Monday, July 31, 2006

World War III: To Be or Not To Be?

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, interesting question, but, can you get back to me after Desperate Housewives is over? This is the episode where...

OK, I am only joking of course, I have never seen Desperate Housewives. My point is that we Americans, and I suspect most Europeans, Australians and Japanese don't act like we are at war at all- let alone a world war. We are just too busy and can't be bothered with it. There are those who scoff at the notion of calling the Islamic jihad currently besetting the civilized world anything so grandiose as Word War III.

They make some good points that speak to the dichotomy of the situation. After we watch the world being blown up every night on TV we get up the next day and go to work in a quiet, safe orderly fashion where the most violent thing we see is a racoon choosing precisely the wrong moment to cross the road. It is true that the world economy has never been better, more people eat better than at anytime in history. Just looking back a mere 100 years ago we are without question living so much better that it's hard not to call these the "good old days".

Michael Barone tells us exactly that in his piece today posted at RealClearPolitics. He steps through five positive trends happening right now that is supposed to give us pause while we comtemplate the doom and gloom of the latest CNN broadcast. Everyone loves an optimist Michael!

Indeed, there are a lot of things in our modern world that shine and sparkle like never before. Today's American kids - even those from my generation who came of age right after the Vietnam War have never faced real hardship. With a modest investment in an education there is much to be had in this hustling, bustling place we call western civilization. But seriously, folks, western civilization IS under assault.

Our economy is resilient as is evidenced by the dramatic recovery after the the triple threat of the dot com/post Y2K bust, the late 1990's corporate scandals and, of course, 9/11. As resilient as it is the American economy - and by extention the rest of the world - it is not unbreakable. You can ask, was 9/11 perpetrated to harm our economy and throw the west into a tailspin or was it, as Osama bin Laden said - a way to spark the global jihad and hasten the third and final Caliphate? With the unwitting marriage of the hostile media and self-hating westerners the Islamic radicals have expertly recruited potent weapons against America, Israel and George W. Bush.

There are but two ways to stop the jihad.

One: hammer them with daisy cutters in an unrelenting assault with all the might our advanced society can muster. Read - total war.

Two: attempt to affect a systemic change in the Greater Middle East by transforming ruthless dictatorships into democratically elected governments and watch the dominoes fall as one success begets another. Read - take out Saddam Hussein.

If we (America/George W. Bush) had opted for the former then we would no doubt be calling it World War III. So, why, if we chose the latter are we not calling it a world war? What else is it? Just because we don't have massive movement of troops and air campaigns with generals moving little tanks across giant maps with their little sticks doesn't mean its not a world war. Just because in 5 years less people have been killed than in 5 weeks of WWII doesn't mean its not a world war.

The Islamic facists believe this is a world war. They are fighting like it is a world war - as they have for decades now. In Europe they are fighting it with simple demographics. They will conquer Europe through the wombs of their women. The riots in France last year and the murders in the Netherlands as well as the bombings in Madrid and London were simply overzealous terrorists who can see that there is no fight left in the belly of native Europeans. The Muslim extremists are unwilling to wait for attrition to work its magic.

Israel, I'm afraid, may wind up a mushroom cloud. The Palestinians will be wiped out as well, but that won't matter to the Islamic facists since they never really cared about the Palestinians anyway. It seems pretty obvious that the Palestinians are just pawns being shuffled around the Middle East chess board from Jordan to Lebanon to Gaza and West Bank by their so-called Arab brothers.

The Islamic facists have their hands full with America, but they can bide their time and wait out an Administration that has been strong enough to actually take action. Despite the fact that they have botched it up more than once the current administration will give the terrorist planners pause. Certain Americans and their leftist bretheren abroad believe that the Muslim world has a legitimate right to engage in terrorism to counter American imperalism. They are deluding themselves into believing it is American foreign policy that has single-handedly provoked this jihad. Poppycock! It was Europe and particularly Britian that conquered and set up the dictatorships that dominated the Middle East after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. But even that isn't the real reason we find our world in such turmoil. It is because the rest of us are all unclean non-believers.

The gall of these Islamic extremists living in their delusional, backward fantasy world to consider me unclean because I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. The sickness that condemns the followers of Moses to death because they dare to exist at all pervades Muslim thought at every level - and they call us unclean! Many don't even care about their own children (unless, of course, they can use their deaths to condemn Israel) while they go about teaching them hate and matyrdom in the form of a suicide belt. What kind of parents do such things? These people are monsters! And they call us unclean! These are the ultimate close-minded bigots.

This is a world war. It's just a different kind of world war than the last 2 or 3. If we are content to watch Europe disappear and are OK with the occasional bombing and tolerant while the intolerant aquire the ultimate weapons of mass destruction while we go about making our stock deals with just enough time to get home before Desperate Housewives starts then I guess we can ignore radical Islam. Don't say you weren't warned. Remember 9/11?


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hot Spots

Islamic Jihad is on the March

With the current hot conflict between Israel and the terrorists in Gaza and southern Lebanon it's time for the naysayers to finally admit that we are in a global war pitting progressive western civilization against the forces of seventh century Islamic facism. Clearly the jihadists have demonstrated their reach by striking targets on every continent except Antartica. They have also demonstrated their intent beyond a shadow of a doubt. With Teheran and Damascus pulling the strings like master puppeteers Hamas and Hezbollah have rejected Israel's unilateral land for peace strategy and instead of getting down to the business of governing the electorate in Gaza they have begun lobbing missiles from the south while Hezbollah launches aggressive unprovoked attacks from the north. No matter what the leftist Jew haters say - the truth is that Israel was not the aggressor here.

President Bush, unlike his predecessor, is not calling on Israel to go easy. Instead he is hoping that Israel strikes a fatal blow to the Syrian backed forces in Lebanon. The sad fact that innocent Lebanese lives will be lost is regretable but unavoidable. They have Hezbollah, and ultimately, the mullahs in Teheran to thank. If Lebanon is ever to have real peace Hezbollah has to go. The President's critics are already decrying his lack of engagement, citing the Hurricane Katrina syndrome once again. No so, Bush is counting on Israel to pound Hezbolah into the sand or send them running to Syria for once and for all.

I offer this simple graphic to demonstrate the cancer that is radical Islam. Excluding the drug wars in Columbia and a few other intermural wars around the globe almost every current hot conflict involves elements of radical Islam pounding away at the edges of their strongholds in northern Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia... You self-hating westerners can go ahead and cling to your foolish notion that the US is the cause of all global strife but you'd be wrong.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Artificial Happiness

Happiness is Fleeting

What made us happy yesterday might not do it today. One need only observe children and their ever constant desires to understand that happiness is a temporary state at best. The littlest thing will make a small child deliriously happy - for a while. As they grow the child's requirements to achieve a constant state of happiness outpaces a parent's ability to meet them. That's when the trouble begins.

What is happiness? Why is it so slippery? Like water through our hands we can feel it, bask in the glory of it and enjoy the moment, but rest assured the moment will be gone. Frankly, that's the way it's supposed to be. We cannot, should not expect to be happy all the time. We actually do ourselves and our children a disservice by trying to make happiness "the" goal. Happiness, I believe happens naturally without coaxing.

The American Declaration of Independence places happiness front and center... "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Note that Jefferson did not say Life, Liberty and the achievement of Happiness. The pursuit of happiness is all about the journey. Therein lies the key. Quite often it's the journey not the destination. We find happiness along the way, and sometimes in the most unusual places.

If we look at life, even the grind of daily life, as a series of small journeys and enjoy the fleeting moments of contentment and satisfaction we will go a long way toward being a well adjusted soul. Unfortunately, for many people (since the beginning of time) recognizing happiness for what it is becomes impossible.

Enter Artificial Happiness

Artificial happiness comes in many forms and sad as it is to say nearly all of them are ultimately destructive if they become the journey... We humans have an endless supply of vehicles to climb aboard: alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), eating, sex, exercise, TV, shopping, self-improvement, gambling, electronic games and gadgets, selfishness - well, the list goes on forever. Now, any one of these can enhance a moment that lead to periods of contentment and satisfaction if they are treated as just one small part of the journey. For too many people once seduced by the instant gratification of making the journey without all those pesky up and downs happiness becomes about feeling no pain or frustration - ever. Seeking some kind of temporary happiness via any of these vehicles is so effective nothing else will do anymore.

Inevitably they all crash. If you are a compulsive shopper eventually the money runs out. Drug and alcohol use produces terrible hangovers and addiction. TV watching in excess leads to a sedentary life that introduces all kinds of health problems - physical and mental. It's just not a pretty picture.

Enter Modern Medicine

In his book "Artificial Happiness" Anesthesiologist and political philosopher Ronald Dworkin explores the role the medical community has played in the instant gratification field of the pursuit of happiness. He takes a lot of heat from those who claim he is far too dismissive of minor depression and the treatment of it. His primary angle, interestingly enough does not focus on psychiatrists. Instead he pins the blame on primary care doctors. The claim that far too many people are taking Prozac for unhappiness and not really for clinical depression is very compelling. Which comes first the chicken or the egg - unhappiness or depression? Dworkin is really careful about separating real (major) depression from unhappiness. Depression, not unhappiness, should be treated with drugs, and Prozac and Zoloft as well as many others are safe and effective when perscribed in an applicable situation. The problem is that doctors take cues from their patient's expression of unhappiness (during 10 minute encounters) and then prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

Unhappiness, stress and other temporary afflictions are perfectly natural and universal. The rich and famous are often the most unhappy. Oddly, in some parts of the world the poorest people are the happiest. This has been the focus of many studies over the years and while seemingly counterintuitive the real answer to this paradox is expressed in the simple phrase "money can't buy happiness". Neither can drugs or alcohol.

Me, I recommend balance. A little of this, a little of that and a whole lot of God. Talking with God via the Holy Spirit that resides in your heart is the very best counseling your can receive. In other words take God along with you on this journey we call life. He's a great listener and the perfect gut check.


Saturday, July 08, 2006


They say that the only constant is change. After 45 years on this planet I have to say that this universal observation is indeed an immutable law. This is, of course, a contradictory statement...

immutable: im·mu·ta·ble
Pronunciation: (")i(m)-'myĆ¼-ta-b&l
Function: adjective
definition: not capable of or susceptible to change

It only emphasizes the fact that absolutely nothing is cut and dried, wait, there is beef jerky... Well, you know what I mean!

Monday, July 10th, I will turn 45.
My sixteen-thousand-seven-hundred-and-ninety-first day of breathing the free air will not be much different than the day before. This is good. Yes, it is true that change can be good, even essential, but, rapid change is jarring and disorientating. Being plunged into ice cold water from a deep sleep can never be good, right?

We might think that gradual change is better, more tolerable and infinitely more manageble. I'm not so sure. Some of the greatest things come in the flash of an eye. For instance: Love at first sight. It is not a cliche, it happens. It is the most exhilarating thing a human being can experience. It whacks you upside the head and you've been changed.

Unfortunately for love and all other forces of nature it has it's equal and opposite. If love at first sight is like throwing the switch on a 5000 watt search light then its opposite is the smolding embers of an unattended campfire.

Even God's universe is bound by this conundrum known as change. It began with a bang and it will end with an entropic whisper...

Pronunciation: 'en-tro-pE
Function: noun
1 : broadly : the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system
2 : a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder

What ravels will unravel.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Answer Me This

After watching the movie "Firewall" the other day something they did got me thinking about the fate of the two American service men who were kidnapped and brutally tortured in Iraq. The movie itself was largely forgetable - a typical Harrison Ford flick, a humble everyday Joe thrust into traumatic circumstances - and confirmed my decision to wait for the DVD rather than pay full price at the theater.

Toward the end of the flick the hero was trying to find his kidnapped family and when he heard his dog barking in the background - I know, I know, what kind of kidnappers would take the damn dog too - he remembered that the dog had one of those identity chips implanted on it. Using the website provided by the maker of the chip he was able to track the dog via the miracle of GPS and it led him to his family.

So, I ask, why in Heaven's name isn't the military implanting chips like these in every single one of their combat and field personel? It certainly can't be because of privacy rights, these men and women are the property of the US government as much as my dog is my property.

These two soldiers could have been located and possibly rescued before they were so brutally murdered. It also begs a larger question, and I know there are a lot smarter people than I in the military, why have they not secrectly implanted these chips on prisoners and then set them free so they could be led to hidey holes the terrorists are using? Maybe they are doing this, how am I to know... It would be a cheap and easy way to do intelligence.

Of course, now the New York Times will be exposing this practice too, if indeed it is an effective tool for fighting the War on Terror. The hue and cry over the constitutional rights of soldier and terrorist alike will be debated on Chris Matthew's "Hardhead" on MSNBC. So, on second thought, nevermind that you read any of this...