Hollywood personalities are know for promoting all kinds of causes, especially those that are often provocative and sensational. Sometimes, however, a person from Hollywood will surprise you. Such is the case with Angelina Jolie, the famous and hugely gifted actress.
Yesterday Jolie said that the reinforcement of troops in Iraq has created an opportunity for humanitarian programs to increase assistance for Iraqi refugees. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, titled "A Reason to Stay in Iraq," Jolie detailed the plight of refugees there and says that their conditions have improved since she last visited Iraq in August of 2007. Her first visit was meant to encourage governments to provide more support for the needs of suffering people.
Jolie has served as as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations since 2001. She was back in Baghdad earlier this month to once again underscore the refugee issue.
On this recent visit Jolie had the courage to actually talk with General David Petraeus, the American military commander who is widely praised, except by some Democrats who seem to hope that we will lose in Iraq.
Jolie also visited with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Jolie says "Petraeus told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis" as much as possible, "which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made."
Jolie was then asked the $64,000 question: "Is the troop surge working?" She answered,"I can only state what I witnessed. When I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said they miss home but feel invested in Iraq." She added, "They have lost many friends and want to be part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible."
Things really are interesting when a Hollywood actress tells the truth about Iraq more clearly than the two candidates of the Democratic Party seeking the presidency. And now, failing to make its case about the war itself, the Democrats in Congress are telling us that the "real" issue is that this war costs too much. (As a portion of our total budget it is a bargain, at least given the options. More than 70% of our federal budget goes to entitlement programs, not to protecting people. Our military budget, so often attacked by Democrats and used by President Clinton to cut into spending hugely for his eight years in office, is actually a very small part of our total national budget.) And Obama now has the audacity, and not of hope but of temerity, to say that he would pull out the troops but then reserve the right to attack al-Qaida as select targets if they are then found inside Iraq. (He is so vague, as he often is, about how he would carry out such a mission.)
I have given Obama every benefit of the doubt on many, many issues. I have defended him for numerous character assassination attempts made on his life and personal faith. But on this point he sounds like he is from another planet frankly. Doesn’t he believe that al-Qaida is in Iraq right now, regardless of where they were when Saddam was still in power?
I speak to friends and parents of loved ones serving in Iraq several times a week. A year ago they openly feared the worst, like most Americans. The reports they got were bleak. Now they speak with hope and optimism. Will we allow an election to drive us away from stabilizing Iraq at just the time that we are succeeding in obvious and measurable ways? In the end, this is why I have no confidence in the left and its ability to understand the real world and the problem of corporate human sin.
This is also why I do not trust most liberals to deal with international issues of this sort. They always believe the best about all the wrong people and the worst about the good people who really want peace through a necessarily strong national defense.
It was not always so. I remember the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman and the presidency of John F. Kennedy personally, all leaders who knew better than most modern Democrats. They never bought into these notions promoted by the modern elites in the present-day party.
It will be more than interesting to hear Democrats trash the present efforts in Iraq over the next eight months while we begin to hear news that things are getting better and better by the day. The public will be forced to make a real choice if they listen to the news and the debates.
I am not a fatalist but I do believe our nation will get the leaders it deserves. Honor and courage have sunk so low on our list of important character traits that I wonder what we will do and who we will become. I am not pessimistic but I do wonder. And I pray.
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Many parts of your post I can agree with. But your characterizations of the budget are a bit out of line. Even putting in veterans affairs and international aid Entitlement spending doesn’t go above 60 percent. Current debt services are just over 8 percent. Current defence (not including the wars in Iraq and Afganastan, which are non-budgeted) are 21 percent. All other spending, transporation, education, governement administration for the three branches, etc., take more than 1 percent. So your 70 percent number just doesn’t make sense. Don’t take my word for it. Here are three fairly objective websites Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget,_2007) and Death and Taxes, a very interesting view of the budget in a graphical form(http://www.thebudgetgraph.com/site/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1&zenid=b9d1824255687e9b464968afdccea3f5). As a third view try the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/budget08/category.html)
Whatever your view of the war, spending needs to be taken into account. For instance, do you know we spend as much on Missle Defence as we do on the HUD or as we do on the combined budgets of Congress and the Federal Courts.
My percentage may be off a bit, as you suggest, but our total military spending is relatively small, at least comparatively speaking. And as a portion of GDP it is very small. Believing that the first goal of a human government is to enforce law and guarantee freedom (cf. Romans 13) makes me believe this is a small price for such a society to pay in the modern era.
I also believe that what we are spending in Africa, to use another example, is small, though it is growing under President Bush with very few giving him any real credit for this humanitarian portion of his agenda.
He is neither a demon nor a messiah and the present response to his leadership will be altered, I think, by history. He will likely not be seen as a great president but his popularity will likely grow once he leaves office. This is not uncommon when historians evaluate eight years. The war has destroyed all chance that he could regain popularity now. Like him or not he has not led by the polls but by his principles and ideals.
Our military spending is more than the rest of the world combined. How can that be small. Our GDP is not more than the rest of the world combined so we are spending more than most countries.
Yes, Bush should recieve credit for increasing aid to Africa. And I wasn’t demonizing Bush. I was pointing out that our military spending is not a small amount, either by dollars or percentages.
Many small governement people perceive that entitlement spending is much higher than it really is, while assuming that military spending is lower than it really is. That is my point. We need to be accurate in our criticism.
One very valid criticism of the war, is that it was started without a clear view of the cost. There are estimates from legitimate economists that the real costs are around $3 trillion (enough to stablalize Medicare and Social Security for the next 50 years).
“Believing that the first goal of a human government is to enforce law and guarantee freedom (cf. Romans 13) makes me believe this is a small price for such a society to pay in the modern era.”
How can it be enforcing law to invade Iraq? Whose freedom has been guaranteed by opening that hornets nest?
You refer to original sin and corporate sin. Can you please explain how these have been expunged from the USA to the point that you can give foreign military adventures your christian endorsement, please?
Just a quick note Adam. Wikipedia is not an “objective” website or credible source of information. It is a good website to get a general overview but be wary of the facts. Anyone, including myself, can go in at any point and make a substantive edit. Although editors remove erroneous material, many, many entries go unnoticed as long as it is cited and relevant, despite glaring factual errors.
Susan, that is why I used Wikipedia as a general source. In this case it is a very well sourced article. You can go to the sources directly from the article to confirm their validity. I also cite two additional sources that had different views of the data. Is there any fundamental error to my post that you would like to note? My point was that John’s assumptions were in error and I think that I clearly showed my reasons.