In the past few years, increasing numbers of Westerners have been converting to Islam. Agence France Presse recently reported annual figures in France alone of 30,000 to 50,000. But a new phenomenon – largely unreported in the Western media – is occurring: Muslims, especially in the Maghreb (north-west Africa) are becoming Christians.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed Wednesday for refusing to divulge a confidential source to a grand jury investigating the Bush administration's leak of an undercover CIA operative's name. It added legal drama to what was already one of the most closely watched press freedom cases in recent history.Judge Orders Jail for N.Y. Times Reporter
Another important sign of the maturing of neoconservative foreign policy is that it is no longer tethered to its own ideological history and paternity. The current practitioners of neoconservative foreign policy are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld. They have no history in the movement, and before 9/11 had little affinity to or affiliation with it.
The fathers of neoconservatism are former liberals or leftists. Today, its chief proponents, to judge by their history, are former realists. Rice, for example, was a disciple of Brent Scowcroft; Cheney served as Secretary of Defense in the first Bush administration. September 11 changed all of that. It changed the world, and changed our understanding of the world. As neoconservatism seemed to offer the most plausible explanation of the new reality and the most compelling and active response to it, many realists were brought to acknowledge the poverty of realism—not just the futility but the danger of a foreign policy centered on the illusion of stability and equilibrium. These realists, newly mugged by reality, have given weight to neoconservatism, making it more diverse and, given the newcomers’ past experience, more mature.
What neoconservatives have long been advocating is now being articulated and practiced at the highest levels of government by a war cabinet composed of individuals who, coming from a very different place, have joined and reshaped the neoconservative camp and are carrying the neoconservative idea throughout the world. As a result, the vast right-wing conspiracy has grown even more vast than liberals could imagine. And even as the tent has enlarged, the great schisms and splits in conservative foreign policy—so widely predicted just a year ago, so eagerly sought and amplified by outside analysts—have not occurred. Indeed, differences have, if anything, narrowed.
This is not party discipline. It is compromise with reality, and convergence toward the middle. Above all, it is the maturation of a governing ideology whose time has come.
Retired Navy Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, Medal of Honor recipient, former Viet Nam prisoner of war (POW), naval aviator and test pilot, academic, and American hero died today, July 5, 2005, at his home in Coronado, Calif. He was 81 years old and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease.
Born Dec. 23, 1923 in Abingdon, Ill., and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1947, he is best remembered for his extraordinary leadership as the senior naval officer held in captivity during the Vietnam War. As commanding officer of Carrier Air Group Sixteen flying from the aircraft carrier the USS Oriskany, he was shot down while leading a mission Sept. 9, 1965.
During his 7½-year imprisonment, he was tortured numerous times, forced to wear vise-like heavy leg irons for two years and spent four years in solitary confinement. While imprisoned, he organized the prisoner culture in defiance of regulations forbidding prisoner communication and improvised a cohesive set of rules governing prisoner behavior. Codified in the acronym, BACK U.S. (Unity over Self), these rules gave prisoners a sense of hope, which many credited with giving them the strength to endure their ordeal.
Upon his release in 1973, Stockdale’s extraordinary heroism became widely known and he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976. A portion of his citation reads: “Stockdale…deliberately inflicted a near mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated their employment of excessive harassment and torture of all prisoners of war."
"Vice Adm. Jim Stockdale's legendary leadership and heroic service to the cause of freedom has been an inspiration to our nation," said Secretary of the Navy Gordon England. “His courage and life stand as timeless examples of the power of faith and the strength of the human spirit. Our thoughts are with his devoted family. America and our Navy are eternally grateful and will always remember him."
Upon his retirement from naval service, the secretary of the Navy established the Vice Admiral Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership presented annually in both Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. Stockdale held 26 combat awards including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Distinguished Service Medals, two Purple Hearts and four Silver Star Medals. He is a member of the Navy’s Carrier Hall of Fame, The National Aviation Hall of Fame and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He held 11 honorary doctoral degrees.
"Our Navy is saddened by the loss of Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, a giant among heroes and a patriarch of ethical leadership," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark. “Adm. Stockdale challenged the human limits of moral courage, physical endurance and intellectual bravery, emerging victorious as a legendary beacon for all to follow. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sybil, his devoted partner in love and life, and the rest of the Stockdale family."
Stockdale will be honored at a memorial service on board the USS Ronald Reagan in his hometown of Coronado, Calif. The service will take place Saturday, July 16. He will be buried with full honors at the U.S. Naval Academy Saturday, July 23. He is survived by his beloved wife Sybil of Coronado, Calif., and his four sons: James of Beaver, Pa.; Sidney of Albuquerque, N.M.; Stanford of Denver, Colo.; Taylor of Claremont, Calif.; and eight grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions should be made to:
U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, 291 Wood Rd., Beach Hall, Annapolis, Md., 21402, telephone: (410) 295-4116.
Monmouth College Fund, 700 E. Broadway, Monmouth, Ill., 61462, telephone: (309) 457-2316/17
Stockdale’s biography and additional photos are located on the following Web site: http://www.admiralstockdale.com .
Note to media:
For more information concerning the memorial service in San Diego, Calif., contact Capt. Jacquie Yost at (619) 532-1430.
For information concerning funeral services at the U.S. Naval Academy, contact Cdr. Rod Gibbons at (410) 293-1521.
As the West looks towards Iran and its new ultra-conservative president-elect, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Tehran, all eyes are upon the G8 summit which will see the leaders of world's leading industrialised nations meeting on Wednesday in Scotland. Iranians still remember the then G5 summit in 1978, where the leaders meeting on the island of Guadalupe, decided to deny the then Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Western support and in so doing, facilitated the victory of the Khomeni-led Islamic revolution in Iran. Twenty-six years after the revolution, Iranians fear and hope, that history will repeat itself.Iran: Analysis - Iranian Opposition eyes G8 Summit With Hope
In 1978, it was then French president, Valery Giscard d'Estaing who asked for Pahlavi's head. According to the French leader, the last Shah of the Persian empire, was guilty of not respecting human rights, of taking control of the Persian Gulf, and finally, of dictating terms to the Europeans. The then American president, Jimmy Carter, had no other choice but to accept the "advice" of his European allies and break with the Shah, an ally that was becoming too cumbersome.
This week in Scotland, it is the Americans who are asking for the head of the Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the man that today holds the real power in Iran, while most of Europe headed at the G8 by French president Jacques Chirac, have taken on the role of defenders of the Iranian regime.
On Thursday, Michael Gallagher, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce announced a stunning change in US policy regarding the Internet[s].
In four short paragraphs, the US has declared it will retain "its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file." The "root zone file," or Domain Name System (DNS), is composed of 13 computers containing the master lists of net suffixes, and is currently managed by private companies under the supervision of the US government. At the same time, the new policy also makes it clear that US will not interfere with country suffixes (ccTLD), as "governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns with respect to the management of their ccTLD." Finally, the principles state that while the US will maintain ultimate DNS control, the technical, or day to day, operations can continue to be run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Of course until yesterday, it had been assumed that ICANN would eventually take over ultimate control of the DNS.
In short, all your DNS are belong to US.US to ICANN and UN: UCANT