Saturday, April 15, 2006
Amazing Grace And Utter Nonsense
Kai Leigh David is the five year-old who was paralyzed in a shooting. Last week she confronted the shooter (it was a stray shot) in the courtroom and forgave him once he admitted what he had done. Kai Leigh's mother:
''We live in a world today that seems to want people to be bitter, angry," David said. ''But I don't want bitterness and anger in my life, and I don't want that for Kai Leigh. We are Christians. I tried very hard from the depths of my soul to hate Anthony, but it wouldn't come out."The mother went over to the man in the courtroom, and they embraced:
''I whispered in his ear: 'Here is your chance for a new beginning. Don't let God down,' " said David, a devoted member of Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan.Kai Leigh:
Asked by a reporter why she forgave the man who shot her, she shyly but clearly said: ''I wanted him to tell the world the truth." Warren had for three years denied the shooting, but changed his plea Thursday.No, he wasn't aiming at her. But he was shooting at the house after an argument with one of the occupants. The man really is lucky that he didn't kill somebody, and now he has to live with the reality that he condemned a totally innocent child to a life of paralysis - and she forgave him.
''I know he didn't mean to do it," Kai Leigh said.
And here's the utter nonsense, contained in a Scotland on Sunday article about Iran's doings. You really have to read the entire article to catch the drift. Somehow Iran's threats against Israel have become a US problem:
On Friday the Iranian president was speaking at the opening of a three day conference on Palestine his government was hosting in Tehran. "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," he told his audience, knowing full well that Western capitals were watching closely. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."When, where and how did this become a US problem and a US responsibility? It's either a problem for the world or no problem at all. If the rest of the world wants to pretend that the Iranian president is hallucinating and Iran isn't really seriously investing in a nuclear program, then they are welcome. I don't think they should expect respect for it, though. This is cognitive dissonance on a massive scale:
Such rhetoric no longer surprises Washington, where the view is that Ahmadinejad should be taken at his word. Where once the United States argued that Saddam Hussein's bona fides and statements of innocence could not be trusted, now it wants the rest of the world to listen to the Iranian president and take his threats seriously.
Ahmadinejad for one might agree with this diagnosis. He declared last week, exhibiting his usual gift for understatement: "To those who are angry about Iran obtaining the full nuclear cycle in one phrase, we say: Be angry and die of this anger.
The problem for George W Bush's administration is that even as the drums of war begin to beat, the rest of the world shows little inclination of wanting to listen to the American point of view. In any case, can his tired, battered and largely discredited administration be trusted to deal competently with these challenges?
Last week the Iranians reiterated their desire to have 50,000 centrifuges working at their nuclear facility at Natanz. "Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days," said Stephen Rademaker, US assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation.It's not the US who is announcing that Iran is doing this. It's Iran. Of course, the article has to present an alternative:
At present, however, the Iranians have only 164 functional centrifuges and it would take them 13 years to produce enough weapons grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb if they continued to have just 164. The Iranians have repeated their expectation that they intend to have as many as 3,000 operational centrifuges by the end of next year, however. Israeli intelligence believes they might be three or four years away from having a fully operational nuclear bomb.
But Washington's efforts to build an international consensus are doubly kneecapped by the US experience in Iraq. In the first place, American pressure on Iran could easily tempt Tehran to meddle even more mischievously in Iraq than it currently does, further destabilising the country and, effectively, holding 150,000 or so American troops hostage.
Secondly, and just as importantly, the debacle over Iraqi WMD means that, to much of the world, the United States resembles nothing so much as the boy who cried wolf.
Instead of attempting to strong-arm Tehran back into line, "Understanding Iran" recommends that the West should invest more energy in the attempt to fashion a diplomatic solution. Stephen Twigg, once a fiercely loyal Blairite minister but now the boss of the FPC, explained: "It is essential that UK policy on Iran is well informed and because we want to engage with the various reformist elements in Iran, both inside and outside the structures of power. There is potential for political dialogue, economic ties and cultural contacts to act as catalysts for the strengthening of civil society in Iran."Does anyone believe that Libya would be "back into the international fold" if it had had nuclear weapons? This is cowardice on a grandly international scale.
Whereas Bush appears to prefer the Iraq model as a solution to his foreign policy crises, others cling to the prospect of recreating the type of painstaking diplomatic activity that eased Libya back into the international fold. It is a view shared within the Foreign Office - and in Downing Street. The UK's involvement in any subsequent military action may be merely to try and stop it, and then, if that fails, to offer surreptitious logistical assistance to the Americans along the way.
Look, Kai Leigh understands, at the age of five, that she could forgive the man who did such a terrible thing to her only if he admitted what he did and repented. And Kai Leigh's mother understands that the man does indeed have a second chance, but only if he accepts grace and reforms. The ball is now in his court.
The European response to Iran is the Oslo march to commemorate Kristallnacht all over again, at which Jews who were identifiably Jewish were not permitted to march. The attempt, as this blog post explains, is to change the commemoration of this pogram against Jews to a general protest against bigotry, and since Israelis are, according to conventional European wisdom, the worst racists around, and Israelis are Jews, any nasty people wearing Stars of David or yarmulkes are not acceptable participants in the march. Thus Jews have been converted from the victims to the enemy in Europe. The people of Europe may yet rebel against this, but I doubt it.
DU managed to post more than 200 comments on this topic. There were a few of the typical moonbats:
18. Ahmadinejhad appears to be a CIA plant. No one in their right mind would be saying this kind of stuff and expect olive branches from Israel. Looks like if Iran attacks first, Israel will take out every other Islamic capital in the region along with Gaza and the West Bank to boot. After that, the whole region becomes unlivable (radioactively).But even on DU most are not in moonbat mood:
215. It Would Be Pleasant, Mr. DebsThe price of oil. That's why Chavez has been getting cozy with Iran, and why Iran keeps making these statements. It's the only thing sustaining the world price of oil. Iran doesn't have a healthy economy, and Ahmadinejad was elected as a result of popular discontent at their own domestic misery. In other words, this really is 1934 all over again. History is repeating itself with stunning exactness.
If you could suggest some mechanism by which they do so. It would require infiltration to the point of predominance of the Guardian Council, composed of clerics trained in the most fundamentalist of Shia schools, and that would be no mean feat. If our nation's intelligence agencies displayed such competence as that, it would be some small comfort to a cold-blooded fellow like myself.
Unpleasant as the thought may be, Sir, there are any number of indpendent actors in this world, with their own agendas and directing their own activities. The world is not directed from a single location or by a single agency.
172. What do you support in this?
If Iran is talking crap, which they seem to be doing, should we just let them do as they please and then pick up the pieces later??
People like to compare bush to hitler, but I see more of a comparison with Iran to hitler and germany than I do the US.
With all the land owned and controlled by muslims in the ME, why are they not simply offering the palestinians space there, and why are they so scared about a tiny strip of land? Iran has more space than Israel, what makes them so upset??
Why we should not seek to do better this time is beyond me, although I do understand why Europe is doing what it is doing. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI on World Peace Day:
3. The theme chosen for this year's reflection—In truth, peace — expresses the conviction that wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendour of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace. The Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, promulgated forty years ago at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, stated that mankind will not succeed in ''building a truly more human world for everyone, everywhere on earth, unless all people are renewed in spirit and converted to the truth of peace''.(2) But what do those words, ''the truth of peace'', really mean? To respond adequately to this question, we must realize that peace cannot be reduced to the simple absence of armed conflict, but needs to be understood as ''the fruit of an order which has been planted in human society by its divine Founder'', an order ''which must be brought about by humanity in its thirst for ever more perfect justice''.(3) As the result of an order planned and willed by the love of God, peace has an intrinsic and invincible truth of its own, and corresponds ''to an irrepressible yearning and hope dwelling within us''.(4)No matter what religion we are, these words hold true. Peace is never, ever based upon lies and distortions. It is based on a respect for the rights of others and a recognition of human needs. Peace cannot be achieved by tossing victims onto the bonfire. To advocate this is a betrayal of divine truth and a false Christianity.
4. Seen in this way, peace appears as a heavenly gift and a divine grace which demands at every level the exercise of the highest responsibility: that of conforming human history—in truth, justice, freedom and love—to the divine order. Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that ''grammar'' of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts,(5) whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing. Saint Augustine described peace as tranquillitas ordinis,(6) the tranquillity of order. By this, he meant a situation which ultimately enables the truth about man to be fully respected and realized.
5. Who and what, then, can prevent the coming of peace? Sacred Scripture, in its very first book, Genesis, points to the lie told at the very beginning of history by the animal with a forked tongue, whom the Evangelist John calls ''the father of lies'' (Jn 8:44). Lying is also one of the sins spoken of in the final chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, which bars liars from the heavenly Jerusalem: ''outside are... all who love falsehood'' (22:15). Lying is linked to the tragedy of sin and its perverse consequences, which have had, and continue to have, devastating effects on the lives of individuals and nations. We need but think of the events of the past century, when aberrant ideological and political systems wilfully twisted the truth and brought about the exploitation and murder of an appalling number of men and women, wiping out entire families and communities. After experiences like these, how can we fail to be seriously concerned about lies in our own time, lies which are the framework for menacing scenarios of death in many parts of the world. Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the peaceful future of our planet.
For both Jews and Christians, this is the season of liberation. We celebrate Passover to commemorate the Jews' escape from the tyranny of Egypt. But once liberated from secular tyrannies, human beings take on the moral responsibility for conducting our own affairs. Christians celebrate Easter as our liberation from the tyranny of our own sinful natures by means of grace.
In this time we need both human freedom, divine wisdom, and divine grace more than ever, and Passover and Easter should offer us some confidence that they do exist.
I think one huge problem among "progressives" and especially intellectuals, is the inability to understand the who idea of independent actors. They say "it could be solved if everyone could do X" without seeming to grasp that no one has control of "everybody."
The old moral question "what if everyone did this?" needs to be supplemented with "what if *not* everyone did this?"
Eighty percent of the population of each nation will be moderate if they are not desperate or propagandized. But most of the countries in the world don't share in the political or economic conditions that generate a moderate population.
The utopians (and they pop up at all places on the political spectrum) never seem to recognize or allow for this; they seem to consider it a vicious insult. They are all extremists that seem to develop the same practices, without regard to their theoretical ideologies.
I think you are right about the extra question. Any policy that requires us all to suddenly have the same agenda or act in the same way is doomed to fail.
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