By Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East Analyst & Commentator
The descendants of Ishmael, through Mohammed, have been taught a terrible
lie. They choose to ignore the fact that Ishmael was the half brother of
Isaac, through Abraham. In this great lie, therefore, those who interpreted
the writings of Mohammed, expanded on the story that, like Cain, the Muslims
of the future were destined to kill their half-brothers out of Abraham.
Through the centuries, this lie was further embellished well beyond teaching
Muslims to murder their half-brothers (and sisters). The LIE was to induce
Muslims to believe that by murdering their brother Jews through Abraham,
that they would gain a glorious life-after-death.

Is this then what G-d expected of Cain when he too murdered his brother in a
fit of jealousy? G-d marked Cain with a curse. Is this what the Mullahs
wanted for the Muslim people – a permanent banishment from heaven?

But, the Mullahs told the people: “Kill and you will be rewarded in the
heaven we will describe for you”. Thus they appealed to the lower, base
instincts of Muslims, that by murdering their brother, they would have great
sexual pleasures denied to them on earth by those same Mullahs.

Virgins, sweets of the most choice. That which were denied to them by the
Mullahs, would be available in rivers of wine and honey. All they had to do
was murder their brothers through Abraham and Ishmael. if they killed
themself while killing Jews, they would be holy martyrs and ascend to Muslim
Paradise to sit next to Mohammed in Allah’s Courtyards.

What the Mullahs could not tell the Muslim people was that murder on earth –
for any reason – brings a terrible curse. That instead of virgins and rivers
of honey, wine and the sweets they were promised, would be a terrible
darkness for the murder of his brother. They would have no glorious Heaven
but a Hell of indescribable pain.

Around the world “Madrassahs” (”Wahhabi” Strict Muslim schools) were
established to warp young minds, teaching them first to hate and then the
benefits of murder/suicide while omitting that Heaven is not their destiny.

Year after year more lies were piled upon the earlier lies. Even the Mullahs
could no longer tell the difference. Where in the tales of history was
Ishmael’s half brother, Isaac, taught to kill their brothers and sisters who
were the people of Ishmael.

G-d’s only allowance to kill, were those tribes who practiced human
sacrifice to pagan gods, invented by the local priest cults. Here, too, it
was the priest cults who benefitted the most as the people gave them the
best foods, the greatest honors and always the young virgins. The priest
became the interpreters of Allah’s will, despite their never having seen
him. Abraham, the father of two peoples did speak with G-d and there were no
instructions for the sons to kill each other. In fact, the main reason
Abraham had to send Ishmael and his mother Hagar away was that Sarah saw
Ishmael “playing” with Isaac but, when she saw Ishmael acting aggressively
and threateningly toward Isaac. It seems clear that this was probably
because he was jealous of Abraham’s intention to make Isaac his first and
the son to father the coming descendant generations.

The “Tanach” (Bible) says that G-d tells Abraham that “through his son Isaac
will offspring be considered yours. G-d also tells Abraham that also through
the son of the slave-woman (Ishmael) wilI I make into a nation for he is
your offspring.” (1)

As the years passed, Mohammed made his appearance in the seventh century as
a man of war who set out to convert others to Islam by the sword because the
Koran mandates them to do so in order to create a global Caliphate where
Islam dominates the world. After a time of conquest, Mohammed died in 632
C.E. many wished to be considered the heir and leader of Islam. Many created
their own mystical interpretations of the Koran and various “Hadith” (Oral
teachings).

Thus began a race to invent the most creative interpretations of the Koran’s
meanings and become Mohammed’s natural heir. The ignorant masses loved the
magic of the stories. The best, of course, was the promise of
life-after-death but, only if they followed the fable of the last Mullah to
teach what he believed.

But, the people liked the fable of getting in Allah’s heaven everything they
wanted but were denied on earth.

All they had to do was, like Cain, kill their brother. Instead of a curse
they would enjoy plenty. The young – how their eyes grew big after being
told when they killed their brother, they would be honored, both in life and
death as heroic warriors.

The Mullahs appealed to the worst instincts of men. They promised
life-after-death, a life of glorious rewards. They promised immortality
which not only removed the fear of death but made death by their murdering
their brother to be desirable. How the young rush with open arms to greet
death, especially if they could bring the head of their half-brother as an
offering, a human sacrifice, to the Allah created by the Mullahs and
Ayatollahs.

Was this the G-d of Abraham or was this Zin, the Moon god of the Mullahs,
named Allah who wanted to rule the world but needed and obedient army of
believers.

What happened to the G-d of Abraham? Would he have approved of another
killing of brother by brother? This major error was ignored by the Mullahs,
even though they later claimed that Abraham was born a Muslim.

Let this true story be published in Arabic and spread across the world of
Islam. The Mullahs will ferociously deny that murder is wrong. They will
quote their own writings to prove that Ishmael, the son of Abraham, would
approve of killing his half-brother Isaac and all the generations that
followed him. The Muslims will rage because it will pose the question: Can
one kill his half brother or sister, plunder their belongings, loot – and
then expect to be made immortal in the courtyards of Allah.

###

Please translate this into Arabic and Hebrew because under G-d’s sky, G-d
blessed Abraham with 2 children who could have lived in peace, even though
separate in their habits and religious practice. G-d never intended that the
young Muslims carry the mark of Cain and would not have put it on their
foreheads – except for the Great Lie propagated by their leaders.

1. “Genesis 22..” Rosh Hashanah Machsor (Prayer book) The Complete ArtScroll
Machsor by Rabbi Nosson Scherman Mesorah Publications, Inc. Brooklyn, NY
1985 pp. 405 & 406

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Ingredients

3 cups corn
1/2 pound kosher breakfast beef or pastrami, diced into pieces
1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia), diced small
1 large leek, cleaned thoroughly and sliced thinly into half-moons
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1 pound Yukon Potatoes, peeled and diced small
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 cup non dairy creamer
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Heat a 4-quart heavy pot over low heat and add the diced breakfast beef. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium and
cook until the breakfast beef is crisp. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, leaving the meat in the pot. Add the margarine, onion, leeks, bell pepper,
thyme, and cumin and saute, stirring occasionally until the onion and bell pepper are soft. Add the corn, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil and cook
for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Use a spoon to mash some of the potatoes and corn against the side of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium
and stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Return to boil and cook until the chowder thickens slightly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the non dairy creamer just before serving.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Today is the last day of 5766, and sunset will mark the beginning of a new year, 5767.
It will also mark the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance, which culminate in Yom Kippur.
During this time, Jews all over the world will take stock of the last year, what we did wrong and what we did right, and pray that the coming year be filled with blessing, health, success, and accomplishment, both physically and spiritually.
I’d like to take the time to wish all my readers, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, a good and sweet new year, filled with happiness, good health, prosperity, and success in all your endeavors.
Personally, along with the above-mentioned, I’ll be praying for an end to the stalemate known as my work situation, and that Michelle gets her just desserts.
Rosh Hashanah lasts for two days, so there won’t be any posts from sunset tonight, until after sunset Sunday.
For those who don’t observe the holiday, have a wonderful weekend.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

LONDON–Bob Gleichauf, the chief technology officer in Cisco Systems’
security technology group, has raised concerns that integrating Vista
into a complex IT infrastructure could present problems.

“Parts of Vista scare me,” Gleichauf said at the Gartner Security Summit
here on Monday. “Anything with that level of systems complexity will
have new threats, as well as bringing new solutions. It’s always a
struggle in security, trying to build for what you don’t know.”

Gleichauf told CNET News.com’s sister site ZDNet UK that Cisco views the
Microsoft operating system update, set for broad release in January, as
a bearer of possible solutions to security problems, but also as a
potential trigger of security issues.

“Vista will solve a lot of problems. But for every action, there’s a
reaction and unforeseen side-effects and mutations. Networks can become
more brittle unintentionally,” Gleichauf said.

The Cisco executive’s remarks come as Microsoft and the European
Commission move deeper into a tug-of-war over security features in
Vista. The company wants regulators to set clear guidelines as to what
it can include in the operating system, but the Commission will say only
that Microsoft must abide by its competition rules.

Systems complexity needs to be taken into consideration in any action
plan for Vista implementation, he added.

“If you’re embracing Vista, it’s not going to be 100 percent initially.
It’s going to create more heterogeneity for a while,” Gleichauf said.

Analysts from Gartner have also found that many businesses are nervous
about integrating the security features in Vista with their legacy systems.

“Most organizations are cautious about Vista,” said Eric Ouellet, vice
president for research, security and privacy at Gartner. “(Companies)
already have security tools which are being built into Vista. The risk
is to go to another system. There’s always going to be some hits,”
Ouellet told ZDNet UK.

“The risk you have to manage is: Is Microsoft going to get it right
first time? Maybe yes. But are businesses going to take that risk?” he
asked.

Microsoft has not helped to reassure customers by pushing back the
release date of the operating system and changing some of the promised
features.

“People don’t know what’s coming down the pike,” Ouellet said. “TPM
(Trusted Platform Module) is now not fully integrated–you can’t rely on
the feature and function set. Microsoft’s moving the goalposts is
definitely adding to the heartburn.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

This happened in the US, in Texas.
The people who take advantage of the Catholic Center don’t think this is serious, but I disagree.
Who just decides on a whim to blow up a statue like that?
Most idiots vandalize objects like this by scrawling graffiti or something else that takes very little time and effort.
I don’t think this is the work of your average hoodlum, I think it’s the work of Muslims.
They’re the ones who are angry at the Pope, and they’re the ones who have threatened violence against him, not to mention firebombing numerous churches in the Middle East.

By KYLE PEVETO
The Daily Sentinel
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The calm of a Catholic courtyard built for prayer and contemplation was broken Sunday morning when a small bomb shattered the white plaster face of a statue
of the Virgin Mary.
Located along a row of Christian student centers on East College Street across from the SFA campus, the courtyard sits between St. Mary’s Catholic Chapel
and the Catholic Student Center, where students come for camaraderie and religious study away from class.
No one witnessed the vandalism, and police have no suspects. Catholics at the center considered the act purposeful, but without any malice toward the organization.
“It kind of takes you by surprise, a little,” said Omar Marroquin, student president of Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization. “You’re angry
for a little bit, but it is an act of stupidity from someone.”
The vandalism occurred days after Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of Roman Catholics, drew anger from many Muslims over remarks made in a speech. Also, the
Knights of Columbus donated the statue more than 30 years ago in memory of aborted pregnancies, according to the Rev. Jesudoss Thomas, the chapel minister.
He said he hopes the statue’s vandalism was not tied to any statement, and no group has claimed responsibility for the vandalism.
“Anytime you have an act of vandalism, you have to look at all the angles. Is it directed at someone, or not?” said Sgt. Greg Sowell, Nacogdoches Police
Department information officer. “It is hard to find anyone involved in a random act of vandalism.”
Because the vandalism occurred at a place of worship, the act could be punished by state jail time.
“It’s hard not to think it’s a personal attack on our religion,” said Kelly Todd, president of Kappa Upsilon Sigma, a Christian sorority. “But it was probably
some people saying, ‘Hey dude, let’s blow up a statue.’”
While sitting in his office on the student center’s second floor across the courtyard from the statue, Thomas said just after midnight Sunday he heard a
blast, which he thought was a transformer exploding. But he received a call from the student center’s secretary, who saw smoke outside the building.
By the time Thomas got downstairs, the smoke had blown away. Outside the chapel’s western wall, where the statue of the Virgin Mary stood in a stone arch
with her head bowed meekly, the nose, chin and right cheek and eye had been blown off. He called the Nacogdoches police, who investigated, and he removed
the statue, placing it in a closet near the chapel’s altar.
“On Sunday the people were very prayerful, but they were not angry,” said Thomas, who was ordained a priest in his native India 14 years ago. “They were
very much offended, but they prayed for these people.”
Thomas became the campus minister in June 2005 after coming to the Tyler diocese five years ago. He said the center and chapel have always been peaceful
places where students study and worship.
The courtyard had returned to its peaceful manner Wednesday, with crape myrtle trees and oak limbs blowing in the wind. A brick path led to the stone arch
built into the chapel wall where the 4-foot statue once stood. Surrounded by a semicircle of boxwood plants, the statue’s pedestal is now covered with
flowers brought by students to fill the empty space. For now, the statue stands, in a chapel closet, covered with a purple cloth.
“We’re more proud than anything,” said Mary Derkowski, president of Catholic Student Center, of the vandalism. “If somebody was trying to scare us, it wasn’t
accomplished. They just proved that we don’t scare that easily

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Fjordman

The relationship Americans have with Europe has always been complicated. On one hand, it is the Mother Continent. On the other hand, there is a skeptical or rejectionist view of Europe in the US, as many European Americans left precisely to get away from the Old World. I sometimes wonder whether the best way to understand this paradox is that the early pioneers wanted to create an improved version of Europe: A country steeped in the best of Europe’s cultural and philosophical traditions, but with less of its religious intolerance and elitism.

The most radical rejection of any relationship between Europe and the USA I have seen comes from writer Spengler of the Asia Times Online, who claims that: “America never, in my surmise, offered fertile soil for the propagation of Western civilization. The founders of Massachusetts came to America because they rejected Western civilization as hopelessly corrupt, and conceived of a New Jerusalem. The Virginians, with their mock-classic temples and slave-based culture of leisure, identified with the Greco-Roman classics. We know who won that argument. America, such as it is, is not really a continuation of Western civilization at all, but a strange throwback to Hebraic rather than Greek origins.”

However, even Spengler isn’t always consistent in this view, since he still refers to the US as “the West” in other columns: “In the presence of a single superpower, the chief strategic issue of the 21st century is whether the West has the will to continue living. Islam will have assimilated childless Western Europe by the end of the century. If America follows Europe into nihilism, the 21st century will go out in fair imitation of the 5th,” in other words, the downfall of the Roman Empire. A more positive view comes from Victor Davis Hanson: “Europe is the repository of the Western tradition, most manifestly in shrines like the Acropolis, the Pantheon, the Uffizi, or the Vatican. We concede that the Great Books — we as yet have not produced a Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, or Locke, much less a Da Vinci, Mozart, or Newton — and the Great Ideas of the West from democracy to capitalism to human rights originated on your continent alone. And if Americans believe our Constitution and the visions of our Founding Fathers were historic improvements on Europe of the 18th-century, then at least we acknowledge in our humility that they were also inconceivable without it.”

“There is a greater oneness between us, an unspoken familiarity even now in the age of global sameness, that makes an American feel at home in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, or Athens in a way that is not true of Istanbul, Cairo, or Bangkok.” “Either your economy will reform, your populace multiply, and your citizenry defend itself, or not. And if not, then Europe as we have known it will pass away — to the great joy of the Islamists but to the terrible sorrow of America.”

Tony Blankley, editorial-page editor of The Washington Times and author of the book “The West’s Last Chance” adopts a similar tune:

“The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s. We cannot afford to lose Europe. We cannot afford to see Europe transformed into a launching pad for Islamist jihad.” “A defense of the West without the birthplace of the West — Europe — is almost unthinkable. If Europe becomes Eurabia, it would mean the loss of our cultural and historic first cousins, our closest economic and military allies, and the source of our own civilization. This is a condition Americans should dread and should move mountains to avoid.”

“Even before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt understood that a Nazi-dominated Europe would be more than a fearsome military and industrial threat. It would be a civilizational threat. Now we face another such threat in insurgent Islam.”

The comparison is an instructive one. The attacks the United States suffered on September 11th 2001 were larger then Pearl Harbor. Yet here we are, more than five year later, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent on a failed attempt to spread democracy to Iraq, with sharia creeping ever closer in the West and with Western commentators warning against Islamophobia. What went wrong? Why the weak response?

U.S. President George W. Bush personally signed off on a visa allowing Mohammed Khatami, Iranian president until 2005, to visit the United States and speak at the National Cathedral and Harvard University because he wanted to hear his views. To do this at the same time as the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and while Khatami’s successor is threatening to wipe Israel off the map and overthrow the West, makes the American government seem weak and ready to capitulate to the forces of Islam.

In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents than in any year in the previous two decades. Meanwhile, Cathy Young, a writer for the Boston Globe and Reason magazine, has warned against “Islamophobes,” attacking Oriana Fallaci and also Jihad Watch in the process. She has been joined by Ralph Peters, writing for the New York Post, lambasting what he calls “a rotten core of American extremists.”

“The really ugly “domestic insurgency” is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism. How? By insisting that Islam can never reform, that the violent conquest and subjugation of unbelievers is the faith’s primary agenda – and, when you read between the lines, that all Muslims are evil and subhuman.” “The problem isn’t the man or woman of faith, but cultural environment. Once free of the maladies of the Middle East, Muslims thrive in America. Like the rest of us.”

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal endorsed Peters’ column as eloquently answering “anti-Muslim bigots.” The same Ralph Peters earlier in 2006 managed to be neutral during the cartoon Jihad because “both sides are wrong,” denouncing the “Eurotrash” just as much as Muslims: “Breaking a well-known taboo of Islam was irresponsible. No other word for it.” “Those cartoons said more about Europe’s own arrogance toward religious believers and intolerance of faith than they do about Islam.” “For once, we Americans can sit back and watch the fight (pass the popcorn, please). The Europeans are going to get a few more teeth knocked out.”

Does Mr. Peters have titanium testicles or what? Now, I can readily understand that Americans are sick and tired of the anti-Americanism that comes out of Europe these days, but the cartoon Jihad was the wrong instance to demonstrate this. First of all, it started in Denmark, which was also, along with Bulgaria, the only country in Europe which managed to save most of its Jews during WW2. It is no coincidence that this was the first Western country where Muslim immigration became the topic of a real public debate, which started there even before 2001. Denmark has a proud tradition of resistance to anti-democratic forces. Moreover, the cartoons were reprinted in many countries in Continental Europe, including France and Germany, whereas American media hesitated to do the same thing.

Now, if I may be as bold as to point it out myself, I was probably the first person outside Denmark to republish any of these cartoons, and to write extensively about the case in English. The twelve cartoons depicting Muhammad were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005. I republished one of the cartoons, with the explosive turban, just a few days later, after picking up the story from Danish language blog Uriasposten. From there on, the story gradually made its way to Jihad Watch, Little Green Footballs and on to the international blogosphere. Paul Belien of the Brussels Journal, who is constantly harassed by the authorities in Belgium for maintaining his online magazine, wrote in November 2005 that “Fjordman is about the only one who keeps the world regularly posted on this ongoing affair [of the cartoons].”

Maybe I did that because I am a Eurotrash, anti-Muslim bigot. Or maybe I did that because I, unlike Mr. Peters, understood immediately that this story would have repercussions far beyond Denmark. Here’s a quote from a post, which included a draft email in support of Jyllands-Posten, that I wrote already in October 2005:

“When some Muslims complain about their religion being slighted, the entire Islamic world seems to support them. Unfortunately, the same is not the case with the infidels using their freedom of speech. They are too frequently left to fight alone, with little support. This needs to change. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with dozens of member states backed by Saudi oil money, is now up against one newspaper and the government of a nation of just above 5 million inhabitants. But what is at stake is nothing less than the very concept of freedom of speech and thus democracy itself, an issue far greater than Denmark. It is totally unacceptable that Muslims try to intimidate the citizens of free nations from speaking their minds, and it is time that this is made clear in no uncertain terms.”

It is sad that this message was lost on so many Western, including American, journalists. However, although the mainstream media in the United States largely failed this test, American bloggers did not. Many of them, including influential ones such as Michelle Malkin, republished the cartoons. The importance of independent websites has not been lost on columnist Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post, who states that “the blogosphere has taken upon itself the role of media watchdog” and become “a critical component of the free world’s defense in the current war.”

“The blogosphere, and particularly Little Green Footballs, Powerline, Zombietime, Michelle Malkin, and EU Referendum, have relentlessly exposed the systematic staging of news events, fabrication of attacks against relief workers, and doctoring of photographic images by Hizbullah with the active assistance of international organizations and the global media.” “As each day passes it becomes clear that the responsibility of protecting our nations and societies from internal disintegration has passed to the hands of individuals, often working alone, who refuse to accept the degradation of their societies and so fight with the innovative tools of liberty to protect our way of life.”

I still have a belief, or at least a hope, that most of Europe can be saved from Islam, although it will be a difficult fight. However, Europe is now so weak and the Islamic infiltration proceeding so quickly that it would be foolhardy to dismiss out of hand the possibility that Europe could indeed succumb to this threat.

How will it affect the New West, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, if the Old West in Europe goes Islamic? Will Western civilization survive in the New World, or will these countries, too, follow Europe’s demise? After all, Western civilization in Europe has the advantage of being native to the soil, where it has grown organically for centuries, whereas it has been transplanted to Australia, Canada and the USA and superimposed on top of other cultures.

One important factor in this regard is how big the flow of European refugees from Eurabia will be, and whether they have learned their lesson regarding Islam or whether they will bring their failed ideologies with them to their new homelands.

If Eurabia indeed becomes the end result, Europe will slowly be reduced from industrialized countries to just another overpopulated Islamic failure. However, this process took centuries in most of what is now the Islamic world, and will take decades or generations in Europe. In the meantime, Eurabia would constitute an existential threat to the rest of the West, and indeed to much of the non-Muslim world. Westerners would be cut off from their civilizational roots, and some of their prized cultural treasures would simply be physically destroyed.

This would be a tremendous blow to the West, and an equally tremendous boost to the morale in the Islamic world. Islam has tried, and failed to conquer the European heartland of its Western rival for more than 1300 years. It is difficult to overstate what an enormous religious victory it would represent for Muslims if they were to finally succeed in this. In addition to the psychological effect on the global Islamic community, the umma would also get its hands on the accumulated financial and technological resources of Europe. This would reinvigorate Jihad worldwide, from Thailand to Armenia. We can already now, with the European Union appeasement of the Arab world, see the dangerous potential of such a constellation.

In short, an Islamic or Islamic-controlled Europe would pose a huge and continuous threat to the rest of the West.

I’m also not fully convinced that Americans, despite frequent claims to the contrary, will prove that much more resistant to Jihad than Europeans are right now. I will be thrilled if they are, but there are some disturbing signs to the contrary. A video of Osama bin Laden meeting with two 9/11 hijackers revealed that the mass murderers were motivated by a desire to avenge Muslims … in Bosnia, where the US went to war to protect Muslims. I have heard many Americans complain that the US saved Muslims in Kuwait, Bosnia and then later in Kosovo, yet few Muslims seem to appreciate this. This indicates how little key policy makers understand the mindset of Muslims in general.

Westerners are told to find ways to win the hearts and minds of Muslims. Very few care to ask whether or not this feat is possible at all. What if the hearts and minds of Muslims are already occupied by Allah and Muhammad, and there is little room left for infidels? If that is the case, it means that projects aimed at giving financial assistance to Muslims are at best a waste of money, at worst outright counterproductive.

Jizya is a punishment tax that non-Muslim dhimmis according to the Koran 9,29 are supposed to pay for “protection”, “in willing submission”, as a sign of their inferior status to their Islamic rulers. Muslims will thus see payments from non-Muslims as a sign that you accept having been defeated and being subjugated to Islam’s might. As a result, they may in fact become more aggressive and demanding, not less.

Westerners who believe that providing financial assistance to Muslims, or even bombing non-Muslims on their behalf as NATO did in the Balkans, will somehow buy them gratitude from Muslims reveal a fundamental lack of understanding of how the Muslim mind works. Muslims are fatalists. For them, everything that happens, good or bad, is the will of Allah. If something bad takes place, this is a punishment for being lax Muslims. If something good happens, for instance a bombing of Christian Serbs that paves the way for ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim in Kosovo, this is a reward for being good Muslims. Muslims will feel gratitude, but to Allah who caused this, not to the infidels who actually carried out the bombing.

If anything, Western involvement in the Balkans signaled to Muslims that the West was now weak and ripe for conquest, since we sacrificed the Christian Serbs in favor of Muslims. As a consequence, instead of a Westernization of the Balkans, we may end up with a Balkanization of the West.

Bat Ye’or has talked about a conflict between Europeans and Eurabians, with the latter holding sway for now because they dominate the media and the political establishment. This conflict is most severe in Europe because of the European Union and the number of Muslims there, but I see similar conflicts in Canada, Australia and the United States, too.

I sometimes wonder whether the West at the beginning of the 21st century is mired in an ideological civil war, which in Western Europe in particular is getting so serious that it could well lead to physical civil wars. I will call the contestants Westerners and post-Westerners. This makes more sense than right-wingers vs. left-wingers because although left-wingers tend to be more aggressive and open in their denunciation of the West, and although the strongest opposition is usually found among conservatives, post-Westerners have penetrated deep into the political right-wing, too.

Both Leftists and quite a few right-wingers ironically agree on the fact that only economic factors matter, and that culture does not have any significant impact. Leftists talk about economic exploitation and are frequently critical of, if not hostile to, Western culture, hence their allegiance to Multiculturalism. Some right-wingers see immigration only as cheap labor and more consumers. A country is thus one giant job-producing corporation, no different from Coca-Cola or Toyota. A place to make money, nothing more. Not a nation with a soul, a shared history or a common culture. In opposition to these post-Westerners we have traditional Westerners, whose primary loyalty still lies with their nation state, their culture and their civilization.

Many Americans now say that the United States is a “universal” nation that “doesn’t have a culture of its own,” which indicates that the USA itself is increasingly post-Western and cut off from its European roots.

It is significant that most Western nations face common challenges in upholding their national borders, and that it is considered “racist” to prefer certain groups of immigrants over others. This is becoming more and more apparent in the illegal immigration debate. The open borders activists are basically arguing that it’s a “human right” to be allowed to settle in the West, not that Westerners should be allowed to preserve their own culture and decide who should settle in their lands.

Our unwillingness to uphold our physical boundaries is closely related to our unwillingness to define our cultural boundaries. In a strange way, it is the shared denial of our own historical roots or even the fact that we have a culture, the notion that we have somehow moved “beyond history” and the idea that it is “racist” to uphold your national borders that reveal the fact that Europe, North America and Australia still belong to the same civilization, despite everything.

Serge Trifkovic, author of Sword of the Prophet and the new book Defeating Jihad, points this out, too:

“It is in the inability and unwillingness of the elite class to confront jihad that Western Europe and North America most tellingly certify that they share the same chromosomes, that they belong to one culture and constitute one civilization.” “Another result is an elite consensus that de facto open immigration, multiculturalism, and the existence of a large Muslim diaspora within the Western world are to be treated as a fixed given, and must not be scrutinized in any anti-terrorist debate.”

“This war is being fought, on the Islamic side, with the deep conviction that the West is on its last legs. The success of its demographic onslaught on Europe enhances the image of “a candy store with the busted lock,” and that view is reinforced by the evidence from history that a civilization that loses the urge for self-perpetuation is indeed in peril.”

Europeans, after several devastating wars during the 20th century, seem to believe that we have moved beyond war into an age of international law and dialogue, and that war for whatever reason is evil. That is one idea that Americans most definitely do not share, and they are right. But Americans have other Utopian dreams of their own. I have warned against the dangers of “celebrating diversity” in a country that is already so diverse as the USA. Americans should celebrate their sameness and what binds them together, or they could wake up one day and find out hat they are united neither by culture, religion, race nor political beliefs, perhaps not even by language due to the growth of Spanish as a semi-official second language. This could create serious internal frictions, maybe even cause the country to fall apart.

The idea that “history is bunk,” that all cultures can be assimilated equally into the USA and that the United States is a universal nation that has somehow magically moved beyond all conflicts known to mankind elsewhere is wrong and dangerous. It also has implications for foreign policy.

If Americans had remembered that their cherished political system was
steeped in a Western and European cultural tradition, and may not work
just as well in all other cultures, they might not have embarked on
the project of exporting democracy to a deeply Islamic country such as
Iraq, at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. This happened
because Americans believed theirs was a universal nation without any
core culture of its own. If this was the case, its political system
could be exported everywhere.

Five years after 9/11, Muslim immigration to the United States is
higher than ever, there is still great reluctance to name the enemy
among members of the political establishment and President Bush sticks
to his failed strategy of exporting democracy to the Arab world while
the Islamization of the West continues apace.

I hope Americans are right, that the USA will prove more resistant to
Islamization than Europe, and that Western civilization will prevail
in the New World even if it should die in the Old World. But I confess
to have some lingering doubt.

Note from Fjordman: I have plans for at least a dozen longer essays after this, provided I have the time and financial opportunity to write them. The essays will be dealing with why I find a Reformation of Islam unlikely to happen. All of my online essays can be republished for free by anybody who wants to, as long as credit is given to the author. Any financial donation, which can be given here, should be considered as payment in advance for future essays.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Via USA Today:

Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing
to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has
grown to about three a day, says airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. “Travelers often feel surprised and insulted,” he says. “Sometimes, several drivers in
a row refuse carriage.”

Taxi drivers and officials from the airport, taxi companies and the Muslim American Society are discussing how to address the issue. Partly out of concern
that taxi drivers might be citing religion to avoid short-distance fares, the airport is now forcing drivers who refuse a fare to go to the end of the
line for waiting taxis. It is not a popular decision among drivers, Hogan says.

The airport is expected to propose today that drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possibly to a different
color. Hogan says the move will help let airport employees and customers know which taxis serve alcohol-carrying passengers. Drivers refusing a fare won’t
have to go to the end of the line. “Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts or dictating anyone’s religious choices. …
Our goal is simply to ensure travelers at (the airport) are well served.”

I’m starting to wish I lived in Miniapolis.
That way, I could take a trip to the airport, carry a bottle of Manischewetz’s finest concealed on my person, and, as I departed the cab, pour out a libation while reciting “Shema Yisrael” in an audible voice.
One for me, one for my homies.
The airport shouldn’t be cowing to these people.
You deny the fair, you lose your license.
None of this going to the back of the line, or changing the light on your roof so you can have the kind of customers you want.
If you want to live in the west, then you need to get your turbaned head around the fact that some of us are very proud drinkers, and we’re not about to give it up or hide it just because you’re offended.
One last thing.
I’m encouraging all blind people who have guide dogs to tell the dog it’s park time the second a cab driver tries to deny you the ride simply because you have a dog and that would offend his Muslim sensibilities.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

by Sara Yoheved Rigler

This Rosh Hashana, celebrate your spiritual accomplishments.

The latest issue of my Brandeis alumnae magazine devoted two thirds of a page to the success of one graduate of the Class of ‘87. Her stunning achievement?
She is Hollywood’s only female sword-master and has become director of theatrical combat at the Beverly Hills Fencers’ Club.

How does the magazine editor decide which graduate’s career is worthy of highlighting? What criteria of success qualify to make one’s alma mater proud?
Wealth? Fame? Contribution to society? Uniqueness of profession?

The alumnae themselves are invited to write in to describe their own recent accomplishments. This latest issue, for example, lists these truly noteworthy
and hard-won accomplishments:

List of 4 items
• A.L., class of ‘91, received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Washington State University
• J.H., class of ‘76, was named 2005 Psychologist of the Year by the Florida Psychological Association.
• K.P., class of ‘73, was appointed executive vice president for strategy and ministry development at Catholic Health East.
• A.S., class of ‘82, published a book, Mac Design Out of the Box.
list end

Reading of my fellow alumnae’s various achievements, I wondered what a spiritual version of the magazine would look like. After all, a person can be justly
proud of getting a degree, a promotion, or an award, but are spiritual achievements any less important? If B.G. is feted because he got a promotion up
the corporate ladder, shouldn’t he be feted for becoming a kinder person this year? If N.H. is congratulated for getting a post-doc degree, shouldn’t she
be congratulated that she stopped yelling at her kids?

According to Judaism, the measuring rod of significance in life is a spiritual barometer. Thus, when N.H. gets that post-doc degree, from a Jewish standpoint
she deserves congratulations because she exhibited the qualities of industriousness and perseverance to earn the degree. And if these qualities did not
come naturally to her, she deserves even more accolades.

Contrary to popular perception, wealth, fame, and success are gifts from God, Who endows people with talent, intelligence, and specific aptitudes.

My book Holy Woman, which was published in May, just went into its fourth printing. Recently someone asked me, “You must be really proud to have written
a bestselling book.”

I replied, “Not really. Most of the ingredients of the bestseller — my writing talent, my becoming acquainted such an amazing woman to write about, my
access to the right people to interview [three of whom died a few months after the interview] — all that came from God. My response is less pride than
gratitude. But when I exercise enough self-discipline to get to bed on time, then I feel really proud.”

THE YEARLY ISSUE

My alumnae magazine comes out four times a year. Its spiritual counterpart, which really does exist, has only one issue per year: the Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur
issue. This is the time for all of us to reflect on and assess our spiritual accomplishments and failures. This is the time for our annual report.

While my alumnae magazine prints only those reports submitted by proud alumnae, its spiritual counterpart features a report by every one of us without exception.
As the High Holy Day liturgy puts it: “The signature of every person’s hand is in it.”

And if, as Rosh Hashana draws near, we realize to our chagrin that we have few spiritual achievements to report, it’s still not too late. The ten days between
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, called “The Ten Days of Repentance,” are an ideal time to score some spiritual goals. The deadline for submissions to our
spiritual alum magazine is Yom Kippur.

PROGRESS REPORT

From an alumnae magazine, we can learn two important spiritual lessons. The first is: Idealize upward movement.

Alumnae generally report new jobs, promotions, recently awarded distinctions, etc. Similarly, in our spiritual lives we should strive to constantly reach
new levels. V.N. would be embarrassed to report: “I’m working at the same mid-level job I’ve had for the last 15 years.” So why shouldn’t V.N. be embarrassed
to admit, “The same things that ticked me off 15 years ago still make me ballistic”?

J.H. would be loathe to submit for the 2006 issue, “I was named the 1995 Psychologist of the Year by the Florida Psychological Association.” Yet how often
when we search for our spiritual accomplishments do we revert to, “I started eating kosher 11 years ago.” When we stand before God on the High Holy Days,
God wants to hear about how we grew, changed, and progressed this year.

The key word here is “progressed.” Spiritual achievement means that you’re better in a particular character trait or mitzvah than you were last year. “More
of the same” doesn’t cut it.

So, if you are by nature and habit generous, reporting, “I gave $10,000 to Yad Eliezer for food distribution in Northern Israeli bomb shelters during the
recent war,” may not be at all impressive, because God is interested only in progress reports.

Let’s say, on the other hand, you are by nature tight-fisted, never give to charity, and always throw out all your junk mail charity solicitations without
even opening them. One day this August on your way between your mailbox and the trash basket, you noticed that one envelope was from Yad Eliezer and emblazoned
on it were the words, “HELP ISRAEL’S NORTHERN RESIDENTS.” You opened the envelope, read the appeal, and battled with yourself about whether to donate money.
Finally, you decided to help, and wrote a check for $25. That’s a spiritual victory!

Here’s where the spiritual sword master comes in. All spiritual progress is a victory of one’s higher inclinations (the soul) over one’s lower inclinations
(called the yetzer hara). Where there is no duel between these two rivals, there is no victory. Doing what comes naturally or what you do habitually is
not a spiritual achievement. It doesn’t qualify for the spiritual alum magazine.

That’s why I feel prouder about getting to bed on time (in order not to be cranky the next day) than abut writing a bestselling book. Writing comes easily
to me. There’s no battle involved, and therefore no victory. Getting to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep (a key to spiritual success), however,
is a nightly fencing match with my yetzer hara. In collusion with my addiction to “getting one more thing done,” it seduces me with temptations such as,
“Just unload the dishwasher, so you can wake up to a clean sink.” When I exercise enough self discipline to overcome its blandishments, I achieve a hard-won
victory. I have to keep my sword to the yetzer’s throat until the moment I turn out the light.

VALIDATING VICTORY

The second profound lesson we can learn from an alumnae magazine is: Validate every accomplishment.

One of the greatest detriments to spiritual growth is our minimizing of our spiritual victories. K.W. is proud to report that she got her M.D. from Middlesex
School of Medicine. So what that it wasn’t Harvard Med! Yet most of us downplay our spiritual accomplishments: “So, I didn’t yell at the kids this time,
but I yelled at them twice yesterday.” “So I let someone into the supermarket line ahead of me, even though I was also pressed for time. What’s the big
deal?”

We know that the best way to educate our children is with positive reinforcement. If we want our child to sit still when eating, we have to reinforce every
three minutes she sits still, heaping on her attention and praise. Why, then, are we so remiss with reinforcing our own desirable behaviors?

When we face off with our yetzer hara, we have to be the home team. When a home team football player scores five yards, the fans cheer wildly. They don’t
pooh-pooh it, saying, “It was only five yards. It wasn’t a touchdown.” The more we cheer for our spiritual victories, the more victories we’ll score.

Your mother pushed your button and you didn’t snap back at her? Hurray! Bring out the band! Your co-worker at the water cooler started to gossip, and you
changed the subject? Bravo! Give yourself a mental bouquet of roses!

These feats deserve at least as much recognition as becoming the first female sword-master in Hollywood.

As Rosh Hashana approaches, sit down and make a list of all the ways you’ve grown and improved this year. Don’t consider any accomplishment too small. Then
resolve to make new strides in the new year — not giant leaps, but small, consistent steps.

There is no such thing as an insignificant spiritual victory. Emblazon that motto on your desk and start cheering!

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

+++THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) 20 Sept.’06:”Freedom is never having to say
’sorry’ ” ,commentary by Chibli Mallat, candidate for Lebanese presidency
and visiting professor at Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

QUOTES FROM TEXT: “The threshold for freedom of expression is becoming too
low and needs to be raised again.” “Demanding an apology was unnecessary.”

The Spanish Inquisition, most people would agree, was a dark moment in the
history of the Catholic Church. The Crusades were another moment universally
perceived as being negative because they involved conquest in the form of
wars of religion. Yet Christians do not erupt in anger whenever such
criticism is publicly vented, whether the source of that criticism is
Christian or not. Why should we treat any differently criticism of a
particular phase, or a particular trait, of Islam, Judaism, or for that
matter the behavior of any religion or country in the world?
There is no reason to apply a different standard because Pope Benedict XVI
quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor who made negative comments about Islam;
or after the uproar caused by a Danish newspaper’s publication of
disparaging drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. Or, for that matter, after a
Lebanese satirical program, “Bas Mat Watan,” took aim at Hizbullah leader
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah a few months ago, provoking demonstrations by party
supporters. The threshold for freedom of expression is becoming too low, and
it needs to be raised again.
Depending on who says what in which context, there will always be a moment
when a statement is considered “unacceptable.” … it is also important at
key moments to take a stance, otherwise the threshold for free speech will
continue to be lowered. Those who request apologies and stronger penalties
for free expression should be defeated in the court of public opinion. This
won’t happen if demands for apologies from those who have said something
deemed controversial are persistently backed up by the public at large. This
reality can only infuse certain topics with a sanctity that permits no
criticism, in a way that would further curtail open debate.
Take the case of “Bas Mat Watan.” I believe that it was the silence of most
Lebanese leaders on the occasion of the angry demonstrations organized that
evening by Hizbullah’s supporters in Beirut that encouraged Nasrallah to
carry on acting as if he were the leader of Lebanon on July 12, when he
approved of the abduction of two Israeli soldiers without consulting anyone.
,,, voicing criticism of Hizbullah, and the party’s accepting this, should
have been a crucial step in helping mend disagreements between the party and
its domestic political partners.
…. Benedict’s speech was well within the bounds of decency, no matter how
much I disagreed with its implications. But even if the quote was
inappropriate, critics should be satisfied with discussing it, and strongly
disagreeing if need be. Demanding an apology was unnecessary. . . .

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Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

BY LAURIE MYLROIE
The New York Sun September 19, 2006
URL: www.nysun.com/article/39873

Recently the Senate Intelligence Committee published the second phase of its
investigation into Iraq. The document has an outrageously lengthy name:
“Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on Postwar Findings About
Iraq’s WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare with Prewar
Assessments, Together with Additional Views.” It is a tendentious paper,
reflecting Democratic posturing on the eve of the congressional elections.
Four Republican senators on the committee complained in their dissent that
it was written “with more partisan bias than we have witnessed in a long
time in Washington.” That is an apt characterization of the section dealing
with Iraq and terrorism.

The committee chose largely to ignore or discount information showing that
Saddam Hussein’s regime was actively involved in terrorism from 1991 to the
start of Operation Iraqi Freedom for some years before Operation Iraqi
Freedom began. One telling example is the statement of Centcom spokesman,
General Vincent Brooks, on April 6, 2003, as American forces rushed toward
Baghdad. General Brooks described an American raid on Salman Pak, a large
Iraqi intelligence compound south of the city, stating: “This raid occurred
in response to information that had been gained by coalition forces from
some foreign fighters we encountered from other countries, not Iraq. And we
believe that this camp had been used to train these foreign fighters in
terror tactics, …one of a number of examples we’ve found where there is
training activity happening inside of Iraq. It reinforces the likelihood of
links between his regime and external terrorist organizations, clear links
with common interests. Some of these fighters came from Sudan, some from
Egypt, and some from other places.” Originally included in the report,
General Brooks’ statement was removed by an 8-7 vote, with Republican
Senator Hagel siding with the Democrats.
The millions of documents captured in Iraq fare little better in this
review.
Only a small fraction of the documents have been processed, but one American
official familiar with them told this author that they nonetheless reveal
such extensive Iraqi dealings with terrorists that they justify the war.
Journalist Stephen Hayes reported in the Weekly Standard on January 16, that
captured documents and photographs reveal that between 1999 and 2002,
Saddam’s regime trained over 8,000 “radical Islamic terrorists” at three
camps in Iraq, including Salman Pak.

A Defense Department study, “Iraq Perspectives Project,” was published
earlier this year. It cited a captured document, dated October 7, 2000, that
stated, “Beginning in 1998, these camps began hosting ‘Arab volunteers from
Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, the Gulf, and Syria.’” The study pointedly adds,
“It is not clear from available evidence where all these non-Iraqi
volunteers who were ’sacrificing for the cause’ went to ply their newfound
skills.” In congressional testimony, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Woods, who
headed the study, set the date for Iraq’s terrorist activities even earlier,
affirming they were “increasing from 1995 on.”

Yet in its evaluation of the postwar information on Salman Pak, the Senate
report begins by citing a June 7, 2006, response from the Defense
Intelligence Agency to questions from its staff, in which the DIA claims “it
has no credible reports that non-Iraqis were trained to conduct or support
transnational terrorist operations at Salman Pak after 1991.” Although the
DIA allows that such training occurred during the 1991 war, the DIA
maintains that it ceased and the foreign terrorists captured in Iraq were
recent arrivals. That they may have been, but, of course, the DIA position
ignores the documentary evidence that terrorist training had resumed in Iraq
by the late 1990s.

Despite its partisan nature, the report includes useful bits of new
information. It verifies the authenticity of a long-secret document from the
early 1990s first released by Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National
Congress, several years ago in 2004. Faruq Hijazi, former deputy director of
the Iraqi Intelligence Service, whose signature appears on the document,
confirmed its authenticity, as did other Intelligence Service officers, the
Senate report explains.

The top-secret Intelligence Service memo, dated March 28, 1992, was prepared
in response to an order from Saddam two months before. Two Intelligence
Service divisions – Foreign Intelligence, M-4, and Counter-Intelligence,
M-5 – review their contacts with Kuwaitis and Saudis, naming both “old
sources” and “new opportunities.” Osama bin Laden is listed among M-4’s old
sources and is briefly described: as a “known Saudi merchant, a Saudi
opposition official. The Syrian section has a relationship with him.” Yet
bin Laden does not appear to have had special importance for the
Intelligence Service then. He is just one individual quickly mentioned in a
20-page memo that deals only with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (almost certainly,
similar memos were prepared on other countries considered enemies of Iraq).

The Senate report also confirms the authenticity of an Iraqi intelligence
document written five years later, titled “The Saudi Opposition and
Achieving Relations with It.” Bin Laden is now of much greater interest to
the service. The document, which reviews intelligence service contacts with
four Saudi opposition groups, including bin Laden’s, makes clear that Iraq
is actively exploring prospects for developing relationships with them.
Sudan’s ruling National Islamic Front, one of Iraq’s few allies then, acts
as an intermediary with two Saudi figures: bin Laden and another Islamic
radical, Mohammed al-Mas’ari, then resident in London.

In December 1994, a Sudanese emissary informs the intelligence chief, Rafi’
Dahham al-Tikriti, that bin Laden would see him in Sudan, despite bin
Laden’s apprehensions that his rivals might portray him as an Iraqi
agent.This contact is obviously important to Baghdad; the intelligence
service chief would not see just anyone, and his deputy, Hijazi, is also
present. At the February 19, 1995, meeting, bin Laden asks for assistance on
several issues, including “to carry out joint operations against foreign
forces” in Saudi Arabia. Baghdad agrees only to broadcast the sermons of a
radical Saudi cleric (whose name the committee spells two different ways on
successive pages). The document concludes, “The relationship with [bin
Laden] continues to be through the Sudanese side, and we are working at the
present time to activate this relationship through a new channel in the
light of the headquarters of his current whereabouts [in Afghanistan].”

The Senate report, however, accepts the claim of former Iraqi officials,
including Hijazi, that it was bin Laden who sought out the Iraqis, and
Saddam would have virtually nothing to do with him or with any other Islamic
radicals, because he “did not trust” them. The documents cited here would
suggest that is simply not true. Indeed, were it not for their extreme
partisanship and the upcoming elections, even most Democrats probably would
acknowledge this.
=======
Ms. Mylroie is an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and
author of “Study of Revenge: The First World Trade Center Attack and Saddam
Hussein’s War Against America.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

This article mentions developing low-cost technology for use on cell phones.
I think we need to get to a point where we have accessible cell phones for
all carriers, preferably beforehand, but alongside would be nice as well.

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Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

According to unconfirmed reports, Toys R Us, (otherwise affectionately known as We Be Toys), is being accused by the NYACLU of violating a shopper’s civil rights because they asked her not to breastfeed on the flor, in front of God and everybody.

The New York Civil Liberties Union claims that Toys “R” Us employees harassed a shopper who was breastfeeding her infant this week at the 42nd Street store.

In a letter sent to company headquarters in Wayne, N.J., yesterday, a lawyer with the NYCLU claims the company violated the state’s basic civil rights law
and demanded a public apology and compensation for the mother.

A lawsuit could follow if the demands are not met, the lawyer, Elisabeth Benjamin, said, in an interview yesterday.

The NYCLU claims that when the mother, Chelsi Meyerson of Brooklyn, began to breastfeed, five different saleswomen confronted her, according to the letter.
At least one saleswoman told Ms. Meyerson that breastfeeding on the store floor was “inappropriate” because of all the nearby children, the letter stated.

Let’s get something straight.
Being able to breastfeed your spawn in public, with no regard for public decency, is not a civil right. If you’re going to breastfeed, take it somewhere where everyone else doesn’t have to watch.
I don’t care how natural it is, or healthy for the child, or whatever.
Taking a dump is pretty natural and healthy too, but I don’t see anyone advocating it being done in stores, in public view either.
Or is that one on the way?
And suing for damages?!
How do they come up with that one?
The woman’s lucky she wasn’t kicked out of the store, because that’s exactly what I would have done.
Having one breast exposed, no matter what the reason, isn’t any different than having both exposed.
And if we’re going to allow for nursing mothers to show off in public, then let’s just have the strippers do it too, and the ACLU needs to help Janet Jackson sue for backpay since she was pretty much turned into persona non-grata after the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.
Stupid.
Just completely, totally stupid.
And people wonder why I don’t believe in evolution.
Survival of the fittest is a joke.
Stupid people have too many other people within society willing to enable them, which keeps them on a survival plan that’s way to long and drawn-out.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Soup is a healthy and nutritious way to start any meal and in these days of higher food prices it’s also an economical way to stretch your food budget. A
large pot of soup can produce enough soup for 8 to 10 hungry adults and many recipes can be double or tripled so that you can freeze the extra
for those days when you’re just too tired to do anything more than defrost and serve.

Soup Tips:
1. Make soup 1 to 2 days in advance to let flavors blend.
2. Reserve vegetable cooking water and use in place of plain water to improve soup flavor.
3. If soup tastes thin or weak, add bouillon cubes or powder to boost the flavor.
4. Cool soup uncovered as quickly as possible by placing pot in sink of ice water.
5. If you’re using beer or wine in the soup, reduce salt content slightly.
6. When adding wine to soups add it just shortly before serving and do not let it boil.
7. Too much wine will make soup bitter. 1/4 to 1/3 cup per quart is plenty.
8. If soup is too salty, add half a peeled raw potato and simmer about 15 minutes to absorb excess salt and then remove potato.
9. 1 teaspoon of sugar or light brown sugar will mellow the acidity of tomato soup.
10. Vegetable cream soups can be thickened by pureeing some of the vegetables with a bit of the liquid.
11. Add fresh herbs at the end of cooking.
12. 1 quart soup equals approx. 6 first-course servings or 3 to 4 main course servings.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

A 2,000-Year-Old Debate on Whether to “Get Out of the Box”

By Yosef Y. Jacobson

This week’s portion (Vayelech) relates the dramatic events that transpired during Moses’ last day on earth. Among the many things he did on that fateful
day was commit the entire Pentateuch (the Chumash, or Five Books of Moses) to writing (1). The Torah scrolls we use today are copies of copies of copies
of the original Torah scroll written by Moses on the day of his passing, on 7 Adar of the year 2488, 3,278 years ago.

After completing the writing of the full Torah, Moses commanded the Levites, “Take this Torah scroll, and place it at the side of the Ark of the Covenant
of the Lord your G-d, and it shall be there as witness for you (2).” The Tabernacle in the desert and later the Temple in Jerusalem housed a Holy Ark containing
Two Tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments and the newly completed Torah scroll needed to be placed at the side of this Ark.

Not surprisingly, the exact location of the Torah scroll vis-a-vis the Ark inspired a debate between the Talmudic Sages (3). Rabbi Meir held that the Torah
scroll needed to be placed inside the Ark, at the side of the Two Tablets. Rabbi Judah was of the opinion that a shelf protruded from the outside of the
Ark and Torah scroll was placed on it.

The logic behind their argument lay in the proper interpretation of Moses’ words quoted above, “Take this Torah scroll, and place it at the side of the
Ark.” According to Rabbi Judah, “at the side of the Ark” is to be understood literally — that the Torah scroll ought to be placed not inside, but outside
the ark. Rabbi Meir, on the other hand, believes that the words “on the side of the Ark” merely tell us that the Torah scroll should be placed not between
the two Tablets, but rather at the side of the tablets, next to the interior wall of the Ark (4).

The Questions
Three questions come to mind.

First, why did Rabbi Meir feel compelled to impose an apparently twisted interpretation to the words “at the side of the ark”? Why would Rabbi Meir not
embrace Rabbi Judah’s simple and straightforward explanation that when Moses instructed the Torah scroll to be placed “at the side of the Ark” he meant
it literally?

Second, why was there a need to have the Torah scroll situated in such close proximity to the Ark? Would it really have mattered if the scroll were placed
at another location more distant from the Ark (5)?

And finally, we have discussed numerous times that the Torah and all of its commandments and episodes were transcribed to serve as a Divine blueprint for
living, as a road map for life’s challenging journeys. How can a 21st century human being glean wisdom and inspiration from an ancient commandment to place
a Torah scroll at the side of an ark, at a time when we have no Ark and no Tablets? What type of relevance can Moses’ instruction to the Levites carry
for our lives today?

The Root vs. the Branches

Our Sages have said (6) that the Ten Commandments presented at Sinai and inscribed on the Two Tablets of the Covenant embodied the quintessence of the entire
Torah, of all the Five Books. All perspectives, themes, ideas, laws, ethics and stories of Torah are encapsulated in the 620 letters of the Ten Commandments
(7). The Five Books of Moses, then, serve essentially as a commentary to the Ten Commandments, elaborating and explaining the background, meaning and significance
of these ten pillars of Jewish faith.

The Tablets, in other words, constitute the source, the epicenter, the nucleus of Judaism; the Five Books are the elaboration, the explanation, the outgrowth.

The debate between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Judah on the kinship between the Torah scroll and the Tablets is not merely a technical argument concerning the
proximity of two physical entities, but rather a profound disagreement on the fundamental methodologies of the development and communication of Judaism.

How closely must we uphold the connection between the expansion of Torah and its core? Are we capable of “leaving the box” containing the Tablets without
losing the real thing?

This is by no means an abstract dilemma. How does one communicate ancient truths to a young generation molded in a secular weltanschauung? How does one
present a Torah which is more than 3,000 years old to a modern 21st century Palm addict? How do we pass on the gift of “In the beginning G-d created heaven
and earth” to Stanford and Yale graduates for whom Charles Darwin holds more sway than Moses?

Are we to present Judaism in its original form and composition, without employing modern-day terminology, techniques and structures of thought? Or must
we take Judaism “out of the box” and re-package it in contemporary language?

I once received an e-mail from a weekly reader, a very learned and observant Jew from Los Angeles: “Rabbi Jacobson, would you cease transcribing your psychobabble
and begin teaching good old Judaism.”

So I wrote back: You are of the opinion of Rabbi Meir; my e-mails follow the path of Rabbi Judah…
The Light and the Vessels

The Talmud (8) says something profoundly moving about Rabbi Meir: It is known to the Creator of the world that Rabbi Meir surpassed his entire generation
and had no equal. Why then was the law not established according to his opinion? Because the sages could not comprehend the depth of his wisdom. Rabbi
Meir was misunderstood even by his own colleagues; his ideas were too advanced for his times.

“Meir” in Hebrew means “the illuminator (9).” The light that emanated from Rabbi Meir’s mind and heart was too profound for his colleagues and students.
Why? Because Rabbi Meir was of the opinion that all interpretation and development of Torah thought must remain intimately bound with its source. The commentary
and exposition may never be removed from the space of their progenitor. The Torah should be placed right near the Tablets. To dilute the light in order
to accommodate the vessels or students, would do an injustice to the integrity of the message.

According to Rabbi Judah, however, the word of G-d needs to leave the perimeters of the sacred Ark and be brought outward.

Judah, Yehudah in Hebrew, means surrender or submission. One has to surrender his or her own elevated state of consciousness in order to reach out and present
the Torah to the student who would not be able to absorb the intense light dwelling “inside the box.” Judaism, Rabbi Judah argued, needed to be “packaged”
in a manner that would make it accessible, relevant and pertinent to people trained in a different mind set and educated in secular schools of thought.

The Critical Link
Yet here is the critical catch: Even according to Rabbi Judah, the Torah must always remain connected to its source by means of a plank of wood.

What this means is this: There is a difference between presenting Judaism in terminology and methodology that can penetrate modern man vs. attempting to
prove that Judaism conforms to modern trends of thought. The former path is noble; the latter path is intellectually dishonest, as it does not seek to
discover the authentic message of Judaism, only to create a fluffy Judaism that does not challenge the comfort zones of the progressive man and woman.

This distinction between the two approaches has been profoundly blurred in recent years, and the results have been obvious. The former approach has given
countless students the opportunity to challenge themselves by the divine truths of Torah; the latter approach has brought down the Torah to suit the fancy
of modern man. In the end, it comes down to the question of how confident you are in the truth of Torah: Are you employing modern thought merely to communicate
Torah, or are you employing it to legitimize Judaism? (Or are you unaware of the distinction between the two, which may be worse…)

What Rabbi Judah is saying is that as far out of the box as you travel, a “plank of wood” ought always to connect you to the original, pristine “Tablets”
inside the box. The link between the nucleus of Torah and its expansions must always remain evident. If not, you may be depriving yourself and your students
from the vibrant, pulsating, divine wellsprings of G-d’s word (10).

~~~~~~~~

Footnotes:
1) Deuteronomy 31:9. Cf. Rambam’s introduction to his Mishnah Torah.
2) Deuteronomy 31:26.
3) Bava Basra 14a-b, quoted in Rashi on this verse.
4) See Bava Basra ibid.
5) In fact, the location of the Torah scroll made it unavailable for use, since nobody was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies where the Ark lay. There
are two opinions of if and when this Torah scroll in the Ark was used. According to Rashi (Bava Basra 14b), during the ceremony of Hakhel, the king of
the Jewish people would read chapters of the Torah from this scroll. Also, the High Priest read from it on Yom Kippur. According to Tosafos (ibid. 14a),
this scroll was taken from the Ark only for the purposes of maintenance and it was never put to use.
6) See Talmud Shabbas 87a; Rashi to Exodus 24:12; Baal Haturim to Exodus 20:13.
7) This number is not coincidental: it represents the 613 biblical mitzvos and the seven rabbinical injunctions.
8) Eiruvin 13b; ibid. 53a.
9) See Talmud Eiruvin 13b.
10) This essay is based on a talk delivered by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbas Vayelech 5729, September 1968. Published in Sichos kodesh 5729 pp. 9-19. Large
parts of the talk were later published in Likkutei Sichos vol. 9 pp. 196-203. For another English rendition of this talk, see Week In Review (edited by
Yanki Tauber) vol. 5 number 32.

My thanks to Shmuel Levin of Pittsburgh for his editorial assistance.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

These announcements, with interesting typos and phrasing blunders, were reportedly found in various synagogue newsletters and bulletins around the country.

1. Don’t let worry kill you. Let your synagogue help. Join us for our Oneg after services. Prayer and medication to follow. Remember in prayer the many
who are sick from our congregation.
2. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
3. We are pleased to announce the birth of David Weiss, the sin of Rabbi and Mrs. Abe Weiss.
4. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the JCC. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
5. Goldblum will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
6. Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Rob, who are preparing for the girth of their first child.
7. We are taking up a collection to defray the cost of the new carpet in the sanctuary. All those wishing to do something on the carpet will come forward
and get a piece of paper.
8. If you enjoy sinning, the choir is looking for you!
9. The Associate Rabbi unveiled the synagogue’s new fund-raising campaign slogan this week: “I Upped My Pledge. Up Yours.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By Ari Shavit Haaretz Magazine 15 September 2006

Moshe Ya’alon is ensconced in a small room on the second floor of the Shalem
Center in Jerusalem’s Greek Colony neighborhood. His year at a research
institute in Washington hasn’t changed him. He lets his proud and tough
integrity say its piece, as in the past. Because, after all, he is entirely
as he was. He is entirely that uncompromising moral roughness of a native of
Kiryat Haim. A son of historic Mapai, the forerunner of Labor; the son of
poor Ashkenazim, working-class Holocaust survivors, who sent their son to
the land-settlement movement, to the security sphere and the building of the
country. To self-fulfillment without vested interests, without a sense of
humor and without winks and manipulations.

At Doron’s Falafel they like Boogey, as Ya’alon is known. When he sits at
the Formica table with tehina dripping from his half-pita, he looks
different from any other contemporary Israeli public figure. His Spartan
modesty is now working in his favor. At the midway point between the house
on 29th November Street and Cremieux Street the former chief of staff
somehow seems to embody a different moral thrust. Jerusalem Likudniks who
have had their fill of Olmert and know every shtick of the Tricky Dicky who
grew up in their city are looking to the colorless kibbutznik who, for his
part, seems to be trying to obscure his presence and to shrink his stature.

Will he enter politics? Ya’alon continues to deny it, but the denial sounds
less cogent and more hesitant than in the past. The person who removed the
chief of staff of the Al-Aqsa Intifada prematurely in order to replace him
with Halutz and Kaplinsky sowed in this village teacher a seed of ambitious
bitterness that every so often lights a burning fire in his eyes. The person
who managed the second Lebanon war in the way it was managed let the seed
sprout and produce fruit. If he were not labeled as being responsible, to a
certain extent, for the blunder of the six years that preceded the war,
Ya’alon would already now be leading the postwar protest movement.

If he were not also controversial, Ya’alon would already now become the Moti
Ashkenazi of 2006 – the person who sparked the post-Yom Kippur War protest
movement. Still, even so, even though he knows that people are lurking in
ambush for him, Bogey appears determined to make waves and foment storms.
Those who did not want him as chief of staff will get him as a key figure in
the new public life of the political era that is about to open.

The IDF failed in the second Lebanon war. As the person who was deputy chief
of staff and chief of staff for five of the past six years, don’t you bear
responsibility for this failure?

Ya’alon: “I support the establishment of a state commission of inquiry. I
propose that I be the first person to be questioned by the commission. I
have nothing to hide.”

You froze the Nautilus project and thereby exposed the North to Katyushas.

“I am not the one who stopped the Nautilus project. But I did have doubts
about it. It was extremely expensive and of limited result. It could only
have protected a city here and a city there. If Israel invests a fortune to
sew a protective suit for each citizen and turn itself into a bunker state,
it will not survive economically.”

You also neglected the active defense systems for tanks against anti-tank
missiles. Because of you the tanks were not protected.

“As chief of staff I assigned priority to creating intelligence capabilities
and attack capabilities. In my opinion that was a correct approach, which
proved itself. I would not have used the tanks the way they were used in
this war.”

You shared the conception that gave excess weight to the air force and to
precision munitions.

“The air force and the precise munitions proved themselves both in the
Palestinian arena and in the Lebanon fighting. I did not count solely on
aerial combat. I prepared an option of ground combat and prepared the
appropriate forces for that. The problem in the war was not the air force
but the unrealistic expectations about what the air force could achieve.”

You accepted the stagnation of the reserve units.

“Even before I became chief of staff we made the decision to take a risk in
this regard. We made it clear to the political echelon that in a war it
would take four days to prepare the reserve units. Even now I think the risk
we took was reasonable. In 2002 Israel faced a danger of economic collapse.
The IDF has to understand the constraints of the budget and adjust itself
accordingly. I continue to battle today against an excessive increase of the
defense budget. Israel’s economic soundness is a central element in its
national security.”

You said that we had to let the rockets rust.

“True, and I stand behind that statement today, too. I did not suggest that
we sit idly by until the rockets rusted. I proposed that we act politically
and in a limited military fashion so that in the end Hezbollah would disarm.
I understood there was no military action which could smash or pulverize
Hezbollah. I understood that there is no way to uproot Hezbollah from the
hearts of the Shi’ites in Lebanon. I also understood that there is no
gimmick that will remove the Katyusha threat instantly. Accordingly, I
proposed that we take combined political-military action in order to contain
Hezbollah, to constrict its maneuvering space and in the end to bring about
a situation in which the organization would be perceived as illegitimate in
Lebanon itself.”

Did you favor negotiations with Syria?

“Yes. In the summer of 2003 I suggested to prime minister Sharon that he
accede to the requests of Bashar Assad and enter into negotiations with him.
I thought that the very existence of negotiations with Syria on the future
of the Golan Heights would crack the northern alignment of
Iran-Syria-Hezbollah and perhaps also cause its dismantlement. Sharon
rejected my suggestion outright. He preferred the disengagement.”

Would you be ready to cede the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria?

“I never sanctified any piece of ground. If a territorial concession will
bring about true peace and full recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a
Jewish state, I am not against that. However, even if we did not reach a
land-for-peace agreement, the very fact of the renewal of the dialogue
channel with Syria would have distanced it from Iran and would have weakened
the northern alignment, which I defined as a strategic threat.”

Nevertheless, the rockets kept piling up and you did not take action against
them.

“You have to understand the limitations of power. Those who do not
understand them must not be in command of power. At this moment Syrian
missiles are aimed at Israel. Why don’t we attack them? Why don’t we attack
the Iranian Shihab [missiles] already today? One could argue that we should
also attack the Egyptian missiles. Egypt has a large army and many missiles,
so why shouldn’t we attack them now, because who knows what will happen 10
years down the line?

“You have to understand that the use of military force is a last resort. You
don’t use it offhandedly. And in order to use military force a legitimate
strategic context is required. There was no such context regarding
Hezbollah. However, beyond all that, it was clear to me that Hezbollah is a
rooted phenomenon and will not be eradicated by military action. It was also
clear to me that there is no unequivocal military solution against the
rocket deployment. I therefore encouraged political activity, which in the
end would lead to the disarming of Hezbollah as a result of an internal
Lebanese process, and concurrently I drew up a military plan intended to
address a scenario of a Hezbollah offensive that would oblige us to deal
with the organization militarily.”

What were the plan’s basic assumptions?

“That the IDF must act in a way that would set in motion a political process
that would lead to the disarming of Hezbollah, the removal of the Iranians
from Lebanon and perhaps also the imposition of sanctions on Syria and Iran.
In a scenario of the abduction of soldiers, exactly as occurred on July 12,
the IDF was supposed to respond with an aerial attack and the mobilization
of reserve divisions, which would act as a threat to the Syrians and to
Hezbollah and would encourage Lebanon and the international community to
take action to achieve the desired goal. If the threat itself did not
achieve the goal, a ground move would have begun within a few days aimed
primarily at seizing dominant terrain as far as the Litani River and the
Nabatiya plateau.

“The ground entry was supposed to be carried out speedily, for an allotted
time, without the use of tanks and without entering houses or built-up
areas. Because of our awareness of the anti-tank missile problem and our
awareness of the bunkers and of the fact that the routes are mined, the
intention was to activate the IDF in guerrilla modalities. That was the
operational idea, that was the plan and that is how the forces were
trained.”

If so, why was that plan not implemented?

“I don’t know. That is one of the questions that the state commission of
inquiry will have to investigate. In my opinion, the aerial offensive was
correct. The air force delivered the goods. In a few areas it even provided
favorable surprises. But the activation of the ground forces was a
catastrophe. There was no defined goal. There was no required achievement.
They jumped from one idea to the next and introduced new missions all the
time without any logic.”

So you argue that the IDF was prepared for the war but that its management
was a failure.

“Exactly so. In the debriefings that are now under way in the IDF the
tendency is to go below. To talk about a crisis at the tactical level. To
cast the responsibility on the battalion and brigade commanders. But I
maintain that the problem is not there. Our pilots are excellent. The
company commanders are excellent. They fought excellently in Operation
Defensive Shield [in the West Bank, in spring 2002] and they overcame the
Palestinian terrorism and also carried out the disengagement optimally. And
they have not changed since. In this war, too, when they were used correctly
they operated correctly. There were units that liquidated about 50
terrorists without sustaining one casualty. So the allegation that the army
is basically flawed is not right. Nor do I accept the claim that the IDF did
not prepare for this campaign but for the last war. That is simply not true.
What we had here was a management failure at a very senior level by those
who are responsible for activating force in Israel. The failure in this
campaign was one of management.”

When did you understand that there had been a failure, that something had
gone wrong?

“At the end of the first week. Until then things were conducted reasonably
well. I was critical of the fact that the reserves were not mobilized, but I
understood more or less what the goal was. But then, instead of plucking the
political fruits of the aerial offensive, they continued to use force. They
over-used force. And instead of coordinating with the Americans for them to
stop us when the operation was at its height, and setting in motion a
political process to disarm Hezbollah, we asked the Americans for more time.
We let the Americans think that we have some sort of gimmick that will
vanquish Hezbollah militarily. I knew there was no such gimmick. I knew the
whole logic of the operation was that it be limited in time and not be
extended.

“And then I lost all logical connection with the events. I understood that
there was a deviation from the plan that was based on some sort of false
feeling that there is a military means to pulverize Hezbollah and bring
about its dismantlement and disappearance. Because the goals of the war were
not defined and because no one clarified what the army is capable of doing
and what it cannot do, the pursuit began of an impossible achievement.
Instead of sticking to the IDF’s operative plan, they started to improvise.
They improvised, improvised and then improvised again. Instead of grabbing
political achievements at the right moment, they went on with the use of
force. The excessive use of force in a situation like this is ruinous. It
becomes a two-edged sword. When you turn a screw and reach a certain point
you have to stop. If you keep going you end up pulling it out: you open
instead of closing. That is what happened here.”

Did you try to warn people? Did you talk to Olmert and Halutz?

“I tried to phone from Washington. Then I got here and tried to talk here.
But I discovered that the political level had the feeling – which was
nourished by the chief of staff – that the matter could be wrapped up from
the air. And when it turned out that the aerial move was not going to
deliver the goods it was never meant to deliver in the first place,
frustration set in. A desperate search began for some kind of move that
would produce some sort of feeling of victory. The delusory idea of a
one-kilometer ground move developed.”

Why delusory?

“The goal that was posited was to destroy Hezbollah outposts adjacent to the
border. But if Hezbollah is not disarmed, it will build new outposts. If it
is disarmed, there is no point destroying the outposts. So the whole idea of
sending a force into Maroun A Ras was baseless. I didn’t understand it. I
didn’t understand where it came from. I was not familiar with any such
plan.”

Did you say so to Halutz?

“I did not succeed in speaking to the chief of staff. I came to Israel
because I was climbing up the walls in Washington but I went back the way I
came and climbed those walls even higher. By then we were already entangled
in Bint Jbail.”

So you believe the Bint Jbail move was also mistaken?

“Bint Jbail was imposed by the chief of staff. There was no orderly plan
here. There was no dialogue between the General Staff and Northern Command
and the field levels. The idea to capture Bint Jbail was born out of the
desperate attempt to create a picture of victory, because Bint Jbail is a
symbol. Because that’s where Nasrallah made his ’spider webs’ speech. But it
was clear that this was folly. Why are you even messing with a built-up
area? Seize the dominating terrain. Use infantry according to the original
plan. Don’t enter killing areas in which Hezbollah is waiting for you.
Listen to the command levels that are telling you that this is a mistake.”

You’re angry.

“Yes. Because spin is penetrating strategy. There is a discourse here. There
is no listening here. There is a misunderstanding that the land army is not
a plane to which you assign a mission and it attacks and returns. It is
impossible to order Northern Command to capture Bint Jbail by a snap
decision. As a result, soldiers are killed. As a result, the IDF goes in and
comes out and retreats. The deterrent image is damaged. At Maroun A Ras and
at Bint Jbail an unfavorable reversal was created in the battle picture.”

Your wife’s nephew was seriously wounded in the land skirmishes in the
village of Debel.

“The question that arises from Moran and from his buddies is a simple one:
Why? I am familiar with the loss of friends in war. And with bereaved
families, and with serious wounds. But if it is clear why and for what, it’s
easier. And here the young soldiers were sent to execute a mission whose
logic and purpose were not clear to them. Nor did they understand why they
found themselves in a house when it was clear to them that it wasn’t smart
to enter houses. When Moran was drafted I told his father one thing: no
tanks and no houses – I was that aware of the antitank threat. And when he
shouted there, ‘Don’t send us into houses,’ nobody listened. Two antitank
missiles entered the house, leaving nine killed and 32 wounded.

“So he and his buddies are asking why. Why the mistake in the tactical
execution. And why the entering and leaving villages. And I, with them, also
ask why. Yes, in war people are killed, wounded. But that is why the
political echelon and the military echelon have to make their decisions in
the most judicious and precise way. Not to get carried away. Not to act
emotionally. Not to kick a wall with a bare foot. Because when you kick a
wall with a bare foot the satisfaction of the kick lasts exactly as long as
it takes for the foot to make contact with the wall. After that the foot is
broken, while the wall continues to stand. And what happens in the meantime
is not only that soldiers are killed. What happens is that the most basic
element that leadership needs is eroded: trust. And that is what happened
here. The trust of the soldiers and the commanders in the political echelon
and in the senior command was eroded.”

You haven’t mentioned the successful operation at Baalbek.

“I am not convinced that what was done at Baalbek was a success. And I am
not convinced that what was carried out was justified in terms of risk, cost
and benefit. There is a certain type of operation that carries a very high
risk level. Therefore you attempt it only when the achievement it is meant
to generate is of strategic importance. I am not certain this was the case
here. I am not certain that the operation at Baalbek was not an adventure.”

And the final ground move that ended the war?

“That was a spin move. It had no substantive security-political goal, only a
spin goal. It was meant to supply the missing victory picture. You don’t do
that. You don’t send soldiers to carry out a futile mission after the
political outcome has already been set. I consider that corrupt.”

You are saying a very serious thing. Thirty-three soldiers were killed in
that operation. Were they killed to achieve a spin?

“Yes. And that is why people have to resign. For that you don’t even need a
commission of inquiry. Whoever made that decision has to assume
responsibility and resign.”

Does the prime minister have to resign?

“Yes. He can’t say he did not know. He cannot say that. Even if he was not
an army person in the past and was not prime minister or defense minister,
he knows how one goes to war. This is not the way to go to war. And he knows
how a war is managed. This is not the way a war is managed. Going to war was
scandalous and he is directly responsible for that. The management of the
war was a failure and he is responsible for that. The final operation was
particularly problematic and he was directly involved in that. He was warned
and he did not heed the warnings. Therefore he must resign.”

And the chief of staff?

“The chief of staff failed in the management of the war. He gave the
political echelon the feeling that he had the capability, which in practice
he did not have, to bring about a political achievement by means of an
extremely aggressive military operation. He entered the war without defining
it as a war and maybe without understanding that it was a war. He did not
understand the implications of the measures he himself adopted. He did not
mobilize the reserves in time and did not open the emergency depots in time
and did not activate the high-command base. He managed the war from his
office. He imposed missions such as Bint Jbail without any discussion and
without consulting with the command about the consequences and implications.
He created lack of clarity that rattled the forces in the field, caused a
loss of trust and generated chaos. He did not give the commanders in the
north backing. He did not build a structure that would help him overcome his
weakness in the land sphere. He managed the campaign arrogantly and
shallowly.”

Must the chief of staff resign?

“Yes. He should have resigned immediately after the conclusion of the
campaign.”

And the defense minister?

“The defense minister should be replaced. There is a certain justice to what
he says about being new and not having time to learn and not even hearing
that there were rockets in Lebanon. But the responsibility is on his
shoulders in his very agreement to take the job. Both he and the person who
appointed him are responsible for appointing an inexperienced person to a
sensitive post without taking into account that within a short time he would
have to manage a crisis. There is no doubt the leadership team that was
created here was perceived by Hezbollah as weak and inexperienced. Nasrallah
may have been taken by surprise at the aggressive reaction by the prime
minister, the defense minister and the chief of staff, but in the end he was
right in his assessment that this team was not capable of managing a war
properly.”

The price of moral fog

Has there been any improvement since the war? Is a learning process
discernible?

“The processes of cover-up and corruption are continuing. The prime
minister’s examination commissions are an escape. Instead of proving that he
is showing responsibility, the prime minister is fleeing from
responsibility. In the IDF, too, it’s clear there will not be truthful
investigations. Everyone is busy with his own personal survival. So without
changing horses and without a state commission of inquiry that will expose
the truth to everyone, there is no chance of starting the process of
rehabilitating the IDF. This is because the IDF is not destroyed. It does
not need organizational rehabilitation. What it needs is a rehabilitation of
values. Without the replacement of the political leadership and the senior
command, that kind of rehabilitation of values is impossible. It won’t
happen.”

You have lost me. What, exactly, do you mean?

“I see a war of cultures here. In recent years the public sector in Israel
has undergone a process of corruption. It began in politics but,
regrettably, also penetrated the army. A cycle of discussion has been
created here in which the core is not the essence but marketing. In the war
we paid a price for that. We paid a price for disengaging from the truth. We
paid a price for the loss of integrity and the moral fog. We paid a price
for accepting a process in which officers are promoted because they have
political connections.”

Allow me to translate. You are saying, in effect, that Ariel Sharon’s ‘ranch
forum’ corrupted the top level of the IDF.

“I have no doubt of that.”

You are arguing that the chief of staff and his deputy were appointed to
their positions because they are close to the ranch forum.

“That is what the papers said.”

And this corruption, which has its origins in the ranch forum, caused many
of the ills that were exposed in the war?

“The present chief of staff is a very talented person. He was an excellent
commander of the air force. But there is a moral debate here. He carries
with him a problematic message. The connection of officers to politics is
undesirable. It is a corrupt connection. There is a problem today in the IDF
of very senior officers who are too close to political elements.”

Can you give some examples?

“In the last Herzliya Conference the chief of staff said that our security
situation has never been better. The Iranian threat – not this year.
Terrorism is not an existential threat. Wow, terrific. Life is great. We
have it good here. That was an untruthful presentation for the inhabitants
of Israel. And it came ahead of elections. It was within the framework of an
attempt at a ‘compensation of hope,’ as the prime minister put it.”

Are you saying that the chief of staff promoted Kadima?

“It’s very possible. After the disengagement it was clear that we were
headed for a confrontation with extremist Islam, which viewed the
disengagement as a sign of weakness. I knew that and Military Intelligence
knew that. What should have been done was to prepare the IDF for a
confrontation. But instead, they forged some imaginary hope that turned out
to be an illusion. They placed a golden calf before the people of Israel and
another golden calf, instead of telling the nation the truth. The top level
of the IDF was a partner to this. Adlerism [referring to ad man Reuven
Adler] penetrated the army. What we had here was the sin of arrogance and
what we had was corruption. In the year that preceded the war there was a
worrisome shift for the worse in the IDF.”

Did you discern problems in the IDF even before the war?

“Certainly. The senior command distanced itself from details, and when the
senior command does that it creates laxness. You get slackness. The muscle
tone changes. At the same time, the processes of deep thought were severed.
A clear message was conveyed that everyone has to toe the line. That
decisions are made before the discussion and not in its course. Too much
value was attributed to charisma, to the speed with which decisions are
made. Anyone who held a different view was distanced or silenced. An
unhealthy spirit emerged of not being meticulous and of not making an
effort. Of uniformity of opinion and of complacency. And worst of all: a
feeling was created that anyone who preserved rectitude and integrity was
liable not to be promoted. A feeling was created that anyone seeking
promotion has to cross the lines and join the spinfest and learn how to
serve the politicians. That is why the chief of staff cannot now put the IDF
through a rehabilitation of values. Because he reflects saliently the flawed
culture of values from which release is needed, which has to be cleansed.”

The reservists who protested the war say that it revealed the fact that
corruption kills. Do you share that view?

“Yes. Corruption is the real threat to Israel. It is more dangerous than the
Iranian threat and the Palestinian threat. That is why we have to replace
the leadership now. Without the replacement of the leadership there will be
no cleansing and no cultural-values rehabilitation and also no preparedness
for the next war.”

Do we have to prepare for a war?

“Deterrence was harmed in the wake of the war’s failed management. Unjustly,
Israel is now perceived in the region as a state that is not able to protect
the lives of its citizens. The image of Israel and the image of the IDF is
bad. As chief of staff I was able to accept the Military Intelligence
appraisal that the probability of a Syrian surprise attack was very, very
low. Today, as a result of the war, that probability is no longer very, very
low. It is not extremely high, but it is more than low.”

In this state of emergency, do you see yourself taking over as chief of
staff for a pre-set limited period?

“That is not necessary. There are good people in the system who can do the
job. There is no need for an emergency appointment. But throughout my life I
have said that if I am wanted, I am here. It’s the same today.”

And if you were offered the post of defense minister?

“I will not enter the present alignment. It needs to be replaced. In other
circumstances it would be a hard dilemma.”

It’s said that you are connected to Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud.

“Nonsense.”

So maybe you will establish a new party?

“I am not looking for power. I hate it. But I do not flee responsibility. I
also hated the army, but after the Yom Kippur War I joined the career army.
In the first years it was hard for me to go back to the army every Sunday
morning, but I did it because I thought that I would be able to exert
influence from there. Today I don’t think politics is my way to exert
influence.”

But you are not ruling it out altogether. In an analogy to what happened to
you after 1973, maybe you will again feel that you are required to take
action contrary to your DNA and run for prime minister, despite everything?

“I don’t want to get into that. I am disturbed by what is happening in the
country. It’s burning in my bones. I care. But at the moment all I want to
do is share with the public my diagnosis of the situation, to share with the
public an understanding of the gravity of the corruption. If we do not act
immediately to uproot the corruption from the political establishment and
from the military establishment, it will endanger our existence. Arrogance
and corruption are today the existential threat to Israel.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I’m going to go ahead and put this up before I forget about it.
Send a trackback, and link, and your post will be linked at the end.
Linkfest has more.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

by Heidi at Euphoric Reality

This week’s Blogburst is available as a Podcast.

In the days and weeks leading up to the fifth anniversary of 9/11, I have been musing how the overall impact of that single days’ terrorism has affected our nation. Some people have felt their initial shock and horror fade away to something sadly benign – a quiet relief that it hasn’t happened again, and a determination to “do their part” going on with their lives. After all, if they didn’t, then the terrorists would’ve “won” that day, they aver. Others like me, felt that same shock and horror harden into a stone cold fury and an implacable resolve to fight this burgeoning evil that hides behind the facade of religion.

The question on everyone’s minds is, “Are we safer today than we were on 9/10?” With our wide-open borders, and our government’s refusal to crack down on illegal aliens, my answer is a resounding “NO!” There is no way any politician or civic leader can claim that we have gotten tougher on evicting people who should NOT be here. In fact, they are competing over how many millions of illegals we can let in each year without identification, without background checks, and without any knowledge of where they are or what they are doing. In fact, our “leaders” are racing to see who can squash any meager attempt at controlling our borders or enforcing our immigration laws the fastest! It has become a feather in their cap to deny to rule of law and leave our borders defenseless.

There is no doubt that illegal immigration is the gaping hole in our tenuous national security. President Bush narrowly defines the issue of our national security as a matter of success in Iraq. The House – heeding the overwhelming demands of the constituents who elected them to office – has refused to grant amnesty to over 20 million illegal aliens inside our borders. And with the Senate’s obstinate refusal to physically safeguard our border, Congress has reached an impasse. What a solution! When the swiftest and most decisive action is called for…they do nothing.

Third World County says it best:

…every single one of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers was in this country illegally at the time of their terrorist act.

Every. Single. One.

So, for all those political poltroons pimping amnesty (yes, you too, Mr. Bush), remember this: failure to enforce immigration laws, crack down on forged and hijacked SS documents, etc., cost American lives on 9/11.

__________________________________________

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.