Cella's Review
Politics, Culture, the Public Square

“. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, September 29, 2005  

This remarkable Los Angeles Times article gives the reader a sense of the haphazard process that gave us that unspeakable usurpation Roe v. Wade. A most revealing report — and depressing.

posted by Paul Cella | 2:15 PM |

Thursday, September 22, 2005  

I have long been disdainful of the fashionable argument that formulates the problem of Islam almost exclusively in the terms of modern Western radicalism: the “Islamofascism” argument, in the shorthand of the day. This not so much because I doubt that Western radicalism has had an impact on the Mohammedan religion — Western radicalism has been so potent and demonic a force that is it difficult to imagine anything untouched by its hideous strength — but because I think it ultimately obscures more than it illuminates. It obscures difficult history by interposing a more familiar ideological narrative. Most perilously it prevents a full appreciation of the antiquity and permanence of jihad in the Islamic mind and civilization. Since the religion was founded, a fierce insistence on not merely the obligation, but also the piety of conquest has distinguished it. War is justly provoked not, as the Western tradition has always in principle maintained, by aggression, or, as the Western tradition has usually practiced, by interest, but by unbelief. To reject the revelation of Mohammed is to make oneself the just object of war, subjugation and even death.

Nevertheless, Western political radicalism has indeed added its own feverish energy to this incendiary doctrine. David G. Dalin’s essay, “Hitler’s Mufti,” in the last number of First Things, is a fine example.

It is possible to trace modern Islamic anti-Semitism back along a number of different historical and intellectual threads, but, no matter which one you choose, they all seem to pass, at one point or another, through the hands of one figure—Hitler’s mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the viciously anti-Semitic grand mufti of Jerusalem and the leader of Muslim fundamentalists in Palestine, who resided in Berlin as a welcome guest of the Nazis throughout the years of the Holocaust. [. . .]

Then, in the early 1930s, al-Husseini began to make overtures to the new Nazi government of Germany. The alliance between Adolf Hitler and the Muslim fundamentalist world was initiated and forged by the grand mufti at the very beginning of the new Nazi regime. In late March 1933, al-Husseini contacted the German consul general in Jerusalem and requested German help in eliminating Jewish settlements in Palestine—offering, in exchange, a pan-Islamic jihad in alliance with Germany against Jews around the world. It was not until 1938, in the aftermath of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s infamous capitulation to Hitler at Munich, that Hajj Amin al-Husseini’s overtures to Nazi Germany were officially reciprocated, but by then the influence of Nazi ideology had already grown significantly throughout the Arab Middle East.

We are not talking here about admiration from afar, a kind of sick intellectual crush. No — far worse than that:

There is also evidence the mufti advised and assisted his German hosts in the destruction of European Jewry. His importance “must not be disregarded,” insisted Adolf Eichmann’s deputy Dieter Wisliceny in 1941. “The Mufti had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he was maintaining contact, above all to Hitler, Ribbentrop, and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry.” At the Nuremberg Trials, Wisliceny was even more explicit: “The mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chamber of Auschwitz.” On this visit to Auschwitz, al-Husseini reportedly “admonished the guards running the gas chambers to work more diligently.”

In 1943 al-Husseini traveled several times to Bosnia, where he helped recruit a Bosnian Muslim S.S. company, the notorious “Hanjar troopers,” who slaughtered 90 percent of Bosnia’s Jews and burned “countless Serbian churches and villages.” Throughout World War II, al-Husseini preached regularly on radio broadcasts to the Middle East. On November 2, 1943, less than three weeks after the initial Nazi roundup of Roman Jews and the beginning of the Nazi occupation of the Italian capital, he used German radio to broadcast one of his most virulently anti-Semitic messages: “The overwhelming egoism which lies in the character of Jews, their unworthy belief that they are God’s chosen nation and their assertion that all was created for them and that other people are animals” makes them “incapable of being trusted. They cannot mix with any other nation but live as parasites among the nations, suck out their blood, embezzle their property, corrupt their morals.” “Kill the Jews wherever you find them,” the Mufti told his growing Arab radio audience in 1944. “This pleases God, history, and religion.”

We learn also that al-Husseini was a much beloved hero among the early leadership of the PLO, including the late Yasser Arafat, who described him as recently as 2002 as “our hero al-Husseini.”

Such viciousness — an import of the darkest dreams of Western nihilism into the heart of the Islamic world — should not go unnoticed as we endeavor to look hard upon our enemies and see them for what they are; but neither should we allow it, in its familiarity, to blind us to the older strains of strife and ruin inherent in Islam proper.

posted by Paul Cella | 9:05 AM |

Wednesday, September 21, 2005  

The intrepid Jeff Culbreath delivers a rousing defense of traditionalism. Well said, friend.

posted by Paul Cella | 12:24 PM |

Tuesday, September 20, 2005  

The subsequent reporting on the conditions in the New Orleans convention center after the hurricane has demonstrated that it was worse than we thought. The New York Times reported:

While those entering the Superdome had been searched for weapons, there was no time to take similar precautions at the convention center, which took in a volatile mix of poor residents, well-to-do hotel guests and hospital workers and patients. Gunfire became so routine that large SWAT teams had to storm the place nearly every night.

Capt. [Jeffrey] Winn [of the SWAT team] said armed groups of 15 to 25 men terrorized the others, stealing cash and jewelry. He said policemen patrolling the center told him that a number of women had been dragged off by groups of men and gang-raped — and that murders were occurring.

“We had a situation where the lambs were trapped with the lions,” Mr. Compass said. “And we essentially had to become the lion tamers.”

Capt. Winn said the armed groups even sealed the police out of two of the center’s six halls, forcing the SWAT team to retake the territory.

The Washington Post, in an equally heartbreaking story of the predatory depravity inflicted on so many innocents by the brutes of the city, reveals that “250 armed troops from the Louisiana National Guard”

were never deployed to restore order and eventually withdrew, despite the pleas of the convention center’s management. Louisiana Guard commanders said their units’ mission was not to secure the facility, and soldiers on the scene feared inciting further bloodshed if they had intervened.

“We didn’t want another Kent State,” said Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, commander of the active-duty military forces responding to Katrina. “They weren’t trained for crowd control.”

No doubt the general speaks truly when he admits this; but let us have no illusions about what is admitted. The invocation of the ghosts of Kent State here is evidence of a mental subjection to the narratives of political correctness — one such narrative being the one that lectures us about all the horrors of allowing the National Guard to quell revolts of the people, even when the “people” consists of thousands of exhausted, demoralized, vulnerable citizens and a handful of delinquents and madmen.

And that, friends, countrymen, is the truth about America; we will let each other die for political correctness. We all run in fear of offending these strange gods we have erected. Thousands of refugees from a savage hurricane and flood — many of them frail, weak, or small — are subjected to unrelenting brutality at the hands of intoxicated thugs right next door to 250 armed National Guardsmen, and the guardsmen do nothing, because their commanders fear that quelling the anarchy might not look good under media scrutiny. It might become inspiration for a bad song.

It is difficult to pass judgment on leaders operating under conditions such as those which we now know prevailed in the NOLA convention center; difficult not least because the penetration of this sickness — political correctness — into our collective psyche is so deep. One is even tempted to follow the haunting analysis of James Burnham, who argued that this ideology (he called it liberalism), is merely the epiphenomenon, so to speak, of our spiritual enervation. We no longer have the will or courage to act with dispatch and confidence, to do what is right and not count the potential cost, so we must explain to ourselves why that is. Liberalism, in Burnham’s view, is the body of ideas constructed and arranged, oftentimes in an implicit manner, to reconcile us to our own decline as a civilization, to make palatable the “terrible, soul-shattering loses, defeats and withdrawals,” to narcotize our affliction, to make death mild when it comes.

The ideology of modern liberalism must be understood as itself one of the expressions of the Western contraction and decline; a kind of epiphenomenon or haze accompanying the march of history; a swan song, a spiritual solace of the same order as the murmuring of a mother to a child who is gravely ill.

Burnham’s book was called Suicide of the West, and what better word is there for a nation that will let its most vulnerable die rather than cross the taboos of a dying ideology?

posted by Paul Cella | 9:55 AM |

Friday, September 16, 2005  

This is good news:

WASHINGTON — Planners of a Sept. 11 memorial in rural Pennsylvania plan to alter its crescent-shaped design after critics said it could be seen as a tribute to the hijackers.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and others had called on the Interior Department to reject an advisory commission’s preferred design, titled Crescent of Embrace, saying its arc of maple trees resembled the lunar crescent used as a symbol of Islam.

Of course, the article is unfortunately tinctured with the predictable prejudice that the critics here can only be the darkest of philistines. One is tempted to reply that there is probably some aesthetic sophistication lacking in the spectacle of accomplished architects insensible of the iconography of a red crescent.

But the architect’s statement concerning the matter is tolerably sensible: “It’s a disappointment there is a misinterpretation and a simplistic distortion of this, but if that is a public concern, then that is something we will look to resolve in a way that keeps the essential qualities.” A grudging concession, yes, but at least a concession to the solid fact that a memorial to war dead is not the exclusive province of fashionable architects, or even (contrary to the assumption of many observers) of the families of those who perished. Rather it is the province of all of us — all of us who, being infidels, are on the precepts jihad deserving only of servitude and death.

posted by Paul Cella | 11:55 AM |

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  

The peoples of Europe have been further subjugated by the EU bureaucracy:

BRUSSELS has been given the power to compel British courts to fine or imprison people for breaking EU laws, even if the Government and Parliament are opposed.

An unprecedented ruling yesterday by the supreme court in Europe gives Brussels the power to introduce harmonised criminal law across the EU, creating for the first time a body of European criminal law that all member states must adopt. The judgment by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg was bitterly fought by 11 EU governments, including Britain, and marks a dramatic transfer of power from national capitals to Brussels.

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, delivered a comment of almost comical absurdity: “This is a watershed decision. It paves the way for more democratic and more efficient lawmaking at EU level.” [my emphasis]

The ruling means that the Commission can propose an EU crime that, if passed by the European Parliament and a qualified majority of member states, must be adopted by all member states. This means that Britain could be forced to introduce a crime into its law if enough other members support it. It also gives the Commission the power to compel members to enforce EU criminal law if governments drag their heels or if their courts refuse to sentence people.

In short the ruling demolishes British democracy — and Italian democracy, and Polish democracy, etc., etc. — and subjects all Europeans whose governments have joined the EU to the whims of that splendid bureaucracy. The officialdom of Brussels has expanded its mastership over all of Europe.

Some, including the Blair Government in Britain, are downplaying the whole dirty business, insisting that the ruling “has implications only for areas where the EU has extensive competence — such as with internal market or environment laws — and not for standard criminal offences, such as burglary or murder.” But what but a brassbound utopianism could possibly argue against the expectation that once a national liberty is surrendered, its scope — now in the hands of the supranational elite — will broaden inexorably? Does anyone doubt that the European Court of Justice, having achieved this usurpation, will now sit quietly, satiated?

posted by Paul Cella | 9:27 AM |

Monday, September 12, 2005  

The proposed memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, has been revealed, and it is, I’m afraid, simply contemptible. The “Crescent of Embrace” they are calling it; and do not think for a moment, dear reader, that the crescent shape is a mere accident.

The first Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the memorial did not even deign to mention the significance of the shape — a fine example of that studied ignorance of the immediately observable, which is the trademark of political correctness.

What an extraordinary comment on the sickness of our civilization this miserable episode is. The men and women of Flight 93 were our first citizen-soldiers in a war long declared and prosecuted by the enemy, but only on that day finally (if inadequately) acknowledged by us. “Let’s roll,” one of them said before they moved against the hijackers. But the memorial’s exhortation is closer to, “Let’s roll over.” It is a monument to surrender: it speaks of weakness when it should convey defiance.

We want to honor the memories of men and women murdered in the name of a religion; so we propose to erect a memorial conspicuous mostly for its resemblance to the haunting shape that has stood for centuries as the symbol of that religion. And when outraged observers call attention to the most conspicuous feature, the reaction from the promoters of this ugly little perfidy is one of indignation. One report concludes with these words of censure against those distraught by the symbolism: “To take this small-minded, bigoted view is disgusting and repellent.”

Good patriotic men may disagree about when is the time for openness to Islam.* But surely this memorial is no place to announce openness. Surely we can agree that openness to an implacable enemy is suicide. Surely we can agree that a war memorial (for that is what this must be) may be many things, but it may not be a capitulation to the enemy.

Four Muslims died on September 11, 2001 on that field in Pennsylvania. They died believing that by massacring innocents they would attain paradise. They died believing that their god commanded them to massacre and subjugate the unbeliever, and that by crashing that plane (preferably into a high-level target) they would strike a great blow in a holy cause. They died believing these things because they were Muslims.

There is no place for Islamic symbolism in this memorial.


* My own answer would be “only after Islam publicly renounces -- in no uncertain terms -- some of its central doctrines, beginning with the doctrine of jihad.”

posted by Paul Cella | 11:08 AM |

Monday, September 05, 2005  

Let us never forget the courage of the New Orleans police officers who stayed behind to protect a city in chaos. We have heard reports that as many as a third of the police force disserted. We have heard that others joined the looting, thereby contributing to the very anarchy they were struggling against. We have heard many things said against them; we have not heard enough of their brave perseverance in the face of terrifying conditions.

We need to hear more stories like that of Sgt. Joel Silve, as reported by one of CNN's war correspondents brought into a great American city. Sgt. Silve and four other officers protected a desperate landing area on the campus of the Univ. of New Orleans and facilitated, in the teeth of conditions almost unspeakable, the evacuation of some 3,000 people.

We felt like we was a warzone. We were in a couple of fights there. We trying to maintain calm. I mean, people were losing their minds. The biggest problem we had though — and I will say we tried to get out the older folks, then the women and children. Our biggest problem was the men. The men wanted to get out before the women. There are a lot of coward men out there. And that was our problem. We had men running to the chopper. We had to drag them off the choppers.

His comrade, Detective Patrolman Jimmy Ward:

We told them we would still be on the ground when the last person left. We gave them our word on that. We made sure we saw everybody leave on the second to last helicopter. We gave them our word and we kept that.

His voicing breaking, Sgt. Silve concludes: “I got those people out, and that's all I wanted. And we did it. Those babies — I can still see them in my mind. And those old folks.”

The final shot of the CNN piece was the officers leaving in the chopper. Hardened New Orleans cops, weeping in relief and exhaustion. Like a scene out of Black Hawk Down.

posted by Paul Cella | 12:14 PM |
Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com
Site Feed
Published Work
Links & Sources
Worthy Blogs
Longer Essays