Friday, March 31, 2006

Borders' Panache (Satire)

You've got to smile at this satire purporting to be a letter from Borders' CEO responding to the fact that they won't be carrying a magazine containing the Mohammed cartoons. I love this section:
Let's review. Embassies and other buildings set on fire. People injured and killed for months across the globe. Islamics freaking out everywhere. (Very excitable and childish culture and religion that.) All because some newspaper way up in the corner of Denmark pumps out a few drawings.

And no major US newspapers prints them. No major US media shows them. No real action from the US government other than tongue clucking. And everywhere around the world there has been no significant moment when these whack job Muslims are getting their asses roundly and dependably kicked for rioting.

Nope, there is no place outside of Afghanistan and Iraq where violent Muslims are getting their asses kicked by government or the press.

You want this shit to stop and people able to draw and publish what they want anywhere in the world at any time without being afraid of getting a bread knife in gut from some hyperventilating Islamic idiotarian with a religiously implanted mental disorder? Start getting governments that can grow a pair at home as well as overseas, and start kicking some Muslim ass whenever and wherever this crap gets started. Don't come bitching to me that Borders has to step up and take the hit.

Is it really the case that your guys expect me, after months of watching this global governmental cowardice in the face of Islamic intimidation go down, to pin a big "Kick Me" sign on the backs of every one of my employees? Dudes, I worked in the grocery business for most of my career and if I am the last line of defense here, log off and head for the mountain redoubt with a box lunch because the terrorists have won.

I can't believe that your guys expect me to step up and make my company the front line of defense against the Muslim hordes which, as far as I can see, get a free pass to do whatever they want whenever they show up in groups of like two?

I read the New York Times and the Washington Post and I didn't see these cartoons in those papers. Maybe I missed them. Were they in the Sports section under "Global Riot League Scores Today?" Maybe they were. I can't keep track of who's a coward and who's a hero in this whole thing outside of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. All in all, I'm not really getting that safe and secure feeling out of the State Department or the White House these days, you know what I mean?

Like I said, I run a bookstore not an army. You bloggers want the Muslim idiots brought under control so that Free Speech takes place everywhere and not just in the magazine section at Borders? Tell it to the Marines.
In fact it's very similar to what I argue here and here, though done with much more panache than I could ever muster.

Ilan Halimi's Delilah

Le Monde has a long story on the girls who were tasked with ensnaring victims for Yousssouf Fofana's "Barbarians". Overall I found the reporting very superficial and concrete bound, the focus on trivial details of the girls lives, not on trying to understand the ideas that could make their actions (and subsequent silence) possible or intelligible. (For example why bother reporting on banal SMS message exchanges, but never tell us Yalda's religious affiliation or lack thereof?) Nonetheless I was shocked when I read this paragraph about the background of the girl who lured Halimi to his torture and death:
Ce sera Yalda. Elève de seconde, elle est scolarisée dans le même internat que Tifenn. C'est une ravissante brune à la bouche pulpeuse. Sa mère, iranienne, est réfugiée politique, arrivée en France il y a six ans, après la mort de son mari. Sa soeur aînée est handicapée mentale. Yalda, elle, a été victime d'une "tournante", fin 2001, à l'âge de 13 ans. Elle est suivie par un juge pour enfants de Bobigny et des éducateurs spécialisés.
Hard for me to imagine how the daughter of a political refugee, and herself the victim of a tournante, could even be around Islamists, let alone aid them in their subhuman endeavors.

The extent of her qualms and regrets?
"Pendant deux minutes, avec une voix aiguë de fille", Ilan hurle, se souvient-elle. Ce long cri, c'est le seul trouble de Yalda. Il lui gâche le début de sa soirée. Elle court jusqu'à la cité des Tilleuls, appelle son amie Tifenn, qui la prend dans ses bras. Christophe M., un jeune et beau Martiniquais converti à l'islam - l'"informaticien" et le membre le plus intelligent du fameux "gang des barbares" - essuie les larmes de la belle adolescente. "Il m'a dit que je devais me calmer, que c'était pas grave et que je devais oublier."
And that was all it took...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Coverage of the NYU Event

Michelle Malkin (actually guest host AllahPundit) has a bunch of coverage, including his own praise for ARI's Peter Schwartz:
On a night when many trenchant points were made, the most trenchant belonged to Peter Schwartz of the Ayn Rand Institute, who noted that the goal of Islamists isn't merely to intimidate the west into censoring itself. It's to have the west accept self-censorship by dressing up its fear as something principled, such as "tolerance" or "respect for religion."

Reconciling NYU and Borders

A commenter to my previous post asked me to reconcile my condemnation of NYU with my understanding of Borders’ position. Here are my thoughts contrasting the two situations:

First, and most importantly, NYU, and universities in general, are institutions which constantly claim to champion the ideas of academic freedom and freedom of speech (see for instance the disgusting Ward Churchill affair). Indeed allowing a free exchange of ideas is the principal raison-d’etre for such institutions. Thus asking them to allow the expression of all views is really only asking them to be consistent in the application of their professed ideals and founding principles.

Moreover, as Eugene Volokh points out, NYU’s policies include this guideline:
A. Commitment and Responsibilities of the University. New York University is committed to maintaining an environment where open, vigorous debate and speech can occur. This commitment entails encouraging and assisting University organizations that want to sponsor speakers as well as informing members of the University community who seek guidance concerning forms of protest against speakers. It may also involve paying for extraordinary security measures in connection with a controversial speaker. Consistent with these obligations, the University promulgates these Guidelines, which are intended to be applied without regard to the content of any proposed speaker’s speech.
This clearly shows that part of NYU’s charter is to hold such events provided only that someone on campus is involved (in this case the NYU Objectivist club). Obviously NYU failed miserably in living up to its own guiding principles. In contrast, two similar events which I attended here in SoCal were held under the same general types of university guidelines, and both UCI and UCLA went to great lengths to protect freedom of speech on campus, including bringing in many extra security people. Thus there definitely is precedent for such campus events and it is not unreasonable to hold NYU to the same standard as UCI or UCLA.

On the other hand, it is not a guideline of Borders or any other corporation to engage in these kinds of activities; it depends on the stockholders, managers, and even employees to decide what is reasonable and what is too burdensome, since they can’t solicit more funds to beef up security nor is their primary focus encouraging the exchange of ideas, but rather engaging in a profitable business. (Not to mention that logistically it’s a much different task to protect one “controversial” event lasting 3 hours, than it is to protect every bookstore in a continent-wide chain, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an indefinite duration).

Secondly, as I understand it, NYU had fully committed to a public event and only when Muslims challenged it (with the threat of violence as the undertone) did NYU cave-in and change the rules. As I said in a previous post, it would have been more understandable if NYU had simply said from the outset: “Freedom of Speech doesn’t apply on this campus” rather than to allow the event to be organized and advertised; to have people make plans around it; and then at the last minute to pull the rug out from under everyone. If, from the outset, they made a statement such as the Phoenix did, in which it was clear that Muslim threats of violence had succeeded in eradicating free speech, I don’t think you could criticize them as harshly (though they would still be acting in violation to their own guidelines). Also, I don’t think that NYU can claim that it didn’t understand what it was committing to originally, since as far as I can tell the event was always: A Public Unveiling of the Cartoons followed by a discussion of the issues involved. If NYU officials weren’t prepared for this to happen, they should never have committed to it in the first place.

Thirdly, unlike the Borders situation, everyone who would potentially have been at risk for exercising their freedom of speech by participating in the NYU event was doing so knowingly and voluntarily, i.e. the panelists and spectators correspond to the courageous individuals whom I discuss in the third paragraph of my original post.

So clearly NYU is culpable of cowardice and hypocrisy -- and of appeasing and abetting the Islamists who seek to eradicate our freedoms –- all of which I point out in my letter to NYU.

But for those who still think Borders et al. are culpable, please remember that: the Danish cartoonists are still in hiding while those who place bounties on their heads are out in public (and surrounded by adulating mobs); Ayaan Hirsi Ali has to be guarded 24 hours a day, and is often moved to army barracks just to be kept safe; Theo Van Gogh is dead; Iran has very recently reconfirmed the Rushdie fatwa against all those who are involved in publishing his book, etc. etc. Yet no Western government takes the steps necessary to remove those threats. How can you fault Borders for acknowledging that fact and acting accordingly?

National Liberty Museum's Caretoon Contest

Just when you think the level of intellectual discourse in America can't go any lower, the "National Liberty Museum" (located in Philadelphia near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall) comes along to plumb new depths.

It first came to my attention from a large display ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer (March 15th) that the National Liberty Museum is running a "caretoon contest". Get it? "Caretoon contest".

The ad invited us to create a cartoon to "express your personal ideas about peace and understanding in our world", reflecting "appreciation for diversity" and "interfaith understanding". (See here for the details.) The clear implication of the word "care"toon (and the contest itself) is that the original Danish cartoons were somehow "uncaring", maybe even hateful.

Here is my "personal idea" for the museum to consider (not in cartoon form): When the publication of some cartoons leads to death threats against the cartoonists (who then must go into hiding fearing for their lives), then freedom of speech, one of the cornerstones of liberty, has been dealt a heavy blow. When the National Liberty Museum responds with a mawkish "care"toon contest (implicitly blaming the cartoonists) – rather than a strong statement in defense of freedom of speech – I realize that any intellectual understanding and valuing of liberty is all but dead in this country.

Borders Indictment

Many commentators, including some whom I truly respect e.g. Tim Blair and Glenn Reynolds, have faulted Borders and Waldenbooks for their refusal to carry a magazine, the Free Inquiry, because it contains the cartoons of Mohammed. I personally disagree with the criticism. The role of maintaining a peaceful society and of protecting citizens from violence falls to the government (via its two enforcement agencies -- the police in domestic affairs and the military in foreign affairs) not to corporations. It is well known that until now all those who have carried depictions of Mohammed have been subject to threats by rabid Islamists and yet (as I argue more fully here) no government has properly stepped up to defend its citizens against these threats. Thus I think it’s ludicrous to demand that disarmed corporations shoulder the cost and burden of fighting militant Islamists when the agency to which they look to for protection (and to which they pay substantial taxes), viz. their own government, refuses to do so.

The Phoenix said it best when they explained why they wouldn’t publish the cartoons: “Out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy.” Given the abject cowardice of Western governments, this reasoning is eminently logical -- and applies as validly to Borders, Waldenbooks, and any other bookstore as it does to the Phoenix.

On the other hand I do think that we as individuals can (and should) take on the risk of confronting Islam, in the full knowledge of the possible dangers. Given that our governments won’t do the job, there is no other choice, and we may as well start now since it will only prove more difficult as the Islamists become more entrenched and empowered. (As Mark Steyn puts it, we may as well fight in the first ditch.) Nonetheless it is much different for an individual to voluntarily assume this risk than it would be for a corporation to simply impose it on to all of its employees. Or to look at it another way, any bookstore whose employees and managers urge it to fight for freedom of speech by carrying "risky" books should be praised and admired, but I think it's unfair to criticize those who do not to do so.

Support the Western Standard

Several blogs have highlighted the Western Standard's plea for help in their defense against an Islamist nuisance lawsuit (I first saw it at IBA, but it's also at LGF and others). For anyone looking to find specific causes to support, this would be a good one. A few key excerpts from their material:
As you know, the Western Standard was the only mainstream media organ in Canada to publish the Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

We did so for a simple reason: the cartoons were the central fact in one of the largest news stories of the year, and we're a news magazine. We publish the facts and we let our readers make up their minds.


Earlier this month, I received a copy of Soharwardy's rambling, hand-scrawled complaint. It is truly an embarrassing document. He briefly complains that we published the Danish cartoons. But the bulk of his complaint is that we dared to try to justify it - that we dared to disagree with him.

Think about that: In Soharwardy's view, not only should the Canadian media be banned from publishing the cartoons, but we should be banned from defending our right to publish them.
And this is quite telling about Canada's Charter of "Rights":
Perhaps the most embarrassing thing about Soharwardy's complaint is that he claims our cartoons caused him to receive hate mail. Indeed, his complaint includes copies of a few e-mails from strangers to him. Some of those e-mails even go so far as to call him "humourless" and tell him to "lighten up". Perhaps that's hateful. But all of those e-mails were sent to him before our magazine even published the cartoons. Soharwardy isn't even pretending that this is a legitimate complaint. He's not even trying to hide that this is a nuisance suit.
And here's perhaps the bitterest irony:
Our lawyers tell us we're going to win. But not before we have to spend hundreds of hours and up to $75,000 fighting this thing, at our own expense. Soharwardy doesn't have to spend a dime - now that his complaint has been filed, Alberta tax dollars will pay for the prosecution of his complaint.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

French Protestors

As Tim Blair points out, who could conceivably want to fire these types of responsible youth?

Photos courtesy France-Echos (scroll through their site to see all aspects of noble France).

Also, the NY Times has a report today. A few key points:

(1) It seems some of these youths have a permanent role in French society and have been accorded their own designation: the "casseurs"
In another incident near the protest route, about 100 people, known as casseurs, or smashers, in French, broke the windows of a cafe.
No wonder Bastiat chose to formulate his famous fallacy using the example of a broken window.

(2) We finally solve the mystery of what French defense ministers do with their time (other than procuring white flags):
On Sunday, the defense minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, blamed the English-language press for being anti-French. "We have to get out of this situation," she told French journalists. "This is bad for France, its economy. People who don't like us, particularly the Anglo-Saxon newspapers, are using this to denigrate our image."

Intellectually Bankrupt

If you have no arguments to offer, here is how you act (that is when you're not off burning down buildings or putting bounties on people's heads):
I want to thank those of you who have sent e-mails. NYU has decided to let the event continue so the Islamic Center has decided to step things up. The event is tomorrow at 7 at E&L in Kimmel. Tickets are being distributed for free via Ticket Central. The Islamic Center would like everyone to get tickets to this event so we can kill their attendance figures. ... Therefore I ask you to go to ticket central, get two tickets for this event, and rip them up.

Shame on NYU

Here is the text of an open email I just sent NYU (
Shame on NYU

This email is to voice my shock and dismay at the cowardice and hypocrisy displayed by NYU in limiting the public’s access to tonight’s important free speech event. I am sure you are already aware of the vital importance of free speech and of academic freedom, and that you fully understand the true test of these principles comes only when someone disagrees with them. You are now faced with such a moment, and by giving in to Muslim intimidation, you have not only failed to uphold your stated principles, but are actively emboldening those who seek to curtail and eventually eliminate all such freedom. Shame on you for abandoning what you know to be right.

Amit Ghate
I'd urge everyone to send their own version.

Muslims Censor Free Speech at NYU

Nickolas Provenzo has the details at Rule of Reason. Event info here, please attend if you can.

Update: Michelle Malkin has more info.

Update 2: LGF is now also carrying the story. And shame on NYU for caving like that, better to have admitted their complete cowardice initially, rather than jacking around so many courageous people who had intended on attending the event.

Update 3: Diana reports that ARI is still asking supporters to attend the event, even if they aren't admitted in (see update 2 to her post). As a personal note, I went to the UCI event a month or so ago and didn't get in to the auditorium, but it was still very worthwhile to be outside, not only to see the Muslim mob first hand, but more importantly to let them know that they will not eradicate our freedoms unopposed.

Update 4: Here's my letter to NYU

Update 5: Thanks to Jason at IBA for his mention of the letter writing campaign.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Debunking a Common Fallacy

I think Robert Spencer has a valid point in using this example to refute the idea that Islamist terrorists are completely ignorant of their religion and therefore somehow misconstrue it.

Death Worship

Gus Van Horn has an interesting post showing the utterly destructive nature of the Palestinians. He points out correctly that man’s tool of survival is his mind, that the Palestinians are not using this faculty, and that they are dying as a result.

I would go further to say that a man’s primary choice is to decide whether he wants to remain in existence, i.e. if he wants to live or not, and only if he does, is it essential for him to use his mind. I submit that the Palestinians and most Islamists have not even made the choice to live -- they are in fact self-avowed death worshippers. This is something that is very difficult for good people to grasp, precisely because it is so horrible, but grasp it we must if we are to win the war they are waging on us.

The evidence for this conclusion is all around us -- from Chief Palestinian Authority cleric Mufti Sheikh Ikrimeh Sabri who states "We tell them, in as much as you love life, the Muslim loves death and martyrdom. There is a great difference between he who loves the hereafter and he who loves this world. The Muslim loves death and [strives for] martyrdom."; to parents who raise their children in preparation for war and martyrdom; to worshippers renouncing their means of survival - reason and replacing it with its antithesis - faith; to an explicit and exclusive focus on an (alleged) after-life -- all these (and many more) go to show that Islamists truly do not wish to live.

I would also opine that the Islamists’ focus on death (with its attendant embrace of faith / rejection of reason) is the fundamental fact explaining why nothing productive has come out of the Islamic world for centuries upon centuries, why it has produced essentially no discoveries or intellectual achievements, and why much of its populace is so backward and barbarous.

Finally, Gus’ observation
“The consequence of simply giving loot to the Hamastanis is that they never learn that money can also represent productive effort because they never have to put forth any such effort on their own in order to survive. Worse, being kept alive, they remain able to continue planning bombing raids on civilized Israel.”
reminded me of a book Werner Keller wrote during the cold war entitled: East minus West equals Zero, in which he contended that Russia would have collapsed on its own were it not for Western aid and technology transfer -- loot which needlessly empowered and emboldened our enemy for 60+ years.

I think the same could now be said of Islamic nations (i.e. Islamists minus the West equals Zero). It is only by nationalizing oil discovered and exploited by Western capital and technology that most of the powerful Islamic regimes exist, and it is only by receiving aid that regimes like Hamas survive. Were we to deny them the fruits of Western thought, they would simply crumble away. And deny them we must, for such is the only moral and just approach -- the only one in which the consequences of Islamism fall exclusively to its practitioners.

P.S. I think this photo from Drinking From Home neatly sums up the widely held death-worshipping attitude of Islamists:

Moral Evaluation

Diana Hsieh has a valuable post on moral judgment of intellectuals (she treats the example of a Marxist Intellectual vs. a Marxist Dictator, but the principles she uses apply generally).

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'll Take Princeton Over Yale Any Day of the Week

The Daily Princetonian has published a fantastic piece by Prof. John Fleming on the nature of Islam. Be sure to read the whole thing, but here are some choice excerpts:
As for the standard of "basic tolerance and respect," we might consider the plight of Abdul Rahman, the most celebrated Afghan Christian and perhaps the only living one. His problem is not coexistence, just simple existence. As I write, he is in prison awaiting a capital trial for the crime of converting from Islam to Christianity. And yes, that is a capital crime, so interpreted from the lips of the Prophet himself in several scriptural passages. It is enshrined in the Shari'a and in the schizophrenic Afghan Constitution, one face of which is Shari'a Light. It is not an aberration or a "tribal" anomaly. We witness the operation of the "democratic constitution" of a land liberated from tyranny by American blood and treasure. This is not American Islam but neither is it a "stereotype" or a malignant invention of Edward Said's orientalists. It is absolutely mainstream Islam, and it accurately reflects the nature of Islam's "long tradition of tolerance" as it exists in history wherever Islam has wielded power over non-Muslims and as we can expect it to exist anywhere the Shari'a may be installed in the future. Only a parody of political correctness could have the brass to demand my tolerance for an intolerance so obscurantist or my respect for a disrespect so lethal.


Fine. We won't call it a "clash of civilizations." We can call it a manifestation of "cultural differences, particularly religious ones." Whatever its name, it does, I fear, raise barriers for lovers of liberty. I seriously doubt that Rahman will be hanged. No decent respect for the opinions of mankind could save the Bamiyan statuary, but now that the "moderates" are in control, there is a good chance that Abdul can in effect be ransomed. The Afghan legal authorities are hinting at a solution of declaring him crazy and "hospitalizing" him. That was the technique perfected by the Soviets to deal with their apostates, after improved communications made it awkward for them simply to shoot them. My conjunction of these two totalitarian mindsets is not factitious. The courageous "Manifesto" recently signed by Irshad Manji, Salman Rushdie, Ali Ayaan Hirsi and several other writers and thinkers begins thus: "After having overcome fascism, Nazism and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism." If Islamophobia is the fear of Islam, these folks earn their place among charter Islamophobes. Each of them is a Muslim born and raised, now threatened with murder for what they have dared to think and say.
(HT Jihad Watch)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

An Easy Target

Tim Blair does a masterful job of lampooning this reporting of the French student protestors. I love his last comment.

Andrew Medworth's Trafalgar Free Speech Report

Andrew Medworth has a detailed report from the Trafalgar Square Freedom of Expression rally. He only reports one person showing the cartoons, though the IBA coverage (see these two posts of mine 1, 2) seems to show others. I was also worried by this passage in the BBC article to which Andrew links:
Police said there had been no arrests but officers did receive a complaint about the message on one protester's placard.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said officers spoke to the man and he was later allowed to rejoin the demonstration.

"The complainant stated they felt threatened by a placard they believed depicted the Prophet Muhammad," she said.
It's of course great that the protestor was allowed to return to the rally, but it troubles me to no end that a complaint of "feeling threatened" by a cartoon could even be grounds for questioning someone. If feelings become the standard by which police act, then law is completely arbitrary and no one can ever be free...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Muslim Upbringing

IBA highlights a series of posts by the "Avenging Apostate" who describes his Muslim upbringing. I think it's important to see these first-hand accounts to truly understand the mentality of our Islamist enemies (I had mentioned Isaac Shrodinger's accounts for the same reason). Here are a few of the Avenging Apostate's quotes:
Everyday, I would dream of killing some Jews and going to paradise. It was not about the virgins at the time, I must admit, I learned about the virgin stuff later. Rather, it was all about being close to Mohammed, who is praised more in Islam than Allah.

Now all I had to do was wait till I was 15 because, for some reason, the Jihadi groups in Pakistan that sent jihadi recruits to Palestine and Kashmir didn't take kids younger than 15. Even my mother didn't object to me going to Palestine, even though she loved me (and still does) a lot. I was certain I would go there eventually. I knew I would kill someone and then get killed, I wanted to get killed, I wanted to follow Mohammed in everything he taught and did. One of the prayers Mohammed is said to have taught is, 'Allah, give me the status of a martyr' and a martyr was a one who fought other people for Allah's sake and died. (part 3)

Mullahs discouraged reading translated Korans and told us that it was even better to read it, if we didn't understand it, because blind faith brings a person closer to 'Allah'. (part 5)

I read the Koran completely, more than once, and I didn't find it spiritual at all. In fact I found it to be a tyrannical-political system – created for the sole reason of getting power and subjugating others. (part 5)
I hope it goes without saying that I don't subscribe to his claim that Allah spoke to him, nor do I endorse or agree with his conversion to Christianity -- but despite those parts of his story I think there is value in reading about his childhood and upbringing.

British Show Cartoons

Congrats to the marchers at Trafalgar Square who did show the Danish cartoons as both an expression and a defense of free speech. IBA has the details.

Car-B-Q Season in France

Tim Blair has the story including this great tag line: "Difficult to imagine anyone wanting to fire such evidently responsible and hard-working youngsters."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ironic Self-Censorship

A rally for freedom of expression scheduled for Saturday in London's Trafalgar square has banned the depiction of the Danish cartoons. Even more ironically, the poster banned them under the alias Voltaire! This disgusting self-censorship was not lost on this blogger who aims to challenge the ban. I sure hope others join him. (HT IBA)

Update: A commenter has correctly pointed out that it is not a "ban" but a "request" -- which is a legitimate difference -- and I apologize for mis-characterizing it. Nonetheless such a request seems to me an exercise in self-censorship -- and given that the rally is supposedly to stand up for the right to free expression, any such self-censorship defeats the whole purpose of the rally, to instead send a message of appeasement.

Update 2: After reading the MAC site, I think it would be particularly appeasing given their thinly veiled threat:
"MAC calls on the GLA and the Metropolitan police to prevent any demonstrators from displaying these images on Saturday in Trafalgar Saquare. MAC leaders fear there will be a disturbance of the peace if this does not happen.(emphasis added)

Another Day Another Death Threat

Islamists continue to show their bloodthirst:

-Imam Ahmed Akkari has this to say about cultural Muslim Naser Khader (see previous post):
“If he becomes Foreign or Immigration Minister, one should send a couple of guys to blow up both him and the ministry"
Nothing like using free speech to engage an opponent intellectually (oops, I forgot, Islamists have no intellectual arguments).

-netWMd has referred this threat to the Australian and American authorities.

-Yale's recruiting coup, Taliban barbarian Hashmi, was involved in a situation similar to that seen with Abdul Rahman:
In late summer of 2001, as Al-Qaeda was planning their murderous venture, the Taliban was spinning their “trial” of eight foreign aid workers, including two Americans, and sixteen Afghan Christians whom they accused of secretly proselytizing—and who, it emerged, faced the death penalty.

How could the Taliban possibly justify such a barbaric practice? They didn’t really even try. According to Canadian Channel CTV, "Their priority was to propagate Christianity which they were not supposed to do here," as Sayed Rehmatullah Hashmi, an aide to the Taleban's foreign minister, told reporters.
Finally, this brutal story concretizes the evils endemic in societies ruled by Islamists. Use it as motivation if you haven't yet found the energy to fight for Western values and society.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Flicker of Hope in Denmark

This story about Naser Khader, who founded the group "Democratic Muslims" in Denmark is a flicker of hope in an otherwise bleak landscape. Khader has had the courage to challenge the Imams in Denmark and to rally moderate Muslims to his cause, and deserves our support as a result. Also, I think I like his term "cultural Muslim" better than the more common "moderate Muslim" as it takes away the emphasis on religion and religiousity. (HT IBA)

Thanks 6th Column

A belated thanks to 6th Column Against Jihad for featuring my article on the front page of their website!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Zombie on ANSWER

Zombie has a great photo report of the SF ANSWER event. I love his captions. (HT LGF)

We Are Not Alone

Last week, Isaac Schrödinger (whom I first mentioned here) was kind enough to blog about my essay All For One. I apologize for not having responded sooner, but for whatever it’s worth, here are a few thoughts on his post.

Let me begin by saying that I agree whole-heartedly with Isaac’s appraisal of Western complacency and think that his contention that we will eventually wake up and fight is quite likely (though not assured). However, I’m not as optimistic as he when it comes to predicting our eventual victory, not if victory is understood as preserving the freedoms upon which the West rests. After so many years of cultural nihilism, racist multiculturalist dogma, and the promulgation of numerous collectivist ideologies, I’m not even sure that we can identify what we are fighting for -- which is why I end my piece by citing the danger of some gang taking over and the individual being reduced back to serfdom or its equivalent. I fear that even if we defeat the Islamists, we may well end up with a Christian theocracy or a collectivist state, and in either case free thought and individual freedom will be lost.

As I see it, the two predominant groups in the West today are the nihilists on the Left, who will probably just lie down and die rather than opposing the Islamists; and the conservatives on the Right, who are more and more religiously inspired, and who will therefore tend to fight back in the name of their own religion. In the event that the Right wins out and we do stand up to the Islamists, my worry is that the battle will involve a serious erosion of the separation of Church and State, enabling some form of theocracy to arise. ( Admittedly, a modern-day Christian theocracy almost certainly would be less repressive than those in place in the Islamic world, but it would still be a disaster, as such a government would impose religious values and restrictions on us all – thereby severely impairing and curtailing our individual freedoms.)

Of course, there is still a significant number of proud Westerners who, whatever their religious affiliations or lack thereof, would be against imposing their ideas and values on others through government force, but in my mind they are not yet articulate enough or knowledgeable enough to be able to prevent either the nihilists or the religionists from winning out. Ultimately it is to them that we must appeal if we are to succeed in thwarting the Islamists and in preserving individual rights and freedom. This is by no means an impossible task, but it is certainly not a foregone conclusion.

Isaac also brings up the battle of Thermopylae which, as he notes, is an historic battle marking the rise of the West, and is therefore a truly inspirational event. But we should note that even before that battle, the Greeks already cherished the idea of living as free men, and it was this idea that allowed them to fight against almost impossible odds. Remember that well before Thermopylae, when Darius (Xerxes’ father) sent emissaries to Athens and Sparta demanding earth and water in tribute, the Athenians threw their Persian messenger into a pit, while the Spartans threw their messenger into a well – which was each city’s emphatic way of telling the messengers to get their own earth and water since the Greeks don’t pay tribute to anyone. The Rushdie Affair and the Cartoon Jihad are modern messages similar to Darius’ demand for tribute, but rather than telling Islamists to go pound sand, Western governments have bent over backwards to placate and appease our would-be killers. Not exactly the stuff of legends, nor anything upon which to pin our hopes.

Finally, to add to my general negativity, I think it must be noted that even after all its discoveries from the time of the Thermopylae through the rule of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, Western civilization basically regressed or stagnated after 180 AD and didn’t regain comparable heights until well into the Renaissance. In other words, there is no historical determinism, and the good doesn’t necessarily win -- certainly not if winning is measured in the timeframe of a single person’s life. Unless we re-identify the core ideas which made the West possible in the first place, no amount of fighting will achieve the type of victory necessary to preserve what was once considered the hallmark of the West -- freedom for the individual to pursue his own happiness.

I’m not saying its hopeless -- far from it -- but unless and until we get the proper ideas back into the culture, even attacks worse than 9/11 won’t necessarily prompt us to fight the battle necessary to preserve Western civilization.

PS I have added Isaac’s blog to the blog roll and highly recommend it -- not just for his observations vis-à-vis Islam and Muslim life -- but also for his astute and benevolent general commentary. I’d suggest starting with the posts highlighted in my previous mention (above) and then checking out his excellent entry “What Doesn’t Offend the Muslims". (Caution -- this last contains graphic images unsuitable for the weak of stomach.)

Update: Also read: What Muslims Learn

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Egyptian Expelled From University For Speaking Freely

LGF has the story. I also liked a few of the comments to the post:

#20 It's sad this happens and will again, but it's also a necessary stage in the opening up of the debate on Islam. Of course, in the countries at the heart of Islam, the Arab and Persian, Pakistani and Afghan countries, anyone trying to break the ban on speaking about the issues will be strongly attacked. They cannot afford to have voices from the heart of Islam asking the same questions the infidels are asking or pointing to the same inconsistencies in what Islam and the Koran say and what is done, and where the Koran really does advocate evil acts against innocents, simply because they are considered unbelievers.

But though we pray for his safety and the safety of others, like the Iranian released to house arrest after six years of detention for speaking out, though we are grateful for some signs of mercy, there can be no let-up, from inside (the hardest thing to do) or outside where we are not in physical danger but sometimes our daily lives are so caught up in the moment that we forgot to do our part to keep the pressure on from afar. Even if it's just one post or visit to a blog where someone on the inside of the struggle may read your words of encouragement and agreement, one small seed is worth the time it takes. And in this war we'll need many small seeds. Oceans of them!

#22 This is a twenty-two year old student. When I was twenty-two I was a total dumbass. I give him a lot of credit. Men and women much older than he should have as much courage.

#32 You know, instead of granting visas to the taliban and letting them study at Yale, how about the USA start helping these true reformers of Islam come to America and speak out here? THAT is the kind of immigration I would support!

#50 I have never heard even one person who claimed to be a devout Muslim say that Americans, Jews, and true Muslims should join together to smash the barbarians who have hijacked their beloved religion. I've heard apostate Muslims and Christian and Secular Arabs say it, but never someone who considered themselves devout.

We're judging them by the yardstick they gave us.

Steyn on Empty Metaphors

Mark Steyn has a new piece out at Macleans. I emphatically agree with his conclusions (but don't want to spoil the read by quoting them here).

Update: Also worth reading is Mark's response to the first letter on this page.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cartoons Published at Berkeley

Kudos to a paper at UC Berkeley which has published the dreaded cartoons and accompanied them with an excellent editorial! Lest you be shocked that a paper at notoriously leftist Berkeley could be so courageous and insightful, realize that the paper's ideas are an exception to the views generally held on campus, as they emphasize in their mission statement:
In an area dominated politically and intellectually by radical, outspoken, leftist organizations, it is our moral obligation to balance class liberal saturation with conservative viewpoints that will no longer be maligned and stifled. Our hope is to enable students at Berkeley to hear both sides of issues through a publication that combines opinion, humor, and feature articles in a way that will serve to expose, educate, and express our conservative thoughts and convictions.

See also the paper's blog posting.

Noodlefood Gem

Diana over at Noodlefood has written an illuminating piece dissecting some of the major errors committed by David Kelley in his interpretation of (read: attempt to re-write) Objectivism. I found this passage particularly insightful:
The most glaring oddity in this passage is Kelley's claim that "we measure the degree of irrationality by considering the scope and value significance of the foreseeable consequences that were evaded" (T&T 10). Since when?!? Apparently, irrationality is no longer to be understood in principled terms as the willful indifference to or rejection of the facts of reality (VOS 27-8), as the pursuit of desires contrary to facts (VOS 31), and as the attempt to defy reality by rejecting reason (AS 959). According to Kelley, that broad perspective is dangerous: it encourages us to think of evasion as "intrinsically wrong, apart from its consequences" (T&T 10). Instead, the irrationality of any given mental process is to be judged on the basis of the harms likely to result from it, as in the comparison of the dieter to the dictator. Kelley interprets "the fundamental and all-encompassing standard" of life in the most concrete-bound terms, so that it only concerns "the foreseeable consequences" of actions (T&T 10). Ayn Rand's broad integrations -- like the inevitable peril to human life of rejecting reality and reason in favor of fancy and whim -- are discarded. And so Kelley reduces the scope of irrationality from evasion of any fact whatsoever to just evasion of the likely outcomes of action.

What does all that mean in practice? It means that if John's wife threatens divorce if she catches him in bed with yet another hooker, John can be morally condemned as irrational for soliciting the in-home services of "Bunny" only to the extent that he evades the risks of detection and the pain of divorce. He cannot be condemned for ignoring his past promises of fidelity, blaming his actions upon his "bad" genes, and deceiving himself about his hostility toward his wife -- even though those evasions also made the call to "Bunny" possible. Also, if "Bunny" insists that John use a condom, then his wrong isn't quite so bad, since he need not evade the great risk that he will transmit some nasty STD to his wife.

Similarly, if a Marxist professor evades the facts about the respective histories of capitalism and socialism, he's not to be condemned as irrational -- so long as he has some tissue-paper rationalizations blaming the poverty and repression of socialist countries upon capitalist enemies or poor leadership. Those rationalizations, after all, mean that he's just evading some historical facts, not "the scope and value significance of the foreseeable consequences" of implementing socialism.
Anyone interested in the philosophy of Objectivism should read the whole thing.

Cox and Forkum - Dr. Sultan

Cox and Forkum have a great cartoon featuring Dr. Sultan.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


LGF has had several worthwhile stories over the past few days: Here are audios from the Imam of the NY City Dept. of Corrections. Despite calls to oust this man, mayor Bloomberg is inexplicably sticking with him. Five of the demonstrators at the London cartoon protest have been arrested for incitement to murder. It's about time, though as Charles notes, there were many more than 5 inciting violence.

Ergosum has a preliminary review of the Johns Hopkins event and Dr. Brook's Just War speech. Check back for a more detailed review. Nick over at Rule of Reason also has a recap of the Just War speech and launch of the Objective Standard.

Michelle Malkin has this incredible story wherein Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg cites the relevance of Foreign Law(!) in interpreting the American Constitution. I agree with the commenter who says that this could be grounds for impeachment [though admittedly that's an emotional reaction on my part since I don't really know the technical requirements for impeachment of Supreme Court Justices ;-) ]

Finally, I want to thank the reader who has taken the time and effort to translate my "All For One" essay into Hungarian. Of course I don't speak a word of Hungarian, so can't comment on, much less bless, the translation, but here is the link for anyone interested.

Bush Threatens Pre-Emptive Use of Force

Although it is probably just empty rhetoric, it is nice to see our president say this:
Undaunted by the difficult war in Iraq, President Bush reaffirmed his strike-first policy against terrorists and enemy nations on Thursday and said Iran may pose the biggest challenge for America.

In a 49-page national security report, the president said diplomacy is the U.S. preference in halting the spread of nuclear and other heinous weapons.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur -- even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," Bush wrote.
Of course, as I argue in All For One, the attacks have already occurred and are ongoing, so any use of force wouldn't be preventive, but reactive. Nonetheless, I agree with the principle that the use of preventive force is both moral and necessary when we are being openly threatened by hostile nations -- even if they had never (yet) physically harmed us. (This principle is the same as that which applies when a mugger threatens you, i.e. you have every right to use force before he does.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No Free Speech on Campus

It's official, Acton Gorton, the editor of the Daily Illini has been fired because he reported the news (including publishing the Mohammed cartoons that had been used as an excuse for the irrational and violent behavior of millions of Islamists). Acton reports on the firing here. I'm going to send him an email directing him to The Undercurrent's site, as it appears to be the ONLY student paper which is able to engage in actual journalism.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Islamic Child Abuse

Update: The original post has been retracted and I am retracting mine as well. I apologize for the error.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Madrid

This article discusses the importance of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's arguments against Islam, the manner by which multi-culturalism abets Islamists and Islamic atrocities, then concludes with a simple request for the West to take the time to listen to the arguments of Islamic dissidents. For those who read spanish, I thought these paragraphs were particularly important:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, que sabe bien lo que significa carecer de los derechos básicos, que sabe bien lo que supone que una niña nazca en el seno de una familia musulmana, donde jamás se le dará la oportunidad de pensar por sí misma y de decidir lo que quiere hacer en la vida, deplora la actitud de tanto político occidental que jalea el multiculturalismo sin saber ni siquiera lo que hace.

Ayaan critica a toda esa izquierda que, en nombre del relativismo cultural, se niega a censurar los hábitos y costumbres ancestrales de ciertas culturas no occidentales, porque con ello, dice, lo que hace es mantener la situación de atraso y de desigualdad que en ellas se vive. "Detrás de todo ello –escribe Hirsi Ali–, están las intenciones más dispares, pero ya sabemos que el infierno está pavimentado de los mejores propósitos. Se trata de racismo en su acepción más pura".


Ayaan viene a pedir a los madrileños lo que en su libro ruega a todos los occidentales: que la escuchen, que la dejen hablar a ella y a los pocos disidentes del Islam que están dispuestos a criticar públicamente la religión de Mahoma. Y viene a pedir también que defendamos con convicción aquello por lo que los islamistas odian a Occidente: la libertad del individuo, ya sea hombre o mujer, para decidir sobre su propia vida y para expresar públicamente sus opiniones.

Dan Rather - Hypocrite

With icons like this, no wonder the MSM is fading into irrelevance. (HT Michelle Malkin)

Speaking of Weird Death Cults...

James Taranto had a Best of the Web piece Friday (see the section: "Docs for Starvation") where he concludes: "It does seem as though the political left is turning into some sort of weird death cult, doesn't it?"

I am no fan of the left, but Taranto's comment is rather ironic given that the ideology motivating the religious right really is a death cult. What to make of the fact that millions of people wear a cross--an instrument of torture and execution--around their necks? Or that it is meant to symbolize and glorify the death of the cult's founder? Or that cult members ritually eat the flesh and drink the blood of the cult founder (either literally or figuratively depending on the denomination) on a weekly basis?

One wonders what witty comments Taranto might have if there were a religious group whose members wore little representations of electric chairs or miniature gallows around their necks...

Monday, March 13, 2006


Isaac Schrodinger has a great chicken analogy.

John Fund has a follow up to the Yale admission story which makes me wonder what self-respecting person could possibly wish to contribute to such an institution. I particularly liked the last sentence in this quote:
Mr. Taylor feels put upon by Mr. Suvarov's denunciation. "I'm not sure how honest Surovov is being about how much research he did on us," Mr. Taylor told me. "Do I trust he or others aren't leaking to big donors over Welsh rarebits at Mory's [tavern] in a lame effort to discredit us? Hardly." His wife, Solange, also a Yale grad, asks: "Surovov can't judge the Taliban, but he can judge us?"
Gus Van Horn has a long article on nuclear power and environmentalists, which he summarizes as follows:
The greens support nuclear power for exactly the opposite reason they should. Falsely equating nuclear power plants with Chernobyl, they see them as potentially very dangerous to mere human beings, but since saving "the world" is their priority over man, another such disaster is no big deal to them. Thinking they'll be vindicated in the end, then, they play right into the hands of capitalism on that issue. Unfortunately, their sudden love for nuclear power masks their real objective: to do to the coal and gas industries what they did to the nuclear power industry long ago.
Steven Brockerman's link to anti-Semitic cartoons published in Islamic media seems to have disappeared, but you can still find examples here.

I just came across an older article on the CAC website entitled "Why a Free Man Fights" by Major Scott McDonald. For anyone who hasn't yet seen it, it's a great read.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Johns Hopkins Reminder

Don’t forget the Johns Hopkins Cartoon Unveiling tomorrow (Monday) night which follows the UCLA event of this past Friday. As to this latter event, I would have to say that my appraisal differs markedly (though respectfully) from Don Watkins’ relatively lukewarm review. I too attended the UCLA event, but unlike Don, I thought that Dr. Brook gave one of his best performances and that almost every single point he made was clear and unambiguous. (The only possible exception would be on the timetable to end the conflict – in his answer it may not have been clear that he was taking an ideological change in the West as a prerequisite for conducting any decisive military action.) But mostly I disagree with Don’s blanket assessment “Events like this are always a mixed -- you can't develop your own position as fully but you reach more people.” (sic)

I believe that if an undecided, but honest, person is attending the event, it is invaluable for him to see the various positions in order to come to an informed decision. On this score, I thought the panel which ARI and LOGIC assembled was noteworthy since they were able to find people who could articulately and benevolently represent the various relevant positions on this issue. They had an arch neo-con in Avi Davis, an intelligent but non-intellectual “average American” in Kevin James, a highly educated Islamic scholar (who took much more “moderate” positions than would a typical Islamist) in Dr. Mohammed, and an incredibly knowledgeable Objectivist in Dr. Brook.

In my opinion, Dr. Brook’s unwavering defense of reason and principles came across all the more strongly because of the contrast with the other speakers, not less so. Moreover, I believe that an honest listener would be more likely to see the importance of taking an absolute and consistent position after hearing all the speakers than he would have had he only heard Dr. Brook’s position. So if anyone is debating attending the Johns Hopkins event because of the NoodleFood review, I personally would urge you to attend and decide for yourself.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

More of the Same

Once again Islamists respond to reasoned criticism in the only way they can: by threatening to kill the speaker. Dr. Wafa Sultan, who, during this interview, made one of the most succinct and devastating critiques of Islam and Islamists that I have ever seen, has been threatened with death because of it. And amazingly, the NY Times has deigned to cover the story.

Update: Memri clip #783 of Dr. Sultan is also well worth watching. (Enter 783 in the "Clip#" search dialog box.)

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Race is On

Which will be Islamized first, England or France? My bet's on England since they don't even make any token gestures to protect free speech used in defense of the West, but go out of their way to kow-tow to Islamist demonstrations and ultimatums. LGF reports today that the crucially important article I'd mentioned in this post has been pulled due to "legal reasons", yet simultaneously England considers this type of demonstration to be acceptable (except for the two counter-demonstrators who were arrested for carrying signs depicting Mohammed). I hope we will set up a refugee program for Brits with Western values who might wish to flee to America...

Steyn Dropped by English Press

Blogger Tim Blair reports:
"Mark Steyn is no longer published in the UK. Leftoid Guardian columnist Lionel Shriver will miss him, as will thousands... Steyn remains available to print readers in Canada, New York, Jerusalem, Chicago, and Australia, among other zones. The Telegraph and Spectator have lost their best columnist."
I couldn't agree more with that last sentence...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Odds and Ends

This post by Jason Pappas over at IBA is an important reminder of how sceptically one must read the MSM, particularly politically-motivated ones such as the NY Times. (Not showing the cartoons is just one aspect of their careful and selective omission of important news items.) I have added Jason's site to the blog roll as well.

6thColumn points out a new set of "heretical" contests, including one for poetry. The winner will receive the Asma b'Marwan Prize. Why?
"We're launching this literary contest to bring attention to the plight of Danish cartoonists who live in hiding for fear for their lives because they exercised their freedom of expression, and we’re calling for poets and artists to speak out for intellectual freedom," said Charles Martel, the contest's organizer.

"Most people don't realize that Mohammed ordered the murder of a poet who poked fun at him and then sanctioned the stabbing of Asma b'Marwan because she dared to criticize such crimes with her own poetry," said Martel.
LGF carries both the UCLA cartoon unveiling and the Undercurrent's valiant effort to get the cartoons on to various college campuses. (The comments to the posts are mostly off-topic, but I do enjoy Lazarus' writing and wish more people would join him.)

Thank You

I wanted to post a public thank you to all those who are fighting so hard to protect Freedom of Speech for all of us. Thanks to ARI, particularly Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate who will be making many public appearances; to all the young staff of the Undercurrent who are courageously printing and distributing news that our MSM is too craven to publish; to the many bloggers (see e.g. Jihadist Threat blog roll) who are getting the word out and publicly standing up to the Islamists; and to all the financial backers of these projects for making it possible.

(Photo thanks to, and courtesy of, The Undercurrent)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cartoon Unveiling at Johns Hopkins

Who: Dr. Yaron Brook and Dr. Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute, Mr. Charles Mitchell of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and additional panelists.

What: (1). A display of the controversial Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. (2). A panel discussion and Q&A on the meaning of the worldwide reaction to the cartoons.

Where: Johns Hopkins University Campus – 110 Hodson Hall

When: Monday, March 13, 2006, at 7:00 PM

Summary: So long as men are free to criticize, free to dissent, free to present their own ideas without fear of reprisals--the fight for rational culture has a chance. But the crisis over cartoons of Mohammad threatens to wipe out freedom of speech. Our leaders have shamefully sided with the mobs chanting death threats and torching embassies. Free speech, our leaders say, is not an absolute, its exercise must not offend religious beliefs--it is a right, in other words, that we are not free to exercise. If the threats, riots and killings fomented by Islamic states are allowed to proceed--if they are allowed to compel Western thinkers into self-censorship--the first to be silenced will be the critics of Islam. And then the critics of religion. And then everyone else.

The Ayn Rand Institute disseminates the pro-American ideals of reason, egoism, and individualism on your behalf, and our efforts fundamentally depend on the absolute right to free speech. That is why we have launched a campaign to inform the American public about what is at stake in this crisis. In a series of public events on college campuses, ARI speakers will explain: the actual meaning of free speech--and why it must include the freedom to offend; what should have been the reaction of Western governments to the crisis; what reactions to the cartoons in the Islamic world tell us about that culture; and how the Western media ought to defend the right on which its livelihood, and our culture’s survival, depends.

Support ARI’s Free Speech Campaign: Any contribution that you can make to ARI to help offset the cost of this event would be greatly appreciated. To give now to support our campaign to defend free speech, please go to:

Isaac Schrodinger

The Pedestrian Infidel today highlighted a truly remarkable set of posts by Isaac Schrodinger, a former Muslim. I found his story very inspirational -- in fact I've rarely seen such courage, intellectual independence, and raw intelligence in print. I eagerly look forward to reading his future posts.

(As a postscript, I should also mention that his posts provide an invaluable insider's look at modern-day Islamic "culture" and "education".)

Yale Admission Policy

Michelle Malkin reprints a great letter on Yale's admission policy (which by extension indicts the whole anti-Western, multi-culturalist attitude). Here it is in full:
Dear Mr. Levin,
My name is Debbie Bookstaber (Yale `00 BA/MA). I've volunteered as an ASC Interviewer every year since graduation.

Over the years, I've seen so many qualified students denied admission to Yale. While I was saddened to see these heartbroken students rejected, I understood that Yale just didn't have enough spots for all the amazing valedictorians with excellent SATs, impressive extracurriculars and an admirable history of community service.

You can imagine my shock when I read in the Wall Street Journal that Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. He has a "fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency degree," but Yale was impressed that he "pulled down a 3.33 grade-point average" in a special students program. Judging from all the students I've seen rejected by Yale, a perfect 4.0 average isn't impressive enough to guarantee admission or even a wait-list spot, yet Yale was convinced that a 3.33 (a B+) was an adequate demonstration of academic talent? Since when has a B+ been considered impressive according to Yale's admissions standards?

My husband (David Bookstaber, Yale `99 and Captain, USAF) went to Yale on a ROTC scholarship. As an ROTC cadet, he had to commute over an hour to UCONN because Yale would not allow ROTC on campus. This was reportedly due to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy the military uses to exclude homosexuals from serving openly. Even efforts to allow the military to recruit on campus in order to comply with the Solomon Amendment were met by fevered protests by many Yale students/professors as being inconsistent with Yale's standards of tolerance.

The last time I checked, the US military doesn't kill anyone for being a homosexual. Nor would any soldier-on-soldier hate crime ever be tolerated. On the other hand, the Taliban advocated murdering any homosexual and anyone else they felt violated their version of Islam. So ROTC isn't acceptable because it offends Yale's standards, but a Taliban leader who condones the Taliban's policy of brutally killing homosexuals and stoning women for not wearing a burka should be recruited lest Harvard win his matriculation?

Apparently when you combine a sub-par 4th grade education, a B+ college average in a special program, and a job history as a spokesperson for a regime that hates America, destroys priceless Buddhas, oppresses women, stones homosexuals, and enforces brutal sharia law in violation of UN Human Rights agreements, you have the magic formula for admission to Yale. Next time I get a phone call from a high school senior in tears over Yale's rejection, I'll tell them to visit a local museum and blow up some sacred Buddhas, stone a homosexual or threaten to beat his/her mother to death if she refuses to wear a burka.

Thank you very much for helping me understand Yale Admissions.

Yours sincerely,
Debbie Bookstaber (Yale `00)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cartoon Unveiling and Panel Discussion at UCLA

From ARI:

Who: Ayn Rand Institute president Yaron Brook, KABC radio talk-show host Kevin James, and additional panelists.

What: (1). A display of the controversial Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. (2). A panel discussion and Q&A on the meaning of the worldwide reaction to the cartoons.

Where: UCLA Campus: Dodd 147

When: Friday, March 10, 2006, at 7:00 PM
Priority seating for members of the media, UCLA students, faculty, and staff begins at 6:30 PM. Please check in at the front door.
General seating is available only by RSVP and begins at 6:45 PM. Please email to be placed on the list. A state- or federally-issued ID is required for admittance. Seating will be limited. Attendees may be required to go through a security checkpoint. Please show your support by attending this very important event.

Summary: So long as men are free to criticize, free to dissent, free to present their own ideas without fear of reprisals--the fight for rational culture has a chance. But the crisis over cartoons of Mohammad threatens to wipe out freedom of speech. Our leaders have shamefully sided with the mobs chanting death threats and torching embassies. Free speech, our leaders say, is not an absolute, its exercise must not offend religious beliefs--it is a right, in other words, that we are not free to exercise. If the threats, riots and killings fomented by Islamic states are allowed to proceed--if they are allowed to compel Western thinkers into self-censorship--the first to be silenced will be the critics of Islam. And then the critics of religion. And then everyone else.

The Ayn Rand Institute disseminates the pro-American ideals of reason, egoism, and individualism on your behalf, and our efforts fundamentally depend on the absolute right to free speech. That is why we have launched a campaign to inform the American public about what is at stake in this crisis. In a series of public events on college campuses, ARI speakers will explain: the actual meaning of free speech--and why it must include the freedom to offend; what should have been the reaction of Western governments to the crisis; what reactions to the cartoons in the Islamic world tell us about that culture; and how the Western media ought to defend the right on which its livelihood, and our culture's survival, depends.

Support ARI's Free Speech Campaign: Any contribution that you can make to ARI to help offset the cost of this event would be greatly appreciated. To give now to support our campaign to defend free speech, please go to:

All For One - Reprints

A very close friend of mine, Wayne M., wants to help expose as many people as possible to the ideas in my “All For One” article -- and as a result has offered to print and ship copies of the article to anyone interested in distributing them on college campuses. Resources are limited, so materials will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone interested should email him by March 17 at the following address: (Please note that, other than having written the article, I am not involved in this distribution project -- so please use the email address rather than leaving messages here.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Testimony of Former Terrorists

This talk-show video shows three former (and repentant) terrorists discussing Islam and Islamist propaganda as it exists both in the Middle East and in the West. The reporter/moderator is a bit annoying, but the video is well worth watching. (HT: Justify This!)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Not Quite "News"

I've been busy lately so neglected blogging several noteworthy items.

This video of Wafa Sultan has been recommended on many blogs, but it is so good that I have to include it here too, admittedly well after it first came out. (HT everyone, though I think I first saw it on The Free West blog.)

Gus Van Horn has a nice piece out comparing the reaction to the Kelo decision with the reaction to the cartoons and the cartoon riots. I particularly liked the closing three paragraphs.

I was very happy to see that Andrew Medworth has resumed blogging. I will be adding him to the blogroll shortly.

This is the first I've heard of Steven Emerson. From this article, it appears that he is not just a real reporter (as opposed to our MSM who are unwilling to publish news), but a true hero. We all owe a debt of thanks to men like him. (HT LGF)

I'm only a quarter ways through reading this interview with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, but so far it is well worth it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

LGF Picks Up Publish or Perish

Following LGF's kind mention of my essay yesterday, I was delighted to see that today they have a longer post highlighting and recommending Robert Tracinski's excellent Publish or Perish editorial. Congrats to Rob and thanks to LGF!

Am I Fatwa or Not?

I thought this light-hearted site is another good way of showing how preposterous and hypocritical are the Islamists' attacks on free speech. (At the very bottom left, the site links to my essay, which is how I found out about it).

Update: In looking at more of the cartoons, I should note that I don't like many of them -- in fact I think that some of them unnecessarily propogate false stereotypes or are offensive without any attempt at humor. But this is where the line summarizing Voltaire's views on free speech is so appropriate and crucial: "I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to death your right to say it."

Update 2: See comments.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Theodore Dalrymple Blogging

I'm a big fan of Theodore Dalrymple's writing, so was ecstatic to hear that he will be blogging at The Free West

Thank You LGF

I wanted to thank Little Green Footballs for their mention of my essay "All for One" . It's very much appreciated! Thanks also for the continuing hard work you do to get out information that our MSM seems unwilling to acknowledge or to print.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What a Difference

Update: Apparently this story was not true, so I'm retracting this whole post. Not sure if it is better to just delete it, or to place this update on it? What is blogging protocol for this type of situation?

In any case, Jihad Watch has more details on the retraction.

AP coverage of the event.Now the Islamists are even going after the kids of the Danish cartoonists:
Not at school

Rohde says that the 12 cartoonists have had their lives overturned and are now living in hiding, after receiving several death threats.

"And a daughter of one of cartoonist was sought out by 12 Moslem males - they were looking to get to her. Fortunately she wasn’t at school," Jens Rohde said.
It's interesting that in the West, the worst people in society, i.e. those incarcerated for violent crimes, are known to enact retribution on any child-molestor or child-killer. But with Islamists, even the best, i.e. the mythical "moderate muslim" doesn't come out and ardently/forcefully stop this type of behavior from their co-religionists.

All For One

In reacting to the Islamists’ ongoing cartoon Jihad, most commentators have focused on the issue of free speech. This is natural, and necessary, since eradication of free speech is the most immediate risk; and certainly without free speech there can be no defending other values. Nevertheless it is also vital to take a step back and to view the events as part of a larger pattern, a pattern which poses a grave threat to our core Western values and system of government –- and to their primary consequence and beneficiary: the free individual.

To see why, and to appreciate what we stand to lose, we must begin by understanding what is meant by “Western”. Let us be clear that “Western” refers to a set of ideas -- it is not a racial or ethnic epithet. Anyone can embrace the ideas, just as anyone can reject them, regardless of his race, country of birth, or upbringing. Thus we can speak of Japan and Hong Kong having adopted “Western” principles as accurately as we can speak of Canada having done so.

In the broadest and most essentialized sense, the term “Western” denotes a set of fundamental ideas first discovered and adopted by the ancient Greeks. It was they who, for the first time in history, challenged the age-old notion that only the life of a society’s rulers and/or priests was important -- to instead assert that every man’s life is of crucial value. It was they who turned their focus from an obsession with death and the after-life -- to instead seek success and joy in this life. It was they who dispensed with all-encompassing superstition and from cowering before the supernatural –- to instead assert that the world was knowable, that no question was off-limits, and that the questioning mind was among the most revered of attributes. Finally, and as a consequence of all the others, it was they who cast away the resignation of living as unhappy subjects in an unknowable world -- to instead realize that with freedom to live, happiness on earth was possible for every man.

These groundbreaking ideas led to an unheralded flourishing of man and an outpouring of man’s achievements, both spiritual and material. Few, if any, periods in history can rival the developments and accomplishments made by the ancient Greeks in arts, science, mathematics, humanities, medicine, athletics and general living conditions. And it is for this reason that “Western” ideas and values are rightfully described as life-affirming: for they lead to man’s freedom to pursue success and happiness in this life.

Historically, the transmission and implementation of Western ideas, the so-called Western tradition, was rocky and uneven at best, and its biggest opponent was always authority and dogmatic faith. In fact, during the Dark Ages, Western tradition was nearly extinguished by Christianity, whose irrational doctrines rejected the importance of the individual’s happiness on earth and of the existence of a knowable world; to instead preach abject self-denial in this world and salvation in a mystical after-life. Not until men reacquainted themselves with ancient Greek ideas did they find themselves back on the “Western” track; and only then did they turn away from blind faith, question and reject the Church and its authority, and eventually produce the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and modern Western society.

Concomitant with the emergence and development of Western ideas came man’s political desire to form societies which would allow him to achieve the promise of these ideas: individual joy and happiness on earth. Defining and building such societies was an arduous task, one much more difficult than it might seem in hindsight, but by fits and starts, Westerners rose to the challenge.

Indeed the solution lay in the uniquely Western focus on the value and importance of every individual’s life. For with the gradual elucidation of a theory of rights (i.e. an understanding that every man has natural and inalienable rights) came a political system whose specific function was to protect those rights. In this type of system, each individual delegates his use of retaliatory force to the government, and the government wields that force in the protection of each individual’s rights and freedom. Protection is understood to be protection from other men’s violence, i.e. the protection of each individual citizen from attacks from abroad and from criminals and tyrants at home. This political development ultimately led to the founding of the United States, the writing of its Constitution, and the subsequent understanding that protection of individuals must be applied universally, i.e. it must extend to all races and genders. In the past hundred years or so, the purpose of government has been construed to range well beyond the protection of rights (improperly in my opinion), but nonetheless protection of individuals and their rights is still the basic and unifying principle of Western government.

The unique relationship existing between each man and his government cannot be overemphasized: in the West, and only in the West, government exists for the sake of each individual, not vice versa. As Lincoln put it so famously: ours is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Yet though government exists for the sake of each man, its proper implementation involves having each individual delegate his use of retaliatory force to the government, which then acts as his agent to protect his rights. Thus in civilized nations, the government is the sole legitimate wielder of force, and its central charge -- and solemn obligation -- is to wield that force when (and only when) necessary to protect its citizens in the exercise of their legal rights.

The benefits of this system are manifold. There is strength in numbers, and by assigning the use of force to the government, we can effectively defend ourselves from attacks by foreign nations, something which would be much less practical for individuals to attempt on their own, or on an ad-hoc basis.

Justice too is made possible when the use of force is put in objective hands, for in doing so, standard procedures and processes (the legal system) can be developed to ensure that violations of rights are punished by a rational and proportional standard. This again would not be possible if every individual tried to mete out justice on his own.

Finally, because each individual knows that his government has the means and responsibility to defend him, he does not have to seek out other forms of protection. Specifically, he does not need to join a gang or tribe whose members will help him battle others. In civilized society there is no need to ally oneself with members of one’s race or ethnicity (as do the Tutsi’s and Hutus in Rwanda; or the Serbs, Croats and Albanians in the Balkans), or of one’s religious sect (as do Sunni’s, Shiites, Jews and Christians throughout most of the Middle East), or with criminals (as do those seeking the “protection” of a mafia Don) or with the politically-connected and politically-favored (as does almost everyone in the Third World). In a word, because the individual is sovereign and consistently protected by his government, there is no gang warfare of the type so prevalent around the rest of the world.

The result is modern Western society; a society whose overwhelming advantages include: freedom for each individual to live, think, question and speak as he sees fit; respect for the law and the rights of others; individual safety and empowerment; and a benevolent atmosphere of cooperation and peace among men.

But along with all the advantages of an individual-based society comes one inherent risk. In delegating his use of force, and forsaking adherence to any gang or tribe, each individual is disarmed and essentially helpless should his government fail to act on his behalf.

It would therefore be of the highest treason for a government to abandon any law-abiding citizen who comes under attack. In fact failing to protect an individual would be beyond treason: it would essentially reverse and betray 2,500 years of Western development. It would be tantamount to taking the individual, whose life and happiness is for the first time important, stripping him of all his defenses, and then offering him up to any mindless brute or savage to skin alive as he pleased.

And yet, in the past few decades, this is exactly what Western governments have done repeatedly. If it is not stopped soon, Western, i.e. civil and peaceful, society will break down -– and we will return to the primitive state of gang rule and utter contempt for the individual which currently exists in the entire non-Westernized world.

To understand the pattern of failures, and to see how it must be broken, it is important to survey the relevant historical events of the past 25 years or so. For though the faltering of Western governments could be decried since the end of World War II, and even more so with the events in Korea and Vietnam, a watershed of sorts began with our response to the rise of fundamentalist Islamic nations and their self-proclaimed hatred and hostility towards the West and all things Western.

The pattern began in 1979 when the newly empowered supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, took power. Khomeini was an Islamic ideologue, who on every main point opposed and declaimed the views of the ancient Greeks and of the West. Man is not the measure of things; only Allah is. Man’s happiness on earth is unimportant; only the after-life matters. Man is not to be successful at living; martyrdom is the surest way to happiness. Knowledge is not achieved by studying a knowable reality; prostrate yourself to Allah instead and you will learn all there is to know. And since there is no knowledge other than that revealed by Allah; if anyone disagrees with us -– kill him.

The political organization he implemented, that of a theocratic Islamic Republic, flowed logically from his ideas and values. In this type of government, the supreme religious leader and his clerics hold absolute power. Individuals are of no value and have no inalienable rights, with the result that all Islamic states are also brutal dictatorships.

It is worth emphasizing that Khomeini’s ideas and philosophy were those of a revered and highly knowledgeable exponent of Islamic doctrine, one who represented the basic views of his countrymen. In other words, he was no “hijacker” of Islam, but a consistent practitioner of it -- and Iran’s actions from his time onward must therefore be interpreted as true expressions of Islamic policy.

So what happened when he took power? In the first days of his rule, on Nov. 4, 1979, Khomeini’s religious followers stormed the US embassy in Tehran and captured 66 Americans. Most of the hostages were held for 444 days, during which time many were beaten, psychologically tortured, and subjected to extended periods of solitary confinement.

Now remember that these were American citizens, working directly for, or with, the American government, captured in an embassy (which is technically American soil and to which International Law has provided the highest form of immunity going as far back as the Congress of Vienna in 1814). Breaking such immunity has always been an act of war. So did our government declare war to protect its citizens, who not only were acting lawfully, but who were in fact put in harm’s way at the request of their government? No. Instead our government, under the pacifist Jimmy Carter, wrung its hands and negotiated with a regime which had just broken the most basic law of diplomacy. (Two half-hearted, under-manned and under-planned rescue attempts were made, but the fiascos only underscored how unwilling the government was to use its military force to remedy the problem).

This event signaled to all observers, that though the West still had abundant physical means to defend its citizens, it had lost its will to do so. In fact, not only would it not defend its citizens, it would even act against them, as did the US State Department when, after the eventual release of the hostages, it quashed their attempt to seek redress in international courts, simply to avoid “stirring up” trouble with foreign nations!

The absence of any military response and the complete abdication of the government’s responsibility to its citizens was the first sign to the Islamic world that it could act with impunity against any Western citizen -- and act it did. A series of attacks throughout the Middle East followed.

As a sampling, and not including incessant Islamic attacks on Israel and Israelis, which are just too numerous to list, consider: 1982, various dates –30 Westerners taken hostage in Lebanon by Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah, some killed, some died in captivity, some released (Terry Anderson held for 2454 days). April 18,1983 -- US embassy in Beirut bombed, 63 dead. Oct 23, 1983 -- 241 Marines and 58 French Paratroopers killed in their barracks in Beirut. Dec 12, 1983 -- Shiites attack US embassy in Kuwait City, 5 killed, 80 injured. Sept 20, 1984 -- truck bomb outside US embassy annex in Beirut kills 24. June 14, 1985 -- Hezbollah hijacks plane en route from Athens to Rome, beats and kills American Navy Diver Robert Stethem. October 7, 1985 -- Syrian and Libyan-backed Palestinian Liberation Front hijacks ocean liner Achille Lauro, kills one wheelchair-bound American. December 18th, 1985 -- Rome and Vienna, Libyan-backed terrorists bomb airports, 20 killed. April 2, 1986 -- Palestinian group detonates bomb on TWA flight 840 en route to Athens killing 4. April 5, 1986 –- Libyan terrorists bomb disco in West Berlin killing 3 and injuring 230.

In its only true retaliatory attack against state sponsors of terrorism, on April 14, 1986, the US (under President Reagan) launches air strikes against 5 targets in Libya. Predictably, the poster child of Western appeasement, France, condemns the US’ defense of its rights. And though the retaliatory strikes were immediately followed by two significant airline bombings, one against French UTA flight 772 in which 170 people were killed, and one against Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people were killed (over Lockerbie Scotland), the action was generally successful in decreasing Libyan sponsorship of terrorism. In fact, since 1988 Libya has scarcely been heard from, and in 2002 it actually admitted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing -- and offered $2.7 billion in reparations to the victims’ families.

Seeing the bombing of Libya as an exception to the rule, and correctly realizing that France’s attitude truly represented that of the West and of Western intellectuals, the Islamists decided to test whether they could directly control the lives and minds of Westerners, overtly attacking that most important aspect of Western life, the freedom to speak one’s mind.

The attack adopted the age-old military strategy of “divide and conquer”: in this case it consisted in isolating defenseless individuals (who in an effort to create a peaceful society had delegated their right and means of self-defense to their governments), and threatening them should they dare to disobey Islamic rule. And because Western governments and intellectuals were by now so craven and depraved -- the strategy actually worked.

The test case, of course, was the Rushdie affair. This was, until recently, the most famous example of Western governments failing to protect their law-abiding citizens. In 1988, British citizen Salman Rushdie wrote a book titled The Satanic Verses which contained what Islamists deemed an irreverent depiction of the prophet Mohammed. By Western standards the critical depiction was mild, but more importantly, the book was a simple expression of the freedom of speech which exists, and is protected by statute, in every Western nation.

The book was banned in many Muslim countries and book burnings were staged in some countries including England itself. But the true attack on Western citizens began on February 14, 1989, when the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for the murder of the author and worldwide publishers of The Satanic Verses, with a $3 million dollar bounty tacked onto Rushdie’s head for good measure.

This state-issued death sentence against Western citizens should have been seen for what it was, a declaration of war, and every Western country should have demanded that Iran immediately retract and rescind the fatwa. Had they refused, Western governments should then have marshaled forces to protect their disarmed citizens by attacking and destroying the Iranian nation which was overtly threatening them.

Instead what happened? Apart from some feigned outrage, Western governments did nothing but engage in “diplomacy” and then proclaim that we must “tolerate” differences of opinion and respect the “feelings” of those who would murder us. And the result? Rushdie went into prolonged hiding, a Japanese translator was stabbed and killed in Tokyo, an Italian translator was beaten and stabbed in Milan, a Norwegian publisher was shot and severely wounded, 37 people were incinerated in Turkey as executioners burned down the hotel of a translator, and publishing houses and bookstores in the US were firebombed to destruction. Those were just the direct results. Indirectly, westerners learned that freedom of speech only applied if it were directed against lawful, peaceful targets. There would be no protection for discourse about Islam or any doctrine whose adherents backed it up with violence. Moreover, it set the precedent of foreign nations placing bounties on the heads of Western citizens with impunity, which would encourage similar behavior by every ardent fundamentalist given that the tactic had proven effective and without any risk to the issuer.

In some respects the Rushdie affair was worse than the embassy hostage taking. For example, in the hostage crisis, though the hostage-takers were sympathizers of the Khomeini regime, and though the regime publicly acknowledged support for the hostage-takers, an argument, however implausible, could have been made that the hostage-takers were not direct agents of the Iranian government. In the Rushdie case, however, not even that thin veneer of an argument existed, since it was the commander in chief and supreme theocrat (which are one and the same in Islamic states) who issued the fatwa himself. Thus there was absolutely no question that the call to kill Western citizens came directly from the Iranian government, and that it was therefore an act of war.

The cowardice of the West, and its non-reaction to overt acts of war, encouraged further Islamic attacks, including in America itself. On Feb 6, 1993, 6 people were killed and 1040 injured when Islamists detonated 1,500 lbs of explosives in the basement of the World Trade Center in New York. On Nov 13, 1995, a car bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia killed 5 at US military headquarters. On June 25, 1996, a truck bomb in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killed 19 and injured 502 at an American military housing complex.

On Aug 7, 1998, simultaneous explosions at US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania killed 224 and wounded 4,500. The attacks, perpetrated by Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, prompted President Clinton to lob a few token cruise missiles at a factory in Sudan and at a couple of physical Al Qaeda training facilities in Afghanistan. He followed this limp response with an unnecessarily appeasing gesture, one which would become standard White House protocol, assuring all who would listen that Islam was not the target: “I want the world to understand that our actions today were not aimed against Islam, the faith of hundreds of millions of good, peace-loving people all around the world (but) at the fanatics and killers who…profane the great religion in whose name they claim to act.”

Realizing that we could not even name the ideology motivating the perpetrators, supporters, state sponsors, and funders of terrorist acts, let alone challenge them intellectually or existentially – Islamists continued their attacks.

On Oct 12, 2000, 17 sailors were killed when Al-Qaeda bombed the US Navy destroyer the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen. On Sep 11, 2001, in an attack worse than the one on Pearl Harbor, Al-Qaeda crashed two airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania, killing a total of 2,986 people and injuring another 6,350.

Though outrage reigned and most average citizens saw the attacks for what they were -- an expression of Islamist global jihad – the intellectual climate of appeasement, i.e. our fear of “fostering” further dissension and unrest, of riling the so-called “Arab Street”, prevented us from naming the anti-Western ideology underlying the attacks. Our own President even went out of his way to assure us that, contrary to all evidence, “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace” (“As long as you submit mindlessly to its every edict and spokesman” he conveniently forgot to add.)

When the US made a military response, it did so by fighting a “compassionate” war in Afghanistan, one which involved dropping food interspersed with bombs, and which featured “respecting Islamic sensitivities” such as sparing holy sites and taking Islamic holidays into consideration as part of its military planning.

This “compassionate” fighting was extended to the war on (relatively) secular Iraq, which was fought to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and to bring freedom to the Iraqi’s, not to destroy the militant Islamists who threaten us. And though removing a madman hostile to the US is justifiable, never did we declare “This war is being fought to defend Americans from attack. Threaten a hair on the head of a single law-abiding American -- and this is the consequence.” Of course, if defending Americans were our true goal, the war would have been waged against Iran not Iraq.

Once again our inability to name and confront our enemy, coupled with our unwillingness to fight an all-out war, were taken as signs of weakness by the Islamists, and encouraged insurgency and Islamic posturing as a result.

(As an aside, it should be noted that the one good thing to come out of these wars is to see the superlative devotion, bravery and effectiveness of our military forces, even when they are constrained to fighting with a proverbial “hand tied behind their backs”. Not enough has been said about their willingness and ability to defend their countries and values; and should we ever truly find the will to defend ourselves, their skills and courage will all but assure our victory.)

Given that the compassionate wars were taken as a sign of weakness, not of strength, Islamists continued their attacks on Western soil. On the morning of March 11, 2004, in the worst terrorist attack in Spanish history, Islamic terrorists detonated bombs aboard four commuter trains during rush hour in Madrid, killing 192 and injuring another 2,050. The bombing came two days before a national election. The ruling party (Partido Popular), which was committed to keeping Spanish troops in Iraq, was leading the polls, however, after the bombing, the opposing party (Partido Socialista) won in an upset, and quickly withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq (signaling to Islamists that their barbaric acts could be used to influence Western governments).

The next test of Western governments’ willingness to defend their citizens came with the production of the 10 minute film “Submission”. The film, which was written by Islamic dissident Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and directed by Dutch social critic Theo Van Gogh, portrays the plight of women under Islam, including being beaten and raped as proscribed by the Koran for women who “misbehave”. Islamic death threats against Van Gogh and Ali followed the film’s release, and on Nov 2, 2004, Van Gogh was murdered in broad daylight on a Dutch street. The killer was an unrepentant Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri, who claimed to be “carrying out Allah’s will”. The murder was a “show killing” aimed not just at silencing Van Gogh, but at silencing all critics of Islam. After shooting Van Gogh eight times, Bouyeri proceeded to slit his throat and then skewer him with two daggers to which he attached Jihadist manifestos and death threats against Ms. Ali. And although the evidence showed connections with the Egyptian terrorist group, Takfir wal-Hijra, no attempts were made by the Dutch to root them out of Egypt (with or without Egyptian help). Ms Ali, brave as she is, is no longer in hiding, but her life is clearly at risk, and she must be accompanied by bodyguards 24 hours a day.

The killing and lack of any retribution had its intended chilling effect on the Dutch, many of whom now openly admit to being deathly afraid of publicly criticizing Islam.

The general state of fear was reinforced when, on July 7, 2005, Islamic suicide bombers killed 56 and injured 700 in a series of coordinated attacks on London’s subways and a double-decker bus. A similar attack on July 21 failed when four bombs malfunctioned (only the detonators went off).

The fear of Islamic attacks was now so prevalent in Europe that when Danish writer Kare Bluitgen tried to find illustrators for his biography of the prophet Muhammad, all potential candidates declined citing fear of violent retribution by Islamists -- noting not only the murder of Van Gogh, but also attacks on lecturers at the University of Copenhagen (who had been beaten simply for reading the Koran to non-believers).

Editors at the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, decided to investigate just how widespread the impact of Islamic intimidation had become, and to do so, they invited forty cartoonists to give their interpretation of how Muhammad may have looked. Twelve responded with cartoons of varying degrees of irreverence (though all mild by any standard, they are especially so when contrasted to those in Islamic countries where Jews and others are routinely caricatured in much more grotesque and inflammatory cartoons). But this, again, is irrelevant, as the cartoons were legal expressions of free speech, made by law-abiding citizens, and should have been subject to every possible protection which a government can muster.

The first reaction to the cartoons was sad but predictable, with Islamic leaders petitioning every possible government and quasi-government agency to censure the cartoonists and castigate the offending newspaper. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s initial stand was laudatory, as he proclaimed that he “cannot, and will not, decide what the newspapers are allowed to print”. Early on, he also refused to meet with Muslim ambassadors saying that meeting with them would give the impression that “this issue is something to be discussed. It is not.”

But when stonewalled by a principled Danish nation, Islamists gathered and fomented their believers to engage in a rash of violent protests, arson, and killings around the globe. Protesters in England promised that “Bin Laden is coming back”, that the “Annihilation of Europe” was imminent, then warned Europeans “to heed the lesson of Theo Van Gogh” and “your 9/11 is coming”. Western buildings and embassies were again attacked and destroyed, including ones in Beirut, Damascus and Tehran. Islamic clerics, in both India and Pakistan, issued death sentence fatwas against the cartoonists and backed them up with bounties totaling $12 million. The Indian and Pakistani clerics carried out their death threats in full public view, surrounded by chanting and rabid supporters -- the Danish cartoonists are hiding in isolation, possibly for the rest of their lives.

What has been the Western response? Some continental European newspapers, understanding the issue and the stakes, reprinted the cartoons as a show of solidarity and in the name of free speech. Many editors were fired and/or are under death threats as a result. American press was less courageous, realizing that their government would not act to protect them, so only a handful of papers reprinted the cartoons. Others disingenuously claimed to be respecting Muslims’ “feelings” by not doing so, yet the “feelings” of peaceful targets had never previously stopped them from publishing offensive material. A Boston newsweekly, the Phoenix, perhaps most clearly stated the real reasons for which they were not republishing the cartoons: “Out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists … This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question … we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix … in physical jeopardy … this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history.”

In reality though, it is not the role of the press, but of the government to stand up to those who threaten violence. Yet Western governments have acted deplorably, once again breaking their most solemn promise and contravening their very raison-d’etre. Said the US State Department: “These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims." "We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.” (The Department later mitigated its position somewhat, but in the face of death threats, killings, etc., it was clear that it had no principled defense of free speech or of Western values and citizens.)

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw “praised the UK media for refusing to reprint the cartoons” saying that “I believe the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong.” He later added that “freedom of speech did not mean an open season on religious taboos.” EU commissioner Frattini capitulated completely and suggested that the press adopt a “voluntary code” of self-censorship.

No Western government has taken a single action to eliminate the sources of the bounties on the heads of Western citizens, to hunt down the issuers of death threats against editors and publishers, nor even to pledge full and unconditional protection to any citizen who wishes to exercise his statutory rights in the face of violent Islamic opposition.

The historical pattern is clear and consistent. For twenty five plus years, Islamists have isolated and targeted Western citizens around the world with impunity, and have succeeded in fostering fear in most citizens. They have effectively used a divide and conquer strategy, with little or no opposition. The pattern must be broken immediately.

To see how, imagine a neo-Nazi state arising and declaring to Western nations: “We have no quarrel with you, we just want to exterminate the Jews who reside within your borders.” The proper response would of course be: “if you want to harm our law-abiding citizens, you DO have a quarrel with us, in fact you have a war, for no one may threaten our citizens without threatening our nation as a whole.” Similar reasoning extends from a segment of the population to a single individual citizen. If a nation threatens one citizen, it threatens the nation, and we must do everything in our power, including going to war if necessary, to eradicate the threat. Otherwise there is no point for individuals to delegate their use of force to the state, and every enemy will employ a “divide and conquer” tactic to eliminate us one citizen at a time.

As a reminder of this, let us resurrect Dumas’ famous Musketeers’ rallying call: “One for All and All for One” emphasizing the latter phrase. For only by standing together to defend each individual can a peaceful society exist. Thus we must stand together and protect the lonely author who dares question a religion and who is sentenced to death because of it. We must stand together to defend his publishers who are firebombed for printing the book. We must stand together to defend the individual film-maker and political dissident who criticize Islam and are sentenced to death because of it. We must stand together to defend the benign cartoonist, who pens a simple cartoon, and is then forced into hiding by death threats and bounties.

To stand together means to assert our rights with our government as our agent. To those who threaten us with force, asserting our rights means responding with force, in fact, with overwhelming force. We must say to Iran (which on February 14 just reconfirmed the Rushdie fatwa) “oust and turn over the regime which sees fit to condemn a single citizen of ours to death, or face all out war.” And if they refuse, give them the war they started, but be sure to win it decisively, not protecting their mosques and infrastructure, but instead doing everything necessary to ensure they have no capacity to ever threaten us again. To Pakistan and India, which host clerics bold enough to put bounties on the heads of our citizens, demand that they turn over the men and their supporters, and if they refuse, go in and take them by force.

For if we fail to reverse our pattern, men will continue to learn that their rights are a sham, that the government’s promise to protect the individual is a hoax, and that only by refraining from thinking and speaking out might they be momentarily safe. Men will then go on to realize that they must seek out true protectors, in the form of some gang; ethnic, religious or otherwise; who may afford them a measure of security, albeit at the cost of complete obedience. Eventually the gangs will fight it out in an effort to wrest absolute power and to subjugate the others.

So will end the great intellectual and political achievement of the West, which began 2,500 years ago in Greece with its discovery and reverence for the individual, and which culminated in the enunciation of the guiding principles of the United States. The end will not come because an over-powering enemy has arisen –- no, to our everlasting shame, the end will come because Western governments, in a display of incredible cowardice and treason, have abandoned and delivered their disarmed individual citizens to a mob of stone-age savages.