Ethics News

War, Weapons of Mass Destruction (Supplement)


Church of the Peaceniks: Religious leaders who oppose the Iraq war (NRO, 030207)

Who Wins Without War?: Peacenik protestors haven’t thought through the consequences of not going to war (Weekly Standard, 030227)

Anti-War Protestors: Shades Of Stupidity (Free Congress Foundation, 030221)

The Links Between The Anti-War Movement And Marxist Groups (Free Congress Foundation, 030225)

How Strange: Some antiwar protesters show the movement’s true colors (NRO, 030317)

Saddam’s Babel: Reading about the pending war in the Bible (NRO, 030317)

Ex-Friends: Casualties of this war (NRO, 030321)

My address book is the first casualty of war (London Times, 030318)

Faith in Bush (Washington Times, 030321)

A Message from the War: Tell your children (NRO, 030407)

Peace prize winner pro-war (National Post, 030407)

Bush ‘First-Strike’ Doctrine Under Fire (Foxnews, 030814)

The WMD scandal that wasn’t (, 050401)

God & Man on the Frontlines: Stephen Mansfield on The Faith of the American Soldiers. (Foxnews, 050527)

Trashing our history; Hiroshima (, 050809)

Hiroshima and the Burden of History (Christian Post, 050805)

American Legion Declares War on Protestors — Media Next? (WorldNetToday, 050824)

We said that? (, 051104)

Four and Out? The dangerous lesson America’s wars have taught us. (Weekly Standard, 060406)

The new Holocaust (, 050427)

Church Heads Rally for Middle East Peace, Urge Bush to Intervene (Christian Post, 060721)

Christian Leaders Defend Israel, Decry ‘Islamic Fascism’ (Christian Post, 060720)

“Peace” activists gone wild (, 060726)

Self-hating Jews and the Jewish state (, 060726)

Stuck in a Quagmire: The Iraqi prime minister delivers a message some Americans have needed to hear for decades now. (National Review Online, 060727)

Christians, Pacifism, Iraq (, 070322)

Christian Theologians Explore War and Religion (Christian Post, 070518)

U.S. deserter takes sanctuary in Vancouver church (National Post, 091019)





Church of the Peaceniks: Religious leaders who oppose the Iraq war (NRO, 030207)


I was e-mailing earlier this week with an Episcopal priest friend in the military’s chaplain corps, asking him how the soldiers he serves are bearing up these days, on the march to war with Iraq. He replied that most are going to the Middle East with “a resigned determination.”


“Our men and women in uniform understand that we can defang this evil monster now, and take our licks,” the chaplain said. “Or, we can defang him later, at a cost which is significantly higher. The odds in our favor decrease the longer we delay. To delay will cost Americans in body bags.”


I then asked how the soldiers feel when they read of religious leaders denouncing war with Iraq, the same war they are going to have to fight, if it comes to that.


“Betrayed. Disgusted,” the chaplain replied. “They find them naïve, clueless. It causes a rift between the soldier and the faith group. The Episcopalian soldiers I serve, for example, were outraged during the Gulf War when they saw the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church on the picket lines in front of the White House.”


Well, Episcopalian soldiers, here’s some comfort: Peter Lee, the bishop of Virginia (and thus the ordinary of Colin Powell, a parishioner at St. John’s, McLean), has issued a thoughtful, balanced statement about a Christian’s duty in the impending conflict.


“We pray for peace,” the bishop said. “We uphold our leaders and our military in our prayers. And in a fallen world, we understand that one of the responsibilities of international leadership is to name the threats to peace and to participate in removing them, by diplomacy if possible, by measured, necessary force as a last resort.”


Bishop Lee, a Korean war veteran, neither endorsed nor condemned this war, but said only that Christians should pray that our nation should do God’s will — even if the divine will means fighting a just war. That seems about right. Yet such a statement puts Bishop Lee at odds with his church’s presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, a strident antiwar activist who recently said that the “world has every right to loathe us,” and with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has described a U.S.-led war on Iraq as “immoral and illegal.”


Across the Tiber, the antiwar sentiment is much the same. Pope John Paul II has made several strong statements calling on the United States to stand down from war with Iraq. Top cardinals have sharply criticized America’s march to war, saying that attacking Iraq now would violate just-war principles. Cardinal Francis Stafford, the top-ranking American in the Vatican, issued Rome’s most detailed case against the war in this recent statement, in which he said that war can only be justified if it is defensive or the threat of attack is “very imminent.”


“Furthermore, the concept of a ‘preventive’ war is ambiguous,” Cardinal Stafford continued. “…The threat must be clear, active and present — not future. Nor has the American administration shown that all other options before going to war have proven ‘impractical or ineffective.’”


Though a number of U.S. Catholic bishops and heads of Catholic religious orders have taken hard antiwar positions, the bishops’ conference last November issued a more balanced statement. Though they opposed military action, the bishops conceded that “people of good will may differ on how to apply just-war norms in particular cases, especially when events are moving rapidly and the facts are not altogether clear.”


It’s the same everywhere you look. Heads of mainline Protestant denominations in America, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church, are on record opposing the war. The National Council of Churches is strongly antiwar (which is like saying Homer Simpson is strongly pro-donut). Jewish religious leaders are divided, with some supporting the war and others opposed. Some Jewish peaceniks, however, hesitate to join the antiwar movement because it has become home to overt anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments. As for the Muslims — well, do you really have to ask?


In fact, the only major American religious leaders to forthrightly back the president are Evangelicals. Richard Land, a top Southern Baptist official, joined Chuck Colson three other prominent Evangelicals in a supportive letter sent to the White House last fall. But the National Association of Evangelicals have declined to make a statement on the war, reflecting the ambivalence many congregations feel about attacking Iraq.


So: With the overwhelming majority of major religious leaders in the West either antiwar or ambivalent about military action in Iraq, what are we laypeople to make of all this?


I have heard some say that priests and pastors “ought to get behind our president,” by which they mean refuse to criticize Bush and his war plans as a matter of patriotism. This isn’t quite right. Religious leaders have a prophetic role to play, speaking truth to power when civil authority is in the wrong. Plus, does anybody want ordained men and women uncritically baptizing war? The pope was right to call war, even just war, a “defeat for humanity.”


That said, religious authorities today are reflexively, and depressingly, pacifistic on this war, as if every devil can be cast out with high-minded talk and good intentions. Some of it has to do with the knee-jerk liberalism of the upper clergy in all the American churches, whose leaders are generally much more to the left on social matters than their congregations. These are the kind of hopeless naifs who take a fact-finding tour of Iraq, and return trumpeting news that the citizens of this totalitarian dictatorship don’t want war. A generation ago, their predecessors took “peace tours” of the Soviet Union, and came home denouncing America for its warmongering ways.


But there are those who truly believe that the classic criteria for a just war have not been met. The problem, though, is that just-war theory, which dates from St. Augustine’s fifth-century deliberations, is in need of updating to account for the dramatically different conditions of the present age. (For a more detailed discussion of this, see George Weigel’s lengthy First Things essay.)


In an era when weapons of mass destruction are possessed by rogue states, the very act of having such devastating weapons can legitimately be seen as an act of aggression requiring a response. This is even truer when it is known that a government supports terrorist surrogates that have sought to acquire such weapons. Must America lose New York or Washington before she is free to wage war on those who would nuke her, if they had the means?


Antiwar clerics have no answer to that question, and no responsibility for protecting populations from that fate. History will not hold bishops accountable for failing to prevent the annihilation of cities. One suspects George W. Bush and Tony Blair wish they slept as well these days as peacenik vicars.


Many divines, citing the just-war criterion that insists “competent authority” must be in charge of a just war, say that America must not act without the United Nations. Leaving aside the risibility of theologians tutoring statesmen on the rules of international sovereignty, the United Nations is very near to proving its moral vacuity, its impotence, and its incompetence as an authority charged with keeping international order.


We are told by Christian leaders that America and its allies haven’t gone far enough to resolve the crisis without resorting to military means. After 12 years of sanctions and a demonstrably useless inspections regime, and a year of intense diplomacy under the cloud of war, all with no effect on Iraq, there is simply nothing left to be done. We do not yet know how our religious leaders will react to the overwhelming case Colin Powell made this week at the U.N., in which he demonstrated conclusively that a dozen years of trying peaceful means of coercion has not worked with Iraq. But their credibility is on the line.


One antiwar argument the peace pastors use will not be swayed by Powell’s U.N. speech: that the Iraqi people will suffer terribly in the event of an American-led war. That’s probably true. But all war brings suffering to civilian populations. It’s terrible, and an army must do its best to minimize it. Yet many more people — our own — may die if Saddam is allowed to remain in power, and develop his weapons of mass destruction.


Barring a miracle (for which we all must pray), this nation is going to war. “The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others,” the president said to Congress. One might add: Not even bishops and pastors. And, considering what some of them are saying, perhaps, Thanks be to God.




Who Wins Without War?: Peacenik protestors haven’t thought through the consequences of not going to war (Weekly Standard, 030227)


ONE OF THE SLOGANS of the antiwar movement is “win without war.” It means that somehow, some way, Saddam Hussein will be removed from power in Iraq or, through some miracle of geopolitics, he will decide to disarm his country of weapons of mass destruction—all without a shot being fired. It’s a pipe dream, of course, but it raises the question of what really will happen if there’s no war of liberation that frees the Iraqi people from Saddam’s yoke.


The answer is nothing good and a lot that’s bad. The most disastrous result of no war is Saddam stays in power, stronger and less restrained than ever. He will have gone eyeball-to-eyeball with President Bush—and Bush will have blinked. That outcome is not likely to make Saddam willing to disarm or stop tormenting his own people or threatening his neighbors. Nor is it likely to make him skittish about getting up close and personal with terrorist groups such as al Qaeda. One significant result: The security of the United States will be further imperiled.


Imagine how Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will feel, having sided with the United States, the losing side in the face-off. They will be forced to come to terms with Saddam, since he suddenly will be the new strongman in the Middle East. Imagine how the Israelis will react. Saddam is the guy who rewards the families of suicide bombers (who kill Israeli women and children) with a check for $25,000. The Israelis will feel less secure than ever, and they will be less secure, despite American assurances that Israel will never be abandoned. The bottom line is that the entire Middle East will have a taken a sharp turn for the worse.


Two examples. One, the Bush administration’s plan is to use Iraq, absent Saddam, as a beacon of democracy in the Arab world. The hope is that, just as in eastern Europe after the fall of Soviet communism, democracy will be contagious and democratic reformers will step front and center in Arab nations. Countries like Qatar that have started on the path to democracy will be encouraged to move ahead. And countries with little interest in democracy now—Egypt, for instance—will be prodded to democratize. With no war, however, any democratic trend will be short-circuited.


Two, the influence of the United States in the Middle East (and other regions) will be substantially reduced. Sure, America will remain the lone superpower in the world, but the United States won’t be quite as imposing if Saddam can force an American president to back down. It will bring back fears of the United States as a “helpless, pitiful giant,” fears that will not be unreasonable, given the new circumstances.


And it will mean the American pressure on Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians to reform will not be taken as seriously. Bush has refused to meet or deal with Arafat and demanded reform of Palestinian rule as a step toward a major American effort to forge a final peace settlement between the Palestinians and Israel. Arafat has balked at reform that would weaken his authority. A Saddam triumph will only strengthen him and cause the reformers, now working quietly behind the scenes to make Arafat into a ceremonial figure, to desist. That would mean a peace accord with Israel is removed from the realm of possibility for the foreseeable future.


Another victim of no war against Iraq would be multilateralism and especially the United Nations. If Saddam is allowed to thumb his nose at U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring him to disarm, the United Nations will emerge as solely a palace of blather and boilerplate, not to be taken seriously. Certainly American presidents won’t consider the United Nations as an important body to consult in carrying out U.S. foreign policy. It will be irrelevant.


Another alliance will be badly damaged, too—the Atlantic alliance. France is positioning itself to become the leader of a new alliance that acts as a counterweight to the United States. If the French succeed in blocking a war against Iraq, it will not only be a feather in their cap, image-wise, but it will mark their first success in challenging a superpower. In political slang, France will be up, the United States down—and the Atlantic alliance shattered. NATO will be less damaged, but it won’t be the same either.


Those whose placards say “win without war” ought to consider who will actually win. It won’t be the United States, the Iraqi people, democracy, the United Nations, peace in the Middle East, or the Atlantic alliance. The slogan might as well be Saddam’s, for he will indeed win big if there’s no war.


Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.




Anti-War Protestors: Shades Of Stupidity (Free Congress Foundation, 030221)


By Rachel Marsden


While Secretary of State Colin Powell is busy making his compelling case for war in Iraq to the paint on the wall at the United Nations, anti-American “peaceniks” around the world have been busy taking to the streets of America, Europe and even Iraq itself. The “peace movement” has been treating the world to displays of varying degrees of ignorance. One has to wonder if these people would know a real threat if Saddam shot a scud through their living room. But there are ignoramuses, and then there are downright traitors.


Last week, clapped-out Boomers around the world emerged from their acid-induced haze—or mom’s basement, depending on the case—to hit the streets in an attempt to re-create the peace protests of the mythical ‘60’s. This group represents the grassroots peace movement. They choose as their leaders great, inspirational thinkers like actors Sean Penn, Martin Sheen and Janeane Garofalo. Sheen has recently cut a TV commercial to rally his flock of sheep. The ad offers up deeply philosophical words of wisdom: “Don’t invade Iraq. Inspections work; war won’t.” Forget about the fact that the UN weapons inspectors themselves have acknowledged that they’ve been obstructed by the Iraqi regime in carrying out their mandate. The peace protesters must figure that if they repeat their mantra enough, people will simply begin to believe it. Break out the purple Kool Aid!


The Sheen commercial advocates participation in a “virtual march on Washington,” scheduled for Wednesday. Sheen isn’t encouraging his flock to come up with creative solutions to war, or to intelligently argue or refute Colin Powell’s eloquently-stated arguments for military action in Iraq. Instead, Sheen is hoping to prevent war by getting his followers to thoroughly harass Washington legislators via any means of modern communication possible. The campaign’s website ( states that, “on February 26th, every Senate office will receive a call every minute from a constituent, as they receive a simultaneous flood of faxes and email. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country will send the collective message.” Who wants to bet that by the end of the day, some senators will want to train Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction on Martin Sheen—America’s very own weapon of mass disruption? This level of protest is annoying and mindless, but harmless. This is America, after all, and people have the right to publicly express dissent-no matter how misdirected, uninformed or annoying that dissent may be.


But then there’s another level of protester ignorance—one that shouldn’t be considered anything short of criminal. By definition, treason involves a person who, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Saddam Hussein has a long history of using civilian shields as bargaining chips to subvert any potential military onslaught. During the 1991 Gulf War, Hussein was accused of detaining Iraqi and Kuwaiti civilians at key military and industrial sites in Iraq.


The website is recruiting US citizens to go over to Iraq and stand alongside the Iraqi people in the face of war—essentially giving them aid and comfort. The website states that “an organization called the “Iraq Peace Team” is ready to take volunteers to Iraq. It would probably cost no more than a comparable two-week vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean, yet you would be participating in making history and saving lives.” Great! Pack up the kids, the gas masks and the Cipro, honey—we’re going to Iraq!


What part of the definition of treason does not apply to these people acting as “human shields”? They are providing a security blanket—”aid and comfort”—to Saddam Hussein’s regime. Human shield protester, Grace Trevitt, says that she and her comrades plan to identify potential bombing targets—such as power stations and bridges—and act as human shields to protect them. If war breaks out in the region, they would automatically be foisting a moral dilemma on US and allied military by surrounding targets. These soldiers would be forced to choose between carrying out their duties, as passed down to them via the chain of command, or turning some of their fellow countrymen into involuntary organ donors.


Not too long ago, a young American by the name of John Walker Lindh was convicted of conspiring to kill US citizens by fighting alongside the Taliban while his fellow Americans were fighting terrorism on the other side of the battle lines in Afghanistan. He, too, claimed to be on a “mission of peace, not violence”. While treason charges were a possibility for “Jihad Johnny”, officials were ultimately unable to find evidence that he was purposely acting against America. His family and friends said he believed he was fighting against other Taliban enemies, and not the United States.


In the case of the human shields, however, there is no excuse-except maybe if stupidity can pass for a valid defense nowadays.


Rachel Marsden is a Director of the Free Congress Foundation.




The Links Between The Anti-War Movement And Marxist Groups (Free Congress Foundation, 030225)


By Paul M. Weyrich


Some people on the far-Left have criticized my statements calling for an investigation of the neo-Communist background of some of the anti-war movement’s organizers. However, they have not taken the time to investigate International A.N.S.W.E.R.’s ties to the avowedly Marxist Workers World Party or Not in Our Name’s ties to long-time Maoist Bob Avakian’s Revolutionary Communist Party.


Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff said my proposal asking Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, or Congress, to investigate the anti-war movement’s ties to neo-Communist groups like the Worker’s World Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party was un-American in an interview with the leftist website


Is it un-American to question where these groups, which routinely organize often violent demonstrations against the World Bank, political conventions, or the looming war on Iraq, get their money?


I find it amazing that these groups are able to organize regular protests that bring together tens or hundreds of thousands of protesters on a rather regular basis, while we on the right can only organize one large demonstration against abortion each year.


It takes a lot of money and resources to pull off these protests. During the Cold War, we know that the Soviet Union gave millions of dollars to support the Communist Party USA, but where are these groups getting their funding?


Some groups on the far-Left, at least in the past, have supported the overthrow of our Constitution, but this is not to say that all of them have or continue to do. A lot of Americans, including myself continue to have reservations about the war, but we need to know which groups or individuals involved in the anti-war movement present a clear and present danger to our constitutional system.


Had the good folks at or Mr. Hentoff taken the time to research the ties between the Worker’s World Party and International A.N.S.W.E.R., they would have found the links are plain as day. The Worker’s World Party website features prominent links to the International A.N.S.W.E.R. website and the International Action Center which established A.N.S.W.E.R. in late 2001.


Considering that is financed by the Florence Fund, whose tax returns for the year 2000 ( show that it has financially supported socialist-leaning groups such as the Alliance for Democracy which participates in the Independent Progressive Policy Network along with the Communist Party USA and the Democratic Socialists of America (, it is not surprising that they sought to tar me with a McCarthyist label.


Unlike the Left, which routinely and baselessly calls conservatives such as myself fascists or Nazis in an effort to stifle debate, the same baselessness cannot be said for A.N.S.W.E.R. and its cohorts who are avowed Marxists, at least behind the scenes.


The fact is International A.N.S.W.E.R. was established in part by Worker’s World Party member, frequent Worker’s World Party newspaper columnist and co-director of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center, Brian Becker, according to a November 2001 entry in the IAC’s web archive.


This is the same Brian Becker who once wrote in a November 1997 Workers World Party news service article, “…it is crucial that revolutionaries fight tooth and nail for their values, their principles and the revolutionary conceptions put forward by Marxism and Leninism,” ( in reference to a speech given by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to a global communist gathering on the island.


Mr. Becker provides the key link between the IAC, A.N.S.W.E.R. and the WWP, so there cannot be any doubt that the anti-war movement’s key organizing group is a neo-Communist front.


The urgency needed in further investigating A.N.S.W.E.R.’s ties to the Worker’s World Party takes on added concern because the WWP has posted a manifesto on its website entitled: “Bolsheviks and War: Lessons for the Anti-War Movement.” (


Communist ties to the anti-war movement do not end with the WWP. As I said before Not in Our Name, another anti-war front is an operation of the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party.


If you visit the Revolutionary Communist Party’s website, an organization that has supported the Maoist Shining Path guerillas in Peru, Not in Our Name is featured in a prominent place on its website ( In fact, the party’s news publication features numerous stories chronicling the anti-war group’s activities.


Some Marxist groups, such as the Trotskyist Socialist Worker’s Party are using the anti-war movement to exploit the naiveté and idealism of young Americans to recruit them into their Marxist cabal.


The February 3, 2003 edition of the Socialist Worker’s Party newspaper, “The Militant,” features articles entitled, “Young Socialists draw protesters interested in revolution” ( and “Young protesters interested in revolutionary ideas.” ( The last article details the SWP’s efforts to recruit young people to its cause during the January 18, 2003 protest in Washington, D.C.


Revolutionary Communist Party, Worker’s World Party and Socialist Workers Party are avowedly communist and are integrally involved in organizing the anti-war movement. Therefore, my questioning the involvement of neo-Communist group in the anti-war movement cannot be considered a political witch hunt.


Perhaps if, which bills itself as showcasing “the ideas, opinions, and analyses too often overlooked by the mainstream media,” were true to its mission it would have investigated the anti-war organizer’s true identities instead of castigating me for speaking the truth. I don’t expect them to take my word for it, but anyone who is adept in using the Internet as a research tool will discover that I’m correct.


While Americans have a constitutional right to oppose the war or ask for a redress of their grievances, we need to be on guard against those groups who wish to exploit anti-war sentiments to undermine our Constitution.


Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.




How Strange: Some antiwar protesters show the movement’s true colors (NRO, 030317)


By Daniel J. Flynn


We would be for the defeat of the U.S. in this war,” explained Abram Negrete, the leader of a small group that trekked from the Big Apple to the Washington Monument for this weekend’s antiwar protests. “We are for the defense of Iraq. It is in the interests of working people in the United States that the same government which is trying to intimidate and silence them be defeated in this war.”


According to Negrete, America’s plans are much more ambitious than merely deposing Saddam Hussein: “The current plan is to launch a war which is with the explicit intention of the United States seizing Iraq and determining what government will be there, and using this to assert their dominance over the entire planet.”


While millions oppose the war, only 40,000 or so showed up for Saturday’s demonstration on the Mall and the subsequent march to the White House. The anti-Americanism of Abram Negrete, and so many other demonstrators like him, is the primary reason why the antiwar mainstream stays home. With public-opinion polls indicating that about a quarter of the U.S. population opposes a war in Iraq, Abram Negrete couldn’t possibly be the face of American opposition to the war. Negrete and his views, however, do find a comfortable home amidst the antiwar protests, which are more accurately viewed as anti-American protests or anti-Bush hate-fests.


“I’m really embarrassed to be an American,” remarked marcher Eric Dyer. Dyer points to Caligula and Hitler as two historical figures that resemble President Bush. Bearing a sign reading “Bush’s USA, #1 Rogue Nation,” the young activist believes Bush’s war is about “psychological issues of trying to please his father.”


“I see Bush exactly as a Hitler,” remarked New Yorker Edward Lopez. Hocking artwork depicting the president, vice president, and secretary of defense sporting Nazi garb while standing above a pile of skulls, Lopez labels the current occupant of the Oval Office “a very dangerous individual.” Despite freely selling such controversial art within eyeshot of the White House, Lopez maintains: “This is becoming a fascist state, maybe it already is.”


“Where do we get the moral high ground to tell anybody what kinds of weapons to have?” asks John Aria, a New Jersey native. “We, who are the only nation that ever used weapons of mass destruction — against civilian populations no less — in Hiroshima, in Nagasaki three days later! What kind of a nation does this? We are unrivaled in brutality and hypocrisy.” The middle-aged high-school teacher, who attended the rally with two friends, reserves particular contempt for the education system. “What passes for history in our high schools is nothing but propaganda,” Aria contends. “It’s the glorification of American culture, and it’s bullshit.”


Others expressed their sentiments on placards. A few of the more eye-catching signs included: “Bush Is the True Threat,” “Jim Moran Is Right,” and “9/11 Was an Inside Job.”


At least as unhinged as many of those protesting the war are the leaders of the organization pulling the strings behind the scenes of many of the demonstrations. A curiously high percentage of the leadership of International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), the primary organizer of Saturday’s protest, also happens to belong to an obscure communist outfit called the Workers World Party. One needn’t hire Sherlock Holmes to deduce why members of the WWP have opted for a different name when sponsoring the marches.


Why should it surprise anyone that a movement run by the lunatic fringe of American politics would attract a generous share of crackpots? If the Ku Klux Klan or the skinheads organized a rally, no one would express shock if a collection of weirdoes and hate-mongers attended to show support. When the Workers World Party — oops, I mean International ANSWER — sponsors an event, the media largely bypasses an explanation of the group’s origins and denies the massive presence of political radicals at the gathering. That doesn’t mean the back-story’s not there, though.


— Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our Nation’s Greatness.




Saddam’s Babel: Reading about the pending war in the Bible (NRO, 030317)


By David Klinghoffer


Surfing the Internet recently I came across the website of the Iraqi daily newspaper Babel. Owned by Saddam Hussein’s eldest son, Uday, Babel isn’t exactly a hard-hitting news source. A typical top-story headline reads: “SCOOP: SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT AND SYRIA CARRY OUT SEVERAL RESIDENTIAL CENTERS IN IRAQ.” What’s most intriguing about the paper is its name, helpfully translated as Babylon.


The word “Babel” is Scriptural Hebrew’s rendition of “Babylon,” the great metropolis where the book of Genesis tells of a building project that went famously awry. The city’s ruins lie an hour’s drive south of Iraq’s modern capital — a geographical proximity we could dismiss as meaningless were it not for the fact that Saddam insists that his regime stands in a direct line of succession from Babylon’s kings, and were it not also for the fact that the Bible’s story of Babel and its Tower casts a hopeful light on current events in that country.


Western journalists who have visited the archaeological remains tell of a monumental-scale portrait of Saddam looming over the site. He is pictured accepting cuneiform tablets from the great king Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.), with the caption “From Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein.” To underline the point, the Iraqi president has built a palace for himself on a nearby hill, overlooking Nebuchadnezzar’s palace.


In the Bible’s brief narrative, nine verses in all, the Tower of Babel is overturned for some unspecified crime. As Hans Blix might say, the “smoking gun” is missing. Scripture’s cryptic style typically leaves out such key details, which is why Biblical traditions that try to fill in the blanks, found in the richest detail in classical Jewish sources like the Talmud and Midrash, are so interesting. When I was researching a biography of the Biblical patriarch Abraham, I found that such material has a funny way of hinting at much later events. I wondered if it might do so here as well.


The Bible says the Tower was intended to reach up to the heavens themselves. As the ancient midrashic collection Genesis Rabbah tells the story, the construction was initiated by a predecessor of Nebuchadnezzar, called Nimrod. This was two years after Noah’s flood. But the Talmud suggests that some quality in “the air [in the vicinity] of the Tower causes forgetfulness.” Nimrod had forgotten the fury of the great floodwaters, thinking he could defy God and survive another deluge by building a high tower — much as Saddam seems to have forgotten whatever he learned from the first Gulf War, still thinking he can hold off an attack by a much superior power.


As a revered 19th-century scholar of Biblical tradition explained, when the Bible records that in Babel they “spoke a single language,” this means that the populace, terrified by their leader, all voiced the same party line. Says Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin (1817-1893), the tower was a technology of social control, allowing the regime to spy on its citizens. Modern Iraqis have ample experience of life under such a government. Like Saddam, Nimrod imprisoned dissenters, including Abraham himself who miraculously escaped a sentence of death by fire. So says the Midrash, which indicates that the king wanted to create a new religion around a false god — just as many a dictator has established a personality cult around himself.


The world’s superpower, God, grew alarmed and initiated an inspection process. As the Bible puts it, He “descended to look at the city and tower which the sons of man built.” Though the Midrash recounts that Nimrod was given a chance to “repent,” the tyrant refused.


The Bible then depicts God as lamenting that if Babel isn’t stopped, “henceforward nothing that they have a mind to do will be beyond their reach” — precisely the rationale offered by advocates of war on Iraq, who worry about nuclear terror if Saddam isn’t stopped.


So the Tower is destroyed, the “single language” of its builders scrambled into a “Babel” of tongues. While this may appear to be a defeat for the people of Babel, what’s really being described here, I think, is the birth of democracy. Suddenly a variety of ideas are allowed to compete for the citizens’ allegiance, rather than one ideology, one “language,” being forced upon them from above — a victory indeed.


When the upcoming war is done, will Iraqis enjoy a similar victory? You don’t have to be a Bible believer to hope that Scripture and its traditions prove to be as prescient in the end as they have been up till now.


— David Klinghoffer is the author of The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism published this month by Doubleday.




Ex-Friends: Casualties of this war (NRO, 030321)


by Rod Dreher


We’re already moving toward Baghdad in our war against Iraq, one I believe with all my heart is just and necessary. We don’t know how long it will last, or what the fallout will be. When the smoke clears, I am afraid that one home-front casualty will be some friendships.


We’ve seen this coming. Stephen Pollard, writing in the Times of London, says a number of his friendships have broken up because he supports war to disarm Saddam Hussein and his friends don’t.


In all my 38 years, I have never before felt such a sense of personal shock. I am shocked that so many of my friends would rather a brutal dictator remained in power — for that would be the direct consequence if their views won out — than support military action by the United States. I am ashamed that they would rather believe the words of President Saddam Hussein than those of their own Prime Minister. I am nauseated that they would rather give succor to evil than think through the implications of their gut feelings. … I have many friends with whom I disagree politically; it would be a small-minded person who could not say that. But this goes beyond mere politics. This is about fundamentals. And what makes it truly shocking is how many normal, apolitical, otherwise decent people are so deeply wrong, so stridently misguided.


I’ve not had that same sense of outrage, but that’s probably because long ago I quit talking about the war to most friends who disagree with me. It wasn’t my choice, but it was necessary if we were still to be friends. It shouldn’t be this way. I’ve tried to think through my pro-war position carefully, and if I’m wrong in my facts or analysis, I want to know. But in my (deeply unpleasant) experience, there’s simply no point in talking to most antiwar people, left and right, because they’re lost in a fever swamp of emotionalism.


If it’s not leftists obsessing about “blood for oil,” corporate plots and Iraqi children, it’s rightists going off about imperialism, Israel and Jewish conspiracies. Now, I don’t think it’s unfair to discuss the role, if any, corporate interests, Israeli government policy, the potential suffering of Iraqi civilians, or a number of other issues have in the development of U.S. policy towards Iraq. It’s just that so many people concerned with these things have given themselves over to the kind of hysteria that makes rational debate impossible. On MSNBC earlier this week, Republican pollster Frank Luntz said he’s found that about one in four Americans he’s focus-grouped are hard-core anti-war types, are much more committed to their position than Bush supporters, and are incandescently angry.


You expect this from the ideological left, for whom, as The Manhattan Institute’s Myron Magnet points out, “every war is Vietnam.” My conservative anti-war friends have been much more troubling to me personally, because we agree on so many fundamental principles. Some — educated, sophisticated professionals — have given their good hearts and fine minds over to anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering. And I’ve also heard conservatives trash-talking this country in terms previously associated with America-hating campus radicals. It’s as if the world has been turned upside down by this war — and the fighting hasn’t even started!


When I blogged something about this in The Corner earlier this week, many readers from across the country wrote to say they too had been nonplussed by the inability to have a civil discussion with antiwar friends and family.


“I have lost, probably forever, at least four, and maybe more friends, including my college roommate from almost 45 years ago,” one wrote. Another reported: “I have lost a friend I have had for 30 years over the war argument. I can’t believe she can say the things she does — ‘no war for oil,’ etc. — without even thinking about making a logical argument for or against.”


Friends for over four decades. Friends for three decades. Gone, just like that. Many marriages don’t last that long.


It’s ripping up families too. “I actually hung up on my own mother yesterday after getting into a discussion about the war,” a young woman wrote. “I got angry after she asserted that our government was just as bad as Saddam’s. What do you say to a statement like that?” The woman said she and her mother agreed not to discuss the war again, for the sake of their relationship, but she fears that things may rupture between them if they’re not careful.


A Canadian reader writes to say everybody she knows except her significant other is angry at her for supporting the war. “Here we are in the wonderful world of ‘Bush Is Retarded/Michael Moore Is My Hero’ e-mail coffee klatches. I’m wearing a US/Canadian flag pin. In public. In downtown Toronto. The countdown to my ass-beating starts now.”


One New Yorker who supports the president says he’s had it with his family’s anti-war mania, which has gone so far that one relative insisted that 9/11 was merely a response to our attack on Afghanistan. It did no good for him to point out that the United States attacked Afghanistan a month after the Twin Towers were destroyed. Another New Yorker reports that the family dinner table became a battleground recently when anti-war relatives began denouncing the president as a “religious nut,” and those who back him as supporting a “crusade” that will leave blood on their hands forever. “It’s getting bad out there, and I’m not so sure the results of the campaign will change it,” The New Yorker says.


Is that true? Could the American body politic be in for years of bitterness and gall, a replay of the sharp fissure that developed in our cultural landscape during the Vietnam era?


Todd Gitlin, a leading student radical in the 1960s and today a Columbia University historian, doesn’t think so, though he does recognize that civil debate on the war is endangered by a climate of “sharp intolerance.”


“Famously and truly, families broke up over the Vietnam War,” says Gitlin. “I can’t imagine that happening this time, unless this war leads to more war. Even granted that everything speeds up because of e-mail and media, I can’t imagine that this cleavage runs so deep — unless we’re talking about years of war. But I could be naïve.”


Gitlin, who opposes war on Iraq, but has resolved not to let his war politics get in the way of friendship, says that unlike the 1960s, America is “substantially depoliticized,” and has been for a generation. “You have to remember that by the time the Vietnam War heated up, the country had been at a political boil for years,” he recounts. “The country has been in an anti-political mood in recent decades. Certainly students have been, though there are signs that that’s changing.”


One significant difference: the student left in the 1960s thought, however naively, that the Viet Cong were the good guys. Nobody can defend Saddam Hussein. This may explain why, when confronted by evidence of Saddam’s evil, some of the most vocal partisans of the antiwar side try to change the subject to the alleged wickedness of corporations, the Jews, and all manner of arcane occultic conspiracy. Once introduced into the national discourse, these things may not go away soon.


“What ought to be discussable between people of two reasonable dispositions is: ‘What do you want to do about Saddam?’ That a legit discussion,” says Gitlin. “But insofar as the other stuff gets churned up, then obviously there’s something ferocious under the surface.”


Historian Paul Fussell, also a man of the left, agrees that the level of vitriol over the war has caused some people to lose their heads. Says Fussell, “The problem is we have erected a paradox. Two things are equally true. One, that the Iraqi monster has got to be killed, exiled, punished or defeated. The other is that we execrate the means by which we see that accomplished. You can’t have both and stay fully sane.”


Fussell says this is the first time he can think of that the United Nations has proven utterly ineffective to prevent war. “My generation, and I’m almost 80 now, experienced the foundation of the U.N., and experienced some of the naïve joy that came over us at that time. We were finally going to end wars. Everybody thought that. The fact that that concept has been thoroughly shot down by events over the last months distresses people more than they can express.”


He sees a “bad road ahead,” in part because he’s hearing more and more on the left looking for material that can be used to impeach the president (it’s there on the right too). “This is very bad for us,” he laments.


The Manhattan Institute’s Myron Magnet is more hopeful that the incoherent rage of the antiwar left and right will burn itself out in the wake of a clear American victory in Iraq. There will always be unconvertible anti-Semites, as well as those constitutionally incapable of believing that anything good can come out of America. But they will be a marginalized minority.


“There are an awful lot of people whose politics are really nothing but attitude and fashion, as I learned very sharply in the sixties,” Magnet says. “Attitude and fashion changes with the wind. As we go in and win the war, God willing, and begin to remake Iraq in a way that makes it a freer society, an awful lot of people who have no idea what they’re saying now will find themselves saying something completely opposite, and will have no idea they’ve contradicted themselves.”




My address book is the first casualty of war (London Times, 030318)


By Stephen Pollard


I am a warmonger. I am bloodthirsty. I am rabid. My friends want only peace and harmony, but I want to wreak destruction and killing. I want to see British soldiers doing the Texan moron’s dirty work for him.


Almost alone among my friends, I did not go on The March. My absence was not due to ambivalence, but because I considered the march to be contemptible. I think the marchers are not only wrong but dangerously, wilfully, shamefully wrong.


Since this is, literally, a matter of life and death, I have been prepared to tell them precisely why I think that they are so in error. Their response has been to tell me what they think of me.


In all my 38 years, I have never before felt such a sense of personal shock. I am shocked that so many of my friends would rather a brutal dictator remained in power — for that would be the direct consequence if their views won out — than support military action by the United States. I am ashamed that they would rather believe the words of President Saddam Hussein than those of their own Prime Minister. I am nauseated that they would rather give succour to evil than think through the implications of their gut feelings.


It is a shocking experience to realise that your friends are either mindless, deluded or malevolent.


I used to think that 9/11 was the most important day of my life. It was indeed a day which transformed the world; its influence will be felt for decades, if not centuries. But however foul the “America had it coming” refrain, that came mainly from the usual suspects. This is different. This time the words come from friends.


I have many friends with whom I disagree politically; it would be a small-minded person who could not say that. But this goes beyond mere politics. This is about fundamentals. And what makes it truly shocking is how many normal, apolitical, otherwise decent people are so deeply wrong, so stridently misguided.


I have tried to point out that saying you are in favour of “peace” is meaningless. Which sane person is not? The question is: peace on whose, and what, terms? If it is peace on the terms of brutal dictators, secured by allowing them to build up whatever weapons arsenals they wish, then that is not peace. It is suicide.


Aha, but it is the UN which should decide this, not the US. Tell them it has, through 17 resolutions, and they tell you that Iraq should not be singled out for action, or that we need to give the arms inspectors “more time” — as if 12 years were not enough. And what should we do when they have had more time? “You are just looking for an excuse for war.”


Most of my friends on The March could not place Iraq on a map, let alone describe the contents of Resolution 1441, which finds that “Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations” and imposes a deadline “not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution” for Iraq to supply “a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration” — a date which fell on December 9. Tell them this, and they say that it’s critical to stick by the UN, without being able to grasp the contradiction.


How can I use the word “friend” to describe such people? It is not that they are wrong, but that our moral frameworks are so entirely different. They wallow in their sense of superiority, but what they wish to protest against, I thank God for. What they consider an affront, I salute. What they regard as a moral outrage, I regard as the only safe way to conduct world affairs. What they stand for, I feel sickened by.


This is not about Left versus Right. It is about freedom: those who are willing to protect it, and those who take it for granted.


The author is a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe.




Faith in Bush (Washington Times, 030321)


A recent Gallup poll shows that churchgoing Americans are more likely to support war against Saddam Hussein than Americans as a whole.


This news has failed to capture the attention of most media, both liberal and conservative. They continue to chant the mantra that America’s religious community, excepting the “religious right,” is nearly united against the war.


According to Gallup, Americans who attend church at least once a week support war to depose the Iraqi dictator by an almost 2-to-1 margin. Americans who never attend church or say religion is not important to them are more evenly divided.


This poll undermines the claims of anti-war church leaders who claim to speak for American Christians on Iraq. It is a claim that even overseas heads of state seem to accept. Anti-war delegations from the chronically left-wing National Council of Churches have gained audiences with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the pope. President Bush, more aware that the church council’s influence barely reaches beyond Manhattan, has declined the honor of such a meeting. He has even refused to meet with anti-war bishops of his own United Methodist denomination, one of whom has even filmed a television ad against war.


Even Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, with whom the church council has also met, has referred to “the church” in America being opposed to war against his regime. In an interview on Fox News, Mr. Aziz questioned how Christian Mr. Bush could possibly be when he ignores his fellow believers. And former President Jimmy Carter, in a recent New York Times op-ed, claimed there is an “almost universal conviction of religious leaders” in America opposing this war.


But, the Feb. 17-19 Gallup poll shows that 63% of Americans who attend church at least once a week support the war. Support for war among self-defined evangelicals and “religious right” supporters was predictably higher. Overall, 59% of Americans support war. Less religious Americans were somewhat less supportive. Fifty-seven percent of Americans who attend church once a month support war. Those who seldom attend support war by 56%. Fifty-five percent of those who never attend church support war. Those who say religion is not very important are evenly divided over war.


Mainline Protestant church officials, especially those associated with the National Council of Churches, have been especially outspoken in opposing war. Mainline Protestants account for fewer than one-third of American Christians. And their denominations have suffered continuous membership decline since the 1960s. Their church leaders are famously more liberal than church members, who, according to polls, remain slightly more conservative than the general American population.


America’s Catholic bishops have also been negative toward war against Saddam, though in a less vitriolic manner than mainline Protestant officials. Mainline Protestant officials have often sounded like utopian pacifists, largely ignoring their own churches’ historic support for Christian just-war-teaching. The Catholic bishops have not forgotten their tradition of just war but argue that war with Iraq does not meet that tradition’s exacting criteria. Catholics comprise one-third of American Christians.


Evangelicals comprise about one-third of American Christians. According to Gallup, they are the most supportive of war. But, many evangelical churches are nondenominational, lack centralized church agencies or do not have church leaders who routinely make political pronouncements. Southern Baptist Convention leaders have expressed support for this war. Some evangelical leaders, though typically supportive of assertive U.S. military policies, have withheld comment for fear of endangering Christians living in predominantly Muslim countries.


Why are religious Americans more prone to support war with Iraq, while the more secular are less supportive? First, as the last presidential election showed, religious people of almost all persuasions are increasingly gravitating toward the Republican Party. More secular people are trending towards the Democratic Party. Mr. Bush’s election depended not just on conservative evangelicals but also on churchgoing Catholics and mainline Protestants. So, it is not surprising that religious Americans are somewhat more inclined to trust Mr. Bush’s judgment.


But, there also might be deeper spiritual reasons for the religious divide over war. Traditional religious people understand that the world is fallen and sinful. War, therefore, is lamentable, but sometimes unavoidable, if evil is to be resisted. Secular people, who are less influenced by biblical notions of human sin, are often more idealistic and utopian. In their view, war can be avoided through greater human efforts at goodwill and humanitarian outreach.


Why the divide between America’s religious people and many of their leaders? That question is more complicated. But, for many church leaders, especially among the mainline Protestants, the 1960s era of anti-war protests was their defining social justice moment. Many of them, and probably more than a few Catholic bishops as well, continue to view the world through the prism of Vietnam rather than 2,000 years of Christian history. Their pro-war lay people may not recall church history. But, they might understand the world and its fallen nature a little better.


Mark Tooley directs the United Methodist Action committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.




A Message from the War: Tell your children (NRO, 030407)


Our kids know America is doing a noble thing in Iraq.


They know about brave PFC Lynch and her rescuers. About Coalition soldiers giving chocolate to Iraqi kids. About statues of Saddam Hussein being toppled. About water and food coming in by the ton to aid suffering Iraqis.


We can’t tell them everything because they are all under nine. How do you explain the hunt for a man like Chemical Ali, who gassed the Kurds? Or the discovery of a warehouse filled with human remains, where atrocities were committed and photographed for posterity? Or about a pregnant woman blowing herself up in order to harm our soldiers?


The facts say a lot about the mission:


They grab conscripts off the streets and order them to drive suicidally at Coalition troops.


We renamed their international airport for the capital city, not for its cruel dictator.


They herd civilians into the crossfire.


We cradle babies who were wounded in the crossfire.


They torture children in front of their parents.


We give water, candy, and smiles to shyly approaching children.


We provide POWs with the best medical care they’ve ever received.


They execute our captured soldiers and jeer over the bodies.


Our kids don’t know all of that.


But they know about 9/11. About one little classmate whose dad went to work that day and never came home. About the baby brother who would never know his father. About that student’s older brother who came to school and spoke to the kids before he was deployed to Kuwait. About our friend, a major in the United States Marine Corps, who is in Iraq. They saw him on TV.


We received an e-mail from him this weekend:


Hi guys — I am just out of Iraq and heading back in in a few days. Things are OK. Most people are saying things are going great, but I stay more grounded than that as I feel if I asked a number of parents who lost some our Marines at Nasiriyah they would not agree with our perspective. This is a real thing and kids are not coming home — this is not an adventure anymore. I truly feel like we are doing good here as this world will hopefully be a better and safer place. It is your job to let you children know that other people paid a sacrifice for them when they will be able to play little league baseball without having to show papers to cross a county border or get searched by armed military in a “police state.”


Some of the things I have seen make me proud to be an American, but more so it MAKES ME APPRECIATE IT. We do not have our children living with no electricity, no shoes, no water, filth in the streets with trash stuck to barbed wire, waiting at corners to beg a foreign military for handouts as they drive by. Our kids do not literally spend an entire day filling dirty old plastic containers with water that leaks from a pipe at a military checkpoint. We do not have a war-torn town or mass graves on the outskirts of our town where hundreds of our residents were either shot in the head or gassed by our own leaders leaving children with their eyes wide open and foaming blood draining from their little cute-noses still being held by their also dead parents...and our kids do not hide their faces in fear of death if their faces ends up in a photo which may be thought of as “aiding the enemy.”


No — we do not have those problems — we get upset because we expect to be given everything and it is always someone else’s fault. We blame our crimes on the neighborhood we grew up in. We get upset because the cable goes out or the traffic light is too long...and God help us if the AC goes out — yeah our lives are practically unbearable...


Our kids have not read this e-mail but I think they would get it. Don’t worry, Major Dave, we’ll let the children know.

— Susan Konig, an NRO contributor, has just written a book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and other lies I tell my children).




Peace prize winner pro-war (National Post, 030407)


Talk about beating ploughshares into swords.


In Montreal yesterday, Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for peace, said in unequivocal terms he supports the war against Iraq.


“If some European countries put as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as on Bush, there would have been no war,” he said.


“Saddam Hussein had to be disarmed [and] there were no other means.”


And: “You can accuse me of being naive, but I think in all conscience that this war was necessary.”


He aggressively refuted those who might find his position incongruent with his prize: “I am not against paradoxes, I take them on, as someone who opposes war, who has seen war and who hates war.”


Mr. Wiesel might well have broken the Hawk-O-Meter, and this in only its second week of existence, if not for his one concession to decorum, which lay in casting blame toward “some European countries” rather than coming out and naming France and Germany.


Nonetheless, we grade him at 7.9 out of 10, bearing in mind our margin of error of plus or minus 0.2.




Bush ‘First-Strike’ Doctrine Under Fire (Foxnews, 030814)


WASHINGTON — John F. Kennedy made the case for preemption against the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Three months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a stern warning to the Nazis that their arms activities would not be ignored.


But President Bush’s “first-strike” or “pre-emption” doctrine — used to justify U.S. military might in Iraq — is catching heat from Democrats, anti-war groups and other critics who say not only has foreign policy gone wrong but it has put the United States in an untenable position.


“I am confident that, when we have that debate and investigation, more people will realize that the use of military force as a first-strike option is a dangerous precedent that can be used by other countries, including nuclear powers,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who has introduced a resolution with 24 co-sponsors that disavows the pre-emption doctrine.


“That is not a world we want to live in and not an example we want to set,” Lee told in an e-mail.


Lee said the current controversy over whether the White House provided faulty evidence to go to war with Iraq is just one reason why a first-strike doctrine often can backfire.


But experts say first-strike is a good policy to have on hand, especially in the war on terror.


“I think that if you have enemies in this world and they believe you’d never pre-empt them, that could be a bad thing,” said Mark Burgess, a research analyst with the Center for Defense Information. “I think it’s a good tool to have. I think it’s not a good tool to have if it’s the only tool in your chest.”


President Bush’s “doctrine of pre-emption,” announced last summer, says the United States is willing to use force, and go it alone if need be, to ward off potentially hostile states determined to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.


“If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long,” Bush said in a speech to West Point graduates in June 2002. “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.”


That policy position has provided ample fodder for Democratic presidential hopefuls like former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who vehemently oppose pre-emptive strikes.


The Bush administration “relies primarily and unwisely on the threat of military pre-emption against terrorist organizations, which can be defeated if they are found, but will not be deterred by our military strength,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, who voted for the resolution authorizing military action in Iraq.


Some analysts question whether the administration will back down from its first-strike policy since no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found in Iraq.


“It’s pretty hard to assert that doctrine and claim a clear and present danger when you haven’t necessarily proven that in Iraq,” said Harlen Ullman, senior adviser for the

international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


“I don’t think Americans will swallow the argument that the danger was clear … I think the administration has certainly caused the administration to think twice” about employing the doctrine.


But the administration does not appear to be distancing itself from the policy. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, author of the policy, recently told Fox News Sunday that the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks will always stand as a reminder of why pre-emption is needed.


“These are people who operate in the shadows, with a great deal of secrecy, and a great deal of false information planted all over the place,” Wolfowitz said. “I think the lesson of 9/11 is that, if you’re not prepared to act on the basis of murky intelligence, then you’re going to have to act after the fact. And after the fact now means after horrendous things have happened to this country.”


Burgess said the administration likely realizes that the pre-emption policy can’t be used in all cases. For instance, Washington is applying a diplomacy-based plan to deal with nuclear weapons-holding North Korea and has issued verbal warnings to Iran to stop building nuclear weapons.


“What was perhaps viewed as workable in Iraq would be less useful in a regime such as North Korea — rather than pre-empting anything, you would just be causing a different problem,” Burgess said.




The WMD scandal that wasn’t (, 050401)


Rich Lowry


The commission studying the intelligence failures that produced disastrously flawed estimates of Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities has finally produced its report, and it’s devastating. Not just for U.S. intelligence, which is portrayed as hapless and bungling, but for Bush critics who have vested so much in the argument that Bush officials pressured intelligence agencies to support the case for war.


New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is the epitome of this school of thought. The very morning the report was released she wrote that “political pressure was the father of conveniently botched intelligence,” and fingered Dick Cheney as the lead culprit. Cut to Page 50 of the WMD report: “The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community’s prewar assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs.”


Bush critics have focused on the erroneous intelligence around Iraq’s nuclear capabilities. Suddenly — or so the conspiracy theory goes — the CIA and others began to say what President Bush wanted to hear about Saddam Hussein and nukes in 2002. But the crucial shift away from the belief that Saddam had no active nuclear program came in early 2001, back when Bush was essentially maintaining President Clinton’s Iraq policy. That’s when we learned that Saddam was attempting to acquire aluminum tubes that could be used for conventional rockets, or — much worse — for gas centrifuges for enriching uranium.


Various intelligence agencies disagree about the purpose of the tubes. The CIA and others argued that they were for uranium enrichment and that, therefore, Saddam was reconstituting his nuclear program. The Department of Energy thought the tubes were unlikely to be used in centrifuges. But even it concluded from other evidence that Saddam had a renewed nuclear program. Only the State Department dissented from the conclusion in the notorious October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that Baghdad had a program, but cautiously: “[the evidence] indicates, at most, a limited Iraqi nuclear reconstitution effort.”


On biological weapons (BW), there was a shift from saying that Iraq might have bioweapons to concluding that it definitely did. The dark influence of Cheney? No. The change began in 2000, when President Clinton was still in office. It was based on information from a (totally dishonest, as it turns out) source code-named Curveball. That year, the National Intelligence Estimate was updated to say: “New information suggests that Baghdad has expanded its offensive BW program by establishing a large-scale, redundant and concealed BW agent production capability.”


If there was a fundamental problem in how policymakers and intelligence officials interacted, it was that policymakers, again and again, were not made aware of the thinness and questionable reliability of much of the information about Iraq. In other words, intelligence agencies poorly served Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the hawks, not the other way around.


On the one hand, it is understandable that the intel was so fouled up. We assumed that Saddam had the worst intentions. If he wasn’t cooperating with the United Nations, he must have been developing something nasty. The report, over and over, says that these assumptions — crucial to all the analysis — had “a powerful air of common sense” and were “not unreasonable.” On the other hand, there were so many frank factual errors and sloppy practices in all this that former CIA head George Tenet should have his recently awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom revoked.


In its recommendations, the WMD commission makes some nods toward decentralization. This after Congress rushed to “reform” intelligence last year by centralizing it. If we undo that reform and pass another, will intelligence be doubly effective because it will have been “reformed” twice? Bureaucratic shuffling is beside the point. What is most important — and the WMD report usefully emphasizes this — is that we get more agents on the ground and that the people running U.S. intelligence be more imaginative and risk-taking.


That’s not easy. Would that the problem really were just getting Dick Cheney to butt out.




God & Man on the Frontlines: Stephen Mansfield on The Faith of the American Soldiers. (Foxnews, 050527)


Q&A by Kathryn Jean Lopez


“When soldiers step upon the battlefield, they immediately confront the kind of horror and hardship that has moved men through the centuries to reach for the spiritual,” writes Stephen Mansfield. Death and destruction, “the loneliness and the fear, the boredom and the rage” all “drive men to the invisible; each forces the soldier to decide what he truly believes, making the battlefield as much a test of faith as it is a test of arms.”


In his new book, The Faith of the American Soldier, New York Times-bestselling author Stephen Mansfield looks at the role religion plays in the lives of American servicemen. NRO Editor Kathryn Lopez talked to him this week about the book, our military, and Mansfield’s time in Iraq.


National Review Online: How important a role does religion play in the life of the typical American serviceman?


Stephen Mansfield: Servicemen who live stateside reflect the populace as a whole in their religious lives. It is when they go into battle, face death, see their comrades killed, and have to grapple with the morality of killing the enemy that they reach for faith with new intensity. When I was embedded with the troops in Iraq toward the end of 2004, I did not talk to one soldier who was not seeking a stronger connection to God and his hand of protection.


NRO: Are there no atheists in foxholes?


Mansfield: I’m sure there are some atheists in foxholes, but not many. Wars press issues of faith into the lives of those who fight them. From the question of the morality of the war itself to the simple quest for protection from harm, soldiers are constantly reaching for understanding, comfort, and protection from a supernatural source. For the vast majority of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, this means pursuing God like never before.


NRO: Are there any stats on such things: How the military population compares religion wise to the rest of the country?


Mansdield: The military has largely stopped relying on statistics regarding religion in the ranks because most soldiers simply put “undeclared” or “no-affiliation” when asked about their religious preference. The chaplains in Iraq estimate that some 85% of the soldiers in country are in some form Christian with the next group being Jewish and other faiths filling out the last 5-10% or so. As a whole, though, the military is more oriented to traditional values, faith, and patriotism than the general population


NRO: For the military — for chaplains, in particularly — is it a hard balance? Dealing with the church-state thing?


Mansfield: Military chaplains have a very difficult role. First, they walk a fine First Amendment line and they know it. They are paid by the state to tend the religious lives of soldiers in a society that is almost preoccupied with the separation of church and state. Even though these chaplains are ordained members of recognized religious groups, they often have to exercise caution in how aggressively they preach the truth of their denomination or its views of other religions. Every chaplain I talked to in the field struggled with the definition of his job as a result.


The chaplains are also hampered by the military policy that often forbids them from “crossing the wire,” from going into battle. The military’s concern is that soldiers might be distracted from their mission while protecting unarmed chaplains on the frontlines. The result of this, though, is that soldiers frequently express the feeling that chaplains don’t know what they are going through because the chaplains aren’t exposed to fighting. Still, I found the military chaplains to be among the most hardworking and courageous people in the field.


NRO: How are chaplains different today than in Vietnam?


Mansfield: Military chaplains are not chosen according to a denominational quota system as they were during the Vietnam era. They are chosen according to a “best qualified” standard. This means that the chaplains serving today are deeply committed to ministering to the fighting man and woman and have met very high standards for entrance into the corps. Some of them are even decorated warriors themselves who left the military and then returned as chaplains. They are doing a hard job gloriously.


NRO: Have you followed the complaints about the Air Force Academy? If so what do you make of them?


Mansfield: I think the complaints about evangelicals at the Air Force Academy are misguided. The fact is that our service academies are drawing fine young men and women, many of whom want to serve God by serving their country. If they are eager to share their beliefs while they train for their noble task, so much the better. I recently lectured at West Point and found a large body of Christian cadets there, as well. This should be celebrated, not ridiculed.


NRO: What does honor mean for the American on the battlefield?


Mansfield: Honor on the battlefield results from living by a code that rescues the warrior from barbarism and elevates the profession of arms. It means understanding soldiering as a spiritual service as much as a martial role. Honorable soldiers are devoted to the moral objectives of their nation in war, are willing to lay their lives on an altar of sacrifice, are courageous in subduing the enemy yet compassionate to civilians and prisoners, are devoted to a godly esprit de corps, and are eager to master the art of arms by way of fulfilling a calling.


NRO: How important was it that the Iraq war be addressed in theological just-war terms?


Mansfield: It is vital for a government to establish the morality of a war before sending soldiers into battle. The traditional just-war concept has to be satisfied. Soldiers don’t want to fight simply to defend a nation’s vanity or to support a corrupt vision. They want to know they are doing good. This is essential for them and for the nation that is going to welcome them home again. I have talked to hundreds of soldiers during the research of this book. Almost every one of them mentioned his or her need to believe in the goodness of their nation’s purposes in war.


NRO: Is Abu Ghraib a symptom of a non-faith-based warrior code?


Mansfield: The Abu Ghraib scandal has a faith backstory. The chaplain who was at Abu Ghraib during the scandals was told not to be in the way but to let the soldiers come to her. There was no moral presence and little spiritual influence during the time of the scandals. Chapel attendance was low and many soldiers later said they did not even know who the chaplain was. When that unit was replaced, the chaplains of the new unit were told to be present at prisoner interrogations, at shift changes and in the daily lives of the soldiers. The entire atmosphere changed. Chapel attendance reached into the hundreds and the prison became a model operation. This makes the case for continuous moral influence upon soldiers at war and for a faith based warrior code as a hedge against future abuses.


NRO: Is there a good model for a faith-based warrior code?


Mansfield: Though I know there were excesses, the chivalric code of the medieval knights is probably the best attempt in Western history at a noble warrior code. I open my book with a description of the knight’s vigil for this reason. I’m hoping we can create a code that draws from these knightly values but that also fashions them into something more applicable to modern warfare.


NRO: How much time did you spend over in Iraq? What’s one story every American should know from your time over there?


Mansfield: I was in Iraq for several weeks. I discovered many moving stories of faith and heroism, but they are all summarized in the comment a journalist made to me on the C130 flying out of Baghdad International Airport. He said, “I came over here expecting Animal House and Debbie Does Dallas. Instead, I found Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan.” That captures a good deal of what I experienced.


NRO: Does the commander in chief’s openness about his faith effect the troops in any practical sense?


Mansfield: Both while I was in Iraq and in interviews we conducted here in the states, soldiers spoke often about believing that George W. Bush’s faith and character were important to them. There were many references to the near depression in the military during the Clinton administration. Yet, with the Bush presidency, soldiers began to feel as though they were valued and that they were an extension of the president’s moral resolve. Even among soldiers who were disillusioned by supply problems or wearied by their hard months in the field, the belief that the president is a moral man conducting the war for righteous reasons made all the difference in their fighting spirit. Character really is the core of leadership.




Trashing our history; Hiroshima (, 050809)


Thomas Sowell


Every August, there are some Americans who insist on wringing their hands over the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, so it was perhaps inevitable that such people would have an orgy of wallowing in guilt on the 60th anniversary of that tragic day. Time magazine has page after page of photographs of people scarred by the radiation, as if General Sherman had not already said long ago that war is hell.


Winston Churchill once spoke of the secrets of the atom, “hitherto mercifully withheld from man.” We can all lament that this terrible power of mass destruction has been revealed to the world and fear its ominous consequences for us all, including our children and grandchildren. But that is wholly different from saying that a great moral evil was committed when the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


What was new about these bombs was the technology, not the morality. More people were killed with ordinary bombs in German cities or in Tokyo. Vastly more people were killed with ordinary bullets and cannon on the Russian front. Morality is about what you do to people, not the technology you use.


The guilt-mongers have twisted the facts of history beyond recognition in order to say that it was unnecessary to drop those atomic bombs. Japan was going to lose the war anyway, they say. What they don’t say is — at what price in American lives? Or even in Japanese lives?


Much of the self-righteous nonsense that abounds on so many subjects cannot stand up to three questions: (1) Compared to what? (2) At what cost? and (3) What are the hard facts?


The alternative to the atomic bombs was an invasion of Japan, which was already being planned for 1946, and those plans included casualty estimates even more staggering than the deaths that have left a sea of crosses in American cemeteries at Normandy and elsewhere. “Revisionist” historians have come up with casualty estimates a small fraction of what the American and British military leaders responsible for planning the invasion of Japan had come up with.


Who are we to believe, those who had personally experienced the horrors of the war in the Pacific, and who had a lifetime of military experience, or leftist historians hot to find something else to blame America for?


During the island-hopping war in the Pacific, it was not uncommon for thousands of Japanese troops to fight to the death on an island, while the number captured were a few dozen. Even some Japanese soldiers too badly wounded to stand would lie where they fell until an American medical corpsman approached to treat their wounds — and then they would set off a grenade to kill them both.


In the air the same spirit led the kamikaze pilots to deliberately crash their planes into American ships and bombers.


Japan’s plans for defense against invasion involved mobilizing the civilian population, including women and children, for the same suicidal battle tactics. That invasion could have been the greatest bloodbath in history.


No mass killing, especially of civilians, can leave any humane person happy. But compared to what? Compared to killing many times more Japanese and seeing many times more American die?


We might have gotten a negotiated peace if we had dropped the “unconditional surrender” demand. But at what cost? Seeing a militaristic Japan arise again in a few years, this time armed with nuclear weapons that they would not have hesitated for one minute to drop on Americans.


As it was, the unconditional surrender of Japan enabled General Douglas MacArthur to engineer one of the great historic transformations of a nation from militarism to pacifism, to the relief of hundreds of millions of their neighbors, who had suffered horribly at the hands of their Japanese conquerors.


The facts may deprive the revisionists of their platform for lashing out at America and for the ego trip of moral preening but, fear not, they will find or manufacture other occasions for that. The rest of us need to understand what irresponsible frauds they are — and how the stakes are too high to let the 4th estate succeed as a 5th column undermining the society on which our children and grandchildren’s security will depend.




Hiroshima and the Burden of History (Christian Post, 050805)


“Stimson, what was gunpowder? Trivial. What was electricity? Meaningless. This atomic bomb is the second coming in wrath!” Those words were spoken by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson. The two men were gathered at the Potsdam Conference in July of 1945, and Churchill had just been informed that America had successfully exploded an atomic bomb.


In one sense, human history was transformed the moment that bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert. Nevertheless, it was the first use of an atomic bomb in warfare that is seared into the human memory. On August 6, 1945, Colonel Paul Tibbets and his crew flew the Enola Gay, their specially modified B-29 bomber, and dropped “Little Boy” over the city of Hiroshima, Japan.


The power and destructive force of the bomb defied the human imagination, and it continues to do so today. Within seconds of its detonation, the bomb had destroyed most of central Hiroshima. A giant fireball unleashed annihilation and a consuming inferno throughout the city. Buildings, bridges, and human bodies were evaporated by the force of the blast as successive shockwaves spread throughout the region and a now-familiar mushroom cloud reached heights of over 48,000 feet over the city. Just three days later, an even more destructive bomb would be dropped over the city of Nagasaki.


News of the bomb and its power soon spread around the world. Joseph Stalin had been informed of the American development of the bomb during the Potsdam Conference. According to historians, he then went into an entire day of mourning and seclusion. The actual use of the bomb could not be hidden from the human consciousness. Indeed, the American use of the bomb was intended to break the Japanese military’s will to fight.


At first, the American people responded to news of the bomb with a sense of relief. This was especially true for millions of American soldiers, who knew that the alternative to a Japanese surrender was a ghastly invasion of the Japanese mainland. Just after dropping the bomb, navigator Theodore (Dutch) Van Kirk heard someone aboard the Enola Gay express, “This war is over.” As Van Kirk later reflected, he silently agreed with the assessment. “You didn’t see how anybody—even the most radical, militaristic, uncaring for their people—how anybody like that could stand up to something like this.”


Writer Paul Fussell, a 21-year-old soldier serving in France and waiting for likely deployment for the Japanese invasion, expressed his thoughts with simple relief: “We were going to live. We were going to grow up to adulthood after all.”


The actual destruction wrought by the bomb was classically described by novelist John Hersey in Hiroshima, first released as a book in 1946. Much of the book had already appeared in a series of articles Hersey wrote for The New Yorker. The human toll eventually numbered somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. An estimated 120,000 were killed immediately in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but thousands of others died later from catastrophic injuries and the effects of radiation.


In the years since the Japanese surrender, the American use of atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki has become one of the most debated questions of history. The burden of history falls upon all of us, but Christians bear a particular responsibility to make sense of the past and to evaluate events, issues, and decisions from the framework of Christian moral teaching. For some, a quick condemnation of nuclear weapons is the only conceivable response. Those who hold to such a position of absolute condemnation assume that President Harry S Truman and his colleagues were war criminals. On the other hand, the majority of Americans living at the time saw the use of the weapon as beyond question, believing it to have been necessary in order to force a Japanese surrender and to save an even greater death toll in Japanese and American lives.


When the Smithsonian Institution decided to create a special exhibit focused on the Enola Gay and its mission on the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing in 1995, a contentious controversy and battle among historians ensued. As Richard B. Frank explains, the “traditionalist” view held by historians understands that the United States had used the two atomic bombs in order to end the war in the Pacific. “They further believed that those bombs had actually ended the war and saved countless lives,” Frank explains.


In contrast, historical “revisionists” argue that the use of the atomic weapon was actually motivated by the American concern that the Soviet Union might gain advantage in the Pacific. According to the revisionists, the Japanese were already attempting to surrender, but Truman dropped the bomb in order to prevent the Soviets from claiming more territory in the Pacific.


Nevertheless, there is no evidence that the Japanese were really ready to surrender—certainly not on the unconditional terms of the Potsdam Declaration. In reality, the Japanese were engaged in a high-stakes gamble that the Soviets would force the Americans and the British to negotiate.


Frank offers a compelling argument that the revisionists are simply wrong. In an article published in the August 8, 2005 issue of The Weekly Standard, Frank argues that new evidence, mostly drawn from declassified intelligence reports, demonstrates that the Japanese high command was not even close to a decision to surrender and that the Allied demand for a Japanese unconditional surrender was still rejected by Japanese authorities. As a decoded message from Prime Minister Togo stated to his Russian ambassador: “Please bear particularly in mind, however, that we are not seeking the Russians’ mediation for anything like an unconditional surrender.”


Sixty years later, it is now clear that the developing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union did play a part in the background to the conclusion of the Pacific war. Nevertheless, we also now know that the Japanese war council was adamantly opposed to surrender, even as defeat was virtually certain. A decision to surrender—with the understanding that the Japanese monarchy would survive in revised form—came only after Emperor Hirohito personally intervened to force the issue.


In his brilliant and controversial new book Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of the University of California, Santa Barbara, argues, “The Japanese leaders knew that Japan was losing the war. But defeat and surrender are not synonymous. Surrender is a political act. Without the twin shocks of the atomic bombs and Soviet entry into the war, the Japanese would never have accepted surrender in August.”


Thus, Hasegawa argues that it was the combination of the two atomic bombs and the Soviet declaration of war on August 8 that led to a collapse in the Japanese war party. Nevertheless, we should remember that an attempted coup against the emperor and the government was almost successful, even as Hirohito prepared to announce the surrender to his nation.


Sixty years after the event, we know much more about the sequence of events that shaped the context and about the deliberations that shaped the decisions on both the Japanese and American sides. Writing in the August 1, 2005 edition of TIME magazine, Michael Elliott summarizes: “Ever since, there has been a controversy over when the war would have ended had the bomb not been dropped on Hiroshima . . . and how many Japanese and Americans would have died before it did. But, plainly, the most terrible war ever known ended earlier than it would have because of the Enola Gay’s mission. The bombs cost tens of thousands of lives . . . but they saved lives too.” Elliott adds, “Right from the start, the nuclear age was wrapped in a paradox. An awful weapon had saved lives; a terrible instrument of war had brought peace.”


Was the use of the atomic bomb categorically wrong? Some are certain that this is so. Nevertheless, catastrophic bombing of populations had already taken place in both the Pacific and European theaters of the war. As Jerram Barrs, resident scholar at the Francis Schaeffer Institute argues, nuclear weapons “are qualitatively different, capable of greater destruction than conventional weapons, but not of a quite different order.” As he explains: “Man has shown, again and again, that he can kill millions of people with quite simple weapons (Julius Caesar’s wars in Gall are one example). The ability to kill many with one bomb is not qualitatively different from killing many with swords or guns.”


The most challenging moral questions related to the actual use of the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are whether the bomb was actually necessary to end the war and whether it was right to bomb cities, knowing that thousands of civilians would be among the casualties.


Here again, Barrs argues that “while the desire to keep civilians out of battle is obviously praiseworthy, we have to recognize that this is sometimes difficult.” When military assets are deeply embedded within civilian populations, the issue becomes even more troubling.


The Christian conscience must continue to struggle with the morality of the atomic age and with the specter of nuclear weapons. We must be thankful that 60 years has now passed without any further hostile use of nuclear weaponry. Whatever moral questions may be addressed to the Cold War doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” the fact is that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States used a nuclear weapon against the other.


The current picture is further complicated by the fact that the proliferation of nuclear weapons remains a paramount concern. Most contemporary observers believe that the greatest danger posed by a nuclear weapon is that one might be used by a terrorist group.


In the final analysis, there is good reason to believe that the deployment of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki may well have saved more Japanese lives in the end, as well as the lives of unnumbered American soldiers and sailors.


I cannot reflect on this question without thinking of my friend Joe Reynolds, who was then a young Marine officer who had seen the carnage of Iwo Jima firsthand. Had Japan not surrendered in August of 1945, Joe Reynolds and millions of other American servicemen would have invaded Japan, facing a nation then willing to fight the invaders to the bitter end—even if it meant elderly women and young children wielding sharpened bamboo spears. I am thankful that that tragic war did end in August 1945, and I am thankful that Joe Reynolds, along with millions of his fellow soldiers and sailors, lived to serve their country in other ways.


The 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing should serve as a catalyst for Christian reflection on the morality of warfare, the reality of human sinfulness, the frailty of human wisdom, and the burden of history. For all these things, we will give an answer. Until then, we must do the very best with what we have, what we know, and what we face.




R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.




American Legion Declares War on Protestors — Media Next? (WorldNetToday, 050824)


NEW YORK The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group’s national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war.


“The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples,” Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group’s national convention in Honolulu.


The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to “ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism.”


In his speech, Cadmus declared: “It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.”


He explained, “No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies.” This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.


Without mentioning any current protestor, such as Cindy Sheehan, by name, Cadmus recalled: “For many of us, the visions of Jane Fonda glibly spouting anti-American messages with the North Vietnamese and protestors denouncing our own forces four decades ago is forever etched in our memories. We must never let that happen again….


“We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies.”


Resolution 3, which was passed unanimously by 4,000 delegates to the annual event, states: “The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life.”


Cadmus advised: “Let’s not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on Sept. 11, 2001.”




We said that? (, 051104)


by Jonah Goldberg


Just how big a threat was Saddam Hussein? Let’s reprise what our leaders had to say on the subject. First, here’s the president:


“If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences. . Now, let’s imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction.? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who’s really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too.”


Here is the vice president:


“If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He’s already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world.”


Here’s the hitch: That was Clinton and Gore in 1998, not Bush and Dick Cheney in 2002.


President Clinton offered his assessment in February 1998. Gore made his observations the following December, defending the military strikes Clinton had ordered against Iraq. These were not off-the-cuff remarks but vetted statements by the two highest officials of the United States.


Clinton and Gore were not alone in their conviction that Saddam had WMDs. France thought so, too, as did Israel, China, Russia, Britain, the United Nations, the CIA and the entire national security team of the Democratic administration. The Germans believed Saddam would have a nuclear weapon within 36 months.


Robert Einhorn, Clinton’s deputy assistant secretary of state, told the Senate Governmental Affairs committee in March 2002 that Saddam could have nukes and the missiles capable of striking Europe “within four to five years” and would be able to deliver nukes in America via “non-conventional means.” “If Iraq managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material,” he said, “these threats could arrive much earlier.”


Sen. Jay Rockefeller - the ranking Democratic on the Senate intelligence committee and now a full member of the “Bush lied” chorus - echoed Einhorn’s assessment, adding, “I do believe that Iraq is an immediate threat” and “we can no longer afford to wait for a smoking gun.”


Sens. Evan Bayh, Joseph Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry and John Edwards all voted for the war.


Most of these Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the president. But now, in one of the most repugnant and craven partisan ploys in modern American history, Democrats have decided that they cannot accept their own responsibility in what they clearly consider to be a mistake. They cannot even criticize the CIA for yet another horribly botched job or stick to the ample areas where constructive criticism is warranted. Instead, the same CIA that liberals derided for years is now heroic, and Senate Minority Leader Reid has decided - now that the Fitzgerald investigation has fizzled - to dedicate his party to slandering the president.


Meanwhile, the Democrats cannot even admit they made a mistake supporting the war - except in that they believed Bush’s “lies.” But how could Bush have lied? How was he to know the intelligence was wrong? Without knowing that, he could not have lied. But the Democrats will not allow for the possibility that the very same intelligence that prompted Clinton to bomb Iraq also informed Bush’s decision to topple Saddam. And they will not even concede that, after 9/11, the argument over WMDs wasn’t the best - never mind the sole - argument for toppling Saddam but the easiest one.


“Never again” was the new rule after 9/11, and - after ousting the Taliban - Saddam was the next obvious target. He applauded the attack, funded suicide bombers, defied the international community and, we now know, pretended he had WMDs. Remember: “Regime change” became the official policy of the U.S. in 1998, not 2002. Post-9/11, where would you start?


But the Democrats don’t care. They don’t care about all the previous investigations or that the planet is watching this spectacle. Or that their shabby accusations feed the very worst theories about America’s role in the world. Heck, Howard Dean is recycling the charges in fundraising letters. They don’t care that Iraq is poised to become either one of America’s greatest achievements or its worst debacles. They want timetables, apologies and scalps.


But does anyone doubt that if there were no insurgency, with Iraq as far along in the democratic process as it is now, the Democrats would be boasting about their bi-partisan support for the war and cackling about how Democrats were right about “nation-building” all along?


But they don’t care. In their America, partisanship begins at the water’s edge.




Four and Out? The dangerous lesson America’s wars have taught us. (Weekly Standard, 060406)


THE SOLDIER LAY ON THE GROUND, his cheek pressed into the dirt. Thick ropes of fog hid the low trees and scrub brush and the dangers on the ridge ahead. No matter how he squinted, he couldn’t see through the blind white. The soldier’s name was Henry Gunther, and he was from Baltimore.


He was far from home, lying there below a ridge called the Côte Romagne. He crawled forward a few feet, his rifle cradled in his arms, then dropped back to his belly, flat as a worm. To his left, his sergeant inched along, also on the ground. A manned roadblock might be ahead, they’d been told.


Then—the record is not clear—either Gunther or the sergeant, Ernest Powell—rose first, and began walking deeper into the fog blur. The other got to his feet and followed.


Bullets suddenly split the air above them, accompanied by the hammering of a heavy machine gun somewhere up ahead in the haze. Gunther sprinted forward, toward the sound. Sergeant Powell shouted for him to stop.


A wedge of sunlight abruptly made it through the fog. A German machine gun nest was at the roadblock, startlingly close. And—the oddest thing—the German soldiers had stopped shooting, and were waving at Gunther, gesturing that he should turn back. But he continued to run toward them. They waved again, but he kept coming.


Then came a short burst, no more than five rounds. A bullet entered Gunther’s head at the left temple, and he was dead before his body or his

rifle found the ground.


The time was 10:59 in the morning, November 11, 1918; one minute to the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the beginning of the armistice that ended the First World War. Henry Gunther was the last American to die in that conflict.


THE U.S. MILITARY INVOLVEMENT in the Great War lasted one year and seven months.


This war and America’s other wars, before and since, have taught its citizens a simple lesson. It is a lesson that is now deeply ingrained in the national consciousness, as much a part of the common knowledge as voting on Tuesdays or removing hats for the national anthem.


And it is a lesson which could lead to defeat in the war on terror.


The precise beginnings and ends to wars are sometimes hard to determine, and are often debatable, but a consensus develops over time. The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, when President James Madison signed a declaration of war. It was ended two and a half years later by the Treaty of Ghent.


The American Civil War began April 12, 1861 when Confederate soldiers fired on Federal troops stationed at Fort Sumter, in Charleston. The South surrendered on April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House. The war had lasted four years, less three days.


Between the Day that Will Live in Infamy and Victory over Japan Day (August 15, 1945), three years, eight months and eight days elapsed.


The Korean Conflict—termed a conflict by diplomats and politicians charged with parsing words, but a war by everyone who was there—began just before dawn on June 25, 1950, when 135,000 North Korean troops crossed the 38th Parallel, advancing behind a massive, rolling artillery barrage. A cease-fire was declared July 27, 1953, three years, one month, and two days later.


The lesson: Americans fight short wars.


IN ITS 230 YEARS of history the United States has engaged in only relatively quick military engagements. The last two and a third centuries have seen a world ravaged by constant, brutal hostilities, yet American military forces are in-and-out in three to four years.


There are two exceptions, of course. Precisely when the Vietnam War began for Americans is hard to say, but March 1965—when 3,500 Marines, the first combat troops—landed in South Vietnam (there were already about 20,000 U.S. advisers in the country)—is as good a moment to pinpoint as any. America’s involvement ended in January 1973 when President Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action. United States troops were then quickly withdrawn. So the American portion of the war lasted about eight years. The distinction between Vietnam and the other wars listed above is that the United States lost the Vietnam War.


The other exception is the War of Independence. The first battles—Lexington and Concord—occurred in April 1775, and the war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Yet even this length of time—eight years—is short, in terms of war.


How can eight years of war be short?


War has ravaged Sudan almost without let-up for the past 51 years, first as a conflict between the Christian south and the Arab Muslim north, and now between rebel groups and the fundamentalist Khartoum government. The war is as vicious as any other: 200,000 Nuba and Southern Sudanese women and children have been stolen from their homes and taken north into slavery. This combat has no end in sight.


Guatemala suffered 36 years of continuous war, ending in 1996, during which, by conservative estimate, 100,000 people were killed.


Further back in history: It is difficult today to remember that the French were at one time good at fighting. French Catholics battled French Huguenots for almost 50 years, ending in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. And the French fought the English in the Hundred Years War, so-named because that phrase is more mellifluous than the struggle’s actual length, 116 years.


Everyone in Europe fought everyone else in Europe—the battles mostly in Germany—between 1618 and 1648 in the Thirty Years War.


The Crusades lasted from 1095 when Pope Urban II sent warriors to fight the Turks (the First Crusade) to 1291 when Acre fell, and with it the last of Christian rule in Muslim lands, at the end of the Ninth (and last) Crusade—which had been launched by Edward I of England. That’s 196 years of more or less continuous war.


The Italian military (granted, not a phrase that springs readily to mind) has had only one recent success, the 1935 invasion and conquering of Ethiopia, which is to say, a desert wasteland. But at one time the Italians were warriors. The Italian Wars is a term given to a series of conflicts with names such as the War of the League of Cambria and the Hapsburg-Valois War, and even though historians have broken the hostilities into units, it was one long war, interrupted by a few months of peace here and there, involving the Republic of Venice, the Papal States, other Italian city-states, Spain, France, and who knows who else, from 1494 to 1559, a total of 65 years.


The descendents of John of Gaunt, first Duke of Lancaster, were called the House of Lancaster, and favored the red rose as their symbol. The descendants of Richard, Duke of York, were known as the House of York, whose symbol was the white rose. When the houses fought over the throne of England, it was called the War of the Roses, and it lasted 30 years, from 1455 to 1485.


IT ONLY TAKES A GLANCE at history to know that nothing intrinsic in war limits conflicts to the American experience. Due to the quirks of history or to the skill of America’s military or to luck—presuming anything regarding war can be called luck—the United States has fought short wars.


Perhaps other nations, too, have been shaped by America’s experience with war. By late summer 1945, Japan had been torpedoed, machine gunned, fire bombed and A-bombed virtually back to a pre-historic era. Its citizens—those who remained—looked out at the expanses of scattered bricks and muddy craters and charred wood, and declared that their nation would never fight again. Today, with muscular, imperialistic China a few miles to the west, and lunatic, bombastic North Korea even closer, the citizens of Japan are still satisfied with a military that is little more than a coast guard. The same lesson was learned by Japan’s wartime ally. By the end of World War II, Germany from the Rhine to the Oder had been scythed down to the dirt by the Allies. Today—much of a century later—it is a nation that still cannot bear the thought of its soldiers wearing anything but U.N. peacekeepers’ blue helmets. Germany was taught a lesson by war: that its destiny is intractable pacifism.


And Iran’s new foreign minister, Manuchehr Motakki, says, “We are sure the U.S. will return to saner policies.” Meaning, he’s confident America will quit the war on terror soon. It’s been four and a half years now since war was thrust on us, and America’s patience is quickly thinning.


The United States cannot lose the war on terror militarily. Our soldiers are too good, too well-equipped, and too ferocious. But we can still lose the war, if the American people—antsy and staring at our calendars, the wrong lesson of our military history heavy upon us—order them home.


James Thayer is a frequent contributor to The Daily Standard. His twelfth novel, The Gold Swan, has been published by Simon & Schuster.




The new Holocaust (, 050427)


by Ben Shapiro


This week marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. And while Jews the world over stopped to think about the worst racial liquidation in human history, Iran continued its preparations to create a nuclear device and pledged to help spread that technology to others; the Russian government, which has fostered and encouraged the Iranian nuclear program, refused to consider sanctions against the Iranian government; Palestinian Arab terrorist group and leading parliamentary party Hamas maintained its defiant posture as Saudi Arabia pledged $90 million to support Hamas; Jordan accused Hamas’ Syrian leadership of ordering attacks within Jordan; Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Saudi Arabia and signed a “security cooperation agreement,” while pledging to step into the Arab/Israeli conflict; Osama bin Laden released another audio tape, renewing his call for jihad against Israel and the United States; Islamists likely linked to bin Laden set off three bombs at Egyptian resorts, killing at least 22 people and wounding another 150.


“Never again”? Unfortunately, the prospect of a second Holocaust, this time targeting Jews and Christians on a massive scale, is all too possible. While millions remember the victims of Hitler’s evil, millions more around the world blind themselves to today’s evils, conveniently forgetting that even a leader the magnitude of a Hitler could not and did not act alone. Hitler’s destruction required allies and partners, spoken or silent — and it required the passivity of the West.


Russia, then as now, played both sides of the table. In 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, pledging nonaggression between the Soviets and Nazis, brokered a secret alliance regarding the invasion of Poland and much of Central and Eastern Europe. The Soviets were quite willing to give Hitler a free hand against France and Britain, and were quite willing to revel in the spoils they would surely gain from Nazi conquest. “Fascism is a matter of taste,” Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov remarked after signing the pact.


The Russians still believe that fascism is a matter of taste. They are perfectly willing to exacerbate the Iranian nuclear problem, just as they did the dictatorial Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq (they inked a multimillion-dollar trade deal with Hussein just months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq) and the North Korean nuclear problem (Russia has provided long-range ballistic missile technology to the North Koreans). Meanwhile, Russia continues to provide aid for Hamas, even as bin Laden demands that the West continue filling Hamas’ coffers. Russia could quite accurately be described as a state sponsor of state sponsors of terrorism. President Bush said in 2001 that he looked into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw straightforwardness and trustworthiness. Perhaps he should have said dollar signs.


The Muslim world, then as now, largely sided with the forces of evil. Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini was a staunch Hitler ally; he suggested that Hitler’s “final solution” to the European “Jewish problem” be extended to include all Jews in Arab countries, as well as Palestine. He spent most of the war as a guest in Berlin and encouraged Muslim cooperation with the Nazis in their extermination plan via radio in the Middle East. According to the testimony of Nazi war criminal Dieter Wisliceny, al-Husseini even visited the Auschwitz death camp incognito. Al-Husseini resided in Egypt after the war, where he was treated as a celebrity. His nephew, Yasser Arafat, would seek the destruction of the Jews with the same virulence his uncle had. In 2002, Arafat called al-Husseini “our hero.”


And the Western world, then as now, is firmly on the side of waiting rather than acting. Aside from George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a handful of other courageous leaders who recognize that inaction in the face of evil aids and abets evil, much of the West prefers to remain on the sidelines. Bush and Blair have fallen under such heavy fire for their strategy of pre-emption that they have had to virtually abandon the strategy — Westerners are treating Bush and Blair midwar like they treated Churchill postwar. The grandchildren of those who stated in 1933 that Hitler would be moderated by power now encourage us to wait and watch with Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Hamas, the Saudis and the Syrians, and to turn a blind eye to Russia and China.


It is still unclear who the new Hitler will be. But in an age of weapons of mass destruction, Hitler is unnecessary. All it takes is an evil individual, bolstered by dreams of glory, cash from the Saudis, training from Hamas and technology from the Iranians, North Koreans, Russians or Chinese to achieve in one day the devastation achieved by Hitler over a decade. If we refuse to act in the face of such a threat, we may bear responsibility for tens of millions.




Church Heads Rally for Middle East Peace, Urge Bush to Intervene (Christian Post, 060721)


WASHINGTON – Top church leaders from some of the largest Christian denominations in the United States and in the world are pleading for an end to the violence in the Middle East, pressing U.S. President Bush to intervene and help lead the involved parties to peace and reconciliation.


On Thursday, 19 high-level Christian leaders and church heads signed a letter to President George W. Bush calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflicts in Gaza and between Hezbollah and Israel.


“Mr. President, while attention is rightly focused on the Hezbollah-Israel conflict, we write with growing concern for the situation in Gaza and appeal to you to do everything possible to calm the crisis and restore hope for a diplomatic solution to the conflict,” read the statement dated Thursday, July 20. “The escalating violence and regional dimension of the conflict is alarming. It is urgent that you call on all the parties to restrain from using force and, rather, to trust a diplomatic process.”


The letter further called for the “sustained intervention” of the United States at the “highest level” with both Israeli and Palestinian officials and the cooperation of Egypt and the Quartet.


Following statements and pleas for the situation in Gaza, the faith leaders turned their attention to the Lebanon-Israel situation, referring to a statement issued by the Bishops and Patriarchs of Jerusalem on July 7.


“They (the Bishops and Patriarchs of Jerusalem) condemn the abduction of the Israeli soldier and the killing of the young settler by Palestinians, but consider Israel’s response – the destruction of bridges and a power station, the deprivation and deaths of civilians and arrests of Palestinian officials – as without proportion,” read the letter.


“We share and support your vision of a two-state solution. If the Hezbollah-Israel crisis, which threatens to expand into a regional war, continues it could end all hope for a solution that brings peace and security to Israel and the future state of Palestine and their suffering peoples.”


Leaders who signed the letter include among others: the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA); the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of United Methodist Council of Bishops; ; the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Reformed Church in America; the Rev. Robert Edgar, General Secretary for National Council of Churches USA; the Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director & CEO of Church World Service; the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America; the Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey, executive director of Alliance of Baptists; Dr. Robb Davis, executive director of the Mennonite Central Committee; Marie Dennis, director of Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; and Rev. John H. Thomas, and general minister and president of United Church of Christ.


[KH: a good list of liberal churches, except one, Mennonite is pacifist. Compare with the next article with a list of evangelicals.]




Christian Leaders Defend Israel, Decry ‘Islamic Fascism’ (Christian Post, 060720)


WASHINGTON – The first-ever Christians United for Israel Washington summit gathered some 3,000 delegates Wednesday to defend Israel and urged stronger U.S. support for the nation in light of recent Middle East conflict and international tension over the incident.


Following an international banquet titled “A Night to Honor Israel” on Tuesday night, CUFI Christian leaders held a well-attended press conference Wednesday before a day of meetings with member of the House and Senate. According to the group, it is believed to be the first time that Christian leaders from across the nation have come to Capitol Hill to meet directly with members of Congress to discuss support for Israel.


“The dots are there to be connected and it is not some big thing called terrorism,” said Pastor John C. Hagee, founder and national chairman of Christian United for Israel. “It is Islamic fascism…all of the various things and forces that we’ve seen around the world are not merely hot spots but they are all part of a theme – a war against western civilization.”


Hagee is founder and senior pastor of the 18,000 member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. He is also president and CEO of John Hagee Ministries.


Fellow pastor George Morrison of Faith Bible Chapel in the Denver-metro area soon followed Hagee’s speech, posing questions about the purpose of the summit and answering them.


“Why are Christians involved in the political arena? I think I can sum it up in one word – we are concerned,” said Morrison, who is one of the directors for CUFI. “I don’t think we can avoid the fact that we need to be involved in the political arena to some extent in order to carry out that promise to our people to help them to be good citizens.


“Why are we involved? We are concerned about our world, we are concerned about the purposes of God, and we firmly believe that if Israel is not in its place – if there isn’t a defender of Israel, someone who is going to stand up – we are going to have a repeated history once again. A repeated history will take us back to another war that we fought where almost six million Jews were exterminated,” said Morrison.


“We, as evangelical Christians, will be a voice. We will be involved politically and that is why we are here today, we want to speak to our congressman and senators concerning what we believe will be for the well-being of the United States and for the rest of the world,” concluded Morrison, who also serves as Chairman on the Board of Directors for Promise Keepers.


Other Christian figures involved in the Washington summit include the Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder and chancellor of Liberty University and a pioneer in religious broadcasting; Gary Bauer, president of American Values and former president of the Family Research Council; Stephen Strang, founder and president of Charisma Magazine; and Janet Parshall, host of the nationally syndicated program Janet Parshall.




“Peace” activists gone wild (, 060726)


By Michelle Malki


You’re walking down the street when you spot an anti-war protester wielding a peace sign on the corner. Quick, what do you do? Duck!


As we battle global jihad, perplexed and apoplectic pacifists are showing their true colors. Rainbow tie-dye has turned to raging-bull red.


Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams displayed what the Australian media called “her feisty Irish spirit” to hundreds of schoolchildren this week in a murder-minded diatribe against President Bush. “I have a very hard time with this word ‘non-violence,’ because I don’t believe that I am non-violent,” confessed Williams. On the plus side, the rest of the sane world will no longer make the mistake of believing that Peace Prize-winner Williams is non-violent, either (though the Nobel committee took the peace out of Peace Prize when it handed one to suicide bomber manufacturer Yasser Arafat in 1994).


While the kids cheered, Williams, the world-renowned pacifist, fumed: “Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.” In America, we don’t call this irrational hatred “feisty Irish spirit.” We call it “unhinged.” Or, as Charles Krauthammer first diagnosed it, Bush Derangement Syndrome.


Williams would no doubt endorse the disgusting comments left on an America Online message board for Sgt. Leonid Milkin, whose wife, two sons and sister-in-law were murdered in Kirkland, Wash., last week while he was serving in Iraq. Human Events Online writer Lisa De Pasquale documented the comments of anti-military Bush-haters:


“Too bad the paid assasin [sic] wasn’t home also . . . Got what he deserved for serving an illegal government in an illegal war.”


“Maybe he signed up for the wrong profession because who in their right mind would want to be a army man? He should have studied harder in school and found a real job instead of joining the army. Lmao, be all u can be? Don’t patronize me ! People who join the army either have no education or come from small towns.. He should blame himself for his family dying due to his lack of education.”




Then there’s Dan Frazier, an anti-war huckster in Arizona selling T-shirts with the names of fallen soldiers, including Marine Cpl. Scott Michael Vincent, who was killed by a suicide bomber two years ago. The peace-loving Frazier demonstrated his “feisty” pacifist “spirit” by ignoring Vincent’s mother’s pleas to remove her son’s name.


Want another dose? Earlier this month, a New Zealand peace activist and former Green Party candidate who served as a “human shield” for Saddam Hussein in 2003 was charged with assaulting a teen-age rock singer in London. Peace-loving Christiaan Briggs reportedly harassed the boy’s girlfriend and then knocked the boy to the ground. Briggs ran off laughing before turning himself in to police. The victim had to have part of his skull removed and only days ago awoke from a coma.


Announcing his decision to take a stand for peace three years ago, Briggs preached: “‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ But here in lies the twist. The change I wish to see is not simply that of countless Iraqi lives spared, but that of possibly inspiring just a small group of people I know; my family, friends, and community, illustrating to them an unbelievably important and simple lesson I learnt recently: Wanna be happy? Just centre your life around making others happy.”


By sending them into unconsciousness. Saddam would approve.


Meanwhile, at a peace rally in Boston convened by the Muslim American Society, a Jewish man who attended with a video camera was threatened verbally and physically by hostile demonstrators. Seva Brodsky was accosted by pro-Hezbollah thugs who grabbed him, cursed at him and attempted to prevent him from filming the terrorist sympathizers. It was caught on tape and posted at the blog this weekend. A rally marshal apathetically told Brodsky: “We cannot guarantee your safety.”


If the “peace” activists gone wild had an iota of the same anger, contempt and callousness toward the jihadists as they do toward us, we’d be a lot closer to achieving the peace they love to preach.




Self-hating Jews and the Jewish state (, 060726)


By Ben Shapiro


Whenever Israel uses military force, there is always a cadre of self-hating Jews who feel it is their duty to undermine the Israeli government. They begin arguments by claiming moral superiority through their Judaism. In criticizing Israel’s defensive action in Lebanon last week, Fox News co-host Alan Colmes stated, “I’m Jewish. I don’t think appeasement means peace, though. Or peace means appeasement. Peace would be the desire.” British MP Gerald Kaufman asked in the July 23 edition of the Daily Mail, “As a Jew, I am grieved to ask the question, but I must: Will Israel never learn?” Then there’s Jeff Dorchen of limited Huffington Post fame, who explains, “I’d like to say, being a U.S. Jew … [the Israeli government and Israeli Defense Force] certainly don’t represent me, and I’m angry that they think they’re doing Jews all over the world some kind of big fat favor with their insane overkill response to Hezbollah’s idiotic and evil provocation.”


For Jews who oppose Israel’s right to defend herself, their Judaism is a convenient tactic utilized to silence critics. “Surely,” they imply, “if I am a Jew, I must have a deeper and more abiding love for Israel than anyone else. If you challenge my arguments, you will first have to admit that I have the moral high ground. I have a personal stake in this matter.”


In a world where identity politics dominates discussion, claiming personal involvement with an issue is an easy conversation stopper. Identity politics are almost always illegitimate — even if you have a personal stake in an issue, your ideas may be terrible. With regard to Jews who hype their Judaism in order to tear down the state of Israel, however, such a conversation stopper isn’t merely illegitimate — it’s a blatant lie.


The self-hating Jews who now attack Israel’s most basic aspect of sovereignty don’t care a whit about Judaism. They may have been born Jewish, they may enjoy matzo ball soup, they may go to a Reconstructionist synagogue once in a while to worship nothingness, but the tenets of Judaism mean nothing to them. These Jews care about Judaism the way Madonna cares about Catholicism. When it comes to the daily strictures of Judaism, these Jews are nowhere to be found. But as soon as it becomes politically advantageous to tout their Judaism, they stand front and center, birth certificate held aloft.


Identity politics is a canard when it comes to Judaism. Being born Jewish says nothing about whether you care for Israel, because being a Jew is about more than emerging from a Jewish uterus. A secular humanist, born a Jew, is still a secular humanist. Noam Chomsky is a Jew, but he is also a twisted and evil thinker who pines for Israel’s destruction. Tony Judt is a Jew, but he hopes that one day Israel will be wiped from the map. Are Chomsky and Judt immune from criticism because they are Jews?


They are not. Neither are Colmes, Kaufman and Dorchen. And none of them have the right to use their Jewish birth as a shield for their anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic views. Identity as a Jew is important in this debate only when that identity means a binding tie to the Jewish nation as a whole and to the God that bound that nation together at Sinai.


The believing Jew is tied to Israel because God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people; the believing Jew is tied to strong Israeli self-defense because God mandated such self-defense in the Torah. A Jew who believes in his religion may without question claim that his Judaism demonstrates his commitment to Israel. It is a foul and rank political convenience for those who care nothing about Judaism to flout their Jewish birth as some kind of defense for their cowardly and foolish surrender-first ideals.




Stuck in a Quagmire: The Iraqi prime minister delivers a message some Americans have needed to hear for decades now. (National Review Online, 060727)


There is a tenacity, a resolve, a certain moral seriousness about Nouri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, that many politicians here must find unsettling. His determination was on full display Wednesday, when he addressed Congress to discuss the future of Iraq. In a 30-minute speech interrupted 27 times by applause, Al-Maliki poignantly described the existential terrorist threat facing his country.


“Thousands of lives were tragically lost on September 11th when these imposters of Islam reared their ugly head. Thousands more continue to die in Iraq today at the hands of the same terrorists who show complete disregard for human life,” he said. “Should democracy be allowed to fail in Iraq and terror permitted to triumph, then the war on terror will never be won elsewhere.”


This is, more or less, the charge made by the Bush administration — a charge  flatly rejected by most of the Democratic leadership and their liberal allies. In the fight for Iraq, Al-Maliki sees the Battle of the Bulge. Detractors see only the quagmire of Vietnam.


If the White House has sometimes appeared naive about the “terrible” violence in Baghdad (as Bush called it earlier this week) and the great challenges remaining, its critics have an opposite problem: an unflappable fatalism. For them, Iraq remains a horrid waste of American lives and resources. Its imminent collapse signals the failure of the entire democracy project in the Middle East. Democratic leaders such as Howard Dean call for an immediate U.S. troop withdrawal, while liberal religious journals such as The Christian Century demand “a season of repentance” for American misdeeds.


We’ve seen this mood before. It is reminiscent of the cynicism of  progressives in the 1930s, who viewed the struggle against Nazi Germany in the black light of the First World War. Isolationists such as Joseph Kennedy did everything possible to delay American entry into the European conflict. Charles Clayton Morrison, editor of The Christian Century, belittled the Allied effort as “a war for imperialism” (not much has changed at the magazine, it seems). Harry Emerson Fosdick, one of the best-known preachers in America, claimed that even a war against fascism would be “utterly and irredeemably unchristian.”


There were wiser voices making themselves heard — Reinhold Niebuhr, Lewis Mumford, Lynn Harold Hough and others — that are worth recalling in the present moment. Mumford, a humanist philosopher who joined Niebuhr’s band of “Christian realists,” viewed his own generation as “smug and cynical” in their contempt for any effort to defend democracy against Nazi terror. The reason, he argued, was their fixation on the horrific costs of WWI and the imperfect peace it achieved. “In an orgy of debunking,” Mumford wrote in early 1941, “my generation defamed the acts and nullified the intentions of better people than themselves.” As a result, they were nearly incapable of judging honestly the Nazi threat to civilization — and what it might require to defeat it.


Al-Maliki’s speech to Congress stands as a reproach to the debunkers of our own day. He was sober, yet not cynical, about America’s and the world’s failure to support Iraq’s stirrings toward freedom, particularly after the first Gulf War. “In 1991, when Iraqis tried to capitalize on the regime’s momentary weakness and rose up, we were alone again,” he said. He might have mentioned that thousands of Iraqis perished at the hands of Saddam Hussein. Yet he immediately added that Iraqis would never forget the continued support of the American people. A fatalist wouldn’t put much stock in the U.S. commitment to Iraq, as Al-Maliki, facing daily risks for doing so, clearly does. Bush’s leadership on this point, backed up by the exceptional effort of the U.S.-led coalition, explains much of this confidence.


The heart of Al-Maliki’s message, though, was that Iraq is center stage in the fight against global terrorism. Here is a confrontation, he warned, that demands the engagement of “every liberal democracy that values freedom.” It is this message — delivered by a man trying to govern his nation at ground zero of the struggle — which offends liberal leaders and intellectuals here and in Europe. From the U.N. Secretariat to the National Council of Churches, the American campaign in Iraq has been derided as an “illegal” and “immoral” misadventure. It is scorned as an act of imperial hubris, a war on Islam, a ploy for cheap oil. Al-Maliki knows all this, yet he pushed the argument nonetheless. “Do not think that this is an Iraqi problem. This terrorist front is a threat to every free country in the world and their citizens,” he said. “What is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty. Iraq is the battle that will win the war.”


A man who once carried a death sentence on his head and lived in exile for over 20 years, Al-Maliki is no utopian. He knows all about the sectarian divisions in his country, the threat of rogue militias, the security problems in Baghdad, the fears that drain away hope. “The journey has been perilous,” he told Congress, “and the future is not guaranteed.” Yet he remains resolved: “I will not allow terrorists to dictate to us our future.”


The cynics in his audience — the Ted Kennedy wing of the Democratic party — are not the ones to lead America into this future. They remain trapped in the past, it seems, an emotional quagmire of their own making.


— Joseph Loconte is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a commentator on religion for National Public Radio.




Christians, Pacifism, Iraq (, 070322)


By Marvin Olasky


After four years of war in Iraq, some Christians are more insistent in their claim that the Bible requires pacifism. Some say that if we gave peace a chance, we’d live happily ever after. Others, aware of the presence of international murderers, still say we should not resist them, for Jesus did not resist his.


What to make of this? For one thing, it runs counter to much of the Bible, where God and Israel regularly resist evil. In the book of Exodus, when Egypt’s pharaoh mandated slavery and ordered infanticide, God liberated the Israelites and destroyed the Egyptian army. In the book of Judges, God regularly ordained leaders to fight back against oppression. Individuals as well as nations could engage in self-defense: “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him.”


The New Testament is not pro-militant, but it’s also not anti-militant. The apostle Paul wrote that civil government is to wield the sword for justice. Although arguments from silence can be misleading, it’s worth noting that Jesus and Peter commended Roman centurions and did not tell them to go and sin no more.


And what about Christ’s prescriptive words and actions? Although many pacifists emphasize the Sermon on the Mount, many theologians note that “turn the other cheek” means responding mildly to personal affronts, not looking the other way when someone is mugged. Jesus himself did not resist evil in the Garden of Gethsemane, but his rendezvous with death was a unique calling. We are to follow Christ in doing good, but none of us can accomplish by our deaths what he accomplished by his.


Many great students of the Bible — Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin, for example — saw some form of war as inevitable, because of what the Bible teaches about the depravity of human nature. Assuming that we would always have fighting, Christians developed codes of “just war” that emphasized the use of necessary means of warfare but the avoidance of savagery. “Just war” theory was also pragmatic: Leaders were to ask whether success was likely.


How do we apply this to the war in Iraq? In 2003 we had a failure of intelligence data: Everyone, including Democrats and Europeans, thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, so we thought the war was self-defense. Even more significant was our theological illiteracy: Many non-Muslims thought that Iraqi Sunni and Shia were like Protestants and Catholics, historically antagonistic but now able to get along, so we thought we could love our neighbors, including our enemies, by bringing them democracy.


We thought success was readily achievable, and the three weeks of U.S. advance that led to the liberation of Baghdad seemed to affirm that notion. Four years later, it’s easy to see and say that the Iraq war was a mistake — although it’s still questionable whether Iraq and the world would be better off if Saddam were still in power. In any event, the question is what to do now. What do biblical injunctions to love our neighbors mean in this instance?


Some Americans say that if the United States had been paying attention to Rwanda in 1994 and could have intervened effectively to save about 800,000 people from being murdered, we should have. What, then, about Iraq, where a U.S. pullout at this point would probably lead to Rwanda-level slaughter there and increased terrorist activity around the world?


The old line about America’s inability to be the policeman of the world still rings true, and that’s why we need to approach each situation prudentially. The Bible gives leeway here. What we know in general is that Cold War pacifism would have allowed Soviet dictators control of the world, and absolute pacifism now would do the same for Muslim autocrats. But the angels, and the devils, are in the details.




Christian Theologians Explore War and Religion (Christian Post, 070518)

[KH: liberals]


Christian scholars from Europe and the United States are gathered in Greece to discuss how the Christian body can facilitate peace and healing in a world full of violence.


The international ecumenical conference “Forgiveness, peace and reconciliation” in Volos, Greece, convenes a broad spectrum of theologians, scholars and academics, ecumenists, and members of peace and reconciliation fellowships to look at the role of religion in conflicts.


Among the topics discussed at the May 17-20 conference are: interrelationships between peace, justice and security; war in the name of religion; spiritual resources for a culture of peace; the healing of memories; and identity and “otherness.”


The Church of Greece is hosting the conference as its contribution to the WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence, which is focused this year on Europe.


In addition, the conference will use current situations in Cyprus, Serbia, Russia, Ireland and the Middle East as case studies to be considered in a conference section on “Orthodoxy in situations of conflict.”


Speakers include Dr. Vletsis Athanasios, professor at Munich University, on “Overcoming Violence. The Challenge to the Churches;” Dr. Niki Papageorgiou, assistant professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, on “The Predominance of Violence in the Present World: A Sociological Approach;” the Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis, professor at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, on “Human Dignity in a Globalized World;” and Dr. Konstantinos Deliconstandis, professor at the University of Athens, on “Is reconciliation possible between Turks and Greeks?”


The conference is being jointly sponsored by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, the Boston Theological Institute and the World Council of Churches.




U.S. deserter takes sanctuary in Vancouver church (National Post, 091019)


VANCOUVER - U.S. army deserter Rodney Watson has become the first fugitive from service in Iraq to enter church sanctuary in Canada.


Monday morning, the 31-year-old told reporters he has been living in refuge at the First United Church in Vancouver since Sept. 18.


“I don’t believe it will be just for me to be deported,” said Watson, flanked by church ministers and supporters. Watson lost his refugee claim on Sept. 11, and was expecting to be deported back to the U.S., where he faces jail for refusing to do a second tour of duty in Iraq.


The main reason Watson wants to stay is to be with his 10-month-old son and fiancee, who live in Vancouver. Watson said his son is currently in foster care, but wouldn’t say why. He said he plans to get married and settle in B.C.


Ric Matthews, minister with the First United Church, said Watson has an apartment at the church, and is fed on-site. Watson cannot leave the grounds of the church. Matthews said the church agreed to let Watson take refuge because it doesn’t support the Iraq War, or the way the U.S. military treated Watson — who signed up to be a military cook, but was ordered to find explosives.


“We expect the authorities will continue to respect this place as a place of sanctuary,” he said.


Sarah Bjorknas of the War Resisters Support Campaign Vancouver said three out of the five military deserters who have been deported from Canada since 2008 have been jailed.


A statement by Vancouver NDP MP Libby Davies said she’ll continue to ask the Tory government to honour two non-binding votes in Parliament to allow army deserters to seek asylum in Canada.


“The government has chosen to ignore the will of the majority view of Canadians,” said Bjorknas.




Morality and the Military (Christian Post, 101231)

By Alan Sears


“For want of a nail, the shoe was lost,” according to the old proverb. “For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost … for want of a rider the battle was lost … and for want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”


Someday, historians will record the Senate’s repeal last week of the imperfect “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding homosexual behavior in the military as the loss of a battle. The lost rider who cost us that battle could be any one of the repeal supporters who sat astride a lost “horse” best identified as a federal government increasingly distanced from any sense of moral obligation to its people and their history.


That culture, in turn, is the missing shoe … a society that has lost its footing as it stumbles farther and farther from its Judeo-Christian beginnings and beliefs. And the nail … well, the nail, of course, is the symbol of those beliefs, and the cross that embodies them.


The repeal of DADT was wrong not, primarily, because the changes it will bring will radically transform both the U.S. military and its relationship with key allies all over the world, and inevitably undermine the security and defenses of our nation. Nor even because it was passed over the vehement objections of the great majority of America’s fighting servicemen whose daily lives and service it will soon and drastically impact.


No, ultimately there’s only one reason to oppose the repeal – and it is, of course, the reason that almost no politician or military officer is willing or able to say, right out loud.


The repeal was and should be opposed because it endorses homosexual behavior – and homosexual behavior is morally wrong.


The hue and cry begins. An outrage! Intolerance! Bigotry of the most blind and blatant sort! Religious zealotry! Radical homophobia!


The protestors doth protest too much. Because – beneath all the hubbub and clamor – we’re agreed on this.


That is certainly true of the advocates of homosexual behavior. It is why, despite all their press releases and sound bites, they’re no longer working for social acceptance. They don’t need to secure a place of tolerance in the culture – that’s long since been achieved. What they want – and increasingly admit to wanting – is not the acknowledgement or embrace of society, but a revolution in society. The elimination not of discrimination, but of standards … of marriage … of religious faith, insofar as it criticizes homosexual behavior.


These are the actions not of people who know their beliefs to be morally justified, but of people determined to forcibly rewrite morality to justify their beliefs.


Even the Obama administration, in its way, confesses that homosexual behavior is wrong – albeit in a typically roundabout way. Vice President Biden recently said that he and Obama still believe tax cuts for the wealthiest are “morally troubling.” President Obama himself has stood on platforms around the world decrying the unfairness and inequality of America in its employment practices, housing, education, and health care.


Where do these ideas come from? This supreme conviction that the wealthy should share with the poor? That every person should be treated equally before the law, in the schools, in the hospitals? That employment, that insurance, that life itself should be “fair?”


What in nature – human or otherwise – would ever compel us to such a conclusion?


Nothing. Because these ideas come not from our demonstrably selfish, competitive, cutthroat instincts, but from something – from Someone – Who calls us to move beyond those instincts to a life more selfless, more giving, more compassionate, more fair.


“Why do you call me good?” Jesus Himself asked (Luke 18:19). “Only God is good.”


And it is predominantly the Book that testifies to His goodness that tells us the wealthy should consider the poor … that we should treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated … that we should, like faithful soldiers, willingly lay down our lives for each other.


How do we say that such a distinctively Judeo-Christian morality applies to our economics, but not to our culture? To our charities for strangers, but not to our schools for our own children? To the administration and ethics of business, but not the administration and ethics of our courts?


How do we command our soldiers to be so morally grounded and upright that they refuse to kill with indiscriminate hatred … to enjoy torture … to rape and pillage and feed the bloodlusts of battle – but not so upright as to frown on the self-destructive passions of immoral sexual behavior?


With the repeal of DADT, we are handing the men charged with protecting our borders and defending our freedoms a moral compass with no “magnetic north.” We are telling them to “be good” in the ways we want them to be, and to ignore “bad” as it suits our politically-correct purposes.


And that is not because we as a nation are no longer sure of what is “moral” and right, but because we do know – and are agreeing to ignore the truth that is in us.


The loss of that nail just cost us a crucial battle. And unless we replace it, it will soon cost us a kingdom as well.


Alan Sears is a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan Administration. He is president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund (, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. He is co-author with Craig Osten of The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom.