This post, first published on September 3, 2011, needs to be repeated from time to time, and this is one of those times.
It could be retitled The need to knock religion:
The greatness of the West began with doubting. The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies.
Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.” He was not, however, the first to use doubt for discovery. Thales of Miletos, who was born 155 years before Socrates, dared to doubt that religion’s explanatory tales about how the world came to be as it is were to be trusted, and he began exploring natural phenomena in a way that we recognize as scientific. He is often called the Father of Science. With him and his contemporary, Anaximander, who argued with him by advancing alternative ideas, came the notion – for the first time as far as we know – that reason could fathom and describe how the universe worked.
Science is one of the main achievements of the West, but it is not the only product of constructive doubt that made for its greatness. Doubt as a habit of mind or tradition of thinking meant that new, foreign, even counter-intuitive ideas were not dismissed. Europe, before and after it stagnated in the doldrums of the long Catholic Christian night (and even to some extent during those dark centuries), was hospitable to ideas wherever they came from.
Totally opposed to this intellectual openness were the churches with their dogma. Those who claim that the achievements of our civilization are to be credited to Christianity (or in the currently fashionable phrase to “the Judeo-Christian tradition”) have a hard case to make. It was the rediscovery of the Greek legacy in the Renaissance in the teeth of Christian dogmatism, and the new freedom from religious persecution exploited by the philosophers of the Enlightenment that re-launched the West on its intellectual progress, to become the world’s nursery of innovation and its chief factory of ideas.
Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: Marxism, environmentalism, religion – above all Islam which absolutely forbids criticism.
The Founding Fathers of the United States perfectly understood the necessity for an open market of ideas. Every citizen of the republic, they laid down, must be free to declare his beliefs, to argue his case, to speak his mind, to examine ideas as publicly as he chose without fear of being silenced.
This warning comes from Nina Shea, writing in the National Review:
An unprecedented collaboration between the Obama administration and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC, formerly called the Organization of the Islamic Conference) to combat “Islamophobia” may soon result in the delegitimization of freedom of expression as a human right.
The administration is taking the lead in an international effort to “implement” a U.N. resolution against religious “stereotyping,” specifically as applied to Islam. To be sure, it argues that the effort should not result in free-speech curbs. However, its partners in the collaboration, the 56 member states of the OIC, have no such qualms. Many of them police private speech through Islamic blasphemy laws and the OIC has long worked to see such codes applied universally. Under Muslim pressure, Western Europe now has laws against religious hate speech that serve as proxies for Islamic blasphemy codes.
Last March, U.S. diplomats maneuvered the adoption of Resolution 16/18 within the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC). Non-binding, this resolution, inter alia, expresses concern about religious “stereotyping” and “negative profiling” but does not limit free speech. It was intended to — and did — replace the OIC’s decidedly dangerous resolution against “defamation of religions,” which protected religious institutions instead of individual freedoms.
But thanks to a puzzling U.S. diplomatic initiative that was unveiled in July, Resolution 16/18 is poised to become a springboard for a greatly reinvigorated international effort to criminalize speech against Islam, the very thing it was designed to quash.
Citing a need to “move to implementation” of Resolution 16/18, the Obama administration has inexplicably [not if Obama’s Islamophilia is remembered – ed] decided to launch a major international effort against Islamophobia in partnership with the Saudi-based OIC. This is being voluntarily assumed at American expense, outside the U.N. framework, and is not required by the resolution itself.
On July 15, a few days after the Norway massacre, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired an OIC session in Istanbul on religious intolerance. It was there that she announced the initiative, inviting the OIC member-states’ foreign ministers and representatives to the inaugural meeting of the effort that the U.S. government would host this fall in Washington. She envisions it as the first in a series of meetings to decide how best to implement Resolution 16/18.
In making the announcement, Clinton was firm in asserting that the U.S. does not want to see speech restrictions: “The resolution calls upon states to ‘counter offensive expression through education, interfaith dialogue, and public debate . . . but not to criminalize speech unless there is an incitement to imminent violence.’” (This is the First Amendment standard set forth in the 1969 Supreme Court case of Brandenburg v. Ohio.)
With the United States providing this new world stage for presenting grievances of “Islamophobia” against the West, the OIC rallied around the initiative as the propaganda windfall that it is. It promptly reasserted its demands for global blasphemy laws, once again sounding the call of its failed U.N. campaign for international laws against the so-called defamation of Islam. It has made plain its aim to use the upcoming conference to further pressure Western governments to regulate speech on behalf of Islam.
The aim of the OIC is to criminalize criticism of Islam, though it might go along with banning the criticism of religion in general as an interim step. It will reserve to itself the right to condemn all other religions and beliefs, but allege that any criticism of Islam is incitement to violence – and call angry crowds on to the streets to prove it.
Islam is now the major threat to the West. Its ideas are the very opposite of those on which the USA was founded. It is an ideology of intolerance and cruelty. It forbids the free expression of thought. By its very nature, even if it were not now on a mission of world conquest (which it is), it is the enemy of the West.
The best way to defeat it is by criticizing it, constantly and persistently, in speech and writing, on the big screen and the small screen, in the schools and academies, in all the media of information and comment, in national and international assemblies.
If the weapon of words is forbidden, the only alternative will be guns.
The Muslim terrorist organization in Nigeria, Boko Haram – as cruel as ISIS, with which it has affiliated itself – was quietly and persistently protected by Obama’s State Department under Hillary Clinton. Throughout her years as Secretary of State, Boko Haram massacred Christians, burning, shooting, and hacking them to death, and carried off Christian girls to sell into slavery. (Though Michelle Obama did get herself photographed, with a rueful face, holding a hashtag sign asking Boko Haram to give one lot of girls back. If her message penetrated the darkness of Africa to reach the Boko Haram savages, it got no response.)
And now a Muslim, Mohammadu Buhari, sympathetic to Boko Haram, has been elected to the presidency.
He promises to implement sharia as the law of the land.
This is from The American Spectator:
Accuracy in Media … identified three steps the Obama administration took to thwart [former President] Goodluck Jonathan’s fight against Boko Haram:
It refused to sell Nigeria arms and supplies critical to the fight, and stepped in to block other Western allies from doing so.…
It denied Nigeria intelligence on Boko Haram from [US] drones operating in the area.…
It cut petroleum purchases from Nigeria to zero, plunging the nation’s economy into turmoil and raising concerns about its ability to fund its battle against the terrorists.
Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye told members of the Council on Foreign Relations last November that the U.S. justified its actions against Nigeria on the ground that its defense forces “have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested”. The Administration and its propaganda arm make the same complaints against Egypt’s President Sisi: he needs to use a gentler form of persuasion in his attempts to control the violence of the Muslim Brotherhood. …
As was the case in Israel, there were Obama operatives in Nigeria influencing the election results. Politico reported last month, a “strategy group founded by former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, AKPD Message and Media” worked for Buhari during the campaign.
What is it (we wonder) that Obama likes about Boko Haram?
A three-ring circus has been erected around the false video narrative, with the Petraeus/Rice/Clapper follies detracting attention from the three essential issues: the Obama administration’s disastrous Libya policy, the president’s dereliction of duty on September 11, 2012, and the troubling goings-on at the Benghazi consulate that wasn’t a consulate.
We quote from Andrew McCarthy’s astute analysis of the devious political distractions from the main issues of Benghazigate being spun by the administration and the media.
CBS News is reporting that it was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that purged references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from talking points given to Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Rice used those talking points to promote the lie that the Benghazi massacre resulted from a spontaneous mob protest rather than a planned terrorist attack. CBS adds that the CIA and FBI signed off on this false version of events.
This is all farce, of course. There being no more honor among con-men than among thieves, there comes a time in all busted conspiracies when the conspirators start pointing fingers at each other.
To pause briefly over details of the farce:
When the subject of Ms. Rice’s fitness to be secretary of state arose during last week’s press conference, the president summoned up some faux bravado, daring two Rice critics, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to “go after me,” not the gracious Madame Ambassador, if they wanted a fight. …
If Susan Rice is a weak little woman who needs the protection of a big strong male, then she certainly shouldn’t be appointed Secretary of State – or, for that matter, Ambassador to the UN. It’s absurd to put women who need such protection into jobs that expose them to the storm winds of international conflict.
For decades now administrations both elephantine and asinine have appointed women as legates to Arab states – to Muslim states that despise women and regard them as obscene walking sex-organs that need to be covered up to the eyeballs – with disastrous results. It was a woman ambassador, April Glaspie, sent by President George H. W. Bush to Iraq, who blunderingly gave the green light to Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait in 1990.
Now to return to the nub of the matter:
With their guy safely reelected, this spectacle has finally drawn the Obamedia’s attention to the president’s Benghazi travesty. Let’s not get lost here. It is critical to step back and bear two things in mind:
(a) All of the players here, including Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (both of whom the CBS report purports to absolve), are guilty of conspiracy — in this case, to mislead Americans about the cause of the attack and to aid the administration’s Islamist allies, whose objective is to impose sharia blasphemy standards on our country (a project on which the Obama administration has been colluding with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation since 2009). It was not for their own benefit that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Rice were, respectively, doctoring talking points and using them to create a false impression. Obama was the intended beneficiary. Patently the White House — which pitched Rice to the Sunday shows because Obama wanted to get the Mohammed-movie talking points publicly aired — was in the loop.
(b) Given that the conspiracy is a cover-up, there is the more salient matter of what is being covered up? The brain-dead mantra in Washington is always — all together now — “The cover-up is worse than the crime.” That is not true here. …
What is bad, very bad, is:
Four Americans were killed in Benghazi as a direct result of President Obama’s unprovoked and … unconstitutional war in Libya. This foolish gambit had the easily foreseeable result of empowering Islamists, very much including violent jihadists who now have access to much of the Qaddafi arsenal, in addition to other arms and training they received from the U.S. and NATO in the mission to overthrow Qaddafi (then, an American ally).
That was the first wrong step, whether a mistake or (as we suspect) action intended to promote revolutionary Islam.
Then what it led to:
The jihadist siege against the American installation in Benghazi lasted for over seven hours. The commander-in-chief knew the attack was underway while it was happening — which is obviously why he won’t answer questions about when and how he learned of it. He had military assets in proximity to Benghazi that could have come to the aid of the besieged Americans. Yet, Obama failed to take meaningful military action, an inexcusable dereliction of duty. Then, he told the American people he had done all he could do to protect those who were killed and wounded, an inexcusable betrayal of trust. Both counts of malfeasance are impeachable offenses. Rice’s false statements, Clapper’s purge, and Petraeus’s contradictory statements to Congress do not erase any of that. Obama has far more to answer for than anyone else in this debacle, and it is imperative that he be held accountable.
No help reached the beleaguered ambassador. So either Obama gave the order to go to their aid as he says he did and it was not obeyed, in which case he is ineffectual and his officials rebellious; or he did not give the order, in which case he is lying.
Andrew McCarthy goes on to discuss just what scandalous facts the cover-up is trying to conceal: Was the CIA station in Benghazi being used, without authority, to detain terrorist prisoners? Or was it gathering arms for shipment to Syria in whose civil war the policy is not to interfere? Or was it something even worse?
It’s the answers to those questions that we wait to hear, not who changed the wording of talking-points given to the little lady who parroted what she was told on TV in order to conceal shameful secret enterprises in the Arab world by the Obama conspiracy. What were those shameful secret enterprises?
Or as Andrew McCarthy puts it:
The cover-up here is not worse than the crime. Congress must not allow itself to get sidetracked. What matters most is what the administration is hiding — not the fact that the administration is hiding it.
It is certain* that General David Petraeus, as head of the CIA, lied to the nation about the armed attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on 9/11/12. General Petraeus has now resigned, citing an adulterous love affair – not participation in a cover-up – as a moral lapse so grievous that it renders him unfit for high office.
In our judgment – and we are always and insistently judgmental – lying to the nation is a far worse moral offense than adultery. We would like to think that General Petraeus is of the same opinion.
The Obama administration has woven a tangled web of lies about the military defeat of the United States by Arab Muslims in Libya. Now they are desperately trying to cover up not only the truth but the lies as well. Ever more tangled the web becomes. So far, two Generals and an Admiral, all men of distinction and honor (see our posts Yet more about Benghazi – but still not enough, October 31, 2012, and Admiral fired in storm over Benghazigate?, October 31, 2012), have been entangled in it and brought down. Will the incredible luck that has sustained Obama throughout his political life keep him yet again from the disgrace he deserves?
We found that our suspicions about what might be the far more scandalous truth behind General Petraeus’s resignation are shared by Paul A. Rahe, who writes at his website Ricochet:
Here is what I wonder. Did David Petraeus allow himself to be blackmailed by the minions of Barack Obama?
The testimony Petraeus gave Congress on Benghazi shortly after the assassination of our ambassador to Libya was a restatement of the patently false narrative foisted on the country by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their underlings — to wit, that the assault on the American consulate was a spontaneous demonstration in reaction to [an anti-Islam] Youtube video.
Petraeus had to know better. The Benghazi bungle took place on the anniversary of 9/11. There was plenty of intelligence available to Petraeus prior to the event suggesting that Al Qaeda was becoming a real force in the region, and the e-mails that the CIA sent the White House at the time indicate that the folks in the agency knew within hours that the attack had been carefully planned and knew who in Benghazi was responsible.
So why did a man always known for his honor and integrity go before a Congressional committee and lie through his teeth? If Washington were Chicago, we would know the answer. Blackmail is, in Chicago, standard operating procedure. Is Washington now Chicago? Is Petraeus leaving office a disgraced and broken man because one act of dishonor and betrayal led him to commit another far more shameful?
I hope not. I greatly admire the man. … But I, nonetheless, have to ask, “Why did Petraeus lie?” And given the fact that the lie was part of a preposterous narrative being peddled by a President who knew that the truth might well be fatal to his reelection — and who depended on his lies being echoed by a pliable, servile press — I have to ask, “How did they get an honorable man to disgrace himself so utterly?”
If this line of questioning makes sense, then we have to entertain the possibility that David Petraeus is resigning because doing what he did in his testimony to Congress is distasteful in a fashion that a man of his mettle cannot long bear.
Congress should not let this pass. David Petraeus should be made to testify about Barack’s Benghazi Bungle. We have a right to know the truth. We had a right to know it well before the 6th of November. We now have a right to know why we were denied the truth.
Let’s conjecture that the Obama gang feared that the General would tell the truth when called to testify before Congressional inquiries next week. Obviously the head of the CIA is an indispensable witness when a CIA mission was one of the targets in Benghazi and two of its men were killed. “So,” think the stoats and weasels in the White House, “let’s quickly get rid of the man who might reveal all that we’re trying to cover up – our incompetence, our callousness, our weakness, our bad judgment, our illicit dealings, our treachery – and stick another man in who will lie for us. Now on what grounds can we demand General Petraeus’s resignation? Well, there’s that love affair we know of. We’ll get him to say he’s so overcome by remorse for that he feels he must ask to be let go.”
Why does the General agree to do it? It’s another lie, even though the fact of the affair (finished some time ago) is true. Let’s say he goes along with the new deception in order to be free to tell the truth. But will he tell the truth now as a private citizen? According to some media reports he will not be testifying before the closed-door Democrat-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee next week; the new conniving head of the CIA will be doing so in his stead.
But it is a different story with the Republican-dominated House whose inquiry into the Benghazi affair starts on Thursday. CNN reports:
Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including diplomat Chris Stevens. …
King said … that Petraeus is “an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else.”
“David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he’s still the CIA director, and I don’t see how the CIA can say he’s not going to testify,” King said. “I think his testimony is … certainly necessary … He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has.”
If Petraeus does not testify as originally scheduled on Thursday, King said, “It should be very soon after that.”
When he does, if he tells the truth regardless of the consequences to the Obama administration or his own reputation, he will go a long way towards redeeming that reputation. If he shirks it, or endorses the administration’s lies yet again – great general though he is and deserving of all honor for his exceptional service to his country – his good name will be tarnished beyond redemption.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who glibly stated that she “accepted responsibility” for what happened in Benghazi, is reported to have “turned down an invitation to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next Thursday on the Benghazi attack”.
Note added 11/13/12. Go here to see what she will be doing that she considers more important than attending the inquiry into Benghazigate.
*We were wrong. There is no certainty about this. See the comment below by Loretta Landrum Richey 11/13/12.
The persecution Christians are suffering in Islamic countries is apparently of little or no concern to the ever-bleeding hearts of the American Left.
The Obama administration is positively ignoring it.
We quote from an article by Raymond Ibrahim at Front Page:
The Obama administration’s support for its Islamist allies means lack of U.S. support for their enemies, or, more properly, victims — the Christian and other non-Muslim minorities of the Muslim world. …
On May 24 this year the US State department released the Country Reports on Human Rights.
For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom …
The State Department “refused to list Egypt as ‘a country of particular concern,’ even as [Coptic] Christians … were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. ”
Legislation to create a special envoy for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia … has been stalled by Sen. James Webb (D-Va). In a letter sent to Webb Wednesday night, Rep. Frank Wolf [R-Va, who introduced the envoy bill] said he “cannot understand why” the hold had been placed on a bill that might help Coptic Christians and other groups “who face daily persecution, hardship, violence, instability and even death.” … Webb spokesman Will Jenkins explained the hold by saying that “after considering the legislation, Senator Webb asked the State Department for its analysis.” In a position paper issued in response, State Department officials said “we oppose the bill as it infringes on the Secretary’s [Hillary Clinton’s] flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions … The new special envoy position is unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive”.
The word “flexibility” has a special meaning when used by the Obama gang. Obama quietly informed the Russians that after he’d won the election in November he would have more “flexibility” – presumably to meet Putin’s demands more fully than he can before it. So the word may be taken to mean “ability to accommodate the wishes of America’s enemies”.
Once this reasonable deduction is made it is easy to see that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s need for “flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions” means she does not want to have a pro-Christian or anti-Muslim envoy. (The same thing in the circumstances.)
In regard to which it should be recalled that among Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers – possibly standing alone as her closest adviser – is Huma Abedin, a Muslim with close ties (see here and here) to the Muslim Brotherhood.
With that fact in mind, no one should be surprised when “flexible” decisions are seen to be implemented.
The administration … had nothing to say when Islamic terrorists bombed Nigerian churches on Easter Sunday, killing some 50 Christians and wounding hundreds. And when the Egyptian military indiscriminately massacred dozens of unarmed Christians for protesting the nonstop attacks on their churches, all the White House could say is, “Now is a time for restraint on all sides”—as if Egypt’s beleaguered Christian minority needs to “restrain” itself against the nation’s military, a military that intentionally ran armored-vehicles over them at Maspero.
In light of all this, naturally the Obama administration, in the guise of the State Department, would oppose a bill to create an envoy who will only expose more religious persecution for the administration to suppress or obfuscate.
Such is the current state of affairs. In its attempts to empower its Islamist allies, the current U.S. administration has taken up their cause by waging a war of silence on their despised minorities — the Christians and other non-Muslims of the Islamic world.
The Obama administration cannot allow Islam to be guilty of anything, even of deeds carried out insistently in its name. It will have America and the world know that Islam is irreproachably innocent of any aggression, persecution, intolerance, or terrorism.
As an example of the administration’s campaign to “suppress knowledge” both of “the sufferings of religious minorities under Islam” and of “knowledge concerning Islam itself” in connection with them, Raymond Ibrahim provides a link to this instructive video clip:
Is the war of the Western powers against the petty despot of Libya over?
Has the petty despot won?
According to this report at (not always reliable) DebkaFile, it is and he has:
Bar the shouting, the war in Libya virtually ended Thursday morning, July 14, when US President Barack Obama called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to hand Moscow the lead role in negotiations with Muammar Qaddafi for ending the conflict – provided only that the Libyan ruler steps down in favor of a transitional administration.
The US president thus accepted the Russian-Libyan formula for ending the war over the heads of the NATO chiefs who rejected it when they met Russian leaders at the Black Sea resort of Sochi last week. …
By the time Obama had decided to call Medvedev, individual governments which had spearheaded the anti-Qaddafi campaign were quietly melting away. …
From Saturday, July 9 … NATO discontinued its air strikes against Libyan pro-government targets in Tripoli and other places. The halt though unannounced was nonetheless an admission that 15,000 flight missions and 6,000 bombardments of Qaddafi targets had failed to achieve their object: Col. Qaddafi, without deploying a single fighter jet, firing an anti-air missile or activating terrorist cells in Europe, had waited for NATO to run out of steam and was still in power.
In an overview of the war to British air force commanders Wednesday, July 13, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox remarked that while no one knows when it will end, British ground corps, naval and air forces do not have the means to continue the war. … [He] added that British and European military industries lack the capacity for supporting a war effort that goes beyond a few weeks.
Italy, a key player in NATO’s military effort, last week secretly withdrew its Air Force Garibaldi-551 planes from the campaign – dealing the operation another grave setback. And in the last 10 days, France has also scaled back the military assets it had invested in the fighting after despairing of the anti-Qaddafi rebels based in Benghazi ever making headway against Qaddafi’s forces. First, Paris tried to transfer its backing from Benghazi to the secessionist Berber tribes fighting Qaddafi in Western Libya. On June 30, President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered weapons to be parachuted to the tribal fighters in western Libya, contrary to UN and NATO decisions. But the Berbers preferred to use the French guns for plundering towns and villages instead of fighting government forces.
On Monday, July 11, after that experience, Defense Secretary Gerard Longuet said it was time for talks to begin between Qaddafi and the rebels. Paris, he said, had asked the two sides to begin negotiations.
This was backhanded confirmation of the claim Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam made to the French media that his father was engaged in contacts for ending the war through emissaries who met with President Sarkozy.
While Minister Longuet said the Libyan ruler cannot stay in power, he refrained from demanding his ouster by force or his expulsion from the country. This formula therefore came close to Qaddafi’s terms for ending the war. …
It also knocks over the international war crimes tribunal’s demand to extradite Qaddafi and his sons as war criminals.
Instead of sitting in the dock of the world court, they will now take their seats at the negotiating table for a deal one of whose objects will be to rescue NATO from the humiliation of defeat at war.
In an article at Front Page, Stephen Brown confirms that NATO is stopping the air strikes and seeking to negotiate an end to the war :
In a major shift in its position on the war in Libya, France has announced it wants the rebels to begin direct negotiations with representatives of Muammar Gaddafi. NATO has been trying for more than three months to depose the Libyan leader in an air campaign, led by France, which has cost tens of millions of dollars and caused fractures in the alliance.
In a strong indication of mounting frustration over NATO’s lack of success from the air and the rebels’ slow progress on the ground, France’s defence minister, Gerard Longuet, said last Sunday on French television that NATO had “stopped the hand that was striking” against the insurgents and “now was the time to sit down at the negotiating table.
“We have asked them to speak to each other,” said Longuet, whose government was the most ardent supporter of military action three months ago and was the first to launch air strikes.
But the biggest surprise in Longuet’s television appearance came when he said the bombs would stop falling as soon as negotiations begin, indicating NATO will cease all military operations. Which means that Gaddafi, against all expectations, will survive. Forcing Gaddafi to leave had always been a main goal of the military campaign Great Britain and France have been spearheading.
“We will stop the bombing as soon as the Libyans start talking to one another and the military on both sides go back to their bases,” said Longuet. “They can talk to each other because we’ve shown there is no solution through force.”
Which is another way of saying, ‘We’ve lost, he’s won”.
Up until now, the rebels have refused to negotiate with the Libyan government until Gaddafi stepped down. France says it still wants Gaddafi out but obviously now believes NATO’s bombing campaign will not achieve this goal and is too expensive to maintain, so a diplomatic solution is now necessary. …
Gaddafi, Longuet said … could “remain in Libya ‘in another room of the palace, with another title’.”
France’s two main NATO allies, Great Britain and America, were both quick to respond to Longuet’s announcement, indicating their displeasure as well as a possible breach opening up in the alliance.
But this Washington Post report paints a somewhat different picture, of the rebels preparing for the aftermath of their victory, and the US already recognizing their leaders as the legitimate “governing authority” of Libya – though conceding that Gaddafi is still in power:
The United States granted Libyan rebel leaders full diplomatic recognition as the governing authority of Libya on Friday, a move that could give the cash-strapped rebels access to more than $30 billion in frozen assets that once belonged to Moammar Gaddafi. …
The U.S. announcement was accompanied by an agreement among all of the countries taking part in a meeting of 30 Western and Arab nations to similarly recognize the rebel council after five months of fighting that has failed to oust Gaddafi. …
A meeting at which, it seems, Hillary Clinton was thoroughly taken in by the rebels (no surprise):
The rebels’ Transitional National Council “has offered important assurances today, including the promise to pursue a process of democratic reform that is inclusive both geographically and politically,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an explanation of the decision to other foreign ministers. …
For weeks, U.S. officials have stopped short of official diplomatic recognition because of concerns about whether a post-Gaddafi government set up by rebel leaders would be truly inclusive politically and geographically.
The United States and other foreign powers have worried that the oil-rich country could become embroiled in tribal conflicts or ethnic tensions once Gaddafi is no longer in power.
The United States changed its position after hearing a presentation in Turkey by Mahmoud Jibril, the transitional council’s foreign affairs representative, who described the rebels’ plans for governing a post-Gaddafi Libya.
According to Libyan council members, the plan includes having the rebels, now based in the eastern city of Benghazi, reach out …
Ah, “reach out” – favorite expression of the Obama administration …
to other regions of Libya not currently represented on the council. Together, they would form an interim government to rule in Gaddafi’s place and then guide the country through democratic reforms and, ultimately, the election of a new government.
Oh, yeah. Who can doubt that’s what they’ll do? The Berbers will promise never again to plunder those towns and villages. Scout’s honor.
But if the reports by DebkFile and Stephen Brown are right, the rebellion is over, and the rebels may as well give up.
We’ll soon know. If Gaddafi has the last laugh, the world will hear it.
Right now, in 2010, slaves are owned by Arab masters.
Here is a documented case, a report about slaves and their suffering in the miserable land of Yemen:
Officially, slavery was abolished back in 1962 but a judge’s decision to pass on the title deed of a “slave” from one master to another has blown the lid off the hidden bondage of hundreds of Yemenis.
The judge in the town of Hajja, which is home to some 300 slaves, according to residents, said he had certified the transfer only because the new owner planned to free the slave. …
A 2009 report by the human rights ministry found that males and females were still enslaved in the provinces of Hudaydah and Hajja, in northwest Yemen — the Arab world’s most impoverished country.
Mubarak, who has seven brothers and sisters, has never set foot outside the village where he was born into a family which was inherited as slaves by their local master.
Sheikh Mohammed Badawi’s father had bought Mubarak’s parents 50 years ago, shortly before Yemen’s 1962 revolution which abolished slavery. Mubarak has known no other life except that of a slave.
“Whenever I think of freedom, I ask myself, ‘Where will I go?'” he [said] as he stood outside a hut which serves as home for him and his family.
Black-skinned Mubarak does not know his birthday but he knows he has been a slave from birth 21 years ago. He has two children with a wife who was also a slave until she was emancipated by her master, a few years before they married.
“Sometimes I wonder what the fate of my children will be, having a slave father and an emancipated mother,” he said.
Mubarak and his family are just one case among many. …
In addition to “slaves whose owner can use them however he wants,” the [human rights activists’] report also refers to other groups subjected to slave-like conditions, although they are not bound by documents. … “former slaves who have been officially set free, but remain at the service of their former masters, who continue to feed them but never pay them wages. ”
One group includes “former slaves who have been officially set free, but remain at the service of their former masters, who continue to feed them but never pay them wages,” the report said. … Such people are still referred to as “the slaves of such and such a family, or the slaves of such and such a tribe.”…
The authorities do not want to get into a conflict with the powerful tribes, who form the backbone of Yemeni society, over the slavery issue …
Mubarak dreams of living a normal life, though he doubts being capable of coping with it.
“I dream of living like other people … (But) I have always known myself to do nothing but work on the farm and tend the cattle,” he said.
Ashram, enslaved for 50 years before being freed five years ago by his dying master, appeared to have gone through what Mubarak fears.
“When my master Sheikh Ali Hussein told me ‘I have freed you, Ashram,’ I was happy. I started wondering how to live, where to go, and how to make a living.”
Ashram decided to revert to his old life, becoming a “slave of the village,” he said. “I carry water daily to the houses from a well [so that] I will not die of starvation.”
Is anything being done by World Opinion about slavery? Has the International Court of Justice indicted the slavers and slave-owners? Is the United Nations in uproar over slave labor and the traffic in human beings? Does the General Assembly regularly raise the topic? Does the Human Rights Council condemn slavery in the strongest terms? Has the Security Council passed resolutions (supposed to be binding international law) to put a stop to it? Do Western ambassadors raise the subject of contemporary slavery wherever it is practiced, and propose in the UN what should be done to end it?
Not that we’ve noticed.
What about the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN “specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights”? What is it doing about slavery?
Ah, yes! That organization published a report titled Stopping Forced Labour, which was discussed by the ILO’s 175 member States at the 89th session of the International Labour Conference. It was a thing to be proud of. It asserted that –
Although universally condemned, forced labour is revealing ugly new faces alongside the old. Traditional types of forced labour such as chattel slavery and bonded labour are still with us in some areas, and past practices of this type haunt us to this day. In new economic contexts, disturbing forms such as forced labour in connection with the trafficking of human beings are now emerging almost everywhere.
“The growth of forced labour worldwide is deeply disturbing,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia in announcing the publication … “The emerging picture is one where slavery, exploitation and oppression of society’s most vulnerable members – especially women and children – have by no means been consigned to the past. Abusive control of one human being over another is the antithesis of decent work.”
Although they might vary outwardly, different types of forced labour share two common features: the exercise of coercion and the denial of freedom. It was in recognition of this affront to the human spirit that the ILO Declaration included the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.
“In light of these findings the entire world needs to re-examine its conscience and instigate action to abolish forced labour and the often terrible living and working conditions that go with it,” Mr. Somavia said.
But that was in May 2001. Maybe they’ve been quietly struggling to “abolish forced labour” ever since, but they certainly haven’t succeeded. (They have not been wholly idle. In 2005 they published another report on what they called “forms of slavery”, dealing chiefly with, and objecting to, the exploitation of illegal Guatamalan immigrants working as fruit-pickers in Florida, and of Romanian migrant workers in German abattoirs.)
Some charitable organizations have made it their business to free slaves held by Muslims in Africa. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is one such. They conceived the idea of buying slaves and setting them free. Though their motives could not have been higher, the dreadful (and surely predictable) result of their well-meant activity was a boom in the slave trade as more helpless Africans, especially women and children – often the same ones over and over again – were kidnapped in order to be sold to CSI.
We listen attentively for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bold denouncement of slavery, to be followed of course by the Obama administration’s effective action to eliminate it.
Any minute now, d’you think?
PS: The UN must be destroyed!
One has to admire the skill with which Obama and Hillary Clinton are handling relations with Iran, China, North Korea, Israel, Britain, Russia, Canada, India, Honduras, Brazil, Czech Republic, Poland, and France. They’re managing to strengthen America’s enemies, weaken its friends, and anger all with great dispatch and – this is the really impressive part – to no discernible end. It’s not as if America’s interests are being served. Nothing selfish like that.
Oh yes – and Afghanistan. There, with thrilling arrogance, and the daring misuse of armed forces, they are demonstrating, through victory after victory, the ultimate impotence of American power.
And are the Afghans grateful? Like hell they are.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
President Hamid Karzai lashed out at his Western backers for the second time in three days, accusing the U.S. of interfering in Afghan affairs and saying the Taliban insurgency would become a legitimate resistance movement if the meddling doesn’t stop.
Mr. Karzai, whose government is propped up by billions of dollars in Western aid and nearly 100,000 American troops fighting a deadly war against the Taliban, made the comments during a private meeting with about 60 or 70 Afghan lawmakers Saturday.
At one point, Mr. Karzai suggested that he himself would be compelled to join the other side —that is, the Taliban—if the parliament didn’t back his controversial attempt to take control of the country’s electoral watchdog from the United Nations …
The Afghan leader seems as mistrustful of the West as ever—and increasingly willing to tap the resentment many ordinary Afghans feel toward the U.S. and its allies. Many here view the coalition as enabling the Afghan government’s widespread corruption, and blame U.S.-led forces for killing too many civilians.
At the same time, Mr. Karzai is working to improve relations with American rivals, such as Iran and China. The result is further strain on an already-tense partnership. …
Associates of Mr. Karzai say the events around last year’s vote left the president feeling betrayed by the West. Those feelings were clear in a speech Mr. Karzai gave Thursday, accusing “foreign embassies,” the U.N. and the European Union of being behind the electoral fraud and of trying to force him into a coalition government with his opponents.
On Saturday, Mr. Karzai went a step further, saying foreign interference in Afghan affairs fueled the insurgency, according to five lawmakers who attended the meeting.
“He said that the only reason that the Taliban and other insurgent groups are fighting the Afghan government is that they see foreigners having the final say in everything,” said one of the lawmakers.
All five lawmakers said Mr. Karzai told those who gathered at the palace that the Taliban’s “revolt will change to resistance” if the U.S. and its allies kept dictating how his government should run. The word “resistance” is a term often used to convey a legitimate struggle against unjust rulers, such as the Mujahedeen’s fight against the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Mr. Karzai’s remarks were the latest sign of the growing rift between the Afghan leader and the U.S., which is pouring troops into the country in a bid to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and win the support of ordinary Afghans.
Key to the surge strategy is restoring the battered domestic reputation of the Karzai administration. President Barack Obama, during a brief visit to Kabul Monday, pressed Mr. Karzai to clean up the pervasive corruption in his government.
If anything, Mr. Obama’s visit appears to have backfired. A businessman with close ties to Mr. Karzai said the Afghan leader was insulted by Mr. Obama’s comments and left with even greater doubts about the American commitment to Afghanistan.
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have an ungrateful puppet!
(Please someone, remind us what the US is in Afghanistan for, what the ultimate aim is, what Afghanistan will look like when that aim is achieved?)
Tariq Ramadan is the General of Soft Jihad. For years he persisted in trying to get into the United States, and was sensibly refused entry.
Now, just when the weakness and incompetence of the Obama administration’s dealings with jihadists have been direfully exposed, and are being most angrily criticized, this Supremo of the Islamic campaign to conquer the world is suddenly allowed in, by order of Hillary Clinton.
Tariq Ramadan’s particular role is to direct Islamic conquest not by violence but by means of mass immigration and propaganda. He has defended wife-beating and all the cruelties of sharia, including stoning to death. Now he may freely spread his poisonous message in the United States to advance his menacing mission of subjugation.
From the Weekly Standard:
In a controversial move, the Obama administration has decided to lift Tariq Ramadan’s ban from the United States. Who is Tariq Ramadan? By birth, he is the grandson of Hassan al Banna – the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). By word and deed, he is today a leading member of the European branch of the MB.
The MB is the mother organization for some of the terrorist groups that became part of al Qaeda’s core, including Ayman al Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Osama bin Laden himself was first wooed to the dark side by Muslim Brothers teaching in Saudi Arabia. The MB has also spawned other hardcore jihadist organizations, including Hamas. While the MB’s descendents have publicly disagreed over tactics at times (for example, Zawahiri has taken issue with Hamas’s participation in Palestinian elections), they still share the same long-term strategic vision: the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate capable of ruling the Muslim world and challenging the West. And that is what Tariq Ramadan believes in too.
Douglas Farah provides more information:
The lifting of the ban, ordered by Secretary of State Clinton, is a significant victory for the Brotherhood, who has sought to frame the issue of Ramadan’s exclusion as one of academic freedom rather one of national security.
Ramadan was ecstatic, saying on his blog:
Today’s decision reflects the Obama administration’s willingness to reopen the United States to the rest of the world, and to permit critical debate. Coming after nearly six years of inquiry and investigation, Secretary Clinton’s order confirms what I have affirmed and reaffirmed from day one: the first accusations of terrorist connections (subsequently dropped), then donations to Palestinian solidarity groups, were nothing more than a pretense to prohibit me from speaking critically about American government policy on American soil. The decision brings to an end a dark period in American politics that saw security considerations invoked to block critical debate through a policy of exclusion and baseless allegation. Today I am delighted at the decision. …
A rock star in the European Muslim scene, Ramadan, despite weak academic credentials, has been offered a teaching position at Notre Dame University….
This is typical of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is eager to use the freedoms that would never exist under the caliphate it so desires to create, in order to promote its totalitarian vision. It demands the right to be heard while being unequivocal in its unwillingness to view as equal anyone who does not embrace its view radical Islamism. While it is willing to use the democratic process to achieve its goals, often putting it at odds with militantly violent groups such as al Qaeda, in the end the Brotherhood and Osama bin Laden share an identical vision of what the world should look like under Allah’s rule.