Journalist Dennis Anderson, a two-time embed in Iraq, has written what I consider to be a lovely tribute to kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll. He brings to mind what I know as agape love - the love for God and mankind, and all of creation in the human heart. It's the spirit that draws special people like Jill Carroll and the late freelance journalist Steven Vincent to dangerous places like Iraq. It's what drives the soldier on to defend his brothers-in-arms, regardless of who sent him on his mission. It's the quality that enables a person to face all danger with self-command, with strength, and resolution. It is everything that politics, for the sake of politics, is not.
Mr Anderson employs symbolism in the form of the mythic unicorn, "rare creatures, who should be celebrated and revered, not hunted down," to frame the sorrow of Jill Carroll's current plight:
It’s a shame, and shameful. It is not that the journalists are stupid or lack sense. More, it is a comment on the murderous and thuggish nature of the terrorists and criminal swine who want to pull Iraq back into the pit of medieval tyranny from which it is emerging.
So, Jill Carroll was not foolhardy. She answered the call of the brave. Idealists, people of generous spirit and brave nature do this work because they believe it serves a higher purpose.
They want to feed or comfort the afflicted. They want to be peacemakers. They want the world to have a full and fair report of the sufferings of others. And for this there is great risk, and for this the thankless reward is that the ultimate price of that pure intention might be a horrifying death. The military who are serving in Iraq should be respected for the work they do, trying to restore sufficient safety so the unicorns will no longer be hunted and killed.
Why did Jill Carroll want to go to Iraq in the first place? She tells you in her own words.
What do we do at a time when we feel that we can do little else? We hope. And we pray.
Italian Election is Reason for Troop Pullout from Iraq
Listen to this meaningless mumbo-jumbo from Italy's Defense Minister Antonio Martino. [Toronto Star] His announcement to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq by the end of this year was made to a parliamentary commission yesterday:
Martino in his speech to the commission said the pullout, by year's end, "will achieve a worthy conclusion to an operation crowned by success...It will be a dignified re-entry, without any concession to the requests for immediate withdrawal, backed by positions of misunderstood pacifism and by presumptuous anti-Americanism," Martino said.
Crowned by what?! Has this guy read the news - or does Berlusconi depend upon his lackeys to read him selected headlines a la George W. Bush?
No concessions to the peaceniks or U.S.-haters? If that were the case, they wouldn't be admitting to pulling out the troops at the very same moment that Osama bin Laden is offering a truce.
The Italian emporer's been caught without his clothes.
The naked truth is, Berlusconi has an election to win this Spring, and by God, he's certainly not going to win it by ignoring the peaceniks and the U.S.-haters.
Listen to MSNBC's Chris Matthews spit out, in his usual machine-gun-style of speaking, this incredibly insulting and unfair comment about the controversial Eagle Scout/documentarian with a passion for justice and democracy, Michael Moore.
Mr. Matthews' flippant slander of Mr. Moore, comparing him to the murderous Isamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden is so close to Freeperdom that it is beginning to scare me. In a rush to segue to his usual hyperbole, Senator Joe Biden's sickening cackle and wide chiclet-toothed smile after Matthews made the disgusting comment was a wink and a nod to the slander that is all too easily wielded by pundits in the mainstream media.
Kos makes the point that it's not liberal who are in power. He says, "It's been George Bush and his neocon pals. It is THEY who have failed to capture or kill Bin Laden. It is they who have made our country less safe, and created a world in which terrorist attacks have increased. It is they who are making a mess out of the war in Iraq.."
"Mr. Matthews was out of line. In essence, what he did was to tell every one of us that when we give any critical thought to the ways in which our government is conducting our business, that we are all Osama bin Ladens."
Kos provides other links to the story out in the blogosphere, including one by Peter Daou at Salon.com.
Chris Matthews needs to apologize to Mr. Moore and to all of us - if he wants to restore public confidence in him and in MSNBC as objective television journalists.
Mr. Matthews was out of line. In essence, what he did was to tell every one of us that when we give any critical thought to the ways in which our government is conducting our business, that we are all Osama bin Ladens.
UPDATE - There's more to the MSNBC scandal of idiot pundits calling Democrats "Osama bin Ladens".
"We need to hear more Democratic leaders speaking to this issue and demanding action from MSNBC"
Senator John Kerry has spoken out on this, and I credit him for it. We need to hear more Democratic leaders speaking to this issue and demanding action from MSNBC, unless MSNBC wants to remain being seen as the dirty Republican-hugging pigs they appear to be right now.
Forty-three percent of members of Congress who left office since 1998 and were eligible to lobby have become lobbyists, indicating that Congress has increasingly become a way station on the path to the lucrative influence-peddling industry.
A list of Pioneers and Rangers painfully shows the hypocrisy of President Bush condemning the influence of Special Interests while he accepted at least $6.5 million bundled by lobbyists in 2003.