August 30, 2002



I'm disappointed at Reynolds and Den Beste today for taking swipes at the Augustinian just war doctrine, in their efforts to defend the contemplated unprovoked conquest of Iraq. Christianity has no hold on American decisions, they say, a stance not only debatable when Bush and so many around him are devout Churchmen, but also entirely missing the point. St. Augustine's conditions for just war are philosophically, not theologically based... they are in no way inherently Christian, but stand on their own merits, regardless of the fact it was a Catholic who wrote them down. To reject them because one is not a Christian is like rejecting Euclidean geometry because one is not Greek. The Augustinian formulation, by setting down the conditions under which a Christian could go to war without being a sinner, has helped frame the moral debates surrounding international affairs for centuries... if one wishes to challenge them, one should debate how this war can be contained within those limits, not engage in this sort of ad theonem yammering.

Posted by BruceR at 03:51 PM



You ever look down at your hands when you're typing, and just for a flash, not recognize them? They're more wrinkly and old looking than you ever remembered... you wonder... were these the hands you lived in all these years? I look at the scars on my left hand (always the left, don't know why) and can remember the stories behind each one... the scars are still with me, so these must be my hands, I'm thinking. But if I didn't have a visible past, would I be able to recognize myself?

Posted by BruceR at 12:19 PM



Watching the reruns last night, I was reminded how impressed I was in my youth by the Ben Stone character on Law and Order, played by Michael Moriarty. Stone was something a lot of us desired to be... even though physically unimpressive and unwilling to inflict violence, still rock-certain in his convictions and his pursuit of truth. After Stone left the show, fans still hung on his words and pronouncements... as if Moriarty the man could not play Stone the character without having some of that same steadfastness. Of course, as Moriarty himself became increasingly more erratic and paranoid, taking his pronouncements seriously became harder and harder. At some point, we nearly all concluded with great sadness that a once brilliant actor was now, for whatever reason, demented and insane.

I'm reminded of this tracking the career of journalist Yvonne Ridley. If she was sane once (and I was never a follower of her work) things started to go south during or shortly after her imprisonment in a Taliban jail last year. Her claims since, which we have discussed before, are the product of a deranged mind... that doesn't stop Taliban apologists like blogger Amir Butler, however, from characterizing her as an authoritative source on the recent Afghan War.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ridley continues her slide, promising now she plans to convert to Islam. Why, you ask?

I made a promise to a Taliban cleric that I would study Islam - if I was released. He had just asked me if I wanted to convert and I was terrified to say 'yes' or 'no' because either response could have drawn accusations that I was fickle or insulting and therefore be stoned!

Stockholm ain't just a city in Sweden, apparently. Here's a hint, to Butler and other Ridley fans... if you think a promise elicited from a captive under threat of death has any moral weight after her release, or does Islam any credit for that matter, you're battier than Ms. Ridley here.

Posted by BruceR at 11:59 AM