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Thursday, November 10, 2005

The "Nation" Declares War...On the War

Howard Kurtz writes his media roundup. Great job. At the beginning is this:
Are we seeing a gradual shift in the way liberals talk about the war? I have obtained -- from sources I cannot identify, although none of them are former Hill staffers -- an advance copy of an editorial to be published in the Nation. The liberal magazine is serving notice on politicians, and while it doesn't move many votes, this could amount to a leading cultural indicator.

"The war has also become the single greatest threat to our national security. Its human and economic costs are running out of control, with no end in sight. It has driven America's reputation in the world to a historic low point. . . .

"The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position. Many worry that the aftermath of withdrawal will be ugly, and there is good reason to think they are right. But we can now see that the consequences of staying will be uglier still. Fear of facing the consequences of prolonging the war will be worse.

"We firmly believe that antiwar candidates, with the other requisite credentials, can win the 2006 Congressional elections, the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and subsequent national election. But this fight, and our stand, must begin now."

Can't you just hear the helicopters leaving the U.S. Embassy, as desperate Iraqis seek to leave before Al Qaeda comes marching triumphantly into Baghdad? If the Left wants to conjure up Vietnam images, they've succeeded.

Meanwhile, Jordan is burning:
AL-QA'IDA has struck at the heart of the West's closest Arab ally, with suicide bombers killing 60 people and wounding almost 200 at three US-run hotels in the Jordanian capital.

The bombers detonated three bombs in three locations - the Grand Hyatt, the Radisson and Days Inn hotels, in Amman's affluent commercial area - within seven minutes.

Jordanian authorities quickly blamed terror chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq, and the alleged mastermind of a raging insurgency involving almost daily terrorist attacks that have claimed several thousand lives since early 2004.

His al-Qa'ida offshoot claimed responsibility for the attacks in an internet posting.

"A group of our best lions launched a new attack on some dens ... After casing the targets, some hotels were chosen which the Jordanian despot turned into a backyard for the enemies of the faith, the Jews and crusaders," the statement says, promising more details. The statement, which could not be immediately verified, was signed by al-Qa'ida's spokesman in Iraq and posted on an Islamist site normally used by the group.

And who were Zarqawi's victims? Here's the wedding couple, just before the murders. Ashraf Mohamed al-Akhras and his bride Nadia al-Alami. Take a close look at their faces, just before they both lost their fathers.

From the Australian newspaper, The Herald Sun:
At the Radisson, the bride and groom had just made their grand entrance to the ballroom surrounded by 250 elegant guests.

No one noticed a man who managed to elude the parked police car outside, making his way into the ballroom wearing an explosives belt under his clothes.Within seconds the festive wedding turned into a nightmare.

"I lost my father and my father-in-law on my wedding night," groom Ashraf Mohammed al-Akhras said.

A young man said he was in the lobby when the bomb exploded. "There was panic all around me, people were running, screaming," he said.
Last Sunday, I taught a fourth grade Sunday school lesson about sheep, shepherds, and the 23rd Psalm. The Bible often compares humans to sheep. The comparison is apt.

Sheep are helpless against the wolves that prowl just outside the sheepfold. And, until they are attacked, the sheep live in denial, assuming the world is safe. They also have short memories. While they panic when one of the herd is attacked, they quickly forget, and go back to their lives of denial, unaware of the dangers kept at bay by the shepherd, and his sheepdog. Few have said it better than Lt. Colonel David Grossman, as quoted from Eject!Eject!Eject!:

I excerpt a small portion of it here, without permission, in the hope that those of you who are serious about surviving things like Katrina will go here and buy it.

Lt. Colonel Grossman, a far better man than me, a man who does things I only talk about, writes in his introduction to The Bulletproof Mind:

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."

This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million total Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf." Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, "We intimidate those who intimidate others."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

He continues:

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog. As Kipling said in his poem about "Tommy" the British soldier:

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that,
an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys,
there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind.

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, he does have one real advantage -- only one. He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

Remember at the beginning of this long post the desperate editorial from The Nation, saying they demand a pull out from Iraq? They are warm and comfortable in the sheepfold, and have forgotten the wolves, even when they see the wedding pictures from Jordan. Worse, the Left has mistaken the sheepdogs for wolves, and believe those who protect them are the enemy.

As one of my fourth graders said, "Mister Mark, sheep sure are stupid!"

Yep, they sure are.

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