Thursday, January 25, 2007


Some Important Links

Since its creation, has proven itself as an excellent clearinghouse for soldier support and related resources. That they’re also a good friend to MILBLOGS and MILBLOGGERS and military families, earns them special praise.

They tipped me off to two services that I wanted to highlight for MILBLOGGERS and their readership, if they haven’t already seen them.

From a mailing:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Website Launched
Barbara Romberg, a psychologist with a private practice in Washington, D.C., has created a single website to link licensed counselors with U.S. troops affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from serving Afghanistan and Iraq. More

Program Serves Wounded Warriors
The Army's Wounded Warrior Program, dubbed AW2, is designed for soldiers severely wounded in the war on terror. AW2 provides information and assistance to aid soldiers and their families through the recovery process and beyond. More

The PTSD website sounds like a very helpful addition in an area of great need. No matter how attentive the military remains, and no matter how much the Veterans Administration (VA) tries to help, undiagnosed and unidentified sufferers of PTSD refuse to avail themselves of treatment options, especially if they involve any official recognition of their condition. Contrary to what war protesters and other anti-military types might allege, this has nothing to do with a “callous and uncaring military,” and everything to do with the soldiers themselves, their character, tendency to “tough it out,” and desire to remain in service.

Not that the military or VA sometimes doesn’t contribute to soldier reluctance; many of the guys in treatment talk about the difficulties they encounter, such as when they get classified as 100% disabled. For soldiers still seeking a meaningful return to civilian life – or even to remain in service for that matter – such classifications and the limitations they impose can be frustrating. In any case, having a clearinghouse of resources that soldiers can access on their own has got to be a helpful addition to the panoply of services available.

The AW2 Program sounds like another excellent program. Many of us are familiar with Project Valour-IT and scores of other Soldiers Angels networked services, many of which specifically support wounded veterans and their families. AW2 provides another level of support for these who have sacrificed much in service to their nation.

And again, thanks to for bringing these fine services to wider attention.

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Unbelief and Assurance

A new post up at Gladmanly, here's the introduction as a teaser, and fair warning:
Friends invited me recently to a Bible Study taught by a man very mature in his Christian walk, Jack, an excellent teacher with a heart for evangelism.

I went to the study as a way of encouraging my wife’s Dad, who’s been struggling to find his way after the recent death of his wife, after sixty years of marriage. I know some of the folks who attend, but would tend to stick with small groups of my own congregation.

As anyone of any maturity in Christ can tell you often happens, God used this divine appointment with me in a special way. Dad may have had his own appointment that night too, but there was a message for me, waiting at that table.
Head on over to Gladmanly for the rest of the story.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Hitchens on Steyn

The Corner tipped us off to a most valuable confluence of thoughtful analysis and serious attention to the threat of Islamist terrorism, over at City Journal. For there, Christopher Hitchens reviews what he (or the editors at City Journal) characterizes as a welcome wake-up call, in Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

I’ve just finished Steyn’s scrappy call to arms. I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone with a serious concern about militant Islamic theology, Islamic inspired terrorism, and the global propaganda networks that spread hate and violence to a world-wide audience.

Hitchens, though appreciative of Steyn’s cultural analysis and equally alarmed about the threat in general, faults Steyn for what he sees as an inadequate comprehension of divisions and “conflicts of interest” within the Muslim community, as well as overly simplistic (perhaps jingoistic?) prescriptions for what we ought to do about it, once we acknowledge the danger.

I am a big fan of both these writers, and account them both among the most important voices among those who see the threat for what it is, and advocate an aggressive Western response to that threat. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their differences.

Hitchens scolds Steyn for an overly simplistic assessment of the Bosnian war. I’m not sure that Steyn’s suggestion that “The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent,” was anything more than a rhetorical comparison versus precise analogy. Hitchens even dilutes his own criticism by suggesting that demographic considerations don’t properly explain anti-Semitic and anti-American animus, that European ultra-Nationalist movements mix in with their anti-immigration ideologies. I really don’t think Steyn would suggest that alarm over the threat of non-assimilated immigrants was the only motivation for ethnic cleansing and similar European aberrations.

Similarly, Hitchens faults Steyn for perceiving European muslim communities monochromatically:

Yet Steyn makes the same mistake as did the late Oriana Fallaci: considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). Little binds a Somali to a Turk or an Iranian or an Algerian, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes—seeking asylum and to build a better life. A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties. These are all points of difference, and also of possible resistance to Euro-sharia.

Yet in the course of his challenge of Steyn’s perspective on European Muslims, Hitchens states that:

The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one.

Indeed, and this is precisely a by-product of the dynamic Steyn illuminates: a not at all subtle or covert attempt to indoctrinate and militarize the entirety of the Muslim world by the Islamic terror masters. Hitchens describes this deferential elevation of Jihadism among younger, “deracinated” youth as a mere aberration, and that the real threat is the non-Muslim European establishments:

Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen. As Kenan Malik and others have pointed out in the case of Britain, this mind-set cuts the ground from under the feet of secular Muslims, encouraging the sensation that many in the non-Muslim Establishment have a kind of death wish.

Hitchens sees more cause for hope within the worldwide Muslim Diaspora:

Millions have become aware of the danger—including millions of Shi’a Muslims who now see the ideology of bin Laden and Zarqawi as a menace to their survival. Groups and cells that might have gotten away with murder have wound up unmasked and shut down, from Berlin to Casablanca.

Of course, these have not been the only consequences of September 11 and its aftermath. Islamist suicide-terrorism has mutated into new shapes and adopted fresh grievances as a result of the mobilization against it. Liberalism has found even more convoluted means of blaming itself for the attack upon it. But at least the long period of somnambulism is over, and the opportunity now exists for antibodies to form against the infection.

Aside from the dubious claim that we’ve somehow woken up to the threats, that we  aren’t still sleeping walking towards the Apocalypse, I don’t share Hitchens’ hope. Does it matter how willfully European Muslims will submit to Sharia? Or how complicit is the Governmental surrender to Islamic usurpation of civic life and public expression, inevitably aided by maladroit European multiculti law? The end result is, Muslim youth surrender authority to Islamic oppression, aided and abetted by European jurisprudence and governance.

Steyn touches on this precise point, albeit not directly, in America Alone. By Hitchens’ own admission, Steyn makes an “immensely convincing case” that “demography and cultural masochism, especially in combination, are handing a bloodless victory to the forces of Islamization.”

Steyn is at his best as he diagnoses the symptoms and prognoses outcomes, if not when he prescribes the cure for what ails us. Hitchens finds Steyn’s plan of action “slapdash” with at least one “makeweight” point to round out the 10 points of his plan.

So as to do more than criticize without alternative, Hitchens helpfully provides a thoughtful action plan of his own, and contents himself to only identify 8 points:

·        Declare an end to “one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it.”

·        Commit to “A strong, open alliance with India on all fronts, from the military to the political and economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange program, to demonstrate solidarity with the other great multiethnic democracy under attack from Muslim fascism.”

·        Forge the same bonds with oil rich countries in Western Africa under similar theological attack.

·        Have the UN make some declaration on self-determination, even for Muslim peoples. (Talk about makeweight, Hitchens might have hesitated with this one.)

·        Actively and aggressively support Iranian opposition and continue to play the hero directly on behalf of the Iranian people.

·        “Unconditional solidarity, backed with force and the relevant UN resolutions, with an independent and multi-confessional Lebanon.”

·        Rather than try to eradicate it, buy Afghanistan’s opium crop and convert for medicinal purposes.

·        Bring the consequences of interethnic tension-making to bear upon its perpetrators, such as Iran, Pakistan, and Syria. If that sounds like a threat, describe it more of as a promise.

I hate to sound like a conciliator between these two, but I have to say, I like both their lists.

Though Steyn may not have responded to Hitchens criticism, he plausibly could make similar kinds of criticisms about Hitchens peripheral objections to Steyn’s thesis, and for all intents and purposes, he has in America Alone (as indeed have the more serious of Hitchens’ many critics).

Consider Hitchens the more nuanced of the two analysts, and Steyn the guy who prefers to toss rhetorical grenades. Yet for all that Hitchens may see more complexity and variation within features more monochrome to Steyn, in the end, they conclude their arguments quite closer to each other, and sound similar calls to action.

That they don’t see entirely eye-to-eye, that they might perhaps tut-tut each other’s rhetorical excesses, in my view is no discredit to either. Listen to either, but heed them both, would be my advice. Get a copy of America Alone, and read Hitchens’ critique. We need them both if have any hope of winning this thing. As Hitchens concludes:

The Islamist threat itself may be crude, but this is an intricate cultural and political challenge that will absorb all of our energies for the rest of our lives: we are all responsible for doing our utmost as citizens as well as for demanding more imagination from our leaders.

Well said. My thanks to both these Gentlemen.

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Friday, January 19, 2007


Channeling the Grey Lady

Jules Crittenden may be happy in his nice new digs, but he’s still mad as heck at the New York Times. The Times’ latest editorial on Iraq drove him into a furious trance, in which Jules convincingly channels the inner thought life of the Times’ editors.

Would that we could actually see them commit to print, what we all know they really think:

But among other things, the public needs to know why, for more than five years, the New York Times has consistently sided with America’s enemies.

This is because, even though we at the New York Times editorial board live in and around New York, scene of the most horrific and unprovoked attack on innocent American civilians ever, we still don’t see what the big deal is.

We consider this “War on Terror” … or more precisely, as the president says, “War on Turr” … to be a police matter that should be handled more or less as one deals with a common criminal.

Jules adroitly draws a parallel between the typical limousine liberal approach to crime fighting, and their comparable prescription for terror, an approach obviously preferred by the NY Times. He then follows up with the primary motivators for sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome, and the Times, the essential qualities of the President They Loath So Much:

The Bush administration has shown itself to run counter to the interests that all the Americans we know hold dear, primarily those who live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in Westchester and some of the closer reaches of Connecticut.

Mr. Bush resembles a chimpanzee, and does not speak well. He believes in Jesus, and has surrounded himself with others who have a quaint and archaic fixation on religion. He has been unrepentant in his belief that “evil” exists in the world, and that sometimes it is not enough to just use one’s “words.”  He has also refused to cede his presidency to the United States Congress, despite a clear and unmistakable message from several electoral districts of the United States whose voters signaled they wanted to be represented by someone else in Congress.  

It’s bad enough I almost got myself rear-ended this morning, but then Jules almost makes me spit out my coffee. I think that’s as close to the Inner Editor for the Times as anyone’s ever likely to conjure.

Earlier, NPR helpfully ran a segment with clueless Senator Hagel, spouting off on how wrong are the latest plans for Iraq. I start ranting at NPR, Democrats, PEW Research polls, and clueless and gutless GOP (not all but too many), and cross one too many lanes without seeing the car I cut off.

Why is it that Democrats – and their Media mouthpieces – spend countless broadcast hours reporting on whatever poll shows the American people against this or that, or for this or that, but only when public sentiment is rock solid in their preferred direction?

How come no airplay on how the majority of Americans want non-criminals to be able to own guns for self protection, how most Americans support the death penality, how most Americans want lower taxes and smaller government, and how large majorities of Americans are against Gay marriage, believe in God, and consider themselves Christians? But of course, I digress.

Thanks be to God for Senators like Arizona’s Kyl. To give NPR credit for balance, Sen. Kyl offered sharp and concise rebuttal to Hagel’s defeatism, suggesting that the President gathered lots of advice, and considered a multitude of options in formulating the latest military and political approach to “winning the war” in Iraq. He rightly points out that the President’s critics offer no meaningful alternative other than, “pull out.”

And on a challenge from the NPR correspondent, that the President didn’t consider the Iraqi Study Group’s plan for “phase redeployments,” Sen. Kyl remarked words to the effect that, “that’s right, he doesn’t want to retreat yet from Iraq, because he thinks we can win.

Two observations. One of the hawkish commentators in the last day or so reminded the war’s supporters and our military, “you already won the war in Iraq militarily,” and that the aim now was to achieve a long term victory for the US geopolitically. I think this is exactly right, and underscores how false and dishonest is the majority of the public debate on Iraq. Iraq is not a catastrophe, and we are not “losing in Iraq,” for we have already won by any reasonable, historic, and not hysterical, standard.

We removed Saddam in lightning fashion, and gave the Iraqis three successful elections, for a provisional Government, on an Iraqi-crafted Constitution, and for a democratically elected Parliamentary Government. We thoroughly destroyed the Baathist infrastructure, created a good baseline for recovery and rebuilding throughout the large majority of provinces, and inflicted severe attrition upon an Al Qaeda terrorist organization largely caught flat footed and unprepared.

Where we have failed militarily is whenever we stayed the hand of violence against our known enemies in deference to political and diplomatic pretences that are altogether false and counter to long tem US interests.

The second observation? Sen. Kyl said it best, something to the effect of “there were many options for the President to consider, and what he’s proposed has a good chance of succeeding. Look, if one really thinks that we’ve lost already, that we’ve failed in Iraq, the plan I’d favor is to get the troops out today, all of them.”

I have to give Sen. Ted Kennedy credit in that regard. At least he’s being honest, and acting on the conviction all these “Phase Withdrawal” phonies won’t admit publicly. He’s convinced we’ve lost already, and will do everything in his power to bring that end to pass. Like his most of his fellow Democrats, only they refuse to pony up the political price to say so.


Thursday, January 11, 2007



The local Fox affiliate gave this deadlined MILBLOGGER some airtime this am, for reaction to the President's speech last night. Video here

Nowhere near as detailed, nor exhaustive, as Greyhawk, but maybe every little bit helps to dispel the ignorance...

(Cross-posted at MILBLOGS.)


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