Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why Does Israel Claim the Land?

Michael Medved's latest Townhall article gives a great explanation of why Israel has the right to claim her land, and why the Palestinians don't. He compares Israel's claim to the land to America's claim, and makes it irrefutable that this land has historically belonged to Israel.

The fact that so much of the world has fought so hard against Israel's right to exist, both historically and in modern times, demonstrates the spiritual opposition she faces as God's chosen people. No other nation on earth has faced this kind of determination to wipe her off the map.

Israel, in spite of her imperfections, deserves our respect and our prayers.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel's Current Situation

Reading Yoni's blog about what is going on in Israel today is enough to break your heart. It seems very clear that Israel's current government is not in this conflict to win, but only to break even. Given previous battles Israel has fought and the public relations disasters they always turn into for the Israelis, it's not surprising that the liberal government of Israel is making those choices; still it is very unfortunate that Israeli soldiers are dying for something that is not going to last.

I could be wrong, but based on my observation it appears the government of Israel today believes the same things Hugh Hewitt quotes Tom Hayden as saying: that the anger of the Palestinians toward Israel is all Israel's fault; that if Israel will completely abandon the "occupied territories" somehow the Palestinians will like them again. Both Olmert's government and today's liberals fail to understand the ultimate object of the Palestinians: to wipe Israel off the map. They also don't grasp the mentality of the Islamic radicals, who consider themselves to have won if they persuade civilized countries to simply talk rather than fight.

If the Israeli government yields to international pressure and fails to wipe out Hezbollah, at least in Lebanon and preferably in Syria too (maybe even in Iran), their problems will return very soon. I don't see how they can settle for a cease-fire with Hezbollah still firing 90 missiles into Israel last night, but perhaps they will - and Hezbollah will have won a significant victory.

Israel needs to fight - they need to fight hard, and they need to be relentless in their pursuit of the Hezbollah terrorists. They need to shed their fear of injuring civilians and hunt down the terrorists wherever they are; the sooner they do this, the better. And America needs to support them 100%, no-holds-barred. This is a battle America must support if we don't want to end up fighting these terrorists on our own soil or in Iraq or both - and our President has the responsibility to lead this nation to fight!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How Times Have Changed!

The Headmistress at The Common Room has an interesting post featuring a newspaper clipping from her grandfather's scrapbook, dated 1938. It relates to a conversation between two people opposed to the developing war in Asia. Most of the clipping is interesting from a historical perspective but not all that relevant to us. But my attention was arrested by the next-to-last sentence, which reads as follows:

Every loyal citizen know that, once war is declared, he must do all in his power to support the nation's effort to win the war.

Would that all American citizens still held this attitude today! We might have won the war in Iraq in a few months if our enemies had thought we would all be unified this way.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Women Misled On Abortion Risks?

Rep. Henry Waxman (D- CA) is at it again. Back in 2004, an AP article by Mark Sherman quoted a report from Rep. Waxman accusing federally funded abstinence education programs of teaching "false and misleading information about contraception, abortion, and s-xually transmitted diseases." In the same article, the Deputy Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary for Population Affairs "said the Waxman report took statements out of context to present the programs in the worst possible light."

Yesterday, the AP released a new article, this one by Kevin Freking, quoting "a report issued Monday by Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee," led by Rep. Waxman, this time going after pregnancy resource centers. And if anything, this report appears to have even less basis than the previous one.

The congressional aides called 25 pregnancy centers, pretending to be pregnant 17-year-olds. Two could not be reached. The others explained the risks associated with abortion, as those pregnancy centers understood them. Among the most significant risks mentioned were breast cancer, infertility, and emotional stress. At first glance these risks seem almost unavoidable; however, Rep. Waxman and the rest of the Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee (HGRC) apparently believe they do not exist.

The risk of breast cancer is one of the most highly publicized - and one of the most controversial - risks associated with abortion. Some studies clearly find a relationship; others do not. But Rep. Waxman and his fellow Democrats apparently believe that a single workshop by the National Cancer Institute represents the entire truth of the matter. Meanwhile, a Reuters article yesterday says that "the Institute of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute have discounted any link between abortion and breast cancer, although the Institute briefly carried a statement on its Web site making such a link -- a statement that was taken down after a public clamor by scientists and doctors." In other words, at least one of these organizations DID believe there was a possible relationship between abortion and breast cancer, but protest by those who support abortion-on-demand forced them to pretend that relationship didn't exist. Of course the Congressman didn't see fit to acknowledge that potential disagreement.

The relationship between abortion and infertility seems so self-evident it doesn't even need to be discussed; nevertheless the Democrats on the HGRC appear to need a lesson. Any time a woman's reproductive organs are interfered with, the risk of infection and of scarring increases. Even a minor amount of scar tissue can move the Fallopian tubes out of their correct place and make conception impossible. Thus abdominal surgery, pregnancy, and abortion all increase a woman's risk of infertility, because they increase the risk of infection or scarring of her reproductive organs.

As for the emotional stress associated with abortion, this has been well documented. Pregnancy centers, of all places, ought to be able to speak to the prevalence of significant mental health issues associated with abortion. It may be true that the American Psychological Association has issued a statement that "severe negative reactions are rare." But the statement of the 13 centers that "told the caller that the psychological effects of abortion are severe, long-lasting, and common" are not necessarily contradictory; what a woman considers severe may not be the APA's dictionary definition.

As usual, Rep. Waxman and his fellow Democrats are out to get any faith-based organization trying to state clearly that abortion hurts women. It is ironic that in their insistence on making abortion legal at any point, for any reason, to every woman, they ignore or blithely pass over the painful truth of what happens to those women who have one.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Not Smallpox After All?

We all know what happened to the Native Americans when the Europeans arrived, don't we? The Europeans brought smallpox with them, and the majority of the Native American population, whether in North, Central, or South America was wiped out. Isn't that what you learned in school?

Well, a recent article in Discover Magazine Online says it "ain't so."

Turns out researcher Rodolfo Acuna-Soto has uncovered pretty reliable data indicating the Native Americans were wiped out by something resembling hemorrhagic fever. Take a few minutes to follow the links and read the article - it is excellent, not too difficult to read, and absolutely fascinating.

Among the interesting paragraphs are these:

There seemed little reason to debate the nature of the plague: Even the Spanish admitted that European smallpox was the disease that devastated the conquered Aztec empire. Case closed.Then, four centuries later, Acuña-Soto improbably decided to reopen the investigation. Some key pieces of information—details that had been sitting, ignored, in the archives—just didn't add up. His studies of ancient documents revealed that the Aztecs were familiar with smallpox, perhaps even before Cortés arrived. They called it zahuatl. Spanish colonists wrote at the time that outbreaks of zahuatl occurred in 1520 and 1531 and, typical of smallpox, lasted about a year. As many as 8 million people died from those outbreaks. But the epidemic that appeared in 1545, followed by another in 1576, seemed to be another disease altogether. The Aztecs called those outbreaks by a separate name, cocolitzli. "For them, cocolitzli was something completely different and far more virulent," Acuña-Soto says. "Cocolitzli brought incomparable devastation that passed readily from one region to the next and killed quickly."

Acuña-Soto sent the text of the original Latin manuscript to a friend, a
physician working with the Centers for Disease Control in Washington, D.C., who was also a Greek and Latin scholar. The new translation he got back described cocolitzli in terms that did not match any Old World disease:

The fevers were contagious, burning, and continuous, all of them pestilential, in most part lethal. The tongue was dry and black. Enormous thirst. Urine of the colors of sea-green, vegetal green, and black, sometimes passing from the greenish color to the pale. Pulse was frequent, fast, small, and weak—sometimes even null. The eyes and the whole body were yellow. This stage was followed by delirium and
seizures. Then, hard and painful nodules appeared behind one or both ears along with heartache, chest pain, abdominal pain, tremor, great anxiety, and dysentery. The blood that flowed when cutting a vein had a green color or was very pale, dry, and without serosity. . . . Blood flowed from the ears and in many cases blood truly gushed from the nose. . . . This epidemic attacked mainly young people and seldom the elder ones.

"This was certainly not smallpox," Acuña-Soto says. "If they described something real, then it appeared to be a hemorrhagic fever."

Hemorrhagic fevers are viral diseases with names that evoke justifiable dread—Ebola, Marburg, Lassa. They strike with sudden intensity,
rarely respond to treatment, kill at high rates, then vanish as mysteriously as they came. They are called hemorrhagic because victims bleed, hemorrhaging in their capillaries, beneath the skin, often from the mouth, nose, and ears. The bleeding doesn't kill, but the breakdown of the nervous system does. At first there is fever, fatigue, and dizziness, but within a few days the person falls into delirium and finally a coma.

If cocolitzli had been caused by a hemorrhagic virus, Acuña-Soto realized, the Spanish could not have brought it with them. Such diseases do not readily pass from one person to another, so the virus must have been native.

This article was published as a Discover Magazine featured article in February 2006. It would seem to be a very significant discovery, with rather broad-ranging implications. Wonder why we have heard nothing about it from the national news media?

(HT: The Common Room)

The Purpose of Education for Liberals

After I posted my blog entry late last week called "What Is Education?", one of my favorite people posted this entry on the liberal purpose in education.

We talk a lot about the sorry state of education in the US. We
talk about how kids aren't learning much, at least, not much worth
learning. We talk about the fact that the goals most parents have
for their kids' education are not the same as the goals of the
education establishment.

What I can't figure out is what they are trying to accomplish by all

I have read enough to know that, originally, the purpose of public
education was to have a willing workforce, a bunch of people
educated enough to do their work well, but compliant enough to
do what they are told. OK, great. We pretty much had that,
through the '40s, '50s, and at least the early '60s, right? People
got up in the morning and went to work. They worked long hours,
loyally staying with even difficult jobs. They pretty much did what
was expected of them, without asking questions.

If this is the point of current education, then there is no reason to
have changed what was taught in the first 1/2 of the century.

I've also read enough to know that social re-engineering is a huge
thing the NEA and other education bureaucrats are trying to
accomplish. But I can't figure out how not being able to read makes
someone more likely to adopt their social perspectives. How does
not being able to add and subtract make someone more likely to
accept h-m-s-xuality? I can understand not teaching logic. I can
understand changing the types of literature studied. I can
understand historical revisionism, even, if your goal is to produce a
certain type of attitude.

In addition, one could argue that the liberal mind-set needs people
who are dependent on government help, who will vote for you
because you give them more help for their dependence.

But if a child can't read, they can't even read your propaganda. I
find it hard to believe that the NEA appreciates not being given
proper change at their conferences. Even the most dependent-
minded person still will have some need for basic reading and math,
right? Even if you want everyone to depend on you, to ensure
your importance, you still want them to be able to DO something for
you, don't you? Wouldn't it be better to have well-educated people
who support your viewpoint? Isn't a doctor who says you are
right more "valuable" to your movement than a homeless person
who agrees with you?

Some of it I can see, but I do not understand how the type of
"education" being promoted by the NEA really helps them achieve
any goal at all. Or if it does, I can't figure out what that goal might

This is an excellent question, and one which probably has almost as many answers as there are liberals to answer it. But it seems to me at least part of the explanation is this: while the education system has accomplished much of what it was designed to do, creating great little employees, getting to that point has had unintended consequences. Certainly no one wants to have people coming out of the schools who can't read or write or cipher. But in the process of instilling "groupthink," creating good little worker-bees, developing a dependent class, and so on, they ran into a problem: many kids couldn't learn all this stuff - especially with their parents working against it at home - and still learn to read and write and do math.

Herein lies the dilemma of the liberals today: they know parents will no longer accept schools that don't teach their children the basics. (Yesterday in the Denver Post there was an article about Denver's middle schools, which are losing attendance in a hurry.) At the same time, if they are going to accomplish their purposes, liberals can't afford to do the things that actually bring academic success. So they continue to make their purposes most important, and to continue making minor changes trying to find a "new method" which will get kids to learn the basics. Those minor changes won't work; it will take a major overhaul of their methods to really educate kids; but that kind of overhaul will destroy their purposes in the process, and I don't believe it will ever happen. When "developing self-esteem" is more important than really learning to read; when "appreciating other cultures" takes priority over addition and subtraction, kids are not going to learn to read or to add and subtract.

That's my take, anyway.

An Unguarded Moment for the President

President Bush was talking to Tony Blair yesterday, unaware that he was near a microphone. Here's what he said (HT: Hugh Hewitt):

"I think Condi (Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) is going to go
pretty soon," Bush said.

Blair replied: "Right, that's all that matters, it will take some time to
get that together." Rice said on Sunday she was thinking of going to
the Middle East if it would help.

Blair said Rice has "got to succeed" if she goes to the region. Bush
replied: "What they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to
stop doing this sh--."

It sounds like, regardless of how clueless some in the media and in the Democratic Party may be, the President understands at least one important factor in the equation - and he is pretty upset about it. It would appear all the major players are aware of what's going on; the question is what to do about it.

War in Israel and Anger Here

I've never hated anyone before as far as I can remember. Oh, I've been really angry sometimes; but I don't remember ever actually feeling hatred, especially not toward someone I didn't even know. But what I experienced today came perilously close to that, and as I look back at the experience I find myself trying to see it from the outside.

Shopping with my family at a large home-improvement warehouse this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a young man, perhaps around 25. It was a hot day, and he was dressed as many other shoppers today, in a T-shirt and shorts. I probably wouldn't have even looked twice at him, except for what was on the T-shirt he was wearing. It said in bold letters, "Free Palestine," and had a large Palestinian flag emblazoned on the front. I looked once at the T-shirt, then again, and then I found myself getting furiously angry. Here is Israel, just trying to defend itself against the vicious attacks of its terrorist neighbors; Israel, who has in the last few years vacated both Lebanon and Gaza and was planning to leave almost all of Judea and Samaria in the next few months; Israel, who has watched the terrorists take over the areas it has unilaterally vacated, and has put up with repeated rocket attacks with virtually no response; Israel, who has lived with almost daily terrorist attacks from Palestinians despite its best efforts to maintain peace - and this guy has the NERVE to talk about freeing PALESTINE?!!

I literally wanted to walk up to the guy and slug him.

Of course I didn't. I sat there, watching him, for perhaps five or ten minutes, wondering if there was anything I could say to him to just make him THINK for a minute about what he was doing. I didn't succeed, and he ended up going somewhere else in the store; I did not see him again. Meanwhile here I am at 10 pm still wondering - could I have said something? Could I have done something? And what can I do or say to help keep others from ending up drawing the same conclusions as this guy did? It is amazing how deep hatred of Israel really runs - and how deep love for Israel can also run.

Israel, my prayers are with you!

Summarizing Events in the Middle East

On Powerline, Minneapolis attorney Andrew Jacobson offers a concise view of what's going on in the Middle East at the moment. His summary at the end offers a brief, insightful perspective on possible motivations behind the events of the last few days:
So here is my observation/theory — Iran has orchestrated
much (if not all) of the current unrest and violence in order to:
(i) distract attention from its nuclear weapons program,
(ii) tie down Israel militarily in order to reduce the chances
that Israel could unilaterally (or in combination with the
U.S.) launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities,
(iii) scare the American public (and politicians) into rejecting
any unilateral military option against Iran for fear of further
inflaming the Mideast (e.g., "Geez, we've already got huge
issues in North Korea, Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan,
we can't possibly afford any further foreign entanglements"
or "We better not do anything to Iran, we might further inflame
the Mideast, threaten our oil supply and the U.S. economy"
(Lord knows we don't want to pay $%/gallon for our SUV's)),
and (iv) create world furor against Israel (and indirectly the U.S.),
to further raise the stakes and international opposition to any
unilateral military strikes.

Meantime, the New York Times takes its usual perspective on anything Israel does to defend itself.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Updates on Israel

Yoni is keeping up with events in Israel, and as usual he has good insights to go along with reporting of actual facts.

Understanding what is going on in the Middle East is very complicated. Neither Americans nor Europeans appear to really "get it," probably due to a lack of understanding of the mentality of both the Israelis and the Arabs. Yoni, on the other hand, seems to have a pretty good grasp of who's doing what and why.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Israel: Is War Inevitable?

Hugh Hewitt has an excellent analysis, with links, on Israel's war and whether it is inevitable.

It's a difficult post to read, because it states clearly that whether we 21st-century peace-lovers like it or not, it looks as if a war between Israel and Hamas/Hezbollah is now almost inevitable. And though Hugh does not say it in so many words, it would seem likely that the rest of the world will be drawn into this war, in spite of ourselves and in spite of (or perhaps even, to some extent, because of) the United Nations which was supposed to end it.

War is ugly, no matter where or when it occurs. We in America have often been sheltered from the ugliness, and most of the Western world has not seen it for over 50 years. It is going to be hard for the majority of us - educated, cultured, taught that we should be kind and share and talk things out - to see this ugliness and not turn our backs in cowardice. But now is the time for courage! Now is the time to get ourselves prepared; we may also be called on to fight. Those of us who love peace and freedom need to speak clearly to our families, friends, and neighbors, about the price of liberty and about doing what is right.

Religious War: How Do We Win?

History is full of wars over religion. For thousands of years, people who held one religious belief have fought against those who held another. But we who have lived in the twentieth century have been somewhat insulated against those wars, because throughout that century, and in fact most of the two centuries before that, the majority of the significant conflicts were fought over territory or for independence. Religious wars in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were generally smaller, contained, limited to internal conflicts in obscure little countries (by modern civilizations’ accounting) like Sudan and Nigeria, or hidden behind the Iron Curtain in the Soviet Union or China. Individuals in those nations were aware of the conflicts, of course, but most of us in the western world simply went about our own business and pretended they didn’t exist. And when we did experience the occasional attack (like the Khobar Towers, the first World Trade Center bombing, or the USS Cole), we assumed the motivations were territorial or financial, and ignored the religious rhetoric of the attackers.
So it came as a huge shock to us when September 11 suddenly burst upon us, "out of the blue," so to speak. Many of us still have not correctly assessed the real issue behind the WTC attack. We continue to insist that the reason we were attacked was territorial (we support Israel’s continuing to exist in Palestine, for example) or financial (the terrorists were jealous of our prosperity). Meanwhile, the Islamic fanatics shout ever more loudly that this is a war about religion, a war that has continued, to one extent or another, since Islam was founded over 1000 years ago. While Westerners tend to see the Crusades as ancient history – and indeed, to blame the Christian side exclusively for them - the Islamic extremists perceive today’s "war on terror" as simply a continuation of that long-standing struggle. No wonder we make so many strategic errors in the way we interact with them!
If we want to understand how the Islamic fundamentalists think, if we want to know how we should deal with them, it seems to me we need to seriously re-examine the history of this war and the rhetoric of our enemies. We need to understand how the war started – and I don’t mean we need to look back to 9/11, or to the first WTC bombing, or to the 1970’s. Americans and other Westerners know far too little history, especially of the Middle Ages. Most of us know next to nothing about how Islam began or what was happening in their world at the time. We are utterly unfamiliar with the schisms that have occurred, with who ruled them and when and how. When we hear the word "Crusades," we think of Europeans riding off to fight the Arabs, with no idea of why. We tend to forget that Spain was ruled for many years by Muslim extremists, and that Europe was almost overrun by them. What strategy worked then to drive them back, and why? And what has happened since then in Islamic history? What do our enemies say about why they do what they do? How do they motivate others to join their cause?
I have to admit I don’t know the answers to these questions either. But without these answers, how can we possibly hope to beat them? Any baseball or football or soccer coach will tell you that you first have to analyze the opponents’ strategy, know their strengths and weaknesses, and understand why they make the moves they make, before you can win against them. And those are just games. This is a matter of life and death; it is absolutely critical that we figure these things out. Need I point out that the enemy is already doing this? They know us, all too often, better than we know ourselves; which is why they are so successful at using our media (without the media’s even realizing it is being used) against us. If we don’t get to know them at least as well as they know us, I fear one day the history books will record that this religious war is one we ultimately lost.

What is education?

So what do we mean when we talk about "education"? As an educator and a homeschooling mom, I'm constantly tossing this term around, talking about it and reading about it. But what does it really mean?My Webster's New World Dictionary defines education as "the process of training and developing the knowledge, mind, character, etc., especially by formal schooling; teaching; training." It says that to educate is "to train or develop the knowledge, skill, mind or character." The word "educate" comes from the Latin "educare," meaning "to bring up, rear, or train." But I think the core meaning of the word is the root of "educare," which comes from e- , "out," and ducere, "to lead, draw, bring."So the root meaning of "education," from the Latin, would mean to bring out, lead out, or draw - a person's knowledge, mind, skills, and character. What a job description! And how often we settle for less as educators - just dumping some information on our students and hoping it sticks! My responsibility as an educator, whether in a school or as a homeschooling mom, is to lead my students out of ignorance, to draw out their innate abilities, and to bring out what is best in them. It's an active process, one which requires a real relationship with my students. I can't be really educating if I'm just presenting information - or worse, forcing them to read a chapter or fill out a workbook page! No - I have to be actively involved in the learning process with my students, leading, enticing, providing that "spark" to help them want to learn. And I measure my success in educating my students, not by whether we finish the book or whether they can pass a test on what they've "learned," but by whether they have been trained and developed. Do my students have more knowledge than they did before? (This is the easiest aspect of education to accomplish.) Do they have greater skills? Are their minds more developed, more "drawn out" than they were before? And most challenging of all, have their characters been trained and developed - do they have more character - than they did before we started the process? If I can't answer "yes" to all four of these questions, I haven't really educated my students.When I look at this definition, I realize that many of my teachers didn't really educate me - and that many who would not consider themselves to have been my "teachers" have been deeply involved in my education. My parents, for example, have been my greatest educators; along with them are pastors, youth workers, friends, and some who don't even know me but have educated me through their books and radio programs (Hugh Hewitt being a prime example of these). Just because you don't feel like an educator doesn't mean you aren't involved in the process of educating others. We all can be involved in "leading, drawing out, bringing out" the best in people, training and developing their characters; and we all need to take that responsibility seriously.

Have you started your blog yet?

I got an email yesterday from someone I care very much about. She said essentially, "I can see that I'm not a very deep thinker at all. You have the knack of putting down on paper what drifts around in my brain, but I just can't grasp." I thought about that, and realized maybe there are others like her out there - people who have tremendous gifts and skills, but don't feel they have anything to offer to others. Here are some of the thoughts I sent her in response; I hope they will be helpful to someone else.The truth is that I have been thinking about the particular issue I blogged about this morning for several weeks now - and it still took me well over an hour to get the wording right. Writing forces me to think more carefully about things. That's one reason why I wanted to blog - even if only a few people read it, it helps me clarify my own thoughts. As far as your own thinking goes, you are most likely a much deeper thinker than you believe you are. But there are things that make you different from any other blogger. What you have thought deeply about is different from what other people have thought about, because your background is very different from theirs. When I taught writing last year, I realized as I read my students' papers that every person is unique, and has their own tremendously valuable insights to offer because of their own unique experiences. Not all my blog posts will be so philosophical as the one I did this morning - I'm planning to blog about growing up in Central America, about homeschooling, about politics, about writing, about anything else that comes to mind. And when you are ready to share your experiences with other people, the Lord will bring the opportunities to you, and will give you just the words to reach out to the people who need to hear what you have to say (or write, or blog, or . . . ). The experiences you have are preparing you for a ministry to others who need what you have to give. Don't let your current situation or the negative messages you've gotten in the past keep you from the ministry God has for you. If you're not yet at the place in your life when you can write, then just wait, and tuck your thoughts away quietly in your heart. Pull them out once in a while during a quiet moment and think about them, or bring them up when you're talking to a good friend and discuss them, then put them away again. Eventually the time will come to share them, and by then they will be well developed. But if you've been thinking about it, wondering whether you have something to share, and if you are at a good place in your life to start writing: maybe now is the time for you to start a blog or write a book. Write about what you know and what you have experienced. Summon the courage; take the plunge. Think carefully both before and while you write - reread your post several times before you actually post it - proofread - but go ahead and DO IT!!! The things you have to say may well be things no one else can say but you.

Why Liberals Don't Get It

I've been doing some serious thinking over the past few weeks about just why it is that most liberals (and many conservatives as well) don't seem to "get it" when it comes to the war on terror, and I think I've finally hit on at least part of the answer. Based on my observations, most liberals have little or nothing for which they are willing to die. For what, after all, do people willingly give their lives? I know of three things: religious beliefs, country, and liberty. And where are most liberals on these issues? Many hold no religious beliefs, or hold them weakly at best, and live their lives based on what "feels right" or what is comfortable for them. As for country, while they protest vehemently against having their patriotism questioned, most liberals have a far greater loyalty to "humanity" or the "world community" than to their own individual country. And what about liberty? Living almost entirely in free nations (primarily North America, Europe, and Australia), most have never experienced any kind of slavery or bondage. These people have no idea how precious liberty really is, nor do they realize how desperately those without liberty long for it. So the majority of liberals hold neither religious beliefs, country, nor liberty deepy enough to die for them.So when it comes to understanding Islamic fundamentalists - people who are willing to give their lives because of their religious beliefs - average liberals are at a tremendous disadvantage. They do not - in fact, they cannot - understand why these people would willingly sacrifice themselves. Thus, they assume that all we need to do is talk with them, communicate with them, let them voice their frustrations and oppositions, and be willing to negotiate with them, and we will resolve all the problems so everyone can get along. Combined with a typical liberal mentality that people are basically good, this results in a belief that it is the way the West has behaved toward them that has caused the terrorists' actions. It is difficult to underestimate how badly they misunderstand the terrorists.When a person has things they hold so dear that they would willingly sacrifice themselves for them, the way that person look at terrorists changes fundamentally. Many conservatives - especially those of us with deep religious beliefs and those who have served in the military - understand the depth of passion these deeply held values can engender. It seems to me we have a greater grasp of how the terrorists think and why they behave as they do. This grasp, in turn, results in a very different method of dealing with Islamic fundamentalism, one which recognizes that in spite of our desire for peace, the only way to achieve real peace is to provide people in oppressed nations with other values that are worth dying for - and thus other values that are worth living for.