Saturday, November 1, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
When a Blind Man Cries
Libya offers to host Soviet Military Base
Russian-Muslim alliance picks up momentum
Russia to Host Armenia and Azerbaijan Leaders for Karabakh Talks
Two well-loved Catholic priests murdered in Russia
they were beaten to death
Russia's Medvedev replaces leader of Ingushetia
Russia Riding High in Crisis
Russia bails out its debt-ridden billionaires
Chinese premier praises Sino-Russia cooperation
and "vows to deepen bilateral ties!"
Ukraine says Russia pushing it out of arms market
Russia to cut crude output 1-1.5% in 2009 - LUKoil
Gazprom's oil arm trims oil output forecast for 2008
Gazprom delegation on visit to Bucharest
Gates Advocates New Nuclear Arms Agreement with Russia
Gates: long-term outlook for nuke safety is bleak
Khatami raises hopes of Iran-US peace
Iran threatens US with suicide bombers
Intel says Iran planning secret nuclear tests
Iran’s passion for The Ummah’s unity
Iran building naval bases along Sea of Oman coast
Author, former CIA Agent Robert Baer on Iran
Israel apologises to Egypt
Olmert plans to resume indirect talks with Syria
Bush blocks Petraeus road to Damascus
Rice arrives in Israel 11/6:
An international meeting on the status of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has been scheduled for November in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, according to a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem.Egyptian War Games with Israel as simulated enemy
The meet will be held under the auspices of the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - and will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Egyptian and Jordanian officials are also expected to participate.
Maliki's grandfather had been a cabinet minister, and Maliki himself is certainly familiar with the story of premier Jaber's negotiations with the British on the Anglo-Iraq treaty
Private security in Iraq cost over $6 Billion
And the Iraqi oil $$ goes to...........
India suspects Islamist militants in Assam bombings
NO! Really? Impossible. Islam is a religion of peace.
The third conference of environment ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) opened on Wednesday in Morocco
OIC head condemns US attack on Syria
Evidence found for Syrian nuke probe
OIC, Arab League urged to join "Free Gaza" sailing
OIC Chief Talks to Asharq Al-Awsat
Zambia's `King Cobra' Takes Lead in Presidential Vote
Congo refugee camps 'burned'
Congolese army running amok in Goma
TIME on Laurent Nkunda
Nkunda wants direct talks with govt
Barclays to get millions in Arab "bailout" $$$
Goldman Sachs 2008 Contributions
Obama, Barack $691,930Gold Man Sacks asked to justify billions in planned bonuses
Clinton, Hillary $468,200
Romney, Mitt $229,675
McCain, John $208,395
Giuliani, R $111,750
Edwards, John $66,450
Goldman Sachs Names 94 New Partners in Wall Street's Worst Year
After Hungary, more EU at risk as recession looms
EU to Send Warships to Patrol Pirate-Infested Somali Waters
I betcha Bill Clinton's got a big fat pink chapped ass over this one:
Tony Blair is highest paid public speaker in world
Obama Plane Pitches Reporters From McCain-Endorsing Papers
Large Earthquake "Bounces" Are Stronger Than Gravity
Weekly Seismicity Report - October 30, 2008
A Cross-Country Tour to Rewrite the Bible
Let's turn churches into gyms (or restaurants, or...)
Blinded by the Light
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Megadeth ~ Peace Sells
Strategic Awareness of the Threat to America
October 30, 2008
by Jeffrey Imm
Anti-Jihad League of America
Seven years ago, America was under attack. America's first responders, law enforcement, and emergency specialists responded to that attack. Our preparedness specialists provided guidance on the types of terrorist threats that we might be facing in the weeks that followed. Preparedness details about how to respond to potential Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) terrorist threats were distributed.
On September 2001, Congress authorized the use of military force against those responsible the 9/11 attacks and nations that harbored such terrorists. A year later, Congress again authorized the use of military force, this time to address perceived threats by Iraq. America's Homeland Security Department assessed potential terrorist targets and offered recommendations as to appropriate areas and types of threats that were the most likely and most vulnerable for "targeted" use homeland security funding and resources.
These resources were focused on tactical and targeted efforts to protect Americans and prevent terrorism. Such efforts were a reaction to the 9/11 attacks and the realization of the vulnerability of the American homeland to such attacks. Such reactive preparedness was and continues to be a priority for America. But we also need to reflect and gain a strategic awareness of the threat by asking who and what are we fighting, and why are they attacking us. We need to do more than just react, we need to plan, we need to think, and we need a real national strategy on the enemy.
Such strategic awareness and analysis is a part of any major endeavor. For our first responders today in an emergency circumstance, they try to think strategically. They will ask questions to triage an attack - is it an explosion, a fire, a chemical attack, a radiological attack? They will recommend actions, especially in an emergency situation, based on an understanding of the threat. Such strategic awareness and definition of the threat is imperative for effective actions by emergency responders.
Why isn't such strategic awareness an imperative for America's government leadership on the larger, ideological threat that is the basis for Jihadist terror attacks like 9/11?
Seven years after 9/11, most of our resources continue to remain focused exclusively on tactical measures and operations.
Seven years after 9/11, America's governmental leadership still has no strategic definition of the enemy or its ideology.
Seven years after 9/11, America's governmental leadership can't even agree if they should use the word "Jihad."
Blindly reactive measures in an emergency are acts of desperation. But blindly reactive measures in the face of a global ideological enemy are nothing less than disgraceful ignorance. America's first responders, its law enforcement, its armed forces, and its citizens deserve better leadership than that. America is the best educated, most powerful nation on Earth, and yet our leaders refuse to define the ideological enemy we face.
If we want to win the war against our enemies, it is past time for America to stop being desperate and start being smart. We have finite resources that we need to use wisely and effectively. What Americans must demand from its government today is that our leadership honestly defines the ideological threat that our nation is facing, and develops a real strategy to effectively use these resources. We can't afford an undefined "war on extremism" with no clear direction and no clearly defined enemy.
In the previous Congressional authorizations for military force in 2001 and 2002, you will see no mention of the words "Jihad," "Islamism," or "Islamic supremacism." A government definition of "Islamist terrorism" is only found in the 2004 9/11 Commission Report buried on page 562, Part 12 of the Notes, stating "Islamist terrorism is an immediate derivative of Islamism... Islamism is defined as 'an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate.'" But that definition has been ignored, and you haven't heard your government leaders, foreign policy analysts, or the counterterrorism community talk about that part of 9/11 Commission Report.
Furthermore, in the past year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has sent memoranda that recommend that government employees not use such terms as "Jihad" or "Islamism" when communicating on terrorism. The current preferred, inoffensive term for the enemy is "extremists." You will see that term used by our Defense Department in its latest 2008 National Defense Strategy, and it is the term our major government and military leaders use most of the time. We have gone from a "war on terrorism" to a "war on extremism," but we still have no coherent, official definition of the enemy's ideology that we are fighting. When we are this far into a war where our government leaders can't define the enemy any more clearly than just "extremists," we have a bigger problem than "extremists."
What is not being addressed by our government leadership is that we are engaged in an ideological war, a war of ideas. This war of ideas is what Jihadist terror tactics are based on. But this war of ideas goes beyond the tactics of terrorism alone. Our enemy's war on America is also using economic tactics, propaganda tactics, political tactics, demographic tactics, and many other tactics. If we don't honestly acknowledge and address this ideological war, all of our preparedness efforts to protect America will be undermined by other tactics by the enemy to influence and infiltrate America and our government. Moreover, our specific homeland security measures can be compromised by failing to acknowledge and identify our enemy. We cannot win a war without a defined enemy and a comprehensive, multi-faceted strategy to defeat that enemy.
America must recognize that the enemy is not just terrorism, not just extremism, but the enemy is the ideology of Islamic supremacism itself. The ideological, anti-freedom threat of Islamic supremacism threatens the idea of America, and the natural rights of equality and liberty that America represents.
What is Islamic supremacism? Islamic supremacism is an identity-based supremacist ideology that seeks to establish the superiority of Islam over all other religions and individuals until they "feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29). Islamic supremacism is an ideology that has a segregationist Sharia legal system, whose exclusionary nature denies freedom of religion and many other fundamental human rights of equality. Islamic supremacism seeks the ultimate establishment of a global Islamic caliphate to govern Earth.
Islamic supremacism has no boundaries. Islamic supremacism has the singular goal of total assimilation or submission of those not assimilated. The infinite activist nature of such a supremacist ideology poses a grave international threat to a civilization that values equality, liberty, and pluralism. Islamic supremacists follow an evangelistic fervor for activist growth not only for the promotion of Islamic supremacist goals in this world, but in support of a supernatural afterlife according to Islam. For Islamic supremacist Jihadists, death is not a deterrent.
Jihadist terrorist tactics are just one tactic of this ideological threat. A year ago, the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial revealed a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum that called for the infiltration and destruction of the United States from within. We see such political tactics of influence and infiltration going on within our government, our military, our law enforcement, the counterterrorism community, the foreign policy community, and our legislature today. The Muslim Brotherhood organization is a transnational Islamic supremacist organization whose motto is "Jihad is our way, Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope," and whose stated objectives are to build an Islamic caliphate ("Building the Khilafa") and "[m]astering the world with Islam."
But in September 2008, an organization called the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project issued a report calling for America to "engage" politically with the Muslim Brotherhood; this report also called for America to consider negotiations with the Islamic supremacist terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. This report has been backed by senior individuals in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, such as Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Howard Berman. On Capitol Hill, I have heard leading members of the counterterrorism community such as Evan Kohlmann calling for talks with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Peter Bergen calling for "engagement" with political Islamists. In June 2008, the West Point Combating Terrorism Center's Sentinel published an article by Peter Mandaville calling for "engagement" with Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups as part of counterterror practices. Throughout most of 2008, those few in the U.S. military who have tried to speak out against the threat of Islamic supremacism have been silenced, and today we see our military leaders supporting political "reconciliation" negotiations with the Islamic supremacist Taliban in Afghanistan.
Our law enforcement agencies and the FBI have been torn by this failure to define an ideological enemy. At the same time that the FBI is testifying at the Holy Land Foundation trial as to how the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic supremacist goals, other parts of the FBI have been told to invite CAIR to provide training for the FBI on their views of Islam. CAIR also has provided "training" and guidance to DHS, TSA, Customs, and other law enforcement agencies. CAIR also attends meetings with an influential advisory panel on homeland security. The Investigative Project of Terrorism reports that "several members of Congress maintain close ties with CAIR" (Jim McDermott, Keith Ellison, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bill Pascrell, Dennis Kucinich). Such congressional representatives have no concerns about CAIR's founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad as a documented supporter of the Hamas Islamic supremacist terrorist group. The American mainstream media frequently contacts CAIR to provide comments on news stories without providing context as to who and what they are - providing further public legitimacy for them. America has similar challenges with other groups associated with Islamic supremacism such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). CAIR and ISNA are unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial. The President of ISNA not only spoke at a national political party's presidential convention, she also is on the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project team calling for engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The influence of such groups has kept many in America's foreign policy and counterterror communities from calling for the confrontation of the ideology of Islamic supremacism itself, which is partly how America has found itself in today's tactical-centric so-called "war on extremism." Such unwillingness to confront the Islamic supremacist ideology has also affected America's legislature. On July 16, 2008, the U.S. Congress voted on a bill to thwart the creation of a "terror lexicon" by the NCTC and DHS which would prevent government use of such terms as "Jihad" regarding terrorist groups or activities. This bill passed (H.R. 5959 - see Section 507 "Jihadists") and those who voted for it clearly support a national dialogue on "Jihad" and its ideological basis. But 180 Congressional representatives also voted against this measure and 10 more abstained from voting.
In the face of this deliberate refusal by many in American government leadership to acknowledge and define the enemy ideological threat, it has become the responsibility of the American people to take action. The American people must reach out to its elected representatives and hold them responsible for their positions and priorities in clearly defining an enemy ideology and developing a strategy to combat it. Individual Americans must also help educate their fellow Americans on the ideological threat of Islamic supremacism. The one way to guarantee that Islamic supremacists win the war of ideas is for Americans not to fight back in such a war.
We should be encouraged to know that we do have some legislators that understand the threat, and we have some in other government and military organizations that understand the threat. In August 2008, a group of civilian and contractor employees of the U.S. Central Command issued a Red Team report that challenged the efforts of the DHS and NCTC to create a "terror lexicon" prohibiting the use of the term "Jihad."But as Islamic supremacist groups continue to seek to influence and infiltrate America, it is also our personal responsibility to fight back, to influence our fellow American and our representative government officials. This is our war and our responsibility as individual Americans.
We can win. We must remember that America has a history of confronting such a supremacist ideological enemy. In America, there was a terrorist organization which once had 4 million members - the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.
The federal grand jury designated the Ku Klux Klan to be a "terrorist organization" in 1870. One hundred years later, the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan continued to be a threat to America, and its killings and terrorists actions had not yet ended. But what happened in America in the 1950s through the 1970s was the recognition that to diminish the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan terrorism, America needed to confront the ideology of white supremacism itself - in every aspect - in our schools, in the work place, in churches, on buses, in entertainment, in the news media, in sports, and every part of American life and national dialogue.
In every corner of America, the war of ideas was waged against the white supremacist ideology - in the homes, in the schools, in the houses of worship, in sports, in entertainment, over the airwaves, in the print media, in the military, in law enforcement, in the political arena, and in the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere. There was no part of America where advocates of white supremacism could spread their propaganda of hate without a fight. It was a take-no-prisoners war of ideas where the white supremacist politicians' venomous propaganda was defanged by reason, truth, and justice, and was exposed for the savagery that it truly represented.
The federal government and the FBI did not fear a "war of ideas" nor did they look for someone else to lead the charge - it was a national, concerted war of ideas, where everyone - the school teacher, the newspaper writer, the FBI agent, the baseball player, and the average citizen - all played a role, all shared in the sacrifice necessary in attacking the white supremacist ideology - and America did not fear using the name or identifying the enemy as the white supremacist ideology. The war against the white supremacist political ideology was hardly just a war on white supremacist terrorism or the Ku Klux Klan's terrorist tactics. It was a war of ideas that would validate America's identity, America's values, and America's dignity. It was a war that honored the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for defining the ideals of America.
While there remain some fringe elements in our society that continue to promote the anti-American ideology of white supremacism, that ideology of hate and fear, that ideology that rejects the inalienable right of equality, has been rejected, disgraced, and confronted throughout American society. American did not and does not fear to confront the outcast anti-American ideology of white supremacism.
Did the FBI consult George Wallace or the American White People's Party on how to fight white supremacist terrorists? Did America refuse to confront the white supremacist ideology for fear of creating new Ku Klux Klan terrorists? America's history shows that we did not. But such absurd, politically-inspired tactics are being used in efforts to "engage" with Islamic supremacists today.
America has the historical lesson in fighting supremacist-based terrorism that to make any significant progress, you need to confront the ideology that such terrorism is based on. America learned that by confronting a supremacist ideology that is against our natural rights of equality and liberty that we could undermine the beliefs that inspire such hatred, inequality, violence, and terrorism. It took America 100 painful years to learn that lesson. It is a lesson that we dare not forget in confronting the ideology of Islamic supremacism today. Despite all of our efforts to fight terrorism and to ensure America's preparedness, there are an infinite number of ways that terrorists can attack. We have seen that in the terrible loss of life over the years by terrorist attacks in India (60,000 dead), the Philippines (120,000 dead), Thailand (2,700 dead), in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Israel, in Russia, in Europe, and of course, in America. How do we prepare for an infinite variety of potential terrorist tactics in any city at any time? Of course, we can't, even with our best efforts. While our tactical preparedness efforts are vital to our security, without a strategic awareness and focus on the ideological threat, our efforts to keep Americans safe will constantly be undermined.
While we have brave men and women in our armed forces, in law enforcement, and in emergency preparedness dedicating their lives to such security efforts, their sacrifices are being undermined by those who call for "engagement" with Islamic supremacist groups, by those who call for political "reconciliation" with Islamic supremacist groups, and by those who are in denial that the ideology of Islamic supremacism even exists. Those who are undermining our efforts by surrendering in the "war of ideas" against Islamic supremacism send the message that Islamic supremacism will not be confronted. This gives increasing legitimacy, credibility, and influence to those individuals and groups supporting Islamic supremacism. How can efforts at reform succeed while Islamic supremacist groups gain increasing influence? Moreover, as Jihadist tactics are based on the ideology of Islamic supremacism, ultimately the increasing empowerment of Islamic supremacist groups will also result in the creation of more Jihadists to attack America. Thus, those who support "engagement" and "reconciliation" with Islamic supremacist groups are undermining our national security. They refuse to acknowledge the history of America in its painful 100 year war with white supremacism and are ultimately heading America on the path of an inconsistent, wasteful, and prolonged war with Islamic supremacism by refusing to confront that ideology.
Some seek to justify negotiating with Islamic supremacists today based on "relativism." Such relativists argue that ideologies that do not respect equality and liberty are not inherently wrong, but are relatively equal for those with different beliefs and other cultures. Such relativists argue that America should not try to confront such supremacist ideologies. What these relativists have forgotten is who and what America is. These relativists have forgotten what it means to be an American.
Our Declaration of Independence states that: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
In Washington, D.C., the words "All Men are Created Equal" are chiseled in a marble monument. In New York City, we have a Statue of Liberty. Equality and Liberty are the twin towers of America that will never fall as long as we defend the ideas that make us America.
We must never forget what America really is. America is more than our buildings, our cities, our communities, and individual citizens. Of course, all of that is America too and we must defend and protect that. But America is also a bulwark and a defender of the natural, "inalienable" rights of equality and liberty. America represents the idea that men and women will fight to defend these natural rights of equality and liberty. Such defense of equality and liberty is not merely support for so-called exceptionalism of American values, but is our defense of what America's founding fathers viewed as "inalienable" human rights for all people, for all of humanity. This is America's identity, our legacy to humanity, and the responsibility handed down from George Washington and our founding fathers to all of us today.
That responsibility is what it means to be an American.
By our very identity as Americans, we have the obligation and the duty to confront those ideologies that are against equality and liberty, such as Islamic supremacism. We must mobilize our elected representatives and the American people in every area of life to take on this war of ideas. We must reveal those Islamic supremacist groups that seek to infiltrate America for what they are. We must not allow those who lack the courage or knowledge of what it means to be an American to represent us here in this country or to represent us to people around the world. We must demand that our government leaders acknowledge the ideological threat of Islamic supremacism to America. We must not tolerate leadership that continues to be in denial of this threat and that continues to refuse to develop a comprehensive, multi-faceted strategy against this threat.
In America, every life is precious. Unlike our enemy, we do not "love death." Our respect for human life is another one of the human, inalienable rights that we defend as Americans. We respect and admire the sacrifices made by our law enforcement, our emergency rescue teams, our armed forces. We mourn every loss of life. We respect those who sacrifice their lives for our national cause.
Our brave men and women deserve the same type of courage that they give, and they deserve the same type of sacrifice that they make. This is why we must never tolerate a war without a strategic direction, without a defined enemy, and without a defined enemy ideology. Their sacrifices must never, never be made in vain. Those who have lost their lives and those who have dedicated their lives in such struggles must never be taken for granted. That would be inherently un-American.
The courage that we show in confronting this Islamic supremacist enemy is not only our personal sacrifice, it is also the courage of our convictions. It is our public demonstration and commitment to the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. The world is watching America to see whether it truly believes in equality and liberty enough to confront the ideology of Islamic supremacism.
Do we? The decision that our nation makes will decide the future that our children will inherit.
But there is only one choice that respects our identity as Americans. There is only one choice that we can live with. There is only one choice that has any honor whatsoever. We must confront the Islamic supremacist enemy and we must win the war of ideas in this nation. We must set an example for those who seek freedom around the world.
We must Fear No Evil.
America's war on Islamic supremacism could someday be the example by which all free people in the world defy those who would impose Islamic supremacism on the world. Someday your children and your children's children could say, this was when America stood up against Islamic supremacism. This was when America believed in itself more than it feared the threats of those who would destroy it. This was when America chose to be an example of hope and courage to the world.
This was when America proved once again that it was "the land of the free and the home of the brave."
[Postscript - see also Sources documents for additional reading and background information.]
Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
KHIRBET QEIYAFA, Israel — Overlooking the verdant Valley of Elah, where the Bible says David toppled Goliath, archaeologists are unearthing a 3,000-year-old fortified city that could reshape views of the period when David ruled over the Israelites. Five lines on pottery uncovered here appear to be the oldest Hebrew text ever found and are likely to have a major impact on knowledge about the history of literacy and alphabet development.
The five-acre site, with its fortifications, dwellings and multi-chambered entry gate, will also be a weapon in the contentious and often politicized debate over whether David and his capital, Jerusalem, were an important kingdom or a minor tribe, an issue that divides not only scholars but those seeking to support or delegitimize Zionism.
Only a tiny portion of the site has been excavated, and none of the findings have yet been published or fully scrutinized. But the dig, led by Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is already causing a stir among his colleagues as well as excitement from those who seek to use the Bible as a guide to history and confirmation of their faith.
“This is a new type of site that suddenly opens a window on an area where we have had almost nothing and requires us to rethink what was going on at that period,” said Aren M. Maeir, professor of archaeology at Bar-Ilan University and the director of a major Philistine dig not far from here. “This is not a run-of-the-mill find.”
The 10th century B.C. is the most controversial period in biblical archaeology because it is then, according to the Old Testament, that David united the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, setting the stage for his son Solomon to build his great temple and rule over a vast area from the Nile to the Euphrates Rivers.
For many Jews and Christians, even those who do not take Scripture literally, the Bible is a vital historical source. And for the state of Israel, which considers itself to be a reclamation of the state begun by David, evidence of the biblical account has huge symbolic value. The Foreign Ministry’s Web site, for example, presents the kingdom of David and Solomon along with a map of it as a matter of fact.
But the archaeological record of that kingdom is exceedingly sparse — in fact almost nonexistent — and a number of scholars today argue that the kingdom was largely a myth created some centuries later. A great power, they note, would have left traces of cities and activity, and been mentioned by those around it. Yet in this area nothing like that has turned up — at least until now.
Mr. Garfinkel says he has something here that generations have been seeking. He has made two informal presentations in the past month to fellow archaeologists. On Thursday he will give his first formal lecture at a conference in Jerusalem.
What he has found so far has impressed many. Two burned olive pits found at the site have been tested for carbon-14 at Oxford University and were found to date from between 1050 and 970 B.C., exactly when most chronologies place David as king. Two more pits are still to be tested.
A specialist in ancient Semitic languages at Hebrew University, Haggai Misgav, says the writing, on pottery using charcoal and animal fat for ink, is in so-called proto-Canaanite script and appears to be a letter or document in Hebrew, suggesting that literacy may have been more widespread than is generally assumed. That could play a role in the larger dispute over the Bible, since if more writing turns up it suggests a means by which events could have been recorded and passed down several centuries before the Bible was likely to have been written.
Another reason this site holds such promise is that it was in use for only a short period, perhaps 20 years, and then destroyed — Mr. Garfinkel speculates in a battle with the Philistines — and abandoned for centuries, sealing the finds in Pompeii-like uniformity. Most sites are made up of layers of periods and, inevitably, there is blending, making it hard to date remains accurately.
For example, several years ago the archaeologist Eilat Mazar uncovered in East Jerusalem a major public building from around the 10th century B.C. that she attributes to David’s time and was perhaps even, she believes, his palace. While she found pottery, it was in a fill, not sealed, making it hard to know how to relate the pottery to the structure.
Still, how this new site relates to King David and the Israelites is far from clear. Mr. Garfinkel suggests that the Hebrew writing and location — a fortified settlement a two-day walk from Jerusalem — add weight to the idea that his capital was sufficiently important to require such a forward position, especially because it was between the huge Philistine city of Gath and Jerusalem.
“The fortification required 200,000 tons of stone and probably 10 years to build,” he said as he walked around the site one recent morning. “There were 500 people inside. This was the main road to Jerusalem, the key strategic site to protect the kingdom of Jerusalem. If they built a fortification here, it was a real kingdom, pointing to urban cities and a centralized authority in Judah in the 10th century B.C.”
Others say it is too early to draw such conclusions. “This is an important site, one of the very few cases from the 10th century where you can see a settlement fortified in a style that is typical of later Israelite and Judean cities,” said Amihai Mazar, a professor of archaeology at Hebrew University. “The question is who fortified it, who lived in it, why it was abandoned and how it all relates to the reign of David and Solomon.”
The Philistines had a huge city, Gath, some seven miles away, but pottery found there looks distinct from what Mr. Garfinkel has found here. He says the David and Goliath story could be an allegory about a battle between the two. Seymour Gitin, an archaeologist and a director of the Albright Institute in Jerusalem, a private American institution, who has seen the finds, said: “The real value is that there was an urban center in the 10th century. You can extrapolate and say this helps support a kingdom, a united monarchy under David and Solomon. People will rightly use this material to support that.”
That is happening. Financing for the dig is now being raised by an organization called Foundation Stone, run by a Los Angeles-born Israeli named David Willner, who lives in the West Bank settlement of Efrat and said the point of his group was “to strengthen the tie of the Jewish people to the land.” The group’s Web site says that it is “redrawing the map in Jewish education,” and that its activities are “anchoring traditional texts to the artifacts, maps and locations that form the context for Jewish identity.”
This is an approach to unearthing the land’s past that disturbs Israel Finkelstein, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University and a prominent skeptic toward a Bible-based historical chronology.
“Some of us look at things in a very ethnocentric way — everything is Israelite or Judahite,” he said. “History is not like that. There were other entities playing a big role in the southern part of the country. And even if it belongs to Jerusalem, fine. So there is a late 10th-century fortified structure there. I don’t believe that any archaeologist can revolutionize our entire understanding of Judah and Jerusalem by a single site. It doesn’t work that way. This is a cumulative discipline.”
It is also a divided one. Mr. Finkelstein is among the most prominent advocates of what is called the “low chronology,” meaning those who date David and Solomon’s rule to closer to 900 B.C. than 1000 B.C. They argue that the kingdom was a minor affair that a later generation of Israelites in the seventh century B.C. mythologized for its own nationalistic purposes.
Ilan Sharon, a radiocarbon expert at Hebrew University, said another problem was that “we are working very close to the limits of measurement accuracy” when dealing with 3,000-year-old objects like olive pits.
He added in an e-mail message: “A measurement is expected to be within about 50 years of the correct date two-thirds of the time and within a century 95 percent of the time.” Given how hard it is to be sure that objects found near the tested items were from the same time, “you can see that this is a statistician’s nightmare.”Put another way, basing an understanding of history on two olive pits — or even four — is risky. What is needed, he added, are scores or even hundreds of samples. Mr. Garfinkel is not arguing about that. He says with some 96 percent of this site still to be unearthed, a process likely to take 10 years, he hopes that more writing, more olive pits and more pottery will be uncovered, and add depth to what he believes is a revolutionary find.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Through The Glass Darkly
For those focused on the market, we had one of our biggest gains yesterday:
Stocks in massive rally to bring Dow above 9,000
"NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks blasted higher Tuesday afternoon, wiping away a week's worth of steep losses, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped nearly 900 points - its second biggest daily point gain ever - as bargain hunters flooded the market. Surging as much as 906 points just moments head of the close, the Dow industrials settled at 9,065.36, up 889.59 points, or 10.9%. With a notable late-afternoon "lack of selling pressure, the buyers began to ride in on their horses, and that brought in some additional buyers and short-covering," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer at Oaktree Asset Management. All of the blue-chip index's 30 components advanced, two-thirds tallying double-digit gains, with Alcoa Inc, gaining the most up 19.3%."
But the bigger picture is that the market is starting to settle down a bit. Again, I think we will have a recession for 6 to 9 months and things will start taking off late in 2009, just as long as we do not have Marxist in the White House.
~ 3 Wood
Seems to me that American Marxism has already begun and the guy I voted for begun it. If Obamanable Snowjobman takes power he will merely mire us more deeply in it. And so will McCain, only more covertly, and a maybe bit more slowly. But it's only socialism when THEY do it, right? Far as I am concerned we are up Trotsky Creek no matter who gets the freakin' paddle now.
~ The Spleen
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow (when I can't even smile today?)
synced to " The Coweb Hotel"
You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth.
~ Job 5:22
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
~ Proverbs 31:25
ALL ROADS LEAD TO JERUSALEM
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The LORD has made all things for Himself: Yes, even the wicked for the day of evil.
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
~ Revelation 2:3
There's a Light That Never Goes Out