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Tuesday, September 07, 2004


leaving the archives behind for now . . . .

"We thank Gd we are here in Israel"

Jerusalem Post: Flipping channels in her Bat Yam home, Natalia Cheldaev saw the school her daughter Vilena had left just five months earlier when the family immigrated from Beslan, Russia. Confronted with horrifying images of the school held hostage by terrorists and the faces of people she knew, she reached for the phone.

"I immediately tried calling my former neighbors, but no one was answering," she said. "I found out that building was cleared out by special forces since it is next to the school."

The special forces might have left, but that doesn't mean the residents have returned.

"Our apartment building is all empty now," Cheldaev said, listing those who perished in the tragedy, including her best friend and her son, who had been Vilena's best friend.

"All those people who were seeing us off, half of them are now dead," she continued. "I still cannot comprehend what has happened."

Neither has her daughter, who has been told that the friends she asks about are wounded and in the hospital. "So many of her friends are dead. She won't be able to handle it."

If the family had remained in Beslan, 10-year-old Vilena would have been at School No. 1 when the terrorists took the students hostage.

"We thank God we are here in Israel," her mother said.

IAF hits Hamas training camp in Gaza

Fourteen Hamas terrorists were killed when IAF aircraft bombed an Izzadin al-Kassam training facility near Jebalya in Gaza. More than 30 Hamas members were injured in the attack. In response, Hamas fired five Kassam rockets towards southern Israel Tuesday. One landed near the electrical power station in Ashkelon and another one near Sderot, lightly injuring one man. (Maariv International)

The IAF targeted a soccer field used as a Hamas training camp at night, where members gather to prepare bombs and carry out shooting exercises. According to Palestinian reports, all those killed and wounded were members of the Hamas military wing. (Jerusalem Post)

Most Excellent Mark Steyn

in the Telegraph (UK)
. . . .

The new conventional wisdom is that it was the sheer meanness of the Republicans that earned them the bounce, and so Kerry's hitting back saying he's not going to be criticised by a President and Vice-President who weren't in Vietnam. If you didn't serve in Vietnam, you can't criticise John Kerry. On the other hand, if you did serve in Vietnam and you criticise John Kerry, that just means you're a "Republican smear artist". Either way, don't criticise John Kerry, because, if you do, he'll spend his next 10 campaign rallies droning on about how he's not going to take criticism.

The Kerry campaign is a bore that's degenerating into a laughing stock.

"Bush-despising" is no doubt very comforting to McCrum's beleaguered literati but in the end it's little more than snobbery - fine for cocktail condescension but utterly inadequate for an election campaign. You can't beat something with nothing, and Kerry is about as spectacular a nothing as you could devise - a thin-skinned whiny vanity candidate who persists in deluding himself that Bush's advantage is all down to "smears" and "lies" and "mean" "attacks". It's not.

Bush's something is very simple: his view of the war on terror resonates with a majority of the American people; when he talks about 9/11 and the aftermath, they recognise themselves in his words; they trust his strategy on this issue. For an inarticulate man, he communicates a lot more effectively than Senator Nuancy Boy.

. . . .

"This Russian school business works for the Republicans," a Democrat griped to me over the weekend. Alas, it does - because it's a reminder for those who need it that the war on terror isn't some racket cooked up to boost Halliburton profits but a profound challenge to America and the world.

Could what happened in Beslan happen in the US? Two months ago, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on a fellow called Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, a suspected terrorist who'd fought with his fellow jihadi in Chechnya and somehow wound up in Minnesota, where he'd applied for licences to transport hazardous materials and drive school buses.

Absolutely READ IT ALL.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Stolen Honor

a documentary "exposing John Kerry's record of betrayal"
I think Clinton's advice to Kerry to stop talking about Vietnam was great advice, and I would truly rather that era be put back to bed. It seems however, that it cannot; soldiers' nightmares are back to haunt us all.

Apparently, a for-profit Harrisburg, Pennsylvania corporation, Red White & Blue Productions, has produced a documentary called Stolen Honor which
investigates how John Kerry’s actions during the Vietnam era impacted the treatment of American soldiers and POWs. Using John Kerry’s own words, the documentary juxtaposes John Kerry’s actions with the words of veterans who were still in Vietnam when John Kerry was leading the anti-war movement.

Initial funding for the film was provided by Pennsylvania veterans.

President of Red, White and Blue Productions, Inc. is Carlton Sherwood, "a life-long newspaper and television investigative reporter," Pulitzer Prize and Peabody Award winner.

In addition to his investigation, Sherwood has first hand memories of Vietnam as a decorated, thrice-wounded, former Marine who served on Vietnam's DMZ. Sherwood also covered the anti-war movement as a journalist.

I tried to play the sample clips, but my computer wouldn't cooperate.

Is this competition for Farenhate 9/11? I don't know.

Is it sad and potentially divisive? Yes.

Is it really necessary for these vets to speak up now? Apparently.

Most of all, I dread hearing the Democrats' reaction. They don't seem to celebrate and defend freedom of speech when it's something they don't want to hear. What they actually celebrate and defend is Michael Moore's movie itself . . . not the freedom that allowed him to make it.

UK: Woman stabbed to death by man seen reading Koran

Manchester Online via Jihad Watch
A WOMAN was killed and another is fighting for her life after a knifeman went berserk in broad daylight in a Greater Manchester street.

It is believed the woman killed was attacked first by the man, who was carrying what appeared to be a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade and had been seen reading from the Koran.

The victims are not believed to have known their attacker.


Stan at Logic & Sanity has a new url for the aftermath and investigation, "if you want to follow developments as they are reported first from the russian sources."

Here is a smattering of his excellent and deeply-appreciated blogging/translations . . .


270 bodies have been identified.

Over 700+ received medical help.

The official total for the number of hostages is 1,191.

Officials say that many of the wounded were shot in the back as they tried to escape during the rescue operation.


- According to hostages, on the last day of the siege the terrorists did not allow anyone to use the bathroom.

- Some children ate plants that were in the building, because they were so hungry.

- Some children drank their urine, because of thirst.

- According to one of the hostages terrorists raped some older students.

- One hostage is saying that one of the terrorists was "nice", he sat quietly reading Koran and had a beard. "When I asked him if we'll be freed, he said: I don't know guys, I am not in the know".

- Terrorists had a cellphone and would regularly report to someone on the outside.

- Terrorists told children that the tap water was poisoned.

- When the hostages tried to escape as the storming took place they were shot in the back, one of the hostages claims that one of the terrorists who was shooting was smiling as the children were falling.


As I posted before:

323 dead, 156 of those are children.

But it gets even worse. 260 are missing.


According to the residents of Beslan, the real number of dead could be around 600.

I believe this is the biggest body count from a single terror act, after 9/11.


North Osetia's minister of interior, Kazbek Dzantiev, has resigned.


Russian intelligence has information that points to Abu Omar Asef as the chief financier of the terrorist act in Beslan. Abu Omar Asef is a wahabbi and Al Qaeda's representative in Chechnya.


According to German intelligence (as reported in strana.ru), the Arabs who took part in the hostage taking, were Syrian and Jordanian citizens who trained in Afghanistan.


U.S. government has donated $50,000 to the Russian Red Cross.


According to the hostages, the explosives were scotch taped to the basketball hoops inside the gym.They were remote controlled, but ended up going off accidentaly. The scotch tape couldn't hold one of them and it fell, going off in the process, its shock wave knocking down one of the terrorists and setting off another bomb. There was a great deal of casualties from that alone, and ultimately that accident is what caused the raid.

According to utro.ru's repoter, there are about 500 bodies in the morgue. The official number of dead is still at 323.

Unfortunately, I think we are going to see the final death toll somewhere around 600.

UK Times Online (via LGF)

AFTER more than 24 hours in the sweltering heat of the school gymnasium in Beslan, one of the boys trapped inside could not take it any longer. Summoning up his courage, he approached a hostage taker with a bayonet fixed to his assault rifle and asked him for a drink. It was probably the worst error that he could have made.

“Instead of giving him water, he drove his bayonet through the boy’s body,” said Stanislav Tsarakhov, 10, another captive standing nearby. “I don’t know if he died.”

The only terrorist of the group who was caught alive.

According to lenta.ru, the man shown on Channel 1 (Kulov) was of a dark complexion, unshaved and about 30 years of age. He spoke russian with a heavy accent, and during the questioning repeated several times "I swear, I want to live. I swear to Allah, that I did not kill a single woman or a child."

Relatives and neighbors of killed hostages attend the funeral ceremony in the town of Beslan in the province of North Ossetia near Chechnya, September 6, 2004. Flags flew at half-mast across Russia on Monday at the start of national mourning for 338 people killed when Chechen rebels seized a school, while questions mounted over President Vladimir Putin's policies. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Relatives mourn for Madina Sozanova, 11, a hostage killed in Russia's school siege, after her funeral in the town of Beslan, September 6, 2004. Grief-stricken mothers and fathers trudged through mud and rain on Monday to bury children killed in a Russian school siege as criticism mounted over the way the Kremlin handled the crisis. At least 335 people, half of them children, were killed during a bloodbath that ended last week's 53-hour siege of the school by Chechen separatists. REUTERS/Viktor Korotayev

Two girls hug while they stand at the destroyed
school gym in Beslan, North Ossetia. (AFP/Yuri Tutov)

AP: The school seizure came a day after a suicide bombing in Moscow killed 10 people and just over a week after two Russian passenger planes crashed following explosions, killing all 90 people aboard . . .



Naomi Ragen

I have not been able to recover from the terrorist attack in Beslan. Terrorism is not the enemy. Terrorism is a tactic of the enemy. Who, then, is the enemy that fights all those who identify with the civilized world -- the world in which children and their mothers arecherished and protected, even in war? The world in which school buildings, and ambulances, and hospitals, and holy places are respected and left out of armed conflicts as neutral zones? The world in which children are taught to love thy neighbor, even if he is different and follows another religion? A world in which there can be no excuse for wiring a school building with explosives, starving children and shooting them and their mothers in the back when they cry, and finally blowing up the roof over their heads, burying hundreds in rubble?

The enemy is the man who shot Tali Hatuel when she was nine months pregnant and then shot her four little girls in the head at point blank range.

The enemy is the man who blew up elderly Holocaust survivors at their Passover Seder in Netanya.

The enemy is the man who blew up the nightclub in Bali, who laid the bombs on the train tracks in Madrid.

The enemy is the political framework that train this man and rewarded him.

The enemy is the country or countries that financed the political framework.

The enemy is the leader of these countries.

The enemy is the religious leaders of these countries, who did not teach their people right from wrong.

The enemy is the congregations who sat through the hate-mongering sermons.

The enemy is the head of the family who went home and beat his wife, and strapped suicide belts on his sons, and slit the throats of his daughter and sister for supposed violations of the family honor.

The enemy is the child who grows up in such a culture and becomes one of its perpetrators.

The enemy is the Western nations who turn a blind eye, looking to excuse this behavior so it will not have to do anything about it.

The Sunday Telegraph, Le Monde, Neue ZurcherZeitung, Bild, all claiming the problem is that the Russian government has brought this on itself by angering the Chechans. It is the victim who is to blame. Just as Israelis deserve what they get. Tali Hatuel deserved what she got. Her little girls. The little children of Beslan. The only way to stop the murderers of children from murderingis to give into their demands, these newspapers claim.

I disagree. The only way to stop murderers from murdering is todestroy them. And if you say this is impossible, I say: think back sixty years. The Thousand Year Reich is the dust of history. We destroyed their leaders, their governments, their buildings, their youth movements, their philosophy. We destroyed it all. We didn't negotiate. We didn't appease. We didn't try to show them our softer side. We uprooted the evil from mankind, because no negotiations, no fence, no signed agreement, no borders, no words were effective against them.

Long before September 11, I wrote to this list:

If an Israeli grandmother and her grandchild is not safe in a playground, then no grandmother and no grandchild anywhere in the world is safe in a playground.

If the children of Beslan were not safe in their school, then no child and no school is safe anywhere in the world. Until this enemy is destroyed root and branch, without mercy or equivocation.

The breakdown in morality which we witness everyday is finally engulfing us. Those in the Western news media who call armed terrorists, men who wire schools with explosives and murder women and children, "hostage-takers" and "militants" are setting themselves up to mourn their own children.

A generation ago, fifty million people died because the reaction of their governments and their religious leaders and their press came too late. The Neville Chamberlains saw to that. Too late. And for us, who have our Shimon Peres', and our Yossi Beilins, and our Chiracs, and our Kofi Anans, and Michael Moores and John Kerrys, will it also be too late?

For the children of Beslan, the answer is yes. And for your children?

Copyright Naomi Ragen, 2004.

Unbelievable, but you'd better believe it

Islamic cleric supports targeting children
Telegraph (UK) : An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Mohammed said: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack like that in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out acts of terrorism in Iraq."

Mr Mohammed, 44, who lives in Edmonton, north London, but is originally from Syria, also claimed that the Chechen rebels were not responsible for the deaths of more than 350 people - at least half of them children - who are so far known to have died in Beslan."
The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians," he said.

The father of seven came to Britain in 1985 after being deported from Saudi Arabia because of his membership of a banned group. He has since been given leave by the Home Office to remain in Britain for five years but the Government is reviewing his status.

He gave an interview yesterday to promote a "celebratory" conference in London next Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

UPDATE on Conference celebrating 9/11

from MEMRI:

Al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri, a Syrian residing in London, told the paper by phone that the convention would feature Al-Qa'ida "surprises," with the screening of a never-before-shown video. He said that the convention will focus on "the anniversary of the division of the world into two great camps – the camp of faith and the camp of unbelief," and would take place September 11, 2004 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Bakri added: "On this day, we will talk about the ramifications of these [9/11] operations for Afghanistan and Iraq… We want the world to remember this operation … that lifted the head of the [Muslim] nation."

Bakri called 9/11 "a cry of Jihad against unbelief and oppression," and said that the aim of remembering it is to "revive the commandment of Jihad among the youth of the [Muslim] nation."

Bakri said that the convention will also feature a lecture about the Islamic religious roots of "slaughtering the infidels" . . .

John Sasso announces his resignation as the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis in this Sept. 30, 1987, file photo. Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry , D-Mass., named Sasso, a longtime ally and Boston operative, to a newly created position at the Democratic National Committee to give Kerry control of the party without upsetting its current leadership structure. (AP Photo/File) AP - Sep 05 11:53 AM

Story at CNN.

Also see this in today's New York Times: Kerry Enlisting Clinton Aides

Former President Bill Clinton, in a 90-minute telephone conversation from his hospital room, offered John Kerry detailed advice on Saturday night on how to reinvigorate his candidacy . . . . In an expansive conversation, Mr. Clinton, who is awaiting heart surgery, told Mr. Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam . . .

This appeared Saturday in pan-Arabic newspaper al Sharq al Awsat

The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims

by Abdulrahamn al Rashed, general manager of the al Arabiya news channel
reprinted in the Telegraph (UK):

It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

The hostage-takers of children in Beslan, North Ossetia, were Muslims. The other hostage-takers and subsequent murderers of the Nepalese chefs and workers in Iraq were also Muslims. Those involved in rape and murder in Darfur, Sudan, are Muslims, with other Muslims chosen to be their victims.

Those responsible for the attacks on residential towers in Riyadh and Khobar were Muslims. The two women who crashed two airliners last week were also Muslims.

Bin Laden is a Muslim. The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim.

What a pathetic record. What an abominable "achievement". Does all this tell us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture?

These images, when put together, or taken separately, are shameful and degrading. But let us start with putting an end to a history of denial. Let us acknowledge their reality, instead of denying them and seeking to justify them with sound and fury signifying nothing.

Continue . . .

As Charles said at LGF, keep in mind that the Arab satellite TV channel managed by this author frequently promotes the cause of global jihad. Still, what al Rashed says is nothing short of miraculous, and the moment -however fleeting- should be appreciated.

Beslan is Russia's 9/11: it will change the world

William Rees-Mogg, in the London Times
IN THE past three years, the world has been adjusting to the consequences of 9/11. That one event has dominated American politics and policy. It has divided the Nato alliance, with France and Germany taking one line and the United States and Britain another. In both America and Britain it has been the central issue of political debate. It has been a major influence on the increasingly unstable world market for oil. It has been the crucial event in the growth of Islamic terrorism.

On the day of 9/11, I was asked to write a short piece for The Times, reacting to the event. I thought that the nearest to a comparable date was December 7, 1941, the day of Pearl Harbor, 60 years before. The American people responded to that with an absolute determination to destroy the power which had attacked them. They have done so again. President Roosevelt called it “a date which will live in infamy”. The consequences included the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima; in many ways they persist in influencing the present.

Many other people saw 9/11 in the same way. Clearly we were right. Like Pearl Harbor or the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, 9/11 was one of the days which changed the world. Now we have to ask whether the hostage-taking of the schoolchildren of Beslan on September 1, 2004, the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, was another of these historic tragedies. In Russia, at least, that is how it has already been understood.

Beslan is for the Russians another terrible event which changes everything. It changes many of the major factors of world relations, the future of Russia itself, including the future of the Putin presidency, the war against terrorism, including both Russian and Western relations with Islam, the response to the growing threat of nuclear proliferation, the basic relationship between Russia, Europe and the US, the probable outcome of the American election and possibly even of the next British election, the future of the world oil market, the future of the Middle East, and particularly of Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, even the economic development of the emerging superpower, China.

Beslan is what strategists call “a low-probability, high-impact event”. Potentially it changes everything.

It never takes long

Islamic "scholar" blames Israel for Beslan
AP/China Post - Taiwan: Ali Abdullah, an Islamic scholar in Bahrain who follows the ultraconservative Salafi stream of Islam, condemned the school attack as "un-Islamic," but insisted Muslims weren't behind it.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya," said Abdullah.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Remember Ma'alot

from Wikipedia
The Maalot massacre was a terrorist attack in Maalot, Israel, that occurred on May 15, 1974.

On this date, which corresponds with the 26th anniversary of Israeli independence, Palestinian terrorists broke into the high school in Maalot, a community in northern Israel. The terrorists immediately killed a security guard and some of the children, the remaining children and teachers were held as hostages.

In the morning, the terrorists were identified as members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine who had infiltrated into Israel from Lebanon. They presented their demands: release Arab terrorists from Israeli prisons, or they would kill the children. The deadline was set at 6:00 p.m. the same day.

The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, met in an emergency session, and by 3:00 p.m. a decision was reached to negotiate, but the terrorists refused a request for more time.

At 5:45 p.m., a unit of the elite Golani Brigade stormed the building. All of the terrorists were killed in the assault, but not before they used firearms and explosives to kill 21 children that afternoon. All told, 26 people were killed and 66 wounded (not including the terrorists), including several people murdered by the terrorists on their way to the school the night before.
Todah to Esther Sarah for the reminder.

If the world had said NEVER AGAIN -and meant it- after Ma'alot, where it was just Jews after all, would the siege at Beslan have come to pass?


Sharon called Putin Sunday to voice shock and condolences over the Beslan school disaster and call for concentrated political and intelligence efforts to destroy the scourge of terror.

Russian president sent condolences to the bereaved families of 16 victims of the twin Beersheba Palestinian suicide bombings. Earlier Russian condemned Beersheba terror attacks.

Instapundit finds some good news in StrategyPage

American combat losses continue at a historically low level. Since March, 2003, American troops have suffered 7,900 casualties (including 976 dead.) This is an unprecedented killed to wounded ratio of 1:8. In past wars, the ration had been 1:4 or 1:5.

American combat deaths over the Summer were 42 in June, 54 in July and 66 in August. There are the equivalent of three American combat divisions in Iraq, each running several hundred patrols and other combat operations each day. Never have combat divisions, operating in hostile territory, kept their casualties this low.
He also has a very funny image here.

My daughter's homework

My daughter, new to the sixth grade, is struggling with her first homework assignment. She is to find newpaper articles about each of the three presidential candidates, and from them, summarize the candidates' views on issues.

Do try this at home. All the articles about Nader have to do with whether he is able to get on the ballot in any given state, and all the articles about Kerry have only to do with his criticism of the current administration. I am not exactly a poor Googler, and I seriously can't find one recent article where Kerry's view, not his opposition, on an issue, is explicated.

If this is indeed the most important election of our lifetime, for the position of Unipolar Leader of the Free World, then something is very, very wrong with the way we're going about it.

Google [Kerry + issues], and you will find that U.S. Medicare premiums will increase by $11.60 per month in 2005, and John Kerry is steaming over it. And he's going to ("so help me Gd") "restore fairness and economic sense to the United States of America." Does that count as an issue? For my daughter's sake, I hope so.

What is the fascination with Nazism?

Can anyone make sense of this ?
(from Christopher Buckley Op-Ed in today's New York Times)

". . . . the chant "Four more years!" which on the 100th utterance begins to sound as if Leni Riefenstahl is filming the occasion . . ."


Granted the man is out to ridicule, as he does here:

The Democratic convention left one with a nice Chablis buzz. This convention left one braced and bucked up, with that post-rodeo or Nascar race feeling, seized with the impulse to squirt a cheekful of philosophical tobacco juice onto the Guccis of the nearest economic girlie-man.

Okay, we get it, Democrats are suave and debonair while Republicans are a bunch of stupid, unsophisticated rednecks, or as one of my recent ex-friends said to me, mindless flag-wavers.

But Nazis?

Buckley's agency, the Greater Talent Network, Inc., describes him as "one of the country's leading humorists and satirists," but I don't think he's funny.

Furthermore, I don't see any connection whatsoever, from which to make a joke, between Bush supporters chanting "four more years" and Leni Riefenstahl, whose films glorified Hitler and popularized Nazism. The connection is manufactured. I can only ask, for what possible purpose?

IRAQ: Saddam's No. 2 Arrested

MSNBC News: BAGHDAD - Iraqi and U.S. forces arrested a man believed to be Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the most wanted Saddam Hussein aide still on the run, in a bloody raid in which 70 of his supporters were killed and 80 were captured, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.

He said Arabs from outside Iraq had been among the people protecting the man, who was suffering from leukemia. “He’s in a very deteriorated state of health,” he said.

Target: Children

"Nazis have always made a point of specially targeting children.

The German Nazis went out of their way to murder Jewish children.

The Palestinian nazis make special efforts to target Israeli children.

The Chechen nazis learned from the Palestinians."

-- Steven Plaut

Read Mark Steyn: No other word for it but slaughter:
What happened in one Russian schoolhouse is an abomination that has to be defeated, not merely regretted. But the only guys with any kind of plan are the Bush administration. Last Thursday, the President committed himself yet again to wholesale reform of the Muslim world. This is a dysfunctional region that exports its toxins, to Beslan, Bali and beyond, and is wealthy enough to be able to continue doing so.

You can't turn Saudi Arabia and Yemen into New Hampshire or Sweden (according to taste), but if you could transform them into Singapore or Papua New Guinea or Belize or just about anything else you'd be making an immense improvement. It's a long shot, but, unlike Putin's plan to bomb them Islamists into submission or Chirac's reflexive inclination to buy them off, Bush is at least tackling the "root cause".

If you've got a better idea, let's hear it. Right now, his is the only plan on the table.

Talkin' politics at the gas station

Okay, so it came out at the gas station this morning that I'm a Bush supporter. We've known all these guys for years and they know a lot about our lives, but only this morning did we get into politics. The young manager, who's a helluva nice guy, said he thought we should just take care of our own and not mess about in the world. Not until all of our own people are fed, have medical care and can read. Once we're perfect, he said, then maybe we can help out in the world. Whenever and wherever we do, though, he said, there will be those who oppose us.

I played the Holocaust card: If America hadn't gone in to stop the Nazis, my family might not exist. You should have seen his immediate turnaround: that's different, that's a matter of world domination, every country had a responsibility to stop Hitler.

I would have explained that today it's a matter of world domination, too, but my daughter's competing in a horse show this morning that starts in six minutes, ten minutes away.

Zev Chafets makes the case in today's Daily News: The jihadists' dream is a return to empire. Read it all, and distribute it widely. I'm taking it to the gas station, after the horse show!

Newsweek poll confirms Bush Bounce

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Bush emerged from the Republican National Convention with an 11-point lead over Democrat John Kerry, according to a Newsweek poll released on Saturday, the second straight survey showing him ahead by double digits.

The Newsweek poll of 1,008 adults conducted on Thursday and Friday showed Bush leading Kerry by 52 percent to 41 percent among registered voters, with independent Ralph Nader at 3 percent. The survey had a 4-point margin of error.

That represented a 13-point bounce for Bush since an Aug. 5-10 poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center, Newsweek said. Polls for months had shown Bush and Kerry running neck and neck.

A Time poll released on Friday showed Bush leading Kerry by an identical margin in a three-way race with Nader. . .

Saturday, September 04, 2004

LGF finds "bombshell revelation" -
Saddam almost got a nuke

little green footballs:
A new BBC miniseries has a bombshell revelation, in every sense of the term: shortly before the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein came “within a whisker” of purchasing a complete, off-the-shelf nuclear device from Abdul Qadeer Khan’s Islamic nuclear black market. This ought to be huge news. But it isn’t. It’s a tiny blip in a BBC show mostly about Libya.

There’s no transcript online, but you can listen to the audio here: Dirty Wars.

Arabs want Bush to lose

Is it not a no-brainer, then, for us to want him to win?

from Michael Freund's Opinion in the Jerusalem Post:

  • Cairo University's Prof. Hassan Nafaa in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly (August 12-18 issue): Bush is a "wild eyed zealot" and an "evil fanatic" whose "departure from the Oval Office will mark the beginning of the decline of the forces of extremism and the rise of the forces of moderation."
  • August 4 editorial in the Syria Times: urged Arab-Americans not to make "the very mistake they made in the past when they gave their votes to Bush the Junior" in the 2000 presidential election. . . . a vote for Kerry this time would prove to be "a wise one."
  • July 27, the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, ran a political cartoon depicting an American soldier bleeding to death in Iraq, his final words being, "Don't Vote Bush."
  • June 17 article in the English-language Tehran Times entitled "Pity the Next US President" compared Bush and his neo-conservative advisers to "neo-Nazis" who have created a "stinking heap of a mess" throughout the world. "Kerry," the paper asserts, "is exactly what the US needs right now."

". . . an astonishing 75 percent of US Jews back [Kerry]. . . "

Silly infidels.

A supporter for U.S. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (L)
and a protestor attend a rally for Kerry in Steubenville, Ohio,
September 4, 2004. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. official says capture of bin Laden nearing

Now I know all you cynics out there will immediately conclude that the timing is politically motivated, but you won't be satisfied if bin Laden's not caught, either. For some, no matter what happens, the Bush administration can do no right.
USA Today: ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.

Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months — when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaeda operatives — Black said, "Yes, I would say this."

Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda fugitives would be nabbed.
"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place. "

Surprise. Argentina acquits 5 charged with bombing of Jewish center

Haaretz: BUENOS AIRES - A federal court acquitted five men of charges of being accessories to the July 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center here, the deadliest terrorist attack on Argentine soil, which claimed 85 lives and injured some 300 people.

In a nationally televised verdict, a three-judge panel cleared four former provincial police officers and a former used car salesman accused of supplying the van used in the attack. Judge Miguel Pons read the long-awaited verdict, which cleared the suspects of all major charges after a nearly three-year-long trial - the longest in Argentine history.

The masterminds of the attack were never identified.

Jewish and Argentine officials have charged the community center bombing was linked to Islamic fundamentalists and pro-Iranian terrorists, charges denied by Tehran repeatedly. After failing in efforts to extradite Iranian suspects wanted in the case, investigators have instead focused on what has been called "the local connection."

[This] was the second of two bombings targeting Jews in Argentina during the 1990s. A March 1992 blast destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people in a case that remains unsolved.

IRAQ: al Sadr linked to mass killings

by Rowan Scarborough, in the Washington Times

A U.S. military intelligence report says that followers of radical Shi'ite cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr imprisoned, killed and mutilated Iraqis who opposed his insurrection. American intelligence officers are now investigating in the town of Najaf, the site of Sheik al-Sadr's bloody standoff with coalition forces.

A U.S. military officer told The Washington Times that the command recently acquired photos of 15 to 20 mutilated bodies that appear to be Iraqis lying in a courtyard. A written U.S. intelligence report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, puts the body count much higher, based on an Iraqi informant, some of whose information was confirmed by local police.

The report said that after last week's truce, Iraqi forces moved into buildings held by the radical cleric's Mahdi's Army militia and found the bodies. "Inside the court building, Iraqi police found approximately 200 mutilated bodies taken by the Moqtada militia for speaking out against Moqtada al Sadr," said the intelligence report sent to the Pentagon and stamped "secret."

"Some of the prisoners had eyes and ears drilled out and others had their limbs and heads cut off. Some males had genitals cut off and shoved in their mouths. There was evidence of rape to men, women and children,"

according to the report.

The senior officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the number of bodies found is much less than 200. The source said that while it appears certain that the bodies exist, the circumstances of when and where the people were killed, and by whom, remained unknown yesterday.

"We don't have a complete picture of where they came from," the officer said. "We're trying to uncover what really happened before we are able to release information."

Too long, after all, to post as a comment at Totten's blog

I left a comment at Michael Totten's blog, and later in the thread "David" asked why my husband and I are switching parties after being lifelong Democrats (70 voting years between the two of us). This is my attempt at a short answer.

9/11 and the bombing of a Passover seder in Netanya several months afterward made us wake up with a start and pay attention, and begin to take Muslim terrorism seriously (and personally). It was no longer theoretical or just an "issue" once we realized that our own and our children's lives and safety were at stake.

After years of being knee-jerk liberals who never considered or questioned, but just continued the line of politics we inherited at age 15, we started to investigate, study history and {gasp!} read differing opinions.

The first big shocker was the liberal bias of the media, the second was the inability of our families and friends to respond to change in the world with anything other than the old knee-jerk cliches, and the third has been the devastating revelation that the Left seems not have meant what it used to say. When push comes to shove, it doesn't live up to its supposed ideals. The ideals, the values, are just as theoretical as the "issues."

Liberal rhetoric became anathema to me. Seeing leftists supporting Palestinians as victims (even as they were blowing themselves up to murder innocent Jews), marching in parades wearing keffiyahs, "Free Palestine" signs in every antiwar protest, the re-emergence of swastikas, Nazi and Hitler references and images -- everywhere from campus antiwar protests to Al Gore's speeches . . . the whole thing has been absolutely appalling, and it's been a phenomenon on the Left, not the Right.

I am ashamed to admit that as a reactionary liberal, I "hated" eveything and everybody conservative - Newt Gingrich,Oliver North, Bill Bennett etc.- without ever really knowing what they were about, without ever once really listening to what they had to say. Over a period of a couple of years I became more comfortable with FoxNews than with the New York Times and NPR, both of which I had previously held in The Very Highest Regard. (I still read the Times, but read the Wall Street Journal as well.)

Conservatives simply make more sense to me these days. They seem generally less arrogant and punitive than my home base has become.

Too, we keep getting pushed to the Right by the Left (e.g. Legion's comment, "good riddance"). Democrats talk a good game about tolerance, but in practice their tolerance is quite arbitrary, extended only to those with whom they agree and those whom they see as victims. They seem far better able to tolerate Arab Muslims (who want to do away with Jews and the Jewish state, and Americans and the American state) than fundamentalist Christians. One person actually told me that he feared the Christian Right more than Arab Muslim terrorists. (C'mon, when was the last time American Baptists blew themselves up to murder innocent people?) That kind of thing just doesn't make any sense to me, and what's more, I find it so off base, so far out, that it's alarming.

The liberals I know say worse things about Pres. Bush and Zell Miller than I've ever heard them say about Osama bin Laden, or Arafat! I am sickened to hear Zell Miller described on this thread as "a complete waterhead hack" and "an utterly spent whore." I empathize with Miller's indignation and anger at his own party pulling the rug out from under him, betraying him and his values, abandoning him and his beliefs . . . like Doug Purdie said in the thread, "I feel it too."

I come from ("Mountaineers are always free") WVA, and a lot of the liberal criticism of Zell Miller - about how he looks and talks - is a class and culture thing, and I am repelled by the lack of respect for the unpretentious among us, the rural folk, the "retro."

For me, the left is too far left now, their rhetoric too hyperbolic and inflammatory.

Generally, my old liberal crowd seems misguided (Bush is the real terrorist?),

inconsistent (Kerry's anti-VN-war protests were noble, but Cheney's deferrments are somehow shameful?),

closed-minded (Dissent is patriotic; therefore only dissent is patriotic. except for Zell Miller's.)

arrogant (bumper sticker: "If you can read this, you're not the President"),

morally bankrupt (ANYONE but Bush?)...

Oh yeah, and spineless in their own defense. They would stand up for anyone, save their own. What kind of craziness is that?

In general, I find more authenticity, more courage of conviction and more just plain common sense in conservatives.

So I'm switching over.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I didn't know Jonathan Last had a blog

It's called Galley Slaves and it's about as graphically nondescript as mine. He's sweet, though. Listen to this:
Let's all pray for a speedy recovery for Clinton. I hope that for years to come President Clinton can joke about how, back in 2004, Zell Miller nearly gave him a heart attack.

Hope that makes everyone smile. Good will to all and to all a good night.

Shabbat shalom. at last.

QUIZ: Who said the following?

Warning: for some, this exercise may result in cognitive dissonance

[T]he same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth . . . that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans . . . proud of our ancient heritage -- and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. . . .

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah -- to "undo the heavy burdens . . . and to let the oppressed go free." . .Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe. Now the trumpet summons us again -- a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out . . . .

With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

If you guessed this to be an excerpt from last night's speech by George W. Bush, you're close, but no cigar.

For the answer, follow this link to Jewish Current Issues :)

Bush Gets His Bounce, Opens Double-Digit Lead

TIME.com Press Release: New York - For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

The economy: 47% trust President Bush more to handle the economy, while 45% trust Kerry.

Iraq: 53% trust Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, while 41% trust Kerry.

Terrorism: 57% trust Bush to handle the war on terrorism, while 36% trust Kerry.

Providing strong leadership: 56% said they trust Bush to provide strong leadership in difficult times, while 37% said they trust Kerry to provide leadership in difficult times.

Tax policy: 49% trust Bush to handle tax policy, while 40% trust Kerry.

Commanding the Armed Forces: 54% said they trust Bush to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, while 39% said they trust Kerry.

Kerry scored higher than Bush on health care issues (48/42) and on "understanding the needs of the people" (47/44).

In other good news, 144,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate declined to 5.4 percent.

As one of last night's comments at LGF said, Flipper is toast.

Kerry says the President is "unfit to lead this nation"

ABC News: Kerry, speaking to a midnight rally as Bush closed the GOP convention in New York with his acceptance speech, said the president was "unfit to lead this nation" because of the war in Iraq and his record on jobs, health care and energy prices. . . .

"We've had insults, we've had anger from Republicans. And I'll tell you why," Kerry said. "Because they can't come to you and talk to you about having created jobs since they've lost them. They can't come to you and talk to you about creating health care since 5 million Americans have lost it."

Kerry said the GOP convention was tinged by "anger" and "distortion."

"For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief," Kerry said. "I'm going to leave it up to the voters to decide whether five deferments makes someone more qualified than two tours of duty."

Bush served stateside in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam. Cheney, a former secretary of defense, received five deferments and did not serve in the military. . . .

Search the text of Zell Miller's speech for the word, patriotism. You will find, like I did, this statement, and this statement only:

"It is not their patriotism -- it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. "

Kerry lies.

And if I hear him say "jobs" or "healthcare" one more time, I may vomit. I don't have a job, my husband is scrambling for freelance jobs, and our health coverage is outrageously expensive but utterly useless. Yet those concerns seem of a distant universe. I'll be happy to think about them in peacetime.

If I could question Kerry, I would say, To hell with healthcare, what about 9/11?

What about the terrorists?

What about Islamofascist designs on the world?

What about people who blow themselves up and take children hostage?

I would say, LOOK what they did to innocent Nepalese civilians!
[WARNING: Graphic video images of savage brutality]

What are your thoughts, man?!

I want to know how you intend to insure that I keep my head, and what you would do to insure that my children are not taken hostage by the enemy.

And don't say the words, United Nations, to me.

So you were a lieutenant in Vietnam for four months, so f*ing what? That alone doesn't qualify you to personify or lead the free world; plenty of guys have been there, done that. Should they be president too? Or do you have something more to offer? And where is it?

Instead of denying the transformative import and implications of 9/11, we need to personally -and as a nation- process the very fact that war is waged against us. We Americans have every need and rationale to continue to discuss the impact on our lives of the fact that our country has been attacked, just as we Jews have every need and rationale to continue to discuss the impact of the Holocaust.

If you will not delve into matters 9/11,

if you haven't resolved thirty-year-old festering differences with your fellow veterans,

if you are offended by scrutiny of your Senate record,

if you insist on keeping your old Senate job as an option in case you lose,

if you lie for fear of losing,

if you do not publicly condemn your colleagues for calling a sitting wartime president AWOL, a coward, a liar, a thug, a betrayer of his country,

if you do not publicly condemn Al Gore for using "brown shirt" and "gulag" references to the president, nor Michael Moore's incendiary and disingenuous propaganda, nor MoveOn.Org for their ad showing Bush morphing into Hitler,

then I ask you, What Good Are You?

And What Good Can You Possibly Be For Us in the Future?

"Here buildings fell,
and here a nation rose."

The President's Speech: Masterstroke

by John Podhoretz in the NY Post
. . . . Bush's jabs at Kerry were delicate and good-humored. "There are some things my opponent is for," he said. "He's proposed more than $2 trillion in new federal spending so far, and that's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts. To pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes — and that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps."

But there was one scalpel thrust, when he quoted Kerry calling our allies in Iraq "a coalition of the coerced and bribed." Such allies, said Bush, naming some, "deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician."

Still, the president didn't go for Kerry's jugular by any means. Yet, only an hour after Bush finished, there was John Kerry live at a midnight rally in Ohio, going for the throats of Bush and Cheney himself.

In a speech angrier than Zell Miller's, Kerry raged: "The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of combat duty."

Several problems here. First, Cheney said no such thing. Second, Kerry sounds rattled, and that's just not a very attractive quality in a presidential candidate or a president.

I hope he is rattled. And I hope he loses. Big Time.

See also Dick Morris (in the NY Post as well): Bush's Bid for History

UNTIL President Bush began his speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention, the goal of the United States' anti-terror policy was perceived by a largely supportive public as a bid to assure safety. With a rhetorical flourish worthy of the great speeches of all time, George W. Bush has transformed the war into a battle for liberty.

In a speech that was at once eloquent and substantive, sensitive and dynamic, profound and familiar, Bush has risen to a level few presidents have ever reached.

Sometimes a strategist just has to sit back and gasp. Occasionally, a seasoned political observer needs to realize that he has seen something extraordinary. Tonight, Bush made me feel like that.

The speech satisfied every single political need. He contrasted with Kerry without appearing negative. He demonstrated emotion without pandering. He rose to a level of substantive specificity without becoming wonkish.

. . . . I voted for Gore in 2000, as a true child of the Clinton era. But I decided to vote for Bush on Sept. 12, 2001 when I saw how he handled the threat we face. I used to back Bush because he offered safety; now I support him because he summons us all to an ideal. Before he spoke, supporting Bush was a duty one owed to the fallen. Now, it is an honor.

GORE 2000
BUSH 2004


It's Friday: Victor Davis Hanson

Brace Yourself
This excerpt doesn't do the piece justice (but read it anyway).

The 2002 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Nicholson Baker, is due out with Checkpoint — an extended dialogue on killing (in a variety of strange ways) George Bush. Last year, comedian Rick Hall played to full houses in the U.K., performing his newest composition, “Let's Get Together and Kill George Bush.” A so-called pacifist group announced its sponsorship of a rather violent-sounding off-Broadway “guerilla comedy” entitled, I’m Gonna Kill the President.

This is stupid — and dangerous. Al Qaeda has announced its intentions play on perceptions of Western decadence and nihilism. Should the terrorists strike at our leaders, there will be a national accounting over the failure of those on the left to condemn such extremism. Alfred A. Knopf, for example, is promoting Baker’s book as a cris du coeur — “in response to the powerless seething fury many Americans felt when President Bush decided to take the nation to war.”

“Seething”? The radical Left is courting disaster and threatens to destroy the credibility of liberals who are apparently fearful of condemning the madness in their midst — this “cry of the heart” to save Saddam Hussein from the wrath of an imperialistic and bullying United States. When upscale protestors swear at delegates and parade obscene signs in New York while John Kerry goes windsurfing in shades and racing gloves, you have a recipe for disaster for wannabe populists.

. . . . If Bush wins in November, and I think he will, then there will be recriminations and fury of the like we have not seen since the Right imploded after 1964. For many of us lifelong Democrats, the very sight of Michael Moore perched next to Jimmy Carter at the convention in Boston says it all — the sorry coming together of conspiratorial anti-Americanism and self-righteous appeasement.

It's Friday: Charles Krauthammer in TIME Magazine

The Case For Bush
Bush was rewarded for this extraordinary first victory with overwhelming popular support. He could easily have spent the next two years lavishing attention on domestic affairs, ostentatiously opening a bioterrorism triage center in every clinic in every hamlet in America. Punctuate that with regular announcements about the hunt for al-Qaeda, and he could have coasted to re-election as Father Protector.

Instead, he took on Iraq. Everyone knew that Iraq would be difficult and dangerous. But Bush believed that Saddam Hussein and the threat he represented had to be removed. Our postwar troubles have made us believe, as if under amnesia, that the choice was between war and some kind of sustainable equilibrium. It was not. The tense post-Gulf War settlement was unstable and creating huge and growing liabilities for America. First, Iraqi suffering and starvation under a cruel and corrupt sanctions regime was widely blamed on the U.S. Second, the standoff with Iraq made necessary a large American garrison in Saudi Arabia, land of the Islamic holiest places—in the eyes of many Muslims, another U.S. provocation. Indeed, these two offenses were cited by Osama bin Laden as the chief justification for his 1998 declaration of jihad against America. Most important, the sanctions "containing" Saddam were collapsing.

That would have produced the ultimate nightmare: a re-energized and relegitimized regime headed by Saddam —and ultimately, even worse, his sons— increasingly Islamicizing its Baathist ideology, rearming and renewing WMD programs, and extending its connections with terrorist groups. The threat was not imminent. But it was ominous and absolutely inevitable. Bush, correctly, thought it necessary to remove it. It was obvious to all that this second war would jeopardize his presidency. He risked his entire political future for it nonetheless.

Kol hakavod to these two commentators. I hate to think where we would be without them. It's absolutely tragic that I spent so many years thinking that people with views to the right of my own must be stupid people. I apologize. I repent.

Lo and behold, "Wahhabi follower" behind Russian Hostage-taking

According to the Moscow Times, "the group [of hostage-takers] is probably being led by Magomed Yevloyev, an ethnic Ingush and follower of the radical Islam Wahhabi movement" RIA-Novosti reported, citing law enforcement officials.

BACKGROUND: According to a Reuters "Fact Box" on Chechen "separatists" (no longer online),
"A mountainous region in the Caucasus range, Chechnya is inhabited by a mainly Muslim people with a fearsome reputation dating from the late 18th century when
warlord Sheikh Mansour led a jihad (holy war) against Russian rule

MORE BACKGROUND: I don't know how accurate this is, but I found it on the web and it makes for relatively fun history reading.

Shaykh Mansour, "First Mujahid of the Caucasus"

By the late eighteenth century the Russian Orthodox threat to the Caucasus had not gone unnoticed by the mountain tribes. Their lack of unity, however, made effective action impossible, and soon the fertile lowlands of North Chechenia and (further west) the Nogay Tatar country were wrested from Muslim hands.

The Muslims who remained were forced to become the serfs agricultural slaves of Russian lords. Those who refused or ran away were hunted down in an aristocratic Russian version of fox- hunting. Some were skinned, and their skins were used to make military drums. The enserfed women often had to endure the confiscation of their babies, so that the pedigree Russian greyhounds and hunting dogs could be nourished on human milk.

Overseeing this policy was the empress Catherine the Great, who sent the youngest of her lovers, Count Platon Zubov (he was twenty-five, she seventy), to realise the first stage of her Pan-Orthodox dream by which all Muslim lands would be conquered for Orthodoxy. Zubov's army broke up along the Caspian shores, but the warning had been sounded. The Caucasus looked up from its internal strife, and knew it had an enemy.

The first coherent response to the danger came from an individual whose obscure but romantic history is very typical of the Caucasus. He is known only as Elisha Mansour an Italian Jesuit priest sent to convert the Greeks in Anatolia to Catholicism. To the anger of the Pope, he soon converted enthusiastically to Islam, and was sent by the Ottoman sultan to organise Caucasian resistance against the Russians.

But at the battle of Tatar-Toub in 1791 his resistance came to an untimely end; and, captured by the enemy, he spent the rest of his life a prisoner at a frozen monastery in the White Sea, where monks laboured unsuccessfully to bring him back to the Catholic fold.

Mansour had failed, but the Caucasians had fought like lions. The flame of resistance which he lit soon spread, nursed and fanned by one man of genius: Mollah Muhammad Yaraghi. Yaraghi was a scholar and a Sufi, deeply learned in the Arabic texts, who preached the Naqshbandi Way to the harsh mountaineers.

Although he converted many thousands, his leading pupil was Ghazi Mollah, a religious student of the Avar people of Daghestan, who began his own preaching in 1827, selecting the large aoul (village) of Ghimri to be the centre of his activities.

For the next two years Ghazi Mollah proclaimed his message. The Caucasians had not accepted Islam fully, he told them. Their old customary laws, the "adat", which differed from tribe to tribe, must be replaced by the Shari'ah. In particular, the kanli vendettas must be suppressed, and all injustices dealt with fairly by a proper Islamic court. Finally, the Caucasians must restrain their wild, turbulent egos, and tread the hard path of self-purification. Only by following this prescription, he told them, could they overcome their ancient divisions, and stand united against the Russian Orthodox menace.

In 1829, Ghazi Mollah judged that his followers had absorbed enough of this message for them to begin the final stage: of political action. He travelled throughout Daghestan, openly preaching against vice, and overturning with his own hand the great jars of wine traditionally stored in the centre of the aouls. In a series of fiery sermons he urged the people to take up arms for the Ghazwa, the armed resistance:

"A Muslim may obey the Shari'ah, but all his giving of Zakat, all his Salat and ablutions, all his pilgrimages to Makka, are as nothing if a Russian eye looks upon them. Your marriages are unlawful, your children bastards, while there is one Russian left in your lands!"
It was the time of Jihad, he proclaimed. The great Islamic scholars of Daghestan gathered at the mosque of Ghimri, and, acclaiming him Imam, pledged their support.


DEBKA says 7 children are dead; Stan says 150 people (minimum) are dead, and at least 200 wounded. AP reports that more than 100 bodies were found in the gym where hostages had been held.

There seems to be no concensus on what happened, is happening. There was a Russian military action by special forces; no one seems to know exactly what triggered it, but DEBKA reports Kremlin sources saying the troops were forced to attack after phone intercepts suggested the terrorists planning a massacre. When a truck went in to collect the dead bodies, the action began. Two loud explosions came before the Russian assault.

Some hostages escaped, all the rest have been evacuated and army sappers are removing explosives from the area. Several terrorists have been captured but others ran away, toward the train station. Local people are chasing them down, and at least one has been severely beaten, possibly killed, by an angry mob. There is some fighting between terrorists and Russian troops "around town."

Children are in a "bad state" according to DEBKA, and are still being carried out on stretchers. Many are injured and none have had food, water or hygienic conditions all this time.

ChinaDaily reports that soliders blew a hole in the building to help hostages escape, but some terrorists are still there and possibly in other buildings as well.

There were reports of gunfire in the building and structures ablaze near the school. Huge explosions could be heard and plumes of smoke seen near the school. Small arms fire crackled. . . .

Scenes of the chaotic, chilling ending of the hostage-taking unfolded on television.

Half-naked children dashed out of the school in every direction. Some were carried and helped by parents and adults. Many were bleeding. Others screamed. Many received medical treatment and food and water outside.

Paramedics pulled children out in stretchers and put into cars and ambulances. Some were bandaged and badly injured and others were just simply distraught and relieved to be free. Anxious adults milled around an area near the school where Russian soldiers were stationed.

Lo and behold, Wahhabi follower behind Russian Hostage-taking

According to the Moscow Times, "the group [of hostage-takers] is probably being led by Magomed Yevloyev, an ethnic Ingush and follower of the radical Islam Wahhabi movement" RIA-Novosti reported, citing law enforcement officials.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hostage situation UPDATE

from Stan at Logic and Sanity
Released hostages are saying that there are Osetians amongst the terrorists. They also identified one of the terrorists - Nikolai Hodov. Hodov was already on FSB's terrorist list and was blamed for the bomb that exploded in Vladivakavkaz in February of this year. Several people were killed in that explosion.

gzt.ru quotes one of the released hostages as saying that there are over 1,000+ hostages inside, not ~350 as officials claim.

26 hostages were freed, but there are only 25 names on the list. It's being said that one of the women hostages, who came out with a child (who was not hers) in her arms, went back in, because she has three of her own children inside. [Then] small correction: The woman who came back to the school carried out her own child (not someone else's as was reported prior). She went back to stay with her remaining children.

New Israelis warmly greeted. . . at 3:15 AM

Arutz Sheva: The new olim (immigrants) numbered about 85, and were the last group of the summer sponsored by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization.

Although the new Israelis arrived at 3:15 AM, scores of friends, family and Aliyah activists showed up at the airport to welcome them home to Israel. This was the fourth large group of North American olim to have arrived this summer. Over 1,500 North American Jews have made Aliyah with the help of grants from Nefesh B'Nefesh this summer alone --the same number as were assisted by Nefesh B’Nefesh in the previous two years combined.

Three previous chartered flights full of olim, one in July and two in August, were treated to a festive ceremony attended by government officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Today's olim did not expect a grand reception, but were still greeted by well-wishers and pro-Aliyah activists with banners, drums and guitars.

A contingent from the grassroots Aliyah movement Kumah-Americans Return to Zion were on hand, holding banners and distributing bumper stickers reading "Aliyah Revolution." As the new olim came out into the arrivals hall, Kumah members blew shofars, symbolizing the fulfillment of the daily prayer,
"Sound the great ram's horn for our freedom, and raise the banner to gather our exiles and speedily gather us together from the four corners of the Earth to our Land."

T-shirt $12

According to Maariv, the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel has doubled in recent years.

Chaim Spiller, a 42-year-old Orthodox Jew from Paris, immigrated with his wife and two children in March 2003 and bought a $400,000 apartment here, even as he held on to his men's clothing business in Paris. He said he had long felt a "latent anti-semitism" from some neighbors and said the waves of attacks by Muslims confirmed his decision.

Referring to his skullcap, Spiller said, "You can't put on a kipa in Paris because it's too dangerous."

Palestinian Authority Condemns Bombings in English, but praises them in Arabic

While official Palestinian Authority statements condemned the double suicide attack in Be'er Sheva, the PA's Arabic media were telling a different story. English and Arabic reports in the PA were also at odds with each other.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) , a watchdog organization overseeing the PA's media, reports that the official PA daily paper granted the status of "Shahid" - Holy Martyr - to the two suicide terrorists who murdered 16 Israelis in Be'er Sheva on Tuesday. This definition of the murderers as Shahids in the opening sentence of the top story of the PA's official Al Hayat al-Jadida newspaper stood in sharp contrast to the English-language "condemnations" issued shortly after the attack by PA official to international media.

PMW's Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook also noted a sharp contrast between the English and Arabic news broadcasts on PA TV. The three Arabic language news reports following the Tuesday attack, each 20-30 minutes long, made no mention whatsoever of the mass murder of 16 Jews. The Arafat-controlled English language newscasts, on the other hand, which target foreign audiences and media, told of the attack and the PA condemnations.

Moreover, wrote PMW's Marcus and Crook, while the PA officials condemned the attack, the reason they gave "was that it harmed PA 'national interests' - and not that it was morally wrong." The PA statement explained,
"the Palestinian national interests require not to harm civilians in order not to give Israel the pretexts to continue its military aggression against the Palestinian people and their holy sites."
PMW notes that PA policy has long been not to condemn Palestinian suicide terror on moral grounds but only on grounds of "national interest," and never to condemn the terrorists, who are all granted Shahid status.

For example, an open letter by Hannan Ashrawi, Sari Nusseibeh, and other leading PA figures in June 2002 calling for a halt to suicide terror against civilians stated,

"We believe that these operations do not advance the fulfillment of our endeavor, for freedom and independence... Military actions are defined positively or negatively not by its own criteria [i.e. the success of the attack itself] but rather according to the achievement of political goals..."

See also PMW's cartoons and photo section ~

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug 24, 2004

The Hill reports "love-in" between Republican delegates and FoxNews

The love-in between Republican delegates and Fox News Channel continued on Tuesday night, as a group of delegates seated directly facing CNN’s broadcast booth began taunting the CNN cast and crew.

“Watch-Fox-News” chanted the delegates and other convention-goers in Section 223, likely broadcasting the message to millions of homes tuned in to CNN.

I was wondering how Kerry did with the American Legion yesterday

Ralph Peters gives us his take in the New York Post:
YESTERDAY, in front of the American Legion's National Convention, John Kerry made his most disgraceful speech since he lied about atrocities to Congress three decades ago. By making promises he doesn't mean and can't keep, he tried to buy the votes of American veterans.

Had he offered each vet a $5 bill and a shot of whisky for their support, his performance could not have been shabbier.

Read it all if you're looking for something Giuliani, Zell Miller or Dick Cheney might have forgotten or overlooked . . .

Speaking of Cheney, this WaPo article is titled "Cheney Continues Attacks on Kerry" but I can't find one single remark in it -- by Cheney, about Kerry. I wonder what the point is. Maybe it's just for the people who read headlines only. Or maybe the writer has a political agenda he'd like to put forward.

Text of Kerry speech to American Legion (He talks about being born at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, but skips the bit about the "West Wing.")

New counting song?

I could think only of counting songs like A Partridge in a Pear Tree - or the Pesach favorite, Chad Gadya - when I read this paragraph from Belmont Club, as quoted by Rick Richman:
The seizure of 200 schoolchildren and their parents in Russia, for a total of perhaps 400, presumably by Chechen terrorists . . . 12 Nepalis executed in Iraq; 2 French journalists held hostage in Iraq; 16 killed in twin bus bombing attacks in Israel; 10 dead in a bombing attack on a Moscow subway. . . .

The dichotomy illustrates the worlds we are forced to somehow straddle. In my one world, it's a beautiful day in Colorado, my son's printer leaked ink all over his winter coat, it's Lisa's 49th birthday and I really need to sit down and pay the bills. In my simultaneous, other, "anti"-world, I grieve for the murdered Jews of Be'er Sheva, am afraid for those Osetian schoolchildren in the Caucasus, nervous for Eric, Peter & Cheryl, Hookey & Joel - all on the coast in Florida, worried about the possibility of a Kerry presidency, and terrified of the implications of Iran's plans to restart its centrifuges.

One of the few things that keep me from going over the edge, from one world irretrievably into the other, is the blogosphere -- where people like Stan work without pay to let us know what's going on Beslan, people like Rick spend thoughtful time and energy on the question of "which way is forward?" and people like LaShawn take the trouble to call us to our moral senses.

My son finds all the world's tensions enlightening; he says that now you can really see what people are made of.

Let us all be made of good, strong stuff. If we are generous with it, we can learn the new counting songs and still straddle any number of worlds.

LaShawn Barber on our collective indifference to Islamofascists taking hundreds of children hostage in Russia:

Shame on the World!

Also, check out this Q&A at the BBC :

What do the Chechens want?

Peace and stability are the main priority for most ordinary people.

Yeah, and the Palestinians want a state next to -and in peaceful coexistence with- Israel.

The BCC does admit the existence of Chechen "rebel" links to al Qaeda if you scroll down.

The Left has lost its collective mind

Under the title, Cutups and Cutthroats, Maureen Dowd writes in today's New York Times,
Highly scripted screwball moments designed to soothe fears that the Bushies are bullies alternate with high-octane, turbo moments designed to stir up fears that we won't be safe without the Bush bullies.

Unlike the arrogant Boston Kerry strategists, who focus-grouped and dial-a-metered their convention to death, scrubbing most of the direct attacks on President Bush, the arrogant Austin Bush strategists have encouraged their non-girlie-men speakers to put the pedal to the metal and flatten the poor Democrat who is windsurfing through his free fall.

Despite the fact that the economy is cratering, Iraq is teetering, Afghanistan is reverting to warlords, Dick Cheney is glowering at the world, the war on terror has created more acts of terror, Ahmad Chalabi is an accused spy for Iran and the Pentagon has an accused spy for Israel, Republicans felt so good about themselves that when Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was inspired to become a Republican by Richard Nixon, they exploded. When Tricky Dick is a hot applause line, they're feeling cocky.

Republicans are political killers.

Whew, what a waste of free speech.

It's more useful, to my mind, to read John Podhoretz at the New York Post.

I agree with Roger Simon that Guiliani has given"the speech of the year so far," (we'll see what he says about Zell Miller; I'd say he's a close second) - but I heard someone on NPR characterize both the McCain and Giuliani speeches as "flat and pedantic."

And I completely agree with Banagor on Zell Miller having given voice to the righteous indignation and sense of betrayal that many of us feel.

YOU decide. NPR has audio of the major convention speeches, and Fox has this video of Zell Miller. Highly recommended.

Hostage situation

Stan at Logic & Sanity continues to monitor and translate the Russian newswires. He confirms that 26 hostages have been released.

According to a teacher (Aslan Kadzoev), who managed to escapee during the night - the terrorists picked 15 of the most strongest looking men to the floor above the gym and shot them. Russian officials are not confirming nor denying yet.

Another source quoting the escaped teacher, Aslan Kadzoev, claiming that 15 adult, male hostages were shot dead by the terrorists. He claims that this took place at 11 AM. Aslan told the reporters that he was led to the room with the bodies and told to throw the corpses out the window. After throwing 14 of the 15 bodies outside, Aslan realized that he might be next. He jumped from the second floor window and ran.

Comment at Stan's site points out that in 1995 Shamil Basayev took hostage a whole hospital at Budennovsk and made the women in maternity ward stand in the windows to be used a live shields. 166 hostages were killed when the Russian anti-terrorism unit stormed the hospital; Basayev and his men escaped.

DEBKA: Three women with (three) babies released in Osetia

Just heard on NPR ~ 26 released

USA Today provides some background on the "decade-long rebellion in the small republic of Chechnya" -
Putin was chosen as a successor by Russia's first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin, in part to deal with the Chechen situation.

One of five Muslim republics in the northern Caucasus, Chechnya was conquered by Czarist Russia in the 1850s and has long been restive under Moscow's rule.

Chechnya proclaimed itself independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Yeltsin sent in Russian troops in 1994, beginning a conflict that killed tens of thousands of Chechens — most of them civilians — and destroyed their capital, Grozny.

A peace agreement reached with a rebel leader, Aslan Maskhadov, in 1996, began to fray two years later. Chechen attempts to spread Islamic law into a neighboring republic, Dagestan, and a series of bombings in Moscow that were blamed on Chechens, provided the rationale for a new Russian invasion in 1999.

Putin appointed a former rebel leader and Muslim cleric, Akhmad Kadyrov, to head the Russian administration in Chechnya in 2000. But violence continued, and in May Kadyrov died in a bombing in Grozny. His replacement, Alu Alkhanov, is a former interior minister who fought on the Russian side in the earlier Chechen conflict and is perceived by many of his people as a Russian puppet.
Sounding like a typical American liberal academic, John Dunlop, a Russia scholar at the Hoover Institution, a research unit at Stanford University, comments in the article:
"[The Russian] tactics have been all wrong," says John Dunlop, a Russia scholar at the Hoover Institution, a research unit at Stanford University. "In addition to repression, they need to build up the infrastructure and provide something for unemployed young men to do to give people a sense of hope."

Funny, the very same thing is said about Palestinian, French, and other young Arab Muslim men. Why is it that the whole world seems to have something to do with their days, except for young Muslim men?

And why is it that, if not given what they say they want, these young Muslim men will gladly blow themselves up to murder innocent people?

Let's just hope and pray that they do nothing of the sort anywhere near the 400+ Osetian hostages, mostly young children.

More on JIHAD IN CHECHNYA via Robert Spencer, including quotes from a "detailed Islamic theological treatise . . . calling upon Muslims to wage jihad in Chechnya, prepared by the Shariah Council of State Defense Council of Chechnya."

These "regulations concerning jihad according to the Word of the Most High" illustrate four cases (with reference to the Koran for each) where jihad is mandatory:

  1. "When ye meet the unbelievers in hostile array. . . "
  2. When the enemy enters a territory, city or village "where Muslims are living,"
  3. when a country's ruler mobilizes the men of "full legal age," and
  4. if Kafirs (i.e. infidels, non-Muslims) capture Muslims
"After reading this we hope it is clear that the war operations that Muslims are conducting against foreign aggressors in Chechnya are Jihad."

See also How Jihad Made Its Way to Chechnya, apparently published in the Washington Post in April of last year.