Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: The West's Year Of Failure

[Cross-posted to THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS]

From this December 28, 2007 article in Spiegel Online International:
Ongoing difficulties in Iraq. A Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. And now the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. For the West, 2007 has been a year of failure and missteps.


There are three lessons to be learned from the strategy followed by the US to this point.

Lesson one: The conflict with radical Islam is not the hobby of a US president gone berserk. This will become all the more clear next November when American voters go to the polls. Bush, who cannot run for re-election due to term limitations, will go, but the conflict with Islam will remain. In fact, it is growing more intense. That, at least, is what the murder of this exceptionally brave woman in Pakistan has given to the West: a high degree of clarity. The radical Islamists will not tolerate any democrats, even if they come from their own countries. They are looking for a showdown, apparently at any price. They will even accept the failure of a country as big and proud as Pakistan.

Lesson two: Bush will not be in a position to do much to end this conflict. He is a war president and an unsuccessful one at that. Even if he talks about diplomacy, it sounds like preparation for war. His partners in Berlin, Paris and London will have to act cleverly in this difficult situation. Any belligerence or crowing must be avoided so as to not damage the Western position as a whole. As strange as it might sound, this beleaguered president must be ushered into retirement with dignity and civility.

Lesson three: The classic military intervention -- Bush's formula against the danger of terrorism -- has not been successful up to now and will not be so in the future. And the situation in nuclear-armed Pakistan is clearly not one where any sort of military operation should be considered....
The article, avoiding insofar as possible any reference to Islam, emphasizes the role of diplomacy (Even with "thugs"!), which has been, for the most part over the past fourteen centuries, an abject failure with any Islamic nation. The Spiegel article, overlooking the religious element and the emphasis which Islamic terrorism places on Islamic jihadi-martyrs' status in eternity, also attempts to draw fallacious comparisons between the present clash of civilizations and the Cold War:
A look back and the Cold War -- an era full of provocations on both sides -- provides a useful model. In 1953, construction workers building the great Stalin Allee in East Berlin, rebelled against their communist government. Many in the Soviet zone hoped that the West would support their fight against the East German communist dictatorship. In West Berlin, the US propaganda station RIAS became shriller -- but nothing more was done.

In Budapest in 1956 there was the same calm discipline. The armed Hungarian students (this writer's father among them) rebelled against the Moscow puppet regime. They were hoping for Western help, but that hope was in vain. The students saw this as a betrayal. For tens of thousands, my father included, there was nothing to do but flee from the Soviet tanks rolling in.

The West's abstention was painful; in fact, it was unbearable -- but it made political sense.

These provocations continued until the dismal high point -- the military putsch by General Wojciech Jaruzelski in Warsaw in 1981. The armies of the West stayed in their barracks. Soviet Communism broke apart all by itself a short time later.
Toward the end, however, the article also states the following, thus ending on a contradictory note:
The West has to protect itself and its people with everything modern technology has placed at its disposal....[T]here is an important role to be played by the military and by secret services -- but primarily in the service of targeted operations against terror camps and cells. While mass invasions have proven useless, pinprick operations continue to have an important place in the West's arsenal.
In my view, the article overlooks a necessary component of victory in this long, long war against Islamic expansionism: Stop whitewashing Islam by calling it "the religion of peace."

[Hat-tip to Mark Alexander, where I found the article from Spiegel Online International]

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fairfax County Police Make Good Use Of Their DHS Grant

From this article in at
New technology will allow Fairfax County police to identify someone on the street within a matter of seconds with a set of new tools they will share with departments elsewhere in northern Virginia.

A $14 million federal homeland security grant in 2005 allowed Fairfax police to purchase 50 units of a new portable Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The tool can scan two index fingers and search for a match among the approximately 1 million fingerprints on file in northern Virginia and the District of Columbia, Fairfax Lt. John V. Byrd said. A match will come back in about 30 seconds, often with a photograph, if a person's fingerprints are on file.

"This has the possibility to be the most effective tool for police since the two-way radio," Byrd said.

The portable units also can take a photo of a person and search for an image match, but that system is less reliable because there are fewer photographs than fingerprints on file, Byrd said.

Police believe the technology could significantly improve their ability to solve crimes, gather intelligence on gangs and combat terrorism, Byrd said.

"An officer on the street will be able to identify a person that he may or may not have been able to identify through other techniques," he said.

Most of the units will stay in Fairfax County. But the police department will share the technology with Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties, as well as with Fairfax City, Vienna, Herndon and Alexandria.


...Fairfax is the first jurisdiction to use machines that feature both fingerprint and photo recognition technology...
Now, let's hope that efficacious use of this new technology will be made.

This technology should be in use nationwide.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Weekly Radio Show: December 21

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, which WC and I cohost. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

Callers welcome!

Friday, December 21: This week's guest for most of the hour will be blogger The Merry Widow, my adopted-from-the-Internet "sister." We'll be discussing with her superior vs. inferior cultures as well as silencing the voices that ask questions.

Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

Weekly Radio Show: December 28

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, which WC and I cohost. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

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Friday, December 28: This week's guest for the entire hour will be Cassandra, author of the book Escape! From an Arab Marriage: Horror Stories of Women Who Fled from Abusive Muslim Husbands and of the blog site No Slaves of Allah in America. We'll be discussing with Cassandra the unseen treachery behind the terrorist focus on Israel and the Palestinians.

Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekly Radio Show: December 14

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, which WC and I cohost. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

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Friday, December 14: SPECIAL SHOW!

We're going to have a Blogger Slap Down, a type of debate suited to radio format. Three prominent bloggers who will give their opinionated responses to questions about what they see happening in Islam and the Left today.

Don't miss this show!

Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saudi Bucks At Our Universities

Photo credit
An accounting of the Saudi bucks infused into various universities all around the world has not been forthcoming as to the specificity of the usage of those funds. Isn't it important to reveal just what impact those billions have had on curriculum and material presented to the next generation of our nation's leaders?

From this December 10, 2007 article in the Washington Times (emphases mine):

Two years ago this month, a Saudi prince caused a media splash — and raised eyebrows — when he donated $20 million each to Georgetown and Harvard universities to fund Islamic studies.

Although few details have been released about how the money has been spent, at Georgetown, the money helped pay for a recent symposium on Islamic-Western relations held in the university's Copley Formal Lounge. The event attracted about 120 persons: students, Catholic priests, men in business suits and several women in colorful head scarves who all came to hear religion experts from several American universities, as well as from Bosnia, Ireland and Malaysia.

A member of the Norwegian royal family said he flew in just for the event.

"I just came here to learn the language scholars are using about these things," Prince Haakon of Norway said.

Some call the Saudi gift Arab generosity and gratitude for the years American universities have educated the elite of the Arab world. Others say the sheer size of the donations amounts to buying influence and creating bastions of noncritical pro-Islamic scholarship within academia.

"There's a possibility these campuses aren't getting gifts, they're getting investments," said Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "Departments on Middle Eastern studies tend to be dominated by professors tuned to the concerns of Arab and Muslim rulers. It's very difficult for scholars who don't follow this line to get jobs and tenure on college campuses.

"The relationship between these departments and the money that pours in is hard to establish, but like campaign finance reform, sometimes money is a bribe. Sometimes it's a tip."

The $40 million gift from the Saudi donor, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was the latest in a tradition that started in the 1970s — Muslim donors pumping millions of dollars into American universities to fund Islamic studies, hire faculty specialists in Islam and fund books and seminars on the world's second-largest religion.


At Georgetown, [Prince Alwaleed's] money was funneled toward its Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, which was quickly renamed the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The center, part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, trains many of America's diplomats.

...The center's aim, according to its mission statement, is to "improve relations between the Muslim world and the West and enhance understanding of Muslims in the West."

The center's director, John Esposito, a prolific writer and praised by many as being a national authority on the religion, was severely criticized by several scholars for downplaying the threat of Islamic terrorism in the 1990s when he was a foreign affairs analyst for the State Department.

Mr. Esposito, "more than any other academic, contributed to American complacency prior to 9/11," Martin Kramer, a fellow at the Olin Institute at Harvard, wrote in a Jan. 2, 2006, commentary on his blog,
"[Mr. Esposito has] proved that he's still a magnet for Arab and Muslim money," Mr. Kramer wrote. "Prince Alwaleed apparently decided that while Esposito's reputation may be dented, the professor still has some value in him."

Mr. Esposito declined to be interviewed for this article but did defend himself in several e-mails.


Mr. Esposito said the number of programs sponsored by his center went from 27 last year to 22 this semester alone. The first of three new faculty, Ibrahim Kalin, a scholar on Sufiism and Islamic philosophy, is slated to come on board next fall.

A month before the gift was publicly announced, Mr. Esposito was one of four persons flanking Prince Alwaleed before a photographer at the George V hotel in Paris. It was then that the prince told Georgetown officials of their $20 million windfall — and that Mr. Esposito would oversee how the money was spent.


"The prince knew very well Georgetown's in a milieu filled with lobbyists and opinion makers; thus any program of his will exert more influence there than at a university not in a power center like Washington," Mr. Meyers said. "The grant also gave Esposito a much bigger microphone. When you've got a $20 million institute, that amplifies your voice considerably."

The Saudi Embassy's press office did not respond to requests for comment on this article, and a spokeswoman for Prince Alwaleed said he was "too busy" to respond.


In 1979, Saudi Aramco World magazine published a list of recent Middle Eastern gifts, including...$750,000 from the Libyan government for a chair of Arab culture at Georgetown University; and $250,000 from the United Arab Emirates for a visiting professorship of Arab history, also at Georgetown.

In 1986, Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi donated $5 million toward a sports center to be named after him at American University....

There are 17 federally funded centers on American college campuses devoted solely to Middle Eastern studies centers and another 30 to 40 that do not receive federal aid, according to Amy Newhall, executive director of the Middle East Studies Association at the University of Arizona. Not counting several positions at Georgetown University, she estimated at least 10 chaired professorships currently funded by Saudis at major universities.

"With all the talk of the Israel lobby, no one talks about the Saudi lobby," Mr. Meyers said. "There is no counterweight to Saudi influence in American higher education."

Indeed, Ain-al-Yaqeen reported that King Fahd has spent "billions of Saudi riyals," around the world.

"In terms of Islamic institutions, the result is some 210 Islamic centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, more than 1,500 mosques and 202 colleges and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia," the paper reported.


Mr. Kramer, also the author of "Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America," says American universities have allowed themselves to be purveyors of Saudi influence and opinion.

"Universities generate ideas, and [Prince Alwaleed] regards one idea — the 'clash of civilizations" — as positively dangerous to Arabs and Muslims," he wrote on his Web site, "So he has embarked on a grand giving spree, to create academic 'bridges" between Islam and the West, and specifically between the Arab world and the United States ...

"The mind boggles at the possibilities, when you think of the purchasing power of the world's fifth-richest man," Mr. Kramer continued. "Of course, this is why we can't ever expect to get the straight story on Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and oil from people who operate within Middle Eastern studies. If you want a fabulously wealthy Saudi royal to drop out of the sky in his private jet and leave a few million, you had better watch what you say — which means you had better say nothing."

Prince Alwaleed, 52, — who slipped from the fifth richest person in 2005 to the 13th this year, according to Forbes magazine — is best known to some Americans as the man who offered $10 million to the victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. That money was rejected by Rudolph W. Giuliani, then the mayor, after the prince scolded the U.S. for favoring Israelis over Palestinians.


In 2002, [Prince Alawaleed] donated $500,000 to the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship Fund, established by the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. In 2006, he donated $10 million to the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

He defends such gifts in interviews, saying that he has financed study programs about American culture overseas, including a $10 million gift to found a Center for American Studies at American University in Cairo and $5.2 million for a similar center at American University in Beirut.

Prince Alwaleed's Cairo and Beirut projects explain American culture, but according to their Web sites, offer no courses in Christianity — America's majority religion. Meanwhile, typical courses at the Georgetown center are "Islamic Theological Development" and "Islamic Religious Thought and Practice."


"Islamists such as the radical fundamentalists seen with the Saudi Wahhabis exploit American universal tolerance to provide a vehicle for the dissemination of their propaganda free of critique," [Zuhdi Jasser] said...

The interfaithing street seems to run one way, in Wahhabism's direction. So much for promoting understanding among various religions on university campuses around the world. Courtesy of the Saudis, of course.

Weekly Radio Show: December 7

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, which WC and I cohost. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

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Friday, December 7: Our guest at the bottom of the hour is Saleem Siddiqui of Hot Conflict: Looking at the Hottest issues in the News, Politics and PoP Culture, from inside the Muslim Mind. Read HERE about Mr. Siddiqui's efforts to promote the integration of Muslims in the United States of America and around the world.

Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weekly Radio Show: November 30

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, which WC and I cohost. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

Callers welcome!

Friday, November 30: This week's guest at the bottom of the hour is Cinnamon Stillwell of Cinnamon, the Cinnamon Stillwell Blog and Daniel Pipes's Campus Watch: Monitoring Middle East Studies on Campus. Read the mission statement of Campus Watch HERE.

From Campus Watch:
CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students....
Ms. Stillwell is the the Northern California representative for Campus Watch and has written articles for the American Thinker, Family Security Matters, Frontpage Magazine, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, the Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, the Conservative Voice, and many others.

You do not want to miss this show!

If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.