Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Today, both The LA Times and The New York Times have online articles about the political fallout of the ongoing riots in Afghanistan. And especially the dead Americans killed by our "friends" over there. Could this be the being of the end of our commitment to that country? God, I hope so. But, Obama is not going to admit we are defeated there and the Republicans probably will be just as bad if they win in November 2012.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I did not expect to like the movie Safe House staring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. I expected yet another spy story of betrayal and revenge with too many car chases and too many fights.
Well the movie did have too many car chases and too many - way too many - fights. But it was redeemed by all the unexpected turns in the story. I think one character is buying a ticket for one purpose, and it turns out he is buying it for a different but perfectly logical purpose. I expect one character to walk though the door and a different character does. And the bad guy I thought dead is still alive. (Just for long enough to be killed yet again by one of the good guys.)
Maybe you have to have low expectations based on seeing so many similar movies in the past. Think Three Days of the Condor or the Bourne Movies.
Well, I had the low expectation and had seen all those movies and I loved this one.
These are are friends?
From The New York Times:
By GRAHAM BOWLEY and ALISSA J. RUBIN
Published: February 26, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — A grenade thrown by Afghan protesters wounded at least six American service members in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, as new details emerged in the investigation of the shooting death of two American officers within the Interior Ministry building the day before.
Rioting continued across the country on Sunday as anger over the burning of Korans by the American military continued unabated, putting the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States on shaky new ground. At least one Afghan was killed in clashes with the Afghan police.
A few details of the killing within the Interior Ministry were emerging, although many reports offered conflicting views of what had happened. According to three Afghan security officials familiar with the case, the main suspect was Abdul Saboor, who was said to have worked in the ministry for more than a year as a driver. The two American officers who were killed were shot in the head and the pistol used to kill them was equipped with a silencer, the officials said.
Afghan officials said that Mr. Saboor was at large, apparently able to leave the ministry without complication after the shooting. That suggested to some observers that he may have had help in the attack.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Americans are dying to protect these people from whom? From themselves? Yet another outrage with an Afghan on the US payroll turning his weapon on Americans!
Again from The New York Times:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Two American officers were shot dead inside the Interior Ministry building here on Saturday, as outrage continued to erupt violently across the country at the American military’s burning of Korans at a NATO army base.
A U.S. military vehicle drives on the road leading to the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul on Saturday. Two American soldiers were shot dead inside the Interior Ministry.
The NATO commander, Gen. John R. Allen, immediately ordered all military advisers withdrawn from Afghan ministries in Kabul, in a startling admission of how deep the crisis had become, with anti-American fury reaching deeply into even the Afghan security forces and ministries working most closely with the coalition.
Although there was no official statement that the gunman was an Afghan, in an e-mail sent to Western officials here from NATO headquarters the episode was described as “green on blue,” which is the military term used here when Afghan security forces turn their weapons on their Western military allies.
The killings, which happened within one of the most tightly secured areas of the ministry, add to the drumbeat of concern about a deepening animosity between civilians and militaries on both sides that had led to American and coalition forces being killed in increasing numbers even before the Koran burning ignited nationwide rioting. Now, the withdrawal from Afghan ministries suddenly calls into question the coalitions’ entire strategy of joint operations with Afghan forces across the country, although General Allen said NATO was still committed to fighting the war in Afghanistan.
Friday, February 24, 2012
From The New York Times:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Angry and violent protests broke out in Kabul after the midday prayer on Friday and gunfire could be heard near the large Eid Gah Mosque where a crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered in the center of the capital.
The protests were in response to the burning of several Korans at the largest NATO air base in the country on Monday night, which the military afterward said was a inadvertent mistake and apologized for profusely.
A second angry protest by an estimated 4,000 people armed with rocks and sticks was surging along the Kabul-Jalalabad road in the east of the city and moving toward central Kabul. At least seven police vehicles were seen retreating as the crowd hurled a barrage of stones. A few of the protesters were waving the white flag of the Taliban and some were wearing head wrappings with a jihad slogan written on them: “I sacrifice myself.”
Protesters throughout the city were also shouting “Death to America.”
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — Protests against the burning by NATO personnel of an undisclosed number of Korans spilled into a second day on Wednesday and seemed poised to widen as the United States Embassy in Kabul suspended all travel by its staff and NATO soldiers in the capital appeared to be restricting their movements, keeping military vehicles off the streets.
Demonstrations turned violent on Wednesday morning in the capital and in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan where one person was killed and at least six injured, according to government officials. Protesters attempting to break into the NATO base at the Jalalabad airfield set fire to six fuel tankers in a nearby parking lot.
In Kabul, protesters threw rocks at Afghan Army vehicles and shouted anti-American slogans as they blocked the main road to eastern Afghanistan.
The stench of burning rubber still lingered after the worst of the protest was over. Ten demonstrators and 12 police officers were injured, officials said. The Kabul police chief, Mohammed Ayoub Salangi, was also pelted with rocks but was not hurt.
The Associated Press said security forces fired into the air as hundreds of protesters gathered outside a housing complex for foreigners on the outskirts of Kabul, the capital, and set a fuel truck ablaze.
The protesters chanted slogans including: “Death to America,” witnesses said.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Now are "friends" in Afghanistan are rioting because they think NATO forces burned Korans. A three paragraph quote from The New York Times:
"The crowd at Bagram, estimated at more than 2,000, shouted 'Death to America' and 'We don’t want them anymore,' according to witnesses who were reached by telephone. Witnesses said gunfire could be heard and security forces were firing rubber bullets.
"Some in the crowd were singing Taliban songs and several Urdu speakers, described as Pakistanis, were making speeches to the crowd.
"The protesters closed the district government building and stopped people trying to come to the center of the city before dispersing in the afternoon as the demonstration ended."
Once again my opinion is that we should leave the Afghans to do their own insane killing of each other. Bring our soldiers home tomorrow. And, naturally, The New York Times seems to blame NATO as much as the Afghans for their irrational anger
Saturday, February 18, 2012
The Washington Post writes that Syrian rebels should be armed by outside aid under UN leadership. This is idiotic. The end of the Assad regime will lead to rule by Islamic extremists and factional fighting as it has done in Egypt and Libya. But, of course, nobody in the media pays attention to what has happened in those two countries! Below is a quote from story in the Post.
"So how to stop the massacres? The most available and workable solution is tactical and materiel support for the anti-regime forces, delivered through neighbors such as Turkey or the Persian Gulf states. Opponents say that would increase the violence, but violence in Syria will continue to escalate as long as the regime believes it can survive by force. Others worry that radicals among the opposition will be empowered. But what will strengthen extremists the most is the failure of democratic nations to act and the entry of groups such as al-Qaeda into the vacuum."
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Scott argues that the collapse of Latin-Greek civilization in Western Europe happened not in the 5th century during the migrations of the Goths, Vandals and other Germanic peoples, but was delayed until the 7th century.
Among other evidence of continuity after the fall of Rome, Scott writes the the barbarian kings issued coins with the face of the Eastern Roman Emperor on them until about 640AD. He also shows that learning, long distance trade, building, intensive agriculture, and other facets of Latin-Greek culture continued until about that date.
Archeologist cited in the book have found serious soil erosion only after that same 640 date. This is true not only for all of Western Europe but also for North Africa and much of the Middle East.
So, what happened in the Mediterranean world about that time? The Arab-Islamic conquests. Which effectively forced trade across the Mediterranean to be given up, the abandonment of coastal agriculture, and the building of the first castles near the sea. The pirate raids and looting carried out by the Arabs destroyed Roman civilization, not those Germans, who only wanted to benefit from the culture they took over.
There is other evidence on the state of early Islam that counters the standard model of the first Islamic civilizations being good, and post-fall-of-Rome civilization in the west being bad. That is the failure of archeologists to find any evidence of large cities in early Islamic lands. No massive ruins in 8th or 9th century Baghdad or Cordoba, supposedly centers of large, prosperous Islamic civilizations, with beautiful palaces and Mosques. I found this very surprising and evidence that clinched the author's arguments.
A very well argued book that attacks several recent books on the fall of Rome and the benefits of Islamic culture.
And then at the end of the book, Scott goes off on a tangent suggesting...
Well, read the book.
P.S. Emmet Scott often publishes online in something names New English Review. It you are interested in the impact of Islam on current affairs and the problems of western culture due to our general decline in morality, religious belief, and social responsibility, I suggest looking at the Review's web pages at the start of each month. The URL is: http://www.newenglishreview.org/home.cfm
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The New York Times has an article online today about the female head of Egypt's Planning and International Cooperation push to arrest and try those American caught over in Cairo doing working for various international aid organizations. To quote the Times:
"With $1.5 billion in annual American aid hanging in the balance, Egypt’s top military officer and de facto chief executive is asking Ms. Abul Naga to moderate her tone. But she has become more caustic than ever, issuing her own warnings for Washington to back off. If the United States is not careful, she says, it may push Egypt closer to Iran."
Good grief. Does our government not know that the Islamic radicals have WON in Egypt? Did not those silly foreign aid workers in Egypt know something like this was going to happen?
Beside the fact that the Times is also clue-less about the truth about Egypt and the whole Middle East, the false note in the quoted paragraph above is the threat that Egypt might ally itself with Iran. Come on! The Times itself does not know that Egypt is Sunni and Iran is Shia? And that those two sects of Islam hate each other as much as they hate us?
Innocents Lost should have been named Redemption, because that is the primary theme in this movie starring Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, sometimes chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts. The previous movie in this series was lame, this one excellent.
Most of the characters from previous books and movies are back, including officers Luther "Suitcase" Simpson and Rose Gammon, State Police Captain Healy, Boston mob boss Gino Fish, and even former Paradise city councilman - and former criminal, Hasting Hathaway
As I wrote above, redemption is the key to this movie. Hathaway is thinking of putting himself up again for city council as a reformed criminal who has learned his lesson from his past jail time. Gino Fish gets a bit of redemption by identifying a bad guy who has gone against Fish's strange code of criminal behavior. Suitcase follows his own code of honor (taught to him by Stone) by resigning because he does not like the thoroughly unlikable new Police Chief. And Healy and Stone earn a few good points to weigh against past sins by getting a kid wrongly convicted of murder freed from that charge.
Without giving too much of the plot away I will tell you that as always in these Jesse Stone movies there are multiple story lines going on, some finished with a bang and some left hanging waiting for a yet another sequel.
This movie holds together so well because all the characters seem at ease with each other and their roles in the ongoing Jesse Stone drama. Oh, and by the way, there are hints that Jesse is getting over his dependence on his ex-wife.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
The country that witnessed the Arab world’s most sweeping revolution is foundering. So is its capital, where a semblance of normality has returned after the chaotic days of the fall of Tripoli last August. But no one would consider a city ordinary where militiamen tortured to death an urbane former diplomat two weeks ago, where hundreds of refugees deemed loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi waited hopelessly in a camp and where a government official acknowledged that “freedom is a problem.” Much about the scene on Wednesday was lamentable, perhaps because the discord was so commonplace.
A sense of entropy lingers here. Some state employees have gone without salaries for a year, and Mr. Shamis acknowledged that the government had no idea how to channel enough money into the economy so that it would be felt in the streets. Tripoli residents complain about a lack of transparency in government decisions. Ministries still seem paralyzed by the tendency, instilled during the dictatorship, to defer every decision to the top.
The militias are proving to be the scourge of the revolution’s aftermath. Though they have dismantled most of their checkpoints in the capital, they remain a force, here and elsewhere. A Human Rights Watch researcher estimated there are 250 separate militias in the coastal city of Misurata, the scene of perhaps the fiercest battle of the revolution. In recent months those militias have become the most loathed in the country.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Today, the 4th of February 2012, the New York Times has posted an editorial online complaining that the Egyptian military may not give up its influence over the government of that country. The author of the article writes, “The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.”
We should be so lucky. If the military does not intervene, then Egypt will go the way of Iran with Islamic rulers who will make that country a viciously anti-western, anti-modern, failed state. Just like Somalia, but worse because it is so much larger in both population and regional influence. And because it is part of the heartland of the Middle East, rather than on the edge.
The editorial goes on complain that Egypt may go the way of Pakistan where the intelligence services and the Military manipulate Islamic groups to maintain power. Again we will be lucky if that happens. That is if anyone still believes that it is the Military in Pakistan that controls the terrorists rather than the terrorists who control the Military or, at least, work in close cooperation with it to run the country for the benefit of both.
This is yet another example of how blind the MSM is to the true roll of Islam in the world today.
See the full editorial at: