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01 March 2011


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Col. Lang,

You very well may be correct. But, there is a profound difference between Sharia, Islam and Muslim. Please understand, I'm not saying anything new to you, I know that. Islam is the faith or religion. The Muslim is the believer. The sharia is the legal/Court system of the region. I do not have an issue with peaceful Muslims or the Islamic faith. As I said before, my problem is with the selective application of sharia law. For that matter, I have a problem with the selective application of law anywhere.

It appears that I am having a problem communicating today.

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Smith: What LeaNder said!!!

Seriously, I think you need to take a step back on your complaints. 1) This is a blog post, and while SST is certainly a place for longer ones, its still probably too long. Its not a research article or an expose. If I had covered every possible example, from Tyler to anyone else you think I missed, this thing would be far, far too long. 2) As for calling out specific people by name, I made a point not to go on the ad hominem attack, but thought that I had pretty clearly alluded to whom I was referring. I'm not quite sure what you think would be accomplished by pointing out that Geller or Gaffney or Malkin or Schlussel or numerous others are either completely delusional, completely disingenuous, or both. I'm interested in making a specific point, not starting a flamewar with the chronically unbalanced. 3) I not only read, but commented on your post at the time. I understand that you are absolutely obsessed with the attack on the USS Liberty, and I respect that, but what it has to do with religious liberty in the US, as well as tolerance as delineated in President Washington's letter to the Newport Congregation I don't get and I doubt I ever will. As for my not explicitly tying more of what I'm writing to the Liberty, why would I do that. It is honestly not germane to anti-Muslim behavior being the newest manifestation of American xenophobia. Seriously, how an Israeli attack on a US Naval vessel is germane to this post is simply beyond me. Moreover, I get the impression that you not only want me to repeatedly condemn the attack, but that you're expecting me to take action. What am I supposed to do, beat up an Israeli to satisfy your sense of umbrage? 4) I've read the writings of a number of different Satmar, Bobover, Lubavitcher and other rabbis, just as I've read large amounts of material written by Catholic and Protestant clergy, Muslim clerics, Hindu and Buddhist religious leaders, as well as the Taoist masters. None of it is pertinent to my agreeing to write a blog post for COL Lang to debunk the false claims that Sharia is going to be imposed in America. 5) This absurd stuff about academics, and I as an academic, having some sort of bent or bias is just that absurd. I am not an academic and I don't work in academia. I gave that up because I couldn't stand it anymore (having a neo-Con for a boss at the time didn't help). I do applied socio-cultural work for the US Army. I did it in Iraq as part of an enabling element and as a special staff officer that was, in fact, intended to help protect US soldiers by enabling better decision making by inserting pertinent and timely socio-cultural information into the decision making process. I don't remember you being on my team or assisting with that mission, so I appreciate your concern for getting proper information to the right people to protect soldiers, that's my day job and sometimes my night and weekend job, but that's the point - its what I do, its my way to serve, not yours. And just as a final point: I don't know too many professors that side with Likud on anything my former neo-Con boss notwithstanding. Even the Jewish faculty I know tend to be quite sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians and I know that I've made my positions regarding Israel, Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, and how the US should deal with Israel quite clear here over the past several years. 6) My reference to the US and Americans being better than anti-Muslim xenophobia or to us failing to live up to our ideals is NOT a reference to American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is the modern attempt, usually by Movement Conservatives and social/religious Conservatives, to explicitly indicate that the US has some special, divinely inspired roll to play in the world, which makes us completely unique and entitles us to do certain things - many of which make no policy sense whatsoever. It is based on an inaccurate reading and understanding of the Reverend John Winthrop's sermon or homily to the Pilgrims, which was itself an excellent and classic example of covenant theology. In short all I'm saying by referring to ideals is that as Americans we can and should do better.


From Bob Smietana's excellent two-part investigative series in The Tennessean

Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear

[...] The message anti-Islam authors and groups disseminate isn't always accurate.

Brannon Wheeler, history professor and director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the United States Naval Academy, said critics of Islam mistakenly assume that Shariah law is a set of fixed principles that apply to every Muslim, everywhere.

That's not the case, he said, making clear that he speaks as an expert and not for the Navy or the Naval Academy.

While French, for example, has put together his Sharia Law for Non-Muslims, no similar book exists for Muslims.

"There's no text that is entitled The Shariah," Wheeler said. "It's not a code of law. It's not like you could go to the library and get the 12 volumes of Shariah law."

Instead, Shariah is flexible, and applies differently in different contexts. It comes from clerics' and scholars' interpretations of the Quran and other holy books.

Wheeler also had harsh words for Gaffney's report, which claims Shariah is an imminent threat to America.

"He makes the Shariah look absurd and insidious by trolling through and finding outrageous rulings and then making them universal for all time," Wheeler said. "It's ridiculous."

Adam L Silverman

VietnamVet and Charles I: when I went through the CONUS Redeployment Center (CRC) at Ft. Benning at the beginning of 2008 with my teammates, where we did our equipment and gear draws and had our medical and other paperwork verified, LTC West was the focus of the Rules of Engagement lecture. The JAG that did that briefing made him the poster person for what not to do! The entire briefing about appropriate and inappropriate uses of force, escalation of force, the rules of engagement revolved around the activities that forced LTC West into retirement. There's a reason he's retired and able to serve in Congress - he was allowed to resign because of his violation of the UCMJ.

Nancy K

Adam L. Silverman, thank you so much for all the information you are imparting. I found it fascinating.


Dr. Silverman + Col Lang, my objective was not to be *right* at all cost, but to find the *facts*. Dr Silverman + Dr Silverman, thank you for your patience. Dr Silverman, thank you, for your comment, it filled the gap in my understanding.


Col. Lang:

The comments today remind me again of the unique character of the SST audience. Not other directed with the loss of social and personal autonomy Reisman talked about, nor members of that group of credulous “suckers” who were easily led to Barnum’s egress, they insist on maintaining their autonomy and independence and in examining the world critically using their own best judgment.

Dr. Silverman implicitly reminds us, however, that as a country our difficulty in resisting the fear-mongers is not due to the strength of their ideology but to the skill and drive they bring to the game of how best to make money out of our fearfulness.

Sidney also reminds us that although we can avoid falling into that trap by teaching ourselves to rely on our internal resources we’re not likely to do so. He writes:

"It is all about looking within first. American exceptionalism has lead to a hubris in which our nation will not look within."

My fear is that too many of our fellow citizens have already augered themselves into the ground in the interest of being loved and accepted by others for real change to occur. The symptoms are there; the dearth of competent leaders, our reliance on faux-knowledge and our inability to address the challenges imposed by the changes in our reality.



A vey well written piece with much food for thought.


As long as you are quoting Tyler lets not forget he was President during the final years of the Second Seminole War and had his part in the Trail of Tears. It was only a couple of decades later that Richard Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle PA, coincidentally also home of the US Army War College. American exceptionalism indeed.


Poor Allen West, 20+ years as a government employee with a good pension and lifetime health care. My now he wants to cut everyone else's. Part of the 'got mine' culture.

"The President and Congress serve only its Stakeholders not its citizens."

They are running government like a corporation. As you know in corporation the more 'shares' you own the more your vote counts. We are seeing this play out in Wisconsin, courtesy of the Koch family and their well funded think tanks like the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC has 'model legislation', i.e. prefabricated one-size-fits-all government policy in a box. They write the laws so your legislators don't have to.

Corporate Government - no Assembly required. Just like Governor Walker's vision for Wisconsin.

This is the same kind of government in a box the neocons took to Iraq and Afghanistan, we can all see how well that worked out.


"Amnon Cohen, an American Jewish historian, studied the 16th century documents stored in the archives of the Shari’ah religious court of Jerusalem (commonly known as sijill), whereby he found 1000 Jewish cases filed from the year 1530 to 1601 CE. Cohen published his research in 1994 during which he made some astonishing discoveries, as he himself states:"

Amnon Cohen describes the effectiveness of Islamic law for Jewish interests:

‘No one interfered with their internal organisation or their external cultural and economic activities…In a world where civil and political equality, or positive social change affecting the group or even the individual were not the norms, the Sultan’s Jewish subjects had no reason to mourn their status or begrudge their conditions of life. The Jews of Ottoman Jerusalem enjoyed religious and administrative autonomy within an Islamic state, and as a constructive, dynamic element of the local economy and society they could – and actually did – contribute to its functioning.’

Amnon Cohen, A World Within: Jewish Life as Reflected in Muslim Court Documents from the Sijill of Jerusalem (XVIth Century). Part One, 1994, Pennsylvania
more: http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/jeffrey-goldberg-likens-bds-movement-to-nazi-germany-policies.html#comment-258900

William R. Cumming

To All! IMO belief in American "exceptionalism" is slowly dying. All for the better. We are not "God's chosen" but instead just people lucky enough to have been able to exploit the resources of a continent for 400 years, largely avoid wars, and let the talents of our people bring forth bounty. Well those are exceptional circumstances perhaps but not because we (US) is exceptional. In fact I believe future history to be written will be to indicate how we may well have self-destructed, which seems to be the international norm for the most part. Perhaps a vaccine against "HUBRIS" would have world wide application.

Hank Crane

Pope in new book: Don't blame Jews for Jesus' death
03/02/2011 16:00

Book describes last week of Jesus' life, contradicts Gospel's claim that Jews collaborated with Roman authorities.
Talkbacks (50)
Pope Benedict XVI reiterated that the Jewish people are not responsible for Jesus' death in a new book released on Wednesday.

The Pope also denies the Gospel writers' claim that Jews working in the Temple collaborated with the Roman authorities, leading to Jesus' exectution.

The Vatican vs the ‘Zionist tsunami’
Pope celebrates Christmas Eve amid security fears
WikiLeaks: Vatican backed out of Holocaust Task Force

"Many readers will find this section of the book particularly interesting as the Pope reviews the historical positions taken about this," said Father Joseph Fessio, founder and publisher of Ignatius Press, the primary publisher of the Pope's books in the US. "He discusses some very controversial claims that have been made, and draws on some contemporary scholarly resources to reach a conclusion that I am certain will generate a lot of discussion."

The book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week - From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, a sequel to a previous book on Jesus' life, the Pope describes "the final week of Jesus' earthly life."
Will this be well received?


Why do you feel this is an appropriate place for the latest news on the Pope, Hank, dear?

Is "Hank Crane" the latest incarnation of Theodore Lewis? Or why do you link to Best Food? Not such a good choice, seems to promise much less interesting materials in business history than GAF offered down to more recent asbestos legislation. But interesting name, Hank Crane.


"The Pope also denies the Gospel writers' claim that Jews working in the Temple collaborated with the Roman authorities, leading to Jesus' execution."

Because the Pope was there, of course, or is this more revisionism by the same guy who covered up priests boffing boys when he was in charge of the Vatican indiscretion department before achieving popedom? Why didn't Pope John Paul XXIII know this?

I remember when the nuns told me that Jews killed Jesus, but they added everyone was Jewish then.


Hank "JPost" Crane says the Pope also denies the Gospel writer's claim that the Temple leaders were responsible for Jesus's execution is a complete fabrication. Every other news source says what this Yahoo article states about the Popes book:"Benedict comes to the same conclusion, but he explains how with a thorough, Gospel-by-Gospel analysis that leaves little doubt that he deeply and personally believes it to be the case: That only a few Temple leaders and a small group of supporters were primarily responsible for Christ's crucifixion."


Next Mr. Crane will blame the Muslims, or pre-Muslims, or French.



I wonder if Best Food makes 'freedom fries'? One would think these guys could at least get an old NYC phone book and open pages at random for a name or two, but maybe that's to low tech?


Crane = Lewis?

Lewis is earnest; Crane is a windup artist.

Disappointed. Thought Father Fessio and Ignatius Press were fictions. Not the case. Life is parody proof.

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