Terrorism vs. Freedom of Speech

Here we go again.

Sherry Jones, an American journalist, wrote a book entitled The Jewel of Medina. She got and advance of $100,000 from Random House, and the book was scheduled to come out in August of this year. It reportedly concerns the love story of Muhammed and his child bride.

A professor who was asked to read the book and perhaps provide a blurb for the cover, instead panned the book. Her derogation of the book as “softcore pornography” was leaked to the press.

The result was to cause Random House to withdraw. Jones responded, “That one of the biggest publishing houses in the world refuses to publish a book because of warnings is a sobering comment on the state of freedom of speech in the USA.” http://tinyurl.com/4b5osy

What Jones said is true; freedom of speech is eroding in this country. That is happening, not because of any conspiratorial suppression, but because of our government’s defaulting on its job of protecting this freedom.

The default, ongoing for years now, was highlighted when American publishers and book sellers were terrorized from publishing Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and the government did nothing. It’s hard to blame Random House for being scared off.

Sherry Jones was able to find another publisher, Gibson Square, an independent in Britain. The threats followed the book across the ocean. The home/office of this publisher, Martin Rynja, has been firebombed, lending credence to Random House’s fears. At least, the British authorities acted quickly and well, arresting the perpetrators and charging them with terrorism.


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Sticks and Stones

Cartoon drawings of Mohammad are back in the news lately. True to form, Muslims are rioting and making dire threats.

Have Muslims no choice but to be offended by cartoons depicting Mohammad? No choice but violence in their response? The answers to these two questions need not be the same.

If we understand “taking offense” to be emotional reaction, then the Muslims who take offense — who feel offended by the cartoons — probably have no immediate choice. One feels what one feels.

The answer to the second question: choice is the name of the game. To assert that no choice of actions is available to them would be to deny free will. It’s of the essence of humanithy to have the capacity to choose actions on the basis of thought.

Muslims, or anybody, who disdain thinking in favor of faith, have only whim to guide their actions. And so they whimsically riot against all who do not share their thoughtless respect of their “Prophet.”


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Iran’s Threats

Reuters reports that Iran’s deputy Interior Minister for security affairs has threatened the United States. “In case of American attack against Iran, the interests of this country around the world and in the region will be endangered.”

And, “Today, if the slightest disorder in the region’s security and in the security of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is created, oil prices will reach $250 a barrel and this will lead to the death of European countries and America in terms of economy and security.”

And, “Maybe the start of an evil act (could) be in America’s hand but its continuation and end won’t be (in its hands).”

And, Reuters reminisced about Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Hamenei, threatening that the Islamic Republic would target US Interests around the world

I hate blowhard threats. The only thing that makes these Iranian threats credible is the insipid, appeasing response America can be counted on to make to any Iranian viciousness. If only President Bush had meant what he said about going after states that sponsor terrorism, America would not now be in the position of trying to appease a bully.

Any attack the U.S. might make against Iran would be justified. The threats quoted above are, all by themselves and regardless of Iran’s preparations for nuclear war, sufficient provocation to justify preemptive attack. How I wish my country would return to the attitude that prompted our response to the outrage that occurred at Pearl Harbor in 1941.


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Frying Pan to Fire

The short version: Islamic terrorists attack the United States over a period of years in a multitude of ways, culminating in the destruction of the World Trade Center and several thousand American lives.

Instead of focusing on what is needed for the future safety of Americans, our government attacks Afghanistan with bombs and food packets, and aids the setting up of a predominantly Islamic government. Then, our government overthrows Saddam Hussein — an obviously evil dictator — and replaces his regime with …an Islamic government.

The fact that the governments which our government is fostering are democracies is irrelevant to the safety of Americans. Our safety depends on the destruction of the Islamic terrorists, and that depends on destroying the states that support them. This will never be accomplished by “winning the hearts and minds” of the terrorists and their supporters, by setting up democracies in the countries that sponsor them, nor by “negotiating” with our avowed enemies.

When you are threatened (whether “you” refers to an individual or a country) you deal with the threat. You do not try to help your threatener become nice.

The attacks, over the years, on our embassies, the USS Cole, etc., climaxing (thus far) in the WTC destruction, have put the United States in very hot frying pan. With our government’s social work war policies, we are leaping headlong into the fire.


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Go Get The Hostages!

The other day, Iran took 15 British sailors and marines prisoner in the Shatt Al-Arab. The Iranian government alleges the sailors were engaged in espionage.

What is the Shatt Al-Arab?

The Tigris and Euphrates have flowed through what is now Iraq since ancient times. The Shatt Al-Arab is the “waterway” that begins where they now come together, in southern Iraq, The Iranians call it the Arvandrud river. It runs for about 125 miles and discharges into the Persian Gulf. Approximately the last 35-40 miles at the southern end run along the disputed border between Iraq and Iran. This is apparently where the Britons were seized.

These Brits are part of a task force under the authority of the UN Security Council, and are there to “maintain security.” They had apparently just searched a merchant ship. They were taken to Tehran and, under “interrogation,” allegedly admitted to espionage.

I don’t know for sure, of course, what the sailors were actually doing, nor where the international boundary “should” be. What I do know is that the British government should demand the return of their citizens (which I understand they have done). Then, when Iran does not comply, Britain should go get them. The United States should back the British in this, thus making up in part for our failure to free our embassy in 1979 when the Iranians overran it and kept fifty-some people hostage for well over a year.

My prediction though (which doesn’t require a crystal ball), is that negotiation and appeasement will be the weapon of choice once again.


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The news now is full of chatter about “explosively formed projectiles,” made in Iran, smuggled into Iraq for use against American troops. The effect of this chatter is an escalation of denials of hostile intentions toward Iran by Bush and his spokesmen.

Of course, Iran’s EFP’s are merely the latest of a long series of assaults against the United States. But they could have been a cited reason for finally unleashing our military and eliminating Iran as a threat. I would really like to understand the mentality that seeks to negotiate with murderous enemies rather than destroying them.


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Faith Kills

An excellent letter-to-the-editor of the Richmond, VA Times-Dispatch is worth disseminating far and wide. It can be found here.

Richmond, VA Times Dispatch:

Faith Caused 9/11, And Much Else

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Five years ago, nearly 3,000 of our fellow Americans were reduced to burnt dust in the rubble of the Looming Towers.

They were not killed by ignorance or poverty or because “terrorists hate our freedom.” They were murdered by faith — faith in unseen gods, in invisible paradises, in the ancient fairy tales of desert tribes, their myths of creation, sacrifice, redemption, and eternal life. Faith caused 9/11.

Oh how easy for us to scoff at the outlandish, misogynistic beliefs of the 19 “holy warriors”, the shaving of their body hair, the 72 virgins awaiting each assassin, the eerie willingness of these highly educated children of affluent families to slaughter and die for lurid storybook endings in the happily-ever-after.

But were not 300,000 burned at the stake in Madrid’s main square over the course of the Inquisition? Did not all of Europe’s Catholic and Protestant armies slaughter and starve to death one-third of the entire German people in the horrible war of 1618-48, fought over whether the Holy Father or the Holy Bible was inerrant, over whether Communion wafers were truly the very flesh of the Living Lord or just a symbol of his gory sacrifice? And did not our German cousins, in living memory, grind 6 million unarmed men, women, and children into wet mud in the crematoria of Central Europe because of their peculiar pagan faith in an omniscient Fuhrer?

Chosen People, Elect of the Lord, Master Race — on and on, faith in fanciful tales, embellished and handed down for a hundred generations — these are the lies used by priests, preachers, and politicians, by imams and rabbis, since the first witch doctor sought sway over his fellows in a cave at the dawn of our species.

Faith, its arrogant certainties, and its absolute imperatives caused 9/11.

Faith kills.

William Pinknoras. Midlothian.

Faith is the blind acceptance of ideas without concern for evidence and proof. It would have been good to point out the alternative — reason — but Mr. Pinknoras does a great job of identifying many of the effects of reliance on faith, across time and across (most of) the world.


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Israel vs. Hezbollah Redux

Only two weeks ago, I was praising the Israeli Prime Minister for refusing a cease-fire before their mission was accomplished. Now, I think he is condemnable for accepting that very cease-fire.

Top of my wish list: that the politicians, whether Israeli or American, would get out of the way and let the military eliminate terrorists and the states that support them. A forlorn wish, no doubt.


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My Sentiments Exactly

Some Muslim terrorists were arrested in Britain, my morning news informed me. They were plotting to bomb planes bound for the United States by carrying chemicals aboard and mixing them to make bombs after being airborne.

The same news program showed the backups and customer frustration at Spokane International Airport, caused by the hurried addition of rules against carrying liquids aboard outgoing flights.

I had wanted to blog on this silliness, but, again, the Ayn Rand Institute beat me to it. So, since it expresses what I think, here is their letter to the editor:

Dear Editor:

If termites are weakening a home’s foundation, what do we do? We call the exterminator and eliminate the problem. If armed robbers are at our doors trying to break their way in, what do we do? We defend ourselves to the best of our abilities until the authorities arrive to eliminate the threat.

If Islamic totalitarians come close to murdering hundreds of people by mixing common household materials to blow up airplanes, what do we do? Apparently, we stop carrying liquids and gels in our carry-on luggage.

What should we do? We should insist that our government eliminate the real source of the problem decisively and quickly. Islamic totalitarian groups such as Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, and the countries supporting them such as Iran and Syria, are hell-bent on attacking Americans. They will not stop unless we make it impossible for them to function or regroup. Their infrastructure and support networks have to be permanently disabled as quickly as possible in whatever way our military recommends. A drawn-out, five-year “War on Terror” where we help build roads, plants and hospitals in the Middle East only strengthens the resolve of our enemies.

And they’ll keep trying to blow up planes in the meantime.

Debi Ghate
Copyright Â

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