Wednesday, October 30, 2002

More on Chechnya

Some readers question my view of the Moscow incident and the Russians' "resolution" of it. However, an uncharacteristically wise editorial from Monday's Wall Street Journal, which rarely has anything rational to say about Muslims, agrees:

Vladimir Putin may have brought an end to the Moscow hostage crisis, but he now faces the wrath that follows the death of more than 100 citizens, most of whom seem to have died at the hands of their rescuers. This "ending" is but a chapter in a wider crisis for Russia's president, one whose gravity he had tried to ignore. More than three years after he promised to "solve" the Chechnya issue, its dangers and cruelties are only multiplying. Ordinary Russians must now start asking hard questions about where Moscow's
Chechen policy is taking them.

Their first conclusion will be that they are not properly protected. Some ask why Movsar Barayev and his followers chose to embark on a suicide mission now; but the question is better put thus: Why had this not happened before? After all, Chechnya has suffered eight years of perpetual warfare and contains hundreds of men as brutalized and desperate as Barayev. Now, almost anything is possible. Russia is vast, with vulnerable targets and weak policing. As a Chechen moderate who has long called for negotiations
told me bitterly: "The Russians should thank God that they just seized a House of Culture and not a nuclear power station..."

Monday, October 28, 2002

The only practical difference between this guy, 18-year old Daniel Fears, and John Allen Williams (I won't call him by his assumed last name) is that Williams was a better shot. Both deserve execution if found guilty, of course.

Lying axe-grinders like Daniel Pipes are already trying to connect Williams, whom Farrakhan admits is a "Nation of Islam" fruitcake, to Islam itself. I'm waiting for Pipes to connect the guy in the photo here to Christianity or white people or something (and I'm focusing on Pipes as an example, but of course his way of thinking is quite widespread).

Fears' lawyer says the kid "just flipped out," but for Pipes and his ilk, a Muslim--like the Egyptian guy at the El Al counter, or even a counterfeit Muslim like Williams--are incapable of "just flipping out." Everything negative a Muslim does is proof of the evil of Islam, and everything positive a Muslim does is ignored, or, if aknowledged, dismissed as PR.

Camps for Americans to be held indefinitely without charge? Is that legal? Yes, says William J. Haynes II, the Defense Department's lawyer, because the Patriot Act authorizes the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force" (translation from legalese: "anything Bush damn well pleases") to protect the country.

So don't let anyone tell you that Osama bin Ladin and the Bush can't find some common ground: "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed," OBL predicted.

Though honestly that isn't quite the common ground I'd prefer between Muslims and the West.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Greetings. Well, I've got a new creative outlet going on-line today, a new weekly webzine called A True Word. It's a project of three people, myself, Amir Butler of Australia, and Shibli Zaman of Texas. Check it out, I hope you like it.

I'll probably be putting my more formal writing on that publication and using this more in a traditional blog sense, as informal ramblings and commentary. Ok, here goes. The New York Times says:

"Of the 117 hostages confirmed dead so far, the Moscow health committee said tonight, only one had died of gunshot wounds. The remaining 116 hostages appear to have died of gas-related injuries."

The article also points out that the Ruskies lied about the reason for the timing of the raid--that the hostage-takers hadn't actually begun executing people.

We hear about how Saddam gassed his own people. Guess he wasn't the last US ally to do that.


I went to the big anti-war rally over the weekend and stumbled on the two dozen pro-war counter-protestors. One of them was a Russian lady holding a sign that said "DESTROY CHECHNYA." I asked her why and she said because "they fight like animals, not soldiers; they kill prisoners of war."

Oh yeah? Well, here's this for those who feel the Russian army is some chivalrous band of heroes.

And executing women combatants while they're sleeping? That's OK, then?