Saturday, October 28, 2006

Victory Means You Win


The Romans appear to understand the concept of victory and depict it here on the tails side of an a amazing sestertius of the emperor Trajan. This, a large brass coin that could buy a man a lunch, was the coin of the realm on the Roman homefront in the year 116 A.D. Standing over an abject personification of the land of Armenia is Trajan himself holding an upright spear and and a parazonium (short infantry sword) while the recumbent Tigris and Euphrates rivers look on impassively.

Here, Rome has defeated an enemy, and seeing it fitting to do so , announces, articulates and depicts it. And by making it money, promulgates it into the thickest parts of the daily life of the people.

I wonder how we would depict on TV an American victory over the jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is what we hope to achieve capable of being expressed this compactly? If not, then perhaps we need to re-cast our concepts of victory into something that can be compacted for a clear and effective visual depiction. We must visualize in order to actualize while remembering that the narrative of victory must be capable of being illustrated in order to demonstrate that it has occurred.

Toward a semiotics of victory

A claim to victory must be made without regard to dreams of returning threats.

TRAJAN issued 116 A.D.
Brass Sestertius 33mm, 28.4g.
His laureate and draped bust right
Trajan, in military attire, standing right holding upright spear and parazonium in sheath; river gods Tigris and Euphrates reclining on either side; Armenia, in abjection between them, her eyes to the ground.

(this coin is actually for sale on an ebay seller's site) at

...more to come.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Know the Enemy

Douglas Farah writes the following brief expostion on the central purpose of jihad and da'wa ("combat and preaching" as one Algerian cell's nom de guerre is often translated).

I am quoting the whole thing here, but you can get straight to his blog by clicking on the post title. (scroll down)

"Knowing the Enemy, Understanding the Enemy

One of the greatest weaknesses five years after 9-11 is the striking inability of the political leadership and body politic to define and reach a consensus on who the Islamist enemy is and what the enemy wants. There is a striking lack of intellectual curiosity, or perhaps fear because of concerns about political correctness, that have blocked a serious discussion of what bin Laden and al Qaeda really think, what their real targets and objectives are and how that group fits into the broader Islamist project of converting the world to an Islamic state ruled by sharia law.

Hence we have the absurd ridiculing in Newsweek magazine of President Bush’s use of the word “caliphate” in discussing the Islamist project (and the even more absurd CAIR response that talking about the caliphate is anti-Islamic). We have the inability of senior people whose job it is to study and understand the Islamist project unable to identify the two major branches of Islam, never mind how they differ and what such divisions might mean.

The caliphate, from its historical signficance to the dream of its recreation, is perhaps the best way to understand how the different currents of Islamist thought relate to each other, support each other and form a coherent whole that embraces the Muslim Brotherhood to the historic al Qaeda.

I cannot do better than my friend Walid Phares on the Counterterrorism Blog in describing the history and signficance of the term. But what is most disturbing is that this is an issue at all. The Islamist project to recreate the caliphate is not a secret plot gleaned from suspicious methods of intelligence gathering that are subject to manipulation and political usage.

Rather, it is written and rewritten, as an integral part of the Muslim Brotherhood strategy, al Qaeda, affiliated al Qaeda groups in Europe, by Islamists themselves. They provide the roadmap that they hope to follow, in official publications and in open conferences.

Not all who support the Islamist project support violence to bring it about, but support a more gradual political take over of different countries. Many, perhaps most, of the Islamist community, focus on the conditions in the Arab world and how to get rid of the corrupt, secular regimes there. But the Islamist project does specifically and clearly embrace the concept of re-establishing the caliphate at its time of greatest territorial conquest. From there, the war with the rest of the world will begin.

This is what I find so disturbing about this debate. It is intellectual laziness, not a lack of information, that has led to the paucity of understanding of what the Islamist project is.

The administration, from the beginning, has done an abysmal job of explaining this to the American people. The Democrats have not done any better in presenting an alternative view. Yet it is written out, and we quibble over using the very Islamist terms that the Islamists use to define their Islamist project. And listen when they tell us that those words make us anti-Islamic. Alice in Wonderland would feel right at home on this side of the looking glass."


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Live from the Dark Ages!

A nice bit of perspective on the nature of the battle and the context in which it is being fought.

The historian and commentator Victor Davis Hanson writes:

"Who would have thought centuries after the Enlightenment that sophisticated Europeans - in fear of radical Islamists - would be afraid to write a novel, put on an opera, draw a cartoon, film a documentary or have their pope discuss comparative theology?

The astonishing fact is not just that millions of women worldwide in 2006 are still veiled from head-to-toe, trapped in arranged marriages, subject to polygamy, honor killings and forced circumcision, or are without the right to vote or appear alone in public. What is more baffling is that in the West, liberal Europeans are often wary of protecting female citizens from the excesses of Sharia law - sometimes even fearful of asking women to unveil their faces for purposes of simple identification and official conversation.

Who these days is shocked that Israel is hated by Arab nations and threatened with annihilation by radical Iran? Instead, the surprise is that even in places like Paris or Seattle, Jews are singled out and killed for the apparent crime of being Jewish.
Since Sept. 11, the West has fought enemies who are determined to bring back the nightmarish world that we thought was long past. And there are lessons Westerners can learn from radical Islamists' ghastly efforts."

Read it all.

The Dark Ages -- Live From the Middle East!

By the way, I plan to post in the near future a few ancient Roman coins which give some insight into how ancient enemies have been defeated in the propaganda war at home in the past.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Muslims seething over 2012 Olympic Games

Little Green footballs has this item:

I don't see a problem here.

The Lunar calendar makes a complete cycle of the solar calendar every thirty-three years. 2012-(4x33)=1880. The last time it happened that Ramadan coincided with the Olympic games was--when? 1880?

The modern Olympic games began in 1896, if I'm not mistaken. Totally unprecedented, then.
Look at it this way: This is an ideal opportunity to call for a re-schedule every 132 years in honor of the Qur'an and Bedouin culture. Give the Islamic athletes the spotlight every 132 years and lets shift the traditional Olympics schedule. Turn their protest on its head so they must focus like a laser beam on the athletics. Schedule the next event in Baghdad (the 2144 Games).

Or if you think that would be a slippery slope, lets have all the athletes fast and don't shift the schedule. I think it would be very interesting to see what they make of it.

It will also be interesting to see how the average Ali Jihadi on the ground enjoys it as the Ramadan fasting regimen recesses over the next few years into the heat of summer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The War Strategies Succinctly Put

Into which side's strategy does your Democrat party candidate fit?

1. Leave Iraq now.
2. No "wiretapping" on phone calls of "American citizens".
3. Multi-cultural inclusion at any cost.
4. Opposition to Islam is the equivilent of "racism".

Read this piece by Victor Davis Hanson and you decide.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Keith Ellison: Spokesman for American Muslims?

The 5th district Minnesota congressional race is a hot one and has garnered blogospherean ink all across the political spectrum. The race for this long-time Democratic, but now open seat, pits newcomers Alan Fine (Republican endorsed), and Tammy Lee (Independence Party endorsed) against the endorsed favorite, Democrat Keith Ellison to succeed retiring Democrat Matin Sabo. Ellison, 43, raised Roman Catholic in Michigan, is a Muslim "revert" since his college days in Indiana, and a former Nation of Islam adherent. He is currently fasting his way through the campaign which happens to coincide with Ramadan in the Islamic lunar calender.

On Sunday he'll be ushered into the country club set of the Minnesota DFL by Sam and Sylvia Kaplan, impressario and impressaria of the DFL luminati at the Golden Valley Country Club (bring your checkbook).

The local inclusion crowd of progressive puritans, anti-war lefties and universal health carichondriacs can hardly wait to ram this election home, thus proving to the world they are the most diverse people on earth and will do anything to prove to George Bush just how much they hate him.

However, no one it seems, has yet to cross the mental threshold of the election itself beyond the swearing-in ceremony. It is a thought experiment worth probing in this most unique situation.

If Keith Ellison is indeed elected as 5th Minnesota district representative to the Congress of the United States he will become quite suddenly I expect, the defacto spokeman for U.S. Muslims, by virtue of being an elected representative to the U.S. government. He will join the Black Caucus. On questions of Islam, at least initially, all eyes will be on him, both nationally and internationally. Should he win, look for CNN, the BBC, the NY Times, Al Jazeera and others of the international media to come knocking at his door. One wonders what the electorate of the 5th District, which includes the city of Minneapolis, will think of this. Osama bin Laden, deep in his cave will know the name of Keith Ellison and where he lives. What will be his views on jihad? On Sergeant Hasan Akbar? What about the the honor killings of women that are sweeping the infidel lands being colonized by Muslims? Where does he stand on the imposition of Shari'a law in infidel lands, the U.S., for example? Is Islam really a nation? If so, where is it? What about the veiling controversy in the UK, in Jack Straw's District? And that's just for starters.

How will he reconcile the concepts of American liberty with the inshallah fatalism of the mosque? Will he have the inclination or strength to stand against the bullies and killers in the camp of Islam who seek to stifle free speech. Or will he censor himself and expect us to do likewise? And what if his answers thrust him into the camp of apostates? He almost certainly would not consider himself as such, but its the shahids with the butcher knives and guns who decide these matters. Is he ready for this? Are we ready for this?

I would expect to see even more Muslims flocking to Minneapolis (tens of thousands of Somalis now), and with them the attendant conflicts over Shari'a in our institutions.

If this happens I would also expect to see Islamic issues eventually begin to crowd out the other issues of Minneapolis ward politics. I think Minneapolis will be stunned.

Furthermore, after the election will Muslims of the world consider the 5th District to be Islamic land, and all that entails? It sounds quite absurd, but it would not be an infidel's choice to make.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How do we know what we know?

Gagdad bob is exploring things epistomological such as the nature of the spell we each cast over over own interior worlds. How does that spell color our perceptions or limit or psychic ken? For instance:

"Rather, science could only be grounded in liberty, not just any liberty, but within a teleological liberty aimed at disclosing transcendent truth. One must be committed to truth while, at the same time, refrain from explicitly defining that truth at the outset. One of the reasons why Polanyi was such a creative scientist was that he came to science as an outsider, and was therefore not committed to certain widely held "truths" that had stymied other scientists. One can say the same thing for his philosophy, as he approached problems in an entirely fresh way, not knowing that he was “wasting his time.” In so doing, he avoided the institutionalized errors of professional philosophers. " Liberating thoughts. See it here:

One Cosmos: Hey Hey, We're the Monkeys! Evolving and Adapting in Cyberspace

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Initial Post

Sir Henry Morgan has sussed out the data and given us graphs. See the jihad like you've never seen it before. Click on the graphics to enlarge them. I like this guy's style:

Gird your loins for battle; open your own front.