Friday, February 24, 2006
Ya wanna talk speaking truth to power? Read it here. Far and away the best post about the port flap I've read. Plus the man includes actual links by which you can learn something:
The ports decision was made by unelected officials behind closed doors, as is usual with this tone deaf administration. Nobody thought about anything in the real world. ... Nobody among our best and brightest considered that somebody with an axe to grind would leak to a port city mayor and thus bring the entire deal to its knees. Nobody in the Bush Administration thinks about anything past tomorrow until it's five minutes before midnight.
We are left with the catastrophic prospect of kicking out a company only because they are Arabs and Muslims, an act of bigotry that will cause more than just cartoon riots among Muslims world wide. Our troops are in serious danger. I refer you again to the James Robbins piece in the NRO yesterday for the enumeration of the favors the UAE has done for us since 2002. Add to that the
fact that Dubai is the most westernized of all Arab countries; the women wear dresses, the press is relatively free, it is about to become the Las Vegas of the Middle East and even worse for us, they are about to control banking in the entire Muslim world because they have gotten around Shiria Law prohibiting interest; their banks will be financing all growth in the Middle East with interest rates set by a government and not any markets.
UAE is the Switzerland of the ME. We have an incredible stake in maintaining a strong relationship with them. Incredible. We need them more than we need Pakistan.
And Howard is dead, dead right in pointing out that the administration should bear the blame for mismanaging this. Yes, public unease was exacerbated by the wave of violence about cartoons and bad press reporting on the ME generally. Can you blame someone living around one of these ports for worrying based on what we read in our newspapers? A mayor? There is absolutely no press coverage of the reform movements in the ME. All we read in the press is stories about people running amok over fake cartoons. The press doesn't cover anti-terror demonstrations by Muslims. Try reading two weeks of Big Pharoah. And think.
Now Bush needs to come out and really explain. Explanations are not his strong point. We are screwed. I understand the uneasiness. If I only read American newspapers I would share it. But there is a group of very progressive-minded people in the ME who are fighting a wave of violent know-nothings intent upon taking power and cloaking themselves with religious rhetoric. The worst of these groups are already falling out of favor in the ME.
The worst risk to the west comes from Muslims raised or educated in western countries, especially if they can get aid and weapons from dictators abroad. It's no joke and no lie that many ME journalists question Hamas more strongly than the Western European journalists. This is the movement you want to feed.
I want you to read Howard; Howard wants you to think and read Air Cargo. If you want to create a religious war you can. But will you like the result? You'll have to live or die with it.
Try reading about the Thirty Year War. If we're not careful that's what we'll create. Religion will be used as the fly-wheel for power-jockeying in the ME. That is exactly what Al-Qaeda was trying to create.
Only a fool treats those who treat him well badly. Fools do not win. Before 9-11 some of the suicide-jackers were identified in a cell in Hamburg, Germany (including the eventual leader, Mohamed Atta). Should we boycott Germany because of that?
If you can't think then try praying for wisdom. Declare someone an untrustworthy suspect and you will make him an enemy. We need to treat our friends, or at least our allies, well and continually strike at our enemies. May God give us the wisdom to know the difference between the two groups.
Although Bin Ladin, Atef, and KSM initially contemplated using established al Qaeda members to execute the planes operation, the late 1999 arrival in Kandahar of four aspiring jihadists from Germany suddenly presented a more attractive alternative. The Hamburg group shared the anti-U.S. fervor of the other candidates for the operation, but added the enormous advantages of fluency in English and familiarity with life in the West, based on years that each member of the group had spent living in Germany. Not surprisingly, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Binalshibh, Marwan al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah would all become key players in the 9/11 conspiracy.
He became particularly friendly with Binalshibh after meeting him at the Quds mosque in Hamburg, which Jarrah began attending regularly in late 1997.The worshippers at this mosque featured an outspoken, flamboyant Islamist named Mohammed Haydar Zammar. A well-known figure in the
Muslim community (and to German and U.S. intelligence agencies by the late 1990s), Zammar had fought in Afghanistan and relished any opportunity to extol the virtues of violent jihad. Indeed, a witness has reported hearing Zammar press Binalshibh to fulfill his duty to wage jihad.