- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

11th-century guy
"There is something inherently ridiculous about a man standing in a cave wearing fatigues and holding a hand-mike and shaking his fist at the entire civilized world. Osama bin Laden called on his viewers to choose between 'the side of believers and the side of infidels.' But who made his microphone? Who made the camera? I doubt it was Afghan, given that under the Taliban you're not allowed to watch TV, never mind host your own jihad-inciting special.
"True, Osama disdains much of our decadent materialist culture. But Osama has the same complicated relationship to the West as millions of other Muslims. If it weren't for Western technology, he'd be just a loser in a cave shouting to himself. But on Sunday, just for a few minutes, he was the only 11th-century guy with his own CNN gig, and what he had to say was useful and illuminating.
"Osama's not just anti-Jew, or anti-Christian, but objects to the very idea of a society where believers of all faiths and none rub along together. He's at war with, for want of a better word, multiculturalism. The boneheads on the left, missing the point as always, march around the cities of the West waving placards against 'the racist war.' But he's the racist."
Mark Steyn, writing on "What the Afghans need is colonizing," in Tuesday's National Post

Suicidal pacifism
"In 1933 the Oxford Student Union conducted a famous debate over whether it was moral for Britons to fight for king and country. The exquisite intellects of that leading university reviewed the many ways in which British colonialism exploited and oppressed the world. They saw no moral difference between Western colonialism and world fascism. The Oxford Union ended that debate with this famous proclamation: 'Resolved, that we will in no circumstances fight for king and country.'
"[German diplomat Joachim] Von Ribbentrop sent back the good news to Germany's new chancellor, Hitler: The West will not fight for its own survival. Its finest minds will justify a silent surrender.
"In short, the best-educated young people of their time could not tell the difference between the deficiencies of their own nation, in which liberty and democracy were cornerstones, and a dictatorship founded on racism, tyranny and fear.
"And what price would those who urge reconciliation today pay for peace? Do pacifists really want to live in the kind of world that the terrorists who hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon would make?"
Scott Simon, writing on "Even Pacifists Must Support This War," yesterday in the Wall Street Journal

Cuba off line
"Ordinary Cubans make an average of 350 pesos a month less than $17 U.S. dollars at the official exchange rate. They couldn't afford to surf the Net here, even if they were allowed to.
"A person in Havana can't just get an e-mail address in order to keep in touch with down-island relatives. Even college professors have only limited access. I spoke with a recent graduate of the University of Havana who had never even seen the Internet.
"One of the secrets of [Cuban dictator Fidel Castros] government's longevity has been its ability to effectively restrict the flow of information and ideas to its citizenry.
"Only two TV stations are broadcast in Havana, one of which seems to be the all-Fidel, all-the-time channel. And to the chagrin of entertainment-starved Cubans, it is even illegal to purchase a VCR."
Jeremy Hildreth, writing on "Dot-Commies Keep Cubans Offline," in the September/October issue of the American Spectator

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