April 1, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Notice (040108)

I didn’t miss this item from a week ago, but haven’t blogged on it until now:

Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.

Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official, who was charged Wednesday with setting up the junket at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.

Now that it’s been over a week, I have three questions:

  1. Isn’t it amazing that the duped (Congressmen “Baghdad Jim” McDermott of WA, Thompson of CA, and former Congressman David Bonior of MI) have, as far as I can tell, expressed absolutely no shame or regret over being duped by our enemy into being his puppet-spokesmen?
  2. How typical is it for a congresscritter to just jump on a plane without vetting who is paying for the trip?
  3. Isn’t it remarkable how quickly the story dropped off the radar?

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I did miss this when it was first reported — from the March 22 Toronto Globe and Mail:

Taking Christ out of Christianity

That triumphal barnburner of an Easter hymn, Jesus Christ Has Risen Today – Hallelujah, this morning will rock the walls of Toronto’s West Hill United Church as it will in most Christian churches across the country. But at West Hill on the faith’s holiest day, it will be done with a huge difference. The words “Jesus Christ” will be excised from what the congregation sings and replaced with “Glorious hope.”

Thus, it will be hope that is declared to be resurrected – an expression of renewal of optimism and the human spirit – but not Jesus, contrary to Christianity’s central tenet about the return to life on Easter morning of the crucified divine son of God.

(There are ) No references to salvation, Christianity’s teaching of the final victory over death through belief in Jesus’s death as an atonement for sin and the omnipotent love of God. For that matter, no omnipotent God, or god.

….. Ms. (Rev. Gretta) Vosper does not want to dress up the theological detritus – her words – of the past two millennia with new language in the hope of making it more palatable. She wants to get rid of it, and build on its ashes a new spiritual movement that will have relevance in a tight-knit global world under threat of human destruction.

The entire article is no longer available. The first paragraph is at the link; the others were excerpted at The Anchoress, who got to the root of the problem (HT Sister Toldjah):

….. it takes a lot to offend my Christian sensibilities.

….. Do you know why these “progressive” Christians want to “progress” right through the tenets of Christianity into the grim world of neither-faith-nor-reason but self-actualizing instinct and “hopeful” feelings? Why they want Jesus with no Christ, God with a small g and all that? Can you take a guess?

If you said “it is the logical culmination of baby-boomer narcissism and that generations’ tireless effort to deconstruct the universe and put itself at the center of all things” then ding, ding, ding! You win the daily double!

….. Meanwhile – don’t let this freak you out. Don’t be afraid of children-of-all-ages playing dress-up, or the pranks and guffaws of those who are taking the wide road and pretending it’s a martyrdom. We live in an interesting age, where the meaning of things – even of martyrdom – is being muddied up. Nothing to fret about – it’s only what Jesus promised us, after all.

Well, yes and no, ma’am — I don’t freak over the adults’ self-delusion; I do worry about their kids.

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Richard Miniter at Pajamas Media caught the jaw-dropping significance of these two paragraphs in a New York Times report by Qais Mizher out of Basra (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):

Early last week, when the assault started, I happened to be in Diwaniya, another southern city, as part of my work as a reporter and translator for The New York Times.

Calling on my experience as a captain in the Iraqi Army before the 2003 invasion and essentially a war correspondent since then, I headed to Basra to see if I could make my way into the city and see what was happening there.

Miniter, while noting how vapid and misleading Mizher’s reporting is, emphasizes the jaw-drop:

Got that? The New York Times reporter was an officer in Saddam’s army. Nice. ….. (Iraqi) Officers had to be selected and regularly vetted for loyalty and effectiveness. So Saddam decided that he could trust our intrepid correspondent and so did the New York Times.

Makes you wonder: Would the Times have hired former Nazi officers to cover the three-year insurgency against the American presence in Germany in the late 1940s? Even if they spoke the language, knew the countryside well and said they “never really believed” in that evil ideology?

My question: Who can be confident that the newspaper that gave us Walter Duranty didn’t do that?

Cross-posted in longer form at NewsBusters.org.

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