Monday, December 27, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Listening to President Obama discount President Karzai's anti-US comments was like listening to the Wizard of Oz tell Dorothy and her motley group of malcontents to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

Obama was speaking at a NATO press conference, assuring America and its allies that Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, asked America to stay in Afghanistan for four more years. (Is this how Obama reneges on his pledge to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in blaming Karzai?) He must think we are all stupid. He must think we have no televisions, no newspapers - that we cannot read and see and hear for ourselves what people around the world are saying.

Karzai asked America to "tone down your presence in Afghanistan." He asked America to stop your night raids on Afghan homes." He asked America to stop killing innocent Afghan civilians." He asked America to "leave."

We heard that. What we did not hear was the sound of Karzai's arm being twisted behind that "curtain" - perhaps part of a good cop - bad cop routine where America tells Karzai, "My dear, dear friend...if you don't watch your mouth, you will be the ones leaving, long before us."

Afghanistan is becoming an American farce acted out on the world stage. And it is our precious sons and daughters who are caught in the crossfire.

On the other side, there is the Taliban - sons of the Mujahideen, who fierce resistance to foreign occupation is legend. these men will fight forever. On the other side is the Afghan soldiers and police. Their loyalty to Karzai is tepid, at best; their loyalty to Obama's cause is non-existent. They are the ones most likely to shoot our sons in the back on their way to joining their Taliban brethren in his struggle against the invader.

"Four more years," Mr. Obama? You wish. At this rate, there will be only two more years of you, (six more of Karzai), and 1,000 more of the Afghan fighter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who Needs a Baby to Hold?

A recent study found that people who bully others do less bullying after they have held a baby. On the same CNN show, "Parker-Spitzer", that asked about "American Exceptionalism", (see my previous post), the co-host asked their guests "Who needs a baby to hold?"

The same guest who could not zero in on the source of "American Exceptionalism", again went down swinging.

"Glenn Beck needs a baby to hold, and...oh, Bill O'Reilly." Another guest threw in Nancy Pelosi's name. Okay, all bad actors, I suppose. But, again, they miss the uprights. The question is not "Who is a bully?" Too many people fit that mold; perhaps we all do at some point in our lives, having bullied classmates, younger siblings, even small animals. The question is "Who?" I offer two entities: American needs a baby to hold. Who has been a bigger bully than the nation whose favorite boasts is: "We are taking nothing off the table."

We talk about our kids bullying in school when, on the world stage, we exude the notion that might makes right. (Bullies live by that principle.) America is the bully supreme.

And on whom do we beat? Like all bullies, we beat on the those smaller than ourselves. We bombed Iraq after it invaded our friend, Kuwait. We attached Grenada. We invaded Panama. We bombed Serbia, Libya, Afghanistan, the Sudan, and then bombed Iraq, again.

Funny that we did not bomb Russia after they invaded our friend, Georgia. Neither did we bomb China when they captured one of America's most sophisticated jets. That happened in 2000. We took "bombing" off the table then, and waited patiently while China took its own sweet time before sending our aircraft back to us in pieces.

Speaking of "Taking nothing off the table": Doesn't that sound illegal? Doesn't that suggest that we will do anything; even violate international law to get our way? Isn't that the same mantra the terrorists live by? Nothing is off the table. Isn't that whey we despise them so, because they might do anything?

President Obama has since modified that position, insisting that "torture is off the table." I doubt that it is. We may not torture within our formal framework, but we will outsource such work to places like Egypt, Poland, Bulgaria, and other "black sites" where people can get away with murder. (We torture when we buy torture).

Bullying is in our blood. We think it keeps us safe. Of course, it does not; it only keeps us busy.

Now two of the planet's great bullies have squared off on the world stage. (They need a baby bad). Dare w give each one to hold.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

American Exceptionalism

One night, Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer of CNN's Parker-Spitzer posed this question to their guests: "When you hear the words 'American Exceptionalism', what do you think of?"

To a man, and to a woman, each guest spoke of the American people – their resilience, their diversity. One guest spoke of America's freedoms – of speech, religion, etc. They all made good points, except...many nations on Earth have freedom of expression. And all of the world's peoples are resilient; many far more resilient than we, having to daily endure drought, famine, and pestilence.

As for diversity: The Congo, alone a nation of 60 million people, has over 200 distinct ethnic groups. And what about England, that cornerstone of Western civilization where the most common name for boys born in 2010 is Muhammad. Try that for diversity, America.

No, where the United States exceeds all nations in exceptionalism is in the land, itself. From "sea to shining sea," America has more grand vistas, more fertile farmland, and more square miles of habitable space than any other nation on earth.

One needs only to drive across this country - something i did in the 1983 - to see for himself the extent of America's bounty. It inspires. You certainly marvel at the Spirit of those early pioneers who pushed handcarts and Conestoga wagons over mountains and across rivers. But peoples have moved like that for millennia. Imagine the hardships the first Americans endured as they crossed Siberia and the treacherous land bridge that is now the Bering Straits to get here.

Once they made their way down into what would become the "continental US", they could not have known that they have discovered the "Goldilocks Zone." It is that special place between "too-cold Canada" and "too hot Mexico," uniquely separated from much of the world's madness by two great oceans. It is there they lit a fire and warmed it up for the rest of us - this land that is "just right."

Yes we are exceptional people, but only when we are humbly thanking God for this exceptional piece of ground.