Patterico's Pontifications


On Cowardice

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:11 pm

After Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were released, I said of Centanni’s decision to go along with a forced conversion to Islam: “I don’t blame the guy. I’m glad he’s home with his family.” My sentiments obviously applied to Wiig as well.

One of the commenters in that thread mildly criticized me for saying something he thought was obvious.

But I knew it wasn’t obvious, because I knew that there would eventually be someone like David Warren who would come along and condemn Centanni’s and Wiig’s decision to cooperate with their captors as “cowardice.”

I share Warren’s admiration for Fabrizio Quattrocchi, the Italian who defied his Islamist captors, crying out: “This is how an Italian dies!”

But I wouldn’t presume to question someone’s character for cooperating with terrorists who have threatened their life.

And unlike Warren, I do not discount the danger they faced by arguing that, “in retrospect, their lives probably weren’t in danger.”

That’s easy for Warren to say now.

And it’s easy for Warren to be self-righteous about the actions of Centanni and Wiig — whom Warren holds in such contempt that he won’t even “stoop” to name them — from behind the safety of his computer keyboard.

(Via Xrlq, whose assessment of Warren is spot-on.)

UPDATE: Jules Crittenden has a suggestion for Warren:

Offer yourself up. Sgt. Keith Maupin has been missing for two years. Israel wants three of its soldiers back. In exchange for you, maybe Al Qaeda will tell Maupin’s parents what they did with him. Maybe Hamas and Hezbollah will produce the Israelis. Maybe not, it doesn’t matter. Because this really isn’t about any innocent’s life or death. It’s about your big chance at martyrdom. So put up, or shut up. Unless you are just another conventional coward.

Not a bad idea. Ball’s in your court, Mr. Warren.

L.A. Times Editors: Mystery Al Qaeda Guy to Remain a Mystery, If We Have Anything to Do with It (UPDATE: OK, Fine, We’ll Show Him to You)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:08 am

[UPDATE: This post is kind of a dud, because I jumped on the paper for not doing something obvious, and within hours they did it — almost certainly not due to my complaint. These things happen when criticism occurs at blog speed; perhaps I should have simply waited a few hours before posting. In any event, the underlying story, about a shadowy Al Qaeda figure on the run, continues to be interesting.]

The L.A. Times reports:

Two years later, the FBI put out an urgent all-points bulletin for [Adnan Gulshair Muhammad el] Shukrijumah, depicting him as one of al-Qaida’s most well-trained, intelligent and deadly operatives. He was described as the ultimate “sleeper agent,” intent on attacking the United States, possibly with weapons of mass destruction.

Law enforcement officials and terrorism experts now believe Shukrijumah is one of a handful of young, street-smart leaders of al-Qaida handpicked by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, to keep the terrorist network alive and humming in the face of U.S.-led efforts to unravel it.

. . . .

Terrorism officials inside and outside the government say they believe Shukrijumah is a major al-Qaida figure, and the hunt for him is intense, with an FBI team tracking him virtually full time. So far, their quarry has remained elusive.

Nice story.

But really . . . would it kill you to publish a picture of the guy?

UPDATE: Patterico demands results, and gets them! There is now a picture of the guy next to the story.

(Yes, I know — they almost certainly didn’t do this because of me.)

UPDATE x2: Nels Nelson reports that the dead trees edition has a prominent front-page above-the-fold picture — making the post an even bigger dud.

Oh, well. Instapundit once said blog posts just don’t work out sometimes. This is an example . . .

The Onion on Religion Bringing Peace to the Middle East

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

When I was in New York City, I picked up a print edition of the Onion. As Al Qaeda seeks to convert us all, the lead story of the Onion edition I picked up speaks to us all:

War-Torn Middle East Seeks Solace In Religion

As an uneasy truce between Israel and Hezbollah continues, millions of average men and women in the Holy Land are turning to the one simple comfort that has always seen them through the darkest days of their troubled history: the steadfast guidance of their religious faith.

Arabs and Israelis alike are embracing their faith as a way to make sense of the violence from which there seems to be no escape.

. . . .

Palestinian Omar Abdel-Malik, a resident of the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, credits his Islamic beliefs for preserving his sanity.

“The Israelis have fired missile upon missile on my neighborhood, but it has only made my trust in Allah that much stronger,” Abdel-Malik said. “I cringe to think where the people of the Middle East would be right now if it weren’t for our steadfast belief in one true, merciful, and loving Supreme Being.”

Palestinian widow and mother of three Dareen Idriss agreed, citing the healing power of prayer as a way to cope with the relentless slaughter she and her family witness every day. “When the children cannot stop crying because of the bombs, we all gather our families in the rubble of the mosque to pray for justice,” Idriss said. “During this calm meditation, we also pray for the annihilation of the Hebrew race.”

This being the Onion, they skewer both sides:

West Bank settler Ari Chayat, whose neighborhood has also been ravaged by violence, echoed this profound reliance on faith. “The world is so brutal and unfair,” Chayat said. “Many days, my uncompromising belief in a vengeful creator is all that gets me out of bed in the morning.”

“If it wasn’t for my faith that the God of Abraham has given these lands to Jews and Jews alone by divine decree, I probably wouldn’t even be here today,” Chayat added.

It’s very insightful:

“Every time I want to give up hope, I just open the Quran to my favorite passage, Surah 2:194: ‘Whoever acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him,'” Hamid said. “Whenever I read those words, I am immediately filled with inspiration and a renewed sense of purpose.”

. . . .

“It’s always frightening to be reminded of your own mortality, as we all were this past Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday,” Hezbollah commander Mahdi al-Zaidi said. “But rather than react irrationally, I looked deep within my faith, consulted the Quran, and by the mercy of Allah, I gained the resolve to oversee a massive airstrike against the enemy.”

Disclaimer: the preceding quotes were culled for humor purposes. No blasphemy was intended or implied. Patterico is not responsible for any lightning bolts smiting those who chuckled at the preceding excerpts. All blame and liability rests with the editors of the Onion . . . those damn atheists.

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