Thursday, February 15, 2007

Has al-Masri Been Captured?

The successor to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is a man named Abu al-Masri. Breitbart has a report that al-Masri was wounded in fighting with Iraqi forces:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was wounded and an aide was killed in a clash Thursday with Iraqi forces north of Baghdad, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The clash occurred near Balad, a major U.S. base about 50 miles north of the capital, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said.

Khalaf said al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri was wounded and his aide, identified as Abu Abdullah al-Majemaai, was killed.

Khalaf declined to say how Iraqi forces knew al-Masri had been injured, and there was no report on the incident from U.S. authorities.

Deputy Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Hussein Ali Kamal said he had no information about such a clash or that al-Masri had been involved.

Al-Masri took over the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq after its charismatic leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike last June in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

If this report is confirmed it should have a chilling effect on those waiting in line to fill the role of leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Who wants to take a position that offers such lousy retirement benefits and such poor job security.


The Chicksters

Paul Nowak puts the Dixie Chicks in perspective and, with a single drawing, manages to make them appear whiny, self-absorbed, and historically oblivious, which, of course, they are:

I wonder if any of them have ever even heard of Solzhenitsyn.


No Story Here

It seems now that there has been yet another rape allegation in Durham, North Carolina. A woman alleges that she was assaulted at a house party, a circumstance similar to the case in which the Duke lacrosse players were accused, falsely, of having raped an "exotic" dancer.

The second case even has another similarity to the first in that it is an interracial incident. Nevertheless, despite the media obsession with the Duke case, and its similarities with this second case, you probably haven't heard about the recent incident. Why do you suppose that is? Does not our media salivate like Pavlov's dogs at the thought of writing about white on black crime? Then why hasn't it jumped on the second case? One guess.

Some crimes evidently don't matter as much to the folks who report our news as do others.


Atheism, Theism, and Design

One often hears, despite numerous attempts to disabuse people of the notion, that Intelligent Design is religious because it leads inevitably to the conclusion that the designer must be the God of the Bible. This is nonsense, of course, but the objection persists because were it ever to be given up it would open the door for ID to be taught in public schools and once that happened Darwinism would go the way of Marxism and Freudianism.

Telic Thoughts has a post on a 1982 speech given by Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the most famous scientists of the twentieth century. Hoyle was an atheist but, as impossible as it might seem to some of ID's opponents, he believed in the intelligent design of life on earth.

Read the article to see what Hoyle advocated. The point is that ID, to the disappointment of theists and atheists alike, does not necessarily entail the God of the Bible and is, ironically, compatible with both. What it's not compatible with is the materialist interpretation of Darwin which says that physical processes like the laws of chemistry and physics, plus time and chance, are all that's required to explain life and the cosmos.

Hoyle believes that the designer is part of this universe. It is possible, though, that the designer transcends this universe, but is still not the God that Christians worship. Physicists talk of the possibility of other universes existing beyond our own. If there are such worlds out there it's possible that an inhabitant of one of them designed our world. If speculations about the existence of other worlds is a legitimate topic of scientific discourse then so must be the possibility of an intelligence in such a world being capable of designing other worlds. Again, the point is that whether ID is a scientific theory or not, it is clearly not religious. It does, however, have religious implications, just as does materialistic Darwinism.


If I Die

Here's a great song written and sung, I believe, by a soldier in Iraq. It's titled If I Die Before You Wake. Give it a listen.