Trump Lied

Tuesday, March 8, AD 2016

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”

Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002




One of the more pernicious accusations in political life today is the claim that Bush lied the country into war against Iraq by falsely claiming the necessity of stopping Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs.  Leaving aside that the country went to war for various reasons, detailed here, there is no evidence that Bush lied about the WMD programs of Iraq, but was rather relying on the best intelligence available.  Donald Trump recently took up this mantra of the left:


Then Trump went on to say something even more unusual in a Republican primary. He suggested that the former GOP president, George W. Bush, directly lied to the American public in order to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

“I will tell you. They lied. And they said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction,” Trump said.


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21 Responses to Trump Lied

  • Jim Geraghty had a good line in yesterday’s Morning Jolt:
    “[D]on’t worry, immigration hawks. There’s no way Trump is conning you. He means everything he says to you — he’s just offering a line, spin, and empty promises to everyone else.”

  • There were no weapons of mass destruction.
    So he’s ignorant or a liar. Go figure.

  • We have to get history right if we are going to make right choices now. thanks for the thoughtful video
    related thought – I hope whoever wins the GOP nomination and presidency puts in astute patriot Rick Santorum as Secretary of State..

  • Yes, Saddam Hussein DID have WMD and was trying to acquire MORE and BETTER WMD.
    President George W Bush was RIGHT and CORRECT, and the rest of the world was WRONG.
    May God forever bless and protect our last real President, George W Bush.

  • The one possible thing twirling in the back of my mind is that sometimes the good Lord uses evil to bring about a greater good and something needs to be done to stop the establishment from their destructive agenda or it won’t matter about voting at all.
    Right now, I fear Trump and the establishment about the same, and intend to vote for Cruz, but all things are possible–depending upon what games the corrupt GOPe plays from here on in.

  • Saddam gassed the Kurds and others, and I recall convoys heading into Syria at night before the war began. I think it doubtless, Iraq had WMD. Trump may be a quick study but not a thorough one. Cruz is probably our last good hope but if the GOP opts for shenanigans rather than supporting him, they will pay a dear price.

  • @Lucious. Ditto. There are plenty of articles detailing the dismantling and destruction of chemical weapons seized in Iraq. Saddam was a little Hitler who, along with his sons and henchmen, had to go. We can debate what was to replace him, but he had to go.
    I wonder how Obama would have handled Saddam. Bowed to him, release assets, and give billions in aid, aka Saddam retirement fund. Maybe even supply him nuclear technology, which would only be used to generate energy of course.

  • “Maybe even supply him nuclear technology, which would only be used to generate energy of course.”
    It depends on the nuclear technology being discussed. There is as much a difference between a light water reactor (like the US AP-1000 or the Russian VVER) and a nuclear fission weapon, as there is between gasoline for a motor vehicle and napalm, one of whose ingredients is gasoline.
    I therefore do NOT object to either Iran or Iraq using light water reactor technology. I do object to heavy water reactor technology that can be used to breed plutonium-239 from uranium-238, and to enrichment of natural uranium beyond the 5% required for light water reactors.

  • Wow, it posted before I was ready! Nevertheless, my concluding statement is this:
    There is a difference between a weapon and an energy source.
    Napalm is a weapon.
    Gasoline is not.
    > 90% U-235 and > 90% Pu-239 are weapons.
    < 5% U-235 and < 5% Pu-239 are not.

  • Whatever Saddam needed to develop a nuclear weapon, that’s what he would convince Obama he needed for energy purposes.
    Gasoline can’t be made into a weapon?

  • Kyle,
    I agree that Barack Hussein Obama will do whatever he can to benefit Muslims. It is a part of his nature and mindset. However, that said, it is very difficult to make a nuclear weapon and Iran’s ability to do so has been set back by the Iranian accord.
    Yes, gasoline can be used in a Molotov cocktail just as alcohol can be used. Neither is a militarily useful weapon but both are excellent terrorist or guerrilla warfare weapons. But a terrorist cannot take a sack of uranium or plutonium and make a Molotov cocktail (however, he likely would die eventually of heavy metal chemical poisoning, entirely non-nuclear).
    Now that said, anything less than 90% enriched U-235 or Pu-239 or U-233 cannot be used to be a militarily useful weapon. Those are the ONLY isotopes which can undergo thermal fission. On detonation a 90% U-235 or Pu-239 or U-233 is very difficult and very expensive. The DPRK chose the U-238 to Np-239 to Pu-239 route and its bomb had so much non-fissile Pu-240 that its yield wasn’t worth the effort.
    It pooped out. Yes, U-233 can also be used if > 90%, but that is even MORE difficult to make because it requires using the Th-232 to Pa-233 to U-233 route. And enriching U-235 from nature requires lots and lots of centrifuges to do the necessary isotopic separation. NOT easy.
    I have neither the time nor the energy to explain here 30+ years of nuclear engineering knowledge and experience. Basically, nuclear power reactors for electricity are EASY and nuclear bombs are HARD. So every time I see the nuclear word used in conjunction with energy for weapons, I respond: a light water nuclear reactor is NOT a vehicle for making bombs. NOT. Can you do it with graphite or heavy water moderated reactors – making U-233 or Pu-239? Yes, but the DPRK failed at that. In fact, it would not surprise me if a DPRK bomb fizzled out right in the lab before it every got deployed to the field. And using centrifuges to enrich U-235 takes a very long time and is itself difficult, Iran had to give up on that. Now it will use Russian VVER light water reactors for electricity and those are perfectly fine – a souped-up variant of the Westinghouse PWR with some Russian submarine reactor engineering thrown in for good measure. They are examples of some really excellent Russian engineering.
    All that said, the routes to nuclear weapons for Saddam Hussein were cut off after the 1991 Iraq war. The WMD he acquired were chemical and biological weapons. Might he have had a radiological dirty bomb (a chemical explosive coated with Cs-137 or something else)? Possibly, but even those are not militarily useful weapons and usually the terrorist who uses them dies from poisoning before he can deploy the device to the field. However, dirty bombs are great for striking terror (radiation! radiation! we’re all a’gonna die!) into ignorant liberal New Yorkers and the like. But as WMD they suck.
    Again, Kyle, I agree with you about Obama, but Saddam’s WMD effort was emasculated with respect to nuclear, and Iran currently does not have an immediate path forward to a bomb (even its heavy water Pu-239 Arak breeder is permanently disabled – concrete in the RPV as I recall; not sure).

  • There were no weapons of mass destruction.
    So he’s ignorant or a liar. Go figure.

    Both and.

  • Neil Bush just endorsed Ted Cruz. The Cruz’s go way back with the Bush administration both Ted and Heidi his wife before they were married worked in the Bush administration. Heidi worked with Condi Rice on a think tank for the Counicil on Foriegn Relations in drafting a policy that would eliminate our sovereign borders to include an invisible borders surrounding Canda, USA and Mexico with homeland security guarding it. Ted Cruz can seem like a true Constitutionalist but the more investigated his background the more I grew concerned. I don’t trust Ted Cruz and his wife. I’m voting for Donald Trump because he is the only speaking about protecting our country against global socialism New World Order being controlled by the UN. Nothing is going to matter if we don’t have a Soverign Nation. You better wake up!

  • Heidi worked with Condi Rice on a think tank for the Counicil on Foriegn Relations in drafting a policy that would eliminate our sovereign borders to include an invisible borders surrounding Canda, USA and Mexico with homeland security guarding it.

    This is pure moonbattery. If you’re concerned about Ted Cruz’s record on US sovereignty, I suggest you google the Medellin case, where Cruz – as Solicitor General of Texas – successfully argued before the Court to overrule a Bush administration directive which would have forced states to comply with the International Court of Justice in reviewing death penalty convictions of Mexican nationals.

  • Two matters I have yet to hear expressed during the current situation. 1. The investigation into Hillary’s email scandal should reach a conclusion soon to prevent a Constitutional crisis situation during or soon after the election. 2. If a Trump Presidency is inevitable, it may at least prompt the long overdue correction of abuses of Presidential powers. I would rather see a President Cruz accomplish as much in a non-adversarial manner but one way or the other it should be done.

  • Neil Bush just endorsed Ted Cruz

    Oh, you mean that Jeb and W’s little brother, who’s a businessman that nobody cares about other than his last name, joined the fund-raising team for Cruz, according to CNN.
    (A disclaimer it seems wise to include, given their behavior of late.)

    As for the claims about involvement with Dr. Rice, it seems to be a conflation of Mrs. Cruz’s prior work in the 90s as an investment banker that focused on Latin America with her work after she’d married him in ’01, when she was the Economic Director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council under Rice, or maybe some of her other public sector work.
    Or a general accusation about bankers.

  • Good video. Lucius and Wm P Walsh: Agree. I am so tired of that old saw re Pres. Bush’s lie about WMD. In the early days of the war Iraq’s western border with Syria was porous and convoys with Saddam relatives, gold/money and WMDs crossed over. When our troops found poison gas buried underground in concrete bunkers, where were the retractions in the media?
    We and our allies won the Iraq War. Obama then lost it!

  • We should wish not to see an effort at the Convention to undo the voters will. The place to make the argument is during the primary elections. How can the Republicans criticize the super-delegate rigged primary of the so-called Democratic Party, if they out do their shenanigans?

  • The long primary season is a blessing. Retail politics makes the candidates get face to face with ordinary people. The long season starts out with many candidates and going state to state gives the whole nation a chance to focus and learn. And “weed out” as they see things unfold. The first caucus and primary voters had a wider selection at the time, but we have all -the whole nation – got to know the candidates better, those early voters might very well make a different choice today. The system is great- open and energetic. The convention is there precisely for the purpose of making the best choice based on what we know now at convention time.

  • .Anzlyne, great point.

  • .Anzlyne, thanks for your optimism. If things work out for the best, we shall be pleased. My pessimism is based on past performance, unfortunately.

Proportional Military Action?

Thursday, May 21, AD 2015

24 Responses to Proportional Military Action?

  • Why would anyone in his sound and sober senses propose military action, “proportionate” or otherwise, against a group that is discomforting the Assad regime in Syria (an Iranian ally) or the pro-Iranian Shiites of Iraq?

    Iran, and only Iran, with its nuclear ambitions, poses an existential threat to Israel. Anything that weakens the Iranian Crescent – Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran and now Sana’a should surely be welcomed. Let us hope ISIS’s next target is Hezbollah in Lebanon.

  • Rubbish MPS. ISIS is an affront to all civilized humanity. Iran is an enemy also, but there is absolutely no need to support the murderers of ISIS in order to deal with Iran. A sensible strategy is to back and arm the Kurds and to strengthen them to crush ISIS and then to act as a bulwark against Iran, and a staging area for American air power.

  • Make up your mind!
    Conan the Barbarian speaks on what is good in life. “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”
    Whomever needs to bring the Good News to, and make well and truly blessed, the filthy pagans.

  • When a nation boldly pronounces that it seeks to destroy another, that is sufficient reason for the targeted nation to deploy all that is necessary to prevent such. Any military action against such an aggressor cannot be considered first strike–merely preventive defense. Tell me why that thinking is morally wrong in a day of weapons of such complete magnitude in the hands of suicidal religious fanatics?

  • What will the Vatican say when ISIS obtains and detonates a tactical nuclear weapon in Rome? Nothing for they will be dead. 🙁 The only correct response is overwhelming and unremitting force. Today’s ISIS is the German tribes threatening civilization 2 millenia ago except that the Germans were more civilized.

  • Why would anyone in his sound and sober senses propose military action, “proportionate” or otherwise, against a group that is discomforting the Assad regime in Syria (an Iranian ally) or the pro-Iranian Shiites of Iraq?

    Because they are doing things worse than the those evil groups are. What part of “feeding the mother who comes to beg for her son’s life the flesh of her son” needs elaboration? Crucifying children? Live burials, torture, rape?

    We don’t ignore evil because it’s mostly hurting people who may not like us and ‘discomforts’ other evil groups, especially not expansionist evil. Military action isn’t always the most effective way, but in this case their culture demands it.

  • Proportional military action

    I don’t see why proportional is a problem. Proportional refers to a response that meets the need, and not beyond it. It very well could be that proportional requires a “crushing” response. Why would you desire a response beyond what is needed?

  • Because in military matters cmatt you never truly know how much is needed to accomplish your goals, so the idea of a proportional response is ludicrous from the outset. Fighting Joe Hooker before he was crushed at Chancellorsville thought that having a two to one superiority would allow him to annihilate Lee. More fool he. Best to assume the worst in military matters and always, when able, to deploy much more force than you think you will need. Additionally, that tends to lessen casualties for your side, something that should always be a prime consideration.

  • Donald R. McClarey wrote, “A sensible strategy is to back and arm the Kurds and to strengthen them to crush ISIS and then to act as a bulwark against Iran, and a staging area for American air power.”

    Many Kurds desiderate a Kurdish homeland, a “greater Kurdistan” and strengthening the Iraqi Kurds could well have the unintended consequence of destabilising Turkey, a NATO ally. And for what? To destroy a group that is humiliating Iran by its attacks on its allies and proxies and drawing it into a bloody and expensive conflict.

  • Foxfier wrote, “Because they are doing things worse than the those evil groups are. “

    Is there really that much to choose between those who throw gay people off buildings and those who hang them from cranes? But that is by-the-by. Iran poses a deadly threat to Israel and ISIS does not.

    I would support them for the same reason Cardinal Richelieu subsidised Gustavus Adolphus and forged an alliance with the Turks against the Habsburg power.

  • “could well have the unintended consequence of destabilising Turkey, a NATO ally.”

    With allies like the Turks in regard to the Middle East who needs enemies? That song that you are singing MPS has been used for a very long time in keeping down the Kurds and I find it unconvincing. If Turkey topples because the Kurdish people finally have their own homeland, than Turkey is such a fragile state that it is doomed in the long term in any case.

  • “I would support them for the same reason Cardinal Richelieu subsidised Gustavus Adolphus and forged an alliance with the Turks against the Habsburg power.”

    And your policy would be just as mistaken as the policy of Richelieu who mistook France for Europe and his own ambition for the Church.

  • Thank you Donald! “Proportional military action” is ever the strategy of those who surely will not be doing the fighting. It is precisely a betrayal of those called upon to fight. But, coming from someone who famously stated that violence never conquers violence, it is entirely unsurprising.

  • Is there really that much to choose between those who throw gay people off buildings and those who hang them from cranes?

    You seriously need to do a little more research on who ISIS is and what they are doing if you think it all comes down to how the execute accused homosexuals. The examples I pointed to, which you ignored, are not even the worst.
    They are both evil. That does not mean they are evil to the same extent, in the same way, or at the same speed or with the same goals– much as the USSR vs the Axis Powers.

  • Proportional does not mean “bad estimate of the need.” The problem you cite is not with “proportionate” but with miscalculation. Or do you suggest that the US should have instituted a draft to take Granada?

  • I suggest that I have no problem with the overwhelming force used on Grenada, armchair critics at the time to the contrary. “Proportionate military force” is a phrase used by people who will not be fighting and have absolutely no concept of how difficult it is in advance to determine whether military force is adequate or not. Clerics understand “proportionate military force” as well as military men understand the kenosis.

  • Donald– so it’s not so much the concept as the way the concept gets abused?
    I, too, have noticed it seems like it only gets brought up with a presumption of ill-will against those who actually did something, and not against those who openly go “yes, our goal is to over-react so no-one dares even try it again.”

  • Grant or Sherman said something like, there is no way to kill gently or to destroy with honor. Hemingway, “War is a crime. Go ask the infantry. Go ask the dead.” Men and women suddenly and violently are killed.
    Economy of force means you go all-out to win and you don’t give the enemy any advantage whatsoever.
    “Proportionate military force” because he didn’t want to upset any liberal, snowflake ally. Thank God for small mercies. Seems as if he’s moved past “appeasement.”

  • The Roman Pontiff needs a lesson in how to deal with Islam.

  • ‘with the overwhelming force used on Grenada, armchair critics at the time to the contrary’
    There’s a story told me from one among the first envoy.
    A hotel near the beach was used for the troops and prisoners. The prisoners were in the pool area asking for food, which, in whatever Spanish attempted, the reply could be interpreted as their being the food so panic ensued among them. The doctor had an abundant supply of valium and used it to get prisoners peacefully through the next few hours.

  • Don

    Give me a break!

    I suppose if the good Cardinal knew his statements were a non sequiter he would not have made them. But if he doesn’t understand basics should he be doing that sort of work.

    Proportionality is a part of the Just War doctrine. But it means something entirely different than the Cardinal’s use.

    The just war doctrine has two parts.
    Jus ad bellum
    The right to go to war

    Jus in bello.
    Moral conduct in war.

    Proportionality is a part of the Jus in bello . But it certainly not the whole part. And the whole should be considered.

    First it refers to choices of weapons and tactics that actually exist in a given saturation. Given the options that will successfully accomplish the military objective he should use the one that cause the least suffering.

    A standard example is:

    A soldier has an M16 and a .50 caliber machine gun. If in his individual military judgment the M16 is the best weapon for the situation using the .50 cal because he wants to see bodies fly apart is violation of proportionality. If his considered military opinion the .50 cal is the best weapon for the situation, then using it is not a violation of proportionality. But really, a reasonable sense of self preservation would tell him not to misuse the .50 cal or he won’t have the ammunition when he needs it.

    The term proportionality is sometimes (mis)used in Jus ad bellum to the that there should be a reasonable eexpection that the gain for the war will be less than the cost. If it isn’t don’t go to war. Which has always been a part of the doctrine.

    The Cardinals comments to not seem to be correctly addressing the situation in terms of the Just War doctrine.

    Kevin Anderson wrote an excellent

    discussion from an International Law perspective which is basically the same as the clasic Catholic Just War doctrine. This is required reading for understanding what proportionality means.

    Ok Ok I am getting off my soap box. Have a good week end.

  • I suppose “proportional sporting action” would playing to tie the game, wouldn’t it?

  • I would support them for the same reason Cardinal Richelieu subsidised Gustavus Adolphus and forged an alliance with the Turks against the Habsburg power.
    –Michael Paterson-Seymour

    And your policy would be just as mistaken as the policy of Richelieu who mistook France for Europe and his own ambition for the Church.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    Yeah, Richelieu was ambitious and wrong.

Update on Iraq

Friday, September 12, AD 2014



With the US now committed in the fight against ISIS, also known as ISIL, in Iraq, I would recommend that readers stay up to date by reading the frequent updates on Iraq on Strategy Page, the best English language one stop source on events in Iraq.  Here is the latest:

September 8, 2014: The American air attacks have increased and put ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) on the defensive. There have been about 150 American air attacks since they began on August 8 th and now occur everywhere ISIL has forces in Iraq. Thus in the last month ISIL has lost control of a major dam, a refinery and major oil fields around Kirkuk. ISIL is also losing control of the oil smuggling operation it had established in Syria and western Iraq. The attack against the Haditha dam includes local Sunni tribal militiamen who have refused to join ISIL. Many Sunni tribes backed away from supporting ISIL or agreed to work with the government. Haditha is the second largest dam in the country in terms of hydroelectric power and water supply.

Kurdish troops, also backed by American air power (directed by American air controllers on the ground with the Kurds) are also taking back territory around Mosul. This is one of several operations in the last month where the Kurds have shown that, with the help of American air support, they are nearly invincible against ISIL forces. Even Iraqi Shia troops and Sunni militias have some success when aided by air support. Most ISIL fighters now accept this new battlefield reality, but some less determined ISIL gunmen are discouraged and desertions are more common. There have also been several recent instances of ISIL gunmen fleeing after the first smart bomb or missile hits, not willing to shoot it out with the oncoming Kurds. This often involves abandoning vehicles, weapons, ammo and equipment.

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9 Responses to Update on Iraq

  • Time to begin prying the rest of the Kurdish homeland away from Turkey and Iran. This will not happen soon, but motion in that direction by the US is decades overdue.

  • Micha Elyl wrote, “Time to begin prying the rest of the Kurdish homeland away from Turkey…”

    Perhaps it is, but we should not forget that the “Kurdish homeland” in Eastern Anatolia used to be called “Western Armenia.”

    In 1915, the then Ottoman government, whose armed forces were otherwise engaged, enlisted the Kurdish tribes to exterminate the Armenian population, in return for the Armenian lands. About a million and a half Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1923. More Armenians were killed by Kurds than by Turks.

    Of course, we should use the Kurds against ISIL. We should encourage their separatist ambitions in Iran, too, for Iran, with its nuclear ambitions, is a far greater threat to Israel than ISIL ever will be. But we should not forget that the Kurds are the butchers of Christian Armenia.

  • The Kurds, the ancient biblical Medes [as in Medes and Persinas], today are welcoming Christians into their region, thanks be to God, but back in the first part of the twentieth century they also were persecuting Christians in northern Iraq

  • In 1915, the then Ottoman government, whose armed forces were otherwise engaged, enlisted the Kurdish tribes to exterminate the Armenian population, in return for the Armenian lands. About a million and a half Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1923.

    See the work of demographer Justin McCarthy on this point. Both the dimensions of the death toll and the purposes and methods of the Ottoman government are a matter of dispute.

  • “But we should not forget that the Kurds are the butchers of Christian Armenia.”
    I once spoke with an Armenian woman who accused the Turks of starving her people to death. The Armenian genocide was covered over and never spoken of. I am assured that the Armenian genocide did happen.

  • One of the comic episodes in this true “farce” is Marie Harf’s (deputy spokeswoman for the State Dept.) and oxymoronically-named Josh Earnest’s (White House Press Secretary)contorted efforts to avoid the use of the word “war” to describe the military action against ISIS. You are dropping bombs on targets. You are attacking with military aircraft. You have sworn the destruction of an [ill-defined] enemy. But one musnt call it “war.”

    This is utterly reflective of this administration’s and especially Obama’s classic Marxist roots—Lenin, Trotsky and all of them always claimed war was a tool of the capitalistsutilized in order to maintain oppression of the masses. So, the contortionistm must go on: Marxists always claim they are harbingers of peace, even while they have no compunction about the death and destruction of hundreds, thousands or millions, but this “all for the cause.”

    “It is sufficient to glance at the present war (WW!) from the view point that it is a continuation of the politics of the “great” powers, and of the principal classes within them, to see at once the howling anti-historicalness, falsity and hypocrisy of the view that the “defence of the fatherland” idea can be justified in the present war.” —Lenin, Socialism and War, 1917

  • Steve Phoenix

    Chancelleries around the world tend to be chary of using the word “war” in describing conflicts, because of the implications in Public International Law, particularly in relation to the rights and responsibilities of neutrals.

    Publicists tend to confine the term “war” to conflicts between state actors. Then, there is a “state of belligerency,” where rebels or insurgents have established control of a territory and have established a de facto government there and who are treated, for some purposes, as a state. One important consequence is that the former government is absolved of its responsibility for the actions of the belligerents and for the protection of the persons and property of foreign nationals within the territory controlled by them. In recent times, this has happened in several cases in Africa: the Nigeria-Biafra conflict and the Congo-Katanga conflict, where a number of foreign mining companies and others were left without an effective remedy for their losses.

    There is also the whole vexed question of “guerrillas,” within the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which accords them most of the rights of prisoners of war.

    One can well understand the State Department’s caution.

  • This administration seems addicted to operating Utra Vires. If Obama were a Republican, he’d be tarred, feathered and run out of Washington on a rail. No declaration of war, no ground troops and a wobbly coalition of the incredulous all bombing from the safety of the skies runs the risk of collateral destruction of civilian lives. War is best avoided if morally possible, but if not, entered upon legally, and with a determination to achieve swift and total victory. My knowledge of the Kurds is sparse but should we punish them for the sins of their grandfathers? Has anyone here read The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian?

  • Marie Harf (Deputy Spokesmouth, State Dept) Press Briefing 9/11/2014 – Washington,DC:

    REPORTER: Marie, help me with this term, “war on terrorism.” Is that —

    MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, I don’t think I’ve ever used that term from here.

    QUESTION: No, no, I’m just – Said it used it earlier. Thirteen years on, he said this “war on terrorism.” Is that something that’s out of the lexicon now of the U.S. Government’s comments on what’s happening?

    MS. HARF: Well, it’s certainly not how I would refer to our efforts.

    QUESTION: Okay. The second thing is that surely, this direct U.S. bombing of Syria is really back into – without UN sanction or being involved with this – is back into the doctrine of preemption.

    MS. HARF: Do – is there a question?

    QUESTION: Yeah, it’s a question.

    MS. HARF: Or was that just a statement?

    QUESTION: Is that the road that we’re traveling on now?

    MS. HARF: Well, I wouldn’t use that term either. When we talk about how you degrade and defeat terrorist organizations, it’s not exactly, I think, how you’re probably using the term, and it’s not one that I’m using. Our goal is to prevent terrorist organizations from being able to attack the United States or our interests, to degrade their capabilities to do so. Obviously, that’s – those are the kind of terms I would use when it comes to this current effort.

    It is clear to me now: our plan is to blast the enemy with lethal levels of confusion.

Sleep Easy America, Biden is on the Job!

Thursday, September 4, AD 2014

Father Z points out a celebration of the fierce comments of beloved National Clown and Veep Joe Biden on ISIS/ISIL:


Meanwhile, from The People’s Cube, we have a solution to the problem of ISIS!

I hope the President is taking notes.

ISIL to be Defeated by Twitter and Instagram Bombardment
Dear Comrades,

Comrade Vice President Joseph Biden has announced that the USSA will chase The Islamic Caliphate (PBUI) ‘to the gates of hell’ with a barrage of fearsome Twitter messages and fatally ironic Instagram photos.

Already successful used by the USSA State Department’s Information Directorate against the bourgeois imperialist Vladimir Putin and the Boko Haram in Nigeria, The Islamic State can soon expect to receive thousand of potentially embarrassing texts and pictures from high-capacity online accounts being prepared at the White Fortress.

Throughout the USSA, countless college students have already volunteered to repost and retweet State messages, adding even heavier firepower to the State’s already considerable resources. So many messages are expected to put Caliphate accounts that many officials expect a total retreat within weeks, if not the closing of thousands of account by disloyal terrorist operatives.

Debilitated by shame and unable to handle ironic humor, Comrade President B. B. Obama has told Party officials he expects total destruction of the enemy back to manageable proportions before his mid-Autumn golf season begins in early October.

We will embarrass the Caliphate back to the Stone Age! Social Pressure is the preferred People’s Weapon!!


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One Response to Sleep Easy America, Biden is on the Job!

PopeWatch: Father Benoka

Tuesday, September 2, AD 2014

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCEThe Cavalry that Christians throughout the Middle East, and particularly in Syria and Iraq have been undergoing continues unabated:

Pope Francis telephoned a priest serving refugees at a camp in northern Iraq last month after receiving a heartfelt letter from him about the suffering of Christians there.

Fr Behnam Benoka, who received the call, told the Zenit news agency that the Pope expressed his closeness to persecuted Christians and his gratitude at the work of volunteers. He also promised to do his utmost to relieve their suffering, the priest said.

Fr Benoka had sent a message via Viber to Rome-based journalist Alan Holdren, who handed it to the Pope on his return from South Korea.

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2 Responses to PopeWatch: Father Benoka

  • Revelation chapter 6:
    9 When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar[i] the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, “How long will it be, holy and true master,[j] before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.

  • Pingback: Anti-Christian Hate Crime by Muslims -

Isis Waning

Tuesday, August 19, AD 2014



As predicted here, it is up fast and down fast for the ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, terrorists.  Strategy Page continues to provide the best coverage of events in Iraq on the net:

August 19, 2014: Kurdish troops have forced ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant) fighters out of the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River. ISIL seized control of the dam on August 3 rd. This is the largest dam in Iraq and because of shoddy construction during the 1980s requires constant maintenance to prevent it from failing. If the dam did come down over half a million Iraqis could die from the flood and subsequent water shortages. The Kurds had been defending the dam since the Iraqi Army ran away in early June. ISIL also seized two nearby Kurdish held towns as they went after the dam.

This ISIL advance was not unexpected because the Kurds stretched themselves thin by trying to replace the Iraqi Army while also building and defending a new fortified border to incorporate Kirkuk and nearby oilfields. The Kurds asked for air support from the United States but did not start receiving it until the 8th. The Americans had already shipped in ammo and light weapons and some additional American trainers and advisors.

ISIL hit the Kurds with multiple columns of vehicles carrying armed men. This force included some suicide bombers and there were more ISIL gunmen coming from more directions than the small Kurdish force could handle. After a day or so of holding off ISIL the Kurds were ordered to withdraw and they did that in an orderly fashion on the 3rd. The Kurds organized a counterattack force and moved to regain the lost territory once the U.S. agreed to resume air support. There are still some ISIL gunmen in the vicinity of the dam, as well as some mines and booby-traps the Islamic terrorists set before they left. Kurdish forces are taking care of this.

In the Euphrates River Valley, near the town of Haditha, local Sunni tribes have rebelled against ISIL to maintain control of another major dam. This is a major setback for ISIL, which expected the Sunni tribes to support them and take care of local security. It’s an old story being replayed. The local tribesmen are not happy with ISIL efforts to force a strict Islamic lifestyle on them. Iraqi and Syria Sunnis have come to prefer educating their daughters and enjoying TV and videos. There is even more tolerance for buying alcoholic beverages from local Christians who have long been allowed to sell this stuff because their religion does not forbid it (and their worship services actually use wine). Also unpopular is the ISIL attitude that anything they do is above reproach. The Sunni tribes that ISIL expected to be allies and take care of administering the newly conquered territories have increasingly refused to go along. While the Sunni tribes like the measure of law and order ISIL has imposed they are not willing to accept all the other features of ISIL rule. The secular Sunnis (mainly the surviving Baath Party organizations) initially believed they could work with ISIL but have since turned against the strict forms of Islam ISIL insists on. Meanwhile ISIL has antagonized many Islamic conservative groups by destroying shrines and even mosques ISIL considers heretical despite the fact that most Sunni Arabs tolerate these places because they are very popular, and bring in a significant amount of tourist business from foreigners and religious pilgrims.

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15 Responses to Isis Waning

  • Pope Francis on his plane trip home seems to be against bombing and war but does want ISIL stopped…I fear he is reading the wonderful Catholics at the pacifist websites who seemed to have grown up in very protected situations…here is Francis answering on the plane home from Korea:

    “In these cases where there is unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb ‘stop’; I don’t say bomb, make war — stop him. The means by which he may be stopped should be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit, but we nevertheless need to remember how many times, using this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor, the powerful nations have dominated other peoples, made a real war of conquest. A single nation cannot judge how to stop this, how to stop an unjust aggressor. After the Second World War, there arose the idea of the United Nations. That is where we should discuss: ‘Is there an unjust aggressor? It seems there is. How do we stop him?’ But only that, nothing more.”

    Words fail me. Apparently we can’t use air force bombs but must drop air borne rangers who will sing ” Stop In The Name of Love…before you break my heart…think it ooover”… to men who behead six year old girls and we must do this after the UN evaluates…Is there an unjust aggressor? Does his Holiness have a tv?

  • “…the powerful nations have dominated other peoples, made a real war of conquest.” Pope Francis slanders the United States of America. The U.S.A. has taken only the land needed to bury her dead warriors for freedom. The United Nations, on the other hand, does not acknowedge “their Creator” from the Declaration of Independence and will surely make beasts of burden of the less powerful nations. Only the U. S. has stopped the United Nations from absorbing other smaller nations, as it pursues all mineral rights under the sea and an international court. The U.N has plans to tax American citizens to pay for a standing army and all without God. The victory of atheism. And this is what Pope Francis calls for? Pope Francis needs to buy a tv.
    P.S. Planned Parenthood has infiltrated the United Nations and uses the U.N. to indoctrinate American Children in public school that abortion is their natural right, and all with tax dollars. If Pope Francis is unaware of this, then he really needs to buy a tv.

  • Mary,
    We pay 25% of the UN budget though we are 4% of the earth’s population.
    The UN which Pope Benedict said needed more teeth in section 67 of “Caritas in Veritate” has blasted Ireland and other countries for banning abortion a month ago…so Popes are not thinking when they wish it teeth:

  • Pat,
    Hyperbole is big over there. Gaza’s Hamas just before the last fighting warned Israel, ” We will bring the gates of hell against you.” That became the worst prediction of the decade. But ISIS will get here but I suspect, being users of media, it will be the same old, same old flashy targets…Manhattan, DC, and Boston and I’m in the NY harbor perimeter so it does make me wonder about dirty bombs which they could well afford. There are stirrings in the Congress about ISIS being more than about Iraq and that we should be fighting then as wherever they are…as we had sought Al Qaeda. Their two greatest sources of income are oil fields in Syria and Iraq. We should begin there with cruise missiles programmed for all equipment at the sites.
    If we don’t do it now, we will do it in reaction to their first act here. I suspect this aim of Obama’s will broaden with Congressional urging.

  • The huge shame and sadness of this is, that if O’Bumbler had responded to Maliki’s request six months ago, the ISIL and the carnage they have brought to the region would not exist – USAF and attack drones could have eliminated ISIL at the Syrian border.
    Obama has blood on his hands, through refusing to act on the request of an ally. The US still has a major reponsibilty to Iraq, but Obama would not act because he didn’t like the way Maliki was running the country – political considerations outweigh humanitarian ones to this totally inept president.
    If anyone had doubts about this guy’s competence previously, there can be no doubt now – its there for the world to see – except perhaps for his sychophants who are his bootlickers.

  • if a particular manifestation wanes, it seems the monster grows another head or takes a different form > PLO or al qaeda or HAMAS or ISIS

  • Don the Kiwi wrote, “Obama would not act because he didn’t like the way Maliki was running the country…”
    Why would anyone want to shore up the pro-Shia, pro-Iranian government of Nouri al-Maliki? The real enemy in the region is Iran, for only Iran, with its nuclear programme, can threaten the existence of Israel. Iraq, destabilised and divided can only be a good thing.
    For the same reason, if Syria is turned from an Iranian ally (with strong armed forces and artillery positions on the Golan Heights) into a battle-ground for rival militias, that, too, increases Israel’s security, especially as Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, will no longer be able to operate freely there.

  • The point remains Michael, earlier action could have saved people from some if this. Not because anybody esteemed Maliki.
    . You just can’t have a fixed template that you won’t digress from when fighting these evil forces. We can’t even call them an “axis” they are Disordered and Chaotic. When one is killing snakes one must be flexible and fast.

  • Maliki was our guy until Obama decided he wasn’t. The US still has troops in Germany, Japan, and Korea. There is an American military presence in Djibouti, E. Africa. Why didn’t we keep similar bases in Iraq?

    What is the body count of us run up by Iran and the Shia?

    Almost all the world’s terrorsists are Arabs and/or Sunni.

    But, MPS is correct.

    Obama aided and abeted the mass-murderers and now they’re killing Christians, and undoing what thousands of GI’s died to achieve. Collateral damage. They were expendable. Those losses cannot be considered severe. You needs to break some eggs to make an omelet. And, that’s what the zero and Hillary have done: made more of a bloody mess of the ME.

    The only guy that’s happy about all this is Jimmy Carter. He’s no longer the worst Prez in history.

    If Hillary and her enablers can convince the sheeple that she was never Secy of State . . .

  • bill bannon: One stipulation of becoming a citizen for the illegal alien is to serve two years in the military, not by choice, but by draft.
    Eradicating human existence cannot be a human right. Equal Justice requires that my freedom ends where your freedom begins. Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. The human being acknowledges God by being a human being.
    It goes without saying that the human being denies God by becoming a liar and a murderer.
    It is being whispered about in the eastern European nations that Pope Francis is a communist. Who else would know better than those oppressed by communism?

  • T Shaw wrote, “Almost all the world’s terrorsists are Arabs and/or Sunni.”

    Hezbollah is a Shiite organisation and a state proxy of Iran, a country about 60% Persian and 25% Azeri. Only about 2% of the population is Arab. We seem to have forgotten the 15-year civil war in Lebanon.

  • One stipulation of becoming a citizen for the illegal alien is to serve two years in the military, not by choice, but by draft.

    Is that really such a good idea – a drafted foreign force? How well did that eventually work out for the Romans?

    As for ISIS, ebb and flow is the MO of these types of groups – a flash of victories, then receding, but never quite disappearing, only morphing into something else. Conquest through a thousand cuts. They are like weeds- need to be destroyed to the root or they come back, and even then it requires constant vigilance.

  • MDV said: “One stipulation of becoming a citizen for the illegal alien is to serve two years in the military, not by choice, but by draft.”

    Spoke with a National Guard recruiter at the high school where I teach 2 days ago. He said that 6 weeks into their National Guard basic training that recruits who do not have American citizenship are sworn in as US citizens. So the process can be expedited much quicker than 2 years.

  • Barbara Gordon

    In France, aliens may apply for naturalisation after three years military service. However, this period is waived for those wounded in action – « Français par le sang verse » [French by the shedding of blood], as is the usual one year’s delay between the application for and granting of citizenship.

    For many years, universal suffrage and universal conscription were seen as two sides of the same coin and men were only eligible to vote or hold office after completion of their military service. Under the ancien regime, the three “estates” of the realm were the nobility, the clergy and the Third Estate – those who fought, those who prayed and those who paid taxes and the sword was the badge of the gentleman. It was the Revolution that ushered in the principle that no one should be denied the right, nor be relieved of the responsibility of defending the nation under arms.

Everything You Need to Know About ISIL in Iraq

Thursday, June 26, AD 2014



Media coverage of events in Iraq is by and large pretty poor, reporting day to day events without giving much needed context.  Strategy Page performs a public service by giving briefings that provide a fantastic overview of just what is going on.  In their latest briefing they explain who the Sunni terrorists are who have grabbed so much of Iraq:



ISIL began as ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) after 2004 and was one of many Sunni Islamic terrorist groups operating in Iraq back then. By 2010 ISI was almost destroyed due to U.S. efforts, especially getting many Sunni tribes to turn against the Islamic terrorist groups. But after U.S. forces left in 2011 the Iraqi government failed to follow U.S. advice to take good care of the Sunni tribes, if only to keep the tribes from again supporting the Islamic terrorist groups. Instead the Shia led government turned against the Sunni population and stopped providing government jobs and regular pay for many of the Sunni tribal militias. Naturally many Sunni Arabs went back to supporting terror groups, especially very violent ones like ISI.

After 2011, as the Iraqi Shia were turning on the Sunni Arab minority, there was a rebellion against a minority Shia government in Syria, led by the Sunni Arab majority there. The Sunni tribes of western Iraq were linked by culture and sometimes family links with the Sunni tribes of eastern Syria. The rebellion in Syria got ISI thinking about forming a new Islamic Sunni state out of eastern Syria, western Iraq, Baghdad (historically the seat of Sunni power in the area, despite it now being half Shia) and Mosul. Actually this also includes Lebanon and all of Iraq, but this was kept quiet initially. This decision had ISI spending a lot more time and effort recruiting in western Iraq after 2011. ISIL was created in 2013 when ISI sought to become the dominant rebel group in Syria by persuading men, especially foreigners, from other Islamic terrorist groups fighting in Syria to join a new, united Islamic terrorist group called ISIL. This caused problems because of the harsh way ISIL treated civilians and anyone who opposed them. ISIL relished the publicity their atrocities received. But al Qaeda knew from bitter experience (in Iraq from 2006-2008) that the atrocities simply turned the Islamic world against you. The bad relations between ISIL and all the other Islamic radicals in Syria reached a low point in June 2013 when the head of al Qaeda (bin Laden successor Ayman al Zawahiri) declared the recent merger of the new (since January 2013) Syrian Jabhat al Nusra (JN) with ISIL unacceptable and ordered the two groups to remain separate. That was because the merger was announced by ISI/ISIL without the prior agreement of JN leadership. Many JN members then left their JN faction to join ISIL. JN leaders saw this as a power grab by ISI/ISIL and most of the JN men who left to join ISIL were non-Syrians. Many of these men had worked with ISI before and thought they were joining a more powerful group. A month later al Qaeda declared ISIL outcasts and sanctioned the war against them. By January 2014 this had turned into all-out war between ISIL and the other rebel groups in Syria.

That was not the first time al Qaeda has had to slap down misbehaving Iraqi Islamic terror groups and won’t be the last. But it’s not a problem unique to Iraq. It is a problem for Saudi Arabia because the Saudis finance al Nusra and some of the other Islamic terrorist rebels in Syria that are now at war with ISIL. To the Saudis such support is the lesser of two evils as ISIL is crippling rebel efforts to overthrow the Assad government. This is also part of the ideological war the Saudis (and most other Sunni Moslems) are fighting with Shia Iran (and its Shia allies the Assads and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon). Meanwhile the Saudis continue crushing the Sunni Islamic terrorists that try to attack them at home. This includes local members of ISIL. All this sounds somewhat bizarre, with Saudi Arabia funding missionaries that create Islamic terrorists who become uncontrollable and seem to overthrow the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Absurd it may be, but it is a familiar pattern in this part of the world where religion and politics have long been intertwined in absurd and tragic ways.

The Saudis have been dealing with Islamic terrorism within their borders since the kingdom was formed in the 1920s and were able to quickly defeat the 2003 al Qaeda offensive. At first al Qaeda terrorists appeared capable of doing some serious damage in Saudi Arabia. In 2003-4, they made four major attacks. These killed 68 people, including twelve Americans. But most of the dead were Saudis, and this turned the population against the terrorists. All the planned terror attacks since then have been aborted by security forces, usually via tips from Saudi civilians. Most Islamic terrorists have now fled the kingdom. Despite this a large minority of Saudis still support al Qaeda, but it’s the majority who do not and that makes it nearly impossible for the terrorists to operate in their “homeland.” Killing civilians will do that, and al Qaeda has not been able to figure out how to fight without shedding the blood of innocents. So the innocents are taking their revenge. Meanwhile there is still support for groups like ISIL inside Saudi Arabia and ISIL has been recruiting for Saudi men to go fight in Syria and Iraq.

Taking Mosul was crucial to the ISIL plan for regional and world conquest. Mosul was part of Turkey until 1918, when the victorious Allies took Mosul province, and its oil, away from Turkey (to prevent the Turks from financing an effort to rebuild their empire) and gave it to the newly created Iraq. In the 1980s Saddam Hussein, again feuding with the Kurdish majority in northern Iraq, killed or drove Kurds out of Mosul and invited poor Sunnis from the south to move in and take over. After 2003 the Kurds came back seeking to regain their stolen property and control of Mosul. The Sunni Arabs there did not want to give up their new homes as they would be destitute if they did so. So the fighting was vicious and the Mosul Sunnis were glad to get help from ISIL and other Sunni terror groups. But now most Mosul residents are feeling the impact of the ISIL take over as new lifestyle rules have been issued forbidding many things Westernized Iraqis take for granted.

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5 Responses to Everything You Need to Know About ISIL in Iraq

  • One of the really stunning things about this ISIL resurgence in Iraq is not mentioned by Strategy page history: the fact that the success of the American military surge in Iraq in 2007-8 was caused in part by the Sunnis turning against ISI. ISI attempted to coerce the Sunnis into giving them more support, and their preferred methods were terror and atrocity. Eventually many Sunnis turned on the ISI and gave the American military enough support to root them out.

    So here we have, less than a decade later, the very people who were traumatized by these terrorists now welcoming them back. It is absurd and obscene. It just goes to show that the ‘shifting sands’ metaphor for Mid-East politics is very apt, and we all know that nothing solid can be built upon such a foundation.

  • Yes We Can!

    Hope and Change!

    The New World Disorder.

  • No average voter that I know, who has paid attention to the situation in the Middle East in the last 20 years, is the least bit surprised that the Iraqi defense forces have turn tail & run from their enemy once the USA pulled out of Iraq. I have a hard time believing that John Kerry, having lived through the Vietnam war, is the least bit surprised by these turn of events either. However, he must tow the politically correct line for the Osama Administration & act as if we had not predicted this very thing (name misspelled on purpose.)

  • Pingback: The Ecumenical Laboratory of Ukraine -

Syria and Iraq

Sunday, June 15, AD 2014



More from Strategy Page on the situation in Iraq and how it relates to the winding down of the revolt in Syria:


Currently ISIL is trying to gain complete control over eastern Syria and western Iraq. That is proving difficult because of continued resistance in Syria by government forces and Kurds as well as some rival Islamic terrorist groups (mainly al Nusra). In Iraq the Shia controlled government sent so many of their best units to Anbar that the security forces in Mosul collapsed and handed ISIL an unexpected victory. That appears to be backfiring because now the Shia government of Iraq has given in to years of Kurd demands that the autonomous Kurds of northern Iraq be allowed to take control of Mosul and Kirkuk and nearby oil fields. At this point the Iraqi government doesn’t have much choice. The Kurds will have to fight hard for Mosul and Kirkuk, but the Kurdish army (the Peshmerga) have been defeating Sunni Islamic terrorists for a long time. In this fight, the ISIL is the underdog. ISIL can afford to give up Mosul and Kirkuk because these are not historically Bedouin lands but rather Kurdish. The Kurds will be fighting harder for them. Ultimately ISIL wants to control their own homeland to the south. Once that is done ISIL believes their Holy Warriors can gain control of all of Syria and Iraq and then the world. This has never worked, in large part because of the extreme brutality these Holy Warriors use against their opponents. ISIL has been deliberately murdering Shia, Christian and Kurdish civilians in an effort to terrorize their groups into surrender. That is not working and rarely has in the last few centuries. All these groups have powerful foreign allies who work hard to help their kinsmen fight back.   

Despite these problems ISIL is real and dangerous. There’s a reason for that. Islamic terrorists have long been depicted in Arab culture as noble and pure warriors fighting to protect Islam. This is partly religion and partly culture but the reality is no Islamic radicals have ever managed to do any permanent good for the Moslem world. This truth gets realized and accepted eventually and then forgotten again. For example after the 2008 defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, and the 90 percent decline in al Qaeda attacks there it was believed that Islamic terrorism was on the ropes once more and many Arabs were visibly relieved. But the Arab Spring changed all that. Terrorist attacks worldwide, most of them by Moslem religious radicals, more than doubled from 7,200 in 2009 to 18,500 in 2013.    

There have been many outbreaks of Islamic terrorism in the past but his time around the chief cause was state sponsored Islamic terrorism by Pakistan and a recent boost by the Arab Spring uprisings and continued financial support by wealthy Arabs in the Persian Gulf and fanatic young men throughout Arabia. The Pakistani policy of covertly supporting and encouraging Islamic terrorist groups began in the late 1970s and after September 11, 2001 there Islamic terrorists were increasingly out of Pakistani control. Thus Pakistan found itself in the position of continuing to support Islamic terrorists who attacked India and Afghanistan while fighting a growing number of disaffected terrorist groups at home that had declared war on Pakistan. The result was a huge spike in Islamic terrorist violence. For the Arab Spring countries it meant prolonged unrest and more Islamic terrorist deaths. Worse, it isn’t over, especially in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria. Over 200,000 have died so far in the Arab Spring countries, and millions more wounded, imprisoned or driven from their homes.

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23 Responses to Syria and Iraq

  • Iran has deep-seated problems of its own. Because of its collapsing birth-rate (from a TFR of 7 in the 1980s to 1.6 today), by 2050 about one-third of its population will consist of the dependent elderly, as compared to about one-twelfth today, while its oil exports, which currently account for about one-fifth of per capita GDP will have virtually dried up by 2020. Indeed, Iran is already a net importer of refined products.

    Moreover, there are unresolved disputes over Caspian oil with both Russia and Azerbaijan (and a large part of the population of Northern Iran is Azeri.)

    It would not be surprising, if Iran sought a solution to this impending disaster by trying to gain control of the oil-fields in the majority Shia areas of Iraq and Western Arabia. Any Iranian government will, in any event, be obliged to present itself as the champions of Shia Islam. Iran is a confessional state, with religion the bond of unity between the different races that compose it. Persians make up only 60-65% of the population.

    If that is the plan, they had better do so before their dwindling financial resources and the decline in the number of men of military age renders it impossible.

  • Why is the Iranian birthrate in such decline? Is that not unusual for an Islamic country?

  • All Islamic countries have experienced a birth rate decline, but Iran has fallen off a cliff in regard to birth rate:

  • Throughout the Muslim world, the lowest rates of adult literacy correspond to the highest population growth rate.
    Even allowing for other factors, like urbanization, altered patterns of living, of housing, of the human relation with space and land, of marketing, employment, and consumption, and the very structure of family and social hierarchy, UN figures for the 34 largest Muslim countries suggest literacy alone accounts for 58% of the variation in birth-rates.
    What happened over three generations in the Maghreb has taken place over a single generation in Iran.
    In the Middle East, Israel presents a curious contrast with its neighbours. Although it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, its Jewish population has one of the highest fertility rates (2.8%) and one of the lowest suicide rates (5-6 per 100,000) of any industrialised country. Amongst Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish settlers, mostly from Muslim countries, the birth-rate is even higher.

  • Thank you, Donald. So the Iranian govt encouraged birth control and look what happened!

  • The liberal main stream media rarely reports the real story–on anything–they are too busy pushing their agenda and manipulating public opinion to complete any real investigative, accurate reporting.

    A lot of the “Christian” media follow suit in the same manner–as has been discussed regularly on this blog. I was sickened to hear a fluffy, feel good, give each other big hugs & smiles to make the world a better place, kumbaya report on K-Love radio this past week re: Iran. Apparently some poor Iranian government approved artist has painted several government approved murals in government approved spots. K-Love radio hosts just thought that was the sweetest thing & commented that the artist was making the world a more beautiful place. I could have vomited while listening to the report. Mean while, as these murals are being painted, Iranian citizens are being imprisoned, raped, tortured, murdered, & denied every basic God given freedom known to man. At least we may take comfort that there is a pretty mural for Iranians to view on their way to being decapitated. *sarcasm*

    If it were not for alternative media & the internet, I would never know what was really going on in the world.

  • I would dearly love to help the Kurds in anyway possible. I know at one point Samaritan’s purse was assisting Kurdish widows & orphans.

    I have no doubt that the Kurds will fight harder for their home land than any intruders. I know I would fight with every ounce of strength in me for my family and homeland.

    Does anyone know if America still keeps a no fly zone over the Kurdish region of Iraq as we did in order to save their lives after Sadam Hussein gassed an entire town of Kurds to death. I will never forget the raw video I saw of the aftermath of that ethnic cleansing episode.

  • 2 of my very best friends in college were young Syrian Christians from their Capitol city. They lived under the dictatorship of Assad. They could only discuss their faith inside the walls of their church, their mail came to them opened (all of it,) they were followed by a government agent every where they went in public, told stories of people simply disappearing to never be seen again after an accusation of that individual criticizing the Syrian government, even in college in a foreign land my friends, women, were in fear of the government and still shuddered when thinking about having to wear Muslim head garb in their schools. Their father was working in a refrigeration plant in Saudi Arabia at the time I was in college with them. The women showed me pictures of the Christians worshipping in secret in Saudi Arabia. They said if the Saudis ever found out that their father was a Christian that he would be given 3 days to leave the country or be decapitated. Being young and niave in the ways of dictatorships at the time, I did not fully believe that the Saudis would kill another nation’s citizens for being a Christian. Then not long after hearing the threat against their father, I saw pictures of 3 Christian men who were indeed found out by the Saudis & were decapitated. The information re: those martyrdoms was received through an organization that reports on the underground/persecuted church world wide. Apparently the men who were martyred were either unable to get out of Saudi Arabia in the allotted time or simply were never given the chance.

  • Donald & MPS: To my knowledge, Islam strictly teaches against abortion as such. I have had something explained to me about Islam requiring a type of respect for unborn children. Do you know if Iran has instituted use of any form of abortion since they have introduced birth control?

  • Ms Barbara were your Syrian friends followed because they were Christians or because they were going to college and thus likely to get some new-fangled ideas about freedom? One has to distinguish between the two. At the end of the day, it is for the people there to make their adjustments. There is no need to spell out, in light of what is happening to the Iraqi Shiites right now, what the fate of the Syrian Christians would be, had the same ‘freedom fighters’ overcome the Syrian Army. No thanks surely to the US and other heralds of freedom.

  • Ivan,

    As I understand it, at that time which was in the mid to late 1980s, it was strictly because my friends were of a Christian faith thatctheyvreceived such intimidation & harrassment at the hands of the Syrian dictatorship. My friends were members of an evangelical Alliance church in the capitol of Syria. All of their church members & famiky mrmbers were followed by Syrian government agents everywhere they went in public in Syria, all mail going to households in which church members lived was opened & read by government agents, their homes & cars were bugged, they were only able to practice and/or discuss their faith inside of the walls of the physical Alliance Church, & they were not even allowed to invite someone to their church while in Syria. My understanding is that the Syrian dictator allowed the Christians to have a public presence only as a political tool to keep the majority Muslim faith from over throwing his government. The dictator was a member of a minority Muslim group & needed the Christisns to help him maintain power. Otherwise the Alliance Churches would not have been allowed to exist within Syria at the given time. My understanding was that Assad was doing all he could to keep both the majority Muslims & the minority Christians in his country under his thumb for the purposes of maintaining control & the power of his dictatorship. These young women attended a Christian college with me in Arkansas for 2 years after leaving Syria & making a treck through Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to see their family and then coming to the East coast of the US for a few months of training in the English language. Only then did they start college–far away from the dictator’s goons & his influence.

  • Barbara Gordon asked, “Do you know if Iran has instituted use of any form of abortion since they have introduced birth control? “

    No. The Shia jurists are unanimous that abortion is haram (forbidden). If a child is aborted, the diya (blood money) is payable to the heir, those heirs who connived at the abortion being excluded, which is the ordinary rule for homicide. Similarly, if a pregnant woman is injured and suffers a miscarriage, diya is payable to the child’s heirs, including the mother.

    An exception is permitted to preserve the life of the mother, relying on Surah Baqarah, 2:233: “A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child.”

  • Paul W Primavera wrote, “So the Iranian govt encouraged birth control and look what happened!”

    Of course the government policies had some impact, but comparative figures from 34 other Muslim majority countries suggest that, at most, they exacerbated a trend. As I noted above, increased literacy rates alone appear to account for 58% of the decline in the birth-rate.

    It is noticeable that, when women from Muslim countries move to a country with a vigorously pro-natalist policy, like France, their total fertility rate rises, in comparison to that in their home countries, but, in most cases, only marginally.

    Turkey 3.21 against 2.16 an increase of 1.05
    Algeria 2.57 against 1.78 an increase of 0.79
    Tunisia 2.90 against 2.73 an increase of 0.17
    Morocco 2.97 against 3.28 a decrease of 0.31

    This suggests the impact of government policies is limited, one way or the other

  • Ms Barbara, it is possible that it met with the approval of the other Christians. There was little love lost between the Evangelicals who are largely perceived to be beneficiaries of American largesse and even their agents, and the other Christians. When I was in India the Roman Catholic Church went so far as to deny Evangelical converts extreme unction and burial on church grounds, which makes sense, but was lost on the dying who needed the comfort.

  • President Taliban got in two rounds of golf (if you call what he does “golf”) this weekend. PS: Hasn’t the US and et al aided and abetted Syrian anti-government terrorists? Now the guys (we aided) are undoing the mission for which over 4,000 US GI’s died?

    Killing prisoners stiffens the enemy who quickly learns that surrender is not an option.

    That being said, What is not to like? Muslims killing muslims; and fewer spawns of filthy pagans – sounds like a win-win situation.

    In conclusion, all this proves that Washington, DC is not the only place on the planet with one, collective lump of $#!+ for brains.

  • T Shaw

    Unfortunately, about 10% of the population of Syria is Christian and the only power likely to protect them from the Jihadists is the Assad régime. They include several high-ranking officials.

    As in Iraq, the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party has always been a secular party and, unlike many countries in the region, under President Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, the government has allowed Christians to allows churches to preach, teach, evangelize, publish religious materials, and build churches and Christians have enjoyed access to education and employment.

  • So, that is the reason Obama backs the terrorists fighting to overthrow Assad.

  • T Shaw

    I fancy Obama’s real reason is that there has long been a strategic alliance between Syria under the Assads, father and son and Iran.

    Ideologically, they are poles apart; a secular Arab nationalist regime on the one hand and a pan-Islamic, Persian Islamic republic on the other. No one in the upper échelons of either government cares twopence about that. They share a common hatred for Israel and Syria has always allowed Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, to operate freely in its territory and given it a measure of logistical and intelligence support.

    By the by, they also shared a common hatred for Saddam Hussein, despite his being a secular Arab nationalist and, like the Assads, a Ba’athist. In line with his secularist beliefs, Saddam, too, favoured the Christian minority in Iraq and his Foreign Minister and deputy Premier, Tariq Aziz was an Assyrian Chaldean (Catholic) Christian.

    Syria destabilised poses no existential threat to Israel and weakens Hezbollah in the process.

  • Ivan,

    Let me point out that I entered the Catholic Church 2 Easters ago.

    I, having spent time in Central American countries as a missionary for Protestant churches in the 1990s, am very aware of the type of conflicts you describe between Catholics and Evangelicals taking place around the world although I was not aware that there was any presence of the Catholic Church within the borders of Syria at the time I was in college with my dear Syrian friends. There may have been a public Catholic presence or underground Catholic presence in Syria in the ’90s, I just basically was a foreigner to the Catholic Church in the ’90s and was told by my Syrian friends that the Alliance Church of which they were members was the only church allowed to exist at that time. My Syrian friends may have meant that the Alliance Church was the only Protestant Church–I simply am not sure on that point. As my friends could not discuss Christianity outside of their church building, they would not have been able to talk with other Christian faiths unless someone of that separate Christian faith attended an Alliance church service with my friends local congregation.

    There obviously is a Catholic presence in Syria now as I have read in alternative media re: the persecution taking place against Catholics in Syria.

    I, personally as a Protestant Evangelical, visited a very isolated mountain village near the Southern border of Mexico in the late 1990s under the explicit threat of physical harm from local Catholics who did not want a Protestant presence in their village. We literally risked our lives to drive to the mountain village and back.

    I, my sister, & her husband visited an isolated Honduran mountain village with Protestant Evangelical ministers to take needed medical supplies and carry the first ever medical doctor to the Catholics & few Protestants in the villages. Protestant missionaries did not care what the religious faith of those needing medical care might be. All were treated until we ran out of supplies. Again, the trips themselves were a real risk of our lives. It was common knowledge that our vehicle breaking down on one of such trips, apart from a miracle of God, meant we would never be seen alive again–if our body was found at all. My sister, her husband who is a Protestant minister, another male Protestant missionary, & an American medical doctor had to lock themselves into a sealed building in one such village over night with a rifle for protection. Without taking such extreme steps for saftey, they were not certain that they would be alive to see the morning sun rise due to threats from local Catholics–even after having provided free medical care to an entire Catholic Mountain village.

    A Protestant Evangelical medical doctor with whom I worked in Sula, Honduras had bullets, rocks, & other items s.a. Rotten food shot/thrown through the windows of the church building while he was preaching to some locals. After a few years ministry to these Catholics through a hospital the doctor built in this area, this same Protestant Evangelical doctor/preacher had delivered so many Catholic babies, sewn up so many machete fight wounds, & performed so many surgeries on the local population that when the doctor himself became seriously ill–the Catholic Church in the area said a mass for this Protestant Evangelical doctor/preacher to get well. Lol

    The Catholic powers that existed at that time in Mexico had become so concerned about the influence of the Protestant Evangelical schools that attempts were being made to outlaw their very existence.

    I look back on such risks of our lives now and know that it must have seemed crazy and foolish for us to risk our lives in such manners to some. My only explanation is that I & the others were willing to do what we felt God was calling us to do at the time to meet the needs of those to whom we felt He had sent us and trust Him for the outcome. I, literally, almost died three times during a simple 4 month visit to Honduras. I have permanent physical repercussions from my time spent in Central America. And I would do it all over again should God ask it of me. I & my sister were taught growing up that the safest place to be is in God’s will–hence our willingness to go to other continents & take such risks.

    I saw many literal, physical miracles take place during my time in Central America.

    The governing bodies of most Protestant Evangelical individual churches & entire denominations are built and operate entirely on the same Democratic Republican form of government that our founders created for us here in the US–so where ever most Protestant Evangelicals are–the American philosophy of one man/one vote, God given human rights, limited government, and self government are being taught. There are also often American federally funded feeding/health programs being administered through ministries of such churches. In more than one sense, most Evangelical Protestants can be viewed as “American agents.”

  • Barbara Gordon

    The largest Christian church in Syria is the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, followed by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

    Then there is the Assyrian Church of the East, which separated from the rest of Christendom in protest at the Council of Ephesus in 431. They are sometimes referred to as Nestorians, but the Common Christological Declaration of 1994, subscribed by the Pope and Catholicos-Patriarch suggests this may have been more about formulae than actual belief. There is also the Chaldean Catholic Church, a branch of the Assyrians in union with Rome.

    There is also the Oriental Syriac Orthodox Church, which separated from the rest of Christendom in protest at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and who are traditionally considered Monophysites (the opposite heresy to the Nestorians). Again, this may have been more a question of words, than of belief and the Pope and the Oriental Patriarch signed common declarations in 1984. They are in communion with the Armenians and the Copts.

    All these churches and their Patriarchs enjoyed good relation with the Ba’athist Arab Socialist Party, both in Syria, under the Assads and under Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

    They all view Protestantism, in any form, as an alien and Western thing, but especially those not ruled by a hierarch, who takes responsibility for his subordinates’ actions.

  • MPS: Great info about the Catholic Church in Syria. Until about 1.5 yrs ago during RICA classes & reading a book, Catholicism For Dummies (LOL,) I did not understand the connection between the Greek Orthodox churches & the Catholic Church. I know I still don’t understand the connections fully!

    I sure had no idea about such connections as a college sophomore at a Fundamentalist Baptist College where the focus was on learning our own history/theology/philosophy, etc. My Protestant Syrian friends whom I referenced had not the least interest in Catholicism or closely related faiths to my knowledge.

    In one of your posts you referenced the ability of Protestants under Assad having the ability to proselytize. In the mid to late 1980s, my Protestant Syrian friends had no such freedoms in Damascus. It was strictly forbidden to discuss their faith outside of the walls of their church–they could not even invite someone to their church nor sing Christian songs outside the walls of their church. Once they were inside of their church, they could speak freely about their faith to those present I still remember the overwhelming joy the youngest sister expressed in my presence when she figured out that she could sing songs about her faith at full volume anywhere she wished here in Arkansas. She literally experienced some type of spiritual revival in her life, and against all denominational rules/regs one of our Baptist pastors re-baptized her–at her request. I was wondering what you meant exactly when you said that Syrian Protestants could proselytize freely and if you were referencing a given period of time?

    It is a misrepresentation of Protestant churches/denominations to think that there does not exist a hierarchy among them where people, in the church hiearchy, are seen as not having responsibility for those beneath them in a hierarchy. For instance, the Assembly of God has a presbytery that has local pastors, state, regional, & then national levels. When a Southern Baptist Convention pastor resigns, his entire staff of ministers including the ministers of music & education resign as well with the local church making the determination which staff ministers who resigned will stay if any wish to do so. There are independent (meaning not associated with a given formal association, cooperative, or denominational religious hierarchy) churches called “Bible” churches which are lead completely by “elders” who function as minsters and a ministerial board for the church with full responsibility for every facet of church life.

    I wish some of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church took their leadership capacity more seriously and practically dealt with things like pro-abortion politicians here in America.

    Also, I am wondering what you mean when you say that these Greek Orthodox and other Catholicly affiliated/connected churches have a good relationship with the ruling dictatorial powers in Syria. Do such faiths have the freedoms we have here in America regarding their faith & practice? Are such churches licensed/approved by the dictatorial government?

  • MPS: Also, I can see from a Syrian Catholic frame of reference WHY they would view Protestant churches as a weird Western thing. To them it IS a weird Western thing that occur from its beginning completely outside their frame of reference, geographical region, experience, or ability to influence.

  • Barbara Gordon

    There is a very long tradition, going back at least to Ottoman times, to regard religious communities as semi-autonomous and to let them follow their own laws in such things as marriage, inheritance, settling disputes between their own members. The Patriarch of Constantinople was the Rum Millet Bashi or Ethnarch, the civil, as well as the religious head of the Greek Orthodox throughout the Empire. Thus, when the Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821, the Patriarch was taken from his church – it was Easter Sunday – and hanged from the archway of his Phanar palace.

    The fact that religion and ethnicity tend to go together in the Middle East helped to reinforce this attitude. Syrians who speak Syriac, rather than Arabic, also tend to be Christians and whole villages tend to be of one faith. Even in towns, they gather in their own quarters Protestants do not fit this pattern.

    Now, in theory, Syria is a secular state: the government neither recognises, salaries or subsidises any religion – in theory. In practice, religious leaders are important channels of information, communicating the desires and grievances of their communities to government and communicating government policies back to their communities; they are, in effect, an informal but important part of the administration of a country that is a complex network of communal and tribal groups. Hafez al-Assad was brilliant at this, his son, not so much.

Iraq: Wheels Within Wheels

Thursday, June 12, AD 2014



The internet has exploded with stories of the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) taking Mosul in Iraq.  Most of the stories do not do justice to understanding the forces currently at work in Iraq.  One of my favorite websites Strategy Page is very helpful for those wishing to comprehend who the players in Iraq are currently, and their strengths and weaknesses:

June 11, 2014: In the north ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) have driven the security forces out of most of Mosul, the third largest city in Iraq. This is going to get interesting because the Kurds believe Mosul is theirs and have the military force capable of taking and holding it. What has stopped them thus far has been the Iraqi attitude that such a move would be an act of war. Mosul and Kirkuk have oil and until the 1980s were mainly Kurdish. Then Saddam began forcing Kurds further north and giving their homes, land and jobs to poor Sunni Arab families from the south. After 2003 the Kurds came back to reclaim the property Saddam had taken from them. The Sunni Arabs resisted, and continue to resist. The claims of all the Kurdish refugees have never been completely settled and the Kurdish government of the autonomous (since the 1990s when British and American warplanes and commandos aided Kurdish rebels in expelling Saddam’s troops and keeping them out) north threaten to take back Mosul and Kirkuk (and the surrounding oil fields) by force. This would trigger a civil war with the Arabs which would probably end in a bloody stalemate. The Kurds support the Kurdish militias in Mosul who keep Sunni Arab terrorist groups like ISIL at bay and since the Americans left in 2011 the two cities remained the scene of constant ethnic (the Kurds are not Arabs) warfare.  

Through all this the well-armed and organized Kurdish army in the north stayed on their side of the provincial border while the Sunni Arab Islamic terrorists fought the Shia dominated army and police force. In the last year Shia soldiers and police were joined by Shia terrorists and vigilantes carrying out “payback” attacks on Sunni mosques and civilians. This motivated the ISIL to put more armed men into the city and strive for a takeover. The radicals in the Sunni Arab community welcome more violence because they believed that if enough Sunni Arabs were killed by the Shia the Sunni governments in neighboring countries (especially Saudi Arabia and, once the Sunni rebels win, Syria) would intervene and restore the Iraqi Sunni Arabs to power. Most Iraqi Sunni Arabs understand that this would never work, but speaking up against the radicals (including ISIL, which has always been a Sunni supremacist outfit) can get you killed. Despite that threat many Iraqi Sunni Arabs do fight the radicals, but that’s a war they seem to be losing as the Shia are coming to believe that all Sunni Arabs are their enemy and all should be treated roughly. One thing most Sunni Arabs can agree on is the need to be united in dealing with the Shia dominated government. The growing violence led to calls for an autonomous Sunni Arab government in Anbar (the province that comprises most of western Iraq) and that is what ISIL is fighting for now. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province which is adjacent and to the north of Anbar and has a 500 kilometer border with Syria. Taking control of Mosul gives ISIL another victory and even if it does not last it helps with recruiting and fund raising. ISIL is competing with al Qaeda for recognition as the most effective Islamic terrorist group in the world. Whoever holds that position gets most of the cash donations from the many wealthy Gulf Arabs who support Islamic terrorism and that means ISIL would also get most of the young Sunni men from the Gulf States looking to jihad a bit. ISIL has also made Iraq and Syria the main battleground for the continuation of the ancient battle between Shia and Sunni militants. Saudi Arabia leads the Sunni bloc and Iran the Shia. Overall, the Shia are winning in Syria and that is partly because ISIL has concentrated most of its manpower in eastern Syria and western Iraq in an effort to establish a Sunni Islamic State.

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11 Responses to Iraq: Wheels Within Wheels

  • There is one word which sums up all that is occurring domestically and internationally: “catastrophe.”

  • “What may well be going on now is the long predicted three part division of Iraq: Kurdistan in the North, a Sunni dominated state in Mosul and a Shia state dominated by Iran in the South.” Except that Turkey will never tolerate an independent Kurdish state on its Eastern border and there are enough Kurds in the North-West of that country to give the Iranians concerns about it, too.

    Given that the Turkish officer corps is the most nationalist and the most secular element in Turkey, the Turkish armed forces would be more than willing to eliminate ISIL, given the opportunity.

  • If the United States pulls out completely from Iraq, then will not Iran be tempted to sweep in to fill the void?
    The following analogy isn’t perfect, but history has a nasty way of repeating itself because the state of man does not change – from Daniel chapter 5:
    24 “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; 28 peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
    30 That very night Belshaz′zar the Chalde′an king was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
    Again, the analogy isn’t perfect, but Obama with his hashtag diplomacy merits the words MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN. Soon – very soon – the Iranians will have enough Uranium-235 enriched to weapons grade or perhaps even Plutonium-239 from its heavy water Arak nuclear reactor (in spite of Iranian assurances to the contrary). May God have mercy on both Iraq and the United States of America.
    PS, just one well-navigated gun boat having a small fissionable weapon come near a US carrier task force will be sufficient for Obama to utter the words of Augustus Caesar when the 17th, 18th and 19th legions were lost to Arminius:
    Quintili Vare, legiones redde!
    But I digress – again.

  • I’ve never understood this three part idea? If someone from outside or inside were to effect a division why wouldn’t it just be separating the Kurds from the Arabs? Also the Sunni and the Shia seem to be distributed throughout both of theirs geographical “parts”…a mix. The Sunni and the Shia work together when they want to or in response to outsiders. Ultimately they have to work it out between themselves don’t they? I don’t see any imposed solutions working.
    Is the West (or is Israel) any safer when Islamic states are preoccupied internally, or with each other?

  • No. In the first place because they can’t keep their domestic squabbles from spilling out into the yard for the neighbors to see. In the second because they only stop fighting with each other long enough to feud with those neighbors. Soon, the entire block is involved in some manner, which disturbs the peace of the rest of the neighborhood.

  • These squabbles have a way of resolving themselves one way or another. The area of Turkey now referred to by the Kurds as “Northern Kurdistan” used to be known as “Western Armenia,” the Armenian inhabitants having been displaced by the Ottomans in 1894-6 and 1915.

    It is a great mistake to talk of these things in terms of “questions” or “problems,” for a question implies an answer and a problem a solution; conflicts have neither, merely outcomes.

  • “,” the Armenian inhabitants having been displaced by the Ottomans in 1894-6 and 1915.”

    For “displaced” read massacred. The Middle East is a poor place to be born into.

  • Yes Donald. I just became aware of the Armenian holocaust within the last couple of years. We have to take it upon ourselves to study history since some things are only very rarely mentioned in history classes or books.
    Michael P-S I don’t understand how we Christians can live with the idea that we can not work to solve or answer problems, that we don’t in fact influence the outcomes for good or for ill.
    We have responsibility because we love, and we believe in Good to help shape events. Otherwise it sounds pretty fatalistic. Fatalistic.

  • Anzlyne wrote, “I don’t understand how we Christians can live with the idea that we can not work to solve or answer problems”
    I agree there are real problems, to which solutions can be found, in health, in agriculture and in many other fields where the human lot can be ameliorated. Politics is not one of them.
    The Catholic political philosopher Carl Schmitt argues that every realm of human endeavour is structured by an irreducible duality. Morality is concerned with good and evil, aesthetics with the beautiful and the ugly, and economics with the profitable and the unprofitable. In politics, the core distinction is between friend and enemy. That is what makes politics different from everything else.

    The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of enmity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively, according to friends and enemy.”

    Of course, he denies the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions (the Liberal fallacy); for Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule – even an ostensibly fair one – merely represents the victory of one political faction over another and the stabilised result of past conflicts. Internal order is usually successfully imposed only to pursue external conflict

    “The peaceful, legalistic, liberal bourgeoisie is sitting on a volcano and ignoring the fact. Their world depends on a relative stabilization of conflict within the state, and on the state’s ability to keep at bay other potentially hostile states.”

    And, no, I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is.

  • I hope the Kurds take Mosul. The Christians will be safe under them. They practice a secular form of Islam and are the most gentle and kind to Christians, however remain with their heads still attached to their bodies.

Did Joe Sleep Through the War With Iran?

Thursday, October 18, AD 2012

In the above video our beloved National Clown lauded our veterans who served in Iraq and Iran.  What do you think?

1.  Bone headed Biden being bone headed Biden.

2.  Give Joe a break, they both begin with I!

3.  Joe let the cat out of bag in regard to the October Surprise!

4.  Sure there was a war with Iran.  That is where “Blood and Guts” Biden got his brain injury!

5.  Biden was unable to plagiarize in his Geography course in college.

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7 Responses to Did Joe Sleep Through the War With Iran?

The Difference Between Libya and Iraq Explained

Monday, March 28, AD 2011

For additional comedy relief, here is a video put out by a group supporting Obama for president detailing Obama’s opposition to the war in Iraq.

You know, I think quite a few of the easy marks who voted for Obama will regret eventually having voted for him, perhaps none more so than those who voted for him because they actually believed that he was a peacenik.

Why, perhaps even Morning’s Minion at Vox Nova, who wrote the paragraph below, will someday realize that Obama played him like an accordion:

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9 Responses to The Difference Between Libya and Iraq Explained

  • Here’s the difference. A hated, GOP president liberated Iraq.
    A messianic, progressive president gave Libya to al Qaeda, et al.

  • As the Instapundit notes, the real rubes are those who somehow believed Obama was something other than a sleazy Chicago pol.

  • How about I think about minding our own business… I think we had it right after WWI mind our own business and only involve ourselves when we cannot ignore it like WWII …. but let continue to go to war and spend more money we don’t have sounds smart Obama/Bush II ..feel like every prez since nixon is a manchurian candidate but lets keep on chugging with that rep/demo talk that gets us so far…

  • “I think we had it right after WWI mind our own business and only involve ourselves when we cannot ignore it like WWII”

    Actually Alex, I think one of the contributing factors that led to World War II was the retreat of the US into an isolationist cocoon following WWI.

  • “the real rubes are those who believed Obama was something other than a sleazy Chicago pol”

    If Obama were just another “sleazy Chicago pol” his highest ambition would have been to get elected alderman or mayor, not POTUS!

  • That is one of the many mysteries of Obama Elaine: he strikes me as neither ambitious nor driven, two characterists of most presidents. Another mystery is that once having grasped the brass ring of the Presidency, he seems to me to be completely disinterested and disengaged from the job. There are many question marks about this man.

  • Donald, you’re on to it now!
    Obama really never wanted “power”. That requires responsibilities and decision making which he knew were “above his pay scale” as well as his limited abilities. Barry, the lovable community organizer with the big smiley face and velvet tongue, desired only the “position” of the highest office. He never cared about being the people’s candidate or the people themselves. He had the job of his life before he ever entered public office. He was fully aware the power and wealth of those backing and guiding his career and writing his books were able to fill the enlarged ego of the little boy with such a humble and mysterious childhood far beyond his wildest dreams.
    We need to stop thinking we, the voting public, “employed” Obama. He accepted the “position” he desired with the “power” he saw as the dominate force in world politics for the future as soon as he finished college. The 2008 election brought that power into a position at the White House and Obama is its voice. Got it?

  • I’d like to add…
    And now you can understand why Obama seems to be preoccupied with parties, palling with celeb’s, festive receptions, golf, basketball, vacations, expensive family trips out of the country, and avoiding meetings now with other national leaders of opposite stripe here and world leaders from abroad who have been our closest allies in the past.
    Speech is the main purpose of his occupation not negotiating on his feet and the words only come together for him after the community organizers preordained ideologues have determined what they want his audience to hear from him

  • Here are two more difference.

    In Iraq, US marines and soldiers were killing jihadis.

    In Libya, per Byron York, US is aiding jihadis that killed Americans. KIA of the USS Coles must be spinning in their graves.

    And, per Donald Sensing: “Obama got rolled by the Europeans. This is an after-affect of French and Italian colonialism. The Libya war is neo-colonialism by the Europeans. And the United States is like fraternity pledges that the brothers make mop up the frat house floor on Sunday morning after an all-night kegger that they didn’t attend.”

Bringing New Life to an Old Monastery.

Friday, January 1, AD 2010

PHOTO: Maj. Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic chaplain, celebrating Mass at St. Elijah’s Monastery near Mosul in northern Iraq.

The United States Army hopes to restore St. Elijah’s Monastery, an ancient site of Christian worship stuck in the middle of a base in northern Iraq (New York Times December 18, 2009) | Photo Tour of St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq.

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32 Responses to Bringing New Life to an Old Monastery.

  • Pray for the persecuted Christians in Iraq.

  • Best to keep this quiet. I’m sure our president will not approve.

  • Bravo to the Army! May the monastery again become a citadel of Christianity in an Islamic land.

  • It is amazing to me how seemingly novel it is to see a warrior priest. The last episode of “V” on ABC had someone telling the Catholic priest that he has to choose whether he is going to be a solier or a priest.

    It seems to me our priests always have been soldiers.

    What a great picture!

    May God bless our priests, our soldiers and the poor persecuted Christians in all of the Muslim-occupied middle-east and Israel.

  • It’d be nice if those foolish soldiers hadn’t damaged the site with their war toys in the first place. And if they hadn’t placed their pagan insignia on the walls after doing so.

    This looks to me like a case of clean-up/damage control after a really embarrassing (but standard) act.

    [Editor’s note — blanket and unjustified speculation about the motives of the military in general edited for the sake of civility. Michael, while I’m not at all surprised that you disapprove of this action, I’d request that you maintain focus on the specifics of the story and elaborate further, if need be, on why you disapprove and condemn the restoration of a erstwhile Christian monastary as “Christo-Facism.”

    P.S. Given the increasingly polarized and problematic atmosphere that typically inhabits the comboxes, it’s my hope that you can help us carve out a space, perhaps only a small corner of space, in which our passions do not get the best of us — and in which we can truly be a “new voice” that reflects the possibility of a new Catholic blogosphere in 2010. – Christopher]

  • What a beautiful story of Hope–God bless this Chaplain and all of our military!

  • Daledog,

    Yeah, best we keep this on the down-low. Don’t want our agnostic President to get a whiff of this.


    Completely agree, let Christ reign!

  • Completely agree, let Christ reign!

    Yeah let “Christ” reign, at the hands of the U.S. military. This is precisely the definition of CHRISTO-FASCISM.

  • Michael — granted, your overall preference would be for the complete cessation of the U.S. military from Iraq and perhaps the disbanding of the U.S. armed forces altogether. We get the hint.

    That said, in the spirit of a worthy commenting policy and call for moderation and Christian charity, I’d like to pursue this further.

    Given the immediate situation, we have a Christian monastery formerly occupied by the Iraqi Republican Guard as a military base (and the cistern used for a latrine); subsequently damaged in a tank battle between U.S.-Iraqi forces, further vandalized by looters, and then re-occupied by United States troops . . . until a Roman Catholic Chaplain instigated a restoration of the establishment to its rightful purpose.

    At this point in time, would you agree with the intentions and actions of the Chaplain to restore the monastary?

    If not, why not?

  • At this point in time, would you agree with the intentions and actions of the Chaplain to restore the monastary?

    If not, why not?

    The monastery should be restored. But the u.s. Army should have nothing to do with it. Referring to it as a potential “citadel” — as Donald has done — is positively disgusting.

  • I will pray for the endurance of the monastery and the conversion of those who would probably like to see it razed the ground.

  • This is a fascinating a human story, which is probably why it draws ire from someone who sees the world with all the subtlety and humanity of an (anarchist) comic book. A couple more complete articles are:

    Some of the interesting points:

    – Dair Mar Elia was occupied as a monastery for nearly 1200 years before all 150 monks living there at the time were massacred by a Persian leader in 1743 for refusing to convert to Islam. The monastery has been a ruin ever since.

    – The local Christian population used to visit yearly on the feast of St. Elia, but this practice has mostly been abandoned since the 70s, when the Republican Guard built a major tank base around the monastery.

    – During their 30 year occupation of the site, the Republican Guard used the monastery’s sistern as a latrine and Iraqi soldiers carved graphiti on the walls through the standing buildings.

    – The area was the site of a major tank battle in 2003, and the eastern wall of the chapel was damaged at that time by a turret blown off an Iraqi tank (which was positioned right next to the chapel).

    – Coalition troops at first had no idea what the buildings were, and so painted over several areas of the monastery with white gloss paint, painted the 101st Airborne crest over the doorway, and most unfortunately, set the latrine waste in the cistern on fire. (Just for a good time? To get rid of the smell? Who knows…)

    – Since army chaplains and the army core of engineers have set about restoring the monastery and trying to get it on the Ministry of Archeology and Culture’s list of historic sites, they’ve discovered additional graphiti carved in the monastery walls by crusaders in the 13th century, and also the tombs of the monks, which local Christians had believed to be lost or destroyed.

    Whatever one thinks about the US’s mission in Iraq, it’s good to hear about this ancient monastery (long abused and unknown) is receiving some long needed restoration, and may in fact receive it long term through the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. And the Eucharist is once again being celebrated in a chapel which, for many centuries, was left empty, and in recent decades was actively mistreated. The stones once again witness the sacrements for which they were put in place. Those who put those stones in place could little imagine what would follow in the centuries to come. And yet, through it all, the sacramental life of the Church returns, Christ is present on the altar once more.

    How a Catholic can find that romance of the centuries and unexpected (and unintended) consequences uninteresting I do not know.

  • The notion that God can bring good things even out of what seem to be evil situations ought to be familiar to even the most poorly formed and ill-educated Christians.

  • I’m flabbergasted that a “self-identified” Catholic such as the Anarchist would find it disgusting to celebrate the sacraments in an ancient monastery is beyond me.

  • Referring to it as a potential “citadel” — as Donald has done — is positively disgusting.

    A citadel is the walled, central part of a city in which people take refuge in time of attack. Rather than being strictly military structures, citadels were often home to the most important areas of the city, and thus were in a literal sense the heart of the city. (The acropolis in ancient athens, for example.)

    Given that Iraq is a country in which Christians are struggling, to say the least, with much of the local population being sympathetic to the idea of burning churches and driving Christians out of the country, how exactly would a renovated monastery which once again became a center of pilgrimage and sacramental life not be a metaphorical citadel?

    What metaphor would be more appropriate to delicate, pacifist ears?

  • What metaphor would be more appropriate to delicate, pacifist ears?

    Just call it a monastery. Donald no doubt was intentional in his use of that word, what with its military connotations.

  • “May the monastery become a monastery of Christianity in an Islamic land.”

    Wow, that’s… Um… Inspiring. I don’t know why it is that pacifist anarchist prose doesn’t get more circulation with wordsmithing ideas like that.

    Or maybe, Michael, if the saints and apostles and even Christ can use military terminology in order to make metaphorical points, we can too. There’s a thought.

  • The citadel of Jerusalem is more commonly called the Tower of David. Presumably, Christ when mourned the destruction of Jerusalem He mourned the loss of the citadel as well. It’s really hard to believe that God considers citadels offensive or sinful, let alone using the term metaphorically. Aside from things like Communion with God and saints, the Sacraments, and plain old Truth, it’s good to be Catholic just for the reason and moderation.

  • I guess we need to stop using the term the Church Militant as well.

  • Darwin,

    When there is no other way to eliminate waste from a latrine, it can be burnt. Maybe they felt is was the best way to get rid of the waste.

    For more on the wonders of field waste:

  • Phillip,

    I’m surprised the anarchist didn’t catch that.

  • Wow, that’s… Um… Inspiring.

    I’m sorry you find Christianity itself to be uninspiring, and that you need to drop in militarism in order to make it exciting. What gets you off is no concern of mine though.

    Or maybe, Michael, if the saints and apostles and even Christ can use military terminology in order to make metaphorical points, we can too. There’s a thought.

    The difference between THEM and THIS BLOG is that the former did not have fascist politics and did not idolize the military. They used such metaphors precisely to SUBVERT military violence, unlike Donald, et al. You get the saints DEAD WRONG.

    I guess we need to stop using the term the Church Militant as well.

    If by “we” you mean most of the people who write for this blog, then yes, I suggest you stop using it because you are promoting neo-Constantinian Christo-fascism.

    Christians who take peace seriously will continue to use such metaphors in the way that they were intended.

  • Just when I thought TAC didn’t have enough meaningless, pointless, fruitless, waste-of-time, self-righteous, self-discrediting, morally stupid arguments to make and points to debate, MI comes along to save the day.

    Do you guys ever get the sense that MI should have his own theme music?

    “Quick! Someone used a vaguely-sounding military word to describe a monastery! Who will save us!? To whom shall we turn!?”



  • “Who will save us? To whom shall we turn?”

    Marx? 😉

  • The children! Won’t somebody think of the CHILDREN!!!

  • What about the steeenkeeng badgers?

  • Michael,

    So basically: You don’t think there’s actually anything wrong with the metaphor, you just like to harass people whom you consider to be bad people. If you didn’t consider us to be bad people, there would be nothing wrong with us using the metaphor.

    Got it.

  • It’s a sad spectacle for someone’s mind to be so bent by ideology that he can’t admit that his hated enemies ever do even one thing right, not even restoring a defiled monastery.

  • Someone please tell me why after Mass we pray, “St. Michael the Archangel defend us in BATTLE . . .

  • Carping over “citadel”?

    Some folks just have a craving to feel offended, I guess.

Massacre at Fort Hood

Thursday, November 5, AD 2009


13 have been killed and 38 wounded at the Fort Hood army post in Texas.  The alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is dead, and two alleged suspects have been taken into custody.  This is a major story and details are sparse.  May the souls of the dead victims rest in peace.  More details as they become available.

Update 1: Dead gunman thought to have been a mental health professional,  a psychiatrist. I have heard on Fox that he was assigned in the past to Walter Reed.

Update 2: Gunman was thought to have been a drug and rehab specialist who obtained his license to practice psychiatry in 2005.  According to the Army Times he was promoted to Major on April 22, 2009.

Update 3: More details here about the gunman.

Update 4: Gunman worked at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.

Update 5: Gunman had received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed.  He was upset about a forthcoming deployment to Iraq.

Update 6: Colonel Terry Lee who had worked in the past with Hasan says that the gunman had made statements that Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor.  He is being interviewed on Fox.  The Colonel also said that Hasan thought that after Obama was elected the war in Iraq would come to a swift end and he became frustrated that this did not occur.

Update 7: The two suspects taken into custody have been released.  I am hearing that they may have been attempting to subdue the gunman and were taken in for questioning about the incident.  Good!  That makes it much more likely that this is the work of just one deranged individual rather than a conspiracy.

Update 8: Now the local Congressman in whose district Fort Hood is located is stating that he has heard that another suspect has been brought in for questioning.

Update 9: The gunman’s name according to some reports is Nidal Malik Hasan and not Malik Nadal Hasan as initially reported.

Update 10: Here is info on the gunman on the Virginia Board of Medicine Practitioner Information page.

Update 11: According to a cousin of the gunman interviewed on Fox, Hasan was born and reared in this country.  He has always been a Muslim and is not a recent convert as was initially reported.  He joined the military against the wishes of his parents.  He complained about harassment to relatives that he alleged that he received from fellow soldiers in the Army because of his pro-Muslim views.

Update 12: Lieutenant General Bob Cone, the commanding general in charge of Fort Hood, at a press conference announces that Nidal Malik Hasan was wounded and is in custody, and was not killed as was initially reported.  He is also stating that Hasan was the sole shooter, and that no one else appears to have been involved.  He says that the slain and wounded soldiers were in an enclosed area awaiting medical and dental treatment.  A female civilian police officer shot and wounded Hasan.  She was wounded by Hasan and is in stable condition.  (Soon to be celebrated by the nation as a heroine I think.)

Update 13:  NPR has this report:  

A source tells NPR’s Joseph Shapiro that Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues, according to the source, who worked with him at the time.

Update 14:  Hasan is the son of Palestinian immigrants, both deceased. 

Update 15:  Reports that Hasan had come to the attention of federal law enforcement authorities six months ago because of internet postings advocating suicide bombings.  This seems to be the post in question:

“There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.”

Take this report with a boulder of salt until it is better confirmed.  However, if the authorities did believe that Hasan was posting on internet sites advocating suicide bombings six months ago, why didn’t the Army take steps to keep him away from troops, especially troops heading for Iraq or Afghanistan?

Update 16:  The brave female police officer who took Hasan down is Police Sergeant Kimberly Munley.  She pumped four bullets into the gunman in spite of being shot by him. 

Update 17:  Hasan shouted Allahu Akbar ( God is Great) before beginning his rampage.

Update 18:  Information about some of the victims here.  May they now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.

Continue reading...

45 Responses to Massacre at Fort Hood

  • I am sure Major Hassan being a psychiatrist would have known how to scam the security clearance evaluation. There is no known cure for what the Robert and Hugh at Jihad Watch calls the Sudden Jihad Syndrome. It follows that the rational course is to keep Muslims out.

  • Jesus, have mercy on the Major, his accompliances, and his victims.

  • Naturally, America and Christianity will be blamed, rather than Islamic theology and history. Bottom line, all Muslims are either openly violent or quietly wating for a reason to kill. Get them all out of our country. There is no ‘moderate’ Islam. Get them out.

  • Our son is stationed at Ft. Hood. Thank God that he is okay.

  • I disagree Mr. Toler. There are good and bad men and women among Muslims as there are good and bad men and women among Catholics. This incident seems to involve only one individual and it is unjust to condemn all Muslims in this nation as a result of it.

  • I can only imagine your relief Karen. My brother was stationed at Fort Hood while he was in the Army and I would have been out of my mind with concern today if he was still there.

  • I agree there Don. To expel or ban people from this country purely on the basis of their religion or personal beliefs, and NOT on the basis of actual terrorist actions or affiliations, would set an enormously dangerous precedent.

    Next thing you know, liberal Democrats would decide that all pro-lifers or all Catholics should be expelled from the country on the grounds that they are all “openly violent or quietly waiting for a reason to kill” abortion providers!

    It seems to me that this kind of violence usually comes from nowhere and there is no foolproof or infallible way to prevent it. The “warning signs” are almost always visible only in hindsight. Perhaps this man was mentally ill?

    God bless and protect our brave men and women in uniform wherever they may be 🙂

  • HA!

    A WOMAN took down the Muslim gunman!

    That’ll certainly tick off Muslims the world over.

    Prayers on the way.

  • This is a tragic and unconcsionable occurance.
    My heart and prayers go out to those killed, those wounded and those whose lives will never be the same because of this senseless and traitorous attack.

    May God have mercy on the dead, and grant His grace to the others affected.
    And my prayers for the perpetrator’s change of heart.

  • Based only upon that excerpt, I would find it difficult for anyone to have anticipated something like this. As a psychiatrist, it could have been taken as simply his analysis as to how suicide bombers see themselves, and frankly, the analysis he expresses is probably quite accurate. It could be taken as support/encouragement of suicide bombings, but it could also be taken as someone trying to explain the mindset of the other side (like investigators trying to get “into the mind” of a perpetrator) and making a theological point.

    I wonder how many of our debates on various theological issues would sound to outsiders.

  • It’s amazing that President Obama is telling everyone “not to jump to conclusions”, yet he calls out the National Guard when George Tiller the Killer was shot inside his church.


    Seems like the “main”stream media is coalescing around the fact that he had mental disorders as to the cause of the shooting. Absolutely nothing to the plain fact that he carried Muslim sympathies and is a practicing Muslim.

    Now all we need to do is ignore all the jihadist postings that Nidal did on the extremist Muslim websites.

  • A slight disagreement with Elaine: no one has a right to come to this country. Nor, indeed, to go to any country in the world. Moreover, there is a recent history of immigration policy banning people on the basis of beliefs held–e.g., communist and fascist belief were (are?) grounds to deny entry into America.

    I am *not* saying we should deny Muslims entry because they are Muslims. Indeed, there are many forms of the religion which are admirable, and likewise their adherents.

    But we can certainly can–and should–deny entry for those Muslims who insist on forms of sharia which threaten the constitutional order. We did no less for would-be communist subversives.

  • Why the emphasis upon his being a Mohamedian when his main source of distress seems to be the fact that he was to be deployed to Afghanistan or the Middle East. Army suicides have increased dramatically as a result of the unending and unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This man in his attempt at suicide just happened to take others with him.

    Why did the Army keep and promote this man despite his instability and let him treat soldiers with mental disorders? As sick as it sounds this reminds me of Arlo Guthrie’s medical/psychological exam for the draft during the Viet Nam War as relayed in his classic “Alice’s Restaurant”:

    “They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
    and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, ‘Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.’

    And I went up there, I said, ‘Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.’; And I started jumpin up and down yelling, ‘KILL, KILL,’; and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, ‘KILL, KILL.’; And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, ‘You’re our boy.’”

  • Awakaman,

    I had to Google Arlo Guthrie.

    I wouldn’t take any “philosophical” rants from him seriously.

    I don’t know who he is, but if you would have sourced the Holy Bible, a prominent theologian, Vatican documents, etc, I would take your posting more seriously.

  • Arlo is a Republican now Awakaman. (Yeah, I know, I couldn’t believe it when I heard it either!)

    His religion was clearly this guy’s motivating factor in regard to his view of being deployed to the Middle East. We are at war, and he supports the other side due to his religion.

    In regard to the Army, the Army paid for his education and he signed up of his own free will. He could have attempted to resign his commission and pay back the cost of his education.

    Of course all this is beside the point. I suspect the true trigger was that Major Hasan is also Major Wackdoodle, and he wouldn’t be the first shrink who is crazier than any of his patients. I am sure his counsel will attempt to use the insanity defense in his case and the facts will determine if they succeed.

  • “This man in his attempt at suicide just happened to take others with him.” Huh? Sure, just a coincidence or something.

  • Breaking News at noon CST:

    8 shot, 2 dead (early reporting) at an office building in Orlando, FL.

    Shooter is Jason Rodriguez and is still at large.

    Reports are sketchy so the numbers of who is shot and dead could go up or down once the hysteria settles.

    No motive yet.

    Office building is still in the process of being shut down.

    Office building is off of I-4, that’s all I hear and know.

    My personal assessment it could be work related.

    Straight from Orlando Fire & Police Dept.’s: So far confirmed no deaths, 6 shot.

  • Mike,

    The mainstream media is already trying to spin this away from a “jihad” type of act.

  • I’m curious about the shooter’s reason for joining the Army in the first place. What were his motivations, and what did he hope to accomplish in the Army?

  • Nautica,

    Not sure.

    Getting a fine education in medicine may have played a role in it.

    If I were wiser in my younger years, I would have have joined the Officer Candidate Program or even as a recruit after high school to take advantage of free education and training.

  • Ah, yes, I forgot about that.

  • A person who jumps off a building to commit suicide and lands on passersby below, just happens to take them with him; a guy who commits suicide by driving into a wall and hits people behind it, just happens to take them with him.

    A guy who opens fire on others and dies when he gets taken down by someone else (never turning the gun on himself) – he is not committing suicide and just happening to take a few with him – he intends to murder.

  • Tito:

    I guess I’m just showing my age and you yours in that you don’t know who Arlo Guthrie is. He had a daddy who’s name was Woody (google him). Arlo was a headliner at Woodstock (the first one in ’69)abd had many great classics in the 60’s and 70’s including “City of New Orleans” and “Coming into Los Angeles”, but his most famous song was his 20 minute long humourous anti-war song “Alice’s Restaurant”.


    1) So Arlo’s a Republican. . . like party labels mean a whole hell of a lot any more when the Republican party can encompass Anarcho-libertarians such as Ron Paul, quasi-Democrats such as Scozzafava, and Trotskyite neocons, such as Kristol and Podhoretz.

    2) Don, the NYT reports that the Major has been fighting deployment and trying to get out of his military committment for the past 2 years.
    Given the draconian military retention policies currently in effect do you seriously believe he would have any success – especially a doctor. When I was an Army JAG 20 years ago (at a time of relative peace) persons in the medical MOS’s had absolutely no chance of getting out short of fragging their commander. Today they have ablutely no chance no matter how psychologically sick they are.

    Fianlly, Tito, I see no one else on this thread citing the great philosophers, papal encylicals or biblical quotes. All I see are people venting their anger and fear regarding Mohammedan boogie men. Let’s kill them all and let God sort them out and let’s hand Lord Bush Obama all of our liberties and freedoms to fight the terrorist who hate us due to our freedom I guess I’m held to a higher standard.

    I think Mr. Guthrie’s view of the military in relationship to mental instability is similar to that presented by Joseph Heller in Catch 22- the mentally unstable who unbothered by or attracted to the horror and destruction of war are allowed to serve in the military undisturbed and these want to avoid them can not get out of the military because their aversion to such horror and destruction show them to be sane. I think that this view of the destructive nature of a warrior’s life to one’s soul is much more in alignment with Catholic teachings then alot of other pro-war on “terror” rants that I read on this blog and others.

  • “I had to Google Arlo Guthrie.”
    Tito, Tito…you’re making me feel like a fossil.
    Interesting to hear Arlo’s come around though. I wonder when that liberal got mugged?

    I live in a military town, and I’m pretty sure this behavior isn’t typical of your average Muslim soldier. FWIW I’m also dubious of the allegations going around that religious harassment caused him to snap.

  • The mainstream media is going to stick to that angle to make “islamophobia” the real issue and not the deaths.

  • “All I see are people venting their anger and fear regarding Mohammedan boogie men. Let’s kill them all and let God sort them out and let’s hand Lord Bush Obama all of our liberties and freedoms to fight the terrorist who hate us due to our freedom.”

    No one here said like this, but hey–strawmen are fine fencing partners. In addition to being a hellish thing to say, a “kill ’em” mindset is as mindless as the “Islam has nothing to do with terrorism” mantra that gets trotted out whenever a self-identified Muslim commits an act like this.

    I’m sure there’s someplace in between the reflexive knee-jerking that might shed light. How about you?

  • “All I see are people venting their anger and fear regarding Mohammedan boogie men.”

    Was this murderer such a boogie man?

    How about those who were responsible for 9/11?

    The only “boogie men” I see here are those miraculously manifested by the ‘PC’ types who would dare manufacture such a bleached fiction that there is no such Mohammedan.

  • “Mike,

    The mainstream media is already trying to spin this away from a “jihad” type of act.”

    Of course, Tito, very predictable; but in all fairness it could be true. I’m a moderate. I say, it is even sillier to rule out jihad as it is to assume it. One thing for sure though — the idea that this was just a garden variety suicide that just happened to take a whole bunch of others with him is nuts. That *might* explain crashing an airplane or even a car, but shooting people? Give me a break, awakaman.

  • “Given the draconian military retention policies currently in effect do you seriously believe he would have any success – especially a doctor.”

    Yeah, I do and doctors getting out of the obligation is not that unusual:

    If Doctor Fruitcake had sought my services, here is how I would have handled his case:

    1. He becomes a born again conscientious objector. He applies for the status and we have him give interviews telling how the wars in the Middle East and what returning troops have told him has caused him to say No to war.

    2. I have his relatives and friends besiege his CongressCritter.

    3. I go through his record with a fine toothcomb and find examples of how he has been treated unfairly by the Army. I am a proud Army veteran and trust me, as I think all Army vets could attest, the Green Machine treats everyone unfairly at one time or another.

    4. I have him live out his Islamic faith, talking about Mohammed while he is with patients and at medical meetings.

    5. I take out my violin and play up to the press the prejudice angle. According to Colonel Terry Lee Dr. Fruitcake was called harsh names by his fellow officers when he expressed his beliefs and the press would eat up the meme of neanderthal Army officers oppressing this poor peaceful Muslim psychiatrist.

    6. I give hints to the Army that Dr. Fruitcake is under a lot of stress and who knows what might happen unless we can get him out of the Army.

    7. I enlist the usual list of Useful Idiots of peace groups, radical groups, church groups, etc., to rally to the cause of this Doctor who has seen the light and who will not fight in Pharoah’s Army any longer.

    By the time I was done I think I could have gotten Doctor Fruitcake a good conduct discharge and maybe even forgiveness of his debt. As they say, this isn’t rocket science and I think any competent litigator could do the same.

    Of course Dr. Fruitcase wasn’t interested in getting out of the Army. In his twisted mind he was interested in screaming Allahu Abkar and murdering men and women who wore the same uniform he disgraced.

  • “5. I take out my violin and play up to the press the prejudice angle.”

    Wouldn’t it be far more effective to just have a string quartet nearby playing Barber’s Requiem?

  • “We certainly can–and should–deny entry for those Muslims who insist on forms of sharia which threaten the constitutional order. We did no less for would-be communist subversives.”

    I have no problem with that. In a case like that, you’re talking about someone who demonstrates unwillingness to accept our system of law, or is affilated with a group whose professed aims are subversive or illegal. That’s not the same as assuming that all Muslims by definition are potential terrorists.

  • “By the time I was done I think I could have gotten Doctor Fruitcake a good conduct discharge and maybe even forgiveness of his debt. As they say, this isn’t rocket science and I think any competent litigator could do the same.”

    Maybe he should have tried dressing as a woman… oh wait, that didn’t even work for Corporal Klinger back in the (fictional) Korean War and it would probably be even less likely to work today.

  • I had to google “Corporal Klinger”…

    …just kidding.

  • Section eights, mentally unfit, were much harder to come by Elaine back in the days when Uncle Sam needed every male who could pull a trigger and before society became consistantly stuck on stupid.

  • You make me feel very old sometimes Tito!

  • Maybe its just because he’s not married yet 🙂

  • Don:

    I knew Army doctors who tried every trick in the book to get out of their committment including being 150lbs over weight standards and being totally incabable of meeting any of the PT standards. The Army just got them special order uniforms.

    The fact that this Army “psychiatrist” was acting like a fruitcake for the past year and this did not lead anyone in the Army to seek his discharge should tell you something.

    Why can’t you and other folks just accept the simple fact that these silly neverending wars are having a disasterous effect upon US soldiers and their mental well being – no matter what their religion.

  • Well awakaman I cited you an actual recent case showing you how it was done by a doctor who became a CO when his precious skin was going to be shipped off to Iraq. There are a lot of ways for people to get around living up to the oaths they swore when they voluntarily joined the military.

    No one sought his discharge from the Army because Dr Fruitcake never sought it. Of course the Army should have had him under constant surveillance after his internet postings surfaced six months ago. I am sure that the inevitable investigation will reveal that the usual culprit, bureaucratic inertia, led to no action being taken.

    The wars we are fighting in the Middle East are neither silly nor never-ending, but necessary and winnable as Iraq demonstrates. Your attempt to make an anti-war argument out of the murderous rampage of Dr. Fruitcake is mistaken. His motivation was Islamic fervor as his cry before the slaughter commenced indicates, and probably paranoia which of course a paranoid psychiatrist would be unable to self-diagnose.

  • Don:

    1) Sorry I am not swayed by the anecdotal evidence you provided of one single doctor who it appeared had been fighting before army boards and in the federal courts for CO status for EIGHT (8) years before he received it. Rather, the military’s severe “stop-loss” policy is still in effect and will only be phased out gradually during the next 2 years.
    How, much do want to bet that 2 years from now there will be even more soldiers being held against their wishes under this program?

    2) Reports state that he did take actions to obtain a discharge and to prevent his deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Perhaps he did not take the well reasoned path you suggested Don but we are talking about a man going down the path of madness.

    3) Don, the fact is that suicides among military personnel and veterans are at alarming levels, yet the Department of Defense does more to hide these facts than it does to deal with them.

    Here we have a person who’s job it was to make our troops feel good about invading other people’s countries and killing strangers, and we’re surprised that he was capable of such an act.

    When my wife’s nephew was on his first tour in Afghanistan, he was the machine gunner on back of a Hum-v. The first couple of days they had him shoot every dog they saw so he would become numb to killing. No matter how noble the cause the chief purpose of our military is to train killers. . . and then we are surprised when they kill.

    4) Yes, Don, “silly and unending”. This case just goes further to show how our interventionist foreign policy is creating anti-Americanism both at home and abroad. Little third world stone-age warrior Afghanistan has been the death knell of many empires. . . my guess it will be where one more dies during that empire’s quest to prop up a corrupt government that allows big US oil to run an oil pipe line accross that nation.

    I also note that the big news in the paper and on the radio this morning was that the Major once said he was “a moslem first and an American second.” Horror of horrors.

  • Actually awakman evidence is also surfacing that Hasan attempted to contact al-Qaeda and the FBI knew about this prior to the shootings.

    This is shaping up into a major story about whether this massacre was an act of Jihad, and, more importantly, why the Feds didn’t act against the fellow prior to him going Jihadal at Fort Hood. There is more here now I think than just a simple nut case and I will be posting more about it tomorrow.

  • Clearly a case of shell-shock by proxy.

    Unitarians do the same thing.

    Big Oil.

    The Crusades.

    Nothing to see here–move along.

  • Pingback: Fort Hood Massacre, President Obama, and George Tiller the Killer « The American Catholic
  • Awakaman:

    If the war in Afghanistan is “silly,” I would like to know what your policy response would be to an act of state-supported terrorism such as 9/11? Should we have had the FBI politely knock on the door of every hut in Helmand, serving search warrants to the suspected criminals?

  • J. Christian:

    We bombed the Taliban leadership and permitted opposing warlords to overthrow them. But. . . no. . . we have to go in and impose a modern western democratic state so everyone can have their Coke, Pepsi, Playboy Magazines and so their women can wear mini-skirts, vote and get abortions.

    Well now all we have done is increase the number of Taliban followers and turn previously friendly warlords against us. Our support of the Russian oppostion during the wonderful reign of Ronald the Great lead to the rise of the Taliban and our continued interference in this area of the world will only lead to their greater growth and prestige in the area.

  • we have to go in and impose a modern western democratic state so everyone can have their Coke, Pepsi, Playboy Magazines and so their women can wear mini-skirts, vote and get abortions.

    Oh, sure. That’s why Afghanistan’s shiny new constitution–with our full throated approval–enshrines Sharia as the supreme law of the land. Under Article 3 of that document, “No law shall be contrary to the beliefs and practices of Islam.”

    Which was why Abdul Rahman was in real danger of execution for apostasy from Islam, editors have been given hard labor for publishing articles criticizing stoning, translators of the Koran have been imprisoned for blasphemy, Shiite Afghan men can starve their wives if they don’t put out, and married women can’t attend school for fear of polluting unmarried girls with their sexuality.,2933,394522,00.html

    Yeah, that’s democracy whiskey sexy in action, all right.

    Look, the idea of trying to impose Western style democracy was stillborn from the start.

    But let’s not entertain any delusional fantasies that that’s what we’ve tried to do in Afghanistan. Because it’s not. In fact, it’s just the opposite–we’ve given the country over to a reduced-calorie version of the Taliban.

Now He Tells Us

Thursday, April 9, AD 2009


Hattip to Instapundit.  “Speaking to GIs in one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces, Mr. Obama ticked off America’s accomplishments in Iraq: “From getting rid of Saddam, to reducing violence, to stabilizing the country, to facilitating elections — you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement.””

I will leave for others to explain just how Obama’s Iraq policy differs from what McCain would have done, or from the policy of Bush if he were still in office.

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14 Responses to Now He Tells Us

  • Democrats and Republicans: Two wings of the same bird of prey.

    Ron Paul 2012. Just sayin’. 🙂

  • Anthony, I can’t imagine ever voting for Ron Paul, but I would rather enjoy seeing him issue letters of marque and reprisal:

  • No difference – in any category foreign or domestic (he just doesn’t give lip service support to conservative social policies like the Republicans do).

    Obama is just Bush in blackface with good teleprompter skills.

  • Reality bites. Dear Leader had been living in his secure Democratic lib bubble- American troops are rapists/babykillers/etc. Then interaction with our fine men and women in uniform. And firsthand looks at their achievements. Thus the glowing terms.

  • It is easy to see the context is important. He is talking to the soldiers themselves, whose culpability is much less than the leaders they are following. The leaders are the ones who must deal with the fact that it was an unjust war; and while one can (especially after Hitler) put some blame on the soldier who follows the orders of an unjust war, that does not mean one cannot also recognize the good done in that war. Let’s not get consequentialist here and use this as an argument to say the war itself was justified. It wasn’t. Even tyrants can be shown to have done some good, but it doesn’t make them any less a tyrant.

  • Let’s not get consequentialist here and use this as an argument to say the war itself was justified. It wasn’t.

    I don’t think Don wrote or implied anything of the sort.

  • Awakaman, no racial references in future please.

    Mr. Karlson, he was listing the good things accomplished by the war. If he still believes that it was an unjust war he has a very peculiar way to go about it. My guess is he is like many politicians: for a war when we are winning, against a war when the going is tough, and for a war after it is won. Of course, contrary to your position, I believe the war from the get-go was a just war. I would still believe that if our forces had been defeated. I doubt if Obama, in contradiction to many of his supporters, had really deep beliefs about the war one way or another. Since it has been won he is more than willing to share in the bows with the troops. At least when it comes to foreign policy Obama is entirely pragmatic.

  • Henry,
    …the fact it was an unjust war?…

    What you mean to say is that is is your opinion that it was an unjust war.

    The war was just. One man had the power to avert war and that man was Saddam Hussein. He did not comply with UN resolutions. All the blood is on his hands. In the wake of 9-11 it would be foolish for any American president to HOPE that Saddam would behave himself.

    0bama (and the rest of the world) should be thankful everyday that Saddam is gone and that democracy is taking root on the Euphrates.

  • Henry,

    It is easy to see the context is important. He is talking to the soldiers themselves

    That’s precisely the point, everything this president says is different depending on audience. In San Francisco he talks about gun and bible clinging hicks, in Ohio he would never say that. His stated policies are based on the audience, his real agenda is unknown, but it’s probably close to what he says at Democrat parties without a lot of press.

  • The difference is not Iraq, but Iran. McCain would have been only too willing to follow the lead of Netanyahu and Liberman. I hope and pray that Obama will stand up to the Israeli warmongers.

  • “will stand up to the Israeli warmongers.”

    Now why would Israel view Iran as a threat?

    Ahmadinejad Quotes:

    “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury.”

    “Remove Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations.”

    “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land. As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.”

    “If the West does not support Israel, this regime will be toppled. As it has lost its raison d’ tre, Israel will be annihilated.”

    “Israel is a tyrannical regime that will one day will be destroyed.”

    “Israel is a rotten, dried tree that will be annihilated in one storm.”

    Oh yeah.

  • McCain would have been only too willing to follow the lead of Netanyahu and Liberman.

    I have heard you claim this repeatedly, but as far as I can tell, the only justification for it is assertions made by people that don’t like John McCain. As evidence goes, that’s pretty weak.

  • Actually during the campaign McCain called for tougher sanctions against Iran but not for military action until both low level diplomacy and sanctions were attempted. Obama refused to take any options off the table.

  • This is a single party state. One thing the “republicrats” have learned from the failures of other single party states is that the so-called masses need to be under the illusion that there is actually a choice. So we have two false choices each election: the donkey and the elephant.

    The policies are the same regardless; and elephant or donkey, the entire Political Class are made up of jackasses.

22 Responses to Which "unjust war"?

  • Bush signed a timetable.

    I’ve never been more proud of him. I’ll probably never be again.

    A timetable means we’re out and no excuse in voting for Obama.

  • On the issue of Islam and radical religious extremists, the point that Muslims are not terrorists cannot be said enough.

  • This is something that we can disagree on, using prudential judgement. But here’s my two cents worth. The reigning Pope, John-Paul expressed the opinion that the invasion of Iraq was an unjust act.

    To have a just war, you need to fufill four requirments:

    It must be declared because of a substantive attack, that makes a declaration of war proportional to the attack. Iraq didn’t attack us.

    It must be declared by an authority that destest war–President bush was looking for an excuse to attack Iraq–and didn’t prove any sort of provocation.

    It must be waged in such a way as too prevent or preclude evils greater than the war itself from surfacing, and to minimize civilian suffering. Gee–with the civilian casualty rate in Iraq being what it is, and the country being plunged into a situation resembling civil war at times, we didn’t even come close to this. I know that the vast majority of casualties have been inflicted on the Iraqi people by other Iraqis or by Al Queda. But the moral standard is that such things must not occure. And we set up the situation that allowed that to occure. Evils, greater than the ones the war was meant to remedy, is the phrase.

    And finally, Their must be a reasonable expectation of success. We did OK with this in phase one, the war against Saddam. And we felt we could, and we have, defeated the Islamicists in Iraq, so we’re OK on that count.

    One out of Four? When all Four are supposed to be met?


  • Excellent post.

  • Ignorant Redneck,

    Just my two cents worth as well.

    Pope JP2 offered a statement that is not binding on Catholics. This is where there is ‘wiggle’ room for debate.

    As for me. I am still struggling with the Iraq War on whether it was a necessary war or not so I can’t offer much but my two cents worth for now.

  • On the issue of Islam and radical religious extremists, the point that Muslims are not terrorists cannot be said enough.

    Eric — I agree. It’s a topic that I’ve addressed repeatedly on my own blog (Against The Grain) and will likely touch on here in future posts.

    As far as evaluating the decision-making that led up to the war in Iraq, I recommend Doug Feith’s War and Decision for an inside look at how the issues were debated at the time — many will find it “revisionist history”, insofar as it manages to counter the dominant “Bush lied, people died” meme of the left.

  • The war in Iraq is yet another blatant example of an incompetent presidency. The only good that can come of this war now is for the Republican Party to be denounced for the rubes that they are. Even the most ardent Republican must shudder at the thought of continuing this madness for 4 more years.

  • AC must be hitting the big-time – we now have a troll.

  • Ignorant Redneck,
    Your criteria don’t quite seem to match the Catechism. I quote:

    CCC 2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. the gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
    – the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
    – all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
    – there must be serious prospects of success;
    – the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

    These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.

    The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

    It says that those in the government have to make the decision, not that they have to “detest war” as you put it. We can still debate as to whether the initial invasion was just. I don’t know the answer to that.

  • Thank you, Sue (and all, for commenting).

    I guess my chief point is that it’s not 2002 — it’s 2008.

    We can continue kicking the dead horse of “was the Iraq war just or not”, but I’d argue that what’s important is to evaluate morally the role of our armed forces in Iraq in the here and now.

    Even if one were to rule that the invasion of Iraq was unjust, does it necessarily follow that joint actions between U.S.-Iraqi forces against insurgents/Al-Qaeda since the fall of Saddam Hussein are unjust as well?

    From the way some discussions go, one gets the impression that any and every U.S. action at this moment in time in Iraq (even those undertaken in the defense of Iraqi citizens), the answer would be affirmative.

  • Christopher,

    First, I agree tht it’s useless to debate the “justness” of the Iraq war. What is always absent from such discussions, though, it seems,is any mention of the original reasons given for going to war, and any mention of the multiple opportunities given to Saddam to avoid war. Nothing that was demanded of him **by the United Nations** was unreasonable (unless you think the wounding of his pride unreasonable); there would have been no war had Saddam submitted to the inspection regime mandated by the UN. So, findings post-invasion aside, Saddam could have avoided having unwelcome guests by simply doing what he was asked to do by the international community.

    I also find the selective ommission of that last little part of the Catechism’s treatment of just war illuminating. It says:

    “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”. (Thanks, Sue, for posting it above). Which part of, “it’s the President’s job, and ultimate responsibility to determine if a military action is just” is it so hard for folks to understand? Those who have all the info get to make all the decisions.

    Think of it like this: you’re standing in a dark alleyway. A police officer shines a light on you, points a weapon at you, and says “Freeze! Police!”. You’re holding something in your hand that, in the dark and from a distance, could be mistaken for a hand gun. You raise your hand in a manner similar to someone lifting a weapon to point it, the officer fires three times, striking you cenþer-of-mass, and you fall down mortally wounded.

    That officer’s prudential judgment was that you posed an immediate threat to his life. Your actions did nthing to dissuade him; he placed three. Rounds through your torso. Who wqas wrong, given the circumstances? You. You didn’t do as you were asked, by a man with a bigger stick and the authority to use it, and now you’re shot.

    I deplore war. I lost two classmates and countless fellow alumni in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would rther we not have gone to fight anywhere. But we did. So what now?

  • Pope JP2 offered a statement that is not binding on Catholics. This is where there is ‘wiggle’ room for debate.

    As for me. I am still struggling with the Iraq War on whether it was a necessary war or not so I can’t offer much but my two cents worth for now.

    Ignorant Redneck,

    Y’see, Tito is one of those “wigglin’ Catholics.”

    “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”. (Thanks, Sue, for posting it above). Which part of, “it’s the President’s job, and ultimate responsibility to determine if a military action is just” is it so hard for folks to understand? Those who have all the info get to make all the decisions.

    Deacon Chip,

    All that line from the Catechism means is that those in authority (the president, in shorthand) are the ones who ultimately make the call whether or not to go to war. The Church doesn’t make the call, because the Church does not go to war – states do. But the responsibility for reflecting on and making judgments according to just war teaching do NOT belong to “the president” alone. The Church reserves the right to make a judgment on the president’s decisions. Otherwise, there is no authority above the state. Likewise, each Christian, and especially each Christian soldier, must make a judgment regarding each war which may not coincide with the prudential judgment of the state. The individual’s conscience is above that of the president. Your view, that “what the president says goes” is dangerous and ties the hands of the Church and of individual Christians.

  • Even if one were to rule that the invasion of Iraq was unjust, does it necessarily follow that joint actions between U.S.-Iraqi forces against insurgents/Al-Qaeda since the fall of Saddam Hussein are unjust as well?

    Great question, although I’m not sure that some of your interlocutors will even acknowledge it.

  • Isn’t it slimy how Weigel wiggles his way out of the indirect, but arguably well foreseeable consequences of the initial, unjust invasion, in his division of the wholeaffair into separate ones?

  • Uh, no, not at all Mark. They are two entirely separate questions. I think Weigel was wrong to support the initial invasion, but I don’t deny that a case could sincerely be made based on the available information. What to do once the U.S. was in Iraq is an entirely separate question, and, by the way, the one that has been relevant for about five years now.

  • I think this is one of the areas where tribalism becomes an all too negative force in our politics. The argument from the religious left is, “The Iraq was unjust, therefore we must vote the Republicans out of office.”

    This is, of course, very convenient if you were against the Republicans taking power back in 2000 in the first place.

    However, while one can certainly take the punitive approach of “They were wrong, so they should suffer” I don’t think there’s much of a moral imperative either way in this election as regards the future conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is virtually no difference between the two candidates positions on those issues.

    Which is why I don’t exactly understand why the war is sometimes presented as a “proportionate reason” one must vote pro-choice this time around.

  • However, while one can certainly take the punitive approach of “They were wrong, so they should suffer”…

    Y’see, you just don’t get it. It’s not that we anti-war types wants republicans to suffer. We want the suffering that republicans cause to stop.

  • And yet the candidate you endorsed today does not have a position on the war that is one jot different from that of McCain. (Which is, after all, how he neutralized the issue on which McCain hoped to run.)

    Your great hope is that he’s lying, and will act differently than he’s said he will.

  • We want the suffering that republicans cause to stop.

    Yeah, there weren’t any Democrats who supported the initial decision to go to war. Only Republicans can cause suffering, I guess. Democrats get absolved somehow if they vacillate when the going gets tough…. And then when the surge works, their Presidential candidate can vacillate again and take an essentially identical position to the Republican candidate.

  • If Obama wins tomorrow, the Democrats will have the presidency and a majority in Congress. Since they are the majority, anything that goes wrong on the national level, they’ll take the blame for, regardless of who did it or if the Republicans cooperated in the so-called “evil.” The GOP will be at a natural advantage in the next election.

    I pray that this isn’t reality come tomorrow.

  • Eric,

    I feel the same way. But what amount of damage can the democrats do in two years in complete and total power?

    I hope not much, but they WILL do a lot of damage.

  • -Since they are the majority, anything that goes wrong on the national level, they’ll take the blame for-

    Yep. They might try and shift blame, but the majority of americans won’t buy it. The majority may vote them in, but that same majority is just voting against the Republicans. They aren’t doctrinaire Democrats, just pissed off Americans. They’ll keep the Dems on a short leash. In two years, here we go again!