Saturday, March 22, 2003

This via the Guardian:

""You just arrived," he said. "You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave."

"For a long time we've been saying: 'Let them come'," his wife, Zahara, said. "Last night we were afraid, but we said: 'Never mind, as long as they get rid of him, as long as they overthrow him, no problem'." Their 29-year-old son was executed in July 2001, accused of harbouring warm feelings for Iran.

"He was a farmer, he had a car, he sold tomatoes, and we had a life that we were satis fied with," said Khlis. "He was in prison for a whole year, and I raised 75m dinars in bribes. It didn't work. The money was gone, and he was gone. They sent me a telegram. They gave me the body."

The marines rolled into the border town after a bombardment which left up to a dozen people dead. Residents gave different figures. A farmer, Haider, who knew one of the men killed, Sharif Badoun, said: "Killing some is worth it, to end the injustice and suffering." The men around him gave a collective hysterical laugh.

The injustice of tyranny was merged in their minds with the effects of sanctions. "Look at the way we're dressed!" said Haider, and scores of men held up their stained, holed clothes. "We are isolated from the rest of the world.""

So, I have friends who ask me, why didn't we try diplomacy a little longer? Why not wait for UN approval of our actions.

Here's why. The UN has failed in every test in recent memory. They failed the Rwandans. They failed in Bosnia. They failed in Kosovo, I would argue. Too little, too late. And they most certainly were failing the people of Iraq.

Like I've said before, I'm not the biggest fan of George Bush, but perhaps he and Tony Blair have the balls to stand up to the countries who would have us do nothing but talk, while people die.

Friends ask me, "Is it our place to police the world?" I say, if not us, who? The world community isn't doing a great job of protecting the weak and powerless from tyrants and thugs. The UN lends an air of legitimacy to men who should be rotting in a jail cell, or dying in front of a firing squad. Yes, the US has made mistakes in the past. We have had our hands in all sorts of sordid affairs of state. Dirty tricks and all that. But show me what country hasn't.

If this administration has the courage to point to the hypocrisy of the rest of the world and to actually say "Stand aside. If you won't clean up this mess, WE WILL!" then I say good.

"A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head.""

Old Europe is full of such arrogance. Jacque Chirac told the Eastern European nations that are backing the US to "Shut up" if they knew what was good for them, and basically threatened their position in the EU. The French and the Germans think that they should lead Europe, and that all the other countries should fall into line with what they want. How's that for Hegemony?

Friday, March 21, 2003

"Does al-Qaeda have a charter or manifesto?
In an al-Qaeda house in Afghanistan, New York Times reporters found a brief statement of the “Goals and Objectives of Jihad”:

1. Establishing the rule of God on earth.
2. Attaining martyrdom in the cause of God.
3. Purification of the ranks of Islam from the elements of depravity.
In 1998, several al-Qaeda leaders issued a declaration calling on Muslims to kill Americans—including civilians—as well as “those who are allied with them from among the helpers of Satan.” "

Establishing the rule of God on earth is essentially a wish to return to a theocratic form of government, such as the Caliphate, and to spread that over the globe. That is the danger.

I am not saying that all Muslims all over the world want this. But I think that there are large numbers of people in the Middle-East and everywhere you find Muslims who are at least sympathetic to this world-view, and may covertly help or turn a blind eye to the people who are willing to carry out this agenda.

I think that Al Qaeda and their ilk would be more than willing to use Saddam Hussein and his W.M.D.s to strike at America, because we are the antithesis of the type of society that they want to establish, and hence, their natural enemy. We are pluralistic. We are democratic, despite our flaws. We practice religious freedom. We are tolerant, or try to be as a society. We have a tradition of the separation of secular and spiritual power, despite the fact that our Supreme Court may at times lose sight of that, or the reasons why we have that tradition.

It is at the locus of the two forces, the militantly religious terrorist groups, and the rogue fascist states, both enemies of free peoples everywhere, where the danger lies. If the terrorist organizations join with the rogue states to establish hegemony, then civilization itself is threatened.

That is why we fight.

Sometimes I find it hard to articulate why I think we're doing the right thing. But I think we are, even if the wrong man is doing it.

"The new American policy toward which the times have driven us is as radically different as our critics fear. It breaks with a failed and blood-soaked past. We have finally accepted that it is no longer enough to wait for enemies to attack first. We have accepted our unique responsibility to intervene abroad in the cause of global security and human rights.

And we have dispensed with a corrupt sham sustained by our critics: the notion that a dictator, no matter how cruel and illegitimate, is untouchable behind his "sovereign" borders."

Maybe it is a form of enforced Pax Americana. I don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing.

I have friends who argue that "they" hate us because of what we have done in the past. I don't think that's really true. I think they hate us for who and what we are. I think most of the protesters are sadly misguided. It all boils down to risks and dangers for me, and it is too dangerous for rogue states with Weapons of Mass Destruction and militant religious terrorist groups (who have proven that they are willing to use the methods of assymetrical warfare) to have us as an enemy. The possibility of rogue states allied with terrorist cells is too horrific to contemplate without doing something. If we did nothing to prevent this from coming about, then the results could be horrible beyond all imagining. If a major US city's subways were hit with anthrax, or god forbid, smallpox, at rush hour on a Friday, then the result could be deaths in a matter of days and weeks measured in the tens of thousands if not the millions.

There are only two possibilities. Either the kind of men who made 9-11 a reality can get their hands on W.M.D.s, or they can't. If we do nothing to try to stop them, then that is morally equivalent to helping them. All that is required for evil to grow is for good men to do nothing.

If the U.N. had its way, then we would be doing nothing right now. We would be "negotiating" with a tyrant who, by the very conditions of the ceasing of hostilities the first time, was required to dispose of all W.M.D.s. Can you negotiate with a tyrant? Can you negotiate with an illegitimate regime that holds on to power with fear and oppression? Should you?

I don't particularly like Bush. I don't really trust him in some ways. But I think what he's doing is necessary for the safety of the United States and the world community.