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The Value of Faith?

A Google quote-of-the-day caught my eye this morning. It amounted to a backhanded slap to the arrogance of humanity. After all, we’re all so damned important or so we think.

The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.

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Shaving Israel with Ockham’s Razor

Does a bad child’s behavior reflect on its parents? Most agree an ill behaved child reflects a lack of parenting and discipline. It appears Israel is becoming our delinquent child. With each passing day, more and more people are beginning to believe it’s high time for a little discipline. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Time for some tough love.

Israel is our ally and we are hers. There can be no question about that. America was the midwife at the birth of Israel as a nation. Our cultures are inextricably intertwined. Israel is an important economic ally. She is of critical importance to America strategically. She is our canary in the mine shaft in the Middle East. The Jews are a well spring of culture, intellect and creativity. Our histories are so tied together as to be inseparable. The Jewish culture has survived and prospered for 3,000 years. I have no doubt that when the curtain is finally drawn on this great play we call civilization, the Jews will be the last to leave the stage. Israel’s survival and prosperity are not only in their own best interests, they are in the interests of all freedom loving Americans. We cannot turn our backs on Israel any more than we can disavow our relationship with a brother or our own child.

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Hopefully for Israel, Elephants are the Only Animals that Never Forget

With the holiday season upon us, social gatherings abound. I seized the opportunity to attend one recently. Who am I to turn down free food? There was a promise of excitement. It was to be attended by an eclectic group of writers, politicos and intellectuals. It was to be an evening where one conceptual piñata after another would be clubbed and beaten to the delight of the provocateurs present.

I walked into the room and came face-to-face with an elephant. It was huge, but no one seemed to be paying attention to it. I couldn’t imagine how it got there. Siegfried and Roy were the only guys on the planet that could pull off this stunt, but they were nowhere to be seen. I grabbed a glass of wine and slowly worked my way around the elephant. I said hello to a number of the guests as I walked through the room. Some were actually leaning against the elephant that was calmly standing near the double doors leading out onto the patio. No one said a word about the imposing pachyderm.

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McChrystal Blew It

General Stanley McChrystal is the center of controversy because he forgot one of the critical lessons that every soldier learns.  There is a chain of command.  Working through the chain of command is absolutely critical to the successful operation of the military.  Any soldier that successfully survives basic training has learned that moral orders from superiors are not suggestions; they are orders to be carried out without question.  They also understand how the chain of command works and they understand why it exists.

How has McChrystal forgotten this fundamental lesson?  He is a four-star general, a graduate of West Point, and given the part of his military resume that is public (much of it is cloaked in secrecy), a successful military commander.  Yet, he has taken his recommendations for pursuit of the war in Afghanistan public rather than to his immediate superior, the Secretary of Defense and ultimately to the Command-in-Chief, i.e., the President.  His actions compromise the President’s ability to analyze the situation in Afghanistan and to plan a successful strategy for the conflict.  Why has McChrystal violated the most fundamental rule of military structure?  Ego; what other explanation can he have?

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Afghanistan – Where Fools Rush In

President Obama faces a monumental challenge. What direction will we take in the battle for Afghanistan? You remember Afghanistan; it’s that country where Al Qaeda was training terrorists, where Osama bin Laden lived and where we were focusing our efforts before George W. Bush turned his back on it and went after the guy that “tried to kill [his] daddy”. As experts predicted years ago while we were running around looking for phantom weapons of mass destruction next door, Afghanistan was the real danger point. They said the Taliban and Al Qaeda would be resurgent and that Afghanistan would sooner or later come back to haunt us. It is becoming increasingly obvious they were right about the danger. It is knocking on our door.

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The Israeli Conundrum

For more than a half century, Israel has been a focal point of global controversy. Wars have been fought, assassinations have taken place, riots, suicide bombings, invasions, boycotts, strikes and stories of intrigue that no doubt remain untold. The United States and Israel have been fast friends and allies since the creation of the state in 1948.

Israel is critically important to the United States. Our economic ties are strong. Cultural ties are strong between the Jewish state and a large and important Jewish community in this country. Evangelical Christians support Israel believing its existence is critical to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. Strategically, Israel is our “canary in the mine shaft”. It is a strong military presence in a volatile Middle East rich in resources critical to our economic interests. Like marriages used to be, the relationship between the United States and Israel may have some tensions and feuds from time to time, but it’s solid and if one doesn’t discover a seditious affair on the part of the other, it promises to last a long time.

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The New Pandemic – Congressional Brain Flu

It looks as if it has gone airborne. A flu that disrupts rational thought processes is apparently ravaging Washington D.C. and the halls of congress. Democrats have been infected as well as Republicans. The House of Representatives voted 405 to 1 to pass a resolution to formally condemn Iran for its handling of the protests over the recent election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims to have been reelected in a landslide vote. The Senate promises to unanimously follow suit. Representative Ron Paul of Texas was the lone dissenter. He said he’s “cautious about ‘condemning’ the actions of governments overseas” because he’s “always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives.” A lone voice of reason in the midst of the pandemic.

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