Friday, July 29, 2005

Marine Poem. Pass on the Integrity and Honor

Though I am working on finishing up a paper as my semester ends next week (and answering some odd comments I have received lately at here, here, and here), I came across this must-read at American at Heart:


We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
And protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.

I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.

Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor,
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.

By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps

Here is the email:March 23, 2003

Hey Dad,

Do me a favor and label this "The Marine" and send it to everybody on your email list. Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US; I want every home reading it. Every eye seeing it. And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would, but my email time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. You know what Dad? I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK said in his inaugural speech.

"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibiblity. I welcome it."

Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do. Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first born child, I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made my home. I love you all and I miss you very much. I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.


Thank you for your service.
Now, the rest of us, let's go to
and contribute either financial support or some other type, but contribute. Adopt one of our troops and send letters, goods, and support.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

2008 Already? Cast Your Vote

Patrick Ruffini is sponsoring a straw poll allowing folks to cast their vote for whom they think should be the Republican nominee for President of the US.

Your choices are George Allen, Bill Frist, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. So go vote. Interesting results.

Play: Living a Deeper Life

Play: Living a Deeper Life, or maybe I should say "Living Life."

I am working on a paper dealing with "play." It is actually quite a fruitful and practical source of study.

My research is considering the role of "play" in human experience, spending some extra attention on whether or not play is an element in the religious life, or more precisely in the religious experience. I am relying on Gadamer (and Huizinga) for an understanding of play. Then I am considering Josef Pieper and Ratzinger's criticism of play. With some clarifications from Guardini and my own thought, thus far I am concluding that play does have a role in our lives--it is actually vital to human living, to the human part of a being's living. Further, it also has a role in the religious experience (even a certain role in liturgical life) and that it actually is a way of being that is only entered into with risk and thus results in a rich and deep encounter with the content of that religion: with Truth, with Love, with Goodness, with Beauty, and therefore in a way (some more than others perhaps) with Christ. Yes, I am relying on Giussani's thought to help support my conclusion.

A wide variety of thinkers have written on this phenomenon:

-The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress by the libertarian Virginia Postrel
-Truth and Method by Hans-Georg Gadamer
-Relevance of the Beautiful by Hans-Georg Gadamer
-Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture by Johan Huizinga
-In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity by Josef Pieper
-Man, Play, and Games by Roger Caillois
-The Religious Sense by Msgr. Luigi Giussani
-The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini
-The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)
-and one of my favorites On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs by Fr. James V. Schall, SJ

Any thoughts or comments/questions would be appreciated.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

"Delight of Truth"

One of my favorite writers has another(!) good one out: Chesterton and the Delight of Truth. Fr. Schall, SJ, writes:

This essay might be about the "splendor" of truth rather than about its "delight," but John Paul II famously claimed the "splendor" for himself – Veritatis Splendor. Chesterton simply rejoices in truth, but not just for the sake of his own rejoicing, but because there is something to rejoice about. "I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy" – this is Chesterton’s startling reaction to his discovery that man is not made only for this earth but through it for eternal life. The "splendor" of truth, I suppose, stresses its own luminousness, its own shining, its reality, while "delight" indicates our proper reaction to what is, that it is at all, to what sheds its light before us when we realize at last that we need light, that there
is light.


Because Chesterton later wrote his own Autobiography, itself a marvelous book, Orthodoxy is not an autobiography, though it is completely autobiographical. Though he was not a Catholic when he wrote it, it is nevertheless completely Catholic. Though it is written in a completely unscholarly and familiar style, it is thoroughly scholarly and formal in its argumentation. When everyone else found "orthodoxy" to be a bad word, Chesterton found it to be the exact description of what keeps us sane. "When ever we feel there is something odd in Christian theology, we shall generally find that there is something odd in the truth."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rice in Sudan


Rice angry her entourage manhandled in Sudan

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - Security forces in the Sudanese capital manhandled U.S. officials and reporters traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, marring her round of congratulatory meetings with leaders of the new unified government. Rice demanded an apology, and got it.

The Found SEAL: Thoughts and a Chaplain's Reflections

The story of the SEALs from a few weeks ago is one that most will not forget. Froggy has some must-read info on what happened:

I spoke to several of this man’s Teammates in Hawaii, and it is interesting that he is a twin and his brother is a Frogman as well. Actually, each of the brothers has half of a Trident tattooed on their backs so that when they stand side by side, it forms one large Trident. When his brother was informed that the ONE was missing, he immediately knew that his brother was alive and evading. According to what I was told, it was not just hopeful speculation, but some of that twin brother mojo letting his brother know that he was still in the fight.

The story of this harrowing evasion will probably come out eventually, but while the account that I was unofficially given was not very specific, it is truly awe inspiring. After the 4 man SR was compromised and engaged, they called for the QRF and defended themselves from the large taliban hoard that was firing at them. At some point, two of the SR team members were shot and clearly KIA, one other was severely wounded, and he and the ONE continued to fight. I was told that the ONE dragged his critically wounded Teammate while the wounded man continued to fire at the enemy. Eventually, the pair received close incoming mortar fire and the ONE was “blown off the side of the mountain”.

After waking from unconsciousness, the ONE was once again being closed upon by enemy forces.

Go here for the rest.

For some thoughts from the chaplain involved, go to this must-read:

I woke up in a mental fog. I met up with a representative from the Navy SEALs in the morning. Iwas thinking we would begin to discuss the memorial for those who had died, instead I was taken without an invitation to another location. In just an hour, I would learn the full account and the fate of the other four Seals who were still on the ground.


I would spend the next three days caring for this young man who was rescued. He has a deep Catholic faith and a sense of honor that I have never seen so clearly. ...


My work was not only with this Navy SEAL, but to his family of brothers. I would move in with them on their compound--so that I could begin to help them talk through the great loss that they had endured. There would be yet another ramp ceremony for two more Seals whose bodies were found from that firefight of June 28th. This ceremony on July 5th, would be just as powerful and painful as the one four days before--death is never easy. I would also bear the hope of finding the fourth Seal alive--for his body was not found. I would witness the great reunion as the rescued SEAL would join his brothers for the first time since his rescue--it was July 4th. What an experience! Over 20 American Flags were flying on the compound as all his team members were gathered in the briefing room, and we saw a living witness of "freedom" walk through the briefing room door. My fire works for this Independence Day was watching the powerful bond of Sailors welcoming back a fellow shipmate from harms way. I don't think I will ever witness a more deeply felt emotion of pride and liberty as I did that night. I so wish I could bottle it so that every American could tangibly experience the blessings that we have. I would also learn to love these Sailors that I had the privilege to live among for the last two weeks. All members of the military are special, but to see the day-to-day life of these Navy SEALs first hand has been an awesome gift. We, as a country, are indeed fortunate to have such men willing to fight for our way of life. They are a silent service and don't often enjoy the lights of the media upon them--the very lights that have shown during these very difficult days.

Then go to this post for more of the chaplain's reflections on The One:

The men that I have had the honor to livewith during the past two weeks need a little TLC. The SEALs are a "silent service" like the entire SpecialForces--they don't get much recognition and their names and addresses are never published. These SEALs have gone through a lot here in Afghanistan and have lost 11 of their brothers which has never happened in their history. If you would like send them a care package, here is what they would "love" and how to get it to them. They request the following: Home made baked goods, Nacho chips, Salsa, candy bars, microwave popcorn, Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts Coffee, and an address to send a thank you. You can send your package to the following NavyRepresentative who will make sure they get the gift.

Mark Takla
Unit 3Sierrra
APO AE 09354

Also if you would please e-mail me at to let me know that you are going to send a package. So as not to overwhelm them they request only 50 to be sent--so when I take this message off the site you know the quota has been filled. I am sure I will have other opportunities to give so if you miss this one don't worry, remember I am here for a year.

Please send.

Success in Iraq. Where is MSM?

Huge munitions find in Iraq. Why not news of this in MSM? We owe a great debt to our troops and secondarily to journalists (like Michael Yon) who report their good work:

There were surface to air missiles, RPGs, and strange munitions of various sorts. The danger was severe, but with this much explosives, it wouldn’t matter if you were in the hole or a hundred yards away; if this thing blows, game over.


The soldiers inside the hell hole passed up a green ball, about the size of a large cantaloupe, and handed it over to another soldier who began to walk with it, and he said, “I wonder what this is?” Someone looked and said, “STOP. Don’t move. Don’t put it down. You hear what I say? Don’t move. Wait right here.”

For more, go here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Roberts and the Ginsburg Precedent

As usual, Hugh has good insights and links. He links to this article by Jay T. Jorgensen, wherein, according to Hugh, Jorgensen "explains in detail the importance of the precedents established by the Ginsburg hearings." Then Hugh quotes Jorgensen:

Justice Ginsburg declined to answer questions about her views on both prospective and many historical Supreme Court cases. She also declined to answer questions (or gave non-responsive answers to questions) involving a number of controversial issues, hypothetical facts, or areas in which she is not an expert.

This article has key quotations from the confirmation hearings, both from senators on the Judiciary Committee and from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself. As Hugh points out, many of these (Democrat) senators were rather non-belligerent (in fact, kind) with Ginsburg's refusals to answer questions about how she might rule or merely what she thinks about particular cases or controversial Constitutional issues [e. g., religion clause and Roe (abortion)]. That this disposition manifests itself again.

Here is Jorgensen's conclusion:

Justice Ginsburg’s hearings demonstrate that there are many valid reasons why a judicial nominee may decline to answer the questions posed by individual senators. Justice Ginsburg declined to answer, or gave only generalized answers, to a vast number of the questions she was asked during her confirmation hearings. Despite this, Justice Ginsburg was confirmed by a vote of 96-3, which suggests that the Senate recognized her reasons for caution as valid and appropriate. In light of this precedent, the Senate and current judicial nominees should carefully apply those same reasons for caution (discussed above) to establish a common understanding of the rules for a confirmation hearing. This understanding will help in avoiding much of the delay and conflict that has become part of the confirmation process.

Europe Under Seige?

Is this the wave of Europe's Future?

Terror Group Threatens War Across Europe

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - A statement in the name of a group that claimed responsibility for the London bombings threatened Tuesday to launch "a bloody war" on the capitals of European countries that do not remove their troops from Iraq within a month.

"This is the last message we send to the European countries. We are giving you one month for your soldiers to leave the Land of the Two Rivers. Then there will be no other messages, but actions, and the words will be engraved in the heart of Europe," Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades said in a statement.

The "two rivers" in the statement refer to Iraq's Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

The authenticity of the statement - which surfaced on an Islamic Web site known as a clearing house for extremist groups' material - could not be verified.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roberts for SCOTUS

Judge John Roberts is it. Let's see what fireworks happen now.

Hugh will continue to have info and updates.

My thoughts: Yeah! Bush held firm and stayed loyal to his word from election time. Finally, a trustworthy politician.

SCOTUS Suspense

The suspense builds.

Luttig? Clement? Jones?

Should be a fun evening. From 3 - 9 pm, Hugh will be broadcasting on SCOTUS nominee. Go to Listen Live to hear it on the Internet or go to Stations to find out if he is on in your area.

Hugh will have all sorts of pundits on, both from right and left political persuasions. Should be good.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Heroic Marine

"Heroic Marine" sounds like a redundant phrase.

See "An Unlikely Hero: The Marine who found two WTC survivors" by Rebecca Liss. It makes one proud of our fellow Americans, especially those who sacrifice and serve. (HT: Tom W. Bell)

As well, Christopher Hitchens is one man of the Left who has it right, at least with regard to terrorism.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Iraq and al Qaeda?

In light of Claudia Rosett's "Saddam and al Qaeda: There's abundant evidence of connections" and "The Mother of All Connections" by Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, I strongly suggest a listen to this

(from 1999, which means before 9/11) whereby the reporters document some of the connections between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

The Anchoress links to Powerline's comments about this tape and the connection. John says

Before Democrats had a partisan motive to claim, contrary to all the evidence, that there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and bin Laden's al Qaeda, their close and dangerous relationship was common knowledge. That common knowledge is reflected in this ABC news report, as it was in the Clinton administration's indictment of bin Laden in 1998 for, among other things, collaborating with Saddam on weapons of mass destruction.

As well, she links to Instapundit's comment on this: "Yeah, we heard a lot of that stuff before Bush was President, but now it's all supposed to be something he just made up."

Free ... and Tired

Just got back from IHS Liberty & Society Seminar. The week was well worth it. A lot of discussion on matters economic and political with a little philosophy thrown in from time to time, not to mention history. (Will post thoughts from seminar as the days go by.)

Thought I would unwind a bit. So I turned on Comedy Central. Who's on but Zach Galifianakis. A bit from his routine:

"You know you have a drinking problem when you go into a bar and the bartender knows your name ... and you've never been there."

"My sister was recently diagnosed with multiple personalities. It's not something to laugh about. She called me yesterday ... and ... my caller ID exploded."

The IHS seminar was great. A lot of thoughts. For the faculty's reflections and musings (as things happened), see their "live-blog" at AgoraPhilia.

The alum should have their own blog pretty soon. Tried to name it "No Free Lunch," but that was already taken. Will keep trying new names.
In the meantime, some articles I missed throughout the week:

Our Wars Over the War by Victor Davis Hanson:

“The fault is not in our stars.”

Ever since September 11, there has been an alternative narrative about this war embraced by the Left. In this mythology, the attack on September 11 had in some vague way something to do with American culpability.

Either we were unfairly tilting toward Israel, or had been unkind to Muslims. Perhaps, as Sen. Patty Murray intoned, we needed to match the good works of bin Laden to capture the hearts and minds of Muslim peoples.


The spectacular inroads of the Ottomans in the16th century to the gates of Vienna and the shores of the Adriatic were not explainable according to Istanbul’s vibrant economy, impressive universities, or widespread scientific dynamism and literacy, or even a technologically superior and richly equipped military. Instead, a beleaguered Europe was trisected by squabbling Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians — as a wealthy northwest, with Atlantic seaports, ignored the besieged Mediterranean and Balkans and turned its attention to getting rich in the New World.

So too we are divided over two antithetical views of the evolving West — Europe at odds with America, red and blue states in intellectual and spiritual divergence, the tragic view resisting the creeping therapeutic mindset.

These interior splits largely explain why creepy killers from the Dark Ages, parasitic on the West from their weapons to communications, are still plaguing us four years after their initial surprise attack.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

President Bush has given some good speeches lately, including his talk June 29 at Fort Bragg, N.C., in which he stressed some of the reasons for going into Iraq, and his address this past Monday at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va., in which he talked about the role of intelligence in defeating terrorists and stressed that "the heart of our strategy is this: Free societies are peaceful societies."

But there's another speech Mr. Bush still needs to give. That would be the one in which he says: I told you so--there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.


Actually, there were many connections, as
Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, writing in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, spell out under the headline "The Mother of All Connections." Since the fall of Saddam, the U.S. has had extraordinary access to documents of the former Baathist regime, and is still sifting through millions of them. Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn take some of what is already available, combined with other reports, documentation and details, some from before the overthrow of Saddam, some after. For page after page, they list connections--with names, dates and details such as the longstanding relationship between Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Saddam's regime.

Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn raise, with good reason, the question of why Saddam gave haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the men who in 1993 helped make the bomb that ripped through the parking garage of the World Trade Center. They detail a contact between Iraqi intelligence and several of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Malaysia, the year before al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers. They recount the intersection of Iraqi and al Qaeda business interests in Sudan, via, among other things, an Oil for Food contract negotiated by Saddam's regime with the al-Shifa facility that President Clinton targeted for a missile attack following the African embassy bombings because of its apparent connection to al Qaeda. And there is plenty more.

The difficulty lies in piecing together the picture, which is indeed murky (that being part of the aim in covert dealings between tyrants and terrorist groups)--but rich enough in depth and documented detail so that the basic shape is clear. By the time Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn are done tabulating the cross-connections, meetings, Iraqi Intelligence memos unearthed after the fall of Saddam, and information obtained from detained terrorist suspects, you have to believe there was significant collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda. Or you have to inhabit a universe in which there will never be a demonstrable connection between any of the terrorist attacks the world has suffered over the past dozen years, or any tyrant and any aspiring terrorist. In that fantasyland, all such phenomena are independent events.

Mr. Bush, in calling attention to the Iraq-al Qaeda connection in the first place, did the right thing. For the U.S. president to confirm that clearly and directly at this stage, with some of the abundant supporting evidence now available, might seem highly controversial. But reviving that controversy would help settle it more squarely in line with the truth.

Liberals, Democrats and others on the Left frequently state that they "support the troops." For most of them, whether they realize it or not, this is not true. They feel they must say this because the majority of Americans would find any other position unacceptable. Indeed, for most liberals, the thought that they really do not support the troops is unacceptable even to them.

Lest this argument be dismissed as an attack on leftist Americans' patriotism, let it be clear that leftists' patriotism is not the issue here. Their honesty is.


Many on the Left express far more contempt than support for the troops.

A Democratic senator compares our interrogators to the Nazis and Communist torturers; the head of Amnesty International in America defends likening Guantanamo Bay to the Gulag; and liberals routinely speak of troops as coming from the lowest socio-economic rungs of society (maybe that's one reason they oppose recruiters on campuses, lest the best educated actually join the military). But, hey, the Left supports the troops.

An honest leftist would say: "Because I view this war as immoral, I cannot support our troops." What is not honest is their saying, "Support the troops -- bring them home." Supporting people who wish to fight entails supporting their fight; and if that fight is opposed, those waging it are also opposed.

Many on the Left angrily accuse the Right of disparaging their patriotism. That charge, too, is false. I have never heard a mainstream conservative impugn the patriotism of liberals. But as regards their attitude toward our troops, the patriotism of those on the Left is not the issue. The issue is their honesty.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Conference "Live-Blogging"

I am at the IHS Liberty & Society Seminar and while I am here the professors and staff are "live-blogging" throughout the talks.

You can check it out and get a feel for what is being discussed, both during the official sessions and during the breaks and social time, by going to AgoraPhilia. They update it and blog almost non-stop.

And you can even check out the rather "interesting" plug Eagle and Elephant got at Professor Bell's post.

By the way, the talks have been very good and have helped me further to clarify and strengthen my own arguments for the free market and the rational foundation for natural rights (through a certain understanding of natural law--more on that later).

Saturday, July 09, 2005

More Liberty

I am off to a conference on "Liberty & Society." Will be back next weekend.
Will not be posting much this week but surely will have some thoughts when I return. I will too, not just Shirley.
In the meantime, visit some of the links to the lower right.
Keep the remaining SEAL in your prayers and our brothers and sisters in London too.
Don't forget to go to

and contribute either financial support or some other type, but contribute. Adopt one of our troops and send letters, goods, and support.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London Reflections

Reflections worth reading:
by Christopher Hitchens (HT: Hugh)

by Amir Taheri (HT: Dennis)

by Victor Davis Hanson
by Rich Lowry
Here is an article worth reading. Fr. Schall, SJ, is a Jesuit priest with uncommon insight and perceptive analysis, probably due to his reading of Aquinas, Pieper, Chesterton, and the Peanuts.

The One War, The Real War

By Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. July 8, 2005

The London subway and bus bombings of July 7 killed some forty people and injured seven hundred others. Such acts are yet another wake-up call to people in every country who evidently need constant graphic reminders that a real war is being fought against them on a world-scale.

Public life will not go on "as usual" so long as militant, aggressive Islam, however statistically and comparatively small in numbers, is active throughout the world. Its analysis of the moral decadence in the West encourages it to think it can undermine the will of particularly its most effective military and principled opponents. They are not yet proved wrong. They think, with such methods, that they have a winning formula.

Just at a moment when many liberal western media and political sources insisted that this war was "caused" by overreaction on the part of President Bush to 9/11, the Islamic militants oblige us with another graphic incident. They will not go away until actually defeated. They do not negotiate or give advanced warnings. They kill the innocent, in cold blood, precisely because they are innocent and unprepared to defend themselves. They see and justify this arbitrary killing as a legitimate means to their religious and political end, the conquest of the world for Islam.

If there is widespread, active opposition to these forces within the Islamic world today – and there is some – it is either too afraid or too silent to be particularly effective. Western Muslim spokesmen, whose position is rarely echoed within Islamic countries, generally deny any responsibility and seem to worry mostly about reaction, not about causes. On prudential grounds, we cannot expect Islam to cure itself by itself. The President’s program of setting up a "democratic" government in Muslim states when possible has an outside chance of succeeding, but probably no more than that.

Religious public opinion in Muslim states needs to be much more condemnatory against such attacks. Certainly some not insignificant percentage of Muslim opinion throughout the world approves these terrorist methods and their goals, especially when they seem "effective." This conquest mentality is not something new but has a long and recurrent history that needs to be more clearly recognized.

The purpose of such sporadic attacks, from Bali to Moscow to London to Madrid to New York and elsewhere, is to undermine any effective will to use force in the West. It seeks to stop military opposition to terrorism in their political foundations. Till now, the forces defining "what Islam really is" are not the so-called "non-terrorist" Muslims. These latter themselves become targets when they manifest coherent and effective oppositionto these same Islamic radicals. We see this in Iraq almost every

There are not "two" wars – one in Iraq and one against the terrorists. There is but one war, wherever it is fought, including in London or Baghdad. The terrorists are fully capable of being everywhere. They are invariably Muslim radicals intent on a world mission at least claiming a religious duty. They are not primarily "caused" by poverty or any of the usual ideological reasons given to justify terror.

In fact, such Islamic apologists for this terrorist system see nothing wrong with what we habitually call terror. It is a legitimate means to their end to be deliberately and efficiently used. I have long considered suicide and other terrorist bombing initiatives to be cumulatively far more dangerous to world population than any threat once associated with nuclear war or other kinds of war. But I do not doubt that some of these terrorists would use nuclear weapons if they had them and were capable of delivering them. So this eventually must also be taken into consideration. In the long run, the terrorists will kill more people and cause more economic destruction and chaos than war, but it will be piecemeal, a little at a time, not easily noticed or calculated.

The London bombings, unlike 9/11, were apparently not suicide bombings. But it is probably just a question of time before we, as in Israel, see them in our streets. They are just too effective a propaganda and terrorist means. Suicide bombers are not needed against easy targets. I am, in fact, struck by how relatively little moral attention is paid to suicide and terrorist bombings as expressions of a religious purpose and what this view does to any truth claim. Pope John Paul II several times remarked on this incompatibility.

The main battlefield of the war is not Iraq or even London tubes. It is in the media and public opinion in the United States and Europe about whether the will to do what is necessary to prevent these attacks is firm enough over a long period of time. Civilian and suicide bombings have a political purpose and a religious purpose.

The political purpose is a calculated risk that continued bombings would show that Western powers cannot defend their own populations. Consequently, they should cease trying. They should rather, in return for "peace," submit to Islamic neutralization of their territories, a kind of compromised second-class citizenship. Likewise, they should withdraw from any effort to prevent such attacks in Muslim lands themselves.

The religious purpose of this war, in the minds of its advocates, is to succeed in subjecting the world to Allah. This purpose, no doubt, sounds preposterous. But I think that we misunderstand the problem if we do not disassociate what these terrorists themselves say from our theories of "terrorism." The problem is not caused by fanaticism or some political, sociological, or psychological derangement.


We forget, however, that many, many bombings of various kinds have been prevented since 9/11. A prevented bombing makes no headlines. But we are wrong to think that effective security and military forces have not been in place. The terrorists themselves know that they are more and more under surveillance and pressure.

Al-Qaeda forces may have seen their reputation so questioned by the effects of the Afghanistan and Iraq phases of the war that they felt it absolutely necessary to show some flashy sign of strength. If so, this too is in effect a sign of their weakness. They revealed themselves for what they are once more. It has been taken as a truism that it is better to fight these forces on their own grounds and not in London or New York or Madrid. The war overseas does not prove that it is not effective, but that it is. But the latter three cities, however orchestrated, are part of the same war.

In this sense, we can be grateful that the Islamic terrorists in London again called our flagging attention to the real war, the one against those who first declared war against us in the name of their religious and political mission. The first effort has been and still is to undermine any effective opposition. Whether this purpose can be achieved by terrorism and its effect on public opinion remains to be seen.

I suspect that the Islamic radicals still think they are on target. In the end, they will see the London bombings as a stunning "success." But if it finally makes us see the real scope and nature of the one war, they will have miscalculated both our understanding of what they are about and our will to do something about it.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Free and Grateful. Thank God and US Troops Too!

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When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

For the rest of the Declaration of Independence, go here.
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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Some Good News: SEAL Found

Special ops member rescued in Afghanistan

Sunday, July 3, 2005; Posted: 1:10 p.m. EDT (17:10 GMT)

One member of a U.S. special operations reconnaissance team missing in Afghanistan since Tuesday has been rescued, a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity told CNN.

The team member "evaded the enemy and was successfully rescued by U.S. forces," the official said.

No other details are being released because the search for other missing members of the team continues, the official said.

This is hopefully just the beginning of some light to shine from the darkness of the past week. It was a shock to many.

As usual, go to Froggy for the latest.
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More wouldn't hurt either, and it would help the families.