May 2009 Archives

Slavery is still practiced in the Muslim world as it was in the time of Mohammad.

232 Christian and animist natives of the south of Sudan were freed from slavery in Darfur, in western Sudan.

Interviews with all 232 slaves conducted by CSI representatives reveal a clear pattern of physical and psychological abuse. The liberated slaves reported having been subjected to beatings, death threats, rape, female genital mutilation, forced conversion to Islam, racial and religious insults and work without pay. Some slaves reported witnessing the execution of fellow captives.

The long war of the Arab north to subdue the Christians and animists of the south (where most of the Sudanese oil is) resulted in an estimated 2 million deaths before a truce negotiated by President Bush's envoy former U.S. Senator John Danforth. Supposedly, there will be a referendum shortly to determine in the people of the south want full autonomy from Khartoum. The people of the south will surely say "Yes" in great numbers; the question is whether the central government will honor its pledge.

Chinese oil interests are entrenched in Sudan and are heavily involved in oil development in the south for which they are making handsome payments to the central government. But the Sudanese government and the Chinese will be loath to have the Chinese make additional payments to a provisional government of the south.

Sol, while these 232 have been freed, the fate of the south is uncertain, as is the fate of those caught up in the present civil war in Darfur.

Just another indication of how alien the Muslim culture is to western civilization.


232 Sudanese Slaves Liberated

CSI Urges President Obama to Help Stamp out Slavery in Sudan

WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today,
Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a report on the liberation of
232 Sudanese earlier this month. The slaves - Christian and traditionalist
members of the Dinka tribe - were liberated, with CSI's support, from Arab
masters in Darfur and neighboring Kordofan.

The released captives were then repatriated to their homeland in Southern Sudan by Arab retrievers working in association with local Arab-Dinka Peace Committees. The enslavement of these Black non-Muslim Sudanese took place during jihad raids undertaken by Arab militias backed by Sudan's Islamist government during the late North-South civil war (1983-2005).

Interviews with all 232 slaves conducted by CSI representatives reveal a clear pattern of physical and psychological abuse. The liberated slaves reported having been subjected to beatings, death threats, rape, female genital mutilation, forced conversion to Islam, racial and religious insults and work without pay. Some slaves reported witnessing the
execution of fellow captives.

Among the interviewed slaves were:

Achan Mawien Guat - pregnant 17 year-old: Enslaved, Raped,
Circumcised, and Islamized.

Peter Akot Dut Hol - 19 year-old Christian: Enslaved,
Islamized, Father Murdered, Mutilated and Terrorized

Majok Kon Maliith - 17 year-old: Enslaved, Islamized,
Terrorized, Beaten, and Blinded in one Eye.

Mary Atak Geng Baak - 18 year-old Christian: Enslaved,
Islamized, Sexually Abused, Terrorized, and Economically Exploited.

Writing today to President Barack Obama, Dr. John Eibner,
CEO of CSI-USA, recalled the crucial roles played by Ambassador Susan Rice,
while Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, in initiating
government policy to eradicate Sudanese slavery during the Clinton
administration, and by President Bush's first Special Envoy for Sudan, Sen.
John Danforth in placing the issue of slavery at the heart of the Sudan peace
process.

Dr. Eibner furthermore urged President Obama to "revive America's commitment to act
energetically for the eradication of slavery in Sudan" by supporting the reintroduction of legislation sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Diane Watson (D-CA) for the establishment of the United States Commission to Monitor Slavery and its Eradication in Sudan (Eradication of Slavery in Sudan Act of 2007. H.R.3844).

Slavery persists in Sudan, despite the signing in
January 2005 of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Islamist
Government of Sudan (GOS) and the secular, Southern-based Sudan People's
Liberation Army (SPLM). The Agreement failed to include a mechanism for
overseeing the liberation of slaves and their safe repatriation.

An estimated 35,000 Black Africans from the Dinka tribe
remain enslaved today, according to a member of the Government of Sudan's
Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC),
James Aguir. (Skye Wheeler, Reuters, "Misseriya and Dinka Grapple with
History of Child Abduction", Aweil, November 14, 2008). Most of these
Dinka slaves are held by masters in Darfur and neighboring Kordofan. Reports from the UN Secretary General's International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (January 2005) and from the Darfur Consortium (December 2008) also confirm the use of slavery as a weapon of war against Black Africans in Darfur. The enslavement and horrific abuse of Sudanese captives of the Lord's Resistance Army is yet another facet of Sudan's
slavery problem.


OBAMA TAKING AMERICANS FOR A RIDE

Cartoonist Chris Muir imagines what the Obama amusement park looks like (click on pic to enlarge):

Going for a ride.jpg

Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School is as far left as a rational Democrat (there are some) can be, but on national security he usually is sensible.

On matters related to Israel, he is (as are we) an outspoken champion of the astonishingly successful society Jews have built in the economic and intellectual wasteland that has been much of the Middle East for centuries. Despite more than 60 years of hate, isolation, wars and terror directed at Israel by neighboring Muslim states, Israel has become a world leader in education, innovation, the rule of law and, necessarily, defense.

The unwavering support provided to Israel by the United States that began with Democratic president Harry S Truman is now in jeopardy. President Obama, with his breathtaking ignorance of history and his imperial narcissism, apparently believes on every complex issue his soaring rhetoric and vast but uninformed intelligence can produce a solution that no one but he can achieve. His views of Islam today, derived from his childhood years in Indonesia, are either romantic, naive or worse, reflective of the hatred of Jews and America learned at the Jakata mosques he attended. He is demonstrating daily how dangerous he is to America and the world with his unconstrained ego, ignorance, naivete and attachment to Islam.

Evidence of his indifference to the fate of Israel was apparent during the presidential campaign. MIddle East political analyst Caroline Glick warned America Jews frequently that Obama was no friend of Israel . Yet American Jews overwhelmingly voted for him, including Alan Dershowitz.

What Caroline Glick saw so clearly then, Dershowitz sees now. Finally, he is speaking out on the wrong-headed approach Obama is taking on Iran and Israel, egged on by the many anti-Semites he has appointed to high positions in his administration. To Obama, the supreme achievement will be to bring Islamic Iran and America together and, if the destruction of Israel is the price to be paid, it is of no concern to him.

So Dershowitz is speaking out. Will other American Jews do the same? Will formerly stalwart Democratic defenders of Israel in Congress protest what Obama is doing? So far,the answer to both questions is "NO." Perhaps American Jews silently hope Obama will on his own change his mind. Democrats in Congress fear to cross their still popular president and with a choice on Israel's very existence to make they go along with Obama, fearing their political exile.

The emperor stands naked and erstwhile Democratic Israeli supporters stand mute as the genocidal risk to Israel abetted by their president grows.

Israel must and will stand firm to protect its citizens. It is madness that Obama's senselessness leaves Israel alone to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran from terrorizing the world. But, with Obama unhinged from any sense of responsibility for the people of Israel and his ignorance or indifference to the danger Iran presents to America, it appears the Israelis' fate depends solely on them.

Dershowitz: Obama Has Iran Linkage Backwards

by Hillel Fendel
May 31, 2009

(IsraelNN.com) Prominent Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz - who endorsed Barack Obama for U.S. President last year, partially because of his support for Israel - now says Obama's policies are dangerous for Israel. His opinions appear in a recent Jerusalem Post blog as well as in an article for the New York Post.
In his blog published last week, Dershowitz wrote that while Obama feels a "two-state solution" paves the way towards dealing with Iran, the opposite is actually true, and that strong American action towards Iran is a prerequisite for Israel to make major concessions to the Palestinian Authority.
"President Obama sees 'a linkage' between Israel ending the settlements and the United States trying to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons," Dershowitz wrote. "Following the Oval Office meeting [with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ed.], he insisted that peace between Israel and the Palestinians 'strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.' With due respect to the man who I supported for President, he has it exactly backwards. If there is to be any linkage - and I do not believe there should be - it goes the other way: it will be much easier for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank if Iran does not have a nuclear umbrella under which it can continue to encourage Hamas and Hizbullah to fire rockets at Israeli civilians."
Shortly before last year's U.S. presidential election, Dershowitz expressed his support for Obama, writing, "I think that on the important issues relating to Israel, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama score very high. During the debates each candidate has gone out of his and her way to emphasize strong support for Israel as an American ally and a bastion of democracy in a dangerous neighborhood."
Far Easier to Make Peace Without Nuclear Threat
Earlier this month, Dershowitz wrote an article in the New York Post entitled, "Why the Obama Administration Has the Iran Problem Backwards." Dershowitz wrote, "It will be far easier for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians if it did not have to worry about the threat of a nuclear attack or a dirty bomb. It will also be easier for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank if Iran were not arming and inciting Hamas, Hizbullah and other enemies of Israel to terrorize Israel with rockets and suicide bombers."
Dershowitz concluded that article, "Making peace with the Palestinians will be extremely complicated... It may or may not succeed in the end, depending on whether the Palestinians will continue to want their own state less than they want to see the end of the Jewish State. Israel should not be held hostage to the Iranian nuclear threat by the difficulty of making peace with the Palestinians... There are other ways of encouraging Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. Nuclear blackmail is not one of them."
'Iran Must be Defanged'
"In order for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank, Iran must be defanged. No Israeli prime minister can repeat the mistake that Ariel Sharon made when - in good faith - he unilaterally evacuated the Gaza Strip. Instead of land for peace, what the Israelis got was land for rocket launchings, which continue to this day... The difference is that an unoccupied West Bank would put Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ben Gurion Airport well within range of rockets supplied by Iran to Hamas and other terrorist groups.
"That is why the Middle East peace process has become so intractable. President Obama seems unwilling to guarantee Israel that Iran will not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons...
"So the ball is very much in Barack Obama's court; unless he can provide Israel a guarantee that they will never face a nuclear Iran, all that Israel will be able to do is end some illegal settlements, avoid any expansion of existing settlements and generally take some cosmetic steps..."

EDMUND BURKE KNOWS BARACK OBAMA

Human nature doesn't change and dangerous men spring up in all times.

Thomas Sowell found much in what Edmund Burke said and wrote two hundred years ago that highlights the dangers to America and the world of the Obama presidency.

Burke

"feared particularly the kind of man "whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it" -- the kind of man "who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends." Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others come to mind.

Burke and Obama

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) had a lot to say about the Obama administration.

By Thomas Sowell

The other day I sought a respite from current events by rereading some of the writings of the 18th-century British statesman Edmund Burke. But it was not nearly as big an escape as I had thought it would be.

When Burke wrote of his apprehension about "new power in new persons," I could not help thinking of the new powers that have been created by which a new president of the United States -- a man with zero experience in business -- can fire the head of General Motors and tell banks how to run their businesses.

Not only is Barack Obama new to the presidency, he is new to running any organization. One of Burke's fears was that "we may place our confidence in the virtue of those who have never been tried."

Neither eloquence nor zeal is a substitute for experience, according to Burke. He said, "eloquence may exist without a proportionate degree of wisdom." As for zeal, Burke said: "It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance that it is directed by insolent passion."

The Obama administration's back-and-forth on the question whether American intelligence agents who forced information out of captured terrorist leaders will be subject to legal jeopardy -- even though they were told at the time that what they were doing was not only legal but a service to the nation -- came to mind when reading Burke's warning about the dangers of continuing to change the rules and values by which people lived. Burke asked how we could expect a sense of honor to exist when "no man could know what would be the test of honour in a nation, continually varying the standard of its coin"?

The current drive to take from "the rich" for the benefit of others came to mind when reading Burke's warning against creating a situation where "any one description of citizens should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey."

He also warned that "those who attempt to level, never equalise." What they end up doing is concentrating power in their own hands -- and Burke saw such new powers as dangerous, even if they were used only sparingly at first.

He said, "the true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients and by parts." He also said: "It is by lying dormant a long time, or being at first very rarely exercised, that arbitrary power steals upon a people."

People who don't like "the rich" or "big business" or the banks may be happy that President Obama is sticking it to them. But such arbitrary powers can be turned on anybody. As John Donne said: "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." There is a lot of wisdom in those words.

The Constitution of the United States set out to limit the powers of the federal government, but judges have greatly eroded those limitations over the years, and the dispensing of bailout money has allowed the Obama administration to exercise powers that the Constitution never bestowed.

Edmund Burke understood that, no matter what form of government you have, in the end the character of those who wield the powers of government is crucial. He said: "Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state."

He also said, "of all things, we ought to be the most concerned who and what sort of men they are that hold the trust of everything that is dear to us." He feared particularly the kind of man "whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it" -- the kind of man "who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends." Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others come to mind.

The biggest challenge to America -- and to the world -- today is the danger of Iran with nuclear weapons. President Obama is acting as if this is something he can finesse with talks or deals. Worse yet, he may think it is something we can live with.

Burke had something to say about things like that as well: "There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief." Acting -- not talking.

-- Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

OBAMA: STAND DOWN, AMERICA

Let's see: Now the U.S. cozies up to the Muslims, strong-arms Israel, shrugs at North Korean nuclear and missile threats and let's Iran pursue its genocidal dream.

Well, we certainly got change with the new president. He's issued an open invitation to every nutcase regime in the world to gear up to take a shot at America -- and all the other big guys America used to defend. There's nothing to fear.

Mark Steyn says it best:

We are building a world in which the wealthiest nations on the planet, from Norway to New Zealand, are all but defenseless, while bankrupt dysfunctional squats go nuclear. Even with inevitable and generous submissions to nuclear blackmail, how long do you think that arrangement will last? In the formulation of Janet Napolitano, we are on the brink of "man-caused disaster."

The god king is orchestrating the shriveling of American power and the impoverishment of future generations to please his European and Muslim friends; no longer need they envy America.

North Korea provokes with impunity

A rogue nuclear test staged on the day to honor American war dead is greeted with only half-hearted diplomatese from Washington.

Mark Steyn
Syndicated columnist
Orange County Register
May 29, 2009

What does a nuclear madman have to do to get America's attention? On Memorial Day, the North Koreans detonated "an underground atomic device many times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki," as my old colleagues at The Irish Times put it. You'd think that'd rate something higher than "World News In Brief," see foot of page 37. But instead Washington was consumed by the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, who apparently has a "compelling personal story."
Doesn't Kim Jong-il have a compelling personal story? Like Sonia, he grew up in a poor neighborhood (North Korea), yet he's managed to become a nuclear power, shattering the glass ceiling to take his seat at the old nuclear boys' club. Isn't that an inspiring narrative? Once upon a time you had to be a great power, one of the Big Five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to sit at the nuclear table: America, Britain, France, Russia, China, the old sons of power and privilege. But now the mentally unstable scion of an impoverished no-account backwater with a GDP lower than Zimbabwe has joined their ranks: Celebrate diversity!

Evidently, some compelling personal stories are more compelling than others. In The Washington Post, Stephen Stromberg argued that Kim's decision to drop the Big One on a three-day weekend was evidence of his appalling news judgment. Other blasé observers shrug that it's now an American holiday tradition. It began when Pyongyang staged the first of its holiday provocations on Fourth of July 2006, and, amidst all the other fireworks displays, America barely noticed. No doubt there'll be another Hiroshima on Labor Day or Thanksgiving. Geez, doesn't the hick in the presidential palace get it? There's no point launching nukes when everyone's barbecuing chicken or watching football.

Well, you never know: Maybe we're the ones being parochial. If you're American, it's natural to assume that the North Korean problem is about North Korea, just like the Iraq war is about Iraq. But they're not. If you're starving to death in Pyongyang, North Korea is about North Korea. For everyone else, North Korea and Iraq, and Afghanistan and Iran, are about America: American will, American purpose, American credibility. The rest of the world doesn't observe Memorial Day. But it understands the crude symbolism of a rogue nuclear test staged on the day to honor American war dead and greeted with only half-hearted pro forma diplomatese from Washington. Pyongyang's actions were "a matter of ..." Drumroll, please! "...grave concern," declared the president. Furthermore, if North Korea carries on like this, it will - wait for it - "not find international acceptance."

As the comedian Andy Borowitz put it, "President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with 'the strongest possible adjectives.' Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test 'supercilious and jejune.'"

The president's general line on the geopolitical big picture is: I don't need this in my life right now. He's a domestic transformationalist, working overtime - via the banks, the automobile industry, health care, etc. - to advance statism's death grip on American dynamism. His principal interest in the rest of the world is that he doesn't want anyone nuking America before he's finished turning it into a socialist basket case. This isn't simply a matter of priorities.

A United States government currently borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends cannot afford its global role, and thus the Obama cuts to missile defense and other programs have a kind of logic: You can't be Scandinavia writ large with a U.S.-sized military.

Out there in the chancelleries and presidential palaces, they're beginning to get the message. The regime in Pyongyang is not merely trying to "provoke" America but is demonstrating to potential clients that you can do so with impunity. A black-market economy reliant on exports of heroin, sex slaves and knock-off Viagra is attempting to supersize its business model and turn itself into a nuclear Wal-Mart.

Among the distinguished guests present for North Korea's October 2006 test were representatives of the Iranian government. President George W. Bush was much mocked for yoking the two nations together in his now all but forgotten "axis of evil" speech, but the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported a few weeks ago that the North Korean-built (and Israeli-bombed) plutonium production facility in Syria was paid for by Tehran. How many other Iranian clients are getting nuclear subsidies? It would be interesting to learn who was on the observation deck for the Memorial Day Hiroshima re-enactment, but North Korea is one of the most closed societies on the face of the Earth, certainly when compared with the more closely scrutinized corners of the Middle East. In other words, it's the perfect partner for any state that wants to pursue certain projects under the Western radar screen.

It is remarkable in just five years how the world has adjusted to the inevitability of a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran. Nudge it on another half-decade: Whose nuclear ambitions will be unstoppable by 2015? Syria's? Sudan's? Selected fiefdoms in Somalia?

Barack Obama came to power pledging to talk to America's enemies anywhere, anytime. Alas for America's speak-softly-and-carry-a-big-teleprompter diplomacy, there are no takers for his photo-ops. In the ever more pitiful straw-clutching of the State Department, America is said to be banking on a post-Kim era. He's apparently had a bad stroke and might be dead within a decade or three. So what? It's a safe bet that whoever emerges from a power struggle between the family, the party and the military is committed to nuclearization as the principal rationale of the state.

Likewise in Iran's imminent election, both "extremists" and "moderates" are pro-nuke. You want an Iranian moderate? Here's Hashemi Rafsanjani, the moderate guy who lost to that crazy Ahmadinejad last time round: He called Israel "the most hideous occurrence in history," which the Muslim world "will vomit out from its midst" with "a single atomic bomb." Nuking the Zionist Entity is as bipartisan as motherhood and apple pie.
More to the point, the feeble bleatings from the State Department that there may be internal change down the road emphasize the central feature of the present scene: the absence of meaningful American power.

While America laughed at North Korea, Iran used it as a stalking horse, a useful guide as to the parameters of belligerence and quiescence a nuclearizing rogue state could operate within. In what Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post calls "the post-American world," other nations will follow that model.

We are building a world in which the wealthiest nations on the planet, from Norway to New Zealand, are all but defenseless, while bankrupt dysfunctional squats go nuclear. Even with inevitable and generous submissions to nuclear blackmail, how long do you think that arrangement will last? In the formulation of Janet Napolitano, we are on the brink of "man-caused disaster."


ISLAM IS STRANGLING EUROPE

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How far gone is Europe towards Islamization? A lot farther than many think.

This rather long but immensely informative report tells the story of how the invading Muslims aggressively assert their alien way of living and push the former prevailing culture into the background. The Islamic way of world conquest takes many forms and demographic expansion accompanied by just enough intimidation to frighten the natives is what is succeeding in Europe.

In this report, the Netherlands is ground zero. It is not a battleground, it is the scene of civilizational disintegration, hence the term "ground zero" is more appropriate to the reality of the situation. No one is fighting back.

As one ex-Muslim Ali Sina warns, this civilization cannot be allowed to vanish.

"If any culture needs to be preserved, it is the Western, Helleno-Christian culture. It is this culture that is facing extinction. It is to this culture alone that we owe the Enlightenment, Renaissance, and democracy. These are the foundations of our modern world. It would be a terrible mistake not to preserve this culture. If we do nothing, we face a future where democracy and tolerance will fade and Islam's more primitive instincts will subjugate humanity. All cultures are not made equal ... We owe our freedom and modern civilization to Western culture. It is this culture that is now under attack and needs protection."
Eurabia Has A Capital: Rotterdam

Here entire neighborhoods look like the Middle East, women walk around veiled, the mayor is a Muslim, sharia law is applied in the courts and the theaters. An extensive report from the most Islamized city in Europe.

by Sandro Magister

Muslim Women -- Rotterdam.jpg

Muslim Women of Rotterdam

ROME, May 19, 2009 - One of the most indisputable results of Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land was the improvement in relations with Islam. The three days he spent in Jordan, and then, in Jerusalem, the visit to the Dome of the Mosque, spread an image among the Muslim general public - to an extent never before seen - of a pope as a friend, surrounded by Islamic leaders happy to welcome him and work together with him for the good of the human family.

But just as indisputable is the distance between this image and the harsh reality of the facts. Not only in countries under Muslim regimes, but also where the followers of Mohammed are in the minority, for example in Europe.

In 2002, the scholar Bat Ye'or, a British citizen born in Egypt and a specialist in the history of the Christian and Jewish minorities in Muslim countries - called the "dhimmi" - coined the term "Eurabia" to describe the fate toward which Europe is moving. It is a fate of submission to Islam, of "dhimmitude."

Oriana Fallaci used the word "Eurabia" in her writings, and gave it worldwide resonance. On August 1, 2005, Benedict XVI received Fallaci in a private audience at Castel Gandolfo. She rejected dialogue with Islam; he was in favor of it, and still is. But they agreed - as Fallaci later said - in identifying the "self-hatred" that Europe demonstrates, its spiritual vacuum, its loss of identity, precisely when the immigrants of Islamic faith are increasing within it.

Holland is an extraordinary test case. It is the country in which individual license is the most extensive - to the point of permitting euthanasia on children - in which the Christian identity is most faded, in which the Moslem presence is growing most boldly.

Here, multiculturalism is the rule. But the exceptions are dramatic: from the killing of the anti-Islamist political leader Pim Fortuyn to the persecution of the Somali dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the murder of the director Theo Van Gogh, condemned to death for his film "Submission," a denunciation of the crimes of Muslim theocracy. Fortuyn's successor, Geert Wilders, has lived under 24-hour police protection for six years.

There is one city in Holland where this new reality can be seen with the naked eye, more than anywhere else. Here, entire neighborhoods look as if they have been lifted from the Middle East, here stand the largest mosques in Europe, here parts of sharia law are applied in the courts and theaters, here many of the women go around veiled, here the mayor is a Muslim, the son of an imam.

This city is Rotterdam, Holland's second largest city by population, and the largest port in Europe by cargo volume.

The following is a report on Rotterdam published in the Italian newspaper "il Foglio" on May 14, 2009, the second in a major seven-part survey on Holland.

The author, Giulio Meotti, also writes for the "Wall Street Journal." Next September, his book-length survey on Israel will be published.

The photo above is entitled "Muslim women in Rotterdam." It is from an exhibition in 2008 by the Dutch photographers Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek.


In the casbah of Rotterdam

by Giulio Meotti


In Feyenoord, veiled women can be seen everywhere, darting like a flash through the streets of the neighborhood. They avoid any sort of contact, even eye contact, especially with men. Feyenoord is the size of a city, and there are seventy nationalities coexisting there. It is an area that lives on subsidies and residential construction, and it is here that it is most obvious that Holland - with all of its rules against discrimination and all of its moral indignation - is a completely segregated society. Rotterdam is new, having been bombed twice by the Luftwaffe during the second world war. Like Amsterdam, it is below sea level, but unlike the capital it does not enjoy an image of reckless abandon. In Rotterdam, it is the Arab shops selling halal food that dominate the cityscape, not the neon lights of the prostitutes. Everywhere are casbah-cafes, travel agencies offering flights to Rabat and Casablanca, posters expressing solidarity with Hamas, or offering affordable Dutch language lessons.

It is the second-largest city in the country, a poor city, but also the economic engine with its huge port, the most important in Europe. Most of the population are immigrants, and the city has the tallest and most imposing mosque in Europe. Sixty percent of the foreigners who arrive in Holland come here to live. The most striking thing when one arrives in the city by train are the enormous and fascinating mosques framed by the vibrant green, luxuriant, wooded, watery countryside, like an alien presence compared to the rest. They call it "Eurabia." The Turkish Mevlana mosque is imposing. It has the tallest minarets in Europe, even higher than the stadium of the Feyenoord soccer team.

Many of the neighborhoods in Rotterdam are captive to the darkest, most violent form of Islamism. Pim Fortuyn's house stands out like a pearl in a sea of chador and niqab. It is at number 11 Burgerplein, behind the train station. Every now and then someone comes to put flowers in front of the home of the professor who was murdered in Amsterdam on May 6, 2002. Someone else leaves a card: "In Holland everything is tolerated, except for the truth." A millionaire named Chris Tummesen bought Pim Fortuyn's house so that it would remain intact. The evening before his murder Pim was nervous, and had said on television that a climate of demonization had been created against him and his ideas. And his fears came true, when he was shot in the head five times by Volkert van der Graaf, a militant of the animal rights left, scrawny, head shaved, eyes dark, dressed like an environmental purist in a handmade shirt, sandals, and goat's wool socks, a strict vegetarian, "a guy impatient to change the world," his friends say.

Not long ago in downtown Rotterdam, funerary photos of Geert Wilders were placed under a tree, with a candle to commemorate his upcoming death. Today Wilders is the most popular politician in the city. He is the heir of Fortuyn, the homosexual, Catholic, ex-Markist professor who had formed his own party to save the country from Islamization. At his funeral, only the absence of Queen Beatrice kept the farewell to the "divine Pim" from becoming a funeral fit for a king. Before his death they made a monster of him (one Dutch minister called him an "untermensch," an inferior man in Nazi parlance), afterward they idolized him. The prostitutes of Amsterdam left a wreath of flowers in his honor beneath the National Monument in Dam Square, a memorial to the victims of World War II.

Three months ago, "The Economist," a weekly publication far from Wilders' anti-Islamic ideas, spoke of Rotterdam as a "Eurabian nightmare." For most of the Dutch who live there, Islamism is now a threat greater than the Delta Plan, the complicated system of dikes that prevents flooding from the sea, like the flood in 1953 that killed two thousand people. The picturesque town of Schiedam, part of the greater Rotterdam area, has always been a jewel in the Dutch imagination. Then the fairy tale glow faded, when in the newspapers three years ago it became the city of Farid A., the Islamist who made death threats against Wilders and Somali dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali. For six years, Wilders has lived under 24-hour police protection.

Muslim lawyers in Rotterdam also want to change the rules of the courtroom, asking to be allowed to remain seated when the judge enters. They recognize Allah alone. The lawyer Mohammed Enait recently refused to stand when the magistrates enter the courtroom, saying that "Islam teaches that all men are equal." The court of Rotterdam has recognized Enait's right to remain seated: "There is no legal obligation requiring Muslim lawyers to stand in front of the court, insofar as this action is in contrast with the dictates of the Islamic faith." Enait, the head of the legal office Jairam Advocaten, has explained that "he considers all men equal, and does not acknowledge any form of deference toward anyone." All men, but not all women. Enait is well known for his refusal to shake hands with women, and has repeatedly said he would prefer them to wear the burqa. And there are many burqas on the streets of Rotterdam.

The fact that Eurabia has arrived in Rotterdam has been demonstrated by an episode in April at the Zuidplein Theatre, one of the most prestigious in the city, a modernist theater proud of "representing the cultural diversity of Rotterdam." It is located in the southern part of the city, and receives funding from the municipality, headed by a Muslim, the son of the imam Ahmed Aboutaleb. Three weeks ago, the Zuidplein Theatre allowed an entire balcony to be reserved for women only, in the name of sharia. This is not happening in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia, but in the city from which the Founding Fathers set out for the United States. It was from here that the Puritans disembarked in the Speedwell, which they later exchanged for the Mayflower. This is where the American adventure began. Today, it has legalized sharia.

For a performance by the Muslim Salaheddine Benchikhi, the Zuidplein Theatre agreed to his request to have the first five rows set aside for women only. Salaheddine, an editorialist for the website Morokko.nl, is known for his opposition to the integration of Muslims. The city council has approved this: "According to our Western values, the freedom to live one's own life by virtue of one's convictions is a precious possession." A spokesman for the theater has also defended the director: "It is hard to get Muslims to come to the theater, so we are willing to adapt."

Another man who has been willing to adapt is the director Gerrit Timmers. His words are fairly symptomatic of what Wilders calls "self-Islamization." The first case of self-censorship took place in Rotterdam, in December of 2000. Timmers, the director of the theater group Onafhankelijk Toneel, wanted to stage a performance about the life of Mohammed's wife Aisha. The play was boycotted by the Muslim actors in the company when it became evident that it would be a target for the Islamists. "We are enthusiastic about the play, but fear reigns," the actors told him. The composer, Najib Cherradi, said that he would withdraw "for the good of my daughter." The newspaper "Handelsblad" gave the story the title "Tehran on the Meuse," the name of the gentle river that passes through Rotterdam. "I had already done three works about the Moroccans, so I wanted to have Muslim actors and singers," Timmers tells us. "Then they told me that it was a dangerous issue, and they could not participate, because they had received death threats. In Rabat, an article came out saying we would end up like Salman Rushdie. For me, it was more important to continue the dialogue with the Moroccans, rather than provoke them. For this reason, I see no problem if the Muslims want to separate the men from the women in a theater."

Let's meet the director who has brought sharia to the Dutch theaters, Salaheddine Benchikhi. He is young, modern, confident, and speaks perfect English. "I defend the decision to separate the men from the women, because here there is freedom of expression and organization. If people can't sit where they want to, that is discrimination. There are two million Muslims in Holland, and they want our tradition to become public, everything is evolving. Mayor Aboutaleb has supported me."

One year ago, the city was buzzing when the newspapers published a letter by Bouchra Ismaili, a Rotterdam city councilman: "Listen up, crazy freaks, we're here to stay. You're the foreigners here, with Allah on my side I'm not afraid of anything. Take my advice: convert to Islam, and you will find peace." Just a walk through the streets of the city, and you know right away that in many neighborhoods you are no longer in Holland. It is right out of the Middle East. In some schools, there is a "room of silence" where Muslim students, who are in the majority, can pray five times a day, with a poster of Mecca, the Qur'an, and a ritual washing before the prayers. Another Muslim city councilman, Brahim Bourzik, wants signs placed in various parts of the city showing the direction to Mecca.

Sylvain Ephimenco is a Franco-Dutch journalist who has been living in Rotterdam for twelve years. For twenty years, he was the "Libération" correspondent in Holland, and is proud of his leftist credentials. "Even though I don't believe in that anymore," he says, welcoming us to his home overlooking one of Rotterdam's little canals. Not far from here is the al Nasr mosque of the imam Khalil al Moumni, who when gay marriage was legalized described homosexuals as "sick people worse than pigs." From the outside, it can be seen that the mosque is more than twenty years old, having been built by the first Moroccan immigrants. Moumni has written a pamphlet that is circulating around the Dutch mosques, "The path of the Muslim," in which he explains that the heads of homosexuals should be cut off and "hung from the highest building in the city." Next to the al Nasr mosque, we sit down at a cafe for men only. In front of us is a halal Islamic slaughterhouse. Ephimenco is the author of three essays on Holland and Islam, and today is a famous columnist for the leftist Christian newspaper "Trouw." He has the best perspective for understanding a city that, perhaps even more than Amsterdam, embodies the tragedy of Holland.

"It is not at all true that Wilders gets his votes from the fringes, everyone knows that, even though they don't say it," he tells us. "Today educated people vote for Wilders, although at first it was the lower class Dutch, the tattoo crowd. Many academics and people on the left vote for him. The problem is all of these Islamic headscarves. There's a supermarket behind my house. When I arrived, there wasn't a single headscarf. Now it's all Muslim women with the chador at the register. Wilders is not Haider. His positions are on the right, but also on the left, he's a typical Dutchman. Here there are even hours at the swimming pool set aside for Muslim women. This is the origin of the vote for Wilders. Islamization, this foolishness with the theater, has to be stopped. In Utrecht, there is a mosque where they provide separate city services for men and women. The Dutch are afraid. Wilders is against the Frankenstein of multiculturalism. I, who used to be on the left but am no longer anything, I say we've reached the limit. I feel the ideals of the Enlightenment have been betrayed with this voluntary apartheid, in my heart I feel the death of the ideals of the equality of men and women, and freedom of expression. Here the left is conformist, and the right has the better answer to insane multiculturalism."

One of the professors at Erasmus University in Rotterdam is Tariq Ramadan, the famous Swiss Islamic scholar who is also a special adviser for the city. Some of Ramadan's statements against homosexuality were uncovered by Holland's most famous gay magazine, "Gay Krant," directed by a talkative journalist named Henk Krol. On a videocassette, Ramadan calls homosexuality "a disease, a disorder, an imbalance." On the tape, Ramadan also has comments on women, "they should keep their eyes on the ground when they're on the street." Wilders' party asked for the city council to be disbanded, and for the Islamic scholar from Geneva to be sent packing, but instead he was renewed in his post for two more years. This was happening while across the sea, the Obama administration was confirming the ban on Ramadan entering United States territory. The tapes in Krol's possession include one in which Ramadan tells women: "Allah has an important rule: if you try to attract attention through the use of perfume, or your appearance or gestures, you do not have the correct spiritual orientation."

"When Pim Fortuyn was killed, it was a shock for everyone, because a man was murdered for what he said," Krol tells us. "That was no longer my country. I'm still thinking about leaving Holland, but where can I go? Here we have been criticized by everyone, by the Catholic Church and by the Protestants. But when we criticized Islam, they answered us: you are creating new enemies!" According to Ephimenco, the street is the secret of Wilders' success: "In Rotterdam, there are three enormous mosques, one of them is the largest in Europe. There are more and more Islamic headscarves, and an Islamist impulse coming from the mosques. I know many people who have left the city center to go to the rich, white suburbs. My neighborhood is poor and black. It is a question of identity, on the streets Dutch is not spoken anymore, but Arabic and Turkish."

Let's meet the man who inherited Fortuyn's column in the newspaper "Elsevier." His name is Bart Jan Spruyt, a robust young Protestant intellectual, founder of the Edmund Burke Society, but above all the author of Wilders' "Declaration of independence," and his coworker from the beginning. "Here an immigrant no longer has to struggle, study, work, he can live at the expense of the state," Spruyt tells us. "We have ended up creating a parallel society. The Muslims are in the majority in many neighborhoods, and are asking for sharia. This isn't Holland anymore. Our use of freedom has turned back against us, it is a process of self-Islamization."

Spruyt was one of Fortuyn's close friends. "Pim said what the people had known for decades." He attacked the establishment and the journalists. It was a great relief for the people when he went into politics, they called him the 'white knight'. The last time I spoke with him, one week before he was killed, he told me he had a mission. His killing was not the act of a lone madman. In February of 2001, Pim announced that he wanted to change the first article of the Dutch constitution, on discrimination, because in his view it kills freedom of expression, and he was right. The following day in the Dutch churches, which are mostly empty and used for public meetings, the diary of Anne Frank was read as a warning against Fortuyn. Pim was truly Catholic, more than we think, in his books he spoke out against modern society without fathers, without values, empty, nihilist."

Chris Ripke is a well-known artist in the city. His studio is near a mosque in Insuindestraat. Shocked in 2004 by the murder of director Theo Van Gogh by an Dutch Islamist, Chris decided to paint an angel on wall of his studio and the biblical commandment "Gij zult niet doden," thou shalt not kill. His neighbors at the mosque found the words "offensive," and called the mayor of Rotterdam at the time, the liberal Ivo Opstelten. The mayor ordered the police to erase the painting, because it was "racist." Wim Nottroth, a television journalist, camped out on the spot in protest. The police arrested him, and his film was destroyed. Ephimenco did the same in his own window: "I put up a big white sheet with the biblical commandment. Photographers came, and the radio. If you can no longer write 'do not kill' in this country, then you are saying that we are all in prison. It is like apartheid, whites living with whites and blacks with blacks. There is a great chill. Islamism wants to change the structure of the country." For Ephimenco, part of the problem is the de-Christianization of society. "When I arrived here, during the 1960's, religion was dying, a unique event in Europe, a collective de-Christianization. Then the Muslims brought religion back to the center of social life. Aided by the anti-Christian elite."

Let's go for a stroll through the Islamized neighborhoods. In Oude Westen there are only Arabs, women clothed from head to foot, ethnic foods shops, Islamic restaurants, and shopping centers with Arabic music. "Ten years ago, you didn't see all these headscarves," Ephimenco says. Behind his house, in a flourishing middle class area with two-story houses, there is an Islamized neighborhood. There are Muslim signs everywhere. "Look at all of those Turkish flags, over there is an important church, but it's empty, no one goes there anymore." In the middle of one square stands a mosque with Arabic writing outside. "That used to be a church." Not far from here is the most beautiful monument in Rotterdam. It is a small granite statue of Pim Fortuyn. Beneath the gleaming bronze head, the mouth saying his last words on behalf of freedom of speech, there is written in Latin: "Loquendi libertatem custodiamus," let us safeguard the right to speak. Every day, someone places flowers there.

__________


The newspaper that published the survey:

-- Il Foglio


Obama never much liked the U.S. Constitution. In a 2001 radio interview in Chicago he called it flawed and said it needed to be changed and activist judges were the ones to do it. His test for a Supreme Court justice is one who shows "empathy" for the disadvantaged, not discipline in applying legal precedent to the facts of a case. Justice will no longer be blind, but subject to a judge's impression on who deserves a judgment more. Nothing is more repugnant to the rule of law that this.

In his choice for the Supreme Court opening, Obama picked someone who exudes empathy for the downtrodden on the bench, not just in her private non-judicial life.

Obama crowed that with her appointment at last the Supreme Court would be administering "justice." What does he think it has been striving to do for more than 200 years that only with an "empathetic" new judge it can now do?

Charles Krauthammer puts Obama and his nominee to shame for their corrupt view of American justice. While Krauthammer's description of the constitutional assault Obama is waging is correct, his advice on what Senate Republicans should do is not. They should civilly but firmly vote NO.


May 29, 2009
Sotomayor: Rebut, Then Confirm
By Charles Krauthammer Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Sonia Sotomayor has a classic American story. So does Frank Ricci.

Ricci is a New Haven firefighter stationed seven blocks from where Sotomayor went to law school (Yale). Raised in blue-collar Wallingford, Conn., Ricci struggled as a C and D student in public schools ill-prepared to address his serious learning disabilities. Nonetheless he persevered, becoming a junior firefighter and Connecticut's youngest certified EMT.

After studying fire science at a community college, he became a New Haven "truckie," the guy who puts up ladders and breaks holes in burning buildings. When his department announced exams for promotions, he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day, and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material.

He placed sixth on the lieutenant's exam, which qualified him for promotion. Except that the exams were thrown out by the city, and all promotions denied, because no blacks had scored high enough to be promoted.

Ricci (with 19 others) sued.

That's where these two American stories intersect. Sotomayor was a member of the three-member circuit court panel that upheld the dismissal of his case, thus denying Ricci his promotion.

This summary ruling deeply disturbed fellow members of Sotomayor's court, including Judge Jose Cabranes (a fellow Clinton appointee) who, writing for five others, criticized the unusual, initially unpublished, single-paragraph dismissal for ignoring the serious constitutional issues at stake.

Two things are sure to happen this summer: The Supreme Court will overturn Sotomayor's panel's ruling. And, barring some huge hidden scandal, Sotomayor will be elevated to that same Supreme Court.

What should a principled conservative do? Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. No magazine gossip from anonymous court clerks. No "temperament" insinuations. Nothing ad hominem. The argument should be elevated, respectful and entirely about judicial philosophy.

On the Ricci case. And on her statements about the inherent differences between groups, and the superior wisdom she believes her Latina physiology, culture and background grant her over a white male judge. They perfectly reflect the Democrats' enthrallment with identity politics, which assigns free citizens to ethnic and racial groups possessing a hierarchy of wisdom and entitled to a hierarchy of claims upon society.

Sotomayor shares President Obama's vision of empathy as lying at the heart of judicial decision-making -- sympathetic concern for litigants' background and current circumstances, and for how any judicial decision would affect their lives.

Since the 2008 election, people have been asking what conservatism stands for. Well, if nothing else, it stands unequivocally against justice as empathy -- and unequivocally for the principle of blind justice.

Empathy is a vital virtue to be exercised in private life -- through charity, respect and lovingkindness -- and in the legislative life of a society where the consequences of any law matter greatly, which is why income taxes are progressive and safety nets built for the poor and disadvantaged.

But all that stops at the courthouse door. Figuratively and literally, justice wears a blindfold. It cannot be a respecter of persons. Everyone must stand equally before the law, black or white, rich or poor, advantaged or not.

Obama and Sotomayor draw on the "richness of her experiences" and concern for judicial results to favor one American story, one disadvantaged background, over another. The refutation lies in the very oath Sotomayor must take when she ascends to the Supreme Court: "I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich. ... So help me God."

When the hearings begin, Republicans should call Frank Ricci as their first witness. Democrats want justice rooted in empathy? Let Ricci tell his story and let the American people judge whether his promotion should have been denied because of his skin color in a procedure Sotomayor joined in calling "facially race-neutral."

Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds -- consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama -- that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.

Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: A judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less "advantaged."

A teaching moment, as liberals like to say. Clarifying and politically potent. Seize it.

Is the Chicago-style corruption that suffused the Obama campaign (as it had his earlier runs for political office) finally going to see the light of day? No thanks to the New York Times and other major media engaged in Obama cover-up.

ACORN's specialty is registering anyone, dead or alive, citizen or not, to vote Democratic. Obama has been working for and with ACORN for more than 20 years in voter registration (for which ACORN operatives have been indicted and convicted for illegal activty with regularity).

The true story is breaking out. Who in the mainstream media will report on it?

The Truth About ObamACORN

Michelle Malkin Syndicated Columnist
Friday, May 29, 2009

Left-wing groups in Washington, D.C., are panicked. The New York Times and other Team Obama whitewashers are downplaying the connection between the Obama presidential campaign, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and Obama's old employer Project Vote (ACORN's nonprofit canvassing arm). Alas, the truth keeps seeping out.

At a closed-door powwow hosted Thursday at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, activists discussed how to combat a relentless stream of corruption charges from ACORN/Project Vote whistleblowers. But it's too late for a reputation bailout. Former Project Vote official and whistleblower Anita MonCrief has harnessed the Internet to crowd-source a massive cache of documents showing ties between Obama staff members and the supposedly "nonpartisan" ACORN operations.

Last fall, The New York Times abandoned an investigation into whether Obama had shared donor lists with Project Vote, a 501(c)(3) organization that is prohibited from engaging in political activity. Public editor Clark Hoyt earlier this month called it "the tip that didn't pan out." Critics suggested the donor lists could have been compiled through public records. But I have obtained the lists -- not only of Obama donors, but also lists of Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry contributors. The records include small donors to the Obama campaign, who are not disclosed in public campaign finance databases. It's information only a campaign could supply.

MonCrief testified under oath last fall that her then-boss, Karyn Gillette, gave her the Obama donor list and told her the campaign had furnished it. Moreover, e-mail messages between ACORN, Project Vote and other affiliates, including ACORN subsidiary Citizens Services, Inc. (CSI), make explicit references to working on "Obama campaign related projects." The "list of maxed out Obama donors" is specifically mentioned in staff e-mail. Another message from ACORN/Project Vote official Nathan Henderson-James warns ACORN and affiliated staff to prepare for "conservatives ... gearing up a major oppo research project on Obama."

Henderson-James wrote, "Understand I'm not suggesting that we gear up to defend a candidate's campaign." But that, of course, is exactly what the ACORN enterprise did.

Why does this matter? Transparency, tax dollars and electoral integrity. ACORN's own lawyer Elizabeth Kingsley acknowledged last year that a vast web of tax-exempt ACORN affiliates were shuffling money around -- making it almost impossible to track whether campaign rules and tax regulations were being followed. ACORN receives 40 percent of its revenues from taxpayers. Americans deserve to know whether and how much commingling of public money with political projects has occurred over the last four decades -- and what role the Obama campaign played in this enterprise.

Remember: Last August, the Obama team admitted its failure to properly disclose $800,000 in payments to CSI -- which works hand in hand with Project Vote and the ACORN parent organization. Obama mysteriously reclassified the campaign advance work expenditures as "get-out-the-vote" activities. Nary a peep from electoral integrity watchdogs.

Despite heated denials from Team Obama, the links between ACORN, Project Vote and CSI are inextricable. As Obama himself reminded ACORN leaders after its political action committee endorsed his presidential candidacy in February 2008:

"I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That's what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work."

As I've reported before, the Obama campaign's "Vote for Change" registration drive, run simultaneously with ACORN/Project Vote, was an all-out scramble to scrape up every last unregistered voter sympathetic to Obama's big-government vision.

In an e-mail message to whistleblower MonCrief last summer, New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom told the truth: "The real story to all this is how these myriad entities allow them to shuffle money around so much that no one really knows what's getting spent on what." By Oct. 6, 2008, Strom had thrown in the towel in the wake of blistering phone conversations with the Obama campaign. She wrote:

"I'm calling a halt to my efforts. I just had two unpleasant calls with the Obama campaign, wherein the spokesman was screaming and yelling and cursing me, calling me a right-wing nut and a conspiracy theorist and everything else. ... I'd still like to get that file from you when you have a chance to send it. One of these days, the truth is going to come out."

It's only just begun.

President Obama is not only betraying over 60 years of mutual cooperation and support with Israel, he is endangering Americans everywhere with his indifference to the North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats. Is it ignorance? Or is he deliberately forfeiting America's position as the world's military superpower, allowing the Lilliputians to tie us down so we sink to the same level of unreality as the blindly dovish of Europe? Or is he boosting the self-prestige of the Islamic world by allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and put Israel under the thumb of the Islamic world? It has to be more than just anti-Semitism.

Caroline Glick says what Israel must do in the face of the Obama betrayal:

[D]ue to the timeline Obama has set, it is clear that before he will be ready to lift a finger against Iran, the mullocracy will have already become a nuclear power.
Today Israel stands alone against the mullahs and their bomb. And this, like the US's decision to stand down against the Axis of Evil, is not subject to change.
Israel and the Axis of Evil

May. 27, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

North Korea is half a world away from Israel. Yet the nuclear test it conducted on Monday has the Israeli defense establishment up in arms and its Iranian nemesis smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Understanding why this is the case is key to understanding the danger posed by what someone once impolitely referred to as the Axis of Evil.

Less than two years ago, on September 6, 2007, the IAF destroyed a North Korean-built plutonium production facility at Kibar, Syria. The destroyed installation was a virtual clone of North Korea's Yongbyon plutonium production facility.

This past March the Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported that Iranian defector Ali Reza Asghari, who before his March 2007 defection to the US served as a general in Iran's Revolutionary Guards and as deputy defense minister, divulged that Iran paid for the North Korean facility. Teheran viewed the installation in Syria as an extension of its own nuclear program. According to Israeli estimates, Teheran spent between $1 billion and $2b. for the project.

It can be assumed that Iranian personnel were present in North Korea during Monday's test. Over the past several years, Iranian nuclear officials have been on hand for all of North Korea's major tests including its first nuclear test and its intercontinental ballistic missile test in 2006.

Moreover, it wouldn't be far-fetched to think that North Korea conducted some level of coordination with Iran regarding the timing of its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests this week. It is hard to imagine that it is mere coincidence that North Korea's actions came just a week after Iran tested its solid fuel Sejil-2 missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers.

Aside from their chronological proximity, the main reason it makes sense to assume that Iran and North Korea coordinated their tests is because North Korea has played a central role in Iran's missile program. Although Western observers claim that Iran's Sejil-2 is based on Chinese technology transferred to Iran through Pakistan, the fact is that Iran owes much of its ballistic missile capacity to North Korea. The Shihab-3 missile, for instance, which forms the backbone of Iran's strategic arm threatening Israel and its Arab neighbors, is simply an Iranian adaptation of North Korea's Nodong missile technology. Since at least the early 1990s, North Korea has been only too happy to proliferate that technology to whoever wants it. Like Iran, Syria owes much of its own massive missile arsenal to North Korean proliferation.

Responding Monday to North Korea's nuclear test, US President Barack Obama said, "North Korea's behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia."

While true, North Korea's intimate ties with Iran and Syria show that North Korea's nuclear program, with its warhead, missile and technological components, is not a distant threat, limited in scope to faraway East Asia. It is a multilateral program shared on various levels with Iran and Syria. Consequently, it endangers not just the likes of Japan and South Korea, but all nations whose territory and interests are within range of Iranian and Syrian missiles.

Beyond its impact on Iran's technological and hardware capabilities, North Korea's nuclear program has had a singular influence on Iran's political strategy for advancing its nuclear program diplomatically. North Korea has been a trailblazer in its utilization of a mix of diplomatic aggression and seeming accommodation to alternately intimidate and persuade its enemies to take no action against its nuclear program. Iran has followed Pyongyang's model assiduously. Moreover, Iran has used the international - and particularly the American - response to various North Korean provocations over the years to determine how to position itself at any given moment in order to advance its nuclear program.

For instance, when the US reacted to North Korea's 2006 nuclear and ICBM tests by reinstating the six-party talks in the hopes of appeasing Pyongyang, Iran learned that by exhibiting an interest in engaging the US on its uranium enrichment program it could gain valuable time. Just as North Korea was able to dissipate Washington's resolve to act against it while buying time to advance its program still further through the six-party talks, so Iran, by seemingly agreeing to a framework for discussing its uranium enrichment program, has been able to keep the US and Europe at bay for the past several years.

THE OBAMA administration's impotent response to Pyongyang's ICBM test last month and its similarly stuttering reaction to North Korea's nuclear test on Monday have shown Teheran that it no longer needs to even pretend to have an interest in negotiating aspects of its nuclear program with Washington or its European counterparts. Whereas appearing interested in reaching an accommodation with Washington made sense during the Bush presidency, when hawks and doves were competing for the president's ear, today, with the Obama administration populated solely by doves, Iran, like North Korea, believes it has nothing to gain by pretending to care about accommodating Washington.

This point was brought home clearly by both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's immediate verbal response to the North Korean nuclear test on Monday and by Iran's provocative launch of warships in the Gulf of Aden the same day. As Ahmadinejad said, as far the Iranian regime is concerned, "Iran's nuclear issue is over."

There is no reason to talk anymore. Just as Obama made clear that he intends to do nothing in response to North Korea's nuclear test, so Iran believes that the president will do nothing to impede its nuclear program.

Of course it is not simply the administration's policy toward North Korea that is signaling to Iran that it has no reason to be concerned that the US will challenge its nuclear aspirations. The US's general Middle East policy, which conditions US action against Iran's nuclear weapons program on the prior implementation of an impossible-to-achieve Israel-Palestinian peace agreement makes it obvious to Teheran that the US will take no action whatsoever to prevent it from following in North Korea's footsteps and becoming a nuclear power.

During his press briefing with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Monday, Obama said the US would reassess its commitment to appeasing Iran at year's end. And early this week it was reported that Obama has instructed the Defense Department to prepare plans for attacking Iran. Moreover, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, has made several recent statements warning of the danger a nuclear-armed Iran will pose to global security - and by extension, to US national security.

On the surface, all of this seems to indicate that the Obama administration may be willing to actually do something to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Unfortunately, though, due to the timeline Obama has set, it is clear that before he will be ready to lift a finger against Iran, the mullocracy will have already become a nuclear power.

Israel assesses that Iran will have a sufficient quantity of enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb by the end of the year. The US believes that it could take until mid-2010. At his press briefing last week Obama said that if the negotiations are deemed a failure, the next step for the US will be to expand international sanctions against Iran. It can be assumed that here, too, Obama will allow this policy to continue for at least six months before he will be willing to reconsider it. By that point, in all likelihood, Iran will already be in possession of a nuclear arsenal.

Beyond Obama's timeline, over the past week, two other developments made it apparent that regardless of what Iran does, the Obama administration will not revise its policy of placing its Middle East emphasis on weakening Israel rather than on stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. First, last Friday, Yediot Aharonot reported that at a recent lecture in Washington, US Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who is responsible for training Palestinian military forces in Jordan, indicated that if Israel does not surrender Judea and Samaria within two years, the Palestinian forces he and his fellow American officers are now training at a cost of more than $300 million could begin killing Israelis.

Assuming the veracity of Yediot's report, even more unsettling than Dayton's certainty that within a short period of time these US-trained forces could commence murdering Israelis, is his seeming equanimity in the face of the known consequences of his actions. The prospect of US-trained Palestinian military forces slaughtering Jews does not cause Dayton to have a second thought about the wisdom of the US's commitment to building and training a Palestinian army.

Dayton's statement laid bare the disturbing fact that even though the administration is fully aware of the costs of its approach to the Palestinian conflict with Israel, it is still unwilling to reconsider it. Defense Secretary Robert Gates just extended Dayton's tour of duty for an additional two years and gave him the added responsibility of serving as Obama's Middle East mediator George Mitchell's deputy.

FOUR DAYS after Dayton's remarks were published, senior American and Israeli officials met in London. The reported purpose of the high-level meeting was to discuss how Israel will abide by the administration's demand that it prohibit all construction inside Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

What was most notable about the meeting was its timing. By holding the meeting the day after North Korea tested its bomb and after Iran's announcement that it rejects the US's offer to negotiate about its nuclear program, the administration demonstrated that regardless of what Iran does, Washington's commitment to putting the screws on Israel is not subject to change.

All of this of course is music to the mullahs' ears. Between America's impotence against their North Korean allies and its unshakable commitment to keeping Israel on the hot seat, the Iranians know that they have no reason to worry about Uncle Sam.

As for Israel, it is a good thing that the IDF has scheduled the largest civil defense drill in the country's history for next week. Between North Korea's nuclear test, Iran's brazen bellicosity and America's betrayal, it is clear that the government can do nothing to impact Washington's policies toward Iran. No destruction of Jewish communities will convince Obama to act against Iran.

Today Israel stands alone against the mullahs and their bomb. And this, like the US's decision to stand down against the Axis of Evil, is not subject to change.


SIGN UP FOR GOVERNMENT!

Without the stimulus economists say we would had a sharp, deep shock, businesses and financial institutions that were teetering and close to death would have expired and the frugal ones with money would have moved in to buy up the assets and get the show back on the road pretty quickly. So rather than a V recovery, the stimulus is dragging out the decline, allowing auto dinosaurs and profligate banks to survive and live on in some attenuated form, leading to a long drawn out U recovery that could last as long as the seven fat years that preceded it. Was the stimulus to save jobs or gather more Americans under the protective federal tent?

Mark Steyn sees the big picture in the pages of a small Vermont weekly.

May 23, 2009, 6:00 a.m.

What Are We Stimulating?
The stimulus will do nothing for the economy, but it will advance the cause of statism.

By Mark Steyn
Orange County Register

I was in Vermont the other day and made the mistake of picking up the local paper. Impressively, it contained a quarter-page ad, a rare sight these days. The rest of the page was made up by in-house promotions for the advertising department's special offer on yard-sale announcements, etc. But the one real advertisement was from something called SEVCA. SEVCA is a "non-profit agency," just like the New York Times, General Motors, and the State of California. And it stands for "South-Eastern Vermont Community Action."

Why, they're "community organizers," just like the president! The designated "anti-poverty agency" is taking out quarter-page ads in every local paper is because they're "seeking applicants for several positions funded in full or part by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA)" -- that's the "stimulus" to you and me. Isn't it great to see those bazillions of stimulus dollars already out there stimulating the economy? Creating lots of new jobs at SEVCA, in order to fulfill the president's promise to "create or keep" 2.5 million jobs. At SEVCA, he's not just keeping all the existing ones, but creating new ones, too. Of the eight new positions advertised, the first is:

"ARRA Projects Coordinator."

Gotcha. So the first new job created by the stimulus is a job "coordinating" other programs funded by the stimulus. What's next?

"Grantwriter."

That's how they spell it. Like in Star Wars -- Luke Grantwriter waving his hope saber as instructed by his mentor Obi-Bam Baracki ("May the Funds be with you!"). The Grantwriter will be responsible for writing grant applications "to augment ARRA funds." So the second new job created by stimulus funding funds someone to petition for additional funding for projects funded by the stimulus.

The third job is a "Marketing Specialist" to increase "public awareness of ARRA-funded services." Rural Vermont's economy is set for a serious big-time boom: The critical stimulus-promotion industry, stimulus-coordination industry, and stimulus-supplementary-funding industry are growing at an unprecedented rate. The way things are going we'll soon need a Stimulus-Coordination Industry Task Force and Impact Study Group. By the way, these jobs aren't for everyone. "Knowledge of ARRA" is required. So if, say, you're the average United States senator who voted for ARRA without bothering to read it, you're not qualified for a job as an ARRA Grantwriter.

I don't want to give the impression that every job funded by the stimulus is a job coordinating the public awareness of programs for grant applications to coordinate the funding of public awareness coordination programs funded by the stimulus. SEVCA is also advertising for a "Job Readiness Program Coordinator." This is a job coordinating the program that gets people ready to get a job. For example, it occurred to me, after reading the ad, that I might like to be a "Job Readiness Program Coordinator." But am I ready for it? Increasing numbers of us are hopelessly unready for jobs. Ever since last November, many Americans have been ready for free health care, free daycare, free college, free mortgages -- and, once you get a taste for that, it's hardly surprising you're not ready for gainful employment. I only hope there are enough qualified "Job Readiness Program Coordinators" out there, and that they don't have to initiate a Job Readiness Program Coordinator Readiness Program. As the old novelty song once wondered, "Who Takes Care of the Caretaker's Daughter While the Caretaker's Busy Taking Care?" Who coordinates programs for the Job Readiness Program Coordinator while the Job Readiness Program Coordinator's busy readying for his job? If you hum it, I'll put in for the stimulus funding.

Oh, and let's not forget the new job of "VITA Program Coordinator." VITA? That's "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance." It's an IRS program designed "to help low and moderate-income taxpayers complete their tax returns at no cost." The words "no cost," by the way, are used in the new Webster's-defined sense of "massive public expenditure." Whoops, I mean massive public "investment." You might think, were you a space alien recently landed from Planet Zongo, that, if tax returns are so complicated that "low and moderate-income taxpayers" have difficulty filling them in, the obvious solution would be to make the tax code less complex. But that's just the unfamiliar atmosphere on Planet Earth making you lighthearted and prone to cockamamie out-of-this-world fancies. Put in for a Job Readiness Program, and you'll soon get with the program.

Of course, it's not just "low and moderate-income taxpayers" who have difficulty completing their tax returns. So do high-income taxpayers like Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner. Tragically, they're ineligible for the "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance" program. Indeed, the Treasury secretary seemed under the misapprehension that it was a "Volunteer Income Tax" program, which would be a much better idea. But, being ineligible for VITA, Secretary Geithner was forced to splash out $49.95 for TurboTax and, simply by accidentally checking the "No" box instead of "Yes" at selected moments, was able to save himself thousands of dollars in confiscatory taxation! Oops, my mistake, I meant that, tragically, by being unable to complete his tax return due to a lack of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Timothy Geithner was the only one of 300 million Americans to pass the Treasury Secretary Job Readiness Program.

SEVCA serves two rural counties with a combined total of a little over 40,000 households. If you wanted to stimulate the economy, you'd take every dime allocated to Windsor and Windham counties under ARRA and divide it between those households. But, if you want to stimulate bureaucracy, dependency, and the metastasization of approved quasi-governmental interest-group monopolies as the defining features of American life, then ARRA is the way to go. Oh, you scoff: ARRA, go on, you're only joking. I wish I were. We're spending trillions we don't have to create government programs to coordinate the application for funds to create more programs to spend even more trillions we don't have.

The stimulus will do nothing for the economy, but it will dramatically advance the cause of statism (as Mark Levin rightly calls it). Last week's vote in California is a snapshot of where this leads: The gangster regime in Sacramento is an alliance between a corrupt and/or craven political class wholly owned by a public-sector union-bureaucracy extortion racket. So what if the formerly Golden State goes belly up? They'll pass the buck to Washington, and those of us in non-profligate jurisdictions will get stuck with the tab. At some point, the dwindling band of citizens still foolish enough to earn a living by making things, selling things, or providing services other than government-funded program coordination will have to vote against not just taxes but specific agencies and programs -- hundreds and thousands of them.

The bad news is our children will not enjoy the American Dream. The good news is they'll be able to apply for an American Dream Readiness Assistance Coordination Grantwriter Program. May the Funds be with you!


-- Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.

By coincidence, former Vice President Cheney spoke the same day that President Obama sought to denigrate the work that the previous administration had done to keep America safe.


Remarks by Richard B. Cheney
By Richard B. Cheney
American Enterprise Institute
Thursday, May 21, 2009

On May 21, 2009, former vice president Richard B. Cheney, now a member of AEI's Board of Trustees, spoke at AEI on the serious and ongoing threat terrorism poses to the United States. He was introduced by AEI president Arthur C. Brooks. His remarks as prepared for delivery follow.

Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It's good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I'm looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.

I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don't think I missed much.

Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I'm an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen--a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.

The responsibilities we carried belong to others now. And though I'm not here to speak for George W. Bush, I am certain that no one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do. We understand the complexities of national security decisions. We understand the pressures that confront a president and his advisers. Above all, we know what is at stake. And though administrations and policies have changed, the stakes for America have not changed.

Right now there is considerable debate in this city about the measures our administration took to defend the American people. Today I want to set forth the strategic thinking behind our policies. I do so as one who was there every day of the Bush administration who supported the policies when they were made, and without hesitation would do so again in the same circumstances.

When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President's understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history.

Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after September 11, 2001 was a fading memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America . . . and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.

That attack itself was, of course, the most devastating strike in a series of terrorist plots carried out against Americans at home and abroad. In 1993, terrorists bombed the World Trade Center, hoping to bring down the towers with a blast from below. The attacks continued in 1995, with the bombing of U.S. facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the killing of servicemen at Khobar Towers in 1996; the attack on our embassies in East Africa in 1998; the murder of American sailors on the USS Cole in 2000; and then the hijackings of 9/11, and all the grief and loss we suffered on that day.

9/11 caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for a while, and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated. Throughout the 90s, America had responded to these attacks, if at all, on an ad hoc basis. The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact--crime scene, arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed.

That's how it seemed from a law enforcement perspective, at least--but for the terrorists the case was not closed. For them, it was another offensive strike in their ongoing war against the United States. And it turned their minds to even harder strikes with higher casualties. Nine-eleven made necessary a shift of policy, aimed at a clear strategic threat--what the Congress called "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." From that moment forward, instead of merely preparing to round up the suspects and count up the victims after the next attack, we were determined to prevent attacks in the first place.

We could count on almost universal support back then, because everyone understood the environment we were in. We'd just been hit by a foreign enemy--leaving 3,000 Americans dead, more than we lost at Pearl Harbor. In Manhattan, we were staring at 16 acres of ashes. The Pentagon took a direct hit, and the Capitol or the White House were spared only by the Americans on Flight 93, who died bravely and defiantly.

Everyone expected a follow-on attack, and our job was to stop it. We didn't know what was coming next, but everything we did know in that autumn of 2001 looked bad. This was the world in which al-Qaeda was seeking nuclear technology, and A. Q. Khan was selling nuclear technology on the black market. We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.

These are just a few of the problems we had on our hands. And foremost on our minds was the prospect of the very worst coming to pass--a 9/11 with nuclear weapons.

For me, one of the defining experiences was the morning of 9/11 itself. As you might recall, I was in my office in that first hour, when radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave, now. A few moments later I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.

There in the bunker came the reports and images that so many Americans remember from that day--word of the crash in Pennsylvania, the final phone calls from hijacked planes, the final horror for those who jumped to their death to escape burning alive. In the years since, I've heard occasional speculation that I'm a different man after 9/11. I wouldn't say that. But I'll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.

To make certain our nation country never again faced such a day of horror, we developed a comprehensive strategy, beginning with far greater homeland security to make the United States a harder target. But since wars cannot be won on the defensive, we moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks. We decided, as well, to confront the regimes that sponsored terrorists, and to go after those who provide sanctuary, funding, and weapons to enemies of the United States. We turned special attention to regimes that had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, and might transfer such weapons to terrorists.

We did all of these things, and with bipartisan support put all these policies in place. It has resulted in serious blows against enemy operations: the take-down of the A.Q. Khan network and the dismantling of Libya's nuclear program. It's required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan--and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden. Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive--and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed.

So we're left to draw one of two conclusions--and here is the great dividing line in our current debate over national security. You can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event--coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort. Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come.

The key to any strategy is accurate intelligence, and skilled professionals to get that information in time to use it. In seeking to guard this nation against the threat of catastrophic violence, our Administration gave intelligence officers the tools and lawful authority they needed to gain vital information. We didn't invent that authority. It is drawn from Article Two of the Constitution. And it was given specificity by the Congress after 9/11, in a Joint Resolution authorizing "all necessary and appropriate force" to protect the American people.

Our government prevented attacks and saved lives through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which let us intercept calls and track contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and persons inside the United States. The program was top secret, and for good reason, until the editors of the New York Times got it and put it on the front page. After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn't serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people.

In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations.

In top secret meetings about enhanced interrogations, I made my own beliefs clear. I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.

Our successors in office have their own views on all of these matters.

By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public's right to know. We're informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.

Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.

Over on the left wing of the president's party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they're after would be heard before a so-called "Truth Commission." Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It's hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.

Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security, and what it requires. I would advise the administration to think very carefully about the course ahead. All the zeal that has been directed at interrogations is utterly misplaced. And staying on that path will only lead our government further away from its duty to protect the American people.

One person who by all accounts objected to the release of the interrogation memos was the Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta. He was joined in that view by at least four of his predecessors. I assume they felt this way because they understand the importance of protecting intelligence sources, methods, and personnel. But now that this once top-secret information is out for all to see--including the enemy--let me draw your attention to some points that are routinely overlooked.

It is a fact that only detainees of the highest intelligence value were ever subjected to enhanced interrogation. You've heard endlessly about waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists. One of them was Khalid Sheikh Muhammed--the mastermind of 9/11, who has also boasted about beheading Daniel Pearl.

We had a lot of blind spots after the attacks on our country. We didn't know about al-Qaeda's plans, but Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and a few others did know. And with many thousands of innocent lives potentially in the balance, we didn't think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.

Maybe you've heard that when we captured KSM, he said he would talk as soon as he got to New York City and saw his lawyer. But like many critics of interrogations, he clearly misunderstood the business at hand. American personnel were not there to commence an elaborate legal proceeding, but to extract information from him before al-Qaeda could strike again and kill more of our people.

In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations. At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency. For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America's cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.

Even before the interrogation program began, and throughout its operation, it was closely reviewed to ensure that every method used was in full compliance with the Constitution, statutes, and treaty obligations. On numerous occasions, leading members of Congress, including the current speaker of the House, were briefed on the program and on the methods.

Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.

I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about "values." Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.

Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What's more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe.

The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed. You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear-armed terrorist out of the United States. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned, one lead that goes unpursued, can bring on catastrophe--it's no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.

Behind the overwrought reaction to enhanced interrogations is a broader misconception about the threats that still face our country. You can sense the problem in the emergence of euphemisms that strive to put an imaginary distance between the American people and the terrorist enemy. Apparently using the term "war" where terrorists are concerned is starting to feel a bit dated. So henceforth we're advised by the administration to think of the fight against terrorists as, quote, "Overseas contingency operations." In the event of another terrorist attack on America, the Homeland Security Department assures us it will be ready for this, quote, "man-made disaster"--never mind that the whole Department was created for the purpose of protecting Americans from terrorist attack.

And when you hear that there are no more, quote, "enemy combatants," as there were back in the days of that scary war on terror, at first that sounds like progress. The only problem is that the phrase is gone, but the same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers are still there. And finding some less judgmental or more pleasant-sounding name for terrorists doesn't change what they are--or what they would do if we let them loose.

On his second day in office, President Obama announced that he was closing the detention facility at Guantanamo. This step came with little deliberation and no plan. Now the President says some of these terrorists should be brought to American soil for trial in our court system. Others, he says, will be shipped to third countries. But so far, the United States has had little luck getting other countries to take hardened terrorists. So what happens then? Attorney General Holder and others have admitted that the United States will be compelled to accept a number of the terrorists here, in the homeland, and it has even been suggested US taxpayer dollars will be used to support them. On this one, I find myself in complete agreement with many in the President's own party. Unsure how to explain to their constituents why terrorists might soon be relocating into their states, these Democrats chose instead to strip funding for such a move out of the most recent war supplemental.

The administration has found that it's easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo. But it's tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America's national security. Keep in mind that these are hardened terrorists picked up overseas since 9/11. The ones that were considered low-risk were released a long time ago. And among these, we learned yesterday, many were treated too leniently, because 1 in 7 cut a straight path back to their prior line of work and have conducted murderous attacks in the Middle East. I think the President will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.

In the category of euphemism, the prizewinning entry would be a recent editorial in a familiar newspaper that referred to terrorists we've captured as, quote, "abducted." Here we have ruthless enemies of this country, stopped in their tracks by brave operatives in the service of America, and a major editorial page makes them sound like they were kidnap victims, picked up at random on their way to the movies.

It's one thing to adopt the euphemisms that suggest we're no longer engaged in a war. These are just words, and in the end it's the policies that matter most. You don't want to call them enemy combatants? Fine. Call them what you want--just don't bring them into the United States. Tired of calling it a war? Use any term you prefer. Just remember it is a serious step to begin unraveling some of the very policies that have kept our people safe since 9/11.

Another term out there that slipped into the discussion is the notion that American interrogation practices were a "recruitment tool" for the enemy. On this theory, by the tough questioning of killers, we have supposedly fallen short of our own values. This recruitment-tool theory has become something of a mantra lately, including from the President himself. And after a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do. It's another version of that same old refrain from the Left, "We brought it on ourselves."

It is much closer to the truth that terrorists hate this country precisely because of the values we profess and seek to live by, not by some alleged failure to do so. Nor are terrorists or those who see them as victims exactly the best judges of America's moral standards, one way or the other.

Critics of our policies are given to lecturing on the theme of being consistent with American values. But no moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants ever to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things. And when an entire population is targeted by a terror network, nothing is more consistent with American values than to stop them.

As a practical matter, too, terrorists may lack much, but they have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion, our belief in equal rights for women, our support for Israel, our cultural and political influence in the world--these are the true sources of resentment, all mixed in with the lies and conspiracy theories of the radical clerics. These recruitment tools were in vigorous use throughout the 1990s, and they were sufficient to motivate the nineteen recruits who boarded those planes on September 11, 2001.

The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world--for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences--and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don't stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for--our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

What is equally certain is this: The broad-based strategy set in motion by President Bush obviously had nothing to do with causing the events of 9/11. But the serious way we dealt with terrorists from then on, and all the intelligence we gathered in that time, had everything to do with preventing another 9/11 on our watch. The enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees and the terrorist surveillance program have without question made our country safer. Every senior official who has been briefed on these classified matters knows of specific attacks that were in the planning stages and were stopped by the programs we put in place.

This might explain why President Obama has reserved unto himself the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation should he deem it appropriate. What value remains to that authority is debatable, given that the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against, and which ones not to worry about. Yet having reserved for himself the authority to order enhanced interrogation after an emergency, you would think that President Obama would be less disdainful of what his predecessor authorized after 9/11. It's almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances. When they talk about interrogations, he and his administration speak as if they have resolved some great moral dilemma in how to extract critical information from terrorists. Instead they have put the decision off, while assigning a presumption of moral superiority to any decision they make in the future.

Releasing the interrogation memos was flatly contrary to the national security interest of the United States. The harm done only begins with top secret information now in the hands of the terrorists, who have just received a lengthy insert for their training manual. Across the world, governments that have helped us capture terrorists will fear that sensitive joint operations will be compromised. And at the CIA, operatives are left to wonder if they can depend on the White House or Congress to back them up when the going gets tough. Why should any agency employee take on a difficult assignment when, even though they act lawfully and in good faith, years down the road the press and Congress will treat everything they do with suspicion, outright hostility, and second-guessing? Some members of Congress are notorious for demanding they be briefed into the most sensitive intelligence programs. They support them in private, and then head for the hills at the first sign of controversy.

As far as the interrogations are concerned, all that remains an official secret is the information we gained as a result. Some of his defenders say the unseen memos are inconclusive, which only raises the question why they won't let the American people decide that for themselves. I saw that information as vice president, and I reviewed some of it again at the National Archives last month. I've formally asked that it be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained, the things we learned, and the consequences for national security. And as you may have heard, last week that request was formally rejected. It's worth recalling that ultimate power of declassification belongs to the President himself. President Obama has used his declassification power to reveal what happened in the interrogation of terrorists. Now let him use that same power to show Americans what did not happen, thanks to the good work of our intelligence officials.

I believe this information will confirm the value of interrogations--and I am not alone. President Obama's own Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Blair, has put it this way: "High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organization that was attacking this country." End quote. Admiral Blair put that conclusion in writing, only to see it mysteriously deleted in a later version released by the administration--the missing twenty-six words that tell an inconvenient truth. But they couldn't change the words of George Tenet, the CIA Director under Presidents Clinton and Bush, who bluntly said: "I know that this program has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."

If Americans do get the chance to learn what our country was spared, it'll do more than clarify the urgency and the rightness of enhanced interrogations in the years after 9/11. It may help us to stay focused on dangers that have not gone away. Instead of idly debating which political opponents to prosecute and punish, our attention will return to where it belongs--on the continuing threat of terrorist violence, and on stopping the men who are planning it.

For all the partisan anger that still lingers, our administration will stand up well in history--not despite our actions after 9/11, but because of them. And when I think about all that was to come during our administration and afterward--the recriminations, the second-guessing, the charges of "hubris"--my mind always goes back to that moment.

To put things in perspective, suppose that on the evening of 9/11, President Bush and I had promised that for as long as we held office--which was to be another 2,689 days--there would never be another terrorist attack inside this country. Talk about hubris--it would have seemed a rash and irresponsible thing to say. People would have doubted that we even understood the enormity of what had just happened. Everyone had a very bad feeling about all of this, and felt certain that the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville were only the beginning of the violence.

Of course, we made no such promise. Instead, we promised an all-out effort to protect this country. We said we would marshal all elements of our nation's power to fight this war and to win it. We said we would never forget what had happened on 9/11, even if the day came when many others did forget. We spoke of a war that would "include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success." We followed through on all of this, and we stayed true to our word.

To the very end of our administration, we kept al-Qaeda terrorists busy with other problems. We focused on getting their secrets, instead of sharing ours with them. And on our watch, they never hit this country again. After the most lethal and devastating terrorist attack ever, seven and a half years without a repeat is not a record to be rebuked and scorned, much less criminalized. It is a record to be continued until the danger has passed.

Along the way there were some hard calls. No decision of national security was ever made lightly, and certainly never made in haste. As in all warfare, there have been costs--none higher than the sacrifices of those killed and wounded in our country's service. And even the most decisive victories can never take away the sorrow of losing so many of our own--all those innocent victims of 9/11, and the heroic souls who died trying to save them.

For all that we've lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings. And when the moral reckoning turns to the men known as high-value terrorists, I can assure you they were neither innocent nor victims. As for those who asked them questions and got answers: they did the right thing, they made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.

Like so many others who serve America, they are not the kind to insist on a thank-you. But I will always be grateful to each one of them, and proud to have served with them for a time in the same cause. They, and so many others, have given honorable service to our country through all the difficulties and all the dangers. I will always admire them and wish them well. And I am confident that this nation will never take their work, their dedication, or their achievements, for granted.

Thank you very much.




WOMEN ELECTED TO PARLIAMENT IN KUWAIT

Democracy flowers in Kuwait!


Bush Vindicated in Kuwait
By: Amir Taheri / New York Post
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Democratization is paying dividends in the Middle East.

Former President George W. Bush's policy of encouraging Middle East democratization has just produced spectacular results in the Kuwaiti general election.

In a major victory for the secular reformists over the Islamists, women -- four of them -- were elected to the 50-seat national parliament for the first time. The Islamists' share of Sunday's vote dropped almost 30 percent from the last general election, held just more than a year ago. The radical Muslim Brotherhood lost three of its four seats, while the hard-line Salafis dropped to two from four.

The election of women represents a political earthquake in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a grouping of six oil-rich traditional Arab monarchies. Kuwait has had a parliament on and off since gaining independence in 1960, but the other GCC members entered the era of electoral politics largely due to pressure from the Bush administration. US pressure also played a crucial part in persuading Kuwait's leaders to enfranchise women for the first time in 2005.

The four female parliamentarians all represent the emirate's educated middle classes. The youngest, Aseel Al-Awadhi, is a US-educated philosophy professor. The best known, Rola Dashti, also a teacher, has campaigned for human rights for years. The third, Dr. Maasoumeh Mubarak, is the first Kuwaiti woman to have served as a Cabinet minister (she was health minister), and the fourth, Salwa al-Jassar, is a leading campaigner for women's rights. All managed to defeat prominent Islamists and tribal figures in their respective constituencies.

This was the second time Kuwaiti women were allowed to vote in a general election. The first time, their share of the vote was estimated at around 11 percent; this time it was almost 40 percent. The women won their seats largely because a majority of male voters decided to cast ballots for them.

"This was a triumph both for women and for Kuwaiti democracy," Al-Awadhi says. "Many voters were ready to go beyond the man-woman divide and vote for the candidates they thought most fitted for the job."

The other big winner was moderate Shiites, who represent a quarter of Kuwait's population. They were strengthened by the coming to power of moderate Shiite parties in neighboring Iraq.

The increase in voter turnout, to more than 70 percent, refuted any claim that democratization has little support in the Middle East.

In fact, the Kuwaiti election is the third in a year to produce a resounding defeat for Islamists. Last year, Pakistani voters reduced the Islamists' vote share to three percent from 11 percent. Then, Iraqi voters all but wiped out Islamists in crucial local elections.

The next battleground is Lebanon, where a general election is scheduled for June 7. A coalition of Islamists and Christian Maronites, headed by the Iranian-led Hezbollah, aims to win control of the government in Beirut. It's opposed by a coalition of pro-Western parties representing Muslims, Christians and Druze communities that support the current government led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

On June 12, the Islamic Republic of Iran will hold its own presidential election, although only candidates endorsed by the regime are allowed to stand. In August, it's Afghanistan's turn to choose a president. There, too, the fight is between pro-Western modernizers and Iran-backed Islamists.

The biggest battle will come early next year, when Iraq holds its general election.

It's evident that the greater Middle East is witnessing a major struggle between forces of reform and of reaction. While President Obama appears to have abandoned Bush's push for regional democratization, America could play a crucial role by continuing to support the forces fighting for it.

Obama would do well to take a closer look at the Kuwaiti election before he goes to Egypt, where he's expected to announce a return to America's traditional policy of supporting the Middle East status quo.

How can Prime Mnister Netanyahu prevent Obama from destroying Israel and keeping Iran front and center as the most dangerous threat to peace in the Middle East? By rolling out his own peace plan. The Middle East's most brilliant political analyst Caroline Glick explains.

Column One: Netanyahu's peace plan

May. 21, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's visit with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday was a baptism of fire for the new premier. What emerged from the meeting is that Obama's priorities regarding Iran, Israel and the Arab world are diametrically opposed to Israel's priorities.

During his ad hoc press conference with Netanyahu, Obama made clear that he will not lift a finger to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And acting as Obama's surrogate, for the past two weeks CIA Director Leon Panetta has made clear that Obama expects Israel to also sit on its thumbs as Iran develops the means to destroy it.

Obama showed his hand on Iran in three ways. First, he set a nonbinding timetable of seven months for his policy of appeasement and engagement of the ayatollahs to work. That policy, he explained, will only be implemented after next month's Iranian presidential elections. And those direct US-Iranian talks must be given at least six months to show results before they can be assessed as successful or failed.

But Israel's Military Intelligence has assessed that six months may be too long to wait. By the end of the year, Iran's nuclear program may be unstoppable. And Iran's successful test of its solid fuel Sejil-2 missile with a 2,000 kilometer range on Wednesday merely served to show the urgency of the situation. Obviously the mullahs are not waiting for Obama to convince them of the error of their ways.

Beyond the fact that Obama's nonbinding timeline is too long, there is his "or else." Obama made clear that in the event that in December or January he concludes that the Iranians are not negotiating in good faith, the most radical step he will be willing to take will be to consider escalating international sanctions against Teheran. In the meantime, at his urging, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, has set aside a bill requiring sanctions against oil companies that export refined fuel into Iran.

Finally there was Obama's contention that the best way for the US to convince Iran to give up its nuclear program is by convincing Israel to give away more land to the Palestinians. As Obama put it, "To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians, between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat." This statement encapsulates the basic lack of seriousness and fundamental mendacity of Obama's approach to "dealing with a potential Iranian threat."

Iran has made clear that it wants Israel destroyed. The mullahs don't care how big Israel is. Their missiles are pointing at Tel Aviv, not Beit El. As for the international community, the Russians and Chinese have not been assisting Iran's nuclear and missile programs for the past 15 years because there is no Palestinian state. They have been assisting Iran because they think a strong Iran weakens the US. And they are right.

The Arab states, for their part, are already openly siding with Israel against Iran. The establishment of a Palestinian state will not make their support for action to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to dominate the region any more profound.

On the face of it, Obama's obsessive push for a Palestinian state makes little sense. The Palestinians are hopelessly divided. It is not simply that Hamas rules the Gaza Strip and Fatah controls Judea and Samaria. Fatah itself is riven by division. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's appointment of the new PA government under Salaam Fayad was overwhelmingly rejected by Fatah leaders. Quite simply, there is no coherent Palestinian leadership that is either willing or capable of reaching an accord with Israel.

As for the prospects for peace itself, given that there is little distinction between the anti-Semitic bilge broadcast daily in Gaza by Hamas-controlled media, and the anti-Semitic bilge broadcast daily in Judea and Samaria by the Fatah/Abbas/Fayad-controlled media, those prospects aren't looking particularly attractive. That across-the-board anti-Semitic incitement has engendered the current situation where Hamas and Fatah members and supporters are firmly united in their desire to see Israel destroyed. This was made clear on Thursday morning when a Fatah policeman in Kalkilya used his US-provided rifle to open fire on IDF soldiers engaged in a counterterror operation in the city.

Given that the establishment of a Palestinian state will have no impact on Iran's nuclear program, and in light of the fact that under the present circumstances any Palestinian state will be at war with Israel, and assuming that Obama is not completely ignorant of the situation on the ground, there is only one reasonable explanation for his urgent desire to force Israel to support the creation of a Palestinian state and to work for its establishment by expelling hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes. Quite simply, it is a way to divert attention away from Obama's acquiescence to Iran's nuclear aspirations.

BY MAKING the achievement of the unachievable goal of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians through the establishment of a Palestinian terror state the centerpiece of his Middle East agenda, Obama is able to cast Israel as the region's villain. This aim is reflected in the administration's intensifying pressure on Israel to destroy Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

In portraying Jews who live in mobile homes on barren hilltops in Judea and Samaria - rather than Iranian mullahs who test ballistic missile while enriching uranium and inciting genocide - as the greatest obstacle to peace, the Obama administration not only seeks to deflect attention away from its refusal to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is also setting Israel up as the fall guy who it will blame after Iran emerges as a nuclear power.

Obama's intention to unveil his Middle East peace plan in the course of his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, like his decision to opt out of visiting Israel in favor of visiting a Nazi death camp, make it clear that he does not perceive Israel as a vital ally, or even as a partner in the peace process he wishes to initiate. Israeli officials were not consulted about his plan. Then, too, from the emerging contours of his plan, it is clear that he will be offering something that no Israeli government can accept.

According to media reports, Obama's plan will require Israel to withdraw its citizens and its military to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. It will provide for the free immigration of millions of Israel-hating Arabs to the Palestinian state. And it seeks to represent all of this as in accord with Israel's interests by claiming that after Israel renders itself indefensible, all 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (including Iran) will "normalize" their relations with Israel. In short, Obama is using his peace plan to castigate the Netanyahu government as the chief destabilizing force in the region.

During his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu succeeded in evading the policy traps Obama set for him. Netanyahu reserved Israel's right to act independently against Iran and he conceded nothing substantive on the Palestinian issue.

While itself no small achievement, Netanyahu's successful deflection of Obama's provocations is not a sustainable strategy. Already on Tuesday the administration began coercing Israel to toe its line on Iran and the Palestinians by engaging it in joint "working groups."

Then, too, the government's destruction of an outpost community in Judea on Thursday was perceived as Israeli buckling to US pressure. And it doubtlessly raised expectations for further expulsions in the near future.

SO WHAT must Netanyahu do? What would a strategy to contain the Obama administration's pressure and maintain international attention on Iran look like?

Under the present circumstances, the Netanyahu government's best bet is to introduce its own peace plan to mitigate the impact of Obama's plan. To blunt the impact of Obama's speech in Cairo, Netanyahu should present his peace plan before June 4.

Such a plan should contain three stages. First, in light of the Arab world's apparent willingness to engage with Israel, Netanyahu should call for the opening of direct talks between Israel and the Arab League, or between Israel and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, regarding the immediate normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab-Islamic world. Both Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah claim that such normalization is in the offing. Israel should insist that it begin without delay.

This, of course, is necessary for peace to emerge with the Palestinians. As we saw at Camp David in 2000, the only way that Palestinian leaders will feel comfortable making peace with Israel is if the Arab world first demonstrates its acceptance of the Jewish state as a permanent feature on the Middle East's landscape. Claims that such an Israeli demand is a mere tactic to buy time can be easily brushed off. Given Jordanian and American claims that the Arab world is willing to accept Israel, once negotiations begin, this stage could be completed in a matter of months.

The second stage of the Israeli peace plan would involve Israel and the Arab world agreeing and beginning to implement a joint program for combating terrorism. This program would involve destroying terror networks, cutting off funding for terror networks and agreeing to arrest terrorists and extradite them to The Hague or the US for trial. It should be abundantly clear to all governments in the region that there can be no long-term regional peace or stability as long as terrorists bent on destroying Israel and overthrowing moderate Arab regimes are allowed to operate. So making the implementation of such a join program a precondition for further progress shouldn't pose an obstacle to peace. Indeed, there is no reason for it to even be perceived as particularly controversial.

The final stage of the Israeli peace plan should be the negotiation of a final-status accord with the Palestinians. Only after the Arab world has accepted Israel, and only after it has agreed to join Israel in achieving the common goal of a terror-free Middle East, can there be any chance that the Palestinians will feel comfortable and free to peacefully coexist with Israel. And Israel, of course, will feel much more confident about living at peace with the Palestinians after the Arab world demonstrates its good faith and friendship to the Jewish state and its people.

Were Netanyahu to offer this plan in the next two weeks, he would be able to elude Obama's trap on June 4 by proposing to discuss both plans with the Arab League. In so doing, he would be able to continue to make the case that Iran is the gravest danger to the region without being demonized as a destabilizing force and an enemy of peace.

Whether Netanyahu advances such a peace plan or not, what became obvious this week is that his greatest challenges in office will be to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons while preventing the Obama administration from blaming Israel for the absence of peace.

WEAKENING AMERICA

What does ignorant protectionism result in?

A weaker America.

Dimon rails against foreign worker rules

By Francesco Guerrera in New York

Financial Times May 20, 2009

Rules preventing US banks from hiring foreigners are a "complete and utter disgrace" and could prompt overseas governments to retaliate against American expatriates, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, warned on Tuesday.

Mr Dimon told his company's annual shareholder meeting that the provisions, which apply to lenders in receipt of government aid, had forced JPMorgan's executives to "look 40 or 50 overseas [graduates] in the eye" and tell them their job offers had been rescinded.

"We should be able to go to colleges and give jobs to kids without regard to where they were born," he added. "The worst thing that can happen . . . is that foreign governments will tell Americans they cannot have jobs over there."

Mr Dimon's outspoken comments highlight one of the key reasons - alongside restrictions on executive pay - why several lenders are eager to repay the funds received under the troubled asset relief programme (Tarp) last year.

Other large banks, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have attacked the rules, which make it difficult for banks receiving taxpayers' funds to apply for H1-B visas for skilled immigrants if they have recently made US workers redundant.

Mr Dimon said JPMorgan expected a number of banks to be allowed to repay Tarp in the next few weeks, as reported by the Financial Times on Tuesday. Government officials say an announcement on the first wave of Tarp repayers is likely to come on June 8.

THE SHAME OF NOTRE DAME, II

More that 70 Catholic bishops, tens of thousands of Notre Dame graduates and hundreds of thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics have condemned Notre Dame for honoring President Obama, the most extreme and powerful proponent of unlimited abortion in the history of public officials in America.

The sad event is now past.

Archbiship of Denver Charles Chaput speaks of Notre Dame's shame and the embarrassing spectacle of Notre Dame's president John Jenkins taking pride in how the world looks to Notre Dame for moral leadership. Notre Dame failed in its responsibiity under Jenkins' leadership. He should resign or be fired.

NOTRE DAME, THE COMMENCEMENT AND THE ISSUES THAT REMAIN

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

"I have found that even among those who did not go to Notre Dame, even among those who do not share the Catholic faith, there is a special expectation, a special hope, for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world."

Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C., May 17

Most graduation speeches are a mix of piety and optimism designed to ease students smoothly into real life. The best have humor. Some genuinely inspire. But only a rare few manage to be pious, optimistic, evasive, sad and damaging all at the same time. Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame's president, is a man of substantial intellect and ability. This makes his introductory comments to President Obama's Notre Dame commencement speech on May 17 all the more embarrassing.

Let's remember that the debate over President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame was never about whether he is a good or bad man. The president is clearly a sincere and able man. By his own words, religion has had a major influence in his life. We owe him the respect Scripture calls us to show all public officials. We have a duty to pray for his wisdom and for the success of his service to the common good -- insofar as it is guided by right moral reasoning.

We also have the duty to oppose him when he's wrong on foundational issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research and similar matters. And we also have the duty to avoid prostituting our Catholic identity by appeals to phony dialogue that mask an abdication of our moral witness. Notre Dame did not merely invite the president to speak at its commencement. It also conferred an unnecessary and unearned honorary law degree on a man committed to upholding one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our nation's history: Roe v. Wade.

In doing so, Notre Dame ignored the U.S. bishops' guidance in their 2004 statement, Catholics in Political Life. It ignored the concerns of Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Notre Dame's 2009 Laetare Medal honoree - who, unlike the president, certainly did deserve her award, but finally declined it in frustration with the university's action. It ignored appeals from the university's local bishop, the president of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference, more than 70 other bishops, many thousands of Notre Dame alumni and hundreds of thousands of other American Catholics. Even here in Colorado, I've heard from too many to count.

There was no excuse - none, except intellectual vanity - for the university to persist in its course. And Father Jenkins compounded a bad original decision with evasive and disingenuous explanations to subsequently justify it.

These are hard words, but they're deserved precisely because of Father Jenkins' own remarks on May 17: Until now, American Catholics have indeed had "a special expectation, a special hope for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world." For many faithful Catholics - and not just a "small but vocal group" described with such inexcusable disdain and ignorance in journals like Time magazine -- that changed Sunday.

The May 17 events do have some fitting irony, though. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Notre Dame provided the forum for Gov. Mario Cuomo to outline the "Catholic" case for "pro-choice" public service. At the time, Cuomo's speech was hailed in the media as a masterpiece of American Catholic legal and moral reasoning. In retrospect, it's clearly adroit. It's also, just as clearly, an illogical and intellectually shabby exercise in the manufacture of excuses. Father Jenkins' explanations, and President Obama's honorary degree, are a fitting national bookend to a quarter century of softening Catholic witness in Catholic higher education. Together, they've given the next generation of Catholic leadership all the excuses they need to baptize their personal conveniences and ignore what it really demands to be "Catholic" in the public square.

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George has suggested that Notre Dame "didn't understand" what it means to be Catholic before these events began. He's correct, and Notre Dame is hardly alone in its institutional confusion. That's the heart of the matter. Notre Dame's leadership has done a real disservice to the Church, and now seeks to ride out the criticism by treating it as an expression of fringe anger. But the damage remains, and Notre Dame's critics are right. The most vital thing faithful Catholics can do now is to insist - by their words, actions and financial support - that institutions claiming to be "Catholic" actually live the faith with courage and consistency. If that happens, Notre Dame's failure may yet do some unintended good.

THE SHAME OF NOTRE DAME

While Obama is betraying Israel and endangering the lives of American citizens by his foolishly romantic pursuit of the Islam of his childhood, he is step by step working to undermine the culture of life in America and the world and marching to take his place alongside Mao, Stalin and Hitler as one of history's leading killers of defenseless human beings.

Complicit in his killing campaign is what should be a staunch ally in the fight to respect the dignity and sanctity of every life the University of Notre Dame. But it has sold out its Catholic values to go along and get along with the rich and powerful and to bask in the prestige they grandly bestow. It is led by little men who have brought shame on the university so many have loved and revered, including those who spent formative years there as students. One Notre Dame graduate expresses his grief:


Obama Scored Big at Notre Dame
At least the president is forthright about his principles.
By WILLIAM MCGURN
Wall Street Journal
MAY 19, 2009

Seldom does dawn rise on an America where the morning's New York Times displays a more intuitive grasp of a story than the New York Post. The coverage of Barack Obama's commencement address at Notre Dame, however, was such a day. Where the Post headlined an inside spread with "Obama In the Lions' Den," the Times front page was dominated by a color photograph of a beaming president, resplendent in his blue-and-gold Notre Dame academic gown, reaching out to graduates eager to shake his hand or just touch his robe.

It was precisely the message President Obama wanted to send: How bad can he be on abortion if Notre Dame is willing to honor him?

We cannot blame the president for this one. During his campaign for president, Mr. Obama spoke honestly about the aggressive pro-choice agenda he intended to pursue -- as he assured Planned Parenthood, he was "about playing offense," not defense -- and his actions have been consistent with that pledge. If only our nation's premier Catholic university were as forthright in advancing its principles as Mr. Obama has been for his.

In a letter to Notre Dame's Class of 2009, the university's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, stated that the honors for Mr. Obama do not indicate any "ambiguity" about Notre Dame's commitment to Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life. The reality is that it was this ambiguity that the White House was counting on; this ambiguity that was furthered by the adoring reaction to Mr. Obama's visit; and this ambiguity that disheartens those working for an America that respects the dignity of life inside the womb.

We've been here before. In his response to an inquiry from this reporter, Dennis Brown, the university's spokesman, wisely ignored a question asking whether "ambiguity" would be the word to describe a similar decision in 1984 to give Mario Cuomo, then governor of New York, the Notre Dame platform he so famously used to advance his personally-opposed-but argument. Or the decision a few years later to bestow its highest Catholic award on Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, another supporter of legal abortion. It seems that whenever Democratic leaders find themselves in trouble over their party's abortion record, some Notre Dame honor or platform will be forthcoming to provide the needed cover.

Probably Notre Dame is rich enough that it can safely thumb its institutional nose at the 70 or so bishops who publicly challenged the university for flouting their guidelines on such invitations. Nor can we expect much from Notre Dame's trustees. At a time when Americans all across this country have declared themselves "yea" or "nay" on the Obama invite, the reaction of Notre Dame's board is less the roar of the lion than the silence of the lambs.

Pro-lifers are used to this. They know their stand makes them unglamorous. They find themselves a stumbling block to Democratic progressives -- and unwelcome at the Republican country club. And they are especially desperate for the support of institutions willing to engage in the clear, thoughtful and unembarrassed way that even Mr. Obama says we should.

With its billions in endowment and its prestigious name, Notre Dame ought to be in the lead here. But when asked for examples illuminating the university's unambiguous support for unborn life, Mr. Brown could provide only four: help for pregnant students who want to carry their babies to term, student volunteer work for pregnant women at local shelters, prayer mentions at campus Masses, and lectures such as a seminar on life issues.

These are all well and good, but they also highlight the poverty of Notre Dame's institutional witness. At Notre Dame today, there is no pro-life organization -- in size, in funding, in prestige -- that compares with the many centers, institutes and so forth dedicated to other important issues ranging from peace and justice to protecting the environment. Perhaps this explains why a number of pro-life professors tell me they must not be quoted by name, lest they face career retaliation.

The one institute that does put the culture of life at the heart of its work, moreover -- the Center for Ethics and Culture -- doesn't even merit a link under the "Faith and Service" section on the university's Web site. The point is this: When Notre Dame doesn't dress for the game, the field is left to those like Randall Terry who create a spectacle and declare their contempt for civil and respectful witness.

In the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, there is a wonderful photograph of Father Ted Hesburgh -- then Notre Dame president -- linking hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1964 civil-rights rally at Chicago's Soldier Field. Today, nearly four decades and 50 million abortions after Roe v. Wade, there is no photograph of similar prominence of any Notre Dame president taking a lead at any of the annual marches for life.

Father Jenkins is right: That's not ambiguity. That's a statement.

For a true witness to life, one need only turn the clock back a few weeks to an address the reporter Willam McGurn gave at the Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame.

OBAMA BETRAYS THE U.S.

Not only is Obama betraying Israel, he is betraying the interests of the United States and endangering the lives of our citizens with his foolishly naive -- or diabolically conspiratorial --policy towards Iran.

Our World: Iran's global reach

May. 18, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

US President Barack Obama underestimates the threat Iran poses to global security. Were this not the case, he would not have sent CIA Director Leon Panetta to Israel ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House.

Panetta was reportedly dispatched here to read the government the riot act. Israel, he reportedly told his interlocutors, must not attack Iran without first receiving permission from Washington. Moreover, Israel should keep its mouth shut about attacking Iran. As far as Washington is concerned, Iran's latest threats to destroy Israel were nothing more than payback for statements by Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials regarding Israel's refusal to countenance a nuclear armed Iran.

Over the past several weeks, we have learned that the administration has made its peace with Iran's nuclear aspirations. Senior administration officials acknowledge as much in off-record briefings. It is true, they say, that Iran may exploit its future talks with the US to run down the clock before they test a nuclear weapon. But, they add, if that happens, the US will simply have to live with a nuclear-armed mullocracy.

The administration's nonchalance about the threat of a nuclear armed Iran explains why the White House is so up in arms about the prospect of Israel acting independently to prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal. As far as the administration is concerned, the only reason Iran would threaten US interests is if Israel provokes it. As far as the administration is concerned, if Israel could just leave Iran's nuclear installations alone, Iran would behave itself. But if Israel preemptively takes out Iran's nuclear capabilities, and Iran in turn attacks Israeli and US targets in the region, the Obama administration will hold Israel - not Iran - responsible for whatever losses the US incurs. That was apparently the message Panetta wanted to transmit to Jerusalem during his recent visit.

WHILE LARGELY supported by the US media, the administration's view of the Iranian threat is not without its domestic critics. Opponents of the administration's policy of engagement and appeasement have pointed out that a nuclear armed Iran will surely destabilize the Middle East and, as a consequence, will harm US national security interests. And this is true enough.

Whether by spurring a regional nuclear arms race; destabilizing with the intent of overthrowing Western-aligned regimes in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Morocco; enabling its terror proxies in Hizbullah and Hamas to operate under its nuclear umbrella; or attacking Israel with nuclear weapons, it is clear that the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power will cause tragedy, grief, chronic war and instability throughout the region. And - as the administration's critics make clear - such a state of affairs would be antithetical to US national interests.

While correct, these warnings miss the mark. Yes, it is true that a nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the Middle East. But the Obama White House doesn't seem to care about that. What interests the White House apparently, is minimizing Teheran's animosity towards Washington. If it can convince the mullocracy that Washington is not a threat, then - the thinking goes - perhaps, the buck will stop at the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.

This bit of wishful thinking is wrong both theoretically and practically. It fails to take into account Iran's stated intentions and the consequences of its likely behavior for the Middle East, and it ignores the fact that Iran's intentions and actions for the past two decades have not been limited to the Middle East.

For upwards of 20 years, and at a break-neck pace since 1999, Iran has built up a long strategic arm in America's backyard from which it is fully capable of attacking the US directly with the able and enthusiastic assistance of a network of proxies and allies.

IRAN POSES a direct threat to US national security through its alliances and military, intelligence and terrorist presence in South and Central America. Today Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Iran's Hizbullah terror cells, and other Iranian agencies operate in open collaboration with anti-US governments throughout the Western Hemisphere. The South American linchpin of this new and growing Iranian-centered alliance system is Hugo Chavez's regime in Venezuela.

Through Chavez's good offices, Iran has developed a strategic presence in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia and warm ties with Cuba. It is exerting growing influence in El Salvador, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and among FARC terrorists in Colombia. And it has highly developed and already proven human smuggling routes to the US in Mexico. It is through this alliance structure with anti-American regimes in Latin America and with sub-national Islamic and narco-terrorist networks in failing states that Iran already constitutes a grave threat to US national security. And it is through this rapidly expanding alliance system that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an acute danger to US national security.

So far, the Obama administration has dealt with the threat posed by Iran's strategic alliance with Venezuela and Chavez's string of allied regimes in the same fashion as it has contended with Iran itself: It has blamed the situation on the Bush administration. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it last week, the Bush administration's policy of "isolating leaders who have led the opposition to US policies in Central and Latin America has failed and marginalized Washington's interests."

CLINTON'S STATEMENT makes clear the basic and disturbing consistency of the administration's failure to understand that there are regimes that are inherently hostile to the US and will remain irreconcilably hostile to the US regardless of what it does or who sits in the White House. Just as the administration cannot get its arms around the fact that the Iranian regime can only justify its existence by maintaining its hostility towards America, so it cannot countenance the fact that Chavez is only able to justify his existence through his hatred for Uncle Sam. It has no way of explaining for instance the fact that Iran and Venezuela responded to Obama's attempts last month to extend an open hand to both countries by signing a memorandum upgrading their military alliance.

Were the administration able to understand the basic fact that some countries simply cannot abide by America, it would realize that the Iranian-Venezuelan military alliance itself is cause for a systematic reassessment of the rationale behind the US's Western Hemispheric strategy. As Italy's La Stampa reported last December, every week a Venezuelan airliner takes off from Teheran. It travels on to Syria's Damascus airport before continuing on to Caracas. These flights have no commercial value, and the passenger manifest is kept secret. But as La Stampa reported and as both US officials and Venezuelan dissidents have testified, these flights are used to transfer prohibited military equipment, including missile parts from Teheran to Syria. Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese-Hizbullah and Palestinian terror personnel then board the plane to its final destination in Caracas. Iranian Revolutionary Guards are sent to Venezuela to among other things train Venezuela's security services in methods for repressing internal dissent.

Venezuela's military alliance with Iran places Iranian military personnel and Hizbullah operatives at every level of Venezuela's military, intelligence and law enforcement establishment. For example, as the Washington-based Center for Security Policy's Western Hemispheric Security Project documented in a recent report, Hizbullah agents control Venezuela's passport agency.

In 2003, Chavez appointed Tarek el-Aissami, a known Hizbullah member to head the country's passport agency. Last year Aissami was promoted to serve as Minister of Interior and Justice. Then too, last June, the US Department of Treasury designated Ghazi Nasr al Din, a Venezuelan diplomat who served as the deputy ambassador in Damascus and Beirut, as a Hizbullah agent.

Hizbullah has a large and active presence in Venezuela. It operates openly throughout the country through both Lebanese cells and through native Venezuelan operatives who have converted to Islam. In 2006, a Hizbullah cell comprised of local converts staged an attempted bombing against the US embassy in Caracas.

Hizbullah has developed a formidable economic presence in Latin America. Although it has run a web of businesses in the region for decades, since 2005 the economic importance of these businesses has been eclipsed by the terror group's involvement in worldwide cocaine distribution facilitated through its close ties with Chavez and FARC. According to the US military's Southern Command, Hizbullah in Latin America earns between $300-500 million per year. This dwarfs the $200 million a year it receives from Iran.

Through Mexico, Hizbullah members and other terror operatives are able to enter the US relatively easily. In 2002 for instance the US arrested a Hizbullah operative in Mexico who admitted that he had facilitated the infiltration of several hundred Hizbullah operatives into the US.

THEN THERE is Nicaragua under the leadership of Chavez's buddy Sandinista chief Daniel Ortega. Since he assumed Nicaragua's presidency in 2007, Ortega has facilitated a massive expansion of Iran's presence in Central America. With more than a hundred accredited diplomats, Iran's embassy in Managua - a massive compound surrounded by four-meter-high concrete walls lined with razor wire - is one of the largest diplomatic compounds in the world.

Even more disturbing than Iran's enormous diplomatic presence in Nicaragua are its massive maritime activities and plans. In 2007 Iran and Venezuela announced that they were investing $350 million to build a deep water port at Nicaragua's Monkey Point along the Caribbean Sea. Iran also announced its plans to upgrade Nicaragua's Pacific Port of Corinto. Finally, Teheran announced it would build a dry canal connecting the two ports. Such a building scheme would enable Iran to evade the Panama Canal; to build its own military infrastructure within the ports themselves; and to freely camouflage missile ships as civilian maritime traffic and use them to launch short and medium-range missiles against the US. Moreover, with its massive army of Hizbullah operatives on standby, Iran could launch attacks through its proxies - as it did in its 1992 and 1994 attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires - and so deny it had anything to do with the attacks.

None of this should suggest that anyone expects the US to attack Iran's nuclear installations. The administration's policies clearly rule out any such contingency. As for Israel, regardless of what the US does, it should be clear that Jerusalem will not stand by idly and allow existential threats to emerge and grow.

What people - and particularly Americans - could have expected is that the administration would take seriously the threat that Iran poses to the US in the Western Hemisphere. Depressingly however, the administration's apparent decision to abdicate America's position and responsibilities as the sole global superpower has led it to also abdicate its position and responsibilities as the most powerful nation in the Western Hemisphere. Indeed, what the administration's refusal to acknowledge the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran - rich with proxies and allies at America's doorstep - poses to America demonstrates is that in its haste to blame its predecessor for the fact that the US has real enemies, the administration is abdicating its responsibility to defend America itself.

THE U.S. BETRAYS ISRAEL

Obama is thowing the only democracy in the Middle East to the Islamic wolves, betraying more than 60 years of mutual suport and cooperation between Israel and the United States begun by President Harry S. Truman.

Why? We can only guess. Obama has romanticized his early exposure to indionesian Islam and, because he has not studied history, even American oir European history, he is either naive about, ignorant of or indifferent to the explosiion of Jew-hating, jihadist Islamic political ideology that has occurred since he left Indoneisa in 1971. He also has this supreme belief that as the omnipotent and all-knowning American emperor he can do anything.

Caroline Glick and Anne Bayefsky detail why Israel should ignore the demands of the U.S. which gravely threaten Israel


Washington has abandoned its obligations

Caroline B. Glick
May 17, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer

is the senior contributing editor and columnist for the Jerusalem Post and senior fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Center for Security Policy

Last Sunday, the head of Israel's military intelligence reported that Iran has mastered the nuclear fuel cycle and can rapidly move from low-grade uranium enrichment to weapons-grade uranium enrichment. He also said that the next 18 months will be "critical" for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

There is a national consensus in Israel that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is the most important and urgent national-security challenge facing the country. Even if Iran refrains from using the weapons directly against Israel, a nuclear-armed Iran will accelerate its efforts to destabilize and destroy the Jewish state by using its proxies in the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq to wage constant, unrelenting terror, guerrilla and conventional warfare.

A nuclear arsenal will likewise help Iran to expand its sphere of influence by empowering it to escalate its efforts to overthrow the Jordanian and Egyptian regimes, and accelerate Hamas' takeover of the Palestinian Authority, scuttling peace negotiations and peace treaties with Israel. Other Arab states - including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, and Kuwait - will also see their regimes threatened or overthrown by radical forces operating under Iran's nuclear umbrella.

And this is the best-case scenario.

It is no wonder, then, that Israelis of all political stripes are deeply disturbed by the Obama administration's Middle East policies. Since taking office, President Obama has made it clear that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is not a major concern for him. Rather, he strives to open diplomatic relations with Iran in the inexplicable hope that Iran can be appeased out of a nuclear program that has already brought it to the cusp of regional hegemony.

Over the last several weeks, as part of the buildup to tomorrow's meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the administration has ratcheted up its rhetoric against Israel. Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, national security adviser James Jones, and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel are among those who have stated that Israel cannot expect the United States to support its aim of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons unless Israel first makes concessions to the Palestinians. That is, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Israel will be to blame.

Israelis are mystified by this position. With Iran's proxy Hamas in charge of Gaza, and ascendant in the West Bank, it is clear that any Palestinian state that is established in the near future will be an Iranian-aligned terror state at war with Israel. That is, while administration officials claim "the only solution is a two-state solution," Israelis recognize that the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state will only cause more war, terror, and regional instability.

Moreover, statements by Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing the administration's opposition to an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear installations, together with Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller's recent call for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, have led many Israelis to perceive a strategic and moral blindness informing the administration's views about Israel and Iran. Apparently, for the administration, there is no difference between Israel, a stalwart U.S. ally and fellow democracy, and Iran - a terror-supporting, human-rights-violating, self-declared enemy of the United States that has been attacking U.S. citizens, interests, and allies since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and has repeatedly called for Israel to be eradicated.

A poll taken earlier this month by Bar Ilan University showed that only 38 percent of Israelis view Obama as friendly toward Israel. Moreover, 66 percent of Israelis support a military strike on Iran's nuclear installations, and only 15 percent say they believe Israel should cancel an attack on Iran if the United States opposes the operation.

These data are important for understanding how Israelis are responding to the Obama administration's apparent hostility toward Israel and its perceived preference for a nuclear-armed Iran over any concerted action by the United States or Israel to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. What the administration is signaling Israelis - and their government - is that Washington is no longer Israel's trusted ally. Indeed, it is becoming clear to the Israeli public that, for the administration, it doesn't matter what Israel does or what its enemies do. As far as Obama and his advisers are concerned, Israel's refusal to make further concessions to the Palestinians will be the cause for whatever transpires.

In this state of affairs, on the eve of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, more and more Israelis have come to the conclusion that there is little point in taking Washington's views into consideration. If Washington is going to blame Israel anyway, we are better off being blamed for preemptively removing the threat of a new Holocaust than for allowing that threat to become a fact of life.

Bayefsky focuses on how the Obama Administration is using the UN to undercut Israel.

America is now on a collision course with Israel.

Anne Bayefsky
National Review Online
May 15, 2009, 3:58 p.m.

In advance of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the United States on Monday, President Obama unveiled a new strategy for throwing Israel to the wolves. It takes the form of enthusiasm for the United Nations and international interlopers of all kinds. Instead of ensuring strong American control over the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Obama administration is busy inserting an international mob between the U.S. and Israel. The thinking goes: If Israel doesn't fall into an American line, Obama will step out of the way, claim his hands are tied, and let the U.N. and other international gangsters have at their prey.

It began this past Monday with the adoption of a so-called presidential statement by the U.N. Security Council. Such statements are not law, but they must be adopted unanimously -- meaning that U.S. approval was essential and at any time Obama could have stopped its adoption. Instead, he agreed to this: "The Security Council supports the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009."

This move is several steps beyond what the Bush administration did in approving Security Council resolutions in December and January -- which said only that "The Security Council welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." Apparently Obama prefers a playing field with 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 22 members of the Arab League -- most of whom don't recognize the right of Israel to exist -- and one Jewish state. A great idea -- if the purpose is to ensure Israel comes begging for American protection.

The U.N. presidential statement also makes laudatory references to another third-party venture, the 2002 Arab "Peace" Initiative. That's a Saudi plan to force Israel to retreat to indefensible borders in advance of what most Arab states still believe will be a final putsch down the road. America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, announced to the Security Council that "we intend to integrate the Arab Peace Initiative into our own approach."

Make no mistake: This U.N. move, made with U.S. approval, sets America on a well-calculated collision course with Israel. U.S. collusion on this presidential statement was directly at odds with Israel's wishes and well-founded concerns about the U.N.'s bona fides on anything related to Israel. Israeli U.N. ambassador Gabriella Shalev issued a statement of Israel's position: "Israel does not believe that the involvement of the Security Council contributes to the political process in the Middle East. This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves. Furthermore, the timing of this Security Council meeting is inappropriate as the Israeli government is in the midst of conducting a policy review, prior to next week's visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the United States. . . . Israel shared its position with members of the Security Council."

By contrast, Rice told reporters: "We had a very useful and constructive meeting thus far of the Council. We welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov's initiative to convene the Council, and we're very pleased with the constructive and comprehensive statement that will be issued by the president of the Council on the Council's behalf. This was a product of really collaborative, good-faith efforts by all members of the Council, and we're pleased with the outcome."

The Obama administration's total disregard of Israel's obvious interest in keeping the U.N. on the sidelines was striking. Instead of reiterating the obvious -- that peace will not come if bigots and autocrats are permitted to ram an international "solution" down the throat of the only democracy at the table -- Rice told the Council: "The United States cannot be left to do all the heavy lifting by itself, and other countries . . . must do all that they can to shore up our common efforts." In a break with decades of U.S. policy, the Obama strategy is to energize a U.N. bad cop so that the U.S. might assume the role of good cop -- for a price.

On Tuesday the Obama administration did it again: It ran for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. As expected, the administration won election to represent the Council's Western European and Others Group -- it was a three-state contest for three spaces.

The Council is most famous, not for protecting human rights, but for its obsession with Israel. In its three-year history it has:

adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than condemning the 191 other U.N. members combined;

entrenched an agenda with only ten items, one permanently reserved for condemning Israel and another for condemning any other U.N. state that might "require the Council's attention";

held ten regular sessions on human rights, and five special sessions to condemn only Israel;

insisted on an investigator with an open-ended mandate to condemn Israel, while all other investigators must be regularly renewed;

spawned constant investigations on Israel, and abolished human-rights investigations (launched by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights) into Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Moreover, every morning before the Human Rights Council starts, all states -- and even observers like the Palestinians -- get together in their regional blocs for an hour to negotiate, share information, and determine positions. All, that is, except Israel. The Western European and Others Group refuses to give Israel full membership. Now the U.S. will be complicit in this injustice.

Joining the Council has one immediate effect on U.S.-Israel relations: It gives the Obama administration a new stick to use against Israel. Having legitimized the forum through its membership and participation, the U.S. can now attempt to extract concessions from Israel in return for American objections to the Council's constant anti-Israel barrage.

Obama administration officials may believe they can put the lid back on Pandora's box after having invited the U.N., Russia, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to jump into the process of manufacturing a Palestinian state while Israel is literally under fire. They have badly miscalculated. By making his bed with countries that have no serious interest in democratic values, the president has made our world a much more dangerous place.

-- Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and at Touro College

BECAUSE OF OBAMA, MILLIONS WILL DIE

In the early days of the 21st Century, the greatest killer of innocent human beings in all of history has emerged in the United States.

It is Barack Obama.

Think of those tens of millions around the world -- many of whom are "people of color " -- whose lives will be terminated because of Barack Obama. He will be joining the ranks of Hitler, Stalin and Mao snuffed out the lives of millions of innocent people.

He's using the money of American taxpayers, the majority of whom are pro-life, to kill the most vulnerable, the innocent who have committed no crime, the unborn.

Why does this president have such a fixation on killing the unborn? Is it the power over life he relishes, the power to kill?

As a state senator in Illinois, he wanted babies who survived botched abortions denied medical care and tossed out with the dirty laundry.

He was the most outspoken supporter of partial birth abortion in the U.S. Senate, wanting the partial extraction of a baby from the birth canal so her head coud be crushed to be legal.

He publicly stated he wanted as his priority to sign a bill that would sweep away all restrictions on abortion, parental notification, waiting periods and counseling sessions, so that his abortionist supporters could continue to grow their mutibillion-dollar business of killing for profit

There isn't a word in the dictionary to describe what he is doing: The systematic, unjustified killing of mankind. Genocide?, No, too narrow. Murder? Homicide? Homocide?

It is an understatement to call him the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States

THE RELENTLESS MARXISM OF OBAMA

What is Obama leading the country to? Mark Steyn makes it clear:

[U]nderneath the thoughtful look is a transformative domestic agenda that represents a huge annexation of American life by an ever more intrusive federal government.
He's got big plans for health care, and federalized education, and an eco-friendly government-run automobile industry - and Iran's nuclear program just gets in the way. He'd rather not think about it, and his multicontinental apology tours are his way of kicking the can down the road until that blessed day when America is just another sclerotic Euro-style social democracy, and even your more excitable jihadi won't be able to jump up and down chanting "Death to the Great Satan!" with a straight face.
The problem in the Western world is that governments are spending money faster than their citizenry or economies can generate it. As Gerald Ford liked to say, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." And that's true. But there's an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give Phil from Cathedral City everything he wants isn't big enough to get Phil to give any of it back. That's the stage the Europeans are at: Their electorates are hooked on unsustainable levels of "services," but no longer can conceive of life without them.

The salute to the flag will be replaced by the hand stretched out for the dole bucket passing by.


Friday, May 1, 2009
Obama looks moderate, acts radical
Mark Steyn
Syndicated columnist
Orange County Register

We're still in the first hundred days of the joyous observances of Barack Obama's first hundred days, and many weeks of celebration lie ahead, so here are my thoughts:

President Obama's strongest talent is not his speechifying, which is frankly a bit of a snoozeroo. In Europe, he left 'em wanting less pretty much every time (headline from Britain's Daily Telegraph: "Barack Obama Really Does Go On A Bit"). That uptilted chin combined with the left-right teleprompter neck swivel you can set your watch by makes him look like an emaciated Mussolini umpiring an endless rally of high lobs on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Each to his own, but I don't think those who routinely hail him as the greatest orator since Socrates actually sit through many of his speeches.

On the other hand, if you just caught a couple of minutes of last Wednesday's press conference, you'd be impressed. When that groupie from The New York Times asked the president about what, during his first hundred days, "had surprised you the most ... enchanted you the most ... humbled you the most and troubled you the most", Obama made a point of getting out his pen, writing it down and repeating back the multiple categories: "Enchanted," he said. "Nice." Indeed. Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room, but then he scribbles down your multipart question to be sure he gets it right, and he looks so thoughtful, and suddenly he's not a stranger anymore, and the sound of his laughter will ring in your dreams.

The theater of thoughtfulness is critical to the president's success. He has the knack of appearing moderate while acting radical, which is a lethal skill. The thoughtful look suckered many of my more impressionable conservative comrades last fall, when David Brooks and Christopher Buckley were cranking out gushing paeans to Obama's "first-class temperament" - temperament being to the Obamacons what Nick Jonas' hair is to a Tiger Beat reporter. But the drab reality is that the man they hail - Brooks & Buckley, I mean; not the Tiger Beat crowd - is a fantasy projection. There is no Obama The Sober Centrist, although it might make a good holiday song:

"Obama The Sober Centrist

Had a very thoughtful mien

And if you ever saw it

You would say it's peachy keen ..."

And it is. But underneath the thoughtful look is a transformative domestic agenda that represents a huge annexation of American life by an ever more intrusive federal government. One cannot but admire the singleminded ruthlessness with which Obama is getting on with it, even as he hones his contemplative unhurried moderate routine on prime time news conferences. On foreign affairs, the shtick is less effective, but mainly because he's not so engaged by the issues: He's got big plans for health care, and federalized education, and an eco-friendly government-run automobile industry - and Iran's nuclear program just gets in the way. He'd rather not think about it, and his multicontinental apology tours are his way of kicking the can down the road until that blessed day when America is just another sclerotic Euro-style social democracy, and even your more excitable jihadi won't be able to jump up and down chanting "Death to the Great Satan!" with a straight face.

It would seem to me that reality is more likely to intrude on the Obama project from overseas than domestically. But if he's lucky it won't intrude at all, not until it's too late. Thirty years ago this month, a grocer's daughter from the English Midlands became Britain's female prime minister - not because the electorate was interested in making (Obama-style) history, but just because nothing worked any more. The post-1945 socialist settlement - government health care, government automobile industry, government everything - had broken down: Inflation over 25 percent, marginal taxes rates over 90 percent, mass unemployment, permanent strikes. The country's union leaders were household names, mainly because they were responsible for everything your household lacked. Even moving around was hard: The nationalized rail network was invariably on strike, and you had to put your name on a waiting list months in advance for one of the "new" car models. The evening news was an endless parade of big beefy burly blokes picketing some plant for the right to continue enjoying the soft pampering workweek of the more effete Ottoman sultans.

Margaret Thatcher was a great leader, who reversed her country's decline - to the point where, two decades later, the electorate felt it was safe to vote the Labour Party back into office. And yet, in the greater scheme of things, the Thatcher interlude seems just that: a temporary respite from a remorseless descent into the abyss. In its boundless ambition, the Left understands that the character of a people can be transformed: British, Canadian and European elections are now about which party can deliver "better services," as if the nation is a hotel, and the government could use some spritelier bellhops. Socialized health care in particular changes the nature of the relationship between citizen and state into something closer to junkie and pusher. On one of the many Obama Web sites the national impresario feels the need to maintain - "Foundation for Change" - the president is certainly laying the foundation for something. Among the many subjects expressing their gratitude to Good King Barack the Hopeychanger is "Phil from Cathedral City, Ca.":

"I was laid off in mid-January from a job I had for 12 years. It's really getting hard to make ends meet, but this month I got some great news. This week I received in the mail official notification that my COBRA monthly payments for medical, dental and vision insurance will decrease from $468 to only $163, all due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is a $305 in savings a month!

"I can't tell you how much of a weight off my shoulders this is. I am living proof of how the president's bold initiatives are beginning to work!"

But just exactly how do these "bold initiatives" work? Well, hey, simple folk like you and I and Phil from Cathedral City don't need to worry about the details. Once these "bold initiatives" really hit their stride maybe the cost of everything over four hundred bucks can be brought down to $163. Wouldn't that be great?

The problem in the Western world is that governments are spending money faster than their citizenry or economies can generate it. As Gerald Ford liked to say, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." And that's true. But there's an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give Phil from Cathedral City everything he wants isn't big enough to get Phil to give any of it back. That's the stage the Europeans are at: Their electorates are hooked on unsustainable levels of "services," but no longer can conceive of life without them.

Margaret Thatcher has a terrific line: "The facts of life are conservative." Just so. Alas, while the facts are conservative, everything else - the culture, the media, the institutions in which we educate our children, the language of public discourse, the societal air we breathe - is profoundly liberal. Phil is "living proof" of something, but it's not good news for conservatives.

THE LAWLESSNESS OF BARACK OBAMA

Examples are multiplying of Obama's disregard if not contempt for the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States.

The Chrysler bankruptcy is a dramatic illustration of how the administration is corrupting the bankruptcy process to favor the UAW union at the expense of secured bondholders who under the law come first in any bankruptcy proceeding.

The lawyers at Powerline have reported on what Obama is doing that his press sychophants are ignoring.

In two articles they describe how Obama is turning the U.S. into a Banana Republic where the rule of law is an inconvenience to be pushed aside.

Banana Republic Capitalism

Banana Republic, Part II

Bankruptcy lawyer taped on a Detroit radio station to interviewer:


Lauria: Let me tell you it's no fun standing on this side of the fence opposing the President of the United States. In fact, let me just say, people have asked me who I represent. That's a moving target. I can tell you for sure that I represent one less investor today than I represented yesterday. One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under the threat that the full force of the White House Press Corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That's how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.

Beckman: Was that Perella Weinberg?

Lauria: That was Perella Weinberg.

Powerline then reported this:

The Obama administration denies making the threats alleged by Lauria. The denial, however, is merely a bald assertion. Lauria is the head of the bankruptcy group at White & Case [one of America's premier law firms], and a Democrat who contributed $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2008. In that sense, you could say that he helped to bring about the corrupt regime that is now bullying his clients. But his credibility vastly exceeds that of an administration spokesman who, having no knowledge of the facts, is sent out to issue a blanket denial.

Obama's Marxist upbringing and experience in the corrupt Chicagoland swamp has prepared him well to be mob boss of America.


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