I get feedback on my articles. For that I am grateful; it makes me think. Recently someone took issue with my claim that, in the military, where there are women there are no bullets and where there are bullets there are no women. How about the brave Kurdish women who are fighting Daesh? Don’t they make up 30-35 percent?

30-35 percent of what? I asked. After all, women make up nearly 30 percent of the Israel Defense Force. Nevertheless, in the so-called Second Lebanon War of 2006, 130 male soldiers were killed against just one female. The 66 IDF soldiers who died in operation Protective Edge in 2014 did not include a single woman. So just what do 30-35 percent mean?

Regarding the fighting Kurdish troops  he answered rather brusquely. In support he sent these sites: 

I opened them. They did not mention any figures on the ratio of brave Kurdish fighting females to brave Kurdish fighting males. And the headline? Here is what it read: “No Frontline Deployment for Female Kurdish Troops.”

What the article did say was that, in a place called Dobruk, there is or was a colonel who commanded “a 30-woman unit.” Strange, that: since when do colonels command platoons? Isn’t their job to command brigades in which there are normally 27 platoons as well as other units? Never mind. The purpose of the unit? “To show,” says the colonel, “that we are different from IS, which will never let women fight.” In other words, propaganda. Though whom the propaganda is intended for, the Kurds themselves or their slavering Western admirers, is left unsaid.

That business disposed of, I decided to do a little research. And yes, I did find a BBC article titled, “Kurdish women fighters wage war on Islamic State in Iraq (photo report).” It claimed that women made up some thirty percent. Thirty percent of exactly what? Military personnel (assuming that, in a place like Kurdistan, there is a clear distinction between the military and civilians)? All kinds of support troops? Fighters who actually hold a gun, fire at the enemy, and are fired at in return? The article provides no answers. What it does provide are nice-looking pictures of women posing with Kalashnikov assault rifles. So do a great many similar sites.

The words “photo report” are important. Many years ago, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels used to tell his public that “pictures do not lie.” That, of course, was itself the greatest lie of all. I do not want to imply that the BBC was lying. Only that doing so with the aid of pictures is, if anything, easier than with words. One takes a good looking, somewhat dark-skinned, woman in some dilapidated-looking setting. One pays her a few dollars. Many women (and men) will help even without the dollars. Some will happily sell their grandmothers simply in order to appear on BBC News or some similar show. The paperwork having been settled, one puts her into something that looks more or less like a uniform. To add a local touch, her head may be adorned by a kefiyeh. One gives her the rifle which she does or does not know how to fire. One makes her stand up and pose, kneel and pose, lie down and pose. Easy.

Another article claims that the Kurdish Peshmerga have “hundreds” of female troops. Hundreds out of how many? 250,000, as The Guardian, 22.2.2015, claimed? And what do they actually do? Have “Daesh on the run,” as an article in Toronto Sun, published on 18.8.2015, claimed? Frankly, I did not know Daesh was on the run. The latest I read was that, according to US intelligence agencies, “Daesh remains as powerful today as it was in mid-2014. It can replace fighters faster than any other military organization on earth” (Albawaba News, Egypt, 13.8.2015). Notwithstanding that more than 60 countries, a third of the total, are trying to counter it. But back to the women. In proportion to their number in the Peshmerga, how many women fight weapon in hand? How many were killed or wounded? Nowhere could I find clear answers.

And why the Kurds? All Western armies now have legions of heroic fighting females. So why should anyone go all the way to Kurdistan, normally not the most important, progressive, or interesting place in the world, to hunt for them? Shouldn’t they be everywhere? Perhaps the history of the Greek Amazons provides an answer. Originally they were supposed to live in Phrygia, not far from the city of Troy which they vainly tried to save from the Greeks. Next, since they could not be found there, they shifted their habitat to the country north of the Black Sea. When they could not be found there they shifted their habitat to Libya. Next, since they could not be found they moved into the “frontiers of the inhabited world.” Or so the historian Diodorus, who wrote between about 60 and 30 BC, says.

Wherever Greek armies and colonists arrived they eagerly looked for Amazons. Failing to find them, they did their best to fake them. By one legend, the Amazon Queen Thalestris presented Alexander the Great with 300 of her subjects in the hope that they would conceive and have children as strong as he was. Perhaps because Alexander does not seem to have been terribly interested in women, though, nothing came of it. Some subsequent Greek and Roman rulers put captive “Amazons” on display during victory celebrations and the like. Freaks, they knew, always draw crowds.

From then to the present, the question has not been whether women fight in war. Except on rare occasions, usually such as are linked either to insurgencies or to last-ditch home defense, they do not. The question, rather, is why fighting females have such a strong hold on the male imagination.

For an answer, I shall select just example. In Berlin there is the world-famous Pergamon Museum. Inside the museum there is the altar built by King Eumenes II at some time between 200 and 150 BC. So stunning is it that I have seen visitors standing in front of it, speechless and unable to move

Athena+PergamonIn the present context the important sculptures are those of Zeus, the father of the gods and the strongest among them by far, and his warrior daughter Athene. The unknown artist has portrayed Zeus as one would expect him to be, i.e. as the very image of a bare-chested, powerful, dominant male with muscles and pubic hair to match. Not so Athene who obviously presented the sculptor with a problem. On one hand she had to look robust (“Pallas,” in Greek, one of her epithets) in order to appear credible as a warrior. On the other she cannot be made to look too robust. Or else she will make her male partner in battle less credible. Besides, it is necessary to make clear that she is a woman. How to reconcile the conflicting demands? Here goes. Her arms, which are considerably weaker than those of Zeus, have been left exposed. There is no bare chest, no pubic hair. Instead the left half of her chest is encased by armor. The right one is covered by a thin, almost transparent, fabric that leaves her nipple clearly visible.

The combination of combat with cleavage continues to fascinate the male mind. Throughout history, that fascination has led to strange results. Down to the end of the nineteenth century female on female duels—there were a few—always drew crowds of leering men. Nowadays the same happens wherever a “catfight” is announced. Nothing like a couple of half-naked women bashing one another to get spectators on their feet! Meanwhile real fighting women remain as rare as they were when Alexander vainly looked for them.

Or else, conscious of his public relations as he was, merely pretended to do so.


5fdcff2c292f05e483816c459c6743e9Soumission is the title of a new book by the formidable French writer Michel Houllebecq. Judging by everything I had read and heard, I thought it was a description of all the terrible things that would happen in France under a Muslim Government.

It is not. Mainly it is a devastating—devastating, I say—critique of modern French, and in many ways Western, society. For a millennium, people used to worship the Christian God. Next came patriotism as represented, in France, by the great poet Charles Péguy. By now, though, both of these ideals are stone-dead. The outcome is a society that recognizes no higher law. Nothing that is sacred and stands above the desires and caprices of individual people. One in which “emancipated” women, competing with men and in many ways behaving like them, have nothing to offer them except a good blowjob or a nice ass. In which, in other words, women are as bad, or as good, as prostitutes.

This is a world in which the family is supposed to be based on “love,” but in which a very large percentage of all marriages end in divorce. In which there are very few children—throughout the book, Houllebeck does not mention even one. In which adults leave the care of their aged parents to uneducated foreign workers with whom, in many cases, they cannot even communicate. A society which claims to be free, yet in which it is impossible for anyone to be a more than a few days away from home without being flooded by all kinds of letters from the authorities.

François, who tells the story in first person, is a lecturer at the Sorbonne. His field is French literature. Specifically the nineteenth century writer Joris Huysmans about whom, years ago, he wrote an eight-hundred page dissertation. Like thousands of others, it exists in all of four copies.

Since then, except for a few articles in a godforsaken scholarly magazine, he has done nothing. He has even managed to concentrate all his classes in one day of the week, leaving the other six free. Some of his students are inscrutable young Chinese women who both record and write down everything he says. Others are even more inscrutable young Muslim women in their burkas. None ever asks any questions. Other students still, who are doing their PhDs, ask too many senseless questions to which there is no answer. Either way, François has no idea why any of them are where they are and do what they do. After all, everyone knows that a diploma in literature leads nowhere. In fact he sees the humanities, and presumably many of the social sciences as well, as a joke. One which serves nothing and no one. Its only purpose is its own survival.

Such is the state of things when the Muslim Brotherhood Government takes over in France. Its rise is made possible by the fact that the Socialists, motivated by hatred of the right-wing National Front, voted for it. The new president is Ahmed Ben Abbes. The scion of a low-class Muslim family in France, he has worked himself up and benefitted from the country’s elite schools. In many ways he personifies the best France has to offer.

François has never been interested in politics. Why should he be? For decades now French politics, and by no means only French politics, have moved from moderate right to moderate left and back again. Nothing ever changes. Besides, François has a steady income and lives in an Ivory Tower. So do his colleagues whose specialties are as limited as his own.

He first learns that politics might be interested in him when the University is suddenly closed sine die, no reason given. He uses the opportunity to travel into the countryside, which he barely knows, in the vague hope of re-discovering the old, authentic France. He is disappointed; nothing there. He does, however, accidentally meet a female colleague, Françoise, and her husband. Since the new Government will not tolerate female teachers at the universities, she has just been fired. Now she manages her household and seems quite happy doing so.

The husband, Alan Tanneur, is something else. He used to work for the secret service. For being right in forecasting some violence on elections day, he and his entire team have been placed on the retired list. Now it is he who explains the new political situation to François. Ben Abbes’ purpose, Tanneur says, is much broader than just governing France and turning it into a Muslim country. He his ultimate goal is to re-institute the Roman Empire by bringing the countries east and south of the Mediterranean into the EU. Negotiations with several of them have already started and are going well.

Back in Paris, François begins to note other changes. Some forms of female dress that used to expose much of the body are no longer. To distinguish themselves from men, women have switched back from trousers to skirts. But over long stockings that cover their legs. They are no longer allowed to work outside the home, causing unemployment to disappear. The petty criminals who used to sell drugs and pick people’s pockets have vanished from the streets. Many bars have closed. The trains no longer run on time as they used to. France is governed by an economic system known as Distributism. Seeking to favor the little man, it systematically discriminates against large corporations. As a result, the country is growing steadily poorer.

Yet the University is positively swimming in money. Thanks to the Saudis who, vastly overestimating the influence of the intellectuals on French society are bankrolling it. François is invited to a party hosted by Rediger, his superior at the University, who will soon be appointed minister of education. There are no women there, only men. Perhaps that is why, instead of people of both sexes ogling each other and exchanging silly comments meant to please, the conversation is deep and fruitful. Rediger has just married a second, younger, woman. Only fifteen years old, she will meet his needs in bed. Meanwhile the first one, who older and seems to be is darling, looks after the household. After all, Islamic Law allows a man to have as many as four wives.

François has just been asked to prepare a new edition of Huysmans for the well-known publishing house, Pléiade. Rediger, who values François as a scholar, asks him to convert to Islam as he himself had recently done. Just a small step, changing nothing really, and he can have his job at the University back. With a considerable raise, what is more.

François hesitates. To resolve his doubts, he travels to a monastery where his hero Huysmans also spent some time in an attempt to re-find his faith. A faith, he now realizes, in an idiotic religion. First God created man. Next, with the aid of Satan, He made him sin; next He had his own son crucified in order to redeem him. Though the monks do their best, François finds nothing.

Back in Paris, he converts. It is an easy procedure, lasting no more than a few minutes. All that is asked of him is that he repeat the formula, “there is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet” in the mosque in front of some witnesses. That, and submission to Allah’s inscrutable will.

Meanwhile the word has spread that university teachers make attractive husbands. They are not just a bunch of sexual harassers, which is how they are treated in my own old Alma Mater. And not just in my own Alma Mater either. Any of François’ young, shy female students will be honored to share her bed with him. They are not emancipated and they are not sluts. They are worth loving, and he would be able to love them. No, François has no regrets.

In view of what Western society has become, is there any reason why anyone should?

Guest Article: Negligent Rape


Jonathan Lewy

Criminal law rests on the basis of three pillars:

  • Nulla poena sine lege—no penalty without a law—is the short hand version of an aphorism ascribed to Anselm von Feuerbach, the author of the early 19th century Bavarian Penal Code. His aphorism remains the mainstay of criminal law to this very day. Retroactive punishment is an anathema. It is almost inconceivable to imagine a person indicted and sentenced for a crime that was not written in a law book somewhere, sometime before the crime was committed. Common law crimes are but extinct. Even in England, it is well accepted that the law must be known; it must be written; and it must set standards for proper behavior before the act, rather than ex post facto.
  • Conviction of a crime requires proof of a criminal act and a guilty mind, or mens rea as it is known in Latin. The standard of conviction in a criminal court are supposedly strict: the guilty mind must reveal intent, recklessness or apathy. Save for the most serious actions, such as killing another person, lack of thought or negligence are insufficient for a conviction.
  • A person’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Punishment is serious business, so much so that Jurists often claim that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” To ensure this ideal, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the prosecution.

All three pillars crumble when it comes to rape, particularly date rapes. The law normally defines rape as “sexual relations with a person against that person’s will.” Some laws are more detailed, others less so. Some mention penises, vaginas and anuses, and others do not. In some jurisdictions, only women can be raped, in others men can be victims as well. Be that as it may, the fulcrum of all rape laws is consent, or the lack thereof.

In a court of law, the question how consent is proven must be answered. If the rape is violent, forensic evidence and common sense usually prevail. Resistance, bruises, and other marks can be used as proof for lack of consent. This simple picture is blurred when it comes to date rapes, when no physical evidence is available and all that remains are the testimonies of the defendant and his accuser. Perhaps supporting evidence and witnesses who were not privy to the act are also available, but rarely are they sufficient to prove lack of consent.

Suppose a man has sex with a woman without using force. She changes her mind after the fact. She might claim that the reasons leading to intercourse were not true expressions of her free will: the man was her boss, teacher or therapist and she felt compelled to do the deed; the man claimed he was a successful businessman when in fact he is a penniless pauper; she felt threatened even though no threat was expressed; or her mind was simply blank (normally due to being drunk). In other words, circumstances led to her loss of willing consent and the court must disregard it. She is asking the court to treat her as a child with limited responsibility, whose consent is meaningless. In point of fact, she is asking for retroactive justice: an assessment of her consent after the fact. If judges remained true to the law and its spirit, they would deny the request.

What is willing consent? Very few human actions are truly free. Circumstances always set limits to freedom; yet, when it comes to rape, courts set a high standard. A woman’s consent is not taken seriously if it falls under ‘understandable’ circumstances. These circumstances are not only objective conditions such as physical duress, treachery or extortion, but also include subjective feelings such as trauma and other mental states, or even her own actions. Experts flood the courts claiming that victims are often unaware that they had been raped. They claim that the trauma is so severe to the point that women are unsure about what had transpired, but the trauma itself could be used as evidence that rape had taken place. Once again, these experts violate the first pillar of criminal law, since what should matter in court is what happened at the scene of the crime, not the understanding of the events after the fact.

psa14n-1-webVictims are privileged. They are not held accountable for being drunk. On the contrary: the courts decided that the fact she drank alcohol means she could not give her consent, even though she had entered this state of mind willingly. Experts and activists tell us that it is never the victim’s fault. Yet, if the case were different, and a drunken person killed another, the prosecution would successfully claim that the killer entered the state of mind willingly, and that he should have taken into account that while under the influence his actions could be disastrous. Proving criminal intent would be immaterial in such a case. Defendants, therefore, are disadvantaged. They are held accountable in circumstances that victims are not. This fact is ignored because the victim should not be held to the same standard as the defendant. This is certainly true in most cases. However, in the current legal standard for rape, the actions of the accuser determine the mental state of the accused. By willingly detaching herself from her surroundings, she determines the mental state of the accused. How could he know that she is too drunk to consent? It stands to reason therefore that she should be held to the same standards as the accused.

Suppose another scenario: a man has sex with a woman, and she remains silent. She may or may not want it, but she had not given any indication either way. For all intents and purposes, the man has no guilty mind. He had no intention to rape the woman; he simply wanted to have sex and assumed the desire was mutual. He is neither reckless nor is he apathetic. Yet, courts have decided in the past that he should have actively sought her consent. In other words, the man had an ‘objective duty of care’ to ask before penetration. The fact that he did not explore the possibility she may not want sex makes him accountable. Jurists dub this low standard of mental state, or rather the lack of guilty mind, as negligence.

As noted above, save for extreme cases, negligence is insufficient for conviction in a criminal court. Rape is not governed by a negligence rule, though judges have accepted de facto negligence standards for rape convictions. Thus, rape shatters the second pillar of criminal law. No longer does a man have to be of guilty mind to be convicted of rape. In the past, one could have defined legal sexual intercourse as rape without a guilty mind. Nowadays, the courts have made it clear that even if there is no guilty mind, a conviction in a rape case is still possible if the woman has not consented. Considering that only the victim’s mind and thoughts determine her consent (rather than her actions), the thoughts and the guilty mind of the defendant are mostly irrelevant in today’s courts. In essence: the victim determines the guilty mind of the accused, even if she was willfully unaware of her surroundings and as a result was unable to give her consent willingly.

Finally, most date rapes boil down to ‘he said she said’ stories. Why should the court believe the accuser rather than the defendant? After all, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Experts often claim that no woman would lie about being raped. This assumption is false. Women like men, have incentives to lie. One should assume these incentives are present in rape cases as well. Since false accusations are difficult to disprove, a reasonable doubt is ever present. The burden of proof that she is not lying, or that he is lying should be on the shoulders of the prosecution. This is a heavy burden, one that must be lifted beyond a reasonable doubt; and reason is always filled with doubts.

Suppose for a minute that the accusation is not false. Instead, it represents different perspectives of a situation. The accused never wanted to rape the woman, but the woman understood it as rape. What should the courts do? Since the defendant stands on trial for his own actions, his understanding of the situation is judged, not the victim’s. The court must determine his state of mind and his actions, not hers. The prosecution must prove that the defendant believed she had not consented to the act, rather than deal with her beliefs and actions. Yes, in light of the correct criminal approach, her deeds might speak louder than words if she had led him to think she wanted to have sex.

One must remember that a victim has no standing in a criminal court, and as long as this is the case, judges must treat defendants in rape cases just like they would treat other suspects. Will this mean that many defendants will be acquitted because of the stringent standards of proof? Yes, but that is exactly the purpose of the law. After all in a liberal legal system, it is better to set ten guilty men free, than have one innocent suffer.

Hiroshima, or Then There Will Be Ten

Exactly seventy years ago, on 6 August 1945, the US dropped the world’s first nuclear device on Hiroshima. Three days later it dropped the second one on Nagasaki. The total number of those who died either on the spot or later, as the result of radiation, was probably between 150,000 and 200,000. President Truman’s reasons for using the bomb have been in dispute ever since.


“Ways toward nuclear disarmament–PIR Center”

What has not been in dispute is that, ever since, the US has done everything it could to prevent other countries from obtaining the weapons it already had. Not that I blame it; any other Power in its position would have done exactly the same. The first country to which the policy was applied was Stalin’s Soviet Union. In 1941-45 Stalin had been known as “Uncle Joe.” Now, within the space of a few weeks or months, he was turned into a monster. One which, in some ways, was even worse than Adolf Hitler. Stalin was an atheist. Stalin was a Communist. Stalin was hell-bent on dominating the world. In seeking to realize that objective, he recognized no moral laws whatever. It was, all of it, in vain. Four years after Hiroshima the Soviet Union did in fact test its first bomb. And what happened? Nothing. Stalin did not invade Europe, as had been feared. Let alone unleash a third world war.

Confronted by a fait accompli, Washington switched it attention to its own allies, Britain and France. One could not, of course, accuse them of being atheists, or Communists, or non-democratic. Let alone of presenting a danger to the US, or seeking to dominate the world, or whatever. Some more benign reasons had to be invented. Some more benign reasons were invented. Such as, for example, the claim that, once the British and the French possessed their own nuclear arsenals, the Soviets might think they could attack them without necessarily involving the US, thus weakening NATO. The consequences would be terrible. Again, their efforts availed the Americans nothing, Britain tested its first bomb in 1952, France in 1960. And what happened? Nothing.

Next it was the turn of China. Its leader, Mao Zedong, was even worse than Stalin. Let alone his successors who, as détente took hold, had turned into more or less “responsible” and “calculable” actors. Mao was a revolutionary. Mao was a dictator. Mao was a Communist. Mao was a mass murderer. Had he not supported North Korea? Had he not sworn to regain Taiwan? Had he not dared call the US a paper tiger? And did not Khrushchev say that he had said that he was prepared to sacrifice three hundred million lives so as to put an end to imperialism? How could one permit such a man to put his finger on the trigger? In October 1964, he did. And what happened? Nothing.

Unlike China, Israel was a tiny country of two and a half million tucked away in the Middle East. It was also democratic. By no stretch of the imagination did it present a danger to the US or any of its allies. And yet the US under Kennedy did what it could to prevent Jerusalem from going nuclear. So much so that, by some accounts, Prime Minister Ben Gurion resigned over this very issue. This time the rationale was that an Israeli bomb would immediately lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. With Egypt, as the largest Arab country, in the lead. In fact, that did not happen. As of 2015, Egypt still does not have the bomb.

In 1974 the Indians set off what they called a “peaceful nuclear explosion” (PNE). No sooner had they done so than America’s ambassador to New Delhi, Daniel Moynihan, went to the foreign ministry. You have, he lectured them, done a terrible thing. Not because India might use the bomb, but because it would cause the “Moghuls” in Karachi to build a bomb of their own. By that logic, incidentally, the US should have avoided building the bomb out of fear that the Soviet Union would follow.

In the event, Moynihan was right. Ten years or so later, the “Moghuls” did in fact go nuclear. In 1998 both India and Pakistan tested their bombs. And what happened? Nothing.

And then it was the turn of North Korea. Everyone knew that the people in Pyongyang were as bad as anyone could be. They had set up a terrible dictatorship. They had developed a strange doctrine, known as Juche and roughly translatable as “we ourselves.” They starved their own people. They staged some dangerous incidents along the border between them and South Korea. They had the regime’s opponents torn to pieces by dogs (though this particular accusation later turned out to be a figment of someone’s imagination). In 2006, to the accompaniment of dire warnings, they tested their first bomb. And what happened? Nothing.

The logic behind the “international,” read mainly American, attempts to prevent proliferation is clear enough. Since 1945 no country has gone to war more often, and against as many opponents scattered all over the world, as the US has. Nor has any country more readily threatened to use its nuclear weapons. After all, it had far more of them than anyone else did. Conversely, each time another country obtains the bomb the number of those the US can attack without risking nuclear escalation goes down by one.

And then it was the turn of Iran. Iran is not a democracy (as if, judging by the fact that, in the past, quite some non-democratic countries acquired the bomb, it matters). Iran is not transparent (ditto). Iran supports terrorism (ditto). Should it develop the bomb, then that bomb may fall into the hand of terrorists. Etc., etc. Note that the rationales keep adapting themselves to circumstances. However, the objective remains always the same.

That is also why the details of the agreement with Iran, about which so much is being said and written, do not really matter. The controls may or may not be effective. They may or may not expire after ten years. Regardless, the Mullahs will continue their nuclear program so they can build the bomb if and when they need it. Partly that is because Iran is surrounded by nuclear countries on all sides. Partly, because of America’s habit of sending it troops to fight in or against other countries, with reason or without. One way or another, they will keep it in operation whether the rest of “the world,” agrees or not.

That is why, sooner or later, out of hundred and ninety or so countries on this earth there will be not nine nuclear ones but ten. And very little, if anything, will happen.