- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 9, 2004

Quote of the week I

“Obviously not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims. The kidnappers of the students in Ossetia are Muslims. The kidnappers and killers of the Nepalese workers and cooks are also Muslims. Those who rape and murder in Darfour are Muslims, and their victims are Muslims as well. Those who blew up the residential complexes in Riyadh and Al-Khobar are Muslims. Those who kidnapped the two French journalists are Muslims. The two [women] who blew up the two planes [over Russia] a week ago are Muslims. Bin Laden is a Muslim and Al-Houthi [the head of a terrorist group in Yemen] is a Muslim. The majority of those who carried out suicide operations against buses, schools, houses, and buildings around the world in the last ten years are also Muslims.

“What a terrible record. Does this not say something about us, about our society and our culture?

“If we put all of these pictures together in one day, we will see that these pictures are difficult, embarrassing, and humiliating for us. However, instead of avoiding them and justifying them it is incumbent upon us first of all to recognize their authenticity rather than to compose eloquent articles and speeches proclaiming our innocence…

“Islam has suffered an injustice at the hands of the new Muslims… We will only be able to clear our reputation once we have admitted the clear and shameful fact that most of the terrorist acts in the world today are carried out by Muslims. We have to realize that we cannot correct the condition of our youth who carry out these disgraceful operations until we have treated the minds of our sheikhs who have turned themselves into pulpit revolutionaries who send the children of others to fight while they send their own children to European schools.” — Abdel Rahman Al-Rashed, former editor of the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, last week.

Quote of the week II

“You know when they give you the menu, I’m always struggling, what do you want?” — John Kerry, blathering on in Iowa last week. Does Karl Rove give him his ad-libs?

Kerry’s deadly deadline

In his latest adjustment, John Kerry is now becoming a more straight forward opponent of the Iraq war; and his statement Monday that he wants to bring all the troops home in four years is as close to Howard Dean as he’s been since, well, December. The president’s tilting at Mr. Kerry for his Dean-like rhetoric is not as effective, it seems to me, as criticizing Mr. Kerry’s declaration of advance withdrawal to terrorists. Look, Mr. Kerry deserves some benefit of the doubt with respect to his general support of the War on Terror, and decision not to cut and run immediately in Iraq. But there’s no chance that other countries can or will make up the gap in armed forces in Iraq, and the signal of weakness Kerry’s deadline sends to the Islamists, Baathists and Shiite separatists could make our possible failure in Iraq a self-fulfilling prophecy. I guess the sane criticism of the Iraq war — that it was undermined by bad intelligence and crippled by incompetence, but still worth winning — is too nuanced a position for a challenger to make. But the alternative only adds to a sense that Mr. Kerry cannot be trusted to keep our nerve in Iraq. Or anywhere else, for that matter. (And don’t make the mistake of assuming that I’ll endorse Mr. Kerry. The senator’s recent dreadful performance and pathetic equivocations on the war only further convince me that Mr. Bush truly is the luckiest man alive.)

Our blessed leader

Here’s Michael Novak, putting some purplish touches to Republican prose in National Review:

“Let me close by mentioning one other perception I took away from my exciting four days of stirring speeches from truly distinguished leaders: Among all of them, the greatest of all and the most reliable, focused, disciplined, plain-speaking, and trustworthy was our president. He stood with some great ones, but his moral stature rose at least a shoulder’s height above all the others. He stood the steadiest of all.”

No, that wasn’t a recent quote from an obscure North Korean sports stadium.

Beslan thoughts

I’m second to none in my revulsion at the inhumanity and depravity of the Jihadists. But the Chechnya situation strikes me as one in which the necessary distinction between terrorists’ methods and the injustices that sometimes fuel them is not as ironclad as, say, in our war against al Qaeda or against Saddam. The truth is: Russian President Vladimir Putin has treated Chechnya barbarically, and his brutal suppression of legitimate demands for autonomy is partially responsible for the chaos in that region and the violence across Russia. We should therefore not give in to the easy notion that Mr. Putin and we are on the same side in this war. Mr. Putin is trying to destroy self-government in Chechnya in favor of Russian imperialism. We are trying to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq from unspeakable tyranny. There is a difference here.

No Bush endorsement

I was impressed by the lopsided vote on the Log Cabin Republicans’ board against endorsing the president, as well as their care to insist that they do not reject all his policies — just the discriminatory ones. They did what they had to do, in my opinion. But it’s terribly sad, nonetheless — almost as sad as Mary Cheney’s disappearance from her own family at the convention.

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