I am today scheduling this to post to appeal while I am in Dallas leading a weekend workshop at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat Center there. But on the day I am scheduling the post (12/1/09) my friend Bill May sent me this -- not unrelated -- story from the AsiaNews:
Christian buildings attacked
Church of Saint Ephrem leveled
Church of Saint Ephrem leveled
At present, there is no information about casualties. Attackers carried out their action in broad daylight without any opposition. The methods used are like those used in the attack against the Bishop’s Palace in 2004. Christian sources say the “attack was like a Mafia warning”, a message to Christians “to leave the city.” The faithful are left with anger, disappointment and fear.Source of Mosul story here.
Mosul (AsiaNews) – Explosive devices were detonated this morning at two Christian sites in Mosul, the Church of Saint Ephrem and the Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine. At present, there are no reports about casualties but the church was entirely destroyed. The convent also suffered damages but it is not known how much. Christian sources in Mosul told AsiaNews that the “attack was like a Mafia warning”, a message to Christians “to get out of the city.”
Newsmax does not bring lucidity, it bring stupidity. Alliteration aside, Obama just stood at Oslo and made it clear that when war is called for, he will wage it. He just upped the ante in Afghanistan. How is this supporting this person's assertions.
As for Maj. Hasan: let us allow the military justice system to play this out. Ockam's razor would seem to say, if this guy is simply out of his mind, the fact that he glommed onto a radical ideology and reached out to a radical cleric is secondary to the problem.
This is not cowardice, it is not jumping to conclusions. That is how our system is supposed to work.
Most of the interview is rank speculation.
What would you have us do? If we declare this a religious war, then what? Is our proper goal religious genocide? Would you have us invade all nations we do not like? Would you have us reinstate the draft so as to properly swell the ranks of our armies?
Please Gil, say what you want done. Do not just tell us what you don't like. Step up and say what you want to happen. Be honest with us. Otherwise we will have to continue to speculate as I have above. I don't wish to guess, please tell me what you want done. Then we can discuss what we each truly think is best to do instead of fencing with shadows of our actual beliefs.
I'll address the second half of your post later.
Take care Gil.
Ad Astra Per Aspera,
He raises good points in the video and I certainly don't disagree about the hazards of our politically correct stance toward violent ideologies, but it's telling for me that I had to sit through 30 seconds of a brutal kickboxing ad before seeing the video. Whether that was Newsmax's idea or not I do not know, but somebody in advertising has decided that Newsmax's audience is a good target audience for a bloody, violent, rage-filled sport.
Maybe other ads are seen by other people--but I played it twice and saw the same violence each time.
About the advertisement: I did not get a kickboxing one, I got one on green jobs in Kansas. Hutchison no less. I wonder if something in the link glances over other websites you visit and then chooses an appropriate, or what it finds to be appropriate, advertisement.
Ad Astra Per Aspera,
Well, I'm caught in my own snare!
Okay, for some reason, I am a good target audience for bloody kickboxing videos. Maybe that's because both the Left and Right make me angry.
Robert Spencer talks about "...The manifest weakness and indifference of the Obama administration in regard to the Jihad threat." He says this immediately after listing a number of attempted attacks that were foiled by a government made vigilant and prepared by 9/11. That's an interesting disconnect. He says that "terrorists are laughing at him [Obama] because they see him as weak." Let's parse this a little.
What could be a more fitting testament to weakness personified then terrorism? It's not an intellectual or military strategy. It is a failure of moral will, of civil conduct, of ethical constraint. It is a refusal to embrace life, a destructive and stupid insistence on murder for the sake of hollow and empty goals. And the terrorists are laughing at us? Who cares? The joke is a bad one, and it's on them. We have something worth preserving; they don't. Should we abandon every vestige of civilized conduct while pursuing them? Here's what our "weak" President said in selected portions of his speech in Oslo, Norway:
We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.
I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King Jr. said in this same ceremony years ago: "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones." As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there's nothing weak -- nothing passive -- nothing naïve -- in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.
But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
Let me make one final point about the use of force. Even as we make difficult decisions about going to war, we must also think clearly about how we fight it. The Nobel Committee recognized this truth in awarding its first prize for peace to Henry Dunant -- the founder of the Red Cross, and a driving force behind the Geneva Conventions.
Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America's commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. (Applause.) And we honor -- we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard.
But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached -- their fundamental faith in human progress -- that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.
For if we lose that faith -- if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace -- then we lose what's best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.
Like generations have before us, we must reject that future. As Dr. King said at this occasion so many years ago, "I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the 'isness' of man's present condition makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal 'oughtness' that forever confronts him.
Let us reach for the world that ought to be -- that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.
These are not the words of a weak president, or one who should be dismissed as though he were unengaged with the problems of his office or the safety of his country.
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