Former President Bill Clinton was interviewed on the Fox News Sunday show today by anchor Chris Wallace, and Clinton went right off the deep end when asked about his efforts, or lack of efforts to hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden.

I mean he really went off the deep end. Fox News Washington Anchorman and Sunday panelist Brit Hume said he has seen Clinton's temper tantrums before, but they usually blow over as soon as they erupt. But not in this case.

If you are to believe the former president, it would seem that he moved heaven and earth to hunt down and kill OBL, but was screwed over by the CIA and FBI. Uh-huh. Would these be the same agencies that were handed over to the Bush administration essentially gutted of their intelligence gathering and enforcement capabilities after nearly eight years of Clinton's meddling?

I see. And now Clinton says they shafted him?

And everyone is OK with this?

The former president seemed especially prickly, and actually quite petulant on this subject, and was so irate about the questions posed by Wallace that he (Clinton) actually said the media treated him unfairly. I wasn't aware that Fox news was the only media outlet in the United States, and to be honest with you, sometimes they bend over backward so far in their efforts to be "fair and balanced" that they actually appear to go way too far.

Sometimes the things I hear said on Fox from Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Hillary, Dean, Pelosi, Reid, et. al. and their supporters are so outlandish, so incredibly impossible to be true that I wonder why Fox even airs that nonsense.

And there are plenty of other media outlets, electronic and print, that many Americans believe go to extremes to paint everything the Bush Administration and the Republican Party do as wrong, dumb, ill-conceived and poorly executed.

Clinton would have done much better if he had just said, "Look, I tried. I believed we could make the hunt for terrorists a legal thing, rather than a military thing, and I believed that if we were successful in that endeavor the United States would have been regarded as a progressive beacon in a world filled with darkness. In hindsight, I had no idea Osama was planning so much devastation and I might have handled it differently, if I did."

Instead he got in Wallace's face, came across as arrogant, dismissive and trying to rewrite history. Clinton saying that Fox in particular, and the media in general, have been unfair to him truly comes across as paranoid, and just a bit suspect.

The ex-president even accused the Sunday anchor of being elitist, condescending, and having a 'smug' smirk. If Clinton was even close to being right on that account, which he wasn't, but if, I bet Wallace got it from watching reruns of Clinton looking the American public dead in the eye and saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"

China, Russia benefit from misrepresenting the Pope

I had a nagging thought for the past week or so, ever since the world blew up over the Pope allegedly making remarks that the Islamo-facists took umbrage too, that there was something essentially wrong with the whole story.

I kept wondering how it was that one sentence out of an entire speech, given in a German theological university, could gain so much attention and cause such a deadly reaction.

Well, the answer came to me yesterday through the blog at
Pamela Oshry, the blog's author, referred her readers in turn to research that others have done tracing the story on the Pope's statements back to its roots.

First, I will give you meat of the Pope's commentary, then let you in on how the story developed:

The Pope was speaking of how, in decades past, the University of Regensburg where he was giving his speech on Faith, Reason and the University, had hosted dialogues and debates within the university structure allowing a free flowing interaction between the students and faculty. In that time, the Pope noted, one professor had even chided the university for having two schools of thought on the proper way to worship God, when no one had ever proved that God actually exists.

Here the Pope continues:

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah (chapter, WSS edit) 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the surahs of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, (emphasis added, WSS) on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?

First and foremost, if you are not a religious scholar you probably are going to find the daily TV listings more interesting than the Pope's speech. Which in fact was the reaction of just about everyone on the face of the earth, until about three days later.

Then the BBC, according to the research cited above, carried the first story indicating that the Pope had said something offensive and that Muslims were angry even though no significant demonstrations had yet occurred.

Then the New York Times got on the bandwagon (why are we not surprised) which then got the rest of the lemmings in the World Terrorist Media and its subsidiary the American Terrorist Media, moving on the story. Within another 48 hours the allegations that the Pope had insulted Islam had made it into the deepest darkest corners of Islamo-facism and the hoped for demonstrations actually were occurring, along with burning, breaking, destroying churches in the Holy Land, and the murder of a nun in Somalia.

So what did we get from this coverage: A real news story, or a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I believe it is the latter, and once again, as I reported in July when the Chief Muckety-Muck of North Korea was throwing missiles around and sniffing butts with the leader of Iran, who stands to gain from this?

Once again, the Chinese and the Russians, who are still desperately trying one last time to create a World Communist Empire before education, technology and transportation make them obsolete and irrelevant. Think I'm wrong? Prove it!

The communists would be the biggest benefactors of a religious war, and my read on this says they are hoping the Christians and Jews line up against the Muslims and all three get the Holy Crap beaten out of them.

Then the commies move in, paint themselves as the voices of reason and order in an unreasonable and disordered world, and once again the cry will come down from on high, "Let the Pogroms begin!"