The Crusaders were right after all

The Crusaders were right after all

From the Daily Telegraph, a bit of anti-dhimmitude on the part of writer Christopher Howse. For once, it’s the Brit’s turn to make fun of Hollywood’s dhimmitude. Good show!..pip, pip and all that.

On February 11, 1847, the Scala opera house in Milan, its stage fitted out with fantastic arabesque ogees, onion domes and filagree fretting (representing the harem at Antioch), echoed to wild applause at the premiere of Verdi’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata (The Lombards on the First Crusade).It was not so much the music that wowed the opera-goers, but the identification of Jerusalem, occupied by the cruel Saracens, with Milan, occupied by the cruel Austrians. Lombard nationalists saw themselves as Crusaders.

That was, obviously, an absurd projection of modern values on to a creaky historical framework. But it was no more absurd than Sir Ridley Scott’s new film set in 1186, just before the Third Crusade. Kingdom of Heaven follows the fortunes of Orlando Bloom (Legolas in The Lord of the Rings) as a blacksmith’s son handy with a sword in defence of Jerusalem.

Teen audiences who cheered on Legolas as he slaughtered hundreds by the bow in the vast battles of Middle Earth, are invited in Kingdom of Heaven to conclude that nothing is worth fighting for. Bloom’s character, Balian, surveying a massacre in the Holy Land, declares: “If this is the kingdom of heaven, then God can keep it.”

Sir Ridley explains: “Balian is an agnostic, just like me.” Yet there were no agnostics in the 12th century. That might sound ridiculous, but the word “agnostic” is a 19th-century invention (1869), just like the word “homosexual” (1892). There were sex acts between men in the Middle Ages, just as men and women doubted their faith, but neither fact defined a personal ideology.

Sir Ridley’s problem is that he links agnosticism and tolerance as joint forces of good in his film, and he makes true believers – either Muslim or Christian – baddies. That is an impossible historical pill to swallow. And – groan – the Knights Templar (with their baggage from The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) become the “Right-wing or Christian fundamentalists of their day”, in Sir Ridley’s words.

“If we could just take God out of the equation,” says Sir Ridley, like John Lennon in Imagine, “there’d be no f—ing problem.” A more realistic view of history requires less retrospective fantasy and more brain work. It means forcing our heads round to see what motivated men and women centuries ago. Try thinking the unthinkable – that the Crusaders were right, and that we should be grateful to them.

The First Crusade won back Jerusalem (pro sola devotione, “for the sake of devotion alone”, in the idealistic terms in which it was launched) from Muslim control in 1099, not as an isolated incident but as part of a centuries-long effort to roll back the map of territory overrun by warlike Islamic expansionism since the seventh century.

The jihad of Mohammed’s followers first won the Arabian peninsula (killing or subjugating Jewish and Christian rulers and tribes) and its programme had no end but the conquest of the whole world under unified Islamic rule. There was no tolerant agnosticism there…

A Visit From St. Hillary (2006)

A Visit From St. Hillary (2006)
By Lisa Fabrizio
Published 12/20/2006 12:08:07 AM

With sincerest apologies to Democrats everywhere and, once again, to Clement Clark Moore.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, in two-thousand six;
All the lefties were bustling; their Party to fix.
The vote had gone centrist, they struggled for air,
And hoped that St. Hillary soon would declare.
As liberals awaited, awake in their beds,
Impeachable articles danced in their heads!
But since moderate Dems had prevailed in their views,
I’d just settled down to a sweet solstice snooze.

When out on the Beltway arose such a clatter,
I headed for Fox News to check out the chatter.
I reached for my clicker with partisan glee;
But only to witness a blacked-out TV.
The moon through the window cast light all about
And showed me quite clearly the plug had come out.
When what did I see on the former dark screen
But the visage of DNC chair Howard Dean!

When he introduced someone with wings on his back;
I knew in a moment it must be Barack.
More rapid than eagles his worshippers came,
When he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dorgan! Now, Durbin! Now, Eliot Spitzer!
On, Matthews! On, Russert! On, Woodruff and Blitzer!
To the Sunday news shows! To the National Mall!
Now moderate! Moderate! Moderate all!”

As big bucks before dirty congressmen fly,
When they meet with flush lobbyists, eager to buy;
To placate the middle and dogs that are blue,
They dumped Alcee Hastings, and John Murtha too!
But then in a twinkling, I saw on the set,
A startling scene that I’ll never forget;
As I grabbed for my clicker to turn up the sound,
Through my Sony, St. Hillary came with a bound!

She was bathed all in Earth tones from head down to toe,
With a big goofy grin, ala H. Ross Perot;
Her eyes — how they sparkled! Her cheeks were so rosy!
Her little pug nose just like Nancy Pelosi!
Her actions were strange and her tone made me wary,
She dressed like Babs Bush but she talked like John Kerry!
She turned with a jerk in a move that was deft,
Then she zig-zagged to center, before lurching left.

She spoke of Obama in tones that were hushed;
(But she couldn’t conceal that her forehead was flushed).
“Barack is a rock star, his feats superhuman;
(Though born with the ears of an Alfred E. Neuman).
His face is quite winsome, his teeth white and pearly;
(But to covet my White House; it’s rather too early!)
And he could be elected; it may come to pass;
(But he hasn’t a record, and no gravitas.)”

Her handlers were nervous, her stance was a fright;
As her feet kept on dancing between left and right!
Barack was a problem, he filled them with fear;
And they needed to think up a plan that was clear.
But Hill had recovered, she filled them with smiles,
When she shouted out, “Get me his FBI files!”

And I watched her exclaim with a flip-flopping gait,
“HAPPY CHRISTMAS, Obama! At least till ’08!”

Sending the Mullahs to Bed Without Supper

Sending the Mullahs to Bed Without Supper

Andrew C. McCarthy explains what’s wrong with the UN sanctions against Iran in National Review:

…In what, moreover, has to be one of the more embarrassing king-has-no-clothes moments, this testament to cravenness came only a day after federal judge Royce C. Lamberth’s painstaking 209-page opinion, describing the Islamic Republic’s orchestration of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 members of the United States Air Force and wounded 372 others.After many meandering months, the outcome on the sanctions resolution was still in doubt as late as Saturday morning because two of our “allies” in this exquisite diplomatic effort — China (itself a nuclear proliferator with extensive economic ties to Iran) and Russia (Vladimir Putin’s thug-state which is actually helping Iran develop its nuclear capability) — were still busy watering down measures already so diluted even the Iraq Study Group would have found them fatuous.

The penalties against the regime that sees a world without America and Israel as “attainable” are laughable.

The New York Times reports that all countries would be required to ban “the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment, reprocessing and ballistic missiles.” Except, well … not so much. The Times and the Associated Press note that the Russians are continuing apace with the construction of Iran’s atomic power plant at Bushehr. They succeeded in having any mention of Bushehr removed from the resolution, while forcing other amendments to ensure that “legitimate” nuclear activities in Iran could continue.

The ballyhooed sanctions also include an asset freeze on twelve Iranian individuals and eleven companies involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. But observe: This is not a freeze on Iran. It affects only a handful of persons and entities — and even with respect to them, it matters only if they happen to have assets that can be readily identified inside some country that is willing to pierce through a maze of nominees and seize them.

Feigning at some backbone, the U.S. and some of the more “hawkish” members of the coalition (comprised of the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany) also urged that the named Iranians be banned from traveling outside Iran. But even this gambit — better thought of as a nuisance than a sanction — was too much for the Russians. Due to their nyet, countries will instead be asked “to exercise vigilance” if the Iranian Dirty Dozen enter or transit through their territory. That’ll show ‘em.

It’s worth rehearsing the sorry history that has led us to this point. Abandoning a long-settled policy against direct negotiations with the Iranian regime, and making a mockery of the Bush Doctrine’s pledge that rogue states would be made to decide whether they were “with us or with the terrorists,” the State Department this spring offered to give the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism everything including the kitchen sink for what would have been the pretense of abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

In so doing, the Bush administration conceded the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic’s development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes — notwithstanding that such efforts are generally indistinguishable from arms development. Not content with that, it agreed that Iran should be assisted in that development with light water reactors, spent fuel management instruction, and “a substantive package of research and development co-operation.”

Red Storm Rising

Unfettered Religious Freedom in Islam – A Fact or Fiction?

Unfettered Religious Freedom in Islam – A Fact or Fiction?


Against
the terrible treatment of non-Muslims and violation of their religious and human rights in the Islamic world, many modern educated Muslims, especially those living in the Western countries, often make extraordinary claims that Islam allowed unfettered religious freedom to non-Islamic peoples. For example, Brig. Gen. (Retd) Ashrafuzzaman wrote a well-articulated essay on Religious Freedom in Islam in a Bangladeshi web magazine, in which he claimed that ‘Islam allows total religious freedom’ to the non-Muslims. He derived this conclusion from the text of the holy Koran and from the life and actions of Prophet Muhammad. This assertion is, however, is totally opposite to what becomes clearly evident when one looks around the Muslim world. The history of Islam, usually written by the pious Islamic historians and scholars, also does not present a good picture of the treatment of non-Muslims under the Islamic rule. Moderate Muslims find unfettered religious freedom in Prophet Muhammad’s life and actions, but the history and biographies of the prophet, written by the pious Islamic scholars like Ibn-Ishaq, al-Waqidi, ibn-Sa’d, At-Tabari and Imam al-Ghazzali et al., depict a terrible and often cruel treatment of the non-Muslims by the Prophet.

 

The intolerant verses

When the critics of Islam cite violent verses from the Koran to suggest the intolerant nature of Islam, most educated moderate Muslims quickly make allegation of quoting the verses out of context for the purpose of defaming Islam, which otherwise stands for peace and tolerance. Yet, those Muslims will hardly come forward to enlighten the critics about the real context of the verses in question. Others come up with vague, false or misleading interpretation or context of such verses to make their case in favor of religious freedom of non-Muslims in Islam. One of the oft-cited violent verses of the Koran is ‘fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them’ [Q 9:5], which appears to advocate a complete annihilation of the idolaters (pagan, heathens) instead of tolerance of any kind. Brig. Zaman in has essay presented a circumstantial context of this verse before moving on to making his case for what he calls ‘total religious freedom in Islam’.

He says Muslims lead by Prophet Muhammad made an expedition towards Syria (expedition of Tabuk in October, 630 AD), because they received intelligence that the Byzantine army was mobilizing a force there for attacking the Muslims. This verse was revealed in the run up to the preparation of this expedition. But when Muslim army arrived near Syria, they found no signs of any preparation for an expedition by the Byzantine army towards Medina to attack the Muslims and they returned without any confrontation.

Brig. Zaman’s has got the context totally wrong to which I will come back later. But his cooked up story, however, is ridiculous in all aspects of it. Even if we would agree that the intelligence of Byzantine army’s preparation was true, Muslim army, if a peaceful and non-aggressive one as claimed by Brig. Zaman, could not set on an aggressive expedition to deter it. Instead, Muslims should have stayed home and fortify their defenses than going on an aggressive attack on an army already in preparation. This is a ridiculous and suicidal war strategy for even an aggressive army. Brig. Zaman, with an illustrious career in defense, should have known this simple fact about war strategies. This is even more ridiculous when the Byzantine army has just reached the pinnacle of power in the world after defeating the Persians a couple of years earlier. In 630, Muslims were too paltry a force to think that they could trash down world’s most powerful army by going on an aggressive offensive.

The fact that Muslims did not see any build-up of army in the Syrian border meant that the intelligence was either false or the story of such build-up was concocted by Prophet Muhammad or by later Muslims historians. The fact that Khalid al-Walid had earlier made a limited foray into that territory, gives credence that Prophet Muhammad had wanted to make a bigger inroad. Given the power of the Byzantine army, a huge expedition was needed and for convincing the people to come onboard, such a story of imminent danger might have been essential if this story truly comes from the time of Muhammad. Hence, the Muslim army‘s increasing military might and their limited success in that dangerous front earlier, might have had made them aggressive and launched the expedition on their own in order to conquer the periphery of the Byzantine empire.

This idea is supported by the fact that during that expedition of Tabuk, Muslims conquered a few small dominions between Damascus and Medina some of them by force and other by threat of military aggression. A letter sent to the prince of the Ayla tribe read:

“To John ibn Ru’ba and the chief of Ayla. Peace be upon you. .. I will not fight you until I have written thus unto you. Believe or else pay tribute (Jizyah). …Ye know the tribute. If ye desire security by sea and by land, obey Allah and his apostle…. But if ye oppose and displease them, I will accept nothing from you until I have fought against you and taken captive your little ones and slain the elder; for I am the apostle of Allah in truth….” [Muir, p402]

It is ridiculous to claim that when Muslims were on a defensive mission to deter an impending attack on their territory, Muhammad would send such threatening letter expressing barbaric and cruel intents for the purpose of extending the domain of Islam. Neither the content of the letter shows any glimpse of religious freedom for the Christians of the Ayla tribe. Muslim’s subsequent aggression into the Byzantine territory by the year 638 AD and into other territories within their power also give credence that there was always an intention to attack the Byzantine territory in the Muslim camp.

Prophet Muhammad’s first biography by Ibn Ishaq also says nothing of an impending attack by the Byzantine army. But instead, it describes the prophet’s aggressive intent of attacking the Byzantine frontier, much to the Muslim warriors’ disagreement and unwillingness to join the expedition in rough weather condition of the time. [Ibn Ishaq, p602]

Now coming back to the correct context of the verse 9:5 (Slay the pagans, wherever ye find them), this verse is totally unrelated to the Tabuk expedition. Instead, it was revealed a few months later during the Hajj in 631 AD. After conquering Mecca and capturing the Ka’ba, the Prophet allowed the Pagans to perform the pilgrimage and visitation to the sacred house but only took the charge of collecting the toll. In order to avoid the place, still tainted by the idolaters, the Prophet never undertook pilgrimage to the sacred house during this period, but sent a delegation from Medina. During the 631 Hajj pilgrimage, the Prophet sent a delegation of 300 hundred men with Abu Bakr at its head. Immediately afterwards, Allah allegedly revealed these verses and he later sent Ali forward to join the delegation and pronounce those verses during the Hajj. After the animal sacrifice rituals, Ali pronounced the latest revelations from Allah before the assemble congregation:

[Q 9:1-5Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty. Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance). And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve, Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him). Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

These verses were tailor-made to remove the last vestiges of idolatry from the sacred house of Ka’ba. Secondly, they were also meant for the forcing all pagans into Islam by reneging any obligation on the part of Allah and his apostle to protect them and by the giving command to kill the idolaters wherever found after a four-month grace period was over. The idea is supported by the fact that the Prophet made pilgrimage journey the next year in 632 (farewell Hajj) after paganism was completely wipes-off from Ka’ba and the city of Mecca with this command.

Thus, Brig Zaman has got the context of that verse totally wrong. The fact that Byzantine territory was inhabited by the Christians but the verse is meant for exterminating the idolaters also proves him totally wrong.

 

The tolerant verses

Deceptive Muslims would normally scour the whole Koran to extract a few verses which sound relatively reconciliatory, yet hardly worthy of any value for peaceful coexistence in the modern civilized society. Brig. Zaman has done exactly the same, ignoring scores of cruel, aggressive and retaliatory verses in the Koran. He also did bother to consider the temporal context of these apparently non-aggressive verses. Weren’t those verses revealed during the early days of Prophet Muhammad’s preaching mission when his community was only a feeble force? Isn’t it true that all the hate-filled and retaliatory verses in Koran were revealed only the Muslim community had become a fighting force?

 

Capture of Ka’ba and destruction of idols therein

The most obvious example of Prophet Muhammad’s intolerance of other religion is the capture of the Mecca pagan’s sacred idol-temple of Ka’ba and the immediate destruction of the 360 idol-gods housed therein. Moderate Muslims never fail to make a lame excuse that Ka’ba is house of Allah (founded by Ibrahim or Abraham and his son Ishmael) and Allah wanted the Prophet to remove all the idols from the Holy Ka’ba but not from elsewhere. Brig Zaman has made exactly the same claim.

But how credible is this claim? There is no evidence to suggest that Abraham (Prophet Ibrahim), if at all had existed, never traveled to Mecca. The Torah and the Bible, which only carries the legends of Abraham, give no indication of he and his son ever traveled to Mecca. If the house of God was located in Mecca and its capture and restoration was so essential for Allah, he must have instructed Jesus to travel there to restore his sacred house as the first priority. The same should have applied to Moses as well. It is also ridiculous that the creator of the universe needs a house which has to be located only at Mecca, depriving the rest of the world.

Where in the Koran has Allah specifically expressed his wish to destroy all the idols inside Ka’ba for cleansing the House of Allah? There is a general hatred of idolatry in the Koran but no specific commands to remove them from the Ka’ba alone. Why did then Muhammad with his Muslim converts used to offer prayers to the “chief Idol-god of Ka’ba called Allah (Hubal)” during their early years in Mecca when the Ka’ba was filled with idols. Why did the Prophet sought to perform pilgrimage in the idol-filled Ka’ba in 628 which lead to the signing the treaty of Hudaibiya? Why did the prophet go back to the Ka’ba to perform pilgrimage the next year in 629 according to the terms of the Hudaibiya treaty? If Idols were so hated by Allah, why didn’t He instruct Prophet Muhammad to enter the Idol-littered House of God only when they have cleansed it of idols? Why did Prophet Muhammad send Khalid ibnul Waleed (al-Walid) for destroying other idol-temples around Mecca, such as the temple of al-Uzza in Nakhla located far from the Ka’ba? After the submission of At-Taif, why did the Prophet sent Abu Sufian and Al-Moghira to destroy their idol temple of al-Lat, defying the residents’ desperate appeal to spare their age-old sacred temple and Goddess? They hewed it down in the midst of helpless cries and wailing of the women and residents [Muir, p450-5451].

Furthermore, before conquering Mecca (Makka, Makkah), Prophet Muhammad also captured the abodes and properties of a few major Jewish clans of Medina, namely those of Banu Qainuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Quraiza. As for the Banu Qainuqa and Nadir clans, the entire population were evicted and their homes, weapons and other properties immediately captured as the spoils of wars. For the Banu Qurayza tribe, all the grown-up males (600-900) were most cruelly slaughtered in the presence of the Prophet. Their homes and properties were captured and the woman and children made captives, who were later sold in Nedj for weapons and horses. These outposts, where Jewish clans used to live, must have had Jewish temples (synagogues). Where is the evidence that after capturing those Jew abodes, Muhammad and the Muslims preserved the places of Jew worship? These temples of Jew worship were not located inside or near Ka’ba and indeed were located far from Mecca. Why did then Allah wished to have those Jew temples destroyed when He asked Muhammad to protect non-Muslim religious institutions in the Holy Koran?

These instances only points to the fact that Allah required the Muslims to cleanse the vestiges of idolatry from any territory they conquered; not from the Ka’ba alone. This also conforms to the principle of general hatred expressed towards idolatry in the Koran. Prophet Muhammad only executed this command with single-minded conviction.

 

Peace treaties

Educated moderate Muslims, like Brig. Zaman, also typically cite a few allegedly equitable treaties (covenants) the Prophet had signed with the non-Muslims as evidence to support Islam’s principle of peaceful coexistence with the latter. Before coming back to how equitable those treaties were, I will first consider the contextual circumstances of the Muslim community when those treaties were signed? One of the oft-cited treaties was the one signed allegedly with the Jews of Medina after the Prophet’s arrival there in 622 AD. According to Ibn Ishaq’s account, it must have been signed within the first year of Prophet Muhammad’s relocation to Medina [Ibn Ishaq, p231]. The question is: weren’t the newly arrived refugee Muslim community a weak force in Medina during the signing of this covenant? Muslims were earlier allowed to settle in their city in a welcoming atmosphere by the Jews. If such a treaty of mutual protection and nonaggression was truly offered by the Jews soon afterwards, this constituted a gesture of offering further refuge, protection and peace to the Muslims by the Medina Jews but not vice-versa. In other words, the gesture of peace was shown by the Jews towards the helpless Muslim community, not the other way round.

If wanted, the Medina Jews could have destroyed the few Muslims that arrived there from Mecca. But what followed as a result of the Jews’ offering refuge and treaties of protection was a tragedy on their community. The Jews had to pay a heavy price for offering refuge and peace to the community of Prophet Muhammad? The eviction and annihilation of Jewish clans for no major offenses (there are some flimsy claims by Muslims only without substantiation, which are minor offense and easily excusable) is a clear evidence of that. Isn’t it also true that most of the treaties, which the Prophet had signed with the non-Muslims, were eventually broken by the Prophet himself on minor and often unsubstantiated offenses or breaches of the non-Muslim parties? The treaty of Hudaibiya with the Mecca citizens was signed for a period of 10 years in 628 AD but was broken by the Prophet on a petty excuse when barely into its second year. They broke it just because the Muslims had become an indomitable force to take over Mecca by that time and they did not want to wait another eight years for the terms of the treaty to expire. This was proven when Muhammad truly attacked Mecca in 630, subdued the citizens, captured their age-old sacred temple of Ka’ba and destroyed all the idols housed therein.

Was there one single treaty which the Prophet had signed after conquering Mecca, that is, after they had become a powerful force? Of course, there were treaties of submission and payment of Jizyah after non-Muslim communities and territories were overrun or brought into submission under the treat of attack. Until his death, the Prophet only strove to expand his domain as far as possible by aggressive attacks or threats to do so. There is no single evidence that the prophet ever offered a true gesture of peace to non-Muslims.

 

Equitability of the treaties

As Muslims make lofty claims about the Prophet’s signing the just and equitable treaties of protection and nonaggression, it is time to look into the terms of the treaties to judge how equitable and just they were. Let us here consider the treaty Muslims had signed soon after they had at Medina as refugees, which has been documented by Ibn Ishaq in Sirat Rasul Allah [Ibn Ishaq, p231; Watt, p221]

1.       No believer shall be put to death for the blood of an infidel, neither shall any infidel be supported against Muslims.

2.       Whosoever of the Jews follow us (Muslims) shall have our aid and succor; they shall not be injured nor shall any enemy be aided against them.

3.       No one shall go to war excepting with the permission of Muhammad

4.       Any disputes shall be referred to Allah and His apostle

5.       Contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib (Medina).

6.       The polytheists (of Medina) shall not take the property or person of Quraysh under his protection, nor shall intervene against a Muslim.

7.       Contracting parties of this document will have protection against attack and injuries

8.       Allah approves this document. Allah is the protector of the good and God-fearing man and Muhammad is the apostle of God.

This is a document Muhammad had created soon after arriving at Medina with the Muslims as refugees. But if one considers the terms of the document, it is not a document of equitable justice and rights but a constitution of an Islamic state (territory) in which the Jews – the wealthiest and dominant community in Medina are placed as a negligible entity. Their life and properties are protected only if they show allegiance to this autocratic document. They do not have the right to arbitrate any dispute, which must be referred to Muhammad. They are bound to join the fight if the Muslims are attacked by external enemies. The Jews and non-Muslims cannot wage a war against their enemies from outside without the permission of the Prophet. The blood of the Jews and other pagans has to value; only the blood of the Muslims would be avenged or compensated. Is this a document any better than the terms Dhimmis get from the Islamic state? Absolutely not! Are the terms and treatment of the Dhimmis in Islamic state equitable and present justice and human rights? Absolutely not!

Modern-day educated Muslims make so much of such a vile document that presents terms of subjugation, humiliation and gross violation of rights and justice to the non-Muslims. Another thing must be understood that there were nine contracting parties in this document and they were the Muslim refugee and Arab tribes (non-Jewish) who had become essentially Muslims by converting to Islam in great number after Muhammad’s arrival in Medina [Watt (2), p19]. Despite the Jews being influential and economically dominant, none of them were a co-signatory. They have only got a peripheral mention. Most importantly, the three most influential and wealthy Jewish clans, namely the Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayzah get no mention at all. Those Jewish tribes who got negligible mention are likely to be allies of Arab tribes who had been the co-signatory of this document. It should be understood that there was a bitter age-old rivalry between the pagan Arabs and Jewish tribes in Medina. It is also unlikely that the Jews of Medina, who so stubbornly rejected Muhammad’s religion, would accept this document which does not only recognize him as the apostle of Allah but also put him as the autocratic head of all affairs of Medina soon after his arrival there as a refugee leader. These issues suggest this document might have had been signed in secret between the Muslim refuges and the essentially Islamic Arab tribes (who were fast becoming Islamic) to form an alliance against the Jews. The fact that the Jewish tribes were exiled or exterminated one after another at the first opportunity suggests a veracity of such a purpose behind this so-called equitable and just document famously known as the ‘Constitution of Medina’ in Islam.

Whatsoever, this document has nothing equitable and just towards the non-Muslims. Instead, it is constitution of subjugation, humiliation, deprivation and violation of rights and justice of the non-Muslims in their own territory by a refugee leader.

 

Conquest of Mecca and Quraysh pagans’ embracing of Islam in great number

Apologist moderate Muslims also typically cite the peaceful entry of Muslim army into Mecca in 630 and the conversion of large number of the Quraysh under no force or pressure. Brig. Zaman also did not miss the same as he wrote: “The Muslims occupied Makkah in January, 630 almost unopposed. Makkans in great numbers embraced Islam.” Here, it is important to consider if the un-opposed entry of the Muslims into Mecca was because they were peaceful and lovable people or because that the Muslims were deadly and cruel enough to destroy the weak Mecca pagans had they opposed their entry. Weren’t the fates of unfortunate Jewish clans of Medina alive in the minds of the Mecca pagan? How come, the Mecca citizens did not choose the religion of peace just two years earlier when Muhammad had led a pilgrimage to Mecca? Instead, they had sought to prevent Muslims’ entry into their city with their lives which resulted in the negotiated signing of the Hudaibiya treaty. Is there any evidence that Muslims did any work of peace and love during those two intervening years after singing the Hudaibiya treaty, which might have convinced the Mecca pagan to convert to Islam in such great number as soon as the Muslim conquered Mecca in 630. Instead, Islamic history tells us that Muslims engaged in a number of aggressive and violent attacks, raids and expeditions against tribes and territories around Medina that came within their reach and power during those two intervening years. What then may have convinced the Mecca pagans to embrace Islam in such great number as soon as Muslims captured Mecca?

Let us examine what took place behind this mass conversion of the Quraysh pagans on the day of the Prophet’s capture of Mecca.  By discarding the treaty of Hudaibiya, the Prophet ordered preparation for attacking Mecca. He wanted to take the Quraysh by surprise and so he kept praying as the preparation went on: “O God, take eyes and ears from the Quraysh so that we may take them by surprise in their land” [Ibn Ishaq, 544].

An invincible Muslim army approached near Mecca and camped at Marr al-Zahran at night each lighting fire to show to the Quraysh a glimpse of the huge army assembled. Catching a glimpse of the Muslim army, Al-Abbas who had joined the Muslim camp a while earlier said, “Alas, Quraysh, if the apostle enters Mecca by force before they come and ask for protection; that will be the end of the Quraysh forever”.

Quraysh leader Abu Sufian, Prophet Muhammad’s father-in-law, received the news and set off for a negotiation and mercy to the Quraysh. On the way, his brother Al-Abbas met him in the darkness and assured him protection and led him to the Prophet. On the way, Omar al-Khattab met them and seeing Abu Sufian, he cried out: “Abu Sufian, the enemy of God! Thanks be to God who has delivered you up with out agreement or word”. He then rushed for his sword, adding: “Let me take off his head.  [Ibn Ishaq, p547]

Al-Abbas overcame Omar on his promised protection to Abu Sufyan and brought him to the prophet, who asked to bring him back the next morning. When brought back next morning, the apostle said, “Isn’t it time that you should recognize there is no God but Allah?” When Abu Sufyan showed hesitation, the apostle exclaimed, “Woe to you, Abu Sufian! Isn’t it time that you recognized that I am the apostle of God?” To which he answered, “As to that I still have some doubt.” At this point, Al-Abbas forcefully intervened and said to him, “Submit and testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the apostle of god before you lose your head”; so he did. Then Al-Abbas requested the Prophet to do something for Abu Sufian’s people in Mecca. The Prophet said, “He who enters Abu Sufians house is safe, and he who locks his door is safe and he, who enters the mosque (become Muslim) is safe” [Ibn Ishaq, p547-48].

Here is the cruel saga behind Muslims’ lofty claims of Muhammad’s peaceful entry into Mecca and many Quraysh people’s embracing of Islam in great number on that day under no compulsion. Of course, when ‘entering the mosque’, that is, ‘becoming Muslims’ is one of the two choices in face of the complete submission of their city to Muhammad’s army, many Quraysh were to convert to Islam naturally. However, those stubborn ones, who had persisted on practicing idolatry, did not have much time before they were forced to convert to Islam on the pain of death (see the conclusion).

 

Muhammad’s display of great kindness and forgiveness to the Quraysh

Another gigantic claim Muslims make is about Prophet Muhammad’s display of great generosity and forgiveness to the citizens of Mecca for sparing their lives. This is also a proof of the Prophet’s kindness towards his enemies and tolerance towards people of pagan religion. Muslims give such an impression that never in history, such accordance of forgiveness and tolerance was shown by any leader in the world.

Let us consider why the pagans of Quraysh should be considered such great enemies by the Muslims at all, which warranted forgiveness. The bitterness of the rivalry between the Quraysh of Mecca and the Muslims has been clearly outlined once by Allah in the Quran:

[Quran 2:217] They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: ‘Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.’ Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can….

The Prophet also describes his rivalry with the Quraysh in the battle field of Badr. As the dead-bodies of the slain Koreish were being unceremoniously thrown into a mass-grave, an indignant Prophet yelled over them:

“Oh people of the pit, you evil kinsfolk of your prophet. Have ye now found true that which your Lord did promise to you? What my Lord promised to me, that have I verily found to be true. Woe unto these people! Ye have rejected me, your Prophet! Ye cast me forth, and others gave me refuge; ye fought against me, and others came to my help!” [Ibn Ishaq, p305-6]

These statements of the Quran and the Prophet clearly say that the fault of the pagans were their non-acceptance of Muhammad’s new religion, advising others not to accept it, and stopping him from entering the Ka’ba (which was pagan’s sacred temple for centuries) which resulted in the Prophet’s relocation to Medina (seeing a better prospect of success of his religion there). Islamic literatures do not list any incidence of violence by the Quraysh against Muhammad and his converts except some of their slaves who had converted. By ‘ye fought against me’, the Prophet probably meant the fighting and wars that were initiated by the Prophet after relocating to Medina since there is no incidence of fights between them when the Prophet was living in Mecca.

The Quran is hateful to non-Islamic religions, people and their cultures on every page of it. The Quraysh tolerated the preaching of such hateful messages for 12 years before Muhammad relocated to Medina (al-Hijrah). Quran also put a claim on the Ka’ba, the most sacred temple of the pagans in Arabia, as the house of Allah, the God of Muhammad’s new religion. After all these, they never tortured or attacked him other than putting the Muslims under social exclusion for two years, which is very much a civilized measure in even today’s standard.

This most tolerant and civilized gestures of the Quraysh were termed as tumult and oppression which were worse than slaughter in the eyes Allah and his prophet. So, Muhammad started attacking Quraysh caravans and killing their people which resulted in a number of blood-letting confrontations. Muhammad disrupted most of the trading pathways of the Quraysh causing great sufferings to them. On top of that, when Muhammad became strong enough, he disregarded an existing treaty and attacked Mecca, captured the Ka’ba and destroyed the idol-gods therein, which were revered by the citizens for centuries. It appears that Muhammad had not yet had enough of barbaric brutalization of the Quraysh of Mecca. Muslims of all shades think that the Quraysh had done such unpardonable crime out of their most civilized and tolerant behavior that Muhammad should have slaughtered them all after conquering Mecca in 630.


Conclusion: No tolerance of other religion or creed in Islam

In truth, there is no total freedom of non-Islamic religions in Islam. Instead, they are relegated to a lower status to Islam or are completely intolerable, which Allah and his apostle made very clear towards the ending stage of his prophetic career. We have to go back to the verse 9:1-5 mentioned above to explain these issues.

The terms, negotiated by Abu Sufyan, under which the Quraysh were allowed to keep their religion on the day of conquest of Mecca, has been outlined above as accounted by Ibn Ishaq. However one recalcitrant group of Meccans, who are said to have fallen on the way of Khalid al-Walid, showed a meek resistance and Khalid slaughtered those fallen within his reach and pursued others running for their lives.

Although many Quraysh embraced Islam on that day, there were some who apparently persisted on practicing idolatry and they were allowed to enter the Ka’ba for worships but on paying toll to the Muslim guardian appointed by the Prophet. However, the Prophet wanted to do away with the practice idolatry not only in Ka’ba but the rest of Mecca and elsewhere. To achieve these goals, the verse 9:1-5 (slay the pagans wherever ye find them etc) were revealed as already mentioned above but will be discussed more in detail here.

Now consider the verse 9:2 & 9:3:

[Q 9:2] Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.

[Q 9:3] If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.

So, Allah warned that the pagans were frustrating Him by sticking to paganism and urging them to repent and submit to Islam or else face Allah’s wraths. However, they could only vacillate (go backwards and forwards) for another four months.

On the day of conquest of Mecca the earlier year, Allah and his apostle had promised the safety of the pagans at the pain of accepting defeat and giving their territory to the Muslim rule. But how does the frustrated Allah now make those remnant pagans accept Islam unconditionally? Find it out in verses 9:1 and 9:3:

[Q 9:1] Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty.

[Q 9:3] And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger….

Here, Allah and his apostle abruptly break the treaty or obligation of protecting the idolaters made the earlier year. Once made Himself free of any obligation to the pagans arbitrarily, here is how He plots the complete annihilation of the vestiges of idolatry in verse 9:5.

[Q 9:5] But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

Once the forbidden months, that is, the grace period of four months (Q 9:1, 9:4) is over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them and you can use every strategic and deceptive means to accomplish this final wish of Allah. However, they will be spared only if embraced Islam and performed all the rituals and obligations binding on the Muslims. Hence, according to the Koran, the freedom of religion in Islam for the pagans/idolaters (like the Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists etc.) is acceptance of Islam or face death. This is how Allah becomes Oft-forgiving and Most Merciful.

Finally in verse 9:28, Allah specify that complete prohibition of the pagans to enter the Ka’ba.

[Q 9:28] O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

Now that the Ka’ba was cleansed of idolatry completely, the Prophet could make his pilgrimage the following year in 632, which was also incidentally his last Hajj (farewell Hajj).

How about the Christians and Jews? Now that position of the idolaters in Islam has been made clear, I will now allude to the final status ordained to the Christians and Jews (people of the book) in Islam. Let us turn to verse 9:28 again. After prohibiting the entry of idolaters for worship and pilgrimage to Ka’ab, Allah recounts the worries of the Muslims as follows:

[Q 9:28]And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

How this fear of poverty is linked to the prohibition of the entry of the idolaters in Ka’ba? It is because, the Ka’ba had traditionally been a source of great revenue from tips/toll paid by pilgrims. For this reason, the guardianship of Ka’ba had been the most coveted amongst the Mecca tribes and the centre of many disputes and dissensions. When the idolaters are not allowed to enter the Ka’ba, from where to get the lost revenues? It should be understood that in the original Islamic rules, Muslims are supposed to pay only the Zakat (2.5% of produce, profits) and nothing else. This practice was in vogue during the early period of Islam.

And here in verse 9:29, Allah devise the policy of making up for the lost revenues (from the Ka’ba) as promised in verse 9:28 (soon will Allah enrich you…):

[Q 9:29] Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

The stubborn Jews and Christians, the so-called people of the book in Islam, need not convert to Islam. They can keep their religion by accepting subjugation and submission to the Muslim rule and paying Jizyah, which was to make up for the revenues lost from the coffer of Ka’ba as a result of complete prohibition of idolatry.

Idolatry, which is out and out disapproved by Allah, cannot be tolerated. However, People of the book, despite the faulty and unperfected nature of their religion, can be tolerated but at a price, which is accepting subjugation (lower status) to the supreme and perfect truth of Islam and by paying Jizyah. After all, Allah was the architect of those religions which must contain partial truth and guidance of Allah. On the hand, religion of idolatry, paganism or heathenism holds no truth but complete falsehood and is an affront to the almighty creator and must be annihilated.

Thus, those modern educated Muslims, who spread the cooked-up notion of Islam’s according ‘total religious freedom to all other religions’ amounts to misinforming, misleading and spreading falsehood. This has been called the spreading mischief and hypocrisy, that is, fitnah or al-fasad in the Islamic jargons. The punishment for spreading mischief in Islam is the highest punishment, namely death, crucifixion and cutting-off hands and feet from opposite ends.


[Banu Nadir Quraiza Khalid ibn-Walid Prophet Muhammad Ka’ba Mecca Medina Jew Christian hindu, Idolater, Kaffir Infidel pagan Jiziya poll-tax-tribute Jihad, holy war, conquest, freedom of religion expression]


 

References

1.     Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah, trs. A Guillaume) Oxford University Press, Karachi.

2.     William Muir, The Life of Mahomet, Voice of India, New Delhi, 2002.

3.      WM Watt, Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1981

4.      WM Watt (2), Islam and The Integration of Society, Routledge & Kegan Paul; London, 1961

Dealing with the Iraq Insurgency Militarily

Dealing with the Iraq Insurgency Militarily

By Col. Tom Snodgrass

“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish by that test the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature. This is the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive.” – Carl von Clausewitz, ON WAR (Howard/Paret trans.), p.88.

The question de jour in the national debate on Iraq is simply: Is there a military “solution” on the Iraqi front of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)?  There is, but in order to make that case, it’s necessary first to examine the components of the situation. As a parenthetical thought, I use the ill-named and inaccurate term “GWOT” merely because it is the widely accepted and recognized term. 

The identification of “terrorism” as the enemy is a major part of the reason why we are stumbling in our effort to fight historical and traditional Islam, which long ago declared war on the West, but this identification error is the subject for another essay.
What are the basic factors in war?
With appropriate deference to Clausewitz, war reduced to the most fundamental equation is WAR = MOTIVATION(S) + CAPABILITY.  Historical war motivations have been religious, political, geo-strategic, economic, and revenge. Capability is composed of firepower and re-supplying that firepower (logistics).  Remove one or both of these motivation-capability factors in war, and the war is over in short order.
What are the motivations driving the warring combatants in Iraq?
The motivations driving the battle for Iraq and the larger GWOT on the part of the Muslims are “all of the above,” that is, religious, political, geo-strategic, economic, and revenge. Although it is probably fair to say, if we take what they say and do seriously, that economic reasons factor least in the equation.  The bottom line motive of the Muslims (Sunni and Shi’ite) in Iraq and GWOT is religious conquest together with attendant political and geo-strategic domination. 
Additionally, on a worldwide basis, including the battle for Iraq, the warring Muslims seek revenge against Western Civilization for what is perceived by the Muslim world as an assault on their former Caliphate and their way of life. Arguably, the Islamic world has created a Christian and Jewish enemy in order to mask what their own civilization has created: a murderous ideology which demands an intellectual and spiritual submission to the dictates of a ruling class adorned with the authority of Shari’a and fiqh (the Islamic way and jurisprudence, respectively). In other words, except for the one or two rare individual exceptions (i.e., al-Farabi), Islamic “philosophy” as theology reduces the individual and the people to the status of soldier. Thought is reduced to obedience and action.
Since Allah has told Muslims through the Quran that he covets not merely Mecca and Medina, but also Jerusalem and the West for the dar al-Islam, Muslims cannot understand why Islam has been in steady decline after they, the Muslim warriors, were defeated at Vienna on September 11, 1683.  In their attempt to understand why Islamic Civilization is in such pitiful shape everywhere, Muslims have hit on two explanations. 

First, Muslims have not practiced the “pure” form of Islam that Mohammad practiced, so they have been unable to fulfill Allah’s mission of subjugating the world to Islam.  This requires a cleansing from within.

Second, the “Great Satan” (Crusader America and its subservient Western nations) and the “Little Satan” (Israel, the Jewish client state of Crusader America) have conspired to keep Muslims from their rightful, world dominion.

Consequently to remedy this unacceptable state of affairs, both Sunni and Shia leaders and people have undertaken to impose “pure” Islamic law on Muslims and non-Muslims alike and to visit the revenge of jihadist “holy war” on all Crusaders and Jews.
While the Sunnis and Shi’ites are killing each other to prove the religious superiority of their particular sect of Islam, both groups’ underlying motivation is the same: to ultimately establish the religious superiority of Islam over the West. While Sunnis far out-number Shia adherents, given Iran’s dominant oil-rich nation-state position, it is unlikely that either sect will win a knockout victory over the other.
Thus, unless America wins the war in Iraq simply by imposing a military order, a Lebanon-type 1970’s civil war will ensue, which included Lebanese factions (Muslim versus Christian and Muslim versus Muslim) and foreign fighters (Palestinians) in the fray.
But returning to the war equation and motivation, this religious motivation to convert (through persuasion, subjugation, or war and death)  dar al-kufr into dar al-Islam is mandated in the Quran and legislated as law by the fiqh and Shari’a as an Allah-given sacred duty.  In the interest of accuracy, it must be noted that there is also a secular motivation in play in Iraq among the deposed Sunni Baathist insurgents, who are seeking a return to political power; however, this force is a minor player in the larger scheme of things. 

To sum up, it’s the religious domination at work as the motivation, with attendant political, geo-strategic, and economic domination, that is the driving impetous behind the major enemy combatant forces in Iraq.
Can these religious motivations be removed from the Muslim combatants in Iraq (or in the larger GWOT for that matter) by negotiation or persuasion? 

In order for negotiation or persuasion to work, both parties must see and appreciate individual advantage in compromise and mutual cooperation. Given the jihadist approach to achieving their religious goals, compromise and mutual cooperation don’t appear realistic. If not, for negotiation or persuasion to work, one ascendant party must be in a position to “make an offer the other party cannot refuse” because of military, geo-strategic, or economic circumstances.  In order to arrive at the “cannot refuse” situation, the military/economic threat must be credible.  Needless to say at this point in history, the American military/economic threats do not ring credible to any Muslim (or secular Baathist) involved in the Iraq insurgency. They can read the New York Times and follow the elections as well as anyone.
So, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report notwithstanding, solution through political negotiation has a Crusader’s chance in Mecca of succeeding.  Canceling motivation out of the war equation just will not happen with today’s circumstances on the ground in Iraq (or in the Middle East as a whole).
What are the capabilities of the Islamist warring combatants in Iraq?
The capability of Muslim firepower cannot stand up to American firepower in any conceivable conventional force or conventional force scenario.  And, this is what we have heard ad nauseum from former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and any one of the Joint Chiefs. But, the answer to that refrain is, “So What?”

Muslim warriors have predictably resorted to what is known as “asymmetrical warfare” with suicide bombers, hit-and run rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s), and improvised explosive devices (IED’s) being their primary forms of firepower, all within the protective ring of civilian men, women, and children, acting as willing and unwilling defense ramparts.  It is precisely asymmetrical because the rules of engagement (ROE) of the two sides are simply not matched for this type of theatre of war.
As long as there is a supply of Muslim suicide bombers who are provided suicide bomber belts and IEDs, the Muslim firepower capability will remain lethal on the Iraqi battlefield, which is everywhere and anywhere in the country.  By far the group taking the largest number of casualties in the face of these forms of firepower is the Iraqi civilian population, Sunni as well as Shi’ite.  However, American GI’s are also dying at an unacceptably high rate that is ground up and exploited in the political gristmill, mobilizing public opposition to the war. The American casualties are unacceptable even to the military precisely because there is no end game; no clearly defined mission that has any realistic opportunity for success as long as the asymmetry exists. And, the asymmetry will continue as long as the American ROE remain more akin to a police action than a military campaign.
The second aspect of capability is the logistical re-supply of Muslim firepower. The logistical support to the Muslim warriors comes primarily from the Muslim countries surrounding Iraq, specifically Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon to name the most prominent in order of importance.  At a minimum, suicide bomber belts, RPG’s, IED’s, terrorist replacement personnel, and money to carry out the Muslim firepower operations unquestionably originate outside of Iraq.
What course of action is available to cancel the capabilities of the Islamist combatants? 
Since the Islamic motivations are not likely to be affected or cancelled out of the war equation, notwithstanding the Bush Administration’s dream that democracy would have done the trick, the questions remains, can we successfully cripple the capability factor, thereby effectively removing it from the equation? 
On the negative side, American forces have been killing Muslim warriors in robust numbers since 2003, but the supply of these combatants appears undiminished.  At present there is much “buzz” about a “surge plan” that would increase the numbers of American forces in Iraq in an effort to suppress their firepower – a firepower which has created civil war-like conditions a la Lebanon in Baghdad (an urban checkerboard of Sunni and Shi’ite neighborhoods) and the Sunni Triangle (Sunni tribal land). 
The question for military planners is, Will 30,000 to 60,000 more American troops be enough to redress the situation?  As I have noted above, it depends on whether the Americans can first cancel the capabilities of the enemy and this can only be accomplished if the U.S. military can correct the asymmetry. This correction depends on the soldiers’ specific mission, the ROE that govern their deployment, and how long they will remain in the field. 

It would appear, judging from our historical experience thus far in Iraq, that it is imperative to conduct clear-and-hold operations first in Baghdad (where the battle for Iraq will be won or lost), until the violence is reduced to a “livable” level for the average Iraqi. Only after the completion of the pacification of Baghdad should U.S. forces move on to conduct similar clear-and-hold operations in the key urban centers of the Sunni Triangle (e.g., al-Fallujah, al-Ramadi, Samarra, Tikrit). 
The reason for the two-phase approach is so that U.S. forces can concentrate all their firepower on the “Battle of Baghdad.”  After the failure of the last effort to pacify Baghdad in “Operation Together Forward” in the summer of 2006, the Battle of Baghdad takes on the same strategic turning-point significance as the Battle of Stalingrad.  History also tells us that success of these clear-and-hold operations is determined by the continued holding presence of American forces, as insurgents have routinely re-occupied contested areas after U.S. troops have withdrawn, even when Iraqi forces have been left behind.  ROE must permit the overpowering and overwhelming use of American firepower on a hair-trigger basis. 

The ROE must also recognize that there is no clear distinction between civilian leadership and the warrior networks. Without tribal, clan, and family cover and support, there could be no “insurgency”. When soldiers move into an area from which hostile activity or fire has been observed and their commanders on the ground order, “Shoot first, ask questions later,” this cannot be subject to a court martial after the fact, even when “civilians,” including women and children, have been killed in the fire fight. And finally, the American force must remain in place until the perception is widespread in the Iraqi population that the Islamic/insurgent war has been lost.
Assuming success of the operations described above to correct the assymetry, will the capabilities of the Muslim warriors be cancelled?  No. And the reason is the second aspect of capability I have mentioned — logistical re-supply remains essentially unhindered.  A substantial augmentation of American forces within the borders of Iraq will change the tactical situation by making it much more difficult for the Muslims to bring their suicide bomber/RPG/IED firepower to bear, but the strategic situation remains unaffected. 
At this point, American forces have two options available to stanch the logistical re-supply to the Muslim fighters, upon which the strategic situation teeters.  The first option involves attempting to close Iraq’s long and remote borders with Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia by a combination of airborne radar, aerostatic balloon and drone surveillance, ground-level cameras and acoustic sensors, airmobile reaction forces, and USAF Special Operations Specter gun ships.  This option of defending the borders contains the battle for Iraq within Iraqi borders, avoiding the unfavorable public relations that would arise from the second option of attacking the supply bases in Iran and Syria.  The problem with the effort to “seal” the borders is that this area is vast and this would be in and of itself a Herculean task, requiring huge investments in equipment and far, far more manpower than 30,000 to 60,000 additional US soldiers. No one deludes himself to believe the Iraqi forces, military, police or otherwise could handle this task.
On the other hand, carrying the air war into the neighboring Muslim sanctuaries which fuel the insurrection is the optimum military solution, because it has the tangible benefit of actually reducing the physical capability of the Muslim warriors to prolong the battle for Iraq. It would also have the long-term benefit of establishing the military-political point that if you aid our enemy, you are a target. And, we need not expose ground troops to bring enormous damage to your military and civilian sectors. 
Returning to the War Equation, unless either the motivations or the capabilities are removed, there is the potential for the war to continue unabated.
American political leadership failed to destroy the strategic re-supply capability of North Vietnam for 14 years and, in spite of deploying 550,000 troops to South Vietnam, the American will was worn down to the eventual state of collapse.  Why would the outcome in Iraq be any different than it was in South Vietnam, if the same restraint is followed, since the public opinion momentum is already headed in the same direction as it was in 1972?

How to Beat Hillary in ’08

How to Beat Hillary in ’08
By Michael Reagan
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 26, 2006

The common wisdom holds that it is all but inevitable that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, and that she’ll be a formidable if not unbeatable candidate.

I don’t disagree with that assumption, despite the sudden emergence of Barack Hussein Obama as the media’s newest darling. I see him as nothing more than a passing fancy for the mainstream media. If it becomes evident that he poses a real threat to Sen. Hillary Clinton he’ll suddenly find himself under a withering fire of criticism and he won’t have the vaguest notion where it’s all coming from. Wiser heads, however, will understand that the Clinton attack machine is back in action, and before it’s finished Obama will be history.

So let’s accept the fact that whoever the GOP nominee is, he’ll be facing Hillary Clinton. If the Republicans want to win, they will have to decide which Mrs. Clinton they plan to run against; just plain Hillary Clinton, or United States Senator Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

If they choose to run against Hillary Clinton, they’ll lose. If they choose to run against Senator Clinton, they’ll win hands down.

If we run against Hillary Clinton as the former first lady, if we run against her as the wife of Bill Clinton, if we run against the cherished darling of the media who spent eight years all but canonizing her as America’s patron saint, she’ll win.

Running against that Hillary is the wrong argument. If, however, you run against Senator Hillary Clinton and her record, or her abysmal lack of one as a senator, you can win.

If you focus on her dismal record of accomplishment and not on her carefully created image as St. Hillary and her hyped-up public personality you’ll beat her hands down.

You can beat the senator; you cannot beat the cardboard saint.

Consider her record as a senator. She admits she voted for the war and now she says it was a mistake, not exactly the kind of consistency we expect from a president.

Senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton promised to bring 200,000 new jobs to New York. She failed, claiming that she didn’t have the benefit of a Democratic Congress to help her achieve that goal, but adding that even though there had not been the kind of environment she hoped for, there had been some progress.

The fact is that there hasn’t been any progress. New York is not improving – it’s getting worse. New York has lost 112,000 jobs since sending Senator Clinton to Washington.

In contrast, consider the records of two regional Republicans, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Both governed with Democratic majorities in both state legislatures.

Back on April 12, 2006, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed into law an act to provide health insurance to virtually all citizens of Massachusetts and did it without raising taxes.

Working with Democrats in the state legislature and others, he developed a plan that starting next July will make mandatory health insurance for all state residents, providing a plan is available to the individual that is deemed affordable according to state standards.

Romneycare won in 2006; Hillarycare lost in 1993.

Romney has done much more and been credited with creating an environment that has attracted new jobs to his state, especially in the field of technology. Massachustts added jobs, New York lost them.

Another executive facing Democratic-controlled city and state legislative bodies was New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His leadership in the nation’s toughest city created jobs, brought down crime, and shepherded the city through the darkest days after 9/11.

Those are genuine records of accomplishments, and when you run candidates with such records you can win against candidates with dismal records such as Senator Hillary Clinton’s.

The point is when you argue on the merits you can win. When you argue on personalities, you lose.

It’s no wonder Senator Hillary Clinton, who has the media in her pocketbook, wants you to attack her as Hillary Clinton and not as Senator Clinton who has accomplished nothing meaningful as a senator.

Matched against a Republican with a solid record for getting things done, she’s a sure loser.