As we know, a US military truck ran into up to 12 vehicles killing apparently 3 people in a traffic accident. What is new though is that an Afghan general witnessed the accident and also witnessed Americans firing into the crowd kiling an additional four Afghans. the good general says why the Afghans got into such a rage:
General Gozar briefed President Karzai on the episode, and said he told the president that while it was clearly an accident, the behavior of the Americans had contributed to the people’s anger. Arrogant driving — driving fast or not allowing cars to overtake their convoy — irritated people, he said. People were also angered when the soldiers prevented them from approaching the crashed cars to help the injured, he said.
what hearts and minds? Certainly not the Afghans!
I just reviewed the Brookings Institution’s report on the “progress” in Iraq. It paints a sad story about the violence in Iraq and how poor the situation is right now.
It didn’t have to be this bad. In all the various charts the BI have in their report, all the numbers that should be going down are actually going up, more deaths, more violence, etc. And the most telling number is found in the number of insurgents. the latest number has them at 20,000+. the plus (+) is key, since it wasn’t used before in their chart. They’ve estimated that as of April 2006, the insurgency is at its greatest strength.
Last throes? Hardly.
in my last blog I pointed out how the Left Behind series is being made into a violent video game where one could play one of the characters in the books and go around killing “infidels” and “saving” them. Or one could play the anti-Christ and do the same.
So, why, I wonder, have we not heard an outcry from Christians about this new game? I mean here is Dr. James Dobson commenting about violent video games:
QUESTION: What is your opinion of Nintendo and other kinds of video games? They’ve been claiming a big portion of our son’s time over the past few months, and I’m getting uneasy about it.
DR. DOBSON: Depending on the particular games in question, you may have a valid cause for concern. Dr. Vince Hammond, head of the National Coalition on Television Violence, has described the potentially harmful nature of video games, especially those with violent themes. Some observers have come to the conclusion that these games can become obsessive and encourage aggressive behavior. There’s even evidence to suggest that children between the ages of 8 and 10 are 80 percent more likely to fight with one another after playing with them.
I’d advise you to put clear limits on the amount of time your son will be allowed to spend with video games or the Internet so that he won’t become obsessed with them. Insist that he avoid the violent ones altogether. With realistic guidelines, I think it’s possible to keep this kind of activity under control rather than letting it control your son and your family.
I wonder what Dr. Dobson thinks about the new Left Behind video game?
I want to hear from my fellow Christians out there. Should we not be protesting the creation of this game in which 13 year olds can get violent to others of a different religion?
wow…..thanks to Andrew Sullivan who watches our for Christianity run amok. Look at this game coming out this October 2006 based on the Left Behind book series that were so popular with the Christian Right. According to Talk to Action in this game you can kill anyone who is not a fully converted Christian.
Is this really Christianity at its best? Is this the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How shameful!
Mr. Cohen writes about his family immigrating to the United States, and he makes a very interesting point about the difference between immigration in the past and immigration today, that makes you wonder about how things would have been back then if the circumstances were the same today.
The non-English-speaking immigrants of the 19th and earlier centuries could not simply get on an airplane and return to the mother country for a visit. Once they came to America, they usually stayed in America. This is not necessarily true of Spanish-speakers, who can more easily visit Mexico or another Latin American country.
Today, we tend to take for granted that a flight to Italy takes only several hours, but back then, it took weeks to cross the Atlantic. How easily was it for those immigrants in those days to return back to their homeland? In regards to Mexico today, how easy is it to go back accross the border in to Mexico? Would the Italians have frequented back and forth between America and their homeland if it only took hours to travel?
“Well…you see, sir? If we can use an H-bomb–and, as you said, it’s no checker game; it’s real, it’s war and nobody is fooling around–isn’t it sort of ridiculous to go crawling around in the weeds, throwing knives and maybe getting yourself killed…and even losing the war…when you’ve got a real weapon you can use to win? What’s the point in a whole lot of men risking their lives with obsolete weapons when one professor type can do so much more just by pushing a button?”
Zim didn’t answer at once, which wasn’t like him at all. Then he said softly, “Are you happy in the Infantry, Hendrick? you can resign, you know.”
Hendrick muttered something; Zim said, “Speak up!”
“I’m not itching to resign, sir. I’m going to sweat out my term.”
“I see. Well, the question you asked is one that a sergeant isn’t really qualified to answer…and one that you shouldn’t ask me. You’re supposed to know the answer before you join up. Or you should. Did your school have a course in History and Moral Philosophy?”
“What? Sure–yes, sir.”
“Then you’ve heard the answer. But I’ll give you my own–unofficial–views on it. If you wanted to teach a baby a lesson, would you cut its head off?”
“Of course not. You’d paddle it. There can be circumstances when it’s just as foolish to hit an enemy city with an H-bomb as it would be to spank a baby with an ax. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government’s decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him…but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing…but controlled and purposeful violence. But it’s not your business or mine to decide the purpose of the control. It’s never a soldier’s business to decide when or where or how—or why—he fights; that belongs to the statesmen and the generals. The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how. We supply the violence; other people–’older and wiser heads,’ as they say–supply the control. Which is as it should be. That’s the best answer I can give you. If it doesn’t satisfy you, I’ll get you a chit to go talk to the regimental commander. If he can’t convince you—the go home and be a civilian! Because in that case you will certainly never make a soldier.”
Robert A. Heinlein
“There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the Republic into tow great parties, each arranged under its leader and converting measures in opposition to each other.”
Yet this was exactly what had happened. The “turbulent maneuvers” of factions, he now wrote privately, could “tie the hands and destroy the influence” of every honest man with a desire to serve the public good. There was “division of sentiments over everything,” he told his son-in-law William Smith. “How few aim at the good of the whole, without aiming too much at the prosperity of the parts!” (pg. 422)
taken from pg. 422 of David McCullough’s biography on John Adams.
Yes, this is what the legacy of this administration and this defense secretary will be for the rest of time and all eternity. He will not be remembered for trying to reform the Department of Defense for a 21st century, but for his efforts to undermine the goodwill and rightness of the US military’s treatment of prisoners. In the future, from now on, other countries will use our actions as excuse for their torturing their prisoners. “If the Great America can torture its prisoners, so can we,” will be the saying.
it is growing harder for top Pentagon officials, including Rumsfeld himself, to absolve themselves of all responsibility. Evidence is growing that the Pentagon has not been forthright on exactly when it was first warned of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib. U.S. officials continued to say they didn’t know until mid-January. But Red Cross officials had alerted the U.S. military command in Baghdad at the start of November. The Red Cross warned explicitly of MPs’ conducting “acts of humiliation such as [detainees'] being made to stand naked… with women’s underwear over the head, while being laughed at by guards, including female guards, and sometimes photographed in this position.”
I am saddened that more Americans, especially those professing a belief in Jesus, do not speak out more harshly about this. Have so many who profess a belief in Jesus forgotten that every single human being born on this planet is a son or daughter of God? I quote what the LDS Church has said on the subject. It is pretty all-encompassing.
The church “condemns inhumane treatment of any person under any circumstances,” said church spokesman Dale Bills. “The church has not taken a position on any proposed legislative or administrative actions regarding torture.”
that includes the “ticking-time-bomb” scenario that is a favorite for torturers to use as an excuse to torture. it’s the only real excuse they have for torturing prisoners and detainees. Nothing else comes close as a justification. And seeing that the “ticking-time-bomb” scenario is so rare, it is no justification for the general practice of torture.
David Addington, Cheney’s aide, is apparently reviewing legislation before it comes to the President’s desk for approval, to review whether any piece of legislation might curb the executive powers……
I’m waiting to hear from Hastert and Pelosi about this encroachment into the legislative branch……where are you Congress?
a US military convoy got into an accident in Kabul that killed 3 people. a fourth died from gun shots, apparently from a US military gun. the article can only get an annonymous witness as the police in Afghanistan are not authorized to talk to the press. (typical and ironic). the last part says it all:
Afghans often complain about what they call the aggressive driving tactics of the U.S. military. Convoys often pass through crowded areas at high speeds and sometimes disregard road rules.
The U.S. military says such tactics are necessary to protect the troops from attack.
The US military does not care about winning the hearts and minds of the people. They only care about themselves. They don’t realize that in order to win the hearts and minds, you kinda have to make a sacrifice…..so ironic seeing that this war is so strongly supported by Christians…..
what is wrong with Mr. Tony Blair? does he not see how radioactive Mr. Bush is? stay away from the man, Mr. Blair. let Mr. Bush fall. we’re close to taking him down. don’t prop him up.
yes, liberal hawks are making a comeback. But Mr. Heilbrunn wants to call them the Democrat neo-cons. uh uh! no way. Let that name (neo-cons) be forever left to history as an example of the worst kind of foreign policy possible. Let no one ever emulate what they tried. Yes, let us go back to the days when multi-lateralism with force worked, under Truman and Kennedy, but let what Bush did forever remain in history, never to be repeated!
good words of advice. Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis had exhorted his Marines back in March 2003. Unfortunately, they did not heed his advice and purposefully and intentionally killed over 20 civilians execution style! is this what Rumsfeld had in mind when he said, “stuff happens?”
It is good, though, to see more military people speaking out on the wrongs of this war. It’s unfortunate though that they keep waiting until they retire to speak their minds. I wonder just what will be revealed if all military generals, lieutentants, colonels, etc. were able to speak truthfully about what they’ve witnessed…….
that Congress would work this hard for the protection of regular Americans like they are for one of their own. In a dramatic event that shows just how out of touch with reality Congress is today, both the House and the Senate are working double-time to solve this little tiff with the FBI over the raid of a US Congressman’s office.
Hastert has been crying foul that this was against the constitutional separation of branches…..yet….where was he when Bush ordered the NSA to spy on millions of Americans, effectively saying that millions of Americans are possible terrorists?
Where was Hastert when Bush snubbed his nose at Congress SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY! times!
This just truly shows how corrupt our US Congress has gotten, how full of themselves they’ve gotten, how important they think they are. We’ve got to show them this November what their true worth is. Vote them all out of power!
George Will writes for the Washington Post and in today’s article argued for the usage of the English language as the national language. As I’ve shown earlier, our official currency has two languages on it. This is my email to Mr. Will:
I am curious if those who seek to make English the national language of America realize what needs to happen. Have you taken a look at the dollar bill lately? What other language is on that bill?
Why is it okay to use a “dead language” on our official currency, but we are afraid to use a live and thriving language in our various official papers?
I realize you must receive numerous emails, so if you do not reply, it is okay. I just wished someone more influential gave this a thought.
Congressmen are in a huff over the FBI raiding the office of Rep. Jefferson’s office. They say the raid was “unconstitutional.” Oh the damn hypocrisy! Oh the blatant selfishness of these elitists! How dare they cry foul when the FBI raids their office yet when the NSA secretly invades the privacy of millions of Americans’s homes they sit idly by! How long can we stand here and watch these mighty fools, these bamboozlers, these drunkards, fattening themselves up on lobby money whilst robbing future generations of a choice through the massive debt we incur?
Many people see the problem with Mexican immigrants as this. Mexicans are not wanting to let go of their culture and join with ours. So here’s a question:
What incentive are we giving Mexicans to let go of their own culture and join with ours?
the Germans experimented with a guest worker program bringing in many immigrants from far places, mostly from Turkey, as guest workers, temporary workers to help with a labor shortage. They thought that it would be effective, and most of the workers would go home. what they found though, according to this article, is that employers were reluctant to release these workers, and the workers were reluctant to go home, instead bringing their families over.
Today, Germany is having very similar problems with the United States in regards to a lack of assimilation by its immigrants, who stubbornly keep to the traditions and cultures they brought from their native lands.
What lesson can America learn? A guest worker program is probably only a short-term solution that will produce more problems in the long run than the problems it will solve in the short term.
When you look at a stable thriving nation, (basically any nation in this world that is not currently fragmented within), what is it about those nations that keep its people glued together? What compels them to be loyal and united to the abstract cause of the nation? because a nation is only as real as the people support it, and this is something that is clearly evident in Iraq. Is Iraq currently a nation, or a conglomerate group of tribes that used to be unified under threat of death? What is holding Iraq’s population together under the idea of an Iraqi nation? for example, in today’s New York Times, an article talks about the armed groups formed originally for policing the country, guarding pipelines, etc., but who have left those duties (normally a treasonous offense in most countries), and assassinated political leaders and apparently even their own commanding officer! Can you imagine American marines doing the same? or French special forces? British commandos?
There are many failures in Iraq, but the greatest of all is the failure to find something that unifies the country under the idea of Iraq. That failure occurred when America attempted to create a country FOR the Iraqis, rather than letting Iraqis form their own. Why should Iraqis hold allegiance to their country when it really isn’t their own, when they have no attachment to it?
This is the failure of those who think they can do nation-building without actually doing nation-building.
So, what can be done now?
The best case scenario at this point is to let the Iraqis duke it out, let them fight it out on their own. Let them find their allegiance and let that new group take charge. That’s the best case scenario. Why is it the best-case? Because other scenarios will require America to take over the entire country for at least a generation, be the glue, the allegiance, that will hold the country together until they are truly ready to be on their own. That scenario, with America being the colonizer is not a viable politcial option, hence not the best-case scenario.
Even the civil war scenario, while the best case, is not that great, as there will be a great risk of destabilizing the rest of the Middle East. Kurds in Turkey will definitely want a piece of freedom that their brothers in Kurdistan will have with a civil war in Iraq.
But then again…..if you think about it, if you are really for freedom in the Middle East, do we not want the people to rise up against their totalitarian governments? Can you name me one democratic country in the Middle East that is not Israel?
The most important point is that we have to let these people gain their own freedom. We cannot give it to them at the point of a gun. They will be better off in the long run if they free themselves. Let the Middle East destabilize. Let some of those governments fail. Too many of them are corrupt to the core and need a replacement. Too many of them are supported by our government—something that needs to stop. If we are truly for democracy, we will not fear a destabilized Middle East. We will welcome it warmly.
well thank you for the compliment. yeah, i’m not going to spend as much time commenting on Mr. Day’s blog anymore. you are quite correct, some of those guys there are perhaps too far gone to bring a sense of cheerfulness back into their lives. It was interesting though when I mentioned the birth of my daughter how kind they were. It was like deep in a pitched battle, blood everywhere, swords stained red, and suddenly someone shouts that they just had a baby. All the fighting stops and each gives a heartfelt congratulations to the new father amongst the fighters, and then the swords are thrust back at each other just as quickly!
While I’ve not been to Mexico, I have lived in California and have seen some aspects of Mexican culture upfront. It sounds a lot like some European cultures, deeply held, strong in family, not giving a care about other cultures. Would you agree with that? Would Mexican culture be more like a European culture?
Moreover, I am curious why the Europeans who came over to the United States over the past 200 years have been able to adapt and “assimilate”–though I hate the use of that word in regards to immigration because it tends to have a negative connotation (“resistance is futile”), and it seems to imply that the old culture must be abandoned for the new. If I recall my history correctly, it did take a lot of time for them to meld in with the rest of Americans. Do you think that Mexicans today and in future generations could do the same? And how much time could it actually take?