Analysis by Oswald Sobrino, J.D., M.A., who has published in New Blackfriars (U.K.), Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Answer, New Oxford Review, CatholicExchange.com, and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. He is a lay graduate student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. © 2002-06 Oswald Sobrino.
"There is much in Christianity which can be subjected to exact analysis. But the ultimate things are shrouded in the silent mysteries of God." --Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
E-Mail Catholic Analysis: email@example.com
Academic Book Series: Point to Covers to See Titles
Catholic Analysis Scoops N.Y. Times War Analysis
Links below do not necessarily imply blanket endorsement of their contents or sponsors.CrispAds Blog Ads
Google Custom Search
Google Custom SearchBook Reviews
Friday, April 04, 2003Catholic Analysis Scoops N.Y. Times War Analysis
On March 25, 2003, Catholic Analysis compared the U.S. strategy in Iraq to that of General MacArthur's "island-hopping" Pacific campaign in World War II:
"Total war" became most evident in World War II as Hitler bombed London and as the Allies bombed Dresden culminating with the atomic destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In contrast, we have seen these last few days the strategy of "precision war" evident in the way the bombing campaign in Baghdad has been conducted and in the refusal of allied forces to take the Iraqi bait of blowing apart the cities along the route to Baghdad. Interestingly, this strategy is an echo of the World War II strategy used by MacArthur in the Pacific Theatre-- "island hopping." Rather, than expend time and lives on taking every speck in the Pacific fortified with fanatic Japanese defenders, MacArthur chose to hop over many islands as he made his way to Japan itself, leaving the smaller islands to "wither on the vine" (see Douglas MacArthur). Making the analogy, we can view the Iraqi desert as the analogue to the Pacific Ocean with the various Iraqi cities, apparently infiltrated with fanatic regime loyalists, taking the role of the fortified islands hopped over by MacArthur. Hopefully, with the taking of Baghdad, the regime elements in these smaller towns and cities will also "wither on the vine" (see Catholic Analysis March 25th essay "War Analysis: A Wider Perspective," in the weekly archives for 3/23-3/29).
In the Friday, April 4, 2003, edition of the New York Times, writer R.W. Apple, Jr., in a "News Analysis" dated April 3, 2003 wrote the following about nine days after the Catholic Analysis war commentary:
Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the top American commander, has adopted a strategy similar to that followed in World War II by Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, who hopped from island to island. Those deemed essential, like Saipan, needed as a base from which Japan could be bombed, were captured; others were bypassed, leaving them to "wither on the vine," in MacArthur's memorable phrase.
Here is the link to the rest of the Times article: "U.S. Commander, Evoking MacArthur, Hops Past Cities to Baghdad" (free reg'n required).
The Antidote to Modernity: Surrender to God
In discussing Nietzsche's philosophical hostility to Christianity in a previous essay (4/2/03), I did not mention the personal aspect of his hostility to Christianity. In 1958, philosopher William Barrett published his study on existentialism Irrational Man (Doubleday Anchor Books 1962) which contains intriguing bits of information about the personal side of Nietzsche's philosophical struggles. The picture painted by Professor Barrett is that of an acutely unhappy Nietzsche suffering from illness and loneliness aggravated by homeless wandering (Barrett, p. 182). This deracinated state is the mark of modern Western culture explored as alienation by Marx and as anomie by the sociologist Emile Durkheim in the nineteenth century and by a multitude of other figures. Nietzsche's rootlessness and anxiety are classic instances of this Western disease.
In the light of this personal situation, Barrett gives us some details that are enticing:
Nietzsche had come from a long line of Protestant pastors, had been raised in a very pious atmosphere, and was himself as a boy very devout. . . . Had Nietzsche merely lost his Christian faith, or even simply attacked it intellectually, these acts would in themselves have been sufficient to create a conflict within him; but he went further by attempting to deny the Christian in himself, and thereby split himself in two.
Barrett, p. 183.
The rarefied atmosphere of a prestigious and celebrated academic life in Germany and Switzerland did not stabilize the conflict within Nietzsche. He would have been better off with simplicity, a simplicity denied, to our scandal, to many of the "wise of this world." But let us turn for a moment to a saner perspective closer to home. The relatively prosaic prose of Fulton Sheen is the extreme opposite in temperament and purpose from the aphorisms and vignettes produced by Nietzsche. But Sheen has a point to make that those burdened by the afflictions of Nietzsche would do well to consider:
Discouragement is a form of pride; sadness is often caused by our egotism. If you will whatever God wills, you always have exactly what you want. When you want anything else, you are not happy before you get it, and when you do get it, you do not want it.
Fulton J. Sheen, Preface to Religion (Macmillan Publishing Co. 1946), repr. in John A. Hardon, S.J., ed., The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom, p. 699 (Ignatius Press 1995).
Sheen's words are quite simple and do not compare with the dramatic intensity of Nietzsche's writings. But Sheen's words are true. Surrendering to the will of God is the road to wholeness and joy. Even after years of internal conflict, Nietzsche ended his life haunted by what he had rejected so vehemently. Barrett describes the astounding end of Nietzsche's life with these words:
In the end, however, the symbol of Christ proved the more potent; and when his unconscious finally broke irremediably into the open, it was Christ who took possession of Nietzsche, as is shown by the letters written after his breakdown which he signed "The Crucified One."
Barrett, p. 183.
Some will say that Nietzsche just descended into insanity. But if you consider the matter in the light of Fulton Sheen's advice, you can see a deep unhappiness deriving from a flight from God. In the end, even the brilliant Nietzsche had to come back to the Crucified One. Today, we have whole post-Christian societies that, like Nietzsche, are in full flight from the Cross which is sneered at as part of a cult of suffering, societies that would sneer at Fulton Sheen as a low-brow popularizer. Yet, also like Nietzsche, we have in the United States a deeply unhappy society as proven by high levels of drug and alcohol abuse and other forms of addictive behavior. In the end, after much fruitless and wasted suffering, many have come to see the true wisdom of the Cross. May all come to see it without descending to the madness of Nietzsche. On Good Friday, many of us will be fortunate to venerate the wood of the Cross. We should be aware of the magnitude of our good fortune.
Thursday, April 03, 2003The Bonds of Jews and Christians
Recently, in going through a small, rural Midwestern community, I was surprised to see a home with two flags hanging in front: the American flag and the flag of Israel with its blue star of David. Later, in the same town, I was even more surprised to pass a small evangelical Protestant church with two tall flag poles in front: the U.S. flag on one, the same Israeli flag on the other. I should not have been surprised. I had seen a news report describing how Israel is courting the support of American evangelicals. The same report had shown the Israeli prime minister addressing a large gathering of evangelicals from the U.S. in Israel itself. This support, apparent even in a small, anonymous town, is obviously a great strategic asset for Israel.
In today's Washington Times, there is a feature story entitled "Jewish, Christian leaders unite" that describes a joint meeting of Christian evangelicals and Jews united in the fight against terrorism. The article points out that Republicans see this convergence as a way to start chipping away at the usually solid Democratic allegiances of Jewish voters. One quote from the article notes that Republicans are targeting "[e]specially younger Jewish voters who are more conservative in their views and are disillusioned with the liberal agenda . . . ." This outreach to younger voters is consistent with the thesis of Colleen Carroll's The New Faithful (reviewed on 1/3/03) that there is a trend toward religious orthodoxy in the younger generations.
But foreign and domestic politics aside, where do Catholics fit in? From a theological point of view, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter "Catechism") states the following:
And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.
Catechism, art. 840.
The Catechism at section 839 also refers to St. Paul's words in the Epistle to the Romans summing up his description of God's continuing relationship with the Jews by noting that "the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29 [(RSV, Catholic Edition]). This passage surely looms large in the motivation of evangelicals sympathetic to Israel. In Romans 11:28, St. Paul also writes that "as regards election they [i.e., the Jews] are beloved for the sake of their forefathers" (RSV, Catholic Edition).
Thus, the Catechism expresses the Catholic view that there is a mysterious and special continuing relation between God and the Jewish people. No other non-Christian religion comes even close to the bonds between Catholics and Jews. The solicitude of any Christian for Israel should not be surprising. In the Washington Times story, one of the speakers at the gathering of Jews and Christians in Washington was Senator Brownback (R) of Kansas who is a recent convert to Catholicism. As we have seen, his presence should also not be surprising.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003Mistake or Freudian Slip?
I was struck, but not surprised, when I heard a reporter describe retreating Iraqi forces in the northern front, as I recall, as moving into civilian areas "to keep the civilian areas from being bombed." I may have heard the wrong thing, but I doubt it. Assuming I heard correctly, as I believe I did, the use of civilians as human shields by Iraqi forces was being described as a way for the Iraqi forces to protect the civilians! The reporter may have just misspoken. Applying the principle of charitable interpretation, I will assume the reporter just made a mistake.
But this mistake may reveal and the constant hand-wringing by other media coverage certainly does reveal the underlying premise of most "elite" journalism evident in this war: describe everything in a manner most detrimental to the U.S., even if it is a U.S. victory. The goal posts keep moving. No matter what success the U.S. achieves, for the liberal media it will never be enough. Even if everything were to go 100% as anticipated by the U.S., they can always kick in the feature on how the rest of the world views the war and replicate the hysterical bombast of most of the media and governments in the Moslem world plus the resentful pacificism of European commentators.
Nietzsche the Nihilist
If you search through the mad aphorisms and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, you find the inversion of values that gave us the totalitarianism of the twentieth century and the nihilism that permeates today much of the West. One of Nietzsche's central themes is his hatred of Christianity which he views as hating all that Nietzsche admiringly calls "earthly" and vital. As St. Paul said, the cross is the great stumbling block. For Nietzsche, transforming the cross into the symbol of religious devotion is the introduction of a great sickness into the world. Like so many nihilists, Nietzche fails to see that the cross is the response to the true sickness, the sickness of sin originating in man's rejection of submission to God, the sickness that put the nails into the cross. By rejecting God as Creator, man rejects himself and rejects the image he bears.
Another theme in Nietzsche is the idea that hatred is creative. (See, e.g., Bk. 1, section 1, at excerpt: "Hatred, the mischievous delight in the misfortune of others, the lust to rob and dominate, and whatever else is called evil belongs to the most amazing economy of the preservation of the species. To be sure, this economy is not afraid of high prices, of squandering, and it is on the whole extremely foolish. Still it is proven that it has preserved our race so far.") Again, as in other nihilists, an aspect of human experience, like the will to power, is let loose without end or purpose and runs amok in philosophical, and in Nietzsche's case delusional, speculation. For Christians, hatred can be creative, more precisely it can be "re-creative," if and only if directed toward anything that falsifies the divine image in which man was created. And, in the end, that is what sin is: the falsification of our emotions and passions, not the emotions or passions themselves or the elan vital. Sin is the falsification of the end or purpose, the final cause, of all our emotions, passions, and "life force." Nietzsche the nihilist who believes in no final cause, no teleology, can see the Judeo-Christian view of sin only as a rejection of life itself because he recognized no purpose to life. That is the foundation of his rejection of Christianity. In contrast to the pessimism of the nihilist, Christianity sees all human nature, including all our emotions and passions, recapitulated and perfected in Christ who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Nietzsche remains worth reading because in him you can see the roots of the secularism that permeates so much of post-Christian society. (A good internet site for Nietzsche materials is the oddly named Project Unicorn). You can see exposed in all its rawness the presuppositons that motivate the anti-Christian forces that reject morality in the modern West. It is like reading Mein Kampf or the writings of Lenin, the master plan of a great destructive force. But this time the destructive force is in the heart of the modern Western democracies who defeated the plans of Hitler and Lenin.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003Of Congressmen and Conspiracies: Part II on the Conspiratorial Mindset
Representative Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is a reliable voice to question anything proposed by the Bush administration. In his opposition to the Iraqi war, he turned to a proposal to reinstate the draft claiming that the poor and minorities were disproportionately represented in the ranks of the volunteer military. In my view, his proposal is another example of the conspiratorial mindset that I illustrated on 3/30/03 in discussing the irresponsible comments of a Honduran cardinal concerning U.S. motives in the Iraqi war. Rangel is a good recent American example of this predisposition to conspiracy theories. The media sources that I have seen confirm that the percentage of minorities in the armed forces is higher than in the general population. It is also true, based on these sources, that the wealthy and upper income are very underrepresented in the armed forces. The picture gleaned from the evidence is that most people joining the military are from a working class background.
But, in my opinion, Rangel's obvious message and implication is that the greater percentage of minorities translates into higher risk in combat in any war. In other words, he is playing the "race card" as part of the debate over the Iraqi war. The problem is that the greater percentage of minorities does not mean minorities are at greater risk of combat death. Here is the N.Y. Times ("Military Mirrors Working-Class America," 3/30/03) on the issue:
But if the military has become the most successfully integrated institution in society, there is also a kind of voluntary segregation: while whites and blacks seek out careers in communications, intelligence, the medical corps and other specialties in roughly equal numbers, blacks are two and a half times as likely to fill support or administrative roles, while whites are 50 percent more likely to serve in the infantry, gun crews or their naval equivalent [emphasis added].
This evidence is undeniable. Here is confirmation by USA Today ("Experts Seek Roots of Military's Racial Makeup," 1/20/03):
But a close examination of Pentagon statistics suggests that at least some of the conventional wisdom about who is most at risk during wartime is misleading. For example, although blacks account for 26% of Army troops, they make up a much smaller percentage of those in front-line combat units, the most likely to be killed or injured in a conventional war.
The factual basis for the liberal fantasy that most war casualties will be minorities collapses.
You can bet that Rep. Rangel does not emphasize that statistic because it undermines the emotional rhetorical impact of implying that minorities are being sacrificed in combat in greater proportions than others. In fact, when you read the N.Y. Times story, this crucial evidence undermining the race card is "buried" in the midst of the mantra that the rich are underrepresented in the military. In my opinion, the writers of the N.Y. Times de-emphasize the most explosive piece of evidence in the entire article. What are the writers' motives? I don't know, but the pattern of liberal bias at this newspaper is a cultural commonplace. If you read carefully, you will also find further evidence undercutting the Rangel race card rhetoric but stated in a tendentious way:
While blacks tend to be more heavily represented in administrative and support functions, a new study shows that Hispanics, like whites, are much more likely to serve in combat operations. But those Hispanics in combat jobs tend to be infantry grunts, particularly in the Marine Corps, rather than fighter or bomber pilots.
Now, the evidence presented by the writers is that both whites and Hispanics favor combat positions in greater proportion than blacks. Yet, even this evidence is presented inaccurately. As previously noted in the pages of the N.Y. Times and confirmed by the 2000 census results, most Hispanics choose to identify themselves by race as "white." So, a more accurate statement would be that whites in general are more likely to be combat casualties than blacks. But, as the numbers of Hispanics in the general population surpass the number of blacks, liberal rhetoric has to include Hispanic numbers in order to bolster the race card rhetoric, in spite of highly significant cultural differences in ethnic self-perception between Hispanics and blacks.
All of the above confirms that the Catholic emphasis on truthful communication and on avoiding rash judgment is especially incumbent on high profile leaders, whether in politics or in the Church. Certainly, the sex abuse scandals have confirmed this truth as to Church leaders. In the context of the Iraqi war, we see unfortunate examples of rash judgments trumpeted by opinion makers. In Rangel's case, the race card rhetoric on the draft is especially troublesome. The "rash judgment" shown by Rangel creates the same damage as outright lies. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "[l]ying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships" (art. 2486). Like outright lies, the rash judgments of those predisposed to make rhetorical use of race-based conspiracy theories also tear the "fabric of social relationships." Such rash judgments are also a grave injustice against those minorities who serve willingly and bravely in the military and in combat.
Monday, March 31, 2003Monthly Table of Contents for March 2003
The March essays include a historical note on how Luther himself argued for retaining the use of Latin in the liturgy (3/31), an analysis of the mindset of conspiracy theorists (3/29), an appraisal of media coverage of the war (3/28), an essay on prayer and providence (3/27), and a disussion of the Jesus Seminar (3/26). Following are a broad strategic war analysis (3/25), an important discussion of a font of radical Islamist ideology (3/24), an analysis of "Two Americas" (3/22), and a brief picture of Iraqis waiting for liberation (3/21).
Subsequent posts include a review of the standard biography of St. Augustine (3/20), a joyful article on the popularity of the rosary among Protestants (3/19), a dissection of a superficial N.Y. Times editorial on foreign policy (3/18), and a commentary on C.S. Lewis' eloquent words about the noble calling of the soldier who risks his life to fight evil (3/17). Other pieces comment on a literary critic's appraisal of Augustine (3/15), the narcissism that devalues human life (3/14), and the U.S. Senate on partial birth abortion (3/13).
You will also find essays on how science supports the existence of an intelligent Designer (3/12), and the immature and amoral posture of French foreign policy on Iraq (3/11). Another piece shows how even scientists who generally reject any form of supernaturalism are questioning the tenability of the pro-abortion view that prior to a certain point in development the fetus is not a conscious person (3/10). Other articles cover the following topics: the failure of the typical Catholic college (3/7), the false choice of "Pope or President" as to Iraq (3/6), media bias against orthodox Christians (3/5), and more evidence in favor of the unfairly maligned popes of the thirties and forties (3/4).
Another piece gives one example of how some who propose reforms of the Church are not even Christians (3/3). You will also find an article championing Philip Lawler's plea for Catholics to respectfully recommend to Rome the names of priests devoted to fidelity as potential bishops (3/1).
Even Luther Saw the Value of Latin in the Liturgy
Many of us in the Latin Rites find it preposterous and a sign of the general educational mediocrity widespread in the United States and other Western nations that so many Catholic parishes refuse to make use of our Latin liturgical treasures in singing or chanting the common or ordinary parts of the Mass that do not change from one liturgical season to another, such as the Agnus Dei or the Pater Noster. If centuries of Christian prayer have given us hallowed words of devotion and beauty to lift up our hearts in reverence and awe to God, why do we ignore them? There is no theological reason for it. Vatican II explicitly called, as has been noted before on this site, for the use of Latin in the Roman rite when it decreed that "steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), 54, repr. in The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II, p. 63 (Pauline Books & Media 1999)). John Paul II has exhorted clergy to retain the Latin heritage of the Roman rite in recent comments to a gathering of Latinists. John XXIII also wrote in support of the use of Latin in the Church. So, why are we burdened with the widespread philistinism by which the liturgical treasure of chant is widely ignored? I submit there are two fundamental reasons: 1.) the decline in the view that the purpose of education is to challenge people to something higher and greater; and 2.) the liberal agenda of dismantling the so-called "pre-Vatican II Church." Both factors are based on seriously false assumptions.
Education, whether in public or parochial schools, whether on secular topics or religious topics, is a wasteland of lowering standards and diluting anything that remotely poses a challenge to the teacher or the student (note I include both). The Latin root of our word "education" is "to lead out." The purpose of education is to lead out of ignorance toward familiarity with the cultural achievements of the past, whether in the arts or literature or music or mathematics or science. In a relativistic culture, all standards are rejected, and not only is there no consensus on what is worth teaching but the very idea that there could be some cultural knowledge that is of greater objective worth than some other form of knowledge is rejected out of hand. In modern Western societies, as so many academics have pointed out, either in grief or celebration, there is no longer a canon or rule by which to measure whether what we are learning is worth learning. There is no measure by which a student can judge what priority he or she should give to different areas of study. That is why so much modern education consists in hordes of young students haphazardly coming into confused contact with snippets of their cultural heritage. This confusion is present in both secular and religious education.
The second reason is that liberals or dissidents within the Church are intent on eradicating the so-called "pre-Vatican II Church," much as Marxists were intent in the past in eradicating any vestiges of the ancien regime in countries subject to their control. Of course, this agenda is preposterous. First of all, there is no "pre-Vatican II Church" or "post-Vatican II Church": there is one Catholic Church, which remains one throughout history in spite of defections. We normally do not speak of a "pre-Tridentine Church" or a "post-Tridentine Church" because we recognize that the Council of Trent did not start a new Church. Likewise, Vatican II did not start a new Church. The added layer of falsity in speaking of a "pre" versus a "post" Vatican II Church is that the documents and decrees of Vatican II themselves emphasize the continuity of the Church throughout the ages. In the area of the use of Latin in the liturgy, we see a blatant example of the Council's commitment to continuity in liturgical life. Thus, whenever we hear liberals speak of "pre" versus "post" Vatican II, we should substitute words that show what they really mean: a "pre-Liberal Church" versus a "Liberal Church" that rejects the continuity espoused by Vatican II.
Even Martin Luther could see the absurdity in educational and cultural terms of the complete abandonment of Latin among Western Christians. Writing in 1526, Luther gave this liturgical advice to the new Protestants:
Now there are three different kinds of Divine Service.
Martin Luther, The German Mass & Order of Divine Service (Jan. 1526)(emphasis added) (see the Wittenberg Project for this and other writings of Luther).
Here we have Martin Luther, over 550 years ago, stating his preference for retaining Latin because it possesses so "great a store of fine music and song." That remains as true today as it was in 1526. What also remains true is that familiarity with Latin aids in the acquisition of other languages by the young. In addition, Luther would have even preferred to see more Greek and Hebrew in the liturgy, if feasible. Certainly, as not a few parishes already do, we should restore our link to the language of the New Testament writers and of the early particular churches founded by St. Paul by making the Kyrie a familiar part of our liturgies. Like much of the Latin that can be used in the Mass, the Greek of the Kyrie is easy and its meaning is, of course, familiar to the congregation. The mentality of the sixteenth century was that the gift of culture should be passed on to the young even if it involved challenging the young to greater effort. That mentality must be restored to our parishes, schools, and liturgies.
Sunday, March 30, 2003Fourth Sunday of Lent: 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21
In my view, these readings show us again how, for the Judeo-Christian tradition, God acts in history and through history. In Chronicles, God punished the people of Judah by exiling them to Babylon. Eventually, Cyrus, the Persian king, inspired by God, issued his decree for the return of the people of Judah to Jerusalem. In Ephesians, St. Paul proclaims the greatest divine intervention in history: how "even when we were dead in our trangressions" God "brought us to life with Christ." The cycle of transgression, punishment, and rescue in the history of the Chosen People is brought to completion in the Paschal Mystery by which God brought the definitive rescue to those experiencing the definitive exile of sin. It is also worth noting that here we have the famous passage from St. Paul used by Luther for his version of the doctrine of justification by faith alone: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast." What is usually not quoted is the immediate continuation of this passage: "For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should do them" (bold emphasis added). For those without a preconceived agenda, Paul's words when read continuously are clear: our salvation is a gift from God inseparable from good works. In many ways, the theology of the Protestant Reformation was much ado about nothing, as we now look back and wonder how such a superficial reading of Scripture could be the basis of so much division. Other non-theological factors were at work.
In the Gospel, the two themes of God's historical intervention to save His people and the inseparable role of good works are reiterated. Jesus likens the lifting up of the Son of Man on the tree of the cross to Moses lifting the serpent in the desert to heal the people of Israel. Again, God acts in history in the New Covenant as He did in the Old Covenant of Moses. As to works, St. John writes that those who prefer the darkness run from the light so that their evil works will not be exposed, while those who live the truth are happy to come to the light so that their good works may be clearly seen. Again, as in Ephesians, truth and faith seemlessly flow into good works. Any elevation of this seemless continuity into a theological conflict is needless and bizarre and arises from social and psychological factors external to the Scriptures.
CBS Military Expert: U.S. Has the Means to Take Baghdad With Precision and Relative Speed
If you want sober and informed military analysis that does not parrot the knee-jerk, sensationalistic pessimism of most of the media, retired Air Force General Perry M. Smith, a military analyst for CBS News, so far fits the bill. He confirms that the U.S., fortunately, has the technology to take the city while minimizing civilian casualties-- a goal required by the just war tradition and constantly reaffirmed by the U.S. government.