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Mark Steyn: Itís been a good year
The Spectator (U.K.) ^ | 12/13/03 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 12/11/2003 7:53:03 AM PST by Pokey78

Ignore the sneering metropolitan elites, says Mark Steyn: George Bush is winning at home and abroad

New Hampshire

In California, Muslim community leaders have applauded the decision of the Catholic high school in San Juan Capistrano to change the name of its football team from the Crusaders to the less culturally insensitive Lions.
Meanwhile, 20 miles up the road in Irvine, the Muslim Football League’s New Year tournament will bring together some of the most exciting Muslim football teams in Orange County: the Intifada, the Mujahideen, the Saracens and the Sword of Allah.

That’s the spirit. I can’t wait for the California sporting calendar circa 2010: the San Diego Jihadi vs the Oakland Sensitives, the Malibu Hezbollah vs the Santa Monica Inoffensives, the Pasadena Sword of the Infidel Slayer vs the Bakersfield Self-Deprecators.

Like the unfortunate Mr Colin Rose, fired from his prison officer’s post at Blundeston jail for making an ‘inappropriate’ remark about Osama bin Laden that could easily have distressed large numbers of his Muslim jailbirds, we must all try harder to avoid giving offence. Especially at this time of year, when the streets are full of exclusionary imagery —snowmen, reindeer, Yuletide logs, all evoking the time when the crusading white men of northern Europe rode their reindeer into the streets of Damascus hurling blazing Yule logs at Muslims.

So I have made a New Year’s resolution — or, if you can’t say that any more, an Eid resolution — to be extra-super-sensitive as we look at the state of play at the close of 2003. First of all, I’m amazed that we can still win anything, given the palpable urge of the Western world’s elites to abase themselves in the name of multiculturalism. Their position is basically that of Bernd Brandes, the computer engineer eaten by the German cannibal: go ahead, devour me, but chop my penis off first so I can watch you sauté it. But if the deal is that for every Islamic regime we overthrow we have to rename ten California sports teams, I think I can live with it. Yay, go, Sword of Allah!

Other than that, it’s been a good year. Twelve months ago, Saddam Hussein was sitting on his solid gold toilet. He’s now on the run, moving every few hours and unlikely ever again to feel even a standard black plastic seat against his bottom. His sons are dead, so there’s no possibility of dynastic succession. There has been a noticeable decline in the number of suicide bombings against Israel, suggesting the intifada is having some problems without its sugar daddy. Conversely, there’s been an increase in pressure on the Saudi Arabian and Iranian regimes.

Not bad. Meanwhile, certain problems seem to have vanished entirely. A year ago, we were told that millions would die as Bush plunged Iraq into a humanitarian disaster, driving vast tides of refugees to destabilise neighbouring countries and leaving those who were left with a choice of starvation, cholera or dysentery: ‘The head of the World Food Programme has warned that Iraq could spiral into a massive humanitarian disaster,’ etc. For the first three months after liberation, the Big Consciences lobby attempted to argue that this humanitarian disaster was, in fact, happening: you’ll recall Will Day of Care International piling on the 500,000 tonnes of raw sewage in his column for the Daily Telegraph, ‘Things Are Getting Worse In Iraq, So Give The UN A Chance’. Mr Day demanded to know: ‘How long will it be before we see this contamination seriously affect the health of the population?’

As I responded back in June, ‘Seriously? Never.’

And so it seems to be. After some particularly vicious bombings of the UN and others, the NGOs mostly fled Iraq in late summer. ‘It would be rather sobering,’ I wrote in August, ‘were Iraq to demonstrate it can get along without them.’ And what do you know? It’s remarkable how quickly a problem goes away once the people with a vested interest in there being a problem go away.

The same thing would happen if the media fled Iraq. They have the same interest in a ‘Vietnam quagmire’ that the NGOs have in a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, and if anything they work even more assiduously at promoting it. Claudine Vernier-Palliez and Jerome Sessini of Paris-Match spent several days holed up with ‘Iraqi guerrillas’ and were rewarded by being allowed to photograph the ‘guerrillas’ shooting down a DHL cargo plane. Fabulous pictures, darling! It would have been even better if it had been a Black Hawk, but maybe next time. It must be great fun for Paris-Match types to play society photographer to Baathist dead-enders, and no doubt it makes a nice change from snapping Princess Stephanie, but it’s hard to see what anybody else gets out of it. Since I returned from my own jaunt around Iraq, I’ve received a steady flow of emails from serving soldiers and Iraqi Internet wallahs, and I’ve made a point of seeking out dispatches from non-media visitors to the country. Almost everyone, including Democratic Congressmen, comes back reporting progress and cautious optimism.

Meanwhile, anyone who thinks it will be decades before Arabs are ready for a Western-style society should consider the case of ‘Salam Pax’, an Iraqi Internet blogger —or ‘blogger’, as we old-media types say — who made a name for himself with his on-the-spot Baghdad diary in the run-up to the war and subsequently got taken on by the Guardian and brought to London. When Bush came to town last month, Salam was one of those whom the Guardian asked to pen an open letter to the President:

‘I hate to wake you up from that dream you are having, the one in which you are a superhero bringing democracy and freedom to underdeveloped, oppressed countries. But you really need to check things out in one of the countries you have recently bombed to freedom ...Listen, habibi, it is not over yet. Let me explain this in simple terms. You have spilled a glass full of tomato juice on an already dirty carpet and now you have to clean up the whole room. Not all of the mess is your fault but you volunteered to clean it up. I bet if someone had explained it to you like that, you would have been less hasty going on our Rambo-in-Baghdad trip.’

Incredible. At the beginning of this year Salam Pax was just another typical oppressed Baghdadi, four of whose relatives had ‘gone missing’ (according to his Guardian biog.). But a couple of weeks in the company of Guardian editors and he’s been transformed into a note-perfect, sneering, metropolitan poseur, right down to the two-decade-old Rambo putdown. He sounds like a Channel 4 commissioning editor. Now you might think this is a tad ungrateful of Salam: some of that tomato juice on the rug is from his four missing relatives and, given that the Americans have seen to it that his own juice is no longer in danger of hitting the shagpile, it might be nice if he understood that, in the end, it’s in his interest to clean up the room more than Rambo’s. But personally I find it heartening: if the Americans can’t transform Iraq into New Hampshire, this snotty little twerp is living proof that you can at least turn it into Islington.

As for the naysayers who’ve been neighing a lot longer than Salam, if I were one of their cult followers, I’d be getting a little tired of the worst-case scenarios. Bush lied!!!! Blair lied!!!!!! But Noam Chomsky is admirably candid. He gave an interview to readers of the Independent the other day, and, in the midst of the general fawning, Mike Dudley of Ipswich asked a sharp little question: ‘Where is the “silent genocide” you predicted would happen in Afghanistan if the US intervened there in 2001?’

‘That is an interesting fabrication, which gives a good deal of insight into the prevailing moral and intellectual culture,’ replied Noam. ‘I predicted nothing. Rather, I reported the grim warnings from virtually every knowledgeable source that the attack might lead to an awesome humanitarian catastrophe ...The warnings remain accurate as well, a truism that should be unnecessary to explain. Unfortunately, it is apparently necessary to add a moral truism: actions are evaluated in terms of the range of anticipated consequences.’

In fairness, Noam is speaking the truth — or, as he’d say, the truism. What he said on 18 October 2001 is: ‘Looks like what’s happening is some sort of silent genocide.’ In other words, it wasn’t a prediction. It was already taking place. The only predictive element was when he estimated the final death toll of slaughtered Afghans at ‘Three to four million people or something like that’.

Whenever I write that the anti-war side is now living in its own self-created alternative reality, they write back to point out that I’m the one in the alternative universe. ‘Yes, we Bush-haters live in our “own little world”, but that rapidly shrinking world’s name is Reality,’ writes Rosamond Fogg. ‘So dream on, Mark, stay in your contrived, photo-op dream and pray you don’t wake up.’

A reasonable point. Who am I to say which of us is in the matrix and which has taken the reality pill? But a good indicator is a consistent narrative. And I have to say, if I were in Rosamond’s shoes, the number of storylines my guys abandon or dismiss as a dream sequence (‘an interesting fabrication’) would be beginning to rattle me. Hey, what about those three to four million dead? Don’t worry, it’s like when Bobby Ewing got killed off in Dallas and then they brought him back (special 1980s cultural reference in honour of Salam Pax): Victoria Principal steps into the shower and finds four million Afghans in there, and ol’ Noam says pay no attention to the lurch in continuity. He’ll be having to do that a lot more in the year ahead.

The extreme Left has made a terrible strategic mistake shacking up with the Islamists. In one sense, they’re not as incompatible as they might appear: Islamism may be religious in origin but in its political form it is simply this decade’s brand of oppressive statism, as communism was before it. But the only question now is how deeply this strategic error infects the less insane Left. On National Public Radio the other day, Howard Dean advanced the theory that the Saudis had tipped off Bush about 9/11 in advance. When the Democratic presidential front-runner is cheerfully wearing his tinfoil hat in public, it’s no wonder the other fellows are scrambling to sound just as loopy.

You may recall that when General Wesley Clark jumped into the race, I pledged to chuck in the Speccie if he won. As Stephen Masty subsequently remarked on our letters page, ‘Am I alone among Spectator readers in sending a small donation to General Clark’s campaign?’ I hope so, Stephen. It’s against the law for non-US citizens to contribute to a presidential campaign, and the General’s already had a few problems with legally dubious monies. But that’s the least of his worries. The whole rationale of a military man stepping into the race is that he isn’t a politician: sometimes a general has a bluff, hearty persona like Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf, sometimes he has a quiet dignity like Colin Powell. But within 48 hours General Clark had shrivelled away into just another hack politician, not the dashing prince, just the ninth dwarf. Mr Masty can sell his house and give it all to the General but it won’t make any difference.

The electoral vote adjustments arising from the 2000 census mean that, even if Bush held only the same states as he did three years ago, he’d win by a much bigger margin. But it won’t stop there. Right now, the competitive states — the battleground — are the Democratic turf. Add to that the number of big-time Congressional Democrats who’ve decided to throw in the towel and you’re looking at a solid Bush victory with some key Republican gains in the Senate. The only question is how badly the Democrats do, and that depends on whether they allow themselves to be led toward the wilder Chomskyan shores or can content themselves with the artful straddle adopted by Hillary Clinton. But the notion that this is a president in trouble at home or abroad is ridiculous. 2004 will be a Republican year. That’s a better bet than the Sword of Allah in the California Muslim Football League.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: marksteyn; marksteynlist; ngo; ngos; noamchomsky; un; unitednations; wesleyclark
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1 posted on 12/11/2003 7:53:04 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 12/11/2003 7:54:36 AM PST by Pokey78 ("I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation." Wesley Clark to Russert)
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To: Pokey78
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's suggestion that 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens now in the United States be "legalized" drew harsh criticism yesterday from congressional and other opponents of such legalization.

I'm finding it more difficult all the time tell the difference between the two DC parties.....

3 posted on 12/11/2003 7:58:05 AM PST by Joe Hadenuf (I failed anger management class, they decided to give me a passing grade anyway)
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To: Joe Hadenuf
Illegal aliens are CRIMINAL INVADERS.
All of them.
4 posted on 12/11/2003 8:02:01 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Hillary Al-Muscovy (If it waddles like a Russian duck, Quacks like a Russian duck etc))
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To: Pokey78
Another BRILLIANT article from Steyn -- incisive AND entertaining!
5 posted on 12/11/2003 8:02:38 AM PST by DrDeb
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To: Pokey78
Great Read... :))
6 posted on 12/11/2003 8:07:05 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :)
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To: Joe Hadenuf; Coop
Jeez he's good.
7 posted on 12/11/2003 8:07:18 AM PST by IGOTMINE (All we are saying... is give guns a chance!)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
Don’t worry, it’s like when Bobby Ewing got killed off in Dallas and then they brought him back (special 1980s cultural reference in honour of Salam Pax):

LOL, great article.

9 posted on 12/11/2003 8:10:37 AM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: Pokey78
Here's some more names for the non-Muslim teams: the San Bernadino Tolerance, the Oakland Self-Esteem, and the Riverside Bulldozer Food
10 posted on 12/11/2003 8:12:50 AM PST by thoughtomator (The U.N. is a terrorist organization)
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To: IGOTMINE
Good indeed! Thanks for the flag.
11 posted on 12/11/2003 8:13:15 AM PST by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: Pokey78
"Victoria Principal steps into the shower and finds four million Afghans in there"
When Mark Steyn takes on the lefties you almost feel sorry for them......almost.
12 posted on 12/11/2003 8:19:23 AM PST by KateUTWS (Firmly ensconced in Conservative country)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
Illegal aliens are CRIMINAL INVADERS. All of them.

Geez. It's not like they're building a railroad through your backyard and burning down your villages.

13 posted on 12/11/2003 8:21:20 AM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: Joe Hadenuf
Is this the thread you meant to post that on?
14 posted on 12/11/2003 8:24:20 AM PST by maryz
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To: Gunslingr3
No they are just trashing my Country, America.
15 posted on 12/11/2003 8:25:35 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Hillary Al-Muscovy (If it waddles like a Russian duck, Quacks like a Russian duck etc))
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To: Pokey78
bump for lunchtime read...
16 posted on 12/11/2003 8:28:16 AM PST by eureka! (Rats and Presstitutes lie--they have to in order to survive.....)
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To: Pokey78
Why is crusader such a sensitive word/topic to them? They attacked the Christian world first, and did so relentlessly. Had they not done so, there would have been no crusade nor crusaders.
17 posted on 12/11/2003 8:29:42 AM PST by Ashamed Canadian
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To: IGOTMINE
He's the best there is. HL Mencken, PJ O'Rourke, and Mark Twain all rolled up into one.
18 posted on 12/11/2003 8:29:42 AM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
No they are just trashing my Country, America.

Oh, ok. Well, when we get rid of them, are you going to pick the tomatoes, or will your kids handle that job?

19 posted on 12/11/2003 8:31:10 AM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: Gunslingr3
Geez. It's not like they're building a railroad through your backyard and burning down your villages.

Some of you just don't quite get it. Maybe you live in tinkerbell land. I don't know.

Here, maybe this will help. Then again, maybe it wont.

http://www.lapdonline.org/get_involved/most_wanted/0alpha_most_wanted/a_wanted_index.htm

20 posted on 12/11/2003 8:34:36 AM PST by Joe Hadenuf (I failed anger management class, they decided to give me a passing grade anyway)
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To: Pokey78
It’s remarkable how quickly a problem goes away once the people with a vested interest in there being a problem go away.

DING! DING! DING!...we have a WINNER!!!

21 posted on 12/11/2003 8:41:07 AM PST by martin gibson
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To: Pokey78
I find it heartening: if the Americans can’t transform Iraq into New Hampshire, this snotty little twerp is living proof that you can at least turn it into Islington.

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant prose...

22 posted on 12/11/2003 8:41:09 AM PST by The Electrician
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To: Joe Hadenuf
http://www.lapdonline.org/get_involved/most_wanted/0alpha_most_wanted/a_wanted_index.htm


Great site thanks
23 posted on 12/11/2003 8:42:47 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Hillary Al-Muscovy (If it waddles like a Russian duck, Quacks like a Russian duck etc))
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To: Pokey78
Now you might think this is a tad ungrateful of Salam: some of that tomato juice on the rug is from his four missing relatives and, given that the Americans have seen to it that his own juice is no longer in danger of hitting the shagpile, it might be nice if he understood that, in the end, it’s in his interest to clean up the room more than Rambo’s. But personally I find it heartening: if the Americans can’t transform Iraq into New Hampshire, this snotty little twerp is living proof that you can at least turn it into Islington.

Note to self: never take on Mr. Steyn in a flame war...

24 posted on 12/11/2003 8:45:47 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Pokey78
Steyn is a treasure. I am unaware of anyone else that is as consistently brilliant and as prolific as he is.
25 posted on 12/11/2003 8:46:23 AM PST by spodefly (This is my tagline. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks Poke.....for this and the Peggy ping!

Lando

26 posted on 12/11/2003 8:55:39 AM PST by Lando Lincoln (I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'....)
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To: Pokey78
But personally I find it heartening: if the Americans can’t transform Iraq into New Hampshire, this snotty little twerp is living proof that you can at least turn it into Islington.
27 posted on 12/11/2003 8:57:51 AM PST by js1138
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To: Pokey78
Bump for later
28 posted on 12/11/2003 8:59:16 AM PST by LiberationIT
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To: Pokey78
Bump!
29 posted on 12/11/2003 8:59:37 AM PST by Guillermo (George W. Bush is a Big Government liberal)
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To: Pokey78
Victoria Principal bump. Another hilarious Steyn piece!
30 posted on 12/11/2003 9:00:15 AM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: Pokey78
Big Bump for Mark Steyn! Thanks Pokey.
31 posted on 12/11/2003 9:02:04 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Ashamed Canadian
Really! This PC nonsense has got to stop, especially since the Moose-Limbs don't reciprocate: those names from the Muslim Football league - simply outrageous. Crusaders is a great name and if anyone takes offense too bad. Probably really upsets the Moose-Limbs cause small armies of Crusdaers were able to conquer most of the Middle East.
32 posted on 12/11/2003 9:06:47 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Pokey78
This is a great article. I, for one, will never want to exchange poison darts with Mr. Steyn. But there is something about

......artful straddle adopted by Hillary Clinton.

...that repulses me. Maybe it's the mental imagery!

Lando

33 posted on 12/11/2003 9:12:07 AM PST by Lando Lincoln (I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'....)
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To: Pokey78
To me, reading Mark Steyn's words is like eating a delicious meal. This article was especially tasty. :o)
34 posted on 12/11/2003 9:20:24 AM PST by arasina (What will YOU do when Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton is president?)
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To: Pokey78

Bump for later read

Prairie

35 posted on 12/11/2003 9:38:16 AM PST by prairiebreeze (President George W. Bush....most assuredly, MY President!)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping:

The only question is how badly the Democrats do, and that depends on whether they allow themselves to be led toward the wilder Chomskyan shores or can content themselves with the artful straddle adopted by Hillary Clinton. But the notion that this is a president in trouble at home or abroad is ridiculous. 2004 will be a Republican year.

36 posted on 12/11/2003 9:40:31 AM PST by GOPJ
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To: Lando Lincoln
I was just going to say the same thing -- LOL! I don't want an image in my mind of her straddling anything!
37 posted on 12/11/2003 9:47:06 AM PST by 68skylark
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To: Pokey78
Mark Steyn rocks! His way with words is a feast and a joy!
38 posted on 12/11/2003 10:25:03 AM PST by bluejean
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To: Lando Lincoln
When the Democratic presidential front-runner is cheerfully wearing his tinfoil hat in public, it’s no wonder the other fellows are scrambling to sound just as loopy.

Come on Mark, spill: what's your FR screen name?

39 posted on 12/11/2003 10:25:28 AM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Pokey78
Mark Steyn rocks! His way with words is a feast and a joy!
40 posted on 12/11/2003 10:26:35 AM PST by bluejean
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To: yall

41 posted on 12/11/2003 10:31:07 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Hillary is a TRAITOR !!: http://Richard.Meek.home.comcast.net/HitlerTraitor6.JPG)
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To: Pokey78
Shortly after Saddam fell Salam Pax blogged that the Communist Party in Baghdad, which apparently had just started pamphleteering, "had its heart in the right place."

'Nuff said about Salam Pax.

42 posted on 12/11/2003 10:57:25 AM PST by beckett
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To: Pokey78
This article cries out for some links (if only because of the difficulty in believing some of this could be true, which, sadly, it all is)...

the Muslim Football League’s New Year tournament will bring together some of the most exciting Muslim football teams in Orange County: the Intifada, the Mujahideen, the Saracens and the Sword of Allah

MORE
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/search?s=muslim+football&ok=Search&q=quick&m=exact&o=time

Like the unfortunate Mr Colin Rose, fired from his prison officer’s post at Blundeston jail for making an ‘inappropriate’ remark about Osama bin Laden

Their position is basically that of Bernd Brandes, the computer engineer eaten by the German cannibal

But Noam Chomsky is admirably candid ... Hey, what about those three to four million dead?

43 posted on 12/11/2003 11:19:14 AM PST by Stultis
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear; yoda swings
Ping
44 posted on 12/11/2003 11:21:01 AM PST by knighthawk (And for the name of peace, we will prevail)
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To: Pokey78
This is SO GOOD I can't believe how much he packs into one article.

About this Sa'alem Pax guy, it's so expectable... he already was somewhat in the 'intellectual' camp, that's how he ended up with the cushy job that led to his ability to post during the whole thing. So now he's 'dancing with the guy who brung him' some more, why not? The pay's good, the US is the 'gofer' cleaning up the Iraqi pig-stye. Having lived in the middle east for a decade I can say with a clear conscience that expecting some kind of acknowledgment from an Arab is a waste of time.
Why did he think it would be any different? Because during the run up to and early experience of the war Sa'alam seemed pro-US? No, he was just reporting facts, and a little short of what to compare it to, he just sincerely expressed the truth. Now his true nature has come out. Welcome to the middle east.
45 posted on 12/11/2003 11:33:11 AM PST by Sarah
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To: Stultis
Thanks for the hard work! You're right, if you didn't know better you'ld surely think he was going overboard with his imagination!!
46 posted on 12/11/2003 11:34:48 AM PST by Sarah
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To: Gunslingr3
Jesu, what a bunch of crap. Who picks the tomatoes in the midwest? Who mows the lawns? Who washes the cars?

Somehow, without the "benifit" of millions of illegal aliens sucking our budget dry, it gets done.

But all kidding aside, what we spend of educating, feeding, clothing, sheltering and medicating illegals could prop the wages for picking tomatoes up to about 18 bucks an hour.
47 posted on 12/11/2003 12:43:04 PM PST by LaraCroft (Why is there ALWAYS someone wanting to rain on your parade?)
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To: Gunslingr3
Jesu, what a bunch of crap. Who picks the tomatoes in the midwest? Who mows the lawns? Who washes the cars?

Somehow, without the "benifit" of millions of illegal aliens sucking our budget dry, it gets done.

But all kidding aside, what we spend of educating, feeding, clothing, sheltering and medicating illegals could prop the wages for picking tomatoes up to about 18 bucks an hour.
48 posted on 12/11/2003 12:43:39 PM PST by LaraCroft (Why is there ALWAYS someone wanting to rain on your parade?)
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To: No More Gore Anymore
ping
49 posted on 12/11/2003 12:57:22 PM PST by Gothmog
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To: No More Gore Anymore
ping
50 posted on 12/11/2003 12:58:33 PM PST by Gothmog
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