Friday, February 14, 2003
So much for Catholic outrage over Sam Adams' sponsorship of the "sex in public places" contest, that ended with sex inside Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Well, at least I know I didn't buy any.
This was no guy pawned off on the Corps after causing problems elsewhere. Father Capadanno was killed in action in
Vietnam while giving the sacraments to the wounded and dying. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Thanks to Rod Dreher (in The Corner) for the link.
We are picking up daylight at the rate of 2-3 minutes each day now, But it is still the coldest it has been all winter. Maine is about to put out an emergency call for people with blow dryers and long extension cords to thaw them out.
For the gun charge.
And justly so. Not that her husband was a nice guy. But he did not deserve to be run over 3 times.
Relax about the crop duster story. It turns out that the prospective buyers were Brazilian, not Middle Eastern. And they were not necessarily interested in buying a crop duster. At least that is the official line, and I have no reason to doubt it.
Neighbor Domenico Bettinelli's uncle died last ight, at nearly 91 years of age.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. Our prayers for his family at this difficult time, also.
Now they use swipe-card technology.
We have an unwanted program that has installed itself, and I'm trying to figure out how to be rid of it. It is a search engine that has prevented us from using our accustomed MSN search engine. If it was a decent search engine, I would not mind, but it stinks. Tech support is working on a solution. I really don't want to have to dump Windows and re-load it, because we would lose hundreds of bookmarked favorites.
There may have been two Saint Valentines. Their stories are rather similar. The first was a Roman priest arrested for practising the Faith under the Emperor Claudius II around 290 A.D. He refused to waver from his belief. He was placed under the custody of a certain Asterius, who had a blind daughter. Valentine cured the daughter and converted the entire family. After learning this, the Emperor had Valentine beaten and decapitated on the Flaminian Way. Pope Julius I had a church built on the site of his martyrdom in the 4th century.
The second Saint Valentine was believed to be bishop of Terni around 233 A.D. He apparently had a reputation as a miracle worker, for a senator named Crato asked Valentine to come to Rome to cure his son, who was stricken with a seemingly incurable illness. Valentine agreed on condtion that Crato and family convert. Valentine cured the boy, and Crato's household became Christian. A prefect named Abundius heard of the cure, and had Valentine beheaded. Valentine's body was carried back to Terni, where he is patron saint of the town.
The stories are so similar that we might be dealing with a single person.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
OK, the Salem Evening News is reporting that Tuesday night, two men of apparently Middle Eastern descent tried to buy a crop duster at Beverly Airport (about 6 miles from here). They were put off by the person at the counter. They then fled in a pick-up truck with Massachusetts plates. A very sensitive investigation is underway.
Crop dusters are not used much in New England. What farms we have are too small.
Last September, I blogged about every police department on the North Shore being sent white powder in the mail with the words, "Black September" inside the envelope.
It does make you wonder if terrorists have decided that this area is some sort of soft underbelly in the security system.
Maybe I will buy some plastic sheeting and duct tape after all.
Then again, nah.
I have been fairly quiet lately on the reasons for the coming campaign in Iraq. That is because I think that the time in which minds can be changed has passed. Those who oppose it now, after the State of the Union and Secretary Powell's speech at the UN, are not going to change their minds. Neither is the Administration going to change its mind. Short of a startling "road to Damascus" conversion by Saddam, or a coup in Iraq, we will begin military operations there within a month, regardless of what the UN Security Council, France, Russia, Germany, Belgium, or China, have to say about it. The only thing that will change European opinion would be a large-scale terrorist attack against a European target.
But don't worry. The Europeans will change their tune when we win a quick victory. Success has a thousand fathers.
The Archdiocese has determined that there is no substantantial basis to the charge of sex abuse against Father Edward McDonagh. The evidence was slim: a letter from a woman who said that her brother, who had died 6 years before of AIDS, told her McDonagh had raped him in the early 1960s. McDonagh is expected to return to Saint Ann's parish in West Bridgewater, where parishioners have been holding a weekly prayer vigil for him since his suspension.
The guy arrested is Venezualan, but we shall see. I wonder if the grenade is really "live". You can buy de-activated ones at most Army-Navy stores.
National Review On Line carries a column by Father James Schall, S.J., one of the few wise members of that order still active, on the consequences of not disarming Iraq.
The president has spelled out the number of times since 9/11 that further attacks have been prevented. We live in a period of illusion if we think that further attacks have not come forth because bin Laden, wherever he is, or his friends, have changed their minds or their methods. Targets in Europe and the United States have been selected. Our efforts to defend ourselves have worked. The conclusion is not that no danger is near, but that danger has been thwarted and must continue so to be.
Is there something worse than war, something worse than not preventing what needs to be prevented? If it takes a war to prevent this something worse, and we do prevent it, it will always seem, to the anti-war faction, that no real problem existed, because they could not see the evidence for it.
Ann Coulter's column, found today at FrontPage Magazine, is a splendid account of Hollywood's anti-war activists. She left out Ben Affleck, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alec Baldwin, Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Ed Asner, & Carl Reiner, but I suppose that there was only room for so much idiocy in one column.
Meanwhile, also in FrontPage Magazine, Paul Bond says Americans are thinking about hitting the leftist stars where it hurts. He reports on a growing move to boycott their products. Count me in. I mostly watch British movies anyway (the two I'm looking forward to now are Johnny English, with Rowan Atkinson, and the adaptation of Patrick O'Brian's Master & Commander). While many British actors are leftists or lead highly reprehensible lives, they are not as public with their views. They are also usually not looked up to as icons as their over-paid American counterparts are, their every thought on public affairs is not lovingly recycled by an adoring press.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Haywood Sullivan, former General Manager, and then Managing Partner of the Red Sox in the late 1970s & early 1980s died today at the Sox' spring training camp at Fort Myers, Florida. Requiescat in pace.
The Senate will be tougher.
It's getting so a guy can't celebrate Lincoln's Birthday without losing his comments.
Bishop William F. Murphy, according to a record released yesterday, urged Cardinal Law in 1999 to ignore the demand of one of Father James McDonald's abuse victims that Law not celebrate McDonald's funeral. McDonald left a trail of (female!) victims in Peabody, Waltham, North Andover, and the South End.
Undoubtably, Murphy will get a chance to explain his advice to Cardinal Law, as he is scheduled to testify before a Massachusetts grand jury today.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
These are the findings of a Gallup Poll discussed in the Washington Times.
The Gallup Poll finds that 59 percent of Americans regard the French as "favorable" and 33 percent deem them "unfavorable," down from 79 percent and 16 percent, respectively, a year ago.
Americans' feelings toward Britain remain stalwart: 89 percent give Britain a favorable nod, and 6 percent give unfavorable ratings. Those numbers have not changed in a year. Canada followed at 89 percent favorable and 7 percent unfavorable — a drop of five percentage points since last year.
Mr. & Mrs. Jonah Goldberg today welcomed a new daughter, Lucy (dubbed at NRO as "Goldberg: The Next Generation"). Congratulations all around.
Mark and Leslie Cameron have just added a second son to their family. Lord bless him and them.
He is being operated on for prostate cancer tomorrow. I don't agree with him on just about anything, but our prayers are still with him and his family. When he is better, I'll happily resume blasting his public record.
Whether it is him or not, his call to the Iraqis to "hold out as long as you can" against the "Crusaders and Jews" would not exactly inspire confidence. Even he is realistic about the outcome.
B.U. beat my alma mater, B.C. in the annual Beanpot Hockey Tournament, essentially a tourney of the Big Four Boston-area universities for local bragging rights. Harvard beat Northeastern in the consolation game.
When was the last time any significant number of people died while taking part in religious services in Saint Peter's Square? Or at Canterbury? Or at any synagogue?
It has become a canard of the peacenik left that war never solves a problem. As usual, the lefties are way, way off.
The French & Indian War: Fought by Britain & France to contest the control of North America. The British won. The French empire in North America ended. Canada became a loyal colony of Old Blighty.
The American Revolution: Fought by the fledgling United States to establish its independence from Great Britain. With some help from the envious French, the US won. It has been an independent country ever since, and has become fast friends with its former Mother Country.
The Napoleonic Wars: France attempted to dominate Europe. Its naval power was destroyed at Trafalgar, giving Britain maritime supremacy that lasted for more than 100 years. France eventually failed, after many years of unprecedented success, to dominate Europe, and ceased to be a superpower (though it remained a great European power).
The Mexican War: Brought Texas and other territories into the possession of the United States. These areas are now states and part of the undying union.
The Danish War: Prussia and Austria fought Denmark for Schleswig-Holstein. Schleswig-Holstein has remained part of Germany ever since.
The American Civil War: Southern states attempted to dissolve the American Union. They lost, and the indissolubility of the Union was established by force of arms. Human slavery in the United States was ended and the drive for full civil rights for Black people begun.
The Seven Weeks' War: Austria and Prussia fought for dominance of Germany. Austria was beaten at Konnigratz and conceded Prussian predominance in Germany.
The Franco-Prussian War: The German states battled France. In the course of the war, France was defeated, the Emperor Napoleon III was dethroned, France became a republic, and the Hohenzollern King of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor.
The Indian Wars: The United States tamed the Indian tribes and established its unquestioned control over the area that became the American West. Those areas are now states, and the Indians are citizens of the United States, fully assimilated, though with some sad exceptions.
The Zulu War: Britain defeated the Zulu tribes and established its control over South Africa.
The Spanish American War: Spain's remaining colonies were stripped from it by the United States. The Philippines became an American protectorate (a patron/client relationship persists to this day). Cuba became a protectorate of the United States as well. The hollowness of Spanish power was established, as was the Great Power status of the United States.
The Russo-Japanese War: Showed that Czarist Russia was a paper tiger, and established Japan as a great power.
World War I: was started through the aggressive militaristic policies of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire, as well as the envy and hatred of France. The Hohenzollerns, Habsburgs, Romanovs, and Ottoman Turks were swept from power after long and tragic fighting. The United States' status as a Great Power was further confirmed. France was bled white.
The Spanish Civil War: Communists attempted to take over the government of Spain. Catholic and traditional forces under General Franco prevailed. Spain was given political stability and prevented from lurching into the communist camp. The reigning monarch, King Juan Carlos, a force for stability and democracy, was personally trained in statecraft by General Franco.
World War II: German, Japanese, and Italian militarists set out on a program of conquest. Germany, in the process, was bent on massacring the Jewish people, among others. After years of conquest, these states were defeated, occupied, and their leaders tried for crimes against humanity. The United States was established as the greatest power the world has seen since the Roman Empire, though Russia, in the form of the communist Soviet Union, emerged from the war as a significant rival.
The 1948-Arab-Israeli War: The Arab states neighboring Israel attempted to strangle the infant state in its crib. Israel prevailed, and proved its right to exist by force of arms.
The Korean War: Communist North Korea was dissatisfied with the post-World War II division of the Korean peninsula into two states, a democratic south and a communist north. North Korea invaded South Korea in order to conquer it. The United Nations, primarily in the form of the United States, intervened and established that the Korean peninsula would be divided into two states (until the communist government in the north should collapse). Korea remains divided 50 years later.
The Vietnam War: Communist North Vietnam was dissatisfied with the division of Vietnam into a communist north and a non-communist south. Despite American intervention, North Vietnam prevailed and Vietnam was unified under a communist government.
The Falklands War: The military government of Argentina sought to inflame nationalistic sentiment by taking the Falkland Islands from Great Britain. The few inhabitants of the islands were all loyal British subjects who had no wish to live under Argentine rule. British Prime Miister Margaret Thatcher assembled a striking force, and retook the islands after a short war. The Falklands were established as British. The prestige of the Argentine military government was so shattered that the government fell and democracy was restored to Argentina a few years later.
The Grenada Intervention: A pro-Castro group of Marxists gained control of the island nation of Grenada, and threatened to turn it into a Cuban satellite state. The United States invaded on the pretext of protecting American medical students endangered by the collapse of civil order. The communist forces were routed and their leaders arrested. Grenada is a stable democracy, and has been for twenty years now.
The Soviet-Afghan War: The Soviet Union tried to conquer Afghanistan in an effort to get within striking distance of the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. The United States organized and armed local resistance. In a long guerilla war, the Soviet Union was continually frustrated, and eventually, as its home government was collapsing, withdrew from its effort at dominating Afghanistan.
The Panama Intervention: Manuel Noreiga, a drug-trafficking thug, had gained control of the government of Panama, a traditional client of the United States, and an important one because of the Panama Canal. The US intervened, arrested Noriega (he continues in an American prison after conviction on drug charges) and restored some measure of order and liberty to the Panamanian people.
The Cold War: In a long twilight struggle fought by spies and proxies, the United States and the Soviet Union dueled for global supremacy. The economic dynamism and military prowess of the United States and its western (and eastern) allies prevailed. The Soviet Union collapsed after over-reaching its resources. The threat of Marxist world domination was defeated. The United States was confirmed in its status as the only Superpower.
The Persian Gulf War: Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded and conquered tiny Kuwait, an important oil-producing state and traditional ally of the United States, and threatened Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The United States, the United Kingdom, and other states intervened, and liberated Kuwait from Iraqi control.
The War On Moslem Terror, Phase I: After the September 11th terrorist attack on the United States, the US led a group of allies and local opposition in toppling the pro-al Qaeda Taliban government of Afghanistan. The fighting took less than two months, despite the tiny number of US forces deployed. the leaders of the Taliban are dead or in hiding. The leadership of al Qaeda is on the run.
War does solve something most of the time. In fact, it is often decisive. The instances when it does not "solve something" are generally when the combatants lack the military or economic resources, or the will, to achieve their goals, or when they enter the war without clear goals.
The Crimean War did not gain any decisive result because Britain and France tired of it, and it had no significant cause to begin with (it was fought over control of a monastery in the Holy Land).
The War of 1812 was indecisive (except in that it confirmed that the United States would not conquer Canada) because the US lacked the resources to achieve a decisive result, and Britain lacked the will (and probably the resources) to turn the war into an attempt to reconquer the United States.
Wars fought between African states are often indecisive because they lack the resources to force major concessions from one another, and are generally badly planned and badly executed. The three Balkan Wars fought before World War I had a similar result, although they did force the Ottoman Empire out of European affairs all the more.
The Iran-Iraq war had a non-decisive result because the US aided both sides, and neither had the resources to impose their will on the other. The goal of the US was to see the pro-Soviet Iraq and the Islamic fundamentalist Iran both bled white, and so therefore unable to threaten anybody else. Neither of the two combatants achieved their war aims. But the US got what it wanted out of the war, a respite in the Persian Gulf, a roadblock on Iranian influence in the Moslem world, and Iraq kept too busy to threaten anyone else.
But when advanced powers think through their goals, and engage their full power to good effect, the great issues are indeed solved by blood and iron (and precision-guided munitions).
Diplomacy has a role of course. When there is mutual recognition of legitimacy, as in 19th century Europe, many great questions can be solved by international agreement. When the US and Britain disagree, they can take the matter to arbitration. When Russia and the US fall out now, with a little give and take, they can iron things out. We can do business with each other. But when a state entertains ambitions detrimental to the rest, and dreams of conquest other states are not willing to countenance, war can be, and often is, a decisive tool in solving the problem. It is neither right nor wrong. It just is. It is the nature of power that conflicts unresolvable through political means are usually settled by military means.
The utopian left is wrong yet again.
Ron Ziegler, press secretary to President Nixon died last night of a heart attack at the age of 63. Requiescat in pace.
This is the date on which the Church commemorates the 1858 apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Lourdes.
I had gone down one day with two other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river, but the trees seemed quite still and the noise was evidently not from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads.
At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but for the life of me I couldn't manage it, and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself, and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads clip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished.
I asked my two companions if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course, they wanted to know what I was doing, and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn't know who she was. I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong, and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place....
The third time I went, the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there. She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realize she was not speaking of the Gave, and she indicated a little trickle of water close by. When I got to it I could only find a few drops, mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success, and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water, but only at the fourth attempt was there sufficient for any kind of a drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home.
I went back each day for fifteen days, and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there. I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally, with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven, she told me she was the Immaculate Conception.
During the fifteen days she told me three secrets, but I was not to speak about them to anyone, and so far I have not.
From a letter by Saint Bernadette
Read about Saint Bernadette's Incorruptible status.
Mark Shea offers a prayer for the Church in America that I could not help but quote in full.
Lord *please* send us bishops with spines who will not facilitate evil, not lie, not jibber like bureaucrats, not betray victims into the promiscuous and abusive hands of gay Frs. A through Z. Give us men who are willing to finally act like bishops. Give us bishops who demand their priests live both chaste and orthodox lives and who act to stop it when they do not. Most of all, give us changed hearts--us laity--who created this sewage culture, to say, "Enough" to what *we* wink at, patronize, permit, and fund. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, February 10, 2003
I checked with Amazon.com on a whim, and found that my favorite Masterpiece Theatre series, Churchill: The Wilderness Years is due for release on DVD and VHS in March. How timely this is. This much-neglected series has an excellent cast, including Robert Hardy as Winston, Sian Phillips as Clementine, Nigel Havers as Randolph, Tim Pigott-Smith as Brendan Bracken, and Edward Woodward as Sir Samuel Hoare.
This story of Churchill struggling against the appeasing governments of Stanley Baldwin, Ramsey McDonald, and Neville Chamberlin in the 1930s is so, so much a story for our time. Chirac and Schroeder need to watch a translation. Remember what Winston said about Chamberlin's shameful retreat at Munich: "He had a choice between war and dishonour. He chose dishonour. He will get war later."
Hardy was an excellent Churchill, and also portrayed him in a one-man show.
B.C. plays B.U. for the Beanpot, while Harvard plays Northeastern in the consolation game.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
At least the victim was a woman, so she was in no additional danger from Shanley.
French diplomacy has done it again. Iraq has agreed, under pressure from France, to pass legislation next week that will ban the use of weapons of mass destruction. We can all rest safely in our beds. You see, the use of WMD in Iraq will be illegal. So if Saddam gives botulism agents to al Qaeda to spray over Los Angeles, someone in Iraq will arrest him. What a relief!
But this is not the first great triumph of French diplomacy in the last 100 years. In 1928, France got Germany, Britain, the US, Japan, Italy, Poland Belgium, and Czechoslovakia to agree to ban war as an instrument of national policy. Within 12 years of the signing of Kellogg-Briand, France was overrun by Germany, but no one brought a prosecution against Hitler for violating Kellogg-Briand. Even before that, Czechoslovakia was abandoned to the Nazi jackals, and Poland was conquered. Japan was busily conquering by force of arms parts of Asia even before Germany was gobbling what it could get of Europe. I don't think that, among the many charges at the war-crimes trials that followed World War II, violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact was prominent.
WMD illegal in Iraq! French diplomacy triumphs again. Will Schroeder be next, flying back from Baghdad to wave a piece of paper and claim he has secured "peace in our time?"
The saddest thing is that the grand jury returned no indictments. The conspiracy was extensive, systematic, and apparently pre-planned. Just as it was here in Boston.
''Professional treatment recommendations were ignored and dangerous priests allowed to minister to children. Diocesan policy was to expend as little financial capital as possible to assist victims but to be well prepared for the possibility of enormous financial and legal liability,'' says the 180-page grand jury report released by the county district attorney's office on Monday.
''Although there was a written policy that set a pastoral tone, it was a sham,'' the report says. ''The diocese failed to follow the policy from its inception, even at its most rudimentary level.
''Abusive priests were transferred from parish to parish and between dioceses. Abusive priests were protected under the guise of confidentiality, their histories mired in secrecy,'' the report says.
The grand jury was presented evidence detailing the sodomy of altar boys, abuse of cheerleaders and how other youth were shown sexual videotapes and given alcohol.
The report said that ''aggressive legal strategies'' were used to discourage lawsuits by victims.
''Priests who were civil attorneys portrayed themselves as interested in the concerns of victims and pretended to be acting for their benefit while they only acted to protect the diocese,'' it says. ''These officials boldly bragged about their success and arrogantly outlined in writing mechanisms devised to shield them from discovery.''
The Rev. Michael Hands, who has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a teenage boy in Nassau and Suffolk counties, cooperated with the grand jury in its investigation into priest sex abuse in both counties.
The report describes one case in which a priest found to be in possession of a pornographic video involving a 15-year-old boy was never criminally prosecuted even after admitting to the crime. Another priest who helped file a claim on behalf of a female abuse victim was prevented by church officials from receiving another assignment.
The statute of limitations has run, so they will get away with it.
Tonight, Michael Novak will deliver a lecture in Rome on Just War theory and the coming conflict with Iraq. He is in Rome at the invitation of the State Department. He, George Weigel, and Peggy Noonan should have been appointed special ambassadors to the Vatican for the purpose of convincing Rome of the theological justifications for the war. They might not have succeeded, but it would have been worth the effort.
At FrontPage Magazine, Robert Spencer directly challenges the "Islam means peace" school of thought.
Umar stated that the terrorists of September 11 were martyrs. "Without justice," he explained, "there will be warfare, and it can come to this country, too." Umar claimed that "even Muslims who say they are against terrorism secretly admire and applaud" the September 11 terrorists. That from a Moslem convert who has been active in making converts to Islam in New York's prisons.
In light of the use to which Islam has been put in our nation’s prisons and in all too many mosques here and abroad, it may be suicidal not to pay attention to what the imams are preaching and to ask pointed questions about what they think Islam really involves. For there are many who, like Warith Deen Umar, have no problem with the idea of a "religion of war." To vilify those who point out this fact is simply to play into the terrorists’ hands.
Giving Moslems generally a blanket dispensation from suspicion when the US and the West are under heavy attack by activist Moslems is indeed suicidal. Prudent vigilance must be maintained. We did more than that in World War II with people of Japanese ancestry. And we faced only minor sabotage as a result. We don't need to go that far with Moslems in the US now, but we must pay attention and use domestic intelligence assets to ascertain who here is working on behalf of the enemy.
Frontpage Magazine also carries a piece Ronald Radosh originally penned for the New York Sun in which he compares the "peace movement" to the appeasement coalition of the 1930s.
Among today's syndicated columns available at Townhall.com, Debra Sanders tells us of a sure sign that a bureaucracy has gone round the bend. The European Commission is requiring pig farmers to provide toys for the pigs to use in their pens, so that they don't become bored. Big fine and possible jail time if you don't comply. Yep, they have outlived their usefulness.
WFB has developed a very positive view of President Bush's ability to galvanize the nation to act. Indeed, he communicates without the eloquence, historical context, and great vision of Ronald Reagan, but to immediate practical effect. People understand that he is sincere, and know that he is doing what he sees as his duty. Even if they disagree with his view of what is necessary, some of his more intellectually honest critics have developed a measure of respect for his rapport with the American people. George Bush's worst failure is occasional long silences, not keeping the nation focused on the task ahead, but letting public attention drift for months at a time. People don't often see the linkage between what we are doing now with Iraq (and what we will do next) and September 11th. But Bush successfully mobilizes public opinion for short bursts of action. How he will do that for North Korea and Iran (and Libya, etc.) remains to be seen.
Over at the op-ed page of the Washington Times, Arnold Beichman reports on the Reign of Terror now going on in Iran.
"It's necessary to bring him down, one way or the other," he said. "Someone asked me, 'Can we forgive him?' and I said, 'Forgiveness is up to God. I just hope we hurry up the meeting.' That's the way I feel about him, really."
The reason is not so much the accuteness of the situation, but the slender size of the military and the heavy reliance placed on reservists today. This would not be good time for a major confrontation with North Korea, China, Cuba, or anyplace else. What an odd war it is when the military is being cut back in size while the war is going on! Especially when we can easily support a Reagan-sized military establishment (which would give us the margin to respond to another crisis simultaneously). That is why we must play the appeasement game with North Korea.
Those clamouring for us to deal with North Korea now are wrong. What can we do with North Korea without starting a major war, possibly involving China? According to the North Koreans, even sanctioning them means war. Let's see what tune they are singing after their Iraqi allies are no more.
Saddam's Iraq is isolated, vulnerable, and evil. Take out the easier target first (like taking out Italy before taking out Germany in World War II). Remember, this is just phase two of a larger war designed to wipe out Moslem terrorism and those who support it.
Then, once Iraq is dealt with, think about Iran and North Korea. Iran is so unstable, it could collapse on its own, especially with new pro-American governments in place in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq. At least it is worth trying.
North Korea will be a tougher nut to crack. Let's take our time in dealing with the certifiable lunatic in Pyongyang. If the Iraq campaign goes as planned, there will be plenty of time to deal with North Korea.
Based on what I heard on the Sixty Minutes Radio edition last night, the South Koreans deserve a decade or two under the North Korean Kook-ocracy. Some of the South Korean SOBs quoted on the show last night could use the dose of reality provided by a spell in Pyongyang's gulag. But the day I take my policy from the editorial slant of Sixty Minutes will be a bad day indeed. There are solid reasons to save South Korea that have nothing to do with the attitudes of the South Koreans (which is why we should also maintain troops in Germany indefinately). We have to preserve South Korea in spite of itself.
Memo to Wick Allison, et al.: OK, Grahmann is a liar. He is also a terrible bishop. He reneged on the deal. That means that the deal is no longer operative. Stop donating to the diocese, and recruit other influential donors to do the same. Once the money is gone, Grahmann will have no other choice but to let his co-adjutor take over, for the good of the diocese. There are few bishops bad enough to justify this treatment on more than a temporary basis. Cardinal Law was one. Weakland was another. McCormack is another. Grahmann appears to be a fourth. Banks, Daily, and Cardinal Mahony complete the roster. We know how to be rid of terrible bishops now.
But laity should use the power of the purse cautiously, and temper it by donating to other church entities. We have an obligation to support the Church, but not to throw good money into bad hands. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Carmelites, the local parish, Catholic hospitals, the Little Brothers of the Poor, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, or a neighboring diocese where the problems are not so accute could all use the money. Think about channeling your donations there until Grahmann is gone. If you do that, the day will come sooner rather than later.
Sunday, February 09, 2003
Three years ago, Francis Bok testified before Congress on his early life as a slave. I blogged about him when he spoke at my alma mater about a week ago. He is, by the way, Catholic.
I reproduce here his written submission for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, dated September 28, 2000. This testimony is deeply moving. And the story he tells is appalling.
My name is Francis Bok. I have been living in this great country for only one year now, so I apologize for my English.
But I am proud to speak here today, because I speak for my people. My people are being killed, and my people are being made slaves. Many, many boys and girls – the same age as the boys and girls here today – they are slaves. These children could not be here, even if you invited them.
I was born in Southern Sudan, near Nyamllel. When I was seven, my mother sent me to the market to sell eggs and beans. I never saw my mother again.
At the market, militia soldiers attacked. Hundreds of Arabs on horses came into the market shouting. They shot people in the head. They cut off heads with swords. The streets were a river of blood.
They took me and many children as slaves. They put me in a big basket, tied to a donkey – and they took us north.
One girl had seen her parents killed, and she would not stop crying. So they shot her in the head. Her younger sister started crying. So they cut off her foot. I was quiet.
In the north, I was given as a slave to Giema Abdullah. He took me to his family, and they beat me with sticks. All of them – the women and children, too. They laughed and called me "Abeed, abeed" – "black slave."
For ten years, they beat me every morning. They made me sleep with the animals, and they gave me very bad food. They said I was an animal. For ten years, I had no one to laugh with. For ten years, nobody loved me. But every day I prayed to God.
One day, I asked my master a question: "Why do you call me ‘abeed’? And why do you feed me bad food all the time and make me sleep with the animals? Is it because I am black?" My master was very angry. "Where did you learn to ask this question?" he said. "Never ask me this again." And he beat me and beat me.
When I was 17, I decided to escape. I would rather die than be a slave.
I ran away, and I came to the police station. "Please help me," I told the police. But they kept me as their slave and made me do work for them all day. After two months, I ran away. An Arab truck driver helped me escape. He hid me in his lorry, and helped me get to Khartoum, the capital.
When I got to Khartoum, I didn’t know anybody, but some of my people, the Dinka, who were living there took me in. I told them my story. They could not believe I escaped, but they were very happy for me.
Then, four days later, the secret police came to my room. They said: "Are you telling people you are a slave who escaped?" I said no, because I was scared. But they took me and they put me in jail. There was no light. I was just 18. I had no trial, and no lawyer. What was my crime? I was an escaped slave. And the government of Sudan did not want me to tell my story.
After five months, the Sudanese police let me out and I escaped to Egypt. In Cairo, I went to the United Nations Refugee Office, and in August of 1999 I flew to the United States.
I was living in Iowa when the American Anti-Slavery Group found me. Today I am working in Boston with the American Anti-Slavery Group, and I am going to school for the first time.
I am a lucky man. I am free. But my people are dying. And around the world, there are 27 million slaves, who cannot speak. Today, I must speak for them.
Senators, we have a big question: "Why is President Clinton silent about slavery in Sudan? And why is the world silent?" This is a country that freed its slaves. But my people are still slaves. Will the United States come and free us?
When I was living as a slave to Giema Abdullah, I would lie awake at night. I could not sleep. I would think: "How am I going to be free? Is someone going to come and free me?"
Today in Sudan and around the world, there are children who cannot sleep at night. They lie on the ground and they wait for strong people to come and free them. Senators, you are strong people. You have a big voice and strong arms. You can free the slaves.
Senators, I am here alone. I have no family here. But – you – the people of the United States – you are now my family. And I know you will free your brothers and sisters.
For all the people who are still slaves in Sudan, I say to you: thank you very much.
Where is a modern-day Saint John of Matha to redeem these Christian captives?
So says Matt Drudge. Isn't it about time for Schwarzenegger, Eastwood, Willis, Norris, Stallone, Heston, Sajak, et al. to come forward on the pro-US policy side? They have been mighty quiet on this topic. What would John Wayne think of them for that? Or Jimmy Stewart? Or Ronald Reagan?
From the Associated Press
In 1933, the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University endorsed, 275-153, a motion stating "that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country," a stand widely denounced by Britons.
In 1983, in a dramatic reversal from 50 years earlier, the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University rejected, 416-187, a motion "that this House would not fight for Queen and Country."
Basically, it shapes up like this, Marines and Third Division attacking from the coast and from Kuwait, while the Fourth Division attacks from Turkey (getting the troops positioned in Turkey is causing delays). Airborne and Special Forces stand ready to strike as needed. At least that is what the Pentagon wants everyone to think.
Saddam's loyalists are expected to retreat to urban areas, and mingle with the civilian population. Based on their preparations, and the limited capacity their forces have to stand up to ours in the field, that is probably correct. But urban areas can be sealed off while armoured spearheads push on to major objectives.
An interesting change is that the operational tempo is to be substantially increased from 1991. The air phase, which took more than 40 days in 1991, will be of 48 hours duration or less, with huge numbers of precision-guided munitions hitting Iraqi military, command, and control centers in the first few minutes. We are expected to hit Saddam's forces in the first two days with ten times the number of munitions we hit them with in the first two days in 1991. The need to replenish stocks of these weapons is also a major factor in delaying the start of the war.
Of course, strategic deception is an important part of any military operation. It would be foolish to hit Saddam just where he is expecting it and when he is expecting it. Don't be surprised if major elements of the ground attack take place without any substantial air phase. Don't be surprised if we don't wait until all forces are in position, and if we strike from Turkey with nothing but air power. The stories we are seeing in the press about deploying the Fourth Division to Turkey to attack from the north may be a ruse. The Turkish deployment story may be a "matador's cloak" to draw Saddam's attention to the north, as the Marine amphibious forces cruising off the coast of Kuwait in 1991 were. Do I have to remind you about Patton's "Army Group" that was elaborately set up in Britain in 1944 to make Hitler think that the D-Day invasion would come near Calais, not in Normandy? It worked very well. Even Rommel was fooled into thinking that the major threat was in the Calais sector (and he deployed his forces accordingly).
And I am not telling Iraqi intelligence anything they don't already know. It is rather a pleasure to contribute to the confusion of the Iraqi defenders. The more speculation in the American media, the better. The Iraqis won't know what to believe. It creates a "fog of war" that will be very difficult for Iraq to penetrate.
Although some of us would like to follow developments on a map, it is absolutely correct to mislead the enemy (even if that misleads the American civilian population as well) as to intentions. If the enemy is thoroughly confused, and is keeping forces deployed in the wrong place to face a threat that will not materialize, so much the better. The victory will be that much easier, and will be accomplished with fewer losses.
Confusion to the Iraqis!
The French Senate has voted to ban all human cloning, and to criminalize cloning for reproductive purposes.