Monday, March 22, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Some Things Are Too Scary to Even Think About.

War Is Over, If You Want It...Obviously, Though, You Don't After years of effort, Israel has succeeded in killing Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas. This has, predictably, brought threats of unprecedented reprisal against Israel from Hamas. Interesting historical factoid: In the 1970s, Israel actually diverted funds to the Muslim Brotherhood splinter group that became Hamas in the naive belief that if Palestinian Muslims could focus on religion instead of the secular nationalism of Yasser Arafat, terrorism against the Israeli state would eventually cease. How'd that work out, by the way?

Hugo - Send Some More Books! Hurry! Richard Clarke, George W. Bush's former counterterrorism chief, is scathingly critical of the administration's handling of the war in a new book that will be released today. How critical? According to Clarke, when Condi Rice was briefed about the threat from Al Qaida in early 2001, she apparently had never heard of the group. Shit. The national terror color chart should be raised to orange just on the basis of that.

That's No Way to Conduct a Witch Hunt, General Remember James Yee, the Muslim army chaplain at the Guantanamo prison camp who was charged with being part of a sinister jihadi espionage network? Oh, how the Right wing bayed for the blood of Yee, saying this proved that Muslim sympathies trumped national ones, and that no one in America was save from Islamic perfidy! Well, guess what: the Army has dropped all charges against Yee except for the charge of adultery. Yes, "adultery." If convicted, Yee will still be able to return to his post in Washington State. Nice one, dudes.

Just Like the Federalist Papers Those heroes of constitutional government, the Loya Jirga (that means "Congress"!) of Afghanistan, seems to be going through one of those inevitable "bumpy" periods that accompany the birth of a new democracy. Specifically, they are massacring each other: the latest to die was the "second aviation minister" (thank God the first aviation minister is unharmed!), who was killed by an associate of the defense minister. That assassination touched off a firefight that has so far killed more than 100 people in the city of Herat. Now, before you go imposing your Western standards of legality and not shooting people on this country, think how much cooler American history would be if Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were constantly trying to assassinate each other.

Good News in Malaysia You don't see that headline every day, do you? But it's true: the voters of Malaysia have swept the radical Muslim governing party out of power in favor of a socially and economically liberal party. This calms fears that Malaysia was starting to go the way of other Muslim countries in embracing political radicalism. All together now: Long live Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi!

-Consider Arms