Michael Yon weighs in again, hot on the heels of his "Thanks and praise" photo essay (which went deservedly viral in the blogosphere this week), because the hits just keep on comin'. Today's entry tells of the inspiring restoration of normal life and worship in St. John Church, almost three years to the day after it was severely damaged by car bombs [November 8, 2004], and six months after the church was forced to close because of violence in the neighbourhood.
Mass was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of the Chaldean/Assyrian Catholic Diocese, who alternated between Arabic and English to make sure that members of the U.S. Army's 2-12 infantry battalion got the message: thank you, American soldiers.
But there was an even more important message being conveyed, not only in words but in the mere presence of the congregation, because the Christians in the church were apparently well outnumbered by Muslims from the neighbourhood. Their message: COME HOME.
"Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq."
Christians once made up about 5% of the population of Iraq, but even that slim fraction has shrunk, as hundreds of thousands have fled to other countries-- estimates as of last May put their numbers at less than 400,000 of the 1.5 million who once lived more or less in harmony with their Muslim neighbours (no less terrorized under Saddam than anyone else, but no more either). In Baghdad at least, these neighbours are imploring them to return home and reclaim their houses and business, to resume the way of life they once all shared, but in a country now with real hope of deliverance from the pangs of rebirth.
MIRABILE DICTU + + + HOSANNA!
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? HOW DID THE WORM TURN?
Says a Washington Times editorial:
All of this is the result of the most underreported successful military operation since the invention of the telegraph... But the point to take away from the surge is that, though a brilliant military operation, it was never just a military operation. Rather it developed a political, economic and communications infrastructure that is permitting local-level reconciliation. We are creating representative governance from the bottom up — not from the Green Zone down. Despite a frail and inept national government, the people in the towns and provinces (under the tutelage of the U.S. military) seem to be forming order out of the chaos.
Now I see.
Joe Klein of Time Magazine doesn't see it quite the same way. I quote him here so we can add him to our collection of people who are going to sound UNBELIEVABLY STOOOOPID much sooner than they could ever anticipate. Say it ain't so, Joe!
Let me reassert the obvious here: The war in Iraq has been a disaster, the stupidest foreign policy decision ever made by an American President. It has weakened America's moral, military and diplomatic status globally. It can not be "won" militarily. The best case scenario is a testy stability, most likely under a Shi'ite strongman, who will be (relatively) independent of Iran and (relatively) independent of us.Wow, Joe -- you write for Time -- you must be really smart.
TREATS FOR TROOPS DELIVERS!!!
Cincinnatus has been 'in country' just a few weeks, and Treats for Troops wasted no time in delivering a giant snack attack, within about ten days of my order. You can send goodies of all sorts to your own special set of boots on the ground, or adopt a whole regiment, or adopt one individual who's been noticed as not getting enough attention by mail. TFT takes care of all the details, knows what kind of stuff survives mailing halfway around the world, and delivers the air-drop to the target. (And, I'm told, provides fantastic chicken fajita jerky.)
Want to help support the troops? Order up some intercontinental ballistic jerky.
SUPPORT FOR TROOPS WHO CAN'T PICK UP A SNACK, OR ANYTHING ELSE:
The branches of the military services have been competing to raise money for Project Valour-IT (the Army beat the Marines, but that's kind of demographically inevitable) -- but you can donate any time to purchase voice-activated lap-tops for amputee veterans. (That's why they call it Project Voice Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops.)
A MILITARY MOM TELLS IT LIKE IT IS
reflecting on modern apathy towards the observation of Veterans Day --
attention must be paid [hat-tip Human Events] -- money quote:
This put me in mind of a memorable column by Renaissancy gadfly Ben Stein expressing his personal gratitude to all military wives [hat-tip Opinion Journal] via a letter written to one of them in August 2004. To 'Karen' he writes:
Military moms have trouble watching television or reading the newspaper when they read over and over that their children are fighting or were wounded or were killed for nothing. Military moms hear their officemates, their neighbors, their fellow parishioners, sometimes even their other family members disparage the war effort, or famously declare that they “support the troops but not the war” as if that is a rational statement. Military moms hear and see that their sons and daughters names are used by anti-war politicians and activists in an effort to score political points, using their children’s blood and sacrifice as a cover. And military moms try not to be bitter, not to be angry, not to profane their children’s decision to protect and defend the United States. Military moms try to live up to their children who tell them: “Mom, don’t get angry at them. I am fighting to protect their right to be jerks.”
I have a great life. I have a wife I adore, a son who is a lazy teenager but I adore him, too. We live in a house with two dogs and four cats. We live in peace. We can worship as we please. We can say what we want. We can walk the streets in safety. We can vote. We can work wherever we want and buy whatever we want. When we sleep, we sleep in peace. When we wake up, it is to the sounds of birds.
All of this, every bit of it, is thanks to your husband, his brave fellow soldiers, and to the wives who keep the home fires burning while the soldiers are away protecting my family and 140 million other families.
Always worth a re-read.
FUNNIEST POLITICAL SATIRE OF THE WEEK:
Andy Borowitz reports at the Puffington Host [hat-tip Jewish World Review]:
Hillary Refuses to Answer 'Paper-or-Plastic' Question
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) raised eyebrows in Iowa today when she refused to respond to a supermarket cashier's question about her preference for paper or plastic bags, calling the inquiry "totally hypothetical."Mrs. Clinton's aversion to hypothetical questions has been a hallmark of her quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, but her refusal to answer the paper-or-plastic query during a campaign stop in Davenport took even some of her closest supporters aback.
The New York senator had stopped by the local supermarket for a photo opportunity, but her appearance ran off the rails when she was blindsided by the cashier's unexpected question.
"This paper-or-plastic business is one of those 'gotcha' questions that I'm not going to get into," Mrs. Clinton said. "I don't want to be in a situation where I've chosen one and that takes the other one totally off the table."
Shunning both paper and plastic, Mrs. Clinton left the store clutching an unwieldy assortment of groceries in her bare hands.