profile targets in the realm - the Queen, her heir, her Parliament - should remind us that a defensive war against terrorism will ensure terrorism. Tony Blair understands that. Few other European leaders do.

For more than a week now, American friends have asked me why 3/11 wasn't 9/11. I think it comes down to those two words you find on Holocaust memorials all over Europe: "Never again." Fine-sounding, but claptrap. The never-again scenario comes round again every year. This very minute in North Korea there are entire families interned in concentration camps. Concentration camps with gas chambers. Think Kim Jong-Il's worried that the civilised world might mean something by those two words? Ha-ha.

How did a pledge to the memory of the dead decay into hollow moral preening? When an American Jew stands at the gates of a former concentration camp and sees the inscription "Never again", he assumes it's a commitment never again to tolerate genocide. Alain Finkielkraut, a French thinker, says that those two words to a European mean this: never again the führers and duces who enabled such genocide. "Never again power politics. Never again nationalism. Never again Auschwitz" - a slightly different set of priorities. And over the years a revulsion against any kind of "power politics" has come to trump whatever revulsion post-Auschwitz Europe might feel about mass murder.

That's why the EU let hundreds of thousands of Bosnians and Croats die on its borders until the Americans were permitted to step in. That's why the fact that thousands of Iraqis are no longer being murdered by their government is trivial when weighed against the use of Anglo-American military force required to effect their freedom. "Never again" has evolved to mean precisely the kind of passivity that enabled the Holocaust first time round. "Neville again" would be a better slogan.

Among all the foolish apologists for the murderers of Madrid, it was the Reverend Mark Beach who happened to catch my eye. Preaching at St Andrew's Church, Rugby, nine days ago, Mr Beach said: "The people of Madrid are reaping the fruits of our intolerance towards those of different races and religions. The war in Iraq was never going to solve the problems of that region but instead inflamed Arab people all over the world to new heights of anger towards the West."

God Almighty. The sooner the Potemkin Church of England is sold for scrap the better. Almost every word of Mr Beach's is false; there are mosques in the English Midlands, but no Christian churches in Saudi Arabia. Its official tourism commission lists among prohibited categories of visitor "Jewish persons".

It is precisely because the West is so open to different races that Islamist bombers can blend in on Madrid commuter trains, and the Tube and the Paris Metro, in a way that, say, a team of blond, blue-eyed Aryan bombers certainly couldn't in Damascus. The war in Iraq has actually solved quite a few problems in that region, and Arab people all over the world aren't inflamed - the allegedly seething Arab street is as somnolent as ever.

In 2002 and 2003, I took a couple of two-legged, mini fact-finding trips - first to western Europe, then on to the Middle East. And both times I was struck by the way the Muslims of Araby were far less inflamed than those in the alienated immigrant ghettoes around Paris and Amsterdam. Life in the West, exposure to the self-loathing platitudes of Anglican clerics, these are the sort of things that seem to inflame Muslims. Many of the wackiest Islamists from Richard Reid to Zacarias Moussaoui to Metin Kaplan are products of the enervated Europe symbolised by the Rev Mark Beach.

A century ago, in The Riddle Of The Sands, the first great English spy novel, Erskine Childers has his yachtsman, Davies, try to persuade the Foreign Office wallah Carruthers to take seriously the possibility of German naval marauders in the Fresian Islands: "Follow the parallel of a war on land. People your mountains with a daring and resourceful race, who possess an intimate knowledge of every track and bridlepath, who operate in small bands, travel light, and move rapidly. See what an immense advantage such guerrillas possess over an enemy which clings to beaten tracks, moves in large bodies, slowly, and does not 'know the country'."

Davies wants Carruthers to apply the old principles to new forms of warfare. The Islamists are doing that. Their most effective guerrillas aren't in the Hindu Kush, where it is the work of moments to drop a daisycutter on the mighty Pashtun warrior. They're travelling light on the bridle-paths of Europe - the small cells that operate in the nooks and crannies of a free society, while politicians cling to the beaten tracks - old ideas, multicultural pieties and a general hope that things will turn out for the best.

That's the drawback of sticking with the "Neville again" routine: appeasement is even less effective when the faraway country of which you know little is your own."
Now, after reading this, no one may claim "I didn't know. I didn't understand." This is reality in all its naked ugliness.

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
. . .
Wow.

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
. . .
Presented without comment in this context.
"Listen to the Germans: Oh, What a Sorry State We're In
By RICHARD BERNSTEIN
Published: March 24, 2004

ERLIN, March 23 — "Does nothing work out here besides the separation of garbage?" the weekly Der Spiegel asked in a recent issue, whose cover article carried the legend, "Germany: A Joke."

"Even the separated garbage is often mixed together again in the end," the article continued, going on to complain that at a time when many people, including senior government officials, speak in terms of national decline, the German Parliament is spending its time passing trivial legislation — subsidies for commuters, for example, or new rules for deposits on cans.

Countries experience malaise, as Jimmy Carter once put it of the United States (not to his advantage in public opinion), and Germany is quite clearly in that state now. No less a figure than Helmut Schmidt, the former Social Democratic chancellor, said in a recent interview with the weekly Die Zeit, "There is almost no area where Germany stands out with its achievements."

Mr. Schmidt was accused of undue pessimism by Horst Köhler, the departing president of the International Monetary Fund, who is almost certainly going to be elected president of Germany in elections in May. But Mr. Köhler himself, speaking in the same interview, seemed hardly more optimistic. "German culture, German poets and music are always present," he said. "However, when you talk about the future, about future technology and future knowledge, nobody thinks of Germany first."

That is probably true, though it is also probably true that few think of France or China or even Britain in that vein either. Yet those countries do not seem to be in quite the despairing mood that Germany is in. Is the difference perhaps, as some have been saying, Germans just enjoy complaining? Or does it run deeper?

"Germany is still the No. 1 exporting country in the world; this hasn't changed," Johannes Rau, the country's departing president said a few weeks ago in an interview that caused a great deal of comment. "We don't have any reason to complain."

In a country where unemployment has remained at 10 percent for several years and up to 25 percent in some cities and towns (mostly in the former East) there certainly are, Mr. Rau acknowledged, people whose lives are very tough. "But," he said, "many people are whining despite having a very high standard of living and a secure source of income, and I don't think that's right."

Indeed, a casual observation of daily life in this country supports Mr. Rau's complaint about all the complaining. Berlin, where the cafes are crowded, Philharmonic Hall is always sold out and parades of the larger model BMW's and Mercedes-Benzes take place continuously on the opulent Kurfürstendam and the splendidly refurbished Unter den Linden, does not convey the impression of decline.

Yet the mood, clearly, is bad. The left-of-center coalition government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has about the lowest poll results of any recent chancellor. If a new election were held now, the opposition conservatives would be swept into power in a landslide. If that does happen in 2006 when elections will be held — and many political experts believe that it will — Germany could potentially be following the pattern of the United States after the Carter malaise and Britain in the depressing years before Margaret Thatcher in opting for a conservative revolution.

Indeed, the leader of the main conservative party, Angela Merkel, is sometimes called Angela Thatcher or Maggie Merkel, reflecting her advocacy of far greater economic reforms than Mr. Schröder has been proposing (though, in fact, Mrs. Merkel does not seem to be as radically free-market oriented as Margaret Thatcher was).

In the meantime, as President Rau's remark indicates, at least some believe that things are not that terrible and that the danger is that Germans will succumb to a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.

But if other European countries seem less kvetchy than Germany, it could be that they have less to complain about. There are experts here who contend that the pessimism is actually a reasonable response to an objectively bad situation. "The economic situation is really more of a problem than in other countries because so many shocks have come together," said Hans-Werner Sinn, the director of the Institute for Economic Research in Munich.

Among the shocks: the reunification of the two halves of the country, which was enormously expensive for the West but has not created an economically viable eastern half; the realization that the country just cannot afford the social-welfare spending that has been among its greatest achievements; and, perhaps most lastingly, the fear that with the imminent enlargement of the European Union, a lot of far cheaper countries to the East — Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states — are going to draw industries and jobs away from Germany.

In other words, Germans are gloomy because there is a general realization that the formulas that have worked so well for this country in the decades after World War II are not working anymore, and nobody knows exactly what to do. It is in that mood of semiparalysis that a conservative revolution seems possible.

Of course, it is far too early to see if that will happen, and, if it does, it will happen despite a palpable public aversion to Thatcherite reforms. But among experts especially, there is a growing feeling that Germany needs some strong medicine if it is to overcome its difficulties, and strong medicine in Germany would mean something genuinely historic for Europe: a dismantling of the elaborate welfare state in the Continent's biggest and economically most powerful country that would surely reverberate in the other welfare states of Europe.

"Germans have awakened from their dreams of the eternal welfare state," Mr. Sinn said, explaining the gloomy national mood, and giving it an objective basis. "They've been confronted with reality, and that is never nice."

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
. . .
And
this kind of shit is exactly why I pointed out that Kerry had dropped the ball on terrorism. Thank you Instapundit.

You begin to see which side these "stories" and "mistakes" and "misquotes" always favor.

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
. . .
Hmmm.
Al Qaeda and Hamas are buddies and work together? Who would have guessed?

"Oh wait. Hmm. Maybe we shouldn't publicly threaten to attack America. Bad things seem to happen to those who do. Ok. Nevermind. We'll content ourselves with trying to destroy the little satan. Just go back to arguing over yellowcake."
"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned."-Martin Niemöller
Don't you see what's happening?!?
"I’m being treated to a poignant lesson in European and Jewish history. The 30’s: why did they stay? Why didn’t they run for their lives? Couldn’t they see what was happening? I see before me a vivid demonstration of the deep roots we dig to make our lives bloom, the intricate biology of a human life, irrigated with the lifeblood of a community, inextricably connected to a society, born of life to give life to keep life alive. Leaving is not packing up and tipping your hat goodbye. It is tearing live flesh out of a living matrix.

I am, or was, the first American-born generation in a family that fled Europe before World War I: a lesson in the wisdom of leaving before it is too late. Now I am the first stage in the story of a three-generation "French" family. Why don’t people just pick up and go while they still can? It’s always the same. There is an ailing grandmother, a son in medical school, a daughter who just got married, a business too good to throw away and not good enough to sell. There are in-laws and obligations and unfinished business and . . . hope. Hope that it will all blow over. That people will come to their senses, reason win out, normal life resume. And so, blinded by hope, people minimize danger and cling to an imagined stability.

Jews are being persecuted every day in France. Some are insulted, pelted with stones, spat upon; some are beaten or threatened with knives or guns. Synagogues are torched, schools burned to the ground. A little over a month ago, at least one Jew was savagely murdered, his throat slit, his face gouged with a carving knife. Did it create an uproar? No. The incident was stifled, and by common consent—not just by the authorities, but by the Jews.

Some Jews are simply frightened; they are reluctant to take the subway, walk in certain neighborhoods, go out after dark. Others, clearly identifiable as Jews, are courageous and defiant. Many, perhaps the majority, show no outward signs of Jewishness and do not seek to know the truth about the rampant and increasingly violent anti-Semitism all around them. If you are Jewish but do not defend Israel or act too religious or look too different, you are not yet a target—so why insist on monitoring the danger when daily life is so delicious?

And the lies so tantalizing. A thick, hand-knit comforter of prevarication spreads itself over the French population. Every morning, instead of waking people up, the press tucks them in. France has become a nation of sleepwalkers. You sense it with particular sharpness after a visit to the U.S. How is anyone to face the truth about anything when the truth is hidden by 19th-century-style posturing, pretentious humanitarian hoodwinking, and lowdown village tomfoolery?

France is in fact an adversary of the United States—as is its right, after all. But the French honestly believe their country is behaving like a reasonable ally, and there is no way to convince them of the contrary. They are hooked up to an intravenous flow of lies about the United States, fed propaganda disguised as information, molecules of fact dissolved in a carefully regulated solution to keep them on an even keel and save them from having to judge for themselves. No raw data allowed; one mustn’t have people developing a taste for reality.



I don’t see signs that any of this is about to change. Every measure taken in the right direction, or what might seem to be the right direction, hides a fatal flaw. After the floods, and with the exception of a brief parenthesis for a sourpuss acknowledgment of the arrest of Saddam Hussein, the subject of concern has become the hijab, the "Islamic veil." Enlightened by the findings of a national commission, the president spoke out grandiloquently in support of a law that would ban the wearing of "ostensible" signs of religious affiliation in schools and government offices. The time has come, said the president, to reaffirm the "values of the Republic" and to put an end to all these separate communautarismes, which he pronounced with a big zzzizzzy plural "s."

The law has not been drafted yet (it is scheduled for parliamentary debate in February), and even if it is passed, one wonders if it will ever be applied. But it is askew in its very conception. Unwilling or unable to name the problem for what it is—political Islam on the march—the government has turned headscarves into a religious issue and lined up its troops on the barricades of that peculiar French form of universalism known as laïcité. Since religion is the official culprit, the law will be evenhandedly aimed at the kippa as well, adding insult to injury for religious Jews just at a time when France’s chief rabbi has advised them to hide their yarmulkes under baseball caps so they won’t be beaten up by Islamists on the rampage.

So now, in the name of a doctrine originally promulgated to provide a bulwark against an overbearing Catholicism, the Jews are to be thrown in with those who really are hammering away at the secular values of the République. Jews lived quietly in France for centuries before the massive Muslim immigration started after World War II—but suddenly you cannot say anything bad about Muslims without saying something bad about Jews?

To be sure, the law is also going to mention that Catholics must not wear big crosses to school; but to my knowledge they have never intended to. Largely indifferent to the once-powerful Church that provoked the 1905 law mandating the separation of church and state, the vast majority of French Catholics swear by the principle of laïcité and don’t even begin to suspect that they are being turned into dhimmis in their own country.

The handpicked leader of a recently created Muslim umbrella organization has called for reluctant compliance with the proposed law while already haggling for an Oriental compromise. But the major element in the organization, the radical UOIF, has mobilized against the law and against a Republic that would dare discriminate against Islam. You can’t fool them by banning yarmulkes! And they intend to fight.



Will the pacifist and pacified French stand up and defend their nation? Or will we have to leave?

That is what it boils down to. Things have gone from shouting "death to the Jews" to firebombing schools and synagogues, to persecution, attacks, even murder. We have Muslim rage in schools, hospitals, and courtrooms. Police headquarters are attacked, hospital personnel beaten, judges threatened. The Republic is under siege, and what are the French doing about it? They are trashing America.

This, it seems, is their new Maginot line: the sneer of hatred. Hand in hand with the government and the intellectual classes, the French media are channeling the national dismay over lost grandeur into contempt for America. Watch these suave Europeans, snickering to themselves because American soldiers are getting killed in Iraq. Is that (they sneer) any way to risk your life? Go on a crusade to fight incurable disease, cross in front of a moving car, smoke a cigarette. But fight to defend your own country? It’s indecent!

For me, the monuments are crumbling. The glistening golden dome of Les Invalides. The châteaux and the triumphal arches, the obelisks, the bux om fountains, the wrought-iron balconies, the slightly tipsy 18th-century apartment buildings, the rivers winding through those darling towns and cities. How can so much beauty cover such deep cowardice? I lash myself to the mast and close my senses to the sirens, while my heart rings with pride for "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

We are not free in France. I know the difference. I come from a free country. A rough and ready, clumsy, slapped together, tacky country where people say wow and gosh and shop at Costco. A country so vast I haven’t the faintest idea where I would put myself. A homeland I would have liked to keep at a distance, visit with pleasure, and leave with relief. A native land I walked out on with belated adolescent insouciance. A foreign land where I was born because Europe vomited up my grandparents as it is now coughing up me and mine.

If only the accusations bandied about so mindlessly by the French talking heads were true: American imperialism, Washington’s insatiable drive for hegemony, the Yankee need to dominate the world, and all the rest, the whole stars-and-stripes version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Just look at the American eagle spreading its wings, asserting its dominion: look at those sharp claws, that crafty eye, that hooked nose. If only it were true. Give me empire, my dear Yanks. Come over here and colonize this place so that I can put my suitcases back on top of the closet, keep my swishes and furbelows, my fanfreluches and baubles, my adopted family jewels and Continental airs, and live to a ripe old age here in the center of Paris, in the middle of nowhere."
Then there's this.
"To Die in Madrid
The nutty logic that says Spain provoked Islamist terrorism.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004, at 12:28 PM PT

I can remember when I was a bit of an ETA fan myself. It was in 1973*, when a group of Basque militants assassinated Adm. Carrero Blanco. The admiral was a stone-faced secret police chief, personally groomed to be the successor to the decrepit Francisco Franco. His car blew up, killing only him and his chauffeur with a carefully planted charge, and not only was the world well rid of another fascist, but, more important, the whole scheme of extending Franco's rule was vaporized in the same instant. The dictator had to turn instead to Crown Prince Juan Carlos, who turned out to be the best Bourbon in history and who swiftly dismantled Franco's entire system. If this action was "terrorism," it had something to be said for it. Everyone I knew in Spain made a little holiday in their hearts when the gruesome admiral went sky-high.

The Basque country, with its historic capital in Guernica, had been one of the main battlegrounds against Hitler and Mussolini in their first joint aggression in Spain, and many European families adopted Basque orphans and raised money for the resistance. It is tedious to relate the story of ETA's degeneration into a gangster organization that itself proclaims a fascist ideology of Basque racial uniqueness, and anyway one doesn't need to bother, since nobody any longer argues that there is a "root cause" of ETA's atrocities. In the face of this kind of subhuman nihilism, people know without having to be told that the only response is a quiet, steady hatred and contempt, and a cold determination to outlast the perpetrators while remorselessly tracking them down.

However, it seems that some Spaniards, and some non-Spanish commentators, would change on a dime if last week's mass murder in Madrid could be attributed to the Bin-Ladenists. In that case not only would there be a root cause—the deployment of 1,300 Spanish soldiers in the reconstruction of Iraq—but there would also be a culpable person, namely Spain's retiring prime minister. By this logic, terrorism would also have a cure—the withdrawal of those Spanish soldiers from a country where al-Qaida emphatically does not desire them to be.


Try not to laugh or cry, but some spokesmen of the Spanish left have publicly proposed exactly this syllogism. I wonder if I am insulting the readers of Slate if I point out its logical and moral deficiencies:

Many Spaniards were among those killed recently in Morocco, where a jihadist bomb attack on an ancient Moorish synagogue took place in broad daylight. The attack was on Morocco itself, which was neutral in the recent Iraq war. It seems a bit late to demand that the Moroccan government change sides and support Saddam Hussein in that conflict, and I suspect that the Spanish Communist and socialist leadership would feel a little sheepish in making this suggestion. Nor is it obvious to me that the local Moroccan jihadists would stop bombing if this concession were made. Still, such a concession would be consistent with the above syllogism, as presumably would be a demand that Morocco cease to tempt fate by allowing synagogues on its soil in the first place.

The Turkish government, too, should be condemned for allowing its Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to visit the shattered synagogue in Istanbul after the latest mass murder (thus becoming, incidentally, the first Turkish prime minister ever to do so). Erdogan is also the first prime minister ever to be elected on an Islamist ticket. Clearly, he was asking for trouble and has not yet understood al-Qaida's conditions for being allowed to lead a quiet life. Not that he hadn't tried—he prevented the U.S. Army from approaching Baghdad through what is now known as the Sunni Triangle. He just hasn't tried hard enough.

It cannot be very long now before some slaughter occurs on the streets of London or Rome or Warsaw, as punishment for British and Italian and Polish membership of the anti-Saddam coalition. But perhaps there is still time to avoid the wrath to come. If British and Italian and Polish troops make haste to leave the Iraqis to their own "devices" (of the sort that exploded outside the mosques of Karbala and Najaf last month), their civilian cousins may still hope to escape the stern disapproval of the holy warriors. Don't ask why the holy warriors blow up mosques by the way—it's none of your goddam crusader-Jew business.

The other countries of NATO, which has now collectively adopted the responsibility for Afghanistan, should reconsider. As long as their forces remain on the soil of that country, they are liable to attract the sacred rage of the Muslim fighters. It will not be enough for Germany and France to have stayed out of Iraq. They cannot expect to escape judgment by such hypocritical means.

French schools should make all haste to permit not just the veil but the burqa, as well as to segregate swimming pools and playgrounds. Do they suppose that they deceive anybody when they temporize about God's evident will? Bombings will follow this blasphemy, as the night succeeds the day. It is written.

I find I can't quite decide what to recommend in the American case. I thought it was a good idea to remove troops from Saudi Arabia in any event (after all, we had removed the chief regional invader). But, even with the troops mainly departed, bombs continue to detonate in Saudi streets. We are, it seems, so far gone in sin and decadence that no repentance or penitence can be adequate. Perhaps, for the moment, it's enough punishment, and enough shame, just to know that what occurred in Madrid last week is all our fault. Now, let that sink in."
If you wish to have any control over your own life it is your duty- (no, not duty, it is simply necessary)- to follow your principles to their logical conclusions. If your principles are inconsistent you will not obtain your desired results by following them. It is no use wishing that the law of gravity not apply to you. It does. No amount of begging or pleading or bribery will change that.

You can only seek peace from rational actors. Deterrence only works on rational actors. You will not have to appease a man you can negotiate with because that is not his nature. You cannot placate a bully.

posted by Rachel 3/24/2004
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