Book Review by Kelly Thomas: The Good Fight
good fight 2
The Good Fight
I recently read the Publisher Weekly Book Review on The Good Fight by Peter Beinart.

One particular quote that resinated with me from the Publisher's Weekly review was the following: "America shouldn't shrink from fighting terrorism, despite civilian casualties and moral compromises, he(author Peter Beinhart) contends, but its antitotalitarian agenda must be restrained by world opinion, international institutions and liberal self-doubt, while bolstered by economic development aid abroad and economic equality at home."(source: Copyright © 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.)

The Good Fight, which I am reading now, references the policies of Harry Truman. I always liked Harry, but my Dad didn't. My Dad loved FDR; and, when Harry took over, he was already behind the "eight" ball according to my Dad. I mean, gee whiz,who could follow the invincible?

When Harry sacked Douglas MacArthur, Harry lost any smidgen of respect from Dad. It would be interesting to see where he (both my Dad and Harry) would be with all the issues of today.


What I liked about Harry's policies, as enumerated in, The Good Fight, is that Harry seemed to have operated always on principal. Harry went to war in Korea when it was probably as unpopular then as the Iraq war is today with Americans. (My brother, a Korean war veteran, recently told me that Korea was really the only war we have won, at least in financial terms because it ended in a stalemate; in other words, we didn't' have to buy North Korea or rebuild it. We just agreed to a standoff. Hmmmmmmmmmmm!!!)

Truman's principles dictated a willingness to go to war if absolutely necessary. His principles, however, were grounded, according to The Good Fight in another greater principle (which we seem to have forgotten), humility. We definitely could have used humility before deciding to go to war in Iraq.


Peter Beinart, the author of The Good Fight is only thirty-five years old. Quite amazing, because you don't expect a thirty-five year old to know that much about such heavy issues! Beinart, says he supported the war in Iraq for two reasons. He wanted to prevent Saddam from acquiring nuclear weapons and also hoped an American led invasion might produce an admirable democratic government in Iraq. On both counts, he says, "I was wrong."


The scene after a car bomb ripped through a market and nearby gas station in the increasingly volatile southern city of Basra in Iraq, Friday, June 23, 2006 which killed at least five people and wounded 18, including two policemen, according to police. (AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
Two things I admire about this book, is that it has to do with principles and courage. In a way, it reminds me of Al Pacino's speech in my favorite movie, Scent of a Woman.

Al delivers it on behalf of Charlie, a young prep school kid, that Pacino's character, Lieutenant Colonel Slade, is championing.

Charlie has made a decision not to rat out three classmates whom he witnessed perpetrating a prank on the head master. Colonel Slade(Al Pacino) addresses the disciplinary committee that will decide Charlie's fate.

Colonel Slade's speech is the heart of the movie and offers a sound lesson for us as a nation. Slade says something like, "I don't know whether Charlie's reasoning is right or wrong. "I'm no judge or jury; but, I can tell you this, Charlie won't sell anybody out to buy his future. His decision is made on principle which is rooted in courage and integrity and that my friends is what leads to character."

Our foreign policy, according to this book, should be based on principle, not politics; and, I agree. If we had operated from principle in the beginning of the Iraq War, maybe we wouldn't be where we are today. God bless us. KT
_____ How About This As Nonsensical_____

(AP/Beth A. Keiser)
Just like the previous article referring to nonsensical news, here is some more nonsensical news; that, unfortunately, is actually true and got very little attention when it first happened.

In case you missed it, Jessie Jackson hired former congressman, Mel Reynolds. Reynolds was convicted of 15 counts of wire fraud, but the big thing was he served time for sleeping with an underage campaign volunteer.

Get this: "An ex-congressman who had sex with a subordinate was granted clemency from a President (Bill) who had sex with a subordinate. Now he is hired by a clergyman who had sex with a subordinate. Former Congressman Reynolds new job with Jessie: YOUTH COUNSELOR."(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Bunzel)

Read the San Francisco Chronicle Article, Politics is The Last Laugh- Washington Unmatched as America's Entertainment Center By John H. Bunzel

God Bless America. KT
In this undated photo released by the U.S. Army, Pfc. Thomas Tucker is shown. A group that includes al-Qaida in Iraq claimed Monday, June 19, 2006, it had kidnapped Tucker and Army Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, who were reported missing Friday while manning a checkpoint. Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, announced that the bodies of Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., had been discovered on a street in Youssifiyah, just south of Baghdad. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)
U.S. Army, PFC. Thomas Tucker(AP/U.S. Army)


(Translation: You Are Not Mad With Me, Are You?)

YOU ARE NOT MAD WITH ME HAVE YOU? A buddy use to say this nonsensical statement to me all the time.

This is what I often feel like when I read the news because it is all so nonsensical. We read so many news articles and magazines which often do not "jive" with reality.

What can we believe? Look at news magazines like the U. S. News and World Report. My seminary professor use to say this about U.S. News and World Report: "It is conservative, but I like my news conservative." I don't know, I personally like my news objective.

In this undated photo released Monday, June 19, 2006, by the Menchaca family, Army Pfc. Kristian Menchaca is shown. A senior Iraqi military official announced Tuesday June 20, 2006 that the bodies of two missing soldiers, U.S. privates, Menchaca 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., had been found. An al-Qaida-linked group said Monday it was holding captive two soldiers who went missing last week in one of Iraq's most dangerous regions. (AP Photo/Menchaca family via The Brownsville Herald)
Army, PFC. Kristian Menchaca(AP Photo/family)
But, anyway, the magazine is a good example of the confusion which often must exist among Americans who care. On one page, called The "National Interest", there is this amazing article about "how good things are going" in the world: the economy is growing, wars are down, the world is less deadly with statistics to prove each of these statements.

So, what do we believe, because we can read another magazine with a different viewpoint on the same subjects with different statistics skewed to validate that viewpoint.

I always look at articles like this as like someone saying, there are 11 million people in Greater New York; so, if you look at the 3000 weekly muggings, then it's not so bad. Or, my brother telling me that the deaths of Americans in Iraq are nothing compared to other wars like WW II, Korea, or Vietnam. I gave up pointing out long ago that "If you are one of those mugged or killed in Iraq or the family of one, then the statistics don't matter; the devastation is 100%.

thumbnails photos of the photos above thomas and menchaca
Thomas and Menchaca(AP /Army/family)
It is like saying that the kidnapping and killing in Iraq of the two young soldiers, U.S. Army, PFC. Thomas Tucker and Army PFC. Kristian Menchaca, is bad; but, when you look at the overall good we're doing like how many soldiers that day didn't get killed or captured or brutally murdered, it's not so bad.

If you think the prior statement is true, try telling it to the loved ones of the two brave young soldiers just found dead. KT
thinks photo of pope and prada


Is there anything else to say about the movie or the book, the DaVinci code? No!

However, a friend sent me the photograph to the left which forces a comment.

The movie and book really bashes the Catholics; and in a way, this is totally understandable. What most people never get is that the Catholic Church is based on canon law and Church traditions have developed this vast body of "stuff" that is not supported by anything, surely not the canonized Bible as we know it.

For example, take a look at the amazing costumes the Pope and the Cardinals wear. I have often wondered how the Catholic church elite interpret the Scripture in which Jesus castigates the Pharisees for going around dressed in various outlandish garb and taking the prime seats in the synagogue; and, in this case wearing " Prada shoes."

[My friend sent me this caption(tongue and cheek)along with the photograph above: The man on the left (wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lamé gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz) is worried that "The Da Vinci Code" might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish.]


ap photo of the popes prada shoes
In the movie and book, the society Opus Dei was a major part of the plot. The society is cloaked in secrecy and in the unbelievable fundamentalist Catholic beliefs .

What is remarkable in today's world is how aligned the Protestant fundamentalists and Catholic have become, i. e., in abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc.
davinci code poster
(AFP/HO/Simon Mein) Da Vinci Code Movie
When I read the Da Vinci Code a year or so ago, I thought to myself, this is ridiculous and hardly all that good a read. As an avid reader, I know what I like. I don't like "wordy" books and Dan Brown's book was bigtime "wordy." But, everybody was reading it.

I was on a plane and the flight attendant said, "I just read that. Isn't it great?" I should have been tipped off, the next time I heard someone say, "Isn't it great?"

People said the same thing about A Million Little Pieces and we know what happened with A Million Little Pieces.

I liked A Million Little Pieces more than The DaVinci Code. Both books were fiction, but A Million Little Pieces was more entertaining and got quickly to the point.

As a person of faith, I don't see any real problem with watching or getting excited about the book and movie's claims; the book and movie are just telling a story of fiction. Remember the story is not one of fact. It is fiction. Plain and simple!

There is no evidence at all, at least in the Bible, that Jesus had any sort of relationship with Mary other than she was a devoted follower. Brown's premises are strictly speculation if they are to be taken seriously at all.

davinci code posterPoster for
And, to be perfectly honest about it, all the protests against the movie and the demand for disclaimers, just add to the hype which leads to more sells of movie tickets and books. It is a media campaign made in heaven, pardon the pun.

The good news is that most of the "Christian" community is handling debate over the movie and book well, even though some Christian groups are calling for a boycott. But at least most mainstream Christians are somewhat amused, tongue in cheek, buying those movie tickets. Think about it: If this movie and book were about Muslims and this was a Muslim country, we would more likely than not have Muslims rioting in the streets.

I think the interest in the movie is good because more people will be thinking about their faith and speculating about the life and times of Jesus; however, I doubt seriously if many movie goers will come anywhere close to deep religious thought just because they saw this movie.

I would imagine that God is laughing right now at all the controversy over this movie and its plot and theories. My theology (belief system) tells me that the DaVinci Code deals with very temporal (earthy) things of which God would not be involved. God is spiritual; He/She is God. Jesus having sexually involvement with Mary could not happen; because, in the Christian view (orthodox view as Trinitarians), God, the Father; Jesus, the Son; and the Holy Spirit are one; so, God is not involved in such a temporal (of this world) issue as sex.

Think about all of this as faith. The FAITH, if one believes in the Bible, teaches us the story of Jesus. You either believe or you don't. kt
June 25 2006
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