Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Snotty Secular Religiosity

Given the title, this line speaks for itself:
OK, so, are Catholics good Christians, as good a Christian as, say, you are?

What are you babbling about? There are a few standard accepted definitions of the label. If you mean Christian, as in those who proclaim allegiance to some church or hereditary cultural link, "good" has not much to do with it. Furthermore, under those circumstances, what I term "cultural Christianity", the topic is highly variable. If you mean Christian, as in one who professes Jesus as the Messiah personally, that is a different situation. Although, again "good" doesn't have much to do with it. Strange as it may seem, I have met many Catholics who have very little personal interest in the pursuit of Christ. I personally would not call them Christians under the second definition. Also, there is a common usage of the term for hereditary groups in many areas. By my take, you can not join a church or be born to a member of a church and be a Christian under the second label. You need to personally chose that regardless of blood or affiliation.

Now, when you use the term 'good', where do you get your gage? What do you constitute good or bad? Are we to decide who is good? And by what measure? I make no comparison amongst individuals in determining who is 'good' or 'bad'. If a individual through action harms another, you could call that bad. Since there is not a single individual living who has not done so (unless there is some child raised by gorillas that never contacted society...), everyone has done something bad, even 'good' Christians. Doesn't make any sense what your asking.

If you want to argue the comparative benefits of particular religions or sects, that is a different question. First, we need a measure. Is the measure the perceived benefit or harm to society? And as determined by whom? Or is the measure the intentions of God as related in accepted Scripture? Then we have another problem, because few take the time to actually read and investigate that goal. But, there are some very simple examples that do not require vast understanding. For instance, idolatry is obviously not what God indicates as a proper pursuit. So why do Catholics worship images of saints? Or another simple example. Take the Mormons. Later day saints. If Christ represented the culmination of the first dispensation, did God make a mistake and need to do it again? Absolute (moronic) lunacy. If one places any stock in the various principals represented in the texts, then the critical discretion inherent in those ideas and philosophies would prevent one from supporting a organization whose goal was in diametric opposition. Furthermore, if one rejects these text out of hand, which is fine, yet adheres to one of the religious institutions through what we can both agree is 'blind faith', I will still claim idiocy as the origins of most western religion stems from specific interpretations of the same text. In other words, as a individual, the proper course (as I perceive it) requires critical thinking when confronted with evidence that clearly shows error in the established institution. Otherwise you are a dupe.

Now, the vast majority of members in these institutions do not seem to be interested in such pursuits, and do exist in a 'cultural' framework. A community of support. Are we to denigrate the institution in such cases? I fully support Catholic charities. Many of our finest hospitals have their origins in the various churches. What is your scale to determine benefit or harm? Are you not playing as the divine ruler when you judge? In your case that divine ruler is man himself, and even greater travesty from some perspectives. Do you then believe in the 'goodness' of man? Or is your secular humanism really just a religion of self? Self satisfaction, self determination, and ultimately self preservation. Yet each of these goals ends in failure most ultimate for the atheist. That can't be considered as good now can it? And for the benefit of mankind, is the pursuit of self interest good?

The advancement of man is a very tricky thing. Is the perfect goal something quantifiable? First and foremost would be life. So does that mean as many people as possible should being able to live? Yet life is a serious struggle for some populations, how could they be happy? Is this good? Ah, but are we to decide who gets to live, who doesn't? Do we determine who is happy and satisfied? Do we represent all of man? What is the benefit of preventing or promoting life in such a way? It is of course impossible to do, yet many secular elitist make the attempt. The pursuit of the futile. There are many more specific examples, but the principal is quite clear. At some point, every individuals philosophy is based on a belief in the unprovable.

Here we reach a crossroad, where the benefit of mankind and the philosophies that rate that benefit meet. This meeting has existed in perpetual conflict throughout history. The philosophies changed names, yet the principal underlying the establishment of each philosophy is the same. At some point each much choose a measure, decide upon a course, without a real view of the outcome. This is where no argument can be convincing, for as the outcomes diverge, each path is the mist of the future. However, for the individual, the future is partially revealed.

Each man is given a life to live, and then death comes. Can death be conquered? Is there preservation available for the soul of man? Every person of intellect contemplates his mortality at some point. Each hears that question in the heart "Is there something missing?" For the Christian, pursuing that is the beginning of a fascinating journey. Part of that path is the concept of judging. One of the finest examples is Gods exhortation to enjoy the fruit of life, and to not be consumed with judging for oneself. To know what is ultimately 'good' and 'bad', and decide such shuts the door to experiencing life beyond the physical.

Now we return to what constitutes a 'good' Christian. That would be one who does not judge in such a way. So no 'good' Christian would call himself a good Christian. Likewise, what is the value in pointing out who is supposedly a 'bad' Christian? The worth of a individual can be seen in the appreciation of others, but this is not the measure of judgment. To go beyond this and determine who is good or bad based on what organizations they belong to is even more questionable. In this, criticism of said organizations is still perfectly viable. Equally appropriate is the ongoing cognizant critique of the philosophies adhered to by many groups.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Beyond War Planning, Parallels on Iraq and WWII

Well we got a response to the last post pretty quickly. If you want more context for the following read the previous post. At times, it seems that comparison with history is useful, but are we making some of the same mistakes? Or is history being used off the cuff to support political philosophies? You be the judge. (NL is, of course, Nutter Liberal)

"Also noticed that there was no huge escalation in Iraq violence after Saddams resizing."

NL: Ah, you've only been watching the Fox White House Network again. The free press has documented a significant upturn in violence with several demonstrations showing thousands marching IN SUPPORT OF SADDAM. Why? Not because they thought him such a nice guy, the straw man you CCCRW's keep trying to raise as the ONLY alternative to hate hate hate, but because Saddam was Arab and Iraqi and of their branch of the faith. They saw how the US puppet government in the green zone treated him only an hour after WE fly him to his execution. Shame on America for staging such farce of law and justice. And don't say we didn't do it, we did....we occupy the country, we control the government, we call the shots.

Come on, you can do better. Significant upturn? Uh, a few thousand hold-outs in Sunni central jumping up and down is no upturn in violence. And I notice a consistent theme among you nutters, always blame the US. Doesn't matter what happens, just stick to that mantra. Free elections, a functioning court, trial that lasted months and had open media, then a sentence handed down by a sovereign government, yet you nutters deny all of it, don't seem to want it, and do your best to destroy whatever positive steps the Iraqis take. Nice to see you staying consistent when it come to the execution of a Stalinist dictator who easily murdered hundreds of thousands. Blame and shame. Yeah, that's patriotic, and right in line with the fever swamps denigration of America.
"The 'war' was brilliant and executed extremely quickly."

NL: ya boy, and this is the 1300 and what day after the celebration of Mission Accomplished? One battle don't make a war (ask George Washington or A. Lincoln.)

Your shooting yourself in the foot again on this. Notice the word "Mission"? Like as in one 'mission don't make a war', to misquote you. How do you want it? Is it a war against Islamofascism or not? If it is, then you should want us to do whatever it takes to kill as many in Iraq as we can, for a long time. But, if it is something else, as I suspect, then who are we at war with? Hmmm, some vague guys who won't hurt us for sure if we just leave Iraq. Naive and dangerous you peacenik nutters are.
"We nuked them."

NL: I want to be very very clear about this. YOU ARE ADVOCATING THE USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN IRAQ AGAINST THE ENTIRE CIVILIAN POPULATION, to 'end' or 'win' a war WE started by lying to Congress, our people, the UN, and our allies. How low can you get? Whatever happened to Freedom and Democracy? Is this how you bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East? Who's next? Ya gunna nuke Iran next? Saudi Arabia? Syria? How to you spell War Criminal?

I didn't advocate anything. I restated history. And you're full of nutter imagination. The whole argument reconstructing the pre-war Iraq intelligence has been debunked a thousand times in many ways, I don't need to do it here. If you want to go after Bush, you have to take out Congress as well. My argument was clear in that you are propping up a historical war plan that DID NOT include using nuclear weapons. The same weapons that ended the war in a decisive manner.
NL: Now try and follow this. Our war planners, especially the Navy ones, envisioned a war against Japan from the 1920's onward. The Americans had NO plans to deal with Iraq. The war plan against Japan laid out a likely series of events (like the loss of the Philippines) and the island hopping strategy back across the Pacific to the doorstep of Japan; and that's how the war was played out, according to that plan. Again, when the US invaded Iraq there WAS NO PLAN. Then , in 1943 the US began to develop a post-war reconstruction plan for Japan and Germany; this is what MacArthur put into effect in 1945. Again, the US HAD NO POSTWAR PLAN of any kind for Iraq. So......the question is, what the hell is wrong with the US ability to do war plans these days. (Oh, I know, in the 1940's we thought things through, in 2002 we relied of God and prayer.......

No, we obviously had a superior battle plan as the traditional war did not last long. Don't fall into the ridiculous trap of believing the fever swamp echo chamber. So, lets compare any mission, any theater, that matches the Iraq situation. You can't get away with blanket cut and paste. Dishonest and inelegant. How about we compare the Battle of Tarawa? Or Okinawa? Wait, we lost a lot of troops in those battles, must have been some pretty bad planning as compared to Iraq, where in the whole endeavor we have lost less than half of the casualties endured just at Okinawa. Or is this not about fighting efficiency? Oh, it isn't. So, what is it about? Politics maybe, shortsighted political philosophies most likely. More specifically peacenik nutters who have lost their sanity in 2000 and now do whatever possible to destroy anything positive that comes from the current administration.
"...our enemies continued to fight until recognizing the complete destruction of their society."

NL: I think ur confused here. It was never an American policy to annihilate either Germany or Japan. Nor did we have a policy of destroying whole cities of innocent people. Germany and Japan have to be taken separately. In the German case, their military fought until absolutely defeated. Their government never made a decision to surrender to prevent the destruction of their society; indeed quite the opposite. Donitiz, succeeding to command after Hitler's suicide, kept fighting as long as he possibly could to allow people in the east to escape the Soviets and move west to surrender to the British and Americans. It was very selective, accept the destruction of the east and try to save the people and the west. And it worked. In fact, the destruction of WEST Germany was much less than is popularly supposed. The destruction of EAST Germany largely took place AFTER the Soviet occupation when everything possible was dismantled and moved to Russia. The destruction by air power of certain areas of cities had two aspects. In 1942-44 the aim was destruction of factories, gradually shifting to accepting destruction of WORKER housing near those factories. Late in 1944 and into 1945 there were selective area bombings (Cologne, Dresden, Berlin) whose aim was to collapse morale of the general population. But, the aim was never the annihilation of the population. Japan is a more complicated case, because racial elements come into play along with the stories of how they treated our POW's. Also, the Japanese choose to decentralize their manufacturing into small machine shops in civilian areas, both to make targeting harder as the B-29's came into force, and to reduce the movement and cost of a labor force having to go to and from work everyday. Again, our aim was the destruction of the manufacturing ability, demoralization of the workforce and, increasingly, the lowering of civilian morale and support for the war. The use of the atomic bomb is more complicated yet. At least four factors were at work. First, the cost of the war had become a real burden, we were having trouble raising money to pay for the war. Second, the American public was about at it's wits end with the high casualties in both the Pacific and in Europe. Third, an invasion of the home islands would have cost many many thousands of dead and Truman wanted to be re-elected. A big number of dead, even if it won the war, might have spelled the end of the Democratic Party's time in office! Fourth, and the hardest to get a grip on, was the Russian role. Russia had agreed than when the war was over in Europe, which it was in May 45, it would enter the war against Japan. The US didn't want Russia to have any say in the peace settlement in the Pacific, which Truman could not have avoided if Russia had time to become a really active member in the war. Say Russia helped invade Japan, they would want a zone of occupation there, and look what was already going on the the Soviet Zone in Germany! No thanks. Truman saw the use of the bomb as a way to cut the Russians out by getting a quick end to the war. Also, FDR and Truman had spend billions developing the bomb. Questions would be raised at the next election about those costs if we didn't use it, so, ok, we'll use it. History tends to be complicated that way....

This WW2 parallel is silly. Remember, Japan attacked US, Germany declared war on US, in Iraq WE lied about the whole process and everybody knows that now. Nuthing like the same situation. We aren't fighting for Freedom and Democracy in Iraq, we arn't fighting to Liberate oppressed people from an occupying power, WE ARE the occupying power! The US rational for the war has changed several times, each one a lie, one after another.

Well, history can be complicated, yet surprisingly simple. The trappings and details can create a rich picture, yet the central theme of my argument is still sound. We were willing to use all the force at our disposal to win. When our actions communicated that to our foe, they surrendered. I did not say we executed our war plan with the intention of completely destroying either Japan or Germany, just that we went about it with the purpose of convincing them that we could do so. In Germany, you have more competing interests, yet once Hitler offed himself, there was little will to fight. There was a pretty strong drive for many to surrender to the western forces as you state. Another story of course, but the Russians apparently communicated their desire to annihilate more effectively? Irregardless, my tenet is sound, we won decisively because we crushed the will of our opponents. The strategic move of your leaders to cut and run now is a move designed to embolden our foes, in opposition to the examples above.
"If the planners were so smart, they would have advised a pre-emptive buildup of the military and scrapping of the Versailles treaty."

NL: Again, this is more complex than you make out. Combine the Bushido military code, the Shinto religion, an aggressive military (since 1905), the rise of a Japanese nationalist spirit, the industrialization of the county, the need for more resources to feed that industry, and a resentment against white colonial powers (esp in China, SE Asia and the Philippines)and you got a problem. They wanted their 'place in the sun' and the West didn't like that (Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaya, Cochin (French) Indochina etc etc.) As to 'fanatical', well, compared to hardcore National Socialists in Germany, Fascists in Italy, Saladins Muslims, the Ottomans, the Crusades and a bunch of others, their right up there but not head and shoulders above everybody. A bit 'over dedicated' you might say. Gee, remember Churchill's statement about fighting on the beaches, fighting in the streets, fighting in the hills, etc etc.... Maybe it ain't so different really.

You might ask, why is a whole generation (well, several generations really, beginning a long time ago in some places, how about the original Muhammad and his adventures, how about the Mehdi army against Gen. Gordon at Kartoom in the Sudan, or the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920's....there are many examples. Anyhow, consider that a lot of Muslims might well have valid grievances against those who have exploited them. The British, for example, in Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Saudi and Palestine.....its a fairly long list. Perhaps some consideration ought to be given to redressing those problems.....think about Saudi Arabia for example. A pro-west government is set up by outsiders supporting the Saud family so that they can get cheap and easy access to SAUDI oil....it ain't BRITISH oil....as somebody said, how the hell did OUR oil get in THEIR sand! Maybe we should have spent the last 60 odd years, after WW2, working on policies that would not have inflamed anti-western sentiments, that would have helped develop their resources to their AND our benefit. Instead, Western Europe and the US have supported semi-westernized dictatorships in a long list of countries solely for the purpose of getting quick and cheap access to their natural resources, with little eye, thought, or concern about the long-term impact of such a policy. Since the middle 50's we have been paying the price for that policy and seem to have learned little. Every time the VICTIMS of our policies express discontent WE BLAME THEM instead of asking why they might be unhappy after more than a century of exploitation.......strange indeed. And then we wonder why they reject western ways and their western trained dictators and embrace radial Islam?

And nobody I know of is recommending that we 'go hide in the sand'. That's just another straw man you CCCRW's keep raising. The old, "You gotta do it my way because the ONLY OTHER WAY is to do nothing". Well, doing nothing ISN'T the only other option. We have lots of choices, but if you keep the straw man fight going we're never going to see those options or use those options. What we LIBERALS (more accurately we Internationalists) are advocating is that we look for a better policy because the current non-policy clearly is not working.

Here is your fallacy again. Your policy that is out there somewhere (you know, the one that is clearly 'smarter' or 'more sophisticated') has never materialized. The only policy you can come up with is to stab America in the back internally and hope for your political stars to rise again. Great policy that. Seems to be adhered to consistently by your ilk too. As to the current policy, there certainly can be improvements. But in its goal, nothing better has been proposed. That overall is what will vex you nutters the most. You advocate loss and defeat. Yet if asked would you like to see a stable Iraq democracy, you can't say no. Which tells me the debate is predominantly about political power, not National interest.

Additionally, you revert in argument to historical policies and their apparent creation of vast victims. That is a classic liberal mindset. One that speaks volumes of how your philosophy views the world. The only fair thing is apparently that which you deem fair. Yet these countries have all had sovereign powers, and acted on the world stage according to those rules and conventions that I assume you support. Unless it is now illegal to have a kingdom, or other form of government. And you call it exploitation, because you don't like the origin or alliances of a particular government. Talk about a draconian view! You 'Internationalists' just want to rule the whole world your way it seems.
"...Roosevelt caused Pearl Harbor."

NL: You are terribly confused. FDR didn't 'cause' Pearl Harbor, stop being silly. Question: Why is giving nuclear technology to India OK, but letting Iran have it is bad bad bad? What's the POLICY here? Why? as in How come?

And, what's this got to do with 15 Saudis flying airplanes into the WTC as members of a Saudi controlled and funded terrorist organization??? I don't remember any Iraqis or Iranians being involved in the Sept 11 in any way, shape or form. Have you truly gone nuts?

Please. Use your brain when reading. Of course FDR didn't cause Pearl Harbor, but there are real crazies who believe it. Just like there is a double digit percentage of moonbat nutters in your camp who seriously believe Bush knew about 9/11. Now to answer your question, India is a ally, Iran is not. Duh. But, if you want to complain about policy, show me how the UN has prevented nuclear proliferation. Oh, wait, we are sooo bad, its all our fault that more countries now have the bomb. So predictable.

Have I gone nuts? Your Saudis trained in Afghanistan, with the blessing of that illegitimate government. The Saudi government does not officially support the Islamofascists or their goals. The Iranians clearly are funding terrorists, and intentionally attempting to sway the free people of Iraq. The previous Iraqi governments intentions were clear, and they were not interested in becoming buddies. Here is where you nutters are beyond the pale. Unable to see the reality, and unwilling to support your own country. It has its roots in a guilt complex I guess. Couple that with hate and you have a cancer that will plague America for decades.

Quick Thoughts on War Planning

I responded to snide little comments today, and it was refreshing:

Your reaching a fever swamp pitch I see. Hope your Bush hate yeilds something benifitial someday... (Though that is impossible, any real liberal knows love is the answer!) As far as the approval rating goes, you're in outer space. Hasn't really changed much over the last year, hovering in the high thirties. Much higher than Congresses approval rating.

Bush Approval Ratings

But, thats irrelevant. Who cares about his approval rating now? Is he up for election? So, dems gonna defund the military? Also noticed that there was no huge escalation in Iraq violence after Saddams resizing. Wonder if the Bathists are loosing heart. You know, one thing the Iraq war planners may not have accounted for was the 100,000 criminals Saddam released just before the war. But, that wont be much of a problem soon. Transition continues, virtually ignored by libs. As to your juvenile relationship between historical war planning and the Iraq war, I scof. The 'war' was briliant and executed extreemely quickly. But if you want to make a comparison concerning the real parallel, lets do it! How did we beat the Japanese? They were fanatical, loyal to death. Fighting harder than any Islamofacist yet seen by us. Estimated losses in taking the Japanese homeland were staggering. We firebombed them, starved them and they still threw everything they could at us. So what happened? We nuked them. Civilian populations erased in one fell swoop. Showed them overwhelming force, and the will to use it.

You think your precious little war planners had that in mind? Completely asinine comparison. However, you are onto something. A plan to win includes displaying to your enemy that you will be willing to anihilate them. It is the infecting concepts of 'never again' and 'the end of all war' that guarentee another conflict even greater than before. We were willing to destroy whole cities of 'inocent' people in WWII, and our enemies continued to fight until recognizing the complete destruction of thier society. With the media of today, the will to fight that war would have been removed by peacenik 'propaganda' even before Midway. By the time of Guadacanal, the losses and images would have stabbed us in the heart.

Why were the Japanese so fanatical? They believed the Emporor was a divine representative. They were Shintofascist. Young men in droves threw away thier lives, and didn't stop until the divine leader gave up. The proverbial cutting off the head of the snake. What do you think it will take before we recognize the same thing in the Islamofascists? Because right now throughout the middle east, a whole generation is being raised with the same type of twisted idealism that the Japanese had. You think they care at all about diplomacy? Not likely. And what is a reasonable respnse to the rise of such a threat? Go hide in the sand and suck you thumb as you peaceniks desire? The longer you wait, the stronger your opponent becomes, just as in WWII. If the planners were so smart, they would have advised a pre-emptive buildup of the military and scrapping of the Versaille treaty.

Enter todays beautiful quote:

"Today, we have produced more than 250 tons of UF-6. Should you visit Isfahan, you will see we have constructed tunnels that are almost unique in the world," State-run television quoted Aghazadeh as saying.

Sure, its just another boisterous outburst from those frendly peace loving Iranians. Fortunately, our media is deaf dumb and blind to such threats, so we can wallow in ignorance a bit longer. Asisted of course by Bush hating peacenik nutters who lap up the self mollifying guilt fest daily. Its as if 9/11 never happened for them. And if it is im memory, its tagged with something along the lines of "Bush did it." Just like Rosevelt caused Pearl Harbor.