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Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Little Green Footballs is fantastic. Hot Air is a revelation. Daily Kos is shame incarnate.

 

Old, but I’m late to the game anyway (even thought I’d been familiarized with the “screw you” incident for awhile now… Okay, so I didn’t find out about it day and date.) From Markos Moulitsas Zúniga commenting on Blackwater to his disgustingness’ exposition on Michelle Malkin (one of the coolest people to live in the northern hemisphere) to his sickening note on the death of four American compatriots.

Pathetic…

Hi! I’m Kos. I’m loved by several thousand useful idiots! I’m the star of this particular blog entry. To everyone who’s reading this, I hate you!

Kos on Blackwater: Still “screw them” after all these years

posted at 4:10 pm on October 6, 2007 by Allahpundit
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He doesn’t have the stones to clearly reiterate what he said three years ago, just like he didn’t have the stones earlier this year to say outright that he hoped Michelle would be killed during her trip to Iraq even while gleefully imagining the conditions under which that scenario would surely come to pass. The face of the new center of the Democratic Party can’t be seen wishing death on people, no matter how apparent it is that he wishes death on people. So he has to stick to oblique nonsense like this, which tacitly reaffirms the “screw them” comment by spinning it as a defense of the troops instead of the ghoulish callousness towards an atrocity perpetrated upon four of his countrymen that it actually is.

Given the choice, the wingnuts always choose Blackwater over our own troops. They’re not on the same side, and haven’t been ever.

“It was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong,” said the U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident remains the subject of several investigations. “The civilians that were fired upon, they didn’t have any weapons to fire back at them. And none of the IP (Iraqi Police) or any of the local security forces fired back at them.”

The whole “screw them” thing four [sic] years ago was exactly that — the wingers were more outraged over four Blackwater mercenaries killed than they were about the five Marines that had died that very same day.

He doesn’t believe that — there’s no sane reason why anyone, left, right, or center, would feel worse about the death of a contractor than an American soldier — but the recent Blackwater shooting gives him an opportunity to do damage control on his most notorious political gaffe and he’s taking advantage. At the risk of stating the obvious, the reason the Fallujah incident got so much press was because of the gruesomeness of the attack and the relish that was taken by the enemy in perpetrating it; the same is true for the atrocity committed against Tucker and Menchaca last year. Only a nutroots reptile could be so cold-blooded as not to feel affronted by the scene of four Americans being burned and hung from a bridge while local insurgents celebrated for the cameras, but that’s what this cretin is so that’s how he responds. According to iCasualties, fully 1,001 contractors had been killed in Iraq as of June 30. I’ve been reading blogs since 2002 and while I’ve seen plenty of tributes to fallen soldiers, the only mentions I’ve ever seen of dead contractors have to do with the four killed in the atrocity at Fallujah. Which, needless to say, is an odd quirk for “wingers” allegedly obsessed with protecting their precious heroes from Blackwater.

Update: So much do the Kossacks love our troops that they take steaming dumps on Bronze Star winners.

 

Here’s one of the aforementioned useful idiots now! And ME of course! YAY!

Kos: It’d be “splendid” if Malkin had no security in Iraq Update: More reaction

posted at 4:57 pm on December 14, 2006 by Ian
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“Screw them” Kos thinks it would be a “splendid idea” if Michelle leaves the Green Zone without security in her possible upcoming trip to Iraq.

Because only that way will her reporting be fully informed.

Why? Did you think he had another reason in mind?

Greg Sargent has a problem with Eason Jordan going to Iraq with Michelle Malkin. I think it’s a splendid idea. So long as they leave the Green Zone, and without security detail that puts a single US soldier in harm’s way. I mean, things are so splendid and it’s just like Philly and there’s all those great new schools! They’ll be perfectly safe, I’m sure.

This comes from the “man” who said “screw them” to a group of contractors who were savagely beaten and murdered in Iraq in 2004.

The Political Pitbull has posted reaction from other liberals blogs, including our friends at Crooks & Liars.

https://i2.wp.com/www.kathymcmahon.utvinternet.com/mrn/anewspic1/DailyKos.jpg

One of the most despicable websites ever birthed from the deepest, darkest depths of internet.

Daily Kos Gloats Over Fallujah
Thu, Apr 1, 2004 at 8:45:19 pm PST

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, also known as “Daily Kos,” couldn’t restrain his joy over the gruesome deaths of four of his fellow citizens yesterday, and expressed one of the ugliest sentiments I’ve seen yet on the lefty blogs (and that’s really saying something). His foul pronouncement is in the topic: Corpses on the Cover.

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly.

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.dailykos.net/images/markos2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Kos. Daily Kos. I’m here to save you from yourself because you don’t know any better.

Every death should be on the front page (2.70 / 40)

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

by kos on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 12:08:56 PM PDT

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“From the mind-bending idea that four guys dressed as pizza delivery men were going to out-gun all the soldiers at Fort Dix…” –Keith Olbermann (MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, June 4, 2007)

There was a time when I watched Keith Olbermann with information-starved objectivity. Now, after having a several-years long change of personal and political belief systems (for the better I might add), I’ve discovered that Olbermann is just as iniquitous in his approach to “informing” the public as his nemesis, Bill O’Reilly whom he accuses almost daily of crimes against humanity (hyperbole) and general immorality. There have been moments when O’Reilly has been more than deserving of such public derision, and I have yet to see the degree of inaccuracies in Olbermann’s reporting as egregious and reckless as sometimes espoused by Bill in the “No Spin Zone.” But Keith is far from innocent, particularly when it comes to his ignorance of global jihadism and the serious threat that philosophy brings with it.

One only needs read the quote above from last nights’ Countdown program to fully appreciate Olbermann’s lack of understanding concerning Islamic extremism. The Fort Dix jihadist had no realistic interest in “out-gunning” the forces at Fort Dix army base in New Jersey. Islamic militants simply don’t think that way. But reference their efforts beginning with the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980’s and up through present day. In almost every case of suicide bombings specifically and Islamic terrorism generally, those directly involved on the frontlines of such operations do not attempt or even want to out-gun the larger force. They simply wish to hurt them. And they go on hurting them until they feel a change has been made as a result of their deeds. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan, also in the 80’s, is a fairly pertinent example of what jihadists hope to accomplish, and what they can actually achieve.

Simply, Olbermann prefers to downplay (much like The New York Times) many of the major terrorist threats against the west as hoaxes, and possible wag-the-dog style machinations, that only receives unjustifiable newsworthy exposure by the “right-wing” media. Those involved in said terrorist plots, usually of the home-grown variety, are usually characterized by Olbermann as ineffective dolts, isolated from any real jihadist organization (i.e. al Qaeda) and monetary support–they never would have succeeded anyway (though you can be sure if they did succeed, Keith would be one of the first on the airwaves to lambaste the administration for not doing enough to prevent said terrorist attack.)

Over at Hot Air, Michelle Malkin’s fiery blog, they have rightly called Olbermann out on his ineptitude and lack of logical thinking concerning this issue. For a man who derides Bill O’Reilly so often and so ferociously, Mr. Olbermann might be transforming into that which he hates the most.

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Video: Olby sneers at the JFK terror plot, questions the timing of everything

posted at 9:29 am on June 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

And to think, some people believe the left doesn’t take terrorism seriously.

You’ll note, I hope, that even Olby recognizes how dishonest he’s being. That’s why he feels obliged to mention not once but twice that coincidences do happen and, in his words, “we could probably construct a similar timeline of terror events and their relationship to the haircuts of popular politicians.” Why do it, then? Because, as the Truthers are wont to say, he’s “just asking questions.” Just “airing it,” Sullivan style. Make up your own mind.

What he doesn’t note is that 9 of the 13 terror alerts he cites were issued prior to Katrina’s assault on New Orleans, widely accepted as the beginning of the steep decline of the Bush presidency. It stands to reason that if terror warnings were deliberately timed to “distract,” we’d find them congregated around the administration’s true crisis moments. Instead, Olby’s forced to link the JFK plot to the U.S. Attorneys scandal, which had long since reached critical mass. Where were the terror alerts during the battle over Iraq funding? When Bush first announced the surge? After the Hamdan decision? Even by his own absurd non-logic, it makes more sense to claim that the JFK plot was timed to distract from the amnesty uproar. But Olby can’t claim that because Bush is on the left’s side on that one, so he’s forced to feebly tie it back to Gonzalesgate and the Democratic debate.

He also doesn’t seem to grasp that just because the pipeline plot wasn’t feasible doesn’t mean no attack would have occurred. You’ve got a group of men with homicidal intent willing to travel internationally to bring off their plan. If they’re game for that, they’re probably game for walking into a crowd of people and opening up with automatic weapons and grenades. It won’t take out an airport, but you might very well top the body count from the London bombings two years ago.

Newsbusters has the full transcript; the clip here is just a mishmash of lowlights, although I did include both times he went out of his way to note that one of the officials who announced the JFK plot was the father of a Fox News reporter. That official: Ray Kelly … commissioner of the NYPD. What would he be doing at a presser related to a major terror bust in New York City? We’ll have to wonder, I guess. Finally, pay attention to how Olby treats the biggest bust in his roundup, the UK airline plot from last year. Once again we’re treated to the dark nutroots insinuation that somehow it was sparked by Ned Lamont’s primary victory over Lieberman. If Olby’s genuinely curious as to why U.S. counterterrorist agents wanted to move faster than the Brits did, he need only look to his own network for answers:

Another U.S. official, however, acknowledges there was disagreement over timing. Analysts say that in recent years, American security officials have become edgier than the British in such cases because of missed opportunities leading up to 9/11.

Which is another way of saying that if they didn’t move quickly enough and the plot came off, people like Keith Olbermann would be on TV accusing them of having deliberately let it happen. That’s Murrow journalism, baby. Trutherism, the whole Trutherism, and nothing but the Trutherism.

 

Update: Just curious. Does the left even have a workable theory as to how, precisely, terror alerts “distract” the public? Has anyone forgotten about the amnesty bill or the Democratic debate since the JFK story broke? A truly enormous terror plot could be such a big story that it would push everything else off the front page for days, but this clearly wasn’t on that scale. (Not to mention the fact that it was announced on a Saturday.) So where does the distraction enter in?

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Here’s a quick update that I felt was simply too interesting (it would be funny if so many lives weren’t at stake) to pass up.

Coming in after the debacle that was yesterday’s AP-Ipsos poll demonstrating America’s disapproval of President Bush is only exceeded by their displeasure in the obviously impotent job performance of the newly elected Democratic congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, frustrated with the Republican minority, is now going back to the drawing board. Way back in fact–all the way back to 1822.

Is this the progress Democrats and liberals have been promising? Do you think? Progress? Ahem.


PELOSI LOWERS THE BOOM
Wed May 16 2007 14:43:59 ET

After losing a string of embarrassing votes on the House floor because of procedural maneuvering, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to change the current House Rules to completely shut down the floor to the minority.

The Democratic Leadership is threatening to change the current House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This would be the first change to the germaneness rule since 1822.

In protest, the House Republicans are going to call procedural motions every half hour.

Developing...

Iraq Withdrawal Move Thwarted in Senate

 

May 16, 11:34 AM (ET)

By ANNE FLAHERTY

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would cut off money for combat operations in Iraq after March 31, 2008.

The vote was a loss for Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and other Democrats who want to end the war. But the effort picked up support from members, including presidential hopefuls previously reluctant to limit war funding – an indication of the conflict’s unpopularity among voters.

The proposal lost 29-67 on a procedural vote, falling 31 votes short of the necessary votes to advance. Of the 67 senators who opposed Feingold’s proposal, there were 19 Democrats, 47 Republicans and Connecticut Independent Joseph Lieberman. Of the 29 supporting, 28 were Democrats and Vermont Independent Bernard Sanders.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic presidential front-runner, previously opposed setting a deadline on the war. But she said she agreed to back the measure “because we, as a united party, must work together with clarity of purpose and mission to begin bringing our troops home and end this war.”

Sen. Barack Obama, another leading 2008 prospect, said he would prefer a plan that offers more flexibility but wanted “to send a strong statement to the Iraqi government, the president and my Republican colleagues that it’s long past time to change course.”

The proposal had been expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance under Senate rules, but was intended to gauge the tolerance of members on anti-war legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staged a series of war votes Wednesday to inform negotiations with the House on a war spending bill.

“We stand united…. in our belief that troops are enmeshed in an intractable civil war,” said Reid, D-Nev.

Feingold’s measure, co-sponsored by Reid and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., proved divisive for Democrats.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he opposes any measure that cuts off money for the war.

“We don’t want to send the message to the troops” that Congress does not support them, said Levin, D-Mich. “We’re going to support those troops.”

But other Democrats said the move was necessary.

“I’m not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on,” said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who also wants the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Senate vote on Feingold’s legislation was one of several expected Wednesday, as the Democratic-controlled Congress struggles to clear legislation for Bush’s signature by the end of next week to continue U.S. military operations through Sept. 30.

The House last week passed legislation funding the war on two separate, 60-day installments.

The Senate must take the next step by passing its own measure. Given the political forces at work, that legislation will be a placeholder, its only purpose to trigger three-way negotiations involving the House, Senate and Bush administration on a final compromise.

As a result, officials said Tuesday that Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had discussed jointly advancing a bill so barebones that it would contain no funds and do little more than express congressional support for the troops.

Negotiations on the final compromise are expected to take days.

Wednesday’s votes on Feingold and other proposals “will provide strong guidance to our conferees and help shape the conference negotiations we have ahead of us,” said Reid.

In addition to Feingold’s measure, members were expected to vote on legislation by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that would threaten billions of dollars in U.S. aid for Iraq if Baghdad does not make progress on certain military and political reforms.

Reid said he would oppose Warner’s measure because it doesn’t go far enough; the proposal would allow the president to waive the restriction on foreign aid.

“It is nothing,” said Reid.

Levin pulled from the floor his proposal to set an Oct. 1 date to begin troop withdrawals, but allow the president to waive that requirement. He had pitched the idea with the expectation that the president would accept it because of the waiver; but, Levin said Wednesday he had been advised by the White House that the president would veto the measure regardless.

Poll: Congress, Bush share low approval

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Fri May 11, 3:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON – People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as

President Bush

, following four months of bitter political standoffs and little progress on

Iraq

and a host of domestic issues.

An AP-Ipsos poll also found that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) is a more popular figure than the president and her colleagues on Capitol Hill, though she faces a gender gap in which significantly more women than men support her.

The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month. That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush, who has been mired at about that level since last fall, including his dip to a record low for the AP-Ipsos poll of 32 percent last January.

“It’s mostly Iraq” plus a lack of progress in other areas, said Rep. Tom Cole (news, bio, voting record), R-Okla., who heads the House GOP’s campaign committee. “These are not good numbers for an incumbent, and it doesn’t matter if you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to your name.”

Democrats agree that the problem is largely Iraq, which has dominated this year’s session of Congress while producing little more than this month’s Bush veto of a bill requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It has also overshadowed House-passed bills on stem cell research, student loans and other subjects that the White House opposes, they say.

“People are unhappy, there hasn’t been a lot of change in direction, for example in Iraq,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., chairman of House Democrats’ campaign effort.

Rising gasoline prices could also be a factor, lawmakers said.

In another measure of popular discontent, the survey found that 71 percent say the country is on the wrong track — about even with the 73 percent who said so last May, the worst level since the AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003.

The survey was taken Monday through Wednesday, before Bush offered to seek compromise with congressional Democrats over a war spending bill setting benchmarks for progress in Iraq.

Bush told reporters Thursday that if pollsters had asked his opinion about Iraq last fall, “I’d have said I disapprove of what was going on in Iraq. They could have put me down as part of the disapproval process.”

That was before his decision to send nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, which “would more likely cause me to approve of what’s going on in Iraq,” he added.

Overall approval of Bush was steady from last month, but fell to 69 percent among Republicans, about 7 percentage points below where it had been in April. Earlier this week, a group of GOP moderate House members warned Bush that the status quo in Iraq could mean Republican election losses next year.

“If the war doesn’t begin to turn around, Republicans will have problems,” said Rep. Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., who said he supports Bush’s Iraq policy.

White House spokesman Tony Snow declined to comment on the poll.

Congress’ approval rating this week was 10 points higher than a year ago, when Republicans were in control.

But after bumping up in April, this month’s drop left lawmakers’ job approval where it was when the year began. April saw Congress defy Bush and send him a bill financing the war and requiring a troop withdrawal, which he vetoed May 1.

“People wanted change in Washington” on many issues, not just Iraq, said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., a member of the House Democratic leadership. “I’m not surprised about where people are. They’re hearing only about Iraq.”

Congress’ reduced appeal was evident in several categories of people. Only 48 percent of Democrats said they approved of Congress, down from 55 percent last month. That included a 12 percentage point drop among Democratic women, though support from Democratic men remained steady.

Approval by minorities also fell a dozen points to 39 percent, with a similar reduction among people whose family incomes exceed $75,000.

By region, the steepest drop was in the Midwest, where approval fell by 10 percentage points to 28 percent. Congress’ highest approval was in the Northeast, where four in ten gave it a positive rating.

As for Pelosi, D-Calif., her overall approval of 45 percent stood 10 points higher than Bush’s and Congress’.

She was seen favorably by 52 percent of women, but only 39 percent of men. While whites are closely split about her, minorities approve of her job by a 15-point margin.

Pelosi’s numbers are about where she was last month but slightly lower than in January. In the last month, she has lost significant support from younger voters, college-educated women and Westerners.

“Voters are frustrated by the fact that the president refuses to change direction on Iraq,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

Bush’s approval ratings are lowest for his handling of Iraq and domestic issues including health care, with about one-third seeing him favorably. About four in 10 like the job he is doing on the economy and foreign policy.

Men give the president higher grades than women do, whites higher than minorities, and married people higher than singles.

The AP-Ipsos survey involved telephone interviews with 1,000 adults. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Photo

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Please read PART 1 first.

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As stated in part 1 of this report, after the panelists (Dr. Brook, Dr. Sultan, and Dr. Pipes) took the stage and began their opening dialogs, and as Dr. Daniel Pipes began discussing the jihadi threat around the world including the UCLA campus, the protests and disruptions began.

(Again, as stated in part 1, the pictures in the auditorium and outside after dark aren’t of high quality. I apologize.)

protest1.jpg

Dr. Pipes continued to speak, despite the fact that was apparently distracted by something that was transpiring in the audience. I looked behind me and noticed that several audience members began rising from their seats, notably a few young women of Middle-Eastern descent wearing hijab (and it looks like that gentleman in the glasses is flipping me the bird. POWER TO THE PEOPLE, DUDE! Ahem.) No one shouted and no one created much of a ruckus initially. They simply made their way to the aisles and the exits.

Thus the protesting of Dr. Pipes and the panelists began–with a bit of a whimper.

drpipes1.jpg

Dr. Pipes continued to speak, but he was slightly preoccupied with this initial tide of the protest. Still, he and the panelists conducted themselves professionally. They didn’t acknowledge the activists with anger or disdain, choosing rather to ignore them for as long as possible.

protest2.jpg

More protestors rise and head for the exits. As you can see, it continued quietly and with a considerable amount of reserve from those in revolt, so much so that many in the audience barely took notice, as you can see in the above picture.

Unfortunately, this relative decorum would not last.

liarladies.jpg

Welcome to the Age of Aquarius. The above three women must be having one hell of a flashback because they can’t seem to remember that this is 2007 and not 1969. As they passed me up the aisle, making their way toward the exit, it became apparent to me that more had likely been planned by the protestors, and specifically these three elderly ladies, in order to create chaos and disorder within the nights proceedings. As one can see from this photograph, the three women all had black shirts with large white letters plastered on the front. It was obviously meant to spell out “LIAR” but the opportunity to stand united and actually spell the word for the panelists and/or the audience never came to pass. Alas, the will to fight seems to have been drained from these particular women. They didn’t even try, opting instead to simply walk out of the auditorium without executing their carefully laid plan–without even trying.

At least, the “R” and the “A” lady gave up. The “LI” lady wasn’t as easily deterred.

liarlady2.jpg

This particular protestor, pictured above, was evidently the better third of the “LIAR” lady trilogy. While she didn’t have anything intelligent to say, she said it loudly and repeatedly.

“LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!” All the while she too made for the exits.

liarlady.jpg

Wagging her finger at the panelists, the “LI” lady resumed her retreating diatribe, “LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!”

By the time she started shouting, so too did the audience, admonishing her and the other protestors disruptive behavior. Many in auditorium at this point were adding their voices to the din, urging the “LI” lady to beat a hasty retreat so the panelists could forge ahead.

The protests from these three women didn’t quite make sense to me. If they were protesting Dr. Pipes and the other panelists, claiming they were liars, then it was apparent to me they (the three ladies in particular) had never even attempted a read of the Qur’an. Many of the statements by the panelists, even this early in the discussion, could be referenced directly from the words and actions of Muhammad within the pages of the Qur’an, or even better, the Hadith. So dubbing the panelists liars was inaccurate. They weren’t there to lie. They were there to provide truths and opinions on what actions might or must be taken to protect the west from radical Islam.

As Dr. Sultan stated during the event, no one has ever murdered someone because they were emulating Jesus. If one wishes to emulate the prophet Muhammad however (as every good Muslim is taught and required to do as Muhammad is the embodiment of the perfect man and all men and women should be like him), killing and murdering by his example is sanctioned within the pages of the Qur’an and the Hadith.

hatesign11.jpg

Finally, one last protestor unfurls a large sign (too big for his wingspan to handle appropriately as you can tell from the above picture–it seems to read “s DON’T SUPPORT TE SPEECH.”) Needless to say, the sign was difficult to read.

Dr. Pipes in the upper left calmly waits until the protests subside.

hatesign2.jpg

I think it said, “DON’T SUPPORT HATE SPEECH.” I heard quite a bit of hate speech from the “LI” lady. She spewed “LIARS!” forth with quite a bit of acerbically drenched venom, but I didn’t notice hate speech coming from any of the panelists. Some in the auditorium may have been slightly surprised by some of the verbiage coming from Dr. Brook for example, but hate speech appeared relegated to the protesters alone.

drpipes31.jpg

As the disruptions subsided, Dr. Pipes resumed his initial comments. You can see he had to remove the lav mic attached to his lapel and bring it closer to his mouth because some in the back of the venue had difficulties hearing him speak.

After a couple of minutes, I became audibly aware that a commotion was taking place outside of the building. Predicting more protests, I quickly shot from my seat (no offense to panelists hopefully) and made my way outside to see what might be taking place.

outprot1.jpg

Yup. More protests. The individual on the far right of the above picture even sported a fashionable kaffiyeh and military fatigues while banging peacefully on his tabla.

I couldn’t quite make out what the sign read though.

outprot2.jpg

Ahh! Of course. The protesters had taken the opportunity to transform the panelist’s discussion, Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West, into a peace protest against the war in Iraq. That makes perfect sense, especially since the discussion rarely focused on Iraq or the American military adventure within. In fact, the only time the war in Iraq every really surfaced in the dialog was during the question and answer period at the end. This event was not about the Iraq war, but the protesters felt (in a somewhat bigoted manner) that speaking about radical Islam must logically relate directly to that conflict, despite the fact that the majority of the worlds Muslims do not live in the Middle East.

Within this group marched Muslims, hippies, students, young children and even babies (who obviously had no idea why everyone was shouting so angrily.) It was ragtag, and barely organized. The march itself was pathetically short, mostly regionalized to the west face of the building wherein the panelists were speaking, and the south side of the building.

protest3.jpg

I honestly can’t remember what everyone was shouting. All I can say is how disappointed I was to see what appears a fellow metal-head, framed in the center of this photograph, participating in the peace march. Dude, metal is not peaceful.

prayerrugs.jpg

I was sad to see I had just missed Muslims participating in salah–their prayers, but at least I managed to snap a picture of their rolled up musallah.

There were some young Muslims minutes later praying, but my camera did not take any adequate photographs of their activities unfortunately.

Finally, I re-entered the auditorium and took my seat, taking in the rest of the discussion. Oddly, I had been wondering earlier in the day as to why this issue of radical Islam is such a polarizing one. In general, why does it divide so evenly down political lines? Why is it so partisan? If the left is the champion of women’s rights, equal rights, no war, etc. why would they so recklessly wish to support a religion as oppressive to its followers, particularly its women, as Islam? I mean, the left generally would rather abolish all religion anyway. Why fight for a religious faith that sanctions plural marriage, marriage to children and the subsequent pedophilia (as Muhammad did with Aisha when she was six), beating of women, killing of dissidents, etc.? These are some of the major tenets that the left purports they desire so strongly to prevent, yet they stand in solidarity with Islam. So why the blatant hypocrisy?

Dr. Pipes and Dr. Brook actually satisfactorily answered my question thanks to a question from the audience. The reason why leftists support Islam is because they all share a common enemy–George W. Bush specifically and western culture and society generally. Who cares if Muslims, under the auspices of Islam and Muhammad, commit abhorrent acts of terror, killing scores of innocent people throughout the world? They hate George Bush. They hate the West and the decent individualistic values we stand for.

It was an interesting and enlightening evening and I hope Dr. Pipes will make his way back soon, for myself and those who wanted to hear what he and the other panelists had to say, and for the panelists right to say it.

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UPDATE: PART 2 is now up. 

Last night I attended the panel discussion, Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West, that took place on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. The panel consisted of notable Middle Eastern and Islamic experts, Dr. Yaron Brook, executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute (the organization that hosted the event actually, L.O.G.I.C. hosted the event), Dr. Wafa Sultan, and Dr. Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum and current instructor at Pepperdine University. They were quite a distinguished trio, encompassing vast expertise on the discussed subject from knowledge and experience–sometimes very direct personal experience as seen from their biographies in this post yesterday.

I thought it would be beneficial to post pictures I took at the event so that those who are interested might garner a decent understanding of what one might expect if one were to attend such a gathering in support of individuals, like the panelists, who not only wish to express their viewpoint, but who also wish to practice their freedom to express that view, no matter how controversial it may be.

So, without any further introductory and unnecessary exposition, enjoy the pictures (with some added annoying exposition.)

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A few UCLA police officers enjoy some dinner before the event. The police presence was unsurprisingly fairly large. It appeared there were probably around 20 to 30 officers covering all entrances and exits at the building where the panel discussion was to take place.

Standing in Line

The line to get into the auditorium was long, and it extended quite a ways down the street behind me….

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…as you can see.

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As the line started moving to allow entry, some young Muslims began handing out literature.

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The literature consisted of pamphlets entitled “Exposing Daniel Pipes.” But it did not consist of naked photos. Instead the pamphlet included information about the evil of Dr. Pipes, denouncing his expertise, deeming him a bigot and anti-Muslim propagandist. It goes on to read how his website, Campus Watch was created to restrict free speech by “stifling any criticism of Israel or its policies and by blacklisting any professors who dare not comply. Pipes labeled these academics as ‘advocates of suicide attacks and militant Islam,’ ‘self-hating,’ or ‘anti-American.'”

Of course, anyone who has actually visited Campus Watch knows that claim is absolutely preposterous. From the website…

CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.”

Campus Watch is designed to ensure what the Muslim pamphlet is accusing Dr. Pipes of doing, doesn’t happen–namely biased academia favoring the Arab or Palestinian position over the Israeli one. Having an opinion is fine. Forcing that opinion on impressionable college students without at least offering an opposing rebuttal is disingenuous and unethical. In all actuality, Campus Watch and the Muslim students pushing the “Exposing Daniel Pipes” disinformation leaflet are in general agreement–desiring a need to reduce bias.

Of course, when you have quotes denouncing Pipes from people such as Hamid Dabashi, Josehp Massad, and Rashid Khalidi, it’s apparent how biased those who were handing out the pamphlets really were.

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Before we entered, everyone was subjected to the metal detectors. Security was understandably tight for this event. Such procedures only seemed to increase the tension that was floating through the air.

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More metal detecting.

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Inside the building, but just outside the auditorium, more propaganda, but this time it’s from the event organizers–Ayn Rand literature including free copies of her seminal work, Atlas Shrugged. Personally, I can’t stand Ayn Rand, and I think Objectivism is contradictory and essentially ridiculous.

Anyway, from this point, I found my way to a seat where I settled in until the panelists arrived on stage.

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And here they are! From the left, introducing Dr. Yaron Brook, Dr. Wafa Sultan, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and on the far right, the mediator for the panel.

(From this point forward, the quality of the pictures degrades considerably. The lighting in the auditorium was poor, and when I end up heading back outside, it’s after sundown which makes taking decent images even more difficult. I apologize for the quality or lack-there-of.)

At the beginning of the discussion, each panelist, beginning with Dr. Brook, offered a four minute opening declaration concerning the danger of radical Islam and the threat it presents against the west. For those who have little knowledge of militant Islam, the majority of the nights discussion would likely have been eye opening to say the least.

Those in the audience who were there in dissent were probably steaming after Dr. Brooks comments, and again I could sense the tension, rising even further. It was obvious to me some members of the audience were there merely to disrupt the proceedings, and while I didn’t wish to profile too much (that annoying politically correct side that’s been indoctrinated into my very soul for over three decades), I found myself picking out several individuals who I suspected might be party to a protest were one to ignite–notably several early 20’s hijab-wearing women a few rows behind me who appeared to be of Middle-Eastern descent.

Finally, Dr. Pipes began to speak, touching upon the concept of capitulation through political correctness to Islam (militant or otherwise), particularly on the American university campus and specifically UCLA. It was a powerful beginning, but short-lived. At that point, the protestors began running interference.

UPDATE: PART 2 is now up.

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