Air support for al-Qaeda

Oh, great:

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25″ men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008. . . .

via Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links – Telegraph.

Do we have any idea what we are doing in our military interventions into the Arab world?

We assume that those who are rising up against brutal dictators–with another uprising now breaking out in Syria–are doing so for the universal desire for freedom.  But aren’t we projecting our own civilization on a very different civilization with very different foundations?

The jihadists, such as the members of al-Qaeda, have long called for the overthrow of these secularist and worldly dictators.   The jihadists may well be for democracy, which for them is not the expression of liberty but the vehicle for the imposition of Islamic law.

I’m not saying that this “rebel commander” is representative of all of the rebels against Gaddafi, and a mere 25 fighters are not very many, though he is suggesting that there are more.  But now our pilots, under the foreign command of NATO, are put in the position of defending some of the very men who fought against them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘King’s Speech,’ the PG-13 version

The King’s Speech, the account of King George VI’s stuttering problem that won the Academy Award for best picture, is coming out in a PG-13 version in April.  The original was rated R because of a scene in which his speech therapist was trying to get the monarch to loosen up and let the words flow by using some bad words.

It isn’t clear how the new version, which will be the only one in theaters, will handle that scene.  But the movie, whose virtues go way beyond its portrayal of speech therapy,  is certainly a good one for young people to see, raising as it does all kinds of issues about character, the burdens of leadership, and the history of World War II.

‘King’s Speech,’ the PG-13 version, coming in April – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

Going kinetic

New word department. . . Actually two new words:

“Retronym” is a word coined by Frank Mankiewicz, George McGovern’s campaign director, to delineate previously unnecessary distinctions. Examples include “acoustic guitar,” “analog watch,” “natural turf,” “two-parent family,” and “offline publication.” Bob Woodward’s new book, Bush at War, introduces a new Washington retronym: “kinetic” warfare. . . .

In common usage, “kinetic” is an adjective used to describe motion, but the Washington meaning derives from its secondary definition, “active, as opposed to latent.” Dropping bombs and shooting bullets—you know, killing people—is kinetic. But the 21st-century military is exploring less violent and more high-tech means of warfare, such as messing electronically with the enemy’s communications equipment or wiping out its bank accounts. These are “non-kinetic.”

via “Kinetic warfare.” – By Timothy Noah – Slate Magazine.

Can you think of any other retronyms?  (There used to be no need for “two-parent family,” since what other kind of family was there?  Now we need a term for the distinction of a family having two parents.  Now that we have “gay marriage,” I suppose we’ll need a retronym for “straight marriage.”)

Can you think of any other uses of “kinetic” (involving action) and “non-kinetic” (not involving action) for a retronym other than for warfare?  Say, for a program in its planning stage being “non-kinetic” and when it is implemented being “kinetic.”

The next Narnia movie: Magician’s Nephew

So it looks like there will be another Narnia movie.  The next one in the novel sequence would be one of my favorites, The Silver Chair, but instead the next movie will be The Magician’s Nephew, Narnia’s origin story.  Here is an interview with the head of Walden Media, which is producing the series:    Interview: Walden Media President Michael Flaherty on Narnia 4 Film, Christian News, The Christian Post.

NCAA Basketball Championship

We haven’t talked about basketball!  My alma mater, the University of Kansas, is in it to win it.  My current home state of Virginia has two teams in the Sweet Sixteen, not only in the same state but in the same city  (Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond University, both in Richmond).  My former home of Milwaukee is in it with Marquette.

So what are your predictions for the Final Four?

For the final two?

For the championship?

My prediction for the finale:  Ohio State vs. Kansas.  Ohio State will win.  (I say that because my teams never win the big game.  Also my predictions are always wrong.  So maybe if I predict Ohio State, my team will win it after all.)

 

NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Bracket – NCAA.com.

Apocalyptic madness

The Lutheran journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto has written a piece about the current apocalyptic mood and the religious weirdness this is inspiring.  You should read the whole article.  What struck me, though, was this account of some original reporting of his, in an interview with a leader of that Japanese cult that unleashed the sarin gas a few years ago.  Here is another kind of syncretism:

In Japan in the 1980s, a semi-blind charlatan by the name of Shoko Asahara founded a “neo-Buddhist” sect called Aum Shinri-Kyo. It recruited primarily graduates of leading universities and gained worldwide infamy by producing huge amounts of Kalashnikov rifles and developing chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. In 1995, they set off a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system killing 12, injuring 54 and affecting thousands of others, a misdeed for which Asahara was sentenced to the gallows; he is now awaiting his execution.

What was that all about? In an interview one of his top lieutenants told me that it was the purpose of this crime to trigger World War III between Japan and the United States, which would result in the destruction of the universe. Why would a bunch of young scientists wish to do that? “Well,” he said, “the Lord Shiva has commanded us to give him a helping hand;” Shiva is the destroyer in the Hindu trinity. When he’s done, Brahma, the Creator, would be able to begin a new cycle of creation.

So here we had a “Buddhist” sectarians killing in behalf of a Hindu god, and to top the syncretistic madness, they explained this in Christian terminology. With his hands on a Bible, Asahara’s white-robed henchman informed me that he and his co-religionists were Christ’s soldiers in the Battle of Armageddon. But who was Christ to them? “An incarnation of Shiva, the god of destruction,” he said.

via The Tsunami and the Apocalypse – Article by Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto | CyberBrethren-A Lutheran Blog.


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