Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Condensed Bob Woodward
Slate reads Plan of Attack so you don't have to.
By Bryan Curtis

Click photo to read brief/important excerpts
Middle East: William Buckley on Dying Diplomacy

Tick-tock.. tick-tock. Mr. Buckley bets that diplomacy will die before a Palestinian community can be regenerated. You know what happens when diplomacy dies.........don't you? We may not see the exact result now, but if there's one thing we could say with certainty, it would be that it isn't going to be pretty.

Tuesday morning we learned that the king of Jordan snubbed the president of the United States....

....If you think Jordan's King Abdullah was acting precipitately, you have lost count of diplomatic currents and crosscurrents in the recent season. Jordan's rebuff came after one week of excoriations by Egypt's Hosni Mubarak....

Turning Point
George Bush's global holy war threatens our Presidency—and perhaps the future of our nation
Village Voice/Sydney H. Schanberg

Many presidents have invoked God in speeches and policy decisions, especially during times of war when soldiers were dying for country. And most presidents have told lies of various kinds during their tenures. But I know of no president, certainly no modern president, who said he was acting in God's name while telling lies in order to prod the country into a war against an adversary that, though a vile dictatorship, was no real threat to our security—and had no significant link to the bin Laden forces that attacked us in 2001......
.......Americans take his faith seriously. Many of them, however, may not trust his presidential judgments.
Norman Solomon's plea:
Journalists should scrutinize U.S. government spin, not contribute to it.

The scene:
It's April 7 on the NewsHour (PBS). Battles are raging in close to a dozen Iraqi cities; a retired U.S. Air Force colonel refers to the American authorities' closure of a newspaper that had served as a megaphone for the anti-occupation Shiite leader Moktada al-Sadr:

Col. Sam Gardiner: "The immediate problem we have to remember is we started this ... with the aggressive policies towards Sadr that came from us, shutting down his press."

Jim Lehrer: "The reason we shut down his press is because it was calling for violence and anti-American ..."

Col. Gardiner: "Sure."

Lehrer: "I just want to get that on the record."

Norman Solomon has many questions. He investigates further. He's disappointed in what he sees as a lack of journalistic integrity in this case. The statements made on April 7th simply didn't jibe with the facts. We wonder how the public is so misled?

George Bush, Self-deluded Messiah

By David Corn, The Nation/Alternet, April 19, 2004

[President] Bush told [Bob] Woodward that he remained certain the war had been the right move because he has a "duty to free people." That is not how he had depicted his obligations before the war. Then he claimed his duty was to defend the United States. This remark – coupled with Bush's comment that "there is a higher father that I appeal to" – does make it seem that Bush believes he is on a mission from God. That might scare some, but it would not be so problematic if Bush also believed that God expects him to engage in self-examination and critical and honest discourse before mounting an action that claims thousands of lives, and if Bush took into this heart the fact that God (assuming God exists) created intellectuals, experts, skeptics and critics as well as cowboys, oil rig workers, and truck drivers (not that any of these folks cannot be fancy-pants eggheads as well). [LINK]
Christianity and Islam: Collision or convergence?

How Christians and Muslims navigate the road ahead will have profound consequences for both communities--and for the world.

--- Charles Kimball

An address given by Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, at the Gregorian University, March 25, 2004 is HERE.

Four questions are carefully considered:

-- What are the reasons for Islam’s association with terrorism and death?
-- What challenges does Islam itself face?

-- What is Islam’s challenge to the West in general and Christianity in particular?

-- How may we move from collision to convergence in mutual understanding and respect?

If you're short on time, an article at gives you an abbrerviated version with main points emphasized.
Election 2004- Listen to the warnings

The U.S. is heading for another election fiasco as election reforms fail---the Civil Rights Commission makes a plea----and Republicans publically demonstrate they don't want to hear about it?!? American citizens, if your blood is not boiling over this deliberate Republican disconnect from the concern over your right to vote, you are not paying atttention. The vitality of America’s democracy depends on the fairness and accuracy of America’s elections!

When the Commission on Civil Rights convened an expert panel in Washington this month to discuss its report, the Republican Party delegation walked out before the proceedings began, one panel participant, Rebecca Mercuri, a Harvard University voting machinery expert, said.
Bootleg-able Jesus Entertainment: Popular or Influential?

We are asked to believe that "The Passion" is an out-and-out spiritual revolution. At least, that's what People magazine says. Then again, People magazine's definition of a spiritual revolution is moving to a more original, self-expressive wardrobe.. and cutting veal out of your regular diet.

At, Larry Womack writes an entertaining editorial called "Bootlegging Jesus". Like Larry, I'd initially said I wouldn't see Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion". You can see my pre-movie thoughts here. As it turned out, I went to see it. Like Larry, I'd read the Bible. I'd also studied Christianity (among other religions). I considered Gibson's movie as entertainment...if you can call it that. (The nachos suddenly didn't taste so good whilst watching the meaty/bloody scouging scene.) I wanted to see--I HAD to see.. what the fuss was all about. Jesus Christ Superstar was entertainment, too...and after seeing both, for me, Superstar was far more inspiring. (I'm not the action-movie blood-n-guts type). My point is that neither of these entertainments were part of the well from which I'd drawn my faith. The problem with "Jesus entertainment" is that people may well incorrectly base their knowledge of Jesus' life on the films, not on the Bible. Pop-religion. That's a pretty scary thought. The Bible's already confusing enough with all the contradictions found amongst the Gospels.