Tag Archives: war

Memorial Day Remembrance

In a recent Forbes article, Marianne Bickle reminds us of the true meaning of Memorial Day. She wrote,

Memorial Day started as a holiday to remember the fallen during the Civil War. It was enacted as an honorable day of remembrance; time Civil War was the bloodiest and most deadly war experienced on our soil. Our new and fragile country was at war with itself.

Actually, America was not new. A little under 100 years old America was more like a squabbling child among the nations. Other nations probably saw Americans as a bunch of warring siblings in need of providential correction.

Americans are still divided and warring against itself. On one side are those who for the most part seek to live by the rules and on the other side are those who make up their own rule as the game of life is played out. Yes, those brats seem to be winning. The hand of Providence, however, always gets around to spankling the little darlings. (Oops! I didn’t mean that Providence actually stoops to violent acts like spanking; what I meant to say was meaningful discipline. Surely, God does spare the rod always preferring to lovingly negotiate.)

Anyway, Bickle continued by reminding us that Memorial about honoring the fallen soldiers of all wars including the cultural war, the continuing struggle for human rights, and the daily sacrifice of those who protect society.

Expanding the definition of Memorial Day, think about the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were considered traitors by some. Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman put their lives on the line to make advancements for human rights. Everyday fire fighters, police and military protect our country’s freedom and the safety of its citizens, never knowing if danger is a moment away.

There are many unsung heros whose fight for our moral freedoms and security go unnoticed. Many of them faithful serve the needy society, teach us the way of right living, counsel peace, facilitate honest prosperity, advocate true justice, stand against corruption, deception and oppression. These often nameless people have or do suffered loss, slander and persecution for their service. For example, leaders who oppose gay marriage, abortion, or the advancement of Islamic law. Some have been killed for their service. Church workers killed by drug lords in the Bronx for helping children and others overcome the problems of poverity, fear, and addictions. The sacrifice and service of these Americans deserve our remembrance as well.

Source: “The Meaning of Memorial Day,” Forbes, May 21, 2012.

Mayhem in the Making: A Political Circus, An Out-of-Control Government Bureaucracy, and a Distracted Populace

By John W. Whitehead

With less than eight months to go before the next presidential election, political chatter among the candidates is ramping up and serious political discourse is declining. All the while, the corrupt government machine is taking advantage of a populace distracted by the political theater to advance agendas that are completely at odds with the nation’s fiscal, legislative and constitutional priorities. Indeed, the process of voting and electing a new president has become little more than an expensive, sophisticated ruse designed to deceive us into thinking we actually have a say in what happens in our government. However, the sad fact is that the United States government has ballooned into an overreaching, out-of-control bureaucracy accountable to no one in particular—not Congress or the president and least of all the taxpayers.

Thus, while the candidates mug for the cameras, American taxpayers are being taken to the cleaners—a different kind of mugging, altogether—by government officials eager to placate their corporate benefactors. While the surveillance state is slowly being erected around us, our civil liberties are systemically being dismantled. While our government wages war after endless war abroad, the war on the American people—fought with sound cannons, tasers and drones—is entering its early stages. And while the partisan rancor over who will occupy the White House becomes more toxic with each passing day, the elephant in the room—what no one is talking about—is the fact that it doesn’t really matter who gets elected, because no matter how often we change out the resident of the Oval Office, the immense, intractable, implacable, bureaucratic colossus that is our federal government remains entrenched.

For a start, consider national defense spending, which enriches the military-industrial complex to the tune of $740 billion and routinely falls prey to corruption and mismanagement. Who could forget the ten C-17 cargo planes purchased by Congress at the urging of the defense industry for a whopping $2.4 billion, despite the fact that the Pentagon insisted it didn’t need them? Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

Then there’s the $4 trillion War on Terror, which has seen at least $31 billion (and as much as $60 billion or more) lost to waste and fraud by military contractors and other government officials. A classic example of this was the $300 million diesel power plant that was built in Afghanistan despite the fact that it wouldn’t be used regularly “because its fuel cost more than the Afghan government could afford to run it regularly.” Or the $4 million paid to Afghan contractors for paving a 17.5-mile road in Ghazni province, which only resulted in 2/3 of a mile of road being paved.

Our expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe. A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending.

Pork barrel spending (the earmarking of outrageous sums of money in federal contracting in return for personal gain and campaign contributions) borders on the ludicrous. In 2010, for instance, the federal government gave the University of California at Santa Cruz $615,000 to digitize Grateful Dead memorabilia. Then there was the $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film. Most recently, an $11 million federal grant intended to help 400 low-income people in the Detroit area secure employment only ended up helping two people.

Government contracts for building privatized prison complexes have also become a lucrative business in recent years—what one journalist referred to as “caging humans for profit.” Immigrant detention centers are especially viewed as future goldmines for savvy investors. For example, GEO Group Inc. was paid $32 million to build a detention center for low-risk inmates in Karnes City, Texas. The prison boasts a salad bar, a library with Internet access, cable TV, an indoor gym with basketball courts, and soccer fields. GEO Group will also rake in roughly $15 million a year for running the prison. The detainees being held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay just received a $750,000 soccer field to relieve their boredom, thanks to American taxpayers.

And then there’s the generally indulgent and overall excessive spending that goes along with a government lacking in oversight or accountability. A case in point, at the end of the Bush administration, government officials were still getting official portraits painted for upwards of $30,000. Donald Rumsfeld even got two separate portraits for his two stints as Secretary of Defense. State dinners at the White House, as lavish as they come, are estimated to run as high as half a million dollars per event. The invitations for these dinners are engraved, gold-embossed and hand-addressed by calligraphers. Wine served at these dinners has been estimated to cost taxpayers between $115-$399 per bottle. Not surprisingly, the White House refuses to disclose the price tag for these extravagant affairs.

This brings me back to the topic at hand—namely, that nothing taking place on Election Day or in the days leading up to it will limit or restrain this out-of-control bureaucracy or alleviate the suffering of the American people. What we are being treated to right now is a stage show, full of sound and fury, but in the end it is nothing more than well-choreographed entertainment for a populace struggling to survive.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Information about the Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

Ron Paul, Biblical Values and American Values, Parts 1 & 2

Once part 1 is finished, nine embedded screens will appear. Click on the top left screen to start part 2.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qKQ1xXobJc&w=560&h=420]

Ron Paul, Biblical Values and American Values, Parts 1 & 2

Once part 1 is finished, nine embedded screens will appear. Click on the top left screen to start part 2.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qKQ1xXobJc&w=560&h=420]

Bin Laden, Gaddafi and Modern Warfare: On the Highway of Death

By John W. Whitehead

“Now thou art come unto a feast of death.”—Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI 4.5.7

War is not about territories. War is not about oil. War is not even about winners and losers. In the end, all that can really be said is that war is about killing. It is about the taking of human life.

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main,” wrote John Donne. “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind…” If this is so, then we belong to a race of human beings that has been greatly diminished over time. In fact, one “atrocitologist” estimates that roughly 174 million people died in the 20th century alone due to acts of war, genocide and tyranny.

War is also about the loss of humanity—a loss that has become an inherent part of modern-day warfare. And with every new death, civilian or otherwise, we lose yet another piece of our humanity and regress toward our primitive, animal instincts. This is what we must grapple with in the wake of the reported assassination of Osama bin Laden and the NATO airstrike said to have claimed the lives of leader Muammar Gaddafi’s 29-year-old son and three young grandchildren. Whether or not it was actually bin Laden or Gaddafi’s relatives who were killed, as some have questioned, is not the issue. As CIA Director Leon Panetta remarked, “Bin Laden is dead. Al-Qaida is not.”
In other words, while Americans may be celebrating the death of “the most infamous terrorist of our time,” seeing it as a fitting act of retribution for the innocent lives lost on 9/11, the war effort is far from over. Indeed, America’s military response to 9/11 has spawned such blowback in the Middle East that we now find ourselves in a permanent state of war.

As a result, the war machine will continue unimpeded and the civilian death toll will rise higher with every passing day. All the while, most Americans, comforted by expressions of patriotism and pride in their military, distracted by mindless entertainment, technological gadgets and materialistic pursuits, and relatively insulated from the devastation being wrought overseas, seem to be unconcerned about the escalating costs of war—in dollars and lives. Even as these endless wars drag America to the brink of bankruptcy, both financially and morally, most Americans continue to live in a state of denial about the part we have played—are playing—in this bloody tragedy.
Modern technology totally dehumanizes warfare and, in the process, totally dehumanizes us as human beings. While it allows us to wage battles from afar, modern technological warfare also reduces the act of killing human beings to nothing more than targeting blips on a screen—a macabre video game with faceless victims and no danger of someone shooting back. And when an American drone annihilates innocent civilians in some far-away land, this is simply written off as yet another technological blip.

I was an infantry officer in the Army from 1969 to 1971. Men in my platoon who had served time in Vietnam told me many stories—but none more chilling than the one from two helicopter pilots. They told me how they would shoot the “friendlies” on their way back from reconnaissance missions just so they could empty their ammunition before returning to base. The “friendlies” were South Vietnamese women and children, helpless victims in a war they did not understand. But to the American pilots, they were simply dots on the ground.

This is what warfare does to so-called civilized people. The U.S.-led Gulf War saw its share of carnage, as did the so-called war on terror that arose following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And once again, there were reports of the indiscriminate killing of civilians by American forces where entire villages were wiped out and women and children lay dead on the cold earth of Afghanistan. Then the American military industrial complex trained its sights on Iraq, once again unleashing its awesome war machine. And the carnage continued, made even worse by horrifying reports of Iraqi prisoners being tortured, raped and subjected to all manner of other abuses at the hands of U.S. soldiers.
Yet despite the rising death toll among the military and civilians, despite the cost to the economy (the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone have already cost more than $1 trillion), despite the fact that the American military, acting as an international police force, is spread dangerously thin, despite the fact that Congress has yet to actually declare war against most of the countries in which America is making war (thus undermining the one thing that stands between us and tyranny—our Constitution), the American government continues to bang the war drums. And when all is said and done, after all the blather about national security and fighting terrorism and defending freedom abroad have died down, if these endless wars amount to anything at all, it is nothing less than the utter destruction of every decent and noble ideal for which America is supposed to stand.

The fact that modern technological warfare is turning human beings into non-feeling killing machines should cause us to tremble. It should give us reason to pause and question how we could let ourselves travel so far down the road to perdition. We have placed others on the highway of death. In the end, however, it is we who are traveling the highway of death. May God help us all.

9/11, Meaning of Its Message

Some claim 9/11 has been politicized by the controversies about Pastor Terry Jones’s radical attention getting “Burn a Koran Day” and the Ground Zero mosque plans. Yet, 9/11 would be meaningless without being political. The message of those Middle East Jihadists endures through the images, protests, and commemorations of 9/11.

Yes, America honors their heroes who sacrificed their lives to save others. We remember the innocent victims who died at Ground Zero. It is part of the message produced by those Islamic radicals who attacked America.

Since that terrible day, September 11, 2001, American officials have obscured that message. At first, those so-called terrorists were accused to attempting to destroy our way of life. They presumably hated the freedoms of our open society. We also were told that those terrorists attempted to destroy important American landmarks. Apparently, public officials wanted to deflect our attention from the fact that those landmarks were all political institutions with global influence on Middle East governance and culture. Housed in the Twin Towers was government or quasi-governmental and international economic organizations. Surely, the Pentagon is more than an historical landmark. Yet, Al-Qaeda’s stated goal was to severely impede the U.S. government’s controlling influence in the Middle East. They came close to succeeding.

Consequently, Congress declared war on all terrorism. Being fair-minded egalitarians, most abhored the idea of only fighting against Islamic terrorists. That would be profiling. Therefore, all potential terrorists or radicals must be opposed even right wing Christian groups.

Whether America’s war on terror actually is comparable to the cold war with Russia, or the war on drugs, poverty, obesity, middle class lack, or the like is still uncertain. What is certain, like the cold war, America’s war on terror will be waged until politicians and bureaucrats discover Islamic radicalism can no longer justify their policy agendas like the New World Order many hoped Obama could achieve.

Many Americans have missed another very important part of the message sent by those Muslims who piloted their hijacked Boeing 747s into Twin Towers and the Pentagon. We have been told by politicians, government officials, Muslim leaders, other religious leaders, and the media that Islam is a religion of peace. Those radical terrorists do not represent true Islam, and many Americans believe them except those who have studied the Islam.

In the excellent article titled What is radical Islam?, the author, who has studied Islam for 8 years, persuasively argues that “radical Islam” does not exist. The words and acts of so-called terrorists, like members of Al Qaeda, demonstrate their strict adherence to the Quran, Hadith, and Shariah. Islamic moderates are those who are not faithful to Islam. It is no different from saying liberal Christians who defy certain parts of the Bible and doctrines are moderates while those who are truly faithful are radical fundamentalists.

As pointed out by the author of What is radical Islam, there is no such thing as moderate Islam and radical Islam.

“[T]he problem is that Islam is radical. It is not that there is a separate religion called ‘radical Islam’, but that the religion of Islam has many components that are considered radical/unacceptable/violent by modern societies…. To make Islam moderate, we would have to expurgate many verses (and entire chapters, such as that on raping female captives without impregnating them, so that their slave price does not fall) from the Kuran and Hadith.”

The author also wrote that those who claim radicals like Bin Laden are hijacking Islam are obscuring the facts. They are in fact seeking to hide from the scrutiny of Americans and others in western cultures.

“Every single action [Bin Laden] has done is justified by the Kuran and Hadith, and he has taken great pains to provide the verses that justify his actions. Not only that, for centuries, people like that were hailed as Ghazis (holy warriors) within Islam. It is not for nothing that in the muslim world, a majority of people hail him as a hero. It is only when you are trying to hide from the scrutiny of the west that you say he has “hijacked Islam.” He is merely a person who follows Islam to the word. He is, in many ways, a true muslim. In numerous Hadith, Muhammed says that the best muslim is not one who fasts and prays, but who gets on his horse and fights against infidels (especially polytheists) for the spread of Islam. That is what Bin Laden is doing. What about the innocent women and children he kills? Guess what – the Hadith emphatically state that it is perfectly alright to kill the women and children of polytheists. Nothing Bin Laden does is outside the Kuran and Hadith. He is not a “radical” muslim, he is merely a practising muslim!”

The meaning of 9/11 is that Islam’s true believers will fight the perceived oppression and corruption of the American empire and its leaders. Of course, it is the influence of secularism assisted by American business on their cultures; our government’s hindrance to their eliminating Israeli governance in Palestine; and America’s not-so-righteous military launching attacks on fellow Muslim countries from their homelands that forms their perceptions. That is why they attacked our national landmarks. That is why some respond to our political and military victories by retorting, “Kill Americans (read, infidels) anywhere you find them.”

The message that Islam is a religion of peace reveals a serious internal conflict within both America and Islam. It is a pervasive type cognitive dissonance about truth and its public expression. The culture war between conservatives and progressives, moderates and fundamentalists, religious fanatics and secularists is one by-product and the so-called war against terrorism is another.

Although denied by secularists, America was founded by Christians whose religious text does not justify violence and injustice. Judaism influenced the formation of America ideas as well. Although some Torah laws and punishments seem abusive to moderns, only in the Promised Land–Israel–is violence permitted in the due process of upholding law. Because the vision of Islam encompasses the conversion of the world, its justifications of violence and abuse make it dangerous. Nevertheless, as long as criminal laws exist and are strictly enforced, Americans can expect moderation from adherents of American Islam and all others.

But, watch out for those who would make American law conform to Islam’s Sharia.

A postscript to “9/11, Meaning of Its Message”

In the above post, I wrote the following:

America was founded by Christians whose religious text does not justify violence and injustice. Judaism influenced the formation of America’s ideals as well. Although some Torah laws and punishments seem abusive to moderns, only in the Promised Land–Israel–is violence permitted in the due process of upholding law. Because the vision of Islam encompasses the conversion of the world, its justifications of violence and abuse make it dangerous. Nevertheless, as long as criminal laws exist and are strictly enforced, Americans can expect moderation from adherents of American Islam and all others.

It should have been noted that even though the New Testament does not justify violence and injustice the Christianity has condoned similar atrocities as Muslim have been accused. The Church inherited the Roman Empire from the successors of Constatine, who made Christianity the religion of the empire. It would not be difficult to find in Canon law abhorent commands similar to those found in the sacred texts of Islam. The same can be said of the oral Torah if the Talmud is regarded as its recorded form. Many do. Yet, researchers have found some pretty terrible laws or interpretations of laws in that oral law.

All of which should remind Americans of the founders’ wisdom of found in the principles and text of their legal documents like the Declaration of Independence. Their history as citizens under the rule of the British Empire made them conclude that the separation of institutional powers of church and its governance and of civil governance was the only way for liberty and faith to prosper. They were of the view that all institutional authority tends to moral corruption and depotism. The religious Romans proved it. The Israelite kings proved it. The Catholic Church proved it. The British monarchs and Parliment proved it. The Anglican Church proved it. Islam has also proved it.

I recently read an article by a “liberal” Saudi Arabian author. He came to the conclusion that the problem with religion is that all believers regard their religion as superior to all others. Becauser of this, all conflicts are the result of this sense of superiority. His remedy is the elimination of all religion. However, some scholars writing about the history of the Separation of Church and State have shown that secularists are as religious as others regarding their secular beliefs. Moreover, the socialist version of secularism is just as dangerous as religious fundamentalism. Its destructiveness was proved by the millions of citizens killed by the USSR, China, Cuba, and other secular governments. The millions of aborted children proves secular America is not really different. The only difference is that America’s violence is justified as a private property right for convenience sake. Violence perpetrated by the above was to silence critical political dissent and disobedience.

The problem will never resolve until humanity’s behavior conforms the one who created them in His image. Tolerance will cease to exist from our vocabulary because the law of justice, morality, peace, and love will have become the unshakeable lifestyle of all. Only God could possibly accomplish such a miracle. Because the human condiition is one of self interest seeking, the end of human peace efforts always ends up resembling the peace won by the Caesars. That is what the end time scenarios of prophecy techers seem to be about. That is the expressed experience of Israelis under Oslo. I don’t know, but maybe Iraqis and Afghanistanis regard American peace the same way.

Nevertheless, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who keep trying.” (Mt. 5:3-20)

The Two Faces of the Ground Zero Mosque

by Raymond Ibrahim, Associate Director of the Middle East Forum

Depending on whether Islamists address Americans or fellow Muslims, the same exact words they use often relay diametrically opposed meanings. One example: when Americans hear Muslims evoke “justice,” the former envision Western-style justice, whereas Muslims naturally have Sharia law justice in mind.

Islamists obviously use this to their advantage: when addressing the West, Osama bin Laden bemoans the “justice of our causes, particularly Palestine”; yet, when addressing Muslims, his notion of justice far transcends territorial disputes and becomes unintelligible from a Western perspective: “Battle, animosity, and hatred—directed from the Muslim to the infidel—is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them. The West perceives fighting, enmity, and hatred all for the sake of the religion [i.e., Islam] as unjust, hostile, and evil. But who’s understanding is right—our notions of justice and righteousness, or theirs?” (Al Qaeda Reader, p. 43).

Of course, that Osama bin Laden—slayer of 3,000 Americans and avowed enemy to the rest—exhibits two faces, one to Americans another to Muslims, is not surprising. Yet the reader may well be surprised to discover that the controversial Cordoba Initiative, which plans on manifesting itself as the largest American mosque, situated atop Ground Zero—that is, atop the carnage caused by none other than bin Laden—also has two faces, conveying one thing to Americans, quite another to Muslims.

The very name of the initiative itself, “Cordoba,” offers different connotations to different people: In the West, the Andalusian city of Cordoba is regularly touted as the model of medieval Muslim progressiveness and tolerance for Christians and Jews. To many Americans, then, the choice to name the mosque “Cordoba” is suggestive of rapprochement and interfaith dialogue; atop the rubble of 9/11, it implies “healing”—a new beginning between Muslims and Americans. The Cordoba Initiative’s mission statement certainly suggests as much:

Cordoba Initiative aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, bringing back the atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect that we have longed for since Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony and prosperity eight hundred years ago.

Oddly enough, the so-called “tolerant” era of Cordoba supposedly occurred during the caliphate of ‘Abd al-Rahman III (912-961)—well over a thousand years ago. “Eight hundred years ago,” i.e., around 1200, the fanatical Almohids—ideological predecessors of al-Qaeda—were ravaging Cordoba, where “Christians and Jews were given the choice of conversion, exile, or death.” A Freudian slip on the part of the Cordoba Initiative?

At any rate, the true history of Cordoba, not to mention the whole of Andalusia, is far less inspiring than what Western academics portray: the Christian city was conquered by Muslims around 711, its inhabitants slaughtered or enslaved. The original mosque of Cordoba—the namesake of the Ground Zero mosque—was built atop, and partly from the materials of, a Christian church. Modern day Muslims are well aware of all this. Such is the true—and ominous—legacy of Cordoba.

More pointedly, throughout Islam’s history, whenever a region was conquered, one of the first signs of consolidation was/is the erection of a mosque atop the sacred sites of the vanquished: the pagan Ka’ba temple in Arabia was converted into Islam’s holiest site, the mosque of Mecca; the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, was built atop Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem; the Umayyad mosque was built atop the Church of St. John the Baptist; and the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque upon the conquest of Constantinople.

(Speaking of, in 2006, when the Pope visited the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, there was a risk that the “Islamic world [would go] into paroxysms of fury” if there was “any perception that the pope is trying to re-appropriate a Christian center that fell to Muslims,” for example, if he had dared pray there—this even as Muslims today seek to build a mosque on the rubble of the Twin Towers.)

Such double-standards lead us back to the issue of double-meanings: As for the literal wording of the mosque project, “Cordoba House,” it too offers opposing paradigms of thought: to Westerners, the English word “house” suggests shelter, intimacy—coziness, even; in classical Arabic, however, the word for house, dar, can also mean “region,” and is regularly used in a divisive sense, as in Dar al-Harb, i.e., “infidel region of war.” Thus, to Muslim ears, while “Cordoba” offers allusions of conquest and domination, dar is further suggestive of division and separation (from infidels, a la the doctrine of al-Wala’ wa al-Bara’, for instance).

Words aside, even the mosque’s scheduled opening date—9/11/2011—has two aspects: to Americans, opening the mosque on 9/11 is to proclaim a new beginning with the Muslim world on the ten-year anniversary of the worst terror strikes on American soil; however, it just so happens that Koranic verse 9:111 is one of the loftiest calls for suicidal jihad—believers are exhorted to “kill and be killed”—and is probably the reason al-Qaeda originally chose that date to strike. So while Americans may think the mosque’s planned 9/11 opening is meant to commemorate that date, cryptically speaking, it is an evocation for all out war. A “new beginning,” indeed, but of a very different sort, namely, the propagation of more Islamists and jihadists—mosques are, after all, epicenters of radicalization—on, of all places, soil sacred to America.

Some final thoughts on the history of Cordoba and the ominous parallels it bodes for America: though many Christian regions were conquered by Islam prior to Cordoba, its conquest signified the first time a truly “Western” region was conquered by the sword of Islam. It was also used as a base to launch further attacks into the heart of Europe (until decisively beaten at the Battle of Tours), just as, perhaps, the largest mosque in America will be used as a base to subvert the rest of the United States. And, the sacking of the original Cordoba was facilitated by an insider traitor—a warning to the U.S., which seems to have no end of traitors and willing lackeys.

Such, then, is the dual significance of the Cordoba Initiative: What appears to many Americans as a gesture of peace and interfaith dialogue, is to Muslims allusive of Islamist conquest and consolidation; mosques, which Americans assume are Muslim counterparts to Christian churches—that is, places where altruistic Muslims congregate and pray for world peace and harmony—are symbols of domination and centers of radicalization; the numbers of the opening date, 9/11/11, appear to Americans as commemorative of a new beginning, whereas the Koranic significance of those numbers is suicidal jihad. Of course, the two faces of the Cordoba House should not be surprising considering that the man behind the initiative, Feisal Abdul Rauf, also has two faces.

Going along with the historic analogy, there is one bit of good news: As opposed to the vast majority of onetime Western/Christian nations annexed by Islam, Cordoba, Spain did ultimately manage to overthrow the Islamic yoke. Though only after some 700 years of occupation.

Source: Pajamas Media, June 22, 2010.

Wonder of Christmas Transcends War and Worry

By Gary Palmer

Christmas holds different meanings for different people. For most of us, when you get past the stress of shopping and decorating, there is a sense of peace and joy and just plain childlike wonder at Christmas that transcends everything else. And nothing elicits those feelings quite so well as hearing Christmas hymns.

In fact, at least for a short while, a Christmas hymn stopped a war 95 years ago and restored a sense of humanity and common decency to the combatants on both sides. Known as the Christmas Truce of 1914, on Christmas Eve the stillness of a cold moonlit night was broken by the voices of German soldiers singing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” from their trenches.

Across No Man’s Land, the British rewarded their German enemies’ rendition of “Silent Night” with enthusiastic applause and cheers, which the German carolers acknowledged with equally enthusiastic bows. The British then reciprocated by singing their own hymns.

Graham Williams of the London Rifle Brigade recalled, “They finished their carol and we thought that we ought to retaliate in some way, so we sang ‘The First Noel,’ and when we finished that they all began clapping; and they struck up another favorite of theirs, ‘O Tannenbaum’. And so it went on. First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words ‘Adeste Fideles’. And I thought, well, this was really a most extraordinary thing – two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

At one point in the line, a German soldier played Handel’s “Largo” on a violin. The simple words and music of Christmas hymns, although sung in foreign tongues, transformed enemies into brothers. British soldiers realized that the men across the battlefield were not the barbaric Huns depicted in British newspapers. The hymns had the same effect on the Germans. One German soldier reported hearing “… a Frenchman singing a Christmas carol with a marvelous tenor voice. Everyone lay still in the quiet of the night …. We all kept our guard, only our thoughts flew home to our wives and children.”

Along parts of the line, British soldiers snapped to alert thinking an attack was imminent when they saw unusual lights beginning to appear at portions of the German lines. To their delight, the Germans were placing Christmas trees adorned with candles on their parapets. “English soldiers, English soldiers,” shouted the German troops, “Happy Christmas! Where are your Christmas trees?” Amazingly, German soldiers left their trenches and approached the British trenches bearing gifts which the British heartily accepted, offering gifts of their own in exchange.

The unofficial truce also gave the combatants an opportunity to bury the bodies of dead comrades who lay in the mud of No Man’s Land. At one funeral, soldiers from both sides gathered to honor the fallen by reading the 23rd Psalm, once in English and once in German, followed by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Those soldiers realized that none of them had any real enmity toward one another. In fact, some exchanged names and addresses and became life-long friends after the war. They were fighting each other because their government authorities ordered it so and they had to obey. As they laid their comrades to rest, heads bared in tribute, soldiers from both sides confessed to each other that they had no desire to fire another shot.

On Christmas morning, worship services were held above both lines of trenches. British and German chaplains intermingled to lead mixed congregations in prayer and the singing of hymns. Robert de Wilde, a Belgian artillery captain, joined an improvised mass held in a barn. “The soldiers were singing,” he remembered. “They were singing: ‘Minuit Chretiens’, ‘Adeste Fideles’, ‘Les anges de nos campagnes’, all the songs we used to sing when we were little.”

Just like the Christmas hymns the soldiers sang to each other, the songs we hear in our churches, our homes and on the radio should remind us of what Christmas is really about. It is about celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace, the coming of the One who can transcend the madness and mayhem of war as well as the fear and worry over a bad economy.

It is not the power of Christmas hymns that does this, it is the love God expressed through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ that can affect hearts, even the hearts of war-hardened enemies who on a cold Christmas Eve 95 years ago crossed their lines to wish each other a Happy Christmas.

Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.

A Christian View of War and America’s Military Policies

By Andy Myers

I have read many of Dr. Vance’s essays on Lew Rockwell. Like his other pieces, this audio interview may make you see another side of how many Christians interpret our military polices and thinking on just war. While some of the points brought up I have issues with, they are definitely interesting to think about.

I hope the interview stirs you to consider why we have the need to have our men and women in over a 130 countries, and the cost in lives and treasure it takes to continue this. Consider many of the governments who we’ve once helped to “overthrow” to put someone else in for “hardly democratic principles.” Just look how most of those have turned out-not good, not good at all. As a Christian, and someone who believes God “IS” in control, I do not believe he would not want me to sit by idle, and do nothing to expose the evil intentions that governments gravitate to at the expense of innocent human beings. Don’t get me wrong, our men and women in the military are doing many good things all over the world, but there are certainly questions as to why we need to continue to be in over 130 countries?? We simply cannot afford this on many different levels.

It’s snowing today, and I kind of don’t mind. I’m looking forward to giving thanks this holiday season as I have much to be thankful for!