Can you outsource a war? The Bush administration seems to be trying to do just that in Iraq, where it has relied to an unprecedented extent on private companies such as Halliburton and Blackwater to prosecute the war. Before the recent surge in troops, there were about as many private contractors—125,000—in the war zone as regular troops. Between 25,000 and 50,000 of these contractors protect military bases and the Green Zone, guard key personnel, provide escorts for convoys and train Iraqi soldiers. Who is accountable for the close to $4 billion that has gone to these “security services"? And to whom are these mercenaries accountable morally and legally?
President Bush has become what he said he would be, a uniter: both conservatives and liberals are united in thinking that he has taken the country off track. In what seems to be a protracted lame-duck period for the president, pundits are already speculating about the post-Bush era.
The notion of intelligent design in nature is not controversial among Christians. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God,” the psalmist exclaims, and worshipers regularly confess their belief in God “the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” St.
In 1996, after an assailant massacred 35 people at a resort area in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australians responded to the horror by banning the possession of automatic rifles and shotguns. Gunowners proceeded to turn in 650,000 guns to the government (which reimbursed them for the cost). Since that year, gun deaths in Australia have been cut in half.
Humans are meaning-seeking creatures. We want to make sense of life. After the massacre at Virginia Tech, we want to know why it happened and whether something could have been done to stop it. And many of us ask: where was God in all of this?
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran had his brother hand deliver a check for $400,000 last month to Tehran’s only Jewish hospital with the message that “our government intends to unite all ethnic groups and religions, so we decided to assist you.” In September Rouhani’s administration had issued a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews around the world. Though some question Rouhani’s motives, his behavior is a refreshing contrast to that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a Holocaust denier (New York Times, February 6).