Friday, July 27, 2007

How Much Brain Do We Need?

The conventional wisdom is that brain injury unavoidably results in impairment, but Denyse O'Leary has a post up that strongly suggests that this is not necessarily so. I don't know if the inferences she draws from the data are warranted or not (She thinks the evidence she discusses refutes materialism by demonstrating that the mind and the brain are different entities), but it's fascinating reading nonetheless.


Absolute Evil

I am at a loss for words to describe the savagery of people who would kill their own daughter because she left a forced marriage:

A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing" carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was subjected to the 2-1/2 hour ordeal before she was garroted with a bootlace. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase and taken about 100 miles to Birmingham where it was buried in the back garden of a house.

Last month a jury found her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari Mahmod, 51, guilty of murder after a three-month trial. Their associate Mohamad Hama, 30, had earlier admitted killing her.

They believed Banaz had brought shame on the family by leaving her husband, an Iraqi Kurd she had been forced to marry at 17, and falling in love with Rahmat Suleimani, an Iranian Kurd.

Her former unnamed partner had raped her as well as repeatedly beating her, the court heard.

Hama, who prosecutors said had been a ringleader in the murder, was caught by listening devices talking to a friend in prison about the murder.

In the recordings, transcripts of which were relayed to the court, Hama and his friend are heard laughing as he described how she was killed with Banaz's uncle "supervising".

"I was kicking and stamping on her neck to get the soul out. I saw her stark naked, only wearing pants or underwear," Hama is recorded as saying.

There are terribly brutal murders in the United States all the time, to be sure, and Americans must recognize that we live in a diseased culture. Even so, we have not yet descended to the place where whole families laugh at torturing and killing a daughter because she has embarrassed them by leaving a marriage she had no say about in the first place.

And where are the feminists who have over the years repeatedly condemned the White House for denying funding for abortions in third world countries because that denial allegedly oppresses women? Where is their outrage at a culture that treats women as lower than dogs? Why are they silent?


Military Update

Here's a good update from Bill Roggio on military progress in Iraq. Also check out this site for information on Iraq that the lefties don't want you to have. As the summer wears on there has been a subtle shift in the news from that forlorn region. It seems clear that the coalition forces are gaining momentum and that as long as the voices of defeat and retreat in the media and Congress are not allowed to prevail, there is reason to be confident that the situation on the ground will be considerably improved, especially in Baghdad, by October.

We can save Iraq and effect a monumental change in the direction of history but only if we ignore the negativism of those who fear the loss of their own credibility and political power more than they fear the impact defeat would have on the future of our nation.

Some will ask how many lives we should be willing to sacrifice to bring stability to that region. My answer is that the stakes are so high that we should heed the words of John Kennedy at his inaugural about paying any price and bearing any burden. The cost of fighting in Iraq is high, but the cost of surrender would be astronomical. It's not the Iraqis for whom we fight, although they certainly benefit, but for the entire world and especially for ourselves.

We have lost 632 Americans in Iraq so far this year. That is a terrible price, but it doesn't follow that we should therefore abandon that mission. Two hundred thirty two Americans have been murdered in one city alone so far this year - Philadelphia, and the media shrugs, perhaps because Philadelphia is run by their party.

It may add a little perspective to note that more Pennsylvanians have been killed this year in almost every city in that state than have been killed in the entire country of Iraq. And I'm sure this is true for just about every state in the U.S.

In any event, casualties must be measured against the stakes, and the stakes in Iraq couldn't be higher.