Losing Moral Proportion As We Watch the Arab World

Photo credit: 2006 Nassar Nouri/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

Thomas Friedman, the well-regarded Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, wants the Arab world to do some soul searching. His recent article ‘Look in Your Mirror‘ argues that American-grown hate speech like the recent anti-Islam video on Youtube does not justify violence in the Arab world, and that those in the Middle East must examine their own religious hate speech aimed at Christians, Jews, Sufis, and Shiites before they demand an apology from us. I want to examine Friedman’s writings here, because he’s got a point, but it’s a common, disproportionate view which ignores our contribution to the present unrest, and exposes prevalent confusion and numbness about that part of the world.


Interview with Author Richard Dahlstrom: On Economic Survival, Evangelism, and the Crushing Nature of Adversarial Consumerism

Photo Credit: Ian Ebright | The Broken Telegraph

As our conversation continues, I’m realizing that this idea of intentional living is not just a bunch of words for author Richard Dahlstrom. He seems to be enjoying the moment rather than trying to rush through it. The office we are sitting in is a loft with the usual computer and bookshelf. But there’s also candles burning on top of the space heater, and a pretty impressive climbing wall that he’s made out of a corner of the office complete with climbing holds, carabiners, and what looks like a meditative prayer sheet that’s been tacked halfway up the incline. On the other side of the stairs is a flat, carpeted cubby area that he calls the prayer space, and the books over there have been left open. I can’t find anything in the entire area that has been placed for the sake of appearance.


Osama Bin Laden is Dead, But This is No Time to Celebrate

Celebration at ground zero. Photo Credit: flickr/David Miller. Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

For some, the news brought an understandable sense of relief, or a bit of overdue closure. Others are viewing the event through a purely strategic lens, believing the kill shot to be an accomplishment only because it will likely avert greater violence in the future. The merits of such reactions are debatable. But those who boldly celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden have fallen for a devilish trick. In an effort to assert moral superiority and to separate from the legacy of the infamous terrorist, they have unwittingly participated in the same hatred that gave birth to his kind of extremism.


Narcissistic Stockholm Syndrome: War Machine

Photo Credit: flickr/Kenny Holston 21. Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

A couple of friends are filling in for me while I’m away on break. This post is written by Jason M. Dye of the blog Left Cheek.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” -Mahatma Gandhi

Someone out there is planning a counter-demonstration to a peace march. Oddly enough, it’s not Boeing, Haliburton, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, nor any of the other war profiteers taking out the banners and megaphones to stymie the influence of the peace activists.

It is a Marine who served in Vietnam.

Please don’t miss the irony of this. Someone who suffered under the direction of war-mongers and profiteers believes that those who oppose the war-mongers and profiteers need to be opposed.


Interview with a Special Forces Captain: Was War Worth It, and Can We Leave Now?

070312-F-2828D-112photo © 2007 Expert Infantry | more info (via: Wylio)
Tyler is currently a Captain studying for a Master’s Degree in Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He served a year in Iraq as an Infantry platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, and three tours in southern Afghanistan as a Special Forces Detachment Commander and Operations Officer.

We discussed the cost of war in Afghanistan, and differing exit strategies.


Inside Africa Part II: Zimbabwe’s Brutal Conflict

by Guest Contributor Brian Robinson

At the conclusion of the first part of this article, I mentioned that it was obvious that South Africans viewed me as American before considering my race. Well in the next country I visited, Zimbabwe, it was even more obvious I along with my two travel partners were “the Americans” of the group.

It wasn’t a negative view they were taking, it was just that the color of my skin did not get me immediate access into the Continental Club of Africans. There was no window at the Harare airport for all black Americans to visit and receive a “Welcome to Africa, Cousin!” pin upon arrival (and, yes, I was expecting one).


What’s Worse: More War or More Healthcare?

Torn & Cut One Dollar Note Floating Away in Small $ Piecesphoto © 2010 photosteve101 | more info (via: Wylio)
I was a kid when Desert Storm began. My older brother was in the Army and stationed in Germany at the time. There was a possibility that he was going to be deployed to the theater (Iraq, not Regal Cinemas). So we were concerned, but at the same time, I really liked watching CNN’s reports from Baghdad and so I was a bit hopeful that he’d go and bring back some good stories. The TV, as you remember, aired those iconic laser-like bursts of green shooting at different angles into the night sky, and it all became a genuine thrill for me.  I had begun not only to smile at war, but to quietly like it more than any Christian was supposed to admit. The fact that people were dying on both sides was of little concern; what was far more important to me was the fact that I was entertained.


Iraq: mission accomplished, and home in six months?

I just finished reading the newly released ‘Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won The War In Iraq.’  Many remember the President’s infamous visit to the aircraft carrier in May of 2003, where he emerged from a S-3B Viking aircraft wearing a flight suit and later gave a  “victory” speech that was premature to say the least. The title of the book borrows from the huge banner that hung behind the President as he spoke to the cameras on that day- only this time it’s meant to be tongue in cheek.  It’s a quick read and a pretty devastating one, too.

“Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.” -George W. Bush, March 6, 2003

‘Mission Accomplished’ works so well because it is really just a compilation of quotes- about Iraq and related matters- spoken by everyone from the hawks at the top of the Bush Administration to the trumpeters in the media. The authors (Christopher Cerf and Victor S. Navasky along with illustrator Robert Grossman) frequently interrupt the rhetoric with factual rebuttals and clever sketches, but they mostly let the politicians and pundits hang themselves by their own words.

“Our forces have been given a clear mission: to end a regime that threatened its neighbors and the world with weapons of mass destruction and to free a people that have suffered far too long.” -George W. Bush, April 14, 2003

These two guys did a massive amount of research, and I want to share a bit of it with you in hopes that you’ll share your thoughts with me. First, a look back at the stated mission in Iraq (keeping in mind the previous two quotes):