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A bombing pause -- for 12 months? (by Mark Steyn)
National Post Online ^ | November 22, 2002 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 11/22/2002 11:58:45 AM PST by Gritty

Maybe it's just me, but Ramadan seems to come round earlier every year. Around the world, the holy month is being observed in the time-honoured fashion we've come to know so well. There has been the traditional annual call for a "bombing pause" during Ramadan -- this year not from the humanitarian nancy boys at Oxfam and Co. but from Saddam himself, who apparently feels it would be "culturally insensitive" toward Muslims to depose him during the holiest of Islamic festivals. In calling for a bombing pause when we are not, alas, bombing him, the wannabe Saladin has usefully reminded us of the strange state of play this Ramadan. It has been a year since the fall of the Taliban, and in that year ... nothing has happened.

Oh, to be sure, there've been some useful bits of intelligence co-operation, and London and Washington have frozen the bank accounts of the dodgier Canadian charities. Two weeks ago, President Bush scored remarkable double victories over Tom Daschle's Senate Democrats and the French Security Council veto. But Senator Daschle and the French are not the enemy; they're just speed bumps on the way to the enemy, and both ought to have been receding into the distance in the rear-view mirror a long time ago. Instead, it's the war that keeps getting deferred, to the point where it's beginning to look like the Bush version of the Soviets' endlessly rolled-over Five Year Plans.

So we have had a bombing pause for 12 months. Some of us would like a pause in the bombing pause. But, if that's not possible, perhaps we could at least have a burbling pause for Ramadan, a temporary respite from the multicultural hooey. Instead, in his month-long Ramadan-a-ding-dong, George W. Bush is relentlessly on message: as he told Islamic bigwigs at the White House the other day, "Our nation is waging a war on a radical network of terrorists, not on a religion and not on a civilization."

Not true. The world is at war not with a Blofeldian "network" of crack evildoers, but with an ideology. Indeed, the evidence from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bali and North London suggests that it's now the ideology of choice for the world's troublemakers, as Communism once was. In 1989, with the Soviet Union crumbling into irrelevance, poor old Mikhail Gorbachev even received a helpful bit of advice from the cocky young upstart on the block, the Ayatollah Khomeini: "I strongly urge that in breaking down the walls of Marxist fantasies you do not fall into the prison of the West and the Great Satan," wrote the prototype Islamist nutcake. "I openly announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your system." Yes, indeed, folks. We're the one-stop shop for all your ideological needs: Call today for a free quotation ("Death to the Great Satan!"). The Ayatollah found no takers in the Kremlin, but there's been no shortage of customers elsewhere in the world.

Daniel Pipes and others have argued that this is the Islamists' great innovation -- an essentially political project piggybacking on an ancient religion. In the last year, we've seen the advantages of such a strategy: You can't even identify your enemy without being accused of bigotry and intolerance. What we still can only guess at is the overlap between the ideology and the religion. It seems unlikely that many Muslims in, say, Newark or Calgary or Singapore would wish to be suicide bombers themselves, but what seems clear is that in these and other places there is -- to put it at its most delicate -- a widespread lack of revulsion at the things done in Islam's name. On the one hand, Muslims deny it's anything to do with them: A year ago, in The Ottawa Citizen's coast-to-coast survey of Canadian imams, all but two refused to accept Muslims had been involved in the September 11th attacks. On the other hand, even though it's nothing to do with them, they party: In Copenhagen as in Ramallah, Muslims cheered 9/11; in Keighley, Yorkshire, you couldn't get a taxi that night because the drivers were whooping it up.

This is the real war aim -- or it should be, if we're to have any chance of winning this thing: We have to change the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims, too many of whom are at best indifferent to great evil. "Changing" isn't the same as "winning the hearts and minds," which is multiculti codespeak for pre-emptively surrendering and agreeing not to disagree with them. For over a year now, nothing has been asked of Muslims, at home or abroad: you can be equivocal about bin Laden and an apologist for suicide bombers, and still get a photo-op with Dubya; you can be a member of a regime whose state TV stations and government-owned newspapers call for Muslims to kill all Jews and Christians, and you'll still get to kick your shoes off with George and Laura at the Crawford ranch.

This is not just wrong but self-defeating. As long as Dubya and Colin Powell and the rest are willing to prance around doing a month-long Islamic minstrel-show routine for the amusement of the A-list Arabs, Muslims will rightly see it for what it is: a sign of profound cultural weakness. Healthy relationships require at least some token reciprocity -- I said as much during the Monica business, and it never occurred to me the same problem would rear its ugly head during this Administration. But, hosting an iftaar (the end-of-day break-of-fast) for hundreds of head honchos from Muslim lobby groups, Colin Powell felt obliged to announce yet another burst of Islamic outreach. According to the Associated Press, he told his audience that "he is trying to expand programs to bring educators, journalists and political and religious leaders from Islamic countries to the United States."

Why? The problem isn't that Colin Powell's admissions program is too restrictive, but quite the opposite. It was his Saudi "visa express" conveyor belt that admitted the September 11th terrorists to the U.S. on forms filled in with a perfunctoriness no eighth-generation WASP Canadian snowbird would try getting away with. When asked why 15 of the 19 killers that day were Saudi, the Kingdom's Ambassador to London, my old friend Ghazi Algosaibi, replied with admirable candour that that was simply because it was easier for Saudis to get into America. In other words, the State Department's Islamic outreach facilitated the murder of thousands.

Meanwhile, the whining twerp on that I Can't Believe It's Not Osama audio cassette has expanded the Islamists' list of grievances to include not only the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258 -- I forget where Canada stood on that: it was OK as long as the Mongols were part of a multilateral pillage force? -- but also the West's support for East Timor's independence. East Timor! The left's pet cause of the late Nineties! And yet it turns out to be just another "root cause" like Yankee imperialism and Zionist occupation. Will it cause any of the West's self-loathers to question their support for the Islamists? Don't hold your breath. The Canadian position on this war is sadly typical: Some reports indicate that the Indonesian group which killed hundreds in Bali used bombs delivered by Hezbollah operatives. Two Canadians were among their victims. But Messrs Chrétien and Graham refuse to act against Hezbollah because, aside from killing Canadians, these chaps run some useful community activities. Canada's more "moderate" approach is that as long as they kill just a few Canadians -- say, hold it under three figures annually -- we can, so to speak, live with them. And, given that several Hezbollah execs seem to be running around Gaza with Canadian passports, in terms of how many Canucks are murdered and how many are murderers, it's probably a wash. This is cultural sensitivity taken to its logical conclusion.

As things stand, there are only three countries that are serious about the "war on terror": America, Britain and Australia. And, even within that shrunken rump of the West, there are fierce divisions: Australia's sissy press makes The Toronto Star look like, well, the National Post; it's doubtful whether Tony Blair speaks for more than 30% of his parliamentary party; and President Bush's resoluteness doesn't extend to his Secretary of State or even, during Ramadan, to himself. The longer this already too long period of phony war continues, the more likely it is that even these stalwarts will decay and Canadianize. I worry about the thin line on which our civilization depends. This last year has been too quiet. Next Ramadan, when the traditional calls for a bombing pause are issued, let's hope there's some bombing to pause.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: marksteynlist
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1 posted on 11/22/2002 11:58:45 AM PST by Gritty
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To: Gritty
These people bombs, gas, and otherwise kill their own and Jews during Ramadan. Every time I hear the word, it's like listening to Stainman opening his mouth.
2 posted on 11/22/2002 12:02:25 PM PST by Cobra64
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To: Gritty; Pokey78
Steyn bump!
3 posted on 11/22/2002 12:06:30 PM PST by Notforprophet
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To: Cobra64
"Peace" during Ramadan is only supposed to extend to the themselves except when they feel like it.

I don't recall any World Muslim call for "peace" during Christmas or Easter this past year, and those were only two days, not an entire month!

The sooner we stop fighting this "war" in a PC fashion, the sooner we will start winning it and not just using it as an excuse for yet another feckless and deadly Diversity Campaign!

4 posted on 11/22/2002 12:12:54 PM PST by Gritty
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To: Gritty
If they want to abstain from violence on all religious holidays not just Muslim but also Christian, Jewish and Hindu. Including not firing at our planes in the no-fly zone, I'm sure that we would be more than happy to do the same. And since they have the bigger history of attacking others on religious holidays they should abstain first.

But if they want to continue in their ways, then I hope they get a blast out of Ramadan.
5 posted on 11/22/2002 12:13:09 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: Gritty
Yet another Steyn slash straight across the jugular. The man literally never misses his mark.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

6 posted on 11/22/2002 1:11:46 PM PST by fporretto
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To: Notforprophet; Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; ...
Thanks NFP!


7 posted on 11/22/2002 1:12:20 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Thanks, Pokey-ol'-pal!

"Ramadan-a-ding-dong": Line-o'-the'Day!!!

8 posted on 11/22/2002 1:22:31 PM PST by Airborne Longhorn
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To: Gritty
Steyn bump
9 posted on 11/22/2002 1:23:12 PM PST by Lyford
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To: Gritty
The longer this already too long period of phony war continues, the more likely it is that even these stalwarts will decay and Canadianize.

I live in New Jersey. We canadianized about twenty years ago.

10 posted on 11/22/2002 1:30:14 PM PST by dead
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To: Gritty
We have to change the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims, too many of whom are at best indifferent to great evil.

Hey, we have a system for that - worked in 'Nam. "Give me your hearts and minds or we'll burn your %#$@ing huts down!"

11 posted on 11/22/2002 1:35:06 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Gritty
Great column. Somehow i don't think the WH gets to read these.

But, a nit, this is the statement that i disagree with -

>>As things stand, there are only three countries that are serious about the "war on terror": America, Britain and Australia.

I think he needs to add Israel, Russia and India even the Phillipines, and hopefully, Turkey.
12 posted on 11/22/2002 1:35:45 PM PST by swarthyguy
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To: Pokey78
and President Bush's resoluteness doesn't extend to his Secretary of State or even, during Ramadan, to himself.

Uh oh, some folks on your ping list won't like that one. Steyn has just become a Bush basher! lol

13 posted on 11/22/2002 1:37:32 PM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: Pokey78
Thanks Poke - Steyn bump.
14 posted on 11/22/2002 1:42:17 PM PST by LisaFab
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To: Gritty
Canada's more "moderate" approach is that as long
as they kill just a few Canadians -- say, hold it under
three figures annually -- we can, so to speak, live with them.

Fair enough, but it's not just Canada.  How many people
does OJ Simpson have to kill before it is murder?
More than two.  Or how many Branch Davidians
does the Justice Department have to kill before it
is mass murder?

15 posted on 11/22/2002 1:43:23 PM PST by gcruse
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To: Notforprophet
This guy gets a bump who doesn't even know "it's not just him" !?! Ramadan is a week earlier every year and therefore is celebrated in every season during the course of a lifetime.
16 posted on 11/22/2002 1:44:04 PM PST by wishuponastarr
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To: Gritty
Steyn is impatient, but he's simply wrong. Bush is not stopping for Ramadan. We're not in position yet.
17 posted on 11/22/2002 1:46:47 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Sir Gawain
Sometimes Steyn can't help himself.

He predicted that we would have already liberated Iraq by Labor day; which was crazy if only because of the heat. But when LDay rolled around and no Saddam scalp, he was pissed.

He didn't like the way Bush was running the elections, and he said so. But a week of so ago, he did a mea culpa.

There was the Sorry, Mr President, you've lost a fan column about the steel tariffs. Hey, I disagree about the tariffs, but I don't go off the deep end about it like Steyn did.

Steyn is the best at what he does, IMO. But after reading every column he has written in the past 3 or so years, I've come to this comclusion: Mark Steyn is very short tempered. He wants everything done now.

As we all know, W is very patient. He will let things play out in their natural course. And Steyn has a hard problem comprehending that.

18 posted on 11/22/2002 1:48:36 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Gritty
Bump
19 posted on 11/22/2002 1:54:00 PM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: swarthyguy
>>As things stand, there are only three countries that are serious about the "war on terror": America, Britain and Australia.

I think he needs to add Israel, Russia and India even the Phillipines, and hopefully, Turkey.

How many of the countries you listed are truly serious about a global war on terror? It seems that they're really (justifiably) interested in the bad guys in their own back yards. They talk the rhetoric of global war, but IMO that's for American consumption (so we won't get in the way of them dealing with their 'local' problems).

20 posted on 11/22/2002 2:09:14 PM PST by Constitutionalist Conservative
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative
ANd the question asked by others, is how is the US truly serious about the socalled waronsometerror if it won't confront it's friends, the saudis and the pakistanis?

21 posted on 11/22/2002 2:15:55 PM PST by swarthyguy
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping Pokey....

Stop the bombing for Ramadam-a-ding-dong? This religious, holy month didn't stop a homicide bomber from killing eleven Israelis yesterday.....

Like Mr Steyn I am impatient. We have had over a year to line things up on Iraq - let's roll!
22 posted on 11/22/2002 2:16:09 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Gritty
BTTT!

If not bomb now, when?

If not bomb Saddam, who?

Who cares if the Islamafascists will be upset, they hate us anyway...even when we feed and clothe them.
23 posted on 11/22/2002 2:35:13 PM PST by hattend
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To: wishuponastarr
I guess I'm not following you. Ramadan has been around the end of the year (Nov. - Dec.) for as long as I can remember. I don't recall it ever falling in June.

And Mark Steyn always gets a bump from me.

24 posted on 11/22/2002 2:37:24 PM PST by Notforprophet
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To: swarthyguy
ANd the question asked by others, is how is the US truly serious about the socalled waronsometerror if it won't confront it's friends, the saudis and the pakistanis?

The best I can hope for - Bush says "nice doggy", while reaching for a stick. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

25 posted on 11/22/2002 3:04:45 PM PST by secretagent
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To: Notforprophet

Ramandan is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar.... The calendar is based upon a lunar month and 12 lunar months make a year (354 days). Thus the Muslim calendar is 11 days shorter than the calendar (Julian) we observe. So in 34 years it will cycle through all the seasons back to it's original starting point.

26 posted on 11/22/2002 3:17:18 PM PST by deport
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To: Gritty
So now they're deliberately making the United States more Islamic. Lovely.

It's all a part of Bush's superior strategery, no doubt.
27 posted on 11/22/2002 3:23:47 PM PST by A.J.Armitage
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To: wishuponastarr; deport
deport - thanks for the clarification.

I still don't see how it bares on the article. Why shouldn't Steyn get a bump just because Ramadan floats around the Julian calendar?

28 posted on 11/22/2002 3:26:11 PM PST by Notforprophet
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To: scholar; Bullish
Ping
29 posted on 11/22/2002 4:16:14 PM PST by knighthawk
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To: Gritty
And, given that several Hezbollah execs seem to be running around Gaza with Canadian passports, in terms of how many Canucks are murdered and how many are murderers, it's probably a wash.

Steyn is like a skilled surgeoan--there is always a clean, direct cut that can be found in the midst of all his beautiful prose.

30 posted on 11/22/2002 5:14:09 PM PST by foreshadowed at waco
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To: Pokey78
I very much admire what President Bush has accomplished in the area of strengthening his position both domestically and internationally. Still, this is all taking a very long time. I worry that our time to defeat the terrorists is not unlimited. During the civil war, General McClellan was constantly telling President Lincoln that he needed more time to prepare. Lincoln finally reminded the general that the time he is taking to prepare is very likely being just as well used by the enemy.
31 posted on 11/22/2002 6:17:12 PM PST by WarrenC
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To: Cobra64
These people bombs, gas, and otherwise kill their own and Jews during Ramadan.

These little bastards also brutally attacked Israel on the highest of the Holy Days -- Yom Kippur -- hence, the Yom Kippur War.

32 posted on 11/22/2002 10:00:53 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Steyn bump!
33 posted on 11/23/2002 1:31:03 AM PST by lainde
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To: Gritty
Hows about HAMAS calls a bombing pause during Ramadan, it being such a holy, important month and all.
34 posted on 11/23/2002 1:44:58 AM PST by xm177e2
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To: Pokey78
Styne does want it now, a characteristic of our current society. It took 70 years to bring down Communism. We will be at this war for a long time too. First there is containment, and that started with the Taliban and will continue with Iraq (and the Phil, Russia, Israel...) Iran will shift soon.

When you consider how far we have come since GB took over, it is a bit breathtaking. He has rallied the nation in spite of overwhelming negative press and a dem controlled Senate. He has shifted the political landscape profoundly when it is normally impossible to do so.

And if you really want to see how far we have come, picture Gore as President.
35 posted on 11/23/2002 3:21:02 AM PST by KeyWest
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To: Pokey78
Steyn bump !!
36 posted on 11/23/2002 5:56:53 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: Pokey78
Yes, but every day we wait is a day closer Saddam gets to making the Bomb.

Sometimes impatience is a virtue.

37 posted on 11/23/2002 6:49:32 AM PST by The Iguana
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To: Gritty; monkeyshine; ipaq2000; Lent; veronica; Sabramerican; beowolf; Nachum; BenF; angelo; ...
Indeed, the evidence from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bali and North London suggests that it's now the ideology of choice for the world's troublemakers, as Communism once was.


38 posted on 11/23/2002 6:55:07 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Pokey78; dennisw
BTTT.
39 posted on 11/23/2002 7:01:40 AM PST by veronica
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To: Gritty
There has been the traditional annual call for a "bombing pause" during Ramadan


Ok, nothing but missiles, rockets, artillery.
But no bombs!
40 posted on 11/23/2002 7:17:54 AM PST by Valin
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To: WarrenC
"Still, this is all taking a very long time. "

If Clintoon had not reduced our military so much we would not be having to rent merchant ships to move supplies. I think Clintoon sunk more ships than Hitler.

41 posted on 11/23/2002 7:30:40 AM PST by American in Israel
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To: dennisw
Love the picture, yes kiddies you too can be a bomb and have the blessing of God on your life...
42 posted on 11/23/2002 7:32:34 AM PST by American in Israel
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To: American in Israel
It's a real fun photo of Captain Hook Mullah Al-Hamza of the Finsbury Park mosque.
43 posted on 11/23/2002 8:36:06 AM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw; American in Israel; Sabramerican; Jeremiah Jr; Simcha7; Yehuda

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

44 posted on 11/23/2002 8:55:39 AM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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To: Gritty
Great article.

Think about how long and how much we've talked about, and the press has billions of gallons of ink on, the supposed war on Iraq. Last spring, the "imminent" war on Iraq was the reason why we placated and appeased Arafat after the bloody strings of [now forgotten] bombings. Remember the Powell mission?

Since then, the "imminent" war on Iraq has been the stated reason for every action which compromises with Palestinian terror or other so-called "friendly" states in the Islamic world -- from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to Kuwait to Jordan.

At this point all I can say is: What war on Iraq??? We're less likely to attack now or in the forseeable future than we were a year ago.

The war that is the explanation for everything is the war that never happens. It's weird.

Somehow, I have to think that it's more of a go-along-to-get-along philosophy and a fear over shaking the economy that is driving events, not any supposed war on Iraq.

45 posted on 11/23/2002 9:18:46 AM PST by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: Gritty
'"Our nation is waging a war on a radical network of terrorists, not on a religion and not on a civilization."

Not true.'

Correct, NOT TRUE. The Muslims rioting in Nigeria, over some silly joke about "What would Mohamed do?" are not terrorists. The people who are sentencing women to death by stoning in Nigeria are not terrorists, they're THE GOVERNMENT! The royals of Saudi Arabia, who won't permit any other religion than Islam to be practiced in their countries aren't terrorists, their OUR ALLIES!

We most certainly ARE in a struggle with a civilization, an uncivilized civilization to be sure, but NOT with just a bunch of rogue terrorists. Radical muslims have been killing Christians and other "infidels" around the world for years, with impunity. If we will not fight this battle for what it is, we will lose.
46 posted on 11/23/2002 9:33:11 AM PST by jocon307
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To: Thinkin' Gal
What's the sound of one hook clapping?
47 posted on 11/23/2002 9:37:53 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Scott from the Left Coast
What war on Iraq??? We're less likely to attack now or in the forseeable future than we were a year ago.

I'm not so sure about that.

I think the delay has more to do with our limited resources and the requirement to get all the pieces on the chessboard before making the final assault on the King.

IMHO, one of the major reasons is the production and availability of the smallpox vaccine. When it's ready, we can launch. Otherwise, Saddam has the capability of a "Checkmate" by using his stocks of this and taking the world down with him. If the civilized West were hit with this, the result would be worse for the more civilized countries. It would be the great world civilization-leveler. America, Europe and Japan would be destroyed economically and organizationally as well as physically. Saddam would win by default, even if he were dead.

I have seen reports his troops have already been vaccinated for the disease. Ours haven't, yet, but will be by year-end, supposedly. I think that is the final piece to watch be put in place before we move on his castle.

48 posted on 11/23/2002 10:06:06 AM PST by Gritty
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To: Gritty
you can be equivocal about bin Laden and an apologist for suicide bombers, and still get a photo-op with Dubya; you can be a member of a regime whose state TV stations and government-owned newspapers call for Muslims to kill all Jews and Christians, and you'll still get to kick your shoes off with George and Laura at the Crawford ranch.

It is this aspect which arouses in me the most anger. George W. is breaking bread with the enemy, while they actively plan our extermination. If he does not change course now, he will be forever damned by history.

49 posted on 11/23/2002 10:06:52 AM PST by montag813
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To: Gritty
We already took a bombing pause - for one day last year - during which time Osama Bin Laden fled Afghanistan.
50 posted on 11/23/2002 10:41:34 AM PST by my_pointy_head_is_sharp
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