Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dealing with unnecessary casualties in Iraq

We have a lot of F15s not being used right now. We could establish an exclusion zone for 10 miles inside Iraq on the Syrian and Iranian borders. Anything coming in, or potentially there, other than if we should establish convoys, would be subject to interdiction, i.e. strafing and bombing, by the F15s. Current residents could be offered relocation or we could rent the land. We are provoked, challenged by Hezbollah, meaning Iran, which gave them 'shaped charges', blowing up the AAV on which were our best Marines, the snipers. We are being blamed as occupiers. As an Irish friend says, 'If your going to blamed for stealing a lamb, you might as well take the sheep.' This would be a response appropriate to the provocation and would not be then appropriate, say, for the Mexican border. Cindy Sheehan should be asking for this, not adopting an attitude which is a subject for psychoanalysis where Symbol, Dream, and Psychosis. (His Psychoanalytic series, v. 3), by Robert Fliess, p. 139, might be helpful.

This is related to what I learned from veterans. You can in war, as in development, erogenize your guilt and see destruction of yourself or your proper aim as appropriate or you can look into yourself, perhaps with the help of others, and find your proper aim and find a way to retain intiative in your mission. In part this is why the first part of our soldier's creed is 'Duty, Honor.' Accepting these aims helps avoid erogenizing guilt with its destructive consequences and, at the same time, accepts the control of conscience.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A New Enemy?

ABC's 'This Week' brought us the information that the bombs that blew the Marines off the Amphibious Assault Vehicle were 'shaped charges' which would have been introduced into the theater by Hezbollah from Iran. We are honored at being attacked by the enemies of the Jews and saddened by our losses. Perhaps we shall join Hezbollah in idolatry of blood should we find a moment as Lawrence of Arabia of gentle memory is shown to have done in the movie. Better that they had followed the caliph of Baghdad in 813 CE, Al-Mamum, who sought to preserve the knowledge of other cultures, perhaps saving what we consider our ancient Greek texts, cf. His scholars promoted what in Arab culture are called Hindi numerals from their origin in India, to us Arabic numerals. He employed the mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, who wrote the first book entitled, in part, 'al jabr,' algebra of course, and whose name corrupted in Latin, algoritmi, is 'algorithm' to us. That caliph could be said to represent the party of God or evolution leading to the consciousness of its source, to paraphrase Teilhard de Chardin.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977" (Ignatius Press), by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI

Following up on my April blog of a book list, I found the Memoirs to be a fine read, sort of an intellectual's Huck Finn adventure, not to diminsh Huck Finn who Mr. Twain wouldn't allow to be more self revealing, the young Ratzinger starts out on a community raft in an administratively Nazi river in a historically Catholic land. He arrives off the danger of the river to a threadbare but traditionally dynamic society which yet has it moral challenges, most prominently in the seduction of Marxism, which he has the most insightful thing to say about but also more self made challenges as in the Catholic Church's headlong rush out of traditional or a culturally accreted liturgy. Similar to but even more than John Roberts, he is remarkable for the bluster he doesn't have. He is inclusivem, or catholic, finding refreshment in his Lutheran colleagues and, in one of his intellectual facets, 'personalism' where Martin Buber, a Jew, is given as the best expositor. His acknowledgement of his dificullties getting his thesis authorizing an acadmeic life is frank, interesting in its recognition of being aware, I would say, of Freudian dynamics and his creative and near miss solution. The intellectual content of the medeival saints understanding of the Bible as 'witnessing revelation,' as opposed to what Bily Graham might say, has a later resonance in his career and is a comforting talisman of our tradition.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Muslim Reformation

Reformation? Regression. The Jews seemed to do well in Spain with the Moors before Columbus' patrons consolidated rule and expelled them. How were Muslim views different then or did the Jews forget their dhimmi* or underling status? Fibonacci, an ambassador's son, brought Algebra from North Africa to Italy in ~ 1300. Was Moslem intellectual culture different then? Should the clock be turned halfway back?