Tomorrow brings some serious surgery to my beloved - so scanty posting will probably be the rule for the next 4 to 6 weeks.
Please wish her luck.
My post of yesterday essentially condemned the ideas attributed to Pope Benedict, and especially those espoused by Jonah Goldberg regarding the Muslim world.
I received a few comments that helped me clarify my thoughts on the issue. The first comments suggested that I actually read a speech given by Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury - a speech which has been described as supportive of anti-Muslim arguments and of the comments made by the Pope. In fact, the speech in no way confirms such a posture - quite the opposite.
Another comment was from the loyal Rick, who argued that we have long been in a war of civilizations; a war in which we are completely innocent, and that "Islam was spread at the point of a sword, and will be settled at the barrel of an Abrams M1 A1." Although he is completely wrong in his arguments, I do admire Rick for his honesty in stating the logical conclusion to his statements. The Goldbergs and Malkins of the world merely pass out bromides about "standing up" to Islam, or "confronting" it. It would be even more impressive if Rick were to tell us how many Muslims would have to eliminated in order to stop them from conquering the West. Clearly, the spiral of death in Iraq only grows wider and larger the longer we are there. Rick sees the war as ongoing and unavoidable.
Goldberg, like so many on the right, and like Bush himself, gain personal rewards by being provocative. They earn money, maintain power, and stroke their egos by provoking Islam. It's deeply cynical, and if they believed what they said, seriously dangerous behavior.
It comes from a different source, but the same thing is happening with the stupidity of the comments by Pope Benedict, then by Lord Carey, and supported by the Chicken Hawk in Chief, Lord Goldberg. The right has managed to create a narrative in which a poor little innocent Pope's life is threatened, a nun killed, and Catholic churches destroyed because of the vicious Arab terrorists, who we Democrats would allow to destroy our freedoms - since we're Jihad Enablers.
The distortions that enable such a narrative are boggling. Benedict is a conservative, right-wing guy. As Cardinal he ran the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" formerly known as the "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition." In his speech he implied that a reformation was essential in Islam. Yet he, currently, and the group he headed, historically, have fought every reform possible. His is the religion of the crusades, and of the Spanish Inquisition where Jews and Arabs who would not convert had to leave or be killed. The Inquisition was all about killing those whose conversions were not sincere enough. (The Jews (And Muslims) that fled Spain sought and received refuge in the Ottoman Empire) Is it surprising that the comments of a Catholic Pope would be scrutinized in the Muslim world?
Without a hint of irony, Captain Ed describes Lord Carey's position as one where "growth will never occur until Muslims go through a Reformation process that sets their faith apart from their government." (emphasis added)
Goldberg is not interested in the refuges Jews received from the Ottomans - "Spare me tales of Jewish accommodation in the 15th century', he writes. But he approves of the Pope's quoting a 14th century Byzantine, and of course bases his support for Israel in part on even more ancient history.
Because of our support for Israel, and because we had established a military base in Saudi Arabia, Osama attacked us. This despicable act is inexcuable. With justification, Bush attacked the country that had harbored Osama.
we then invaded and have occupied another Arab country for over three years.
In the process, its infrastructure has been destroyed, as well as
possibly a hundred thousand innocent Arab lives lost. As Robert Pape has pointed out, there had never been an Iraqi suicide bomber,not one, until we invaded Iraq. Al Qaeda is stronger, and the Arab world more radical, because of our unilateral attack on Iraq.
One of the reasons those of us who objected to that invasion, did so, was because of our certainty that it would bring instabilitly and increase hatred of the West in an enormously important region of the world. The left warned that the invasion of Iraq would cause more terrorist attacks
And it has.
The West now has over 150,000 troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and we have established a Jewish State on land that had been in Arab hands since the founding of Islam. The Arab world is pissed and sees us as its enemy. Would the Chicken Hawk in Chief please spare me the outrage.
This crash between civilizations, if it is one, is entirely the fault of our President, who has been Driving While Intoxicated, and the real enablers are the Goldbergs, the Bill Kristols, and our corporatized media that dare not speak the truth.
I'm frightened by our inability to maintain our focus - I'm not talking about laser like precision here - I'm concerned that we're unable to keep our eyes on the ball - even when it's a one on one game of 21 and you can't follow the basketball.
Our ability to lose sight of the plan has been amply demonstrated in the last ten days.
The first occurred with the great manipulation that was "The Path to 9/11." Yesterday Cyrus Nowrasteh had an op-end in the Opinion Journal, which was entitled "The Path to Hysteria." In it Nowrasteh went for the victim role. He argued that he has made films that have been considered ant-Republican, and thus it was grossly unfair that he was accused of being unfair to Clinton - it was an apolitical attempt at truth.
Whether the publicity run up to the show was concocted by Rove, or merely based on the personal greed of Nowrasteh, the clear plan was to rile up Democrats, and get them defending Clinton's behavior of a decade ago. The publicity we obtained for him was priceless, and had the added bonus for the right of bringing Monica Lewinsky back into the news, as well as a lot of fresh debate about Clinton's handling of Osama.
The dishonesty of the Op-Ed, like the publicity before the film's airing was infuriating, and because of our reaction - totally successful. In it Nowrasteh mentioned that they had "lawyers [who] scrutinized every detail, every line, every scene. There were hundreds of pages of annotations." You don't need a team of lawyers to help you tell the truth, and they are not the same as fact checkers - you use lawyers to find our how much lying you can get away with. The idea that the number of annotations is in any way indicative of truth went out the window the day that the stork flew in to deliver Ann Coulter. He also said that "much was made of my 'friendship' with Rush Limbaugh (a connection limited to two social encounters)" If he did not like the characterization of his relationship to Limbaugh, why'd he wait to clarify it? Why did Nowrasteh let Limbaugh's description of the film as a complete indictment of Clinton stand?
When Bush says of a Democrat - "I've heard that he stopped beating his wife" - do we have to go out everyday and argue before the press the he hasn't stopped? Do we have to fall for every trick in the book?
(Tomorrow I hope to provide additional examples, and some suggestions.)
George Bush's summer reading program included some Sartre. I am a big believer in reading, and have often been disappointed in our President's lack of intellectual curiosity.
I was wrong: it must be his new found knowledge of existentialism that allows Bush to accept such a surrealistic act as Iraq's building a moat around Baghdad. We invade Iraq because of it's ability to produce advanced chemical weapons and it's knowledge and ability in things nuclear.
Only a few years after we invaded the country, spent hundreds of billions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, Iraq is digging a trench.
Obviously, Bush is repeating his failed Afghanistan policy. Once again, he hopes that if the media's focus-point in a country, it's capital, is secure, the world will not care if the balance of the country is run by warlords and bandits. Of course the capital does not remain secure in a vacuum.
From what I can tell, this is the first moat built in the mid-east since the 14th century.
Way to Go Mr. President!
It can't be easy being a Republican these days.
Gingrich and Osama agree that we are now in World War III. Are Gingrich and Osama really supposed to be on the same page?
Cheney tells Timmy that nothing we've done in Iraq was wrong - he wouldn't change a thing. Isn't he supposed to be on the same side as reality?
Reagan P.R. flack Noonan reports on what the giggling Laura and W. did on the night of 9/11/2001. (It had to do with his need to be well-rested - but they are zany, those two!) [H/T Attaturk] But I thought Noonan was supposed to help their image?
Bush P.R. flack Karen Hughes is outraged that there are "those who try to justify the violence [of 9/11] based on policy differences,[or] long-held grievances..."
Regan P.R. flack Dinesh D'Souza does just that - he blames 9/11 on policy differences; or as his publisher describes it in his new book
He argues that it is not our exercise of freedom that enrages our enemies, but our abuse of that freedom—from the sexual liberty of women to the support of gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce,
If no-fault divorce is really to blame for 9/11, I suppose we should incarcerate one of the following: (Please vote on who you think deserves to hang)
Don't worry about which answer is right; it's a trick question. They are all Mrs. Rudolph Giuliani. The first is Donna Hanover Giuliani, whose marriage to Rudy was her second, and lasted 16 years. Number 2 was only married to Rudy for 14 years - Regina Peruggi Giuilani, who was Rudy's first wife and third cousin. Number 3, of course, is Rudy's third wife, Judi Giuliani, the former Mrs. Bruce Nathan.
Rudy's marital history might seem confusing, but to be a Republican these days you just have to become accustomed things being a little bit jumbled, and at odds with reality.
Yesterday I posted two photos which prove the lie of the Bush Administration's meme that the events yesterday were non-political. While the two Democratic Senators from New York were not invited to participate in Bush's charade in Manhattan, the two Republican Senators from Pennsylvania were invited to view the show in Shanksville. Republican Governor of New York was asked to participate, while the Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania was not.
I received a comment from a reader, Farmer Mark. who wrote that he
found most of public commemorations to be inadequate ways to deal with the memorializing and processing functions necessary to such a recent, raw event and think someone should try to come up with a ritual that is appropriate, meaningful and unique to this occasion.
I happen to know that he personally was directly, seriously harmed by 9/11. I totally agree that the pompous rites engaged in by our political leaders were pathetic, even cynical, but what else can be expected from such "leadership?" Just as they used 9/11 as an excuse to act on their long held desire to invade Iraq, they once again tried to use yesterday to sell their misbegotten war.
On September 12 of 2001, I was still in shock, and very worried about the people that I loved in New York. I felt some first twinges of optimism in seeing initial reactions around the world. True, some residents of the occupied Palestinian territories were dancing in the street. But the Arab world was hugely united in condemning the terrorism, and especially unanimous when it came to the civilian casualties.
France's Le Monde ran the famous headline "Nous sommes tous Americains." Iran, for the first time in 22 years, was not saying "Death to America." A few days after 9/11, there was a moment of silence to honor our innocent dead in an international soccer game being played in Tehran. Newspapers throughout the country condemned the attacks, as they did throughout the Muslim world. Indonesia, like Jordan, froze bank accounts of those suspected of working with Al Qaeda. I could go on and on. The amount of goodwill Bush squandered is stupefying.
There was quite a small group of Muslims who did applaud the attacks - but the vast majority of this minority did so on the basis of our government's behavior. Primarily they condemned our having a military base in Saudi Arabia (the holiest of their lands) and of our support for Israel. There were other reasons, but virtually no one supported the attacks because of our "lifestyle"- our acceptance of homosexuality, our treatment of women - or our freedom. It is only washed up wing-nuts like D'Souza, Hitchens, Falwell and Bush who speak such nonsense. The Arab world was amazingly unanimous in condemning the loss of civilian life: whatever the gender, race, religion or sexual identity of that life.
In looking at international reactions to the tragedy of 9/11, I came across a prescient response to Bush's speech of 9/20/2001. In that speech, Bush stated that "we will use every necessary weapon of war," that "Americans should... expect ... a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen," and he told "every nation" that "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
Parts of the response:
An objective and calm friend should advise the United States government against throwing the young American soldiers into an uncertain war in remote, isolated and inaccessible places, like a fight against ghosts, not knowing where they are or even if they exist or not, or whether the people they kill are or not responsible for the death of their innocent fellow countrymen killed in the United States.
After the shock and sincere sorrow felt by every people on Earth for the atrocious and insane terrorist attack that targeted the American people, the most extremist ideologists and the most belligerent hawks, already set in privileged power positions, have taken command of the most powerful country in the world whose military and technological capabilities would seem infinite. Actually, its capacity to destroy and kill is enormous while its inclination towards equanimity, serenity, thoughtfulness and restraint is minimal.
These were parts of a speech given in Havana by President Fidel Castro on September 22 ,2001.
If only we could expect a fraction of such wisdom from our own "leadership."
George W. Bush, and his wife Laura, accompanied by Former Mayor Giulani (Repub), Governor Pataki (Repub), and Mayor Bloomberg (Repub), approach Ground Zero in a wreath-laying ceremony there yesterday. New York's Senators Schumer (Democrat) and Clinton (Democrat) were apparently not invited to attend.
Here, Pennsylvania Senators Santorum (Repub), Spector (Repub), and Former Governor Ridge (Repub) are photographed attending a 9/11 ceremony today in Shanksville, PA. Democratic Governor Rendell was apparently not invited.
Aren't you glad that we had non-partisan ceremonies marking the attacks of 9/11? Politics be damned when it comes to The War on Terror! !
Union Square 9/11/2006
The weather this morning was very similar to that of 9/11/2001 - a crystal clear day with a hint of a chill in the air.
Five years ago, Union Square became a center for vigils, makeshift memorials, and people in search of loved ones lost.
Today, an investment banker and reed flute player who has performed at Lincoln Center and was born in India, was playing at September Concert. Each September 11, concerts are held around the nation and around the world. Most are in New York, which has well over one-hundred free concerts going on today.