Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A song that changed the world

Bob Marley's friend and songwriter, Vincent Ford, died today in Jamaica...he is the writer of what might be one of the greatest songs ever written: No Woman no Cry, a Reggae classic. May he rest in peace.

To welcome in the new year, I have posted a live performance by Bob Marley singing the song at a concert. It is amazing...Marley died almost 28 years ago, and yet his music only seems to grow in popularity.

"In this great future, you can't forget your past, so dry your tears, I say"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hamas does not care about Palestinians

I'm sure that many (although not all) of my Arab friends are likely to disagree with my analysis on the fighting that is raging in the Gaza strip right now, but I need to express what I believe is the truth: Hamas, the terrorist group that has hijacked the religion of Islam to use it as a shield to justify its actions, does not care about what is happening to thousands of Palestinians right now. I honestly believe that Hamas' leaders would sooner sit back and watch every Palestinian in Gaza starve to death before they would even consider halting the rocket fire into Israel, most of which lands in open fields at best, or at worse, misfires and kills Palestinian civilians instead, something that tragically happened the other day.

A bomb shelter built to protect Israelis from rocket fire in the border town of Sderot. Its not uncommon for children to flee to these during recess at school.

Israel can only put up with this for so long. Last month, I posted an excellent video about the Kassam Rocket strikes that rain down on southern Israel and terrorize the local population. The "cease-fire" was a joke to begin with. Hamas was able to claim it was not firing rockets, although its leaders did absolutely nothing to stop fellow terrorist thugs, like Islamic Jihad and the PFLP, from firing some half a dozen rockets into Israel each day. How many children need to be maimed while playing outside before Israeli leaders take action?

I hope that the citizens of Gaza have realized that Hamas has done nothing to help them. They were elected to power back in January of 2006 on a platform of standing up for Palestinians, while the rival Fatah Party was seen as corrupt and incompetent. Hamas only knows how to be a terrorist group--meaning the only thing they are useful for is terrorizing and killing innocent people--it has proven itself to be an inept governing force.

Hamas and Zarqawi:

I would like to post a link from the major English-language newspaper Aswat Al-Iraq to show that Hamas is indeed an enemy of the Arab world. Back in June of 2006, when arch-terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi received poetic justice in the form of two 500-pound bombs falling from the sky, Hamas actually issued a statement mourning the death of Zarqawi, praising him as a figure of "resistance", and outraging many Iraqis. Next to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, Zarqawi may have been the biggest mass-murderer of Shia Muslims the modern world has seen. As Gaza burns, the patriotic "resistance" in Iraq has been up to its own antics, attacking rallies in SUPPORT of the Palestinians. Maybe Al-Qaeda should release a few more videos and explain exactly how this is "resisting" anything.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The making of an Iraqi hero

At the beginning of the year, I remember reading a story both tragic and inspirational.

On January 6th, 2008, Iraq held a parade honoring its military. Crowds gathered along the streets to see the powerful Iraqi Army show off its skills. Lurking in the crowds was a suicide bomber determined to turn what was supposed to be a day of patriotism into a bloodbath. As the bomber pushed deep into the crowd, two very brave Iraqi soldiers spotted him. Knowing something was wrong, they threw themselves on top of the terrorist, wrestling him to the ground. The attacker managed to set off his explosive belt, killing the two soldiers and 9 bystanders, although it could have been far worse if the bomber had not been confronted. These two Iraqi patriots--the soldiers who gave their lives knowing what was going to happen to them--are heroes.

And yet, they are nameless and largely forgotten. Instead, an angry shoe-tossing journalist is built up as a "hero". While the Iraqi Army and police are volunteering to protect their country, a man who attempted to assault a foreign leader is given prestige and honor he does not deserve. To Muntathar Al-Zaidi, I ask many widows and orphans did that above-mentioned suicide bomber create? If it wasn't for the filthy "resistance" seeping in over Iraq's borders to mass murder innocent civilians, Iraq would be a successful and free society right now.

But I have an even bigger challenge for Al-Zaidi. If he is able to avoid prison time, and he is begging for that as we speak, what will he do if Al-Baghdadiya assigns him to cover a press conference with a Saudi cleric in downtown Riyadh? Better yet, what if Saudi Arabia re-opens diplomatic relations with Iraq, and Al-Zaidi is sent to cover a press conference between, let's say, President Jalal Talabani and the Saudi ambassador. If Bush deserves two shoes for destabilizing Iraq, then it would only be fair if Al-Zaidi tosses a truckload of shoes at the Saudi ambassador, since that country has turned a blind eye to the hundreds of suicide bombers who have crossed over the border into Iraqi towns to mass murder innocent civilians and continues to export Wahabbi fundamentalism across the region, which creates exactly the type of sub-human murderers mentioned at the beginning of this post.

As beautiful as it might seem, as many as 61% of suicide bombers in Iraq are said to come from Saudi Arabia, according to the LA Times.

Al-Zaidi also claims to have visceral hatred for Iran. But remember, President Ahmadinejad made a trip to Baghdad earlier this year and Zaidi's shoes stayed on his feet during that trip. Just think of all the Iranian-backed death squads who have terrorized Iraqi civilians. The journalist feels he can place all of that blame on George Bush. If it wasn't for Bush, Zaidi wouldn't be reporting freely on subjects, and if he had thrown that shoe at Saddam, he would have gone through a wood chipper by now...if Saddam chose to go easy on him.

There are many forces that are actively trying to destroy Iraq today, and many who were doing so before 2003. If all of them were to get the shoes tossed at them they desrve, there wouldn't be any left over to throw at George W. Bush.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some thoughts on Bush's legacy

I, along with many others, watched on TV the spectacle in Baghdad where Iraqi journalist Muntathar Al-Zaidi hurled his shoes at President Bush during a news conference with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Some find this comical, others find it obnoxious and rude, but I found it to be a perfect example of the freedom and the courage that the Iraqi people have, as they take control of their country and stand up against those who want to destroy it. If Al-Zaid had done this to Saddam Hussein, it can be said with almost absolute certainty that the Iraqi journalist would be bound and gagged in a Republican Guard Compound. Across from him, Uday and Qusay would be blazing up a box of cigars as their Fedyeen minions chopped off his feet and served them on a silver platter to his grief-stricken family. Instead, Zaid had the chance to make a political statement to the world and live to tell about it.

I have given up all hopes that President Bush is going to leave office with a better public image than he’s had these last five years. I think this is very unfortunate, but at the same time, I will never back down from believing he has done the right thing, even though it has cost him the media-touted “approval rating” that far too many of the President’s critics have used against him.

Bush stood against the misguided message an American population swayed by poor media coverage conveyed to him after the 2006 midterm election, when “Bush lied, people died, so get-the-hell-out-of-Iraq” fervor was on a rampage across the world. He wouldn’t give up, he was not going to walk away from his mission to bring freedom to Iraq and forever liberate it from the most horrendous forms of human life. Even as his approval rating was crushed, he sent more troops to Iraq to work directly with the besieged people of Iraq, and they have succeeded. Barack Obama may be the president now, and the genocide-advocating Democratic Congress may have followed suit—but their message failed. The “new direction” in Iraq they pushed for went down in flames as the lions of the Iraqi Army and the Awakening councils drove the insurgency all the way back to the sands of Saudi Arabia and their sanctuaries in Iran. Harry Reid was left looking like an utter buffoon as he desperately tried to prolong the struggle, accusing General Petraeus of being in the tank for the Bush Administration while citing the Pope, who has never set foot in Iraq, as a legitimate source that nothing good was happening in the Land of the Two Rivers. I almost want to say its too bad no one was there to throw a shoe at him back then, but such behavior should be rightfully condemned, no matter how much they might deserve it.

Bush has courage, unlike many other politicians. The Democrats were able to win the election, but this time, they avoided the so-called "antiwar" movement like an infectious disease, choosing to verbally assault the President on the economy instead, a crisis which they are just as guilty for as he is.

Sometimes, those who want to do the right thing don’t receive the response they deserve. Just think of Bob Marley, who tried to bring his message of peace and hope to the people of war-ravaged Jamaica only to be shot for it. Last year, Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan to use democracy as the greatest weapon against terrorism and perverted religious fundamentalism. Even before she landed, the Taliban already had suicide bombers waiting to welcome her in the crowds. President Bush had a very insignificant encounter, in the grander scheme of things.

Bush has given everything he has to do the right thing. He corrected the terrible mistake his father made in 1991 when the Gulf War was abruptly ended and the Iraqi people, who revolted against Saddam in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, were left to die in a scorched-earth holocaust when the Republican Guard came down on Karbala and literally burned it to the ground. Clinton added insult to injury, slapping Iraq with sanctions, which Saddam used to further his campaign of genocide against his own people.

Ten years from now, when Iraq is being led by a well-educated and determined generation shining and bustling with life, the history books may judge Bush differently. I hope so.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Standing with our ally

I understand that I have been fixated with what has been happening in India this last week, so I felt the need to post this article by Christopher Hitchens. I agree with him that we need to maintain a close partnership with India. He is also correct in saying that India acts as a good "counterweight" to Russia and China, although I do not necessarily agree with him about Pakistan, seeing as Pakistan is suffering from terrorism too.

I should note that this is from the center of the article...the full piece can be seen in the link below. Enjoy Hitchens' writing :)

Our friends in Bombay

by Christopher Hitchens

I hope I am not alone in finding the statements about Bombay from our politicians to be anemic and insipid, and the media coverage of the disastrous and criminal attack too parochially focused on the fate of visiting or resident Americans. India is emerging in many ways as our most important ally. It is a strong regional counterweight to Russia and China. Not to romanticize it overmuch, it is a huge and officially secular federal democracy that is based, like the United States, on ethnic and confessional pluralism. Its political and economic and literary echelons speak English better than most of us do. Its parliament in New Delhi—the unbelievably diverse and dignified Lok Sabha—was viciously attacked by Islamist gangsters and nearly destroyed in December 2001, a date which ought to have made more Americans pay more attention rather than less. Since then, Bombay has been assaulted multiple times and the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan blown up with the fairly obvious cross-border collusion of the same Pakistani forces who are helping in the rebirth of the Taliban.

It would be good to hear from the president and the president-elect that we regard attacks on the fabric and society of India with very particular seriousness, as assaults on a close friend that was battling al-Qaida long before we were. In response, it should be emphasized, our military and financial and nuclear and counterinsurgency cooperation with New Delhi will not be given a lower profile but a very much higher one. The people of India need to hear this from us, as do the enemies of India, who are our sworn enemies, too.

The inevitable question arises: Did our nominal ally Pakistan have a hand in this atrocity? In one sense, to ask the question is to answer it. Whether we refer to al-Qaida "proper," or to any of the armed Kashmiri formations that have lately been mentioned, we find some pre-existing connection to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. Another conceivable suspect, the former Bombay crime lord Dawood Ibrahim, wanted by the Indian authorities on suspicion of blowing up the Bombay stock exchange and killing 300 civilians in 1993, has long been a fugitive from justice living safely in Pakistan's main port of Karachi. Not a bad place from which to organize an amphibious assault team that acted as if it had been trained by serious military professionals.