France Launches First Air Strikes Against ISIS

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France bombed an ISIS depot in northeast Iraq today.  President Hollande issued a statement saying there would be more raids in coming days.

This makes France the first country other than the US to strike ISIS targets.

I watched the Senate hearings about ISIS earlier this week. One point that came up during the hearings is that ISIS is in control of at least one small oil field and that the revenues from these wells are helping to fund the terrorists.

I think that should make that oil field the primary targets for our bombers. We tend to treat oil producing sites as sacrosanct. I still remember the horror expressed about Saddam Hussein’s troops setting fire to wells during the first Gulf War over 20 years ago.

My feeling is that cutting off ISIS’ funding is the first and most important thing we should do. Anything that helps fund them and their murderous actions should be demolished, or if it’s a person, imprisoned for life.

From BBC News Middle East:

French jets have carried out their first strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the office of President Francois Hollande says.

A statement said planes had attacked an IS depot in north-east Iraq, and there would be more raids in the coming days.

The US has carried out more than 170 air strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq since mid-August.

IS remains in control of dozens of cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate.

France is the first of Washington’s allies to strike at IS targets. The mission underscores the perhaps surprising military activism of the socialist French president.

He has committed his country to military interventions in Mali, Central Africa and now Iraq. The French government has made it clear that its air strikes will be restricted to IS targets in Iraq and that there will be no French troops involved in fighting on the ground.

This geographical restriction of French air operations underscores the complexity of President Obama’s stated aim of degrading and disrupting IS activities in Syria too.

That is a mission that US air power may have to take on alone and, despite the fact that Congress is moving to back a “train and equip” programme for the “moderate” Syrian opposition, there are still many questions about how effectively the counter-IS struggle can be extended to Syrian territory as well.

Are We at the Beginning of World War III?

pope-francis.jpgAre we fighting World War III, only on a piecemeal basis?

Pope Francis seems to think so.

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Iraqi Ambassador to Holy See: ISIS Wants to Assassinate the Pope

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Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See says that stories of ISIS’ plans to assassinate the Pope are credible.

My personal reaction is that of course they want to murder the pope. They are evil right down to the ground, their real god who animates all they do is satan himself, so of course they would like to murder Jesus Christ’s own Vicar in the world.

But we don’t have to guess about this. According to an article in the The Telegraph, ISIS has said in plain language that they want to extend their “caliphate” to Italy, and their goal is to “plant the flag of ISIS atop the St Peter’s Basilica.” After watching the sadistic manner in which the murderer of James Cawthorne Haines laid his hand on his shoulder before beheading him, I believe these people are capable of anything.

The murderer who appears in these videos reeks of evil. He gives it off like an ice cube gives off steam. As do the ISIS fighters in every photo and video I’ve seen. They are sadistic murderers who take pleasure in degrading their victims as much as they possibly can. One of those photos in particular — I won’t describe it — haunts me for the massive cruelty and utter degradation these scum subjected their victim to, both before and during her death.

Every time I think of ISIS, I think of that photo. Their actions are evil absolute.

So am I surprised to hear that the Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See has gone public with his warning that the Holy Father is in danger?

No. Given that the Holy See has publicly denied that there is a threat, I would guess that he felt honor bound to take the next step and speak out.

I don’t know how you are going to respond to this, but I will pray daily for Pope Francis’ safety.

From The Telegraph:

Pope Francis is at risk of an assassination attempt by the Islamic extremists of Isil, the Vatican has been warned, ahead of his first visit to a Muslim-majority country this weekend.

As the 77-year-old pontiff prepares to travel to Albania on Sunday for a one-day visit, Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See said there were credible threats against the pontiff’s life.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church could also be vulnerable when he travels to Turkey in November, the ambassador said.

Jihadists from Isil have in recent weeks boasted of wanting to extend their caliphate to Rome, the heart of Western Christendom, and have talked of planting the jihadist black flag on top of St Peter’s Basilica.

Habeeb Al Sadr said there were also indications of a more specific threat against Pope Francis, who recently spoke out in favour of the US and its allies halting the advance of Isil in Syria and Iraq.”What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the Pope. The threats against the Pope are credible,” the ambassador told La Nazione, an Italian daily, on Tuesday.

“I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome. There are members of Isil who are not Arabs but Canadian, American, French, British, also Italians.”Isil could engage any of these to commit a terrorist attack in Europe.”The ambassador said the Pope had made himself a target by speaking out against the human rights abuses committed against Christians in Syria and Iraq, as well as by his approval of attempts by the US to try to roll back Isil.

“In cases like this, where there is an unjust aggression, then it is licit to halt the aggressor,” he said in an interview during his flight back from a visit to South Korea last month.”But I stress ‘halt’. I don’t say bomb, or make war, but rather stop him,” the Pope said.

The ambassador, who has been stationed in Rome for four years, said: “This band of criminals does not just issue threats – in Iraq they have already violated and destroyed some of the most sacred sites of the Shiite faith. They have struck at Yazidi and Christian places of worship. They have declared that whoever is not with them, is against them. Either convert or be killed. And they are doing it – it is a genocide.”

Our Sorrowful Mother: Ndi Nyina wa Jambo

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Ndi Nyina wa Jambo — I am the Mother of the Word

Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

I remember years ago, a constituent of mine, a Hispanic gentleman of great faith, talking to me about all the visitations Our Lady had graced the world with in the past century.

Something’s going to happen. He told me.

I nodded and pretended to understand, but, in truth, I didn’t. It was only later, when I went to Fatima, that the great hidden truth of Our Lord sending His mother to warn and instruct us began to take hold in my thinking.

At that time, I was unaware that Our Mother had visited her children in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. I had never heard of her prophecy of the Rwandan genocide. But she had visited Rwanda and she did warn them. Our Lady spoke to the people of Rwanda 13 years before the genocide. This is from If Only We Had Listened, by Immaculee Ilibagiza:

… in 1982, all the visionaries reported horrid visions of unspeakable violence, bloodshed, torture, destruction, and thousands of dismembered corpses littering the landscape — it was a prophetic warning from the Virgin Mary that if Rwandans did not cleanse their hearts of hatred and fill their souls with God’s love, evil would win out and a genocide would sweep across the land. Sadly, the Virgin’s warning became reality: The terrible Rwandan genocide unfolded exactly as she prophesied. … In 2001, after a twenty-year investigation into the events of Kibeho, the Vatican formally recognized the original three visionaries: Alphonsine, Marie-Claire, and Anathalie. Kibeho has now become the only Vatican-approved Marian site on the African continent, placing the humble village on the same spiritual level … with … Lourdes and Fatima.

I didn’t know of this when my constituent talked to me about these things. Later, I only knew about Fatima, and what I knew about that was mostly from my personal experience. I knew that the place was God-soaked, and I knew that God had spoken to me there. From that vague nothing-much of an understanding, I began to learn.

What I learned was that Jesus repeatedly sent His mother to warn her children of the coming conflagrations of the 20th century. In each of these warnings, she spoke of the horrors of hell and of the great numbers of people who were going to end up there. She encouraged prayer for the conversion of these people.

Then, she gave what I tend to think of as political warnings: Of the fall of Russia into Communism, of the genocide in Rwanda. Along with the warning, she also provided a solution. Each time, this solution centered on prayer.

Pray the Rosary, she said at Fatima. Consecrate Russia to my Immaculate Heart, she instructed. She added a call to pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows at Kibeho. Turn to God and cleanse your hearts of hatred, she instructed Rwanda.

It is interesting — and powerful — that Our Lady spoke of the Divine Mercy when she spoke at Kibeho. The Divine Mercy comes to us through an obscure Polish nun named Faustina Kowalska. Sister — now Saint — Faustina was visited, not by Our Lady, but by Jesus Himself.

He dictated another Rosary to pray to her: The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. He also asked for a Divine Mercy feast day, which St John Paul II established.

The one who turns to God in this world, and lives according to God’s will, can, through Divine Mercy, shorten and even avoid his time in purgatory, Our Lady said at Kibeho.

Repentance, prayer, love and mercy: Can these things really be the answer to our miseries in this life? Mary said this at Kibeho:

When I visit someone and speak to them, I am openly addressing all people. If I am now turning to the parish at Kibeho, it does not mean that I am concerned only for Kibeho or for the diocese of Butare, or for Rwanda, or for the whole of Africa. I am concerned with and turning to the entire world. … Repent! Repent! Repent! … I am speaking this appeal to the whole world. Today man empties all things of their true value. Those who are continually committing sins are doing so without ever accepting that what they are doing is wrong.

The things Our Mother tells us do not change one word of the Gospels of her Son. They do not add to His teachings. They apply His teaching in a direct way to the challenges of our times. I think of them as the best sermons, the greatest Christian teaching, available to us in this world today.

Christ has sent us His own mother to teach us how to follow Him in these challenging times when, as the Anchoress said yesterday, the “center does not hold.” I both agree and disagree with what Elizabeth Scalia, aka, the Anchoress, said in that post.

Yes, we are flinging ourselves off into chaos, destroying our civilization with the glee of an angry child, knocking over a tower of blocks it took him all afternoon to build. But the center itself is unchanged by this. The center is Christ, and He is holding. We are simply refusing to take the outstretched hand of our Savior and be saved. We would rather thrash around in our self-centeredness and drown for eternity in the final and bitter desserts of our own caprice.

Repent! Repent! Repent! Our Lady tells us.

Devote yourselves to my Immaculate Heart, pray the Rosary, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. Cleanse your hearts of hatred. Fill your souls with God’s love. In other words, chose life, not death.

Because, Something’s going to happen. 

My constituent told me that, and I nodded in agreement without understanding what he was saying. Now I can answer him more honestly.

Something’s going to happen. 

Yes. It is.  

Another Beheading Video: David Cawthorne Haines, British Aid Worker, Murdered by ISIS

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My husband and I were leaving church. He was driving. I got out my iPhone to call a friend about plans for the evening, and a local newsfeed I subscribe to flashed the message across the screen.

ISIS had murdered another helpless prisoner.

It was the beginning of my Sabbath, so I didn’t click on the link or look at the video or read about it.

Until this morning.

I’ve now watched the video and read a few reactions.

It’s getting harder and harder to write about these murders, but I feel I owe it to the victims. It’s the least I can do for them, to do my little part to make sure that they are not seen only as victims of satanic brutality, but that they are also remembered for the fine men they were.

David Cawthorne Haines worked in security for organizations such as ACTED and NonViolent Peace Force. Acted has a strict policy of “political and religious impartiality.” Both organizations are non-violent, humanitarian organizations engaged in trying to help people, including Muslims, in the parts of the world that ISIS is ravaging.

The video that ISIS released is heavily edited, but it appears that Mr Haines departed from the standard script of denouncing his home country and instead blamed ISIS (“the Islamic State” is the term he used) for his death. I’ve wondered about the reasons behind the condemnations the two American journalists made.

I assumed that they were probably doing it under some sort of coercion, but I don’t know this. I do know that I accept without judgement just about anything anyone does when they are the helpless prisoner of people in the grip of satan. People who condemn the two American journalists for their final speeches need to get real. They have no idea what they are talking about.

However, if Mr Haines did indeed condemn his captors before his murder, I am glad, and I admire him for doing it.

ISIS is murdering men who are examples of the best friends that Islamic people have in this world. James Foley and Steven Sotloff ultimately gave their lives in the cause of telling the truth about what is happening in that part of the world. They were the voice for the ordinary people on the ground.

David Cawthorne Haines was there to help organizations that provide humanitarian aid and strive to end the violence that is destroying people’s lives.

ISIS is not murdering the enemies of Islam in these videos. It is murdering Islam’s friends.

There isn’t any great surprise in this. ISIS is a band of murderers. They are not interested in furthering the welfare of Muslims. David Haines was interested in helping Muslims; as was James Foley and Steven Sotloff. David Haines was working for organizations composed of incredibly brave people who were trying to aid and empower the people of that region of the world to build real lives for themselves.

I’ve read that these videos of beheadings, as well as the gruesome photos that ISIS sends out over the web, are resulting in an influx of Muslims from America, Britain, Australia and other places, all volunteering to join in the killing. Evidently, these people find the videos “inspiring.”

What sort of devil-driven person would find these videos “inspiring” and want to go and do likewise? I think I answered my own question when I asked it. ISIS is satanic, right down to the ground. The people who join it are led by the father of lies and the darkness.

We deal with flesh and blood people. Hitler was not an evil god. He was a human being who died from a bullet to the brain. The same is true of Osama bin Laden. But both Hitler and Osama bin Laden (as well as Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, the murderers in Rwanda, and their bush league cousins, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Dennis Lynn Rader) were and are the disciples of satan.

As is ISIS and its followers.

 

Obama Meets with Eastern Christian Leaders. Hears of Plight of Persecuted Christians.

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Photo Source: Catholic New Service White House

President Obama “dropped by” National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s meeting with Eastern Christian leaders for a forty-minute discussion about the Christian genocide in Iraq.

From Catholic News Service:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Eight Eastern Christian leaders spent 40 minutes talking to President Barack Obama about the situation of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.  “We felt how deeply moved he was by what was happening to the Christians there,” Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, said at a Mass later the same day at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church. The Sept. 11 Mass closed the three-day inaugural In Defense of Christians summit. A conference organizer told Catholic News Service

The cardinal said each of the leaders from Eastern Catholic and Orthodox rites had a chance to speak individually to Obama, who the White House said “dropped by National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s meeting at the White House.”

Although the White House did not release details of the discussion, throughout the summit the Christian leaders spoke of the threat to Christians and other minorities posed by Islamic State militants, particularly in Iraq and Syria. Several said they were advocating religious freedom, an inherent right. They spoke of the need for local leaders and the international community to become involved in a solution because, as one Orthodox bishop said, “no one can possibly agree to a beheading.”A White House statement, read out near the end of the In Defense of Christians summit, said Obama reinforced the U.S. commitment to fight Islamic State militants and other groups that threaten the Middle East, as well as American personnel and interests in the region.

CIA says ISIS has 30000 Fighters. Turkey, Germany Won’t Join in USA-led Bombing.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani places ISIS blame on Obama administration (IMAGE SOURCE: Monitor Mideast)

Tweedle dee.

And tweedle dum.

The various nations are playing Say Whaaa? about the president’s plans to bomb ISIS into oblivion.

Turkey — which is the geographic bridge between Europe and the Middle East and a next-door neighbor to Iraq — has decided that they are a no-go. Ditto for our friends in Germany.

According to International Business Times:

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier questioned whether Obama’s plan of airstrikes and equipping moderate Syrian rebels was adequate. “We haven’t been asked, nor will we do it,” he said of the airstrikes. “We need to be honest with ourselves in the current situation, we don’t yet have a final, blanket strategy which guarantees that we’ll be successful against ISIS and similar groups.”

I hate to say this, but that position may be well taken.

If the CIA knows what it’s talking about (always a question) ISIS’ new notoriety and glorious beheading videos have recruited up to 30,000 wannabe serial killers to their ranks.  Bombing, without concomitant strategies to attack their funding, shut down their web sites and deal effectively with the people who are going to them from areas outside the Middle East will not achieve the destruction of ISIS. In fact, it could end up strengthening ISIS.

Meanwhile, the people most at risk from ISIS are joining the US. Ministers from 10 nations in that region committed to joining the US in armed opposition to ISIS.

From Voice of America:

Earlier Thursday, ministers from 10 Gulf and Arab nations said Thursday they are committed to joining the United States in a “coordinated military campaign” against Islamic State fighters who have seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria.After talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Saudi officials and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, said they are united against the threat from all terrorists, including Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. EgyptNon-Arab Sunni Turkey also attended the talks.

But two other powerful regional powers, Shi’ite-ruled Iran and Syria, were excluded, a sign of how strong the Middle East’s sectarian divide remains.The Arab states agreed in a written communique to take many of the steps U.S. President Barack Obama spelled out Wednesday in his newly articulated strategy for wiping out the militants – stopping the flow of foreign fighters, cutting off funds for Islamic State, providing humanitarian aid to those terrorized by the militants and rejecting what the ministers call their “hateful ideology.”

Notice that these states have agreed to work to cut off funding for ISIS. I can’t emphasize enough how critical that is. It is also critical for us to take a look at who is selling them arms and other supplies. This is large-scale support for mass murder.

The reason this is so important is that ISIS, for all its braggadocio, has no war-making ability in and of itself. None whatsoever. If ISIS cannot buy arms and supplies from actual, functioning governments who do have war-making ability, it is reduced to the knife that one of its murderers bragged about when he killed Steven Sotloff.

If we can cut off their money, stop governments from selling them arms and become more intelligent about the arms we are giving away, the dynamics of this situation will change dramatically and immediately. That includes not buying oil from them. The wells they have seized are stolen property. The money they get from the sale of this oil goes to finance mass murder and the destruction of civilization in a whole region of the world.

Personally, I am a big flummoxed by the plan to bomb ISIS back to the where it came from. It is true that 30,000 organized people with all their armaments are a bit difficult to hide. I have no problem whatsoever with bombing ISIS. I just hope that we actually bomb ISIS and not the surrounding countryside.

However, bombing alone has consistently failed to achieve anything other than chaos and ultimate defeat for those who have employed it. From the Blitzkrieg, to North Viet Nam, to now, bombing as a single tactical exercise has failed. Mind you, I am not advocating “boots on the ground,” (unless we actually do send a planeload of empty boots over there.)

America has had it with war of this type, and for good reason. Even though we carefully block the reality of war from our sight by hiding the disabled soldiers who come home and even, for a long time, refusing to allow photos of the returning caskets, the fact is, we are sending our people to die.

I think we can dismember ISIS by removing their money, refusing re-entry and imprisoning — for life with no parole and no press interviews and in a separate prison — those who join them and want to return to Europe/America/Australia, et al later, and by shutting down the web sites and recruitment venues within our nations. We also need to take a realistic look at our immigration policies.

Congress needs to stop throwing partisan pies at one another long enough to pass the laws we need to defend this nation. The president needs to stop playing the various parts of the electorate and sign those laws. Everyone that we’ve elected needs to start caring about America more than they do their political parties and special interest groups. The number one thing that scares me about this situation is that our elected officials on both sides of the political spectrum are games-players who are have been, at least up until now, unwilling to put America first.

Bombing fails as a single strategy. But it can be a decisive component of a more comprehensive strategy. Number one, before we do much of anything else, we need to stop feeding this beast and begin starving it.

My Questions about President Obama’s Address on ISIS

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It’s almost too ironic that the president announced this on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, which was the beginning of this war that appears to have ever-changing targets and no end.

I have several questions. First, it was around a year ago that President Obama wanted to bomb Syria because of allegations of the use of chemical weapons against ISIS. If we had gone ahead with that plan, it most likely would have destroyed the remaining infrastructure in the war-torn country and handed a total victory to ISIS.

I was totally against this, for a number of reasons. Among those reasons was my concern that bombing Syria would put these “rebels” (as they were called then) in power.

I’m raising this issue because I think it’s pertinent to last night’s speech. I want to wipe out ISIS. I regard that as a regrettable but necessary action to preserve civilization in the Middle East and stop the spread of violence into Europe, Russia, China, America and Australia.

I want to know that we’re going to be bombing ISIS, and not destroying the infrastructures of these countries. In more direct terms, bombing, if it doesn’t have the right targets, will not help end ISIS’ reign of terror. In fact it could do great harm.

Notice also the list of regions and countries that I said were menaced by ISIS. I know that looks like a broad swath for what is essentially a gang of murdering extortionists and pirates. But it is clear that ISIS is drawing murderers from the Muslim populations in all these areas. If the nations in question do not formulate more intelligent and self-preserving policies than they have followed up until now, they will most certainly find themselves dealing with this murderous and genocidal savagery on their home soil.

How does bombing play into that? Is bombing an effective and sufficient response?

I think that bombing will be an insufficient response unless it is accompanied by policy changes that address the issues of what we are going to do with people who go overseas to murder, rape and practice genocide then try to come back to the USA later. We also need to address the issue of how we are going identify people who are living here in the homeland who are funding and aiding ISIS.

I also wonder how, or even if, we are going to address the critical issue of who is funding ISIS. In military terms, cutting off funding to ISIS serves the same function as destroying the manufacturing plants of a nation that has actual war making power. It stops their war-making ability. It appears to me that those of us who oppose terrorist activities have been singularly ineffective at stopping the influx of what must be massive amounts of monies to ISIS.

I wrote two posts yesterday about a blog post calling for violent discrimination against Muslims. This was a single blog post on an obscure website. However, it is clear that ISIS is using the internet and other forms of communication to recruit what must be large numbers of murderers who are actually following through with the murdering. I’ve read that the videos of our reporters being beheaded will be (probably have been already) used to attract and recruit fresh murderers to this ignoble cause.

How are these calls to murder being channeled through the various communities where likely recruits are found? Is it done entirely by the internet? What part does word of mouth play in this? How are we dealing with these web sites?

I’m strongly in favor of freedom of speech. But direct recruitment of murderers to participate in the slaughter of innocent people who are then murdered in great numbers by these same recruits goes beyond the limits of what we ordinarily think of as free speech. It is akin to putting a murder for hire ad on the web. How are we going to deal with this?

We need to re-evalulate our laws that pertain to these issues and make the changes that are necessary to protect this country.

I want to think about this before I say more. Right now, what I mostly have are questions. In the meantime, I am interested in what Public Catholic’s readers think. I hope you will think these things through and share your ideas. I also hope that we can get beyond knee-jerk partisan sloganeering.

This is about genocide against Christians and other religious minorities, war that seems to be going on forever, and our domestic safety here in our homeland. Let’s put aside partisan loyalties and think about what is best for our country.

Here, for your consideration, is our president’s address from last night.

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Proportion and Reality in an Age of Mass Slaughter

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ISIS’ plan of conquest. Source: Mirror

 

I started to use the phrase “age of genocide” in the title for this post. But, on reflection, I decided that the word genocide, horrible as it is, is actually too small.

Do we have a word to describe the organized mass slaughters of millions of people by governments, and in the case of ISIS, wannabe governments?

It is not “just” genocide” because, in the case of some of these mass slaughterers, such as Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot and Chairman Mao, it was not a slaughter aimed at a discreet group of people so much as it was aimed at anyone they could kill. Then we have the slaughtering dictators such as Idi Amin, who certainly aimed much of his killing at Christians, but also killed quite a few others, as well.

In fact, finding a “pure” genocide anywhere is way past difficult. The Armenian genocide, which wiped out most of the Christian population of Turkey (did anyone every wonder why that country is 99% Muslim?) and the holocaust the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews, are the closest.

But the Nazis, even though they clearly stated, intended and nearly accomplished the total annihilation of the Jewish people in their conquered territories, also murdered whole seminaries of Catholic priests, gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, liberals and the disabled. The murder of Muslims in Bosnia (which United Nations troops, including a lot of Americans, brought to a halt) is another example of what might be at least an attempt at pure genocide.

What we are seeing in the Middle East today is, once again, a lot bigger than “just” genocide. Like most genocidal murderers, ISIS is, at base, just a bunch of murdering thugs. What that means in terms of what they do is that they don’t stop at “just” murdering every Christian and Yazidi they can kill. They also kill Muslims who don’t fit their idea of what a “true” Muslim is, and they kill journalists in attempts to extort ransom money, and they kill a lot of other people, as well.

They kill because they are cold-blooded murderers who have created a religious excuse for being what they are.

That’s why the term genocide is too small for the organized slaughter of innocents that has been taking place all over our globe since the turn of the 20th Century. If we limit it to the organized attempts to wipe out specific and discreet groups of people within a given population, we will ignore the murderous destruction of millions of other lives.

That’s how Stalin gets through the genocide sieve. He killed everybody.

Genocide as a word has a meaning that is too small for the organized murdering that we are dealing with in today’s world. If that doesn’t scare you, you probably don’t understand it.

Alongside this murdering fury that is the true hallmark by which our times will be remembered in history, are the emotional reactions to this savagery from its bystanders.

Members of the groups which are being slaughtered are often themselves under attack or at least somewhat marginalized in the less murderous societies in which they live. That was the case with Jews around the world when the Nazis were gearing up their killing machine. Even American Jews suffered social discrimination in terms of club memberships and the names they were called.

That leads to a frozen-in-place non-response by those who should be most equipped to help. Instead of rallying support for their persecuted brethren, members of the same group often turn away and ignore their plight. That certainly happened with the Jews.

Then, we have the subtle collaboration of news media and groups who do not like their own neighbors who are members of groups being persecuted in other lands. That fits the situation with Christian persecution. I’ve experienced myself the aggressive bullying whose motive is to silence anyone who talks about Christian persecution. I’ve also witnessed the relative silence about it in the mainstream media.

This is coupled with a group emphasis on anyone who does something that can be used to either weaken concern for persecuted Christians or to increase public dislike of them.

Witness the extraordinary emphasis given to the Westboro Baptist Church, which is in fact, just about a dozen (or less) individuals with signs. You would think, based on what has been written and said in certain Christian-bashing circles, that they were the pope speaking ex cathedra.

The same goes for one lone blog post which was written by a grievously wrong Christian calling for the classic run-up to genocide against Muslims. I’m going to write a full post on that alone as soon as I finish writing this one. But before I do that, I want to discuss the lack of proportion and reality with which it is being dealt.

First, in some Christian-bashing circles, their outraged coverage of this one blog post from an obscure blog site is the only commentary they’ve made about the mass slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. These are often the same people who attack anyone who tries to talk about Christian persecution.

I don’t take their outrage seriously because I see it as a targeted outrage, designed to create prejudice against Christians and provide tacit support for worldwide discrimination against and persecution of Christians. I see these bloggers as enablers of violent persecution of innocent people.

Second, we have the reaction of Muslim people who feel beleaguered because of the hideous behavior of their co-religionists. See? They seem to say. It’s not just us.

No. It’s not just them. Psychopathic murderers with government or quasi government backing are a widespread phenomena that cross all ethnic, religious (or non religious) groups. In light of this reality, I think it’s time for us to lay down the “It’s them!” “It’s not just us!” nonsense and simply acknowledge that murderers walk among us and they will use any excuse to ply their trade.

And that this the point of this post. Genocide as a word is too small for the mass murders we have seen for the past 100 years of human history. There is no group of people innocent of these murdering rampages.

If we are going to deal with these mass murders effectively and end them, we must begin by looking at them with a sense of proportion and in the light of reality. ISIS is nothing more than a gang of extortionists and mass murderers. They can dress up in Halloween costumes and claim that god is on their side all day long, and it will not change the fact that they are cold-blooded, murdering savages who have damned themselves before the real God.

Ditto for every other gang of murdering savages we’ve seen. Ted Bundy we can execute. But when the Ted Bundys of this world get their hands on philosophies and government, it takes a bit more than a flip of the switch to end them.

Proportion, applied to ISIS and all their murdering type, requires that we stop playing games with mass murder. There are some crimes that have to be stopped, and the organized mass murder of innocents is one of those crimes. We must not equate everything with this one thing. Blog posts can be argued and their ideas scuttled. But blog posts, however upsetting, are not the same thing as the actual organized murder of innocents on a mass scale.

Reality requires that we acknowledge that there is no group of people who can point their fingers at someone else and claim moral superiority in this. Organized mass murder of innocents has become part of the human story. If the history of this bloodshed has shown us anything, it is that any group of people is capable of it.

I’ve referenced the wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous before when I was discussing the self-lies we tell. I will probably do it many times. AA has a wisdom in dealing with self-lies that kill.

You must accept reality on reality’s terms. 

That’s AA advice for recovering alcoholics and co-dependents. It is wisdom for our time.

 

Pope Francis Plans November Trip to Turkey-Iraq Border

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Pope Francis is planning a trip to the Turkish-Iraqi border in November of this year.

The trip will give him the opportunity to visit with Christian and Yazidi refugees who have been driven from the homes by ISIS.

If the trip does not fall through it will place the Holy Father in relatively close proximity to the fighting. Rumors were rife a few days ago that ISIS had targeted Pope Francis for assassination. The Vatican said there was “nothing to” the concerns.

I don’t know what to make of all this except to say that ISIS has shown itself to be glutton for media attention and high profile murder. There is no one on this planet more high profile than the Vicar of Christ.

From Crux:

ROME — Pope Francis intends to travel to Turkey at the end of November, a trip that may take him to the border with Iraq in a demonstration of the pontiff’s concern for the violence there and the plight of refugees from the self-declared Islamic state, including an estimated 100,000 Christians.

Officials of the Turkish embassy to the Vatican confirmed to Crux that preparations for the trip are underway, which should see the pontiff in Istanbul on Nov. 30 for the feast of St. Andrew, considered the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Francis is also expected to make a stop in Ankara, the national capital, for a meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. At the moment, the Vatican is waiting for a formal invitation to the pontiff from Erdogan before announcing the outing.

The invitation for Francis to visit Turkey was first extended at the beginning of his papacy by Bartholomew I, the first Patriarch of Constantinople to attend a papal inaugural Mass.

Since then the two men have struck up a partnership, with Bartholomew meeting Francis on his May trip to the Middle East and later joining him for a peace prayer with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents in the Vatican gardens on June 8.

Interest in making the trip has been enhanced by recent developments in Iraq. During an airborne press conference on the way back from a trip to South Korea in mid-August, Francis expressed an interest in visiting Iraq but said for the moment such a journey is “not the best thing to do.”

His outing in November is likely the closest the pontiff will be able to get to Iraq itself, and will give him the opportunity to meet Iraqi refugees.

An embassy official said that Turkey, a country with an overwhelming Muslim majority estimated at 99 percent of the population, is currently “doing everything in its power” to welcome Christians and Yazidis who have been forced out of their homes in both Iraq and border regions of Turkey itself by ISIS forces.


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