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The Pope's Divisions By Reuel Marc Gerecht

The Wall Street Journal

The Pope's Divisions

September 21, 2006; Page A16

Although many Muslims have apparently found Pope Benedict XVI's recent oration at the University of Regensburg deeply offensive, it is a welcome change from the pabulum that passes for "interfaith" dialogue. Since 9/11, his lecture is one of the few by a major Western figure to highlight the spiritual and cultural troubles that beset the Muslim world. Think of the awfulness that we've observed in the last years: the suicide terrorism in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but especially the holy-warrior carnage in Iraq, where Sunni die-hard believers have tirelessly slaughtered Shiite women and children. Then think of the tepid, not always condemnatory, discussions these atrocities have provoked among devout, especially fundamentalist Muslims. We should have seen many more Westerners and Muslims posing painful questions about the well-being of Islamic culture and faith. With the exception of President Bush's remarks about "Islamofascism," which provoked dyspeptic reactions inside the U.S. government and out, the administration has generally avoided using powerful language connecting Islam to terrorism.

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.

Tune out the static and hear Pope's challenge to us all By Michael Novak

New York Daily News -

Tune out the static and hear Pope's challenge to us all

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Because he had to find a paying job at the age of 12, my father did not get to finish high school, but he was nobody's dummy. So if he were still alive and asked me to explain exactly what Pope Benedict said in that speech in Regensburg, Germany, last week, which everybody is kicking around, I would have had to put it honestly and clearly, awaiting his inevitable counterpunches.

People are missing the point, Pop, I would have said. The Pope just pulled off a triple play and they are still arguing about a single pitch early in the inning.

The U.S. vs. Iran By Michael Rubin

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. vs. Iran

September 20, 2006; Page A26

The Iranian government continues to enrich uranium despite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's generous package of incentives -- and in defiance of the U.N.'s Aug. 31 deadline. Still, European officials hold out hope for the success of diplomacy. On Sept. 15, Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said, "We are really making progress. Never before have we had a level of engagement . . . as we have now." Diplomats will look for any hopeful sign from Iranian President's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's forthcoming U.N. speech. But can talk work? Successful diplomacy requires that both sides negotiate in good faith and honor commitments. That Tehran's track record undercuts confidence should not surprise. From its very inception, the Islamic Republic has eschewed diplomatic norms.

What They Omitted By Laurie Mylroie

The New York Sun

What They Omitted

September 19, 2006

Recently the Senate Intelligence Committee published the second phase of its investigation into Iraq. The document has an outrageously lengthy name: "Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on Postwar Findings About Iraq's WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare with Prewar Assessments, Together with Additional Views." It is a tendentious paper, reflecting Democratic posturing on the eve of the congressional elections. Four Republican senators on the committee complained in their dissent that it was written "with more partisan bias than we have witnessed in a long time in Washington." That is an apt characterization of the section dealing with Iraq and terrorism.

The Cross and the Crescent By Lord Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury.1991-2002

The Cross and the Crescent
(The Clash of Faiths in an Age of Secularism)

The Beach Lecture, Newbold College, Bracknell
September 18th 2006

I must begin this lecture by thanking the College for the invitation to give this year’s Beach Lecture. I am so grateful to Dr.David Trim for his considerable administrative help in making this possible. It is for Eileen and myself a joy to meet Dr Beach again, whom we have known over the years and whose commitment to ecumenical co-operation is well known.

The subject I have chosen: The Cross and the Crescent emerges from my keen interest in developing healthy relationships with Islamic scholars and leaders, as well as from my many visits to Muslim countries ever since I took up office as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1991. In retirement I continue to work in the field of inter-faith collaboration.

In 1942 Dr. William Temple in a famous phrase described ecumenical relations as the ‘great new fact of our time’. I wonder how he would describe the relationships between faiths today, and particularly the relationship of Islamic countries and the West? For myself I would say of this relationship that it is the most dangerous, most important and potentially cataclysmic issue of our day. This lecture attempts to describe why this is so, and to suggest some ways that we might be able to strengthen links between this close neighbour, in religious terms, and overcome the hostilities that are driving the West and Middle East apart.

Thirteen years ago Professor Samuel Huntington makes his own position very clear. According to him we are witnessing in our time a ‘clash of civilisations’. His own conclusion shocked many:
“Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power”.

The problem with statements like that- indeed, the most dangerous aspect- is that they run the risk of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies; that is, if enough people believe the thesis, a clash becomes more likely. A seriously disturbing feature of Huntington’s thesis is the assumption that the clash will arise not from extremists on the margins of Islam but from the very being, the heart of Islam. Once that assumption is believed then the ineluctable conclusion is reached- no dialogue is possible; a state of war exists between two quite different civilisations.

Wahhabi Colonialism By Melik Kaylan

The Wall Street Journal

Wahhabi Colonialism

September 18, 2006; Page A18

Pope Benedict XVI recently cited a Byzantine-era critique of Islam, and the usual hubbub of outrage ensued. Various self-appointed and official Islamic spokesmen (they're always men), including the head of Turkey's religious affairs directorate (why does Turkey have one?), responded sharply in the name of their faith. One might argue that a confident, evolved religion welcomes all kinds of open debate. Or one might intone gravely that the West continues to mishandle its relations with the umma -- the sphere of active Muslim believers -- with the implied assumption that there is such a unified entity of tens of millions, and that they all feel outrage in the same way at the same time. Islamist polemicists, in particular, cherish the archaic umma concept, evoking, as it does, a premodern utopia of monolithic harmony.

Many in the West buy the notion, with its familiar en bloc echoes of the proletariat. But should the rest of us believe them? Do we insult Muslims by buying into it, too, or insult them the more by considering it antiquated and bogus?

What a Load of Armitage! By Victoria Toensing

The Wall Street Journal

What a Load of Armitage!

September 15, 2006; Page A12

Richard Armitage has finally emerged from the cover-my-backside closet, "apologizing" on CBS for keeping quiet for almost three years about being the original source for Robert Novak's July 14, 2003 column stating that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA and had suggested him for a mission to Niger. He disingenuously blames his silence on Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's non-legally based request -- any witness is free to talk about his or her testimony -- not to discuss the matter.

Put aside hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds squandered on the investigation, New York Times reporter Judith Miller's 85 days in jail, the angst and legal fees of scores of witnesses, the White House held siege to a criminal investigation while fighting the war on terror, Karl Rove's reputation maligned, and "Scooter" Libby's resignation and indictment. By his silence, Mr. Armitage is responsible for one of the most factually distorted investigations in history.

U.S. Politicians Should Focus On Tehran, Netanyahu Says By Daniel Freedman

The New York Sun

U.S. Politicians Should Focus On Tehran, Netanyahu Says
- Staff Reporter of the Sun
September 8, 2006

NEW YORK - Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of an American tour repositioning himself for a return to the Israeli premiership, told an audience in New York yesterday that President Bush is preparing to ditch the United Nations to take on Iran alone and that American politicians of all parties would do well to stop squabbling about Iraq and join the president in focusing on threat from Tehran.

The former prime minister, who leads the right of center Likud Party in opposition to the current government, went on to tell lunch guests of the Hudson Institute that another war between Hezbollah and Israel is inevitable and that a shift in Israeli politics is about to take place with his return to power and a return to the principles that guided thinking in Jerusalem until the Oslo Accords.

Bill and Dick, Osama and Sandy By Michael F. Scheuer

The Washington Times

Bill and Dick, Osama and Sandy
By Michael F. Scheuer

Published July 5, 2006

With one credible September 11 movie, "United 93," under our belts, it will be interesting to see whether ABC-TV will complete the September 11 Commission's whitewashing of the pre-September 11 failure of U.S. intelligence-community leaders in its forthcoming mini-series based on Richard Clarke's memoir, "Against All Enemies."

Media teasers about the mini-series have said that Mr. Clarke -- the former "terrorism czar" -- and a senior FBI officer, the late John O'Neill, will be the heroes of the saga. If true, and if ABC's fact-checkers are not diligent in verifying Mr. Clarke's stories and claims, the mini-series will be the September 11 commission's dream come true: The Bush administration will be blamed for September 11, the feckless moral cowardice of the Clinton administration will be disguised and Mr. Clarke and Mr. O'Neill -- in my view, two principal authors of September 11 -- will be beatified.

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