James Kirchick

A Bizarre Invocation
November 12, 2007

Take your pick. You can read about it on Reuters, the Associated Press, or in the New York Times in a dispatch by Isabel Kershner. Some reports say that six Palestinians were killed by Hamas fire at a Fatah-sponsored memorial for Yassir Arafat in Gaza. Others say eight. It could be more. Anyway, no less than 85 were wounded, including a Hamas policeman who was shot in the head. The dissension now is over who murdered whom?Mahmoud Abbas called it a "heinous crime." It was also another victory for his enemies.

A Vocation Of Holiness
November 12, 2007

It's not yet clear that we have begun to take seriously -- even literally -- the threats of Al Qaeda.  We should.  They are as good as their word.

The Company He Keeps
November 12, 2007

Andrew Sullivan has predictably responded to my post noting Ron Paul's accepting money from a prominent neo-Nazi by labeling it a "smear." He offers no rebuttal or rejoinder to this news (nor does he even bother to link to the original story), and it does not seem to faze him that a man claiming to believe in liberty would accept money and support from out-and-out fascists.

Ron Paul's Nazi Supporters
November 12, 2007

Daniel Siederaski of the Jewish Telegraph Agency has a story that should rile all those liberals oddly attracted to the presidential candidacy of Ron Paul: not only have neo-Nazis vocally expressed support for his campaign and form a crucial part of his online spam brigades, but one of their leaders has donated money and the Texas Republican hasn't decided yet whether to return it. Siederaski has been trying to get in touch with the Paul campaign for an explanation, but thus far, his many phone calls have gone unreturned, leading him to conclude that "Ron Paul will take money from Nazis.

Flooded By Fatwas
November 07, 2007

The fatwa department at Cairo's Al-Azhar University issues about 1,000 edicts a day, and Al-Alzhar is certainly not the only source of these religious rulings.  In fact, as Daniel Williams reports in Bloomberg News, there is an explosion of decrees and an explosion of sources which issue them.  There is, then, fatwa chaos from Indonesia to Morocco.  There are judgements that order Muslims not to watch television, ban sculpture, dictate female circumcision, and one recently that commands "women who meet alone with men ought...breastfeed them to create a 'maternal' bond that precludes having sex

The British Terror Threat
November 07, 2007

I know some of you think that the notion of an Al Qaeda threat to the West is a hokey fantasy of the Bushies.  Maybe you'll believe the head of MI5, the British Security Service, when he asserts that there are at least 4,000 people involved in terrorism-related activities in Britain.  The report of Jonathan Evans' remarks to the Society of Editors was reported in Tuesday's Washington Post by Kevin Sullivan.The Post quotes Evans: "Terrorist attacks we have seen against the U.K.

Dershowitz On Torture
November 07, 2007

I don't mean to upset Andrew Sullivan again.  But I think that most Democrats are showboating on "waterboarding."  And they will pay with the election if they don't stop.  Frankly, it's my opinion that thepresidential candidates have clamped onto this example of admittedly verydubious behavior to signal to the party's left (which is the constituency thatdetermines who's the nominee) that they think this defense against terrorismis a supposedly grave, grave issue.

Biden's Other Virtue
November 07, 2007

I have to tell you that, with every occasion that I see or hear Joe Biden, my respect for him goes up...and up.  The Boston Globe reports this morning that "Biden (is) taking a distinctive approach to policy questions: complex answers."  But, actually, he has always been that way which should have made me more alert to him as a presidential candidate.  Not that I agree with him on everything.  Still, here is a very serious and knowledgeable thinker...and, as those of you who watched him at the Philadelphia debate, also a very funny one.  Oh, for real humor!  Yes, how about that crack about Giu

Ecumenical Discussions
November 07, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met yesterday in the Vatican, the tiny city-state from which the world of Roman Catholics is ruled.  It was an important meeting to have had, this encounter of two leaders who doubtless see each other with cross eyes.  As some of you may suspect, I have my doubts about that phenomenon called "dialogue."  It is soppy and certainly not intellectually or spiritually rigorous.  And they represent powerful bodies in the world that, on balance, are on the side of civilization, even if sometimes they have to be pushed.Of course, they saw each other

Glendon Goes To The Vatican
November 07, 2007

"Views mixed on Bush pick for envoy to Vatican."  So reads a headline in today's Boston Globe.  With this headline, what you would expect to find is that there are many people who object to the choice by President Bush of Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard and an eminent legal theorist, as U.S.

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