The new and improved Iraqi army

The way the Iraqi army used to deal with ISIS, when that movement was taking large swaths of the country, was to throw down their weapons and run away.  But now the Iraqi army is winning battles against ISIS.   This is due to a replacement of corrupt officers, intense training at the hands of U.S. and coalition troops, and the increased confidence that comes from victories.

This week the Iraqis have started an offensive to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, with over a million inhabitants.  This will mean house-to-house fighting against the best ISIS has to offer.   That will be the Iraqi army’s biggest test.

Jim Michaels gives details after the jump. [Read more…]

The Nobel Peace Prize keeps missing

Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Columbia, negotiated a peace deal with the left-wing rebels known as FARC, which has been conducting a guerilla war for 52 years.  But on October 2, the people of Columbia voted down the agreement.  Five days later, Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I suspect the votes had already come in before the election.  The committee never dreamed that Columbians would refuse to approve a peace deal.  (Reportedly, voters thought the agreement was too lenient with the guerillas.)  Nevertheless, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to someone for making peace, even though he didn’t actually make peace.

But as Jay Nordlinger shows, this isn’t the first time the Nobel Peace Prize has missed its mark. [Read more…]

“Conscientious objection against the state”

Hillsdale professor and LCMS member Korey Maas has an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod convention action to allow women facing combat and registering for the draft to claim conscientious objector status.  He goes into the legal implications of this decision, as well as the larger phenomenon of how the state has been picking fights with religious people and their institutions over issues of conscience.

He closes by quoting LCMS president Matthew Harrison, who said last year after the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision that Christians will soon  “begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.”

Prof. Maas’s article is excerpted and linked to after the jump. [Read more…]

Lutheran women as conscientious objectors

The convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which ended yesterday, passed a novel resolution against the government’s recent decision to have women serve in combat.  The church formulated a position, in line with Defense Department policy, that will allow Lutheran women who do not believe in registering for the draft or participating in combat to claim conscientious objector status for reason of religion. [Read more…]

Military will now accept the transgendered

The Pentagon announced that it will now allow transgendered individuals to serve in the military under their preferred sex.  The military health care system will also provide hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery to current servicemen and women who wish to transition to another sex.

[Read more…]

Despite what Obama says, our troops are in combat

When two Navy Seals were killed in Syria, a White House spokesman said, “the relatively small number of U.S. service members that are involved in these operations are not in combat but are in a dangerous place.”  But, as Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) says, our troops in Syria and Iraq are definitely, by any definition, in combat. [Read more…]