Who wants to be an

Who wants to be an Afghan murderer?
The tale of the Canadian programmer-turned-would-be-journalist captured by the Taliban: “The Taliban commander put several names on scraps of paper and dropped them into a hat. ‘Pick one’, he told Ken Hechtman, a Canadian journalist who had just been detained inside Afghanistan as a suspected spy. ‘What’s the prize?’ the journalist asked. ‘The winner gets to shoot you. Let’s get started’, the commander replied.”

War of terror
Sharon’s statement to the Israeli people:

Citizens of Israel, we have fought many wars – and we have won them all. We have defeated our enemies, and we have made peace. We have held the sword, and made the wilderness and desert bloom. We have built cities, developed industry, and cultivated agriculture; we have transformed the State of Israel into an example and symbol for many other countries in the world.

We continue this enterprise every day, we will not cease – never! A war has been forced upon us. A war of terror. A war that claims innocent victims daily. A war of terror being conducted systematically, in an organized fashion, and with methodical direction.

If you ask what the aim of this war is, I will tell you. The aim of this war of terror, the aim of the terrorists, their aides and dispatchers, the aim of those who enable them to perpetrate their acts quietly without disturbance, is to expel us from here. Their aim is to bring us to total despair, a loss of hope, and a loss of the national vision which leads us – “a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Citizens of Israel, this will not happen!… Just as the United States is conducting its war against international terror, using all its might against terror, so too will we.

It is what makes America great. We create.

– I have been reading the instant AOL book Because We Are Americans, with quotes taken from AOL message boards following the attacks of 9/11. There’s something new and important about this book: It is not written by an author, pundit, journalist, columnist, editor, publisher, or even weblogger. It is written by the people. These are the postings of citizens online. And, of course, there are some inspid ones: “I propose that each of us commit to doing one random act of kindness each day in honor of someone who died on September 11.” That is the price of populism. But that is far outweighed by the sincere, often smart sentiments — yes, shamelessly, sentiments — of we the people. A post from a daughter about her father:

Eight years ago, I was faced with a tragedy I thought for sure I would never see again. My father, a fireman, was at the first WTC bombing doing what he loved, saving peoples lives. He came home about 20 pounds lighter but in one piece.

On Tuesday morning it started all over. My father — still a fireman — and my brother, an EMT, were some of the first on the scene.

Daddy pulled a woman out of a burning car, turned around to his truck, and the WTC fell on his head. I am a lucky one. He is alive, and will heal.

My father fought in war, saved a man from an explosion some 30 years ago (suffering severe burns), and did countless other heroic things just by being a fireman. My father will take a long time to heal, but he has no plans of retirement.

I am my father’s princess, and he will always be my hero — and now he is yours, too.

Whither Arafat
– This morning Andrew Sullivan has, as usual, a cogent analysis of the situation in the Middle East:

THE END OF ARAFAT?: Weíre in an end-game here, arenít we? However you feel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it seems clear to me that Yassir Arafat is perilously close to being irrelevant. He canít deliver peace, as we found out at Camp David. He canít deliver even a semblance of order in the Palestinian territories, let alone Israel. So what use is he as an interlocutor or even protagonist in the bloody conflict? This piece in the Washington Post is as gloomy as it is hard-headed. Even Colin Powell is apparently refusing to lecture the Israelis on what they should do next. Hereís my prediction: a brutal finale that re-establishes some semblance of order in Israel and on the West Bank at the cost of even greater Palestinian bitterness and further conflict. Whoís responsible? Ultimately the majority of Palestinians who still cannot reconcile themselves to a viable Zionist entity in Palestine. Theyíd rather suffer and die and be pummeled than concede Israelís right to exist. The tragedy is ultimately theirsí.