Sunday, 10 August 2008


Ken Berwitz

Here are the statements issued by each candidate regarding Russia's invasion of Georgia.

Read them both and you decide which of the two sounds like it comes from someone competent to deal with this crisis:

John McCain's statement:

Today news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave.

The government of Georgia has called for a cease-fire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The US should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgias security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. Finally, the international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia.

Barack Obama's statement:

I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgias territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

There they are.  Who comes across as ... not "more presidential", whatever that means, but more like a President?


Ken Berwitz

Honor killings.   Coming soon to your neighborhood?

I hope not.  But they are being committed every day.  And, as you will see below, they even occur in the United States. 

We've talked about this despicably perverse act before, but Jeff Jacoby has written an excellent column about it for today's Boston Globe and I want you to see it:

'Honor' killing comes to the US

By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist / August 10, 2008

NO ONE knows just how many Muslim girls and women are murdered each year in the name of family "honor," since their deaths frequently go unreported and unpunished. The cases that do come to light are ghastly. "Women and young girls are set ablaze, strangled, shot at, clubbed, stabbed, tortured, axed, or stoned to death," a United Nations report noted in 2004. "Their bodies are found mutilated with their throat slit, or they are chopped into pieces and thrown in a ditch."

The report singled out as especially horrifying the honor killing in Pakistan of "a 16-year-old girl who was reportedly electrocuted to death after being drugged with sleeping pills and being tied to a wooden bed with iron chains." Her offense: marrying a boy from the wrong community. Countless others have lost their lives for refusing an arranged marriage, wearing Western-style clothing, having a boyfriend, or even being raped.

Recently, the Saudi human rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaidar wrote a scathing essay characterizing honor killings as a scourge peculiar to the "Greater Middle East," with its entrenched culture of misogyny and male supremacy. Her article was prompted by the lynching of 17-year-old Du'a al-Aswad, a Kurdish girl stoned to death by a mob of Iraqi men. (The essay has been translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which also provides a link to a gruesome cellphone video of the lynching.) "From Pakistan and Afghanistan through Iran, the Middle East, and all the way to Morocco," Huwaidar wrote, "this entire part of the world [is full of] defeated and dejected men, whose only way to gain some sort of victory is by beating their women to death."

In the last few months, there have been news reports of a Jordanian man murdering his daughter "to cleanse the family's honor" after she kept leaving home without permission; another Jordanian, 22 years old, who gave the same reason - "family honor" - for killing his pregnant sister; a Saudi woman beaten and shot by her father after he discovered her having an online correspondence with a man on Facebook; and two Arab brothers in Israel, who strangled their sister after learning that she was involved in a romantic relationship.

But while honor killings may be more prevalent in the Middle East, no longer are they unknown in the West.

In the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro last month, a Pakistani immigrant allegedly strangled his 25-year-old daughter with a bungee cord because she was determined to end her arranged marriage and had gotten involved with a new man. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sandeela Kanwal's father, Chaudhry Rashid, "told police he is Muslim and that extramarital affairs and divorce are against his religion [and] that's why he killed her." In court last week, a detective quoted Rashid: "God will protect me. God is watching me. I strangled my daughter."

In Upstate New York a few weeks earlier, Waheed Allah Mohammad, an immigrant from Afghanistan, was charged with attempted murder after repeatedly stabbing his 19-year-old sister. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that Mohammad was "infuriated because his younger sister was going to clubs, wearing immodest clothing, and planning to leave her family for a new life in New York City" - she was a "bad Muslim girl," he told sheriff's investigators.

On New Year's Day in Irving, Texas, the bullet-riddled bodies of the Amin sisters - Sarah, 17, and Amina, 18 - were found in an abandoned taxi. Police issued an arrest warrant for their father, an Egyptian immigrant named Yaser Abdel Said, who had reportedly threatened to kill them upon learning that they had boyfriends. According to the Dallas Morning News, Yaser Said was given to "gun-waving rants about how Western culture was corrupting the chastity of his daughters."

Islamic religious tradition does not sanction honor killing, but it has long been accepted in many Muslim societies nonetheless. Perpetrators are typically punished lightly, if at all. In 2003, Jordan's parliament overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to impose harsher penalties for honor killings; Islamists objected on the grounds that more lenient punishments would violate religious traditions and damage Jordanian society. It is appalling that such lethally barbaric attitudes persist anywhere - all the more so now that the shame of honor killing has made its way here.

This is not the year 1008, this is the year 2008.  Yet this is still being used within (some segments, not all of) the Muslim world to keep women 100% subservient, obedient and generally about as respected as a baryard animal.

I don't see any way to end it either.  Not when countless millions of Muslims are taught that it is not only acceptable, but necessary and entirely correct.

God help the women who live under this lifelong cloud of terror.


Ken Berwitz

Why do you suppose Russia, under former KGB head Vladimir Putin, decided to pick now to get serious about war with its former puppet state, Georgia?

Could anything be happening for the next two weeks that would divert attention from its actions?

As people watch the olympics, here, courtesy of excerpts from an article in, is what is happening between these two countries - and what the implications could be for us.  The bold print is mine: 

Russian Ships Steam Toward Georgia as Conflict Grows (Update1)
By Paul Abelsky and Alex Nicholson

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Russia sent warships from the Black Sea fleet toward Georgia as it stepped up its conflict with the former Soviet republic over the separatist South Ossetia region.

The ships included a vessel based in the naval port of Sevastopol and four others from Novorossiysk, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported, without saying where it got the information. Georgian Economic Development Minister Eka Sharashidze said a ship carrying grain to the Georgian port of Poti was turned away by a Russian warship, suggesting an economic blockade.

``Russia has shown itself capable of crossing every line in this conflict,'' Sharashidze said in a telephone interview late yesterday from Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

Russian jets crossed the border to attack military and civilian targets in as many as six locations simultaneously, Georgian Security Council Secretary Kakha Lomaia said. Russia's actions amounted to ``full-scale war,'' he said. Russian planes today bombed a military airfield near Tbilisi, Georgian Security Council secretary Kakha Lomaia said in a telephone interview.

``It's all going to hell,'' Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said yesterday in an interview on CNN in which he appealed for international help. ``We are willing to do cease- fire immediately providing the other side stops to shoot and to bomb.''

President George W. Bush said yesterday the fighting was a ``a dangerous escalation'' and called for an ``immediate halt to violence.'' The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory to discourage Americans from visiting the region. Russia demanded a withdrawal of Georgian troops from South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s and exists as a de facto independent state with Russian economic support.

three times yesterday, the ministry said.

Civilian Casualties

Lavrov said 1,500 civilians and 15 Russian peacekeepers have been killed, while Deputy Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn said two Russian aircraft had been shot down.

Saakashvili has signed a decree declaring a state of war, Lomaia said. At least 55 Georgians, both civilian and military, have been killed, he said.

The commander of Russian troops in South Ossetia, Lieutenant General Anatoly Khrulyov, was wounded yesterday when a column of armored vehicles moving toward Tskhinvali came under Georgian attack, state television station Vesti-24 reported, without saying how serious his condition was.

EU foreign ministers will meet early next week to discuss ways to resolve the crisis, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in an e-mailed statement from Paris yesterday.

Sarkozy proposed that a solution involve an immediate cease-fire, ``full respect'' for the territorial integrity of Georgia and a return to the situation on the ground that existed before hostilities erupted.

U.S. presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama separately spoke with President Saakashvili and called for the protection of Georgian sovereignty.

``Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border,'' McCain said in e-mailed statement yesterday.

The military escalation resulted from the ``lack of a neutral and effective peacekeeping force operating under an appropriate UN mandate,'' Obama said in an e-mailed statement, backing the deployment of international peacekeepers in Georgia's breakaway states.

South Ossetia has a population of about 70,000 and is connected to Russia's North Ossetia region by a tunnel through the Caucasus Mountains. Most residents hold Russian passports.

The conflict could endanger U.S. aspirations to secure an emerging energy corridor linking Central Asia to Europe and deals a blow to its plans for bringing the former Soviet republic into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's orbit.

Georgia is a key link in a U.S.-backed ``southern energy corridor'' that connects the Caspian Sea region with world markets, bypassing Russia. The BP Plc-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey runs about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

So, do you think the fact that oil could flow without Russia's involvement might have something to do with this?

Enjoy the olympic games.  But please, please, do not be diverted from what is happening in Georgia.  Because the effects of Russia's actions will impact you far more than the olympics, and not just once every four years.


Ken Berwitz

I'll let Ed Morrissey of, with an assist from Rush Limbaugh, tell you all about it:

Obama: America is no longer what it once was; Update: Rush reacts

posted at 11:25 am on August 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

When presidential candidates answer questions from children about why they want the job, most will give an answer that uplifts the child and the candidate.  Not Barack Obama.  At a campaign stop in Elkhart, Indiana, a seven-year-old girl asked the Democrat why he wants to be President and he told her that America has gone downhill:

America is , uh, is no longer, uh what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I dont want that future for my children.

Sound familiar? Michelle Obama sounded similar themes earlier in the campaign:

Sometimes its easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your ignorance. Thats America.

Let me tell you something. For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback.

Everyone feels that we can improve ourselves, but we dont usually cast it in terms of the country no longer being what it once was. Coming from the Obamas, that doesnt even make sense. They have talked about how difficult it was to break through barriers, not without some justification, to reach this point in their lives and American history.

Doesnt that speak to the point that we continue to grow and to learn? And if not, which good old days did Obama mean? The 1980s? I doubt it, and if he means the Clinton era, then why did he run against Hillary in the first place?

Once again, Obama got off the teleprompter and put his foot directly in his mouth. Hes not selling Hope, hes selling Despair, and himself as the snake oil that will cure us of all our ills.

Update: Maybe that seven-year-old was just another John McCain proxy.

Update II: Rush says it all in this clip:

LIMBAUGH: Alright, now heres hes brought it home. He had trashed his country in Germany, he has seen the result of that in his plummeting poll numbers. And now he does it again in Elkhart, IN. A 7 year old little girl. Youre running for President Sen. Obama, a little girl asks you a question, Why did you start running for President?

Its a 7 year old Senator. Ya tell her because you love the country. You tell her because this is the greatest place on Earth. That weve got challenges, but you want to help the country through it. You dont tell a 7 year old that her country isnt what it once was. You do not lie to 7 year olds and tell them that your country sucks. You just dont do it Senator.

Americas no longer what it could be? What it once was? How the Hell would you know Sir? Your experience has only been in one part of America. Elite, leftist academia.

No wonder Jimmy Carter supports Mr. Obama so strongly.  When it comes to assessing their country, this pair seems to be birds of a feather.

If this idea of the USA is consonant with yours, I strongly urge you to vote for Mr. Obama in November.  If it isn't, I strongly urge you not to.

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