A great man
“...Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day. ...?” 2 Samuel 3:38
Today a great man fell in Macon. No flag is at half staff and no news bulletin is on TV, but those who knew Ralph Bennett Sr. have bowed their heads in grief and sorrow. We who knew him are lucky to have had him in our lives. He loved unconditionally, and he always had a smile and brought laughter to all. He helped untold numbers of people when they were down on their luck. He gave second chances when no one else would. He was a mentor to the youth of Glenwood Hills Baptist Church and an example of what Christianity looks like in this world.
A big man with an even bigger heart will be missed. Those who knew him are better for it and will keep his memory in our hearts, sharing what he stood for with others.
-- D. Duke
Agrees with Thomas
I am hopeful that what follows is an anomaly: I agree with Cal Thomas in his conclusions about ISIS from his column “Confronting ISIS” (The Telegraph, 8/13). Perhaps not since the German atrocities of WWII and Lenin’s and Stalin’s purges from 1917 on, have we seen the like and scale of the barbarism displayed by radical Islamists across the world. This is especially true of ISIS, a band of well-financed, well supplied Sunni Muslims let loose on the already shattered populations of Syria and Iraq. If they are not met with fierce resistance, this is just the beginning.
Americans cannot conceive of an intractable, unwinnable war, but that is what we are faced with. Offensive -- as with parts of the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts -- or defensive -- as in the waning days of Vietnam -- we still move in the world as if it has not substantially changed since 1945.
The world has changed, but we often see ourselves as our fathers and grandfathers did, able to meet any challenge and defeat any foe. Maybe we still can, but we missed the starting gun in this race. Whether you date the launch to the illegal divisions of the Middle East and Africa after WWI, the Iranian hostage debacle in 1979 or the abandonment of Lebanon after the Marine barracks bombing of 1983, the shot was like the fabled tree in the woods: It fell, but no one heard it. Until, that is, before 9/11.
The bad news is that we forgot to tell these young men and women from places we can’t pronounce that America is morally and physically superior. These young people, brought up on a steady diet of hate and despair, unemployed in countries where a very few display the advantages of great wealth (sounds eerily familiar), find that carrying a gun and killing anyone in front of them feeds them physically and emotionally. Even if there was no one to cede the moral high ground to, we nevertheless abandoned it in favor of economic and political expediency as we backed regimes that were the antithesis of all we professed.
Now it has come to home roost, and we have no choice but to commit to kill tens of thousands to defend millions of people. We’ve done it before, though reluctantly and belatedly. Never before though, have we been more complicit in the run up.
-- Bob Carnot
The world is currently reeling in horror from the brutal genocide being carried out by ISIS against the ethnic and religious minorities of Iraq, including Christian communities that have resided in Iraq for centuries. ISIS is a barbaric off-shoot of al-Qaeda, and this summer they have been marching and pillaging across northern Iraq, raping and kidnapping women, beheading children, crucifying men and burying others alive and generally slaughtering innocent civilians by the thousands.
Meanwhile, our president has continued to surround himself with foreign policy advisers who downplay and minimize the growing national security threat of Islamic terrorism. Three years ago, on June 29, 2011, then senior adviser to President Obama and current CIA director John Brennan said this about the al-Qaeda threat: “Our strategy is ... shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qaeda’s goals, strategy and tactics. I’m not talking about al-Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.”
Guess the terrorists didn’t get the memo. On June 29 of this year, ironically three years to the day after Brennan scoffed at a caliphate threat, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a terrorist we captured and then released in 2004, announced the formation of the caliphate -- the Islamic State of Iraq Levant -- or simply, the Islamist State. ISIS was one of those “junior” al-Qaeda groups the president dismissed as a terrorist-wannabe.
Mass murder and mayhem followed the formation of Islamic statehood and since Aug. 3, thousands of Iraqi Christian families have been trapped by ISIS on Mount Sinjab, without food, water or shelter in 100-degree heat.
Finally the president announced that he would drop food and water to the desperate Christians, and make some “limited” (his favorite military term) air strikes. As the rest of the Western world awakens to the threat and begins to mobilize (even the gentle pope calling for the immediate rescue of the Christians and the defeat of ISIS) the president dithers and delays, ever the reluctant commander-in-chief.
Meanwhile, Abu Bakr threatens the whole region by capturing the main river dam in northern Iraq, makes forays into Lebanon, threatens Jordan and vows not to stop until the Muslim flag is flying over the White House.
He boasts that terrorists with American passports will soon be coming to spread the terror to us. And the question for America is, will we survive a president who continues to view the world the way he wants it to be instead of the way it is?
-- Rinda Wilson
Flag in ditch
We have had an American flag on the pole at the mailbox for years. No problem until this morning. Found the flag in the ditch. Someone had broken it off where it goes into the mailbox pole. It had to happen sometime during the night or early morning.
Not only did they steal my cast iron pot a few weeks back. Now they are destroying the American flag. What is wrong with these people who destroy or steal personal property?
Warning: Don’t be surprised if you see your mug on the local news.
-- Anne Stone