Middle East Archives

Embassies and Rabbit Trails

There seems to be a meme floating around Facebook noting that, under George Bush, multiple embassy attacks were made (anywhere from 7 – 11) with up to 53 people being killed. The insinuation is that things were worse under Dubya than under Obama AND that people are somehow hypocritical if they criticize Obama for the attack on the embassy in Benghazi.

Let’s take a look at this.

From Media Matters there’s a post titled, Krauthammer Whitewashes Bush’s History To Bash Obama Over Embassy Attack, which lists out seven U.S. Embassy attacks under the Bush Administration. Yet in reading over each of these attacks one finds that not one American was killed. Not one! In some cases, the embassy or building attacked was empty.

But the most egregious problem with this meme is that it attempts to divert the attention from where it belongs. The issues with the attack on the Benghazi embassy have to do with,

  1. Americans being killed (indeed, a U.S. Ambassador being one of them),
  2. Americans requesting U.S. military intervention – and being denied,
  3. A coordinated and well planned attack being carried out (ostensibly by paramilitary forces),
  4. Said paramilitary forces belonging to a group (al Qaeda) which the current administration has declared to be decimated,
  5. Said administration lying about what happened, why it happened, and how they addressed it.

This muddled thinking and blindness to issues of reality, by the Left, will continue to leave America open to attacks from terrorists abroad.

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    11 years on

    11 years after 9/11 we see that the problem still exists (witness the recent events in Cairo and Libya).

    What we need to realize here is that on December 7, 1952 (11 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor), not only was World War II over, but Japan was our ally, and we were in the midst of the Korean War (which would not be over for another 7 months). The dynamics of the acts of aggression in those conflicts are categorically separate than what we now face. This is different – very different. As for the events of the past few days, to blame an insignificant movie as the cause demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the core issue. Furthermore, to blame an insignificant movie for the murder of 4 Americans in Libya would be like blaming Wall Street for the toppling of the Twin Towers. Oh, I forgot, some people already do.

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      No Flotilla For You!

      Remember those flotilla that went to Gaza that were ostensibly to deliver humanitarian aid because the mean Israelis wouldn’t let any in? Never mind that Israel ships in humanitarian aid there all the time, tons of it. No, the real reason for the flotillas was to break the blockade; one that even the UN has admitted is understandable.

      If the reasons were really humanitarian, there’s another place, very close by, that could use it. But all those alleged "humanitarians" seem to be blind to it. Ron Prosor, writing in the Wall Street Journal, takes them to task.

      The conflict in Syria has also claimed roughly four times as many victims in the past 20 months as were killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past 20 years. The residents of Gaza continue to enjoy more international assistance than virtually any other population on the planet, but almost no aid is reaching the two million people displaced within Syria—roughly 10% of the country’s population.

      The flotilla crowd has different priorities. They prefer to work around the clock to protest Israel’s legitimate defense against the terrorists who target its citizens and fire thousands of rockets into its cities. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised: It’s much easier to face news cameras in Tel Aviv than bullets in Damascus.

      Indeed, Israel is the luxury destination of choice for this type of "human-rights activist." In Israel, these weekend revolutionaries are free from the dangers of arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and execution that abound in the totalitarian states that make up the rest of the region. Instead of trying to dig into the dark abyss of abuses in neighboring states, they prefer to lounge in the comfort of Israel’s democratic institutions, civil society and independent media, which offer a wealth of easily accessible information that they use to attack Israel.

      Remember this the next time they try this stunt on Israel. And remember which US political party has been Israel’s most stalwart defender. (Hint: Not the one that excised it from their platform.)

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        Near New York?

        See this film this weekend. Salaam Dunk!

        Really.

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          A "Triple Standard"?

          Israel’s Prime Minister lays out the case.

          Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it accurately recently in an American TV interview. He said that the world holds Israel to a "triple standard." Not a double standard, but a triple standard. He explained that there is one standard for the world’s dictatorships, a second standard for the world’s democracies, and a third standard for Israel.

          Prime Minister Netanyahu added that the "triple standard" for Israel has meant that Israel does not have the right to defend itself from all the terrorists and rocket attacks hurled against them over the years by their Arab Muslim neighbors.  Netanyahu went on to say that the world would never expect any dictatorship or democracy to “show restraint” had they been the victims of more than 12,000 explosive rockets and missile attacks having been continually hurled across their borders by terrorists killing and maiming thousands of innocent civilians.

          "What would the democracies do if 12,000 rockets were fired into their land?" he asked. "They would undoubtedly defend themselves and retaliate if more than one rocket hit them. But when Israel wants to defend itself, we are accused of being the villains, rather then the victims." He added, "No other nation would tolerate that."

          Honestly, what other country gets held to the Israeli standard when it comes to defending themselves?

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            Friday Link Wrap-up

            Yeah, haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been working on another side project that may or may not pan out. We’ll see. In the meantime, it’s time to play some catch-up on the wrap-up.

            No, I don’t believe Obama was born in Kenya, but he certainly let that image get out years ago, and only recently stopped that. As late as 2004, even the Associated Press was referring to "Kenyan-born" Barack Obama. Laugh all you want at the birthers, but they at least had this sort of thing to back them up (for a while).

            The Family Research Council has a count of the number of states that have legislated against same-sex marriage. Depending on how you choose what kind of legislation (law, constitutional amendment, etc.), the number changes, but here’s the biggie. "Number of states which currently (May 2012) grant marriage licenses only for unions of one man and one woman:   44" Remember that when you see polls about what people supposedly think about it.

            And don’t try to press Martin Luther King into service to that particular cause. He followed his religion in this regard.

            “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel.” Their words.

            Civility Watch: "Union Leader Takes Bat to Pinata Depicting Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.)"

            Michael J. Fox realizes that stem cells, as good as they are, were never some magic cure-all.

            Advances in the war:

            A record-low 41 percent now identify themselves as “pro-choice,” down from 47 percent last July and 1 percentage point down from the previous record low of 42 percent, set in May 2009. As recently as 2006, 51 percent of Americans described themselves as “pro-choice.”

            And speaking of the war, the actual, physical war on women by Planned Parenthood gets exposed by hidden camera videos. Predictably, the media yawns.

            Further, "Congressional Black Caucus Upset By Pro-Life Black Americans". Those tolerant folks.

            The Washington Post took 20 years to realize that Dan Quayle’s argument against the TV show Murphy Brown was right. It took Candace Bergen 10 years herself. And of course some of us knew that from the beginning.

            And finally, oh, that liberal media.

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              Friday Link Wrap-up

              The Southern Poverty Law Center, who (supposedly) goes after hate groups, admit, “We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.” Once again, it’s all political with the Left. Hate is only hate if it’s right-wing hate.

              Life is wasted without Jesus. That’s a pretty benign Christian aphorism. You can agree or disagree, but is it hate speech? It is in Canada.

              The Post Office, supposedly, allegedly privatized, is going to cost the taxpayers $34 billion dollars. It could cut costs, but Congress won’t let it.

              A 20+ year study proves conclusively that outlawing abortion does not lead to "coat hanger deaths". Bonus: NARAL co-founder admits they made up numbers to garner sympathy for their cause.

              Foiled bomb plots: Occupy Wall Street – 1, Tea Party – 0. The same goes for dozens of incidents (enumerated at the link) that, had they happened at a Tea Party rally, would have headlined national news for day. (I know this because charges of racial epithets with no actual proof did just that.)

              VP Joe Biden lauds NBC for moving American towards same-sex marriage. How? “I think ‘Will & Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.” The next time someone tells you "It’s just a TV show" or "Just change the channel" for complaining about TV show content, ask them to get a new writer. The old script is a lie.

              And speaking of same-sex marriage, Nancy Pelosi seems to think that her religion provides the reason why she must act against her religion on the matter.

              For what it’s worth, "An official from Iran has refuted claims of plans to execute imprisoned pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned for almost three years on accusations of apostasy, a crime where one disaffiliates themselves from a religion." This from a country not even holding to its own laws regarding the case.

              Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for Julia.

              Extremists? I don’t think that word means what you think it means. And here’s an article I wrote in 1996 regarding another right-wing extremist you’re sure to know.

              Looks like Mitt Romney’s school days will be vetted by the media more than Obama’s ever was. Too bad their first attempt failed so badly.

              And finally, the recent European elections in perspective. (Click for a larger image.)

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                Friday Link Wrap-up

                If celibacy is to blame for the sexual abuse in the Catholic church, how does that explain the continuing abuses in the public schools? (Hint: it doesn’t.)

                Here are 4 hard truths of health care reform. (Hint: if they promised something, it’s generally not going to happen.)

                "[I]f you come down hard on Limbaugh because he has crossed a line, you must come down hard on Schultz and Maher because they have crossed the same line…." (Hint: Schultz and Maher supporters haven’t.)

                New York City Mayor Bloomberg, not content with nannying the well-off on what they can and can’t eat at restaurants, now is denying food to the homeless because it might be too salty. (Hint: That’s not compassion.)

                If they had been Republicans, this would have been racist. (Hint: They’re Democrats.)

                Is Zionism humanitarianism? (Hint: Yes.)

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                  Friday Link Wrap-up

                  [FYI, Part 2 of my "after-birth abortion" article will appear Monday, for both of you waiting for it. Smile ]

                  Obama: ‘Drill Drill Drill won’t work. And you can thank Me that it did.’

                  America’s per capita debt is worse than Greece. And Greece’s credit rating is in the basement.

                  BBC: We’ll Mock Jesus But Never Mohammed. (Because Christians won’t cut off their head or burn things.)

                  For all the talk about crude names called at Sandra Fluke, the war on conservative women goes merrily unreported. Meryl Yourish refers to this as the new Exception Clause.

                  No wonder liberals think their unconstitutional ideas are constitutional. They don’t understand the document’s intent.

                  Like all generalizations, it’s not true of every single case, but James Q. Wilson asks an interesting question: Why Don’t Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?

                  Just as Jews were once expelled from Arab lands, Christians are now being forced from countries they have long inhabited.

                  And finally, the return of the political cartoon to Friday Link Wrap-ups.

                  Posted Image

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                    Friday Link Wrap-Up

                    If Samuel L. Jackson voted for Obama because he’s black –  using as his reasoning, "’Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them … That’s American politics, pure and simple." — then is it OK for white folks to vote for white guys just because they’re white? Could those white folks expect the non-reaction to their reasoning as Jackson got for his?

                    Albert Mohler takes Nicholas Kristof to civics class.  The Constitution protect freedom of religion as a basic right, not only when it’s convenient.

                    "Actor Sean Penn criticized Republican presidential candidates during a visit to Venezuela on Thursday, saying that right-wing policies in the United States aim to benefit the wealthy." No, we want to make as many people as possible wealthy, as opposed to Venezuela’s socialism, which is making as many people as possible poor.

                    Stoning Christians on the Temple Mount. No, not Jews. One more guess.

                    Germans are discovering that, when they need their solar energy most, during December and January, it doesn’t help that they don’t get much sunshine then.

                    Sign of the Times: "For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage" Perhaps Rick Santorum isn’t as kooky as some are making him out to be.

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                      Leaving Iraq

                      The last American troops left Iraq yesterday. (Well, likely, the last combat troops. I’m sure there are still advisors there.) The Fox news article described it thusly:

                      The last U.S. soldiers rolled out of Iraq across the border into neighboring Kuwait at daybreak Sunday, whooping, fist bumping and hugging each other in a burst of joy and relief. Their convoy’s exit marked the end of a bitterly divisive war that raged for nearly nine years and left Iraq shattered, with troubling questions lingering over whether the Arab nation will remain a steadfast U.S. ally.

                      The mission cost nearly 4,500 American and well more than 100,000 Iraqi lives and $800 billion from the U.S. Treasury. The question of whether it was worth it all is yet unanswered.

                      I think the US ought to get a cut of oil profits for some predetermined amount of time to help repay us for liberating the country from a brutal dictator. But beyond the dollars-and-cents view of "worth it", recall we were instrumental from saving Germany (and most of Europe) from a brutal dictator 70 years ago at the cost of lives orders of magnitude greater than this. Hussein had invaded neighboring countries, used chemical weapons on his own people, and oppressed the Kurds, to name just a very few of his atrocities. Are Iraqis better off without him? You betcha’.

                      Should we go in and invade every country with a brutal dictator? I don’t think so, but the Middle East is a particularly important area to the global economy (i.e. oil) and is also one of the most volatile. What goes on there can make or break countries far and wide. Add to that Hussein’s view of our ally Israel (i.e. supporting terrorism there), and this combination was enough, I believe, to seriously consider dealing with it militarily. The US Congress thought so as well when they authorized the use of force (notwithstanding those mealy-mouthed Democrats who voted for it and later complained that they never thought they’d be taken seriously by Bush).

                      For those who lost family and friends in the war, indeed the cost for them is so different and felt stronger than for the rest of us pontificating from the sidelines. But at the same time, the "worth-it-ness" of the war in total has to come from a big picture view. I believe it was worth it, and I think most Iraqis, who’s opinion has to count for more than ours, would agree.

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                        Friday…er, Tuesday Link Wrap-up

                        I’ve been on something of a sabbatical with regards to blogging and news-reading in general. I have, however, saved some links during that time, so here’s a bunch of them.

                        If even the Dutch have fallen out of love with windmills (by which I mean, they can’t afford to keep subsidizing them), you gotta’ wonder.

                        Right after Alabama’s illegal immigration law kicked in, unemployment dropped in a big way. Yeah, those jobs you keep saying Americans won’t do? Turns out they just might.

                        Spain has apparently had enough with the failed policies of socialists. They voted them in to appease terrorists back in 2004 following the Madrid bombings. But since then, Spain has been tanking economically along with the rest of Europe, and what seemed like a good idea at the time has now been revealed to be a huge mistake. This past weekend, conservatives won a landslide victory.

                        Iranian Christian pastor update: "Yousef (also spelled Youcef) Nadarkhani, sentenced to death a year ago after a court of appeals in Rasht, Iran, found him guilty of leaving Islam in September 2010, is in deteriorating health, according to a member of Nadarkhani’s denomination, the Church of Iran, who requested anonymity. "

                        "Who would Jesus protest?" According to Jimmie Bise, working from the New Testament, He wouldn’t be protesting government. He’d be changing hearts, one individual at a time.

                        Iran with nuclear weapons capability. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but I’m certain many on the Left will be shocked, unfortunately.

                        And finally, the oldest social network is new again. (Click for a larger version.)

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                          Christianity Under Fire in the Middle East

                          According to the US State Dept., there is not a single Christian church left in Afghanistan.

                          The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”

                          “There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church’s claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March [2010],” reads the State Department report on religious freedom. “[Private] chapels and churches for the international community of various faiths are located on several military bases, PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], and at the Italian embassy. Some citizens who converted to Christianity as refugees have returned.”

                          In recent times, freedom of religion has declined in Afghanistan, according to the State Department.

                          “The government’s level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals,” reads the State Department report.

                          “Negative societal opinions and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity," said the report. "The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom.”

                          And in Egypt, with the power vacuum left after the exit of Mubarak, the lid is coming off anti-Christian hatred there, too.

                          Now many fear that the power vacuum left after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak is giving Muslim extremists free rein to torch churches and attack Coptic homes in the worst violence against the community in decades.

                          An assault Sunday night on Christians protesting over a church attack set off riots that drew in Muslims, Christians and the police. Among the 26 people left killed in the melee, most were Copts. For Coptic scholar Wassem el-Sissi, it was evidence that the Christian community in Egypt is vulnerable as never before.

                          "In the absence of law, you can understand how demolishing a church goes unpunished," he said. "I have not heard of anyone who got arrested or prosecuted."

                          Once a majority in Egypt, Copts now make up about 10 percent of the country’s 85 million people. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Their history dates back 19 centuries and the language used in their liturgy can be traced to the speech of Egypt’s pharaohs. Proud of their history and faith, many Copts are identifiable by tattoos of crosses or Jesus Christ on their right wrists, and Coptic women do not wear the veil as the vast majority of Muslim women in Egypt do.

                          But then, it wasn’t all that wonderful under Muarak, either.

                          Under Mubarak, the problems of Copts festered even if they faced less violence than they do now. Their demands for a law to regulate construction of churches went unanswered and attacks on churches went unpunished.

                          There was some hope at the start of the Arab Spring, but it didn’t last long.

                          Copts shared in the euphoria of the 18-day revolution that ousted Mubarak and like so many other Egyptians their hopes for change were high. Mainly, they wanted to be on equal footing with Muslims.

                          At Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution against Mubarak, there were glimpses of a fleeting utopia where coexistence and mutual respect between Muslims and Christians was the rule. The iconic image of Christians forming a human shield around Muslim worshippers during Friday prayers to protect them from thugs and pro-Mubarak loyalists spoke volumes to the dream.

                          But shortly after Mubarak’s ouster, a series of assaults on Christians brought home a stark reality: The fading of authoritarian rule empowered Islamist fundamentalists, known here as Salafis, who have special resentment for Christians.

                          Pray for the persecuted church. It really still does exist, and in more places than you may think.

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                            Shining the Light on Oppression

                            As they say, sometime light is the best disinfectant. The Iranian pastor who wouldn’t renounce Christianity and was being sentence to death has has his case moved to the top.

                            The case of an Iranian pastor facing a possible death sentence for apostasy has reportedly been referred to Iran’s supreme leader, a move some say shows the Islamic republic is feeling pressure in the face of growing international support.

                            Attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told AFP on Monday that an Iranian court has decided to seek the opinion of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — the Islamic republic’s spiritual leader and highest authority — in the case of Youcef Nadarkhani, a 32-year-old pastor who was arrested in October 2009 and later sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

                            Messages seeking comment from Dadkhah were not immediately returned early Monday.

                            Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington-based organization that is monitoring Nadarkhani’s case, told FoxNews.com that the move was unusual and is part of the "secretive process" within the Iranian judicial system.

                            "Based on these reports, Pastor Youcef is alive and we have reached the highest level of Iranian government," Sekulow said on Monday. "I don’t believe this would’ve ever reached the level of Khamenei without the media attention and outpouring of support we’ve seen."

                            Sekulow said the move to involve Khamenei in a case before a regional court is uncommon and indicates that "Iran is feeling the pressure" of the growing international community in support of Nadarkhani.

                            Pray that he will be spared, and that the world will see this for what it is; Christian persecution.

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                              A Century of Conflict in the Middle East

                              How far back does the Israel/Palestinian conflict go? Would you believe about 100 years?

                              Hat tip to PowerLine.

                              I noted this on my Facebook page, and had one friend comment that he’s through worrying about this because of the fighting by both sides. I replied that the two sides version of "fighting" are quite different; Israel defending itself vs. Arab’s attempted genocide. Given how many opportunities the Palestinians have had to get there own homeland (as noted in the video) and how often they have rejected the option and instead chose to try to exterminate the state of Israel, do you really think this would end once they got official statehood?

                              Given the history, I don’t, and a clear understanding of history is needed to come to a proper conclusion. Watch the video and see what I mean.

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