Monday, February 20, 2012

Have UN-Inspectors ever helped in any crisis?

UN-Inspectors historically have been good to make scientific assessments which have been more or less close to reality, but their inability to produce any kind of change in a world of politics that uses science to their evil goals, has been frustrating.

However, once their assessment was done, what has been their impact? Not meaningful, to say the least.

In the case of Iran, with the pretext that "if anyone" would have attacked Iran earlier to stop their evil nuclear program would have caused uproar among the otherwise Western-friendly Iranian population has instead, bought time to the bad guys and brought strictly no positive change whatsoever.

Thus, the so-called Iranian resistance, whether popular or student movements, have been unable to produce any kind of result to remove their "unwanted" leaders, in essence, because of a tangible weak spirit of resistance among the people of Iran. And, that's a fact.

And, now, as Churchill says "... the worst case is to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it's better to die than to live as a slave..."

We are slowly entering a world of demonic savagery, where massacres, beheading, stoning, honor killing, mutilation, and so more are the rule under the evil Muslim Islamic Sharia law, unless Western populations worldwide react and fight before it's too late.
Iran nuclear crisis: UN inspectors arrive in Tehran
From the BBC News

UN nuclear inspectors have arrived in Tehran for the second time in a month to discuss Iran's nuclear programme.

Chief inspector Herman Nackaerts said his team's "highest priority" was to clarify the "possible military dimensions" of the nuclear programme.

But he cautioned that progress "may take a while".

Iran insists it is enriching uranium to use for power generation, but Western nations believe the programme is geared towards making weapons.

Tensions have risen over speculation that Israel may carry out a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

US national security adviser Tom Donilon arrived in Israel at the weekend for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials.

But the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, warned on Sunday that it was still unclear whether Iran was at a stage to assemble a nuclear bomb.

"On that basis, I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us," Gen Dempsey said.

'New developments'
Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took part in an elaborate ceremony to unveil new developments in his country's nuclear programme.

Tehran said it had used domestically-made nuclear fuel in a reactor for the first time, as well as developing faster, more efficient uranium enrichment centrifuges.

State TV showed the president inspecting the fuel rods as they were loaded into a reactor.

Iranian media showed President Ahmadinejad (at right) at a ceremony to unveil "new developments" in Tehran's nuclear programme
The IAEA inspectors described their last visit, in January, as positive, and said Iran was "committed" to "resolving all outstanding issues".

Mr Nackaerts said on Sunday that he hoped to have a "couple of good and constructive days in Tehran".

"Importantly we hope for some concrete results from the trip. The highest priority remains of course the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme, but we want to tackle all outstanding issues," he said.

"This is of course a very complex issue that may take a while. But we hope it can be constructive".

The inspectors' evaluation of their visits may form part of the next written report on Iran's nuclear programme, expected later in February.

But last November, the IAEA said it had information suggesting Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".

That information led to a decision by the US and the European Union to tighten sanctions against Iran, including measures targeting the country's lucrative oil industry.

Iran said on Sunday it had halted oil sales to British and French companies ahead of an EU oil embargo set to begin on 1 July. Analysts say the gesture of retaliation is largely symbolic.

On Monday, the head of Iran's national oil company said the ban might be extended to other EU members that continued "hostile acts" against Iran.

Ahmad Qalehbani said exports to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands could be stopped, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

BENADOR: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vs the West

As History unravels in front of our eyes, the West finds themselves with a most formidable enemy, Iran.

And, whether some may pretend that the people of Iran are not the government of Iran, just as everywhere else, the inept behavior of that same people to stop the Mullahs tyranny, is giving tacit legitimacy to an evil regime that does not hesitate to be vociferous in their intentions to destroy one country that legitimately exists on this Earth.

Iran's Ahmadinejad explict will to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jewish people makes the world miss the point, as we see, because the issue is not only with Israel but, as Mr. Khamenei shows, with the whole Western civilization.

Israel is the gate to civilization... or is it...?

In these threatening times, the corrupt liberal Israeli leadership misses the point in that they have had until now the utmost military power in the region. However, if they wanted the best for the country, namely the security of their own people above all, it should time for them now to turn to their best weapon, the One who gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people: G-d.

Righteous Jewish people in Israel and abroad, read this with your heart and your soul, raise your voice so G-d can hear all of us trusting Him, Our G-d, Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father Our King:

"If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, let Israel now say;
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us;
Then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the proud waters would have gone over our soul!
Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth!
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth!" Psalm 124
Khamenei's outlook dims hope for Iran nuclear deal
By Alistair Lyon
LONDON | Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:05am EST
(Reuters) - As tensions over Iran's nuclear program ratchet higher once again, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's aversion for the West remains a formidable barrier to any diplomatic solution.

A visit by U.N. nuclear inspectors to Iran this week, a few days after Tehran wrote to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton promising "new initiatives" in negotiations, suggests the door to diplomacy has not slammed shut.

Harsher Western sanctions are damaging Iran's economy and Israel is debating military action, with or without a U.S. green light, lending fresh urgency to efforts to defuse the crisis over the Islamic Republic's sensitive nuclear activity.

Yet a sea change in policy seems unlikely while the tall, bearded Khamenei, 72, holds power in a country whose Shi'ite Muslim religious leadership has made "Death to America, death to Israel" its mantra since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

This month Khamenei said sanctions would not alter Iran's nuclear course, military threats would "harm America" and any nation or group fighting Israel, thought to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, would have Tehran's backing.

"In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time," he declared.

Khamenei has in the past denied that Iran seeks atomic bombs, saying: "It is against our Islamic thoughts."

But he has shown little interest in genuinely assuaging Western worries about Iran's activities, authorizing what the U.N. nuclear watchdog regards as only incomplete cooperation, as well as intermittent talks with six world powers that Western officials suspect Tehran pursues primarily to gain more time to attain nuclear "breakout" capability.

The bespectacled cleric, who ultimately decides all matters of state, including nuclear and foreign policy, simply does not trust the United States, once described by his late mentor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a wolf to Iran's lamb.

In 2009, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself no friend of the West, leaned toward a compromise involving a nuclear fuel swap to allay concerns about Iran's intentions, hardliners shot it down, apparently with Khamenei's blessing.


Khamenei has long sought to ensure that no group, even among his conservative allies, musters enough power to challenge him.

And when Ahmadinejad appeared to do just that last year, Khamenei was swift to react, reinstating an intelligence minister sacked by the president against his will.

Iranian analysts say the Supreme Leader is keen to ensure that Ahmadinejad emerges weaker from next week's parliamentary election, expected to be mostly a contest among hardliners.

After Khomeini died in 1989, Khamenei, who served two terms as president in the 1980s, was picked to succeed him, a surprise choice for some, as he was then only a mid-ranking cleric. He was swiftly promoted to ayatollah.

Khamenei inherited enormous powers, but could not hope to emulate the towering political and religious authority of Iran's revolutionary founder. His allies say he tends to reach major decisions after consulting a tight-knit group of top officials.

He can count on the loyalty of the elite Revolutionary Guards and Basij religious militia, which quelled the worst unrest in the Islamic Republic's history after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in June 2009 in a vote opponents said was rigged.


Khamenei then cast his weight behind Ahmadinejad, declaring that defeated opposition leaders would be responsible for any bloodshed in what proved to be eight months of street protests.

Soon after the election, Khamenei, the final authority in Iran's complex system of clerical rule and limited democracy, appeared to offer his own life for the Islamic revolution in an emotional Friday sermon that drew tears from the congregation.

"We will do what we will have to do," he said. "I have an unworthy life, a defective body and little honor, which was given to me by you. I will put all of these on the palm of my hand and spend them on the path of the revolution and Islam."

The message of the Supreme Leader, whose right hand was crippled in a 1981 assassination attempt, was that defiance of his will amounted to a counter-revolutionary act.

Khamenei should stay above the political fray, according to Khomeini's system of "velayat-e faqih", or rule by a religious jurist. His one-sided intervention in the uproar after the 2009 vote, which divided Iran's religious and political elite, further stoked a crisis of legitimacy that still lingers.

In practice, Khamenei has long favored hardliners, helping to thwart reforms and feelers toward the United States when the moderate Mohammad Khatami was president from 1997 to 2005, and for years backing his radical successor, Ahmadinejad.

In theory, he could be removed by the 86-man Assembly of Experts, but the clerical body is never known to have challenged a man who controls many of the levers of power.

Khamenei, whose black turban signifies he is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints many senior figures, including the heads of the judiciary, security agencies and state radio and television.

Born into a clerical family in Mashhad in northeast Iran in 1939, he became involved with underground groups opposed to the U.S.-backed Shah in the 1960s and was jailed several times.

In a study of Khamenei's writings, Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment argued that his hostility to U.S. "global arrogance" was matched by fear that any opening to the West would allow foreign influences to dilute Iran's Islamic purity.

"After three decades of being immersed in a 'death to America' culture, it may be asking too much for Khamenei to reinvent himself," Sadjadpour wrote.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Monday, January 23, 2012

BENADOR: It's about Saving America

Below you will find a great article by Bret Stephens.
However, in this particular case, with all due respect, I do not care what Bret Stephens says. After all, he is on Murdoch's payroll, and all that it implies... Sure, this may have no connection, but after all whatever happens, America MUST stop Obama before it's too late.
The bottom line is that *anyone* will at least stop the Obama destruction machine and give a respite to find the person who will be able to stop America's further destruction.
GOP may deserve to lose but it's not about GOP.
This is about saving America.
So, I still have hope.
As a believer in G-d, I still have hope that someone will come through, a valiant white knight in his white horse will come to America's rescue.
Bret says that when Obama will be re-elected, failure will lie on his shoulders AND on those of the GOP current front runners.
Let me add that the guilt will be shared by the voters of all sides.
IF Obama is re-elected, it will be thanks to liberal, progressive voters AND to the conservative movement of America in its entirety, voters and candidates as could-have-been candidates alike will share the responsibility of America's further demise.
The conservative movement in America is in disarray.

The GOP Deserves to Lose
That's what happens when you run with losers.

Let's just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose.

It doesn't matter that Mr. Obama can't get the economy out of second gear. It doesn't matter that he cynically betrayed his core promise as a candidate to be a unifying president. It doesn't matter that he keeps blaming Bush. It doesn't matter that he thinks ATMs are weapons of employment destruction. It doesn't matter that Tim Geithner remains secretary of Treasury. It doesn't matter that the result of his "reset" with Russia is Moscow selling fighter jets to Damascus. It doesn't matter that the Obama name is synonymous with the most unpopular law in memory. It doesn't matter that his wife thinks America doesn't deserve him. It doesn't matter that the Evel Knievel theory of fiscal stimulus isn't going to make it over the Snake River Canyon of debt.

Above all, it doesn't matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing. All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won't be another fiasco. But they can't be reasonably sure, so it's going to be four more years of the disappointment you already know.

Is this the best they can do?
As for the current GOP field, it's like confronting a terminal diagnosis. There may be an apparent range of treatments: conventional (Romney), experimental (Gingrich), homeopathic (Paul) or prayerful (Santorum). But none will avail you in the end. Just try to exit laughing.

That's my theory for why South Carolina gave Newt Gingrich his big primary win on Saturday: Voters instinctively prefer the idea of an entertaining Newt-Obama contest—the aspiring Caesar versus the failed Redeemer—over a dreary Mitt-Obama one. The problem is that voters also know that Gaius Gingrich is liable to deliver his prime-time speeches in purple toga while holding tight to darling Messalina's—sorry, Callista's—bejeweled fingers. A primary ballot for Mr. Gingrich is a vote for an entertaining election, not a Republican in the White House.

Then there is Mitt Romney, even now the presumptive nominee. If Mr. Gingrich demonstrated his unfitness to be a serious Republican nominee with his destructive attacks on private equity (a prime legacy of the Reagan years), Mr. Romney has demonstrated his unfitness by—where to start?

Oh, yes, the moment in last week's debate when Mr. Romney equivocated about releasing his tax returns. The former Massachusetts governor is nothing if not a scripted politician, and the least one can ask of such people is that they should know their lines by heart. Did nobody in Mr. Romney's expensive campaign shop tell him that this question was sure to come, and that a decision had to be made, in advance, as to what the answer would be? Great CEOs don't just surround themselves with consultants and advance men. They also hire contrarians, alter egos and at least someone who isn't afraid to poke a finger in their chest. On the evidence of his campaign, Mr. Romney is a lousy CEO.

But it's worse than that. The usual rap on Mr. Romney is that he's robotic, but the real reason he can't gain traction with voters is that they suspect he's concealing some unnameable private doubt. Al Gore and George Bush Sr. were like that, too, and not just because they were all to the proverbial manor born. It's that they were basically hollow men.

Thus the core difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama: For the governor, the convictions are the veneer. For the president, the pragmatism is. Voters always see through this. They usually prefer the man who stands for something.

What about Rick Santorum and Ron Paul? They are owed some respect, especially for the contrast between their willingness to take a stand for principle against the front-runners' willingness to say anything. But Messrs. Santorum and Paul are two tedious men, deep in conversation with some country that's not quite America, appealing to a devoted base but not beyond it. Sorry, gentlemen: You're not going anywhere.

Finally, there are the men not in the field: Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour. This was the GOP A-Team, the guys who should have showed up to the first debate but didn't because running for president is hard and the spouses were reluctant. Nothing commends them for it. If this election is as important as they all say it is, they had a duty to step up. Abraham Lincoln did not shy from the contest of 1860 because of Mary Todd. If Mr. Obama wins in November—or, rather, when he does—the failure will lie as heavily on their shoulders as it will with the nominee.

What should readers who despair of a second Obama term make of all this? Hope ObamaCare is repealed by the High Court, the Iranian bomb is repealed by the Israeli Air Force, and the Senate switches hands, giving America a healthy spell of Hippocratic government.

All perfectly plausible. And the U.S. will surely survive four more years. Who knows? By then maybe Republicans will have figured out that if they don't want to lose, they shouldn't run with losers.

Write to

Sunday, January 22, 2012

BENADOR: Paterno dies: Righteousness does not Compromise

Joe Paterno has died. He leaves a lesson hopefully learned by many: Righteousness does not compromise.

At a time and point where American life is going astray as a result of the constant liberal, hedonistic quest to please the senses in an increasingly godless society, the shock in the aftermath of the outrageous abuse of young, defenseless boys, the moral attitude of those surrounding the case cannot but disgust those who still hang on to the principles of G-d.

No matter how much may Mr. Paterno have contributed to the sports life among the American youth, what will survive is the cowardice in missing to use his influence to stop the massacre of young lives.

May this serve as proof and as a lesson that moral righteousness does not compromise and cannot be compromised and that at any rate, it will sooner or later be discovered and bring shame to the perpetrators and those accomplices who looked idly by and for whatever reason, remained silent as the crimes were committed.

Sadly, nothing will ever repair the destruction and desolation, the attack on the human dignity of the innocent victims.

Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach, whose tenure may considered as the most successful coach in major college football history, tarnished his record forever when he missed to grab the opportunity to defend innocent victims. He chose to cling to his success, and he remained silent

So, as Mr. Paterno dies, my thoughts go directly to his victims, those who continued being spiritually and physically slaughtered while he decided to look elsewhere and turned his back on them.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

O'NEILL: The True Story of the Patton Prayer

The True Story of The Patton Prayer
by Msgr. James H. O'Neill
(From the Review of the News, October 6, 1971)

Many conflicting and some untrue stories have been printed about General George S. Patton and
the Third Army Prayer. Some have had the tinge of blasphemy and disrespect for the Deity. Even
in "War As I Knew It" by General Patton, the footnote on the Prayer by Colonel Paul D. Harkins, Patton's Deputy Chief of Staff, while containing the elements of a funny story about the General and his Chaplain, is not the true account of the prayer incident or its sequence.

As the Chief Chaplain of the Third Army throughout the five campaigns on the Staff of General Patton, I should have some knowledge of the event because at the direction of General Patton, I composed the now world famous Prayer, and wrote Training Letter No. 5, which constitutes an integral, but untold part, of the prayer story. These Incidents, narrated in sequence, should serve to enhance the memory of the man himself, and cause him to be enshrined by generations to come as one of the greatest of our soldiers. He had all the traits of military leadership, fortified by genuine trust in God, intense love of country, and high faith In the American soldier.

He had no use for half-measures. He wrote this line a few days before his death: "Anyone in any walk of life who is content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition." He was true to the principles of his religion, Episcopalian, and was regular in Church attendance and practices, unless duty made his presence impossible.

The incident of the now famous Patton Prayer commenced with a telephone call to the Third Army Chaplain on the morning of December 8, 1944, when the Third Army Headquarters were located in the Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France: "This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war." My reply was that I know where to look for such a prayer, that I would locate, and report within the hour. As I hung up the telephone receiver, about eleven in the morning, I looked out on the steadily falling rain, "immoderate" I would call it -- the same rain that had plagued Patton's Army throughout the Moselle and Saar Campaigns from September until now, December 8. The few prayer books at hand contained no formal prayer on weather that might prove acceptable to the Army Commander. Keeping his immediate objective in mind, I typed an original and an improved copy on a 5" x 3" filing card:
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness,
to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

I pondered the question, What use would General Patton make of the prayer? Surely not for private devotion. If he intended it for circulation to chaplains or others, with Christmas not far removed, it might he proper to type the Army Commander's Christmas Greetings on the reverse side. This
would please the recipient, and anything that pleased the men I knew would please him:

To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas.
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God's blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.

This done, I donned my heavy trench coat, crossed the quadrangle of the old French military barracks, and reported to General Patton. He read the prayer copy, returned it to me with a very casual directive, "Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one." The size of the order amazed me; this was certainly doing something about the weather in a big way. But I said nothing but the usual, "Very well, Sir!" Recovering, I invited his attention to the reverse side containing the Christmas Greeting, with his name and rank typed. "Very good," he said, with a smile of approval. "If the General would sign the card, it would add a personal touch that I am sure the men would like."

He took his place at his desk, signed the card, returned it to me and then Said: "Chaplain, sit down for a moment; I want to talk to you about this business of prayer." He rubbed his face in his hands, was silent for a moment, then rose and walked over to the high window, and stood there with his back toward me as he looked out on the falling rain. As usual, he was dressed stunningly, and his six-foot-two powerfully built physique made an unforgettable silhouette against the great window. The General Patton I saw there was the Army Commander to whom the welfare of the men under him was a matter of Personal responsibility . Even in the heat of combat he could take time out to direct new methods to prevent trench feet, to see to it that dry socks went forward daily with the rations to troops on the line, to kneel in the mud administering morphine and caring for a wounded soldier until the ambulance Came. What was coming now?

"Chaplain, how much praying is being done in the Third Army?" was his question. I parried: "Does the General mean by chaplains, or by the men?" "By everybody," he replied. To this I countered: "I am afraid to admit it, but I do not believe that much praying is going on. When there Is fighting, everyone prays, but now with this constant rain -- when things are quiet, dangerously quiet, men just sit and wait for things to happen. Prayer out here is difficult. Both chaplains and men are removed from a special building with a steeple. Prayer to most of them is a formal, ritualized affair, involving special posture and a liturgical setting. I do not believe that much praying is being done."

The General left the window, and again seated himself at his desk, leaned back in his swivel chair, toying with a long lead pencil between his index fingers.

"Chaplain, I am a strong believer in Prayer. There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by Praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that's working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That's where prayer comes in. Up to now, in the Third Army, God has been very good to us. We have never retreated; we have suffered no defeats, no famine, no epidemics. This is because a lot of people back home are praying for us. We were lucky in Africa, in Sicily, and in Italy. Simply because people prayed. But we have to pray for ourselves, too. A good soldier is not made merely by making him think and work. There is something in every soldier that goes deeper than thinking or working -- it's his 'guts'. It is something that he has built in there: it is a world of truth and power that is higher than himself. Great living is not all output of thought and work. A man has to have intake as well. I don't know what you call it, but I call it Religion, Prayer, or God."

He talked about Gideon in the Bible, said that men should pray no matter where they were, in church or out of it, that if they did not pray, sooner or later they would "crack up." To all this I commented agreement, that one of the major training objectives of my office was to help soldiers recover and make their lives effective in this third realm, prayer. It would do no harm to re-impress this training on chaplains. We had about 486 chaplains in the Third Army at that time, representing 32 denominations. Once the Third Army had become operational, my mode of contact with the chaplains had been chiefly through Training Letters issued from time to time to the Chaplains in the four corps and the 22 to 26 divisions comprising the Third Army. Each treated of a variety of subjects of corrective or training value to a chaplain working with troops in the field. [Patton continued:]

"I wish you would put out a Training Letter on this subject of Prayer to all the chaplains; write about nothing else, just the importance of prayer. Let me see it before you send it. We've got to get not only the chaplains but every man in the Third Army to pray. We must ask God to stop these rains. These rains are that margin that hold defeat or victory. If we all pray, it will be like what Dr. Carrel said... [the allusion was to a press quote some days previously when Dr. Alexis Carrel, one of the foremost scientists, described prayer as "one of the most powerful forms of energy man can generate"]... it will be like plugging in on a current whose source is in Heaven. I believe that prayer completes that circuit. It is power."

With that the General arose from his chair, a sign that the interview was ended. I returned to my field desk, typed Training Letter No. 5 while the "copy" was "hot," touching on some or all of the General's reverie on Prayer, and after staff processing, presented it to General Patton on the next day. The General read it and without change directed that it be circulated not only to the 486 chaplains, but to every organization commander down to and including the regimental level. Three thousand two hundred copies were distributed to every unit in the Third Army over my signature as Third Army Chaplain. Strictly speaking, it was the Army Commander's letter, not mine. Due to the fact that the order came directly from General Patton, distribution was completed on December 11 and 12 in advance of its date line, December 14, 1944. Titled "Training Letter No. 5," with the salutary "Chaplains of the Third Army," the letter continued: "At this stage of the operations I would call upon the chaplains and the men of the Third United States Army to focus their attention on the importance of prayer.

"Our glorious march from the Normandy Beach across France to where we stand, before and beyond the Siegfried Line, with the wreckage of the German Army behind us should convince the most skeptical soldier that God has ridden with our banner. Pestilence and famine have not touched us. We have continued in unity of purpose. We have had no quitters; and our leadership has been masterful. The Third Army has no roster of Retreats. None of Defeats. We have no memory of a lost battle to hand on to our children from this great campaign.

"But we are not stopping at the Siegfried Line. Tough days may be ahead of us before we eat our rations in the Chancellery of the Deutsches Reich.

"As chaplains it is our business to pray. We preach its importance. We urge its practice. But the time is now to intensify our faith in prayer, not alone with ourselves, but with every believing man, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or Christian in the ranks of the Third United States Army.

"Those who pray do more for the world than those who fight; and if the world goes from bad to worse, it is because there are more battles than prayers. 'Hands lifted up,' said Bosuet, 'smash more battalions than hands that strike.' Gideon of Bible fame was least in his father's house. He came from Israel's smallest tribe. But he was a mighty man of valor. His strength lay not in his military might, but in his recognition of God's proper claims upon his life. He reduced his Army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred men lest the people of Israel would think that their valor had saved them. We have no intention to reduce our vast striking force. But we must urge, instruct, and indoctrinate every fighting man to pray as well as fight. In Gideon's day, and in our own, spiritually alert minorities carry the burdens and bring the victories.

"Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere. Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose good is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace.

"We must march together, all out for God. The soldier who 'cracks up' does not need sympathy or comfort as much as he needs strength. We are not trying to make the best of these days. It is our job to make the most of them. Now is not the time to follow God from 'afar off.' This Army needs the assurance and the faith that God is with us. With prayer, we cannot fail.

"Be assured that this message on prayer has the approval, the encouragement, and the enthusiastic support of the Third United States Army Commander.

"With every good wish to each of you for a very Happy Christmas, and my personal congratulations for your splendid and courageous work since landing on the beach, I am," etc., etc., signed The Third Army Commander.

The timing of the Prayer story is important: let us rearrange the dates: the "Prayer Conference" with General Patton was 8 December; the 664th Engineer Topographical Company, at the order of Colonel David H. Tulley, C.E., Assistant to the Third Army Engineer, working night and day reproduced 250,000 copies of the Prayer Card; the Adjutant General, Colonel Robert S. Cummings, supervised the distribution of both the Prayer Cards and Training Letter No. 5 to reach the troops by December 12-14. The breakthrough was on December 16 in the First Army Zone when the Germans crept out of the Schnee Eifel Forest in the midst of heavy rains, thick fogs, and swirling ground mists that muffled sound, blotted out the sun, and reduced visibility to a few yards. The few divisions on the Luxembourg frontier were surprised and brushed aside. They found it hard to fight an enemy they could neither see nor hear. For three days it looked to the jubilant Nazis as if their desperate gamble would succeed. They had achieved compete surprise. Their Sixth Panzer Army, rejuvenated in secret after its debacle in France, seared through the Ardennes like a hot knife through butter. The First Army's VIII Corps was holding this area with three infantry divisions (one of them new and in the line only a few days) thinly disposed over an 88-mile front and with one armored division far to the rear, in reserve. The VIII Corps had been in the sector for months. It was considered a semi-rest area and outside of a little patrolling was wholly an inactive position.

When the blow struck the VIII Corps fought with imperishable heroism. The Germans were slowed down but the Corps was too shattered to stop them with its remnants. Meanwhile, to the north, the Fifth Panzer Army was slugging through another powerful prong along the vulnerable boundary between the VIII and VI Corps. Had the bad weather continued there is no telling how far the Germans might have advanced. On the 19th of December, the Third Army turned from East to North to meet the attack. As General Patton rushed his divisions north from the Saar Valley to the relief of the beleaguered Bastogne, the prayer was answered. On December 20, to the consternation of the Germans and the delight of the American forecasters who were equally surprised at the turn-about-the rains and the fogs ceased. For the better part of a week came bright clear skies and perfect flying weather. Our planes came over by tens, hundreds, and thousands. They knocked out hundreds of tanks, killed thousands of enemy troops in the Bastogne salient, and harried the enemy as he valiantly tried to bring up reinforcements. The 101st Airborne, with the 4th, 9th, and 10th Armored Divisions, which saved Bastogne, and other divisions which assisted so valiantly in driving the Germans home, will testify to the great support rendered by our air forces. General Patton prayed for fair weather for Battle. He got it.

It was late in January of 1945 when I saw the Army Commander again. This was in the city of Luxembourg. He stood directly in front of me, smiled: "Well, Padre, our prayers worked. I knew they would." Then he cracked me on the side of my steel helmet with his riding crop. That was his way of saying, "Well done."

(This article appeared as a government document in 1950. At the time it appeared in the Review of the News, Msgr. O'Neill was a retired Brigadier General living in Pueblo, Colorado.)

BENADOR: Thanks to Godfather Hussein Obama, Egypt's MB and Ultras in the Rise

Results of recent Egyptian elections have, unfortunately, failed to disappoint us. The fact that an alliance of ultraconservative Islamist have won 25 percent of seats, is a determining factor for what will most likely be a turn for the worse in Islam, if that only is possible.

Muslim Brotherhood, thanks to godfather Barack Hussein Obama, is being launched into eternal notoriety as we see a definite factor in this turn for the worse in this fight of civilizations and battle of the minds.

CAIRO — Egyptian authorities confirmed Saturday that a political coalition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the 84-year-old group that virtually invented political Islam, had won about 47 percent of the seats in the first Parliament elected since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. An alliance of ultraconservative Islamists won the next largest share of seats, about 25 percent.

The military council leading Egypt since Mr. Mubarak lost power last February has said it will keep Parliament in a subordinate role with little real power until the ratification of a constitution and the election of a president, both scheduled for completion by the end of June.

But the council has assigned Parliament the authority to choose the 100 members of a constitutional assembly, so it may shape Egypt for decades to come, although the military council has sometimes tried to influence that process.

The election results were expected because of preliminary tallies after each of the three phases of the vote, but the confirmation comes in time for the seating of Parliament on Monday.

The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades.

But the two groups have described very different visions and appear to be rivals rather than collaborators. The Brotherhood has said it intends to respect personal liberties and will focus on economic and social issues, gradually nudging the culture toward its conservative values. By contrast, the ultraconservatives, known as Salafis, put a higher priority on legislation on Islamic moral issues, like the consumption of alcohol, women’s dress and the contents of popular culture.

Among the remaining roughly 30 percent of parliamentary seats, the next largest share was won by the Wafd Party, a liberal party recognized under Mr. Mubarak and with roots dating to Egypt’s colonial period.

It was trailed by a coalition known as the Egyptian Bloc. It included the Free Egyptians, a business-friendly liberal party founded by a Coptic Christian businessman, Naguib Sawiris, and favored by many members of the country’s Coptic Christian minority, about 10 percent of the public. The Egyptian Bloc also included the liberal Social Democratic Party, which leans further to the left on economic issues.

A coalition of parties founded by the young leaders of the revolt that unseated Mr. Mubarak won only a few percent of the seats, as did a handful of offshoots of the former governing party.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Parashat Va'eira – Does Redemption have to be violent? - Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane

But I shall harden Pharaoh's heart and I shall multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh will not heed you and I shall put My hand upon Egypt; and I shall take out My legions - My people, the Children of Israel - from the land of Egypt with great judgments. And Egypt shall know that I am Hashem when I stretch out My hand over Egypt; (Ex. 7:3-5)

Throughout the episode of the Plagues and the Exodus, the concept of yad chazakah (“mighty hand”) recurs consistently. The explanation is that without proof of G-d's power, there is no way in which the Gentiles will understand the reality of His existence in the world. Nowhere in all the prophetic writings does G-d ever suggest that He will prove His existence to the nations in any way other than through His and His nation's strength. And since the purpose of the Exodus was that “Egypt shall know that I am Hashem”, He had to demonstrate His power.

[However], if the purpose of the plagues was to force Pharaoh, and Egypt, to know Hashem, then why did G-d “harden Pharaoh's heart”? Had He not done so, then perhaps Pharaoh would already have freed the Israelites after the Plague of blood. Certainly, after the Plague of hail when he already confessed, “Hashem is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones” (Exodus 9:27), Pharaoh would have released the Israelites, had G-d not hardened (i.e. strengthened) his heart – as the Torah testifies. The Sforno (on Exodus 7:3) provides a clear answer to this. He explains that Pharaoh probably would have released the Israelites far sooner – but this would have been done out of fear of the Plagues, rather than unconditional acceptance of G-d and His might. That is to say, he would have attributed the Plagues to Moses' unique witchcraft, or a thousand and one other factors – and would have released the Israelites purely in order to spare himself the terror of these dreaded Plagues. Had this happened, the entire purpose of the Plagues would have been lost. G-d therefore strengthened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not release the Israelites merely out of fear of the Plagues. The Plagues' progression forced Pharaoh into ever-deepening realization that there could be no cause for these Plagues other than Hashem, the G-d of Israel – as Moses had said right from the start.

Rav Binyamin Ze'ev's father, Rabbi Meir Kahane, writes similarly on this in “The Jewish Idea”: Likewise, regarding the hail, it says (Ex. 9:14) “This time I am prepared to send all My plagues against your very heart. They will strike your officials and your people, so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the world.” [...] That is, they were to bring their livestock inside because of the hail. Indeed, “those of Pharaoh's subjects who feared G-d's word made their slaves and livestock flee indoors”(Ex.9:20) This was the first time G-d gave the Egyptians the chance to save themselves from a Plague. Why did He do so? Were they to heed G-d, it would constitute acknowledgment that indeed the L-rd is G-d and that He, alone, controls the laws of nature. This, in turn, would be the beginning of the collapse of his nation's abominable idolatry. The purpose of the plagues in Egypt was to sanctify G-d's name and to prove to the world that indeed Hashem is G-d, Omnipotent Creator of all. Pharaoh had shown G-d contempt by saying (Ex. 5:12), “Who is Hashem that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Hashem.” Through the degradation and punishment of the idolatry of Egypt, Pharaoh was humiliated. Therefore, G-d warned the Egyptians that He was bringing the hail and that the princes and deities of Egypt would be unable to prevent it. The Egyptians would be saved only if they abandoned their faith in their abominations and subjected themselves to G-d through belief in Him, expressed by making their servants and flocks flee into the houses. Through this, their faith in idolatry would be destroyed and G-d's name sanctified, the whole purpose of the Plagues.

“With a mighty hand”. G-d had to direct His strength against the Jews, too in order to bring them out, for they did not want to leave. As Chazal[our sages of blessed memory] say, four-fifths of the Israelites died in the Plague of darkness. But even those who did eventually leave, did so unwillingly: G-d said, “For with a mighty hand shall he [Pharaoh] send them away, and with a mighty hand shall he expel them from his land.” Chazal's commentary on the verse, “They did not listen to Moses, due to anguish of spirit and hard labor” (Ex. 6:9), is truly astounding: Is there any man who receives good tidings and does not rejoice?...But they found it hard to abandon idol worship. (Mechilta, Pis'cha 5, end of first paragraph) That is, they were willing to remain in the dungeon of slavery and oppression, in order not to accept upon themselves the yoke of Heaven – that yoke which liberates man from the shackles of animalism, freeing him from bondage to those passions that dominate him. And when the children of Israel complained in the wilderness: ”We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt free” (Num. 11:5), Rashi says there: “Free from the commandments”. The truth is that the Jews were never ready to leave exile of their own free will, and when they were able to assimilate, they did. But all these attempts were to no avail. On the contrary – precisely when the Jews tried to be accepted by Gentile society by blurring their unique, separate identity, the hatred towards them only increased. Such was the case in Egypt, as the Psalmist said: ”He turned their [the Egyptians'] hearts to hate His people, to conspire against His servants. (Psalms 105:25). So too has it been throughout the generations. And even those who do eventually leave, do so only out of necessity. Slavery, pogroms and holocausts force some of them to realize, albeit grudgingly, that there is nothing for them there – and then they ascend to the Land of Israel, as witnessed in our generation. Chazal identified this mind-set in the following words: “Among the nations you will not know peace and you will not find rest for your feet” (Deut. 28:65) – had Israel found peace, they would not have returned. (Genesis Rabbah 33:6) That is to say, if the Jews will not return to the Land of Israel willingly, then G-d will inflict such troubles on them, that they will be forced to return. And in our days, in spite of all that has happened, most Jews have not learned the lesson.

“And Hashem our G-d brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand” (Deut 6:21). Since G-d secretly weeps over the lost pride of Israel, He therefore yearns to redeem them both from the actual place, as well as from the mentality of exile. Had Pharaoh given them better economic conditions, eased their enslavement slightly, flashed an occasional smile at them or the merest nod of encouragement – then they would have felt a debt of gratitude to him. Out of respect for him, they would willfully have submitted themselves to slavery, and all future generations would have effaced themselves at the mere mention of Pharaoh's name. The physical and spiritual enslavement would have been worse – our forefathers would never had left the exile of their own free will, and the exile mentality would never have left them.” (Mishna Yeshara of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane's grandfather, Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Kahane).

Israel's redemption is not merely the story of one more people's national liberation. Israel's Exodus from Egypt ushered in a new era – a divine nation was established, as well as a purpose for the world. The mission of this liberated nation is Kiddush Hashem, and the erasing of the heresy of chillul Hashem, of [Pharaoh's words] I do not know Hashem. Therefore, had Hashem Himself not brought our forefathers out of Egypt with this intention, then even had a good king freed them, it would have been meaningless, because it would not have led to the establishment of that divine nation, and the fulfillment of its glorious destiny.

The Exodus had to be implemented, directly and unequivocally, by G-d and not through any agent, because the battle here is a paradigm of all subsequent history, the basis for Israel's faith throughout their generations – the knowledge of Hashem, versus “I do not know Hashem”. It is concerning this struggle that G-d promises, “I will execute judgement against all the gods of Egypt.”

This is a religious war: the G-d of Israel versus the gods of the nations [and, one has to add, against Israel's trust in the nations!] Just as Israel was redeemed from Egypt without having to turn to any outside party or human ally (which was precisely what the Egyptians originally feared : “If war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country”[Ex. 1:10]), so must we understand that in our generation, too, G-d is Israel's sole Redeemer – not Lord Arthur Balfour, not the United Nations, not the U.S.A.

Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from "The Haggadah of the Jewish Idea" and "The writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane; HY"D " and from "The Jewish Idea" of Rav Meir Kahane.