Saturday, April 01, 2006

Living La Vida Vinci

I've been reading The DaVinci Code mostly out of curiosity. My daughter-in-law loved it. I didn't see any reason to, since I've read Foucault's Pendulum and Holy Blood, Holy Grail and already decided this whole subject is bosh.

But with the movie coming out, and the constant references to it, I thought I should check it out.

So far, I've reached two conclusions:

1. Dan Brown is a hack writer. He writes like a bright middle schooler.

2. Dan Brown isn't as reliable as Wikipedia.

Now, the CSMonitor reports the book has spawned a new genre. It's going to be around awhile.

Becoming the story

Jill Carroll, determined, devoted journalist.
Ms. Carroll struck a chord in the Arab world as well as in the West, perhaps in part because of her passionate attachment to Iraq and its people. Conservative Islamist politicians in Iraq issued emotional pleas for her release, as did some of the most militant anti-American groups in the Middle East, like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Her earnest face — usually framed by a traditional Muslim head scarf — became familiar on television screens across the globe.

Then there's this from the CSMonitor when she was first kidnapped:
Carroll's friends in Bagdhad note that she is motivated not just by her professionalism, but also by a love of Iraq, a country that she has come to call "home."

"She always felt that she belongs to this country," writes Baghdad Treasure, a blogger and reporter in Iraq and a friend of Carroll. "Once, I had hamburger for lunch. 'What is this?' she said sarcastically. "You leave all this delicious Iraqi food and eat a hamburger?'"

At times, Carroll would become overwhelmed by the suffering she witnessed. "She loved this country and its people ," says the author of "24 Steps to Liberty" blog in Bagdhad and another friend of Carroll's:

"She sympathized with its sufferings and committed to tell the truth. When I talked to her about how the Iraqis live, she always cried. She cried for the sufferings of Iraq more than Iraqis. She has the nicest heart in this world. When I blamed Iraqis for what is happening in the country, she said "'don't blames [sic] the Iraqis. You should blame the governments for what they do.'"

When Carroll was abducted, her translator, Allan Enwiyah, was murdered.

Carroll has a deep love and respect for the Iraqi people and Iraqi culture, attested by her many good Iraqi friends.
I don't know what "professionalism" means to the Monitor, but this sounds to me like she should have been reassigned before this happened. But this headline to a story about her interpreter who was killed during her kidnapping, bothers me. It reads, "Helping Jill interpret Iraq"
Allan Enwiya, fatally shot during Jill Carroll's capture, is one of 26 media assistants killed since the war began. Allan Enwiya was one of at least 86 journalists and media assistants who have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war, according to the international organization Reporters Without Borders. Twenty-six of those were like Mr. Enwiya, the assistants doing one of the most dangerous and important jobs for news organizations covering Iraq.
Why were they putting their employees into this position? Could it have something to do with that verb "interpret?" Trying to build a relationship with the terrorists so you can report their point of view, or even just mixing into Iraqi society for the "human interest" angle, reminds me of the line in Chinatown that "You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't."

Arab tribal societies can be dangerous places, even when they have a veneer of modernity and sophisticated. The news organizations that send reporters them should know that by now. Jill Carroll only got kidnapped. Allan Enwiya died. So did Daniel Pearl, trying to meet with terrorists. We send soldiers there with armor and weapons. What makes reporters think that they don't need any protection? Their good intentions?

They may think they are neutral, but they fool themselves to think so. Their efforts to humanize the enemy and understand their point of view is seen by the likes of Zarqawi as a PR tool to help win the political war back here. At the very least, this kind of effort to show a human face causes these criminals to think we're a weak enemy. At the worst, it could cost us the war and lead to a bloodbath that our media won't be allowed to report.

New look

I switched templates so that readers can read the few comments I receive.

Looks kind of Andrew-Sullivany, doesn't it? And I didn't have to pay for a designer.

I'm slowly learning html, but I'm not ready to try building a custom designed webpage just yet.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Game, Set, Match

Andy McCarthy has done some legal research and found this gem in Section 2511(3) of Title 18, United States Code, enacted in 1968:
[N]othing in federal statutory law shall limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States, or to protect national security information against foreign intelligence activities. Nor shall anything … be deemed to limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the United States against the overthrow of the Government by force or other unlawful means, or against any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government.
Of course, this only restates an established principle of con law. The Congress removed this section when they enacted the FISA law, which purported to do exactly what it prohibited, but that is beyond Congress's power. As McCarthy asks, should we censure Congress for violating its own laws? And they say the president is overreaching.

The Mad Woman of Capitol Hill

I think this McKinney kerfuffle isn't worth the time being spent to report it. If she weren't such a famous nutcase, it would probably have been ignored after an apology. But her famous anti-semitism and arrogance just naturally make you want to pull her up short just to make her understand that she's not immune from the rules everybody else has to obey. If I were black, I'd be embarrassed by people like her and Harry Bellafonte. As a white person, I'm embarrassed by Barbra Streisand, Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore and Anne Coulter, for a start.

Update: The race card wasn't quite working, so now she's adding /a little feminism, claiming he touched her "inappropriately." Police brutality, racism, insufficient fawning over congresspersons and now this.

Is Dan Rather senile?

Oh, Daaanny! Time to quit playing and come in for supper!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Suppression of speech on campus.

During my early years I heard a lot about the Communist threat. It was said that they would use our freedoms and open society against us. Then all the old anti-communist fears faded and it became quaint if not a cue for being laughed out to worry about communist infiltrators. When I read stories today about liberal administrations in higher education suppressing free speech, whether because of political correctness of just fear of offending some group or other I remember the old fears. These people aren't communists, but they were demonstrating for freedom of speech in the 60s and 70s. Now that they've got control, where did the freedom go?


Listening to Michael Medved's show this afternoon during an hour he devoted to this issue, it occurred to me that the first step in discussing this should be to admit that our government has been hypocritical about it for many years. They enacted laws that they knew wouldn't be enforced and had no intention of really enforcing.

If they were honest, they'd have sealed our borders 50 years ago. It angers Americans who are expected to obey the law to see so many millions flouting it with impunity. It angers them even more when elected officials don't seem to want to do anything about it. It seems that we now have a problem that can't be solved without spending billions, disrupting millions of lives, damaging businesses and punishing people who have contributed greatly to our melting pot.

It seems to me that the first order of business should be to identify everybody who isn't here legally and make them honest. It should be a felony to use a false ID, visa or green card.

But do we have the political will to do what that will take? We've got so many interest groups involved in this that getting anything done is practically impossible. I think that everyone should have a forge-proof ID containing biometric data, but libertarians and advocates for a right of anonymity are paranoid about such a thing. It seems to me that being able to prove who you are has much more value than being anonymous. It should be a no-brainer.

What people want is for everybody else to play by the rules. If we don't want to enforce the rules, then why have them? But cleaning up the mess created by years of posturing without doing anything will be a bitch.

The weirdness of moral equivocation

Hugh Hewitt posts a letter from a listen about yesterday's interview with Mike Ware who seemed unwilling to say that the terrorists are bad guys. He offers the following for Mr. Ware's edification:
The "Good Guys" are the ones building and rebuilding; schools, hospitals, mosques, oil pipelines and refineries, and universities...

..and the "Bad Guys" are the ones blowing all that up and murdering innocent civilians.

See how easy that was? Even a college-educated journalist should be able to figure it out.

Making the Country Safe for Hate

was on display in San Francisco. "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco."

"They" being evangelical Christian youth.

The poor you will always have with you.

Best of the Web quotes from this report as follows:
Tourists and scientists were gathering at spots around the world for a solar show--the first total eclipse in years, which will sweep northeast from Brazil to Mongolia, blotting out the sun across swathes of of the world's poorest lands.--Associated Press, March 28

Real Clear, Right Now

Austin Bay reminds us that we have been at war with Saddam for fifteen years, but only three years ago did we finally get serious and depose him. There was a cease fire agreement which he promptly broke requiring us and the British to enforce no-fly zones in the north and south of Iraq to keep him from ethnic cleansing those areas.

Read the whole thing.

Tom Bevan examines the media coverage of the war and finds it hopeless.

Good question.

"And after that, General Zod"

Democrats promise to 'eliminate' bin Laden if they win control of Congress, and "ensure a 'responsible redeployment of U.S. forces' from Iraq." To do this they will "double the number of special forces and "double the number of special forces and add more spies."

Yeah. That'll do it. It could be the first war in history to be won by Congress without the President's involvement.

Harry Reid:
We're uniting behind a national security agenda that is tough and smart and will provide the real security George Bush has promised but failed to deliver.
Nancy Pelosi:
said the Democrats are offering a new direction — "one that is strong and smart, which understands the challenges America faces in a post 9/11 world, and one that demonstrates that Democrats are the party of real national security."
Somehow the terms Reid, Pelosi or Democrat aren't the first thing that leaps to mind when I hear the words strong, smart and tough.

Update: Best of the Web imitates Cockalorum.

Are we still trying to win anything?

Is it just me, or are some of the justices claiming that anyone who is in the custody of our military anywhere in the world has the right of habeas corpus?

I haven't seen anything in this about war powers. Isn't the detention of illegal combatants part of the president's power as CinC? I'm no Constitutional scholar, but it seems like it might be better to just shoot these people instead of taking them captive if they're going be given an immediate appeal to the U.S. Courts.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Is Windows an Albatross?

Dan Farber seems to think so. If so, Microsoft has donned it voluntarily and profited handsomely from it. If it now feels that it's too much trouble making each new release backwards compatible, maybe it should just give up rights to it and start selling software compatible with Linux or some other free OS.

Charles Murray wants to give you $10K a year.

The catch is that it would replace all other welfare state programs.

Their Finest Hour?

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Michael Ware today about his job as a war correspondent for Time magazine in Iraq. Some of it reminded he of an old soldier telling some green corporal about "the things these old eyes have seen"--sort of like the narrator in Gunda Din, the great poem by Rudyard Kipling.

Of course, Ware isn't that old, but he seems to have seen a lot and built up a list of exploits that would impress anybody. If he'd ridden horses on these exploits, they'd have been shot out from under him. There's no doubt that he has taken some hairy risks in order to report on the the insurgents as well as the Coalition.

What bothered me about his attitude toward the war, which seems quite negative, is that he doesn't seem to have any basis for judging it a failure. He spouts lists of our failures without any concept of how long the transformation we are trying to bring should take. He stated that he hadn't been there under Saddam, so how could he know whether things are better or worse than what went before? This is quite surprising, considering the times I've heard journalists talk about "context." Three years in and we haven't turned Iraq from a broken down thugocracy into a model of democracy yet?! Yes, Zarqawi is still at large and there are a variety of groups out for revenge, power, civil war, etc., but is that a reason to give up--to abandon what we've accomplished? We are working toward the goal of a government amenable to its people and an Iraqi Army and Security Force capable of dealing with such groups, and we're seeing that happen, but you'd never know it from our largest newspapers and TV news networks.

I wonder if he'd ever spent any time just traveling around to various towns to see what the soldiers not engaged in shootouts with resistance guerillas are doing. He seemed dismissive of the military. He definitely didn't seem too interested in our efforts to rebuild the infrastructure and economy of the country. Not enough adrenaline, or just the knowledge that anything he wrote about the peaceful things going on would never get published.

He's worked hard to form what CNN describes as "exclusive access to the Iraqi insurgents, spending months with them for [a Time magazine] cover story." Well, he knew he could get a cover story out of it, didn't he. But what else did that story do besides provide a sympathetic portrait of these people. He admitted that he'd received death threats for publicizing a tape of Zarqawi he'd gotten hold of. And he claimed that he had written his reports in such a way as not to make himself into a target, but without lowering his journalistic standards. Yeah, right.

Hugh asked him at one point if he didn't see these fighters as the bad guys, since they were bombing innocent civilians and policemen, and he sidestepped the question, with the suggestion that if he said yes, his ability to continue reporting might be endangered. The thing is, that people here in the U.S. do see these people as bad guys, with the exception of the Chomskyites who think that any enemy of America is a noble freedom fighter. To the extent one feels that he has to be careful in how he writes so as not to make the terrorists angry is not objective anymore no matter what he says.

Another thing that struck me was his "us versus them" attitude toward the military, as though he were in competition with it somehow. He has to have picked that up from other journalists, since he wasn't trained for journalism but for law. It seems de rigeur for journalists to believe that anything from the government or military HQ is a lie. He emphasized the number of lies he'd been told by our military. Is this just to dramatize his own superior news-gathering skill, or just an anti-establishment bias?

Update: Wow! The transcript is already up at Radioblogger. Nice work, Generalissimo!

Hugh has made this a symposium topic with some specific questions. I didn't address them specifically above but I will below:

Q: Is Michael Ware doing a good job as a journalist?

AST: There's a big difference between what journalists think their job is and what I think it is. In their view, it's to tell the stories the government doesn't want told. He's probably doing that. In my view, the job is to give readers and viewers a real feel for how the war is going for our side, and I think they're failing badly.

Q: Is he helping or hurting the effort to pacify Iraq and help it towards stable democracy?

AST: I think that Time-Life Inc. is hurting our efforts by making stories like this one its magazine cover stories. The whole point of terrorism is to attract attention, theoretically to a groups goals and demands, and to incite fear. To the extent these groups are given publicity, they are encouraged to keep at it. Ware isn't an American, but he's an Australian and his fellow Aussies are fighting to defeat these criminals. If these tactics were being used by Arabs in Australia, I doubt that he'd see them as colorful warriors, because at home he'd see them as criminals. To me that's all they are.

Q: Should Time recall him? Should there be a time limit on all journalists in a theater of conflict like Iraq?

AST: What's the point? They'd just send someone just like him in to take his place. The problem is with the publication and its editors, not necessarily with Mike Ware. He's trying to get his reports published. They're the ones who demand that they contain moral equivalence. Meet the new guy. Same as the old guy.

I have to like the guy. He talks like Crocodile Dundee and he looks like his nose was shoved to one side in a rugby scrum or a bar fight. He's tough and hard driving, and I doubt the fairness of putting all the blame on him. He's a creature of those he works for. You can't blame him for writing what he knows will get printed.

But all of that just emphasizes what's wrong with our press and television news. They're so worried about looking American that they practically root against us. They are entitled to criticize the war if they want to, but they have no right to shade their reporting, and lend comfort to the criminals in Iraq.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Meddling with Justice

The calls for Scalia to recuse himself are apparently part of an attempt to give the advantage to the liberals in the Hamdan case.

Next, the Nobel!

The BBC:
An anonymous blog by a young woman in war-torn Iraq has been longlisted for BBC Four's Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. — Baghdad Burning, a first-hand account written under the pseudonym Riverbend, is one of 19 books in contention.

Speaking in their own language

Breathlessly, reporters are expressing shock, shock because Scalia flipped the bird at some of them just after leaving Mass, "Minutes after receiving the Eucharist. . .," as if any of them could be really embarrassed by such a gesture.
Look, these people communicate in obscenities and profanity except where they're edited. Maybe that's how you have to communicate to them.

More bad news for newspapers

This time from Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian in Britain.

Having been given the great trust of informing the public and having been found wanting, the Old Media will have to compete in a new world of real press freedom, without the advantage of owning the means of production. They may have to settle for reporting the facts and leaving the interpretation to the readers or whoever they want to believe.

Another left-wing meme

This time it's similar to Helen Thomas' tendentious question at the press conference last week. The Mahablog quotes this from Peking Duck:
In ordinary times, it would be a bombshell: A secret memo proves that our president told his people a series of lies leading to wanton and needless death and destruction. He had planned to wage his war no matter what, and was even prepared to create fake evidence to justify the invasion. It was never about unconventional weapons. The calls to disarm were bogus. It was to be war from day one. In ordinary times, he’d be impeached.
Whether that is true or not seems irrelevant, since Saddam kept playing games, apparently thinking that if the UN inspectors found no WMD, Bush would look foolish and back down and that the U.N. sanctions would disappear soon thereafter. It's still all about the WMD for these people, but they see something sinister in Bush and Blair's discussions of preparations for war.

As Tom Bevan at RCP has a different interpretation, since Saddam was still stalling and failing to give "immediate, accurate and complete disclosure of his WMD programs" and was still not cooperating with the Inspectors. It may be that he already suspected, as I did, that the WMD had been moved already. In the end, it was Saddam's long failure to abide by the cease-fire obligations he had undertaken and his failure to come completely clean that made it necessary to overthrow him.

The apparently "Smoking Gun" memo doesn't really prove much, given Saddam's defiance and evasion. The critics of the war would have it that Bush was dead set on war and nothing would turn him from it. Anybody who had watched Saddam over the previous 30 years could hardly think he was about to have a major change of character. He had started 2 wars with his neighbors, and gassed his own subjects and otherwise attempted ethnic cleansing. I wouldn't have wasted my time with the U.N. since it was clear that it would never support us, and what help would it have been if it had?

After 9/11, Bush may have felt that deposing Saddam was necessary, to keep Al Qaeda from just turning to him for shelter. I don't know. But I do know that striking terrorism at its roots by building a liberal democracy in the heart of the region seemed quite shrewd and audacious to me. It was and still is a gamble, but it's one that could give Arabs and Persians something to aspire to, and therefore worth trying.

The new meme is probably aimed at giving a cause for censure or impeachment, but it's pretty hard to do that with a national election in the meantime that showed that the nation was behind the President.

Silly boy!

I couldn't endure talking to Sean Hannity for more than half an hour either. What made Alec Baldwin thing he could do it for 2 hours? Especially with Mark Levin there, too.

Of course, most liberals don't know how to defend their views since, to them, they're self-evident and don't require any reasoning or evidence. How else could they stand by Bill Clinton?

Who's the apostate?

Andrew McCarthy points out the difficulty of reconciling religious freedom with the rest of Aghanistan's constitution. As I've said, I believe that the radical Islamist clerics who interpret the Quran to make conversion from Islam a capital crime are arrogating the role of prophet to themselves. The Quran says that there is no coercion or compulsion in matters of religion, but a book, Bible or Quran, cannot be understood in its original meaning without the same spirit in which it was given. Neither the Bible or the Quran has come down to us without going through the hands of a series of scribes and persons who had no claim to the guidance of Heaven. Important things are missing from each one. The very fact of the multiplicity of interpretations shows that some must be wrong, if not all of them together.

Those who assume the right to put others to death based on a religious revelation which has room for various interpretations are putting themselves in serious jeopardy, before God, if not before mankind. If apostasy is worthy of death, how much more evil is it to have assumed the authority to punish it without some clear revelation from God? This is one of the parts of both religions that must give us pause. Both Christians and Muslims claim that there can be no revelation after their scriptures. Why not? Is God unable to speak anymore? Does he not care whether we worship him correctly? Does he not care about us at all? Do we not need his guidance? Or are all of our various beliefs correct all at once?

The answer is that most if not all modern clerics whether pastors, imam, mullahs or aytollahs are apostates.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Believe it or not

Zacharias Moussaoui testifies that he knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance. But he also said
that he and would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid were supposed to hijack a fifth airplane and fly it into the White House as part of the attack that unfolded Sept. 11, 2001.
Does that sound a litte odd? If Reid was going to fly a plane into the White House, why was he trying to blow the flight he was on out of the sky? How come the other teams consisted of 4 men, and this was goind to take only two?

This will probably guarantee him the death penalty, which is what he apparently wants, so he can claim martyrdom, but he probably hasn't told the real story yet.
Moussaoui's testimony on his own behalf stunned the courtroom. His account was in stark contrast to his previous statements in which he said the White House attack was to come later if the United States refused to release a radical Egyptian sheik imprisoned on earlier terrorist convictions.

On Dec. 22, 2001, Reid was subdued by passengers when he attempted to detonate a bomb in his shoe aboard American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. There were 197 people on board. The plane was diverted to Boston, where it landed safely.

Moussaoui told the court he knew the World Trade Center attack was coming and that he lied to investigators when arrested in August 2001 because he wanted it to happen.

''You lied because you wanted to conceal that you were a member of al-Qaida?'' prosecutor Rob Spencer asked.

The Empire Strikes Back

On CNN's Reliable Sources Howard Kurtz invited some reporters Iraq to answer the complaints of bias in covering the war, all saying what you expected them to say, this whole "witch hunt" is a plot by the White House to shift attention from the war itself. They just don't get it. They talk all the time about context, but they don't know what it really means.

If we were Iraqis and all we knew of the U.S. was its occasional riots, videos of copy beating a suspect, horrible crime scenes like yesterday's in Seattle, what would we conclude about the lives of ordinary Americans? Americans have no concept of what life is like for ordinary Iraqis. We can't go outside and see the normal sites and sounds of the cities and towns. Unless we know better, we assume that everything reported is representative of the whole country. Yet all these reporters go to the scenes of attacks and return and file their stories without harm. There are a few exceptions, but the countryside is not like a war zone most of the time. Their responses are so sneering and condescending it makes you think they must think we're all ignorant rubes to challenge them so.

Well Done, WaPo!

Somebody at the Washington Post has definitely been listening to all the complaining from the right about their coverage of the war. It has a page devoted to our military men and women, including video clips and a blog from a Warrant Officer 2 deployed in Iraq. This is the kind of thing bloggers should applaude, since their regular writers have some kind of brain damage that prevents them from seeing anything that the public here wants to read.

One article based on interviews with 100 veterans contains this, after a litany of the nuisances and difficulties of life in Iraq:
But it was not bad in the ways they see covered in the media -- the majority also agreed on this. What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."
It's not much, but it's a positive step. Let's hope it continues and grows.

A religion of peace

A doctor in the northern city of Kirkuk has admitted to killing at least 35 Iraqi police officers and Army soldiers by giving them lethal injections.
I guess they don't take the Hypocratic Oath there.

Then there's this from Strategypage:
Deaths from revenge killings now exceed those from terrorist or anti-government activity. Al Qaeda is beaten, and running for cover. The Sunni Arab groups that financed thousands of attacks against the government and coalition groups, are now battling each other, al Qaeda, and Shia death squads. It's not civil war, for there are no battles or grand strategies at play. It's not ethnic cleansing, yet, although many Sunni Arabs are, and have, fled the country. What's happening here is payback. Outsiders tend to forget that, for over three decades, a brutal Sunni Arab dictatorship killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs. The surviving victims, and the families of those who did not survive, want revenge. They want payback. And even those Kurds Shia Arabs who don't personally want revenge, are inclined to tolerate some payback. Since the Sunni Arabs comprise only about 20 percent of the population, and no longer control the police or military, they are in a vulnerable position.

After Saddam's government was ousted three years ago, the Sunni Arabs still had lots of cash, weapons, and terrorist skills. Running a police state is basically all about terrorizing people into accepting your rule. For the last three years, the Sunni Arabs thought they could terrorize their way back into power. Didn't work.
Iraq was once quite a modern nation, but Saddam's reign seems to have knocked the people back to their old tribal system. I guess it's too much to hope for that they'd forget all the savagery done under Saddam.

Bill Roggio has a report on the confrontation of U.S. troops with the Mahdi Army.

Civil War?

In the U.S., not Iraq. Ed Morrissey notes Russ Feingold's gone to Iraq and spouted off that large troop presence is encouraging the "insurgents."
Wisconsin voters should be ashamed of their Senator. It's bad enough that Feingold is using an extra-Constitutional censure against George Bush in order to bolster his candidacy. Now he has to take his defeatist demands for retreat into the war zone while we're fighting al-Qaeda and attempting to rebuild Iraq into a representative democracy. It's a shameful episode that may not have any equivalent in American history.
This refusal to let politics stop at the water's edge by politicians who have no respect for democracy strikes me as a harbinger of more division in this country. Democrats have become so angry and nasty they're in danger of going beyond their inflammatory rhetoric and pointless protest rallies. If their leaders don't tone it down, we're likely to see more division, not less.

Detainees' Rights

Apparently, Justice Scalia has stated that he doesn't believe that detainees have the right to a civil jury trial:
During an unpublicized March 8 talk at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was "astounded" at the "hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Gitmo. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. "Give me a break."
Naturally, people are calling for him to recuse himself in the upcoming hearing on whether the Gitmo detainees have to be given full due process rights.

Then, there are the knuckleheads. Headline: Scalia Claims Guantanamo Detainees Have No Right to Fair Trial. That's not exactly what he said, but then I didn't expect the "progressives" to report it fairly.

Militia clashes with authorities.

The AP reports:
Police and a top aide to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Sunday that 18 people were killed in a clash involving U.S. and Iraqi army forces at a mosque in eastern Baghdad.

Abdul Rahman has been released. The case hasn't exactly been dismissed, but this is a positive development.

Nevertheless, the case isn't over, if these quotes from other Afghans are typical:
Many Afghans want to kill him.

"He should be hanged in a square," said Aqa Gul, 40, a baker.

"He should be stoned to death," said Sayed Saber, 32, a construction worker.

Rahman was the major topic of conversation across Kabul on Friday. In a restaurant, influential leaders met with a group of young people from Panjshir province, where Rahman is from. The young men talked about what would happen if Rahman is released.

"Anything could happen--whether a big demonstration, even the possibility of killing him," said Shojah Mostaqel, who organized the meeting. "Everyone knows what Islam says. Bush and his friends are trying to interfere in an Islamic country."

At Pol-e-Kheshti mosque, Kabul's largest, more than 10,000 people listened to cleric Maulavi Enayatullah Baligh talk about Rahman. They yelled, "God is great!" after Baligh said Rahman deserved death.

"If this Abdul Rahman does not come to Islam and does not repent, even if the government does not sentence him to death, then the people of Afghanistan will kill him," said Baligh, 50, also a lecturer in Islamic law at Kabul University.

Baligh stressed that if the international community intervened on Rahman's behalf, it could cause civil unrest in Afghanistan because of possible violent protests.

The case highlights the contradictions in Afghanistan's Constitution, which protects the freedom of religion but also says that Islamic law is the law of the land unless otherwise specified.
I wonder how many Americans have converted to Islam?

What would the Afghans say if we threatened to do the same to these people?