Religious Exemption To Mandatory Covid Vaccination

Herschel Smith · 24 Aug 2021 · 16 Comments

I authored this paper for an individual who wishes that the name be removed.  The name has been redacted from the copy provided here. In order to assist the reader with a framework for understanding this paper, it should first be emphasized that it is written from a very specific theological perspective.  The necessary presuppositions are outlined at the beginning. It could of course be objected that there may be other (what I am calling "committed Christians") who do not hold one or…… [read more]

Is Condi Part of the Problem?

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

As a dedicated long-time follower of the antics of the State Department, I have noted for years how they have continually undermined conservative Presidents from Reagan to Bush.  For example, the State Department wanted nothing to do with “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”  What is now one of the great defining moments in the twentieth century for freedom in the world, was at the time an embarrassment to the State Department.

Enter Condoleezza Rice.  Her intent was to reform the State Department into the instrument of U.S. policy it was supposed to be all along.  But has Condi been co-opted by the State Department rather than the other way around?  An interesting piece has been posted in Insight Magazine (select link for whole article):

A major problem, critics said, is Miss Rice’s ignorance of the Middle East. They said the secretary relies completely on Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is largely regarded as the architect of U.S. foreign policy. Miss Rice also consults regularly with her supporters on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Richard Lugar and the No. 2 Republican, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

The critics said Miss Rice has adopted the approach of Mr. Burns and the State Department bureaucracy that most—if not all—problems in the Middle East can be eased by applying pressure on Israel. They said even as Hezbollah was raining rockets on Israeli cities and communities, Miss Rice was on the phone nearly every day demanding that the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert exercise restraint.

“Rice attempted to increase pressure on Israel to stand down and to demonstrate restraint,” said Stephen Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. “The rumor is that she was told flatly by the prime minister’s office to back off.”

There are calls for Rice’s removal from conservative quarters.  Is it time for her to go?  Time will tell, but time is something we really don’t have with North Korea and Iran.

Nasrallah Meets with Iranian Intelligence

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

Amid denials that Iran supports Hezbollah in any way, Nasrallah meets with Iranian Intelligence (from Haaretz):

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah was to visit Damascus on Thursday to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, the Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Seyassah reported.

The report, which quoted Syrian sources, said Nasrallah arrived in dressed in civilian clothes, not his normal clerical garb.

Al-Seyassah, known for its opposition to the Syrian regime, said the meeting was designed to discuss ways to maintain supplies to Hezbollah fighters with “Iranian arms flowing through Syrian territories.”

The paper said it learned of the meeting from “well-informed Syrian sources” it did not identify. According to the newspaper, Nasrallah was moving through Damascus with Syrian guards in an intelligence agency car.

And from the Jerusalem Post:

A top Iranian envoy was in Syria on Thursday for talks on the Israeli-Hizbullah conflict in a meeting that brought together the guerrilla organization’s two key sponsors, according to Iranian news reports. A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah was taking part in the session.

Kuwait’s Al-Siyassah newspaper, known for its opposition to the Syrian regime, said the meeting was designed to discuss ways to maintain supplies to Hezbollah fighters with “Iranian arms flowing through Syrian territories.”

Al-Siyassah said it learned of the meeting from “well-informed Syrian sources” it did not identify. According to the newspaper, Nasrallah was moving through Damascus with Syrian guards in an intelligence agency car. He was dressed in civilian clothes, not his normal clerical garb.

The Mehr news agency in Iran said Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was in Damascus for meetings on the crisis, but gave no other details. Similar reports were carried by the Iranian Labor News Agency and the Fars agency.

From Spain to Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

From Arutz-Sheva:

Al-Zawahiri declared a Jihad (holy war) against Israel on behalf of the global Jihadist movement. “All the world is a battlefield open in front of us,” he said, rejecting the concept of an eventual cease-fire. “Oh Muslims everywhere, I call on you to fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists and the Crusaders…War with Israel does not depend on ceasefires. It is Jihad for sake of God and will last until our religion prevails from Spain to Iraq.

The Continuing Battle for Badhdad

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

From AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A mortar barrage followed minutes later by a car bomb blasted Baghdad’s upscale Karradah district Thursday, killing at least 31 people and wounding 153, police said.

The explosions occurred at midmorning in a religiously mixed neighborhood controlled by a major Shiite party, two days after President Bush approved plans to send more U.S. and Iraqi troops into the capital city to curb rising sectarian violence.

Several mortars landed in the district, some destroying a bank and an apartment building that later collapsed in flames, said Interior Ministry secretary Saadoun Abu al-Ula. The others exploded in the middle of busy streets crowded with traffic. 


Those Who Want to Kill Us

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

Michelle Malkin has given us a link to a story that we hear all too often about abuse in Islamic societies.  See this for a story on the execution of a teenage girl in Iran, and then this for a barbaric practice that might be coming to an Islamic neighborhood near you.  Oh, by the way, it is not true that this practice is merely societal.  It occurs everywhere there is Islam.  It was prevalent in Afghanistan, for instance, when the U.S. first arrived to clean out the Taliban.  This post is updated to link to and address Malkin’s post.  The abuses described here go hand-in-hand with the abuses described below, and provide further testimony to the nature of radical Islam.

In this time of seeing pictures showing the damage inflicted on sourthern Lebanon by the Israeli military, listening to the media coverage of the daily bombings in Baghdad, and hearing the constant drum beat of the left in the U.S. and abroad, if it is easy to forget who the enemy is and why there is a conflict across the globe, it pays to remember our enemy.

Seeing the tears of the afflicted is personally disturbing to me.  War is an ugly business, and having to engage in it is a last resort.  People die as a result of conducting war, and these deaths will always include innocents.  It is in times like these that we need more than ever to remember who the enemy is and why the innocents are harmed.  In order to remind my readers, I will cite a few instances, from several years ago to more recent.

From Gene Edward Veith:

In Meerwala, Pakistan, an 11-year-old boy walked unchaperoned with a girl. This was a violation of Islam. A tribal council was called.

The boy’s father pleaded that since he was too young to have sex, the girl was safe and no harm was done. The council disagreed. But instead of punishing the boy, it decided to punish his whole family by punishing his 18-year-old sister.

In order to shame the family, the council sentenced the teenage daughter to be gang raped. Four members of the council took turns forcing themselves upon her in a mud hut, as hundreds of villagers laughed and cheered.

“I touched their feet,” said the girl to an Associated Press reporter. “I wept. I cried. I said I taught the holy Qur’an to children in the village, therefore don’t punish me for a crime which was not committed by me. But they tore my clothes and raped me one by one.”

From Newsweek, watching soccer is outlawed as being against the religion of Islam.

The Taliban use women and children and human shields:

TALEBAN fighters used women and children as human shields as they tried to escape into the mountains of Afghanistan, British troops claimed yesterday.

The tactics were revealed in the first account by those who fought in one of the main battles faced by the men of 3 Para and the Royal Gurkha Rifles in Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops are stationed.

The Taleban’s use of human shields happened during a six-hour battle that began when British troops arrived in a remote area to flush out a suspected Taleban hideout.

An Australian Jihadist wanted to kill thousands in the name of Allah:

SUBURBAN Islamic cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika wanted to kill 1000 Australians to “please Allah” and had the support of a blond recruit who had pledged violent jihad during a meeting with Osama bin Laden. 

A Melbourne court heard yesterday that a witness would reveal that Shane Kent, 29, received weapons and explosives training at the Taliban-run al-Faruq training camp for foreign jihadis in Afghanistan.

And at a meeting with bin Laden in that country, Mr Kent, from Meadow Heights in Melbourne’s north, allegedly committed himself to violent jihad. The alleged Melbourne terror cell’s spiritual leader, Mr Benbrika embraced Mr Kent as part of his clique, the court heard, saying: “He’s good, and he doesn’t talk too much.”

Mr Benbrika encouraged his devotees to plan a large-scale terrorist attack, which police foiled during its “developmental stages”, the court heard during the opening day of the committal hearing of 13 suspects yesterday.

“If you kill, we kill here 1000,” Mr Benbrika allegedly said in a conversation covertly taped by police. “Because if you get large numbers here, the government will listen.”

The court was told that Mr Benbrika encouraged his adherents to follow in the footsteps of one of the masterminds of the 2002 Bali terrorist attack. He allegedly told two of them that when they were captured “they should do like Amrozi (bin Nurhasyim) and tell the judge, ‘You can kill me, but there will be others coming after”‘. 

We learn recently that Hezbollah members have used non-combatants as human shields in the battle for southern Lebanon:

“Hizbullah members don’t discount any means to kill or injure, including the use of civilians as a holy human shields. If there will be no choice, we will hit every place from which they shoot at our forces,” a military source told Ynet.

The woman who was raped by her tribal elders is not our enemy.  The people used as human shields are not our enemy.  The people who were shot because the watched world cup soccer are not our enemies.  Our enemies are the perpetrators of these heinous acts.

The War Tapes

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

The War Tapes.  Coming to a theater, perhaps near you, perhaps not.  I have not seen it, but the clips look good, and it comes highly recommended by Col. David Hunt.  More importantly, it comes highly recommended by Michael Fumento.  I hope it hits DVD soon.

Michael comments on the film:

Critics have described the film as “disturbing,” “humbling,” and “truly a grunt’s eye view of the war.” Believe it or not, that last one was criticism. It came from leftist screenwriter-director Nora Ephron. The views of grunts and embedded reporters are worthless, Ephron says, because they’re “too close” to the war. Better, apparently, to do all the reporting out of Baghdad’s Al-Rashid Hotel or – better still – from ivory towers. (Stunningly, Ephron also thinks embedding was an evil idea dreamed up for this war. Ever hear of Ernie Pyle, Nora?)

But The War Tapes simply shows the war as it is, for better or worse, primarily through the eyes of three apparently quite average National Guard soldiers. (Two are actually pudgy, unlike the lean, mean fighting machines I was surrounded with on my two deployments.) Producer Deborah Scranton gave them, and other soldiers from the New Hampshire National Guard’s 172nd Infantry Regiment deploying for a year to Camp Anaconda in the Sunni Triangle, mini-DV camcorders. With these they show the boredom, the horror – and yes, the humor – of men given the nasty job of accompanying primarily food convoys past IEDS, RPGs, machine-gun ambushes, and worst of all, suicide car bombers.

I don’t know about Nora, but I have certainly heard of Ernie Pyle.  As a child I read and re-read his “Here is Your War.”  I cite Pyle extensively in my July 3rd post “Ernie Pyle Helps us Through July 4th.”  The thing I liked about Pyle’s work is that it wasn’t heady philosophical stuff like politics, just war theory, ethics or even why we are in the war.  Those questions can be contemplated back home.  Pyle wrote about the common man, for the common man, on things that were common and uniquely uncommon.  In Pyle’s writing you visited the men where they were and you almost did the things that they did.  You felt the dirt and grime and were weary along with the men.  You feared along with them, you laughed along with them.  Most of all, you just felt like you knew them.  Pyle didn’t feel as though he had to make political statements about the war, and he didn’t feel that he had to take a “neutral” viewpoint.  Pyle wasn’t neutral.  He was pro-American fighting man, heroism, warts and all, and he made you feel it.

Col. Hunt’s assessment of The War Tapes is on-point:

This film is not for war or against war, it for soldiers and their families: it should be viewed by anyone who thinks they know what being a soldier means, or cares what they do. The War Tapes should be in every home and in every elected official’s office and in every military leaders “must see” file, it is that good and that important.”

So when is it coming out on DVD?

This Makes me Sad

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

Go to the Marine Corps Times, “Young vets joining unemployment lines.”  The story is about the increased difficulty veterans of war are having finding jobs.  It is a sad story, but made even more sad when I looked at the advertisment at the top of the screen (at the time I saw the article — they use a rotating advertisment).  It was for mobility for disabled veterans.  That is, wheelchairs.

Something is very wrong.  Wheelchair manufacturers advertise on the Marine Corps Times web site, and veterans are having a hard time finding work when they leave the field of battle.

Something is very wrong with this picture.

Strategy for Baghdad

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

The strategy for Baghdad unfolds:

The Bush administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it will shift more forces to Baghdad is much more than a numbers game. It reflects a new strategy to reclaim control of the Iraqi capital and a new approach for deploying the troops.

The plan is to concentrate on specific neighborhoods rather than distribute the forces throughout the city, control movement in and out of sectors of the capital and try to sweep them of insurgents and violent militias.

In effect, the scheme is a version of the “ink blot” counterinsurgency strategy of grabbing a piece of terrain, stabilizing it and gradually expanding it. Only this time the objective is not a far-flung Iraqi city or town, but the capital, the seat of the fledgling government and home to some seven million Iraqis.

The plan has risks. It will divert American military police from deploying to Anbar Province, where the insurgency continues to rage. And an increased presence of American troops on the ground in Baghdad, where insurgent attacks have soared, carries the potential of more American casualties.

But Baghdad in military parlance is the “center of gravity” for the larger effort to secure the country.

Restoring security in a capital that is tormented by sectarian strife and lawless militias is such an essential task that American commanders are willing to accept a greater degree of risk elsewhere.

Sending in additional troops is an implicit acknowledgment of what every Iraqi in Baghdad already knows: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s original Baghdad security plan has failed.

In the past two weeks, more Iraqi civilians have been killed than have died in Lebanon and Israel.

The additional American forces sent here will include units equipped with Stryker armored vehicles, military police and, essentially, what is left of the American military’s reserve in Kuwait.

In order to effect this plan, forces may be delayed from leaving Iraq:

As has been done periodically during the 3-year-old war, the military would temporarily increase the size of the U.S. force by extending the overlap between newly arriving units and those leaving.

One defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because no decisions have been announced, said the idea would be to create “a momentary overlap of at least a brigade” — meaning roughly 3,500 troops. Another official said the increase might be “from the low 3,000s to the high 4,000s.”

Things Heating up in Ramadi?

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

When things change in Ramadi, I tend to notice.  My son (USMC) is scheduled to deploy to Ramadi by early 2007.  This is in from Iraqi News:

Ramadi, June 29, (VOI) – U.S forces have blocked all roads leading to the restive Iraqi town of Ramadi and stopped people from leaving or entering the town, eyewitnesses reported on Thursday.
The forces set up checkpoints and placed concrete blocks on the outskirts of Ramadi, Anbar University employees told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Residents fleeing homes in Ramadi reported on Wednesday that the central Aziziya neighborhood came under shelling by U.S. artillery. Some houses were demolished but there were no reports of casualties.
Ramadi has recently witnessed an escalation in military operations by U.S. and Iraqi troops, forcing more families to flee the town to Falluja, Heet, Haditha and Rawa.

I am wondering if the situation in Ramadi won’t start looking a little more like it did in Fallujah before it’s all over with.

Iran Denies Supplying Hezbollah: Iranian Equipment Captured

BY Herschel Smith
15 years, 6 months ago

From the Jerusalem Post, Ahmadinejad calls for a cease fire, and at the same time denies that Iran has supplied Hezbollah with weapons:

In addition to a cease-fire, Ahmadinejad called for talks on the Lebanon crisis without conditions, and demanded Israel compensate the country and apologize for its actions. He also denied US claims that Iran provides military support for Hizbullah, saying it only supports the movement politically and morally. 

“We are calling for a cease-fire and ending this war,” the Iranian leader told reporters after meetings with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a two-day visit to the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan.

“We are calling on the parties to sit down for talks without any preliminary conditions,” he said, adding: “The aggressor should compensate for the damage incurred on Lebanon and apologize before the entire world community.”

[ … ]

“Those who say that we provide military support for Hizbullah are lying. That is the way for America to cover up its failures,” he said through an interpreter.

Upon which the IDF produced a photograph of an Iranian-made RPG captured in the fighting (shown in the same article — marked with the logo of the Iranian military industry):


Iranian-made RPG

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