Escape from Iraq

Bob Novak explains how events have backed up his predictions:

Amid the presidential campaign’s furious debate over Iraq, I reported last Sept. 20 (“Getting Out of Iraq”) about strong feeling in the policymaking apparatus to get out of Iraq in 2005 even if democracy and peace had not been achieved there. My column evoked widespread expressions of disbelief, but changes over the last six months have only strengthened the view of my Bush administration sources that the escape from Iraq should begin once a permanent government is in place in Baghdad.

The most obvious change is the improved situation on the ground in Iraq, where it is no longer preposterous to imagine local security forces in control. Subtler is the advent of Secretary of State Rice. This willowy, vulnerable-looking woman wields measurably more power than Colin Powell, the robust general who preceded her. Officials who know her well believe she favors the escape from Iraq.

“She is not controlled by the neo-cons insisting on achieving a perfect democracy before we go,” a colleague told me. That reflects not only the national consensus but also the preponderance of Republican opinion. Without debating the wisdom of military intervention in Iraq two years ago, President Bush’s supporters believe it now is time to go and leave the task of subduing the insurgents to Iraqis.

In my Sept. 20 column, I speculated that Rice would replace Powell at State, that she would be replaced as national security adviser by her deputy Stephen Hadley and that Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz would succeed Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at Defense. I was correct in two out of three, because Rumsfeld is staying on at the Pentagon.

This would be a very good thing. The action is perhaps 18 months late but better than never. If the Shiites choose to let the Kurds go their own way that really has nothing to do with us. If they don’t then they’re simply acting precisely as we have during the period of the US occupation. I don’t consider the establishment of a new Shiite government to be a particularly positive accomplishment – I don’t subscribe to the democracy fetish that insists the mere fact of voting cures all ills- but it’s certainly good to know that people are no longer being fed into paper shredders by the Hussein thugocracy. Was the war worth it? I doubt it but time will tell.

Now if we can only withdraw our troops from 100 other countries where they also don’t belong we can start to consider why federal imperialism is necessary at home. Unfortunately this move will likely have more to do with China’s recent saber-rattling than anything else.


Discuss amongst yourselves

Don’t expect to see a lot of commas today (see – there should have been one there) because I managed to spill onto my laptop keyboard last night. I’m pretty optimistic (you’ll have to imagine the commas from this point on) because I was getting no keyboard input at all last night. At first the doggone thing didn’t even want to boot which was more than a little worrisome.

But after a blow-drying the beast and leaving it to sit overnight I’ve almost got complete functionality back. The right side of the keyboard took the brunt of the spill and right now the comma shift-comma shift-period capital-l and the Numpads 1-3 5 8 9 + and – aren’t working. Numpad * works but wildly repeats. Anyone know where I can download a linux keyboard remapper?

Still the Numbpad * craziness a good sign – I think – because when the machine first started drying out only the semi-colon worked and it repeated like mad. Now it’s fine. Here’s hoping full functionality comes about by tomorrow so I don’t have to order a new keyboard. As Space Bunny said after 27 years the law of averages finally caught up. It’s still irritating but it’s sure a lot less irritating now than it was last night.

UPDATE: We have commas! And L and


Mailvox: how do you know?

Brody asks a legitimate question:

I am curious to know: how do the christians here KNOW they are right about who created earth and humans and why they were created? Is it a feeling? A bit of knowledge? What makes you certain you chose the correct religion, rather than say, buddhism?

I am a Christian because I not only believe in Jesus Christ, but have accepted that he is the Lord of my life, not me. Some might find this little quiz interesting, which shows that I tend more strongly towards agnosticism than any other religion; the Christianity of most conservatives will usually tend to orient more towards Buddhism or one of the Abrahamic faiths. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I don’t have any problem with saying that I don’t KNOW that my religion is based on the truth, I simply BELIEVE that it is.

You scored as Christianity.

Christianity
92%
agnosticism
46%
Buddhism
33%
Islam
29%
Judaism
25%
Hinduism
17%
Paganism
13%
Satanism
0%
atheism
0%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com

That being said, my reasons for deciding to follow Jesus Christ and abide by the principles of Christianity as laid out in the Bible and by Christian tradition – however poorly I may do so – are threefold. (Neither four, nor five, shall be the reasons, neither shall they be one or two, excepting that they then proceedeth on to three… I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

1. Christian principles predict human behavior and its concomitant consequences better than anything else I’ve witnessed or studied. This holds true on both individual and societal levels. Within its intellectual tradition, Christianity provides an explanation for everything from unhappy housewives to the inevitability of war to the marginal utility of wealth. Regardless of whether one accepts those explanations, a reasonable one almost always exists. While not always intellectually credible at first glance, on the whole it is more intellectually coherent than any other philosophy or religion.

2. I have witnessed and experienced the power of Jesus Christ in my life and in the lives of those around me. The main reason I became more open to the possibility that Christianity might indeed be something to consider was witnessing some dramatic changes in the White Buffalo, only to learn after the fact that he had become a Christian some time before. I was completely unaware that he’d even been attending church, much less become a Christian, because I never, ever, got up before noon and he was going to an early service. I can still remember overhearing a conversation of his, one totally unrelated to religion, and wondering if the Pod People had come in the night.

So, even if Christianity was, by its own lights, false, it would still be an uncannily powerful placebo and one that one would be churlish, if not downright evil, to deny others. The very hatred that so many betray for Christianity, as opposed to Islam, Judaism (the religion, not the people) and Buddhism is, to me, testimony of the veracity of the Christian worldview.

3. The existence and persistence of evil, great and small. I believed in the tangible reality of evil before I believed in the existence of God. The one requires the other, for without God, there is no evil, there is only opinion or a lack of perfect utility. Indeed, even if Christianity is nothing but a human construct, I’ll take it on that Voltairean grounds alone, for it is a construct that has served humanity longer and better than any other.

Those are my chief intellectual reasons; there are many others. Perhaps they are meaningless for you, but they happen to be sufficient for me. Certainly, I have believed other things with far less cause and after far less thought. But beyond the merely intellectual, there is a joy in my heart when I contemplate the simple phrase “He is Risen” that gives me a persistent optimism even in the face of the world’s panoply of evils. The world is a madhouse ruled by a vicious sadist, but it is only a shadow, and soon enough, the Son will rise once more.

People often consider me a pessimist because of the conclusions I draw from the available evidence, without stopping to consider how often I am correct. And perhaps they’re right, although I’m probably one of the more cheerful pessimists you’ll ever meet. Because although the world is doomed – damned, actually – it has been almost from the start. Christians may be in the world, but we are not of it, and that is a very cheering thought indeed. It’s rather like being a tourist in a third world hellhole; no matter how bad it is around you at the moment, it won’t get you too down since you know it won’t be all that long before you’re back in air-conditioned civilization again.

I don’t know that I am right with regards to these things. But it is enough, it is more than enough, to trust that I am.


An Easter ambush

If the Easter Bunny didn’t reach your home this year, I may have the explanation:

Q: What happens if the dogs catch the Easter Bunny and eat him?
A: Well, I guess we’d end up with all the candy he was bringing to the children around the world.
Q: (wide eyes) Ooooh! I hope they get him!

Happy Easter, everyone!


Done and done

ARCHANGELS: THE FALL Vol. III is complete:

When the Son of Man died, the darkness that had fallen about the land began to fade. The bloodthirsty crowd of mortals fell silent, as if for the first time they realized what they had done. Shame filled them and they departed quickly from Calvary, eager to leave behind the dead body that rebuked them in its innocent silence. But the darkness was in their hearts now, even as the one who claimed lordship over them howled in exaltation. The skies were lost to madness as his demons hurled themselves against the downcast Host of Heaven, who were still in shock at the death of the promised savior. One after another, they fell before the evil legions, raining down upon the earth like shooting stars. The Dragon urged them on, arrogantly certain of his victory.

We went to press yesterday, finishing up the final third in the trilogy. This one was a little harder to write, as we filled it with more text than one normally sees in a comic book and there was less Biblical text available on which to base the story. Also, it was felt that Christian Bookstore Association sensitivities did not allow for any graphic harrowing of Hell, which was unfortunate since that was something I was rather looking forward to writing.

But Focus on the Family seems to really like them – one of their editors volunteered to edit the third one – and so it will be interesting to see how people respond to them once they become more widely available in the next month or two. The general consensus seems to be that they’re somewhat unusual as CBA product goes, since the fantasy elements are both stronger and darker than is typically the case. (One guess as to who is responsible for that….)

There’s a pretty good chance that we’re going to be doing more comics this year with one of the larger CBA publishers. The two leading contenders, in my opinion, are ARCHANGELS: LEGACY, a concept about angelic battles of the past and how they related to historical events both real and fictional, and THE CHRONICLES OF KING DAVID, which is a concept designed around the Biblical David combined with recently uncovered archeological evidence and the New Chronology of Egypt that would involve three traditional novels and three-related graphic novels.

UPDATE – In answer to some questions, clicking on the gold cover of Volume III will take you to a place where you can order it. It will be a few weeks before they make their way to the Family Christian stores, Lifeways and a few other Christian bookstores that plan to carry them. As for who does the artwork, I believe Patrick did the cover himself, while the interior artwork is done by Deon Ruckols and Scott Sirag (pencils), Rus Sever (inks) and Jose Flores (colors and digital effects).


Pop against the philosophers

I driving in the car this morning, happily singing along to one of the all-time great one-hit wonders, the Bloodhound Gang, when it occurred to me that, in a simple chorus line, they had effortlessly managed to defeat the logic underlying decades of social science and atheist philosophy.

You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel….

What the Bloodhound Gang offers, aside from a few catchy riffs and the inimitable ubergeek line about one’s priorities where the X-Files are concerned, is reality versus hypothesis. Only Nietzsche was bold enough to directly confront the stark reality of a Godless, amoral universe, while his less courageous fellows are forced to wildly bend, twist and otherwise obfuscate the moral parasitism that they cling to in cowardice. But the airy possibilities they cite are nothing more than baseless theory, which falls flat on its face before the reality of godless amoralism put into practice every day by millions of young Americans.

And so, they are left grasping for ever more unlikely explanations to explain away that which surrounds them, instead of turning to the obvious answer. We are sinful, fallen beings living in a sinful, fallen world. Our only genuine hope is in the Cross and the man whose death we remember today, otherwise, if we are merely animals, who has the right to criticize the man, woman, boy or girl who chooses to live like one?


Seventy gazillion years ago…

Drudge quotes the New York Times:

A 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex recently discovered in Montana, scientists reported today, has apparently yielded the improbable: soft tissues, including blood vessels and possibly cells, that “retain some of their original flexibility, elasticity and resilience.”

I’ll be interested to see how “scientists” explain how soft tissue survives seventy million years. I’m also interested to know how the seventy million year figure was reached. I suspect, of course, that they “know” it is seventy million years old because the dinosaur is supposed to have lived seventy million years ago. They might as well have said “a 70-gazillion-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex”; hardly anyone would have blinked an eye at that either.

As I’ve stated previously, I am a staunch advocate of the “I don’t know” theory of prehistoric timelines. I personally find Heinlein’s explanation in THE BOOK OF JOB that 6,000 years ago, God created an Earth that was billions of years old to be as likely as anything. But wouldn’t it be rather intriguing to see what the reaction of the scientific community would be to the discovery of a Tyrannosaurus rex with a monkey skeleton, or better yet, the soft-tissued remains of a homo sapien, in its belly? Coincidentally enough, I started writing just such a story not long after the last evolutionary contretemps* here.

*Strictly speaking, this may not be a precisely accurate usage here, as the word indicates a degree of unexpectedness. I can’t remember if I’d brought the subject up on purpose or not last time, but since I like the word and it is not necessarily inappropriate, I shall take the liberty of using it here. For the more obsessive-compulsive in our midst, please be assured that there is no need to investigate the matter. Not that this will stop you, of course.


Mailvox: circular logic and more

Wes fails to follow the plot:

This is ridiculous. This is not about the government making “health care decisions.” This is about the government making a decision to put an innocent woman to death by starvation. Health care doesn’t come into it. And Vox, do you have any interest in justice? Isn’t it the government’s job to see that justice prevails? Here we have a case where a state government wants to see to it that one of its citizens dies. I’m sorry, but stopping a murder is a far cry from making “health care decisions.”

Isn’t it the government’s job to see that justice prevails? Actually, the government’s only job is to obey the Constitution. In fact, it is this pursuit of “justice”, which Thomas Sowell has mocked in his book THE QUEST FOR COSMIC JUSTICE, that has led the federal government to repeatedly violate the Constitution.

It is the federal government, with its Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security programs, that has laid the groundwork for what will soon be the demographically required euthanasia laws. Neither the federal nor the state governments have any interest in stopping this sort of murder, which is why the brothers Bush have both refused to take any direct action other than indulging in some meaningless Pilatean hand-washing meant to deflect the blame away from them.

The fact that this is primarily a state action rather than a federal one only goes to show how far the rot has spread. Usually the federal government has to pressure the states into following its directives, in this case the state happens to be anticipating them. Then again, there is a rather close relationship between the heads of both organizations, so perhaps that’s not surprising.

If you insist on clinging to the political fiction of a Democratic-Republican dichotomy, you will find the next twenty years as mystifying as the last twenty. If, on the other hand, you understand that beneath the fiction is an orchestrated effort to transform a theoretically decentralized constitutional republic into a fully centralized member of a supranational oligarchy, everything not only makes perfect sense, but becomes quite predictable. Thus, I can confidently predict:

1. uniform state euthanasia laws
2. a ban on home-schooling, probably federal
3. a political union with Canada and Mexico
4. an elimination of the right to trial by jury
5. elimination of the separation of powers doctrine (this is already effective, but not apparent)
6. a ban on all political speech by unapproved parties (already in the works)
7. emigration restrictions
8. legally recognized polyamorous relationships
9. a global tax to fund a UN military

Some of these sound outrageous, but they are eminently more practical than they were ten years ago. Why do I say that I can confidently predict them? Because they are absolutely necessary for the formulation of the system envisioned by the global governance groups. Demographics require the first. Propaganda requires the second. Administration requires the third. Efficiency requires the fourth and fifth. Weakening inherent resistance requires the sixth, seventh and eighth, and maintenance requires the ninth.

It is entirely possible that these things will not all come about, because the plans of men gang aft agley. Even if the ideal globalist system comes to pass, it will collapse of its own weight soon enough. The globalists are hoping that a US-style federalism will suffice to spread out that weight, but the crazed corruption of the EU indicates that their optimism in the architecture is misplaced. One need not be a Christian to see these things aborning, but I would think it would be somewhat troubling for a non-Christian to see how important elements of the apocalyptic vision of Christianity is being actively constructed in front of us.

For the Christian, of course, there is an important ray of hope that penetrates the nightmare. For if this is the last, bitter gasp of the Darkness, then the return of the King of Kings is nigh.


Mailvox: Starve a judge

Annie quotes someone named John in DC:

Newsflash people. As I suspected, it’s, once again, the GOP judges who are staking out the position that Terri Schiavo should be permitted to finally die with dignity. Not only is the Florida judge a big ole Republican, but of the 3 appellated court judges deciding on this yesterday, the dissenter (i.e., agreed with the religious right) was a Clinton appointee, and the two judges who said it’s time to let Terri go were a Bush and a Clinton apppointee.

But oh, it gets even better. When an emergency appeal is filed with the US Supreme Court, it’s filed with one justice who gets to decide if they’ll take up the case. Well, last time the appeal was made to conservative Justice Kennedy, A REAGAN APPOINTEE, and rather than simply accept the appeal like a good Republican clone, he instead referred it to the entire court for THEM to decide. The entire court, the majority of which is republican appointees, voted it down.

Let me reiterate that. A Reagan judge declined to take the appeal – i.e., declined to save Terri – then the majority Republican appointed US Supreme Court declined as well.

So now the religious right and congressional republicans think even Reagan appointed judges are too activist and too liberal. Then who IS proper to be a judge if even a Reagan appointee is too liberal? Or, is the problem simply that the religious right and the GOP won’t accept ANY judge that doesn’t rubber stamp any and all of their extreme views?

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Look, as almost everyone knows, I don’t believe there is any difference between the two political factions. They both work towards the same ends, and their purpose is to take turns playing good cop and bad cop for their respective constituencies, both of which are dumb enough to repeatedly fall for the act, ad infinitum.

The Schiavo situation demonstrates one half of how the political leadership plans to solve the demographically doomed Social Security program. The meeting today between the three would-be regional governors of the future pan-American superstate demonstrates the other half. So, the good news is that you’ll be assured of receiving your retirement benefits, the bad news is that you won’t be collecting them quite as long as you might like.

I’m just wondering, if someone were to lock a judge in a closet and deprive him of food and water, would it be murder? Apparently not in the eyes of our legal system. And quite a few of those fellows are fairly old coots… the moral imperative suddenly becomes clear.

Starve a judge for Social Security!


Defending the borders

From the Washington Times:

President Bush yesterday said he opposes a civilian project to monitor illegal aliens crossing the border, characterizing them as “vigilantes.” He said he would pressure Congress to further loosen immigration law.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican president! Too bad he’s loyal to the Union of the Americas instead of the United States of America.

He defends the borders about as well as he defends the Constitution.