The Echo Chamber
Saturday, August 17, 2002
  2:34 PM

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Senior Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, slammed Palestinian cabinet Minister Nabil Shaath, accusing him of trying to foment hatred towards Hamas, Israel Radio reported.

I wonder if Abdel would like some cheese with that whine. 

  11:43 AM

Required reading for the moral equivalency crowd.

Shiri Negari July 5, 1980 - July 18, 2002. 

  8:23 AM

Today's Moral Equivalency Award goes to The Peace Abbey for this sign:

Mark Sullivan's thoughts:

...the people who hung that banner would have done nothing to respond to the murder of 3,000 innocent Americans on 9/11 and would do nothing to prevent any further attacks planned. They would do nothing to stop psychotic death cultists who, for twisted reasons beyond understanding, want to kill your children and mine.

Meantime, they degrade the sacrifice and bravery of this nation’s men and women in military service.

The people who hung that banner are equating self-defense against assassins with the murderous acts of the assassins. They promote not justice, not peace, but a lie.

I think these people have a form of Stockholm Syndrome. They have an inability to empathize with the innocent victims, but they see the aggressors as victims.

According to psychiatrists, four things are required for Stockholm Syndrome to occur:

  1. A person threatens to kill another and is perceived as having the capability to do so.

    Check. This is present.

  2. The other cannot escape, so her or his life depends on the threatening person.

    For those who frighten easily, I can see that they might feel this way since September 11.

  3. The threatened person is isolated from outsiders so that the only other perspective available to her or him is that of the threatening person.

    These people are not isolated by the terrorists, but they do tend to isolate themselves by socializing exclusively with like-minded pacifists.

    Check out the opening phrase on their sign, "The Peace Abbey reminds you..." Apparently they think what they are saying is something everyone already agrees with. I take that as evidence that these people need to get out more.

  4. The threatening person is perceived as showing some degree of kindness to the one being threatened.

    Now, I'm not sure how these people can find kindness in these terrorists. But I do think they empathize with radical Islamists because they have something in common with radical Islamists: loathing of western culture, progress, democracy, etc.


  7:40 AM

Where to take the kids when they've been bad.

This sick humor is courtesy of

Friday, August 16, 2002
  4:15 PM

Funny reprint from The Indepundit:
Watching MSNBC this morning over breakfast, I witnessed the following exchange between anchor Rick Sanchez and Jesse Jackson (not a verbatim transcript -- reconstructed from memory):

Sanchez: According to a recent poll, the Reverend Al Sharpton is now in second place as a prospective Democratic Presidential nominee. Some have called him the new Jesse Jackson. What do you think about that, Reverend?

Jackson: The election is still two years away, and its a wide open field... The Republicans are now working to remove powerful Democrats from office, and the Democratic leadership is doing nothing to counter them. In Georgia, we have Cynthia McKinney, a ten year incumbent, and the Republicans are going to defeat her by crossing over and voting in the Democratic-

Sanchez: I'm sorry to interrupt, Reverend Sharpton, but we have to go to a commercial break.

Jackson: That's Jackson! I'm the Reverend Jesse Jack-


I nearly choked on my oatmeal.

Posted by Scott Koenig at Indepundit


  2:34 PM

Old Joke:
So God decides he's finally had enough of the world and decides to destroy it. He calls up three newspapers to report his decision: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, and the Washington Post. The three headlines that come out are: WSJ: World to End, Markets Close Early. WT: God to Destroy the World Tomorrow WP: Global Annihilation at Hand: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit.

New Headline:
9/11 taking heavier toll on women, minorities.
-Chicago Sun-Times via Best of the Web.

Thursday, August 15, 2002
  3:53 PM

The World Tribune reports that the United States has sent letters to Arab leaders stating its intention to use military force to destroy the Saddam regime in Iraq.

The London-based Al Hayat daily reported on Thursday that the text of the letters said Washington was preparing a military strike against Baghdad that would include the use of air force bases in the Middle East.

The letters reported that the United States was deploying soldiers in the region and transporting a range of unspecified weapons for the attack on the Saddam regime.

"There will be no turning back from the military option," Al Hayat quoted the letters as saying.


  9:38 AM

The Jerusalem Post reports today: Hamas vows revenge after IDF kills terrorist planning mega-attack

What exactly is Isreal's motivation to stop killing terrorists who are planning mega-attacks?

Should we kill this terrorist who we know is planning a mega-attack? Heavens no! If we do Hamas might plan a super-duper mega-attack! Better just to take the mega-attack."

If Hamas was restraining itself in any way its call for revenge might be taken as a legitimate threat. But Israel knows that Hamas will always kill as many Jews as it can, anywhere it can. Israel is acting accordingly.

So what was the mega-attack to be?

He [Nasser Jarrar] had allegedly been planning a series of simultaneous attacks, as well as a mega-attack that would have led to the destruction of a multi-story building inside Israel.


Wednesday, August 14, 2002
  11:31 AM

Oh man! Have you guys got to check out this column from Andrew Sullivan.

...why on earth, apart from good manners, should Americans care about what Europe [apart from Great Britian and Russia] thinks? Yes, diplomacy demands courtesy and "listening." But it's not at all clear what else it requires. Militarily, Europe is a dud, and well on its way to becoming a complete irrelevance... is one thing for Europeans to say that they are ceding all military responsibility to maintain international order to the United States. It is quite another for Europeans to then object when the United States takes the Europeans at their word and acts to defend that world order.

Victor Davis Hanson summed up a common American view toward European complainers:

"Iraq? Stay put — we don't necessarily need or desire your help. The Middle East? Shame on you, not us, for financing the terrorists on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and Israel? You helped to fund a terrorist clique; we, a democracy — go figure. Racism? Arabs are safer in America than Jews are in Europe. That 200,000 were butchered in Bosnia and Kosovo a few hours from Rome and Berlin is a stain on you, the inactive, not us, the interventionist. Capital punishment? Our government has executed terrorists; yours have freed them. Do the moral calculus."


  8:47 AM

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated a series of interviews in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat that was published August 9. One of these interviews was with "Sheikh Abu Hamza, the Egyptian imam of the Finsbury Park Mosque and head of the Ansar Al-Shari'ah organization."

According to Sheikh Abu Hamza: the beginning Al-Qa'ida denied any connection to September 11. It turned out that Al-Qa'ida was not connected to the events. From an engineer's standpoint, I can prove that these buildings did not fall just like that because of a fire... Anyone who knows the properties of these buildings knows that Al-Qa'ida didn't do it. These buildings were blown up from within..."

So the fact that "in the beginning Al-Qa'ida denied any connection to September 11" should settle the question of their connection to these events even though now they admit they did it?

"From an engineer's standpoint [he] can prove," huh? I wonder what degree Sheikh Abu Hamza holds in engineering. I wonder where he earned it.

So, "these buildings were blown up from within?" In order to believe that you are going to have to construct an elaborate conspiracy theory involving the U.S. knowing that Al-Qa'ida would crash planes into the building and making the preparations to bomb the buildings afterward rather than attempting to prevent the attack. Of course, such logical stretches are easy if you are living in a fantasy world (see yesterday's post).

But I fear that logical weakness in the arguments of a Sheikh go unchallenged in the Muslim world. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2002
  9:13 AM

Lee Harris at Policy Review Online has published a fascinating article entitled Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology. Here's a quick synopsis (but I highly recommend reading the entire article):

  1. Traditional war is "politics by another means." "It is the attempt to bring about a new state of affairs through the artful combination of violence and the promise to cease violence if certain political objectives are met."

  2. What Osama Bin Laden started on September 11, 2001 was not traditional war or even traditional terrorism. He had no well-formed demands. It does not appear he planned an immediate follow-up blow. In a traditional war after a strike, the attacker either strikes again while his enemy is reeling, or he negotiates a settlement. OBL didn't even claim responsibility at first. This put the U.S. in the strange position of having to prove who hit us. In a traditional war, the attacker wants his enemy to know who he is so that it can submit to certain demands.

  3. Instead, OBL was enacting a demented fantasy.
    The terror attack of 9-11 was not designed to make us alter our policy, but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves: It was a spectacular piece of theater. The targets were chosen by al Qaeda not through military calculation — in contrast, for example, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — but entirely because they stood as symbols of American power universally recognized by the Arab street. They were gigantic props in a grandiose spectacle in which the collective fantasy of radical Islam was brought vividly to life: A mere handful of Muslims, men whose will was absolutely pure, as proven by their martyrdom, brought down the haughty towers erected by the Great Satan. What better proof could there possibly be that God was on the side of radical Islam and that the end of the reign of the Great Satan was at hand?

  4. All people have a fantasy life. But a good measure of a person's sanity is his or her ability to accept reality checks from other people in their lives. But here, a whole society has succombed to this radical fantasy. Each person in the society serves as an enabler for the rest.

  5. Traditional war contemplates rational actors, each at least attempting to take a realistic assessment of the other's strengths and weaknesses. "But because they are operating in terms of their fantasy ideology, such a realistic assessment is impossible for them. It matters not how much stronger or more powerful we are than they — what matters is that God will bring them victory."

  6. "If our enemy is motivated purely by a fantasy ideology, it is absurd for us to look for the so-called “root” causes of terrorism in poverty, lack of education, a lack of democracy, etc. Such factors play absolutely no role in the creation of a fantasy ideology."

  7. "Equally absurd, on this interpretation, is the notion that we must review our own policies toward the Arab world — or the state of Israel — in order to find ways to make our enemies hate us less... There is no political policy we could take that would change the attitude of our enemies — short, perhaps, of a massive nationwide conversion to fundamentalist Islam."

  8. Our true enemy is the intellectual virus of radical Islam. Where this virus takes hold, the marketplace of ideas is strangled and dies. "For the people who accepted them did not accept them as tentative or provisional. They were unalterable and absolute. And finally, after driving out all other competing ideas and ideologies, they literally turned their host organism into the instrument of their own poisonous and deadly will." "The poison of the radical Islamic fantasy ideology is being spread all over the Muslim world through schools and through the media, through mosques and through the demagoguery of the Arab street."

  9. "Once we understand [that we are battling an intellectual virus], many of our current perplexities will find themselves resolved. Pseudo-issues such as debates over the legitimacy of “racial profiling” would disappear: Does anyone in his right mind object to screening someone entering his country for signs of plague? Or quarantining those who have contracted it? Or closely monitoring precisely those populations within his country that are most at risk?"


Monday, August 12, 2002
  5:23 PM

Yafit Herenstein was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist gunman outside her home in Israel this weekend. She was 31 years old and was the mother of two children. Her husband was seriously wounded when he attempted to rush to her aid. 

  9:11 AM

In trying to research the 19 September 11 hijackers, I came across this alarming article in the New York Times from four days after the attack.
Some of the men who are suspected of hijacking four airplanes in the world's worst terrorist attack do not fit the profile of the suicide bombers who have plagued the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Chechnya over the past two decades. Most of those self- proclaimed martyrs had little to lose, and were indoctrinated for short, intense periods between recruitment and their deadly missions. In contrast, those suspected of perpetrating Tuesday's destruction had, in some cases, spent years studying and training in the United States, collecting valuable commercial skills and facing many opportunities to change their minds.

So what did al-Qa'ida do here? Did they send many potential attackers into the U.S. knowing that there would be some defections? If so, where are these defectors now? (If they exist, I would guess they are still here). How did seeing the September 11 attacks affect them? My fear is that it would have an inspirational effect on them that could re-enlist them in the cause. One factor in our favor is that known associates of the hijackers are now under intense scrutiny or are in custody. But keep in mind that many of these hijackers did not know each other before September 11.

It has now been eleven months since the attack and the public has not been made aware of any arrests of any defectors. One possible reason, the level of commitment of these terrorists was sufficiently tested before they were sent to the U.S. so that there was little or no defection once they got here. How would they find well-educated committed terrorists? Perhaps it wasn't that hard.

Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School who examined some of the suspects in the embassy bombings, said evidence of older, better educated and more stable suicide soldiers might indicate that individuals' rage had resonated to become endemic to a culture.

"The kind of horrifying prospect is that Osama bin Laden and what he represents has sort of crystallized a moment in history that has an evil and a horror to it that's sort of akin to what Hitler was able to crystallize around him," Dr. Grassian said.


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