Friday, December 09, 2005

Beyond Desperate
Dave Sheffield over at has this terribly amusing and comprehensive column about David Cameron and the state of the Conservative Party in Britain. Representative quotes:
"Mr Duncan-Smith, a nice man with the charisma of a stoat, was finally bushwhacked a few years later in a desperate attempt to elect someone combative enough to make election broadcasts that people would find traditionally offensive."

"The gist of this is, that no sooner would Major say anything than the Party at large would make him look an utter fool. They could have saved themselves the effort and bought him a mirror, which was all that was required. Thought to be the only person ever to run away from the circus to become a banker, Major was known to have failed an exam to become a bus conductor earlier in life."

"William Hague has returned from the desert to be Foreign Secretary. After Losing with a capital L in 2001, he has grown up and become an adult, acquiring the essential British skills of Not Taking Himself Seriously, and Appearing On Lightweight TV Shows."
If only US politics could be so colorfully described! You won't regret reading the whole thing.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Iraq and America

Wretchard on Belmont Club has a great post on the changing political and military perceptions in Iraq:
For America as a whole, one thing that no politician will dispute in 2008 is that aside from being a European and Pacific power -- which it has been since the end of the Second World War -- the US is now a part of the strategic landscape of the Middle East and Central Asia.
I believe there's something truly historic going on here, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago. So I boiled down my view to the simplest comment I could restrict myself to:
The US has been the dominant power in the Middle East since the Suez crisis of 1956-7. Until now, however, we have not acted dominant. The great danger is that we will walk away after Iraqi stabilization and allow chaos to well up again. Capitalism, democracy and secularism must have the opportunity to take root and flourish in Islamic lands. Otherwise we face more decades of intifada and international jihad.
I am optimistic that the influence of the US will eventually be seen as both benign and inevitable. And in the fullness of time the Arabs will come to the conclusion that their liberation was also inevitable and start to take credit and responsibility for it themselves. Then maybe we can start on Europe ...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oh, I won't say, "most erudite thread ever", but it's sure got some substance about the search for this quotation:
"The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!"

Jody gets it and appears to nail it down in a further comment:

First, that USC site I cited above for the hadith oddly returns an error (some database search error) when searching for "Jew and tree" or "Jew and rock". However, works fine for "Jew" (returns too many verses to work through) and correctly returns nothing if I search for "blah".

This may be nothing, but I find it odd...

Second, that hadith gets such wide play because a Palestinian iman recited it over the air.

Third, while you are correct in your reporting of the relative valuation of the hadiths and the Koran, for the particular hadith I quoted (Muslim) , wiki has the following to say "al-Bukhari and Muslim are usually considered the most reliable of these collections"

So this isn't some throw away line, it's actually a "reliable" part of Islam.

It's not exactly "instant expertise" but certainly gives an idea of how easily formerly recondite topics can be discussed substantively with all the amazing tools we now have at our disposal. You can tell some of the commenters are far more committed to religion than others. Yet the discussion doesn't degenerate into name-calling or the burning of heretics.
Foley out!

Only those who have never had a Foley in can know the glory and wonder of having a Foley out. Sleep, beautiful sleep!

Mark Steyn is stealing my ideas again. I can't understand people who don't see the historic magic that Bush's policies are forging (can one "forge magic"?? Hmm.) in the Middle East. The implications and ramifications multiply amazingly. Not to mention we get a trained and hardened anti-insurgency force out of the deal. The next terrorist thinking of flying an airplane into an American building must ask himself, "OK, so what's going to happen as a result of this?" And if the answer is that hundreds of thousands of battle-hardened troops descend on any country you have connections with, it may not look like so much of a good idea.

Speaking of planes crashing into buildings, this incident raises my eyebrows. I guess we should be thankful they didn't try to blame fundamentalist Christian terrorists. No Gregorian chants or shouts of "Thank you, Jesus!!" before the impact. Or if there were they aren't telling.