Truth can be an exasperating thing, especially when we come upon it unintentionally. However, for those who have the courage to pursue it in its purest form, truth becomes the indelible essence of their being and the lifeblood of existence as they journey ever forward into that to which they are destined.
As I write, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's powerfully effective speech to the U.S. Congress weighs heavy on my mind. I am reminded of another time and another place when the mighty Israeli army stood against what many saw as a formidable foe. It took a young shepherd boy, David, to see the truth through all the drama.
Standing eyeballs-to-bellybutton against the gargantuan man-slayer, Goliath, this boy who would one day be king boldly defied the Philistine giant before him. Standing alone in that moment, David knew in his heart he was not alone. "You come against me with a sword, and a spear," David said, "but I come to you in the name of…the God of the armies of Israel." David threw a stone, the giant fell, and Israel's foe lay defeated. more >>
Iran is the gravest danger to the U.S. and the world. Not ISIS. Not Boko Haram. Not Kony. Not Al Shabab. Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress helped refocus the distracted Obama administration's attention on this rising threat. It did not force them, unfortunately, to reconsider their ill-advised course. But at least it made President Obama and Secretary Kerry respond to the case made by Netanyahu before the American people and the world.
Our attention has been distracted of late by the medieval horrors of ISIS (Islamist Savagery Inspired by Satan). They have beheaded and burned and crucified innocents in their drive to rivet the attention of the world to their barbarism and menace. Of course, ISIS must be dealt with. more >>
The Obama administration has assured the world that a nuclear-armed Iran is not an acceptable outcome of ongoing negotiations. The President stated in 2012 that "preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn't just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States." No doubt the rest of the civilized world agrees. Russia, China and North Korea are among the very few nations who support the Iranian regime achieving its long-standing ambition of fielding nuclear warheads.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of a fanatical group of Shia "Twelvers" present an existential threat to the world that has never been seen in history. President Obama and his senior diplomat and negotiator, John Kerry, seem to have decided to allow Iran to continue enriching uranium and developing warheads. The proof is that, at the end of 2013, Iran had enough enriched uranium for seven warheads. A year later (Dec 2014) they now have enough for eight. By any measure, this does not reflect progress for the US and its allies in these negotiations.
Nukes, Not Electricity more >>
Late last week The New York Times ran an essay by a Marine infantry officer, Timothy Kudo, based on Mr. Kudo's experience giving orders to kill men in Afghanistan. He didn't pull the trigger, but he gave the orders — often viewing the action on grainy screens. His essay is thoughtful, though it doesn't square with either my own reflections or the reflections of others I know that made similar decisions in similar circumstances.
I salute him for his service, and I'm not here to judge how he processed the kill orders he gave.
There is, however, one segment of his piece that I think demonstrates that anguish and self-doubt are at least a partial product of our military's failure to educate and motivate. We shy from describing the enemy's true moral nature and ascribe responsibility to our own soldiers for innocent deaths that are truly the enemy's fault. Read these two paragraphs: more >>
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday and warned that a nuclear deal with Iran would leave the Jewish state in great danger. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said that the speech left her "near tears" and was an "insult to the intelligence of the United States."
"We have been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It is a very bad deal. We are better off without it," Netanyahu told the House of Representatives chamber, which CNN said generated "deafening cheers."
"We are being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That is just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal," Netanyahu added. more >>
Population shifts resulting from Syria's four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That's because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic-minority status to ethnic-majority status, encouraging like to live with like.
Before looking at each country, some background:
First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It's a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III. more >>