Current Events

Britain Enslaved to Brussels?

The Telegraph wrote on September 20:

“We’re fed up with Europe… Britain has become a slave to the EU, writing blank cheques to prop up its lazy economies… with Europe’s ever increasing bail-outs and international loans – many drawn on the backs of struggling British taxpayers – it is no longer tenable to separate the economics of Europe from British domestic politics… As Britons lose their jobs, struggle to pay utility bills, forgo annual holidays and are made to pay more into their pensions, future bail-outs of Europe’s mostly unreformed and lazy economies will not attract Conservative parliamentary support.

“When Britain voted to stay in the European Economic Community in 1975 the country was promised it would be a common market. Yet over time, mostly by stealth and within every new treaty, we have been drawn relentlessly into an ‘ever closer union’ with the Continent. For many Britons, the EU has already become a kind of occupying force, setting unfamiliar rules, demanding levies, curbing freedoms, subverting our culture and imposing alien taxes. In less than four decades, Britain has become enslaved to Europe – servitude that intrudes and impinges on millions of British lives every day. Brussels has become a burdensome yoke, disfiguring Britain’s independence and diluting her sovereignty…

“The majority of Britons living today have never had a say on Europe. After nearly four decades of subjugation to Europe, it is time for the British people to choose their own destiny and to be set free…

“That is why the Coalition should agree to a referendum on Europe asking whether Britain should be part of a political union or of the trade-only relationship we thought we had signed up to… The referendum should be held next year, and a successful ‘No to political union’ result would immediately strengthen the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand in Brussels to commence serious and meaningful negotiations with our partners on Britain’s new relationship.

“… if Brussels refused to repatriate specified powers within a designated 24-month period, then a second referendum – this time an ‘in or out’ vote – would be triggered in 2015 and held on the day of the next general election… If specified powers were not returned within the defined timetable, Brussels would have only themselves to blame if Britons voted to leave the EU.

“The British have grown weary of Europe. The Coalition government should end decades of political appeasement by successive governments and champion freedom and democracy for Britain…”

As we have declared for decades, Britain will not be a part of the final configuration of a political United States of Europe. In addition, if  Britain thinks it is already enslaved to Europe, then this is nothing in comparison with what awaits the British people when real and quite literal slavery is going to be inflicted upon them.

Europe’s Huge Bill for British, US and Chinese Airlines

The Financial Times wrote on September 19:

“British Airways faces a bill of nearly €50m, the highest of any airline, when carriers around the world are brought into the European Union’s carbon emissions trading scheme next year…

“But BA and other large European carriers will face a relatively smaller burden than their rivals in the US and China, because they should get an average of 81 per cent of the carbon allowances needed under the scheme for free. The Chinese and American carriers will only get an average of up to 64 per cent…

“The findings come amid a fierce row over the EU’s move to make any airline flying into and within the bloc pay for pollution. US airlines have taken legal action… and Chinese complaints have prompted warnings of a trade war…”

None of this will make Europe popular, but it seems, they don’t really care, knowing that Britain, the USA and China have really no alternative than to comply.

American Lectures Rejected by Europe…

The EUObserver wrote on September 19:

“A unprecedented visit by US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner to a meeting of European finance ministers in Poland was coolly received by the gathered European economy chiefs…  a number of EU ministers felt that Geithner had over-stepped his bounds. The Austrian and Swedish finance chiefs offered reporters particularly sharp words about the intrusion from across the Atlantic.

“‘He conveyed dramatically that we need to commit money to avoid bringing the system into difficulty,’ Austrian finance minister Maria Fekter said of the discussion… ‘I found it peculiar that the Americans, although they themselves have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro area, explain to us what we should do and when we make a proposal … they say no right away.’

“Sweden’s Anders Borg too argued that Washington has problems of its own to deal with. ‘Geithner is right that we need to make progress, but it’s quite clear the US has a big debt problem and the situation would be better if the US could show a sustainable way forward,’ he said…”

From a European perspective, their dismissal of Timothy Geithner’s interference is quite understandable, given the fact that under the Obama Administration, the debt crisis in the USA has reached unparalleled and unprecedented proportions. As the old saying goes: Clean up first  your own house and backyard, and then you can start lecturing others. However, President Obama’s recent proposals in his long-awaited speech have met with stern opposition and rejections from Republicans and even some Democrats, and no real solution for America’s economic misery is in sight. In fact, some papers within the European media are reacting with anger towards the most recent developments in the USA, blaming the Feds for irresponsible conduct and warning of another worldwide US-caused recession. Of course, the economic situation in Europe, especially in countries like Greece, as well as reports that China’s growth may be slowing down, have been contributing to the negative development of worldwide markets. Note the next articles.

Dow Jones Plunges

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 22:

“The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 300 points in early trading as investors recoiled from the Federal Reserve’s new effort to stimulate the economy and the central bank’s statement that the economy may be in for a long period of slow growth… The losses built on declines late Wednesday after the Fed announced it would attempt to bring down long-term interest rates by replacing $400 billion of its holdings of short-term government debt with long-term U.S. Treasury bonds.

“Analysts have questioned whether the program will have the desired beneficial impact, given that the economy is facing significant headwinds and long-term interest rates are already quite low. The Fed also rattled investors Wednesday by highlighting ‘significant downside risks to the economic outlook.’ The statement ramped up fears that the economy could be headed for a new recession…”

The New York Times wrote on September 21:

“Global markets tumbled Thursday as investor pessimism about the outlook for the United States and European economies was deepened by weak data for the euro zone and a grim assessment from the Federal Reserve… Stocks had fallen in the United States 2 percent or more on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announcement that a complete economic recovery was still years away, adding that the United States economy has ‘significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in global financial markets…’ The export-driven economies in Asia, such as South Korea, are most vulnerable to the European and American economic challenges… Additionally, investors were beginning to worry that China’s rate of growth may slow… It really comes down to political immaturity in both the U.S. and Europe…”

Three Major US Banks Downgraded

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 21

“Moody’s Investors Service has cut the credit ratings of three major U.S. banks, saying that Washington is less likely to bail out big U.S. financial companies if another financial crisis were to hit Wall Street. The rating company Wednesday downgraded the long-term credit ratings of Bank of America Cor. and Wells Fargo & Co. and bumped down Citigroup Inc.’s short-term credit rating, citing ‘a decrease in the probability that the U.S. government would support’ them in future financial crises… After the downgrades, bank stocks helped lead markets down Wednesday…”

Germany to Eurozone: Go It Alone, Don’t Mind UK or USA

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 17:

“Germany has called for the eurozone to go it alone if necessary and implement a financial tax despite opposition from the US and UK… Germany’s finance minister supports pushing through a tax on financial transactions within the 17 member eurozone currency union in the face of opposition from nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States, two of the world’s largest financial markets…

“Supporters of the move, such as Germany and France, believe a financial transaction tax would check speculation and slow the growth of bubbles while raising money that could be used to bail out banks in crisis situations. The European Union, however, remains divided over the measure with non-euro states such as Sweden and Britain expressing opposition. Opponents argue that such a tax would drive business to non-taxed foreign markets… ”

But as the past has shown, once Germany and France lead, the rest of the Eurozone members will follow…

Greece and the Eurozone

Deutsche Welle reported on September 21:

“The Greek government announced fresh austerity measures late on Wednesday, after Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos insisted earlier in the day that his country had no plans to abandon the euro and would do everything in his power to stay in the eurozone.

“Greece is and will forever be a member of the eurozone, he said. ‘We will do anything, we will not place at risk the fate of the country and its place in the eurozone.’”

Of course, as could be expected, huge anti-government demonstrations occurred in Greece, following the announcement…

Germany—A Model of Stability

The Washington Post wrote on September 19:

“The financial crisis has turned Europe topsy-turvy… But… one country stands apart: Germany, where reforms a decade ago made the country less generous than some of its peers but also helped ease the blow when the rest of the world stopped snapping up BMWs and Bosch washing machines.

“Now, as its neighbors are being forced to retrench… Germany’s social services are running surpluses, helped by taxes that are among the highest in Europe and difficult sacrifices its citizens have made to jump-start their economy. Many Germans are peering across their borders and wondering why others can’t do the same, putting intense political pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel not to appear too generous with bailouts. Other countries point out that Germany’s wealth depends at least in part on outsiders spending for German exports… economists say that Germany’s own social services are sustainable, protected by the surpluses…

“Wages stayed largely flat for the past decade even as industry profits and government tax receipts rose, making Germany one of the West’s most competitive exporters. This was helped along by the euro zone, which made German products cheaper abroad than they were under the Deutschmark.

“Other aspects of Germany’s welfare state remained deluxe. Germans receive parental leave of 14 months at two-thirds salary, generous vacation time and publicly sponsored health insurance. And the tradeoff for flat wages has been a better chance at staying employed: If companies are struggling, they can appeal for government funds to subsidize their workers’ salaries, helping to avoid layoffs.”

It is interesting that Germany arose out of the ashes after World War II and became the most prosperous country in Europe…  This is exactly what the Bible has said would happen…

Big Losses for Germany‘s Governmental Coaltion Party

The Local wrote on Septmeber 19:

“Germany’s Free Democrats are unrepentant after taking an electoral battering in the Berlin state poll on Sunday. After taking less than two percent of the vote, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) has been turfed out of the German capital’s state’s legislature. The miserable result caps a dismal year for the party, which suffered losses in seven separate elections.

“Merkel’s conservatives are now trying to calculate the damage the Berlin election may do to their centre-right alliance at the national level…”

Der Spiegel added on September 19:

“German commentators on Monday size up the meaning of Sunday’s vote for Merkel’s coalition, for the SPD and, with the stunning success of the Pirate Party, for Germany’s political landscape.

“The center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Germans have never before experienced such a ruined government so early in a term. Of course it has always been the case that criticism of the national government is reflected in state results. That has occurred in (all of the state elections held this year)…’”

“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘The repeated, considerable failure of the FDP on Sunday along with the modest result for Merkel’s CDU means yet another blow to Merkel’s national coalition…’”

The Pope’s Visit in Germany— Push for Unification of Christians

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 18:

“German Chancellor Merkel urged Christians to unite against the advance of secularism in a message ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany [this] week, which has been widely criticized. In her weekly video podcast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Christians to reflect on what unites them…

“‘I think it is important to constantly reinforce the unity of Christians at a time when we are confronted by a growing secularism,’ Merkel said. ‘What the Christian faith has in common should always be remembered,’ she said. ‘When the Pope visits Germany, he is also visiting the country of the Reformation,’ Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor who grew up in the Communist East added. Merkel said the Pope’s visit was a reminder of Germany and Europe’s Christian roots, giving the strength and inspiration to fight against all religious persecution. The 500th anniversary of the German Reformation will be in 2017…

“The Pope’s first state visit to his native Germany from September 22-25 will take him to the mostly atheist former East Germany. It will include an address in Berlin’s vast Nazi-era Olympic Stadium as well as a meeting in Erfurt, one-time home of Protestant reformer Martin Luther, to discuss ways Catholics and Protestants can work together…”

Please also note the next article. It may seem that unification of the Catholic and Protestant Churches is still a far way off, but this might not necessarily be the case…

The Pope’s Visit in Germany—The Catholic Church’s Conservative Stance

Der Spiegel wrote on September 20:

“When Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, Catholics in Germany joyfully celebrated the first German pope in almost 500 years. Since then, the euphoria has turned to disappointment and disillusionment. Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany this week will do little to heal the deep divide between conservatives and reformers in the German Church…

“What will the German head of state [German President Wulff] and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church talk about when they meet for the first time… Will they talk about the fact that Wulff, a practicing Catholic, is divorced and remarried, a fact that, under the current rules of the Church, excludes him from receiving Communion?… Gerda Hasselfeldt, the Catholic chairwoman of the conservative Christian Social Union’s group in the Bundestag… is also divorced and has remarried. So has the leader of her party, Horst Seehofer, who also fathered an illegitimate child, and Oskar Lafontaine, the former co-chairman of the Left Party and a former Jesuit school pupil.

“Benedict [will] meet with Berlin’s openly gay Mayor, Klaus Wowereit. Will the pope encourage Wowereit, a Catholic and a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) who has been living with his partner for years, to practice abstinence and not to act out his proclivities, as his church demands of all homosexuals? Luckily for the pope, he won’t have any problems with two other prominent people he will meet in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel (remarried) and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (gay) are both Protestants.

“But even those Catholics who seem to abide by all the rules aren’t truly reliable. One of his hosts in Berlin, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert, recently ruffled feathers at the Vatican when he and fellow Christian Democrat Annette Schavan, who is Germany’s education minister, together with other reformist Catholics, sent a letter to Germany’s bishops about the marriage ban for priests… The open criticism of the pope was not well received in Rome. Lammert’s appeal was an ‘insult to Jesus Christ,’ Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, a close associate of Benedict, thundered…

“Many of the people that Benedict will encounter during his visit are divorced, gay, in common-law marriages or uninterested in the Church’s ban on birth control. And even though they are Catholic, they do not see themselves as sinners. The pope, who rules the papal state as one of the last absolute monarchs on earth, will encounter a modern society with modern representatives….

“The pope and his fellow Germans are not on good terms… Ratzinger did not become the kindly, benign old prince of the church and bridge builder… they had wanted him to be. On the contrary, he proved to be more conservative than the Germans wanted to believe at first. He has never grown out of his former role of head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition]…  Benedict is not leading his church into an open-minded future, but back into a narrow-minded past.

“The German pope, of all people, irritated Protestants by saying that their church is not a church ‘in the actual sense.’ He snubbed the Muslims with harsh words against the Prophet Muhammad. And he insulted the Jews by reinserting into the Good Friday liturgy, a prayer for the conversion of the Jews that one of Benedict’s predecessors, Paul VI, had removed as a gesture of reconciliation after the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.

“Instead, Ratzinger sent signals of understanding and sympathy to the conservative fringe of Catholicism. By currying favor with the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), he took the Church back in time and infuriated the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics… The Vatican continues to reject artificial birth control, which it sees as cause for eternal punishment. Millions of AIDS deaths have done nothing to convince the keepers of Catholic sexual morality that condoms might be a good idea.

“Similarly, half of the Church’s members remain excluded from all leadership positions. Women cannot become priests, let alone bishops. The official Church still excludes lesbians and gays from its community… At the beginning of his career, Ratzinger held completely different views, views that were open-minded and liberal. At the Second Vatican Council in 1962, he and the prominent Swiss theologian Hans Küng were among those who sought to open up their fossilized church and fought against the Vatican’s claim to absolute authority.

“But the year 1968 became a turning point in Ratzinger’s life… Since then, Benedict has viewed the Catholic Church as the sole custodian of a divine truth…”

It should be understood that we are quoting the articles about the pope’s visit in Germany to show the current climate, as it pertains to the Catholic Church. We do not agree with certain positions of the Catholic Church, nor do we agree with certain voices of criticism. For example, while the Catholic Church’s teaching on birth control is unbiblical, its prohibition of practicing homosexuals or women in the priesthood is biblical.

In spite of all the criticism and current anti-Vatican feelings in large sections of the German population, it is very clear that the conservative stance of the pope will continue. At the same time, a push for unification between the Catholic and Protestant churches will increase–Angela Merkel’s “admonition” for unity in this regard is quite remarkable—and once the time has arrived when the leader of the Catholic Church will receive the power to work miracles, such as asking for fire to come down from heaven, then any disagreements with Roman Catholic dogma will soon be forgotten. The Bible prophesies that the whole world will follow and even worship that man—but ultimately, it will have a rude awakening.

The Pope’s Visit in Germany—Challenges and Opportunities

BBC News wrote on September 22:

“Benedict XVI, the German head of the Roman Catholic Church, has begun his first official visit to his home country as Pope. At Germany’s parliament he received a long round of applause from MPs – though some [mainly representatives from the Left and, to a lesser extent, from the Greens and the Social Democrats] boycotted the event. After arriving in Berlin, he called on Catholics disgusted by priestly abuse of children not to abandon the Church…

“The 84-year-old pontiff will travel widely across the country, where there are officially 25 million Catholics – one in three of the population. He has visited Germany unofficially several times since assuming the Church’s highest office…

“Chancellor Angela Merkel, daughter of a Lutheran pastor who grew up in East Germany, said Christian unity would be a focus of the Pope’s visit…

“A record 181,000 German Catholics officially quit the Church last year, a total for the first time higher than that for Protestants leaving their churches… Disgust at the Church’s handling of child sex abuse by clergy was one factor… [The pope said:] ‘The Church is a net of the Lord that pulls in good fish and bad fish. We have to learn to live with the scandals and work against the scandals from inside the great net of the Church’…

 “Mr Wulff referred to German Catholics alienated by the Church when he spoke during Thursday’s papal visit. ‘Many ask themselves how mercifully it treats people who have suffered break-ups in their own lives,’ the divorced [Catholic] president said…

“One of the highlights of the visit is a Mass to be held on Thursday evening at the Olympic Stadium. The stadium, where Hitler hosted the 1936 games, is now a popular sporting and entertainment venue, and some 70,000 people are expected to attend the Mass. Other events during the tour include a meeting with former [Catholic] Chancellor Helmut Kohl…”

In spite of the reports dealing with ongoing criticism, we should not underestimate the overwhelming and enthusiastic reception that the pope is receiving in Germany.  Mass tabloid Bild wrote in big letters: “We Are Pope.”  Many papers and magazines report on line in “live tickers” about every event and movement of the pope during his two-day stay. Catholic Bundestag President Norbert Lammert said, when welcoming the pope to the German Parliament: “Never before in history has a pope spoken in front of an elected German Parliament.”

According to Die Welt, Lammert added that we must not only talk about unification of the Catholic and the Protestant churches, but that we must do something to bring it about. During Angela Merkel’s and the pope’s private meeting prior to the pope’s speech before the German Parliament, the future of Europe was an important issue, according to Bild Online.

Deutsche Welle added on September 22:

“Amid gun salutes and military music, Pope Benedict XVI was greeted in Berlin on Thursday by German President Christian Wulff at his official residence, Schloss Bellevue… German President Christian Wulff greeted the pope with the words ‘welcome home, Holy Father!’ In his address, Wulff said that millions of people would be looking forward to his visit… Although Church and state are separated in Germany, he added, that did not mean that the Church was parallel to society – it was at the center of society. ‘Your visit will strengthen Christians and all people in Germany,’ Wulff told the pope.”

Those who have ears to hear should hear…

Lieberman Praises Obama for UN General Assembly Speech

Haaretz wrote on September 22:

“After perhaps the warmest pro-Israel speech given at an annual UN General Assembly meeting by any U.S. president, Barack Obama now has ‘seal of approval’ from no less an authority than Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.”

The article continued:

“…while posters plastered across New York City describe Obama as ‘not pro-Israel,’ inside the United Nations building in Turtle Bay, Obama delivered what is probably the warmest pro-Israel speech ever given at an annual UN General Assembly meeting by any U.S. president, bar none. Not only did Obama refrain from directly mentioning the 1967 borders, much to relief of the Israeli government, but to a large extent he also made up for what he allegedly left out in his famous Cairo speech, expressing his empathy with, and sympathy, for the trials and tribulations of the Jewish people and their Zionist dreams. In the eyes of his Israeli audience, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama’s speech was nearly faultless, an assessment which was subsequently confirmed by the harsh criticism leveled at it by Arab and Palestinian officials…

“The Americans hope that Obama’s firm stance, and the continued efforts to prevent the Palestinians from obtaining the nine votes required to force a U.S. veto, will persuade Abbas to settle for a symbolic move at the UN Security Council, and to refrain from going to the General Assembly where his victory is guaranteed. The price for such a move will be a renewed commitment to restarting negotiations with attached conditions that may not be so palatable to Netanyahu and Lieberman, including a definite timeline for ending talks such as the one mentioned yesterday by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Because even in Middle East diplomacy, when the party’s over, there is always the morning after and the hangover that accompanies it.”

“Sarkozy Breaks with Obama”

The New York Times wrote on September 21:

“President Nicolas Sarkozy of France broke sharply on Wednesday with the effort by the Obama administration and some Europeans to quash the effort by the Palestinians for recognition here, instead calling for enhancing their status in the General Assembly to that of an observer state.

“The French leader, speaking from the famous green marble podium of the General Assembly barely an hour after President Obama, also said it was time to change the formula in trying to negotiate an Arab-Israeli peace, taking an indirect swipe at the United States by saying the efforts so far were a complete failure… The timetable he suggested is resuming the negotiations in one month, agreeing on borders and security within six months and finishing a definitive agreement within one year…

“In the meantime, if the Palestinian effort at membership faces a Security Council veto, the deadly reverberations will be felt across the Arab world, Mr. Sarkozy warned… Most Israeli concern has focused on the possibility that making the Palestinians an observer state could enhance their ability to join the International Criminal Court and pursue Israeli leaders through ‘lawfare.’

“In choosing to go to the Security Council to seek full membership, Mr. Abbas chose a more difficult path but one that could get lost in the thicket of United Nations bureaucracy for months before the United States used its threatened veto. There is even a question if the Palestinians can muster the needed 9 votes. But the United States has no veto over a General Assembly resolution, and the Palestinians enjoy overwhelming support there…”

America and Israel vs. the Arab World

Newsmax wrote on September 21:

“President Barack Obama pressed Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday to relaunch peace talks as he made a last-ditch attempt to avert a U.N. crisis over Palestinian statehood and pull his Middle East policy back from the brink of diplomatic disaster… Grappling with economic woes and low poll numbers at home and growing doubts about his leadership abroad, Obama is wading into Middle East diplomacy at a critical juncture for his presidency and America’s credibility around the globe.

“He faces the daunting challenge of reasserting Washington’s influence in the region… The drama over the Palestinian U.N. bid is playing out as U.S., Israeli and Palestinian leaders all struggle with the fallout from Arab uprisings that are raising new political tensions across the Middle East.

“It also comes as Israel finds itself more isolated than it has been in decades and confronts Washington with the risk that, by again shielding its close ally, the United States will inflame Arab distrust when Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world is already faltering.”

The Role of Turkey and Iran in the Middle East

WorldNetDaily wrote on September 21:

“Iran has begun to increase its strategic relationship with Russia… Analysts confirm Turkey and Iran generally have enjoyed close ties and cooperate in a variety of fields including trade, economic relations, fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and promoting stability in Iraq and Central Asia.

“Turkey has been strengthening its ties to Iran and other countries in the East, attempting to re-establish its historical influence, since the Muslim government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2002… Turkey has been a strong supporter of Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy… Erdogan’s most recent visit to Cairo demonstrated Turkey’s interest in filling that void with a fellow Muslim country left by the greatly diminished influence of the United States and European countries there.

“Regional sources point out that Erdogan has embarked on a ‘revolution tour’ not only in Egypt but also in Tunisia and Libya… Ironically, Israelis are comparing Erdogan with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who similarly seeks to cast Tehran’s influence in the Sunni Arab world. Iran is accepting credit for the various Arab revolts, comparing them to Iran’s own 1979 Islamic revolution.”

Setback for Peace in Afghanistan

The New York Times reported on September 20:

“The most prominent Afghan official trying to negotiate a reconciliation with the Taliban was assassinated Tuesday night by a suicide bomber with explosives tucked in his turban who had been brought to his home by a trusted emissary, officials said. The assassination was a potentially devastating blow to the Afghan-led peace process aimed at ending 10 years of war.

“The main victim of the attack, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was the leader of the High Peace Council, and had been tasked with reaching out to the Taliban for ways to resolve the conflict. Mr. Rabbani was also a former president of Afghanistan, and news of his death sent shock waves through the Afghanistan government just as President Hamid Karzai was at the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Karzai was cutting short his trip to head home, aides said…

“[Rabbani] was killed a week after Taliban insurgents orchestrated a surprise attack on several Kabul neighborhoods that demonstrated the seeming ease with which they can strike, despite ambitious efforts by the American-led NATO forces here to improve security and persuade Taliban insurgents to engage in negotiations to end the war.

“The Taliban attacks have called into question the basic readiness of President Karzai’s forces to assume security in the country as the foreign military forces gradually withdraw, as they have pledged to do by the end of 2014. The killing of Mr. Rabbani was the third time in three months that a high-ranking Afghan official was assassinated in a place that was supposed to be secure, infiltrating the coteries of guards and walled compounds that surround Afghan politicians.”

The Curse of War

ABC News reported on September 19:

“Beginning with his service in World War II, [singer Tony] Bennett said that his experiences as a teenager in combat forever changed his position on war… Drafted by the U.S. Army in November 1944, Bennett served as an infantryman in Europe, moving across France, and later into Germany. ‘The Germans were frightened. We were frightened. Nobody wanted to kill anybody when we were on the line, but the weapons were so strong that it overcame us and everybody else.’

“Bennett credited the Army with allowing him to study singing under the GI Bill. He also admitted that his two years of service gave him enough time to witness the horrors of war. ‘The first time I saw a dead German, that’s when I became a pacifist,’ he said [and] that he was left forever shaken by the sight of death. ‘It was a nightmare that’s permanent,’ he said…”

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