"Before I became enlightened, mountains were mountains and trees were trees.” So begins a well-known Zen Buddhist proverb that continues: “As I approached enlightenment, mountains appeared to be more than mountains and trees more than trees. Now I am enlightened; mountains are mountains and trees are trees.”
The truck next to me at the stoplight had these words pasted across the back window: “I Have a Son in the Army.” There was no flag decal, no “I’m proud to have” in front of the words, just the fact. I imagined that this son was in Iraq, and that this father was thinking about him as he waited for the light to change.
Jean Bethke Elshtain began her career by challenging traditional gender roles—the assumption that the public realm is primary and belongs to men, and that the private realm is secondary and belongs to women. Characteristically, she applied her analysis in unpredictable ways, as indicated by the title of one of her early books, Women and War.
"People will be inclined to give their children those skills and traits that align with their own temperaments and lifestyles,” writes Gregory Stock, an apostle of human genetic engineering who heads the program on Medicine, Technology and Society at UCLA. “A devout individual may want his child to be even more religious and resistant to temptation.”
The air is thick with politics. Reportedly some 60 different political groups have emerged here since the end of the war. Driving around Baghdad, one suddenly comes upon a building surrounded by men with guns. Groups are staking their postwar claims to the real estate. In one case, the soldiers turned out to be members of a Kurdish party.