Archive for category The War on Terror

Pope Benedict and Islam

Isn’t it amazing? The way mobs across Dar al Islam seem to hang on the Pope’s every word, even scrutinizing obscure addresses that get zero press in nominally Christian countries, unless Dar al Islam expresses its displeasure and the Western Press is forced to cover it. Considering what a wonderful address it is, I suppose I should thank them for raising such a stink that I got to read it.

Before we get to the meat of the address, I’m going to tackle the so-called offensive part of the address, which is being labled as a call for inter-faith dialogue. Well, Benedict calls it a cultural dialogue, and from his remarks he’s going way beyond churchman from Christianity and Islam having their own hootenanny. It’s a call for everybody to dialogue within a framework of reason, and he tells the story that got the the Moslem world so riled up to make this point: “not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.”

Now, did he have to include

“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”?

Good question, and let me bounce that right back at you, since Mohammed claimed that the Bible was garbled and he was just straightening out Jews and Christians, what did Mohammed bring that was new? What is your opinion of Mohammed’s changes?

I’d also like to point out that the press doesn’t seem to be able to quote properly, as this article on CNN has trouble:

The pope enraged Muslims in a speech a week ago in Germany quoting 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything the Prophet Mohammed brought was evil “such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

They seemed to have missed the whole “that was new” part. I suppose I should chalk it up to them having very little understanding of either Christianity or Islam. The emporer’s point is that Mohammed didn’t add anything to the Bible that wasn’t inhuman and evil. A fine distinction you might claim, but an important one since it’s saying not that everything Mohammed preached was evil, only those places where he made changes. And even more oddly, isn’t that exactly what you would expect a Christian to believe? I do, and if I didn’t, I’d be a Muslim, not a Christian.

I’m not Catholic, and I have some theological bones to pick with Catholicism, but I have to say that at least the last two popes have been extraordinary leaders, each in their own way. I’m going to have to start reading the pope more since he’s the only guy out there defending Western thought, practice,and culture these days.

I’ve excerpted the introduction and the conclusion to Pope Benedict’s address and urge you to read the whole thing:

It is a moving experience for me to be back again in the university and to be able once again to give a lecture at this podium. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. That was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas – something that you too, Magnificent Rector, just mentioned – the experience, in other words, of the fact that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason – this reality became a lived experience. The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the “whole” of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical scepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.
I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Munster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three “Laws” or “rules of life”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point – itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole – which, in the context of the issue of “faith and reason”, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”. The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the λόγος”. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (cf. Acts 16:6-10) – this vision can be interpreted as a “distillation” of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within 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: we are all grateful for the marvellous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is – as you yourself mentioned, Magnificent Rector – the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which belongs to the essential decisions of the Christian spirit. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology. Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought – to philosophy and theology. For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being – but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”. The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

What more can I say?

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The Path to 9/11 (2)

Yes, I actually watched The Path to 9/11, except a chunk in the middle Sunday night. First up, the negatives. I did manage to catch two glaring errors: a couple of times they talked about scrambling F-16s and they showed the same clip of a F-14. I’m sure Lock-Mart would have been happy to provide a clip of a F-16 taking off. And then when they had the Tomahawk missile strike against Afganistan, they showed video of a Harpoon leaving a canister. I suppose the marketing for the land attack capability in the latest version of Harpoon went much better than I realized. Since I worked on Harpoon for a long while, I admit I enjoyed that goof.

Seriously, while I loved the no commercials, the shaky cam started to seriously annoy long before the end. My head isn’t that unsteady, so it just comes across as fake. And I about laughed outloud towards the end when after the attacks Condoleeza Rice told Richarde Clarke, “Yes boss, we sure do need a strong white man to run things around here.” (Or words to that effect.) Perhaps I’m wrong, but it strikes me that in a meeting with Rice and Cheney in it, Clarke is in fact chopped liver. I think Condi had far more to complain about than Maddy Albright, who came across as tougher than the rest of the Clinton cabinet combined and someone who should be negotiating on behalf of our country. Hell, as peaceful as I am I’d be ready to fix bayonet and charge uphill into machine gun fire if the character in the movie were leading the way.

Could they have found an older looking guy to play Cheney? He’s not a bad looking 65 in real life, but in the movies they always have somebody playing him who looks like he hasn’t smiled in 40 years and has one foot in the grave.

Here’s the real problem with the movie, and any such look back – there are nothing but connected dots. The movie spans 8 years in 3 hours, and only included are the events that matter. So when watching the movie, of course its all so obvious. But in real life, there is all kinds of stuff going on, and separating signal from noise is very hard.

The fault for 9/11 lies squarely with al-Qaida, and neither the Clinton or Bush administrations. Yes, had some things been done differently, we might have been able to sniff out and stop the plot. So rather than looking back to point fingers, we should be looking back to figure out what are the things we can do better. And that just isn’t happening.


Fluid Dynamics Meets Finite Element Modeling

Researchers at Purdue University have created a simulation to study what happens when a airplane crashes into a building for use in studying the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. The researchers had earlier developed a simulation to investigate the 9/11 Pentagon attack.

“As a result of the Pentagon research, we have a better understanding of what happens when a tremendous mass of fluid such as fuel hits a solid object at high velocity,” Sozen said. “We believe most of the structural damage from such aircraft collisions is caused by the mass of the fluid on the craft, which includes the fuel.”Damage resulting solely from the metal fuselage, engines and other aircraft parts is not as great as that resulting from the mass of fluids on board. You could think of the aircraft as a sausage skin. Its mass is tiny compared to the plane’s fluid contents.”

Santiago Pujol, an assistant professor of civil engineering, worked with the researchers to develop experimental data to test the accuracy of the simulation by using an “impact simulator” to shoot 8-ounce beverage cans at high velocity at steel and concrete targets at Purdue’s Bowen Laboratory. These data enabled the researchers to fine tune and validate the theoretical model for the simulation.

“We created a mathematical model of the beverage can and its fluid contents the same way we modeled the airplane, and then we tested our assumptions used to formulate the model by comparing the output from the model with that from the experiment,” Sozen said.

Who says science can’t be fun and relevant? I bet shooting the coke cans into steel and concrete targets was a blast — the Mythbuster guys are so jealous. Personally, I’d worry about scaling up from 8oz coke cans to a plane weighing over 200,000 lbs, but that’s just the engineer in me, but I understand the difficulty in trying to set up a test anywhere close to full scale. Of course, if they used beer cans, I can see that researchers might decide that enough data had been collected before they were all used.

OK, in all seriousness, this is some real science and engineering, and might even help with those people who claim it wasn’t planes that brought down the towers or hit the Pentagon.

Islamic Reformation

I still hear people saying Islam needs a reformation (I suppose because they think that the reformation did wonders for the Christian world’s politics). Callimachus at Winds of Change wrote a wonderful post on the subject a while back, You Say You Want a Reformation. While I don’t disagree with his post, I think there is still more to be covered. First off, the title implies it but Callimachus doesn’t follow up that a reformation really is a revolution, and not all, probably not even a majority, turn out well. The French revolution deposed a King and created an Emperor in his place. The Iranian revolution replaced a repressive and unpopular regime with a far more repressive and unpopular regime, and no doubt has made many Iranians understandably nervous about a second one any time soon. Any revolution carries the risk that things will only get worse.

Secondly, the protestant reformation didn’t actually do what people who call for an Islamic revolution to do for Islam, namely get religion out of politics or change the nature of the religion. The reformed Catholic church was just as involved in politics afterwards, maybe moreso. Nor did it promote religious tolerance, as for instance the Spanish Inquisition was in part a response to the religous ferment at the start of the reformation. During the middle ages the Catholic church was an important political player for two reasons – it was the only universal institution in the Christian world, and it was a feuditory in the fuedal system – i.e a bishop was just another baron, and the Pope even was like a King in the Papal States. The wars that the reformation started did have the effect of strengthening the central state and ushering out the feudal system.

The Reformation did not fundamentally change the nature of Christianity, just it’s organization. We can debate the proper role and balance of faith and works in the Christian life per the various Christian denominations, but they will agree upon what the faith should be in and what the works should be. Certainly the disagreements over theology that loom large within Christianity pale to insignificance as compared to differences with other religions.

Callimachus says that we are looking at an Islamic Reformation right now, and as he observes, not all religions are the same:

For another: There already was an Islamic Reformation. It happened while we were sleeping. The result is Wahhabi dominance, and Islamic Brotherhood, and Bin Laden. This is the Islamic Reformation. We’re fighting it now….

When Christianity reforms — when it goes back to its roots — it tries to foreswear the world. When Islam goes back to its roots, it tries to conquer the world.

OK, I will disagree, Christianity does not foreswear the world. Instead it tries (with mixed success) to love people. Islam at root is a rule based religion, Christianity at root is a relationship based religion. And not only are we facing a current “Islamic Reformation”, Islam had a failed but similar reformation at about the same time as the Christian one. From Venice: The Hinge of Europe 1081-1797, by history professor William McNeil:

Economic difficulties at home and the cessation of victory abroad had serious implications for Moslem thought and self-confidence. As long as success had continued to crown Ottoman standards, the Moslems of the empire could and did argue that the favor Allah continued to shower upon Ottoman arms attested the correctness of their faith. When successes ceased, the inference was obvious. Clearly, Allay was displeased; and the reasons were not far to seek. From almost the beginning of Islam, pious and fanatical puritans had taught that all innovation that went beyond the practices attested in the Koran was displeasing to God. This was a doctrine that demanded reformation of existing Ottoman religious practices every bit as radical as anything dreamed of by the Calvinist reform program for Christianity. The two movements coincided closely in time, for in the final decades of the sixteenth century and throughout the first half of the seventeenth, so called faki preachers inflamed popular discontents, already acute for economic reasons, by demanding uncompromising adherence to Koranic models of piety. The faki attacked the official hierarchy of Ottoman Islam for criminal laxity in condoning innovations of all sorts. They attacked the dervish orders no less vigourously for the heterodoxy of their opinions and ritual practices.Despite their passion and popular following, the faki did not prevail and were never able to seize political power. Their cultural influence was negative, inhibiting all buth the rich and privileged from exploring novelties, whether intellectual or otherwise, for which Koranic sanction was lacking. Even long established rational science — imported into Moslem learning in Abbasid times — withered away as subject of instructions in public institutions of higher learning. Symbolic of this transformation was the fact that in 1580 Sheik-ul-Islam ordered the destruction of the sultan’s private observatory. This institution had been as well equipped as any in Europe; but when popular preachers interpreted the outbreak of plague in Istanbul as a sign of Allah’s displeasure at the sultan’s impious efforts to penetrate God’s secrets by astrological science, the observatory (which was, in fact, inspired by astrological curiousity) had to go.

The book goes on to say that religiously questionable pursuits, such as medicine, were abandoned to Jews and Christians, and that higher education became the memorization of sacred texts and their commentaries. Sounds similar to the problem we’re facing today. And it sounds like that movement sowed the seeds of todays movement as well by setting the Islamic world up for failure in succeeding centuries, causing once again an attempt to return to the glory days of Islam.

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Resistance To Change

I picked up a book at the library about Venice — yes, inspired by my recent trip there (someday, and soon, I will actually get you there in the European Vacation series) — and I managed to get a good one, Venice: The Hinge of Europe 1081-1797, by history professor William McNeill. Since it was written in 1974, no shadow of current political controversy touches it; yet I can’t help but be struck by certain passages and their application to today:

Widely diverse reactions flow from encounters with new and superior cultural traits: successful borrowing or inventive adaptation within the receiving cultural context are relatively rare but of great historical importance because it is in such circumstances that additions to human skills and capacities are most likely to arise. Far more common, but historically less important, are the instances when men draw back, reaffirm their accustomed patterns of life, and reject the attractive novelty because it seems either unattainable or else threatening and dangerous. In such cases it may become necessary to reinforce accustomed ways in order to withstand the seductions inherent in exposure to what appears to be a superior foreign product. Cultural change, sometimes very far reaching, may thus paradoxically result from especially strenuous efforts to maintain the status quo.

I have to applaud the fact that in 1974 a professor could not just mention that one culture could have traits superior to another, but write a book that looked at such cultural flows.

But more importantly, is this what we are seeing in action today on the part of Islamofascist terrorists? An excessive reinforcement of accustomed ways? Is this why poverty has no correlation to becoming an Islamofascist terrorist, but exposure to the West does? Is it possible that the actual agents of 9/11, the Mohammed Attas and Hani Hanjours, as well as the mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed all of whom spent time living in the United States, only had their murderous intent reinforced, possibly created, by such direct exposure to a different culture.

Of course, the actions of al-Qaida et al. aren’t directly entirely, or even primarily, at the West. Far more Iraqi’s have been killed by al-Qaida operatives than westerners. Are we seeing extra strenuous efforts to maintain a status quo, or at least the illusion of one? While al-Qaida dreams of defeating the west, they also dream of ruling the Islamic world and imposing their brand of Islam on it. And to them, their Islam is the original, pure, untainted by foreigners Islam, the idea being to return to the status quo ante pernicious western influence.

Is then what we are experiencing a fight by a part of the Islamic culture against both the rest of the Islamic culture and the West over how much Islamic culture should be influenced by the West?

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The Path to 9/11

It’s getting ugly out there. Real Ugly. All that dispicable letter from the Democatic Senators needs is Luigi Vercotti’s signature “Things break, Colonel.”

I’m sorry if the people who brought us It’s the Ecomony, Stupid!” don’t like a reasonably accurate (hey, it’s TV, it will never be entirely accurate) examination of the past, but so be it. I’m looking forward to the original work, but fully expect ABC to cave.

Just check out Libertas, which has been on top of this story like Tom Maguire on the big Plame-out.

I’m trying hard not to get a case of Leftist Derangment Syndrome, but it gets harder with every provocation.

Vacation Almost Collides With Terror Plot

I just returned from Europe yesterday, so thank you, Great Britain. We sure picked the right day to return home — only turbulence to contend with.

The Murphy family spent a couple of weeks there, and we flew through Heathrow on our way over to Switzerland. We flew through Brussels on our way back. Security in Brussels was really tight — flights to America were from one end of a terminal which was blocked off and had extra security – as I told my daughter, I’ve had less intrusive medical exams than that security screening. We were split into two groups, with my wife and son go through together, and my daughter and I together. My bottle of Pepto-Bismol (never leave home without it) was in my son’s backpack, and boy were they interested in it.  Along with 97 left over plastic spoons.   Now I know why since the terrorists were planing to use liquid explosives.


Hamdan Vs. Rumsfeld Decision

The Supreme Court has ruled that the United States can’t try al-Qaida prisoners with the planned special military tribunals because as constituted certain provisions of those tribunals conflict with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and with treaty provisions of the Geneva Convention.

You can read the full text of the decision here, along with commentary here.

What the decision doesn’t mean is that the detainies are about to be released, nor does it mean that they can’t be tried – they just can’t be tried by the special military tribunals that were set up. As to what effect this has in the overall war on Terror, I guess that depends on how many people this effects. Are there many new prisoners transferred to Gitmo? Will instead they be kept in Iraq and Afganistan instead, and will this cause fewer prisoners to be taken as soldiers wonder “what’s the point”?

So at this point the court ruling looks like we can hold these people as ordinary POWs until the end of the war — which technically will never end since the odds of us ever signing a peace treaty with al-Qaeda are practically nil (from both sides, I might add). So we have the odd outcome that we can impose a sentance of life imprisonment without parole (the highest penalty in may countries) without any trial whatsoever, yet we can’t impose any lesser penalty without going through courts neither designed nor equipped to handle their special cases.

Was the case wrongly decided? Well, that all depends, doesn’t it. There are times, like these, when law and policy become so intermixed that it’s hard to separate one from the other. So let’s just examine what we want out of trials: The guilty punished, the innocent freed, both accomplished in the minimum time required. Would that have been accomplished with the special tribunals? Would Federal or Courts Martia do a better or worse job?

So what’s the real problem with the ruling? Like all matters of the law, it doesn’t take into account reality. The problem is, we are dealing with an enemy like no other in the sense that we are not fighting a war against another nation, another government. It has the organization of a crime syndicate with the aims of a government or national movement. We are fighting against a different kind of organization, but we are trying to apply the rules set up to fight old style enemies. Now I don’t think we need to throw everything out the window and start over, because our aims haven’t changed, just the circumstances. And so I think the special tribunals represented a good faith effort to deliver justice under new circumstances, circumstances that older courts probably will have a hard time with.

The problem is what standard of proof, what rules of evidence are we going to use. In war time, we empower young men to make snap decisions about life and death with oversight that takes into account the difficult nature of such decisions. We provide them with ROE – Rules of Engagement- that they are to be guided by in making such decisions. Those ROE vary depending on the exact circumstances of any deployment. The ROE that normal courts operate under never vary. And for good reason – which is why it’s better to set up something new that can make a change to a new reality, than have existing courts try to deal with cases they are ill equipped to handle.


That Would Be A Good Thing

I suppose it was a fitting end for a mass murderer who used, among other techniques, car bombs and IEDs to kill: blown up by a bomb. A pair of them actually (JDAMs, I assume). Yes, Abu Musab al Zarqawi is dead, killed by a pair of 500 pound bombs dropped by an F-16 in a little town called Hib Hib near Baqubah, Iraq. His death was the result of a tip or tips as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malik announced that the 25 million dollar bounty would be paid. Apparently Jordan intellegence was able to provide the rough location and locals provided the exact location.

The Prime Minister also completed his cabinet, as three ministers were approved by parliament and sworn in: ministers of Defense, National Security, and Interior.

Another step in the long road to victory.

A Metric For Victory?

Now that’s what I call a provocative headline: Al Qaida Admits Defeat:

Many Moslems still support terrorism, just not in their neighborhood. But after watching what happened in Iraq and Saudi Arabia since 2003, Moslems can no longer be assured that, once unleashed, Islamic terrorism will only be carried out somewhere else. Moreover, years of al Qaeda boasting have failed the reality check. No amount of hot air and spin will change the fact that al Qaeda has accomplished none of its goals, and has gotten lots of Moslems killed in the process.

What Strategy Page is talking about is that the Islamic world as a whole no longer supports terrorism as a solution to their problems, even though some individual Moslems do.

As far as admitting defeat, that doesn’t mean the fightings over though. And looking at WWII, the casualties went up as the war went on. Both the US and Japan took far more casualties after Midway than before, but at that point the handwriting was on the wall for the Japanese.