Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Brits in the South

The other day I was walking past the DFAC (Dining Facility) and became enthralled in watching a British helicopter flying overhead. I have to admit, that no matter how many helicopters I see a day (many), or how often I fly in one, I still remain fascinated by them.

As I watched the chopper fly overhead, with doors open, one of the Brits cast a friendly wave our way. I've thought about what great allies we have in the British, as well as the Australians. (in fact, there are troops from many different nations here, but you won't hear that on the mainstream media).

Hence, it disappoints me to hear about the way people are reacting to the British pulling troops out of the southern part of Iraq. The media has played this off as a negative thing. Yet... aren't the American people wanting us to leave as soon as security is stabilized? Seems like sort of a no win situation with the media. They (the media) demand a pull-out as soon as possible, but spin it as negative when we're able to turn areas over.

The reality is that, though far from perfect, the situation in the south, like the far north, is much better than Baghdad. The British have lost about 170 Soldiers down there, over 3+ years. While their contingent is smaller, it is still a far smaller number of casualties in comparison to the situation in Baghdad. The truth is that the situation in the south is stable enough for the Iraqis to take over. Folks, this is good news.

Moreover, the Brits aren't quitting. They're actually sending more troops to Afghanistan, in anticipation of an expected spring offensive by the Taliban. It's good to have allies like them. You have to love any nation which gives us TV programming such as "The Office," and "Trigger Happy TV," authors like C.S Lewis, and is willing to stand by us in one of the great fights of the 21st century.

One last aside: I read that Sen. Joe Lieberman was reading the book America Alone, by Mark Steyn, a book I recommended a while back. I wish every US Representative and Senator would read this book. Again, I recommend it to anyone seeking a better understanding of what we are facing in this global struggle against terror.


Anonymous Milton said...

The problem with Mark Steyn's arguments:

1. He states that birth rates are at the foundation of the problem. Muslims have more children than Westerners. So do people in Africa, China, and India. Does their global economic, political, and military power rule? No, the U.S. still does. And what is the solution to that problem? Force people in the West to have more children?

2. Immigration. Even if Muslims are moving into Western countries, like the U.S., it does not mean that those societies are going to see a cultural and social sea change. Look at the United States. We had huge influxes of Irish in the 19th century and even more Latinos in the 20th and 21st centuries. Have we all become Catholic? No. Will we all become Muslim, or will Muslims take over our neighborhoods? No. People adapt to their surroundings, just as the people in those surroundings adapt to the new people around them.

3. Also, Steyn's ten-point list at the end of the book is too simplistic. Get rid of the U.N., NATO, and the IAEA? Why? Let's have a discussion of those points instead of just nodding our heads at 10 tiny sentences.

Most importantly, though, is the assumption that Steyn makes in the book overall. Steyn assumes that all Muslims are the same.

Christopher Hitchens notes this point well:

"Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). Little binds a Somali to a Turk or an Iranian or an Algerian, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes—seeking asylum and to build a better life. A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties."

12:05 AM  
Blogger Christian said...

Thanks for your comments on Mr. Steyn’s book. Let me respond to some of your critique.
1. Regarding demographics in China and India Africa: these are irrelevant, because Mr. Steyn in talking about the growing populations of Muslims living in Europe and migrating there. Moreover, as you know, China does not have a large rate of growth- it has a shrinking demographic, as they have had a policy of only one child per couple for the last few decades. Regardless, Mr. Steyn is comparing the population of growth of Muslims in Europe, vs. the shrinking population of the overall European population.
2. Regarding the comparison to Catholics immigrating to the US: this is a poor comparison because in spite of the fears some Protestants had, a German Roman Catholic is still very, very similar to a Lutheran German, culturally and in terms of their world view. Moreover, when the Catholics were moving to the US, there was no problem with world-wide Catholic terrorism such as there is today with Islamic terrorism.
3. Mr. Steyn’s solutions may seem simplistic, but he has rightly pointed out that there are a number of international institutions which are simply not effective, the UN being the chief among them.
4. Mr. Steyn does NOT assume that all Muslims are the same. However, he does note certain patterns: such as the prevalence of terrorism in Muslim nations, and the prevalence of terrorism among Muslim immigrants to the west. That’s common sense. The Mexicans moving to the US are not engaged in trying to destroy the World Trade Center or bring down the US government. Other immigrant groups have by and large assimilated, but in western Europe, Muslims are not, for the most part, assimilating. While some flee the terror in their own countries, Steyn also makes the excellent point that some of the most radical terrorists come from the ranks of 2nd generation Muslim-Europeans and Muslim-Americans, showing the lack of assimilation.

Again, thanks for your comments,

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Milton said...

Thanks for responding. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to have a good back-and-forth.

Good luck to you in Iraq. And keep reading!

12:46 AM  

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