Saturday, June 24, 2006

Advice For Students

Calvin Seerveld offers some good advice for Christian students attending a secular university. Actually, I think it's good advice for any kind of student in any kind of university. Here are three of his six suggestions:

Major in the best profs, who make you think self-critically and who give solid course content in a field-area that you have gifts for or can be busy with, without noticing the passage of time.

Take a double major, if possible, to promote the ability to do interdisciplinary thinking, a kind of informal philosophy major (if the philosophy available is sophistic, skeptical or "undeep").

Get in-depth knowledge of a certain period: 5th to 4th century B.C. Athens, Renaissance England, Europe around the time of the French Revolution, or America during the 1920s. That is, rather than staying with survey knowledge, get close to a slice of cultural life somewhere, once upon a time, in many of its facets-a form of encyclopedia-historical study. Maybe work for a couple summers or part of a year in an African village, do volunteer work in Central America, or take a job on the south side of Chicago or in Toronto's Regent Park.

Check out the link for the rest of his recommendations.

Should We Pre-empt?

Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry, former Clinton assistant secretary of defense and secretary of defense, respectively, call for the United States to blow up on the launch pad the North Korean missile that has recently been fueled and made ready for launch:

[I]f North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead. The blast would be similar to the one that killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. But the effect on the Taepodong would be devastating. The multi-story, thin-skinned missile filled with high-energy fuel is itself explosive -- the U.S. airstrike would puncture the missile and probably cause it to explode. The carefully engineered test bed for North Korea's nascent nuclear missile force would be destroyed, and its attempt to retrogress to Cold War threats thwarted. There would be no damage to North Korea outside the immediate vicinity of the missile gantry.

Read their whole argument here.

Former Vice-President Walter Mondale has endorsed similar action. Charles Pritchard in the WaPo argues against a pre-emptive strike.


PowerLine has come across this quote from a 2003 transcript of a meeting of the Council of Foreign Relations:

I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election, the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy. Their sudden embrace of accelerated Iraqification and American troop withdrawal dates, without adequate stability, is an invitation to failure. The hard work of rebuilding Iraq must not be dictated by the schedule of the next American election.

I have called for the administration to transfer sovereignty, and they must transfer it to the Iraqi people as quickly as circumstances permit. But it would be a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle to speed up the process simply to lay the groundwork for a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops. That could risk the hijacking of Iraq by terrorist groups and former Ba'athists.

The speaker was presidential candidate John Kerry. PowerLine observes that the shameless Senator Flipper was apparently against cutting and running before he was for it.

Do They Care?

The descriptions of the horrors to which our two young soldiers were subjected in Iraq - the two who were captured, tortured, beheaded, and so brutalized that they were unrecognizable - would seem to put Abu Ghraib and other such episodes in a somewhat different light.

How anyone can think that putting underwear on somebody's head and having a dog bark at prisoners is in the same moral universe as what was done to these men escapes me. Yet, the word "torture" is used to describe both as if they are in some bizarre sense morally equivalent.

We were subjected to Abu Ghraib horror stories and photos for months and years after it came to light. We were urged to reflect on what kind of a nation we are that we would spawn people who could do such awful things as put detainees in humiliating and embarrassing poses. Calls went forth demanding that we leave Iraq because we'd lost the moral high ground. Then came revelations of allegations that Korans had been flushed down toilets in Guantanamo and prisoners having been forced to endure loud music. We flagellated ourselves for our barbarity. We condemned ourselves because we were "torturers."

Now we see what genuine evil looks like. We see Americans subjected to unimaginable agony at the hands of sub-human savages. And the MSM can scarcely bring themselves to acknowledge what has happened. A day or two in the news and the story's gone. No photos, no descriptions, no nightly reminders of the evil against which we fight, nothing that would give the American people insight into what real evil is. The left-wing bloggers yawn and return to their fantasies of indicting Karl Rove. The media returns quickly to its fascinations with Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie. It has no time to be drawing the important distinctions between what our interrogators do and why they do it and what the Islamists do and why. The media spent almost as much time fretting over whether our troops treated Zarqawi roughly before he died than they have on the fate of Kristain Manchaca and Thomas Tucker.

It almost seems as if they just don't care.