Reuters Competition

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Want to play "spot the weariness?"

It's very easy. This story was vomitted forth by Reuters about 8 hours ago, with the following title:
Violence-weary Iraqis await poll results
The only problem with that headline is that it doesn't even vaguely resemble the article it headlines. But I could be wrong. Let's play... spot the weary Iraqis!:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis anxiously await the results of a historic election that drew voters out in greater-than-expected numbers, defying insurgents who killed 35 people in a failed campaign to torpedo the poll.

As praise poured in from around the world, election workers raced to count ballots by hand -- in some cases by candlelight because of widespread power outages -- to decide the outcome of Iraq's first multi-party vote in nearly half a century.

Up to 8 million Iraqis, some ululating with joy, others hiding their faces in fear, cast ballots across the country on Sunday as guerrilla attacks proved less ferocious than anticipated in the face of a massive security crackdown.

But in parts of the Sunni Arab heartland, where the insurgency has been bloodiest and several parties called for a boycott, polling stations were empty.

U.S. President George W. Bush hailed the election as a "resounding success". He had looked to the vote as a turning point in the troubled 22-month U.S. military presence in Iraq, hoping it would unite Iraqis and quell a raging insurgency.

But the election, all but certain to bring Iraq's long- oppressed Shi'ite majority to power, risks alienating Iraq's once-privileged Sunni Muslim minority and fomenting sectarian strife, further delaying any U.S. withdrawal.

Officials expect preliminary poll results in six to seven days and final results in about 10 days.

Al Qaeda's Iraqi wing had declared war on the "infidel" polls, threatening an election day bloodbath.

But most Iraqis were undeterred.

Samir Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast last year, said as he waited to vote in Baghdad: "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me."

Still, hardly anyone expected Sunday's election to drain the strength from a raging insurgency in which attackers have often seemed to strike at will, killing thousands of Iraqis since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in April 2003.

SECURITY CLAMPDOWN

Bush said the election showed Iraqis refused to be intimidated. "The Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists," he said.

Despite tight security imposed by the U.S.-backed interim government, militants launched suicide bombings and mortar attacks aimed at scaring away voters.

They struck mainly in Baghdad, rocking the capital with nine suicide blasts. Streets were barricaded, borders sealed, airports closed and only official vehicles allowed out.

Al Qaeda's network in Iraq, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

But election officials said the turnout had still surpassed expectations. They originally put it at 72 percent but later backtracked, saying possibly 8 million had voted, or just over 60 percent of registered voters.

The government had set a target of at least 50 percent of Iraq's 13 million registered voters as the barometer of success.

With foreign monitors mostly staying away for fear of kidnapping, it was impossible to assess the fairness of the election or accuracy of the turnout estimates.

But edging toward an international stamp of approval, Carlos Valenzuela, the U.N.'s electoral adviser in Iraq, said he was encouraged by early indications.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan assured Iraq of further U.N. help in drawing up a constitution, a process which he said must include all those who were unable or unwilling to cast a ballot.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's chief ally in the Iraq war, said the election was a blow to global terrorism.

He praised British troops -- about 10 and possibly as many as 15 -- killed when a Hercules transport plane came down near Baghdad. Details were sketchy but it was the costliest incident for the British armed forces in two years of fighting in Iraq.

While Bush, Blair and others made links between their own military commitments and the success of the election, European governments which opposed the 2003 invasion, notably France and Germany, confined their praise to the courage of Iraqis.

LIKELY WINNER

A Shi'ite alliance formed under the guidance of top cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was almost certain to win the most votes for a 275-seat parliament that will pick Iraq's new leaders. Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, could be consensus candidate to stay in office.

As the vote count proceeded, however, there was concern that an apparently low turnout among Iraq's 20 percent Sunni minority could damage the credibility of the first post-Saddam election.

Voters created an almost festive atmosphere in Shi'ite areas and the northern regions where Kurds, who make up nearly a fifth of Iraqis, are looking to the vote to enshrine their autonomous rule. But many Sunnis stayed home. (Kurds + Shia = 3/5's of the Iraqi population. ~ Ed)

In Samarra, streets were largely deserted and fewer than 1,400 ballots were cast by a population of 200,000. "Nobody came. People were too afraid," said Madafar Zeki, in charge of a polling centre in the mostly Sunni city.

By the end of the day in Baghdad, voters were rushing to get to polling stations before they closed, including some old women helped along by young boys.
It's quite clear that Matt Spetalnick (the Reuters correspondent) tried to tell this story from an unbiased perspective. Then his editors got a hold of it, and changed the headline to suit their agenda.

Kim Beazley, the perfect man for the job

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If the job is hurling his party's election prospects into the abyss.

No, I'm not being ungenerous. The man's completely out of his depth. He's existing in some kind of alternate universe. How else can you explain his opening remarks after being (re)elected unopposed to the Captainship of the Titanic?

Fourth paragraph down, nothing of substance yet discussed beyond credit-taking for the Liberal Party's outstanding economic credentials:
We have sharp differences also with this Government on the issue of sustainable development - and that’s exemplified by this Government’s refusal to adopt the Kyoto Protocol.
That's right, on the eve of the Iraqi elections, one of the defining moments of this decade (if not the century) the man wants to bleat about Kyoto.

Education is next, followed by lots of feelgood mumbling about health and children.

The whole speech goes by, no mention of Iraq. Only in question time is the subject broached:
Mr Beazley, is Labor prepared to call for the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq after the imminent election?

A couple of things. Firstly, there’s an election going on in Iraq and I wish them well with that election. I think being realistic, it’ll be more successful in some parts of the country than others. I think we need, as Australians, to start making some clear arguments to our American friends.
Our American friends. You wouldn't imagine so much distain could be squeezed successfully into such an otherwise innocuous statement, would you?

But it isn't Kim's scorn I'm worried about. It's his increasingly tenuous hold on reality. He's starting to wander into the Paul McGeough territory of the left:
The clearest argument we have to make to our American friends is this: you must not become involved in a long running civil war in Iraq, full stop. Should you become involved in a long running civil war in Iraq you will undermine the international fight against fundamentalist terror and you will not see yourselves in a position where you can take up the issues of weapons of mass destruction spread wherever else it’s occurring. We have to be very clear cut on that.
Yes, one ought to be clear-cut and forthright about their fits of delusion. Kim, there is no civil war in Iraq, let alone a "long running civil war". Even bloody Robert Fisk has admitted it!

Somebody had better let him down gently. He seems to have rather fondly embraced the fantasy:
So, you just pull out of Iraq and allow it to dissolve into civil war without any support from the coalition?

Understand what I’m saying. You’re going to have to get used to a more complicated debate on Iraq, my friend. I’m saying to the Americans this, and it doesn’t matter what I say, it’s what the Australian Government should say: when this election’s over, don’t get involved in a civil war. Wherever your troops are placed, do not be involved in a civil war in Iraq because if you are you will be massively debilitated. I feel for them on that. It is not the situation that we want to see obtained. The time has come for a bit of maturity in the debate in this country on this issue.
That's right, my friend. When speaking to hysterical multi-election-losing maniacs, expect things to be a little more complicated.
(When would you) withdraw Australian troops, Mr Beazley?

As far as I’m concerned about Australian troops, understand this: we’ve got diplomats there. The diplomats are not where they should be. The diplomats should have been in the green zone by now and the Government should have been pressed persistently by all those with influence in the political process of Australia to get the Australian diplomats into the green zone and the Australian troops who protect them. While there are Australian diplomats in Iraq Australian troops are needed to protect them. But they are not where they should be.

What we should be talking about is not what that commitment is doing, but what the direction of American policy should be and what allied policy should be. And the Americans must not permit themselves - the Australian Government must argue with the Americans - they must not permit themselves to be dragged into a long running civil war.
This scaremongering halfwit was a former defence minister of this nation, and he doesn't know the difference between smoldering ethnic division and the deliberate exchange of firepower.

Lefty Lunacy Alert

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Mr Lefty's head hurts.

But I suppose it often does, when faced with a serious moral question, even one that he himself is not faced with, but instead a foreign population that has been oppressed for decades, and has only just now experienced a free and fair election with an extremely high participation rate.

But Mr Lefty's not happy, as I said. Let's see what he's glum about, boys and girls:
I have to say, it would have been a pretty tough call deciding what to do in Iraq last weekend, if you were an Iraqi.

On the one hand - bonus! Elections! A first step out of an eternity of being ruled by brutal dictators.

On the other hand - well, it's not really much of an election. You don't know the names of many of the candidates, let alone what they actually stand for. And whoever gets in isn't actually going to be in charge of Iraq, anyway - the US will still be making all the tough decisions (which US multinational should be in charge of this aspect of Iraq?).

And then, there's a big chance of dying in order to exercise what is really not much of a choice.

So - risk dying for the symbolism of supporting the idea of democracy, even if it isn't the reality... or just take the pragmatic self-preserving option of waiting until there actually is a democracy worth voting for?

As I said, tough call.
It's all a sham, I say so based upon no supporting evidence whatsoever, so all Iraqis should blow their brains out in despair, because it's all too hard, there aren't enough rainbows, Howard was re-elected along with the Chimp, and hard drugs are still illegal.

Go over to Mr Lefty's site and give him a hug. While you're doing that, I'll sneak up behind him and stick a needle filled with Thorazine in his butt.

"It's a blowjob or starvation, honey"

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Am I talking about callous, cold, cruel America, where women are forced to prostitute themselves because of that country's reptilian avoidance of social security?

Nah. I'm talking about Socialism Central. Germany:
A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.
The report doesn't say much for German morality. What's also interesting is what it tells us about the state of German intellect:
The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.
To think that it's the same continent that once produced the "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi.

Deep Democratic Thoughts From Democratic Underground

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Yes, these really are quotes. No, the people making them aren't really human.

* On the civilian-head-loppers for God:
I can't help but view them that way when I know the horrors that they're fighting against. They're not perfect--a resistance never is--but they're fighting against people who have pillaged their country, established a puppet government, and will most definitely steal their country's natural resources for years to come. They're fighting for the right side in this batte(sic), as much as it hurts to say that as an American.

We have to stand up for what's right, regardless of what other people think, and regardless of the cost. Compromise is what has led us to this point with the Chimp in control. We can't back down. The more we back down--and the more we applaud at all what they do there--the more they will take from us.
Yeah, stand up for those innocent Jihadists! They're the victims here, after all.

* On the integrity of the democratic process in Iraq:
And I guess you really buy that this whole thing is about democracy?

Argue one way this isn't classic colonism?(sic)
I personally wouldn't go that far. I'd hold back at classic liver or kidneyism.

* On the selfless actions of American servicepeople, giving up their jobs, time with their families (and often their lives) for a free Iraq:
Such fucking bullshit. Meanwhile, a neighbor of mine left for Iraq this morning, no doubt to spread as much "freedum" as possible before he's gunned down.
No high-handed sneering there.

* On the high Iraqi voter turnout that leftist commentators assured us wouldn't occur:
I wonder if the high numbers are just Allawi and Chimp spin? Anyone see any non-US sources reporting numbers different than the American media has been talking about?
I have. Is Canada still not sufficiently non-American? Try Turkey.

* On what it's like to be stupid, disillusioned and vaguely treacherous:
All the media keeps talking about is how happy the Iraqis are, how high turnout was, and how "freedom" has spread to Iraq. I had to turn off CNN because they kept focusing on the so-called "voters" and barely mentioned the resistance movements at all. Where are the freedom fighters today? Are their voices silenced because some American puppets cast a few ballots?

I can't believe the Iraqis are buying into this "democracy" bullshit. They have to know that the Americans don't want them to have power, because they know that Bush is in this for the oil, and now that he finally has it he's not going to let it go. This election is a charade. The fact is that the Iraqis have suffered during the past two years more than any people on earth at the hands of the American gestapo. Maybe they're afraid and felt they had to vote. That's the only way I can explain it to myself.
If there were any justice in this world whatsoever, this fucking jerk would have died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz or Dachau, instead of some insightful Jewish person who might have otherwise elucidated for him the real differences between US soldiers and members of Himmler's secret police.

Because a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

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Dhimmi reports gaily on increased Euro-Dhimmitude

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This is getting absurd. How long are these blinkered lefty morons going to keep bowing toward Mecca?
Van Gogh festival film withdrawn

Murdered director Theo van Gogh's controversial film Submission has been pulled from the Rotterdam Film Festival because of security fears.

It was one of three of his works to be shown as part of a freedom of expression event in tribute to the late film-maker's life.

The film is critical of the treatment of women under Islam. Its TV screening is thought to have led to his murder.

The 10-day Dutch festival begins on Wednesday.

Submission was made with liberal Somali-Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali and was due to be shown on 30 January.

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in November 2004 several months after receiving death threats following Submission's first broadcast on Dutch television.

Two of Van Gogh's other films will be shown as planned, including the theatrical world premiere of his last feature 06/05.
What's next? The banning of all foods that Muslims cannot eat? Or how about alcohol (oops, I forgot that Islamists are a bunch of drunken hypocrites who generally ignore Allah's will on that particular topic) or women's clothing? Really, where is the line to be drawn? If one thing isn't going to be shown for fear of either harming Muslim sensitivities, or provoking them into (yet another) bloodbath for God, then why don't we all just fucking well get it over with, slap our women into Burkhas, scrap all of our terribly inferior and offensive westernization, and become good little believers?

And get a load of the way the BBC correspondent dances around the crux of the story. No analysis whatsoever. This was supposedly a series of films shown as a tribute to Van Gogh, and the Krauts left out the film that got him killed. Relevance aside, just from reading that Beeb article, you'd never know that the murder was in any way connected with Submission, aside from the painfully vague allusion to a connection between his murder and death threats regarding the film.

His Muslim murderers aren't mentioned, and neither are the Muslims who are the cause for German celluloid trepidation.

Pathetic. If this keeps up, we deserve to be conquered.

Al-Zarqawi's gamble

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"Foreign bombers behind Baghdad blasts" reads the headline.

TWO of the suicide bombers who staged attacks in Baghdad during the Iraqi election were Syrian and Chechen, an interior ministry source said today.

The source also said some attackers had been detained during the day. "We have arrested some people, but I cannot give figures or nationalities."

Several suicide bomb attacks, most by individuals who carried belts packed with explosives toward polling stations and other targets, were carried out during the election.
Well, the 'insurgency' is now very much looking like it's all over bar the shouting. The Iraqi people are now informing on the terrorists in greater and greater numbers, and the reason why appears to be a relatively simple one. A high-stakes game, al-Zarqawi gambled the farm. Unable to meet the Marines in open conflict, increasingly harried and stretched, the Jihadis turned on the only target they could tackle with any real success: they declared war on the Iraqi people.

The strategy was an obvious one. By upping the hardship suffered by the people themselves, they knew they could rely on the Western media (the Vietnam example no doubt uppermost in their minds) to do exactly as they did: harangue us with images, both real and verbal, of how badly everything was going, how wrong it all was, and how unwelcome the coalition's efforts truly were. The idea, of course, was to see GWB hurled out of office, the obvious result being a steady weakening of US resolve until they finally withdrew altogether. As was widely predicted, this would have been a tremendous win for the terrorists.

Game: Jihadis.

However, al-Zarqawi's gamble started coming badly unstuck the moment GWB was re-elected POTUS. And what made his gamble all the more heady was that the Iraqi people themselves were beginning to realise that his real war, the one of bullets, knives, bombs and blood, was actually with them, not the coalition military.

With the US election result, al-Zarqawi's bid for the hearts and minds of the West had failed where it counted. However, in their desperate bid to win this all-important Western campaign, he and his crew had, as a direct consequence, already comprehensively lost the hearts and minds campaign where, given the US election result, it now counted the most: on the ground in Iraq.

Game: Western coalition.

The group of Iraq's al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed overnight it had carried out 13 suicide attacks to "spoil the party". The Internet statement could not be independently verified.
This was al-Zarqawi's best and last shot. His last stand is yet to come.

Who wants to bet it will be an Iraqi bullet that takes him out?

Why We Are There

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I'm not sure who may or may not have seen this but for those who continue to ask why the Coalition is in Iraq may I direct you here. The slideshow was created by Adam Keiper and the background music used by him is Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man". I trust it will answer your questions.

(cross-posted to Rite Turn Only)

A message

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To all the terrorists and their sympathisers who opposed the democratisation of Iraq:



Congratulations to the Iraqi people for refusing to succumb to threats. A warning to Australians -- the enemies of democracy are not just in Iraq, they're here as well.

Police believe tension surrounding the Iraqi election sparked a big brawl in western Sydney last night.

They say up to 100 people were involved in the brawl at Auburn. Several shots were fired, which hit the front of a shop and two parked cars.
This is the same area in which Islamic fundamentalists earlier tried to intimidate Iraqi voters.

Paul Mcgeough

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People, what's with this fellow, last I heard about him was maybe 6 months ago, or was it a year. Last night I heard him reporting from Baghdad on the SBS evening news, I was truly surprised to see his name, I had to blink a few times to make sure I'm not seeing things.

The last I heard anything regarding Paul was when he was running out of Iraq, screaming hysterically that Iyad Allawi had executed some insurgents in cold blood and the Americans were there and something about Human Rights, fair trial etc. Then he fled the country saying he feared for his life, flak jacket and all, that Allawi's henchmen would be out to get him and the Americans were also closing in on Paul, all very conspiratorial, kind of like he was escaping from east berlin with the secret police hot on his heels.

Nothing ever came of it, Allawi like the Americans was unaware and oblivious to these rantings.

Since his daring escape, Iraq has not been taken over by old Europe and the UN or something, Allawi and his American goons/henchmen with silenced weapons are still there. But he's back in Iraq, bravely bringing us the 'truth'.

PM blasts 'irrational, unfair' Europeans

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John Howard has lashed out at "old Europe", describing criticism of the US as "unfair and irrational", as global tensions grow over the Iraq war and free trade. During a vigorous panel debate on US global relations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several European officials attacked President George W. Bush's Iraq policy, but Mr Howard stood up to defend his ally.

Earlier in the summit, Mr Howard attacked the European Union over the reintroduction of wheat export subsidies, which he said harmed underdeveloped nations and were contrary to free trade. "Some of the criticism (of the US) by some of the Europeans is unfair and irrational," the Prime Minister said in the panel debate, organised by Britain's BBC TV.

"I mean, the negative mindset of the last five minutes (of this debate) is ridiculous – of course America has made mistakes," he said. Later Mr Howard told The Australian he found the European "irrational level of anti-Americanism" perplexing. "It is a sign of parochialism and it is disturbingly intense."

He said the BBC debate "was based on an anti-American mindset which was established right at the beginning by the moderators from the BBC". Mr Howard said anti-Americanism had already affected world co-operation.

"But it is very important to remember it is confined to sectors of Europe – not all Europeans . . . There remains in Britain some of the old jealousies that have always been there. I found the French and German attitude has lingered longer than I thought it might, and longer than is in anyone's interests."

More, thanks to The Australian

MathewK -

Recently I watched a documentary on local tv network SBS, about the conspiracy theory of Sept 11. Apparently many in France and Germany readily accepted that Sept. 11 was an American conspiracy. One person, who wisely did not buy the fairy tale, said many Germans still cannot accept that a "gum chewing negro from Nebraska" saved them from facism.

When was the last legitimate election held in Iraq, 50 years ago, when last were the people free to protest, when last were they allowed to talk freely, choose freely? The American Soldier was named TIME's person of the year, the American soldier, God bless them, brought freedom to Afghanistan, then to Iraq. The Europeans met at flash venues in Europe, with beautiful backdrops, arriving in expensive German cars, sharing tea and croissants, fine wines and swiss chocolates, they debated and argued, made passionate speeches, slammed their fists into tables, voted and vetoed, criticized, argued the high ground, the morals, the future, the past, if this but that, maybe, plans, blue prints, public opinion, peace, lobby... it would have gone on and on.

Meanwhile the swaggering Texan, who believes in God, attends church, not well educated in fashion and culture and history and geography, decided enough was enough, no more asking the UN to help or to do something, enough waiting for approval that would never come from across the seas. The ships were loaded up, the marines started packing, the planes were readied, friends and allies were welcomed, the squealing and shouting and calls of doom and gloom were ignored. The march was on.

Freedom was once again brought by the American Soldier chewing his gum, driving the gas guzzling humvee and waving the American Flag. I don't think Iraqis or Afghans care much about 'old europe' and their educated opinions, on the ground its not 'old europe' that is fighting the bastards with bombs strapped to them or rats like Zarqawi who would gladly take everyone to hell with them in the name of their twisted beliefs.

50 years from now Iraqis and Afghans will raise their glasses and tell their children of a dusty, gum chewing American in a busted up Humvee, that brought them their freedom.

Lone Picture

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One of the few positive pictures on the Iraqi elections you'll find running on the wire services:


Iraqi immigrant Marwa Sadik from Seattle celebrates before casting her vote in Iraq's election at the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005. The Independent Iraqi Electoral Commission is allowing Iraqi immigrants living in 14 countries to vote by absentee ballot. Overseas voting continues through Sunday, which is Election Day in Iraq itself.

Winds of Freedom

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Now that the polls in Iraq have closed this election will undoubtedly be analyzed to death. However one thing is for certain, this election was a resounding success, not for the number of people who participated but for the fact it even occurred at all.

For too long the Iraqi people lived under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. For too long the Iraqi people went about their day-to-day business mindful of what they said in public lest it be heard by a member of one of the feared security apparatuses. Life was not easy under such conditions but many were too afraid to do anything about it.

There will be those who will try to trivialize the results of this election to further their own agenda. They will argue that voter turnout was too low. They will argue that democracy can never succeed in a Muslim nation for the Koran is the ultimate law. To the people of Iraq, this election is anything but trivial. One only has to read the stories. Are tales of soldiers carrying the elderly to the polling stations trivial? Are reports of eager voters standing in huge line-ups trivial? What about the thousands of folk who made the trek between Abu Ghraib and Gazaliyah, a 13 mile walk?

Being an armchair quarterback is easy. Being a naysayer is even easier. The bottom line is that these people risked everything to participate in an event that will shape the future of their country. Most of them have never experienced democracy but have heard the stories. Under the threat of violence and death they openly defied the criminal Abu Musab al-Zaqari and casually strolled to the polling stations, chanting and singing all the way. They are no longer afraid.

Ruthless dictators like Hussein do their best to isolate their people from the rest of the world. It is an exercise in futility in a world that is becoming smaller each day. Thanks in large part to technology such as the internet, satellite television, radio etc people have been exposed to the outside world and many like what they have seen. Remember Tiannemin Square? Remember the student protests in Iran? Remember the massive protests in Ukraine against the tainted election? I could go on. The point is the Iraqi people may have lived under oppression but they are not stupid. They realize that for the first time in their lives they can make a difference. They now have a voice in building a better future for themselves and their children and that future looks bright.

I'm not naive enough to think life will be a bed of roses from this point on. There will be more attacks and there will be more deaths. The terrorists will do everything they can to undermine the new government. The biggest battle to date has been won but the war is not over. There remains much to accomplish but the Iraqi people have taken a giant first step towards a better future. The people of Iraq are now the masters of their own destiny. I salute them and wish them well.

(cross-posted to Rite Turn Only)

No To Democracy! Yes To Tyranny And Terrorism!

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Some Leftists sure don't mind making it clear where their preferences are. First from Spain:


People shout slogans during a protest in central Madrid January 30, 2005. Marchers were protesting Iraq holding national elections under what they called U.S occupation. At least 10 suicide attacks targeted polling stations and voters on Sunday, but Iraqis still voted in large numbers.
And in the Phillipines, more stupid unattractive people being loud in support of terrorists:


A Filipino protester shouts slogans during a rally in front of the US embassy in Manila on Sunday Jan. 30, 2005. The demonstrators said that the elections in Iraq will not bring stability and security to the country without the pullout of US presence.
Nice to have these totalitarians out of the "harmless socialist" closet.

The polls have closed in Iraq

We'll start with the good news, from CNN:
Polls have closed in Iraq's first free election in a half century, with the independent election commission reporting a 72 percent turnout of registered voters nationwide by mid-afternoon amid attacks and threats of attacks to disrupt the vote.

The commission's Adil Al-Lami and Safwat Rashid did not release figures for Iraq's largest province, al-Anbar -- west of Baghdad, including Falluja and Ramadi -- or the northwestern Nineveh province, which includes Mosul.

"There has been a vast turnout in Iraq," Rashid said.

"The news is freedom has won," Al-Lami said. "We have conquered terrorism."
72% of people voted? Remember that the highest voter turnout of the last 36 years in the United States brought out 60% of the eligible voting population. Andrew Sullivan would call that a success:
Here are my criteria: over 50 percent turnout among the Shia and Kurds, and over 30 percent turnout for the Sunnis. No massive disruption of voting places; no theft of ballots. Fewer than 500 murdered.
Or would he?
My revised criteria: 45 percent turnout for Kurds and Shia, 25 percent turnout for the Sunnis, under 200 murdered. No immediate call for U.S. withdrawal.
No, I don't think he would, although he's not overly clear:
Success is 80 percent turnout in--in most of the regions, extremely enthusiastic voting among the Kurds and the Shias, and better than expected among the Sunnis.
That Sullivan guy sure makes a lot of sense. Anywhere, where was I heading with this? Ah yes - a poll taken recently by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning gave some interesting results:
72.4 % of all of those polled said they would participate in the elections.

97% of Iraqis in Kurdistan said they would participate in the elections.

96% of Iraqis in the southern provinces (mainly Sheeit [Shia] areas) said they would participate in the elections.

33% of Iraqis in the central provinces (Sunni Area) said they would participate in the elections.
Now, 72% of people did end up voting, and Zogby claims that only 9% of Sunnis were going to vote. So we can say pretty safely that since the number of Kurds and Shi'ite Muslims voting can't go up too much higher, and they make up the majority of voting areas, so therefore if the polling numbers are even vaguely accurate (and they appear to be the most accurate polls since the American exit polls of, erm, umm, nevermind), the Iraqi election is a resounding success under Sullivan's first two sets of criteria, and is a comfortable success by the other.

When Andrew Sullivan gets out of bed, we'll see how he judges the election - and since even Reuters and AP can't bury the success that is the 2005 Iraq election, Sullivan doesn't look like he's got any choice but to realise he underestimated the will for democracy among most of Iraq.

But while the election created one big winner (the vast majority of the Iraqi people), it created a few losers in the media and the anti-Bush left. They claimed the Afghanistan elections would be delayed, and they were wrong. They claimed the Iraq elections either should or would be delayed, and they were wrong on both counts. They thought people wouldn't embrace democracy, and they were wrong. It doesn't leave many more places for the left to be wrong.

(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)

Study with the Terrorists

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Origin. Fathom the concept. Origin. (Pause). O-ri-gin.
What forms does the concept of origin take as it progresses and changes? How does its changing character affect the constitution of life? What are the historical and (bio)political conditions of the transformation of origin? What are the sites of precariousness and potentiality to which this progression gives rise?... blah blah blah.
Those readers who are Down Under are probably kicking themselves every day at the fact that they miss out on the chance to sit at the feet of Europe's great thinkers, like Deleuze and Baudrillard. But fret no more. Sydney University are holding a conference called Physiognomy of Origins: Multiplicities, (oooh!) Bodies (ooh-err!) and Radical Politics (right on!).
This conference brings together two key figures in the contemporary reconsideration of the concept of origin. Radical theorist and activist, Antonio Negri has introduced a materialist perspective on the concept of origin through his investigations of constituent power and multitudes. Italian feminist philosopher, Adriana Cavarero has been engaged in reconceiving origin through the thought of sexual difference, an ethics of embodiment and more recently, the politics of vocal expression.
There's a kind of genius at work, I have to concede, in defining yourself as being engaged in the "politics of vocal expression".

But what's that whining I hear? You're not an academic, just a disgruntled placard-waver who inexplicably shakes with rage whenever the name John Howard is mentioned? Don't worry, this conference is not about exclusion:

The event is also open to non-academic participants whose practice (creative and/or political) relates to the broad themes of the conference.
If you've got a body, or at least a physiognomy, you're in.

And excitement is guaranteed. Negri, co-author of Empire, 2000's must-read (or must-have - let's be honest, not even the acolytes bother reading this stuff all the way through) for faux-highbrow hard-leftists, is no armchair theorist. He's a man of action, a man from the hard world of Italian politics and, er... terrorism.

Says Roger Kimball:

Antonio Negri was an architect of the infamous Red Brigades, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist group. In 1979, he was arrested and charged with "armed insurrection against the state" and seventeen murders, including the murder of the Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro, who was kidnapped in 1978 and shot dead fifty-five days later, his body dumped in a car. Negri did not actually pull the trigger. But, as David Pryce-Jones noted in an excellent article about Empire in the September 17 number of National Review, "The Italian authorities had no doubt that Negri was ultimately responsible. Just before Moro was shot dead, someone telephoned his distraught wife to taunt her, and that person was identified at the time as Negri." He fled to Paris, where he struck up friendships with Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and other specimens of enlightenment. He eventually returned to Italy and negotiated a sharply reduced sentence for "membership in an armed band."

There is nothing in Empire to suggest that Negri has had second thoughts about his activities in the Red Brigades. On the contrary, whenever violent insurrection is mentioned, it is praised. In an op-ed piece published in The New York Times in July, Hardt and Negri congratulated the violent protesters in Genoa who took to the streets this summer when world financial leaders met there.

Sydney University is to be congratulated for moving beyond people who murder language to bring us people who also murder... well, liberty, at least. Everything else is an unproven allegation, says my lawyer.

Origin. Fathom the concept.

(Via Jim Franklin's Wackiest Academic Web Sites


More: Johann Hari interviewed Negri for The Independent last year. Negri kept pretty schtum about whatever he may or may not have done in the 70's. There's a 1979 discussion about Negri's possible links with murdering terrorists in the New York Review, and in the letters pages. The David Pryce-Jones article that Kimball mentioned is here. See also the Marxist journal What Next on this.

Cross-posted at Blithering Bunny.

Update: One of The Sydney Morning Herald's sane columnists, Miranda Devine, has caught up with this story. And there's more, courtesy of a "disgruntled academic":

Meanwhile, a disgruntled arts insider has provided me with the faculty's list of required "graduate attributes" and offered translations.

Graduates must: "Work effectively in teams and other collaborative contexts." Translation: code for accepting the prevailing view.

Graduates must: "Be informed and open-minded about social, cultural and linguistic diversity in Australia and the world." Translation: code for must be pro-multiculturalism.

Graduates must: "Create new modes of understanding." Translation: code for the postmodernist method of arguing incoherently and without evidence.

Graduates must: "Be aware that knowledge is not value-free." Translation: see above.


A version of this update also cross-posted at Blithering Bunny.

Moves Afoot

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A Western Heart has been recruiting behind the scenes, and we've already enrolled a breathtaking lineup of raw, earthshaking blog talent (I sould like an ad for WWF Wrestling, I know).

From Australia there's fearsome new blogtalent Leigh Cartwright. I've been fortunate enough to follow his development over time, and it's been worth it. Leigh isn't just a blogger. He's far more than that, and it comes across in his writing. He's twice as passionate as any peace-molesting tree-embracing mushroom-gathering ecologist, only he's actually passionate about the right things. He also has balls. Big ones. He doesn't just write about what he believes, he defends it. Where there is a gathering of stupid feral people, he's there, and all the while telling them: "Hey, you know, you're kinda feral and stupid."

Also from Australia is Steve Edwards. Besides being perhaps the most erudite blogger in this country, he also currently holds claim to the Guinness record for the slowest typing up of a profile that Mike can use to put on the goddamned site, in the world. It's quite a feat.

At long last, we have another UK correspondent, so Monica won't have to look quite so lonely on the profile list. Scott Campbell is in a class of his own. He's contributed to professional publications since before he was born, telepathically using his mother like one of those alien creatures that... well... like to use our bodies... 'n stuff.

And at even longer last, is Len Kutchma. The man's magnificent. Defiantly living the life of a conservative in liberal-held Canada, I feel a close kinship with this man that has little or nothing to do with the fact that now, finally, I'll only have to endure about 50% of the cruel moustache jokes that are callously flung at me. Len, heroically hurling yourself before me is an act of unprecedented magnificence, and by golly, I'm not aboot to forget it, aye?

Mean imitations of Canadian accents aside, these are all good people, and great bloggers. So be nice to them, or Sherry will get you.

Is : Was : Could Be : Should Be

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We humans are incredibly complex creatures when looked at as individuals - yet similar enough when looked at as an aggregated group to make some broad generalisations.

In my new MD role (ahhhhh ... yeeeessss ... NOW we understand why she's been too busy to post), I have a pretty far-ranging job spec - including ensuring that communication channels are established and working in a company. This means a lot of listening in to conversations and seeing where they're going wrong and WHY. You could say that a good part of my job is to eavesdrop - but I promise it's done for the forces of good.

Now, there was a rather interesting conversation going on a couple of days ago - it was actually during a lunch break and it wasn't really about work, but it's dynamics were such a perfect illustration of what can go really, really wrong in human interaction that I found myself thinking about it for a long time afterward.

Two people were talking about something. They didn't have opposing views on the topic, yet they almost had an argument about it. How?

Well, I have a theory and the theory comes about from a story...


:: IS

A while ago I came across a person who insisted on communicating in a completely one-dimensional way. No matter where a conversation went on any topic, he would always bring it back to how things were right now. So, for example, I would talk about the kind of political system I would like to see in Australia one day and he would keep coming back to what was in force at the time. I would talk about a business and what kind of strategy I saw for it in the future and he would keep reminding me what was in place at the moment. I would talk about the weekend, hoping for great weather - and he would look outside and comment on the current clouds - I think you all get the picture.

He couldn't actually fantasize, imagine or extrapolate to some future date and talk to me about something that wasn't concrete reality today.

He was so exceptional, so very consistently one-dimensional in his mode of communication, in fact, that I gave his mode a name ('Is'), and started to notice those times when other people did the same thing. Others (thankfully) didn't stay in just one mode, so I was able to differentiate four different modes in common conversation.


:: WAS

Some - especially those inclined toward an enjoyment of things historical - can consistently bring the conversation back to what 'was'. They have an absolute wealth of knowledge (usually detailed, including dates and names) of everything that has preceeded a certain event or time and are more than willing to share it at every opportunity. They add depth to any discussion by helping people understand what has come before to shape the reality of today.


:: COULD BE

This is the mode of thought and communication reserved for dreaming about something that isn't concrete reality now. Some people are really quite wonderful at imagining worlds, places, events and things that haven't happened and describing them in breathtaking detail. This is the mode of communication used by thinkers, philosophers, inventors and those politicians that still remember what they're paid for.


:: SHOULD BE

Moralizers are characterised by diverting to this mode of communication often. Everything comes back to what 'should be' according to their particular credo, code or belief system. I have to admit that I've been guilty of this one myself, especially when talking about philosophical or political matters.



So what happened during that lunch break that has anything to do with this? Simple - one person was in 'is' mode and the other was in 'should be'. The topic around which this conversation is centered isn't even important....the dynamic is all that matters:

Could be: You know, I was thinking - wouldn't it be wonderful if...[x]...??
Is: You can't do that.
Could be: What?
Is: You just can't, the necessary technology isn't available.
Could be: Yes, but it will be one day.
Is: But it's not available now.
Could be: Sure, I know that, but it would just be so cool...
Is: (technical reason for current impossibility)
Could be: That doesn't matter!
Is: Sure it does - it makes it impossible.

...ad nauseum (well, actually ad finitum luncheon).

Cue slighly growly end to conversation - for no particular reason other than the two people don't see they're just coming at the same idea from two different places and with two very different needs from the conversation. 'Is' just wants a confirmation that they're right, where 'could be' wants someone to bounce ideas off and perhaps a small pat on the head for thinking of them in the first place. (And before the comments go up - this is just a cartoon-like extrapolation of the gist of this conversation - both these people are highly, highly intelligent and express themselves rather more eloquently.)

I'm not sure if I'm right - there may be a better way of dividing up modes of communiation - but I've not yet found a better tool for understanding some of the pettier, sillier arguments that people have.

In the end, I think it's healthy (and SO much more interesting) for a person to be able to smoothly and frequently switch between these modes when conversing. In fact, I do wonder if it's one of the ways to consciously become a more interesting person and a far better communicator. Certainly, understanding these modes has helped me to avoid silly disputes over - quite literally - nothing.

I realise that this isn't my usual posting fare, but it's what's taking up a lot of my thought processes once more and I'll keep sharing it in a general manner in the hope that some people find it interesting.

M

A new dawn

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The seeds of democracy have been planted in Iraq as her citizens turn out in numbers to vote amid scattered violence.

I could have placed a picture of a voter here but instead I thought we should remember who stands to benefit the most as this unfolds.



Iraqi children crowd around a U.S. Army soldier taking snapshots in Mosul

check out Friends of Democracy for election updates and information.

Rubbing It In

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Just a little:
HUMAN EVENTS has learned that a billboard blitz "thanking" Hollywood for the reelection of President Bush will be unveiled early next week.


The advertisements feature the faces of liberal Hollywood icons Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Martin Sheen, Chevy Chase, Barbara Streisand, and Sean Penn, and offer thanks to Hollywood their help getting President Bush reelected.

Two versions of the billboard were created, both "thanking" Hollywood -- the first for "4 more years" and the second for "W. Still President."

Billboard creator Citizens United, a group that advocates a return to traditional American values, has purchased the use of three billboards near the Kodak Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) for the month of February, which includes Oscar Night, Sunday, February 27.

Asked about the campaign, Citizens United President David Bossie said, "We're taking on Hollywood. We've done it in the past." Of the organization's many actions, one of its most famous challenges to Hollywood was Celsius 41.11, a documentary exposing "the truth behind the lies of Fahrenheit 9/11," the Michael Moore anti-Bush mock-umentary.
It's a thing of beauty.

Muslim Peace Pact

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Honoured by its Muslim signatories in the manner most common to the Religion of Peace: by bombing all hell out of the non-Muslims as soon as international attention is elsewhere:
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The Sudanese air force bombed a town in western Sudan this week killing or wounding 100 people and forcing thousands to flee, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday.

An African Union (AU) source said earlier that Sudanese officials had prevented AU monitors from investigating the death and damage caused by the aerial bombing. The attack violated a shaky cease-fire with rebels which AU observers are monitoring.

U.N. spokeswoman Radhia Achouri quoted the AU as saying Sudan's air force had bombed the town of Shangil Tobaya, near el-Fasher, capital of North Darfur, on Wednesday.

"(The African Union) said there are around 100 casualties. They are not talking about a specific death toll," she told Reuters in Cairo by telephone from Khartoum.
Probably because they can't count that high.

Oh, and get a load of this forceful nugget from the head of the all-powerful world body:
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was "deeply disturbed" by the attack, his spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
Whoa! Look out! That Kofi's a hellcat. I'd be worried, if I were Sudan.

No word yet on whether Mr Annan was snowskiing or waterskiing whilst being deeply disturbed.

Sexy UN Goodwill Ambassadors

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Completely pointless, but if you must interact with a 'world body', it might as well be this one.

All Praise The Mighty Wog!

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A Western Heart has received its greatest plaudit yet!

The Venerable Wog has not only linked to us, but also placed us in the hallowed halls of the most highly-esteemed sidebar links!

Eat your hearts out, Samizbloodydata!

Hopefully It'll Be The Same Welcome They Gave Vietnam Vets

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A welcome home is planned today for returning hero of the anti-West set Mamdouh Habib at Bankstown's Paul Keating Park (ain't irony a wunnerful thing?), featuring such luminaries as Kerry Nettle and the usual retinue of rent-a-crowd ratbags.

Unfortunately the returning Anti-Johnny Jihadist wont be there so he can be greeted in the customary manner by the assembled throng (how many do you need for a throng? maybe more than Nettle and a half-dozen acid-fried sixties throwbacks).

Habib is going to be otherwise occupied indulging in a spot of culinary blasphemy, and trying to nut out a way of further screwing taxpayers with his longtime shyster and publicity slut Stephen Hopper, who stands to dip out big-time if the Attorney General continues to refuse to pay Habib something to which he has no entitlement.

Here's a tip- Egypt Air flies out of SKSA three times a week to Cairo.

National Security or National Surrender?

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At last the ALP is coming to the rescue! I mean to say, what on earth would we do without these stalwarts of national security, as they variously stumble their way into any treaty that moves, handing Australian sovereignty to anyone with a European accent who asks for it (actually, any accent that isn't an American one).

Kim Beazley has urged the US to devise an Iraq exit strategy and called on the Howard Government to instantly move Australian diplomats in Baghdad to protect them.
Thanks so much for that, Kim. What ever would we do without your oh-so-earnest advice? I guess it's slightly better than the 'out by Christmas' gem, but may I suggest you throw in some detail of your own, rather than just harping from the sidelines (as usual)? But that's one of the evergreen problems with Labor. They open their mouths and demonstrate just how inadequate they would be as a Government, or they keep their traps firmly shut (because even they know how unpalatable their 'bugger Australia' policies are to the populace at large) and they come across as harping ninnies. It's a problem. Sucks to be a lefty these days, I guess.

Pledging a sharper and tougher approach by Labor. . .
Let me guess: a summit, followed by immediate surrender. . .

Mr Beazley said he was proud and excited to be given the chance to lead the party back to office.
I guess that'll be three strikes, then, given the last effort, Kim. I wonder what clangers he'll come up with this time? Like the Friday afternoon 'let them in' doorstop he gave over the Tampa (a boat load of people about whom we knew only one thing for sure, and that was that we didn't know who the hell they were), directly following which Labor's electoral stocks sank faster than the Titanic. Those pesky voters! How dare they have a better understanding of what national security actually means than the entire Labor party put together! Red necks, each and every one.

At his first press conference after being re-elected leader, Mr Beazley said he was determined to map out clear differences between Labor and the Government, particularly on national security.

Unfortunately, Kim, talking the talk means you also have to walk the walk, something Labor (and Beazley in particular) has, of recent times, conscientiously failed to do.

"What the Australian Government should say to the United States is, when this election's over, don't get involved in a long-running civil war in Iraq," he said.
Absolutely nothing to say here, other than, 'Keep it up, Kim'. This is looking better and better.

Mr Beazley said Australia had to be a straight-talking ally to the US, rather than being a compliant one.
Uh-huh, and he knows what has or has not been said? Oh - silly me - Labor's just so used to shooting its mouth off to anything with a note pad (or a Russian or Chinese accent) that it immediately assumes everyone else must do the same.

Seriously, though, when are these twits going to wake up?

Actually, I hope they never do. The idea of having old 'spineless' in the Lodge is frankly a bother. That goes for their entire crew.

Site Difficulties

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Blogger is living up to its reputation tonight. I've no idea what was wrong, but things seem to have returned to something approaching normality now.

Myself and the AWH staff apologise for the inconvienence.

Thank You, Mr Zarqawi

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Thinking back a small ways, back to the time just after 9-11, there was a lot of soul-searching going on in America. People were asking themselves what they had done to make their nation the subject of the kind of hate that flew crowded passenger jets into even more crowded office buildings.

Some of those people (people who, before 9-11, had their own rather convoluted reasons for disliking America) seized upon this terrible event to ram home the point they'd been anxious to make all along. America is evil, it inspires hatred around the world, and we'd be so much better off if only the nation that defeated Saddam, de-clawed Al Qaeda and keeps China, Russia, Iran and North Korea at bay, was destroyed.

American leaders (for the most part) acted differently. Caught wrong-footed much as everyone else was, they at first struggled to elucidate the enormity of what had happened, and, most importantly, why they thought it had happened at all.

The President, George Walker Bush, spoke simply, as he is wont to do. Unlike some people, it is a trait that I appreciate. He is singularly straightforward in articulation, and guile is ever absent from his responses.

The President believed then as he does now, that the Al Qaeda terrorists committed the atrocity of 9-11 because of one basic motivation. The deep desire to attack the roots of American freedom.

Unsurprisingly, this led sophisticates the world over to bend double with gales of scornful laughter. "Dumbo George" just didn't have the sophistication, he lacked the nuanced understanding that was so very necessary in reaching the predetermined conclusion that the deaths of thousands of civilian Americans were his nation's fault, and by extension, his own. Legacy of greed, ultimate reality check, reap what had been sown... on, and on, and on.

A good example of this eager self-loathing was expressed by Susan Sontag:
The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgement that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed super-power, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?
But was he wrong? I've never believed so. Why? Well, it's a chain of strategic logic. By "freedom" the President was referring to the uniquely democratic processes that make ancilliary rights; such as freedom of speech, right of free assembly, and so on, possible.

9-11 was an aggressive first strike against the greatest threat posed to Wahabbist Islam, not a retaliatory response to economic disparity. In his most early statements, Osama bin Laden repeatedly stressed only one primary demand; the removal of all US Troops from Saudi Arabia. He had watched Clinton turn tail and run from Somalia after the Blackhawk disaster, and had been emboldened, believing that the United States was a paper tiger, an empty superpower. It's quite clear that with the US gone, Osama would have used all of his resources to oust the Saudi royal family, and replace it with a theocracy, most likely with himself at the head. His language has always been grandiose, and his subsequent statements have given his intentions away. He didn't just want Saudi Arabia. That was stage one. Stage two would have involved far more agressive overthrows of secular leaders (using that phrase very, very loosely) around the middle east and North Africa. He has repeatedly talked about reinstating the grand Islamic Caliphate, and the reclaimation of all lands once occupied by Islamic troops. That would include good portions of Italy, Greece, the Balkans, Spain and Austria. He had big plans.

Thanks to George W. Bush and the land he leads, those plans have been, by necessity, modified. But the core of the hatred still remains, and thankfully, at last, it has been spelt out clearly by one of bin Laden's most senior commanders.

This war, Al Qaeda's war, isn't just against America. It is against the concept of Democracy itself:
A suicide car bomb smashed into a checkpoint near the party offices of the Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in Baghdad yesterday, a day after Iraq's most feared and wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared a "fierce war" against democracy.

Two people were killed and 10 wounded in the attack, police and medical sources said. Officials in Mr Allawi's office said the prime minister was not in the area at the time.

Zarqawi's group claimed responsibility for the blast, according to an internet statement.

"A lion of the martyrs' brigade of the al-Qaeda Group in the Land of Two Rivers this morning attacked the headquarters of the Iraq National Accord of Iyad Allawi, the agent of Jews and Christians in Baghdad," said the internet statement.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

On January 3, a suicide car bomber killed three people in an attack on the same checkpoint which blocks the street where Mr Allawi's party has its headquarters.

On Sunday, a speaker identified as Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who tops Washington's wanted list in its drive to stamp out an insurgency, said the poll was a plot by the US and Shiite allies against Sunnis, who were dominant during Saddam Hussein's rule.

"We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it. Those who vote ... are infidels," he said in an internet broadcast.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is almost certainly going to someday succeed bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda, and speaks with bin Laden's authority.

Truth sometimes funnier than fiction

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This leaflet was sent to me from a good friend of AWH, who is currently in Iraq. Apparently, these mini-posters are all over the walls of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC) in Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq:
I can only hope that it doesn't take posters to remind the guards to occasionally give their "esteemed guests" a damn good kicking.

Nothing to see here...

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Arguably the ultimate culmination of the Iraqi War, Sunday's national elections, whilst probably less than perfectly conducted, will be an early litmus test of all coalition efforts thus far.

As usual, the mainstream media is completely switched on, and is going to be where the most vital events of international import are breaking.

Nah, I'm just kidding. They're completely clueless. Nothing else serves to explain the decision by MSNBC producers to devote the full hour of Sunday's "Meet the Press with Tim Russert" to an interview with failed Democratic Presidential candidate, John Kerry.
In his first television interview since the presidential election, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) will appear live on "Meet the Press with Tim Russert" for the full hour this Sunday, January 30, 2005.

The exclusive interview will cover a wide range of topics including the day's historic elections in Iraq, the senator's own trip to the region, his view on Bush's second term agenda, and his plans for his political future.
Sometimes I actually wish that the MSM would at least try to prevent Blogs from completely decimating their readership base.

Daily Quote

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"In the world there is only one party, the party of Allah; all of the others are parties of Satan and rebellion. Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of the rebellion."

~ The intellectual founder of Islamism, Sayyid Qutb, 1957.

AWH Blasted By Al Qaeda Admirer

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We've been demasculated by something that calls itself a "Mexihonky".
Ok, I'm a firm believer that the far left and the far right are equally far out. However, these guys take the cake. They are the western equivalent of Al-Qaeda without any balls.
As we all know, only those people who brutally murder thousands of unarmed women and children qualify as possessing real cohones.

Remind me again, exactly how badly did Santa Ana cry like a woman when he was captured?

UN: Anti-Democracy

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The United States Armed Forces have strived, bled, fought and died to ensure Iraqis the right to self-determination.

But they aren't entitled to help hand out Iraqi voter registration cards, it would seem:
The chief of the U.N. Electoral Assistance Division, Carina Perelli, was asked in a press conference about reports that American troops helped Iraqi officials distribute information on the electoral process to Iraqi citizens, and encouraged them to participate in Sunday's vote.

Ms. Perelli said that U.N. officials spent time "asking, begging military commanders precisely not to do that," but the time has not been well-spent. The Americans were "overenthusiastic in trying to help out with these elections," she said. "We have basically been saying they should try to minimize their participation because this is an Iraqi process."

At the same time, she acknowledged that the U.N. itself is "not happy" with the way information on the election was disseminated. There are 22 U.N. election experts stationed in Baghdad as part of an international group of 40 election workers advising the Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission, she said.

American officials scoffed at the criticism. "There are 150,000 U.S. troops as part of the coalition in Iraq, who are there to do a number of things but primary among them is to help the Iraqis hold their own election," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venable told The New York Sun. He acknowledged Americans helped distribute information on voter registration, but added that it was done at the Iraqi Electoral Commission's request.
That's pretty rich criticism, coming from the UN, who, if I recall correctly, fled Iraq with unseemly haste after one of their higher-ranking bureaucrats was killed.

I think this comes down to one simple fact. The US and its coalition partners have done the UN's job for them, yet again. If the UN doesn't desperately cling to any vague insinuation of American wrongdoing, all that is left to the 'world body' is the act of admitting its complete irrelevance. If that means - by default - opposing the success of the fledgling Iraqi democracy, then so be it.

The right question

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Clarice R. Feldman over at The American Thinker asks it:

Where are the human shields?

You remember the Westerners who flocked to Iraq to "protect" it from America. Now that democracy itself is under attack, why aren't they pouring into Iraq to protect the polling places? Two possible answers:

(a) Because they think the jihadis, unlike the Coalition, will actually try to kill them.
(b) They were willing to risk their lives to save Saddam but not to make a democratic election possible...

Save Saddam? I'm not so sure. Impede the USA? Definitely. These morons believe that they are performing a civic duty in doing so.

In doing so they've impeded the hard-won freedom of millions of Iraqis, but I suppose that's acceptable collateral damage to them.

Want to get laid?

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Buy a coffin from Cisa, the Italian funeral home and coffin factory! Here's an excerpt from their latest commercial product calender.




Bikini models selling coffins in Italy. Now that's what I call true class.

Modern Pakistan

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There's a contradiction in terms. They come across looking so civilized when they're playing cricket, but in reality, the place is just one step away from Taliban-level barbarity.

Don't believe me? Consider this. A female doctor is viciously gang raped. The reaction of the tribal jirga? (local council) Arrest the perpetrators? Hell no.

Kill the victim. She's now impure, you see, and as such, she's a blight on the community:
PESHAWAR: A tribal jirga in Sindh has decided to kill a woman doctor who was allegedly gang raped in Sui to restore the “lost honour” of her tribe, a Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) official told a press conference on Wednesday. PMA President Dr Umer Ayub said the husband and in-laws of the doctor had told him of the jirga or local council’s decision in Gumbat Khairpur. He demanded the members of the jirga be arrested, and the alleged rapists of the doctor be hanged at Minar-e-Pakistan to deter such crimes. He criticised the federal interior minister for not visiting the woman doctor and her family. He also slammed the NWFP Assembly for not condemning the alleged rape.
The Indians never should have permitted these Islamist savages to rule themselves. It's obvious that they aren't capable of it.

Religion of Rational Behaviour

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First they dig up the dead bodies of hundreds of dead Christians. Then they dump the bodies on some waste ground (presumably the plague isn't a big concern to Somalis).

Now they are building a mosque on the cemetery grounds:
Mogadishu - Somali militiamen on Wednesday began building a mosque over an Italian colonial-era cemetery where they prompted outrage by unearthing hundreds of skeletons last week.

The militia, allied with Mogadishu's Islamic courts, brought in construction workers and building materials, and encouraged area residents to come to the site to pray, residents said.

"We are not ready to pray at the location of dead bodies that human beings are harming," resident Abdinasir Hussien said.

The militia dug up hundreds of corpses last week and threw them into a dump near a Mogadishu airport, drawing a strongly worded protest from the Italian government and from residents of the Somali capital....

Some analysts have speculated that the exhumations were a mesage of opposition to the new government, which has warm relations with Rome and is disliked by the Muslim militants who control the courts.

Most of those disinterred were former Italian colonial officials and soldiers.
It's nice to see that not all Somalis think along the lines of the militia, but as long as the Islamists control the courts, it makes little difference.

Obscenity

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Today (posted on the 27th here in the US) marks the 60th anniversary of the liberaiton of the Auschwitz-Birkenau facility in Poland by troops of the Soviet Red Army. Auschwitz was the most notorious of Hitler's death camps, but it was by no means the only locale for this most satanic of outrages.



Aaron Schwartz - a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust, describes a scene from Poland's KZ camp Plaszow that would haunt him for the rest of his time on this earth -

(from Holocaust Testimonies - edited by Joseph J. Priel)

When I came to Plaszow the first day, they put me in a group where we were digging a huge grave...they brought in trucks, with children, from infant to twelve years old. They were all killed...when the children were brought in, they were shot, right in that grave...

One group was bringing, with a wheelbarrow, some chlorine powder and putting on, because there was such a tremendous amount of bodies in those graves...

A little girl, a beautiful blond girl, sat down in the grave, dressed in an Eskimo white fur coat, was all bloody, and asked for a little bit of water...this child swallowed so much blood, because it was shot in the neck. And then it started to vomit so terribly. And then it lay down and it says, "Mother, turn me around, turn me around."

This child did not know what happened to it. It was shot, it was half-dead after it was shot. And this child sat down in the grave, among all the corpses, and asked for water...it was still alive. There was no mother, just children brought from the Cracow ghetto.

So this little girl lay down, and asked to be turned around. What happened to it? I do not know. It was probably covered alive, with chlorine...I am sure, because they did not give another shot to that girl..."
As many as 1.5 million children died in the Holocaust. This little girl was but one of that number, and but one of the more than 6 million men, women, and children whose precious lives - made up of so many memories...games played, hugs and kisses given and received, bedtime stories told and listened to...were coldly, methodically, and mercilessly stamped out by the Nazi regime.

At the height of this obscenity, orders were given at Auschwitz, and the other death camps that, in order to save money and Zyklon-B gas, children be thrown directly into the furnaces without being gassed.

Today, a new wave of anti-semitism flows from the festering center of Islamic radicalism, across "sophisticated" Europe, and into the halls of the United Nations itself. It is sometimes open, but quite often camoflaged - buried in the shadows of a flowery, and utterly disingenuous "anti-Zionism". This repugnant philosophy must never again be permitted to flourish. It can never be allowed to breathe, and its adherents must be driven from our midst, and exposed as the monsters that they are.

This evil can never be allowed to surface again.

Never, never again.

(Cross-posted at Exultate Justi)

Bringing Failed European Socialism To The World

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This seems to be Jacques Chirac's guiding legacy. Not satisfied with glowing achievements like these:
In fact, the growing deficits are the consequences of a large unemployment: In the late 1990s, the unemployment rate remained in the neighborhood of 12%. One of the principal aims of the Jospin government, was to create new jobs by introducing a 35 hours working week and a youth employment scheme. The official jobless rate had fallen, but it was masked by a large increase of subsidized jobs. As a result, unemployment and subsidized jobs represent about 16% of the working population in 2003. More and more social expenses are needed in order to provide the idle people with a living.
Chirac now wants to bring the love of growth-restricting taxation to the entire globe:
French President Jacques Chirac has resurrected his proposal for a global tax to help fight AIDS.

The leaders comments were made via video link at the World Economic Forum's meeting of political and business leaders at the Swiss resort of Davos, reported Agence France-Presse.

Calling it an "experimental" tax, Chirac proposed a levy on airline tickets, some fuels or financial transactions.

According to Chirac, the $6 billion annually now being spent to stem the spread of AIDS is not enough, saying $10 billion is needed.

"We are failing in the face of this terrible pandemic," he told the Davos gathering.

AFP reported that among Chirac's ideas were a "contribution" on international financial transactions, a tax on aviation and maritime fuel, a tax on capital movements in or out of countries that practiced banking secrecy, or a "small levy" such as a dollar on the 3 billion airline tickets sold every year.

"What is striking about these examples," Chirac said, "is the disproportion between the modest efforts required and the benefits everyone would reap from them."

Admitting there is international opposition to such a plan, the French president said, "There is nothing to prevent states from cooperating and coming to an understanding on new resources and their allocation to a common cause."
Anything done to curtail the spread of AIDS is laudible. But it should be done along the American model, and not the European "break any industry, impose any cost" ethos. The idea of a global tax on certain international regimes is unwieldy, unworkable, and will cost more money than it will raise.

The Religion of Big Rocks

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Because Allah cares about the size of rocks that your executioner will hurl at you until you are a bloody smear on the ground:
Conservative estimates by Iranian opposition movements and various human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, put the number of women stoned to death in Iran since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in the neighborhood of fifty. One can only imagine the cases that have gone undetected -- as many Islamic "punishments" are carried out in small and remote villages.

Women sentenced to death by stoning are buried in the ground up to their necks. Iranian law regulates the size of the stones used by the executioner crowd; stones cannot be big enough to kill the sentenced woman too quickly, as the purpose of this barbaric ritual is to inflict as much pain as possible before death. On the other hand, stones cannot be too small, as each blow must be dramatically painful.

Such rules and regulations are quite ephemeral in the Islamic Republic. In a particularly gruesome execution carried out in 1993 in the city of Arak, a woman was to be stoned to death in front of her husband and two young children. After the stoning began, the woman was able to free herself from the hole in the ground, escaping death. According to Shariah laws, in such cases the woman must be let go, as her death sentence was revoked by divine intervention. Ten minutes after the failed stoning, however, the poor woman was chased down, apprehended and summarily executed anyway, by a firing squad.
I dare people to read that, and then tell me that Iran wasn't one hell of a lot better off under the Shah.

Congratulations, Madam Secretary

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Responsibility-free zone

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I'd be truly appalled if this actually went anywhere. Surely even Californians have standards:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Southern California man has sued MGM Mirage for preying on his gambling addiction and inducing him to borrow and lose millions of dollars at its Las Vegas casinos.

The suit was filed on Monday in a Los Angeles U.S. District Court by Shibley Horaney, a resident of Newport Beach, California, who says that since 1995 he has lost and paid back about $4 million on credit provided to him by the MGM Grand and $1 million on credit from The Mirage casino.

In 2003, he borrowed and lost another $475,000, which the casinos are still seeking to collect.

Alan Feldman, a spokesman for MGM Mirage, declined to comment specifically on Horaney's suit, but said similar lawsuits in the past have been shown to have no merit.

"There are lots of cases where people make their own decisions and choices then turn around and sue the casino," he said.

The suit alleges that MGM contacted Horaney over the phone and by mail over a period of at least nine years, offering to provide free transpiration and hotel rooms as well as lines of credit to gamble at the casinos.

The lawsuit argues that California law bars such predatory conduct and does not allow collection of gambling losses.
There's a fellow who isn't afraid to completely debase himself as a man. I'm sorry, but there's simply no debate. If you bet, you lose, and have no-one to blame but yourself.

Ouch

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I just recieved an assurance from a highly-respected Australian journo that we suck.

Normally, I would never treat my writers as though they were common galley slaves. But in this instance, I can't make use of the simple expedient of beating the journalist until their opinion is suitably revised.

So we are going to have to get better.



Every time we get a bad review in future, I shall untether the gimp.

We brought this on ourselves, people.

Gabrielle Reilly Interviews: Troy Dann

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An interview with Troy Dann, an Australian household name, star of the international TV hit series "Outback Adventures," and author of the best seller, "Bulldust And Dreams: The Troy Dann Story."

Gabrielle: Troy, I have been thinking of questions to ask you for this interview and it has had me in a fond, belly laugh, looking back over the years. We go back a while… before either of us were public figures, with just a head full of big dreams and a fire in our bellies. I knew you were destined for success when you first told me some of your dreams over a drink in Darwin. The tour of your home on Amburla Station, shooting pool at the Melanka…you were such a hoot to be around, a gentleman, and your enthusiasm for life, contagious. It looks like you have accumulated some very entertaining stories in true Outback style, dated some beautiful women, and haven’t let my ideals of you down at all since I moved to America. So, update me on your life:

Where do you live now?

Troy Dann: Wherever my hat is hanging between the sunny Gold Coast (on the east coast of Australia) and the Putback. You can take a boy from the Outback, but you can’t take the Outback out of the boy !

Gabrielle: I can relate... I happily can't get the Outback out of me either.

For my American readers, how big is the property at your home, Amburla Station?

Troy Dann: We have two properties covering over 1400 square miles in size (2 million+ acres). The state of the Northern Territory is twice the size of Texas with only 2% of its population.

Gabrielle: What work do you do around the station (American ranch)?

Troy Dann: My father and I are currently developing a marketing strategy to franchise our family's free-range beef (Centralian Gold). Believed by many to be the healthiest beef in the world with no pesticides or chemicals used in this remote part of Mother Earth. Hormone free, and I believe it will become very popular in our ever-changing, health-conscious society. Also, Gab, for me to give something back to this special part of our country that I know you hold close to you heart, by helping many rancher families receive better annual returns for this unique product. This will also tie in with our distributors to purchase healthy produce once again, providing them with a healthier alternative to processed foods.

Gabrielle: You have no idea how funny it is to be sitting in America reading about a dispute over who owns the camel you used for your TV series. I saw Noel Fullerton, “father of camel racing,” stepped in and discredited the allegations. It would be totally ridiculous to take camels to Ross River. They have so many camels there. In fact, Ross River was one of my favorite places to go riding… Ricky Anderson is right, “it would be like taking beer to Germany.” Are you still mad about that incident or do you look at it and laugh now too?

Troy Dann: Ha, forgot about that one. There are so many untrue stories about this cowboy!

I have found that success is always under construction, and it is only human nature that small-minded individuals become jealous of someone’s success as they don’t have the balls to go outside their security zone and have a go…oops, sorry, did I say that?

No, not at all, my dear friend. I am innocent of this incident and I am learning that you must forgive your enemies and love all, as hard as it may be at times, so I have no hard feelings. I just pray these type of people can one day find peace within themselves.

Gabrielle: Hmmmm, "so many untrue stories about this cowboy " well there are some things the same all over the world... we have a cowboy that runs the country here in America who has many untrue and completely distorted stories about him as well. My mantra being in the public eye is if you don't have people complaining about you, you're not working hard enough. It becomes an expected statistic instead of something to personalize.

What has been the most memorable moment of your life?

Troy Dann: Meeting you of course, Gabby!

Gabrielle: Ahhh, so you're still as charming as ever.

What are you doing now anyway?

Troy Dann: We are developing a company that is in the business of marketing entertainment with health and unique Outback products, namely artifacts and rare Outback jewelry, through a direct selling model.

A strong percentage of the public would like the opportunity to be their own boss, giving themselves financial freedom, independence, and lifestyle. To this end we have developed a direct selling platform that gives people this opportunity by becoming a distributor of the products and in return receive generous commissions from the sales.

Almost every Fortune 500 company in existence has now become involved in some way with the networking revolution and dozens of networking companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, so there is no longer any reason to be skeptical of this industry because in the 21st century it gives everyone an opportunity. A recent speech on networking by your past American president Bill Clinton stated, ‘You strengthen our country and our economy, not just by striving for your own success, but by offering the opportunity to others. Your industry gives people a chance after all, to make the most of their own lives.’

I am very excited about the future and we are confident that this company will become very successful in the near future, both here in Australia and abroad.

Gabrielle: Well I have come to learn you do everything in a big way and have a successful track record under your belt to back up whatever endeavour you undertake.

Now that is a statement by President Clinton that I agree with entirely, ‘You strengthen our country and our economy, not just by striving for your own success, but by offering the opportunity to others.’ I know my success has little to do with me... there are a bazillion pretty girls in the world who have big dreams and work hard. Any success I enjoy is directly attributed to dedicating my life to helping others. People would be much more content and successful if their lives focused not only on themselves, but on helping mankind.

Are you planning on doing any more TV series?

Troy Dann: Yes, I have been developing a movie (Indiana Jones-style Outback epic) for some time now and hope to have this completed in 2006…. They say Rome was not built in a day…they were right!

I am also in development of an Outback animation series that I am extremely excited about!

Gabrielle: Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

Troy Dann: Yes, a motivation and training book for people who want to lead a healthier and wealthier lifestyle.

Gabrielle: I will be sure to look out for it! I will of course want a signed copy. What dreams do you have for the future?

Troy Dann: Many. It is scary.

Gabrielle: You are certainly the rural kids' idol. I can see how you give many of them hopes, dreams, and a fire in their bellies. You have inspired a generation of kids, accomplished much, and lived life to the fullest. I look forward to watching the adventures of my Outback larrikin mate over the next ten years with amusement and pride.

Troy Dann: Oh come on... you're much too kind... Ok, I will take it...