"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cartoon Jihad or the Inkquisiton, Iraq, Iran and Jyllands-Posten Recap

Last fall the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons, which included the image of the prophet Muhammed. The cartoons were in response to an overall feeling of fear created in part by Islam in Europe; some examples of which, are the murder of Theo van Gogh, Dutch filmmaker and Dutch various politicians that live in hiding for fear for their lives.

The cartoons themselves were fairly innocuous, however, with any type of statement like this, there is the risk of offending some. This happens often here in the U.S. with satire of Christians and their beliefs; doesn’t make it nice, nor is it the end of the world. An Egyptian newspaper reprinted the cartoons in October of last year, with no serious uproar. It was not until a few weeks ago, that the riots in the street began, which have resulted in 100 plus deaths.

The overreaction to the blasphemy to date is the result of deliberate inflaming of the reaction, by imams and other islamists. Interestingly enough, the Imams and others behind the deliberate incitement felt it necessary to pull out three additional cartoons that were not from the paper or printed.

The U.S. media has been its useless and hypocritical self and usually is all for the freedom of the press (when it suits them), has instead of condemning the crushing of that freedom, but has questioned, as pointed out by Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, the “right of a newspaper to publish offensive material.” To further quote Mr. Goldberg, the medias angle “is an incandescently stupid topic to concentrate on. Not because freedom of the press isn’t important, but because we already know everyone in America believes in it. Imagine if coverage of the Tiananmen Square protest had been dominated by long debates about the freedom of assembly.”

To add a dash of insult to injury, former President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, felt it necessary to add to the ignorance by saying of the Danish paper, “so now what are we going to do? Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?” This is especially galling considering the almost daily amount of anti-Semitic statements coming from Arab lands.

Unrelated to the cartoons, but just as pathetically galling, our former Vice President of the United States, Albert Gore was at the Jeddah Economic Forum denouncing U.S. (imagined) treatment of Arabs now and after 9/11.

Add to mix, the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stirring the coals with Iranian “peaceful” nukes, incitement of muslims regarding Israel, the U.S. and all other infidels and his latest saying that the blowing up of the mosques in Iraq is Israel and the U.S.. I personally believe, much of the violence in Iraq is due to support from Iran. Something like this always has the possibility of working, which I believe at times Ahmadinejad is confident of. But when many across the world, including and especially muslims condemn the mosque explosions, he will jump back to the other side of the argument as he did yesterday.

All we can do is to continue to support the nascent governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, and be proactive in the war on terror. Unfortunately, in any type of war there is also the reactive. The battles it seems will continue along these asymmetric lines, with riots in France, riots throughout Europe and the Middle East; but they do and will continue to intersect within al Qaeda, it’s terrorist allies, Iran, extremist imams and others that know nothing but their own ignorance.

As suggested recently by Jonah Goldber, perhaps we should take a page from Sir Charles James Napier, British General. While assigned in India some Indian locals complained to him about his interference with Suttee, his response, '"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will Build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."'

Various posts here and here.


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