People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Podhoretz Sums It Up For 'Amnesty'

You probably read the other day that Amnesty International released a report that compared the U.S. prison currently protecting us from al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo to a Soviet gulag. I knew it was so ridiculous that I just passed over it.

John Podhoretz however decided that it was worth commenting on. And he has, in his own inimitable way. He first makes the comparison.

Number of prisoners at Gitmo: approximately 600.

Number of prisoners in the Gulag: as many as 25 million, according to the peerless Gulag historian Anne Applebaum.

Number of camps at Gitmo: 1

Number of camps in the Gulag: At least 476, according to Applebaum.

Political purpose of Gulag: The suppression of internal dissent inside a totalitarian state.

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.

Financial purpose of Gulag: Providing totalitarian economy with millions of slave laborers.

Financial purpose of Gitmo: None.

Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union.

Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war. (

Podhoretz then turns his guns on Amnesty International.
The people who work at Amnesty International surely know something of the history of the Gulag. After all, the group was founded in part to serve as a watchdog of Communist human-rights abuse. They surely know that even though they might consider the American camp at Guantanamo Bay a terrible violation of human rights, it is a speck on a speck of a mote of dust compared to the Everest of horror that was the Soviet Gulag.

On the other hand, maybe not. Maybe the people who work at Amnesty International really do think that the imprisonment of 600 certain or suspected terrorists is tantamount to the imprisonment of 25 million slaves.

The case of Amnesty International proves that well-meaning people can make morality their life's work and still be little more than moral idiots.
I've always enjoyed reading this guy.

Roanoke Times Opposes Minority Filibuster Rights

Well, not really. The editorial page staff at the Roanoke Times has been very nurturing when it comes to the (ever-shrinking) Senate minority's right to block legislation and judicial nominees. And I'll be they'll even support in the next day or so the latest blockage, that of John Bolton's nomination to be our ambassador to the United Nations.

No. They oppose a different minority. The President and his veto power.
Minority tyranny over stem cell policy

Religious conservatives' views deserve respect, but not a veto over research that may ease human suffering and that most Americans support.

Scientists see great potential for medical advances against diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Most Americans want them to pursue that research, reasoning that the potential benefits are too great to forgo for the sake of ethical concerns about blastocysts.

The House this week voted to loosen limits on federal funding, and the Senate is almost certain to follow.

In response, Bush threatened a veto.

So much for democratic fair play. So much for reasoned debate, respect for opposing beliefs and logical consistency.

With all due respect to the minority theology, it should not be afforded veto power over the majority in a pluralistic, democratic republic. On this issue, science and consensus should determine the nation's direction. (link)
Let me make three quick points.

(1) The editorial page of the Roanoke Times has never shown respect for theology - unless it was in deference to Islam and hurting the feelings of Islamist terrorists. Routinely dismissing Christians as kooks - or worse - is not a sign of respect.

(2) Now this is important so pay attention. There is an abundance of stem cell research going on in this country and gobs of private money being devoted to it. What? How can that be when the Roanoke Times produces this editorial denouncing the effort of our government to block it? The government, lead by George W Bush, has placed limits on government funding. Not on scientific research. The Times folk are rankled because many Christians won't sanction the practice of experimenting on human embryos.

(3) The editorial page editor at the Times needs to appoint a person - perhaps the flunkey who checks spelling, grammar, and syntax - to check for consistency. The paper supports filibustering judges by a minority of the Senate but opposes the President's "veto power over the majority in a pluralistic, democratic republic."

You guys give me heartburn.

Terrorist Retracts Koran Story

You'd think that would be the headline in the New York Times this morning after the report was released that found, in part, that the terrorist who had originally made the Koran-was-flushed-down-the-toidy claim recanted his story. Here's how the New York Post puts it.

WASHINGTON — The Guantanamo detainee who told an FBI agent that U.S. personnel had flushed a Koran down a toilet retracted his allegation when questioned this month by military investigators, the Pentagon said yesterday.

But U.S. officials said they had substantiated five cases in which military guards or interrogators mishandled the Muslim holy book at the base in Cuba.

A bogus report in the May 9 Newsweek claimed U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down a toilet to try to make detainees talk.

The magazine retracted the article, which sparked rioting in the Muslim world that led to at least 17 deaths. (link)
Clearly the big news here is that the Islamist prisoner who stirred up all the trouble made the story up.

But not to the anti-American crowd at the New York Times. Here's their headline to the same story:
Inquiry by U.S. Finds 5 Cases of Koran Harm
The twisted language - "Koran Harm" - gives a hint at the debate that must have taken place before publication as to how to make the story as harmful as possible and still be accurate. What is Koran harm for God's sake? It doesn't matter and is beside the point.

The Times saw what they wanted to see. An Islamist terrorist now backs up the United States military's account of the affair but the Times' leadership will have none of it.

The New York Times will decide what is accurate and what isn't. Don't forget it.

Japanese Soldiers On Mindanao Surrender

How bizarre is this?
Japanese WWII soldiers found in Mindanao

Manila, Philippines, May. 27 (UPI) -- Two Japanese men in their 80s have surfaced in the Philippines, claiming they are soldiers and have lived in the jungle since the end of World War II.

The two contacted a Japanese national who was collecting the remains of war dead on the southern island of Mindanao, the BBC reported Friday. Officials from the Japanese Embassy were due to meet the men Friday to try to confirm their identities.

The two had apparently been living among guerrilla fighters in the mountains near General Santos City. They had equipment that supported their claim of having been in the Japanese army. (link)

Now that's dedication to the cause.