September 17, 2006

Muslims Prove Benedict's Quote Of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus Correct

Pope Benedict:

The emperor [Manuel II Paleologus] must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable."

The "rational" Muslim response? Burning five Christian Churches, killing in cold blood by shooting a nun in the back, killing a Christian in Baghdad for the sin of being Christian, Violent Demonstrations, burning the Pope in effegy. The Pope issued a "clarification" indicating that he didn't mean to insult any Muslam but that clarification wasn't enough it seems to the "rational" Muslims rioting.

The Pope also noted in his speech at the University of Regensburg:

Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he [the Byzantine emperor] says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death..."
Victor Davis Hansen noted:
... by quoting from the emperor rhetorician Manuel Paleologus—whose desperate efforts at strengthening the Morea and the Isthmus at Corinth a generation before that awful Tuesday, May 29, 1453 all came to naught—the Pope failed to grasp that under the tenets of radical Islam of the modern age, context means little, intent nothing, learning less than zero. If a sentence, indeed a mere phrase can be taken out of context, twisted, manipulated to show an absence of deference to Islam, furor ensues, death threats follow, assassins load their belts—even as the New York Times or the Guardian issues its sanctimonious apologies in the hope that the crocodile will eat them last. "
Note the furor of the hordes protesting what the Pope didn't say, note the rampage over some silly-assed cartoons, note the slaying of a film-maker in the Netherlands, note the death threats against a British-Indian novelist, note the irrationality and the total lack of reason in those rampaging.

This is not the reaction of an ordered society, this is either the calculated manipulation of the "mob" by those with an ulterior motive, or, it is the reaction of a 7th century society so deeply mired in its belief system that it cannot conceive of a mindset different than its own. Bill Cork, writing in Built On A Rock asks:

Can you discuss the presumption out of which you operate? Can you explain how the expressions of Muslim law, as lived out in your societies, are consistent with other teachings of your own religion, not to speak of thinking about basic human rights, which the rest of the world has arrived as know...centuries of...reasoned thinking?"
The answer is, of course, that the rioting Muslims (not to be confused with all Muslims) believe in the very tenets that Manuel II said that they do, spreading of their "faith" by the sword. Just ask the Fox newsman and cameraman. And, as a last bon mot, a last item in this little post, consider this:

Cross Posted at The Real Ugly American and at The Wide Awakes

UPDATE: The Howard Government has blasted the imams in Australia and has figuratively read them the riot act:

The Howard Government's multicultural spokesman, Andrew Robb, yesterday told an audience of 100 imams who address Australia's mosques that these were tough times requiring great personal resolve.

Mr Robb also called on them to shun a victim mentality that branded any criticism as discrimination.

"We live in a world of terrorism where evil acts are being regularly perpetrated in the name of your faith," Mr Robb said at the Sydney conference.

"And because it is your faith that is being invoked as justification for these evil acts, it is your problem.

"You can't wish it away, or ignore it, just because it has been caused by others.

"Instead, speak up and condemn terrorism, defend your role in the way of life that we all share here in Australia."
A tip 'O The GM Derby to The Instapundit

How Refreshing!

Posted by GM Roper at September 17, 2006 08:25 AM | TrackBack

We're certainly on the same wave length here.

From my blog: "Thousands of Muslims react by proving that, at least in their case, Manuel was right."

And, of course, those brave souls at the NY Times only have criticism for the Pope, not the millions of murdering radical Islamic thugs in the world.

Posted by DADvocate at September 17, 2006 08:03 AM

"... those brave souls at the NY Times ..."

Those brave souls are at the core of the cancer that infects the Fourth Estate essentially making them the Fifth Column of our enemies. But like most cancers, this one is operable, and can indeed be cut out. My only hope is that it happens very soon.

Posted by Vulgorilla at September 17, 2006 08:22 AM

Actually I just operate now on the assumption that the Great Muslim Street will wind itself up into a frenzy on every possible occasion.

It's rage means less than nothing to me at this point. It strikes me as akin to watching a truly deranged individual on the corner ranting about how he will cut you to pieces because you are an alien trying to destroy him. Oh sure, if you have any sense you bolt the doors and get any implements of defense ready, but after the first few times, the madness is hardly surprising.

The reactions by Islamic States are quite as repellently annoying. No thought just reaction. But really it's just more of the same-o, same-o . Fanatic and backward people behaving very badly. AGAIN. Stuck on Stupid. Forever.

What I find truly offensive is the reaction of 'certain segments' of the West. And you know who you are, out there in virtual land. Let me summarise your arguments which I have seen repeated endlessly in the mindless media----

A. Hey, mentioning these things is NOT playing nice with our Muslim friends. How dare you cause them to feel so upset ? It's so mean , and surely must harm their self-esteem . No wonder they get angry. Oh I admit they behave rather oddly, but the Pope PROVOKED them. It's all his fault.

Followed of course by ---

B. Hey the Catholic Church has behaved badly in the past so it's all EQUAL. The Pope should not critique another Religion (ptui on all of them), since they all SUCK. He is just as bad as them when you get down to it.

I mentioned the following thought on another blog, in another context, and received zero support, but since when has that seemed to matter to me?

Much as I despise and loath, the Islamic Fanatics who want to drag the available world down to their primitive level, I despise their Western enablers even more.

At least the loonies believe in their looniness, and have a degree of courage of their convictions. This is not to defend them. It's just an observation which I think is objectively true. They really don't conceal what they are as they truly believe that their WAY is the only WAY. I still want them ground into the dustbin of History at the earliest possible moment, but black as they are, they at least have 'convictions'. In some alternate reality, perhaps something will happen to convince most of them that some 'new' and 'improved' convictions might be more applicable to today.

However as to my 'Western ' colleagues who say things such as --

"It is rather sad and unfortunate that someone with the stature of the pope makes such a mistake. His words should have been well thought of and he should have kept his personal biases to himself."---

"A woman would not have been so dumb. One must realize these fiery reactions, indignation, hurt and real danger come from the uneducated, the oppressed."---

"If he was truly all about promoting inter-faith dialogue, why not quote someone discussing the violence committed by the Catholic church?"---

"Whilst I am disgusted with the behaviour and hypocrisy of the Pope, I take exception to your comments about Germany. Since the end of the Second World War, Germany has long given up its aggressive behaviour and it is not fair to relate their modern society as a whole to Mr. Ratzinger. Mr. Ratzinger is a product of a cold and puritan ideology, and there's nothing German about it."---

To these people and of course to the Media as represented by the NYT ----- My disdain for you is totally unmodified by any vague appreciation for your 'objective' merits such as they are. You appear to believe in so little that is not pure CANT, that it could well be said that you actually believe in NOTHING. We laugh at the Islamists who sit there in video from some hole in Pakistan, bobbing their heads mindlessly as they learn the Koran by rote and consider themselves 'educated'. It's, however, not nearly as amusing when large segments of OUR populations, appear to fashion their world-views out of merely another form of 'mindless repetition'.

I WISH everything was peachy-keen and that nothing would disturb my harmony----
Therefore Everything IS peachy-keen and I resent anyone boorish enough to say things that DO disturb my harmony.

These people are the true danger to our way of life.

Flame Away. I likes the Heat.

Posted by dougf at September 17, 2006 09:18 AM

With the known likelihood of making them mad, I still have to say that the Islamic masses in the mideast must be plain stupid.

Posted by Woody at September 17, 2006 12:52 PM

Some of the media headlines were extreme too. "Assails all", "Inflammatory speech", "Slams islam". They're guilty of the same thing they accuse the Pope of. Don't they even see their own hypocrisy?

Posted by Oyster at September 18, 2006 06:19 AM

Roper you say you're repulsed by the what I consider to be the reprehensible violence brought on my the Pope's provocation. Yet, you showed utter inhumanity as you cheered on the devastation inflicted on Lebanon by the IDF. Israeli newspapers are filled with stories like these. What do you say, Rope

"In Lebanon, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs, what we did there was crazy and monstrous," testifies a commander in the Israel Defense Forces' MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) unit. Quoting his battalion commander, he said the IDF fired some 1,800 cluster rockets on Lebanon during the war and they contained over 1.2 million cluster bombs. The IDF also used cluster shells fired by 155 mm artillery cannons, so the number of cluster bombs fired on Lebanon is even higher. At the same time, soldiers in the artillery corps testified that the IDF used phosphorous shells, which many experts say is prohibited by international law. According to the claims, the overwhelming majority of the weapons mentioned were fired during the last ten days of the war.
The commander asserted that there was massive use of MLRS rockets despite the fact that they are known to be very inaccurate - the rockets' deviation from the target reaches to around 1,200 meters - and that a substantial percentage do not explode and become mines. Due to these facts, most experts view cluster ammunitions as a "non-discerning" weapon that is prohibited for use in a civilian environment. The percentage of duds among the rockets fired by the U.S. army in Iraq reached 30 percent and the United Nations' land mine removal team in Lebanon claims that the percentage of duds among the rockets fired by the IDF reaches some 40 percent. In light of these figures, the number of duds left behind by the Israeli cluster rockets in Lebanon is likely to reach half a million.

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the rockets' imprecision, the order was to "flood" the area with them. "We have no option of striking an isolated target, and the commanders know this very well," he said. He also stated that the reserve soldiers were surprised by the use of MLRS rockets, because during their regular army service, they were told these are the IDF's "judgment day weapons" and intended for use in a full-scale war.


- Haaretz

Posted by Ahmed at September 18, 2006 01:04 PM

For a factual takedown of the Pope's speech from someone with some actual knowledge of the history and culture of Islam as opposed to the jingoistic, cultural warrior creeps found on sites like these Im forwarding Juan Cole's rebuttal

Pope Gets it Wrong on Islam

Pope Benedict's speech at Regensburg University, which mentioned Islam and jihad, has provoked a firestorm of controversy.

The address is more complex and subtle than the press on it represents. But let me just signal that what is most troubling of all is that the Pope gets several things about Islam wrong, just as a matter of fact.

He notes that the text he discusses, a polemic against Islam by a Byzantine emperor, cites Qur'an 2:256: "There is no compulsion in religion." Benedict maintains that this is an early verse, when Muhammad was without power.

His allegation is incorrect. Surah 2 is a Medinan surah revealed when Muhammad was already established as the leader of the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina or "the city" of the Prophet). The pope imagines that a young Muhammad in Mecca before 622 (lacking power) permitted freedom of conscience, but later in life ordered that his religion be spread by the sword. But since Surah 2 is in fact from the Medina period when Muhammad was in power, that theory does not hold water.

In fact, the Qur'an at no point urges that religious faith be imposed on anyone by force. This is what it says about the religions:

' [2:62] Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians-- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. '

See my comments On the Quran and peace.

The idea of holy war or jihad (which is about defending the community or at most about establishing rule by Muslims, not about imposing the faith on individuals by force) is also not a Quranic doctrine. The doctrine was elaborated much later, on the Umayyad-Byzantine frontier, long after the Prophet's death. In fact, in early Islam it was hard to join, and Christians who asked to become Muslim were routinely turned away. The tyrannical governor of Iraq, al-Hajjaj, was notorious for this rejection of applicants, because he got higher taxes on non-Muslims. Arab Muslims had conquered Iraq, which was then largely pagan, Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish. But they weren't seeking converts and certainly weren't imposing their religion.

The pope was trying to make the point that coercion of conscience is incompatible with genuine, reasoned faith. He used Islam as a symbol of the coercive demand for unreasoned faith.

But he has been misled by the medieval polemic on which he depended.

In fact, the Quran also urges reasoned faith and also forbids coercion in religion. The only violence urged in the Quran is in self-defense of the Muslim community against the attempts of the pagan Meccans to wipe it out.

The pope says that in Islam, God is so transcendant that he is beyond reason and therefore cannot be expected to act reasonably. He contrasts this conception of God with that of the Gospel of John, where God is the Logos, the Reason inherent in the universe.

But there have been many schools of Islamic theology and philosophy. The Mu'tazilite school maintained exactly what the Pope is saying, that God must act in accordance with reason and the good as humans know them. The Mu'tazilite approach is still popular in Zaidism and in Twelver Shiism of the Iraqi and Iranian sort. The Ash'ari school, in contrast, insisted that God was beyond human reason and therefore could not be judged rationally. (I think the Pope would find that Tertullian and perhaps also John Calvin would be more sympathetic to this view within Christianity than he is).

As for the Quran, it constantly appeals to reason in knowing God, and in refuting idolatry and paganism, and asks, "do you not reason?" "do you not understand?" (a fala ta`qilun?)

Of course, Christianity itself has a long history of imposing coerced faith on people, including on pagans in the late Roman Empire, who were forcibly converted. And then there were the episodes of the Crusades.

Another irony is that reasoned, scholastic Christianity has an important heritage drom Islam itself. In the 10th century, there was little scholasticism in Christian theology. The influence of Muslim thinkers such as Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and Avicenna (Ibn Sina) reemphasized the use of Aristotle and Plato in Christian theology. Indeed, there was a point where Christian theologians in Paris had divided into partisans of Averroes or of Avicenna, and they conducted vigorous polemics with one another.

Finally, that Byzantine emperor that the Pope quoted, Manuel II? The Byzantines had been weakened by Latin predations during the fourth Crusade, so it was in a way Rome that had sought coercion first. And, he ended his days as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire.

The Pope was wrong on the facts. He should apologize to the Muslims and get better advisers on Christian-Muslim relations.

Posted by Ahmed at September 18, 2006 02:07 PM

Sura 9:29 says: "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (Hilali and Khan, insertions in parentheses are theirs)

The word fight doesn't mean FIGHT?

Or "The military conquests of Mohammed the Prophet of Allah and his successors underscored the essential difference between Islam and the other monotheistic religions: Islam believed in spreading the faith by war. The 14th century Imam and scholar, Ibn Qayim Al-Jawziya wrote: "...Jihad is obligatory until the word of Allah reigns supreme, until all are of the religion of Allah, until the religion of Allah triumphs over all other religions..." In those days, Moslem practice was to force unbelievers to choose between conversion to Islam, the acceptance of a humiliating "dhimmi" status involving the payment of a poll tax to the Moslem authorities or death. Al-Jawziya comments: "The dhimmis are the most disobedient of {Allah's] command... consequently it befits them to be humiliated by distinguishing them from the...Moslems whom Allah has exalted...."

Distinguished scholars both Non-Muslim and Muslim can agree/disagree on the meaning of many parts of the quran, but Benedicts quote was an accurate quote and intended to show how the islamo-fascists see the current divide. Deny that if you want, but many well intentioned and knowledgeable people besides myself have written about the "forced conversion." Shrinkwrapped for example. Or, if you prefer this tidbit:

He said the United States was losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and addressed U.S. soldiers who he said were fighting President George W. Bush's "crusades."

"Instead of killing yourself for Bush ... why not surrender to the truth (of Islam), escape from the unbedlieving army and join the winning side. Time is running out so make the right choice before it's too late," he said.

Al-Zawahri gave only a brief introduction to the video, calling on Americans to convert to Islam. "To the American people and the people of the West in general ... God sent his Prophet Muhammad with guidance and the religion of truth ... and sent him as a herald," he said.

Little is known about the degree of Gadahn's role with Al Qaeda. A resident of California who converted to Islam, he disappeared soon after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States. In 2004, the FBI announced it was seeking Gadahn in connection with possible terrorist threats against the United States, though it said it did not have information linking him to any specific terrorist activities.

But Saturday's video — and the length of Gadahn's speech — suggested Al Qaeda found in him someone who could direcly address the American people — in idiom they are familiar with.

"You know that if you die as an unbeliever in battle against the Muslims you're going straight to Hell without passing 'Go,"' Gadahn said, addressing American soldiers. "You know you're considered by Bush and his bunch of warmongers as nothing more than expendible cannon fodder ... You know they couldn't care less about your safety and well-being."

"We send a special invitation (to convert to Islam) to all of you fighting Bush's crusader pipedream in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else 'W' has sent you to die. You know the war can't be won," he said, using Bush's nickname.

Gadahn and al-Zawahiri appeared in separate pieces of footage in the video, which was released by Al Qaeda's production wing, As-Sahab. Gadahn spoke with his face uncovered, resembling FBI photos, with his name and nom de guerre — "Azzam the American" — written in titles in Arabic and English next to him. Arabic subtitles translated his comments.

Besides the July 7 video, Gadahn is believed to be a masked figure who appeared in two previous videos not officially from Al Qaeda, given to the American television network ABC in Pakistan in 2004 and a few days before Sept. 11, 2005.

In the 2005 tape, the speaker — who had black cloth draped over his face, leaving only his eyes visible — threatened new terror attacks in Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. The 2004 tape praised the Sept. 11 attacks and said a new wave of attacks could come at any moment.

Much of Gadahn's speech in Saturday's video were dedicated to urging American's to convert to Islam.

"It is time for the unbelievers to discard these incoherent and illogical beliefs," he said. "Isn't it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?"

He said Islam will prevail "whether Bush likes it or not" and described the West as "the civilization which enslaved Africa, slaughtered native Americans, fired bombs at ... Tokyo and (the Iraqi city of) Fallujah and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

The video had been advertised on militant Web sites for several days before it appeared Saturday. Al-Zawahiri last appeared in a video on July 27, calling for Muslims to unite in a holy war against Israel and to join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza."

Too many modern day islamofascists have uttered their belief that we will be converted or die for me not to take that seriously. So, please don't take a leak on my shoe and tell me its raining, I know better and you aren't fooling anyone.

Posted by GM at September 18, 2006 02:47 PM

I also am aware of the forced conversion by christians, and note that I didn't use a capital "c" in that word. Because that was a long time ago, in a different context. The quote from the pope was also from a long time ago in a different context but the islamo-fascists have taken it to a new level in THIS day and age and you don't see Christians doing that do you?

Posted by GM at September 18, 2006 02:53 PM

"The quote from the pope was also from a long time ago in a different context but the islamo-fascists have taken it to a new level in THIS day and age and you don't see Christians doing that do you?"

As Christopher Hitchens has argued in a fine piece on the matter "there would be no established Byzantine or Roman Christianity if the faith had not been spread and maintained and enforced by every kind of violence and cruelty and coercion."
Im interested as well about these "different contexts" can you explain. Christian civilasation was also invloved in the advent of colonialism, chattel slavery, the genocide of Native Americans and a whole host of other attroacities that youve conveniently forgot. My point is that no religion (and im not religious) is free from this kind of history, you can certianly find quotes from canical christain texts preaching far worse than what youve selectively pulled from the Koran, which also says, as you know, thta "there is no compulsion in religion. As for modern day violence youve got no leg to stand on. I watched in dismay and sadness as you defended Israels bombardment of Lebenon which has left over 1000, mostly civilians dead and 700 000 people homeless. What a disgusting record you have have yet you recoil on horror at the violence of others. Grow up

Posted by Ahmed at September 18, 2006 05:21 PM

Ahmed, I'm afraid you've missed the whole issue. The issue is not whether the Pope is correct, but whether Muslims will engage in dialog with the Pope.

One response to the Pope's comments is to engage in conversation, as you laudably have, in an effort to refute the Pope's arguments. Unfortunately, very few Islamic leaders have publically taken this approach. This blog entry is the only such reference I've seen to date.

The alternative response, which is behind the almost universal demands for apology from Muslim leaders, is to fundamentally declare that any criticism of Islam is forbidden. That's what the public spokesmen are saying, anyway. Moreover, their demands are being backed up with threats of violence and actual violence in an effort to silence conversation.

The irony of this alternative response is evident if you can step back for a moment from your reflex reactions and consider that the Pope was asking for non-violence and non-coercion TODAY in the exercise of religion.

In fact, some Muslims have gone further in declaring that non-Muslims essentially have no standing to even talk about Islam. That is, some want control over language.

In a CNN article referring to a rally in Palestine the organizer said "Of course as we know the meaning of jihad can only be understood by Muslims," Budianto told the crowd. "Only Muslims can understand what jihad is. It is impossible that jihad can be linked with violence, we Muslims have no violent character."

(Again the irony is too obvious.) After all, we all know that firebombing churches (including non-Catholic) is not the expression of violent character.

Or to put it another way, we humans all -- regardless of faith (or non-faith) -- have the capacity for violence; it's part of the human condition - part of the human character, if you will. To deny this is either self-deception or self-serving absolution. The key is how we mediate these impulses in our behavior, and it is our choice of behavior for which we stand accountable before God and our fellow humans.

So really, the larger issue is that the Pope was standing up to those TODAY who would attempt to bully their opposition into silence. This principle is far more important than the remarks themselves; for without dialog, there can be no learning, no growth, no correction, no reform.

Posted by civil truth at September 18, 2006 05:40 PM


In response to your latest comment, and so's your mother has never been an acceptible apologetic. This of course goes for anybody who resorts to this defense of the indefensible.

Posted by civil truth at September 18, 2006 05:43 PM

"Im interested as well about these "different contexts" can you explain. Christian civilasation was also invloved in the advent of colonialism, chattel slavery, the genocide of Native Americans and a whole host of other attroacities that youve conveniently forgot."

Oh please, such childish, or as Civil Truth stated "So's your mother", repartee is beneath you. Care to name a civilization that has not practiced colonialism, slavery, genocide? Attempting to lay that at the feet of christian and/or western civilization is pointless, and a-historical.

Posted by GM at September 18, 2006 06:03 PM

"[T]hose who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. … Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!"

.................Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 1942

Posted by GM at September 18, 2006 06:24 PM

Understand one difficulty in arguing Islam. To a believer, what Islam should be in theory is what it is in reality. The Quran gives rights to women - therefore they have them, regardless of what the reality is on the ground.

All religions suffer from this, of course, as adherents do not measure up to ideals. But in Islam the disconnect is so fierce as to be divorced from reality.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at September 18, 2006 06:56 PM

Of course every civilisation and culture has been responsible for attroacities. I was responding to GM who spouts off ignorant, ahistorical nonsense like "only muslims respond with violence...." Stupid and facile for sure. Personally I get angry when the arab and muslim world shows more rage towards cartoons and papal idiocy then war, poverty and occupation. I've said that repeatedly

Posted by Ahmed at September 18, 2006 08:43 PM

"only muslims respond with violence...." I can't find that quote, can you tell me where I said it?

Posted by GM at September 19, 2006 06:04 AM

"Yet, you showed utter inhumanity as you cheered on the devastation inflicted on Lebanon by the IDF. Israeli newspapers are filled with stories like these. What do you say, Rope?"

Cheered on? Or perhaps understood that Israel was the party attacked. If you sling bombs at me, don't be surprised if I sling more, bigger, better bombs back. The reports from the IDF are reports of tactical stupidity. Name a single war, anywhere, any time where this was not the case. How about Napoleon burning Moscow only to have the Russian winter set in and the French troops had no where to shelter. How about Suileman at the gates of Vienna:

"The spring rains characteristic of south-eastern Europe were particularly heavy that year, causing flooding in Bulgaria, and making many of the major roads on Suleiman's route barely passable. Thousands of camels broke their legs and had to be slaughtered, and about two hundred of the heaviest field guns were turned back due to the roads. Acting against the advice of seraskier Ibrahim, however, Suleiman pressed on, saying: "It is beneath my dignity to allow the weather to interfere with my plans". He was intending to rely on the disciplined ranks of Balkan miners to subvert the walls."

While the death of any civilian is regretable, I wonder how many of the dead "civilians" were combatants (Hezbollah) not in anykind of uniform? None? Even you don't believe that.

Posted by GM at September 19, 2006 06:16 AM

Ahmed, you may respond once, then I'm closing down the comments on this thread. You are an intractable supporter of the rioters and all your protestations to the contrary do not hide or disguise that fact. So, comment away then I'm shutting the comments down on this thread. You may have the last word, although I'm pretty sure that the majority of readers on this thread know where you will be coming from.

Posted by GM at September 19, 2006 06:20 AM


Even arguendo (which I don't) that Israel's actions in Lebanon were somehow "disproportionate" with respect to past wars, why has the Arab and Muslim world been so silent about the ongoing war in Chechnya and the incredible death and mayhem that continues to engulf Muslim civilians.

Could it possibly be that politics and expediency are trumping consistency, since "Christian" Russia has oil, has active trade tides with and is enabling Iran to acquire nuclear capabilities, and has long been committed to Israel's destruction...

In the U.S., we have the phenomenon of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) characterized by the single-minded obsession of blaming Mr. Bush for everything, which preempts progress towards actual solutions. Does the Arab (and increasingly the Muslim) world have a long-standing and intensifying case of IDS (Israel Derangement Syndrome)?

And in that respect, whether or not you agree with the Pope's views, is not the Pope at least trying to shift the debate off its IDS-dominated dead-end trajectory and, by appealing to rationality and dialog, trying to move the debate in a direction that offers some hope for change and solution? Don't lose the larger picture by quibbling over the details.

Posted by civil truth at September 19, 2006 08:40 AM

"You are an intractable supporter of the rioters and all your protestations to the contrary do not hide or disguise that fact"

Name me one comment that leads you to believe that I support the "rioters" in your words. I just wrote that I get upset when people in the muslim world express more rage towards cartoon and papal idiocy then war, poverty and occupation. More to the point I helped produce a statement condemning the violence for obvious moral reasons, but also because it help strengthen fundementalists on all sides of the equation, from noxious political Islamist, to war mongering cheerleaders here (sorry but i include you in that category) My position isnt too different, surprisingly, from Hitchens last article so Id expect that he too must be some sort of fan of rioting. You seem clinically unable to deal with the thrust of my comments thus resort to all out slander and lies. If you had any decency youd apologise right now for saying that Im an intractable supporter of the rioters as its a disgusting lie for which there's no evidence, expecailly since i find incidents like the attack on churches in palestine digusting. Roper youve reached a new low

Posted by Ahmed at September 19, 2006 09:35 AM

Last comment here Rope but if you were really serious about finding out the issues you purport to be interested, like the targetting and killing of civilians in both Lebabon and Israel, then Id expect that youd be investigating the lengthy and factual reports which have painfully detailed and comdemend the war crimes and all sides of the equation. They make for tough reading and are unflinching in their critque of all parties. There are people who argue that civilans in Israel are not really civilians since they mostly support the occuation and the destruction of lebanon others say that lebansese are not really civilians since many support the activites of Hezbollah. Both of these arguments act to demean human life and ultimately justify murder. I love Israeli life as much as Palestinain and Lebanese. I miurned for the over 100 Israelies killed by hezbollah attacks as much as the over 1000 Lebonese killed as well. They all have a right to dignity and life. Thats, unfortunately, where we part ways. Ive combatted you here only to find out that you respond by plain out lies claiming im an "intractable supporter of the rioters" If this is your modus apparatus and if you refuse to fully apologise then it looks like youve effectively pushed out a critic in this all conservative echo chamber. peace

Posted by Ahmed at September 19, 2006 09:44 AM

As a Christian, I know that God has given everyone the right to decide in whom they want to believe. He did not make us a people who would mindlessly praise and worship Him. He wants us to choose Him. It is only God that should pass judgement on our choices.

Having said that, and am aware that I may "upset" alot of people when I say this, but I am very disappointed in the Pope. Not for the reasons that you may think.

I agree with a very small portion of what DOUGF had to say when he said "at least [the muslims] have 'convictions'."

While I do not agree with the radical muslims with which our Western Media seem to put all their focus, I do respect and am somewhat jealous of the depth of their beliefs and convications, no matter how crazy they may seem to others.

My disapproval for the Pope comes from the appearance that his recent behavior stemming from the Germany Speech is fear based. He is also showing a great LACK of conviction for his faith. He is supposed to be the pinnacle of the Catholic church. He is supposed to be the ONE that all catholics look to for guideance and instruction.

I understand that as a Christian, he does not want to "purposefully offend" people of other religions, but it seems to me that he and the vatican, have gone way overboard in trying to back peddle his "intentions" of his speech in Germany.

As a Christian, he is supposed to believe with his entire being that JESUS IS LORD. And where he may not WANT to offend people of the muslim faith, it is his job as the Pope to enlighten them to their misguided ways and try to bring them to a relationship with Christ. He should be preaching Jesus first, and having done so, only then should he be pursuing dialogue with other religious leaders who are INTERESTED in tolerance of HIS religious beliefs and vise-versa.

Please don't misinterpret my feelings to be that of judgement of the Pope. My intention is not to judge him. It is only the precurser to this......

Muslims are convicted to the core of their being in the TEACHINGS of their faith. The ones shown IN THE MEDIA are tought to have NO tolerance for anything that even has the hint of improptiety on the part of others regarding Mohamed, Allah and the Q'uran. They are tought that heaven awaits for those who die as a martyr for their faith.

They have no problem defaming the religious ICONS of other's faith because they do not recognize other's sensitivities in that respect.

Is it their fault that this is HOW they were raised and in most cases the only WAY they have ever seen? Think about it.

How can they have any respect for other religions when even the Pope of the Catholic church is bowing down in fear to their unattainable demands for an apology.

I believe the only thing the Pope has to appoligize for is having a different religion. It is not his job or proper for him to be scrambling to correct a statement in a speech that he no doubt took painstaking hours to prepare.

I truly believe that if the "Media Muslims" did not protest to such a degree of horror and intimidation, that if their offense to the Pope's speech was met with a much more dialuted "PC" stance he would have never thought about that speech again. I believe that if he did not feel his LIFE was on the line, an apoligy may not even have been made.


Stand up for YOUR BELIEFS, Stand up for CHOICE, Stand up for GRACE, Stand up for MERCY, Stand up for TOLERANCE, Stand up for NON-JUDGEMENTALISM., but most importantly.....

Stand up for JESUS!

Posted by Jane Doe at September 21, 2006 10:31 AM

pope did not get a mistake!

Posted by MANLY at September 25, 2006 11:54 PM

Before 1975 I barely knew who Muslims were. But after 1976 and the recurring acts of terrorism I tried to find a source explaining "Who were those nuts blowing themselve up and killing Christians without reasons?" Finally found an old copy of the Koran, read it several times, and was appalled at the concepts directed therein. "Kill all Jews" and "Kill all infidels" were the worst. It also promoted the
spreading of the Islamic faith by power of the sword. The ultimate objective seemed to be world domination by Muslims. Those who died defending the faith were promised immediate access to the Islamic heaven. A couple of months ago I wrote a letter to the local paper suggesting that those readers looking for more
information about the Muslim faith do the same...get a copy of the Koran and carefully read it to get the truth
about Islam. The letter was published on a Sunday on the op-ed page. The following Monday I received a phone call from someone who refused to identify himself but did warn me that unless I stopped such activity I'd find myself scattered about the back yard of my house after a huge explosion. Later the same day I got a phone call from someone else saying essentially the same thing...another threat against my life. Scared the bejesus out of me! I've been very quiet about publicly saying anything about Muslims ever since!
The increase of world-wide terrorism has convinced me that we're heading for WW 3, Muslims on one side,
infidels on the other, while we members of civilized society worry obout our ultimate fate unless we eliminate Islam and its aims. In olden times civilization was at risk from the plague carried by rats.
People finally made war against rats and got rid of the plague. Perhaps it's the only way we can solve the problems inherent in the spread of the nation of Islam..Declare war against Islam....treat 'em like a horde of rats.
It will be a horrible war, with millions of innocent women and children dead, decent society ruined for hundreds of years. There will be no clouds of bombers in the skies, no fleets of warships on the oceans, no infantrymen crouching in foxholes, no squads of tanks rumbling around the countryside. There will be constant fear of hidden bombs in planes, trains, ships, trucks and autos, and even behind the bushes by the sidewalks. We will live in a state of constant fear! And, unless we win the war, Islam will rule the world.
There seems to be only one reasonable alternative....
coat the whole middle east with a thick layer of radioactive glass, a solution being considered among the powers that be. And try to live with ourselves afterwards, covered with shame and regret...after being forced to such a terrible solution by Islam!!
In WW 2 Hitler's plans were well laid out for the whole world to read in Mein Kamf. The world ignored the writings and finally had to go to a world war to solve that problem. The Koran also does the same..lays out the future for Islam if Muslims follow the precepts
described in the Book. It's time we took it seriously!

Posted by Doug P at September 26, 2006 07:19 AM

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13: Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14: If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15: For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17: If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 18: I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. 19: Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 20: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. John 13:12-20

Posted by n at September 26, 2006 08:59 PM

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