Sunday, July 31, 2005

Got to Admit it's Getting Better

Fire of Liberty
Jack Kelly has a wonderful column in Sunday's edition of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noting how things are improving for the US and its allies within Iraq and the overall Global War on Terrorism. Here's a sneak-peek:
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-D.C. -based think tank, has been pessimistic about Iraq. He returned from a recent visit singing a different tune:

"If current plans are successfully implemented, the total number of Iraqi military and police units that can honestly be described as trained and equipped should rise from 96,000 in September 2004, and 172,000 today to 230,000 by the end of December and 270,000 by mid-2006," he said.

Strategic Forecasting, a private American intelligence service, thinks al-Qaida is engaged in the terrorist equivalent of the Tet Offensive: "launching a series of attacks -- some significant, others mere psyops -- in an effort to turn the tide in a war it has been losing."

Clumsy mistakes made in the London bombings suggest to Strategic Forecasting that al-Qaida has suffered "a rather serious decline in the quality -- though not necessarily the quantity -- of its operational assets." A shortage of skilled labor would explain why al-Qaida is shifting assets from Iraq. But, in effect, conceding defeat in the principal theater rarely is the path to ultimate victory.
I bet you won't find such info in the MSM.

Wahhabi Islam Run Amuck

Fire of Liberty

Stephen Schwartz has a good piece over at The Weekly Standard on how the West seems to place a greater emphasis on the authoritarian nature of the regimes of Central Asia while failing to recognize the growing threat of Wahhabi Islam to the region. It's very enlightening to anyone wanting to know more about the nations surrounding Afghanistan. Thank God there's people like Stephen Schwartz digging deeper into the scene in these nations and revealing the unvarnished truth.

Schwartz's observation that the Wahhabi strain of Islam has drifted from Saudi Arabia and other hotbeds of Salafast Islam into the various corners of the world seems to have encamped itself into the Caucas region of Russia. According to this article in The Christian Science Monitor, it seems that such radicals have found their way into the independence movement in Dagestan and Chechnya. What once used to be a movement of independence militias against the military forces of Russia has been transformed into a terroristic jihad led by Islamic radicals who have no claim to Chechnya or Dagestan or wish to settle the dispute peacefully. It's amazing what kind of disaster zone can be created when the evil of Wahhabi Islam infiltrates the ranks. I just hope that the folks in Moscow and other world capitals who are battling in the Global War on Terror will finally learn how deep the forces of Wahhabi Islam have dug their hills into these regions. Until then, they will continue to run into one roadblock after the other in confronting the scourge of Islamic terrorism.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Fire of Liberty
Congressman Tom Lantos(D-CA) as well as a large bi-partisan majority in the House have passed the Advance Democratic Values , Address Nondemocratic Countries, and Enhance Democracy Act of 2005 to help the US advance democratic values and ideas throughout the world. It's great to see that we have such a brave champion of freedom and democracy like Rep. Tom Lantos. Here's what The New York Sun reported on Lantos's bill:
The little-noticed legislation passed the House a week ago today as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act by a vote of 351-78. Mr. Lantos last week told the Sun that the bill "puts the meat on the bones of the president's second inaugural address." In that speech, President Bush said, "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

The bill would allow the State Department to "use all instruments of United States influence to support, promote, and strengthen democratic principles, practices, and values in foreign countries." It charges the CIA and Treasury Department with tracking the personal assets of dictators and their associates.

ADVANCE would require the secretary of state to approve an annual report designating nations as either democratic, undemocratic, or in transition. Currently, Foggy Bottom does not make such formal distinctions, though a human rights group created by Congress, the Freedom House, does, ranking countries around the world as "free," partly free," and "not free."

The bill would also make promotions in the Foreign Service for diplomats serving in dictatorships contingent partially on how successful they were in convincing their host country to embrace political freedom.
It's about time we the State Department and Congresss to put some more background in promoting President Bush's policy of promoting democracy in the world. Since the Global War on Terror is a generational hard-slog that will be fought with a multitude of tools from State, Treasury, Homeland Security, NSC as well as the Pentagon, Latos's bill will only strengthen our efforts. I just hope the Senate follows through.

A Better Course for Africa

Fire of Liberty

This is a far better solution for Africa than the "send more money" solution that is always being dallied by the folks at the UN and Live 8.

Winds of Change blowing in Iran

Fire of Liberty

It seems that Akbar Ganji's brave stand for freedom in Evin prison has reverberated throughout the democratic movement in Iran. As most readers of Fire of Liberty are aware, 60% of Iran's population is under the age of thirty and are overwhelmingly pro-American and pro-democracy. While the mullahs might think they can continue their tyrannous way and ignore Ganji's calls for democracy and freedom, they are in for a rude awakening. Just look at what Eli Lake reported in The New York Sun yesterday:
In an interview yesterday, a spokesman for Tahkim Vahdat, Akbar Atri, told The New York Sun that starting in September, university chapters of his organization will hold a series of seminars on the prospects of a referendum on Iran's constitution, which enshrines the near-absolute power of the unelected supreme leader.

The prediction from the student group's spokesman is significant in light of Mr. Ahmadinejad's election last month.

The incoming president is widely considered a representative of Iran's fundamentalist militia known as the Basij, thugs often deployed to violently disperse student demonstrations.

"We still held a demonstration in front of Tehran University for Ganji even without proper papers and the police attacked us," Mr. Atri said, noting that the universities were on a summer schedule. "As soon as the universities open you will see more and more intense activities in support of democracy and Akbar Ganji."
I've got to hand it to Ganji and the student democratic movement for taking such a brave stand in Iran. After some 24 years of the horrific mullah takeover, I think that the folks of Iran want to be freed once and for all from the mullahs. They just need a little moral, political and economic help hand from the US much like the Poles had in their fight against their communist masters. Let's hope the US gets started soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

CAFTA Passes 217-215

Fire of Liberty

Well it might have taken the House until 12:15 A.M. last night but the came through a barely passed CAFTA with a 217-215 vote. While I noted the many benefits that CAFTA will bring to the United States, I forgot to give you a list of the benefits that it will provide to Central America and the Dominican Republic. Though I could write countless accolades about free trade, I thought it would be nice to show you what the folks of at the Acton Institute PowerBlog are noting about CAFTA's benefits. David Michael Phelps posted that:
Central Americans will have access to cheaper goods. Cheaper goods mean higher productivity. Higher productivity means more wealth creation. More wealth creation means more prosperity, less poverty, and friendlier neighbors. Why friendlier? Because now, Central American workers have greater access to something that is indespensible in the market, something that affirms their dignity as workers and as persons: freedom. Free trade is nothing more than individuals and bodies excercising the truth about themselves, that they are free beings and ought to come into agreements freely, without governmental impediments like tariffs.
One thing that Phelps failed to mention is that CAFTA will also help cut back the massive influx of illegal aliens who continue to cross our southern border. If economic/living conditions improve in these nations then they're more likely to stay home and make a go at a living rather to make a perilous journey to the US. Yes, their will be illegals coming across but at a reduced rate. So once again free trade provides many wonderful gifts to both participants.

Legal Humor

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good piece by Hugh Hewitt over at The Weekly Standard noting Judge John G. Roberts sense of legal humor. See for yourself:
There was also the time he offered a snide analysis, in an internal White House memorandum, of a proposal from a member of the House, Elliott H. Levitas. After the Supreme Court struck down efforts by Congress to veto actions taken by the executive branch, Mr. Levitas, a Democrat from Georgia, proposed that the White House and Congress convene a "conference on power-sharing" to codify the duties of each branch of government.

Asked to comment on the congressman's proposal, Mr. Roberts mocked the idea, and him. "There already has, of course, been a 'Conference on Power Sharing,'" Mr. Roberts wrote in a memo to Mr. Fielding. "It took place in Philadelphia's Constitution Hall in 1787, and someone should tell Levitas about it and the 'report' it issued."
As a Poli-Sci nerd, I thought it was pretty darn funny. How say you?

We Need Bolton

Fire of Liberty

It looks like President Bush is thinking pretty hard about using his a recess appointment to get John Bolton seated in the UN this fall. With Iran a few steps away from going nuclear, North Korea's continued obfuscation in the Six party talks, Syria playing its old tricks, and countless actions horrific actions occurring throughout the world, we need a person who like Bolton who will stand up to these evil acts and push the UN to get off their duffs and address these problems. The UN has lolly-gagged in a morass of nothingness for well too long and needs a strong voice in the tradition of Moynihan and Kirkpatrick to shake the cob-webs loose from the rafters of Turtle Bay. Unfortunately, this powerful voice faces an insurmountable brick wall that has been constructed by certain members of the Senate. With this at hand, I'd have to say that the President has no other path of recourse but to use his executive authority and make a recess appointment. I think The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review put it best in today's editorial when they noted:
There right now are matters of incredible import to the United States sitting before the United Nations. And this country needs the kind of no-nonsense representation that John Bolton will offer. Right now.

A recess appointment is a constitutionally prescribed way for a president to fill a vacancy. An appointment now would put Bolton on the job until the 110th Congress convenes in January 2007. And it would send a strong message to Democrats and Republicans alike that obstruction solely for obstruction's sake will not be tolerated.
I second that motion.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Well Put

Fire of Liberty

I think Peter Worthington pretty much sums things up in his recent column on why people need to be even more diligent in this fight against terrorism. While we seem to have let down our guard and relegated terrorism to a matter that just occurs "over there" some four years after September 11th, Worthington reminds his readers that the police are in the front lines of this war and should be given all of the respect and cooperation that they need to prevent another accidental shooting like the one that occurred on July 21, 2005. Above all else, Worthington notes that the most important sector of the world that needs to step up in their diligence is the Muslim community. I think that he put it best when he wrote:
The ones to blame for this perilous policy are Muslims -- not that all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists these days are Muslim.

The Muslim clerics who rant about civil rights and police brutality in London (or Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib) should first admonish those whose faith is so perverted that they feel a duty to kill infidels.

How dare leaders of Muslim mosques and organizations accuse police of over-reacting and accusing them of making London streets unsafe for people to walk on!

The police aren't bombing anyone, and it's just luck that those backpacks and individuals caught the day before the shooting of the Brazilian did not explode, killing and wounding as the 7/7 bombs did.
I'd have to say that Worthington might have his rough edges but he seems to always come through with some great advice.

More MP's call for Islamic Radicals to be Deported

Fire of Liberty

In today's edition of The Daily Telegraph, there's a story calling for the deportation of Mohammed al-Massari who is a known supporter of Osama bin Laden and foreign dissident living in London. The article noted that al-Massari has been espousing Islamic fundamentalism since the early 90's when he set up a press office for Osama in London. In the mid-90's he established the Committee for Defence of Legitimate Rights which he noted to The Seattle Times in 2004 that it was an "ideological voice" of al-Qa'eda. He has also noted in several interviews with the BBC that Muslims had the right to assassinate the Prime Minister or even British troops serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It's really a shame that the British people have to continue to put up with the government providing a hate monger like al-Massari with the privilage of asylum as well as a pension. I just hope more people follow John Major's lead and call for the likes of al-Massari to be thrown out of the UK once and for all. Even though the Tories have been calling for this vermin to be thrown out of the UK, the Telegraph article notes that there is a growing tide of similar regards within the Labour party. Just look at this:
Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, who has been pressing for action against jihadists for many years, said the proposed new laws might help the police and prosecutors to bring charges against some of the more vocal apologists for al-Qa'eda.

But he said: ''We do have powers and we should be a bit more imaginative in using them pending the introduction of the new laws. If we are not going to prosecute, the least we can do is remove their right to remain in the UK.''
Hopefully, we'll see a groundswell of British citizens, MP's and members of the House of Lords that will push forward the removal of such vile creatures of al-Massari. I know it won't solve the UK's problems but it a got start in the right direction. Time is not on the UK's side to dilly-dally around, they need to get to work.

British MP John Major calls for Change of Policy

Fire of Liberty

John Major, former British PM 1992-1997, seems to be stepping up to the plate against the rise of radical Islam in the various neighborhoods throughout the UK by calling on the government to deport foreign born preachers of hate who cloud the mind of the youth. Just look at what The Daily Telegraph reported on Major:
"There seem to be many people who, for reasons that are irrational, dislike the Anglo-Saxon way of life," he said in an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He called for heavier penalties for those who incited violence at this "particularly sensitive time", including deportation for non-Britons who attacked the British way of life.

While he acknowledged it would be difficult to balance new restrictions against freedom of speech, it would be "justifiable to protect the public". "As far as those who literally spit hate at our country and incite, I personally would be prepared to deport those where it is clear that what they are doing is causing civil unrest."
I'd say that Major is on to something. Free speech is one thing but when it encourages outright violence or destruction of a nation and its culture, you've gone to far. It once thing to call for the overthrow of a tyrannies like Iran, Cuba, North Korea but England or the West haven't done such evils like the Outposts of Tyranny. So keep up the good fight Mr. Major.


Fire of Liberty

It's amazing how many people in both the Republican and Democrat party are so much against CAFTA and various other Free Trade agreements. I realize that they're whole heartedly against CAFTA because they think free trade will take the various manufacturing and farming industries that their constituents work in but they fail to realize that their solutions, namely tariffs, make it more possible that these industries will seek more affordable places to manufacture their goods. Take for instance the negative impact that tariffs on sugar coming into this country has had on the candy manufacturing industry. Under the current tariffs/subsidy policy, the prices of sugar is some 2 to 3 times higher than in the rest of the world thus causing the manufactures of Colas, Candy and other goods made of sugar to either pass on the price to the consumer or seek alternative sweetening sources. These tariffs have also resulted in large candy manufactures like Brach's and Kraft which have had factories in Chicago for well over eighty years, to pick up stakes and move into Canada where the price of sugar is much much lower. So instead of helping out these various industries this embrace of tariffs has cost jobs time and time again.

Along with industries moving out of the country so they can find more affordable raw materials these tariffs will also have negative impacts on our various goods being sold in these nations. With tariffs going as high as 30% on goods entering the nations of Central America, the people have sought out markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam because they can ill afford the American made goods or raw materials. So instead of sitting idly by while these nations continue to seek such affordable markets, Congress could kill to birds with one stone by passing CAFTA. First of all it would end or eliminate most (the jury's still out on the all-powerful sugar lobby) tariffs on US goods being exported into the nations of Central America thus allowing more people the ability to be able to buy affordable US goods, survices as well as raw materials while keeping the industries and farms in the US humming along. It would also eliminate duties and tariffs imposed on goods imported to the US from these nations thus creating conditions that spurs competition and efficiency in our industries.

Probably one of the biggest reasons why we should pass CAFTA is that it's yet one more measure to sure up our continued security and diplomatic cooperation with our peaceful and democratic allies in Central America. As Deroy Murdock has pointed out in his most recent piece over at National Review Online, CAFTA is a way to cause a rising economic tide that raises all boats thus ensuring confidence in free market capitalism and away from the ever present archaic Communism of Fidel Castro or the Caudilloist model being promoted by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. I think Murdoch noted the seriousness of this passing CAFTA with the following paragraphs:
"I consider CAFTA to be as much a security issue as it is an economic issue — for them and for us," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wrote in a June 11 Knight-Ridder newspaper column. "By approving CAFTA, the United States will bolster the advocates of freedom and openness in Latin America. Rejection of the agreement, conversely, could seriously undermine the forces of freedom and lead to an era of increased transnational security challenges."

"The signal that CAFTA's defeat would send is that the United States is not a reliable partner," Otto Reich, President Bush's former special envoy to Latin America, says by phone. "That is a very unfair signal, but that is what our enemies would say. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro probably have their talking points ready to say: "See? That's what you get for believing in the U.S. You come to us, and we will give you money.'"

Chavez — Venezuela's increasingly authoritarian leader — plays Mini-Me to Castro, the Cuban dictator, one-time physician, and long-time Dr. Evil of Latin America. Together, they stir trouble around the hemisphere in every conceivable manner, from collaborating with left-wing politicians in South America to using petroleum as a socialist lubricant.
I just hope "the better angels" in Congress will stand up for the liberating and democratic forces of free trade by passing CAFTA. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fight On

Fire of Liberty
Janet Daley had a wonderful piece in The Sunday Times which notes that the Global War on Terror might have its up or downs on behalf of the West but in the end run the West must kill this evil dead in its tracks. Just see for yourself:
The killing of this man is a small victory for Islamic terrorism which, like all movements that attempt to undermine societies from within, has always hoped to provoke the authorities into what could be described as persecution. (Old-fashioned communist agitation had a similar logic: cause the police to display the true “repressive nature of the capitalist state” and you will win converts.) It has thrown everything — including the lives of its own young — into the battle for the minds of the Muslim population who must be made to believe that their own country is the enemy. And it found the perfect strategy with which to do it. Not just mass murder, but self-destructive nihilism. How do you fight an enemy who is not only prepared to sacrifice his own life, but who positively wants to die? One who explicitly begs you for the opportunity to destroy himself? This is a small victory for a hatred that goes beyond politics, or nationalism, or tribal grievance, or any of the quasi-rational things that are subject to negotiation and reasonable argument. There is no debate to be had here. We are in the territory of outright madness. Those who pretend that there could be some accommodation with the aims of this movement — who see it as a new power balance in the world that must be addressed in foreign policy terms — are criminally irresponsible. There is nothing short of the extinction of democratic, secular society that would appease this enemy.
Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!!! Couldn't have said better.

A truly Global War on Terrorism

Fire of Liberty

From The Washington Post:
N'DJAMENA, Chad -- The U.S. military is embarking on a long-term push into Africa to counter what it considers growing inroads by al Qaeda and other terrorist networks in poor, lawless and predominantly Muslim expanses of the continent.

The Pentagon plans to train thousands of African troops in battalions equipped for extended desert and border operations and to link the militaries of different countries with secure satellite communications. The initiative, with proposed funding of $500 million over seven years, covers Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia -- with the U.S. military eager to add Libya if relations improve.

The Pentagon is also assigning more military officers to U.S. embassies in the region, bolstering the gathering and sharing of intelligence, casing out austere landing strips for use in emergencies, and securing greater access and legal protections for U.S. troops through new bilateral agreements.
I'd have to say that the Pentagon is very forward looking in its new policies of dealing with terrorism in Africa. This is why President Bush placed Rumsfeld and his unique leadership skills in the Pentagon.

You can read the whole article here.

Clarion Call Against Terror

Fire of Liberty

I found this Op/Ed in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription) by Ahmed H. Al-Rahim, an Iraqi-American who has taught Arabic and Islamic studies at Harvard University, which called for fellow Muslims to finally stand up to the forces of terror that plague this world. I think this is probably the best and most moving part of the Op/Ed :
Alas, the battle against Islamism -- and also for the heart of Islam -- has become a battle for the West to fight. As a Muslim, these acts of terrorism committed by fellow Muslims -- and yes, they are Muslims, from whom we cannot distance ourselves by the sophistry that asserts that their version is but a perversion of Islam -- are a great source of shame. But what is more shameful is that there are no mass Muslim protests to speak of against terrorism that is committed in our name. In the same way that Muslims have protested against alleged desecrations of the Quran, they now should be out in full force in the streets of Cairo, London and New York, sending a clear message to the Islamists that Enough is Enough. Why not a "Million Muslim March" on Washington, of law-abiding Muslim citizens clamoring to reclaim their faith from those who would kill innocents in its name? Muslims must no longer stand by while murder and suicide bombings are committed in their name.
I hope more individuals like Al-Rahim stand up to the merchants of death that are taking Islam down a dark road of destruction.

British Steel

Fire of Liberty

This piece by John O'Sullivan in The New York Post gives me a good re-assurance that the Brits will prevail over the scourge of radical Islam. Here's a peek:
Common sense suggests that there are limits to this stoicism. If a nuclear bomb killed hundreds of thousands, there would be a fierce reaction. In those circumstances, however, fear would probably be trumped by revenge. They are almost the only circumstances in which I can imagine a large-scale anti-Muslim pogrom.

Short of such a catastrophe, the bombers may murder, maim, inconvenience and even temporarily frighten Londoners. But if bombing could not alter British policy on Ulster, it is not going to change policy on Iraq, or foreign policy in general, let alone transform British social life in line with radical Islamist ideas of sexual apartheid, anti-alcohol prohibition, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance.
Well done.

Return to the Melting Pot

Fire of Liberty
I think Arnold Ahlert perscribed one of the best medicines to aid us in our efforts to defeat terrorism in a column in today's issue of The New York Post. (Requires registration) Here's a sample of Ahlert's medicine:
For the last few of decades we have allowed a multiculturalist mindset to dominate immigration and government to the point where assimilation is no longer necessary. Instead of "melting pot" America, we have become a nation of separate ethnicities "celebrating their differences" — in as many languages as government deems necessary so as not to "burden" immigrants with learning American culture or customs.

It is bad enough to have completely autonomous communities, which have purposefully separated themselves from mainstream culture. That in and of itself has the potential to foster terrorist activity. But the idea that government would aid that separatism by providing immigrants with several different languages for conducting government business is pure folly.

In London, we are seeing one of the "byproducts" of elevating separatism over assimilation: homegrown terror cells and a Muslim community which, according to surveys, has little or no allegiance to the country they call home.

Making English our official language may not be a panacea for terror — but it's a good first step.

Above all else, we've got to keep our nation united under a national creed and a common language. We cannot allow the cancer of multiculturalism to metastasize further into our society like it has done in Europe.
If you want to learn more about a return to where various cultures and people come together and become American via "the melting pot," instead of being a collection of cultures who go their own seperate ways, then check out Samuel P. Huntington's book Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity. You'll learn a lot.

El Hefe's Old Tricks

Fire of Liberty

El Hefe(In Spanish it should be spelled Jefe but I writing it the way The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board calls him) is up to his old tricks again with his most recent actions on July 20 when his security services arrested some 29 pro-democracy protesters outside the French Embassy in Havana. As of yesterday, The New York Sun has reported some 14 people have been released but the jury is still out on the fate of the remaining 15 pro-democracy activists. Upon hearing about such an outlandish disregard for man's God given rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the US government called upon Cuba to release the remaining 15 and called on its fellow democracies in Europe to join them in this call. Here's what The New York Sun had to say about the whole situation:
According to an Agence France-Presse report out of Havana, the demonstration at the French embassy that resulted in Friday's crackdown was a protest of, among other policies, the French ambassador's decision to invite Mr. Castro's foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, to the embassy's Bastille Day celebration while excluding members of the opposition movement.

Within the European Union, the most vocal opponents of Europe's decision to engage Mr. Castro on equal footing have been the Czechs. The Czech ambassador to America, Martin Palous, said yesterday of the roundup: "The E.U. should send a very clear signal to the Cuban government that these types of actions are absolutely unacceptable, and that all of these people should be immediately released."

"I think it's very clear," Mr. Palous said, "that those who have been arguing in favor of more 'constructive' and 'outreaching' policies toward Cuba should learn their lesson."

In light of this weekend's crackdown, that policy, Mr. Diaz-Balart said, "has been shown to be the pathetic blank check appeasement of Castro that it is." As a result, Mr. Diaz-Balart said, much of the diplomatic effort in Washington to bring about the release of the dissidents in coming days "will be focused on Europe."
I'd say that now is the time for the US and Europe to pledge their full moral and political support to the pro-democracy movement in Cuba as they battle Castro and his tyrannous regime some ninety miles off the coast on Florida. After 46 years of hell, I think the people of Cuba are ready for their freedom to be handed back. Let's hope it happens soon.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Good Long Reads

Fire of Liberty

Here are four long articles on the Global War on Terrorism that I thought you should read

1. This one is on the dangerous underground tunnels that run under the Egypt-Israeli border which has been a known passage to receive and transport deadly weapons to terrorists.

2.This one is on the connection between Pakistan and Islamic radicalism in the UK and how it had an influence on the terror strikes on 7/7

3. This one is on the recent trip taken to Afghanistan and Iraq by columnist and US Army Reserve officer Austin Bay (Col.) and his observations and assessment.

4. This one deals with how Europe has become a hotbed of radical Islamic thinking.


Roberts looks like a Good Judge

Fire of Liberty

Here's an interesting piece over at Tech Central Station by Michael M. Rosen which shows how Judge John G. Roberts can be an effective Judge in balancing the law and civil liberties with our pursuit of terrorists in the Global War on Terrorism. After reading a short survey of Judge Roberts rulings since 2003 here and the most recent Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ruling, I'd have to say Roberts will be a straight shooter and will base his decisions on the law rather than making up law based on his feelings. I wish him well.

Non-Lethal Weapons helping our Troops

Fire of Liberty

It seems the Pentagon has sent it's scientists to the Bat Cave and has ventured to the outside looking for the next non-lethal weapon to deal with crowd control or disable a possible terrorist. Now I'm all for killing any or all terrorists when you can but I also understand that our troops also have to have a way to limit the impact on innocent civilians when they can. So keep up the good work. Thank God we have all of these people in the Pentagon exploring their R&D potential much like it did during the Cold War.

Here's another article.

Canada's Ills

Fire of Liberty

And I thought the British had a problem with multiculturalism and nutty laws.

A North Korean Hell

Fire of Liberty

Donna M. Hughes, Professor and Carlson Endowed Chair in Women's Studies at the University of Rhode Island, has a detailed piece over at National Review Online showing the horrors that are committed against the various female North Korean refugees who escape from North Korea into China searching for food or just freedom. Hughes notes that the women who escape from North Korea face rape, murder, and being sold into slavery or prostitution if they are found out in China and if they're returned to North Korea they face imprisonment, rape, forced to have abortions or commit infanticide as well as the possibility of being executed. Just take a look at Professor Hughes's powerful piece:
Pastor Chun Ki-won's name and his mission are well-known among refugees hiding in China. He receives one to two letters a day from women describing how they have been sold and asking for assistance. He said, "Women are treated like animals. They have no rights. Whoever finds them first can sleep with them. Then he sells them later."

Refugees caught in China are routinely arrested and deported to North Korea. Those who flee from North Korea are considered traitors to the government and the ruling ideology of Juche or self reliance. The returnees are imprisoned in detention centers, interrogated, mistreated, and starved. Pregnant women are forcibly aborted or newborns killed to keep "foreign" blood out of North Korea.

According to a first-hand report, in March 1999, a 26-year-old woman in a detention center was executed for "selling herself" in China. Yun Hye-ryeon, wife of Aquariums of Pyongyang author Kang Chul-hwan, was in the cell next to this woman. The woman had crossed into China to feed herself and her baby, but according to the North Korean officials she fell under the influence of capitalism and sold herself for money. She was publicly executed as a lesson to others.

Yun Hye-ryeon works with her husband for their human-rights organization — NK Gulag — to collect testimonies from refugees. She says that the majority of women refugees in China are raped and trafficked. Even those who have made it to South Korea still suffer from the trauma of their experience. "North Korean women in South Korea have painful memories in their hearts." As a result of being sold several times, they don't trust men any more. They still suffer from the trauma of their experience and have a difficult time adapting to life in South Korea.
And people wonder why President Bush personally stated he loathes Kim Jong Il and his tyranny. If you want to learn more about the horrific nature of North Korea then check out Kang Chol-Hwan's masterful work The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag. After reading this you'll see why North Korea is a literal hell on Earth. Hopefully, someone will free the people of North Korea from this sometimes soon.

Ganji gaining more Support

Fire of Liberty
It seems that the Akbar Ganji's 44 day and counting hunger strike against the tyrants of Iran in Tehran's Evin prison has drawn more moral support from Vaclav Havel, a heavy hitter when it comes to the issue of human rights. Just look at what Eli Lake wrote in The New York Sun about how Havel's support has steeled Ganji's fight and provides a shot of confidence into the arm of the pro-democracy movement in Iran:
Mr. Ganji's case has attracted international attention in recent weeks. On July 21, a former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, joined world leaders and dozens of intellectuals in calling on the Islamic Republic to release Mr. Ganji unconditionally from prison. In a letter to Mr. Khamenei, Mr. Havel, along with a former Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, and the two American chairmen of the Committee on the Present Danger, wrote: "We are concerned that Mr. Ganji's imprisonment is due only to the exercise of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As your county has ratified this Covenant, we ask that you reconsider Mr. Ganji's case, which is further mitigated by his ill health, and that you order his unconditional release at this time."
I love that Havel has cast himself in Ganji's fight but find it more heartening that Jose Maria Aznar, the former PM of Spain; George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State; and James Woolsey, former Director of US Central Intelligence have also joined in calling for Ganji's release. Here's the letter, if you want to read it. You can really understand how the call for freedom doesn't just emanate with former dissidents but from various people who understand how powerful democracy and freedom would be a force of good to Iran and the world in general. I for one, encourage everyone to voice their support for Ganji's struggle for freedom by urging their US Congressman and Senators to step up and vouch their support for man's universal rights of Life, Liberty and Property. So get going and help me spread the Fire of Liberty.

HG Wells sees the future for London

Fire of Liberty

Niall Ferguson has a wonderful Opinion piece in yesterday's The Sunday Telegraph (registration required) on how this fight against terrorism is similar to the War of Worlds that HG Wells describes in his fantastic book. What I gleam from Ferguson's wonderful piece is that the leadership and people of London should prepare itself for a future fight against the forces of evil that has hit it's shores. In order to escape a future London looking like another downtown Beirut ala 1980's, they've got to toss out the whole chimera of multiculturalism and a head in the sand approach towards fundametalistic Islam and it's preachers of hate. I think Ferguson summed up the silly nature of these policies in the following paragraphs:
Last week, Ken Livingstone - who is proving as inept in this crisis as Rudy Giuliani was inspiring in New York after 9/11 - repeatedly provided on-air justifications for the Islamikaze bombers, portraying the terrorist organization Hamas as morally equivalent to the Israeli army, which he accused of having "done horrendous things which border on crimes against humanity".

The same Ken Livingstone last year invited the Qatar-based Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London. Among al-Qaradawi's recent statements are the following: "It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar al-Harb [the domain of the infidel] is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they have forfeited the protection of their blood and their property.

"Allah has also made the prophet Mohammed into an ideal for mujahideen [religious warriors] since he ordered Mohammed to fight for religion. The first assignment is to prepare the hero who is willing to put his life in his own hands for Allah's sake, and who does not care whether he encounters death or death encounters him. He wants to scare his enemies, and the religious authorities have permitted this. They have said that if he causes the enemy both sorrow and fear of Muslims, he is permitted to risk himself and even get killed."

Al-Qaradawi may not come from Mars, but he seems every bit as intent on the destruction of our civilisation as Wells's invaders. Fortunately, he is an alien according to the law of the land and so it is within the power of the Home Secretary to prevent his returning to Britain, which he is scheduled to do next month.

The same, alas, cannot be said of Mufti Zubair Dudha, who has published at least one work extolling "the benefits, fruits and blessings of physical jihad". According to The Times last week, Mr Dudha teaches at his own Islamic Tarbiyah academy in Dewsbury - home of Mohammed Sadique Khan, one of the 7/7 suicide bombers.

Mr Dudha declares that "the enemies of Allah" are striving "to poison the thinking and minds of [Muslim] youth and to plant the spirit of unsteadiness and moral depravity in their lives". We must all fervently hope that the enemies of Allah succeed in their endeavours and that Mr Dudha's fundamentalist prophylaxis fails. After all, it was poison - in the form of germs to which they had no resistance - that did for Wells's invading Martians and saved London from an alien takeover.
Let's hope that the folks in London get wise about how these policies are setting up the death of their nation. After 7/21, I think they're thinking hard about how the UK can turn back the tide. It always helps when people like Niall Ferguson write such eye opening pieces like this. So, check it out.

A cure to the Islamikaze Bomber.

Fire of Liberty
One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
~Winston Churchill

As I survey the various stories in the various newspapers and news-sites of the UK and the US, I keep on bumping into the wild theory that the terrorists main motivation for blowing up the London tube system and it's buses is due to Iraq. It's really amazing that the adults who penned these various pieces espousing the "blame it on Iraq" theory have forgotten that the al Qaeda and its minions have been after the West some ten years before Operation Iraqi Freedom. You'd think that these "journalists" would take the blinders off for a brief second and look at the fact that the modern day terrorists bombed the WTC in 1993, US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzinia in 1998, The USS Cole in 2000 as well as their destructive actions of September 11 well before the most recent war against Saddam. Even with all of this going on around them, these various people within the borders of Europe continue to yell at the top of their lungs "It's all about Bush's War," and think that the terrorists will stop blowing up their fellow countrymen if we leave them alone.

Fortunately, Victor Davis Hanson over at National Review Online has a wonderful piece debunking this "leave em alone and they'll leave us alone," lunacy being promoted in the broadsheets of Europe and the UK. Just look at what VDH has to say about what can basically be described as appeasement on behalf of the Europeans:
But Europe was supposedly different. Unlike the United States, it was correct on the Middle East, and disarmed after the Cold War. Indeed, the European Union was pacifistic, socialist, and guilt-ridden about former colonialism.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were left alone in unassimilated European ghettoes and allowed to preach or promulgate any particular hatred of the day they wished. Conspire to kill a Salmon Rushdie, talk of liquidating the "apes and pigs,"” distribute Mein Kampf and the Protocols, or plot in the cities of France and Germany to blow up the Pentagon and the World Trade Center — all that was about things “over there” and in a strange way was thought to ensure that Europe got a pass at home.

But the trump card was always triangulation against the United States. Most recently anti-Americanism was good street theater in Rome, Paris, London, and the capitals of the "“good"” West.

But then came Madrid — and the disturbing fact that after the shameful appeasement of its withdrawal from Iraq, further plots were hatched against Spanish justices and passenger trains.

Surely a Holland would be exempt — Holland of wide-open Amsterdam fame where anything goes and Muslim radicals could hate in peace. Then came the butchering of Theo Van Gogh and the death threats against parliamentarian Hirsi Ali — and always defiance and promises of more to come rather than apologies for their hatred.

Yet was not Britain different? After all, its capital was dubbed Londonistan for its hospitality to Muslims across the globe. Radical imams openly preached jihad against the United States to their flock as thanks for being given generous welfare subsidies from her majesty'’s government. But it was the United States, not liberal Britain, that evoked such understandable hatred.
Instead of warding of the horde of "Islamikaze" bombers from the shores of Europe, this strategy of "It's our fault, we're sorry to offend you, how can we repay you," has actually created an environment that ecourages the bombers to come on in and get started on the launching their horrific acts. While it's understandable that all people prefer safety over the threat of being blown up, history has shown time after time how appeasement or any show of weakness to an aggressor like al Qaeda actually encourages more terrorism than piece. No matter how you reason or analyze the situation at hand, you will always come to the conclusion that these terrorists are on a mission to destroy Western Civilization and replace it with a 7th century caliphate. The only way to deal with these terrorists is to go after them in the Middle East, destroy their ideological hate factories whether that's in mosques or madrassas in Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia or the ones throughout London and Europe. If we can shut down the organizations and filter out the voices of hate, then the world will be free of these deadly terrorists thus allowing us to travel to a from work or take a vacation abroad without the fear of being killed. The only way to achieve this victory over evil is to be ever vigilant and refuse to give in to the weak-kneed ideas of appeasement that has been all the rage throughout Europe. Hopefully 7/7 or 7/21 put some sense into these people but we'll have to see.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

British Bulldog gets in fight

Fire of Liberty
In the July 23, 2005 issue of The Times, Ben MacIntyre has written a wonderful Op/Ed calling asking what Winston Churchill would have done or said in this current fight against al Qaeda. In this wonderful piece, MacIntyre dug deep into the history books and the wonderful mind of the great Prime Minister to lay out a very smart piece that notes how the British Bulldog, through his past history of fighting the Mahdi's army in Sudan, had a pretty keen eye on how big of a fight you have on your hands when your up against forces like these Islamic fundalmentalist that plague us today. Just look at what MacIntyre had to write about Sir Winston and his views in this matter:
For such a determined personality, Churchill could be maddeningly inconsistent. Yet on the issue of Islamic fundamentalism, his views were pungent, precise and astonishingly prescient. In The River War, his account of the reconquest of the Sudan that ended in the battle of Omdurman in 1898, Churchill anticipated many of the themes that preoccupy us today: the nature of terrorism, Islamic fanaticism and the clash of civilisations between the Islamic world and the West.

“Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith,” he wrote after going into battle himself against the Dervishes, the followers of the Mahdi, the self-proclaimed prophet of Islam who had launched a mass rebellion to drive the infidels out of Egypt. Churchill writes as an enthusiastic imperialist, comparing the “fanatical frenzy” of the Mahdi’s followers to rabid dogs. But his analysis is more nuanced than the language suggests. He understood that extremism flourished amid the “fearful fatalistic apathy” in the Muslim world — precisely the apathy that Britain’s Muslim communities must now urgently combat. Rather than condemn the Dervishes as mere lunatics (as many of his contemporaries did), he sought to understand their suicidal bravery through the “mighty stimulus of fanaticism”.

In a passage that presages his staunch resistance to Nazism 40 years later, he wrote: “I hope that if evil days should come upon our own country, and the last army which a collapsing Empire could interpose between London and the invader were dissolving in rout and ruin, that there would be some . . . who would not care to accustom themselves to a new order of things and tamely survive the disaster.”
Once again, that bright shining "glow-worm" has found his way to weave himself back into the course of human history even after his death some 41 years ago. In fact, from what I've read on various military blogs being operated by soldiers in the field, Churchill's book The River War is required reading for our soldiers and officers operating in Iraq. So it seems ole Winston is back just when we need him the most. I hope Blair is diving into this book for some insightcoveniant it covienent to read MacIntyre's great piece. I could really help.

Are you a Turk?

Fire of Liberty

Amir Taheri has a wonderful review on Hugo Pope's new book Sons of The Conquerors: The Rise of the Turkic World.

Here's a sample of Taheri's thorough review:
Nevertheless, a majority of people who now live within the borders of the Turkish Republic and speak Turkish as their mother tongue are, as far as race is concerned, the descendants of the Greek and other Hellenised communities of Asia Minor who have been Turkicised during the past 10 centuries or so. What makes them Turkic, therefore, is not blood but culture and sentiment. They feel they are Turks, and so they are.

Not everyone who speaks a version of the half a dozen or so Turkic languages may describe himself as Turkic. But most do.

Pope estimates the number of Turkic-speakers at over 140 million, almost half of them in the Turkey itself. Turkic-speakers are also a majority in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan which have a combined population of 50 million. Turkic-speaking Azeris number around 15 million in Iran while the Uyghurs, another Turkic people who live in Xinjiang, or the Chinese Turkistan, number some 12 million. There are also Turkic minorities in Russia (including the Tatars, the Bashkirs, the Charkess-Qarachai, and the Kabardino-Balkars) who account for some 20 million people. Smaller Turkic minorities live in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Syria, Iraq, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia.
It looks like its a pretty good read. Check it out.

Al Qaeda started its war against West well before Iraq War

Fire of Liberty

Michael J. Totten has a wonderful article over at Tech Central Station that destroys the pacifistic arguments being bandied around the various newspapers and TV newsrooms that the train stations and buses would not have been attacked in London had the British not joined in on Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though I'll let you read the whole piece on your own, I found these following paragraphs very interesting:
Anyway, the logic that Britain or any other country should stay out of Iraq in order to duck Al Qaeda's crosshairs is the logic of pacifism. It makes no sense to use this logic selectively when picking and choosing which battleground is acceptable and which is not (Afghanistan yes, Iraq no) unless you're against fighting back categorically. No military action is acceptable to Al Qaeda. Any and all can provoke retaliation.

Those who argue this line of reasoning are going to have to go all the way with it or drop it entirely. They're either pacifists or they aren't. Military strikes against terrorists and their enablers should be eschewed in order to avoid retaliation or they should not be. Al Qaeda is not going to take any country off its enemy's list if it only withdraws from one of two combat fronts in the Terror War.
It's awesome to see people like Totten taking down canards like these that are always being put up by the pacifist ninnies of the world. Luckily, more people see things from Totten's perspective than the wacky anti-war crowd.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Trump trips up UN

Fire of Liberty
It seems that "The Donald" has decided to get in the fray with the UN. According to this article in The New York Sun, the New York developer and reality show host, has expressed his dismay towards the UN and its efforts to squeeze some $1.2 billion from the US to renovate its dilapidated headquarters at Turtle Bay. Just look at what the NY Sun had to say:
Mr. Trump said the construction of the brand-new Trump World Tower - a 90-story luxury residential complex in Turtle Bay - cost roughly half what the United Nations expects to spend on the renovation on a per-square-foot basis.

"Anyone who says that building renovation is more expensive than building a new building doesn't know the business," the developer said. "It only costs a fool more money."

Mr. Trump said that, as a result of meetings with Secretary-General Annan and conversations with other U.N. officials, he had come to the conclusion that the world body was being "naive," at best, in its approach to the renovations. "I'm going to predict that it will cost over $3 billion because they just don't know" what they're doing, Mr. Trump said of the project. "In my real opinion, it should cost around $700 million," he added.

His "dream," the developer added, would be "to take the United Nations and move it to the World Trade Center as a brand-new U.N., and sell the U.N. site for much more money" than the renovation would cost.

Mr. Trump conceded that such a move was unlikely. As the Sun reported in December, the United Nations was offered space at ground zero in 2002 and turned it down, citing an excessively taxing commute for U.N. employees living in Midtown.

The developer appeared at the hearing at the invitation of Mr. Sessions, who joined Mr. Trump as a witness. Mr. Sessions, along with Dr. Coburn, expressed grave concern about the U.N.'s unwillingness to provide information to the Senate about the renovation project, including a cost breakdown, auditing records, and material about the design work done on the project.
I'm sure glad we have folks like Donald Trump, Sens. Coburn and Sessions as well as the diligent reporters of The New York Sun watching out for us. Keep up the good work in imposing some well needed reform on this august body.

Defending Taiwan

Fire of Liberty

Yesterday I posted some comments on the alarming rise of China's military infrastructure and their development of an overarching strategic policy towards Asia. Though the various stories I referred to noted that China wants to cast its strategic fish-net well beyond the Straits of Taiwan, the Pentagon still has issued its growing concern about China's rhetoric and movements towards the island nation of Taiwan. Now its true that we've pledged to come to Taiwan's aid if they're ever attacked via the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, but few people fail to realize that this act also tied the hands of the US military by restricting military exchanges to lower ranked officers, preventing Taiwanese soldiers from wearing uniforms or wearing name badges on their flight suits while participating in joint exercises with the US all for diplomatic niceties.

Thankfully, Gary Schmitt, director of Project for the New America Century, and Dan Blumenthal of the American Enterprise Institute have penned a wonderful piece over at National Review Online on how such restrictions have hindered the US from developing an effective joint-readiness with Taiwan to effectively thwart an attack from China. Here's a look at what Schmitt and Blumenthal have suggested that the nation can do to solve the problem:
Although China will object to allowing U.S. general and flag officers in Taiwan, the proposal would not violate the existing American policy toward China and Taiwan. The current restrictions on visits to Taiwan by general officers are based on "guidelines" issued by the State Department's Bureau of East Asian Affairs in 1979 following the Carter administration's decision to end formal relations with Taiwan and establish them with Communist China. But the restrictions were not part of any formal agreement with China, nor was it in response to any particular demand by Beijing. In short, this is a self-imposed proscription which has not been properly reexamined in light of either America's obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act or the growth of a much more capable Chinese military force. Indeed, permit U.S. generals and flag officers to visit Taiwan would reaffirm the essentials of America's one-China policy: While the United States does not endorse any specific political outcome on unification, it is also committed to preventing the mainland from attempts to annex the island by force.

The American policy of deterring Beijing from using military force against Taiwan and reassuring Taipei in its dealings with the mainland has facilitated peace and great cross-straits economic growth for decades. But it is a policy that is increasingly put in jeopardy by the ongoing development of China's military power. Removing an outdated restriction on defense cooperation with Taiwan is a sensible step to take now in light of this new threat. The idea that generals and admirals can travel to China, Libya, and Uzbekistan but not Taiwan is a restriction that is not only ridiculous on its face but, increasingly, dangerous to the very men and women who will be asked to risk their lives should deterrence fail.
I hope that we never have to battle the Chinese in the Straits of Taiwan but it's always good to be prepared. So get to work Washington.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

CAFTA: A Tool to Fight Poverty

Fire of Liberty

Reverend Robert Sirico, the president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, has a wonderful argument from a Catholics standpoint on why the passage of CAFTA is good for the US and Central America. In his great piece over at National Review Online, Rev. Sirico notes that a bevy of priests in Central America have made it their destiny in life to rally against free trade because they're fearful that it will cause certain folks to become wealthy while shutting others out of the process. What these priests fail to realize is that free trade is one of the best weapons in fighting poverty in the developing nations. By opening up markets and eliminating tariffs, these nations will see greater investments and more jobs for the people living in these individual states. So instead of states accepting vast sums of money from wealthy nations or placing people on the dole, they can ensure their own stability by establishing an environment to smiled one the spirit of human initiative. Lets just say they'd be following the "Feed a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat a lifetime," philosophy in improving their lot. I think the good Reverend put it best in the following paragraphs:
The governments of both the United States and Latin American nations who would join in a CAFTA are doing the right thing by removing barriers to economic growth and development. This role of the Centesimus Annus:

Economic activity…presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence, the principle task of the State is to guarantee this security … Another task of the State is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the State but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society.

If there is one thing we know for sure, the quickest way out of poverty is by allowing the impoverished a fair place in the markets. It also means everyone, legislators and rights activists, Americans and Latins, ought to recognize the individual’s right to economic initiative. Bishop Ramazzini criticized the fact that “trade discussions begin by asking how policies will be good for business and economic growth.” But what is economic growth if not the greater productivity of the human worker in meeting the needs of others? Should we not encourage the freedom that allows workers and entrepreneurs to thrive in creating the wealth that makes social development possible?
I'd say you can't get any better than that. Thank God we have folks like Rev. Sirico putting things like CAFTA in perspective.

Carry on you Gallant Warriors

Fire of Liberty

While the media elites at the major TV Networks and newspapers continue to beat the "things are going bad in Iraq" drum and splash countless poll numbers in their pages and on the screen noting a loss of support of the war, our fighting men and women are bound and determined to win the good fight. Thanks to radio talk-show host and NRO contributor Michael Graham, we are able to learn how enthusiastic our enlisted soldiers are in spreading democracy to Iraq while enduring countless IED's, terrorists, snakes, scorpions, as well as 120 degree temps. Just read Graham's piece and you'll discover what the elites don't want you to see.

Red Dragon Rising

Fire of Liberty

As if we didn't have enough problems dealing with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iraq and countless other regions, Syria, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, it seems that the Chinese Dragon is beginning to rise in Asia. As I've noted in several posts, the Chinese have been pouring countless amounts of money and time developing tactics and upgrading their military hardware and forces to ensure that they're ready for a future run-in with the US over Taiwan or some other unannounced future problem. Just look here and here to see what the Chinese are up to. I'd have to say that Max Boot seems to sum up what the Chinese government and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are thinking in his most recent column in The Los Angeles Times. Here's a sample:
In 1998, an official People's Liberation Army publishing house brought out a treatise called "Unrestricted Warfare," written by two senior army colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. This book, which is available in English translation, is well known to the U.S. national security establishment but remains practically unheard of among the general public.

"Unrestricted Warfare" recognizes that it is practically impossible to challenge the U.S. on its own terms. No one else can afford to build mega-expensive weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will cost more than $200 billion to develop. "The way to extricate oneself from this predicament," the authors write, "is to develop a different approach."

Their different approaches include financial warfare (subverting banking systems and stock markets), drug warfare (attacking the fabric of society by flooding it with illicit drugs), psychological and media warfare (manipulating perceptions to break down enemy will), international law warfare (blocking enemy actions using multinational organizations), resource warfare (seizing control of vital natural resources), even ecological warfare (creating man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters).
Now my generation might not see a fight between China and the US but they might be gearing up for one fifty years from now. (Their strategic thinking is based on decades and half-centuries not days or months like the West.) But If I know Andrew Marshall and the other folks in the strategic thinktank within the bellows of the Pentagon they're mulling over it non-stop. So far the US has staved off China in the "resource warfare" category when Unocal accepted a takeover bid from US owned Chevron rather than the Chinese owned CNOOC. I just hope that we pay attention to the other observations made in Boot's commentary. We'll see.

A Fitting Tribute

Fire of Liberty

Pejman Yousefzadeh has a wonderful tribute to Admiral James Stockdale over at Tech Central Station. If you want to learn more about the great American and the man James Stockdale, then this is a must read.

Zimbabwe's Highway to Hell

Fire of Liberty

It looks like the tyranny of Africa known as Zimbabwe is taking one more step towards a traumatic collapse after "Uncle Bob" Mugabe and his comrades in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe decided to devalue its currency by some 39%, which means it will take some Z$17,000 to equal one American dollar. I guess the loosening of property rights, failures to liberalize economy or promote free trade, hazing the home of tens of thousands of its citizens, it makes sense to the followers of Mugabe to take this disastrous step. Even after all of these horrific policy options, Zimbabwe has decided to follow the path of the rest of the kleptocracies and tin-pot dictatorships in Africa and Asia by begging for enormous loans from South Africa and China. It'd be far better for a nation like South Africa to demand that Mugabe step down and end Zimbabwe's journey into hell rather than the continued propping up of Mugabe's regime.

As always, the folks of Africa will more than likely sit back and loan Zimbabwe more money and then when Mugabe's paradise falls into chaos like Somalia, Rwanda, Sudan or Ethiopia, we'll hear countless calls for help and more pledges of "No more Rwanda's," because they turned a blind eye to the situation. How many more years will these governments fail to nip problems in the bud before they get out of hand?

Breezes of Freedom mingling in Iran

Fire of Liberty

In yesterday's New York Sun, Eli Lake revealed to his readers that Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji had been rushed to a nearby hospital after collapsing in Tehran's Evin prison during his two month hunger strike. While this might put the mullahs in a better light with the MSM and some folks in Iran, one can be assured that the Iranian government will use Ganji as a chip in its nuke talks with Germany, France, and the UK. They could also just be scared silly about the fate of their regime if anything should happen to Ganji.

They are also bound to ensure Ganji's good health ever since President Bush has made it his business several weeks ago to call for the mullahs to release Ganji and ensure his safety. One can assume that President Bush will press on further with his call for the realease of Akbar Ganji because of his commitment to the spread of freedom and democracy throughout the Middle East and the world in general. I think that Natan Sharansky put it best when he noted to The New York Sun:
"I think the fate of these dissidents will bring the picture of moral clarity in these equations for the West." He added,"I recommend America take this as a test case and to put it as a test in their relations with the Iranian regime."
Lets hope that the West wakes up to the calls for democracy by Ganji and Sharansky before its too late. The folks of Iran are feeling the breezes of change but really needs stronger gales from the West to launch it's navy of democracy against the powerful mullahs of Tehran.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

War on Terror is being held up by EU

Fire of Liberty

Once again the folks in the European Union have demonstrated why they aren't effective in the fight on terror. I guess that's what happens when you continue to treat it like a criminal matter than a war. Check out this piece over at Tech Central Station by Melana Zyla Vickers on how the EU is flubbing things up in this deadly fight.

My Heroes

Fire of Liberty

With all the excitement and countless stories and tid-bits of President Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts to SCOTUS, I failed to pay my utmost respect towards two heroes/cultural icons of mine.

Gen. William Westmoreland

First of all, I'd like to thank Gen. Westmoreland for his service to this great nation as the commanding general of our forces in South Vietnam and as the Chief of Staff to the Army. Even though he was pilloried by the liberals who through hated our involvement in the fight against communism in Vietnam and was restrained from fighting the NVA/VC on his own terms by LBJ and Secretary of Defense McNamara, General Westmoreland continued to keep up his patriotic stand and fought the good fight to ensure freedom in South-East Asia. As the son of a Vietnam vet, I was raised to respect the brave men - whether they were enlisted or of the officer core - who risked their lives and careers to provide a little bit of freedom to people who faced a bleak future at the hands of Ho Chi Min's minions. No matter what the press and historians might say or imply, Gen. Westmoreland was a fighting man's general, though constrained by his bosses, continued to fight his damndest to provide the much needed firepower and autonomy to ensure they could at least have a fightin' chance. Even after fighting a war with one arm tied behond his back, Westmoreland continued to embody the spirit of a soldier doing his duty, when he noted to South Carolina's newspaper The State "I was a soldier and carried out the mission given to me by the commander in chief, who was president of the United States." So once again, thanks for your service.

James Doohan "Scotty"

And my other cultural icon I'd like to pay my respect to that great Scottish engineer of the USS Enterprise. It seems that Scotty finally got the dilithium crystals straight for his great trip in the final frontier. I'll never forget Scotty yelling "I'm givin' 'er ah she's got capt'n." Oh, he also was one of the many Cadain veterans of WWII who helped destroy Hitler's "Fortress Europe" with their landing on Juno Beach on D-Day. I wish there were more actors like Doohan than the current crop.

Pakistan: What's going on?

Fire of Liberty

Stephen Schwartz has a great piece over at Tech Central Station which points out Pakistan has turned a blind eye to Akram Khan Durrani, who is the political ruler of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and a Islamic radical who wants to place Pakistan under shari'a law, and have allowed him to visit Washington D.C. to seek political and financial support for his extremist ideas in a land that has seen enough jihadi's to last a lifetime. Its really amazing how a nation that supposed to be our ally is sitting on their duff while these harbingers of evil continue to galavant around the world and Pakistan spouting such hateful messages. Luckily, Schwartz has presented a clear and simple solution to the problem:
In fighting radical Islamist terror, both the U.S. and the UK should combine their domestic investigations with pressure on the Saudi and Pakistani governments to remove Wahhabi and neo-Wahhabi ideologues from their own state and other public structures. All financing of these preachers and practitioners of homicide must be cut off, and every leading representative of the networks should face legal punishment.

The beliefs that impel the Wahhabi War on the World have nothing to do with either political protest or deep religious beliefs. Normal protest, even when it becomes violent, increases and decreases in reaction to events. Intense Muslim commitment drives believers away from terrorism as much or more than toward it. The proliferation of Islamist extremism, like that of pro-Moscow Communism in the past, is dependent on money, a leadership structure, and the seduction of power. Cut off the money and the heads of the conspiracy and the threat will diminish immensely. Without the power represented by the Saudi state and the Pakistani military intelligence services, terrorist ideology will lose its ability to capture and pervert the minds of susceptible recruits.

Dialogue with terrorists and their enablers is not possible. The following message should be delivered to men like Durrani: the moderate Muslims of the world will be helped to defeat you -- you are doomed. It may not be too late for the U.S. authorities to stop and interrogate Durrani before he returns to his mischief at home.
Lets get to work stopping such folks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Becon of Freedom

Fire of Liberty
Rachael Zarbarkes Friedman has a good update on Akbar Ganji's continued hunger strike against the mullahs in Tehran's Evin Prison. Though Ganji is considerably weak as water due to his two month refusal of food, he continues to inspire countless numbers of the Iranian public with his principled stand against the theocratic masters. While Ganji will probably suffer a lot of physical distress through his hunger strike, you still have to applaud his brave stand for democracy and liberty for the Iranian public. Just look at what Ganji's stand against tyranny has inspired:
“If anything ever happens to Mr. Ganji,” says Fakhravar, who was himself arrested for criticizing the regime and sentenced to eight years in prison, “a revolution will happen in Iran…. [Ganji] knows his blood will create real turmoil, which the country will never come out of.” He continues, “Ganji is not a member of a particular opposition group or party, but every group loves him and has respect for him. The whole society will rise up.”

Fakhravar is hardly sanguine about the reaction such a popular uprising would generate — after all, he knows how the regime treats its critics. Still, he continues to make his views known, and has in fact just published his second book, he says, The Scraps of Prison, written half in Farsi and half in English. “[Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is the naked image of the Islamic Republic, without any mask,” Fakhravar says. “By all means, they will beat the hell out of the people. We want the world to look at us, so we won’t be forgotten. If the regime sees so many eyes on it, it won’t be as hard on us.”

As though by way of example, Fakhravar mentions one individual in particular, Sweden’s Fred Saberi, whom he credits for helping to call attention to the plight of Iran’s dissidents and ameliorate their treatment, including by securing temporary releases from prison. Fakhravar feels the U.S. government is also paying attention. Asked how dissidents reacted to President Bush’s statement calling for Ganji’s release, he says, “As a matter of fact, it had the most wonderful reaction, and not just among the opposition. For the first time we really felt the U.S. government and the American people are behind the Iranian struggle — that the support was not just rhetoric.”
After reading this piece and many more on Akbar Ganji and his devotion to freedom and democracy in Iran, I'd have to agree with The New York Sun that he's the Iranian version of Havel.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cameras Work

Fire of Liberty

Heather MacDonald has a good piece over at The City Journal's web-site on how the UK city-wide video camera system has been an excellent deterrent to crime in London. One only has to look at how quick the authorities identified the four terrorists in the 7/7 attacks to see how valuable this surveillance system is to the fight on terror and crime. Though I have strong libertarian feelings on most issues and value a world that preserves one's privacy, I have to draw the line with national defense. If we can prevent or slow down of acts of terrorism then we should think about putting them up. After you read MacDonald's piece you'll probably be inclined to agree as well.

US Army Re-enlistment Numbers up.

Fire of Liberty

Once again, our wonderful soldiers have come through in pushing the US Army's re-enlistment numbers well beyond its projected goal. So I guess that the media can once again remove the "US Army fails to reach its re-enlistment goal" headlines from their "Gotcha" file on President Bush.

Eastern Europe: A Friend Indeed

Fire of Liberty

I guess this is why I'm such a big fan of the people and countries of Eastern Europe.

Election Fraud in Venezuela.

Fire of Liberty
Well, it seems that the nation of Venezuela has a little explaining to do with it corrupted voting rolls. It seems that El Hefe II and his minions have failed to expunge countless citizens who have been dead for several years from their voter registries throughout the country-side but find it alright to arrest and harass citizens who are demonstrating for democracy or just support the political opposition. With the news that dead people are eligible to vote in Venezuela's various elections, it's amazing that Jimmy Carter had the audacity in the most recent elections to call them "free and fair." Anyway here's what The Financial Times has to say about the current mess in Venezuela:
"Why is there such a big fear of undertaking an audit of the electoral register?" asks Alejandro Plaz, spokesman for Sumate, which lobbies for transparency and participation in elections.

Now, the discovery that Mr Charrière, who died in 1973, is eligible to cast a ballot in local elections in August looks certain to amplify such concerns about the inadequacy of Venezuela's electoral system.

In the final pages of Papillon, Mr Charrière describes his elation at receiving a Venezuelan residency document, or cédula, in 1945, after his escape from Devil's Island and, finally, his release from El Dorado, a Venezuelan prison.

The number of the cédula, he wrote, was 1,728,629 a unique figure in the numerical issuance series of Venezuelan identity documents.

Today, that number, when introduced into the online checking facility of the National Electoral Council, reveals that Henry Charriero, his adopted name, can vote next month in Chacao, a municipality of Caracas.
It's about time the truth of Chavez's election tactics were revealed to the whole world. Lord knows what else has happened in these "democratic elections" under Chavez's reign.

Multiculturalism: A Death-nail to a Nation

Fire of Liberty
I think that Kenan Malik has pretty much hit the nail-head with this opinion piece in The Times, which notes that the UK's devotion to the silly ideology of multiculturalism is what has allowed the development of such horrific thinking that emerged on July 7, 2005. Here's a sneak peek of this excellent piece:
For an earlier generation of Muslims their religion was not so strong that it prevented them from identifying with Britain. Today many young British Muslims identify more with Islam than Britain primarily because there no longer seems much that is compelling about being British. Of course, there is little to romanticise about in old-style Britishness with its often racist vision of belonging. Back in the 1950s policy-makers feared that, in the words of a Colonial Office report, "“a large coloured community would weaken . . . the concept of England or Britain"”.

That old racist notion of identity has thankfully crumbled. But nothing new has come to replace it. The very notion of creating common values has been abandoned except at a most minimal level. Britishness has come to be defined simply as a toleration of difference. The politics of ideology has given way to the politics of identity, creating a more fragmented Britain, and one where many groups assert their identity through a sense of victimhood and grievance.

This has been particularly true of Muslim communities. Muslims have certainly suffered from racism and discrimination. But many Muslim leaders have nurtured an exaggerated sense of victimhood for their own political purposes. The result has been to stoke up anger and resentment, creating a siege mentality that makes Muslim communities more inward-looking and more open to religious extremism— and that has helped to transform a small number of young men into savage terrorists.
I'm hope that more people in the UK will start thinking real hard about promoting a British national identity rather than departamentalising its people into p.c. identity groups. Above all else, the folks living in the UK should be proud about being a citizen of the UK rather than being a hyphenated subject of the crown. I think that these acts of terrorism in the streets and subway tunnels of London has knock the patina of of the adsurd notion and the dangers of multiculturalism. Too bad the BBC, The Independet and The Guardian are still wearing their rose colored glasses.

An Islamic Challenge

Fire of Liberty

Ralph Kinney Bennett has a good article over at Tech Central Station which shows why a lot of people in the various Muslim countries are risk averse when confronting the terrorists in their midst.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Standing up to Islamic Radicals.

Fire of Liberty
Speaking about people within the Islamic community stepping up to the plate and taking back their community from the Islamic fundamentalists, here's an example of just that. In the July 14, 2005 edition of The Financial Times, Shahid Malik, a MP in the British House of Commons, has written a wonderful commentary calling on the people in the Islamic community of England to stand up to the preachers of hate. Here's a sample of his powerful commentary:
In reflecting on the events of the past week, I am profoundly aware that the British Muslim community now faces its most difficult and profound challenge yet. We have reached a dangerous crossroads, and the direction we choose will prove to be a defining moment in our history.

The knowledge that the bombers were British Muslims, living what were, to all appearances, respectable and unremarkable lives, has sent us a signal we can no longer ignore, that there is indeed an “enemy within”. The battle for the soul of the community has begun.

The stakes are high and the choice is stark: either we confront the voices of evil, or we sit back and allow wider British society to regard us as a community that condones such evil.

We must accept that the poisonous preachers of violence and hatred in the name of Islam, few in number though they may be, have to be halted in their actions. This means ending their access to, and their manipulation of, impressionable and vulnerable young men.

We Muslims must overcome our fear that criticising radicals in our midst gives ammunition to the far-right. In the past we have pretended not to see or hear the fanatical fringe who hang about outside our mosques, because of a genuinely held belief that their vile rhetoric could never manifest itself in action such as that which led to the carnage in London. But we can ignore them no longer. Their hate-filled rantings have now fuelled acts of hatred, with devastating consequences for innocent victims.
Lets see if the folks in the Islamic communnity has seen the light that a lot of others have seen.

Confront it and kill it

Fire of Liberty

Amir Taheri has a good column in the July 15, 2005 edition of The New York Post on how the people of the world shouldn't be lulled into thinking that the attack is something they can weather through. Those who have the silly notion that they are safe from Al Qaeda if their country plays nice and stays out of the global War on Terrorism need to think again Here's a sample:
While the stoic response may be the right one in the short run, it could lull Britain into believing that this is one brief storm that may soon blow over. Well, it is not. This is an existential threat by a force that cannot stop unless stopped by stronger moral, political and physical forces.

The comparison with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) is both foolish and dangerous. The IRA resembled a man who comes to your neighborhood every now and then to break a few of your windows, raise a scare and then establish contact to demand concessions. In time, the IRA became satisfied with jobs for its political front-men and a free hand from the British police for its clandestine cells to continue whatever racketeering they engaged in.

The Islamist terrorists, however, want to wipe out the existing society so that they can create their utopia in its place. They are not content with breaking a few windows or even murdering your son or daughter on their way to school or work, and would not be content with ministerial jobs and official limousines.
Good stuff.

Needed: Islamic Religious Orders

Fire of Liberty
Stephen Schwartz, the author of The Two Faces of Islam and Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, has written a wonderful piece over at Tech Central Station calling for the establishment of a Muslim version of Opus Dei or the Legionaries of Christ, which is a fraternal order that celebrates one's devotion to their religion. So instead of allowing the extremists corrupt the youth, members of mainstream Islam should encourage their children and family to join such religious orders to devote their life to a peaceful coexistence with various religions. Here's a look at what Schwartz has proposed to ensure Islam is steeled against the ravages of Osama and his lot:
How would a Muslim equivalent of Opus Dei -- reinforcing a conservative and traditional view of faith while embodying contemporary capitalist principles, modernizing education, and fostering the common good -- affect the world of Islam? The more one examines Opus Dei the more it resembles, in a broad way, a Sufi order; it is a voluntary association of fervent believers who have come together with a common dedication to refinement of their spiritual understanding and strengthening of religious ideals in the public square. Any number of Sufi bodies in countries like Turkey could furnish the basis for such an influential development among Muslims. The largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, possesses multimillion-member organizations like Nadhlatul Ulama that serve community needs while also nurturing a moderate form of Islam.

While the vision of modernization through traditional Islam may seem counter-intuitive to many Westerners, transformation of the Muslim world by spiritual revitalization has already been a principle visible, if little understood, in the liberation of Iraq. In the 1950s, Shia theologians defined their interpretation of Islam explicitly as a struggle between "terrorist" usurpers and proponents of "religious democracy" represented by the Shia martyr Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. With the Bush-led handover to the sect of the Shia holy sites, Karbala and Najaf, a regime is emerging in Baghdad that seeks to harmonize religious devotion and governance without transgressing pluralism and popular sovereignty. To impel the new Iraq into artificially imposed and extreme secularism would vitiate the first achievement of the liberation strategy in the Muslim world.

One might argue that Islam already has its Opus Dei in the Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikhwan, which is powerful in many Arab countries, especially Egypt. But the Muslim Brotherhood remains committed to conceptions that are radical, not conservative; these include violent hatred of the West and non-Muslims; takfir or excommunication from Islam of those who do not share the Brotherhood's ideology; and the goal of exclusive governance by religious law. Opus Dei propounds no such extreme notions: it accepts the need for peace and order in existing political systems, it does not preach against those outside its ranks, and it does not embrace theocratic politics. But above all, the dedication of Opus Dei to a healthy Catholic criterion in commercial affairs offers a new model for Muslims, absent in the Sufi tradition and enormously beneficial for the progress of the Islamic countries. For too long, the Muslim world seems to have forgotten that the Prophet Muhammad was a caravan merchant, and the traditional Islamic axiom, "Allah loves the merchant."
Until more people start standing up in the Islamic community and promoting such peaceful religious orders that actually do something beneficial we will continue to see many more young people strapping dynamite laden backpacks on their backs and setting them off on buses and subways. I sure hope they establish something like this soon.

Freedom of Choice: Cut NPR/PBS loose

Fire of Liberty

Today, I attended a gathering in which a person I was speaking with a friend noted that there needs to be more "NPR-like" news/educational programs on the radio and T.V. rather than the reality television shows that are always popping up on the boob-tube. Though I agreed that we need less of this filth T.V., I had to disagree with my friend and note that networks are looking at the numbers, ad revenues and the demands of the public rather than what a select few want. I further pointed out that there are ample amounts of T.V. networks on the cable/satellite spectrum to satisfy this thirst for knowledge. Right know, If I look through my Dish Channel lineup, I have 12 news/information channels (Ranging from CNN - FOX NEWS), 17 educational/learning channels (Animal Planet to Wisdom T.V.) as well as some 14 public interest channels (BYUTV to University of Washington TV) to choose from without someone having to promote more stations like NPR.

No matter what people might say, the right to choose(Milton and Rose Friedman version) is probably one of the best things that our capitalistic system has to offer. Now my friend has every right to demand that more of these programs be put on TV and hope to better our society through the creation of more "NPR like" networks but it is also the right of this nation to have a say in what goes on TV. It'd be nice to have less Paris Hilton, Super-Nanny, Big Brother 106 on TV and more Documentaries, In-Depth News-shows as well as C-SPAN. Fortunately, there is a simple answer to this, which is for them to use their remote control to turn the television to the networks of their choice and let the chips fall where they will.

Well, this brief look into my Saturday outing is a small snippet of a much larger debate that is occurring in the halls of Congress over the US citizenry providing a $500 million subsidy to NPR and PBS, who brings in well over $2.5 billion every year. Amongst the most vocal opponents of these costly expenditures which hand money over to an entity that can survive without such a crutch is the folks over at the CATO Institute. Well, in the opinion section of today's edition of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bill Steigerwald has a wonderful Q&A with David Boaz, Executive Vice-President of the CATO Institute, about ending such an unnecessary government handout. While I'll let you read the full interview, I wanted to give you a brief sample of the interview:
Q: What's the moral argument for defunding NPR and PBS?

A: It is that taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize news and opinions. Thomas Jefferson said this 200 years ago. I believe the quote was, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." When you give taxpayers' money to ideas, it's very similar to giving taxpayers' money to religion. We made a decision in this country: We're going to have freedom of religion, but we're not going to have taxpayers forced to support religions they may not agree with. Similarly, it's a moral objection that taxpayers should not be forced to contribute money to the propagation of opinions they disagree with.
I'd have to say that Boaz hit it on the nail-head with this argument , it's about time that the folks in D.C. gets the drift of Boaz and a large section of the American public who feel that it's time to let the highly profitable NPR/PBS fly on their own. This money could be sent back to the people or put it towards our national defense or boarder security rather than this silly boondoggle that few people approve of.