Charles Krauthammer's Jan. 16 Dispatch commentary outlines his theory of the U.S. war on terror since 9/11 in three worsening phases. In the most recent Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows would agree with the worsening part. But, quoting intelligence officials, he argues that although the U.S. tactically won all battles in the wars since 9/11, by strategic goals set at the start, we lost the wars. Al Qaida is alive and active, and it helped spawn ISIS. The strategic failure was faulty analysis of the enemy, and the premise that successful military action alone can finish the job.
A recent letter in the Dispatch concluded, "We need to return to God and Patriotism." The problem with this admonition is its ambiguity: "return" is to what time and specifics? What is the relationship between God and patriotism, if any? One person's patriotism is unpatriotic to another.
Once upon a time some U.S. conservatives claimed to be compassionate, and the Heritage Foundation seemed to demonstrate this by introducing a health insurance plan in 1989. This plan had two foundational elements: insurance exchanges and a universal mandate. Mitt Romney used the model in the Massachusetts statewide plan that is still working successfully.
The recent surge in children coming to a Texas border crossing has exposed a hidden threat to the United States. Our increasingly dysfunctional federal government has set up traps we are now all caught in. Many have opined that the U.S. has taken a turn for the worse and many causes have been suggested. This threat may be added to their lists. A recent opinion by columnist Cal Thomas published in the Dispatch blames President Obama's views on immigration for the problem and suggests that we should instead abide by the Constitution.
A June 5 Dispatch letter attempted to show that unfettered gun freedom does not compromise faith in God. A June 16 letter praising it added further comments. This critique uses the points of these letters to present an alternative theology for guns. The first letter starts its anti-gun-control argument with the claim that since guns and violence are not synonyms there is little relationship between these nouns. By definition guns are weapons, which are any device for use in attack or defense. Violence is a swift injurious force.
A recent Dispatch guest opinion by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas was on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s address to the annual United Methodist Women’s Assembly. Thomas’ thesis statement is “Faith is making a comeback among liberal Democrats but they still have a way to go.” Nevertheless, he judges this laggard faith to be “good enough for Democrats.” Thomas cannot find anything positive in theological diversity so he chooses to use the Bible to denigrate the party he opposes rather than promote cooperation within partisan differences.
One of the early pages of the book of Genesis has the words, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it.” This even preceded the great fall. “Keep it,” means to preserve or conserve it. Thus a foundational biblical intention for humankind is caring for nature.
Like many journalists, Kathleen Parker’s syndicated guest opinion (Jan.5) refers twice to our Founding Fathers to vaguely support her partisan views. In this case it is to justify growing wealth disparity. She blames our “weak economies and moral decay” on envy of the wealthy but does not implicate greed among the wealthy. In so doing she undermines her own call for more “agreement.” For this issue we might do better to examine how some of our Founders looked at political partisanship.
Some recent letters in the Dispatch have requested that some positive opinions and facts on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be published. This is understandable because by my count, in the last four months, there were a total of 17 columns solely about the ACA in the editors’ or “Guest Opinion” columns; all were negative.
Earlier this year Pope Francis made a stir when he said the Catholic Church was too obsessed with certain sexuality issues. Recently he seems to have topped this with his official apostolic statement under Evanglii Gaudium, which was mostly a warning against the idolatry of money. He cited evils of “unfettered capitalism,” and “trickle-down” theory, which was not an attack of capitalism per se.