Sunday, April 13, 2008

Today's News: Iranian Blast; Unbounded Optimism; Accusation and Counter-Accusation; and the Pope

Today's headlines are pretty much business-as-usual.
"Iran Dismisses Sabotage in Mosque Blast"
Washington Post (April 13, 2008)
"TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian officials on Sunday ruled out an attack as the cause of an explosion that killed 11 people in the southern city of Shiraz, saying it was an accident that was likely caused by leftover ammunition...."
No surprises here. A terrorist bombing in the Islamic Republic wouldn't pass muster with the Ayatollahs, so "leftover ammunition" it is.
"Carter Defends Upcoming Meeting With Hamas in Syria"
FOXNews (April 13, 2008)

"WASHINGTON — Former President Jimmy Carter said he feels 'quite at ease' about meeting Hamas militants over the objections of Washington because the Palestinian group is essential to a future peace with Israel.

"Speaking from Katmandu, Nepal, where he and a team of observers from the Carter Center monitored national elections, Carter said the U.S. and other parties should not require 'pre-requisites' before meeting with the terror group. Hamas has not renounced violence, regularly bombs Israeli towns near its stronghold of Gaza and refuses to recognize Israel's existence...."
No surprises here. I prefer to believe that former President Carter has a fathomless well of pure optimism, a genuine desire to help, and absolutely no clue about how naughty human beings can be.

And, no surprise where traditional, mainstream, news media is covering this story:
"Carter 'At Ease' With Possible Hamas Meeting"
CNN's Inside Middle East Blog (April 13, 2008)
"Jimmy Carter Defends Meeting With Hamas"
Google's AP service (April 13, 2008)
"Carter shrugs off calls from US officials and lawmakers to drop meeting with Hamas"
Sports Illustrated (April 13, 2008)
"Chinese soldiers disguised as monks incited riots: Dalai Lama"
India eNews (April 13, 2008)
(India? China? The Dalai Lama? I've discussed my view of the global conflict before.)
"Chinese soldiers disguised as monks incited riots: Dalai Lama"
India eNews (April 13, 2008)
"From correspondents in Delhi, India, 08:00 PM IST

"Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Saturday blamed the violence in his homeland, which has claimed several lives, on Chinese soldiers who he said had been disguised as Buddhist monks.

"But he maintained that he remained committed to seeking 'meaningful autonomy' for Tibet through his 'middle way' that eschews violence and separation."
In a way, it's 'he said/she said' on an international scale. The Chinese government has been blaming the Dalai Lama for their problems with Tibet. It's possible to see the Dalai Lama's statement as a counter-accusation. Or, as a statement of fact.
I'm inclined to believe the Dalai Lama more readily than the current Chinese government.

"Poll: Catholics Embrace Faith, Not Mass" (April 13, 2008)
(First the Dalai Lama, now the Pope?! What's going on here ?!)
"NEW YORK (AP) -- American Catholics said in a new survey they were pleased with the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI, ahead of his first visit to the U.S. since he was elected. The study also found intense interest in faith among some young people.

"Yet, few parishioners overall said they go to confession, and most believed they could be good Roman Catholics without going to Mass...."
No surprises here, either. For reasons that go beyond the scope of this blog, many American Catholics are appallingly ignorant about the basics of Catholicism.
You've probably already guessed what I'm going to say: Religious beliefs are important to many people. And, this visit of the Pope to America is a major event. The odds are very good that while he's in America, he'll say something about some aspect of the War on Terror. Or, he'll say something that can be read that way.
And that's a matter for another post.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.