Robber of Zork's blog

Bipartisan Redeployment By Joseph R. Bided Jr. and Leslie H. Gelb

The Wall Street Journal

Bipartisan Redeployment
By JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. and LESLIE H. GELB

October 24, 2006; Page A18

Because the current course in Iraq is a losing course, we have to prepare ourselves to make the toughest decisions since the end of the Cold War. Neither Democrats nor Republicans alone will make them: No one wants to be blamed for what might happen next in Iraq. Thus, President Bush continues on autopilot with no end in sight, while some Democrats call for fixed withdrawal deadlines that no president would ever adopt.

Image of the week

The House & The War ~ Editorial

New York Post

THE HOUSE & THE WAR

October 9, 2006

The November elections loom - as does the possibility of Democrats taking over at least one chamber of Congress.

That's a frightening prospect, given the records of some of those poised to take over key committee chairmanships.

Frightening, that is, to Americans who want to win the War on Terror.

Varieties Define Jihad By William F. Buckley Jr.

Varieties Define Jihad

BY William F. Buckley
October 2, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/40713

The categorical opponents of the detainee bill should spend an unhappy hour reading the new book by Mary Habeck. She is a scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, and her book,"Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror," is published by Yale University Press. The book undertakes to tell the reader things about the jihadist offensive that we should know about, properly concern ourselves with, and take into account when weighing legislative initiatives.

The scene in Washington, in a word, was as follows. The president, who is commander in chief of our armed forces and, as such, principal agent of the national security, took to Congress an impasse. It had been created by the Supreme Court. Exercising, quite properly, its authority to opine on deviations from past constitutional practice having to do with human rights, the court ruled that we could not legitimately proceed, as we have been doing in Guantanamo, to detain foreigners for interrogation and other purposes without reference to such constitutional narrative as is implicit under habeas corpus. That doctrine specifies that the American citizen is the master of his own movements — putting the burden of respecting that sovereignty on the government.

However, the protection of habeas corpus does not necessarily extend to those who are not U.S. citizens, which is what the current controversy is about. The Geneva Conventions, so often adduced in the congressional debate of the last few weeks, are designed to shed light on the standing of foreigners who find themselves behind bars set up by the U.S. military. The conventions cited are inadequate to current purposes, because those conventions sought to illuminate our authority over persons who had served or were serving in armies against which the United States contended in war.

Benedict's Opposite By Bret Stephens

The Wall Street Journal

GLOBAL VIEW
By BRET STEPHENS

Benedict's Opposite
September 26, 2006; Page A15

"Constantinople was conquered, and the second part of the [prophet Muhammad's] prophecy remains, that is, the conquest of Romiyya [Rome]. . . . Islam entered Europe twice and left it. . . . Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology."

-- Yusuf al-Qaradawi on al-Jazeera
Jan. 24, 1999

Who knows whether the Vatican ever sought an apology from Mr. Qaradawi for suggesting that Catholicism will one day be extinguished in its heartland and uprooted from its capital. But it's never too late to demand one, especially now that the good sheikh is in a lather over Pope Benedict's recent remarks about Islam.

In an era without a caliph, the Egyptian-born, 80-year-old Mr. Qaradawi is the nearest thing Sunni Islam has to a pope. His weekly al-Jazeera talk show, "Shariah and Life," reaches tens of millions of Arabic-speakers in the Middle East and Europe. His fatwas, or religious edicts on matters personal or political, are widely considered definitive among Sunnis. As the de facto spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Qaradawi is a theological traditionalist, although he is also associated with the "new wave" Islamism that seeks to attract a younger, more modern audience. Mr. Qaradawi is also occasionally at odds with the violent asceticism of Salafist clerics, which gives him, among Muslims and to some extent in the West, a reputation as a moderate.

The Reality of Religion: Putting things in context By Michael Ledeen

September 25, 2006, 1:31 a.m.

The Reality of Religion
Putting things in context.

By Michael Ledeen

It’s notable, I think, that religion — not so long ago pronounced irrelevant by most everyone in proper society — now dominates the global debate. Even a Communist like Hugo Chavez used religious terms to denounce W., perhaps because he is now in a tag team with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who speaks for a theocracy. But despite the fundamental importance of religion, most of our sages and scribblers are poorly equipped to deal with it, as you can see from the awkward coverage of the pope’s speech at Regensberg. It was, as you’d expect from a pope, a religious text, but the religious content was rarely reported, aside from Benedict’s remarks about Islam — themselves a part of a broader religious message aimed primarily at Europeans. A big part of his message was that Greek philosophical thought is central to Roman Catholicism, and that Catholicism evolved in Europe, in the constant interplay between faith and reason. It’s almost impossible to find that in the discussion.

Freedom and Justice in Islam by Bernard Lewis

Hillsdale College

Imprimis September 2006

“Freedom and Justice in Islam”
by Bernard Lewis

Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University

Bernard Lewis, born and raised in London, studied at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, where he earned a Ph.D. in the history of Islam. After military and other war service in World War II, he taught at the University of London until 1974 and at Princeton University until 1986. He is currently Princeton's Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies. For many years he was one of the very few European scholars permitted access to the archives of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. In addition to his historical studies, he has published translations of classical Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Hebrew poetry. Professor Lewis has drawn on primary sources to produce more than two dozen books, including The Arabs in History, What Went Wrong? and The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror.


The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on July 16, 2006, on board the Crystal Serenity, during a Hillsdale College cruise in the British Isles.

By common consent among historians, the modern history of the Middle East begins in the year 1798, when the French Revolution arrived in Egypt in the form of a small expeditionary force led by a young general called Napoleon Bonaparte—who conquered and then ruled it for a while with appalling ease. General Bonaparte—he wasn't yet Emperor—proclaimed to the Egyptians that he had come to them on behalf of a French Republic built on the principles of liberty and equality. We know something about the reactions to this proclamation from the extensive literature of the Middle Eastern Arab world. The idea of equality posed no great problem. Equality is very basic in Islamic belief: All true believers are equal. Of course, that still leaves three “inferior” categories of people—slaves, unbelievers and women. But in general, the concept of equality was understood. Islam never developed anything like the caste system of India to the east or the privileged aristocracies of Christian Europe to the west. Equality was something they knew, respected, and in large measure practiced. But liberty was something else.

As used in Arabic at that time, liberty was not a political but a legal term: You were free if you were not a slave. The word liberty was not used as we use it in the Western world, as a metaphor for good government. So the idea of a republic founded on principles of freedom caused some puzzlement. Some years later an Egyptian sheikh—Sheikh Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi, who went to Paris as chaplain to the first group of Egyptian students sent to Europe—wrote a book about his adventures and explained his discovery of the meaning of freedom. He wrote that when the French talk about freedom they mean what Muslims mean when they talk about justice. By equating freedom with justice, he opened a whole new phase in the political and public discourse of the Arab world, and then, more broadly, the Islamic world.

Image of the week

Bernard Lewis

Socrates or Muhammad? By Lee Harris

The Weekly Standard


Socrates or Muhammad?
Joseph Ratzinger on the destiny of reason.
by Lee Harris

10/02/2006, Volume 012, Issue 03

To the memory of Oriana Fallaci
On September 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an astonishing speech at the Uni versity of Regensburg. Entitled "Faith, Reason, and the University," it has been widely discussed, but far less widely understood. The New York Times, for example, headlined its article on the Regensburg address, "The Pope Assails Secularism, with a Note on Jihad." The word "secularism" does not appear in the speech, nor does the pope assail or attack modernity or the Enlightenment. He states quite clearly that he is attempting "a critique of modern reason from within," and he notes that this project "has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly."

Benedict, in short, is not issuing a contemporary Syllabus of Errors. Instead, he is asking those in the West who "share the responsi bility for the right use of reason" to return to the kind of self-critical examination of their own beliefs that was the hallmark of ancient Greek thought at its best. The spirit that animates Benedict's address is not the spirit of Pius IX; it is the spirit of Socrates. Benedict is inviting all of us to ask ourselves, Do we really know what we are talking about when we talk about faith, reason, God, and community?

It’s 1938 All Over Again By Michael Novak

National Review Online

September 21, 2006, 6:28 a.m.

It’s 1938 All Over Again
A decisive battle.

By Michael Novak

The atmosphere these days is marked by the same mists that those who were in Paris and Berlin in 1938 can still recall. The air was heavy with ominous feelings that war was about to burst on Europe, like a violent autumn storm, with jagged lightning and clattering thunder.

The whole continent was in denial. There would be peace, there had to be peace. But there was not going to be peace. One could feel it in the air.

It feels like 1938 all over again.

Syndicate content