Gore Vidal’s article, “The Enemy Within” published in “The Observer” today is high prose tabloid fodder.
Here are some highlights:
Whew. Even if I was a far-lefty I’d have to say that this rant covers way too much ground. Unfocused ranting like this just exposes mindless anger. It does nothing to bolster an argument. Vidal: for lessons on focused ranting, I can think of none better than Rachel Lucas.
Elsewhere in his article, Vidal called “for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans.” Interesting, so we still “don’t know by whom we were struck” but Bush had detailed knowledge sufficient to prevent September 11 but didn’t?
Isn’t it much more likely that Vidal is just completely wrong? Try this: we know who planned and carried out these attacks. Of all the terrorist organizations in the world, only Al-Qaeda had the means and the motivation to do it. And Al-Qaeda has admitted to it. Prior to September 11, Bush knew that Al-Qaeda was a grave threat, but no one within U.S. intelligence knew operational details sufficient to have prevented the attacks.
As a novelist, Vidal should know that an over-abundance of coincidence destroys credibility in any work of fiction.
So, Criminal Master-Mind Dubya (hereinafter CMMD) is sitting around the oval office thinking, “I need a war with Afghanistan to loot Eurasia and Central Asia, but how do I get it? I know, I’ll get in the White House time machine and go back to 1991 and convince Osama bin Laden to move to Afghanistan, and use it as his base of operations for launching a major terrorist attack on this country. That’s the ticket!”
And there is this other problem with Vidal’s theory. The U.S. has been in control of Afghanistan, more or less, for almost a year. Yet to my knowledge not one evil corporation has even floated a plan for moving resources through Afghanistan for the benefit of the United States. Would CMMD really accept the serious damage to the U.S. from September 11 for such an obscure long-term benefit?
But of all the potential scape-goats in the world, why would CMMD choose Osama?
Self-fisking – no need to comment.
Isn’t Vidal worried that he is beginning to sound like a raving lunatic?
As a result of Vidal’s article, a “conspiracy theory” is now shorthand for a loosely assembled set of baseless allegations, innuendo, and libel, given in order to damage an ideological enemy.
Ah, the familiar refuge of the “blame America first” crowd. The, “we once were on their side, therefore we ratified their every move for all eternity” line of thought.
Usually lefties complain that conservatives are too simplistic – that we see the world only in black and white. But if the U.S. ever sponsors the “lesser of two evils” the left consistently holds the U.S. responsible for future actions of that “lesser evil” (Saddam, for instance). Oh, and if the other “greater evil” were to ever lash out, well, that’s our fault too because we humiliated them with our imperialist foreign policy.
The one and only guiding principle for the fringe left is that the United States is the most evil, oppressive country the world has ever known, period. And when an "alternative" like Islamofascism - a movement completely opposed to every stated goal of the far left, including women's rights and acceptance of homosexuality - comes along, the left is left with three choices: acknowledge that the Yanks and their allies are the lesser of two evils (as Christopher Hitchens has done); pretend to be "neutral" in the conflict, on the basis that (American) military action can never, ever be justified; or, in the case of Vidal and the IndyMidiots, assume that the Americans - especially the Republican president and his inner circle - must be in the wrong, because they simply cannot comprehend them ever being right. When the third option is chosen, wild conspiracy theorizing is what you get.Bill Herbert points out in the comments below and at his blog that Vidal's arguments have been lifted almost directly from Mike Ruppert.
I was ready to dismiss Vidal’s rant as the product of senility until C.G. Hill pointed out Vidal’s Playboy interview circa 1969!
[O]nly in America do we pretend to worship the majority, reverently listening to the herd as it Gallups this way and that. A socialist friend of mine in England, a Labour M.P., once said, "You Americans are mad on the subject of democracy. But we aren't, because we know if the people were given their head, they would bring back hanging, the birch and, of course, they'd kick the n*ggers out of the country. Fortunately, the Labour Party has no traffic with democracy…
The villains, if they exist, are probably Texas oilmen.
"Well, I left Wilmington, Delaware, at 11:00. Ten minutes to one, I pulled in the rest area… between Baltimore and Hagerstown… I pulled in. I heard… the description of the car, the make of the car, the model of the car, the license plate number.Lancz has stated that if he gets the $500,000 reward, he’ll give it to the families of the victims.
"I pulled in with another driver behind me…I told the other [driver there’s] that car… I was talking to him on the radio but he said, well, what are we going to do? I said, I'm going to call 911. So I called 911. They told me we'll be there as soon as possible… He didn't say how long. He said you stay right where you're at. I said OK.
"In the meantime, somebody else came on up there… I don't know who it was and they told me to go up and block the entrance… so they couldn't get out, so me and this other driver blocked the entrance so they couldn't get out.
"About 15, 20 minutes later at the latest, that place was full of FBI and all that stuff and they found the people. The found the gun. They found the tripod. They found the scope and they found the little hole in the back of the car that had been shot…
"I just want people to think what I did was what I should have done. I'm no hero at this, no hero whatsoever… I just want everybody to tell me thanks and walk away and forget about it is what I want…
"Last Thursday we had 50 drivers and one bunch had a prayer meeting up there 20 miles from where this happened and we thought - we knew our prayer was going to be answered. We knew that sometime or the other. That's the way we believe.
I was glad to learn that the response time was 15 to 20 minutes. Earlier news stories gave me the impression that Lancz’s 911 call came in about 1:00 a.m. and the police didn’t respond until 3:00 a.m. Now I’m assuming that the police were on the scene quickly, but the media wasn’t told of the capture until about 3:00 a.m.
O.K. You've been warned. Michael Moore, the filmmaker behind "Bowling fo Columbine" has published this open letter entitled "Your Children Are Not Safe" at his website.
I'm not going to Fisk this entire letter. Moore is a self-Fisker. Let me just say that Moore agrees with the sniper that our children are not safe:
Your children are not safe because they saw us adults allow a man to steal the White House, and then we did nothing about it. They learned that lying and stealing are OK, but "one person, one vote" is a sham.Moore needs psychiatric help. He honestly believes that Bush is a criminal and is more dangerous than John Mohammed.
Your children are not safe because one in six of them live in poverty, while Bush's friends and business partners make off with loot from the pension funds and the stock market...
Nearly a half-million Iraqi kids have died already in the last decade, thanks to our sanctions which have starved them and our bombs which have killed them.
Now Bush the Sniper has a new message to the Iraqi people: "Your children are not safe, anywhere at anytime."
Moore finds it acceptible to use the sniper's scare tactic to make his own outrageous points. If he is sane, then he should be ashamed of himself.
---via a comment from "Lucy" at Rachel Lucas.UPDATE: And now Rachel herself weighs in.
The evening of October 23 when FoxNews was first reporting the names of Muhammad and Malvo, an idiot-expert was on the air with Rita and Greta. This moron (Dr. Michael Baden) said that the police obviously didn’t have enough time to trace the message left by the sniper the first time. That is why they were asking the sniper to return the call, not because the message was garbled.
I agree. Shut-up!
The idiot also stated that the police were calling Muhammad and Malvo “persons of interest” rather than “suspects” to keep them from fleeing.
Say what? So I’m Muhammad polishing my rifle sitting in front of a T.V. in some seedy motel and I hear that I’m a “person of interest” and I think, “well, at least I’m not a suspect - no need to run now”? And let's just say for argument's sake that he is that dumb - you just told him to run, you moron!
UPDATE: Rev. Brian Chapin over at American RealPolitik was less than impressed with the professional media coverage for different reasons.
---link via InstapunditUPDATE: Howard Kurtz also blasts the media in The Washington Post article "Profiles in Inaccuracy." This excellent article gives a great rundown of coverage throughout the media. While being critical, Kurtz does note that the media's decision to run the description and license of the vehicle (apparently against the wishes of the police) led directly to the capture of the sniper suspects.
Michelle Malkin revealed the following today regarding the younger sniper suspect at Jewish World Review and on Fox's "Hannity and Colmes:"
Here are the facts the INS doesn't want you to know: Lee Malvo is an illegal alien from Jamaica who jumped ship in Miami in June 2001. He was apprehended [December 19, 2001] by the Border Patrol in Bellingham, Wash., in December 2001, but was then let go by the INS district in Seattle...Ms. Malkin has been nothing but impressive lately. While nearly everyone, including this white male, was profiling the sniper as an white male extremist, Michelle Malkin had her doubts:
The law is explicit: Illegal alien stowaways are to be detained and deported without hearings. James admitted that she and her son were illegal alien stowaways. Yet, in January 2002, James was released on a $1,500 bond; Malvo was set loose without any bond on his own recognizance.
Michelle Malkin wrote as early as October 11 that "the media immediately embraced the Angry White Male … But the faces of evil come in every color. We must be prepared for all possibilities, not just the ones that play into reporters' preconceived notions about hunters, soldiers, tattoos and guns." Even more impressively, Malkin, who earned her journalist stripes in Washington State -- where Muhammad is said to have lived -- invoked the example of James Ujaama, "a black American Muslim convert [who] was indicted in August on charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda establish a terrorist training camp on a ranch in southern Oregon" to buttress her point. While no link has been alleged between Muhammad and al Qaeda, that example nonetheless looks good now.
About 40 Chechen rebels have taken about 900 people hostage in a theater. These terrorists have threatened to blow the building and hostages up if police storm the building.
The hostage takers released all Muslims and about 20 children in the audience. I do not see this move as a positive sign for the hostages that remain.
Elite Russian troops have surrounded the theatre and are talking to the gunmen, who are believed to be Chechen rebels.And from The Star Online:
A teenager, among youngsters immediately released, said the group of up to 40 attackers had burst into the theatre, which was showing the musical "North-East", one firing a burst of bullets into the ceiling.
"He told all the actors to sit down on the front rows. Then women and men came in with masks.
"Some women were strapped with explosives and they said they would blow up the whole building in 10 minutes if they [police] started to storm the building," Denis Afanasyev said.
In a phone call to a Moscow radio station, the gunmen also warned that if police marksmen shot any of they group, ten hostages would be killed in revenge.
Police marksmen took up position on roof tops and other vantage points overlooking the theatre
The hostage takers told Aslanbek Aslakhanov, a deputy from Chechnya to the federal parliament who was serving as a mediator, they wanted Russian troops to withdraw from Chechnya and a cease-fire in the three-year old war, lawmaker Yuli Rybakov told reporters outside the theater.
Rybakov said the hostage takers had automatic weapons, grenades, belts with explosives attached, mines and canisters with gasoline with them.
If you could recommend one (and only one) film to someone who had NEVER seen a film ... what would it be?I invite you to leave your response at her blog.
Now, assume for the moment that you are presenting this film as proof of humanity's better nature (say, aliens searching for proof of intelligence - insufficient proof leading to planetary disintegration a'la the Hitchhikers Guide) ... would it suffice or do you think you would change your recommendation?
Why or why not?---link via Patio Pundit
My response is “To Kill a Mockingbird for both.”
What’s so great about To Kill a Mockingbird? Well, its the best movie ever made. Yes, better even than the brilliant “Citizen Cane.” This movie accomplishes the impossible – it presents the segregated south as both simple and complex, both idyllic and hellish.
I first saw this movie as a child and have watched it many times. As I’ve grown older I’ve enjoyed it on different levels. First it was a spooky mystery story, then a courtroom drama, then a message movie about peace and tolerance through reason. Now its all those things and a melancholy ode to the passing of an era in American History when people knew their neighbors and actually talked with family members.
Because its so rare, I love great child acting (the scale runs from The Sixth Sense to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace). All the kids in To Kill a Mockingbird are great – and that’s a testimonial for the director.
This started it.
Here's the Wall Street Journal editorial on it.
Here's how most LGF readers feel about it.
And here is the last word on it.
Peres reminded the European Parliament of the humanity of those who died in the latest bus bombing and the fact that their basic right to not be burned to death was violated by Palestinians.
You would think that after two world wars that the European continent would not have to be lectured on the importance of basic human rights. You would think that Europe would have learned that the murdering of innocent civilians is evil. You would think that the continent would be haunted with these lessons, especially as applied to the Jews.
You would think wrong.
David Frum finds himself having to argue in the London Daily Telegraph that the “Jewish lobby” is not dictating American foreign policy.
---link via The Right Wing NewsThere is a simple reason Europe is allied with the Palestinians and America is with Israel. Europe has lost hope; America has not.
Americans still believe that all ethnicities deserve freedom and prosperity. We believe that those countries that do not yet embrace freedom are not beyond redemption. And yes, we believe that Democracy and Capitalism are the best ways of achieving freedom and prosperity. We see Israel as a marvelous example of freedom and prosperity in a trouble region. And so we choose to stand with Israel.
Europe fancies itself as sophisticated because it accepts all societies as equal in value. There is a high price for this belief. If one truly believes that every culture is equal in worth, then there is no room for hope. How can you hope for something better if no culture is better than any other? How can you understand the difference between right and wrong if Arafat is admired as a great leader? Or as a peacemaker?
Yesterday's "sniper" arrests turned out to be a false alarm.
Yesterday morning Susanna over at "Cut on the Bias" published an insightful sniper profile. This post is better than anything I've seen in the pro papers.
In short, here is their “evidence:”
This is a believable statement only to those who already believe that the War on Terror is morally inferior to the attack of September 11. Only those who see the United States as the “Great Satan” are going to think that this country is a more likely suspect than the terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for September 11.
As well it should. There are those who have argued that this event demonstrates that we shouldn’t get “sidetracked” by Iraq – that we should continue to concentrate on Al Qaeda – as if Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism. But most people realize that Iraq is part of the war on terror, not a distraction.
Huh? They must believe that the United States is waging war on Islam rather than terrorism and that we consider the best Muslim target in the country to be the Bali night club scene. Either that or the panel is trying to say that the United States is framing Indonesian Muslims. But why would the U.S. do that? If there is a Islamic model that the U.S. would like to see emulated throughout the Muslim world, it would be found in Indonesia. And, as the panel had already pointed out, the U.S. blames Al Qaeda, a group foreign to Indonesia.
Has this panelist been informed of the events of September 11? She must think the Mossad is to blame for September 11.
Al Qaeda is many things to the United States, but it is hardly “convenient.” Again, this can only be believed if one has already decided that the United States wishes to wage war on Islam itself. Only then could Al Qaeda be considered a “convenient phantom” to the United States.
Some students in attendance said the panel was insightful.…and so they both deserve to be destroyed? What else could this student mean?
"It opened up a huge list of new questions we're not talking about in the media," said UC Berkeley graduate student Ellen Boccuzzi. "The same way as the World Trade Center is a symbol of western capitalism, so is Bali a symbol of western capitalism."
Jacob W. passes on this tidbit: when arrested one of the two men was making a call from a payphone. Hopefully this guy was calling the number given to the police.
The World Tribune reported today that Al Qaida funding comes from a much smaller number of individuals than previously estimated. Just 12 people.
The nationality of most of these financiers is... wait for it... Saudi!
On Sunday, Treasury Undersecretary Jimmy Gurule begins a six-day visit to European countries to coordinate efforts to freeze assets of those deemed as terrorist financiers...Glenn Reynolds wondered if there shouldn't be 12 tragic "accidents." I think it would be more appropriate to just shoot these idiots and return the bodies tattooed with the message: "This assassination has been carried out by the United States in response to the murder of its innocents. Don't Tread On Me!"
"It is our first big break in understanding Al Qaida's financial network," an official said.
"At first, the network was so big that we didn't think could find major channels of support. Now, we believe we have."
The officials said the new information has fueled a renewed effort to freeze the assets of those suspected of helping Al Qaida and satellite groups. They said the information could result in the blocking of finances of industrialists of leading Gulf Arab businessmen in Asia and Europe. So far, the United States and its allies have frozen $112 million, regarded as an insignificant portion of Al Qaida's network.---link via Instapundit.
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