Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Ann Coulter column

Ronnie Earle Is Better Suited for a Job in Hollywood
Democrat prosecutor Ronnie Earle's conspiracy charge against Tom DeLay was thrown out this week, which came as a surprise to people who think it's normal for a prosecutor to have to empanel six grand juries in order to get an indictment on simple fund-raising violations. Mr. Earle will presumably assemble a seventh grand jury as soon as he locates someone in the county who hasn't served on a previous one.


Hecklers Disrupt Coulter's Speech At UConn
After waiting with her bodyguard on stage for several minutes for the music to stop while a section of the audience chanted "You suck, you suck," an irritated Coulter said she would not finish her speech. She said she would go straight to questions and answers, suggesting the disruption was the best the liberals could do to counter her.

The tolerance crowd at their best. Free speech is only for flag burning, public art that degrades Chrisitanity and virtual child porn. We can't let Ann Coulter talk though...


terry said...

I wondered where the money (to pay Coulter) came from, so I asked, and was told it came from student fees. Can the aggrieved students get their fees back if they don't like the politics on which they are spent? If so, that's what they should have done. If not, students should be able to get those fees back. If not having union dues spent on politics you disagree with (and getting your money back) is good enough for unions, shouldn't it be good enough for students?

Jon said...

Isnt it free speech to be able to tell her she sucks too? (and lets not forget that stopping "free speech" is only an issue when the gubmint does it, per the 1st Amendment.)
Coulter is just a loudmouth that gives real Conservatives a bad name. Kinda like Howard Dean on the "other" side.
I cannot believe as a Conservative you would give someone like her any validity at all. Sure she has the right to say whatever she wants, no matter how stupid it is, but so does everyone else.

Cubano said...

[I was not around in 1898 when the US launched
its "splendid little war" in Cuba and the
Philippines. But I remember clearly, as if it was
yesterday, the arguments made before 1973 about
why the US could not leave Vietnam, the
"bloodbath" that would follow, etc. Yet the
"bloodbath"--over FOUR MILLION Vietnamese
soldiers and civilians on both sides were KILLED
AND WOUNDED (a casualty rate of nearly 10 percent
of the total population)--took place DURING AND
BECAUSE OF the war, a "war that nobody won" and a
tragedy of epic proportions. It's now another
murderous war, in another country and another
century, but what's being claimed about an exit
from Iraq today, with triple layers of Orwellian
double-speak and eerie parallels, is deja vu all
over again. For a reality check--and a history
check--check out this terse but well reasoned analysis:]

The Atlantic Monthly | December 2005

If America Left Iraq

by Nir Rosen

Nir Rosen, a fellow at the New America
Foundation, spent sixteen months reporting from
Iraq after the American invasion.

At some point­-whether sooner or later-­U.S.
troops will leave Iraq. I have spent much of the
occupation reporting from Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul,
Fallujah, and elsewhere in the country, and I can
tell you that a growing majority of Iraqis would
like it to be sooner. As the occupation wears on,
more and more Iraqis chafe at its failure to
provide stability or even electricity, and they
have grown to hate the explosions, gunfire, and
constant war, and also the daily annoyances:
having to wait hours in traffic because the
Americans have closed off half the city; having
to sit in that traffic behind a U.S. military
vehicle pointing its weapons at them; having to
endure constant searches and arrests. Before the
January 30 elections this year the Association of
Muslim Scholars­-Iraq's most important Sunni Arab
body, and one closely tied to the indigenous
majority of the insurgency­-called for a
commitment to a timely U.S. withdrawal as a
condition for its participation in the vote. (In
exchange the association promised to rein in the
resistance.) It's not just Sunnis who have
demanded a withdrawal: the Shiite cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr, who is immensely popular among the young
and the poor, has made a similar demand. So has
the mainstream leader of the Shiites' Supreme
Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abdel
Aziz al-Hakim, who made his first call for U.S.
withdrawal as early as April 23, 2003.

If the people the U.S. military is ostensibly
protecting want it to go, why do the soldiers
stay? The most common answer is that it would be
irresponsible for the United States to depart
before some measure of peace has been assured.
The American presence, this argument goes, is the
only thing keeping Iraq from an all-out civil war
that could take millions of lives and would
profoundly destabilize the region. But is that
really the case? Let's consider the key questions
surrounding the prospect of an imminent American withdrawal.

Would the withdrawal of U.S. troops ignite a
civil war between Sunnis and Shiites?

No. That civil war is already under way­-in large
part because of the American presence. The longer
the United States stays, the more it fuels Sunni
hostility toward Shiite "collaborators." Were
America not in Iraq, Sunni leaders could
negotiate and participate without fear that they
themselves would be branded traitors and
collaborators by their constituents. Sunni
leaders have said this in official public
statements; leaders of the resistance have told
me the same thing in private. The Iraqi
government, which is currently dominated by
Shiites, would lose its quisling stigma. Iraq's
security forces, also primarily Shiite, would no
longer be working on behalf of foreign infidels
against fellow Iraqis, but would be able to
function independently and recruit Sunnis to a
truly national force. The mere announcement of an
intended U.S. withdrawal would allow Sunnis to
come to the table and participate in defining the new Iraq.

But if American troops aren't in Baghdad, what's
to stop the Sunnis from launching an assault and seizing control of the city?

Sunni forces could not mount such an assault. The
preponderance of power now lies with the majority
Shiites and the Kurds, and the Sunnis know this.
Sunni fighters wield only small arms and
explosives, not Saddam's tanks and helicopters,
and are very weak compared with the cohesive,
better armed, and numerically superior Shiite and
Kurdish militias. Most important, Iraqi
nationalism­-not intramural rivalry­-is the chief
motivator for both Shiites and Sunnis. Most
insurgency groups view themselves as waging a
muqawama­-a resistance­-rather than a jihad. This
is evident in their names and in their
propaganda. For instance, the units commanded by
the Association of Muslim Scholars are named
after the 1920 revolt against the British. Others
have names such as Iraqi Islamic Army and Flame
of Iraq. They display the Iraqi flag rather than
a flag of jihad. Insurgent attacks are meant
primarily to punish those who have collaborated
with the Americans and to deter future collaboration.

Wouldn't a U.S. withdrawal embolden the insurgency?

No. If the occupation were to end, so, too, would
the insurgency. After all, what the resistance
movement has been resisting is the occupation.
Who would the insurgents fight if the enemy left?
When I asked Sunni Arab fighters and the clerics
who support them why they were fighting, they all
gave me the same one-word answer:
intiqaam­-revenge. Revenge for the destruction of
their homes, for the shame they felt when
Americans forced them to the ground and stepped
on them, for the killing of their friends and
relatives by U.S. soldiers either in combat or during raids.

But what about the foreign jihadi element of the
resistance? Wouldn't it be empowered by a U.S. withdrawal?

The foreign jihadi element-­commanded by the
likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi­-is numerically
insignificant; the bulk of the resistance has no
connection to al-Qaeda or its offshoots. (Zarqawi
and his followers have benefited greatly from
U.S. propaganda blaming him for all attacks in
Iraq, because he is now seen by Arabs around the
world as more powerful than he is; we have been
his best recruiting tool.) It is true that the
Sunni resistance welcomed the foreign fighters
(and to some extent still do), because they were
far more willing to die than indigenous Iraqis
were. But what Zarqawi wants fundamentally
conflicts with what Iraqi Sunnis want: Zarqawi
seeks re-establishment of the Muslim caliphate
and a Manichean confrontation with infidels
around the world, to last until Judgment Day; the
mainstream Iraqi resistance just wants the
Americans out. If U.S. forces were to leave, the
foreigners in Zarqawi's movement would find
little support­and perhaps significant
animosity­among Iraqi Sunnis, who want wealth and
power, not jihad until death. They have already
lost much of their support: many Iraqis have
begun turning on them. In the heavily Shia Sadr
City foreign jihadis had burning tires placed
around their necks. The foreigners have not
managed to establish themselves decisively in any
large cities. Even at the height of their power
in Fallujah they could control only one
neighborhood, the Julan, and they were hated by
the city's resistance council. Today foreign
fighters hide in small villages and are used
opportunistically by the nationalist resistance.

When the Americans depart and Sunnis join the
Iraqi government, some of the foreign jihadis in
Iraq may try to continue the struggle­but they
will have committed enemies in both Baghdad and
the Shiite south, and the entire Sunni triangle
will be against them. They will have nowhere to
hide. Nor can they merely take their battle to
the West. The jihadis need a failed state like
Iraq in which to operate. When they leave Iraq,
they will be hounded by Arab and Western security agencies.

What about the Kurds? Won't they secede if the United States leaves?

Yes, but that's going to happen anyway. All Iraqi
Kurds want an independent Kurdistan. They do not
feel Iraqi. They've effectively had more than a
decade of autonomy, thanks to the UN-imposed
no-fly zone; they want nothing to do with the
chaos that is Iraq. Kurdish independence is
inevitable­-and positive. (Few peoples on earth
deserve a state more than the Kurds.) For the
moment the Kurdish government in the north is
officially participating in the federalist
plan­-but the Kurds are preparing for secession.
They have their own troops, the peshmerga,
thought to contain 50,000 to 100,000 fighters.
They essentially control the oil city of Kirkuk.
They also happen to be the most America-loving
people I have ever met; their leaders openly seek
to become, like Israel, a proxy for American
interests. If what the United States wants is
long-term bases in the region, the Kurds are its partners.

Would Turkey invade in response to a Kurdish secession?

For the moment Turkey is more concerned with EU
membership than with Iraq's Kurds­-who in any
event have expressed no ambitions to expand into
Turkey. Iraq's Kurds speak a dialect different
from Turkey's, and, in fact, have a history of
animosity toward Turkish Kurds. Besides, Turkey,
as a member of NATO, would be reluctant to attack
in defiance of the United States. Turkey would be
satisfied with guarantees that it would have
continued access to Kurdish oil and trade and
that Iraqi Kurds would not incite rebellion in Turkey.

Would Iran effectively take over Iraq?

No. Iraqis are fiercely nationalist­-even the
country's Shiites resent Iranian meddling. (It is
true that some Iraqi Shiites view Iran as an
ally, because many of their leaders found safe
haven there when exiled by Saddam­-but thousands
of other Iraqi Shiites experienced years of
misery as prisoners of war in Iran.) Even in
southeastern towns near the border I encountered only hostility toward Iran.

What about the goal of creating a secular
democracy in Iraq that respects the rights of women and non-Muslims?

Give it up. It's not going to happen. Apart from
the Kurds, who revel in their secularism, Iraqis
overwhelmingly seek a Muslim state. Although Iraq
may have been officially secular during the 1970s
and 1980s, Saddam encouraged Islamism during the
1990s, and the difficulties of the past decades
have strengthened the resurgence of Islam. In the
absence of any other social institutions, the
mosques and the clergy assumed the dominant role
in Iraq following the invasion. Even Baathist
resistance leaders told me they have returned to
Islam to atone for their sins under Saddam. Most
Shiites, too, follow one cleric or another.
Ayatollah al-Sistani­-supposedly a
moderate­-wants Islam to be the source of law.
The invasion of Iraq has led to a theocracy,
which can only grow more hostile to America as
long as U.S. soldiers are present.

Does Iraqi history offer any lessons?

The British occupation of Iraq, in the first half
of the twentieth century, may be instructive. The
British faced several uprisings and coups. The
Iraqi government, then as now, was unable to
suppress the rebels on its own and relied on the
occupying military. In 1958, when the government
the British helped install finally fell, those
who had collaborated with them could find no
popular support; some, including the former prime
minister Nuri Said, were murdered and mutilated.
Said had once been a respected figure, but he
became tainted by his collaboration with the
British. That year, when revolutionary officers
overthrew the government, Said disguised himself
as a woman and tried to escape. He was
discovered, shot in the head, and buried. The
next day a mob dug up his corpse and dragged it
through the street­-an act that would be repeated
so often in Iraq that it earned its own word:
sahil. With the British-sponsored government
gone, both Sunni and Shiite Arabs embraced the
Iraqi identity. The Kurds still resent the
British perfidy that made them part of Iraq.

What can the United States do to repair Iraq?

There is no panacea. Iraq is a destroyed and
fissiparous country. Iranians and Saudis I've
spoken to worry that it might be impossible to
keep Iraq from disintegrating. But they agree
that the best hope of avoiding this scenario is
if the United States leaves; perhaps then Iraqi
nationalism will keep at least the Arabs united.
The sooner America withdraws and allows Iraqis to
assume control of their own country, the better
the chances that Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari
won't face sahil. It may be decades before Iraq
recovers from the current maelstrom. By then its
borders may be different, its vaunted secularism
a distant relic. But a continued U.S. occupation can only get in the way.

Sailor Republica said...

Well, Terry, then I should be getting a ton of money back for all the idiotic speakers the University brings to my campus.

Plus, you should also know that they spent about the same amount of money to bring Cindy Shreakhan to UConn either the night before or that night as well.

It was a balance, and there will be no refunds.

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