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Tough Talk

What does it mean to say enough already? Dealing with Islam. Also: General Forrest rehabilitated. People's videogame. Venezuela beckons. Plus more.

9.26.06

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THE MISSING "IC"
Re: The Prowler's The No Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

What a pleasure to see an article about the Democrats that does NOT use the term Democratic. They are far from being democratic, unless you agree with every thing they say.

I am enjoying watching the Democrats open mouth, insert foot, and bite hard.
-- Elaine Kyle

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was not a "founding member" of the KKK; those misworthies were 7 much lower-ranking Confederate veterans who met in Pulaski, TN (named after a foreign-born Revolutionary War hero, a fact which I hope galled the nativists). He did apparently become Grand Dragon of the organization, and at one point did thusly order its disbanding, but the general take of historians on Forrest's Klan tenure is that he but nominally headed up a very loose-knit group indeed in Reconstruction America. Some idea of how loosely knit is that many "klaverns" throughout the South simply ignored Forrest's call for disbandment and claimed embarrassment over his own former membership.

Some further measure of Forrest as a man is given in a biography of him from about 10 years ago by Jack Hurst. Forrest there is described as actually publicly sorry for his racist deeds, and as in attendance by way of some penitence at various picnics and assemblies held by black church groups and political organizations, at which he supposedly even admitted to "so liking the ladies." Not the sort of public atonement for his own past that one could ever expect from Senator Robert Byrd, now is it?
-- Richard Szathmary
Clifton, New Jersey

It just had to be said...your picture of Nancy Pelosi is as sinister looking as Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

IF IT BE REAL
Re: Jed Babbin's Islamic Brownshirts:

Jed Babbin's writing about the threat of Islamic fascism always offers a welcome rush of pride and anger (not to mention astute analysis), something that is sadly lacking among even many supporters of the "war on terror." But like other "respectable" conservative commentators, Mr. Babbin shrinks from openly stating the true implications of his position.

What, for example, does he mean when he says that people (radical Muslims) who do not embrace our Constitution and renounce the supremacy of other law (sharia) are "not welcome" in this country? What does he mean when he says that the rest of us should heap "scorn, contempt, shame, and disrespect" on these people? If by this he means nothing more than we should not be friendly to these people and shouldn't hold our tongues when speaking our true feelings about terrorists and their supporters, then I am afraid that Mr. Babbin's tough talk is not so tough at all.

The real questions are, should we continue to permit immigration from Muslim countries that support extremist ideologies (which is every Muslim nation on earth)? Should we permit extremist Muslims already here to remain in our country? Should we close down mosques, schools, and community organizations that spread Islamist ideology? Should we censor Islamist propaganda? Should we prohibit Muslims who do not take loyalty oaths from participating in the political process? Should we repeal antidiscrimination laws that, on their face, protect Muslims from any such treatment? And should we amend the Constitution, which prohibits the government from treating Muslims, whatever their beliefs, differently than non-Muslims?

If the threat posed by radical Islam is as dire as Mr. Babbin and others believe, then only stern measures, like the ones suggested above, will prevent in this country what is happening in Europe, which daily gives in more and more to Islamic demands -- not just out of cowardice, but also out of the logic of its multicultural democratic system (which we share). Recall the Danish politician who recently stated that if Muslims vote to adopt sharia through the democratic process, then the people will have spoken. Is Mr. Babbin willing to state that Muslim citizens' democratic rights must give way if they seek to promote an anti-American ideology? If not, then he doesn't truly think that the threat posed by radical Islam is as serious as he claims.

When two irreconcilable ideologies, two opposing worldviews, come into conflict, one must give way -- usually through violence or intimidation. We experienced this in our own country just 150 years ago. Europe is experiencing it today. Mr. Babbin and the other commentators who lament what is happening in Europe clearly take the position that accommodating ourselves to extremist Muslims is, in effect, to let our civilization give way to radical Islam. Yet Mr. Babbin, like so many others who sound hawkish on this issue, does not want to accept the difficult implications of his own analysis. For if the Islamic threat is real, then we must do much more than simply heap "scorn, contempt, shame, and disrespect" on radical Muslims. If this is too much for Mr. Babbin to stomach, then he should stop criticizing Europe.
-- Steven M. Warshawsky
New York, New York

Oh boy, what a beauty is Jed Babbin's "Islamic Brownshirts." I have just finished writing to you in connection with your readers' responses to "Enough Is Enough Already!" by Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder. In it, I lamented the freedoms we used to know in this country of ours and look on with envy at those freedoms still enjoyed by the U.S. I recently took some visiting relatives from overseas to view Sir Winston Churchill's grave, nearby, and I recalled wondering where our next modern day Churchill is. I have to look to the U.S. these days, although like Jed Babbin, I do wonder about Mr. Bush. However, he has been mis-underestimated before. Tony Blair is being squeezed out by his own ideologically hamstrung party and the latest opposition leader is certainly no Maggie Thatcher and probably no, nothing else. If ever the free world needed a wake up call, it is Islamic Fascism. This truly is a fight of civilization against barbarity.
-- Graham Constable
Oxford, England

As I read the latest article by Jed Babbin, two thoughts occurred to me. The first was that, as is usually the case, Jed has again hit the spike squarely upon its big flat head with maximum force. Our immediate response to virtually all pronouncements of outrage emanating from the Islamic world should be that the truth hurts doesn't it. Then we could add that, if you mend your ways, we will mend our opinions of you. I just simply want to scream each time that someone offers an apology for their own or other's words.

But the further that I read in the article, the more another thought intruded itself on my senses. That thought was how very similar are the responses from the Islamic world and from the political Left. Note that as soon as anyone on the right dares to criticize any policy or pronouncement of the left, the left screams about nastiness, dirty tactics, lies, and mean-spiritedness, and demands an apology. Of course said apology in never quick enough or sufficient enough or specific enough or something.

Even the reaction from the right is the same. There is the abject issuance of apologies, the pleas for forgiveness, the promises never to be mean-spirited ever again. The wimpy middle of the road, so-called centrists immediately distance themselves from the right wing extremists. You know, people like me.

The reaction that Jed calls for from us to the Islamic Jihadist is also the appropriate one for the Left and the press when they throw a tantrum. (Oh wait, Left and press, those are the same thing.) I would have had more respect for Gov. Allen if he had told the press to just get a life over the "macaca" comment and over the questions of his Jewish roots. It has been so very long since someone in authority stood up to the press, that the press goes into a complete tizzy when someone even thinks about standing up to them. David Gregory of the White House Press Corps is a prime example. Good examples for the Right to emulate would seem to be Rumsfeld and Gen. Honore of "Don't get stuck on stupid" fame.

Now the question that I ask myself is this, did the Islamic world learn their tactics from the political Left of Western society, or was it the other way 'round?
-- Ken Shreve

Jed Babbin is ABSOLUTELY right! This is exactly the reason that every newspaper and magazine in this country (and in every other country that thinks it has Freedom of the Press) should have printed the Mohammed Cartoons, last spring.

Instead most newspapers, the world over, reassured themselves that they were so brave, that they were "Speaking truth to power" when they called Bush names, knowing full well that they were in no danger. Knowing, in their heart of hearts, that if Bush really were Hitler, they wouldn't have dared to speak a word.

They told themselves that it was "rude" or "inflammatory" to "insult" Islam, though they never seem to mind insulting Christians. But again, Christians aren't likely to slit your throat or burn your house down, as Islamists frequently seem eager to do.

Every time the West let's them intimidate us, every time we "apologize" for speaking the truth, we lose a little freedom. Not so much that anyone would notice, but a little.

Pretty soon the frog is boiled!
-- T. Hogan

Is there anything really new here? For years now, Americans have been so well trained to curb their speech -- and indeed, even their thinking -- by the politically correct thought police in the public schools, universities, corporations, and media that we appear more like a nation of sheep than of free men and women.

Among other things, the Muslims see us cow-towing to screwball feminists and allowing unelected justices run roughshod over the Constitution with outrages including the throwing of God out of the public schools, instituting abortion, legitimize homosexuality, and effectively creating a terrorist Bill of Rights.

No wonder the Moslems think we ripe for the picking

So yes, Jed. We must call the Muslim fanatics what they are. And we must also hold their no so indirect accomplices, the domestic American-haters on the Left, accountable for what they, too, say and what they don't say. And the though police must be exposed at ever opportunity for the totalitarians they really are.
-- Peter Skurkiss

I very much enjoyed Jed Babbin's article today on the need to confront jihadist brownshirts. After the first church fire-bombings in response to the Pope's remarks, the vexillological display shown below went up in my front window: the Keys of St. Peter flanked by Crosses of St. George (one Protestant, the other Orthodox) atop some blasphemous drivel in Arabic.

Itching for an argument, I am still awaiting the first objection, however. It's a quiet neighborhood, miles, I suppose, from the nearest mosque. Oh well.

Next up: Manuel II Paleologos t-shirts.
-- Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

Although the thrust of Secretary Babbin's piece is very sound, he falls into his usual trap of applying his brush too broadly.

He writes, "Spain fell when the Madrid train bombings caused its government to be defeated in an election held a day later." That is not the case. What happened was that in the bombings' immediate aftermath the government of Jose Maria Aznar attempted to link them to the Basque separatists ETA; a revolting lie, akin to blaming the Provisional IRA for 7/7 or Puerto Rican separatists for 9/11. It was not the bombings themselves but Aznar's dissimulation concerning their perpetrators' identities that caused his defeat. If Secretary Babbin wishes to toss about blame for the "fall of Spain" he should at least aim it at the right target; the Aznar government's immediate and politically self-interested lies.

The United Kingdom has not given up free speech -- if he really thinks that then he should spend more time surfing the British blogosphere. What we do have are political, media and administrative elites grounded in the thoughts, attitudes and practices of the far left, centrists, Hillary Clintons who speak Standard English in received pronunciation. To think that they are in any way like the rest of us is wrong. Muslims comprise the grand total of 2.2 percent of the British population. About 99 percent of the remaining 97.8 percent know Trevor Brooks for precisely what he is -- our enemy. We know very well that the spread of Islam is not conducive to the maintenance of our secular civil society. We didn't need 52 dead on the streets of London to tell us that. The Blair government's pitiful reaction to that act of war was to say "the rules of the game have changed."

What rules? What game?
-- unsigned

Jed's got it right especially the part about the enemy's fear and insecurity. We certainly must be more aggressive or we'll wind up being terrorized into impotence like the Brits. However, I think we can use a more specific term than "Islamofascist." We are told these folks have perverted the "religion of peace" so, why not call them Perverted Islamic Terrorist Assassins (PITA)? It is probably too awkward to label them murdering Islamic terrorist clintons, the last being the synonym for totally corrupt pervert, of course.
-- Dick Lambert
Eagle Rock, Virginia

Melanie Phillips is a hysteric with a book to sell; and the good lady was herself none too happy when Francis Fukuyama once exercised his right of free speech, saying that "A period of silence from this particular thinker would surely be preferable." After that outburst I don't really regard her as being much of a poster-girl for political pluralism.

Labels like "Islamofascist" fail to capture Islam's essence. Islam is just another totalitarian ideology. All ideologies eventually fail -- that is their fate. Our common problem is that right now no political leader is prepared to step up and be the Ronald Reagan who stands against Islam and says, "No more Muslim immigration!"

O Dutch. Will ye no' come back again?
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

Thanks to Jed Babbin for calling attention to our wimpiness in practically apologizing for living these days. In my area -- perhaps others as well -- it is not only radical Islamists who suffer paranoia. We are treated regularly to full-page articles quoting Middle Easterners who reside in the Bay area and "feel" threatened or unwelcome or suspect or whatever the gamut of "feelings" they harbor in the daily injustice collecting they indulge in. My advice is "Suck it up." The Amish don't mind being looked at

It won't be long before we are all going to have to enroll in some 12-step diversity outreach program. It's OK for us to make smokers go off premises to have a cigarette. How about those who reek of curry and other pungent aromas. I suppose it would be insensitive to ask them to go into a special de-scenting room for a quick spritz of Febreze.

It has been my experience that Americans go out of their way to treat foreign born with courtesy and warmth. Recently, I encountered a Muslim mother in a department store doorway attempting to navigate a stroller and a toddler by the hand, encumbered as she was by the garment required by her religion. I offered a sympathetic smile and held the door for her was rewarded by a surly look. So who is suspicious of whom, would be my question.

In an article last week, a man complained that he was regarded as the enemy because of his turban, which is required by his religion. He apparently believed we, as Americans, should be studying up on turban styles and know his is the Sikh. A glance at the unusual does not necessarily indicate fear or distrust. I imagine if our American Indians decided to wear war bonnets and carry tomahawks, we might give them a second look.

If I have offended anyone of any religion, millinery or costume preference let me just say I don't give a soft yawn. You can call us diverse, but we are not that diverse in dress. And some books you can tell by their cover.

I'll think twice about holding any more doors. Let them deal with 57 yards of fabric tangled up in stroller wheels the best way they can
-- Diane Smith
San Francisco, California

I'm sure you saw this article from the NYT ("all the news that fits our way of thinking"). Are we not building a Fifth Column in the U.S.? Why allow immigrants who owe their dying allegiance to radical Islam? Australian Treasurer Peter Costello had it spot on.
-- MD
Houston, Texas

Bravo sir, well said.

I would add humor to the box of weapons to use. Fanatics never seem able to handle it.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

COMRADE SANDERS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Vermont's Red Baron:

At first, I thought Shawn Macomber was kidding about the Bernie Sanders video game. Alas, Vermont is Vermont. I was there for three years in the late 1970s, and the socialist Ivy Leaguers who I lived with up on Prickly Mountain were so far gone that I had to leave. They didn't seem to understand me. I saw through them.

During that time, I worked for an old farmer named Everett Palmer who chuckled about my fruitcake comrades and taught me about the real world. We thinned his forest in Summer and made maple syrup in Spring, while the eggheads up on Prickly were designing awful houses and pontificating about how the world should be run. I came away with infinitely more wisdom from Palmer.

What I learned during that time was that socialism makes people idealistic and frivolous and at the same time angry and manipulative. The leftists who moved to Vermont in the 1960s (like Sanders, from Brooklyn) took over town meetings and made them their personal forums. They stacked the Independence Day parade with overtly political floats. They never missed a chance to shove their ideology down your throat, all the while smiling as if it were just an innocent video game.

Sanders represents them well. There is no frivolity, no deception, no misrepresentation that they will not use to make political points. Vermont today is a giant Potemkin village. It is about as unspoiled as Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
-- Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Being a Native Vermonter, I was unaware of that video game. Of course, being a True Yankee, I would never go onto Bernie's website anyway. That whole thing speaks of Bernie's simplistic followers. This is about all the commentary that article is worth, Shawn.
-- Pete Chagnon

COMANDANTE FEDER
E. Feder's letter (under "Citgo Prize") in Reader Mail's Jackie's Audacity:

Um, Mr. Feder the "world" has never liked us and never will. The majority of the members of the UN are despots and hate the example America sets for their in house slaves. If one were go to Venezuela and try to say about Chavez what he said about President Bush in public meetings they will be arrested and in all likelihood disappear. If you and folks like you can't get that then this war to survive world domination by 3rd century barbarians is most likely already lost. The only bright spot is fantasizing about leftists protesting, "But, but I hated Bush too!!!" As they stand in line to be beheaded upon the subjugation of the world by radical Islam.
-- Craig Sarver
Behind Enemy Lines
Seattle, Washington

In re the letter from E. Feder, containing the statements, "Raving or not, his criticisms about Bush were pretty on target," and "he was making a point about how his country sees America's Government. Do you really blame them?" I presume that Feder has already made plans to emigrate, and remain out of our country forevermore.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

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