Monthly Archives: July 2005

The Ticking Time Bomb of Tolerance

The tolerance time bomb or how the Dutch created a catastrophe waiting to happen.



New York Times’ columnist John Tierney does a great job on Joe Wilson and Karl Rove.

An excerpt:

The smeared whistle-blower Mr. Wilson accused the White House of willfully ignoring his report showing that Iraq had not been seeking nuclear material from Niger. But a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that his investigation had yielded little valuable information, hadn’t reached the White House and hadn’t disproved the Iraq-Niger link – in fact, in some ways it supported the link.

Mr. Wilson presented himself as a courageous truth-teller who was being attacked by lying partisans, but he himself became a Democratic partisan (working with the John Kerry presidential campaign) who had a problem with facts. He denied that his wife had anything to do with his assignment in Niger, but Senate investigators found a memo in which she recommended him.

Karl Rove’s version of events now looks less like a smear and more like the truth: Mr. Wilson’s investigation, far from being requested and then suppressed by a White House afraid of its contents, was a low-level report of not much interest to anyone outside the Wilson household.

So what exactly is this scandal about? … Well, there’s always the chance that the prosecutor will turn up evidence of perjury or obstruction of justice during the investigation, which would just prove once again that the easiest way to uncover corruption in Washington is to create it yourself by investigating nonexistent crimes.

For now, though, it looks as if this scandal is about a spy who was not endangered, a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle and was not smeared, and a White House official who has not been fired for a felony that he did not commit. And so far the only victim is a reporter who did not write a story about it.

It would be logical to name it the Not-a-gate scandal, but I prefer a bilingual variation. It may someday make a good trivia question:

What do you call a scandal that’s not scandalous?


Plausible Only to the Uninformed

Power line does a great job in exposing the New York Times’ dishonesty.

Hollywood and the Muslims

The bad guys: anybody but Muslims.

Joe Wilson: Fraud

Opinion Journal lays out the truth about Joe Wilson and Karl Rove.

Compare to “Rich Rewrites History” below to see what Frank Rich leaves out in his account of the Wilson affair.

The Coming "Restrictions and Controls"

In the print edition of the Wall Street Journal, Walter Laqueur describes what’s coming:

The politicians … tell us that the great majority of Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism, which is perfectly true. But it is also true that many thousands of young men in these communities in Britain and France, in Spain and Italy, sympathize with the jihadis. Some of them know where the terrorists are hiding but won’t tell the authorities. Terrorists cannot exist in a vacuum; they need a periphery of helpers. That’s the main problem now facing the security services. But politicians are reluctant to press the point by strongly admonishing Europe’s Muslims to do their civic duty and cooperate in finding the terrorists.

According to the security authorities, between 600 and 3,000 people in Britain graduated from Osama bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan and could launch further attacks any day. (The higher figure is probably exaggerated.) But these people have been around for a long time and few people have interfered with their movements. They were given asylum and paid social benefits even if they had been sentenced for terrorist activities in their home countries. In this respect, Britain followed the most liberal policy in Europe.

Many Britons believed that the country would be safe if it showed tolerance towards radicals and suspected terrorists. No one went further in this respect than Ken Livingstone, the London mayor, who welcomed some of the gurus of the “militants” and claimed that they were harmless religious dignitaries maligned by Zionists and neoconservatives. George Galloway, Saddam Hussein’s greatest admirer this side of Baghdad, was recently elected to the British parliament from a racially-mixed precinct in East London.

Several days have now passed since the bombs went off in London. At first, excitable postings on the Web claimed the attacks struck at the heart of the Unbelievers. Few will be able to argue this now. In fact, it has become less and less clear what the terrorists wanted to achieve. Before the attacks of 7/7, there was a growing number of people in Britain, as in the U.S. and Europe, claiming that the terrorist threat had been greatly exaggerated. Why devote so much time and money and energy combating an enemy that wasn’t so dangerous, they said. Such a reaction was in many ways natural. There had not been an attack on the scale of September 11 for almost four years. BBC television screened a three-part documentary, widely praised and given international awards, that more or less implied that terrorism was largely a myth, invented by George W. Bush and neoconservatives inspired by Leo Strauss.

Demands grew that antiterrorist laws promulgated in recent years be abolished, or at least modified because they weren’t necessary. This was only yesterday. The London attacks came as a serious setback for the let-us-not-be-too-beastly-to-the-terrorists brigade. And the damage caused to the Unbelievers has not been tremendous. Even the stock market, tending towards hysteria in such cases, barely took notice.

If so, why didn’t the terrorists wait until they had weapons far more deadly than the present ones, and until vigilance in the West had further declined? Could it have been political stupidity on their part, or “actionism” — the need to demonstrate to their young cadres that they were still in business?

Whatever the underlying reasons, the focus should now be on the future. It is impossible to prevent all attacks, but it’s still possible to make life much more difficult for the terrorists. This cannot be done in Europe within the existing legal framework. Of nearly a thousand suspected terrorists who were arrested in the U.K., only a handful was brought to trial and even fewer sentenced. In Germany, the figures were even more striking. The hands of American judges are tied in similar ways.

As a result, hundreds of terrorists reside freely in European cities, moving from one country to another. This could be stopped, but it would mean implementing controls that are vehemently opposed by some on human-rights grounds. In Britain, even such innocent measures as the introduction of identity cards have been bitterly opposed.

Governments are responsible for the security of their citizens. Yet they can’t move too far ahead of public opinion. As long as it is not generally understood that restrictions and controls will be inevitable in the future to safeguard society from far worse disasters, terrorists will have a (relatively) free run. In the case of future major attacks, public pressure for such measures will be overwhelming. If such attacks do not occur, we shall be able to sleep in peace and quiet, lucky to enjoy both security and all our liberties. The prospects of this scenario coming true aren’t brilliant.

The terrorists’ incubator.

Terrorists? What Terrorists?

The T word returns.

Advice for European Leaders

I was going to write something like this, but was beaten to it.

Here’s some advice for European leaders. Call in those Muslim eminences who live in your countries, those guys who represent the “overwhelming majority of peace and freedom loving, hard-working souls” you claim dwell among you and tell them the following: One of these days, we presidents and prime ministers won’t be able to go on television after a terrorist attack and claim that the terrorists are just a teeny-weeny minority of Muslims who in no way represent Islam – a “religion of peace and tolerance.” We won’t be able to do it because we’ll be hooted off the stage if not run out of town on a rail. Today’s Europeans are the most tolerant and liberal generation in history, but even they have a tipping point.

When the gas, biological or nuclear attack comes, all bets are off. You guys want to see your future? Think Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Walling off the West Bank Arabs wasn’t a new idea; it was an old idea that was implemented when there was no longer a choice and the people demanded security. The same is true of the systematic assassination of terrorist leadership. The Israelis tried the peace process with Rabin, Peres and Barak. When that didn’t work, they turned to Sharon. The result: the defeat of the intifadah, with the Palestinian Arabs left stewing in poverty and destruction.

Western Europe doesn’t want to do ethnic cleansing, but given the choice between that and their survival, which do you think they’ll choose?

Rich Rewrites History

The New York Times’ ombudsman has work to do.

The Missing Fatwas

From Charles Moore in the Opinion Telegraph:

… there seems to me to be a radical disjunction between our heroic capacity to deal with the immediate effects of terrorism and our collective refusal to confront what lies behind it. The effects of this disjunction are, literally, fatal. It is only when you start thinking about what we are not getting from leaders of British Muslims, and indeed Muslim religious leadership throughout the world, that you start to see how much needs doing. The moderates are not pressed hard for anything more than a general condemnation of the extremists.

…When did you last hear criticisms of named extremist groups and organisations by Muslim leaders, or support for their expulsion, imprisonment or extradition? How often do you see fatwas issued against suicide bombers and other terrorists, or statements by learned men declaring that people who commit such deeds will go to hell?

When do Muslim leaders and congregations insist that a particular imam leave his mosque because of the poison that he disseminates every Friday? When did a British Muslim last go after a Muslim who advocates or practises violence with anything like the zeal with which so many went after Salman Rushdie?

Why is not more stigma attached to the Muslims who are murdering other Muslims every day in Iraq and the Middle East?

What communal protection is offered to those Muslims who really are brave and confront Islamist violence, or the poor treatment of women, or call for democracy in the Middle East? How much do mainstream political parties with Muslim councillors and candidates really insist on their religious moderation and co-opt them to extrude the bad people lurking within their communities?

I understand and accept that there are many moderates among British Muslims, but I want to know why Britain gets so pitifully little to show for their moderation.

When a nation, a race, a political movement, a group of workers, the followers of a religion have legitimate grievances, there generally arises amongst them a champion who can command respect for his advocacy of peace, his willingness to fight without weapons and to win by moral authority. There may be many such grievances for Muslims in Britain, and in the West, but we are still waiting for the Gandhi or the Martin Luther King to give them the right voice.

We all love it when the British people shrug their shoulders and move stoically on in the face of attack. It is a powerful national myth, and a true one. But it contains within it a great danger – a self-fulfilling belief that there is nothing to be done to avert future disaster. That’s not the Blitz spirit – what made London’s suffering in 1941 worthwhile was that, in the end, we won.

The full article.