Your Thug or Mine?

Because the protocol of our politics demands that foreign policy be conducted solely in terms of idealism, American politicians and public figures have always been uncomfortable dealing with thugs and despots. We are unable, at least in our public life, to manage the cheerful and practical cynicism that comes so easily to our British cousins. “He may be a thug, but he’s our thug” must be considered a deeply shameful attitude by any American politician with national ambition.

And so no one can acknowledge that the national interest of United States sometimes requires it to do business with dictators. We have to pretty them up as our “friends”, and George W. Bush has refined this art, lionizing all the petty thugs that prudence requires him to ally with as “America’s good friend”, or “a great friend in the War on Terror”, or — God help us all — “a friend of Freedom”.

Gen. Syed Pervez MusharrafWhich brings us to General Syed Pervez Musharraf. On September 10th, 2001, this stalwart friend of the United States was anathema. Under his aegis Pakistan’s ISI had nurtured, brought to power, and maintained the Taliban in power in neighboring Afghanistan. The brutes in Kabul were Musharraf’s and Pakistan’s little Islamist hobby, a way to allow those boisterous military types in the ISI to get their jollies without upsetting the applecart back in Islamabad. Add the Islamic Bomb to the equation, and Pakistan could only be consigned to the Outer Darkness of our foreign policy.

On the bright morning of the following day, though, everything changed. Mushy got a little dose of the carrot and a little dose of the stick, and overnight became a zealous ally in the War on Terror.

But General Musharraf is not all that different from some of the other Third World Dictators who receive quite different treatment at the hands of the Great Satan.

Gates of Vienna commenter Prashanth pointed us to this post by Nitin Pai in The Acorn, a member blog at The Indian National Interest:

Saddam Hussein got death, because he fell foul of the United States, lost a war, got caught, stayed alive through the legal proceedings wearing a natty suit and a personality that alarmed Iraq’s newly installed rulers. Gen. Musharraf gets dinner at the White House because he knows what’s good for him (down to the bit about proper attire).

He’s got a good point there.
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So what does Mushy have that Saddam didn’t have? More brains? Hardly. Saddam was brilliant in his evil, a shrewd and clever strategist. He stayed alive and in power for thirty-five years in the most brutal and lethal political environment on earth. Saddam was no dummy; it must have been something else.

Saddam Hussein al-TikritiLook at it this way: suppose A. Q. Khan had done his work a little faster, or imagine that the DPRK and Saddam had been able to work out a mutually acceptable deal back in the 1990s. Pretend that when March 2003 rolled around, Saddam had a dozen or so Scud-B missiles tipped with 20-kiloton nuclear warheads, warheads that he could lob into Tel Aviv, Incirlik, or Kuwait, or at the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf.

Would the Marines have made the long march up to Baghdad anyway? Would the statues in the squares have still been toppled?

Or would Saddam now be sitting next to our President, wearing his dinner jacket and smiling for the photo op? Would he be lionized as a “true friend in the War on Terror”?

It’s worth thinking about.

The Acorn continues:

The most that can be said about hanging dictators and heads of state is that it serves to deter others. The clever ones know that that’s not true either. The real message is “unless you have one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council backing you, don’t mess with America”. The clever ones get it.

But, to be completely accurate, Nitin Pai should have added a clause: “unless you have one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council backing you, or an arsenal of nuclear weapons”.

Tehran gets it.

Of All the Deaths in 2006 Whom Will You Grieve the Most?

Even though Saddam Hussein’s death is taking up all the room in the mausoleum at the moment, 2006 brought other, more sorrowful deaths.

We have not yet buried our 38th President. Surely in current times no president has been more roundly ridiculed or and deserved it less. Do you remember “the amiable dunce” – a name given him by the later-to-be-disgraced Clark Clifford? Ah, those mills of God. Here’s what Jake Barnes at Spyralnotebook remembers of a family conversation about Ford:

When I think of Gerald Ford, I always think of a comment my uncle made a couple of years after Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter. We were having a little group rant about media bias and my uncle brought up how the press had portrayed Gerald Ford while he was in the White House.

Ford had been depicted during his presidency as a not too bright, physically spastic guy bumbling along through his presidency. The shot of him tripping on the steps of Air Force One or the story of his golf drive beaning a spectator were repeated over and over until they became national jokes. Chevy Chase made a career of Fordian pratfalls on Saturday Night Live.

But, as my uncle pointed out, Ford was anything but dim. He had been Editor of the Law Review at Yale, a great honor at one of the country’s leading law schools. He worked his way to the highest position in Congress that a Republican could hold at the time. He was a popular and effective leader in congress, and was reelected by large majorities in more than ten congressional elections. Ford had what his predecessor lacked… not only a superior analytical mind, but also a healthy dose of “emotional intelligence”.

And more to the point, Ford was hardly uncoordinated. He was probably the best natural athlete to hold the nation’s highest office. He was a football All-American at the University of Michigan and, in later years, a quite good golfer. I’ll never forget seeing him play at the tournament named in his honor held annually at Vail, Colorado. While in his mid-seventies, he competed well in a field of retired and semi-retired professional golfers.

The way that Gerald Ford was misrepresented by the press is a severe blot on that institution. Ford was a truly honorable man. He made the difficult but necessary decision to pardon Nixon, which he knew his political enemies would use to hinder his reelection. The media will now writing lofty articles about his life and times, but it should not be forgotten how they treated him when it really mattered.

- – - – - – - – - -
There was Milton Friedman, in November. To him was said by a member of the Federal Reserve Board: “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry.”

And how about James Brown?

James Brown has had more honorifics attached to his name than any other performer in music history. He has variously been tagged “Soul Brother Number One,” “the Godfather of Soul,” “the Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Mr. Dynamite” and even “the Original Disco Man.” This much is certain: what became known as soul music in the Sixties, funk music in the Seventies and rap music in the Eighties is directly attributable to James Brown. His transformation of gospel fervor into the taut, explosive intensity of rhythm & blues, combined with precision choreography and dynamic showmanship, served to define the directions black music would take from the release of his first R&B hit (“Please Please Please”) in 1956 to the present day.

And, of course, there is the irreplaceable voice of reason and rage, Oriana Fallaci. A reader sent a link to “Europe’s White Flag of Cowardice” by Jeffrey R. Nyquist. In his essay, Mr. Nyquist examines her final book, The Force of Reason:

Fallaci is unique in recognizing what few others have understood: that pacifism is a corrupting lie, humanitarianism a fraud, and therefore our statesmen “do not even comprehend the concept of the state.” She tells us what few have dared to say before now: that our politicians do not understand politics and our intellectuals have no intellect. According to Fallaci, “There is a lack of honor and dignity and conscience which characterizes a society ill with lack of courage.” The Church, she adds, seems incapable of defending Christianity. “And above all,” she explains, “there is a Europe which does not know where it goes. Which has lost its identity and sold itself to the sultans, the caliphs, the viziers, the mercenaries, of the new Ottoman Empire.”

Here is the problem with a “world without borders.” We forget that the boundary of our collective self was established through centuries of bloodshed. Do we imagine our ancestors were so stupid that they would risk life and limb sacrificing for something that need not exist? The geographical separation of peoples is a necessary precondition for preserving national identity and culture. Without boundaries there can be no people, no culture and no context for peace. And today, as the boundary between Christendom and Islam is erased, we find what Fallaci calls “the most terrible thing of all.” A community based on intolerance and terror begins to integrate with a community based on tolerance and freedom with the result that our journalists, teachers and intellectuals are turning against freedom because they are afraid to oppose the oppression and intolerance of Islam. And therefore they announce that Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Fallaci is not sanguine about Europe’s chances in the coming century, but like Galileo – the sole voice of reason against the church’s established views on cosmology – we must mutter, sotto voce, with him, “but still, it moves.”

Truth cannot be extinguished. Individual bearers of its light can be obliterated, but the Truth in all its absoluteness, is eternal. I am with Plato on that one.

Not that Truth cannot change or transform itself in our own minds. The more we discover, the more humble we become before the altar of That Which Is, in all its appearances – whether Newtonian or Einsteinian or Mother Theresean.

That is why Islam in its worst forms cannot win. It can and will cause great death and suffering – its very brittleness and exquisite sense of grievance make certain the preceding maelstrom before its eventual demise in the face of Truth’s freedom. Islam demands security of belief; Truth will never accede to that.

We humans are a bloody lot; we will not go peaceably in the face of the inexorable. Meanwhile, as we strive for supremacy, Truth leads us patiently on.

Of those who died in 2006 whom will you grieve the most?

How Can I Keep From Singing?

UPADTE: AN IMPORTANT QUALIFICATION FROM COMMENTER, MIST:

First, though, let me say that I thought the Iraqi authorities had taken into consideration the timing of the festival of Eid and had taken pains to avoid having Saddam’s execution desecrate a holy day. It now seems they went out of their way to do the opposite.

Mist says:

I am very happy that Saddam is dead. He was an evil man and the world is better off without him.

However, I am both furious and disgusted by the way the ‘iraqi’ govt. handled it. In one swoop they managed to turn it into a complete farce and rip apart Iraqi unity rather than mend past wounds.

1. Was it necessary to have a bunch of sadr street thugs carry out the execution in a dungeon looking room? Even the effin insurgents manage to do their executions in nicer environments…. and they wear matching outfits.

2. Killing him on the morning of eid to the chant of ‘muqtada muqtada muqtada’ was an abomination. When I saw the official execution video, I couldn’t understand why they had muted the sound. But after seeing the camera phone footage, it makes sense. Nearly every Iraqi I have spoken with believes this was literally an eid gift to iran, courtesy of his willing puppet maliki.

3. And if there was ever any doubt that the dawa party and maliki weren’t in bed with sadr, I think the fact that his henchmen got to execute Saddam should make it obvious to everyone.

Some of the Iraqi responses I have heard:

Many felt sorry for saddam, he looked like a helpless old man, and all those guys in masks chiding him only made it worse.

This opinion was coming from people who had family members killed by him. That is ridiculous. They all thought he needed to die, but they were all very unhappy with how it was done.

In the end, the Iraqi govt. once again proved they have no interest in Iraq and that they are completely controlled by iran. I really can’t imagine why it’s so hard for the US govt. to recognize and respond to this situation but we just won’t.

This amounts to malignity by a theocratic state. The Americans should have refused, intervened,or done whatever it took not to play into the hands of the Iranians dressed up like Iraqis.

And here’s what The Islamic Threat says about the voices you can hear on the video:

Before hanging Saddam tries to say the Shahada but the Shia followers of the religion of peace do not allow him his Shahada and drop him before he finishes. That is equivalent to preventing somebody from getting last rites. The Shias around him were chanting for Moqtada Al Sadr, their would-be dictator version of Saddam. One of the guards is begging them to stop and they insist. Then chaos insues as they apparently want to mutilate his body but they are prevented…

Again, I find the American cooperation on the timing of this, whether through ignorance or a wrong-headed (again) policy of hands-off at just the wrong moment, disturbing in the extreme.

Will our State Department ever grow up? I ask this question not knowing if Foggy Bottom was directly involved or not. If they weren’t handling this momentous event then that was dereliction of duty. If they were involved and allowed the timing to be carried forward into the Eid holy period, they are either stupid or deliberately dangerous to this administration. Either way, they are as perfidious as those executioners who would not permit Saddam (former secular atheist) his final prayers.



What do you think was the most momentous event of 2006? Not counting, of course, the personally meaningful births, deaths, or other rites of passage that happen in each family. Those cannot be gainsaid.

In my country’s history March 2003 was boots-on-the-ground in Iraq. In my personal odyssey it turned out to be the final birthday of my daughter, who was to suddenly die six weeks later. As I recall, it was not a particularly happy birthday…she was rushed, and didn’t look well. But for some reason, in contrast to my usual funny cards, I had picked up a mushy, mother-daughter birthday card and tucked some money in it.

But that was three and a half timeless years ago.

Meanwhile, there is December 30, 2006. The Impending Death of a Tyrant, with all the rumors of delay, of it having already happened, of assurances it would never happen.

Perhaps it is the tendency to look at what is most recently in front of us that makes the death of Saddam Hussein seem the most important event of the year. Time fatuously made the Person of the Year for 2006, “You” – whoever that is. Had they the sense to frame it as Martin Buber’s “Thou” it might have had some resonance. But simply as “You” it becomes self-referential and essentially narcissistic.

When Tyrants Hear Their Death Knell RingingDid you watch the video of Saddam’s death? I did; so did the Baron. We discussed it at dinner, and the future Baron said he would avoid it, as he had the other grisly videos from the Middle East propaganda machine. The Baron and I demurred: sometimes it is important to bear witness. We had both forced ourselves to look at the film footage of the Jewish survivors in the camps of World War II. We would also watch the final moments of a twisted human being who had bought death, destruction, and a cruel reign to twenty five million people. Those people deserved our attention as surely as Saddam had given them his close personal scrutiny. As one visitor was told:

“You cannot imagine what it is to live like this for 20, 30 years. We have to keep up our routine lest we would lose our minds.”

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But I realized in every household that someone had already lost his or her mind; in other societies such a person would be in a mental hospital. I also realized that there wasn’t a household that did not mourn at least one family member who had become a victim of this police state.

I wept with relatives whose son just screamed all day long. I cried with a relative who had lost his wife. Yet another left home every day for a “job” where he had nothing to do. Still another had lost a son to war and a husband to alcoholism.

As I observed the slow death of a people without hope, Saddam Hussein seemed omnipresent. There were his statues; posters showed him with his hand outstretched or firing his rifle, or wearing an Arab headdress. These images seemed to be on every wall, in the middle of the road, in homes.

Those images are gone now. Only their nightmares and the terrorists remain. For the latter, whatever they say to the contrary, Saddam’s death is a body blow.

Even though it waited until almost the last moment of 2006, the departure from this world of a truly evil – relentlessly evil – human being is a moment to be lived in relief and wonder.

It is as though there is a black hole where once he stood.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, thought far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

Ah, if just for a moment, the exultation at the cessation of evil…for a moment, you can hear “the endless song above earth’s lamentation.”

Those Racist Swedes

Racism in Sweden?? It can’t be! Surely you are mistaken…

The Swedes love the black people and the brown people and the red people and the yellow people. That’s why they invite thousands of them in every year.

They love the Muslims and the Sikhs and the voodoo doctors. They love the Somalis and the Turks and the Pakistanis and the Samoans.

But there’s a limit of tolerance beyond which not even the Swedes will go. Want to guess where they draw the line?

Woman turned away by doctor — for being American

Americans not allowedAn American woman has been refused treatment by a doctor in Blekinge in southern Sweden because of her nationality. The woman’s husband has now reported the incident to the Medical Responsibility Board.

Valery Johansson, who lives in a small town just outside Nashville, Tennessee, was in Sweden to celebrate Christmas with her husband’s family.

On Christmas Day, worried that she may have contracted strep throat, she sought medical help. Her husband and niece made an appointment for her at a clinic in the town of Karlshamn.

“We went up there and the nurses were really nice. They did some swab tests, which they then passed on to a doctor,” Johansson told The Local.

But when the American woman, accompanied by her husband and niece, went to meet the doctor in his treatment room, he declined to examine her.

Rather than introduce himself, the doctor waved the patient’s papers and shouted “she doesn’t have strep throat, she doesn’t have strep throat”. He then added that he would not treat her.

“He said he didn’t like Americans,” said Johansson.

He also disliked hearing English spoken in his treatment room and soon walked out.

“We just couldn’t believe it. We were left standing there with our mouths hanging open,” said Johansson.

This doctor is a piece of work, eh? But there’s more:
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According to Johansson, the doctor was a Palestinian who objected to American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Mrs. Johansson, fortunately, knows how to play the game by Swedish rules:

In the report Johansson has claimed that she was discriminated against on ethnic grounds.

Before returning to the United States at the beginning of January she also intends reporting the incident to the American Embassy in Stockholm.

Stockholm. The worldwide center of human rights. The Olympus of Moral Superiority. The home of those high-minded folks who love to lecture the American barbarians on their misguided, ignorant, and benighted ways.

What goes around comes around.



Hat tip: LN.

EXTRA: Muslims Not Offended!

Remember the pig races in Katy, Texas? The ones that were organized in a lot next door to the future site of a mosque?

Craig Baker, a resident of the community, felt that the Katy Islamic Association was pushing him around and trying to get him to move, so he decided to exercise his constitutional right to race his own pigs on his own property. The Islamic Association tried to mau-mau him into submission in the usual CAIR fashion, but he’s a Texan, and stuck to his plan.

The Baker Road Pig RaceHis idea generated a lot of local enthusiasm. Donations poured in to help him fund the races, with at least one case of a $1,000 gift. Now he’s ready: the first race was officially run last night while local Muslims were at their Friday prayers.

And what do you think happened? Rioting in the streets? Burning cars? Torching of the American embassy in foreign countries? Death threats to Mr. Baker and his family? Well… No, not quite:

Muslim group not offended as Katy pig races start

KATY — A Muslim group said it is no longer offended as Katy resident Craig Baker made good on his promise to stage Friday pig races next door to an 11-acre property the group has purchased to build a mosque.

While members of the Katy Islamic Association attended afternoon prayer services, Baker was busy next door at 1918 Baker Road lining a track for 25 pigs to race on and assembling merchandise to sell to the spectators.

About 100 people showed up for the event in the pouring rain.

A spokesman for the association, Yousef Allam, said members are no longer offended by Baker’s decision to race pigs, a forbidden meat in the Muslim culture, despite a Dec. 1 letter an attorney for the group sent to Baker demanding that he immediately remove the pigs from his own property.

“He knows that Muslims can be emotional, but it does not bother me,” Allam said. “I don’t care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs.”

Baker, 46, said his intention is not to offend anyone with the races but to make clear that he will not be forced to move or relocate his marble-fabricating shop as he claims a member of the association previously urged him to.

“I am just defending my rights and my property,” Baker said. “They totally disrespected me and my family.”

Can you believe it? Muslims weren’t offended! That has to be a first.

There’s a video of the event that you’ll all want to see.
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Mr. Baker described the pressure applied to him by the Islamic Association:

“Things changed with them saying maybe it would be a good time for you to consider packing up your family and packing up your business and moving somewhere farther out in the country,” Baker said.

Baker said Kamel Fotouh, the association’s president, deeply offended his family whose ties to the land goes back some 200 years in suggesting that they pack up and leave. His 90-year-old grandmother, Anna Baker, was the first female bus driver for the Katy Independent School District.

Allam said if any interaction between the group and Baker was interpreted as a threat for Baker to vacate his land, it was unintentional.

“If we somehow communicated that to him, then we apologize,” Allam said.

A Muslim apologized! Stop the presses! Hell has frozen over! Pigs Camels have flown!

Mr. Baker is a 21st-century American, so it is only natural that he has set up a website, “American Pig Race”, to promote his cause. The site is liberally decorated with a variety of pig icons, and has pig-related merchandise for sale — with all proceeds going to charity.

Here’s a quote from Mr. Baker’s account of recent events:

My Moslem neighbors have decided to take their fight with me to the media, hoping that by making this fight public I will come off as a red neck racist from Texas. On 11/29/06, ABC Channel 13 News reporter Ted Oberg came out to check on a dispute between neighbors. Oberg sat in my office filming me for over two hours to produce a 3-minute segment. Since that time I have done two other TV interviews one with CBS Channel 11, and one with Fox Channel 26. I also gave interviews for the print media to the Houston Chronicle, the Katy Times, and the Associated Press. I have done one live radio interview for the Fox News Radio with Spencer Hughes. On Thursday 11/30/06 Rush Limbaugh made mention of this for almost three minutes, then again on 12/07/06 Rush brought the matter up again. The situation was talked about by Michael Savage on 11/30/06 and was found on his website.

Now, to be perfectly frank, I couldn’t care less about all of that. My only objective here is to protect my property rights and the American values and traditions that the Baker family has enjoyed on Baker Road since the early 1800’s

Now, there’s a Texan in action.

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What I notice in all this brouhaha is the similarity (albeit on a smaller scale) between the Danish Motoon Crisis and the Baker Road Pig Races. The Texans in Katy reacted like the Danes did to the Motoon violence, and had a similar effect.

Here’s the typical process, as I see it:

1.   Muslims get offended by something an infidel does.
2.   The infidel is immediately reviled by Islamic organizations and vilified by the dhimmis in the Western press.
3.   The Muslim “street” rises up to toss Molotov cocktails and break windows.
4.   Lawsuits and other legal actions are initiated against the offensive infidel.
5.   Muslim leaders “regret” the violence, but point to the understandable rage of the average Muslim whose Prophet has been insulted, with a veiled threat of more violence in the absence of concessions.

Now we come to a fork in the road. The infidel at this point can take either the dhimmi fork, or the Holger Danske fork.

The Dhimmi Fork:

6.   Infidel engages in submissive behavior: apologizes, appeals for mutual understanding, expresses good intentions, etc.
7.   Muslims ramp the rage up a little higher to gain more concessions.
8.   Infidel authorities adopt full dhimmi position, increasing funding for outreach programs (paying the jizyah), passing legislation to protect Islam from disrespect (acknowledging the supremacy of the Koran and the religion of Allah), and making concessions on some Muslim issues, such as allowing the wearing of the niqab (accepting shariah).
9.   Muslim leaders pat the good dhimmi on the head and accept his apology.
10.   Muslims occupy their new and more strongly fortified position, awaiting the next opportunity.

The Holger Danske Fork:

6.   Infidel resists dhimmification and takes legal action, raises funds, publicizes his case, etc.
7.   Muslims up the ante, and hit him even harder with more lawsuits and threats.
8.   Infidel refuses to give in, and launches a counteroffensive in the press and the courts.
9.   Muslims suddenly abandon their position, concede that the infidel is not really that bad a guy, and pledge to “work for full understanding with members of other faiths”, etc.
10.   Things go quiet. Muslims bide their time, awaiting the next opportunity to foment a useful crisis.

Note that both forks end with Muslims biding their time, awaiting their next opportunity to create yet another crisis. But the Holger Danske fork leaves them occupying a much weaker position.

We all know that the cessation of hostilities is only temporary, and that the resulting calm is that of the hudna — the tactical truce that Islamic forces accept until they can renew their offensive from a stronger position. But the dhimmi fork doesn’t even result in a hudna.

If Holger Danske stands firm every time, the aggressive Islamic forces gain no ground and are pushed ever-so-slightly back. There’s a lesson here for all of us in the West.

Dymphna and I have been promoting the “Denmark = Texas = Australia” meme. In these three diverse locations the spirit of the Men of the North runs the strongest, and in all three places ordinary citizens have drawn the line, saying, “This far and no farther — we’re not going to take any more!”

Of the three, my money’s on Texas. It has the fewest gun control laws.



Hat tip for the video: Pierre Ménard.

Senator Boxer Caught in the CAIR Headlights

Fortunately for all concerned, she jumped out of the way in time.

LGF links to a story by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball:

In a highly unusual move, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has rescinded an award to an Islamic activist in her home state because of the man’s connections to a major American Muslim organization that recently has been courted by leading political figures and even the FBI.

Boxer’s office confirmed to NEWSWEEK that she has withdrawn a “certificate of accomplishment” to Sacramento activist Basim Elkarra after learning that he serves as an official with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). After directing her staff to look into CAIR, Boxer “expressed concern” about some past statements and actions by the group, as well as assertions by some law enforcement officials that it “gives aid to international terrorist groups,” according to Natalie Ravitz, the senator’s press spokeswoman.

- – - – - – - – - -

CAIR, which has 32 offices around the country and bills itself as the leading Muslim-American civil- rights group, has never been charged with any crimes, nor have any of its top leaders. But a handful of individuals who have had ties to CAIR in the past have been convicted or deported for financial dealings with Hamas—another reason cited by Boxer for her action. The senator directed her staff to withdraw the certificate—which she routinely gives to community leaders in California—and asked that a statement she had previously made endorsing CAIR be stricken from the group’s Web site, Ravitz said in an e-mail.

While we could sniff and say “better late than never”…let’s not. Her back-tracking is wonderful, welcome news.

Now, would someone please tell her that Rep. Ellison from Minnesota had his campaign financed by this very same group?

CAIR may have jumped the shark with this one…let’s wait and see.

Baghdad Ballet

Baghdad Ballet
Who knows if the dance will happen at the appointed time? The just time for this event has come and gone, but even late, justice served still has some portion, however diminished. Or as Saddam Hussein would have it:

“I sacrifice myself. If God wills it, He will place me among the true men and martyrs,” wrote Saddam in the letter, which his lawyer said was penned last month for release if his death sentence was upheld.

Fortunately, we do not know God’s will. But we do know the will of the Court in Iraq. May it be done, and done quickly.

Meanwhile, for a good fisk of the MSM wringing its collective hands on how to cover the hanging “tastefully” see In From the Cold. Former Spook points out that none of them were so concerned with ‘tasteful’ when it came to showing our own citizens beheaded, blown up, and psychologically tortured. It never seemed to bother them that some of the relatives of these victims could have been watching their shows at the time.

The MSM has no more taste or conscience than John Kerry and T. Kennedy put together.



Hat tip: hyscience

The Twelfth Viking

At the Battle of Poitiers in 732, the Frankish king Charles Martel defeated the Saracens and pushed the forces of Islam back into the Iberian Peninsula. It was not until 1492 that the Moors were finally thrown out of Europe, but in the meantime the Islamic virus was contained in Spain and Portugal, and thus kept out of the heart of Western Europe.

One of Charles Martel’s comrades-in-arms at Poitiers was a warrior of the North known as Ogier le Danois, later Holger Danske, or Holger the Dane. Although Holger was a historical figure, little is known of him, and most of the written material about him is drawn from legend.

Holger DanskeAccording to the chroniclers, Holger had previously done battle with the Franks over their incursions into Danish territory. But in 732 the menace of the Saracens forced him to set aside his differences with Charles Martel and journey southwards to fight side-by-side with the Frankish forces against the common enemy.

At the end of his days, Holger, like King Arthur, retired to a secluded keep to enter a twilight sleep from which he will awake in the hour of his country’s need. The location most frequently cited for Holger’s rest is Kronborg castle at Helsingør (or “Elsinore”, per Shakespeare).

Hans Christian Andersen has distilled the popular form of the ancient tale into one of his stories:

Men pragten i det hele er dog det gamle Kronborg og under det er det at Holger Danske sidder i den dybe mørke kælder hvor ingen kommer, han er klædt i jern og stål og støtter sit hoved på de stærke arme; hans lange skæg hænger ud over marmorbordet hvori det er vokset fast, han sover og drømmer, men i drømme ser han alt hvad der sker heroppe i Danmark. Hver juleaften kommer en Guds engel og siger ham at det er rigtigt, som han har drømt, og at han godt kan sove igen, for Danmark er endnu ikke i nogen ordentlig fare! men kommer det i en, ja, så vil den gamle Holger Danske rejse sig så bordet revner, når han trækker skægget til sig! så kommer han frem og slår så det høres i alle verdens lande.

This is in formal Danish, so I made a go of translating it. Forgive me, Kepiblanc, Yorkshireminer, Asger, and all the rest! I am a novice at the tongue of the Vikings:

Kronborg CastleBut the fairest sight of all is the old castle of Kronborg, and under it sits Holger Danske in the deep, dark cellar which no one enters; he is clad in iron and steel and rests his head on his stalwart arm; his long beard hangs down upon the marble table where it has become stuck fast; he sleeps and dreams, but in his dreams he sees everything that comes to pass in Denmark. Every Christmas Eve an angel of God comes to tell him that all he has dreamed is true, and that he may go to back to sleep again, for Denmark is not yet in any danger! but if it should ever come, then old Holger Danske will rouse himself, and the table will break apart as he pulls out his beard! Then he will come forth, and strike a blow that shall be heard throughout all the countries of the world.

Now, if even a trace of the blood of the Men of the North runs in your veins, or if you have lived long enough among them to have acquired some of their spirit, the hair on the back of your neck will rise when you read these words, and you will say, “Yes! This is the hero, the man who will defend us during the troubles that are surely coming.”
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Holger Danske has put me in mind of my favorite English poet, Ted Hughes.

Hughes was a Yorkshireman, and the blood of the Danes runs thick in the veins of Yorkshire. Especially in the North Riding — the closer one gets to Whitby, the more natural blond hair in evidence, and the more obvious the Danish place names.

Ted Hughes wrote a number of poems that touched on the Men of the North, and I’ve collected some samples below. Warning to our Danish readers: this is modern poetic English! It may try your skills a bit, but your efforts will be rewarded. I made my way through the Holger story in Danish, so fair is fair; now it’s your turn.

First sample:

The Warriors of the North

Bringing their frozen swords, their salt-bleached eyes,
             their salt-bleached hair,
The snow’s stupefied anvils in rows,
Bringing their envy,
The slow ships feelered Southward, snails
             over the steep sheen of the water-globe.

Thawed at the red and black disgorging of abbeys,
The bountiful, cleft casks,
The fluttering bowels of the women of dead burghers,
And the elaborate, patient gold of the Gaels.

To no end
But this timely expenditure of themselves,
A cash-down, beforehand revenge, with extra,
For the gruelling relapse and prolongueur of their blood

Into the iron arteries of Calvin.

And another one:

Thistles

Against the rubber tongues of cows and
             the hoeing hands of men
Thistles spike the summer air
And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Every one a revengeful burst
Of resurrection, a grasped fistful
Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up
From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.

They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects.
Every one manages a plume of blood.
Then they grow grey, like men.
Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear,

Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.

The third section of Ted Hughes’ “Gog” evokes Holger the most strongly. This is a deep, dark, and difficult poem, and parts of it are not suitable for family reading. It deals with the lifelong and ultimately futile efforts of Everyman to escape from the softness and weakness of his mother and establish his own manhood without being sucked in and corrupted by the softness and weakness of his wife.

This is the opening stanza:

Gog (Part III)

Out through the dark archway of earth, under the ancient lintel
             overwritten with roots,
Out between the granite jambs, gallops the hooded
             horseman of iron.
Out of the wound-gash in the earth, the horseman mounts,
             shaking his plumes clear of dark soil.
Out of the blood-dark womb, gallops bowed
             the horseman of iron,
The blood-crossed Knight, the Holy Warrior, hooded with iron,
             the seraph of the bleak edge,
Gallops along the world’s ridge in moonlight.

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We all know about the Twelfth Imam, the super-bad Muslim guy at the bottom of the well in Persia. When Armageddon arrives, when Gog grapples with Magog and battle rages across the plain at Megiddo, the Twelfth Imam will awaken and lead the armies of Islam to their final victory, establishing the kingdom of Allah here on Earth.

Forget the Twelfth Imam.

We’ve got our own dude sitting on the bench. Call him the Twelfth Viking. He’s suited up, ready to join the contest as soon as he’s required.

The Men of the North form the core of the Counterjihad. They are already in action, clearing the back alleys of Anbar Province, riding point in Kabul, and forming up in self-organized groups to defend our borders with Mexico.

As I’ve said before, it’s not race that’s the issue here, it’s culture. The culture of the Danes, the Norsemen, the English, and the Celts. The culture of the hardy and self-reliant Men of the North, always ready to defend their ancient liberties with a ferocity that their enemies can scarcely imagine. The culture of productive enterprise and armed self-determination that has spread to all corners of the globe.

Holger Danske is the man who best represents us. He’ll be there in the hour of our greatest need.

The Twelfth Viking — I can see his eyelids fluttering even now…

Welcome to North Korea

Scenes from the DPRKI can recommend this fascinating video (apparently produced in the Netherlands) about the DPRK, entitled “Welcome to North Korea”.

It’s long — almost an hour — but every minute is worth watching. A tour of North Korea is the closest anyone can come to visiting an alien civilization.

We’re in Year 89 of the Juche calendar — and counting.

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Hat tip: Wally Ballou.

(Nothing further)

The Legions of Abyssinia

AbyssiniaAccording to the most recent news accounts, Ethiopian forces have driven the Islamists out of Mogadishu and returned control of the capital to the official Somali government.

The leaders of the Islamist alliance that held most of the country until this week have resigned, SomaliNet news agency reported. “Since the Islamists came to power in Somalia, they did a lot of significant acts for the people, particularly in terms of security, justice, development, improving internal and foreign politics, reopening the air and sea ports and so on,” the outgoing leadership said in the statement.

Islamist fighters are said to have handed their weaponry to warlords in the Mogadishu area.

These were the same mujahideen who swore their dedication to martyrdom as recently as yesterday. Apparently not all of them were ready for the blandishments of the seventy-two black-eyed ones.

A few days ago The Scotsman reported a different line coming from the Islamist leadership:

The Somalia Islamic Courts Council’s (SICC) website hailed “mujahideen” troops who, it said, chanted passages from the Koran as they went into battle against militarily superior Ethiopian “crusaders”. Ethiopia is a largely Christian nation.

The battle for Mogadishu occupies just a small section of the long, convoluted, and bloody border between Islam and the rest of the world. The Ethiopian government is not attacking the Somalis to convert them to Christianity, but the Somali mujahideen obviously do consider this a struggle between their religion and the barbarian faiths of Ethiopia. They called a jihad, and asked for assistance from faithful Muslims all over the world in their fight. Unfortunately, their fellow jihadis failed to arrive ahead of the Ethiopian Air Force.

The Scotsman supplied no URL for the website of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council. A search for it turned up Golaha Maxaakiimta Islaamiga Soomaaliyeed, which may be it. Unfortunately, it’s entirely in the Somali language.

There are, however, various other Somali jihad blogs and websites dedicated to the same cause and writing in English. One of them is the Islamic Courts Council, run by Abusayfullaah As-Somaali. He hasn’t posted for a week, which may or may not be significant.

Here’s a quote, concerning the fighting at Baydhabo:

Shabelle News managed to speak to Shaykh Indho-adde (white eyes) over the phone.

He told Shabelle by the phone that the fighting was going on between the Ethiopian forces and the Islamic Courts fighters, indicating that he does not recognize the internationally backed government in Somalia. “I would be pleased to die in the Jihad (a holy war) while I was killing the Christian Ethiopian troops that forcefully occupied our country”, he said. “We will not halt the war until our forces reach the border between Somalia and Ethiopia”, he added.

Notice the emphasis on Christian Ethiopian troops.
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Another Somali Islamist blog is The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge, where the blogger is one InshAllahShaheed.

In Somalia, the Jihad fe Sabeelillah against the Crusaders has been going on for a few days, walhamdullilah. The disgraceful Ethiopian Kafireen have started to cowardly fight the Somalians by using warplanes and jets like their cowardly counterparts: the Americans and their allies.

Those sissy school girls backed by the United Snakes of Amerikkka are too cowardly to fight like men on the ground with guns. AllahuAkbar, the Somalian Mujahideen are showing Sabr and are moving forth fe Sabeelillah without fearing death.

I don’t know where InshAllahShaheed hails from, but “United Snakes of Amerikkka”?? Does he hang out at Daily Kos when he’s off-duty from the jihad?

As a matter of interest, InshAllahShaheed has a whole page of video links for miscellaneous jihad war footage and snuff videos. I don’t recommend them to the faint of heart.

The struggle in the Horn of Africa between the Muslims on the coast and the Christians of the highlands has been going on for a long time. A little bit of history is in order.

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Ethiopia (also known as Abyssinia, from the name of its highland regions) has been a major power in sub-Saharan Africa since the beginning of history. A large Jewish contingent was represented there as early as the eighth century B.C., having migrated overland from Egypt, or across the Red Sea from the Arabian Peninsula.

Christianity came southwards from Egypt to Abyssinia in the fourth century. After the initial period of conversion, the Ethiopian Church came under the authority of the Coptic Church in Egypt, with a Primate appointed by the Patriarch of Cairo. Christianity eventually became the predominant religion in Ethiopia, though the country has been a patchwork of faiths since the earliest days.

The Islamic conquests in the seventh and eighth centuries cut Ethiopia off from the rest of Christendom. The Legions of the Prophet subdued Egypt and Nubia (Sudan), and occupied the littoral along the Red Sea and around the Horn, but the Islamic tide washed up against the highlands of Abyssinia and then receded.

At the end of the Dark Ages, Portuguese mariners set sail around Africa and into the Indian Ocean, looking for the fabled Far Eastern Christian kingdom of Prester John. When they discovered the Christians of Ethiopia, they thought they had found what they were looking for.

At the time the Ethiopians were under duress from the onslaught of the newest Legions of the Prophet, the forces led by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. They asked the Portuguese for help, and in 1542 battle was joined by an alliance of European and African Christians against the Islamic army of the Turks. At first the Portuguese were defeated, but the following year they gained a decisive victory and the Turks were forced to withdraw.

From the Portuguese point of view, the Abyssinians practiced a strange and aberrant form of Christianity, and the Europeans saw it as their duty to correct their doctrine and bring Ethiopia under the authority of the Church of Rome. The Ethiopians, however, would have none of it, and relations between the two countries soured. The Jesuits stayed on for a while, at first tolerated, later despised, and finally expelled.

Ethiopia remained in its remote isolation from the rest of the Christian world until the great European colonial push of the nineteenth century. The French, the Italians, and the British all had encounters of various kinds with Ethiopia, but none was able to make the country into a colony. The British invaded and defeated Abyssinia in 1868, but did not remain in occupation. The Italians fought the Ethiopians at Adowa in 1896, and were astonished to be defeated by a large native force equipped with French weaponry.

Mussolini avenged this affront to Italian dignity by invading, occupying, and annexing Ethiopia in 1936. The period between 1936 and 1941 was the only time in history in which Ethiopia was actually conquered by a foreign power.

The Communist virus infected Ethiopia in 1974 when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown and a Marxist dictatorship established. During seventeen years of Communist rule the Ethiopian economy was laid to waste, famine raged through the land, and border clashes were fought with Eritrea and Somalia.

The Church was severely persecuted under the Communists — the Patriarch was murdered by them in 1974 — but rebounded after the re-establishment of representative government in 1991. Ethiopia remains primarily Christian today.

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Considering this history, it’s no wonder that Ethiopia views the situation in Somalia with alarm: jihad has appeared on their borders yet again. The rest of us are fortunate that they were willing to mount a counterjihad against Mogadishu.

One assumes that our government gave them plenty of tacit encouragement to do the job. After all, they were ideal for the task — they know the terrain, speak the language, and have a real vested interest in completing the task.

Not only that, they are not going to be encumbered with the same Rules of Engagement which would tie the United States or NATO into procedural pretzels. It’s also unlikely that they will concern themselves overmuch with the Geneva Conventions as they apply to Islamic terrorists.

The big question is: what comes next? Somalia has been ungovernable for nearly twenty years. Can the Ethiopians force stability on a bunch of Taliban-wannabes, feuding warlords, and backward tribesmen?

Let’s see if the Legions of Abyssinia can accomplish what the United States and the UN so signally failed to do.



Resources on the history of Ethiopia:

Voyage to Abyssinia (Father Lobo’s 1622 account)
History of Ethiopia
Emperors of Ethiopia

Distributed Intelligence

Wretchard has an absolute must-read post today called “The Blogosphere at War”. It’s a first-rate analysis of the new internet-based information system that is now maturing, citing the blogosphere as the engine of change in how news is collected, analyzed, processed, and distributed.

A brief excerpt:

There is considerable interest in the idea that “blogs” are somehow able to offset the mainstream media’s (MSM) ability to sell a given narrative to the public, a power which is of considerable interest in peace and even more so in war. It is widely recognized that molding public perceptions through narratives is nearly as important in war as the outcomes on the actual battlefield. Palestinian Media Watch convincingly demonstrates that Arab and Muslim organizations have long made influencing international publics through print and broadcast media a strategic goal, especially in any confrontation with Israel. This effort has historically followed two tracks: the establishment of technically sophisticated media outlets like al-Jazeera to sell messages directly to audiences; and mounting information operations aimed at shaping the way in which Western Media outlets cover any issue of interest.

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[…]

For most of the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006 Hezbollah repeatedly accused Israel of atrocity and wanton aggression as a way of neutralizing its superior firepower; and little of this cant was rebutted in timely fashion. When on December 4, 2006 an Israeli think-tank release released a study, supported by imagery, showing that Hezbollah had fired its rockets from civilian localities all over southern Lebanon at civilian targets in Israel , the war had already been over for five months and Hezbollah had long achieved its public relations objectives. In pointed contrast to this ponderous performance, private individuals — bloggers — had managed to explode many Hezbollah atrocity accusations against Israel carried by the MSM in very rapid fashion. These blogger accomplishments included demonstrating that a wire service photograph of a bomb-damaged Beirut had been digitally altered to enhance both the smoke and the damage; that photographs of supposedly dead civilians posed artfully in the rubble were faked; and last but not least, the unmasking of an often photographed Lebanese humanitarian worker (The Green Helmet Man) as a brutal Hezbollah public relations agent callously arranging children’s corpses for maximum effect. While the actual effect of these exposes on the international diplomatic climate may have been slight, observers of the 2006 war in Lebanon had found their white knight. The rapid and often effective response of the blogosphere raised hopes that the Internet might provide a way to neutralize the massive Islamic investment in media outlets and information warfare cells. What is the truth?

The only statement I would question is this one: It is widely recognized that molding public perceptions through narratives is nearly as important in war as the outcomes on the actual battlefield.

Delete the word “nearly”. Our success on the battlefield in Iraq and Israel’s success in Lebanon have been overshadowed by the enemy’s success in manipulating the news coverage of these events.

Our soldiers are superb and their martial skills are the greatest that history has ever seen. But we may yet lose the war because the people who control the portals of public information are cowardly and treasonous.

The information war has become more important than the bombs-and-bullets war.

Since the politicians are in thrall to the MSM, the dedicated information warrior has to detour around them. This is where Wretchard’s analysis and the work of the 910 Group converge.

Half of the task is the collection, analysis, processing, and distribution of information. The other half is what we do with it.

The Counterjihad is a proactive alternative to the traditional passive acceptance of what our leaders do on our behalf. Our leaders can no longer adequately protect us; other means of protection are even now being formulated.

Distributed intelligence can be an active process. It is forming new structures and strategies for countering the mujahideen in their attempts to suborn, infiltrate, corrupt, and destroy all that we hold dear.

Read Wretchard’s whole essay. It will help clarify the situation.

Juleaften i Københavns Domkirke

Juleaften i Københavns DomkirkeSteen of Snaphanen sent us a link to this video of a beautiful “Christmas Eve in Copenhagen Cathedral” (my translation of the title — no help from any Danes!). It was shot from the cathedral balcony while the organ was playing and people were singing.

I could just about smell the evergreens and the candle wax. You can hear the congregation singing a carol (in Danish), one whose tune I don’t recognize, yet which seems oddly familiar.

Juleaften i Københavns DomkirkeSteen sent this followup note:

You did notice the famous Jesus by sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (died 1844).

For some reason it’s one of the most famous Jesuses in the world.

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Juleaften i Københavns Domkirke

More information on Thorvaldsen’s Christ can be found at this LDS web commerce site, of all places. It seems that the Mormons have copied the statue and placed it in the Temple Square visitors’ center in Salt Lake City. Wasatch Sculpture makes small replicas of the piece and sells them over the internet.

That Jesus fellow really gets around.

A Bird’s-Eye View of Jamaat ul-Fuqra

Last month I reported on the investigation of Jamaat ul-Fuqra as carried out by the Christian Action Network. At the time I met with Martin Mawyer and his associates, the group had just completed a flyover of the Red House compound in a private aircraft. Now Martin has very kindly made the resulting aerial photographs available to Gates of Vienna.

For readers who are unfamiliar with Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a quick synopsis: It was founded in 1980 in New York by a Pakistani Sufi named Sheikh Mubarik Ali Hasmi Shah Gilani, along with a front organization called “The Muslims of America”. Most of its members are American citizens, converted to Islam and recruited via the prison system. The group has been associated with assassinations and firebombings in this country and Canada, and various members have been charged with and convicted of criminal offenses. It is thought that the group obtains its funds through welfare fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities. JF has established numerous compounds, known as “Jamaats”, mostly in remote rural areas in the U.S.A. and Canada. Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been named as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

For more information on this shadowy group, see the Jamaat ul-Fuqra links on our sidebar, or visit the Politics of CP and look through his exhaustive investigative reports on JF in the archives.



Note: some of the images shown below are thumbnails; click on them to see a larger version of the same image.

Overview of the compoundMartin’s plane circled the compound several times, giving the photographer an opportunity to snap a number of shots. This is an overview of the main part of the property, looking approximately west. Rolling Hill Road (SR 615) is the paved road at the left.

The entranceIn this view of the compound’s entrance you can make out the guardhouse and gate, as described in my first post about Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The Muslims of America sign is also visible in the center left of the photo. A close-up ground shot of the same sign is shown below.

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The Muslims of America


Sheikh Gilani LaneThe “Sheikh Gilani Lane” street sign can’t be made out from the air, but you can be sure that it’s still there.

Houses at the compoundThese are some of the residences on Sheikh Gilani Lane. You can see that the infrastructure at the compound is far from opulent, but not all that unusual for this part of rural Virginia. Notice the extensive erosion problems on the ungraveled driveways.

The mysterious slabThe feature shown at right appears to be a large concrete or asphalt slab, set in the hillside at the eastern edge of the main compound. You can also see it at the edge of the trees in the overview photo.

The mysterious slabIts function is mysterious. Is it a basketball court? If so, it’s unlike any court I’ve ever seen. There are no backboards visible, and the painted lines don’t conform to the normal basketball patterns.

The mysterious slabNot only that, but the paved area is not completely level. In this detail shot you can see that it has less of a slope than the surrounding hillside, but is still canted. If anyone has any other guesses about what it might be, please leave them in the comments.

People standing aroundAs Martin’s plane circled, people gathered in a field near a trailer to look up. After a few minutes they began moving at a rapid pace in the direction of Sheikh Gilani Lane. I have enhanced the contrast in the detailed view shown below, and the shadows make it clear that the figures were moving quickly.

Exodus of people


Exodus of carsIn another few minutes cars from various parts of the compound started up and began pulling out, as shown clearly in the photo at right. This behavior makes sense if one believes the earlier accounts about the Red House compound that cited it as a safe house harboring fugitives wanted on federal warrants. It was also reputed to be the place where John Allen Muhammad holed up to rest and reload during his Beltway shooting spree.

But who knows? There may be some other reasonable explanation why so many residents of Sheikh Gilani Lane suddenly decided to leave when they saw an airplane circling overhead.



Leaflet dropped over the compoundThere have been reports that some of the lower-ranking people in the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compounds are unaware of the terrorist nature of the organization and its more dangerous activities. With that in mind, the Christian Action Network printed and dropped hundreds of leaflets from the air on Sheikh Gilani Lane. Each one featured an arrow pointing to a photo of the Sheikh, with a label that read, “This man — known TERRORIST, known MURDERER, ANTI-AMERICA — is honored with a road sign in Charlotte County, Virginia.”

Let’s hear it for the Christian Action Network! I’ll keep you posted on their future investigative efforts.

Creating a “Rift”, WAPO Style

The chapel at the Wren BuildingThose clever fellows in the MSM never miss an opportunity to put a little kink in their news analysis reporting. An example from a headline in today’s Washington Post reaches NPR levels of dissembling.

The story concerns the continuing saga of the cross in Wren Chapel at William and Mary. Here’s how WAPO headlines the article:

School’s Move Toward Inclusion Creates a Rift

The article goes on to discuss the continuing controversy regarding the use of the cross at Wren Chapel, a story that has been going on since October, with no sign of abating. Back then, Gates of Vienna called it “Away in a Closet”, since that was what the King President of the college decided to do with the cross — which, until his dictat, had sat on the altar of the Chapel for more than seventy years. Many other blogs covered — and continue to cover — the story in all its grisly detail.

The Post does give the URL for Save The Wren Cross, which has become the clearinghouse for this contretemps, one which will not go away, despite the college administration’s efforts to make it disappear.

[By the way, the author of the original outrage and energy to make President Nichol take back his command of removal was the future Baron’s roommate, Will Coggins. It was he who raised the alarm and started the backlash. World Net Daily gave him a mention in a recent story but I don’t think anyone realizes that this is really his doing. Fortunately, others, like Vince Haley of the American Enterprise Institute, took the ball and ran with it. But Will, one of the few libertarians at William and Mary with the courage to come out of the closet, deserves recognition for what he initiated.]

Just to bring you up to date:

In October, President Nichol, without any prior announcement to the college community, ordered the removal of the cross from its accustomed place on the altar. It was to be stored in a closet and left there except for those times when it was specifically requested. YouTube ran a widely viewed video of the removal.

As people noticed the bare altar and the news trickled out into the college community, there was a backlash of protest, not only about Nichol’s order but also about the way in which it was accomplished. Perhaps he thought no one would notice? Or that the passive student body would simply shrug and move on? Or that the alumni, far removed, would be indifferent?
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Wrong. First the students reacted, and then the word spread. President Nichol stood his ground, claiming that some of those who used the Chapel found the cross offensive. I believe he’s been able to produce only one complaint so far. There are now over seven thousand registered complaints about his sudden and secretive decision to remove this offensive religious icon.

Now the president has decided, in yet another fiat — which he labels a compromise — that the Cross will be returned to its place on Sundays, and that a plaque will be put up explaining the history of the cross. A very Anglican move, I should say. Anglican churches are full of plaques, and Wren Chapel began life as an Anglican church.

Note that the “compromise” is designed and carried out by Nichol, without input from the college community. Poor Nichol. He doesn’t seem to have grasped the ideas behind discussion, collegial decision-making, or compromise. Obviously, he just wants the whole thing to go away, and the only trick in his repertoire is giving orders.

In any other state school he might have succeeded. But William and Mary is so steeped in tradition they probably have Thomas Jefferson’s fingernail clippings in a reliquary somewhere. And the center and soul of that tradition is Wren Chapel: everything of any importance happens there. In fact, the Baron was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in Wren Chapel, as was his mother before him. Phi Beta Kappa itself began there. As more than one person has said, William and Mary is the only state school that seems like a private university. Oh, and that’s another thing: it will never deign to use the term “university.” It began as The College of William and Mary, and thus will it remain.

It was a state school begun by the Anglican Church to train clergy and scholars back when the Anglican religion was the state religion of Virginia, back when the Episcopal church was called the Church of Virginia. So William and Mary began life as a Christian institution and gradually transformed as the Commonwealth did. Eventually it became what it is today: a state-supported secular institution with a history and tradition of Christian parentage.

Much of our common public life is being eaten away by a malign “tolerance” for “diversity” that is so ignorantly narrow-minded that it manages to cancel the average American out of its equation. It is not diverse in the least, it is in fact meanly perverse in its calculus.

Larry Summers learned that at Harvard, didn’t he? That’s one place where the truth of biology does not, and will not, trump ideology. However, as some dedicated William and Mary students and alumni and Virginia citizens have proved, a passion for history and tradition can trump propaganda if we band together and demand that truth prevail and that tradition be maintained.

The students aren’t finished yet, though. There is still the Board of Visitors meeting in February, when the matter of the Wren Chapel cross will actually be discussed instead of dictated — as should have happened in the first place.

Meanwhile, returning to the WAPO headline, “School’s Move Toward Inclusion Creates a Rift,” I ask you: how accurate is that clever semantic twist? Reading it, can you guess which side the WAPO supports?