Monday, May 26, 2008

Britain's phony war on terror

The British are too concerned with multiculturalism and political correctness to combat the threat of Islamism effectively. Comment below by historian Michael Burleigh

After spending time recently with senior Pentagon officials and other Americans involved in counter-terror-ism, I was struck by the global scope of their concerns. Above all I was reminded how different their attitudes are from those of their British counterparts, still obsessed with "community cohesion" and the "radicalisation" of young Muslims.

In Britain the views of the non-Muslim majority are largely ignored - or lead to them being branded as potential "Islamophobes". In the United States the unthinkable and unsayable are debated openly.

Last month, for example, the Senate committee on homeland security heard evidence about the likely effects of a terrorist nuclear attack on Washington. It started with a chilling scenario: a 10-kiloton bomb in a truck beside the White House. First, the committee was told, it would kill about 100,000 people and erase a two-mile radius of mainly federal buildings. Most of the casualties would be burn victims, the majority of them African Americans who worked for the government.

About 95% of them would die in agony, because capacity to treat such cases is limited to about 1,500. Since the winds blow west to east, the ensuing radioactive plume would drift towards the poor black neighbourhoods of the capital's southeast, where there is only one hospital. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the committee, concluded: "Now is the time to ask the tough questions and then to get answers as best we can." I can't help wondering what preparations for such a nightmare scenario are being made here in Britain. Does anyone know if our parliamentarians are asking similar questions?

As the main target of jihadist violence, the United States has a sober estimation of the threat we face and a polyvalent strategy for dealing with it. In Britain use of the phrase the "war on terror" has been proscribed by the Brown government; local representatives of the global jihadist insurgency process through British courts in startling numbers. A recent Europol report showed that in 2007 the British arrested 203 terrorist suspects, against 201 for the rest of Europe.

By contrast, the United States is fighting a global war - against an Al-Qaeda-inspired nebula of extremists - with arms and ideas and a vast array of analytic intelligence. In essence, America wants to destroy Al-Qaeda as a brand. One strategy is to highlight the moral squalor of those who denounce the West, which means exposing the criminal underpinnings of jihadism - including reliance on conflict diamonds, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, fraud and robbery. Yet the British government has done almost nothing to undermine the noble self-image of the jihadists in the eyes of those who are drawn to Osama Bin Laden.

Elsewhere in the world jihadists are going through "deprogramming" courses in which they are given authoritative instruction in a religion most of them know only as a handful of banal slogans. The combination of aid from the West and rehabilitation schemes explains why southeast Asian jihadism is now in disarray.

The use of military force, aggressive counter-terrorism measures and diligent police work is also indispensable to defeating the insurgency; after three years of horrendous death tolls in Iraq, the United States has at last succeeded in turning the "Sunni Awakening" movement against the foreign Al-Qaeda-inspired jihadists, many from Libya or Saudi Arabia. It turns out that local people had balked at such Islamist customs as breaking the fingers of smokers and shooting anyone selling alcohol. The Sunni counter-insurgents may not relish US occupation, but they like the jihadist reign of terror even less.

No European country faces the global challenges confronting the United States, but because of its success in integrating Arab immigrants, America largely faces an external threat. Europeans face one hatching among second or third-generation north Africans, Bangladeshis or Pakistanis, not to speak of indigenous converts.

Europe can be weak in combating terrorism at a political level, largely because of the effects of officially decreed multiculturalism and a failure to do much about the impact of population movements on the host culture and economy. Not surprisingly, the failure of European governments to get a grip on what are still relatively small Muslim minorities provokes exasperation in America.

Many of the 1.6m Muslims living in Britain, for example, still do not seem fully to appreciate the outrage that a finger-jabbing minority causes at home and abroad with each escalating demand for Islamist enclaves. Like a perennial student, new Labour favours debate and dialogue. But in dealing with the Muslim Council of Britain, the government has unwittingly accepted as "community" interlocutors men who have blamed Islamist terrorism primarily on British foreign policy, while failing to condemn suicide bombing outside the UK.

Hardly anything is being done to stem the flow of Wahhabist money and its intolerant ideology not only into mosques but also to university "Islamic studies" programmes. Others are also complicit in this process. Did banks think about the cultural implications of sharia-compliant finance, noticeably absent in Egypt? This was allowed by Gordon Brown without triggering the public outrage that attended the Archbishop of Canterbury's sly unclarities about sharia.

The police seem to be turning a blind eye to "honour crimes" and to the informal resort to sharia, even when this involves manifestly criminal offences. They have preferred to turn on the makers of a Channel 4 documentary about homegrown extremists, accusing the producers of distorting the views of Muslim clerics, rather than to investigate the extremists themselves - leading Channel 4 to sue the police for libel and win.

A robust response to the jihadist threat is also stymied by ideologue lawyers who have made a decent living out of defending terrorists and by judges who, with honourable exceptions, seem to have greater allegiance to abstract notions of human rights than to our primary right of not being blown to pieces.

Attempts to free Abu Qatada, the alleged Al-Qaeda spiritual leader in Europe, amounted to a national disgrace. Lawyers claimed that if he were deported to Jordan, he might be tortured (despite agreements to the contrary). They also claimed the Jordanians might produce witnesses who had themselves been tortured.

Judges have recently undermined the government's attempts to interdict terrorist financing - even in the case of a dangerous Al-Qaeda operative known for legal reasons as "G". And it was judges who subverted the regime of control orders that was introduced at their own behest after they had released detainees from long-term custody in Belmarsh. Even the Royal Navy is reluctant to detain Somali pirates on the grounds that their "human rights" might be infringed in Saudi Arabia, Somalia or Yemen.

The government's recent attempts to sponsor British citizenship and values to counteract the multiculturalism propagated by a previous wave of state patronage seem tired and unconvincing. There is little sense in asking Muslims to "become us" when that evidently implies to them a culture of considerable coarseness: binge drinking, crime, drugs and chronic family breakdown. Why shouldn't they insulate themselves within the various ghettos that Britain has complacently allowed to form?

One has yet to hear a British politician of any stripe talk about what changes he wishes to see in the Muslim world - for example, in Saudi Arabia, to which we sell arms in return for passively accepting their citizens' funding of subversive religious activities in Britain.

By contrast, Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to give north Africa (and Israel) EU associate status suggests that he has expanded his horizons since 9/11. Meanwhile, anything that serves to strengthen liberal Muslim voices in Indonesia or Turkey is worth encouraging. It may be that the dictators - the Assads, Bouteflikas, Mubaraks, Gadaffis and others - will cling to power longer than optimists imagine. But if they don't, how will the West help those moderates - judges, lawyers, journalists, liberals and socialists - who find themselves in temporary oppositional coalitions with fundamentalists? How do we ensure such a coalition does not go the way of the one that toppled the Shah of Iran, after which Khomeinites imprisoned or murdered their secular allies?

The one British politician who grasps the need to be as frank as our American cousins about the threat from terrorists who are actively plotting indiscriminate slaughter is not the prime minister, who appears to be locked into the globalising vapidities that thrill Davos seminars, but David Cameron. The leader of the opposition understands the existential threat from jihadism and has comprehensive ideas about how to combat it that will link foreign, defence and security policies. He is fully conscious of the need to balance ancient liberties with the right to stay alive.

Like the United States, Britain needs a dedicated border police and defences against terrorism that begin when someone buys an air ticket. It needs to dismantle the bureaucratic residue of state multiculturalism, and the deportation of foreign agitators is essential. Any appeal they may mount should take place after they have been deported. As for human rights lawyers - they can pay for their own.

A more imaginative approach to the Muslim world should go hand-in-hand with a clearer statement of what the domestic majority is not prepared to tolerate. That is the difference between a properly thought-out strategy and the government's clueless alternation between appeasement and knee-jerk authoritarianism.


Crucifix Will Stay in Quebec National Assembly Says Premier

The crucifix above the Speaker's chair in the Quebec National Assembly will stay, says Premier Jean Charest. Responding to a report by a pair of academics on the problems of integrating immigrants into Quebec society, Charest said, "We won't rewrite history. The church has played a major role in who we are today as a society, the crucifix is more than a religious symbol." "There are no one-size-fits-all answers to these situations," he told reporters at a press conference in Quebec City. The National Assembly unanimously passed a motion affirming Quebecers' "attachment to our religious and historic heritage represented by the crucifix."

The 300-page report was commissioned for $5 million after a series of highly publicised clashes between indigenous French culture and the new influx of immigrants allowed into the province in part as a response to the plummeting birth rate. The authors also recommended that public prayers be abolished by local authorities and that judges, crown prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and the speaker and deputy speaker of the assembly refrain from wearing religious symbols.

"The crucifix is about 350 years of history in Quebec that none of us are ever going to erase and of a very strong presence, in particular, of the Catholic Church, and that's our reality," Charest said. "As you look around this place you will find many, many symbols that speak to that period," he added.

The Bouchard-Taylor commission's report on the debate over "reasonable accommodations" of immigrants to Quebec's officially secular but traditionally Catholic society held that there was no real crisis in Quebec society, merely one of perception. That perception could be improved by removing the last public attachments to Quebec's historic Catholic character.

Referring to other decorations in the Assembly building, including the British coat of arms, the letter "V" for Queen Victoria and the letter "C" for Canada, Charest added, "Are we going to go around the building covering up, destroying, erasing these symbols? Obviously we're not going to do that."

Charest affirmed, however that it is not the traditional Catholic culture of French Canada that forms the basis of modern Quebec, but only the French language. He said that as premier, his "first role is the supreme responsibility" to preserve the French language. "As citizens we must also respect the personal convictions of everyone. For its part, the state, which is at the service of everyone, should affirm that our institutions are secular."

The commission examined 21 incidents, including the YWCA's decision to frost its windows in an exercise room to avoid offending a traditional Jewish school and women-only pre-natal courses to accommodate Muslim women. In one case that made international headlines, the small town of Herouxville issued a code of public conduct that said it is "completely outside norms to... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."

Action democratique du Quebec Leader Mario Dumont said Quebec should adopt its own "founding document" that spells out "Quebec's cultural heritage." "Interculturalism is not a synonym for getting down on our knees," he said. Without mentioning the loss of Quebec's traditional Catholic culture, Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois said the report had missed the central problem: "There exists a malaise over Quebec's identity that we have to deal with."


Some more of the history that Leftists ignore

From an article by Thomas Schmidinger, translated from the German:
.In Syria Hitler got so popular that you could hear the call "bala misyu bala mister, fi s-sama'Allah al-'ard Hitler" (.God in heaven, Hitler on earth) Sami al-Gundi, one of the founding leaders of the Syrian Ba'th-Party described the athmosphere of the thirties like that: "We were all racists, we admired National Socialism, read its books and the sources of its ideas. [...] Who lived in Damascus at that time can understand the inclination of the Arab people towards Nazism, because it was the power who could become the pioneer of our Arab cause. And who is defeated loves the victorious."
The irony of Arab world obsession with Nazism (and their projection on Israel) is not lost on most of the civilized world. All the frenzied Arab outrage at the Israeli incursion into Gaza attempts to make the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit the impetus for that invasion. There is no mention of the 1,000 rockets fired into Israel since the Hamas `truce.' It matters not one bit that Hamas came to power in a free election, anymore than it mattered that Adolph Hitler made his way to power by way of free elections. Had the civilized world taken action and eliminated Hitler and his coterie of evil, 50 million people would be alive today.

Barack Obama is a commercial and nothing more. He believes that if repeated often enogh, his ideas will assume some kind of special merit.
Negotiate with Hamas and Iran, that is good foreign policy, negotiate with Hamas and Iran, that is good foreign policy, negotiate with Hamas and Iran, that is good foreign policy.
Barack Obama would have you believe that negotiating with Iran is like negotiating with Australia. The reality that Iran and Hamas are sponsors of terror and glorify terror are of no matter. According to him, they will see the light, if only we stopped `humiliating' them and started `respecting' them.

Prior to WWII, Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles, rearmed Germany to the extreme, beat the drums of war and put that nation on a war footing. The Europeans, loathe to fight another war, recalling the horrors of WWI, did everything they could to avoid another conflagration, even turning a blind eye after Hitler waltzed into Czechoslovakia and took the Sudetenland. They believed him when he said `that was all he wanted, to correct past injustices suffered by the German ethnic minority.'

Chamberlain, the gold medal champion of European denial and psychopathy, went to Berlin and met with `civilized' Hitler to much newsreel fanfare. He returned home to an adoring crowd, waving a piece of paper 'signed by Herr Hitler.' There was to be no war, Chamberlain assured a nervous nation and continent. In fact, he soothed European fears and declared, `There will be peace in our time.' European reticence to deal with Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party firmly and definitively was to cost the world fifty million lives.

Neville Chamberlain bent over backwards to appease Adolph Hitler. He was idolized by the left in the UK and the Nazi sympathizers before the war. Despite his `good intentions' and `well meaning,' the former British Prime Minister today is today reviled and thought of as a naive fool. Chamberlain proved that people cannot be talked out of evil. Once the `hearts and minds' have accepted evil, the only way to rid them of that evil is by making it impossible for them to impose that evil on others.

Both the Iranian and Palestinian regimes have sponsored publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and have made anti semitism a cornerstone of their respective societies, manifested in media, education and religious instruction. Like the Nazis before them, the Iranian and Palestinian regimes will never be considered as equals by us as as long as hate dominates their political agenda, culture and society. Like Neville Chamberlain before him, Barack Obama will prove once more that appeasement and dressing apes up in tuxedos will prove to be a useless endeavor. Mr Obama would do well to take a long, hard look at his dance partners.


Civil Servants Make Us Tax Slaves

Our government employees used to be called civil servants. Heard that term lately? Today, they've become a privileged class, and taxpayers are expected to be their servants. Those are strong words from someone whose parents were, and proud of the term, civil servants. They chose civil service in return for reasonable compensation and benefits: though lower than available in the private sector they were more secure even in the days before mass private sector layoffs.

Today, as USA Today reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the approximately 15% of the workforce in state and local government earn on average 50% more than the average in the private sector, benefits being a major contributor to the gap that is widening as the private sector shows competitively necessary fiscal restraint and the public sector doesn't. Indeed, even during current economic troubles, public hiring rises while the private payroll doesn't. One can point at three primary reasons for this growing imbalance:

First, with the majority of Americans either paying no or little income taxes while receiving government funneled benefits, there is little incentive or competitive pressure on most's incomes to demand government restraint.

Second, public employee unions comprise over 35% of government workers, compared to about 7% unionized in the private sector. The political power of these public employee unions is massive, spending hundreds of millions each year to elect friendly politicians and defeat ballot measures for restraint.

Third, the methods by which government benefits are measured are "cooked books." As the Washington Post's analysis points out, "Public pensions have broad leeway in their accounting methods because, unlike their counterparts in the private sector, they have no federal oversight." An illustration in today's New York Times:
Lawmakers have cited Mr. Schwartz's analysis on hundreds of bills in recent years, with billions of dollars worth of potential costs. His projections were used to fulfill a legal requirement that every piece of legislation be accompanied by a "fiscal note" that examines its impact on spending. Mr. Schwartz's consultant work for the unions was discovered during a review of Department of Labor documents by The New York Times this week.

Mr. Schwartz, a former city actuary, said that he routinely skewed his projections to favor the unions - he called his job "a step above voodoo" - and admitted that he had knowingly overreached on the pension bill by claiming that it cost nothing, either now or in future years. "I got a little bit carried away in my formulation," he explained.
Even with stretched assumptions, there's still an over $1-trillion deficit in the ability to fund the retirement benefits promised to state and local government workers. As the number of retirees grows, in many cases, more is budgeted for retirees than for current workers. Consequently, with tens of billions of dollars in states' budget deficits, as Pew's Stateline project says, "That means if tax revenues fall short of what a state had projected, then it either has to cut programs or find other sources of revenue."

The politicians' ritual is to threaten cuts in the most liked programs, then in the face of public opposition to say there is no alternative but more taxes and more borrowing to indebt future generations for today's spending. Either way, today and tomorrow's taxpayers are the ones on the hook for unaffordable government workers' high compensation. Current and future taxpayers have become the servants to government workers reaping uncivil largesse.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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