As I was flying into Minneapolis last week, the lady sitting next to me mentioned that while people often drive five miles over the speed limit in the northwest, they commonly drive 10-15 over the limit in Minneapolis. Not having driven in Minneapolis, I couldn’t vouch for the validity of her statement, but I’ll accept it at face value. But either situation is an example of pushing at a declared boundary.

In Washington state, the highway speed limits are typically 60 or 70 miles an hour. I know from past experience that the flow of traffic often clicks along above this speed, and the police do nothing to stop it. 65 and 75 have become the new boundaries for highway speed. If the Washington state troopers announced that they wouldn’t stop anyone doing 10 miles an hour over the speed limit or less, the new boundaries would become 70 and 80 miles an hour.

It’s not surprising that people often test and push at the boundaries placed on us. Anyone who has raised a child knows that they push at every boundary paced on them. They don’t do it to be bad, but because it is human nature to want to know our limits. And speaking of limits, President Obama will announce today a limit on the use of our nuclear weapons.

President Obama will today announce that he is to dramatically narrow the conditions under which the United States will use nuclear weapons, even for self-defence.

In an interview with The New York Times ahead of the unveiling of his much anticipated revamped nuclear policy, Mr Obama said an exception would be made for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But in a striking departure from the position taken by his predecessors, he said that the US would explicitly commit for the first time to not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that adhere to the nuclear treaty, even if they attack with biological or chemical weapons.

What is the blindingly obvious response to this by terrorists and rogue states, including Iran and North Korea? If you say that they will test these new boundaries, you understand basic human nature. If they don’t already have plans in place for developing and deploying chemical and biological weapons against the U.S., they will be as soon as they read the news.

Terrorists and rogue states are anti-social children with rage issues, so of course they will push at any boundary given them. Since President Obama has two little girls of his own, I’m surprised that he doesn’t understand this aspect of human nature already.

UPDATE (4/9/2010 6:43:19 AM): And once again Michael Ramirez nails it:

Beware of Dog...   No more.

Whenever I was engaged in a political discussion with supporters of then-candidate Barack Obama, I always asked them to list the things he had done that showed he was ready for the job of President. It was depressing how many people were ready to vote for him, but who couldn’t name one accomplishment off the top of their heads. A few pointed to his Senate election as a qualification, and more than one flatly stated that they were voting because of his race. During these discussions of qualifications, I always pointed out his lack of executive experience. Why should anyone place a neophyte with no executive experience into the role of the top executive? I compared it to taking a military officer with little to no leadership experience and placing him in charge of the entire military. It made as little sense then as it does now. The job of President is too important to trust to on-the-job training.

On his third day in office, President Obama signed an executive order stating that the facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba would be closed within a year. Bye-bye, Gitmo. I laughed at the time because I saw it for what it was: a bone tossed to the rabid anti-war branch of his party. And they dutifully gnawed on it and rejoiced. Less than two weeks later, he admitted that even he was worried that released Gitmo prisoners “might resume attacks on the United States.” Maybe his announcement to shut down Gitmo was a bit hasty.

While many countries in Europe had been calling for the U.S. to shut down Gitmo, when it came time for them to step up to the plate and take back some of the detainees, they began to balk:

Germany’s interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has suggested publicly that if Guantánamo detainees pose no security risk, there is no reason the United States should not take them.

When the administration suggested that the detainees could be released in the U.S. and given welfare, Obama found out that the NIMBY principle was just as active in the U.S. as it was in Europe. I guess the decision to foist off the detainees was too hasty.

Then on May 15th, President Obama announced that he was restarting the military tribunals he had shut down at the beginning of his administration. Could it be that his decision back in January to stop the Gitmo tribunals was too hasty?

On May 4th, 2009, the House dropped the funding President Obama had requested in order to close Gitmo. And today, the Senate did the same:

In a major rebuke to President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to block the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States and denied the administration the millions it sought to close the prison.

The 90-6 Senate vote — paired with similar House action last week — was a clear sign to Obama that he faces a tough fight getting the Democratic-controlled Congress to agree with his plans to shut down the detention center and move the 240 detainees.

Holy cow! What a resounding defeat for President Obama’s plan, mustering only six Democrat Senators to vote for it. Judging by these acts from the Legislature, I guess that both the House and Senate think Obama’s plan was too hasty.

But it’s not just me, or Europe, or Americans, or the House, or the Senate who think this decision was too hasty. Even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says this decision was too hasty, and he thinks President Obama will say this as well tomorrow. Skip to the 2 minute mark to hear it:

“Uh, and I think he’ll say this tomorrow that, uh, we’ve made some, uh, hasty decisions that, uh, are now going to take some time, uh, to unwind. And, uh, closing Guantánamo Bay obviously was one of those decisions.”

Hasty and unthought-out decisions like closing Gitmo and others are just what you get if you hire people for a job when they have no experience qualifying them for it. But there is good news from all this — President Obama has been successful in uniting the people. The bad news is that they are uniting against him and his policies.

Face it, we have a n00b in the White House.

This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.

There is a common thread to all the violence happening around the world: in almost every instance, one side of the conflict is dominated by Muslims. Since Muslim terrorists are active, we need to identify them, so what name or phrase can we use? We can’t just refer to these terrorists by the simple name of “Muslims,” “followers of Islam,” or the like because there are many Muslims who don’t chop off heads of the kafirs they meet. I have worked with many Muslims, and I’m still OK. So how can we identify the group? People have tried a multitude of names: Islamic radicals, Islamists, and Muslim fundamentalists, to name a few. I like my own term of “Islamic nutjobs,” but none of these terms have really commonly used by people to describe the terrorists.

But there is a term that works to identify these people: fascists, specifically Islamofascists. The term “Islamofascism” has been used by many different people, but it is one that I like. And it is a term used by President Bush. Here he uses the phrase in a discussion back in October 2005:

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus — and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

I’m not all that concerned about the name we use; I’m more concerned that we actually have a common term to label these terrorists. I refuse to accept the commonly held belief that one man’s terrorist is another man’s “freedom fighter.” As far as I’m concerned, if you stoop to blowing up and beheading non-combatants, you are automatically disqualified from ever claiming the status of “freedom fighter.”

But of all the articles I have read both for and against the term of “Islamofascist,” the best I have read thus far was written by Victor Davis Hanson. I very rarely do this, but I will quote the article in its entirety here. It is well worth reading.

Islamic Fascism 101
On all they’ve done to earn the name.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Make no apologies for the use of “Islamic fascism.” It is the perfect nomenclature for the agenda of radical Islam, for a variety of historical and scholarly reasons. That such usage also causes extreme embarrassment to both the Islamists themselves and their leftist “anti-fascist” appeasers in the West is just too bad.

First, the general idea of “fascism” – the creation of a centralized authoritarian state to enforce blanket obedience to a reactionary, all-encompassing ideology – fits well the aims of contemporary Islamism that openly demands implementation of sharia law and the return to a Pan-Islamic and theocratic caliphate.

In addition, Islamists, as is true of all fascists, privilege their own particular creed of true believers by harkening back to a lost, pristine past, in which the devout were once uncorrupted by modernism.

True, bin Laden’s mythical Volk don’t bath in the clear icy waters of the Rhine untouched by the filth of the Tiber; but rather they ride horses and slice the wind with their scimitars in service of a soon to be reborn majestic world of caliphs and mullahs. Osama bin Laden sashaying in his flowing robes is not all that different from the obese Herman Goering in reindeer horns plodding around his Karinhall castle with suspenders and alpine shorts.

Because fascism is born out of insecurity and the sense of failure, hatred for Jews is de rigueur. To read al Qaeda’s texts is to re-enter the world of Mein Kampf (naturally now known as Jihadi in the Arab world). The crackpot minister of its ideology, Dr. Zawahiri, is simply a Dr. Alfred Rosenberg come alive – a similar quarter-educated buffoon, who has just enough of a vocabulary to dress up fascist venom in a potpourri of historical misreadings and pseudo-learning.

Envy and false grievance, as in the past with Italian, German, or Japanese whining, are always imprinted deeply within the fascist mind. After all, it can never quite figure out why the morally pure, the politically zealous, the ever more obedient are losing out to corrupt and decadent democracies – where “mixing,” either in the racial or religious sense, should instead have enervated the people.

The “will” of the German people, like the “Banzai” spirit of the Japanese, should always trump the cowardly and debased material superiority of decadent Western democracies. So al Qaeda boasts that in Somalia and Afghanistan the unshakeable creed of Islam overcame the richer and better equipped Americans and Russians. To read bin Laden’s communiques is to be reminded of old Admiral Yamamato assuring his creepy peers that his years in the United States in the 1920s taught him that Roaring Twenties America, despite its fancy cars and skyscrapers, simply could not match the courage of the chosen Japanese.

Second, fascism thrives best in a once proud, recently humbled, but now ascendant people. They are ripe to be deluded into thinking contemporary setbacks were caused by others and are soon to be erased through ever more zealotry. What Versailles and reparations were to Hitler’s new Germany, what Western colonialism and patronizing in the Pacific were to the rising sun of the Japanese, what the embarrassing image of the perennial sick man of Europe was to Mussolini’s new Rome, so too Israel, modernism, and America’s ubiquitous pop culture are to the Islamists, confident of a renaissance via vast petro-wealth.

Such reactionary fascism is complex because it marries the present’s unhappiness with moping about a regal past – with glimpses of an even more regal future. Fascism is not quite the narcotic of the hopeless, but rather the opiate of the recently failed now on the supposed rebound who welcome the cheap fix of blaming others and bragging about their own iron will.

Third, while there is generic fascism, its variants naturally weave pre-existing threads familiar to a culture at large. Hitler’s brand cribbed together notions of German will, Aryanism, and the cult of the Ubermensch from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Spengler, with ample Nordic folk romance found from Wagner to Tacitus’ Germania. Japanese militarism’s racist creed, fanaticism, and sense of historical destiny were a motley synthesis of Bushido, Zen and Shinto Buddhism, emperor worship, and past samurai legends. Mussolini’s fasces, and the idea of an indomitable Caesarian Duce (or Roman Dux), were a pathetic attempt to resurrect imperial Rome. So too Islamic fascism draws on the Koran, the career of Saladin, and the tracts of Nasserites, Baathists, and Muslim Brotherhood pamphleteers.

Fourth, just as it was idle in the middle of World War II to speculate how many Germans, Japanese, or Italians really accepted the silly hatred of Hitler, Mussolini, or Tojo, so too it is a vain enterprise to worry over how many Muslims follow or support al Qaeda, or, in contrast, how many in the Middle East actively resist Islamists.

Most people have no ideology, but simply accommodate themselves to the prevailing sense of an agenda’s success or failure. Just as there weren’t more than a dozen vocal critics of Hitler after the Wehrmacht finished off France in six weeks in June of 1940, so too there wasn’t a Nazi to be found in June 1945 when Berlin lay in rubble.

It doesn’t matter whether Middle Easterners actually accept the tenets of bin Laden’s worldview – not if they think he is on the ascendancy, can bring them a sense of restored pride, and humiliate the Jews and the West on the cheap. Bin Laden is no more eccentric or impotent than Hitler was in the late 1920s.Yet if he can claim that his martyrs forced the United States out of Afghanistan and Iraq, toppled a petrol sheikdom or two, and acquired its wealth and influence – or if he got his hands on nuclear weapons and lorded it over appeasing Westerners – then he too, like the Fuhrer in the 1930s, will become untouchable. The same is true of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad.

Fifth, fascism springs from untruth and embraces lying. Hitler had contempt for those who believed him after Czechoslovakia. He broke every agreement from Munich to the Soviet non-aggression pact. So did the Japanese, who were sending their fleet to Pearl Harbor even as they talked of a new diplomatic breakthrough.

Al-Zawahiri in his writings spends an inordinate amount of effort excusing al Qaeda’s lies by referring to the Koranic notions of tactical dissimulation. We remember Arafat saying one thing in English and another in Arabic, and bin Laden denying responsibility for September 11 and then later boasting of it. Nothing a fascist says can be trusted, since all means are relegated to the ends of seeing their ideology reified. So too Islamic fascists, by any means necessary, will fib and hedge for the cause of Islamism. Keep that in mind when considering Iran’s protestations about its “peaceful” nuclear aims.

We can argue whether the present-day Islamic fascists have the military means comparable to what was had in the past by Nazis, Fascists, and militarists – I think a dirty bomb is worth the entire Luftwaffe, one nuclear missile all the striking power of the Japanese Imperial Navy – but there should be no argument over who they are and what they want. They are fascists of an Islamic sort, pure and simple.

And the least we can do is to call them that: after all, they earned it.

CNN is reporting on a classified intelligence report dealing with our fight against the terrorists who hate us.

A classified intelligence report concludes that the Iraq war has worsened the terrorist threat to the United States, U.S. officials told CNN Sunday.

Some intelligence officials have said as much in the past, but the newly revealed document is the first formal report on global trends in terrorism by the National Intelligence Estimate, which is put out by the National Intelligence Council.

[And now for a gratuitous shift of focus from the subject of the report - CM]As Democrats seized on the report to support their position on the war, violence Sunday left at least nine Iraqis and two U.S. Marines dead at the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

And raising doubts whether the Iraqis can maintain order once a security operation in Baghdad concludes, The Associated Press reported Sunday that some U.S. soldiers working in Shiite neighborhoods say the Iraqi troops are among the worst they’ve ever seen. ["Iraq is a failure" reporting - done. Now back to the actual subject of the news report - CM]

The White House Sunday said a New York Times report on the National Intelligence Estimate document “is not representative of the complete document.”

Has Iraq become a magnet for the terrorist thugs who hate us? Of course it has become exactly that, but here’s my question: would you rather have soldiers fighting terrorists thousands of miles away from Hometown USA, or would you rather battle them daily as you drive to the local 7-Eleven? Frankly, I’d rather keep terrorists away from my home, and I really don’t care that killing terrorists makes other terrorists mad.

Let’s think about this for a second. If you fight terrorists, you will make them mad at you, and they will want to fight you in return. It is a normal and natural human reaction. But liberals would have you believe that this reaction completely invalidates President Bush’s plans for fighting terrorists. After all, they surmise, if we left them alone, they’d leave us alone. Fighting them just makes them hate us even more.

Baloney. This liberal argument can be dismissed with two words: “Nine/Eleven.” Almost 3,000 people were peacefully going about their lives on that September morning when terrorists took the fight to them, killing them all. Terrorists following the philosophy of radical Islam have been fighting the West for decades. Their hatred for the West in general and Americans in particular didn’t begin with our invasion of Iraq to remove a dictating thug.

But what about that report? Why are we seeing excerpts of a classified document being published in the press for everyone — including terrorists — to read?

Mario Loyola makes a great point about the way CIA is leaking confidential information for political points:

A former senior administration official told me that in the run-up to the 2002 mid-term election, he remembers being horrified at how the CIA was leaking qualified intelligence estimates “like a sieve” for political effect. He thinks that the CIA and the State Department are both political assets for the Democrats, but unlike the State Department, which more often undermines the president quietly, the CIA actively intervenes in national elections by systematically leaking stuff calculated to have an adverse political impact on Republicans.

That this latest “secret” report (Iraq-makes-terrorism-worse) was leaked for political effect is obvious in the “conclusion” of the report, which turns on a philosophical (and policy) question that no intelligence credential makes one particularly qualified to address: Is Iraq part of the War on Terror, and will fighting them over there keep us from having to face them here? If you think the campaign in Iraq is part of the War on Terror, then examining whether terrorist recruitment has increased as a result is like measuring public opinion polls in Germany in the days after D-Day to see if the invasion is succeeding.

Attacking your enemies can be expected to make them angrier. Hitting the beaches at Normandy is going to increase your casualties. Those are things you’ll see on your way to victory.

Democrats are using this illegally leaked report to call for a change of leadership. Which makes me wonder: when the troops hit the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, were there any people in government who called for a change of leadership because the body count went up and Germans really started to hate us?

UPDATE (9/26/2006 12:37:22 PM): President Bush is confronting the people who are speculating over the leaked document by releasing the document in question. He has called for the parts that do not reveal sensitive data-gathering methods and techniques to be removed, but the rest will be declassified and released. Then we can read what these leakers have been whispering about.

Even though today is Talk like a Pirate Day, I’ve decided instead to be a shill for the U.S. military. Here are ten facts about Guantanamo that you may not be aware of if you get your news just from the mainstream media. This comes directly from the military and is dated Sept. 14th, 2006.

  1. The detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility include bin Laden’s bodyguards, bomb makers, terrorist trainers and facilitators, and other suspected terrorists.
  2. More money is spent on meals for detainees than on the U.S. troops stationed there. Detainees are offered up to 4,200 calories a day. The average weight gain per detainee is 20 pounds.
  3. The Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day. Arrows point detainees toward the holy city of Mecca.
  4. Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.
  5. The International Committee of the Red Cross visits detainees at the facility every few months. More than 20,000 messages between detainees and their families have been exchanged.
  6. Recreation activities include basketball, volleyball, soccer, pingpong, and board games. High-top sneakers are provided.
  7. Departing detainees receive a Koran, a jean jacket, a white T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, high-top sneakers, a gym bag of toiletries, and a pillow and blanket for the flight home.
  8. Entertainment includes Arabic language TV shows, including World Cup soccer games. The library has 3,500 volumes available in 13 languages — the most requested book is “Harry Potter.”
  9. Guantanamo is the most transparent detention facility in the history of warfare. The Joint Task Force has hosted more than 1,000 journalists from more than 40 countries.
  10. In 2005, Amnesty International stated that “the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times.”

Let’s focus for a bit on the comparison between Guantanamo and the Soviet gulag. Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia about the conditions in the gulag:

Extreme production quotas, malnutrition, harsh elements, inadequate housing, hygiene, and medical care, as well as brutal treatment by camp officials, guards, and fellow prisoners were the major reasons for high fatality rates, which in extreme cases could be as high as 80%.

And Gitmo is “the gulag of our times”? Oh, please!

Here’s something else worth considering. The media would have you believe that the “torture” that went on at Abu Ghraib was pandemic and widespread, indicative of the entire military force in Iraq, when they represented only a vanishingly small percentage of problem soldiers. Abu Ghraib has hit the news again recently with reports of torture, but now under Iraqi hands:

An independent witness who went into Abu Ghraib this week told The Sunday Telegraph that screams were coming from the cell blocks housing the terrorist suspects. Prisoners released from the jail this week spoke of routine torture of terrorism suspects and on Wednesday, 27 prisoners were hanged in the first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Conditions in the rest of the jail were grim, with an overwhelming stench of excrement, prisoners crammed into cells for all but 20 minutes a day, food rations cut to just rice and water and no air conditioning.

Some of the small number of prisoners who remained in the jail after the Americans left said they had pleaded to go with their departing captors, rather than be left in the hands of Iraqi guards.

“The Americans were better than the Iraqis. They treated us better,” said Khalid Alaani, who was held on suspicion of involvement in Sunni terrorism.

It almost makes me wonder if the liberals in the media have any desire to see the U.S. emerge victorious from the threat of Islamic nutjobs who delight in cutting off infidels’ heads. Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, you are an infidel to these people unless you believe exactly as they do. And converting to Islam is no guarantee of safety. Just look at the hundreds of Iraqi Muslims who have been murdered by other Muslims. Imagine a bunch of Lutherans blowing up Catholics over minor differences of dogma.

But I’m wandering from the point of this post. From the New York Times article:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

As Michelle Malkin points out, “‘Secret?’ Not anymore.” The NYT claims that revealing this government tool for catching terrorists is in the “public interests.” Obviously they’d rather handicap the authorities by exposing their tools than serve the “public interests” of not having Islamic nutjobs kill Americans here in America.

Since this is far from the first time that the media has published secret tools the government has used to combat terrorists, Daniel Solove of Concurring Opinions gives the media this template for further reports.

Under a top secret program initiated by the Bush Administration after the Sept. 11 attacks, the [name of agency (FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.)] have been gathering a vast database of [type of records] involving United States citizens.

“This program is a vital tool in the fight against terrorism,” [Bush Administration official] said. “Without it, we would be dangerously unsafe, and the terrorists would have probably killed you and every other American citizen.” The Bush Administration stated that the revelation of this program has severely compromised national security.

“This program is a threat to privacy and civil liberties,” [name of privacy advocate] said. But [name of spokesperson for Bush Administration] said: “This is a very limited program. It only contains detailed records about every American citizen. That’s all. It does not compromise civil liberties. We have a series of procedures in place to protect liberty.”

“We’re not trolling through the personal data of Americans,” Bush said, “we’re just looking at all of their records.”

The [name of statute] regulates [type of record] and typically requires a [type of court order]. Although the [name of agency] did not obtain a [type of court order], the Bush Administration contends that the progam is “totally legal.” According to the Attorney General, “we can [do whatever we did or want to do]. The program is part of the President’s emergency war powers.”

Nice little job of tongue-in-cheek writing, but Solove missed an extra paragraph.

[Bush Administration official] acknowledged that since the publication of the story by [self-aggrandizing media outlet], the terrorists have changed their tactics and are harder to capture before plots like [successful terrorist plot] occur.

I was driving home from work one night when the airhead on Air America Radio suggested that we should just talk with everyone and negotiate peace. This statement came about because of a message in January from Osama bin Laden, promising a truce. The White House was quick to reiterate its position that the U.S. will “not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business.” The liberal radio babe lamented this position of the administration, and she wondered out loud if we couldn’t solve most of our current problems with the terrorists if we just sat down with them and talked. After all, can’t we all just get along?

Well, no. We can’t.

Negotiations only work when both parties are willing to compromise their stated positions. Were I not a Luddite when it comes to cell phones, I would have given her a call to explain this concept, since she was obviously unaware of it. In the States, it is common to see management and labor negotiating new contracts. Each side will state what it wants, and the negotiations begin. As long as both sides are willing to compromise their demands to reach an acceptable middle ground, the negotiation will reach a point where both parties are equally content. But even business negotiations can break down when one side or the other is unwilling to budge from its demands.

The problem with negotiating with terrorists is that they want us dead, and we want to live. How can you negotiate a middle ground between life and death so that both sides can agree? Unlike Schrödinger’s cat, people don’t exist in a half-alive/half-dead quantum state. It becomes a question of which side is willing to give up its demands.

The problem with negotiating with someone who wants you dead is just that — he wants you dead. You can’t reason with such a person. You can’t “feel his pain.” Mississippi Klansmen didn’t grab three Northern students in 1964 so they could have a nice, reasonable chat about race relations. When Michael Schwerner attempted to negotiate with his kidnappers by saying, “I understand how you feel, sir,” their response was a bullet to the heart. Yep, there was a whole lot of negotiating done that day.

To be honest, death is not the only thing that the terrorists have demanded. The terrorists have essentially offered the U.S. and the Western world three options: convert to Islam (more specifically, the correct brand of Islam), accept a state of slavery known as dhimmi, or be killed. Are you willing to accept any of these options? Perhaps the same people who said, “Better red than dead” when confronted by the Soviet Union might be willing to accept either of the first two options, but I am not.

When someone says that he wants to kill me, it’s not time to negotiate. It is time to stop him in his tracks and make sure that my family is safe from him. And if that means killing him before he has a chance to attack, then so be it. If the terrorists currently assaulting us had not shown such a willingness to die if it meant taking us with them, then we wouldn’t work so hard to let them accomplish the first part of their desire.

And we have been effective in killing these terrorists — so effective, in fact, that Osama says he is willing to accept a truce from the U.S.:

We do not object to a long-term truce with you on the basis of fair conditions that we respect. We are a nation, for which God has disallowed treachery and lying.

Yep, Osama is willing to accept a truce from us because he is winning, right? Hah! The losing side sues for peace. But assuming that Osama is honest about wanting a truce — and I agree with Victor David Hanson that he doesn’t — I would never accept a truce with him because of one word.

Hudna.

Broadly translated, hudna is an Arabic word meaning “truce,” “armistice” or “cease-fire,” but it has a special meaning for Muslims.

Wikipedia gives this description of hudna:

According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi’i jurisprudence, hudnas with a non-Muslim enemy should be limited to 10 years: “if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud” (‘Umdat as-Salik, o9.16).

ClarityAndResolve.com defines hudna thus:

Hudna has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad rearmed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

In essence, this is religious license to renege on ones word, and to regroup, rearm, and reorganize to attack when ones enemy is lulled into thinking that one will be honest and fulfill ones side of a truce. This is tactic has been used over and over in Islam’s history, and is used to great effect today by Yasser Arafat, Hamas, al-Aqsa, and other Islamic terrorists all over the world. Recent examples include Fallujah and Najaf. What Westerners need to do is to read Islamic scripture and learn that in Islam there is no concept of permanent submission to any other power than God’s. Treaties mean nothing. Beware the hudna.

So to a radical Muslim, a truce is only to be entered into for strategic reasons. Once the Muslim force is no longer weak, the truce may be broken on any pretext in order to crush the infidel with their righteous jihad. Knowing this, how effective do you think negotiations will be with a group of religious radicals who believe they have carte blanche to lie to us? Still don’t believe me? Then it’s time to look up the definition of two other words worth learning (thanks again to ClarityAndResolve.com):

kitman: hiding the truth about Islam from the infidels; lie by omission, rather than by commission, as in taqiyya.

taqiyya: Dissimulation; lying for the sake of ones religion; concealing ones true religious beliefs for strategic reasons. Taqiyya is a lie by commission, rather than by omission, as in kitman. The concept of al-taqiyya is one historically associated with Shia Islam. This is because Sunni Muslims, who believe that Shiites are heretics, would impel them to denounce their faith, thinking this would expose them as mushrikeen when they refused to. In response, the Shia would do so, but hold true to their faith in their hearts, thus preserving their faith and their lives. Taqiyya is now used by all Muslims as a means of deceiving infidels about Islam’s aims, practices, and aspirations.

When Osama says, “We are a nation, for which God has disallowed treachery and lying,” he is practicing taqiyya.

How can you agree to negotiate with someone who not only desires your death, but who is willing to lie, deceive and backstab to get what he desires?

Ohhh, war, I despise
Because it means destruction
Of innocent lives

War means tears
To thousands of mothers’ eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh
Good God, y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

– Edwin Star, War

I took a two-hour trip to the city recently, and I spotted three cars with bumper stickers that jumped out at me. The first car had “Anti-Bush” on the left, and “Anti-War” on the right. The second car had “War is never the answer.” And the third had “Wage peace, not war!” I wish I could have stopped them to ask them more about the bumper stickers and their thoughts behind them. They were obviously excited enough about the subject to put something on their cars to proclaim their points, so they should be willing to discuss the issue with me. However, people on a highway are not usually willing to stop and chat about politics. And since I had an appointment that I couldn’t miss, I couldn’t stop and chat with them even if they were willing.

If I could have talked to these people, I would have asked more about their anti-war beliefs. Is there anything they would be willing to fight for? Would they fight if someone wanted to take their wallet? Would they fight if someone broke into their home? Would they fight if someone were raping their spouse or child? Would they fight if someone were actively trying to murder them?

I can easily imagine one possible response: “I wouldn’t fight. I’d call the police!” This basically means that they want someone else to do the fighting for them. Being willing to have the police fight their battles means that they would be willing to have someone else do the work to keep themselves safe. But it is also possible that someone who is devoutly anti-war would react to the above hypothetical situations without fighting or calling on someone else to fight in his or her place. The technical term for this type of person is “victim.”

Over two thousand years ago, there were people who were willing to die at the hands of their murderers rather than raise a hand against them. These people had been a bloodthirsty and murderous group, but after their conversion, they turned from their former ways and buried all their weapons as a sign that they would no longer take up arms against anyone else, not even to defend themselves. They stood by their convictions and did not resist an invading force, even though the attackers killed 1,005 of them in one attack, and an untold number in a second attack. The people of peace eventually fled their homes for a new land, protected by the people there, and they never broke their promise to never take up arms again.

About a decade later, the question of war came up again. Moroni, the head captain of the people — their Commander-in-Chief, if you will — had a difficult decision to make. The people’s liberties were being threatened, and he could either submit or lead his people into war. Moroni took his coat and wrote on it, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” He placed these words, his “Title of Liberty,” on a pole to rally the people to him. For Moroni, these things were too precious to lose without a fight. He did not make the decision lightly, and the people ended up fighting for their freedoms for the next thirteen years. It was a bloody fight, with many dead on both sides, but in the end Moroni and his forces won and maintained their freedoms.

I believe that there are some things that are worth fighting, and yes, even dying for. I believe this way because the loss of these freedoms would be worse to me than the loss of my life. Christ said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He was speaking of Himself and His upcoming death, but the sentiment holds true for the rest of us. And if a man is willing to lay down his life for a friend, is it not nobler to lay down his life for someone he doesn’t know? I am saddened at the thought of each and every serviceman and woman who dies in the line of duty, particularly the dangerous duty in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. But I also recognize why they do what they do.

On Tuesday, June 28th, President Bush addressed the nation to explain the nature of the heroic service of the Armed Forces in Iraq. This address should never have been necessary, but the media has reported practically every American death with breathless glee: “See?! We told you it was a quagmire over there, just like Vietnam!” The primary rule of the media is “If it bleeds, it leads.” It is very rare that anything positive is reported from Iraq or Afghanistan, but this lack of reporting comes not because there is nothing positive happening there, but because the nature of news doesn’t lend itself to reporting good news. So one American’s death by some roadside bomb is a top story, but a discussion of how many other roadside bombs were successfully neutralized is never mentioned on-screen or in print. But laying aside the nature of reporting, the media would not report good things about the War on Terror because they hate President Bush, and they can’t force themselves to say anything positive about him. If you have never noticed this bias before in the media, the way the media and the Democrats seemed to respond to the President’s speech in near-lockstep should dispel any lingering doubts you may have about media bias. And it is no wonder when members of the media voted between 70-80% for anyone other than President Bush.

Here’s an example of the lockstep response I witnessed. President Bush outlined why we cannot announce a specific end-date for our forces to leave Iraq:

I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong message to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer.

I listened to this speech as I was driving across the state. For hours after the speech, I heard commentator after commentator on the Leftist talk-radio circuit criticize President Bush for not giving an exact date when we would leave Iraq. This is one situation when I regret not having a cell phone. If I could have called in, I would have repeated the paragraph above and asked the commentators what part of it they didn’t grasp. I would have asked how many years it took after the rebuilding of Germany after World War II before the U.S. pulled its forces out of that nation. This is, of course, a trick question because U.S. forces are still stationed in Germany.

Calling for a specific withdrawal date shows both a lack of understanding of human nature and of history, if the desire for withdrawal is genuine, or it underlines the depths to which American Leftists will go in their attempt to harm President Bush. Few things would make Iraq a failure like announcing a withdrawal date before we are good and ready. The military didn’t lose the war in Vietnam; the media won the fight by changing public opinion about the war and pushing for an announced withdrawal.

Jim Quinn of the Warroom radio show finds it interesting and telling how the Leftists in this country are aligning themselves with the very terrorists we are fighting. Who wants an immediate withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq? The Leftists and the terrorists. Who points out every death in Iraq as an American failure? The Leftists and the terrorists. And who wants the U.S. to fail in its goal of helping to create a free and peaceful Iraq? The Leftists and the terrorists. I can safely state that Leftist want the U.S. cause to fail because that is the way they have aligned themselves. They have not stood up for the fight, and there will be no political benefit from their opposition views if Iraq becomes a free nation. The only way the Leftists will get any political benefit from this war is if the U.S. suffers another Vietnam-like defeat. That is why they are yammering for a withdrawal plan — because they wish to make this war into another Vietnam.

Whether you agreed with or argued with the reasons that led up to the liberation of the people of Iraq, you have to agree that it has become a very successful hornet trap for terrorists. They cannot allow a free and successful nation to exist in the Middle East because that would erode their power base and show the bankrupt state of their philosophy. That is why terrorists from all over the surrounding nations are pouring into Iraq. It is far better for the terrorists to fight trained military forces in Iraq than to launch their attacks against civilians here at home. Since the devastating attacks of September 11th, there have been no other massive attacks here in the States. In this, President Bush has been successful in drawing the terrorists to Iraq in concentrated numbers where they may be captured and killed.

We are at war, and it is a war to preserve our way of life, our freedoms, and our families. These things are worth fighting for. And it is far better to fight and defeat our enemies away from our shores. Or would you prefer to hunt these murderers house to house, Fallujah-style, in your own downtown?

On February 4th, journalist Giuliana Sgrena was kidnapped in Iraq. A video was released almost two weeks later of Sgrena, showing her kneeling and pleading for her life. “Nobody should come to Iraq. Please help me. Get the government to withdraw its troops. My life depends on it,” she said. Sgrena is from Italy, the same country that gave birth to Fabrizio Quattrochi–another captive of murderous thugs in Iraq, who defiantly cried out “I’ll show you how an Italian dies” seconds before his captors shot him in the neck.

But Sgrena is no Quattrochi. She is a reporter for Il Manifesto, a communist paper in Italy, and she favors the people who put a bullet into Quattrochi over her fellow Italians. She was released a month after her capture–ransomed for, it is reported, a figure somewhere between $1 million and $13 million. Michelle Malkin sums up the ransom this way:

Whatever the final tally, it’s a whopping bounty that will undoubtedly come in handy for cash-hungry killers in need of spiffy new rocket-propelled grenade launchers, AK-47s, mortars, landmines, components for vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, and recruitment fees. (To put this windfall in perspective, bear in mind that the 9/11 plot was a half-million dollar drop in the bucket for Osama bin Laden.)

On the way back from the kidnappers, Sgrena’s car was fired upon by American soldiers as it approached a checkpoint on one of the most dangerous roads in Baghdad. Sgrena was wounded and Nicola Calipari, another passenger in the car, was killed.

Cue the finger-pointing:

Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini told his country’s parliament today that the shooting was an accident, but he contradicted the U.S. military’s account of the incident. The U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, which controls Baghdad, said in a statement that the vehicle was “traveling at high speeds” and did not stop at the checkpoint, despite a number of warnings. The military said U.S. soldiers only opened fire after the car ignored the warnings.

Fini, however, said the car was traveling no faster than 25 mph, and disputed the U.S. military’s assertion that several warnings were given. He said the U.S. government must conduct a thorough investigation, “that responsibilities be pinpointed, and, where found, that the culprits be punished.” ABC News [link]

Sgrena told colleagues the vehicle was not travelling fast and had already passed several checkpoints on its way to the airport. The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle. The Observer [link]

PIER SCOLARI (translated): I have heard it said that the Americans signalled many times to the car to stop, but Giuliana told me she didn’t see anything. They were driving calmly. They had already passed many checkpoints, therefore everybody had been informed. They phoned and warned that they were going to the airport.

Suddenly as they were talking to each other without any signal a flashlight was switched on and three or four hundred bullets were shot towards the car. Giuliana told me she collected handfuls of bullets on the seats. AM (Australia) [link]

Some of the discrepancies here could attributed to the fact that Sgrena was right in the midst of the action, so how could she tell whether the 300-400 rounds supposedly fired at her came from an armored vehicle or from personal firearms? Well, you’d think that as a reporter she would be a careful eyewitness, but take a look at the picture above. It is a photograph of the car in which Sgrena was riding. Do you see hundreds of bullet holes? Neither do I. Nor do I see how she could have picked up “handfuls of bullets” in the back seat when the car shows no evidence of having been pierced by hundreds of bullets.

So what are the facts? David Frum wrote, quoting Sgrena: “Since her liberation, Sgrena has accused the United States of deliberately targeting her vehicle. ‘Everyone knows that the Americans don’t want hostages to be freed by negotiations, and for that reason, I don’t see why I should rule out that I was their target,’ she claimed in a television interview on Sunday.” Sgrena’s official story is that the U.S. wanted her dead. So why isn’t she? If hundreds of rounds were fired at her car as reported, she should be so much hamburger at this point. Instead she is recovering from a single bullet wound. Eason Jordan notwithstanding, to believe Sgrena’s cries of conspiracy against the U.S. military you must swallow the tale that the U.S. government wanted her dead, that soldiers had been ordered to kill her, but that they were so inept they somehow missed the car or that they fired only a few shots before giving up.

Jim Quinn has a competing conspiracy theory: Sgrena, an ardent communist and sympathizer with terrorists in Iraq, deliberately got herself kidnapped so a ransom could be paid to them.

If we are to judge wisely between these two conspiracy theories, perhaps we should lean on the rule of logic known as Occam’s Razor. It says that the simplest explanation is usually the best. Of the two, Quinn’s conspiracy theory is simpler. Rather than using Occam’s Razor, though, I think Hanlon’s Razor best applies:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Addendum (3/14/2005): Sgrena flipflops in her story again. This time, the Americans were not out to kill her. This leads me to wonder just how often her story will continue to evolve.

Addendum (4/29/2005): CBS News aired a report on Thursday, April 28th, 2005, that used satillite photos of Sgrena’s car, and it shows that the car was going over 60 mph when it was fired on. This completely contradicts her statement that they were doing less than that.