Americans Are Not Scared Enough

Our thoughts and prayers are with Tony Snow

Our thoughts and prayers are with Tony Snow

John B. Dwyer
A lot of us have been deeply upset about the horrible news that Tony Snow’s cancer has spread to his liver.  Tony is a rare human being, one of our family.  We love him as a brother. After all he’s been through, we empathize with his family more than anything else.  Theirs is a strength that is invincible.  To that powerful, sustaining love we add our fervent, our heartfelt prayers that Tony Snow makes a full recovery. 

Good wishes can be sent to Tony at the White House website. comments@whitehouse.gov

Obama, the cynical poseur

Obama, the cynical poseur

Thomas Lifson
 Barack Obama, who poses as an enemy of cynicism, is outdoing even Hillary in his cynical use of lobbyists, as detailed in this article in The Hill, reported by Alexander Bolton.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is benefiting from the support of well-connected Washington lobbyists even though he has prohibited his campaign from accepting contributions from them and political action committees (PACs).

While Obama has decried the influence of special interests in Washington, the reality is that many of the most talented and experienced political operatives in his party are lobbyists, and he needs their help.

Mike Williams, the director of government relations at Credit Suisse Securities, said of the network of lobbyists supporting Obama: “I would imagine that it’s as large as the Clinton list,” in reference to rival presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who is an entrenched favorite of the Washington Democratic establishment.

He said that while lobbyists cannot give money to Obama, they can give “policy” and “campaign support.” Indeed, K Street denizens have rare policy and national campaign expertise.

In other words, Obama wants to reap financial and other rewards from association with big lobbyists, but he doesn’t want anyone to know that he is less than pure on this issue.

Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton said the senator knows that it is impossible to completely escape the influence of Washington’s establishment, but that rejecting lobbyists’ money is an important gesture.

“Senator Obama said when he set out this policy that it doesn’t solve the problem of money in politics but it is a sign and symbolic step in the right direction,” said Burton. “It’s not going to stop the sway that money has over policies or that special interests have over legislation, but it indicates the type of administration Obama would have if elected.”

Gestures and symbolic steps, but somehow or other the money will get to him.

One of the lobbyists, who supports Clinton, said that Shomik Dutta, a fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, called to ask if the lobbyist’s wife would be interested in making a political contribution.

“I was quite taken aback,” he said. “He was very direct in saying that you’re a lobbyist and we don’t want contributions from lobbyists. But your wife can contribute and we like your network.”

U.S. says most Iraq bombers via Syria: ‘It has to stop’

U.S. says most Iraq bombers via Syria: ‘It has to stop’

Absolutely, but where is the political will to hold Syria to account? The deterrent posed by having the world’s strongest and most advanced military is attenuated by the fact that U.S. military assets are stretched thin under the burden of holding together Iraq, a country with no inherent unity. Absent that, the U.S. would not only regain the deterrent power of being more ready, willing, and able, to address global threats, but Syria’s Alawite regime (categorized as a Shi’ite group, but well removed from the mainstream) would find itself occupied with a Sunni-Shi’ite jihad next door that would embolden its own Sunni majority population against its enemies both across and within the border, leaving Damascus much less able to threaten Israel and do the bidding of Iran.

From the World Tribune:

WASHINGTON — A U.S. State Dept. official said about 90 percent of the suicide attackers in Iraq came from Syria.

“It has to stop,” said David Satterfield, the chief State Department adviser on Iraq. Officials said that despite numerous appeals, Syria has failed to stop the flow of Sunni suicide bombers to Iraq. They said the lion’s share of suicide bombers were foreign Arab nationals who entered Syria and made their way to Iraq.

“They [suicide bombers] see Syria as a more accommodating country through which to transit across the border to come into Iraq to perpetrate their terror,” Satterfield.

Satterfield said the U.S. intelligence community has assessed that between 85 and 90 percent of suicide bombers in Iraq entered from Syria. In an address to the Washington Institute on March 27, Satterfield said 90 percent of suicide bombers in Iraq were foreigners.

Tiny Minority of Extremists Alert:

Officials said North Africans and Yemenis comprised the largest element among the foreign suicide bombers. But they said Saudi nationals have become an increasing factor in the Sunni insurgency war in Iraq.

In his address, Satterfield again warned Syria to stop the flow of would-be suicide bombers and other insurgents to Iraq. He said Iraq and the United States have sought to stem the flow of insurgents from Syria to Iraq’s Al Anbar province.

“It has to stop,” Satterfield said. “It is not in Syria’s long term interests to let this violence continue. We and the Iraqi security forces have done our best. It is a long, long border.”

Over the last month, the Bush administration has resumed high-level contacts with the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad. Officials said that during the March 10 meeting in Baghdad, the U.S. delegation accused Iran and Syria of interfering in Iraq. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to attend the next meeting that included Syria in April.

“We would hope that the Syrian government understands as well that its rhetoric for a peaceful and stable Iraq has to be matched by actions,” Satterfield said.

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Pakistani Islamic Schools Are Rife With Extremism, Group Says

Stop the presses. By Ed Johnson for Bloomberg:

March 30 (Bloomberg) — President Pervez Musharraf has failed to tackle Islamic extremism in Pakistan’s religious schools, which continue to promote a holy war against the West and foment terrorism, the International Crisis Group said.

Five years after the government pledged a crackdown on the schools, known as madrassas, many still preach a violent ideology and train and dispatch fighters to Afghanistan and Indian-administered Kashmir, the Brussels-based advocacy group, which aims to resolve conflicts, said in a report yesterday.

“The Pakistani government has yet to take any of the overdue and necessary steps to control religious extremism,” the group said. “Musharraf’s periodic declarations of tough action, given in response to international events and pressure, are invariably followed by retreat.”

[…]

The ICG said the government’s “reform program is in shambles” and that banned extremist groups continue to operate openly in Pakistan, particularly in the port city of Karachi.

The group called on the government to introduce a law that “bars jihadi and violent sectarian teachings” in madrassas and close schools that fail to comply. Many madrassas remain unregistered and government attempts to introduce non-religious classes have been futile, according to the report.

A law that “bars jihadi and violent sectarian teachings” is highly unlikely, as Islamic teachings on jihad are part of the standard Pakistani curriculum, and are not at all limited to the notion of an “inner spiritual struggle.”

The group recommended the government establish financial controls on the schools, to establish where they receive funding. Students should also be registered, the group said. Certificates issued by the schools shouldn’t be treated as the equivalent of university degrees to encourage participation in mainstream education, it added.

Indeed.

Minnesota Sharia and the Silence of the Left

Minnesota Sharia and the Silence of the Left
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 30, 2007

Here’s a Prairie Home Companion episode you’ll never hear: 

It’s been a quiet week here at Lake Wobegon. Aunt Tillie had to cut short her big vacation in
Paris – she got caught in a riot at the train station and you’ll never believe it, she got tear-gassed. She’s all right, but you can imagine the mood she was in when she arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Poor thing, she went straight to a duty-free shop and bought a big bottle of Merlot.

 

After that, believe it or not, it got even worse. The airport cab driver told her, “You can’t bring that wine into my taxi!” He said it was against his religion. Cab after cab, and they all refused to carry Tillie and her Merlot. Poor Tillie was so distraught, she didn’t know what to do. She paced around on the sidewalk for awhile, and then decided to call Uncle Pete on his cell phone. Pete was with Uncle Fred at Target, but they were held up – Pete was buying a frozen pepperoni pizza for dinner, but the checkout girl refused to ring it up! You’ll never believe this, but she said it was against her religion too! Well, when Pete got Tillie’s call, he just left the pizza, told Fred and his seeing-eye dog to come along, and caught the first bus for the airport.

 

By the time they got there, Tillie was in a state, let me tell you. Pete took her aside and explained to her, very quietly, that all she had to do was put the Merlot in her suitcase. Then the cab driver would be none the wiser. Tillie did as he directed, and she and Pete got into the cab line with Fred and his seeing-eye dog. Well, let me tell you, I wouldn’t have liked to have seen the look on Pete’s face when the cab drivers told him, one after the other, that they wouldn’t carry Fred’s dog either. They explained to them that he was blind and that Checkers was a seeing-eye dog, but they didn’t care.

 

Now they were in a real fix. But luckily, Mrs. Hanson’s son came along – remember Ted Hanson, the traveling salesman? He was just heading out of the airport with his girlfriend – you know, old Farmer Johnson’s daughter — and he ran into Tillie and Pete pacing around on the sidewalk. He got them all, the dog too, into his SUV and drove them home. And boy, did he have a story to tell! It seems that he was flying out of
Minneapolis a few months ago, and there were some men on the plane acting, well, you know, suspicious. They asked for seatbelt extensions, and then they didn’t hook them on. Instead, they put them under their seats. They also changed their seats so that a couple of them were sitting by all the entry and exit points of the plane. And they were praying, very loudly – as if they wanted people to notice them, you know? Well, they got their wish. Several passengers – Ted included – notified the flight attendants, and pretty soon these imams were off the plane. It’s a long story, but it turns out that the men who were taken off the plane were Islamic imams, and they’re suing. They say they were victims of discrimination, that they were taken off the plane because they’re Muslims. And Ted says they’re not just suing the airline – they’re suing him, and the other people who complained. I don’t mind telling you, there ought to be a law against that.

 

And come to think of it, there ought to be a law against all the rest of it too. Now, I am not as funny as that graying Leftist Garrison Keillor, but then again, none of this is really a laughing matter anyway. For some reason, Minnesota, the most consistently liberal of all the heartland states, has lately become a hotbed of Sharia agitation in the United States. The first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, is from
Minnesota. It should not be forgotten that he addressed a banquet held by the Council on American Islamic Relations, which is deeply involved with the suit against the airline and passengers, two days before the Flying Imams were bounced from their flight, and met with Omar Shahin, the leader of the Flying Imams, the day before. Now in Minnesota we see Muslim cabdrivers discriminating against passengers and Muslim store employees discriminating against customers, and none of the state’s Leftist establishment says a thing. Where they fought and bled with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement to end racial discrimination, apparently religious discrimination is just fine with them.

 

Apparently the Left in
Minnesota, as elsewhere, can’t see beyond their all-consuming hatred of George Bush to realize how they themselves will be victimized by their new friends if those friends get the upper hand they are now so openly seeking in
Minnesota.

Where have you gone, Garrison Keillor? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, and asks you and other Minnesota liberals to stop trying to tolerate the intolerable. You might do better to remember the words of another famous native son: “don’t hate nothing at all except hatred.”

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Minnesota Sharia and the Silence of the Left

Minnesota Sharia and the Silence of the Left
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 30, 2007

Here’s a Prairie Home Companion episode you’ll never hear: 

It’s been a quiet week here at Lake Wobegon. Aunt Tillie had to cut short her big vacation in
Paris – she got caught in a riot at the train station and you’ll never believe it, she got tear-gassed. She’s all right, but you can imagine the mood she was in when she arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Poor thing, she went straight to a duty-free shop and bought a big bottle of Merlot.

 

After that, believe it or not, it got even worse. The airport cab driver told her, “You can’t bring that wine into my taxi!” He said it was against his religion. Cab after cab, and they all refused to carry Tillie and her Merlot. Poor Tillie was so distraught, she didn’t know what to do. She paced around on the sidewalk for awhile, and then decided to call Uncle Pete on his cell phone. Pete was with Uncle Fred at Target, but they were held up – Pete was buying a frozen pepperoni pizza for dinner, but the checkout girl refused to ring it up! You’ll never believe this, but she said it was against her religion too! Well, when Pete got Tillie’s call, he just left the pizza, told Fred and his seeing-eye dog to come along, and caught the first bus for the airport.

 

By the time they got there, Tillie was in a state, let me tell you. Pete took her aside and explained to her, very quietly, that all she had to do was put the Merlot in her suitcase. Then the cab driver would be none the wiser. Tillie did as he directed, and she and Pete got into the cab line with Fred and his seeing-eye dog. Well, let me tell you, I wouldn’t have liked to have seen the look on Pete’s face when the cab drivers told him, one after the other, that they wouldn’t carry Fred’s dog either. They explained to them that he was blind and that Checkers was a seeing-eye dog, but they didn’t care.

 

Now they were in a real fix. But luckily, Mrs. Hanson’s son came along – remember Ted Hanson, the traveling salesman? He was just heading out of the airport with his girlfriend – you know, old Farmer Johnson’s daughter — and he ran into Tillie and Pete pacing around on the sidewalk. He got them all, the dog too, into his SUV and drove them home. And boy, did he have a story to tell! It seems that he was flying out of
Minneapolis a few months ago, and there were some men on the plane acting, well, you know, suspicious. They asked for seatbelt extensions, and then they didn’t hook them on. Instead, they put them under their seats. They also changed their seats so that a couple of them were sitting by all the entry and exit points of the plane. And they were praying, very loudly – as if they wanted people to notice them, you know? Well, they got their wish. Several passengers – Ted included – notified the flight attendants, and pretty soon these imams were off the plane. It’s a long story, but it turns out that the men who were taken off the plane were Islamic imams, and they’re suing. They say they were victims of discrimination, that they were taken off the plane because they’re Muslims. And Ted says they’re not just suing the airline – they’re suing him, and the other people who complained. I don’t mind telling you, there ought to be a law against that.

 

And come to think of it, there ought to be a law against all the rest of it too. Now, I am not as funny as that graying Leftist Garrison Keillor, but then again, none of this is really a laughing matter anyway. For some reason, Minnesota, the most consistently liberal of all the heartland states, has lately become a hotbed of Sharia agitation in the United States. The first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, is from
Minnesota. It should not be forgotten that he addressed a banquet held by the Council on American Islamic Relations, which is deeply involved with the suit against the airline and passengers, two days before the Flying Imams were bounced from their flight, and met with Omar Shahin, the leader of the Flying Imams, the day before. Now in Minnesota we see Muslim cabdrivers discriminating against passengers and Muslim store employees discriminating against customers, and none of the state’s Leftist establishment says a thing. Where they fought and bled with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement to end racial discrimination, apparently religious discrimination is just fine with them.

 

Apparently the Left in
Minnesota, as elsewhere, can’t see beyond their all-consuming hatred of George Bush to realize how they themselves will be victimized by their new friends if those friends get the upper hand they are now so openly seeking in
Minnesota.

Where have you gone, Garrison Keillor? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, and asks you and other Minnesota liberals to stop trying to tolerate the intolerable. You might do better to remember the words of another famous native son: “don’t hate nothing at all except hatred.”

Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.

The Next War?

The Next War?
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 30, 2007

The capture by
Iran of fifteen British sailors and marines while they were inspecting a trading dhow in international waters for smuggled goods could be the spark that ignites the next war.
Whether that happens or not will not depend on us, or on the Brits. It will depend on President Ahmadinejad, his backers in
Tehran, and
Iran’s Supreme Leader. 

Clearly, Ahmadinejad and his supporters have been planning this sort of thing for some time.  

One week before the kidnapping of the British hostages, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards weekly newspaper, Sobh-e Sadeq, published these incendiary remarks from Reza Fakr, a writer said to have close links to Ahmadinejad:

 

“We’ve got the ability to capture a nice bunch of blue-eyed blond-haired officers and feed them to our fighting cocks.
Iran has enough people who can reach the heart of
Europe and kidnap Americans and Israelis.” 

At the time, the Revolutionary Guards were seeking to ”retaliate” for moves by multinational forces in Iraq to crackdown on Iranian intelligence networks in Iraq, including the capture of five Iranian intelligence operatives in Irbil on the night of Jan. 10-11, 2007. 

But they had already exacted tit-for-tat retribution in the attack on
Karbala on January 20, when what now appears to have been an Iranian snatch team posing as American security guards kidnapped five
U.S. soldiers inside an Iraqi army base.  

That attack went awry, and the Iranians slaughtered all five Americans instead of taking them hostage.  

My sources in Iran tell me that the IRGC leadership realized it was going to be too hard to go after U.S. forces, given stepped up protection measures the Americans instituted after the Karbala incident. So they sought British targets as a substitute.  

This hostage-taking was no accident. It didn’t just “happen.” It was part of a centrally-planned and organized strategy to step up tension with the West.” 

As we learned on Wednesday, the Iranians most likely sent their snatch teams into international waters where the Brits were conducting maritime inspections to catch smugglers. In fact, the initial GPS coordinates the Iranians themselves released showed that they captured the Brits 1.7 miles beyond their territorial waters. Then conveniently “altered” those GPS coordinates in subsequent communications with the British government.

 So what can the Iranians possibly hope to gain? Are they miscalculating? Do they simply believe that Tony Blair is a “wimp” and won’t respond? That they can tweak the noses of the Brits, perhaps even compel them to withdraw their forces from
Iraq?  

This is what I heard earlier this week from an eminent, former CIA analyst of
Iraq at a forum on Iranian policy sponsored by the Center for Naval Analysis.  

Judith Yaphe believes the Iranians are “rational” and calculating, but may have “over-reached.” (She also believes that
Iran is seeking a stable, unified, but weak
Iraq, something that simply defies the facts).  

Yaphe “advised” the Baker-Hamilton commission – no surprise there. She has been consistently wrong on everything involving her area of expertise for over twenty years. Her views tend to parrot those of the Saudis and the Jordanians, who have shown little insight into the psychology or eschatology of
Iran’s current leaders. 

A far better interpretation was offered by the CNA’s own Alireza Nader. He believes the Iranian hostage-taking was “
Iran’s way of saying, don’t mess with us, because we can mess with you.” He also noted that it was timed just the day before the March 24 vote at the UN Security Council on the latest sanctions resolution on
Iran.  

But instead of convincing the Brits to walk away from the UN Security Council resolution, the Iranian regime’s actions only hardened
Britain’s resolve. 

So what’s happening here? How could the Iranians be so stupid as to miscalculate so totally the Western response? 

The answer, of course, is that Ahmadinejad and his supporters don’t think as Westerners think. They aren’t making cost-benefit analyses. They aren’t looking at their “bottom line.” 

The only bottom line that counts for them is the perpetuation of their regime. They believe that by attacking
Britain and
America they can rally their supporters, rally the faithful beyond
Iran, and launch their worldwide jihad to “destroy
America” and “wipe
Israel of the face of the earth” – the two goals Ahmadinejad set for his presidency. 

In the April issue of Newsmax magazine, which will be on newsstands next week, I run through a detailed, blow-by-blow scenario of what a six-day military confrontation with
Iran could look like. 

One thing is very clear: the spark that could ignite such a confrontation could come from any number of different sources. 

It could be a kidnapping such as this one. It could be an attack on a
U.S. warship by
Iran, using its Russian and Chinese-supplied bottom-tethered sea mines. Or it could be something completely different.

But what’s clear is this: Ahmadinejad and his faction want war. They believe that war with the West is their ticket to victory.  

Even if they lose large portions of their country, or if their nuclear sites are destroyed, they believe that they will emerge victorious. Because in their eyes, this type of war with the West will hasten the return of the Imam Mahdi, the savior figure of the radical hojjatieh sect of Shia Islam in which Ahmadinejad and his faction believe. 

But don’t make the mistake some have made in placing all your bets on Ahmadinejad. If somehow the U.S were able to wave a magic wand and get rid of him overnight, we would still be facing a security and political establishment in
Iran that is devoted to confrontation with the West, and to the destruction of
Israel. 

Don’t forget that it was Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the “moderate” former president of the Islamic Republic, who first evoked publicly the possibility of a nuclear weapons exchange with
Israel. I quote him in my book, Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran.  

“The use of an atomic bomb against
Israel would destroy
Israel completely, while [the same][against [
Iran] would only cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable,” Rafsanjani said in a sermon at

Tehran
University on Dec. 14, 2001. 

Decoded, the message is chilling.
Iran has no fear of an Israeli nuclear attack, because
Iran is a vast country, with deep underground bunkers for its leadership, and clandestine nuclear sites that most likely are not on anyone’s target list. If the Israelis were to attack, or to respond to an Iranian nuclear attack,
Iran will suffer great losses. But
Israel will cease to exist. 

Such is the calculus of a “moderate” leader of
Iran’s Islamic “Republic.” 

But the Iranian regime does not believe it will fight for its survival in
Iran alone. Over the past nine months, since Hezbollah’s infrastructure in
Lebanon was devastated by Israeli air strikes last summer (after Hezbollah’s unprovoked attack on
Israel), the Iranians have been shipping massive quantities of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in preparation for the coming war. 


Iran’s clerical leaders and Ahmadinejad believe that they actually defeated
Israel last summer during
Iran’s first proxy war with Israel. And that they can do even greater damage in the next war, which could come next month, this summer, or next year. 

Arieh Eldad, a leader of the opposition National Union Party in Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament, told me this week while on a trip to the United States that he is convinced there is “no way to avoid the next war” in Lebanon. 

He sees the massive rearmament of Hezbollah by
Iran, with Syrian assistance, as clear evidence of
Iran’s strategy to launch another war against
Israel. “Hezbollah is becoming stronger every day,” he said. 

Eldad believes
Israel must “neutralize Hamas, Hezbollah, and
Syria as a preliminary step, or we will not be able to engage
Iran.” 

By “engaging”
Iran he does not mean economic or diplomatic “engagement,” as the State Department might use the term. He is talking about having
Israel’s military take out Iranian nuclear and missile sites. 

Now that’s engagement. 

Dr. Eldad is a plastic surgeon who headed the burns unit at Hadassah hospital for twenty years. He has personally treated Palestinian suicide bombers, only to see them come back after their treatment with bombs strapped to their chests to blow themselves up in the very hospital that saved their lives. 

The foes that oppose
Israel and
America do not reason as we do, he says. “When states have missions that are bigger than life, they are not obeying the basic rules of logic that Western civilization obeys.” 

He believes the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a state,  is following the same logic as a suicide bomber. “If the goal is to kill the Big Satan [
America] or the Small Satan [
Israel], then your own life is not to be considered under their logic,” he told me. “The Iranian regime is willing to sacrifice millions and millions of their own people to defeat the  Big Satan and the Small Satan.” 

Because of this, we need to understand that
Tehran regime will not comply with sanctions, and does not care about sanctions. “It’s just not the same logic,” he said. 

Dr. Eldad’s fear is that
Israel will be “left alone” and have to confront a nuclear
Iran. And if that day arrives, he warns, “the world should know that we will be ready to destroy the nuclear infrastructure of
Iran at whatever the cost it takes.” 

“That means we will be ready to use unconventional weapons, because conventional weapons will not be enough,” he added. 

These are stakes.  

A seemingly simple hostage-taking could be how this begins. A series of mushroom clouds could be how it ends. 

In the meantime, the
U.S. is conducting naval and air exercises in the
Persian Gulf with two carrier battle groups. The message to
Iran, one administration official told me yesterday, was clear: Don’t make any false moves.

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