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Posts Tagged ‘lebanon’

Where are the dead children this time?

Posted by Richard on July 13, 2007

Have you been following the news from Lebanon? For some time now, the Lebanese army has been slugging it out with Islamofascist militias. The recent fighting has involved Sunni jihadists associated with Hamas and/or al Qaeda, not the Shi’ite Iranian proxies of Hezbollah. Here’s the latest report and photo from the AP via Fox News:

AP: "Smoke rises from artillery shell landing in refugee camp."Islamic militants fired back volleys of rockets at the Lebanese army on Friday as troops pounded the remaining suspected hideouts of the Fatah Islam fighters holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon.

Regular artillery and tank fire could be seen falling on Nahr el-Bared, sending plumes of black smoke rising in the air over the refugee camp’s bullet-punctured buildings.

The story goes on to describe the rocket fire, the heavy bombardment of the “camp” on Thursday, the number of soldiers killed, and various tactical and other matters. Reuters has a similar story with similar pictures.

Reading these and other recent reports has made me wonder about some things.

The Lebanese army is fighting jihadists holed up in civilian neighborhoods, just as the Israelis did last year, and the Lebanese artillery and tank attacks seem much less restrained and precise. Why is the coverage so different? The AP story quoted above is 18 paragraphs long, and it isn’t until the 17th and 18th paragraphs that civilians are mentioned (emphasis added):

At least 60 militants and more than 20 civilians have been reported killed in the fighting, the country’s worst internal violence since the 1975-90 civil war. The camp housed more than 30,000 Palestinian refugees before the battles began.

Most of the camp’s residents already have fled, but a few thousand are thought to have stayed in their homes.

A few thousand civilians stayed? Look at the photo above and the others at the Reuters story linked above. That kind of bombardment of a densely-populated area has been going on for days. Don’t you suppose the “more than 20” reported killed is the tip of the iceberg? Why are the AP and Reuters not even bothering to provide an accurate count of the reported civilian casualties, much less an estimate of actual civilian casualties?

Why are civilian casualties barely worth noticing this summer? Last July, when Israel’s precision strikes against Hezbollah occasionally produced civilian casualties, AP and Reuters cranked out an endless series of breathless stories and photos documenting every last corpse and grieving woman. Where are the dead children and bloody shirts this time? Where is this summer’s equivalent of “green helmet man”? Why are AP and Reuters so much less interested in civilians killed by Lebanese than civilians killed by Israelis?

And one more question. Why are communities filled with 6- and 8-story apartment buildings called “refugee camps”?

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It’s not realism, it’s capitulation

Posted by Richard on November 28, 2006

Last week, I said I was "displeased and disgusted" by signs that the Bush administration is preparing to abandon its visionary foreign policy and embrace the Kissingerian realpolitik of Bush 41 pragmatists like James Baker and Robert Gates, by the prospect of dumping Sharansky for Scowcroft. New hints and leaks and off-record remarks suggest that the Iraq Study Group will indeed push us in that direction. And a chorus of voices from Capitol Hill to the United Nations is muttering about the need to "engage" the Syrians and Iranians.

In the new (12/04) Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol looked at this so-called "realism" and found it wanting:

So let’s add up the "realist" proposals: We must retreat from Iraq, and thus abandon all those Iraqis–Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, and others–who have depended on the United States for safety and the promise of a better future. We must abandon our allies in Lebanon and the very idea of an independent Lebanon in order to win Syria’s support for our retreat from Iraq. We must abandon our opposition to Iran’s nuclear program in order to convince Iran to help us abandon Iraq. And we must pressure our ally, Israel, to accommodate a violent Hamas in order to gain radical Arab support for our retreat from Iraq.

This is what passes for realism these days. But of course this is not realism. It is capitulation. Were the United States to adopt this approach every time we faced a difficult set of problems, were we to attempt to satisfy our adversaries’ every whim in order to win their acquiescence, we would rapidly cease to play any significant role in the world. We would be neither feared nor respected–nor, of course, would we be any better liked. Our retreat would win us no friends and lose us no adversaries.

OK, let’s tally that up: Stature of U.S. decreased — check. U.S. neither feared, nor respected, nor liked — check. U.S. gains no friends and loses no adversaries — check.

Kagan and Kristol made these points as if they were devastating critiques of the new "realism" — and for some of us, they are indeed. But for the Democrats, the "moderate pragmatists" like Baker, the Foggy Bottom internationalists, legions of Europeans, and fans of the United Nations everywhere, these consequences are at least tolerable and perhaps desirable.

HT to Neo-neocon, who noted that the Washington Post editors seemed to grasp the problems inherent in trying to reason with Syria and Iran, but fumbled the solution — the power of UN sanctions, she argued, "more closely resembles a small toothpick than a big stick."
 

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Baker, Bush, and the loss of vision

Posted by Richard on November 23, 2006

Events in Lebanon — and what’s sure to be an ongoing struggle to turn it into Hezbollahland — leave me even more displeased and disgusted by the prospect that our policy decisions regarding the Middle East, Iraq, and the War Against Islamofascism are going to be shaped by James Baker, Bob Gates, and their pals from the Bush 41 administration.

Baker has a history of being anti-Israel, and he sucked up to Syria as Secretary of State. Take a look at Ed Lasky’s American Thinker piece about Baker and Ray Close, an ex-CIA "expert" who’s playing a key role in formulating Baker’s Iraq Study Group recommendations. Close is at least extremely pro-Arabist and anti-Israel, and possibly a raving anti-Semite. And Baker’s not much better, according to Lasky:

The American-Israel alliance once again appears to be in the crosshairs of James Baker. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert may not have the strength to defend the American-Israel relationship. …

Olmert is up against an influential man with a long record of opposing the American-Israel alliance and who has a long record of coddling dictators and close business ties with Arab oil potentates. His track record would not seem to justify the influence he wields. As James Hoagland of the Washington Post put it,

[These are the] “policymakers who failed to anticipate and then opposed the breakup of the Soviet Union; who were not realistic enough to see, much less prevent, the Balkans from plunging into flames; and who coddled dictators from Beijing to Baghdad.”

Baker is true to form if his plan for dealing with Iraq will consist of coddling dictators from Damascus to Teheran. What other cards does Baker have up his sleeves? Has Baker stacked the deck against Israel? Based on the evidence so far, the answers are not very comforting.

G.W.B. appears ready to abandon his vision of advancing freedom and democracy in favor of the Kissingerian realpolitik of his father, his father’s associates, and a long line of pragmatists and accommodationists stretching back at least to the people who said "we can do business with Uncle Joe" Stalin. And the irony is that this long line of "realists" is responsible for a long line of failures, miscalculations, and disasters.

We’re on the verge of dumping Sharansky for Scowcroft, and I think it’s a terrible, terrible mistake.
 

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Thugs and crazies

Posted by Richard on November 22, 2006

There isn’t really any doubt that the thugs of Syria, the crazies of Iran, or both are behind the attempt to topple the Lebanese government via assassinations. Gateway Pundit has a good roundup of what’s happened, with lots of updates and links.

The prospect of civil war in Lebanon — or a quick Hezbollah takeover — follows closely on the heels of rumors that Baker’s Iraq Study Group will recommend making deals with Syria and Iran. Mary Madigan wrote a great analysis of the situation:

Discussions about Middle East politics remind me of a bit from a comic, Pearls Before Swine. One of the characters is a Zebra, who can’t understand why the lions keep eating his fellow Zebras. So, he writes a letter to the lions filled with philosophical questions about peace, understanding and the nature of being, asking why can’t they all get along, why can’t they be friends..

The answer comes back from the lions "we eat Zebras becuz you taste gud."

One of the main reasons why we’ve been so ineffective against the mob politics in Syria, Iran, Hezbollahland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc. is the way we allow ourselves to be distracted by their propaganda and by our own desire for peace. We don’t pay enough attention to their goals and their actions.

If we listen to their propaganda, we can tell ourselves that we’re dealing with a group of people who are motivated by religion and philosophy. We’re fighting an ideological war.

If we pay attention to their actions, we realize that we’re dealing with a bunch of gangsters. They’re well-organized gangsters, funded by millions in oil money, but they’re gangsters all the same. They want more money and power (as much as they can get), and they use guns to get them. Some are knuckle draggers and some wear suits and move money, propaganda and religious dogma around.

If the Gottis and Gambinos had wised up to the power of multicuturalism, leftist self-loathing and the multitude of hiding places provided by the skirts of religion, they could have ruled the world.

Reading Madigan’s piece, I was reminded of how Ayn Rand used to speak of the Witch Doctor and Atilla (symbols of faith and force), and how they seemed so different, but were very much alike in their rejection of reason. The Islamofascists — enemies of modernity, the Enlightenment, and Western Civilization — are actually a dangerous fusion of the Witch Doctor and Atilla into one. Crazed thugs, if you will. All the more reason they must be taken seriously and opposed with all our might.
 

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Is it 1938 again?

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2006

Here is Victor Davis Hanson’s "The Brink of Madness." Read every word. Read it several times. This may be the most important thing you read all year:

When I used to read about the 1930s — the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the rise of fascism in Italy, Spain, and Germany, the appeasement in France and Britain, the murderous duplicity of the Soviet Union, and the racist Japanese murdering in China — I never could quite figure out why, during those bleak years, Western Europeans and those in the United States did not speak out and condemn the growing madness, if only to defend the millennia-long promise of Western liberalism.

Of course, the trauma of the Great War was all too fresh, and the utopian hopes for the League of Nations were not yet dashed. The Great Depression made the thought of rearmament seem absurd. The connivances of Stalin with Hitler — both satanic, yet sometimes in alliance, sometimes not — could confuse political judgments.

But nevertheless it is still surreal to reread the fantasies of Chamberlain, Daladier, and Pope Pius, or the stump speeches by Charles Lindbergh (“Their [the Jews’] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government”) or Father Coughlin (“Many people are beginning to wonder whom they should fear most — the Roosevelt-Churchill combination or the Hitler-Mussolini combination.”) — and baffling to consider that such men ever had any influence.

Not any longer.

Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.

It is now nearly five years since jihadists from the Arab world left a crater in Manhattan and ignited the Pentagon. Apart from the frontline in Iraq, the United States and NATO have troops battling the Islamic fascists in Afghanistan. European police scramble daily to avoid another London or Madrid train bombing. The French, Dutch, and Danish governments are worried that a sizable number of Muslim immigrants inside their countries are not assimilating, and, more worrisome, are starting to demand that their hosts alter their liberal values to accommodate radical Islam. It is apparently not safe for Australians in Bali, and a Jew alone in any Arab nation would have to be discreet — and perhaps now in France or Sweden as well. Canadians’ past opposition to the Iraq war, and their empathy for the Palestinians, earned no reprieve, if we can believe that Islamists were caught plotting to behead their prime minister. Russians have been blown up by Muslim Chechnyans from Moscow to Beslan. India is routinely attacked by Islamic terrorists. An elected Lebanese minister must keep in mind that a Hezbollah or Syrian terrorist — not an Israeli bomb — might kill him if he utters a wrong word. The only mystery here in the United States is which target the jihadists want to destroy first: the Holland Tunnel in New York or the Sears Tower in Chicago.

In nearly all these cases there is a certain sameness: The Koran is quoted as the moral authority of the perpetrators; terrorism is the preferred method of violence; Jews are usually blamed; dozens of rambling complaints are aired, and killers are often considered stateless, at least in the sense that the countries in which they seek shelter or conduct business or find support do not accept culpability for their actions.

Yet the present Western apology to all this is often to deal piecemeal with these perceived Muslim grievances: India, after all, is in Kashmir; Russia is in Chechnya; America is in Iraq, Canada is in Afghanistan; Spain was in Iraq (or rather, still is in Al Andalus); or Israel was in Gaza and Lebanon. Therefore we are to believe that “freedom fighters” commit terror for political purposes of “liberation.” At the most extreme, some think there is absolutely no pattern to global terrorism, and the mere suggestion that there is constitutes “Islamaphobia.”

Here at home, yet another Islamic fanatic conducts an act of al Qaedism in Seattle, and the police worry immediately about the safety of the mosques from which such hatred has in the past often emanated — as if the problem of a Jew being murdered at the Los Angeles airport or a Seattle civic center arises from not protecting mosques, rather than protecting us from what sometimes goes on in mosques.

But then the world is awash with a vicious hatred that we have not seen in our generation: the most lavish film in Turkish history, “Valley of the Wolves,” depicts a Jewish-American harvesting organs at Abu Ghraib in order to sell them; the Palestinian state press regularly denigrates the race and appearance of the American Secretary of State; the U.N. secretary general calls a mistaken Israeli strike on a U.N. post “deliberate,” without a word that his own Blue Helmets have for years watched Hezbollah arm rockets in violation of U.N. resolutions, and Hezbollah’s terrorists routinely hide behind U.N. peacekeepers to ensure impunity while launching missiles.

If you think I exaggerate the bankruptcy of the West or only refer to the serial ravings on the Middle East of Pat Buchanan or Jimmy Carter, consider some of the most recent comments from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah about Israel: “When the people of this temporary country lose their confidence in their legendary army, the end of this entity will begin [emphasis added].” Then compare Nasrallah’s remarks about the U.S: “To President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert and every other tyrannical aggressor. I want to invite you to do what you want, practice your hostilities. By God, you will not succeed in erasing our memory, our presence or eradicating our strong belief. Your masses will soon waste away, and your days are numbered [emphasis added].”

And finally examine here at home reaction to Hezbollah — which has butchered Americans in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia — from a prominent Democratic Congressman, John Dingell: “I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah.” And isn’t that the point, after all: the amoral Westerner cannot exercise moral judgment because he no longer has any?

An Arab rights group, between denunciations of Israel and America, is suing its alma mater the United States for not evacuating Arab-Americans quickly enough from Lebanon, despite government warnings of the dangers of going there, and the explicit tactics of Hezbollah, in the manner of Saddam Hussein, of using civilians as human shields in the war it started against Israel.

Demonstrators on behalf of Hezbollah inside the United States — does anyone remember our 241 Marines slaughtered by these cowardly terrorists? — routinely carry placards with the Star of David juxtaposed with Swastikas, as voices praise terrorist killers. Few Arab-American groups these past few days have publicly explained that the sort of violence, tyranny, and lawlessness of the Middle East that drove them to the shores of a compassionate and successful America is best epitomized by the primordial creed of Hezbollah.

There is no need to mention Europe, an entire continent now returning to the cowardice of the 1930s. Its cartoonists are terrified of offending Muslim sensibilities, so they now portray the Jews as Nazis, secure that no offended Israeli terrorist might chop off their heads. The French foreign minister meets with the Iranians to show solidarity with the terrorists who promise to wipe Israel off the map (“In the region there is of course a country such as Iran — a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region”) — and manages to outdo Chamberlain at Munich. One wonders only whether the prime catalyst for such French debasement is worry over oil, terrorists, nukes, unassimilated Arab minorities at home, or the old Gallic Jew-hatred.

It is now a cliché to rant about the spread of postmodernism, cultural relativism, utopian pacifism, and moral equivalence among the affluent and leisured societies of the West. But we are seeing the insidious wages of such pernicious theories as they filter down from our media, universities, and government — and never more so than in the general public’s nonchalance since Hezbollah attacked Israel.

These past few days the inability of millions of Westerners, both here and in Europe, to condemn fascist terrorists who start wars, spread racial hatred, and despise Western democracies is the real story, not the “quarter-ton” Israeli bombs that inadvertently hit civilians in Lebanon who live among rocket launchers that send missiles into Israeli cities and suburbs.

Yes, perhaps Israel should have hit more quickly, harder, and on the ground; yes, it has run an inept public relations campaign; yes, to these criticisms and more. But what is lost sight of is the central moral issue of our times: a humane democracy mired in an asymmetrical war is trying to protect itself against terrorists from the 7th century, while under the scrutiny of a corrupt world that needs oil, is largely anti-Semitic and deathly afraid of Islamic terrorists, and finds psychic enjoyment in seeing successful Western societies under duress.

In short, if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around.

 

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Hezbollah’s human shields

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2006

At The American Thinker, Clarice Feldman pointed out a brief Ynet News story which confirmed that Neo-neocon and I (The war for public opinion) were right about Hezbollah wanting to create civilian casualties (emphasis added):

The IDF has found that Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon. Roadblocks have been set up outside some of the villages to prevent residents from leaving, while in other villages Hizbullah is preventing UN representatives from entering, who are trying to help residents leave. In two villages, exchanges of fire between residents and Hizbullah have broken out. 

Hezbollah is holding the residents of these villages hostage, using them as human shields.

"Speaking of human shields," Feldman wondered, "why aren’t the brave folks who stood between us and Saddam in Afula or Safed or Haifa or Kiryat Shemona?" Good question. I guess these "peace activists" aren’t as troubled by rockets falling on Israeli Jews as they were about bombs falling on Saddam’s Revolutionary Guard.

Regarding Hezbollah taking whole villages hostage — good luck finding any mainstream news stories that mention the IDF report. You think the IDF told only Ynet News about it? You think Ynet News made it up? I don’t.
 

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Are we rescuing Hezbollah supporters?

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2006

The U.S. is promising to evacuate 1,000 Americans per day from Lebanon, starting Wednesday, but some people who ought to know are expressing concern about just who it is we’re rescuing. Brigitte Gabriel, whom I wrote about before, grew up as a Lebanese Christian and experienced Islamist persecution and violence first-hand throughout her youth. Now head of American Congress for Truth, she expressed concern that the media coverage is giving us a false picture:

I am speaking with Lebanese Christians in Lebanon and they are all fine. Israel is not bombing them or their towns. Israel is bombing the Shiite radical strong holds. This is what the news is not telling you. Israel bombed the airport, the port and the bridges to Syria because they are used to transport weapons and support to Hezbollah. …

As sad as I feel watching what is happening in Lebanon, it is absolutely necessary to support Israel to kill the cancer that has spread and is killing the Lebanese body. Israel is not targeting civilians. Israel is targeting terrorists. Israel has launched 3000 air strikes on Lebanon since the beginning of the Operation and inflicted only 122 casualties. If Israel’s intention was to kill civilians you would have seen many more civilian deaths than only 122. They are being extremely careful, even dropping flyers and urging civilians to leave before they bomb. These casualties are terrorists and terrorist families and sympathizers.

Please read the below article from Debbie Schlussel. She hits the nail on the head. Not all American-Lebanese there are terrorist sympathizers. There is a minority of Christians vacationing there too. However the majority of the Muslims have connections to Husballah.

The Debbie Schlussel article she referred to argued that we’re about to rescue a lot of Hezbollah supporters. Schlussel, a Michigan attorney, columnist, and talk show host, is an expert on radical Islam and especially knowledgeable about the Islamists in and around Dearborn, MI (she once infiltrated a radical mosque there disguised as a Muslim woman). In this new article, she argued (emphasis in original):

One thing is lost in all the press coverage of the whining Americans who went to Lebanon of their own accord and now want us to pick up the tab to get them out.

THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS IN LEBANON ARE HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTERS.

Most of them are Shiite Muslims, many of whom hold dual U.S. and Lebanese citizenship. Many are anchor babies born here to Muslims in the U.S. illegally. Some are illegal aliens who became citizens through rubber-stamping Citizenship and Immigration Services (and its INS predecessor) coupled with political pressure by spineless politicians.

Of the 25,000 American citizens and green-card holders in Lebanon, at least 7,000 are from Dearborn, Michigan, the heart of Islamic America, and especially Shia Islam. These 7,000 are mostly Shi’ite Muslims who openly and strongly support Hezbollah. Ditto for many of the rest of the 25,000 that are there.

Many of the 7,000 plus Detroiters in Lebanon are active in Dearborn’s Bint Jbeil cultural center (the Lebanese American Heritage Club also features mostly Hezbollah fans). Bint Jbeil is a Hezbollah-dominated city in the South of Lebanon, a frequent destination of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who is very at home there. Bint Jbeil is a frequent source of shellings on Northern Israel.


Given this information, and the fact that several Shi’ite Muslim Lebanese U.S. citizens from Dearborn have been indicted and/or convicted of laundering money to Hezbollah, is it a good idea to rush to bring 25,000 such persons back to the U.S. at a time when Hezbollah is at war against our strongest U.S. ally? Does the fact, that Hezbollah numerous times–and especially now–has announced veiled and not-so-veiled intentions to attack Americans on U.S. soil, make the case to quickly bring these terror-sympathizing Americans back to U.S. soil? …

Schlussel seems to be something of a shoot-from-the-hip type, so she may be painting with too broad a brush regarding the 25,000. But her credentials suggest that she knows what she’s talking about regarding the Dearborn Islamic community and its radicalism and support for Hezbollah. Her concerns ought to be taken seriously by our government.

Do the U.S. embassy staff and the American military realize that they may be be about to save some Hezbollah members from their well-deserved fate? That some of the people they’re going to evacuate tomorrow may have been firing rockets at Israel yesterday? That they may be about to transport Hezbollah terror cells into the U.S. at taxpayer expense? Do they have any safeguards or screening mechanisms in place to prevent this?

Just wondering.
 

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The war for public opinion

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2006

Neo-neocon made an important point yesterday about civilian deaths in Lebanon. Yes, Hezbollah has been storing rockets in civilian homes and apartments, and launching them from just outside. But Iran (which calls the shots) and Hezbollah aren’t doing this merely because they’re indifferent to civilian casualties — they’re doing it because they want civilian casualties:

Hezbollah is well aware that if, by taking out the missile launchers, Israel kills Lebanese civilians–which is every bit as much Hezbollah’s goal as the initial killing of Israeli civilians by the rockets themselves–then, as sure as day follows night, this fact will be reported heavily by the Western media (mostly without the all-important background context), flashed around the globe, and widely condemned. Civilians are not only expendable on the part of the terrorists, they are important and vital tools–stage props. …

Read, as they say, the whole thing. Then, in the context of this Hezbollah tactic, consider her earlier post about the danger of "proportionality" in war. Israel — like the U.S. in Iraq — gains nothing by fighting cautiously, half-heartedly, and timidly. The Islamofascists will make sure, via their tactics, that even a cautious and measured response results in sufficient collateral damage for their propaganda purposes. Heck, I suspect that if there weren’t enough collateral damage, they’d secretly create it.
 

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More Islamic outrage in Lebanon

Posted by Richard on June 2, 2006

Oscar Wilde said, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you." Oscar Wilde apparently wasn’t familiar with radical Islam, a belief system that seems totally bereft of a sense of humor. Islamists will kill you for trying to make them laugh.

Riots erupted in Lebanon when a TV comedy poked fun at Sheik Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah:

Calm returned early Friday to Beirut and other parts of the country after Shi’ite Muslims rioted overnight, blocking roads and burning tires, to protest a TV satirical program that mocked the leader of the militant Hezbollah group.

Several thousand Shi’ite Muslims enraged by a TV comedy that mocked the leader of Hezbollah took to the streets of southern Beirut on Thursday night, burning car tires and blocking roads – including the highway to Lebanon’s international airport, police and witnesses said.


Rioters began dispersing early Friday after Nasrallah, speaking on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television by telephone early Friday, appealed to his supporters "to end the gatherings and go home." Also, the producer of the TV program apologized, saying he did not mean to offend Nasrallah.

Ah, yes — "the gatherings." By "militants."

So, what kind of intolerable mockery would trigger such outrage? Apparently, it doesn’t take much:

The satire did not carry any insulting words of the leader, but ridiculed the group’s continued assertion of resistance against Israel. One questioner asked the person acting as Nasrallah whether he would lay down his arms, and the man replied by implying the group will use every excuse not to surrender its weapons.

The mere depiction of Nasrallah, a middle-ranking Shi’ite cleric, was enough to enrage his supporters.

OK, the Islamo-whackos are going to have to do a better job of explaining their rules to the rest of us. When the Danes published those cartoons, we were told that the "mere depiction" of Mohammed was a grave offense, justifying widespread riots, violence, mayhem, murder, and threats of mass beheadings. Some of us thought they were a bit too touchy about this prophet of theirs. I mean, the Baptists didn’t torch pickup trucks over "Piss Christ."

Now it turns out that it’s not just Mohammed — these clowns also go berserk at the "mere depiction" of some "middle-ranking" cleric whose chief goal in life seems to be the recruitment and training of suicide bombers to kill Jews.

What else will set these nutjobs off? The "mere depiction" of their drill sergeant? Disrespecting their greengrocer? Poking fun at their favorite camel?

Meanwhile in Iraq, just to prove that the Shia branch of Islam doesn’t have a monopoly on religious whackjobs, an audio tape by al-Zarqawi condemned the Shiites for being practically "atheist" and for not being sufficiently anti-Israel and anti-American:

"Oh Sunni people, wake up, pay attention and prepare to confront the poisons of the Shiite snakes who are afflicting you with all agonies since the invasion of Iraq until our day. Forget about those advocating the end of sectarianism and calling for national unity," al-Zarqawi said. …

"There is no difference between Shiites of Iran and the Shiites in the rest of the Arab world either in Iraq, Lebanon. their beliefs are the same .. their hatred of Sunnis is the same," he said, adding, "The roots of Jews and the Shiites are the same."

He said Shiite leaders in Iran and Lebanon _ including the Hezbollah guerrilla movement _ only pretend to confront Israel and the United States. He mocked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for "screaming and calling for wiping Israel from the map," but doing nothing, referring to anti-Israeli comments earlier this year.

Sigh. Would it be feasible to secretly spike the water supplies in large parts of the Middle East with anti-psychotics?
 

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