|Teach Your Children Hate|
|By Christopher Orlet|
|Published 2/13/2007 12:05:33 AM|
|Teach Your Children Hate|
|By Christopher Orlet|
|Published 2/13/2007 12:05:33 AM|
Bosnian Muslim goes on a killing spree in US mallPolice have identified the victims shot at Trolley Square on Monday, as well as the man believed to be the shooter.
Killed were Jeffrey Walker, 52; Vanessa Quinn, 29; Teresa Ellis, 29; Brad Frantz, 24; and Kirsten Hinckley, 15.
Hospitalized were Allen Walker, 16, son of Jeffrey Walker; Carolyn Tuft, 44; Shawn Munns, 34; and Stacy Hansen, 53.
The 18-year-old man who shot and killed at least five people Monday night has been identified as Sulejmen Talovic, a Bosnian refugee who lived in Salt Lake City.
Little additional information was released about Talovic.
The Bosnian community, which numbers about 3,000 in Utah, planned a news conference later this afternoon.
Talovic parked his car in the west parking lot and walked into the mall, encountering two people, whom he shot. Then he walked further into the mall and shot a woman, said Police Chief Chris Burbank.
He then walked to a gift shop and shot five people. He shot several other people before he was gunned down by an off-duty Ogden police officer assisted by four Salt Lake City police officers, Burbank said.
He had a backpack that carried numerous rounds of ammunition as well as a .38-caliber handgun, said the chief.
Police have no motive in the killing.
Iraq says to close borders with Syria, Iran as part of the plan to secure Baghdad, Iraqi authorities informed.
Iraq decided on Tuesday to close two border posts with Syria and four others on Iraq’s borders with Iran for 72 hours.
Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, speaking to the nation on behalf of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, did not say when the borders would be closed.
The Iraqi government said the decision was part of efforts to implement the new security plan for Baghdad. According to the plan, Baghdad’s night time curfew would be extended by one hour when the security drive gets underway, starting from 8 pm and ending at 6 am.
Also today, a suicide explosives-laden truck bombing killed 6 and wounded 27 as people were entering a Trade Ministry office that administers ration cards in a mainly Shiite neighborhood. The office and warehouses storing sugar and other rationed foodstuffs are located next to the College of Economic Sciences, but no students were among the casualties, police said.
The U.S. military said a soldier was killed Sunday in fighting in volatile Anbar province, west of Baghdad, raising to 42 the number of American deaths this month.
The Middle East on a Collision Course (6): The Saudi Oil Weapon
In his just-published memoirs, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy relates the story of a meeting between three European foreign ministers together with Javier Solana of the European Union and President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The meeting, which took place at the United Nations on September 15, 2005, dealt with what Douste-Blazy characterized as “the generous European offer” to Iran regarding its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad was characterized by Douste-Blazy, a surgeon and a professor of medicine by profession, as stubborn, and the meeting was described as leading nowhere. Suddenly, Ahmadinejad changed the course of the conversation with the following aside: “Do you know why we should wish to have chaos at any price?” he asked rhetorically. “Because, after the chaos, we can see the greatness of Allah.” 
The response to this challenge came from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which employed recently a quiet but effective diplomacy aimed at curbing Ahmadinejad’s inclination for chaos-making in their backyard.
U.N. Sanctions Against Iran
After protracted negotiations among the five permanent members of the Security Council – the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, and China, in addition to Germany, which was occupying one of the rotating seats in the council – the Security Council passed, on December 23, 2006, Resolution 1737, imposing watered-down sanctions on Iran for its failure to halt its uranium enrichment program. The resolution calls on all states “to prevent the supply, sale or transfer…of all items, materials, equipment, goods, and technology which could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities or to the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems.”
From the standpoint of Ahmadinejad, the resolution was “a straw paper…by which they [i.e., mainly the Western powers] aim to scare Iranians….” Immediately afterwards, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani, who is in charge of Iran’s nuclear dossier, told the Iranian daily Kayhan, “Our immediate response to these sanctions is that tomorrow morning, 3,000 centrifuges will begin operation in Natanz.”
The Saudi Oil Weapon
Saudi Arabia, like other countries, is concerned both about Iran’s nuclear program and about its activities in Iraq in support of the Shi’a, in Lebanon and in Palestine. While being somewhat silent about Iran’s nuclear program, Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of Iran’s meddling in the Middle East was vocal. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal could not have been more blunt when he told the French daily Le Figaro, “We repeat what was said to the Iranians: Do not interfere in our affairs.” He characterized the Saudi-Iranian dialogue as an effort to explain to the Iranians the Saudi and Arab fears “about the Iranian influence on the Arab world.” For this reason he rejected the French attempt to send a delegation to Tehran to discuss the latter’s meddling in Lebanon as something “that cannot be accepted [because it] offers legitimacy to the Iranian intervention.”  The critical question is whether Saudi Arabia is prepared to translate its warning into action through the use of the “oil weapon.” If the Saudis are prepared to apply the oil weapon, the impact on Iran’s economic fortunes could be significant.
A brief analysis of the Saudi oil situation and the Iranian economic condition will demonstrate why Iran has every reason both to take seriously Saudi warnings about meddling in the Saudi backyard and to be apprehensive about the potent oil weapon.
The Saudi Budget Surplus
After deficits of $10.4 billion and $8 billion in 2003 and 2004, respectively, Saudi Arabia accumulated a surplus of revenues over expenditures of $58.2 billion and $70.6 billion in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The surplus for 2007 is conservatively estimated at $5.3 billion because the estimated revenues of $106 billion are calculated on the basis of crude oil export of 7.2 million b/d at an average price of $37/b, assuming a production cost of $2.50/b.  Since the price of oil in the first six weeks of 2007 has hovered around the mid- to upper 50s per barrel, and if there is no sudden and sharp reversal either in the price per barrel or the number of barrels exported, it is clear that Saudi Arabia will accumulate a much larger surplus than was estimated.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia has announced its intention to expand production capacity to 12 million b/d by 2009 through investment of $80 billion. At this level of production 1.5 to 2 million b/d will be set aside for local consumption, leaving at least 10 million b/d for export which is about 3 million b/d over current level of export.
Providing this information, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Nuai’mi said at a Petrotec conference in New Delhi that his country could invest even more to generate higher levels of production to insure stability in the oil markets.  It is not certain that there is a refining capacity for such an additional supply of oil were it made available to the market, but it could nonetheless serve as a spare capacity that could be used by the Kingdom to leverage oil supply and prices in a manner compatible with its national interests, which are not necessarily compatible with those of Iran; indeed, the interests of the two nations may be very different.
If Saudi Arabia were to increase its export between one to two million barrels a day, it could bring down the price of oil quite close to the 2007 budget estimate of $37 barrel. If that were to happen, Saudi Arabia could absorb the shock, but Iran’s economy could fall into a serious crisis.
Iran‘s Economy in a Glance
While Iran is seeking to develop its nuclear weapon and thereby declare itself “a great power,” its economic health belies its ambitions.
Data drawn from the Central Bank of Iran  show an accumulated deficit spending in the last four [solar] years 1381-1384 and the second quarter of 1385, as follows:
|Year||Billion Riyals ($US equivalent at exchange rate of 9.17 riyal to the dollar in parentheses)|
|1381 (2003||85.6 (9.3)|
|1382 (2004)||99.4 (10.8)|
|1383 (2005)||128.5 (14.0)|
|1384 (2006)||130.5 (14.2)|
|1385 (2007) (2ndQrt.)||49.0 (5.3)|
To deal with the budget shortfalls and, at the same time, continue the president’s profligate populist policies, Iran has been drawing on the special foreign exchange account which was meant to cushion the country in the event of a rapid shortfall in oil revenues. According to the daily Etemad-i-Melli, the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) voted on January 24 to allow the government to withdraw from the account the equivalent of $700 million to finance shortfalls in the health and health-education sectors, including the payment of overdue wages. During a contentious debate in the Majlis on the government’s request, a member of the parliamentary Economic Committee, Elias Naderan, claimed that “the foreign-exchange reserve account has no cash in it to take out.” Another member of parliament, Ahmad Tavakkli, claimed that the fund had a balance of only $400 million and wondered where exactly the remaining $300 million would come from.
As for the 2007 budget which starts on March 1, there are conflicting reports on the estimated price of crude oil calculated for the revenue column. One report presumes a per barrel price of $33.70 while Nedaran, quoted earlier, maintains that government spending is based on the assumption of oil price of $45 per barrel.
At the same time, the inflation rate in Iran has been estimated at 15.8 percent, while unemployment was in excess of 10 percent. In a rare acknowledgement of the impact of the sanctions on Iran, Iranian oil minister Kazem Waziri Hamaneh told Shana, the oil ministry news agency, that Tehran was having trouble financing oil projects on which the economy depends. Foreign banks are not lending to Iran either because of U.S. pressure or because the banks are also “drawing their own conclusions.”  In this regard, Iran’s threats to use the oil weapon if attacked are hollow at best, because the country cannot fund the most basic programs for too long without the steady flow of oil revenues.
These concerns have generated calls from Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi for an acceleration of privatization plans and backing for private-sector activities both as a means of reducing subsidies to failed public enterprises and to help integrate the Iranian economy into the global system. 
Ahmadinejad has pursued a populist program to benefit the underclass in Iran. However, populism without funding will become empty slogans. This, in turn, could greatly weaken his authority and undermine his regime’s stability. There is already mounting pressures from the clerics to tone down his demagoguery, and a rise of discontent among the poor could quickly place him in political jeopardy. The oil option of Saudi Arabia, more than anything else, including the U.S.’s second aircraft carrier steaming into the Gulf, could expedite the process of his downfall or, at a minimum, cause him to limp for the remainder of his term of office.
Iran‘s Appeal to Saudi Arabia to Reduce Oil Export
It is hardly surprising that the Deputy Chairman of Iran’s Parliamentary Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy Mohammad Nabi Roudaki has made this statement:
“A number of Arab countries in the region and the Saudi government are inclined to help the U.S. and want to pressure Iran… We recommend to Saudi Arabia that it trust [only] itself, and that it bring about regional stability with the accompaniment of the forces in the region. It is best that Saudi Arabia do nothing [against Iran], since [otherwise] they will quickly face protest by their people. Saudi Arabia must reduce its oil exports so that the price of oil will balance out. Otherwise, tomorrow America will attack Saudi Arabia, on the pretext that it has no democracy and freedom.”
*Nimrod Raphaeli is Senior Analyst of MEMRI’s Middle East Economic Studies Program.
 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 4, 2007.
 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London). February 1, 2007.
 The Middle East Economic Survey. January 2007.
 Al-Hayat (London), January 19, 2007.
 Bank Merkazi Iran, Second Quarter 2006-2007, No. 45. Key Economic Indicators.
 The Financial Times (London), December 21, 2006.
Speaker Of The House Hires A George Soros Activist
By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
February 13, 2007 – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has recently hired Joseph Onek to be her Senior Counsel. Most people have never heard of Onek before, but he was an operative in both the Carter and Clinton White House. While in the Carter Adminstration, Onek served as Deputy Counsel to Jimmy Carter. In the Clinton Administration, Onek was a deputy Associate Attorney General and was the Rule of Law Coordinator with the State Department.
Onek also served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan and served as an Assistant Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But his more recent work as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Open Society Institute (OSI) should be of deep concern to all Americans. The Open Society Institute is a creation of billionaire atheist George Soros. This virulently anti-Christian man operates what some have called a “shadow government” in America – a network of groups and radical individuals who wish to control America’s social and national security policies.
Discoverthenetworks.org monitors the web of leftist organizations that seek to rule our nation. It describes this shadow government as being “conceived and organized principally by George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Harold McEwan Ickes — all identified with the Democratic Party left.”
The OSI funnels millions of dollars into various leftist causes, including euthanasia, open borders, abortion, homosexual activism, marijuana legalization, the undermining of our nation’s war on terrorism and other neo-Marxist visions of social justice. A list of OSI’s grantees (posted on the “discoverthenetworks.org” web site) reads like a phone book of every anti-American, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual group in America.
Soros has a warped vision for America, and he’s pouring millions of dollars into public policy organizations that will push his agendas. He is also pouring money into elections. He spent $26 million to defeat Bush in 2004. Today, Soros has decided that Senator Barack Obama should be our next president and has anointed him for that purpose. He will provide Obama with funding plus whatever publicity he can generate for the senator through his various front groups.
Soros either funds or operates a whole range of such organizations, but the Open Society Institute is his flagship organization.
The current president of OSI is Aryeh Neier, who as director of the socialist League for Industrial Democracy, founded the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) back in 1959. OSI’s Director of U.S. Advocacy is Morton Halperin, a man who has devoted his entire life to subverting America’s intelligence efforts to fight domestic and international threats. Halperin is a former Carter and Clinton official who has consistently attacked the work of the CIA.
George Soros must be pleased to have one of his operatives a heartbeat away from Speaker of the House Pelosi. Did Onek get his job with Pelosi through the influence of Soros? Was Onek placed in her office to direct policy decisions? What role does Onek play in Soros’ shadow government?
But, more to the point: What role does Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi play in George Soros’ shadow government? Americans deserve answers to these questions.
Retired Pastor — 77 year old narrow-minded Conservative Christian.
A few weeks before the last election I wrote a post “Vote Like Your Life Depends on It.” (HERE)
Some were critical of my alarmist attitude.
Now, with a liberal House and Senate, helped along by “moderates” and “Conservatives,” our freedoms and faith are under constant attack.
There is no national leadership willing to take the risks to counter the loss of our liberty and, maybe sooner than later, the loss of our blessed country.
Please read all of this shocking but logical and well documented article by J. R. Nyquist, “The Destruction of the United States.”
Here are a few devastating excerpts:
“No country is immortal. No nation is invincible. To make the point less delicately, America will one day cease to exist. And it may be useful, especially given the multiple crises now developing, to contemplate the mortality of the world’s most powerful country. What would the world be like without the United States?”
“It is not nice to say that major powers like China or Russia seek the destruction of the United States. It is not nice to say that Russia and China are governed by thugs. But anyone who studies the foreign policies, chicanery, secret maneuvers and war preparations of Beijing and Moscow cannot honestly conclude otherwise.”
…. “We already know from defector testimony that Russia’s war plan incorporates the use of false flag terrorist diversionary operations in the early stages of the next world war. GRU defector Viktor Suvorov explained long ago that such operations were referred to as “gray terror.” The fact that Ayman al-Zawahri was named as a longtime agent of the KGB is the icing on the nuclear cake (as it were). The fact that Alexander Litvinenko – the man who fingered Zawahri – was recently poisoned by polonium-210, underscores the hardscrabble reality of the nuclear terror game. The United States government and President Bush aren’t looking at the problem squarely. They are looking away from the main threat, toward a tertiary threat. This is a fatal error, because the war we are in isn’t simply a war against Muslim extremists. It is a much broader, more deceptive conflict.
“The United States has never been nearer to destruction.”
Last November our country voted for a group of politicians who are dedicated to a weakened country with detent and dialog with those who have vowed to destroy America and Israel. America has no national leadership who recognizes the multiple threats against our country. our faith, our liberties, our families and our very lives. Our freedoms are at risk and very few understand or care. America voted — but look what we got.
Now, more than ever America needs Jesus Christ and Christians who are not afraid to share Him with others. We need national leaders who will not disparage Christians and Jews but with moral courage and principles, stand up for and defend our country and the Nation of Israel regardless of the cost.
By Daniel Dombey and Fidelius Schmid in Brussels
Published: February 12 2007 22:18 | Last updated: February 12 2007 22:18
Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.
In an admission of the international community’s failure to hold back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the document – compiled by the staff of Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief – says the atomic programme has been delayed only by technical limitations rather than diplomatic pressure. “Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded,” it states.
The downbeat conclusions of the “reflection paper” – seen by the Financial Times – are certain to be seized on by advocates of military action, who fear that Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a bomb over the next two to three years. Tehran insists its purposes are purely peaceful.
“At some stage we must expect that Iran will acquire the capacity to enrich uranium on the scale required for a weapons programme,” says the paper, dated February 7 and circulated to the EU’s 27 national governments ahead of a foreign ministers meeting yesterday.
“In practice . . . the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone.”
The admission is a blow to hopes that a deal with Iran can be reached and comes at a sensitive time, when tensions between the US and Tehran are rising. Its implication that sanctions will prove ineffective will also be unwelcome to EU diplomats. Only yesterday the bloc agreed on how to apply United Nations sanctions on Tehran, overcoming a dispute between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar.
Iran has set up several hundred centrifuges to enrich uranium, a process that can yield both nuclear fuel and weapons-grade material. But analysts say that Iran is behind schedule on plans to install 3,000 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium on a larger scale.
Last year Ernst Uhrlau, the head of German intelligence, said Tehran would not be able to produce enough material for a nuclear bomb before 2010 and would only be able to make it into a weapon by about 2015.
The EU document is embarrassing for advocates of negotiations with Iran, since last year it was Mr Solana and his staff who spearheaded talks with Tehran on behalf of both the EU and the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The paper adds that Tehran’s rejection of the offer put forward by Mr Solana “makes it difficult to believe that, at least in the short run, [Iran] would be ready to establish the conditions for the resumption of negotiations”.
Hillary’s Nightmare: Ralph Nader
By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 13, 2007
After his role in destroying Al Gore’s chance to win the 2000 election, consumer activist and all-around maverick Ralph Nader would seem to have lost his credibility as a presidential candidate. In 2004, as if to punish him for his spoiler role, he got only 1 percent of the national vote, not enough to have any impact on the election.But Ralph may have new life if he runs again in 2008. As Congress sifts its way through the various resolutions on the war in Iraq, Senator Hillary Clinton will find herself on the spot, torn between preserving her mainstream viability by supporting the troops in the field and maintaining her front runner status in the Democratic Party by courting the antiwar Left. She will be asked to vote on Senator Barack Obama’s bill to set a timetable of troop withdrawal culminating in a total pullout by March 2008, and on bills to cut off funding for Bush’s “surge” of 20,000 extra troops.
To date, Hillary has rejected setting a timetable, saying that it undermines our mission and encourages the enemy to hang in there, and says she will vote against cutting off funds for our troops while they are in harm’s way. If she continues with these positions, she will become the Right of the Democratic 2008 field. Obama may also oppose a funding cutoff, but his focus on a timetable for withdrawal would put him to Hillary’s Left. And former VP candidate John Edwards, who doesn’t sit in the Senate anymore, will loudly proclaim his support for both a timetable and a funding cutoff, making him the left flank of the three-way race.
If Hillary doesn’t change her positions — always a possibility when dealing with her — but still appeases the Left enough to win the nomination, she may run smack into Ralph Nader as a professed, overt, and absolutely committed antiwar candidate. In a race of Rudy Giuliani vs. Hillary Clinton vs. Ralph Nader, a dedicated opponent of the war has only one possible vote: Nader.
The ranks of antiwar voters could swell Nader’s performance far above the dismal 1 percent he got in 2004 and even above the 3 percent he won in 2000. It is not inconceivable that Nader could pass 5-7 percent of the vote or go even higher if he is the only antiwar candidate in the field.
The real question is: How will Hillary finesse the Left and still keep opposing a timetable for a pullout and supporting funding for troops? She will try to ratchet up her antiwar rhetoric, even as she votes to let it continue. Her recent declaration at the Democratic National Committee that she would “end” the war as president, reminiscent of Eisenhower’s 1952 vow to “go to Korea,” is an example of this strategy. Her criticism of Bush and the Pentagon will become ever more strident as she tries to make the left focus on what she says not on what she does.
This approach may appease the broad center of the Democratic Party enough to win their votes for Hillary, but it will not satisfy the purist, activist, antiwar Left. They will nurse grudges over Hillary’s defeat of their anti-war hero: John Edwards. If the animosity spills over into the general election, it could catalyze a Nader candidacy in the fall of ’08.
Nader doesn’t like Hillary. He recently called her a “panderer and a flatterer.” He told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that while he has not decided to run, “I’m committed to trying to give more voices and choices to the American people on the ballot. That means more third parties, independent candidates and to break up this two-party elected dictatorship that is becoming more and more like a dial for the same corporate dollars.”
Sounds like a candidate to me.
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Iraq: Winning on the Home Front
By Dinesh D’Souza
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 13, 2007
Dinesh D’Souza gave the following address at the invitation of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The speech took place at the Four Seasons Hotel on February 7, 2007. — The Editors.
David, thank you very much.
I have been dodging a few bullets of late; lately this kamikaze strike by the New York Times. I’m reminded of something that Winston Churchill said during the Boer War. He said, “There’s nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at, without result.” So, I feel pleased just to be standing here. Anyway, we were having this interesting debate in America about Iraq reconsidering Bush’s policy toward Iraq. I think that we need to go a little further back and reconsider 9/11, because our American understanding of the War on Terror emerged almost immediately in the aftermath of 9/11. There developed almost instantly a kind of left-wing and right-wing analysis of the nature of the enemy. And it is to that analysis, I think, that we need to return. For example, we’ve been talking for five years about the War on Terror, the war against terrorism, but I don’t think we’re fighting a war against terrorism any more than in World War II America was fighting a war against kamikaze-ism. In World War II our enemy was the army of Imperial Japan. Kamikaze-ism was merely a tactic employed by the adversary. Similarly, now the war isn’t against terrorism, it’s the war against a certain species of Islamic radicalism or fundamentalism. But again, when I use these terms I kind of catch myself short. “Fundamentalism,” as we know, is a term out of Protestant Christianity. It has somewhat limited utility when you project it abroad. You know, you turn on CNN these days, you’ll see a retired military analyst or a professor of romance languages at Bates College saying something like, “The Muslim world is divided between the liberals and the fundamentalists.” Now, I don’t know if its news to you but there are no “liberals” in the Muslim world. We can find isolated individuals here and there – Salman Rushdie and Irshad Manji – but they have no constituency within the House of Islam. Somebody said to me the other day, “but aren’t some Iranians secular and feminist and believe in gay rights?” And I said, “Yeah, but, they live in L.A., not in the Muslim world.” Now, fundamentalism in Christianity refers to a certain kind of Biblical literalism. You don’t accept the Bible allegorically or in parables but see it as a literal rendition of the word of God. By that definition, every living Muslim is a fundamentalist because every Muslim believes the Koran is the Word of God: unadulterated, literal, not just inspired but dictated in the Arabic language to the Prophet Mohammed. If you don’t believe that, you’re not a Muslim. So, my point is not that all Muslims are extreme, but that “fundamentalism” is not a useful term of classification or distinction in the Muslim world. Now, as I mentioned a moment ago, we’ve got this sort of left-wing and the right-wing analysis of why we have this powerful current of anti-Americanism coming at us from the Muslim countries. From the Left, for example, we hear things like “the Muslims are upset because of the United States’ terrible history of overthrowing elected leaders like Mossadegh in Iran, and this has created discontent among the radical Muslims. A little peek at history will show you that this is actually nonsense. Mossadegh was elected by nobody. He was, in fact, appointed by the Iranian Parliament, put in place by the Shah. Shortly upon being appointed he got into a power struggle with the Shah, dissolved the parliament that had appointed him, and began to suspend all civil freedoms. And, yes, at that point the CIA came in, orchestrated a coup, got him out, and restored the power of the Shah. I went back and read an interesting book called The Collected Sermons of Khomenei, which actually goes back to the 1940s and ’50s. Khomenei preached three sermons actually saying how happy he was that Mossadegh had been removed. And if you think about it, it’s pretty clear why: Mossadegh was a secular socialist. The radical Muslims were delighted to see him go. So, this analysis of the contemporary roots of Muslim rage seems to be quite deficient. Or you’ll see today on the left-wing websites “the radical Muslims are upset because the United States, even today, supports unelected tyrannical regimes in the Middle East. But if you think about it, this cannot be a very plausible source of Muslim anger – that we support unelected, despotic, tyrannical regimes in the region – since there are no other kinds of regimes in the Middle East. Not counting Israel, tyrannical despotic regimes are all you have over there. Bin Laden’s argument has never been that we support tyranny. His argument is that we support the wrong kind of tyranny. We support, in his view, the tyranny of the infidel – secular tyranny. He thinks we should be supporting the tyranny of the believer. But now I turn very briefly to the conservative side because I think with equal confidence we have had assertions that try to explain what’s going on in the Muslim world. The radical Muslims are against modernity. They’re against science. They’re against democracy. They’re against capitalism. President Bush says “They hate us for our freedom.” I think that these claims are equally questionable. First of all, the radical Muslims are not against science. Most of them are, in fact, scientifically trained. If you think about the suicide attackers – not just at 9/11, but the London bombing, the Madrid, or the Bali bombing – how many of these suicide attacks have been done by mullahs? By my count, not one. But, by contrast, most of these guys – 80 to 90 percent – appear to have some kind of scientific training, not to mention a considerable exposure to the West. Bin Laden himself was a civil engineer, his deputy Al-Zawahri was a medical doctor. Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, was an electrical engineer. Mohamed Atta was an urban planner. The fellow who chopped off Daniel Pearl’s head was an attendee of the London School of Economics. And one can go on. They’re not against science. You’ll find in the literature of radical Islam – which is kind of how I started this book, to study the literature of radical Islam, the thinkers who are shaping minds over there – no condemnations of capitalism. And I think I know why: The Prophet Muhammad was by profession a trader, a merchant; Islam historically has been pretty friendly to capitalism and trade. And what about democracy? Well, this is a little trickier, because historically the radical Muslims have been against democracy. They have taken the view, which Bin Laden himself has expressed: “You cannot allow the will of the people to substitute for the will of God.” That’s been the classical view. But, of late, the radical Muslims have had a revelation; and that is “we shouldn’t be against democracy because if you have democracy, we can win.” They saw this in Algeria in the early 1990s when an Islamic radical group called The Islamic Salvation Front routed the ruling FLN – and the FLN is the liberation group that pushed the French out of Algeria. They were trounced by the radical Muslims. The elections were cancelled. Algeria was thrown into civil war, but the radical Muslims learned a lesson. And they have seen more recently with the victories of Hamas and the success of the Muslim brotherhood in the Egyptian parliamentary election that “look, democracy can work.” As one Hamas guy told The New Yorker recently, “we have learned to play the democracy game.” Now the reason this is a supreme dilemma for Bush is because Bush has been basically prancing around the globe saying, “We want to have elections all over the world,” and the radical Muslims have a knock-down response: “Okay, Mr. Bush, let’s have a free election in Saudi Arabia in six months. We’ll run the Royal Family against the Bin Laden guys.” Now, would the United States foreign policy for one minute consider the possibility that the holy sites and a big fraction of the world’s exportable oil will end up in the hands of Al-Qaeda? This would be insane. So, what I’m suggesting is we need to go back a little bit to the drawing board. Now what I want to do, if I can in my brief time, is say a word about the Iraq war and then say a word about the enemy at home. I was on a campus the other day, and I said, “In retrospect I wish the United States had focused on Iran. Why? Because Iran is the one state that has been in the grasp of radical Islam for a generation and the Iranians have been pursuing those weapons of mass destruction with the same zeal and, apparently, greater success than Saddam.” But, I said, “Don’t be too cocky about this because, frankly, no president ever got to make a decision in retrospect. A statesman is in the moving current of events. You weigh competing risks. You make decisions with the information available at the time. You don’t have the benefit of hindsight.” But it’s reasonable to ask, nevertheless, what is America trying to achieve in Iraq and can this, in fact, be done. To me, what America is trying to achieve is quite simple: If you are an ordinary Muslim in the Middle East – not a radical Muslim, not a Jihadi, just a guy coming out of school or college – if you look at your neighborhood, you see two kinds of regimes, two kinds of governments. You see Islamic tyranny, and you see secular tyranny. What’s Islamic tyranny? Well, Iran’s rule of the Mullahs, theocracy. That’s kind of the Bin Laden model, loosely speaking. What is secular tyranny? Everybody else. Asad in Syria, Mubarak in Egypt, Abdullah in Jordan, the Gulf kingdoms and so on. So, the Muslim has a pretty sad choice if you think about it: Islamic tyranny or secular tyranny? It’s not totally surprising that in that bleak scenario quite a few Muslims think, ” If I’m going to have tyranny, why not pick the Islamic variety.” I think in Iraq, the United States is attempting – boldly, against history – to put a new card on the table, a new option. Call it Muslim democracy. Again, we should be a little clearheaded about this. The idea here is not to go around the world overthrowing dictators and establishing democracies. We are not the world’s policemen. Foreign policy is not philanthropy. In Iraq, we are trying not to impose democracy everywhere but merely to impose it somewhere. The idea being that if it takes root, it offers the traditional Muslims an alternative, a viable third way. Now, what’s amazing is that we keep hearing that this war can’t be won; in fact, is being lost – or if you believe The New Republic, is already lost. You turn on the television you will see very eloquent people – I saw Congressman Murtha saying in a recent interview, “the Iraqis are very upset that we’re over there. The Iraqis resist the American occupation. The Iraqis feel we don’t belong there.” And this is really amazing. I’m listening to “the Iraqis think this,” “the Iraqis feel that,” and I’m thinking, “How do you know?” You hear this type of analysis everyday. You hear, for example, “This is becoming Vietnam all over again. America is in a quagmire,” and so on. Think about this. First of all, in Vietnam there were a million men on the other side. Iraq is a little different. In Iraq you’ve got three groups. You’ve got the Shia, who are the majority (60 percent). You’ve got the Kurds, who are a minority (20 percent). You’ve got the Sunnis, a minority (20 percent). The insurgency by consensus is derived entirely from group number three, the Sunnis. The insurgency is not 20 percent; it’s a sliver of 20 percent. On the other side, you have the Kurds, who are openly and almost embarrassingly pro-American. You’ve got the Shia who I would describe as tactically pro-American. I don’t mean that they are pro-American by enthusiastic sentiment, but they’re pro-American because we put them in power. So here you have a war, the insurgents are pulling from 20 percent. You’ve got the Kurds and the Shia de facto on our side. Add to this American wealth, American technology, American military training, and American prowess. I mean, who’s going to win the war in Iraq? I submit you don’t have to be a West Point strategist to see there is no way for America, militarily, to lose that war. Now, having said this statement I retract it in one small but important respect. I think that there is one way for us to lose the war and that is to lose it in the American mind. Military strategists from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz will tell us that force or strength is the product of resources times will. All the force in the world is useless if you don’t have the will. Recently Bin Laden’s deputy, Al-Zawahiri, issued a very arrogant statement: “Mr. Bush, send the whole military. The dogs of Iraq are waiting to lick their bodies” – something of that nature. What is the meaning of that statement? To me, it implies the smell of victory. The insurgents think they are winning and they are kind of winning. But they’re winning not because they are trouncing the American military on the streets of Baghdad. They are winning because they don’t have to do that; they just have to hang in there a little longer. Why? Because they know there’s this big debate going on in America. And they know even more that besides the legendary impatience of the American people, there is a faction in America, once marginal but now whispering daily into the ears of people like Pelosi and Murtha and Rangel and Kennedy saying “let’s get out.” So powerful is this Left that it now has the Democratic presidential candidates in a competition to see who can do the most and the quickest to thwart and trip and block Bush’s War on Terror. One guy says, “I’ll shut down Guantanamo Bay.” Another says, “I’ll cut off the funding. I’ll block the surge.” Another says, “I’ll withdraw all the troops.” And finally, Hillary said, “I’ll make sure the Iraq war is done.” Done in what way? We get out? And if the American military plus the Iraqi government has its hands full with the insurgents, it’s a pretty safe bet what would happen if the American protective hand is withdrawn. Now again, this is not Vietnam. The Iraqi insurgents have already said, “We want to control Iraq.” Let’s remember that Islamic radicalism for a generation has had so far only one major state, Iran. But Iran is a freak state. By that I mean Iran – the Iranians are Persian in a world that is largely Arab. They are Shia in a Muslim world that’s largely Sunni. The Khomeini revolution was inexportable; although Khomeini wanted it to go global, it never did. The Iraqi insurgents are determined that a second major state fall into their hands, ideally to establish a Sunni model for the vast majority of Muslims in the world. And they’ve already said that if they get Iraq, their next targets will be Egypt and Saudi Arabia. So my point is that for the foreseeable future, we’re dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Not only our economic welfare, but our basic security is at stake. In this sense, the Left is the enemy at home. What I mean is that the Left is doing work that the Iraqi insurgents need done but can’t do themselves. There’s absolutely no way Bin Laden could persuade America to withdraw from Iraq, but to his unbelievable good fortune, there is a huge powerful group in America lobbying for exactly that outcome. That’s my point. In a sense, the Left and the radical Muslims, although they have completely opposite agendas; they want to live in two very different kinds of societies. The radical Muslims want Sharia, and the Left wants the permissive society; however, they share a common imperative: to defeat Bush in Iraq. The Left would like to hang Iraq, make it a millstone around Bush’s neck. And so, the Left and the radical Muslims are operating like the two prongs of a scissors. They don’t talk to each other. They don’t conspire. However, they work independently toward the same goal. In a way, the radical Muslims supply the terror and the Left invokes it and uses it to demoralize the American people, saying, “It’s just not worth it; let’s just move out of there.” So, as conservatives – I will end on this note, perhaps. The Bush administration has been fighting – whether it knows it or not – two wars: There is a military war against an enemy abroad, and there is a political war against an enemy at home. As I said when I first wrote this book, the Left was not in power but now its presence is palpable. And so, in a sense, this has moved the Iraq war, one may say, into a terminal ultimate stage. I think in this book I am questioning a lot of orthodoxies not just on the Left, but also a few on the Right. But if you think about it, the reason I think we need this debate is that our conservative strategy of the past five years has not been working all that well. This strategy I would summarize as basically attempting to convince liberals that radical Muslims don’t really like you. The idea is that if the liberal only realized this, the scales would fall from his eyes; he would jump on the bandwagon, and we would have a unified War on Terror. I ask you, has this strategy produced a single convert to date? If not, it’s time to open up the debate. It’s time to think of some new strategies. Ultimately it’s up to people in this room, people like us, to make the difference. I want to end with that slogan from the ’60s, “If not now, when? If not us, who?”Thank you very much.
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The Religious Left vs. “Demonic” America
By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 13, 2007
Mainline American Protestantism, when its elites were still theologically orthodox, viewed the
United States as a providential instrument for prosperity and freedom. But after its elites abandoned traditional Christianity for a plethora of radical ideologies, it discovered that
America is actually “demonic.” The recently published “American Empire and the
God” vividly illustrates the cosmological hatred that mainline Protestant elites, especially in academia, now reserve for their country. “Empire” is a project of the Presbyterian Church (USA) publishing house, Westminster John Knox Press.
Authored by three Methodist theologians, with help from a Jewish professor of law from Princeton, “American Empire” asserts that the
United States is the “primary threat to the survival of the human species (along with that of may other species as well).” At least one of the authors argued that America is worse than Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and all four writers rejoiced in resistance to the “empire,” whether it is from communist
Cuba, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, or various Islamic dictatorships.
Ultimately, the authors believed, the only effective restraint to the American “fascist” empire is a world government. The three theologians, with seeming sympathy from the Jewish law professor, rejected traditional Jewish and Christian concepts of an omnipotent God. Instead, they advocated a “process theology,” in which the deity is constantly evolving in reaction to human and natural events.
Not surprisingly, the authors of “Empire” faulted the supposed oppressions of the American imperial project on traditional Judaism and Christianity, which rely on the Bible’s supposedly dangerous notions of God as King and Lord. The authors’ brand of “process” religion depends on liberation theology, feminist theology, and eco-theology, they gladly acknowledged.
How else can the American Empire be stopped, unless God is reinvented, the authors grumbled.
“A theology of omnipotence electrifies the halo of American domination,” fretted author Catherine Keller, a theologian at
University’s seminary in
New Jersey. “Might it be the very doctrine of divine omnipotence that charges the halo with its holy electricity?” she wondered.
Unfortunately, “even many thoughtful people assume that faith requires some big guy in the sky,” Keller complained. But more preferably, she opined that “God is called upon not as a unilateral superpower but as a relational force, not an omnipotent creator from nothing, imposing order upon inert entities, but the lure to a self-organizing complexity…”
Similarly, fellow “Empire” author John Cobb, a celebrated process theologian at Claremont School of Theology in
California, excoriated the mindless Christians who “worship a cosmic ruler who came to earth to save them and sanction their country.” More intelligent Christians, like the dwindling numbers of students at radical seminaries, will look to the “actual message of Jesus” and help reverse the “headlong plunge of our nation into the lust for world domination.”
Of course, George W. Bush, who once named Jesus as his “favorite philosopher, is among these thoughtless Christians, Cobb readily asserted. But the process theologian is non-partisan in his contempt for
America. He warned that the “goals of the dominant faction in the Democratic party are not so different from those of the Republicans.” The only difference is that Democrats will pursue “multilateral methods” that make “American hegemony more acceptable and secure greater support from others,” which helps to reduce the costs of empire.
Princeton professor of law Richard Falk easily agreed with Cobb, noting the absence of any “mainstream alternative” in either political party to the “fascist implications” of the Bush-Cheney worldview. The epithet “global fascism” applies with equal validity to the extremism of jihadists and the proponents of American empire,” Falk equitably concluded. Llikewise, the mainstream media in the
U.S. is untroubled by “the national readiness to commit mass suicide and engage in terrorism on a grand scale.”
“Terrorism” is natural for the American hegemon, observed author David Ray Griffin, a professor at Claremont School of Theology and a 9-11 conspiracist who believes the Bush Administration, and not al Qaeda, blew up the
Center and torched the Pentagon. After all, American history is rooted in the “extermination” of about ten million Native Americans and another ten million African slaves. Its blood thurst still unsated, the
United States, as fascist lord of “global apartheid,” now murders about 150 million citizens of the planet every decade, making it far more genocidal than any other tyranny in world history. Characteristic of his careful scholarship, Griffin derived these figures from his assumption that ALL deaths everywhere relating to poverty are the responsibility of the
America’s ongoing global genocide might get worse. The human race is on a “trajectory towards self-annihilation through human-caused climate change,” which naturally is made in
America. But all is not gloom and doom for these troubled theologians. They see in Jesus the antidote to American fascism.
Griffin rejected the central Christian idea that Jesus bodily rose from the dead, which was actually a doctrine that the church contrived decades after Jesus’ death. Instead, Jesus had a spiritual “resurrection” over the demonic power of the
Similarly, this Jesus, who is now recognizable as a feminist eco-theologian, will motivate a new generation of faithful apostles to rally against
America’s global fascist empire. “For Christians in this country to denounce and work against the America empire will, of course, require courage, because we may be subjected to one of the many contemporary forms of crucifixion,” Griffin nonetheless warned. “It is good, therefore, that we have our resurrection faith.” Except this “resurrection” is, for
Griffin, not a real thing, but merely a helpful political metaphor.
“The American Empire and the
God” was being sold by the United Methodist Publishing House at an annual Methodist Congress on Evangelism that I attended last month. But the book seemed to be untouched by the hundreds of Methodist evangelists and pastors streaming by, who were more attentive to the conference’s simplistic Gospel preachers. These naïfs, evidently lacking enlightenment, spoke of a bodily resurrection rather than the “resurrection” into eco-feminist consciousness for which Griffin et al hope.
This begged the question. If theologians write a book, and almost nobody reads it, did the book really happen? Likewise, religious Americans are largely tuning out the tired voices of 1960’s era protest religion, with its endless harangues, indecipherable conspiracies and self-contempt. Mainline Protestant elites may have collapsed into insensibility. But their audience has thankfully moved on to better performances.
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