Don't hurry home, Cynthia:

According to Best of the Web, there's a wee conference going on in Berlin. The Keynote speaker is Georgia's own Cynthia McKinney:
The several hundred people who were present believe the American government is to blame for the attack on the World Trade Center, which it either carried out itself, or else allowed others to carry out, in order to have an excuse to invade Iraq and establish world domination. . . .

One speaker described at length how the airliners had been controlled by propeller-driven aircraft that appeared in the sky near them. A British student from East Anglia University, who had started to find out about these conspiracy theories on the Internet and had helped to put up posters for the conference, said in tones in which one might describe a religious conversion, "This stuff is the truth, the real world." Nobody found my suggestion that the Americans were taken by surprise on 9/11 the slightest bit convincing.
Well, the web site has this to say about their keynote speaker:
Among the first to pose questions about what the U.S. government may have known in advance of 9/11, and when, was the Hon. Cynthia McKinney, congresswoman from the 6th District of Georgia for ten years (1992 to 2002). For raising that and other issues, she was vilified, attacked, and finally driven out of office by a flood of Republican money from outside her district.
That's not quite how I remember it. What I remember was that there was a large crossover of Republican voters inside her district. In Georgia, voters can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, regardless of their party affiliation. Republicans in her district, so outraged by her attacks on the President just after 9/11, forwent the chance to select their own party's statewide and national candidates in order to vote against McKinney in the primary. McKinney didn't even survive to the general election, having been replaced in the primary by (now the Honorable) Denise Majette.

Not that Cynthia took it lying down. No, indeed. She staged a heavy counterattack against the "J-E-W-S," to quote her father. Her campaign swerved into inveighing heavily against Israel on the grounds that it was Zionist money trying to drive her out of office. A mysterious last minute phone campaign began calling voters across the district to warn them (falsely) that voting in the Democratic primary if you were a Republican was a felony, and that the police would be watching.

It didn't take: McKinney lost in a landslide. Now she's in Berlin, badmouthing her country and lending such prestige as she has to the cause of those who claim that the US slew its own citizens and servicemen as part of a plan to take over the world--a remarkable claim, given how visibly lacking these latter-day Moriartys were with plans for the takeover of Iraq.

Don't hurry home, Cyn. Georgia doesn't miss you.

Where are our foes?

Pro-Qaeda website Jihad Unspun has an answer: they're on videotape.
Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahari have released a brand new video tape on the eve of the anniversary of 911 which appears to be specifically timed to coincide with the memorial date.
But there is an interesting twist, Reuters reports:
A leading French terrorism expert cautioned Thursday against taking the latest Osama bin Laden video at face value, saying it was largely an edited collection of old footage and sound tracks that have already been aired. . . . Roland Jacquard, head of the Paris-based International Observatory on Terrorism, told French radio that the tape was above all a show of defiance on the eve of the September 11 anniversary by al Qaeda number two al-Zawahri.

"We have to be extremely prudent about this message," Jacquard told Europe 1 radio.

"Given that Osama bin Laden has not appeared on a video cassette for many months it's pretty incomprehensible that in the only video cassette where he appears beside Ayman al-Zawahri he doesn't speak, he just allows the latter to speak.

"The voice of bin Laden we hear in the background, thanking the World Trade Center plane hijackers, is exactly the same message that was broadcast in a video cassette by Al Jazeera on 26 December 2001," he said.

Al-Zawahri's message was also old and had been broadcast by Dubai's Al Arabiya network on August 3, Jacquard said.

September 12:

So where are our foemen? September 11 has passed and gone. Do you think they would not have struck us if they could? IF THEY COULD, AT ALL? But where are they, and their promised force of arms? Where are they?

Even in Iraq, they could muster no more than a wound. This is a lesson we learned long ago. Hiding in secret, they could lash out against our strong places and great towers: but when the President spoke to a joint session of Congress, not a month later; when all the powerful and the great men of our country were gathered in one place, where then were their jet planes, their power, their force? Where?

We have nothing to fear, and victory but to seek. We will scour the world of our foes. I defy them, and so should you. Defy them in their teeth. Dare them to seek you out, and see what comes when free men stand to fight.

September 11:

I am going to have only one post today. This is a poem I wrote two years ago today, when I could no longer stand to watch the replayed news on television. I shut off the thing, and went out into the forest, down to the creek that ran through the woods. I crossed it halfway onto an island, and sat among the stones and wrote this. It may be one of the oldest 9/11 poems, as I wrote it around three in the afternoon on the very day. It draws, of course, on Tennyson, but it is not blank verse. Rather, it is in the old alliterative style of the Beowulf.
Enid & Geraint

Once strong, from solid
Camelot he came
Glory with him, Geraint,
Whose sword tamed the wild.
Fabled the fortune he won,
Fame, and a wife.

The beasts he battled
With horn and lance;
Stood farms where fens lay.
When bandits returned
To old beast-holds
Geraint gave them the same.

And then long peace,
Purchased by the manful blade.
Light delights filled it,
Tournaments softened, tempered
By ladies; in peace lingers
the dream of safety.

They dreamed together. Darkness
Gathered on the old wood,
Wild things troubled the edges,
Then crept closer.
The whispers of weakness
Are echoed with evil.

At last even Enid
Whose eyes are as dusk
Looked on her Lord
And weighed him wanting.
Her gaze gored him:
He dressed in red-rust mail.

And put her on palfrey
To ride before or beside
And they went to the wilds,
Which were no longer
So far. Ill-used,
His sword hung beside.

By the long wood, where
Once he laid pastures,
The knight halted, horsed,
Gazing on the grim trees.
He opened his helm
Beholding a bandit realm.

Enid cried at the charge
Of a criminal clad in mail!
The Lord turned his horse,
Set his untended shield:
There lacked time, there
Lacked thought for more.

Villanous lance licked the
Ancient shield. It split,
Broke, that badge of the knight!
The spearhead searched
Old, rust-red mail.
Geraint awoke.

Master and black mount
Rediscovered their rich love,
And armor, though old
Though red with thick rust,
Broke the felon blade.
The spear to-brast, shattered.

And now Enid sees
In Geraint's cold eyes
What shivers her to the spine.
And now his hand
Draws the ill-used sword:
Ill-used, but well-forged.

And the shock from the spear-break
Rang from bandit-towers
Rattled the wood, and the world!
Men dwelt there in wonder.
Who had heard that tone?
They did not remember that sound.

His best spear broken
On old, rusted mail,
The felon sought his forest.
Enid's dusk eyes sense
The strength of old steel:
Geraint grips his reins.

And he winds his old horn,
And he spurs his proud horse,
And the wood to his wrath trembles.
And every bird
From the wild forest flies,
But the Ravens.

Even the French...

...can get behind us in hating the Communists this time. The Militant of New York reports:
French capitalism kills 12,000
during heat wave,
Paris blames �mother nature�
My. At this rate--assuming the Communists will quit killing people entirely--Capitalism could catch up to Communism in only slightly more than eight thousand years. (That is roughly one hundred million divided by twelve thousand, or 8,333 years and four months).

I've been invited to join the crew at FreeSpeech, which I've agreed to do. Most of my blogging will continue here, but now and then I'll run something by there if it seems to be on the topics interesting to their readership. Keep an eye out.
A Modest Proposal:

From the Gweilo diaries. Sounds about right to me--if you can be sure. OK, pretty sure.
Not for my Lady readers:

This must be one of those neo-Confederate things I've been reading about.
Rumsfeld Today:

Today the SECDEF said some things widely being considered an outrage:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Monday opposition to the U.S. President was encouraging Washington's enemies and hindering his 'war against terrorism'. . . .

He said if Washington's enemies believed Bush might waver or his opponents prevail, that could increase support for their activities.

"They take heart in that and that leads to more money going into these activities or that leads to more recruits or that leads to more encouragement or that leads to more staying power," he told reporters traveling with him on his plane.

"Obviously that does make our task more difficult."

There are exactly two things to be said about this:

1) He is, of course, correct on the facts. Public opposition to the war does hearten the enemy. Those who merely disagree on how the war should be fought do not, but those who believe we should really be seeking peace and avoiding war, withdrawing from the fights we are in and refusing to be drawn into more, are in fact advocating the US position that al Qaeda most desires. To the degree that these critics are loud or appear likely to succeed, the war becomes more difficult and, consequently, more dangerous to the warfighter.

2) That's just too bad. In a free society, we accept these costs. The costs are real: an emboldened al Qaeda may engage in attacks it would have avoided otherwise, and may thereby kill soldiers and Marines who might else have lived. Their lives are paid willingly, though, precisely to maintain the freedoms that--in this case--endanger them.

There are other parts of a free society that make it hard to fight war, too. Perhaps the two most prominent are: first, the fact that a large section of Federal authority is invested in the Congress, which is empty of understanding and given to political grandstanding even in a time of war; and, second, that the Executive changes every four or eight years, so that we are not able to maintain a consistent foreign policy in the long term. Thus, our allies can't depend on us to act in a predictable manner, and our enemies can hope to hold out until the next election, when policies may change and key figures be replaced.

All the same, it is this system of freedom that we are fighting for. It is precisely this, in fact, that the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines exist to defend. Mr. Rumsfeld would probably understand that in a week when he hadn't just flown from Washington to Iraq to Afghanistan and now back to Washington. We'll read jet-lag into his comments, and let them pass for now with this mild chastisement.


A young lady I know said to me today, in response to my mentioning a piece in the National Review, "Well, they are liars. It's hard to deal with people who lie." I was a bit too shocked to give a proper reply.

Really, the Highland Southern upbringing is incompatible with (but superior to) that which is offered in the rest of the country. I guess it's not a big deal to call someone a liar these days, even if what you mean is that you find their argument so removed from reality that you don't care even to begin addressing it. I had a bit different training.

I remember when I was sixteen, and my father decided to buy a car for us to use to drive to Atlanta, where he worked and I went to school. The salesman wanted to sell us a mid-sized car at a modest price, but we decided that, as it would be only the two of us, we wanted a compact instead. Oddly, that caused the price to go up. When we asked why, he made some noise about how supply and demand was making the deluxe model cost less than the stripped-down, smaller body.

Dad asked me what I thought. I said something like, "If that's the going rate, we should pay it. Just please," here addressing the salesman, "tell down on the counter a few bills of sale that show where anyone has paid that price. If you can produce three or four of them, I'd say we were getting a fair deal." The salesman sputtered, my father made some noises that sounded apologetic, and we withdrew.

Once we came into the car to ride home, I found that my father was furious at me. "You all but called that man a liar," he said. "I would not have blamed him if he'd climbed over that counter and beaten you to death. In fact, if he had, I wouldn't have stopped him."

"But he was lying," I protested.

"It doesn't matter," Dad said, and nothing else. I didn't quite understand his wrath at the time. I do now.

"[P]erhaps the worst thing one could do to challenge someone else was to accuse him of being a liar," notes an article on the Code Duello. To call a man a liar, to one of the Old Code, is to dare him to kill you if he can, and to swear that you will slay him if he dares to try. If the Old Code has faded in the light of the modern world, it hasn't faded much in the South. My father was looking at a sixteen year old kid trying to challenge a man to fight or die to prove his honor, and he was both embarrassed at my cheek and outraged at my audacity.

A kid can't fight a duel. He has no standing to offer the insult. As a man would be a bully to accept a fight with a child, for that child to call a man a liar is cowardly. It is to attack from a position of perfect security, humiliating a man who can't reply. For a girl to do it is the same.

I am born to the Old Code, and--as this story shows--I was raised in it. I don't call men liars unless I am ready to fight them, and I won't accept it from others. Is that unsophisticated? It is certainly outside the modern, common tradition. I cannot help but look down on those who resort to deadly insults with neither the intent nor the ability to back them up. Such is the old way.

Heroes & Volunteers:

I'm still snarling about Robinson's comment, and I am not given over to wrath as a general thing. Go here, Mr. Robinson. Discuss that, if you're inclined.

Really, this is too much. Robinson is even a good Scottish name, usually from the Clan Gunn, but sometimes from my own Clan! Where has the spirit of the Poet Chief fled? At least some things are constant:

Sinclair makes it clear that the young poet chief had been 'virtuous' until he went to France, where "the aristocracy of France were then notoriously profligate and corrupt in their morals". Some naughty poems from this period caused a certain stir when his valet ultimately published them after Struan's death, and various Victorians went to great lengths to dispute them or attribute them to the influence of the evil companions. Perhaps part of this recipe was Struan's belief that only under the influence of strong drink could a poet produce his finest images.

Wise was the bard who sang the sacred use
Of the delicious grape's immortal juice,
And found no water-drinker o'er could say
He shaped a verse that could survive a day...
Steyn gets it right again:

Speaking to the subject of Bill Clinton's new version of "Peter and the Wolf," in which the wolf is set free with a friendly apology:
A significant chunk of the American people think the Democratic candidates feel the same way about the war on terror as Bill Clinton does about Peter's wolf and the New York Times does about Jessie's shark. And they reckon they know how that usually winds up. A couple of years back, a cougar killed a dog near the home of Frances Frost in Canmore, Alberta. Frost, an ''environmentalist dancer'' with impeccable pro-cougar credentials, objected strenuously to suggestions that the predator be tracked and put down. A month later, she was killed in broad daylight by a cougar who'd been methodically stalking her.

''I can't believe it happened,'' wailed a fellow environmentalist. But why not? Cougars prey on species they're not afraid of.
Poetry in the Corner:

Asks Peter Robinson, "But how does one insist that poetry remains, even at this late date, a fit topic for discussion, without seeming a trifle...sniffy?"

By Thunder, man! One recites:

Seven spears, and the seventh
Was wrought as the faerie blades,
And given to Elf the minstrel
By the monstrous water-maids;

By them that dwell where luridly
Lost waters of the Rhine
Move among the roots of nations
Being sunken for a sign.

Under all graves they murmur,
They murmur and rebel
Down to the buried kingdoms creep,
And like a lost rain roar and weep
O'er the red heavens of hell.

Thrice drowned was Elf the minstrel
And washed as dead on sand
And the third time men found him
The spear was in his hand.

Seven spears went about Eldred,
Like stays about a mast;
But there was sorrow by the sea
For the driving of the last.

Six spears thrust upon Eldred
Were splintered while he laughed;
One spear thrust into Eldred
Three feet of blade and shaft.

And from the great heart grievously
Came forth the shaft and blade
And he stood with the face of a dead man,
Stood a little, and swayed--

Then fell, as falls a battle-tower,
On smashed and struggling spears,
Cast down from some unconquered town
That, rushing earthward, carries down
Loads of live men of all renown--
Archers and engineers.

And a great clamour of Christian men
Went up in agony,
Crying, "Fallen is the tower of Wessex
That stood beside the sea."

Center and right the Wessex guard
Grew pale for doubt and fear,
And the flank failed at the advance,
For the death-light on the wizard lance--
The star of the evil spear.

"Stand like an oak," cried Marcus,
"Stand like a Roman wall!
Eldred the Good is fallen--
Are you too good to fall?

"When we were wan and bloodless
He gave you ale enow;
The pirates deal with him as dung,
God! are you bloodless now?"

"Grip, Wulf and Gorlias, grip the ash!
Slaves, and I make you free!
Stamp, Hildred hard on English land,
Stand Gurth, stand Gorlias, Gawen stand!
Hold, Halfgar, with the other hand,
Halmer, hold up the knee!

"The lamps are dying in your homes,
The fruits upon your bough;
Even now your old thatch smoulders, Gurth,
Now is the judgment of the earth,
Now is the death-grip, now!"

For thunder of the Captain,
Not less the Wessex line,
Leaned back and reeled a space to rear
As Elf charged with the Rhine maids' spear,
And roaring like the Rhine. . . .

The Wessex crescent backwards
Crushed, as with bloody spear
Went Elf roaring and routing,
And Mark against Elf yet shouting,
Shocked, in his mid-career.

Right on the Roman shield and sword
Did spear of the Rhine maids run;
But the shield shifted never,
The sword rang down to sever,
The great Rhine sang for ever,
And the songs of Elf were done.

Thus G. K. Chesterton, from The Ballad of the White Horse. If there is a man born to the English tongue who can hear that thunder, today or any day, and not tremble to his bones--he is no man at all.
Still More New Links:

I'd like to announce the addition of three new links: Blaster's Blog, an explosives-oriented fellow, and two blogs who have linked to me: Free Speech, and Tobacco Road Fogey. Welcome to the roll.

This links thing is an ongoing project. I'm still planning to add a section on sites about history and mythology. I'll let you know when it's ready.


The Boston Globe has a piece today on the danger of a resurgent Taliban. You, dear readers, knew of the danger on the 8th of August, and on Friday, you knew it was a particularly brilliant trap, a point which will perhaps elude the Boston Globe's readers for a month or so yet. Isn't it nice to be ahead of the curve?

In reference to yesterday's post, here's an article on a new phase of Israel/Morocco cooperation:
The al-Qaeda terror bombings in Casablanca last May jolted Moroccan
officials and forced them to revisit Morocco's limited diplomatic agenda.
Morocco recognized the need to improve security measures and cooperation with other countries in combating terror. It was reported that the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency visited Morocco as part of the bombing investigation.
Now, Israel and Morocco have gotten along pretty well in the past, all things considered. Still yet, the Mossad is hated and feared across the region. To invite them for consultations on your security under those circumstances is no small step.
Another new link:

Kim du Toit, to the right and down, under "Other Halls." It's good to see a fellow rifleman around--sorry it took so long to notice.
Freeing Iraqi Generals:

I've been asked to mention that Chief Wiggles wants your prayers for the freeing of the Iraqi generals who ordered their troops to stand down during the Iraq war. They're still held POW by the Coalition. The Chief feels they deserve better, and maybe they do. Go read his blog, and decide for yourself.

If you do decide to act, you might want to know the following, which the Chief doesn't seem to have online. Donald Rumsfeld can be contacted here:

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Your prayers, of course, should be addressed as usual.
The Post gets it wrong:

Here is an update on al Qaeda's war, focused on Iraq. The Post is being a little defeatist about the whole thing. If al Qaeda thinks that Iraq is the perfect place to fight us, they're screwing up in a big way.

AQ can't really hurt the US in Iraq. They can kill some of our soldiers in ambushes and suicide bombings, but probably not as many as they think. Meanwhile, our economic interests in Iraq are minimal--really, the cost of rebuilding and, to a far lesser degree, the market price of oil are the only things they can manipulate. When AQ was fighting an economic war against us, targeting air traffic, airports, and so forth, they had a real chance of beating the US--particularly if they got nuclear/radiological weapons. It appears they've been drawn into a military conflict, and they're not going to win one of those with us.

Meanwhile, the Post misstates two critical points, and leaves out a third. The first is that the bombing in Saudi Arabia didn't just cause a crackdown--it brought into the open a war that's been going on there for more than a year. Those gunbattles they mention are frequent. Saudi security services are no longer feeling like they need to keep things in the shadows, as the people of Arabia were outraged by the bombings there. Meanwhile, the Saudi government is forcing clerics inside Arabia to adopt a new, less militant line, or else.

The point the Post leaves out is that the exact same thing has happened in Morocco. After Casablanca, the media of the country turned anti-terrorist. They are wrapped up in the prosecution and punishment of those involved, and in hunting out their networks both in Morocco and abroad. This has been a source of humiliation for the UK, as London has often been a hub of such groups.

Every time AQ sets off a bomb inside a Muslim country, they poison their own wells. And that gets to the second point that the Post misstates: the Caliphate.

Yes, the Arabs are annoyed with us for occupying the historic seat of the Caliphate. However, not every Muslim is actually interested in the Caliphate. It is particularly the Shi'ites who are concerned with the Caliphate. How many Shi'ites love al Qaeda? Few to start with, since Wahabbis don't consider them real Muslims, nor even one of the protected "children of the book" faiths, but polytheists who should be killed (the reason is that the Wahabbis believe that equating the word of the Caliph with that of Allah is essentially to create a second god). That number has shrunk further since al Qaeda set off a car bomb near the Shrine of Ali. Those foreign fighters that the Post makes so much of are now looking at a reincarnated Badr Brigade which, however much it may be irritated at the Coalition, will delight in killing "Arab foreigners." One more 'victory' like Najaf, and the Badr Brigades will probably just start shooting them on sight.

We've got a rough patch ahead in Iraq, to be sure. The US isn't going to be badly hurt by it, though, as we don't really have anything at stake there. The worst we can do is fail, which would mean some humiliation, additional creeping of that evil thing called International Law, and the deaths of a lot of good men. That's bad--but our society, our economic infrastructure, the largest part of our military might would not be damaged.

Al Qaeda, by constrast, is now committing heavily to trying to fight a military conflict for which it is unsuited; while carrying out bombings that are poisoning its wells; while choosing ground on which to fight where the populace hates them with a passion, is increasingly well armed, and lusting for vengence.