The myth of American innocence dies hard. It resurfaces even as it is being punctured by reality. President Bush, faced with evidence that American soldiers have tortured Iraqi prisoners, declared that the photos do not show “the true nature and heart of America.” Somehow, according to such rhetoric, the true heart of America remains pure, untouched by the actions of actual Americans.
While interviewing President Bush for his just-published book Plan of Attack, Bob Woodward mentioned what British Prime Minister Tony Blair had said about receiving angry letters from families who had lost loved ones in Iraq: “Don’t believe anyone who tells you when they receive letters like that they don’t suffer any doubt.” Upon hearing this, Woodward reports, the president stiffened and,
The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks has heard plenty of complaints about the failure of U.S. counterterrorism. Officials have described agencies as underfunded and understaffed. The CIA and FBI worked with outdated technology and few experts on Middle East languages. Above all, they were weak on sharing information, even within their own agencies.
A rabbi noted recently that when Jews and Christians view Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ, they tend to see two different stories—and neither seems to appreciate or understand the reactions of the other. A perceptive observer of Christianity, the rabbi pointed out that Christians don’t all see the same story either.
Some conservative strategists accept the idea of gay civil unions
Apr 06, 2004
While churches continue to debate their understanding of homosexuality, the political debate on gay partnerships has moved dramatically toward legal acceptance. Consider the movement of the past four years. In 2000, when Vermont enacted a “civil unions” law giving homosexual couples the rights and benefits of marriage, the move seemed at the extreme edge of political feasibility.
European countries are asking how to deal with hundreds of young Muslims who went to Syria to fight and then returned home. Denmark is experimenting with rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Returning fighters are treated not as criminals but as troubled youth who lost their way and need a second chance. The program, first used with neo-Nazi youth, is voluntary and includes counseling, mentoring, opportunities for more schooling, and meetings with parents. So far the program seems to be working. Denmark has the second highest number of foreign fighters per capita. They “only become ticking bombs if we don’t integrate them” back into society, said a Danish psychologist (New York Times, December 13).