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Words of War


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That al-Jazeera Tape

The most remarkable thing about it is simply this: the broadcasters at al-Jazeera seem to believe that footage that proves that Iraqi soldiers brutalized and abused their American prisoners will increase support for Iraq’s cause in the Arab world.

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Sgt. Arsan Akbar

The only good news about the case of the alleged murderer in the 101st Airborne was the promptitude with which the media reported his apparent motive: Muslim religious opposition to the war in Iraq. The temptation to conceal the facts must have been overwhelming – and it is a remarkable victory over Political Correctness that the temptation was rebuffed.

The implications of the attack will take some time to absorb. Akbar is a native-born American and a convert to Islam. Did Islam alienate him from his society and his unit enough to persuade him to kill? Or was it that his alienation caused him to turn to Islam?

Whatever Akbar’s personal story, we are all eagerly anticipating the reaction from American Islamic leaders. Will they take time away from their work condemning the war on Iraq, condemning security crackdowns on illegal immigrants, and condemning FBI investigations into extremist preachers to condemn as well a religiously motivated act of mutiny and murder? What do you think?

The Soldier’s Psalm

For hundreds of years, soldiers have prepared themselves for the dangers of battle by reading Psalm 91. As the fighting escalates in Iraq – and terror warnings are issued here at home – perhaps we all should be reading it.

[1] He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
[2] will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
[3] For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
[4] he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
[5] You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
[6] nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
[7] A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.
[8] You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
[9] Because you have made the LORD your refuge,
the Most High your habitation,
[10] no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
[11] For he will give his angels charge of you
to guard you in all your ways.
[12] On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
[13] You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
[14] Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
[15] When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him and honor him.
[16] With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.



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