Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Random unconnected thoughts:

This, I think, is right; up to a point:

CNN reported this morning that the U.S. death toll in Iraq had reached 2,000, and a little later The Associated Press confirmed this. AP said the 2,000th military fatality was an Army sergeant who was wounded by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad and died in Texas last weekend. He is Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas.

But the chief spokesman for the American-led multinational force has called on the media not to consider the 2,000 number as some kind of milestone.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, "I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."

Boylan, according to AP, added: "The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war,,,
The "point" is when he starts calling this a war for freedom and against terrorism. It's not; it's a pointless waste of human life that even William Kristol had trouble defending on The Daily Show last night. The 2000th death is not something to celebrate; the only thing to celebrate is when our men and women, husbands and wifes, sons and daughters, are brought back home, away from a place they never should have been sent to as soldiers.

It's interesting that Anne Rice
has turned from vampires to Jesus; she might even get a good book out of it (though her novels have never been my cup of tea), but what was more interesting to me was this comment:

To render such a hero and his world believable, she immersed herself not only in Scripture, but in first-century histories and New Testament scholarship—some of which she found disturbingly skeptical. "Even Hitler scholarship usually allows Hitler a certain amount of power and mystery."
I think she has a point, actually. Modern New Testament scholarship, so concerned with appearing to be "objective," sometimes overlooks the very reality of human existence, which is that some people truly are "extraordinary." And even "objectivity" must admit that if Jesus of Nazareth were not one of those people, who would bother to study his life and words so carefully?

And finally, something of a footnote to history, a correction, proving that we shouldn't put too much reliance on newspaper accounts. Mrs. Rosa Parks, remembered on this the day of her death, from 1955:

I want to make very certain that it is understood that I had not taken a seat in the white section, as has been reported in many cases. An article came out in the newspaper on Friday morning about the Negro woman overlooked segregation. She was seated in the front seat, the white section of the bus and refused to take a seat in the rear of the bus. That was the first newspaper account. The seat where I occupied, we were in the custom of taking this seat on the way home, even though at times on this same bus route, we occupied the same seat with whites standing, if their space had been taken up, the seats had been taken up. I was very much surprised that the driver at this point demanded that I remove myself from the seat.
It wasn't that she started out being defiant; but, four months after the death of Emmett Till, or perhaps for other reasons, in 1955, she decided she just wouldn't stop being a human being anymore.

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