Snatched! The abridged version…

“O all ye exorcizers come and exorcize now, and ye clergymen draw nigh and clerge,
For I wish to be purged of an urge.”

— Ogden Nash, from “So Does Everybody Else, Only Not So Much”

Can’t reconcile America, Islam” (September 8, 2010) is typical of the inky stain spreading across the opinion pages of this newspaper. This submission in particular is peculiar, blotted flummery, an angry smear of the planet’s 1.57 billion Muslims based on an American teacher’s “keen” observations (fifty years ago) during a brief tenure in 1960 Iran.

The writer spent one privileged year in fabled Persia, in an Iran ruled by an American puppet-king still flush with CIA cash from Operation Ajax. One magical year with his majesty, the bejeweled and braided Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, educated in an elite Swiss boarding school, still basking in the benevolence of the last  meddlesome days of Eisenhower’s presidency. One glorious year with the King of Kings, Light of the Aryans, second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. One short year, fifty long years ago, traveling through the halcyon countryside of Iran, with its picturesque peasants toiling on their quaint little farms, where all the dear Shah wanted (he loved them so) was nothing more than to bring them the joys of Western modernity.

In 1960, such modernity apparently included the SAVAK secret police trained by none other than Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf’s daddy Herbert. SAVAK was the Shah’s most hated and feared institution. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) found it guilty of “the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners,” in ways that make the obscenities of Abu Ghraib seem downright genteel by comparison. And yet, in the wonderful, gauzy Iran of 1960, these same SAVAK “were occasional visitors in our home when we had a public dinner or meeting.”

What a year that must have been! Somehow, that one faraway year in 1960 warrants the outrageous suggestion that in 2010 a person cannot be both American and Muslim. One year in 1960 is all that is required to incredulously connect dots all the way from a discomfited Jeddah layover fifty years ago to the current frenzy about a planned “erection” in lower Manhattan that has suddenly become a symbol of Christendom’s flaccid surrender to Muslim conquest and jihad. That remarkable year in 1960 even qualifies the writer to opine about the possibility that the President of these United States might be a secret, sinister Muslim! (Perhaps even an African. After all, who knows what other secrets lurk behind that dark countenance?)

That was some year, friends. The writer was “over there” for one year in 1960 and can now expose a nefarious twenty-year plan to install Muslim theocracy in America. One year in 1960 is all it takes to denounce Muslims for praying on New York City streets, and at the same time complain about their desire to build more mosques to keep them off those same streets. (By the way, they’re not just “mosques” but why bother with such messy distinctions when “mosques” are so much easier to hate?)

From 1960, fast-forward forty years to the recent reign of King George.  It is exceedingly difficult to find anything nice to say about curious George. He promised Americans still thirsty for revenge after 9/11 a cheap Iraq war (it will eventually cost more than three trillion dollars). He also started a wee little war in Afghanistan that has become America’s longest, a quagmire (to use verboten vernacular).  Like jolly old Nero, he fiddled while Wall Street burned and crumbled, taking the world’s economy with it. Jobs left America. China prospered. And on Main Streets and back streets across this nation, the chasm grew ever wider between those who earned less than they were worth and those worth far more than they earned.

But give the frat-boy prince with impeccable Christian credentials his due. He apparently did one thing right. For eight long years, he kept a lid on the bat-crap crazies dervishly whirling in the fringy shadows of America’s right wing. With Napoleon now exiled to his Dallas Elba, a madhatter’s tea party has stumbled loudly into the sunlight, like zombies in a low-budget horror movie, lured from complacency by the siren-call of Gingriches and Palins and Becks eager to exploit boundless enthusiasm for every improbable conspiracy.

Suddenly, retirees dependent on government Social Security and Medicare are alarmed at the prospect of government health care. Once-civil town hall meetings have turned into rabid screaming matches about imaginary death panels. Everywhere, there are wild, wacky theories about missing birth certificates and clandestine efforts to sneak a black African into a whites-only White House. (William of Ockham must be spinning in his grave.) A new war, this time with Persia, is demanded by the very same neocons who once peddled the romance of an American crusade in Iraq. Long-standing mosques and Muslim community centers across the country are now lightning rods for provincial fear and loathing.

Waiting in the wings (stage right), the grandiose old party stands ready to reap the whirlwind of American discontent.  Once again, the inmates will be running the asylum – urged on by a burlesque of screeching faux-news castrati too beholden to their corporate masters to toss the people even a morsel of veritas.  Perhaps future historians will pause and ponder the malevolent wind now breaking hard against Americans’ better instincts and highest ideals. Perhaps they will marvel at how easy it was to cultivate paranoia for political advantage, at how easy it was to surrender liberty for the illusion of security.

Long after the riots of November have subsided, this ugly season of intolerance will surely be compared with others that came before – the Salem witch trials, for example, and Tail Gunner Joe’s inquisition of imagined communists – and many will look back at this brain-snatched moment and wonder at how it was, in the fevered twilight of a fading American empire, that once again the chosen people danced with their demons and succumbed so easily, even eagerly to their worst impulses…

[Jacques d’Nalgar]
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Update:  This piece was published in the September 29, 2010 edition of The Sentinel Record.  It appeared, largely intact, as an “In My Opinion” editorial (pages 8 and 9), under the title “‘Brain-snatched’ once again.”

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  1. From today’s Sentinel Record (page 22)

    Letters to the editor ‘Snarky bit’ of propaganda

    Dear editor:

    [Jacques d’Nalgar]’s article in the Sept. 29 issue is a well-written, magnificently snarky bit of misleading propaganda with a large dollop of character assignation. This seems to be a style particularly loved by the devotees of Saul Alinsky. The piece fairly drips with sarcastic comments about a period of history that the writer apparently has read about in an article or two in The New York Times.

    It would have been more informative if Mr. [d’Nalgar] had concentrated on one topic and pursued it with more facts rather than gossipy snippets. Mr. [d’Nalgar]’s obfuscating of a subject by morphing a specific observation about radical Islamists into a general attack on all Muslims is quite disingenuous. His statement, “Somehow, that one faraway year in 1960 warrants the outrageous suggestion that in 2010 a person cannot be both an American and Muslim …” says it all. Ms. Pat Pine Darnell’s article made no aspersions on American Muslims. This is a gratuitous attack with no basis in fact.

    Obviously, Mr. [d’Nalgar] doesn’t know or isn’t interested in knowing that the current regime in Iran has publicly proclaimed that the U.S. and Britain are Satanic (See Great Satan on the Wikipedia website) and have to be converted to Islam by fair means or foul.

    As for the financial crisis, Mr. [d’Nalgar] should recall Rahm Emanuel’s “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” which spurred the administration on to one spending spree after another. Unfortunately, it failed to spur economic or job growth but did was successful at growing government. To cover its inept handling of the economy, this administration cries, “It’s Bush’s fault; we inherited this mess.” Another small point of truth stretched to encompass the Earth. The argument that President Bush may have some blame for the crisis had some validity during the first six months of the Obama Administration. However, we are almost two years into this administration and it is time for the White House to “man up” and own the consequences of its actions.

    It is true that jobs have left America for foreign shores, but the reasons are much more complex than Mr. [d’Nalgar]’s “… jolly old Nero, he fiddled while Wall Street burned …” For instance, having the highest corporate taxes in the free world, a regulatory burden that consumes $1 dollar out of every $3 earned and excessively high, union-induced labor costs probably has more to do with job flight than “fiddling” does.

    Mr. [d’Nalgar], you may want to consider the following: 1. Congress, where all spending bills originate, has been controlled by Democrats since 2006. 2. President Bush’s treasury secretary from 2006-2008 was Hank Paulson, a Democrat, who was approved by a Democrat Senate. 3. Goldman Sachs, a huge contributor to President Obama and the Democrat Party, didn’t give just money, but seconded the nomination of Paulson, one of its own, as secretary of the treasury. 4. Goldman Sachs came out of the crisis basically unscathed while Goldman’s competition was decimated.

    I am glad to see Mr. [d’Nalgar] is still getting his talking points on the tea party. Let’s see, first it was that the tea party is “Astroturf and inconsequential.” Then the tea party was “racists, homophobic and bigoted.” Now the elites’ last best shot is to say that tea partiers are a bunch of “crazy wing nuts.” That’s it! That’s their best shot. Boy, I am really looking forward to Nov. 2. Bring it on.

    John “Jock” MacGregor
    Hot Springs

  2. From today’s Sentinel Record (page 22)

    Articulating ‘sane reality’

    Dear editor:

    Kudos to [Jacques d’Nalgar] for his exceptional opinion piece (“Brain-snatched”) in the Wednesday, Sept. 29, newspaper. At a time when there seems to be so much ignorant rhetoric being shouted from the delusional right side of our political/social culture, it was refreshing to read an intelligent, well-informed writing that addresses factual reality so insightfully.

    While I’m sure the piece was too long for many on the right to fathom in its entirety, those who are capable of paying attention to history and intellectual integrity appreciate Mr. [d’Nalgar]’s scholarship.

    Thank goodness there are still some thinking people who can articulate sane reality.

    Dr. James M. Davis
    Hot Springs Village

  3. From today’s Sentinel Record (page 22), by the person who inspired/provoked “Snatched!” in the first place…

    Writer answers critics

    For Mr. [d’Nalgar], Mr. Vogt and Mr. Nunn:

    Gentlemen, did you have fun at the Sept. 29 stoning? Fortunately for me, you left enough of my arms out of the sand that I could still protect my head.

    For your information, Mr. [d’Nalgar], I did say I was in Iran in 1960. I was also in Iran in 1961, 1962 and 1963. You are a great wordsmith, sir, much better than I.

    The Shah did love his people. He and his queen would slip away from the guards and drive out into the country and have tea with the people in their little homes. I realize he had enemies and perhaps he was unjust in ways to which I was not privy. My mention of SAVAK was only to point out that while there was definitely a government oversight of everything we did, overall it was a good period.

    I have no problem with the Muslim people. Let’s get that clear. It is always the legal systems and leaders who are at fault in any government or organization. The Persian people are wonderful – gracious, polite and hospitable and, as I’ve told you before, I brought a beautiful baby girl home with me. She is now a beautiful woman – so thankful to be in a land where she is free to be herself.

    Honor killings are happening more often in this country, like the father who killed his two daughters for wanting to assimilate with their Texas schoolmates. And surely you know that many Muslims now here are demanding more and more “rights,” such as the footwashers at Michigan State University, paid for with your tax dollars. Christians are not permitted to put up a Christmas tree or a creche, even at their own expense.

    The legalistic religion imposed on Muslim women is extremely cruel. Did you not see the August 2010 Time magazine cover picture of the pretty teenager whose nose had been cut off? When a woman cannot even show a speck of skin without the police dragging her in; when every woman must belong to some man; when the young people can’t listen to music; when a boy and girl cannot even converse – well, everything I’ve told you about Islam is true. And, gentlemen, I did not get my information from the Internet, although it is available there.

    About the Muslim 20-year plan to dominate America, Mr. Nunn, do you own a Quran? You can read one online. What about the Hadith and the other writings of the prophet Mohammed? Do you have them in your library? Since all you gentlemen seem to eschew the Internet, perhaps I could recommend a book or two? My search engine brought up 11 million hits on the subject of the 20-year plan, but I will offer you a book. Dr. Anis Shorrosh, D. Min., D. Phil., a member of Oxford Society of Scholars who has traveled in 76 countries, is a Palestinian-Arab-Christian-American, an author, lecturer and producer of television documentaries.

    He authored the bestseller “Islam Revealed” and his 10th book, “Islam: A Threat or a Challenge,” was published in 2003. “The True Furqan” is now in its third printing in the three years it has been published and is the only book that challenges the Quran in substance, style, language and content.

    You might check “The Wall,” by Ramon Bennett or “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades),” by Robert Spenser. There are many more if you are interested and the local library can help you.

    Islam demands world dominance through Sharia Law, which regulates followers though arranged marriages of women, many as young as nine; female genital mutilation – barbaric beyond description; honor killings for any woman who steps out of line; suicide bombers; jihad; and a litany of brutality beyond description.

    Britain is trying to fight a move by the Muslims to have Sharia Law in their own properties. This is why I made the statement that our country cannot have religious liberty for everyone, including the Muslim population, unless that religious liberty is going to include beheadings, honor killings, stonings, cutting off limbs, because that is the legal religion of Islam.

    As for the president’s birthplace, Mr. Nunn, all he has to do is allow his attorneys to unlock all his records: birth and school, from kindergarten through college, for which he has paid them more than $900,000 to hide. Doesn’t seem presidential to me. I’ve seen other people’s birth certificates from Hawaii from the 1960s and they look like mine and yours. The COLB, which you have seen on his website, doesn’t have all the info that ours does, and frustrates the researcher, especially while his Kenyan grandmother declares she attended his birth in Kenya. Maybe she is having memory problems. All any of us have asked is for him to release the records and put the matter to rest.

    Or maybe he simply enjoys being the quintessential Mystery Man – a bit un-American, methinks.

    Pat Pine Darnell
    Hot Springs

    Note: Ms. Darnell’s original opinion piece is here:

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