We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, September 5. 2007
Is America losing its work ethic? Am Thinker
Why I quit teaching. Pajamas
Surrender. How societies commit suicide. Dalrymple in City Journal. I missed that one.
Stuff like this keeps happening.
Emotional. Some big-time emotional reaction to our Multiculturalism link about Middle-Eastern culture. A simple essay from Rants and Raves from a year ago - some reaction! Our apologies to R&R - we didn't know where the essay was from until late in the day.
Creeps me out. The proposed Brit DNA registry - and for tourists too?
Gender and the workplace. Econlog. Statistically, men work harder and longer.
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What we can’t not know, six years after 9/11
By George Weigel
Six years after 9/11, there are certain things we can’t not know. We may wish these things weren’t true. We can try to ignore them. But safe passage through a moment in history fraught with both danger and possibility requires us to see things as they are.
What can’t we not know?
We can’t not know the name of the enemy: the name is jihadism, that form of Islamic extremism which teaches that it is the duty of every Muslim to use any means available to advance the prospects of a world that acknowledges the sovereignty of Allah and lives under shari’a law. That jihadists are a small minority of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims is both true and irrelevant. What counts is cultural morale, and the morale of jihadists may be higher today than it was six years ago.
We can’t not know that jihadists read history through the prism of their theological convictions. The West, tutored by a progressive view of history, read the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan as a victory for freedom. Jihadists read it as a victory for jihadism, a Phase One triumph in an ongoing war against the infidels. Phase Two, which jihadists imagined might be easier than Phase One, had the United States as its target. Attacks on American embassies in East Africa in the mid-1990s were intended to trigger a struggle in which the United States would be defeated as the Soviet Union was defeated in Phase One. When that didn’t work, jihadists blew a hole in the side of the U.S.S. Cole as it was refueling in the harbor at Aden. When that didn’t elicit the expected response, Osama bin Laden concluded that an outrage impossible for the Americans to ignore as required. Thus 9/11.
Bin Laden got one thing wrong, and we can’t not know that, either: he hadn’t reckoned on the robust response of those allegedly decadent Americans, first in Afghanistan, later in Iraq. As the dean of western scholars of Islam, Bernard Lewis, has written, “it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since...the U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S...” But now, closely watching our politics and monitoring our national morale, jihadists like bin Laden may, Lewis suggests, be returning to their original assessment of American fecklessness – and may conclude “that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory.” A determination to make clear that this re-assessment is wrong ought to be the threshold test of seriousness applied to any presidential or congressional candidate in 2008. For, as Lewis concludes, if the jihadists’ reassessment is proven right, “the consequences – both for Islam and for America – will be deep, wide, and lasting .”
Another thing we can’t not know is that the war against jihadism is for the long haul: it won’t be resolved in the next administration, or in the next three administrations. Staying power – rooted in the conviction that religious freedom, tolerance and civility, the rule of law, and the method of persuasion in politics reflect universal moral truths – is essential to victory.
Moreover, we can’t not know that this long-term war against jihadism has to be fought on multiple fronts, many of them non-military. Interreligious dialogue is one such front. It ought to focus (as Benedict XVI suggested last December) on helping Islamic reformers assimilate the positive accomplishments of the Enlightenment – like the separation of religious and political authority in the modern state. Cleaning up our own cultural act is another, non-military front in this struggle: a country whose principal exports include pornography is not in a particularly strong moral position in a struggle against a religiously-shaped alternative vision of human goods.
Prayer for the conversion of our enemies is yet another “front” in the war that has been declared upon us. Yet I’ve heard very few, if any, such prayers in the past six years. Their necessity is one more thing we can’t not know.
George Weigel is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
In the quote by Bernard Lewis on a miscalculation of AQ about American resolve six years after 9/11, he mentions that if they do so and try again on American soil for an "Attaque grande" that the the consequences – both for Islam and for America – will be deep, wide, and lasting
I have stated this many times before and it is a truth. not philosophical alchemy, but Islam and Christianity are immiscible. One must prevail and dominate. Given Islams text and laws, Qur'an · Sunnah · Hadith Fiqh · Sharia Kalam · Tasawwuf there is no choice for enlightened mankind.
Islam must be controlled, and in a nuclear world that is going to mean not years, not decades, but generation after ganeration of fighting. Or it can be concluded within a decade by an all out worldwide war, no holds barred decimation of Islam. The choice is ours to make now, for ourselves, our children , and our grandchildren
but generation after ganeration of fighting
gereration after ganeration...man, THAT is a long time
I would remind the West that if "only 10%" (and we know the number is higher) of the worlds Islamic population is virulently against all infidels that figure is 120,000,000 people out to enslave us, conquer us , or kill us.
It would appear that Seanator Craig has adopted the philosophy that if you can lick'm maybe you can beat'm.
Call It War, Mr. President
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | 9/5/2007
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been waging war against America in Iraq from the very first days of U.S. military operations against Saddam Hussein. And yet, until just recently, no one in the U.S. government has been willing to acknowledge this openly.
Iran began planning operations to undermine an eventual U.S. invasion of Iraq many months before U.S. military forces arrived in the region in late 2002.
As I will reveal in my upcoming book, Shadow Warriors, one aspect of this forward-looking Iranian planning became apparent as U.S. troops were rolling toward Baghdad.
Whereas the United States was still relying on a Commando Solo aircraft to beam crude Arabic-language radio programming into Iraq, the Iranians unrolled a whole series of slick, Arabic language television stations that blanketed the entire country with anti-U.S. propaganda.
The effect on Iraqi public opinion was devastating. At one point, Iran had 42 radio and TV stations in Arabic beaming into Iraq, whereas the U.S.-led coalition had just one
A new report jointly sponsored by the Weekly Standard and the Institute for the Study of War, released last week, provides extraordinary new details of Iran’s propaganda, intelligence, and military offensive against the U.S. presence in Iraq since those early days of the war.
Kimberly Kagan has done yeoman’s work in pulling together information released in dribs and drabs in recent months by U.S. military spokesmen in Iraq.
Here are just a few of the main points she covers in great detail in this dense 32 page report:
• Iran is using Hezbollah to train Iraqi terrorists, sending top Hezbollah operatives into Iraq periodically to ensure hands-on management of their terror protégés;
• Iran has set up training camps near Tehran where they regularly graduate classes of between 20-70 terrorists, who then return to Iraq as a self-contained network to carry out terrorist operations against U.S. military and Iraqi targets;
• The Revolutionary Guards “Qods Force” is running operations in Iraq through a network of ‘secret cells” within Shia militias, whose agents assassinate key Iraqi leaders, run death squads, infiltrate government ministries, and distribute weaponry to other insurgents.
• Iran is also working with Sunni terrorist groups, include al Qaeda in Iraq and an Ansar al Islam, and has been terrorists from both groups at special camps inside Iran.
This deadly litany of Iranian actions leaves no doubt about the intentions of Iran’s leaders.
They aim to defeat us in Iraq. It’s as simple as that.
They have declared war, and intend to continue waging war until we defeat them, or they defeat us.
Judging by recent statements from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he and his fellow Revolutionary Guards officers have little doubt who is winning.
At a Tehran press conference on Tuesday, the Mighty Midget said that U.S. political influence in Iraq is “collapsing rapidly,” and he kindly offered to take our place.
"Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region,” he said. “Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.”
Over the past nine months, U.S. military leaders in Iraq have gradually started to wake up to the enormity of Iran’s offensive operations inside Iraq, and to target Iranian networks.
The first major U.S. counter-strike took place last December, when the U.S. arrested a top Revolutionary Guards officer in Baghdad and started to learn of Iran’s extensive intelligence and terrorist networks in Iraq during bedside chats with the gentle Iranian.
Already then, I noted on this page that “Victory in Iraq cannot come until the United States makes it clear to Iran – even more than Syria, since the Syrians will take their lead from Tehran – that we will no longer tolerate their intervention in Iraqi affairs.”
That remains true today, and our failure to send a tough message to Tehran and utterly smash their networks in Iraq and their support structures in Iran has only encouraged them to step up attacks on U.S. forces.
U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has acknowledged that since the U.S. agreed to talk with Iran about Iraq, Iranian operations in Iraq have gone “up and not down.” The more we talk, the quicker they shoot.
Since the spring, when Sunni tribal leaders started coming over to the coalition and deserting al Qaeda, we have had significant successes against these Iranian terror networts. But they have received little attention in the press – and for good reason: the State Department has been desperate to hush up Iran’s deadly war against America, in the vain hope they can still negotiate an end of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Kimberly Kagan notes that since March 2007, the U.S. has detained, captured, or killed a significant number of Iranian agents and their proxies in Iraq.
• Qayis Khazali, an Iraqi promoted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to head their “special groups” inside Iraq. Khazali and his brother, Laith, were captured in March.
• Ali Musa Daqduq, a top Lebanese Hezbollah operative sent by Iran to organize and train secret Iranian cells in Iraq. He was captured by the U.S. on March 20, 2007.
• Abu Yaser al Shibani, the deputy commander of an Iranian network that supplied money, access to the IRGC, and Iranian-made Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFP). He was captured on April 20, 2007.
• Azhar Dulaymi, the mastermind of the Jan. 20 raid in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. He was killed by U.S. Special Forces on May 19, 2007;
Since May, more than a dozen additional “high-value” individuals trained in Iran and used by Iran to run their “secret cells” inside Iraq have been killed or detained.
And yet, despite these successes by the U.S. military, the Iranians keep sending more agents, more explosives, and training new Iraqi terrorists.
Mr. President, it’s time to call this by its name.
We are at war. And it’s not just the abstract War on Terror.
We are at war with the Islamic Republic of Iran .
In Tehran, they know this. And they gloat when we refuse to recognize it and continue to say how eager we are to talk to them.
In his talk with conservative bloggers last week, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol argued that President Bush and the Pentagon need to do a better job of selling the war, especially now that our generals in Iraq believe they are on the way to utterly destroying the insurgency.
But the first step toward “selling” the war is acknowledging the simple fact that we are at war. With Iran.
In his column last Thursday, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius revealed that the State Department and Democrats in Congress conspired in the fall of 2004 to block a secret CIA program to defeat Iranian efforts to influence the Iraqi elections.
It seems that House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was briefed on the top secret Presidential finding as Minority Leader at the time, was more concerned with defeating President Bush than in defeating Iran.
We should not be surprised by this news.
As last week’s United Press International/Zogby poll showed, the national security glue that used to unite the two parties against foreign threats has been burned away by the Baghdad sun.
Despite all the facts now being reported out of Iraq of U.S. military victories, the poll found that 66% of Democrats believed the Iraq war is “lost,” as compared to just 9% of Republicans.
So now it’s official. Republicans are the Party of Victory, and Democrats the Party of Surrender.
Mr. President: it’s time to stop pandering to the Party of Surrender, unless it’s your own rendition you are seeking to negotiate.
We are at war, and Americans are not quitters, despite what Nancy Pelosi believes.
So let’s roll.
Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).
Is America losing the work ethic
The French have answered in Spades
Written by Corinne Maier, an economist at state-owned Electricité de France, Bonjour paresse flashed albeit briefly to the number one spot on Amazon's French best-seller list.
An anarchic antidote to management tomes promising the secrets of ever greater productivity,*Bonjour paresse is a slacker's bible* , a manual for those who devote their professional lives to the sole pursuit of idleness.
There have been many works in praise of idleness over the decades, but with the French work ethic weakened by the introduction of the 35 hour work week, the siren's appeal has never been stronger.
10 commandments for the idle
You are a modern day slave. There is no scope for personal fulfillment. You work for your pay-check at the end of the month, full stop.
It's pointless to try to change the system. Opposing it simply makes it stronger.
What you do is pointless. You can be replaced from one day to the next by any cretin sitting next to you. So work as little as possible and spend time (not too much, if you can help it) cultivating your personal network so that you're untouchable when the next restructuring comes around.
You're not judged on merit, but on whether you look and sound the part. Speak lots of leaden jargon: people will suspect you have an inside track
Never accept a position of responsibility for any reason. You'll only have to work harder for what amounts to peanuts.
Make a beeline for the most useless positions, (research, strategy and business development), where it is impossible to assess your 'contribution to the wealth of the firm'. Avoid 'on the ground' operational roles like the plague.
Once you've found one of these plum jobs, never move. It is only the most exposed who get fired.
Learn to identify kindred spirits who, like you, believe the system is absurd through discreet signs (quirks in clothing, peculiar jokes, warm smiles).
Be nice to people on short-term contracts. They are the only people who do any real work.
Tell yourself that the absurd ideology underpinning this corporate bullshit cannot last for ever. It will go the same way as the dialectical materialism of the communist system. The problem is knowing when...
Source: Bonjour paresse (Hello Laziness)
How Societies Commit Suicide
Given it's an article about Scotland I'm not sure we can learn much from them. They crested with Adam Smith in 1776.
Even Miss Teen South Carolina can't find Scotland on a map.
We all know that societies commit suicide by not doing everything for the children and killing kittens.
Multiculturalism link about Middle-Eastern culture
Yep, that was a ripe snorter...was that 2 for 1 night?, or topless ladies drink free night?
Where's the picture of the bug, the semi clad femme, and the boat?
Our Southern Border
Cordon sanitaire is not a term used lately. We had one in Vietnam up at the DMZ we called "The Trace". It was 800 yards wide and ran forever along the border. The idea was to stop mass infiltration of NVA from coming south. It worked until we bugged out.
We need the wall promised us by Congress for our southern flank and a cordon sanitarie, where infiltrators into our country can be halted by any means necessary
I keep hearing all the presidential candidates wannabes that we can't do this, we can't do that ..that's all bull shit...enough is enough.
They refuse to use the proper terminology about Islam, continuing to tell us it's a religion of peace when by now everyone but Miss Teen South Carolina knows it's not.
Same thing with our southern flank and the encouragement the Mexican President gave his people just yesterday, saying, "wherever there is a Mexican there is Mexico"
Sorry amigo, infiltrators in todays world should all fall into the category of terrorists...we have no way to tell and they ARE breaking our laws..
Mexico would do well to get hip to the backlash coming there way should they continue as a nation to encourage their people to infiltrate the USA.
here is another Theodore Dalrymple essay you may have missed
Thank you for the essay by Mr Dalryple. It was a bit metaphysical and a good bit teleological.
"Imagine not being able to distinguish the real cause from that without which the cause would not be able to act as a cause. It is what the majority appear to do, like people groping in the dark; they call it a cause, thus giving it a name that does not belong to it. That is why one man surrounds the earth with a vortex to make the heavens keep it in place, another makes the air support it like a wide lid. As for their capacity of being in the best place they could possibly be put, this they do not look for, nor do they believe it to have any divine force, but they believe that they will some time discover a stronger and more immortal Atlas to hold everything together more, and they do not believe that the truly good and "binding" binds and holds them together." [Plato, Phaedo 99bc]
The binding of mankind,separated by "hate" as Mr Dalrymple tangentially mentioned.
I gave up on hate in my mid thirites, knowing that no person or object I hated knew or cared a wit about what it did to me. To them it did nothing. But a good, as Mr Dalrymple tells us leaves mankind uninterested in a very short time, that it is the evil that lives on and on, intriguing us.
I believe if we easily modify Mr. Dalryples "good", which he claims is boring to "heroic" then our gaze, our thoughts, and our desire to emulate become transfixed. Is the hero "good" even though he may do evil?
As Plato said of the teleological, in part.
As for their capacity of being in the best place they could possibly be put, this they do not look for, nor do they believe it to have any divine force, but they believe that they will some time discover a stronger and more immortal Atlas to hold everything together more, and they do not believe that the truly good and "binding" binds and holds them together."
yep --one cures the crazed, the other crazes the cured.