An interesting commentary from Russ Moore pointing to the fact that SBCers aren't having babies. "Conservative denominations such as the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), the Church of the Nazarene, and Pentecostal groups had high birth rates. The Southern Baptist Convention is an exception. The SBC had a pitifully low birthrate of 1.96, just barely above the Episcopalians and well below the notoriously liberal United Church of Christ."
Doug Bandow with a nice overview of what the Left thinks about foreign policy. They are, of course, if anything more bloody-minded interventionists than the GOP. "For most of them [the Left], whether they supported or opposed intervening in Iraq, it is Clinton administration redux: moralistic and promiscuous foreign intervention, preferably multilateral rather than unilateral. Many liberals, and especially Democratic politicians, are no less disciples of Woodrow Wilson than are President Bush and the neoconservative coterie surrounding him."
The NY Times says that Pope Benedict has to repent for his sins. Evidently, his crime was recounting a 14th century discussion between a Byzantine Christian emperor and a Persian scholar. The pope quoted the emperor saying, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." He also said that Jihad, violence in the name of God, is contrary to God's nature. The Times is also angry that in 2004, in his role as the Vatican's top theologian, Benedict said that as a Muslim nation, Turkey is "in permanent contrast to Europe." Sheer wickedness, don't you think?
An interesting report from the largely forgotten war in Afghanistan. "In the five years since international military operations began, Afghanistan’s security situation has deteriorated significantly. After a period of relative calm during the first few years that followed the removal of the Taliban, violence is spreading once again throughout this country. As a consequence, many Afghans now perceive their country to be less secure than it was in 2001. Although 'democratic government' is now in place, the Afghan population has not yet experienced many of the promised economic and social stability benefits of peacetime." According to this report, the southern half of the country is controlled by the Taliban.
A classified report written by the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq concludes that "the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there." According to this WAPO article, the Marine commander in Anbar, Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer, agrees with the pessimistic assessment.
Meanwhile, foreign policy strategist Andrew Sandlin shows off his "muscular libertarianism" by saying we may need to topple the Iranian regime. Why, you ask, are we resposible to clean up every mess on the planet? Sounding like Richard Land, or maybe it was Peter Parker's uncle in Spiderman, Sandlin says, "With great power comes great responsibility." Sandlin writes:
The United States is granted this responsibility not because she is a global political messiah, not because she is the world’s moral and military policeman, but because she has been given great wealth and power, and because God expects her to use those gifts justly and compassionately for the benefit of weaker individuals and nations. Rooting out terrorists and terrorist regimes is acting justly and compassionately. This is our burden as well as our calling. "To whom much is given much is required."
According to Sandlin, the United States is "patently virtuous" and altruistic. I think William Lind is closer to the truth here when he says that the United States is leading the march into a Huxleyan Brave New World. Lind writes:
Sadly, the march toward Brave New World is led by the United States. The main characteristics of Huxley’s dystopia are all too evident in post-1960s America (and Europe). They include a culture where the summary of the law is "you must be happy," happiness coming from a combination of materialism, consumerism, electronic entertainment, and sexual pleasure; globalism, the elites’ "one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them" under de facto if not de jure world government; and endless psychological conditioning, especially through the government schools and the video-screen media. Religion is already relegated to the eccentric margins, at least among the elites, if not yet quite forbidden—note those elites’ hysteria over the thesis of intelligent design, which can be reached via the scientific method. Even reproductive processes are becoming much as Huxley envisioned them. In the post-Christian West, sex is predominantly recreational, and if children do not yet come from bottles, not many babies result from all that sex. Soon enough, thanks to genetic engineering, the genetic conditioning Huxley foresaw will join psychological conditioning to create an inescapable prison for the human will. At that point, we will face the Abolition of Man. No wonder Huxley’s "savage," who represents the Last Man, committed suicide.