Last week, hell came to the tiny Christian village of Maaloula where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
"Rebels of the Free Syrian Army launched an assault aided by a suicide bomber from Jabhat al-Nusra," the al-Qaida-linked Islamic terrorist group, writes the Washington Post.
The AP picked up the story: One resident said bearded rebels shouting "God is great!" attacked Christian homes and churches. "They shot and killed people. ... I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street."
Maaloula is now a "ghost town." Christians left behind were told, "Either you convert to Islam or you will be beheaded." "Where is President Obama?" wailed a refugee. And, indeed, where is Obama?
He is out lobbying Congress for authority to attack the Syrian army that defended Maaloula as John McCain beats the drums for a Senate resolution to have the U.S. military "change the momentum" of the war to the rebels who terrorized the convent nuns of Maaloula.
If we strike Syria and break its army, what happens to 2 million Syrian Christians? Does anyone care?
Do the Saudis who have signed on to Obama's war — but decline to fight — care? Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Riyadh.
Do the Turks, who look the other way as jihadist killers cross their frontier to set up al-Qaida sanctuaries in northern Syria, care?
Do the Israelis, who have instructed AIPAC to get Congress back in line behind a war Americans do not want to fight, care about those 100,000 dead Syrians and 400 gassed children?
Here is Alon Pinkas, Israel's former general consul in New York, giving Israel's view of the Syrian bloodletting: "Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death. That's the strategic thinking here."
According to two polls reported this weekend by the Jerusalem Post, Israelis by 7-1 do not want Israel to go to war with Syria. But two-thirds of Israelis favor the United States going to war with Syria.
Peggy Noonan writes that the debate on war on Syria "looks like a fight between the country and Washington." She nails it. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard are all up for air strikes. In the think tanks of D.C., the corridor talk is all about "On to Teheran!"
But what of the soldiers who will fight the neocons' war? Major General Robert Scales speaks for our next generation of wounded warriors. Our fighting men, Scales writes, "are tired of wannabe soldiers who remain enamored of bloodless machine warfare ... Today's soldiers know war and resent civilian policymakers who want the military to fight a war that neither they nor their loved ones will experience firsthand."
Enthusiasm for war is likely higher at Cafe Milano in Georgetown than in the mess hall at Camp LeJeune.
Why is opposition to the war surging? Because the case for war is crumbling.
U.S. credibility is on the line, we are warned. If we do not attack Syria to punish a violation of Obama's "red line," no one will believe us again. Our allies will no longer have confidence that America will come over and fight their next war for them.
Yet George Bush blustered in his "axis-of-evil" State of the Union that "the world's worst dictators" would not be allowed to get "the world's worst weapons." And Kim Jong Il went out and tested an atom bomb and built an arsenal of nuclear weapons. And what did The Decider do? Nothing. Did our alliances collapse because "W's" bluff was called?
Should Congress really authorize a war on Syria because Hillary Clinton and Obama said "Assad must go!" and Obama said his "red line" has been crossed? Or should Congress use this vote as a teaching tool for Baby Boomer Bismarcks by declaring: "We are not taking our country to war because you blundered in issuing ultimata you had no authority to issue. Rather than go to war, you should admit your mistake, as real leaders do, and take responsibility."
How many Syrians should we kill to restore the credibility of Barack Obama? How many Syrians should we kill to impress upon Iran how resolute we are? How many Syrians should we kill to reassure nervous allies that Uncle Sam will forever come fight their wars for them?
In America, before we put a man to death, we prove him guilty of murder "beyond a reasonable doubt." Should we not set as high a standard of proof before we kill a thousand Syrians and plunge the United States into another war?
Where is the evidence Assad ordered a gas attack? German intelligence says it intercepted orders from Assad not to use gas. Congressmen coming out of secret briefings say the case is inconclusive.
The American people do not want war on Syria, and such a war makes no sense. Who is trying to stampede Congress into war on Syria, and then on Iran — and why? Therein lies the real question.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 11:08
To The Daily Sun,
National Assisted Living Week (NALW) will take place Sept. 8 – 14, 2013 and will feature the theme "Homemade Happiness." The Golden View Community invites you — the community at large — to join us in celebrating residents' lives and thanking volunteers, family members, staff and others at one of our "Homemade Happiness" events.
We will host an open house for prospective volunteers and the general public on Tuesday September 10 at 2:30 p.m. at The Inn at Golden View, Assisted Living. We are featuring a "Just Desserts" social. The Inn invites the public to join us for an all-you-can-eat spectacular feast of homemade desserts. We will be offering tours of the Golden View campus. Or join us on Friday 13th at 1 p.m. as we welcome a representative from The Office of Veterans Services to present the most up-to-date information on VA Benefits. Homemade Happiness celebrates the bond created by staff, residents and families as they build warm, welcoming, and vibrant homes for residents.
NALW was established in 1995 by the National Center for Assisted Living to provide a special opportunity to bring together residents, families, employees, volunteers, and the surrounding community to celebrate residents and the services provided by the staff within assisted living communities. Every year, the week long celebration begins on Grandparent's Day.
"Homemade Happiness" events also help us to say "thank you" to our assisted living residents, many of whom have made significant contributions to our community as business people, civic leaders, firefighters, teachers, parents, and grandparents.
To learn more about our open house contact Heidi Murray, administrator of The Inn at Golden View at 279-8111 or visit us on the web at www.goldenview.org Join us and the more than 31,100 assisted living communities nationwide who are creating celebrations for all to enjoy.
Heidi Murray, Administrator
Golden View Health Care Center
Last Updated on Friday, 06 September 2013 08:53
To The Daily Sun,
As the twelfth anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches, we will remember with sadness what happened in the USA on that date. We will ask ourselves: "how could anyone hate us that much?"
Perhaps a place to begin that discussion is remembering that this September 11 is also the fortieth anniversary of "The Other 9-11" an act of terror what began on Tuesday, September 11, 1973 in Chile — terror for which the United States bears a great deal of responsibility. Many Americans do not remember this event and I have been criticized by writers to The Sun for bringing it up in the past.
But, I just returned from my sixth long-term visit to that beautiful and charming South American country. I remember Chile and will never stop remembering her. And, I have promised Chilean friends, some of whom were victims, that I will never allow my country to forget the "Other 9-11."
On that date, the Chilean military, with the support and involvement of the U.S.A., overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, a socialist considered a threat to U.S. corporate interests. Since the 1950s, the U.S. had poured millions into trying to prevent Allende's election. When he finally got elected in 1970, the U.S. tried to keep him from taking office. When he took office anyway, millions more were funneled through the C.I.A. to, in Nixon's words, "make the economy scream." The U.S. pressured other countries not to buy Chilean copper and for a cut–off of credit to Chile. Most aid was cut off but military aid continued to court the Chilean military.
Our dollars funded campaigns of violence and sabotage to destabilize the Allende government which nevertheless remained popular with the majority of Chileans. Allende himself rejected any violent or undemocratic means of reform and scheduled a referendum for mid-September, 1973 to let the Chilean people themselves decide if they wanted him to continue in office. Most historians think he would have probably won. The Chilean armed forces, and the U.S., would not take the chance that he would have won the referendum and therefore they staged a bloody coup on Tuesday, September 11 of that year.
The coup led to a 17 year military dictatorship. The leader of the military junta, General Augusto Pinochet (whose role model was Spain's Francisco Franco), claimed he was fighting "terrorism." In addition to the thousands killed, close to a million Chileans left their country for exile, including some of Chile's best artists, musicians, and academics. Of those killed were two American citizens, Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman. At best, they were not given lawful protection by the U.S. Consulate. At worst, U.S. diplomatic and military personal played a role in their deaths.
Over 100,000 were detained, some for months in concentration camps. At least 90 percent of those arrested were brutally tortured. I have debated whether the details of these tortures are appropriate for the pages of this newspaper. Some Chileans were brutally beaten. Others were burned with cigarettes. Some were submersed in human excrement. Both women and men were violated sexually.
Women and men had rats put in their bodies. Dogs were trained to rape. People were tortured in front of family. People were subjected to mock executions and variations on "waterboarding" were used by the Chileans. Many Latin-American torturers had been trained by the USA.
One of the worst tortures was the "barbeque grill" where men and women were chained naked to metal bed frames and had electrodes applied to their private parts and other sensitive parts of their bodies. This summer, I visited the new Human Rights Museum in Santiago and among the exhibits was the equipment used for this torture which bore the name of the manufacturer of the parts: General Electric.
Apologizing for a wrong done is not a sign of weakness but rather of strength. Perhaps this September 11 would be an appropriate time for the USA to formally apologize to the people of Chile for the role our country played in those horrors. Perhaps this September 11, our president or secretary of state could tenure that formal apology to the Chilean Ambassador in Washington?
E. Scott Cracraft
Last Updated on Friday, 06 September 2013 08:49
To The Daily Sun,
Unbeknownst to many, we have a great strength to many within our communities, a vital asset and an untapped resource: our youth. Young people are brimming with potential, they are insightful and can bring clarity to communities often burdened and stressed. In fact, research shows that kids bonded with the communities are less likely to get involved with the criminal justice system.
When I was growing up, finding volunteer opportunities and community service projects to participate in was easy and in fact, such volunteer work played and important role in shaping who I am today. Now, however, youth are having a much more difficult time because community organizations face increasing liability issues, as well as economic pressures of underfunding and under staffing. One program I know of that remains dedicated to finding community service opportunities for young people is the Youth Assistance Program, providing juvenile court diversion and prevention services to the communities of Northfield and Tilton.
People often think, "What can I do? Well we all have something to share! Do you have a special talent? Are you someone who could teach kids how to quilt? Do you need posters, signs or artwork made? Could you hang signs in your business window for upcoming events? Would your business sponsor a box for charitable donations? Are you interested in supervising youth on a hike to pick up litter? Do you have any personal story that could benefit youth? Have you overcome disability, hardship, or other adversity in your life? Did you face unforeseen consequences from a decision you made as a youth? Would you like to talk to kids about your experiences?
If you don't want to meet with the kids that's fine too. The Youth Assistance Program has many alternative forms of students, including a notebook for of personal stories from inmates. Are you interested in sharing your story or contributing in some other way? For more information or to get involved call Dawn Shimberg, director of the Youth Assistance Program at 286-8577.
If you know of someone who could benefit from juvenile court diversion or prevention services at the Youth Assistance Program have them stop by the Tilton, Main Street location and/or pass on the phone number.
Last Updated on Friday, 06 September 2013 08:48
To The Daily Sun,
It is confounding to read and hear people who do not want to recognize and admit that government is excessively big. A recent column in The Laconia Daily Sun (August 26, 2013, Froma Harrop) attempts to justify electing the so-called moderate Republican thinkers who contributed to big government referred to as the longtime "older more marketable Republicans". A July 19, 2013 article discloses a Belknap County Commissioner calling the more conservative elected N.H. House of Representatives as "bad people looking to do bad things".
As the prominent economist Milton Friedman wrote in an essay "Why Government is the Problem"; "The major social problems of the United States — deteriorating education, lawlessness and crime, homelessness, the collapse of family values, the crisis in medical care — have been produced by well-intended actions of government." Throughout history, overgrown governments have failed while governments that take less from people in the form of taxes and allow free economic markets have prospered.
The many years of growing big government, overspending and redistribution of wealth has led to cities filing bankruptcy, a lack of full time employment, a reduction in private property rights, a larger spread between rich and poor, lack of privacy, etc. People of all income levels pay increasing direct taxes, indirect taxes and/or hidden taxes included in the price of products and services.
Reports indicate there are about 4.5 million people working for the federal government, surely a huge bureaucracy with hundreds of departments and agencies. Thousands of new rules are published in the Federal Register each year. The USDebtclock.org shows federal spending over 3.5 trillion dollars and the U.S. National Debt growing to nearly 17 trillion dollars. The debt increased about 6 trillion dollars just in the past five years alone. The State of N.H. spends more than 6 billion dollars per year.
Why are so many people continuing to be in a state of denial? Are politicians that convincing?
The government's use of "free" money grants, "outreach" programs and other manipulative techniques successfully persist to influence people toward acceptance of federal central government agency "programs" and ideas from Obamacare to workforce housing. For years, state, county and local governments added more employees and increased spending while establishing many superfluous programs, laws and ordinances.
Why do so many people believe that this oversized government is to their benefit? Do they really believe they are getting trillions of dollars worth of value from government or are they just afraid to confront this longtime trend? Perhaps they fear politicians will reduce proper government spending instead of eliminating the thousands of wasteful and unnecessary components.
Instead of realizing the problem, many continue to criticize and call others derogatory names such as bad people, idiots, anarchists and radicals for questioning government spending and regulations.
As the number of government workers increase and the more "free" money is given out, the harder it will be to address the problem since the beneficiaries will likely vote for more government and spending. Don't let it reach the point of no return.
Fortunately, there are N.H. State Representatives who understand the problem including Representatives Collette Worsman and Jane Cormier, who also oversee the Belknap County budget as delegates.
Moderate thinkers continue to "compromise" instead of solving the real problem. This is the reason government has grown so steadily for many years. Yes, a compromise that slightly moves to solve the overspending problem is good, but this will require numerous continual "compromises". Whether you consider yourself a Democrat, Republican or Independent, vote for and support those who are taking the time and are brave enough to address the problem by promoting significant spending reductions in wasteful and detrimental government spending.
Last Updated on Friday, 06 September 2013 08:38