Some early firefights between Republicans and Dems this week, as Obama tried to use the words al Qaeda and Iraq in the same sentence during Tuesday’s debate. Here’s how CNN.com put it together:
“I have news for Senator Obama, al Qaeda is in Iraq and that’s why we’re fighting in Iraq,” McCain said Wednesday while campaigning in Texas. McCain’s press office also released a statement Wednesday stating, “Is Sen. Obama unaware that al Qaeda is still present in Iraq, that our forces are successfully fighting them every day, and that his Iraq policy of withdrawal would embolden al Qaeda and weaken our security?”
Obama sharply rebuked those comments, saying at a campaign rally Wednesday, “Well first of all, I do know that al Qaeda is in Iraq. That’s why I’ve said we should continue to strike al Qaeda targets. But I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.”
…and Senator Clinton too, despite her protestations to the contrary (saying she wouldn’t do it again, knowing what we know now). We’ve had several presidents already lately who severely lacked wisdom and foresight, following the crowd of “chicken littles” over a cliff. Why would we want another?
The same goes for her shift on NAFTA. She was in favor of NAFTA (and other trade agreements, including some ill-advised ones with China) when her husband ushered it through the Congress and into law. But now that she sees how greedy multinational corporations have cut our citizens loose, and sent millions of jobs abroad where labor is cheap and businesses unregulated, she says NAFTA’s not so hot. Globalization’s been going on for over twenty years, guys. Where have you been?
Kill-Mart: One Stop Shopping for All Your Terrorism Needs
Besides, what’s in a name, anyway? Whether it’s Obama discussing “Al Qaeda in Iraq”, or Bush crowing about “HAMAS ” when he was in Palestine, or “Afghan Taliban”, or “Mujahadin Freedom Fighters” (what we used to call those same Taliban, when they were fighting Russian commies), or “Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt“, or “Hezbollah“, or “the Zaghawa” and the official “Sudanese military” (!!!) in Darfur”, “Kalenjin” tribal rebels in Kenya, or FARC and the drug-traffickers in Colombia, local and international terrorism –a.k.a. the killing of civilians, by any name– is here to stay. More importantly, fighting fire with fire, as McCain recommends, just does not work like it used to (as if it ever really did).
If elected, Obama will have to dive into international and military affairs headfirst and start learning on the job, just like Governor Bush had to. And who did The Big W learn from? First from his old man (a heavily-biased former CIA chief, let’s not forget), and then from that old shark Dick Cheney himself, who’s been screwing up our international diplomacy at least since the Nixon administration, if not earlier. So what this election is really all about is this: who do these three or four candidates listen to?!!! Who is likely to be in their Cabinet? Who has the most creative and up-to-date solutions to these intractable problems, both foreign and domestic? I happen to think Obama’s plan is the most promising. Or maybe that’s just because I’ve already seen what Clinton, McCain and Huckabee proposed or accomplished, and most of it ain’t so hot.
On a lighter note
Two sentences I heard this week, which when taken out of context sound pretty weird and hilarious:
1) When I was picking up Graham at daycare, they were finishing up a project making tropical fish out of multicolored paper plates. In looking at the supplies on the table, the teacher Mrs. Green said “We still have some more of those big eyes, don’t we?” (She was referring to those plastic, stick-on googly eyes, of course.)
2) This morning — as we take care of my mother’s Shi Tzu puppy this week, along with our own dog — Graham was sitting on the floor of the living room and both of the dogs were bugging him. “I’m tired of everybody licking me!”, the boy screamed. I don’t blame him. If you’re gonna be licked, you will want to be the one choosing the licker.
Emerging Church – Strictly Ballroom and The New Conspirators
Californian and Missio Dei blogger Jonathan Brink wrote up some analysis of a small but important church conference, The New Conspirators, happening in Seattle this week. Featured presenters are old favorite Tom Sine (of Evangelicals for Social Action), Jesus for President author Shane Claiborne, and amateur post-communist liberation theologian and practitioner Eliacin Rosario-Cruz.
Here’s a small excerpt from Jonathan’s Missio Dei report:
“Tonight [Thursday] a full house arrived in a brand new church to celebrate four streams of renewal showing up in the church. The four streams are mosaic, monastic, emerging and missional. Each is a different expression bubbling up organically and without any real help from the organized church. Each has more of a grassroots feel to it.”
Click through to learn more about these emerging leaders. There’s a train leaving the station. You may want to get on before it picks up more steam…