September 23, 2006
Gun control and the tragedy in Montreal
Sent: September 17, 2006 10:21:25 AM
Subject: Re: (cyf-talk) Debate Over Long-Gun Registry
I recently blogged about this. A couple of quick but important points about this incident and the gun registry:
First and foremost, let me extend my sympathies, condolences, and support to the students and the families affected by the terrible shooting in Montreal. My prayers are with them.
This is a terrible tragedy. I don't know if there was much of anything that would have prevented it. It is so sad and so frustrating. It's also frustrating to have to start this discussion so early. Personally, I would have preferred to wait, but I also believe that it is imperative to respond to misconceptions on some of these issues before they spread and turn into gospel.
- There should not be so much as one single photograph of the shooter displayed online, on television or anywhere else. There should be no or very little reproduction of his "message." He should barely be named. We should try our best to minimize any popular circulation of these things because we do not want to give the impression to other young people (or anyone) that such "statements" will be heard in any way shape or form.
- I believe, and I admit this is more of a feeling than a quantifiable thing, that young people in most parts of Canada today only happen upon a decent moral compass and an appreciation of the real world threats, values and principles if their families take it upon themselves to offer it or if teachers and other mentor-figures take it upon themselves to do something extra to instill that. It's no longer a society-re-enforced school-taught thing. This is, in my opinion, unfortunate. I don't know if more instilling and monitoring of the development of that moral compass in our children would have made any difference in this situation, but I think it makes sense to really look hard at what we're doing on that front. We need to do more.
- Instead of Jean Charest dignifying leading questions during a period of tragedy and going on at length about a hunting rifle registry that in no way would have prevented this tragedy, if he must start the discussion so early, he should do so by first looking at what he can himself control. There are visible security guards in everything from office towers to shopping malls to downtown bars. Yet there is clearly not enough security guard presence in schools protecting the most important thing of all -- the safety of our children. In urban schools there should be guards and those guards should be armed.
- Wendy Cukier, head of the Coalition for Gun Control should be ashamed of herself for using this incident to grind a very different axe indeed. She should also be ashamed of herself for describing law abiding gun owners as "dangerous people" on a CBC news TV spot today. She did so when she suggested that eliminating the new registry would be "making it easier for dangerous people to get guns." This is patently false. Even if the latest registry is totally repealed, Canada will still have every restriction in place concerning who can and cannot use firearms and significant gun control laws. Even if we had a registry that extended to pop guns, pellet guns, water guns, pointy sticks, and cutlery, we wouldn't have prevented any of these sorts of crimes.
- The Italian-made Beretta Cx4 Storm semi-automatic rifle owned by the killer has nothing to do with the latest registry. It didn't need to be. It was already a severely restricted weapon (http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/info_for-renseignement/factsheets/restricted_e.asp). If Parliament voted tomorrow to repeal every lick of the changes Alan Rock and Anne MacLellan pushed through (re the registration of duck hunting guns etc . . ), this weapon would still be totally restricted. It is the heights of ignorance for Liberal MP Marlene Jennings and her Bloc counterpart who appeared on CBC Newsworld's Politics to imply that scrapping the registry in any way makes it easier for these sorts of weapons to be accessed. It's simply false.
- To the pinkos: please don't compare us to the United States, it's a silly comparison and it's the usual bogeyman use of our neighbour to the south. But if you insist, remember a few things about the trends of violent crimes in different countries. Simon Fraser University professor Gary Mauser (http://www.sfu.ca/%7Emauser/papers/failed/FailedExperimentRev.pdf) shows us, that the United States, while having a higher violent crime rate, has actually had more luck in reducing its homicide rate than Canada. If these trends were to continue, Canada could end up with a rate higher than the US rate. As it stands, According to the 2005 U.N. Human Development Report, a greater percentage of Canadians have been victims of total crime (23.8%) and the measured forms of violent crime (assault [0.9], robbery[0.8], sexual assault[2.3]) than the percentage affected by such crimes in the United States (21.1, 0.6, 0.4, 1.2). Gary Mauser has studied the effect and experience of four different countries with four different flavours of gun control: Canada, U.S.A, U.K., and Australia. His findings will surprise you. Please read it. Check out his sources too. It's very solid.
- The most important piece of firearms control was established back in 1979 -- the FAC system. The rest since then has been mostly garbage.
- The latest incarnation of the firearms registry was expensive, intrusive, ineffective, and even counter-productive. The government should definitely go ahead and scrap it. Maybe the money that can be saved can go towards better programs to address violence issues in school, better enforcing more sensible laws, and keeping Canadians more secure.
The full story from the post below...
Updated Sun. Sep. 17 2006 11:59 PM ET
Michael Ignatieff was forced to take a stand against U.S. President George Bush's strategy in Iraq during Sunday's Liberal leadership debate.
As fellow leadership hopefuls Bob Rae and Stephane Dion hammered the former Harvard scholar in a three-way debate, both portrayed Ignatieff as a hawk on Canada's mission in Afghanistan and used that as a springboard to attack Ignatieff's position on Iraq.
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives cut off debate to push through a two-year extension of Canada's mission in Afghanistan, "Michael was very proud to vote with Mr. Harper," Dion said.
When Iraq was raised, Ignatieff acknowledged that his support for the Kurds and Shia in Iraq is longstanding, since spending time with them in Iraq in 1992, when Saddam Hussein was in power.
Rae, the former NDP premier of Ontario, insisted that the record shows Ignatieff's stated support of U.S. intervention wasn't just to protect the Kurds and the Shiites, but because of Bush's argument that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be untrue.
"Mr. Bush made the wrong decision," Rae insisted. "I haven't heard you say Mr. Bush made the wrong decision."
Rae finally wrested a stand from the rookie MP with the question: "The issue is do you stand with George Bush on the intervention in Iraq or not? That's the issue."
"George Bush has made every mistake in Iraq and then some," Ignatieff replied. "I don't stand with George Bush. I stand with the independence and freedom of the Kurdish and Shia people and believe that one day they will push this country out of the ditch."
Former prime ministerial aide Scott Reid told CTV Newsnet that Sunday's exchange was much more exciting than in previous debates.
"I actually thought that the Liberal party went to B.C. and found its backbone," said Reid.
"You've got to acknowledge the fact that Bob Rae is really good at this, he is really good at these debates," he said. "I don't know if he is the right choice for leader, necessarily -- maybe he is. But he sure chewed that stage up today."
Former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan agreed.
"There was such spirit out there," she said, crediting, in part, the change in debate format.
The format for Sunday's debate was a series of three-way, seven-minute debates on specific topics. That succeeded in creating sparks between Ignatieff, Dion, and Rae over Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ignatieff stood his ground in supporting the mission in Afghanistan.
"We made a promise to Afghan civilians, we made a promise to an elected government and Canada needs to keep that promise," he said.
Recalling the image of voters -- specifically women voters who had been hard hit by Taliban policies -- raising a purple finger after voting for a democratic government, he said Canada's role is to support them following their vote for democracy.
"Sometimes the only way you can defend human rights is to provide human security," he said. "That's the basis, it seems to me, and the logic of our position in Afghanistan."
Dion, a former Liberal cabinet minister, said he would be much more cautious in using troops to spread democracy.
Ignatieff said he respected former prime minister Jean Chretien's decision not to send Canadian troops to Iraq.
"I would be as cautious as you about the deployment of military force," Ignatieff told Dion, and said he would not commit troops to Iraq in future, calling the issue a red herring.
Rae stressed that he sees Canada's main role to be that of a peacekeeper and a country that helps find resolution to conflicts.
"We are not part of an empire," Rae said. "We are a country that believes profoundly in peace and the resolution of conflict. That's Canada's mission for the world."
Sunday's debate in Vancouver is the second-last debate before the Liberals choose their delegates for their convention in December. The final debate will be held on Oct. 15 in Toronto.
Other questions topics the candidates debated Sunday included the goals of the Kelowna aboriginal accord, the legalization of marijuana and how to preserve the fishery on Canada's west coast.
Those segments proved to be much more sedate, with no clear-cut policy differences.
More commentary from cyf-talk...
Sent: September 18, 2006 8:39:59 AM
Subject: (cyf-talk) For the good of the country
On Sunday, I very much wanted to shake Michael Ignatieff's hand.
The true political culture of the Liberal Party of Canada showed itself when Stephane Dion and Bob Rae both attacked and smeared Ignatieff for daring to support regime change and intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As I have often pointed out, bitching about Iraq is the new Canadian politico pastime. It's never done with regard for the facts of the situation in Iraq. Rae and Dion never once came out and made a statement about the honest and obvious logical fallout of their own positions - that they believe that the people of Iraq should still be under Saddam Hussein's torturous and genocidal regime. . .
Instead, as always, all foreign policy discussions are more simplified than a Barney video. Either you're against any action on Afghanistan and Iraq or you're madly in love with all things to do with George W. Bush. It's sicko. It's really stupid. It's dishonest.
I liked Ignatieff's response:
"I don't stand with George Bush. I stand with the independence and freedom of the Kurdish and Shia people and believe that one day they will push this country out of the ditch."
I don't know what the average armchair smarmy is going to do when George W. Bush -- the president they love to hate and the president they love to tie all things towards -- is done. They'll go through withdrawal symptoms. They'll be shakier than a crack addict on the International Space Station. They'll need a new bogeyman.
While I support the Harper government, For the sake of knowing that whatever happens in any nearby federal election that we will have a solid and relatively consistent foreign policy, I hope that Ignatieff wins their leadership.
Of course, it is precisely because Ignatieff stands on principle and not on the cheap smear politics employed by Dion and Rae than he will probably lose.
September 17, 2006
On the Lighter Side...
"Higher Learning" my ass...
FIVE YEARS have now passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and what have our universities been doing? I can tell you about Harvard, and the answer is not reassuring.
Harvard has just welcomed the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to give a little talk. Harvard thinks this is free speech, but in fact the university has allowed itself to be used as a platform for sweet-talk in the service of a regime that hates, and wants to bamboozle, America. Note, too, that Harvard professor Stephen Walt and a Chicago professor have just written an exposé of the Israeli lobby's influence on American politics. They encourage the belief that Israel is the main problem we face.
Nor has Harvard relaxed its hostility to ROTC on the campus. The pretext is the military's policy discriminating against gays by requiring them to keep silent about being gay. Never mind what would happen to gays or defenders of gays if the Islamic fascists took over.
These are not isolated incidents but signs of the prevailing attitude at Harvard and other elite universities. There is lots of griping against the Bush administration but little activist dissent of the kind seen in protest against the Vietnam War. Cindy Sheehan's movement has not caught on.
All to the good, one might say. A university is not a political actor and should not be drawn away from its own business by too much concern for current events.
Yes, agreed. A university is an institution of learning, and as such takes a broad view of things. But this means it should learn from events if not try to control them. What has Harvard learned from Sept. 11? Very little.
Sept. 11 was a stunning blow to multiculturalism. The attacks showed that we have enemies who hate us because they hate both our principles and our practices. They despise the way we live not because we do not live up to our principles of freedom, democracy, and toleration, but because we do. They do not think we are multicultural; they believe we have one culture, and they mean to do away with it.
The feminists at Harvard seek to remove every vestige of patriarchy in America, but they have said almost nothing about the complete dismissal of women's rights by radical Islam. To do so would be to attack Islamic culture, and according to multiculturalism, every culture is equal and none is evil. They forsake women in societies that repudiate women's rights and direct their complaints to societies that believe in women's rights. Of course it's easier to complain to someone who listens to you and doesn't immediately proceed to slit your throat. No sign of any rethinking of feminism has appeared in the universities where it flourishes.
Civil liberties should be another topic of reconsideration. Civil libertarians on the left and the right assume that government is the object of their vigilance and minorities need special care. In time of peace that may be true, but in a war the government is your main friend, and the majority must be protected. The preaching of radical Islam is in fact "a clear and present danger," and we need to suppress it. This sort of speech is not just blowing off steam or keeping us honest or puncturing our complacency. Here is a new task to occupy the anxious minds of civil libertarians in universities: how to distinguish truly dangerous speech and how to defeat it?
The jihadists say they will triumph because they believe in death while we believe in life. That is not quite so. We do believe in life--but not at any cost. We too value sacrifice and honor for a decent cause. But we let our soldiers speak for us. The professors, who should be our spokesmen, have learned nothing from our soldiers and have nothing to say on why they volunteer to risk their lives.
The difference between our country and the terrorists dwarfs that between liberals and conservatives within our country. But conservatives are more aware of this fact than are liberals, and our universities are dominated by befuddled liberals. Better that they be befuddled than determined to rebel, as during the late 1960s. Better still that they heed the requirements of their own doctrines in the new circumstances of terrorist war.
Harvey Mansfield is a professor of government at Harvard University, a contributing editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD and author of the book "Manliness." This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe.
Let's make sure we don't follow Europe's many mistakes...
Fearful Europe feels post-9/11 chill
By William Horsley
European affairs correspondent, BBC News
On the fifth anniversary of the 11 September attacks against the US, Europeans agree with Americans that terrorism inspired by Muslim fundamentalism is a big threat to their lives.
That new fear, combined with alarm at the conflicts on Europe's doorstep in the Middle East and serious European doubts about US global leadership, means Europe as a whole is marking the anniversary in a mood of pessimism and uncertainty.
That is reflected in the statements of European leaders on the anniversary.
The government of Finland, which now holds the presidency of the 25-nation European Union, condemned all forms of terrorism, saying that "no cause, no grievance, can justify" any terrorist acts.
But Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, echoing European anguish over reports of secret CIA jails and alleged torture in Europe, said: "Our battle against Islamic terrorism will only succeed if we cultivate respect for human rights."
Europe's double disillusionment - with its US ally and with the reported growth of fanatically violent Muslim groups in its towns and cities - is apparent from opinion polls.
A survey in the US and 12 European countries, released a few days ago by the German Marshall Fund of the US, found that disapproval of US handling of international affairs among Europeans had reached a new peak of 77%.
Europeans are also much more fearful of Islamic fundamentalism, with 56% now identifying it as an "extremely important" threat (compared with 58% of Americans), and another 34% seeing it as an "important threat" (Americans 31%).
---Bombs in Europe---
Five years ago, the French newspaper Le Monde coined the phrase "We are all Americans now" to express Europe's overwhelming sympathy with the US after the attacks on New York and Washington.
That emotional bond and sense of solidarity largely evaporated in the years that followed, as European public opinion turned against America's way of conducting the "war on terror" - especially the invasion of Iraq and human rights abuses associated with the Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Europeans had to face the discovery that the 11 September al-Qaeda plot was planned by a group of militant Arab Muslim youths in the German city of Hamburg.
But at first a belief persisted that European countries would not be targeted, provided they did not actively help the US army in Iraq.
European governments began building common defences against acts of terror, including a cross-border European arrest warrant.
But it was not enough. The deaths of 191 people in the Madrid train bombings of 2004 were followed by the killing of 52 innocent people in suicide bombings on London's transport system the next year.
Both outrages were found to be the work of young Muslims imbued with hatred for the West.
The London bombings marked the first case of Islamic suicide bombings in Europe. It also proved the existence of a "home-grown" terrorist threat: four of the bombers were young British Muslims of Pakistani descent.
In a pre-recorded video, one called himself a soldier who wanted to avenge "my Muslim brothers and sisters" in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
---"No one immune"---
Security experts believe Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network has inspired an unknown number of "self-starter" cells, many of them in Europe, each of which has a host of potential targets for attack.
Recent threats include an announcement by German authorities of what they called evidence of the gravest threat so far: self-made suitcase bombs on passenger trains.
Danish police said they had seized chemicals that could be used to make bombs during the arrest of a group of young Muslim men suspected of planning a terrorist act.
And British security services exposed an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic passenger planes flying out of London's Heathrow Airport, with a loss of life which officials said could have been greater than in the attacks on New York's World Trade Center.
The UK's top anti-terrorism officer says the number of those suspected of actively supporting terrorism is "in the thousands".
In Europe, no country now thinks of itself as immune.
In an interview to mark this anniversary, France's leading anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, said France was "indisputably" among the possible targets and the threat was still at a high level.
A wide gulf still divides mainstream opinion among the non-Muslim majority in Europe and most of Europe's 15 million or more Muslims The most recent evidence of the spread of what commentators have called a "cult of death" among alienated young Muslims in parts of Europe has sharpened the debate.
European governments, acting by themselves or together through the European Union, are taking steps to ensure that mosques are not used as places to foster political violence or to recruit people to extremist causes.
The search is on for a "European Islam", untainted by political fundamentalism.
The British media, like others around Europe, recently printed many articles harshly condemning the ideology now being spread in the name of Islam.
David Selbourne, author of a book called The Losing Battle with Islam, wrote of Islam's "moral intransigence, its jihadist ethic and the refusal of most diaspora Muslims to 'share a common set of values' with non-Muslims".
And Dr Maha Azzam of Chatham House, a leading London-based think-tank, says al-Qaeda is facing a "very serious challenge to its legitimacy".
Because of its terrorist activities, Dr Azzam writes, al-Qaeda has also lost popularity in the Muslim world.
Yet a wide gulf still divides mainstream opinion among the non-Muslim majority in Europe and most of Europe's 15 million or more Muslims.
Muslims in Europe believe Islamophobia is on the rise.
The poll by the German Marshall Fund of the US found as many as 56% of all Europeans now see Islam as "not compatible with their democracy".
On that point, too, Europeans and Americans, for all their differences over foreign policy, now see things the same way.
Copyright 2006 - The British Broadcasting Corporation
The Dutch are Idiots!
Posted: September 13, 2006 12:30 p.m. EDT
The Netherlands' justice minister says he would welcome Islamic law, or Sharia, to his European nation if the majority of his people vote for it.
Piet Hein Donner wants the Netherlands to give Muslims more freedoms to behave according to their traditions, reported the NIS News Bulletin, a Dutch online publication.
"For me it is clear: If two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Sharia tomorrow, then the possibility should exist," Donner said. "It would be a disgrace to say: 'That is not allowed!'"
Donner was reacting to a plea by a parliamentary leader, Maxime Verhagen, who wants to ban parties seeking to establish Islamic law.
Donner's remarks came from an interview in a book being released today in the Netherlands, "The Country of Hate and Malice."
The justice minister said, according to the Dutch Expatica News, "It must be possible for Muslim groups to come to power (in the Netherlands) via democratic means."
Every citizen, he said, "may argue why the law should be changed, as long as he sticks to the law."
"The majority counts," Donner stated. "That is the essence of democracy."
The justice minister insists Muslims have the right to practice their religion in ways that diverge from Dutch social codes.
He says "a tone that I do not like has crept into the political debate. A tone of: 'Thou shalt assimilate. Thou shalt adopt our values in public. Be reasonable, do it our way'. That is not my approach."
Donner said, for example, the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix was wise not to insist on a Muslim leader shaking hands with her when she visited his mosque in The Hague earlier this year. Previously, Dutch Integration Minister Rita Verdonk scolded an imam who would not shake the queen's hand.
As WND reported in 2004, Donner hasn't always been open to every aspect of Muslim culture.
He joined with Verdonk in banning a Muslim book distributed by the Dutch Lel Tawheed mosque promoting the stoning of homosexuals, female circumcision and the beating of wives.
"Gay people should be thrown head first off high buildings and if not killed on hitting the ground, they should be then stoned to death," says a book titled "The Way of the Muslim."
Other allegations by those who read the book describe instructions on how to deal with women in clear violation of Dutch and any other civilized law.
Police and security agents were concerned the book might prompt Islamic militants in the Netherlands to become more militant and, in turn, create a violent reaction by Dutch people.
Another publication, called "Fatwas for Muslim Women," says that a woman who lies should receive 100 blows, and it is the husband's duty, even if the woman refuses, to force her to have sex.
Tension between traditional Dutch society and the country's 1 million Muslims has heightened since the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh two years ago by a Muslim who warned of further reprisal against the "enemies of Islam." Muslims were angered by Van Gogh's film "Submission," which centered on violence against women in Islamic societies.
Since then, the government of a nation proud of its liberal social attitudes has cut back on generous welfare programs to immigrants and made Dutch-language classes mandatory for newcomers.
Sometimes you gotta wonder...
Article Link: Are Canadians Stupid?
Are Canadians Stupid?
Not getting it … By Tom Nichols
September 12, 2006
I don’t know quite how to ask this question, but I suspect that a lot of Americans are about to, so I’ll put it as directly as I can: Are Canadians stupid?
A recent poll found that a majority of Canadians, including a whopping three-quarters of Quebecers, believe that U.S. foreign policy was the root cause of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This shouldn’t be so shocking; their previous prime minister, Jean Chretien, said practically the same thing a few years back (which I wrote about in NRO here). In other words, they believe that the Americans brought 9/11 on themselves.
What makes this such a jaw-dropping finding, and prompts my question about the intelligence of the average Canadian in general (and of Quebecers in particular), is that it comes only a few months after Canadian authorities broke up a conspiracy among Islamic extremists in Canada in which a dozen men and five minors were arrested. They were apparently planning to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Canadian parliament, storm the national public-broadcasting building … oh, and they were going to behead the Canadian prime minister, too.
How can anyone in Canada, knowing this — and I assume it was news published there both in English and French — still believe that foreign policies, American or any other, have much to do with terrorism? How many such plots need to be broken up before the Canadians, or at least some Canadians, get the point? Do these same Canadians who think U.S. foreign policy is generating terrorism also think that Canada’s foreign policy would be to blame if their prime minister were decapitated on live television? Canada, after all, has over the past several years gone to no small lengths (especially under Chretien) to distance itself from the United States, and publicly opposed the war in Iraq. (As did Germany, by the way … but that didn’t stop Islamic terrorists from plotting to blow up two trains in Germany this summer, either.)
So let me for a moment address our Canadian friends (and I swear, I still do still think of them as friends), and try to state the obvious one more time. Unfortunately, I don’t speak French, but I’m sure some helpful Canadian colleague will translate this for me: It’s not about foreign policy, it’s about who we are. As long as we are a secular, tolerant, open, and free society — and by “we” I mean all of us in the West, including Canada — the terrorists will continue to strike, because everything we are, our very way of life, is repellent to them, and they are going to do everything they can to destroy it completely.
Is that clear enough, or will it finally sink in only when pieces of the Canadian parliament are falling out of the sky in burning flinders?
On the other hand, let’s not be too hard on our friends to the north. We have plenty of people down here in the Lower 48 who believe the same silliness about how this or that policy — and, of course, support for the Israelis — caused 9/11. (A small number of Americans are even so reality-deprived that they think the Bush administration pulled off 9/11, despite tapes shown this week on al-Jazeera of some of the hijackers meeting with Osama bin Laden and training for the attack.) And let’s face it: If we’re going to get into a “who can say stupider things than whom” contest with the Canadians, we have to acknowledge that Michael Moore is an American, which would give us an unfair head start right away.
The real problem here is that the Canadian poll results are just another example of a kind of denial that has set in among certain people, both inside and outside of the United States, over the past five years. These people desperately want to find some reason, some issue that can be solved, as the mainspring behind Islamic terrorism. Otherwise, they would have to confront the terrible reality that there is nothing we can give the terrorists that will stop the killing. We can change our policies, but we can’t change our culture or beliefs — or at least change them enough to suit the Islamic fascists who would turn the world into one big Taliban-run Afghanistan if they could. And so rather than face the fact that we’re at war with a relentless enemy with whom no negotiated peace is possible, such people retreat into fantasies about how the whole thing could be settled somehow if we could only figure out how to stop doing whatever it is they don’t like.
Blaming America, and American policies, might bring many Canadians a sense of comfort (and to some, no doubt, that smug feeling of superiority that too many Canadians seem to exhibit regarding Americans), but it is a foolish and only temporary escape from reality. The terrorists are going to continue to try to kill Americans, Canadians, Frenchmen, Germans, Russians, Australians, and anyone else they can get their hands on who won’t bow to their impossible demands.
Instead of ignorantly pointing fingers at U.S. foreign policy, the Canadians — citizens of our sister nation — should join the Americans in an attempt to lead the Western community in defending our common values of tolerance and liberalism, extolling them in one voice in the face of our would-be oppressors, and cooperating with each other to find, capture — and if need be, kill — the kind of people who would blow innocent men, women, and children to pieces for the sake of their own demented ideology. Any other course of action would be … well, stupid.
Tom Nichols is a professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College and a senior associate of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. The views expressed are his own.
Rex Murphy makes a point...
If Mr. Layton wants Canadian troops out of Afghanistan, he should say just that.
He should say that it doesn't serve Canadian interests to be there, that the deaths of Canadian soldiers, therefore, serve no point and that the battlefield of Afghanistan, which will decide who rules in that country, Karzai or Taliban, democracy or rabid fundamentalism, has no meaning or significance for us Canadians.
He should be clear that when his party says it supports the troops, it means that cancelling the mission those troops are engaged upon is the only honest way that party sees of supporting them.
But what, up until now, Mr. Layton and his party are saying is that we should and that we shouldn't. That we should do good works in Afghanistan, build schools and roads and help the newly elected government. But that Canadian troops must not on any account contribute to creating conditions where building schools and roads and helping a deeply wounded country is a real possibility. And, please, chatter about negotiations with the Taliban and collective peace-seeking is just so much verbal flannel.
What part shall we negotiate with the Taliban? You must drop the ban on girls going to school, but can you keep the part about stoning homosexuals?
The same breath cannot carry two opposing messages, that we must leave and that we should help.
That's fudge, and poor fudge at that. If the troops leave, they leave, and with them leaves any of the soft contributions we might make to Afghanistan and its people.
There's also much verbal flutter about a made-in-Canada policy and Stephen Harper as Bush's latest puppet or that this is a violation of Canada's self-vision as a peacekeeping nation.
If the Afghanistan mission is to be debated, let it be debated for what it is: Either that we owe a duty to that country and it citizens, that will cost the lives of some of our soldiers to pay it and that it is honourable for Canada to assist a country ravaged by terror and war towards a better life, or that none of these things are true, that the mission is a misguided adventure, that Canadian soldiers should not be shedding blood a world away from Canada and that whatever the future holds for Afghanistan is none of our Canadian business.
Going to the other side of the platter, Stephen Harper has at least an equal burden. The caskets from Afghanistan are coming home and the profound cost of this mission is witnessed on the nightly newscasts, but from the very beginning of this mission, from the long ago days of Mr. Chrétien through Mr. Martin's term as prime minister to this present moment, a clear, full, articulated case for the mission has not been made.
We've had everything else but the full statement of why the mission is important to us as Canadians, how it relates to our national interest and values and a full description of what we hope to see as a result of our troops being there.
- Why are we in Afghanistan?
- Why does it count?
- Why is it worth the cost of Canadian lives?
For "The National", I'm Rex Murphy.
Copyright 2006 - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
A Nation Unwilling is a Nation Unable...
Getting Into Pacifists' Heads
By JOHN McWHORTER
September 11, 2006
September 11 has lent me one of the most nettlesome mental challenges I have ever encountered — seeking coherence in the leftist orthodoxy on what has happened since. For me, especially confusing is those who rue our not having met 9/11 with "pacifism."
To wrap one's head around others' views and perceive how those views are compatible with intelligence and morality is an urgent task. But I have been just barely adequate to it when encountering a Berkeley professor who vehemently opposed our attacking Afghanistan, or another who thought that we should turn the other cheek to terrorist attacks.
In my experience, these people would not urge pacifism on, say, Taiwan if attacked by mainland China. Their sense seems to be that America owes the world passivity in the face of attack because of our power, as well as our less honorable moments on the world scene.
The idea that our nation should allow the murder of its citizens is highly sophisticated. It would appear to be the product of broad horizons, a deep concern with the world beyond one's private sphere.
But I cannot help wondering whether these people would support this philosophy if the enemy killed their families — or them. I imagine some would wangle the mental equipoise to insist that we should engage in no military response against Al Qaeda as they cradled their mother's corpse in the smoking ruins of an Amtrak bombing. But I find it difficult to avoid the suspicion that many, even most, would not.
There would seem to be a prescription for the public sphere that one exempts one's actual self from. Or if the motivation is not this selfish, then there is, at least, an interesting dissociation of self from one's civic position. A professor at a talk I gave in early 2003 condemned the Bush Administration's "militarism" and the room exploded with applause (and this was before the Iraq war). Somehow people like this, so repulsed by America defending itself, seem unaware of the fact that the America Islamic terrorists despise includes them.
The refraction of reality in such convictions is especially clear in the sentiment that the terrorist threat is "exaggerated." The thugs who murder people in London, Madrid, and Bali, promise more of same, and repeat explicitly that they want to take over the world — yet this is seen as mere bluster. The one time I have choked on a talk show was when I ended up on "Bill Maher" with George Carlin. Mr. Carlin kept urging us to just ignore the whole issue of terrorism as a fabrication by the evil elites, teetering between funny and furious. I didn't know what to do with this — I just don't think any of this stuff is funny.
No, the Bush administration is not exactly the most credible these days on many fronts. For example, I too wish they had dared to give a cogent neocon justification for invading Iraq instead of cobbling together the WMD scenario. And on that subject, it bears saying that one is no zealot to have opposed the Iraq war specifically (I did not).
But as to "pacifism" über alles, the carnage in Al Qaeda attacks abroad is not a lie, nor is what the Mayor New Orleans, Ray Nagin, has so felicitously called a "hole in the ground" in New York. The people doing this don't want to chat. Surely there is some sense in finding and stopping the ones we can find. I pass aforesaid "hole" riding the PATH train to New Jersey, and when I hear that there was a plot to blow up one of its tunnels and drown thousands of people, I'm uncomfortable.
Now, many tell me that what is supposed to make me uncomfortable is the administration's purportedly using war as a smokescreen for "invading our civil liberties." But this is another place where I don't glean the fit between the rhetoric and the reality. Certainly the point must be raised. Yet when I asked a self-avowed radical friend of mine how her civil liberties had been threatened lately, she had no answer. The issue was solely theoretical for her.
This type of concern is defended as a form of patriotism — we deplore that our country is not living up to its ideals. This explains, I suppose, the rabid animus against Dick Cheney while Osama bin Laden is coolly designated a "madman," which in a way excuses from censure someone who gives all indication of being perfectly sane.
Perhaps there is a certain sophistication that I lack. But this reflexive contempt for our leaders' meeting force with force has an element in it, I suspect, of the enjoyment of feeling superior. And as to this exemption of The Other from serious condemnation, rather than resort to the easy score of the R-word I'll say that it smacks of a certain paternalism.
Yet I cannot stop there, lest I join those who dwell in name-calling over reflection. The War on Terror, after all, is a rich subject and no one can claim to have all the answers. I just wish that after five years I were closer to being in pacifists' heads than I currently am.
It's about time that pussy Europeans started to actually see the truth...
Fri. Sep. 1 2006 11:38 PM ET
Loyola Hearn, in Brussels this week to meet with the European Union's fisheries commissioner to discuss foreign overfishing, said he reminded the Belgians of the many Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in Belgium during the First World War.
The Newfoundland MP said an import ban would amount to "taking the livelihood away from a number of Canadians whose family members left their blood on the fields here in Belgium, Flanders fields and other places."
"That got their attention," he told St. John's radio station VOCM. "But the thing is they are looking much more seriously at what we're saying and have agreed to look for the facts."
Hearn said he extended an invitation to members of the European Parliament to visit Canada and learn more about the seal hunt.
"I've sort of challenged them to look for the truth, for the facts, and to visit Canada to make up their own minds. Don't base their decisions on ... what they heard and seen from lobby groups who are using 20-year-old videos."
Hearn said he raised the issue of the seal hunt after he learned that members of the Belgian Parliament were in the process of introducing legislation to ban the importation of seal products.
Very true, very true...
Hiding in Plain Sight
By MARK STEYN
September 11, 2006
I suppose my I'll-never-forget-where-I-was recollections are pretty typical: a half-curious pricking up of the ears when they cut into the morning show on the radio with breaking news about a plane hitting the World Trade Center — it sounded like a twin-prop or Lear Jet — and then the slow realization when the second plane hit that something bigger was going on. My editor called from London a few seconds later, and I switched on the TV. But, even in the midst of unprecedented forms of mass slaughter, humdrum routine goes on for the rest of us: I was having some furniture delivered that morning, and the guy interrupted me to ask where I wanted one of the pieces to go, and when I turned back to the screen only one of the smoking towers was still there. "What happened?" I said. "It fell down," the delivery guy shrugged, and ambled back to his work.
He was sort of right. It fell down, but it burned for another hundred days, as America's rage did — for some. For others, it was already fading, the "day that everything changed" already lapsing back into the feeble passivity of one of those weird one-time-only "tragedies," after which everything goes back to the way it was.
What was taking place that Tuesday morning was, as a lot of people said, "unimaginable." But once it happened, once we no longer had to imagine it, my main memory of that day is of how quickly the mind leapt forward to encompass the new reality. When the second plane hit, it was obvious not just that this was no accident but that it would be impossible to find two commercial airline pilots willing to fly, even at the point of a gun, their jets into skyscrapers. Which meant that, at the moment of impact, these flights must have been in the hands of terrorists who'd trained as pilots presumably for the purpose of this mission: They had acquired at least basic skills in a profession that would guarantee a good life anywhere on the planet; they could be pulling down six-figure salaries instead of Manhattan skyscrapers. But instead they went to pilot school in order to make one flight one time one-way, into a tall building.
And halfway across the world, on the streets of Ramallah, people filled the streets and cheered and passed out candy. They celebrated at Concordia University in Montreal, and in northern England and in Scandinavia, too, but I didn't find that out until e-mail from readers began coming through later in the day. In Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and his colleagues followed events on the Arabic Service of the BBC. (Not all the BBC's output is in Arabic; it just sounds like it is.)
As the years go by, it's these curious examples of cultural interconnectedness that stay with me. "Interconnectedness" is the word used by the late Edward Said, the New York-based Palestinian grievance-monger and eminent America-disparager: a couple of weeks after 9/11, the professor deplored the tendency of commentators to separate cultures into what he called "sealed-off entities", when in reality western civilization and the Muslim world are so "intertwined" that it was impossible to "draw the line" between them. National Review's Rich Lowry was unimpressed. "The line seems pretty clear," he said. "Developing mass commercial aviation and soaring skyscrapers was the west's idea; slashing the throats of stewardesses and flying the planes into the skyscrapers was radical Islam's idea."
Very true. But that may be the only "interconnectedness" a large part of the world is interested in: state-of-the-art technology in the service of ancient hatreds. Edward Said was right: there are no more "sealed-off entities." The "modern world" and the "primitive world" are more like those overlaid area codes the phone company's so partial to. So a man can roar "Allahu Akhbar!" as he ploughs his jet into an office building. Even the most primitive parts of the map aren't that "sealed off" these days. After all, why were they listening to the BBC's Arabic Service in Afghanistan? Afghanistan isn't an Arabic-speaking country. They parly-voo the old Pushtun and Dari and Turkmen and whatnot. But on September 11th 2001 the nation was, in effect, under colonial occupation by thousands of Arab and other foreign jihadists. We think of the badlands of the Afghan-Pakistani border as a remote region of isolated peoples whose rituals have been unchanged for centuries. Yet the truth is that these village tribal cultures have been wholly subverted by Saudi money and ideology. The House of Saud's toxic kingdom, a land where the beheading schedule is computerized, may be a more apt emblem of the way an "interconnected" world is heading than we like to think.
One man in the Twin Towers that Tuesday morning must have understood. John O'Neill, a dogged counter-terrorism guy with a whiff of the old-school G-man about him, had just quit the FBI and started work as head of security at the World Trade Center. He made it downstairs where the confabs with rescue workers were punctuated by the thud of bodies from the first jumpers landing on the lobby roof. In the plaza outside, body pieces fell randomly over chairs set up for a lunchtime concert. In the final moments of his life, John O'Neill must have felt his world come full circle. Six years earlier (as vividly recounted in Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower) he'd organized the capture in Pakistan of Ramzi Yousef, the man behind the first World Trade Center bombing and a terrorist who'd planned to crash a plane into CIA headquarters.
In The New York Times, Thomas Friedman wrote: "The failure to prevent Sept 11 was not a failure of intelligence or co-ordination. It was a failure of imagination." That's not really true. Islamist terrorists had indicated their interest in US landmarks, and were known to have plans to hijack planes to fly into them. But men like John O'Neill could never quite get the full attention of a somnolent federal bureaucracy. The terrorists must have banked on that: after all, they took their pilot-training classes in America, apparently confident that, even if anyone noticed the uptick in Arab enrollments at US flight schools, a squeamish culture of political correctness would ensure nothing was done about it.
Five years on, half America has retreated to the laziest old tropes, filtering the new struggle through the most drearily cobwebbed prisms: all dramatic national events are JFK-type conspiracies, all wars are Vietnam quagmires. Meanwhile, Ramzi Yousef's successors make their ambitions as plain as he did: they want to acquire nuclear technology in order to kill even more of us. And, given that free societies tend naturally toward a Katrina mentality of doing nothing until it happens, one morning we will wake up to another day like the "day that changed everything." September 11th was less "a failure of imagination" than an ability to see that America's enemies were hiding in plain sight.
They still are.
© 2006 Mark Steyn
Get the real story on 9/11 conspiracy theory bullshit...
Sent: September 11, 2006 6:31:45 AM
Subject: Re: (cyf-talk) 9/11 coverage here in Canada
Well, between the new "bigoted-and-proud" stands of the NDP and their leader to these documentaries, I think we're living in a part of the world that is still a little too insulated from some cold hard truths and lessons that the people of the United States started to learn on 9/11.
Any Canadian that's dumb enough to think that not only should we not be worried about Al-Qaeda/terrorist attack simply because we're "not Americans" (the new define-in-the-negative left version of Canadian culture) but that we should be negotiating with these people need only speak to the people in Madrid, London, or New York City. . . hardly hardcore areas of right wingedness . . . yet all prime targets for people who simply hate pluralism and the west in general.
The 9/11 conspiracies all involve assumptions of mass collusion amongst all the Bush Administration, the Republicans leadership, the Democrats, all sides of the Brits' defence committee, all the major engineering societies' of the world & their expert panels who investigated all the crashes, etc etc etc . . .
I spent part of the summer specifically reading through all the expert material and data to see if there was any merit to these claims and ultimately very easily debunked just about all of it, leaving the rest as astronomical and massive implausibilities. The only reason these whack jobs are even given airtime is because there are television producers and journalists who so very very very very much despise the Americans (and especially their current president) and believe that even the tarnishing of the memories of the people lost on 9/11 is worth it in order to cook up some more doubts on the guy they love to hate.
One doesn't need to love or even remotely like Bush or his administration to believe that 9/11 actually happened and to know who was responsible. I've met people who were there. I've read a fair bit on this.
People should inform themselves. By that, I mean they should consider a news source other than somebody who is a 55 year old folklore/theatre major who believes that 90% of the top politicians in the OECD are oil-worshipping freemasons who desire 'only to feed the war machine maaann'. . . .
Read the 9/11 commission report. Heck, even Al-Jazeera isn't retarded enough to float some of the theroies that Moore and co tried to float. . . .
My recommendations for a quick decently-sourced primer in response to the 9/11 critics would be "Farenhype 911" with Dick Morris and Ron Silver and others, and follow that up by a look at a few of these: