Originally posted on TIME:
When Chérif and Saïd Kouachi attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, killing 12 people, they were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and could easily outgun the police officers who tried to apprehend them with pistols. Their associate, Amedy Coulibaly, had an even greater collection of military-grade weapons.
The size of the trio’s armory has prompted an urgent inquiry into the scale of gun smuggling in Europe, where weapons are smuggled into the European Union from the countries of former Yugoslavia, Albania and elsewhere and then moved without any further border checks to where they will get the best price. Most of the smuggling is carried out by criminal gangs but many jihadis such as Coulibaly are well connected with criminal networks.
Despite the Paris attacks, it seems the weapons are still flowing freely through Europe. Brian Donald, chief of staff for Europol, which coordinates cross-border actions…
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Omar bin Yahya bin Ibrahim al-Barkati was tried and convicted of incest, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“He was executed as punishment for his crime and as a lesson to others,” the ministry said, adding that authorities carried out the sentence in southwestern Asir region.
In a separate case, Yassir bin Hussein al-Hamza was executed in northwestern Jawf region after his trial and confession for smuggling amphetamine pills, the ministry said.
A third convict, Latif Khan Nurzada, a Pakistani, was executed for trafficking heroin into the kingdom. He was executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the ministry said in another statement. Read the rest of this entry »
Hezbollah Claims Responsibility for Artillery Fire; Israeli Forces Retaliate With Attacks in Lebanon
JERUSALEM— Nicholas Casey And Joshua Mitnick reporting: Israel was hit by two artillery attacks along its northern border Wednesday, its military said, and Israeli forces retaliated with attacks in Lebanon.
“To all those who are trying to challenge us on the northern border I suggest to look at what happened…in the Gaza Strip.”
– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would respond sharply to Wednesday’s rocket and mortar attack, the second in two days on the country’s northern borders. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite political and militant group that controls southern Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the artillery fire.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israeli forces “reserved the right” to resume military operations in Lebanon if attacks continued. She said Israeli casualties were being tallied, but gave no further details.
Lebanon’s state news agency reported Israeli artillery attacks on several southern Lebanese villages. It also said a member of the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon had been killed.
Israeli police were for the second consecutive day evacuating residents and tourists from border areas. At checkpoints, police were directing vehicles to move south, out of the range of artillery fire. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Dr. K: ‘Now what we’re getting is not a resurgence of ant-Semitism so much as a return to the European norm’Posted: January 27, 2015
“There’s been an interruption in European history; there’s been a constant anti-Semitism for 2,000 years ending and culminating in the Holocaust, and as a result it was impolite in polite society to be anti-Semitic.”
On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer, marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, said that Europe will eventually be empty of Jews, thanks to rising anti-Semitism that is merely a return to normal.
“This 70 years is an anomaly in European history and now what we’re getting is not a resurgence of ant-Semitism so much as a return to the European norm.”
The threat to the future of the Jewish people does not come from Europe, Krauthammer continued, but from enemies in the Middle East…(more)
FORBIDDEN WORDS: Internal Emails Show Al Jazeera English Banning Use of Terms ‘Terrorist,’ ‘Militant,’ ‘Islamist’Posted: January 27, 2015
Brendan Bordelon reports: Shortly after news broke of a deadly January 27 attack by Islamic terrorists on a hotel in Libya’s capital, Al Jazeera English executive Carlos van Meek shot out an email to his employees.
“All: We manage our words carefully around here,” the network’s head of output wrote to staff at the Doha-based news channel’s New York and Washington, D.C. newsrooms. “So I’d like to bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up.”
In an email obtained by National Review Online, van Meek warned the network’s journalists against the use of terms including “terrorist,” “militant,” “Islamist” and “jihad.”
From: Carlos Van Meek
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 10:06 AM
To: AJE-Newsdesk; AJE-Output; AJE-DC-Newsroom
Subject: Terrorists, Militants, Fighters and then some…
All: We manage our words carefully around here. So I’d like to bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up. This is straight out of our Style Guide. All media outlets have one of those. So do we. If you’d like to amend, change, tweak.. pls write to Dan Hawaleshka direct who is compiling the updates to the Style Guide and they will be considered based on merit. No mass replies to this email, pls.
EXTREMIST – Do not use. Avoid characterizing people. Often their actions do the work for the viewer. Could write ‘violent group’ if we’re reporting on Boko Haram agreeing to negotiate with the government. In other words, reporting on a violent group that’s in the news for a non-violent reason.
TERRORISM/TERRORISTS – One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. We will not use these terms unless attributed to a source/person.
ISLAMIST –Do not use. We will continue to describe groups and individuals, by talking about their previous actions and current aims to give viewers the context they require, rather than use a simplistic label.
NOTE: Naturally many of our guests will use the word Islamist in the course of their answers. It is absolutely fine to include these answers in our output. There is no blanket ban on the word. Read the rest of this entry »
The jihadist group in Nigeria killed 11,245 people last year. Now their rampage seems ready to escalate in 2015
Emad Mostaque writes: The new year began with terror attacks in Paris inspired or orchestrated by al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and ISIS and then reports of up to 2,000 residents killed by Boko Haram in a days-long massacre in Baga, Nigeria. While Paris has grabbed the majority of media attention, the events in Baga may prove to be the most significant as Boko Haram expands in northeastern Nigeria. This weekend the group captured the town of Monguno and its military barracks while simultaneously attacking the state capital, Maiduguri.
“While Paris has grabbed the majority of media attention, the events in Baga may prove to be the most significant as Boko Haram expands in northeastern Nigeria.”
A key goal of all terrorists is to provoke outsize reactions by committing heinous deeds. This is particularly true of jihadists, whose main feature is the takfir they impose on the majority of other Muslims—declaring them not to be “true” believers and thus outside of their group and liable for death. High-profile attacks aim to polarize societies and create animus against mainstream Muslims, creating more potential recruits for the radical Islamists.
A key goal of all terrorists is to provoke outsize reactions by committing heinous deeds. This is particularly true of jihadists, whose main feature is the takfir they impose on the majority of other Muslims—declaring them not to be ‘true’ believers and thus outside of their group and liable for death.”
ISIS has intensified its bloodletting over the last year, using social media to amplify its mass beheadings and other fearsome deeds—and thus the group’s power and threat—in line with the recommendations outlined in jihad theoretician Abu Bakr Naji ’s 2006 text “The Management of Savagery.” However, ISIS has reached the limits of unopposed and easy expansion in Iraq as it now faces well-armed forces in non-Sunni areas, bolstered by coalition airstrikes. ISIS gains in Syria continue, but the group appears more contained, having failed to take Kobani from its Kurdish defenders. Read the rest of this entry »
By 1957 the effects of radioactivity on the soldiers and the surrounding population led the government to begin testing bombs underground, and by 1962, all atmospheric testing had ceased
Forcefully marking the continued importance of the West in the development of nuclear weaponry, the government detonates the first of a series of nuclear bombs at its new Nevada test site.
Although much of the West had long lagged behind the rest of the nation in technological and industrial development, the massive World War II project to build the first atomic bomb single-handedly pushed the region into the 20th century. Code named the Manhattan Project, this ambitious research and development program pumped millions of dollars of federal funds into new western research centers like the bomb building lab at Los Alamos, New Mexicoand the fissionable material production center at Hanford, Washington. Ironically, the very conditions that had once impeded western technological development became benefits: lots of wide-open unpopulated federal land where dangerous experiments could be conducted in secret.
After the war ended, the West continued to be the ideal region for Cold War-era nuclear experimentation for the same reasons. In December 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission designated a large swath of unpopulated desert land 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas as the Nevada Proving Ground for atmospheric atomic testing. On January 27, 1951, the government detonated its first atomic device on the site, resulting in a tremendous explosion, the flash from which was seen as far away as San Francisco.
The government continued to conduct atmospheric tests for six more years at the Nevada site. They studied the effects on humans by stationing ground troops as close as 2,500 yards from ground zero and moving them even closer shortly after the detonation. Read the rest of this entry »
Will Ripley reports that a new ISIS video has surfaced and includes a threat to kill Japanese hostage Kenji Goto and a Jordanian pilot in the next 24 hours
Denmark Earmarked $9.2 Million Over the Next Three Years for Programs to De-Radicalize Islamic Extremists
The European Union’s anti-terror chief called Tuesday for countries to rehabilitate rather than punish returning jihadis with no blood on their hands, saying that some prisons have become “incubators of radicalization.”
“If we can avoid prison, let’s avoid prison.”
EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove said in an interview with The Associated Press that “if we can avoid prison, let’s avoid prison.”
And even if true criminals among the returnees need to be punished with jail time, “I don’t advise to bring them all to court because it would be a mistake,” De Kerchove said.
Since the Jan. 7-9 Paris attacks that killed 20 people, including the three gunmen, dozens of people have been charged in France with defending terrorism. Several were almost immediately convicted under special measures for immediate sentencing. Inciting terrorism can bring a five-year prison term — or up to seven years for inciting terrorism online.
“We know how much jails are major incubators of radicalization. Much better, provided they accept to do that, they undertake major rehabilitation.”
France recently expanded prison terms for terrorism-related offenses, but the country was still caught off-guard when a member of a jihadi network worked in tandem with his brother and a former jailhouse acquaintance during three days of attacks in the Paris region.
“Many countries rely on repression but punitive methods are a recipe to create resentment toward the society.”
– Gilles de Kerchove
“These people got radicalized in prison,” De Kerchove said.
And for those who are convicted, he suggests jails be designed “in a way that they are not in contact with petty criminals” and instead can meet with moderate imams. Belgium is already working on such plans.
A major challenge facing the authorities is to collect evidence against foreign fighters traveling to conflict-torn Syria that would stand up in European courts. Read the rest of this entry »
Hating evil is just as important as loving the good. Because if you don’t, you’re likely to give evil a pass
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes: American Sniper is a film of soaring patriotism and an ode to our courageous military. For too long Americans have lived with only two percent of the population losing arms and legs and dying so that the other ninety-eight percent can be safe and free. If we’re not going to copy the heroes of the military at least we can salute them. But the prerequisite of gratitude is knowledge and so few of us really know how much our military sacrifices that it’s hard to feel indebted. That’s what makes American Sniper a movie that portrays Hollywood at its best, telling the story of a valiant and selfless soldier with complexity, truth, and depth.
“What American Sniper is really about is the battle by decent men against truly dark forces of wickedness. The American soldiers who battle the terrorists in Iraq do not hide their contempt for the killers. They hate them, despise them, loathe them, and want to kill them.”
So why are so many people on the left attacking the film? What is their issue with a hero like Chris Kyle, who dedicated his life to saving Americans from murder and was himself killed when he tried to help a psychologically damaged marine?
“The most accurate standard in judging our commitment to humanity is the extent to which we fight to preserve life. For some that fight involves research in a lab to defeat cancer. For others it involves climbing a ladder in a terrible inferno to rescue a stranded child. And for some it involves going to war against barbarous terrorists so that they cannot blow up pregnant women.”
The answer lies in our failure to hate evil. What American Sniper is really about is the battle by decent men against truly dark forces of wickedness. The American soldiers who battle the terrorists in Iraq do not hide their contempt for the killers.
“Churchill spoke openly of his utter hatred of Hitler…And because he hated the beast he inspired a nation to fight him. The French, who did not hate Hitler, collaborated with him and sent Jews and many others to the gas chambers instead. But on the political left, hatred has gone out of vogue.”
They hate them, despise them, loathe them, and want to kill them. Not because they have any bloodlust and not because they enjoy violence. Rather, they are committed to life and are well aware of the fact that the only way to prevent the murderers from slaughtering the innocent is through the necessary evil of conflict.
“Hating evil is just as important as loving the good. To be truly righteous, it’s not enough to love good people. You have to hate—and fight—bad people.”
From time immemorial theologians have debated what makes a person truly righteous. How do we know when someone’s faith is sincere? Some say it is evidenced by a love of humanity. But I have met legions of confirmed atheists who are the finest human beings alive.
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Others argue that it is martyrdom and a readiness to lay down one’s life for a great cause. But suicide bombers blow themselves up in the name of their faith all the time. Still others argue that goodness is judged by religious ritual observance. But we all know religious people who are devout church and synagogue-goers but who are utterly unethical in other spheres.
Which brings me to this conclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Gertz reports: Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands.
“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”
– Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center
Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. The island is off the coast of Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus, a group of resource-rich islets China calls the Diaoyu Islands.
The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.
Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.
“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”
The military buildup on Nanji was first disclosed by Japan’s Kyodo News Service last month. Kyodo, quoting Chinese sources, said a landing strip was being built.
However, the satellite photos, reported last week by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, a trade publication, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. The helicopter pads are an indication that China plans to use the base for transporting troops and forces by helicopter and not for longer-range air transports or fighter jets.
China has been engaged in a tense confrontation with Japan over the Senkakus since 2012, when Tokyo, in a bid to clarify the status of the uninhabited islands, purchased three of the islands from private owners in a bid to prevent Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from buying them.
Since then, Chinese ships and warplanes, as well as unmanned surveillance drones, have been flying close to the islands, prompting numerous Japanese maritime and aerial intercepts.
Jane’s reported the helicopter base construction is new. The construction is not visible in photos taken earlier than October 2013.
Wind turbines also are visible additions to the island that are located on a ridge on the southeast part of the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible.
China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji. Read the rest of this entry »
Gunmen stormed a luxury Libyan hotel popular with foreigners Tuesday, killing at least three guards and taking hostages, a security official said.
Essam Al-Naas, a spokesman for a Tripoli security agency, said a standoff continued Tuesday afternoon at the Corinthia Hotel, which sits along the Mediterranean Sea.
A hotel staffer said five masked attackers wearing bulletproof vests stormed the hotel after security at the gates tried to stop them. He said they entered the hotel and fired randomly at the staff in the lobby.
The staffer said the gunmen fired in his direction when he opened his door to look out. He said he joined the rest of the staff and foreign guests fleeing out the hotel’s back doors into the parking lot.
When they got there, he said a car bomb exploded in the parking lot, only a hundred meters (yards) away. He said this came after a protection force entered the lobby and opened fire on the attackers. He said two guards were immediately killed. The staffer spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution…(read more)
Car Bomb Explodes Outside Luxury Hotel in Libya’s Tripoli
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan security official says a car bomb exploded outside a luxurious hotel in the capital Tripoli.
The official says the bomb exploded outside the Corinthia hotel early Tuesday morning, rocking Tripoli’s old city.
The official provided no further information. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. Read the rest of this entry »
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) January 26, 2015
Iranian News Website Published Detailed Plan to Kill Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Sons, in Retaliation to IAF AttackPosted: January 26, 2015
Iranian news website published detailed plan to kill Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sons, in retaliation to IAF attack. pic.twitter.com/uusOs4nBkD
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) January 25, 2015
Rorke Denver: ‘Liberals’ Criticism of My SEAL Teammate Chris Kyle Has Had the Ironic Effect of Honoring Him’Posted: January 26, 2015
The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.
“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”
The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.
My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.
“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.
“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “
I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »
Alessandria Masi reports: Kurdish forces in Kobani reportedly chased the Islamic State group militants from the Syrian city on Monday. This is an immediate win for the Kurds, both strategically and symbolically, but it doesn’t signal a complete ISIS defeat, nor does it signal the end of the Kurdish battle against militants — in Kobani and elsewhere.
The Islamic State militants “are still in the Kobani area, just outside of the city,” said Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum. “So the fight is hardly over if the YPG [the Kurdish People’s Protection Units] wants to regain the autonomous canton [province] it once had. The YPG is the immediate winner but things still look very bleak for Kobani. The town is destroyed.”
“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate. This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”
– Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium
Nearly four months long, the battle for Kobani (sometimes spelled Kobane) has been a huge focal point in the anti-ISIS campaign. Around 80 percent of the U.S-led coalition airstrikes since September have been in or around Kobani. Iraqi Kurdish forces and some Free Syrian Army brigades banded together to help Syrian Kurds push back militants. While this now appears to have been a successful campaign, ISIS is still present in Kurdish territory and isn’t likely to halt its efforts to consolidate territory in northern Syria.
“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate,” Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, recently told International Business Times. “This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) January 25, 2015
ISIS fighters still control 350 towns and villages surrounding the city, where they can retreat and regroup.
“Soon the YPG will start clearing the villages,” said Kurdish analyst Mutlu Civiroglu. “They are technically under ISIS control but not really.”
“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs. Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”
However, Kurds are facing another threat just miles away in Hasakah, the last city in the Kurdish area of northern Syria with a significant regime presence, and a major energy and agricultural hub. In the last month, the YPG have had to battle the Syrian regime’s National Defense Forces, made up of local Arab tribesmen and Iranian reinforcements.
“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs,” Civiroglu said. “Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”
This month, ISIS has been quietly redeploying fighters to Hasakah, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Hasakah is just hours away from Iraq’s Ninawa province, making it a strategic launching point to attack Sinjar, where ISIS killed thousands of Yazidis this summer, and engage the already thinly stretched Iraqi peshmerga (Kurdish) forces in another battle. Read the rest of this entry »
Laure Mandeville: Even For the French, it is Almost Surreal to See How the White House Avoids Using the Phrase ‘Radical Islam’Posted: January 26, 2015
Mrs. Mandeville is the U.S. bureau chief for the French newspaper Le Figaro.
Laure Mandeville writes: In French, we have an expression: “Call a cat a cat.” Appeler un chat un chat. That is exactly what French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did after the horrific terrorist attacks that hit my country on Jan. 7, when he identified “radical Islam” as our enemy. In France, most rallied to this clear acknowledgment of the threat we are dealing with, because it is simply impossible to deny.
“There is something nearly Orwellian in this refusal to call things by their names. If we say that the terrorists are not radical Islamists, we might as well say that truth is lie, that right is wrong, that black is white.”
– Flemming Rose, foreign editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten
That is why it has sounded almost surreal when the Obama administration and many observers in the U.S., despite their heartening support for the French, go to great lengths to insist that the terrorist attack had nothing to do with Islam.
“President Obama does us a disservice, because doing so deprives the Muslim community of its responsibility to fight this radical monster. By doing that, the West fails to understand that the Muslims will be the most crucial soldiers to fight this Islamic terrorism.”
– Muslim democrat Naser Khader, a former member of the Danish Parliament
The intention is good: President Obama doesn’t want to mix Islamist terrorists and the wider community of Muslims around the world. He is trying to appeal to Muslims, to prevent them from feeling ostracized. More than ever, the world needs Muslims who wish to live in harmony with non-Muslims.
But ask Flemming Rose how the Obama approach sounds to someone who knows too well the Islamist threat. Mr. Rose, now the foreign editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, was its cultural editor in 2005 when he had an idea for a series of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad. Their publication sparked deadly protests in several countries and has made him a marked man. “There is something nearly Orwellian in this refusal to call things by their names,” Mr. Rose tells me. “If we say that the terrorists are not radical Islamists, we might as well say that truth is lie, that right is wrong, that black is white.”
To put a fig leaf over the threat doesn’t make the problem go away, and doesn’t help us understand that the radical Islamist attacks are precisely about the House of Islam and who can speak for it.
“This is a battle about who is going to define Islam: the radical Islamists, who try to convince the world that someone can be assassinated if he dares draw a mocking cartoon representing the Prophet, or who ridicules fanatics of all sorts; or the democratically inclined Muslims who accept that religion cannot be an encompassing whole that dictates all the rules of everyday life in the earthly realm.”
– Joshua Mitchell, a professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University
By denying that this is about Islam, “President Obama does us a disservice, because doing so deprives the Muslim community of its responsibility to fight this radical monster,” says Muslim democrat Naser Khader, a former member of the Danish Parliament, now at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Read the rest of this entry »
Like many movie goers I prefer to avoiding reading detailed reviews of movies before I see them, then enjoy reading a series of them right after. With the controversy surrounding American Sniper, it’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to what’s being said and written (and we’ve covered plenty of that controversy in the last few weeks) so it made even more of a challenge to stay away from reviews until I had an opportunity to see it myself.
A few hours ago, I finally saw American Sniper. I’ve only read a few reviews so far–and I plan add some of our own commentary soon–but this New Yorker review immediately struck me, because I prejudged the source. Admittedly unfair, but I don’t see the island of Manhattan as a place to expect anything but veiled score for Clint Eastwood, dislike of war films in general, and snarling distaste for this movie in particular. I’m happy to be completely wrong. Though it’s a short capsule double-movie review, given second-billing to Selma, all due credit to New Yorker film critic David Denby, for a positive, respectful, and insightful review of American Sniper.
Denby‘s first sentence nails it:
“Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper‘ is both a devastating war movie and a devastating antiwar movie, a subdued celebration of a warrior’s skill and a sorrowful lament over his alienation and misery.”
The following comment is one of the most admiring things a critic can say about a filmmaker:
“Eastwood’s command of this material makes most directors look like beginners. As Kyle and his men ride through rubble-strewn Iraqi cities, smash down doors, and race up and down stairways, the camera records what it needs to fully dramatize a given event, and nothing more.”
And this characterization of Eastwood’s skill and talent as a director is perfectly summarized:
“There’s no waste, never a moment’s loss of concentration, definition, or speed. The general atmosphere of the cities, and the scattered life of the streets, gets packed into the action…” Read the rest of this entry »