Freedom’s Successes in 2006

Freedom’s Successes in 2006
By Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 3, 2007

In our ongoing war against the enemies of freedom, 2006 ended on a fairly bright note. But we must remain vigilant. 2007 will be a year of challenge and opportunity in a struggle that is of historic and global proportions.

The Islamic fascists have just suffered a humiliating defeat in Somalia. Ethiopia demonstrated what the Left in this country needs to understand – sometimes only a military solution will work to bring the bad guys to account. While “it ain’t over until it’s over,” as Yogi Berra once said, it certainly is better to have the Islamic fascists on the run, rather than allowing them to run Somalia as a strategically located African sanctuary for al-Qaeda. In short, this was a swift and devastating loss for the jihadists. As with the Taliban fundamentalists in Afghanistan, we can expect pockets of insurgency from the Somali Islamists and their al-Qaeda allies. However, we remain the winners as long as they remain out of power and deprived of a safe base from which to conduct their ‘holy’ war.

 

Iraq, of course, is a far more complicated situation. There are no clear-cut winners or losers. It has become a quagmire, with our military fatalities reaching the symbolic 3,000 mark at the end of 2006. However, it was also a year that captured for the history books the image of Saddam Hussein’s lifeless body swinging at the end of a rope that will be the companion piece to the humiliating image of Saddam being pulled out of a hole by his American captors. At least Saddam was accorded a full trial and judged by his fellow Iraqi citizens, a modicum of justice that he never accorded to his enemies while he and his dead sons were in power.

 

We are also rid of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda terrorist from Jordan whom Saddam’s regime harbored prior to the American liberation of Iraq and who remained behind in Iraq as bin Laden’s chief lieutenant. Zarqawi took pleasure in killing innocent people of all faiths – including Muslims who happened to be Shiites. Indeed, that is what he and Saddam had in common. Zarqawi set in motion the chain of mosque bombings and killings that have brought the country to the brink of civil war. While his demise has done nothing to stem the sectarian violence in the short term, it has removed an implacable foe of any political solution.

 

That said, 2007 will be a very challenging year for us in Iraq. But it can also be a year of opportunity if we play our cards right. A temporary troop surge would be a mistake, providing only the illusion of security even if it were to provide a brief respite from the violence. As soon as our troop levels revert to their prior levels, the seething sectarian hatreds will boil over again into new violence. Embedding our military advisors with Iraqi security forces, while pulling back our active combat troops, would also be a recipe for disaster since our advisors will be left unprotected if the Iraqis should decide to turn on the outnumbered American advisors with the help of the insurgents.

 

The best option for the United States in 2007, among a set of bad options, is to let the civil war in Iraq play out and let the extremists from both sides kill each other. Saudi Arabia – whose own fundamentalists have provided funding to al-Qaeda – cannot afford to allow militant Shiite expansion on its border. Iran cannot afford an embarrassing loss to its partisans, nor risk the havoc that a mass influx of Iraqi refugees may cause to its fragile economy. So let the insurgent Sunnis and their al-Qaeda brothers fight it out with the militant Shiites and their Iranian brothers, while we cheer both sides’ passage to martyrdom and their reward of 72 virgins. There will be a tragic loss of innocent lives, as in any civil war, but this would occur whether we remain actively engaged or not. We might as well avoid being a part of the inevitable carnage and putting our soldiers in harm’s way in the service of no clear, winnable objective. However, this does not mean the kind of cut and run policy that is the Left’s answer to all messy problems. Instead we can concentrate with deadly force on targeting the al-Qaeda leaders and Iranian revolutionary guard forces we are able to track down in Iraq. We can also reposition some of our troops near the Iranian and Syrian borders to stem the flow of arms and foreign personnel into Iraq and Lebanon. When all is said and done, the civil war will most likely end in a stalemate, with an exhausted country perhaps more ready at that time to reach some sort of political coalition solution. The point is for us to retain a sufficient presence in the area to influence the ultimate outcome without becoming embroiled in the daily sectarian fighting.

 

Iran itself presents the most serious challenge of all because of its regional ambitions and fanatical zeal combined with oil revenues paying for its nuclear programs, but there are some encouraging signs there as well. With all of his bluster, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was running into some serious headwinds of his own as 2006 drew to a close. The U.N. Security Council finally backed up its words against Iran’s nuclear enrichment program with some sanctions, even if the sanctions were about as mild as they can be. At least, the Security Council did go on the record endorsing a path toward isolation of Iran, which the United States has had some success in accelerating through public and private pressure on foreign banks and other firms to cease doing business with Iran or suffer the consequences of lost business opportunities in the United States. Iran’s oil revenues are down, its infrastructure is in disrepair, and its economy is in serious jeopardy of collapse. Ahmadinejad’s loyalists lost some key local elections and Iranian students are more boldly protesting his oppressive regime. Facing increasing economic isolation for his foolhardy nuclear ambitions and draining needed resources at home to diversions in Iraq and Lebanon, Ahamadinejad’s regime is on the brink of imploding without our having to fire a shot. Our challenge, which is also an opportunity if handled right, is to help Ahmadinejad destroy himself and bring down the fanatical mullah theocracy that is the source of his power. To convince the Iranian people who aspire to freedom that we support their aspirations, the last thing we should do is to legitimize the present regime by ‘negotiating’ with them.

 

Finally, the end of 2006 saw the end – finally – of Kofi Annan’s disastrous tenure as UN Secretary General. Right to the end, Annan blamed everyone but himself and his UN cronies for the UN’s litany of failures during his watch, including the horrendous oil-for-food scandal that involved some of his top deputies. This was also a man who went out of his way to placate terrorists and their sponsoring states, while during his final days in office he unleashed a barrage of criticisms against the United States and Israel. Blinded to any sense of reality, one of his last pronouncements in the midst of Ethiopia’s rout of the Islamic fascists was to urge foreign forces – presumably the Ethiopians – to leave Somalia and respect its ‘sovereignty.’ What Annan never understood is that the Islamic fascists are the ones who have no respect for the aspirations of the people whom they seek to rule. They are cancers metastasizing in every body politic they are able to infiltrate.

 

Annan’s successor, South Korean Ban Ki-Moon, has to be an improvement, and signs so far are somewhat encouraging. His immediate focus, he said, will be to improve the internal operations and ethics of the U.N bureaucracy – a daunting task in itself that Annan never took seriously. Coming from a country that has prospered economically but continues to live in the shadow of the nuclear threat from North Korea, Ban Ki-Moon knows first-hand the value of freedom and the sacrifices required to preserve it. We may finally have someone we can trust running things at Turtle Bay. We’ll have to wait and see.

The year ahead will have its share of tribulations, disappointments and tragedies. But our future still remains in our hands. With courage, wisdom and patience, we can continue to win the war against the enemies of freedom so long as we remember who those enemies truly are.

Muslims issue list of demands to Minneapolis-St. Paul airport

Muslims issue list of demands to Minneapolis-St. Paul airport

Hop to it, dhimmis. “Airport hesitant to grant Muslim prayer room: Somali immigrant leaders also ask directors for signs in native language, exceptions for cabbies,” by Emily Gurnon in the Pioneer Press, with thanks to all who sent this in:

Somali immigrants passing through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport want a private place to say Muslim prayers. The airport suggests they share a room with people of other religions.Like a new couple learning to dance, immigrants and their adopted countries often trip each other up, and the prayer-room issue is just one of the latest tangles between Somali immigrants and other Minnesotans.

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The prayer debate was sparked Nov. 20 when six imams — Muslim religious leaders — were removed from an airplane after they had been seen praying in public. According to witnesses, the men also made anti-American remarks, asked for seat-belt extenders they didn’t need and spread out to different areas of the plane.

The imams took another flight the next day.

But the incident drew worldwide attention. Muslims decried the treatment of the men, saying it was discriminatory, embarrassing and fueled by false rumors. Others praised the airline for taking the men off the plane, saying safety must come first in the post-Sept. 11 age.

Ali said Tuesday that he and other Somalis want a prayer room so they will not be faced with a similar incident.

“What can guarantee that will not happen again?” he said.

Muslims can: by ending this kind of politically motivated stunt.

Airport Director Steve Wareham said if the airport provides a special area for Muslims to use, it potentially would have to accommodate other faiths the same way.”Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he told the Somali immigrants.

That existing area is a carpeted room that contains chairs but no religious symbols. It has been used for years but was never obvious to travelers, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. The airport intends to install more signs directing people to it on the mezzanine level near the Chili’s restaurant, near the entry to the F Concourse.

At the same time, there is no restriction on praying in other parts of the airport, Wareham said.

Other issues continue to rile some Somali immigrants. Minnesota is home to the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the country. The state estimates about 25,000 Somalis live here, though community leaders say the number is closer to 60,000.

Meanwhile, the no-liquor-in-taxicabs issue that got nationwide attention a few months ago is undead:

Many of the airport’s Somali taxi drivers refuse to accept passengers who are carrying liquor, because their faith forbids it. The airport says it is a customer-service issue and has forced drivers who refuse fares to move to the back of the line, which can mean a wait as long as three hours for another fare.Wareham said he would recommend to the airport’s management operations committee that it hold a public hearing on the matter. He favors stiffening the penalties against cab drivers who refuse fares for any reason other than their own safety.

“To be refused service by a taxi driver is, frankly, seen as an insult, and we don’t want our customers to experience it,” Wareham said.

Somalis assembled at Tuesday’s meeting at the Darul Quba Mosque in Minneapolis also wanted to know whether the airport would provide announcements and signs in Somali.

Probably not, officials said.

“The challenge is not inundating the air with messages people might start to ignore,” said Arlie Johnson, an assistant airport director.

At least the issue of the prayer room was met with some accommodation, said Abdirahman Hirsi, imam of the Darul Quba Mosque.

“It’s a kind of progress,” he said. “And we hope the future will be better.”

It probably will, Abdirahman, since virtually no one is wise to your game as yet.

Classified Info

Classified Info
By Joel Mowbray
The Washington Times | January 3, 2007

With the release of an internal investigation last week, we now know that former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger not only knowingly flouted laws for handling classified documents, but he went to incredible lengths to cover his tracks and thwart investigators.

While Mr. Berger’s “punishment” was a pittance of a fine, former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin has been financially ruined and sentenced to 12 and a half years for passing along far less-classified information to unauthorized third parties.

Unfortunately, disproportionate justice is inherent to the legal system. The written playbook might be the same for various cases, but different judges and different dynamics can lead to dramatically disparate results.

But what excuse is there for the wildly different media coverage of the two cases, both of which came to public attention in the summer of 2004?

Given the nature of each man’s actions and the starkly different status each enjoyed in the public eye, the media actually was justified in providing dissimilar coverage. Only the press got it exactly wrong.

One man verbally disclosed classified information devoid of sources or methods. The other snuck five different versions of a top-secret document out of a secure facility.

One was a low-level career bureaucrat, while the other was just a few years removed from being the president’s national security advisor. One man cooperated with authorities and didn’t even retain a lawyer before being interrogated, while the other lied to investigators and then intentionally destroyed evidence.

While conservative news outlets reveled in the Berger story, the mainstream media was at best blase. Of all the articles about Mr. Berger’s case — from the revelation that he was the subject of an inquiry through the recent release of the National Archives inspector general’s report — only one made it to the front page of either The Washington Post or the New York Times. Coverage of Mr. Franklin’s case, however, earned that distinction more than a half-dozen times.

The Franklin affair started out with a bang. Over seven days, starting in late August 2004, The Washington Post published six distinct stories, three of which landed on the front page. It was a sizzling story. Someone who worked in the Pentagon seen by the media as too pro-Israel was suspected of passing national-security secrets to the Jewish state. The Post even implied that five others — all Jews with “strong ties to Israel” — might also be spies.

In the end, the FBI’s full-court press only netted one conviction of a government official. Mr. Franklin plea-bargained to three counts, including passing classified information to an Israeli government official and two men at pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. (The trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman is slated to begin by the spring.) According to someone with intimate knowledge of the leaked draft presidential directive, the document contained no sources and no methods. It had no sensitive material of any kind. It was nothing more than a policy paper — just a few pages that resembled an opinion-editorial — advocating tougher diplomacy, not war, in dealing with Iran.

Reporters at The Post and the New York Times worked overtime to find new angles in the Franklin case, and that effort yielded considerable ink. On the Berger case, though, the mega newspapers simply reported stories as information came out. There was no digging, no investigative passion. Even the disclosure of the inspector general’s report only happened because of a freedom of information request filed by the Associated Press.

The mainstream media’s palpable disinterest in the Berger case is hardly justified. Many questions remain unanswered. Of the few explanations Mr. Berger and his defenders have actually provided, none passes the laugh test.

Mr. Berger claimed in court last year that smuggling classified documents out of the National Archives was about “personal convenience,” but the inspector general report states that he walked out of the building and down the street, found a construction site, looked to see if the coast was clear, then slid behind a fence and hid the documents under a trailer.

Which part of that elaborate procedure was “convenient”?

According to the New York Times story last April following Mr. Berger’s guilty plea, “Associates attributed the episode to fatigue and poor judgment.” While lying to authorities is bad judgment, it is also illegal. And how exactly did fatigue drive Mr. Berger to use his scissors to shred three versions of the top-secret document?

Despite the report’s devastating blow to Mr. Berger’s excuse machine, it was buried. The Post dumped it on page 7, and the New York Times exiled it to page 36.

Reflecting — or perhaps because of — the respective media attention is the justice meted out to each man. President Clinton’s national security adviser will not see the inside of a jail cell. His $50,000 fine sounds big, but it’s roughly equivalent to a few weeks out of his princely salary. Meanwhile, Franklin has lost half his pension and was given a stiffer sentence than several Islamic terrorists convicted in the very same courthouse.

Just don’t expect the Post or the Times to point that out.

Las Vegas: German Muslim Held, Denied U.S. Entry

Las Vegas: German Muslim Held, Denied U.S. Entry

Anti-Muslim discrimination? Maybe, but CAIR’s involvement, and particularly the representation here of the Flying Imams as having been taken off their flight because they opposed the war in Iraq, make this story very suspicious. I suspect it could be part of the larger effort, of which the Flying Imams incident was also a part, to criminalize all scrutiny of Muslims in airports, no matter how suspiciously they’re acting, and to prevent any Muslim from being denied entry into this country, no matter what — i.e., to outlaw “religious profiling,” a move that is endorsed by Nancy Pelosi and others.

“German Muslim Held, Denied U.S. Entry,” by Garance Burke for Associated Press, with thanks to Mackie:

A German businessman of Syrian descent who wanted to surprise his daughter with a holiday visit was detained for four days in a Las Vegas holding cell before being sent back home without explanation. A civil rights group called authorities’ treatment of Majed Shehadeh a case of anti-Muslim discrimination.Shehadeh, 62, flew from Frankfurt to Las Vegas last Thursday, hoping to meet with his wife and drive to Bakersfield, Calif., where his American-born daughter had just gotten news she’d passed the California bar exam. Instead, he wound up shivering in a holding cell without ever being told why he couldn’t enter the country, he said.

Roxanne Hercules, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, confirmed Tuesday that Shehadeh was denied entry, but would not discuss specifics of his case. She said Shehadeh’s visa waiver could have been denied because “he could have a criminal record, or it could be a terrorism issue.”

The detention follows a series of similar incidents involving Muslim passengers, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In October, an Islamic scholar from South Africa was denied entry at San Francisco International Airport. A month later, six imams were taken off a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix after a passenger reported overhearing them criticize the U.S. war in Iraq.

Note the highly tendentious description of the Flying Imams incident, repeated uncritically by AP. Not a word about the Hamas/Al-Qaeda connections. Not a word about the seatbelt extensions or other suspicious behavior.

“Overall these cases send a message that Muslims are second-class citizens who can be detained and kept from their families,” said Affad Shaikh, a civil rights coordinator for CAIR….

Nor does AP, of course, offer a word about this “civil rights” group CAIR. Nothing about the terror arrests of some of its employees. Nothing about the statements of Sharia supremacism made by some of its leaders.

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they could not comment on why he was denied entry. FBI and airport officials in Las Vegas also declined comment.An aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein later told the family that Shehadeh was on a “look-out list,” Mulligan said. Feinstein’s office confirmed Tuesday that the family contacted her, but wouldn’t comment further.

“I said you’ve got to be joking me, he’s never even had a speeding ticket,” said Mulligan, a retired math teacher for the U.S. military. “I mean, we’re Muslims, and we travel a lot. Maybe the countries we travel to are not the countries they want you to visit.”

Once in the holding facility, Shehadeh said he was stripped of his shoes, jacket and prescribed heart medicine and locked in a cell with about 25 other detainees. There was one toilet in the middle of the room, and access to a telephone was extremely limited, he said.

On Sunday, he was released and sent back to Frankfurt on the same charter airline.

Shehadeh’s daughter Majida Shehadeh said she was glad her father made it home, but feared he wouldn’t be able to return to visit.

“I used to be happy I moved here,” she said. “But now I can’t wait for when I leave here. The mentality is not what it was like beforehand.”

Yes, the gratuitous murder of several thousand office workers can tend to change one’s attitude.