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This is the personal weblog of Aakash Raut, established Sept. 2002. It will cover current affairs, worldwide & national topics, local & university events, and provide insight and commentary on contemporary issues and the news from his perspective. Enjoy!

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    Saturday, May 31, 2003

    Conservative Dissastisfaction with Bush?

    A couple of weeks ago, there was a great deal in the news, and in the field of opinion, about frustration at the actions of the Bush administration from conservatives. The amount of spending that the current administration is promoting, and has been doing so for many months, is the source of much of this frustration. Josh Claybourn, one of my fellow conservative collegiate bloggers (or I should say, former collegiate blogger, since he graduated last month), has been making this point in many of his past blog entries:
    Mitch Daniels: A Dull Blade
    Base vs. Center

    As one can see, it is not only the fiscal and economic conservatives who are upset at actions of the Bush administration. Many social and cultural conservatives are unhappy as well, and some are even talking about bolting the GOP in the next election. That would not be good for President Bush and many other Republican leaders.

    This conservative frustration at President Bush is actually the continuation of a trend that had begun in early 2002, especially after the State of the Union address of that year. See a summary of that here at my comment post a recent blog entry of Patrick Ruffini.

    As anyone can see there, many reliable sources have stated that the policies of this administration, with regards to fiscal and economic issues, are actually more liberal than those of the previous White House.

    Conservative dissatisfaction with neoconservatism?

    One of my fellow College Republicans (from another state), sent me a press release by Donald Devine, a leader of the American Conservative Union, one of our nation's leading conservative organizations. This great memo, to conservative leaders and activists, is about "Revitalizing Conservatism."
    See it here:

    This ACU release correctly criticizes David Frum and the pro-war conservatives, and their pro-empire, globalist [and truly leftist] agenda. Though Dr. Devine did support the war with Iraq, he has had, along with ACU Chairman David Keene, very good views with regards to the issue of foreign policy and war. See these past viewpoints from Keene and Devine:

    From Spring 2001: American Imperialism is Not in the U.S. Interest, David Keene & Donald Devine, Insight Magazine
    Dec. 26, 2000: Saying all the Right Things, Donald Devine, Washington Times
    Oct. 25, 2000: A Post-Cold War Conservative Foreign Policy, David Keene & Donald Devine

    Update: I almost left out something important - Shortly after Frum's now-infamous NR hit piece came out, David Keene had a good column refuting it - Novak may be wrong, but he's a true patriot, March 25. (Also check out Mr. Novak's own refutation of Frum in the Chicago Sun-Times.) I'll update this post later with more pertinent polemics.

    The Washington Times recently had a good article on this as well:
    Activists on Right Fear Loss of Influence
    Conservative Leaders Reject "National Greatness" Imperialism

    More updates:
    From GOPUSA - American conservatives reject neocon 'empire-building'

    From the ACU: Donald Devine defends the memo - Empire makes or breaks conservatism

    From GOP leader Jack Kemp: Statement in response to Newt Gingrich's speech at AEI

    This just in (7/16/03):
    Republic vs. Empire
    The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that e-mails are being sent through D.C. from an ad hoc organization called Committee for the Republic. The five sponsors of the organization include conservative leader C. Boyden Gray, who worked as an attorney for George H. W. Bush in his and President Reagan's administration, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia & distiguished diplomat Charles W. Freeman, and Prof. Stephen Cohen, a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.

    More on the conservative resistance to empire:
    Aug. 10: A Debate Over U.S. 'Empire' Builds in Unexpected Circles, Washington Post
    Aug. 12: Don't Back into an Empire, Bruce Bartlett
    (via Conservative Observer)

    Anniversary of an Address

    On this date, 59 years ago, Gen. George S. Patton delivered a great speech to a U.S. Army division stationed in England:

    May 31, 1944 - Speech to 3rd Army, 6th Armored Division

    Update: Listen to the speech in MP3 format here. (It's 5 MB; takes a little while to load.)

    "If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself."
    - General George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945)

    Wednesday, May 28, 2003

    This is my entry for Monday, May 26th:

    Memorial Day
    A Time for Remembrance and Tribute

    President Bush's Memorial Day Proclamation:
    (Link via Dustin)

    1863: Fallen Honored by Illinois native, President Abraham Lincoln - Illinois Leader

    The History of Memorial Day - Josh Claybourn

    A Bitter Holiday for Disabled Vets, Cynthia Prouty, DefenseWatch (Soldiers for the Truth) - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on the web
    (Link via
    ----> See more on Memorial Day from Free Republic...

    From the website of Col. David Hackworth (famous American war hero, military writer, defense expert, and soldiers' advocate):

    by Alfred A. Hambidge, Jr.

    Pro-Military and Veteran Resources - - - -
    Rolling Thunder - Soldiers for the Truth

    Locate VA Facilities - Volunteer!

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    Syndication, anyone?

    I just recently found out what site syndication and XML "RSS feeds" were. Patrick Carver was nice enough to explain it to me. At about the same time that I was thinking about this, Dean Peters posted this entry at blogs4God, in which he explained the process of adding an RSS feed to one's site. (I just noticed that he also answered some questions about it the following day.) Thanks to Patrick and Dean, I now know more about this web feature, and I have added this RSS feed to this blog. It is from David Janes' BlogMatrix. I think that I am now supposed to ask people to 'syndicate this site'... Well, if they wish, I would appreciate if readers of this blog would do so.


    Update: Other Weblog Changes

    In an attempt to spruce up this site, I have made some additional changes to the template code. My blogroll listing has been moved up the page, and modified. New additions to it include: Matthew's Fearful Symmetry, libertarian Tim Swanson, conservative student Pieter Friedrich (yeah! another antiwar conservative!), Jason Steffen's Antioch Road, Phil Carter, and the Conservative Observer by Marcus Tullius Cicero (very cool name!). At the bottom of the left sidebar, I also have listed some prolific bloggers from the Left, such as Hesiod, Matthew Yglesias, Oliver Willis, Daily Kos, Kevin Drum, Ted "Reciprocity" Barlow (I wonder why they call him that...), Atrios, Charles Murtaugh, and others. I have started reading some of the liberal blogs more often now - though I don't agree their views on most issues, many of them are entertaining, insightful, and provocative.

    Check out the new additions to my blogroll, as well as the sites that were already listed. And if anyone else wishes to link back here, that would be very welcome. :)

    Pray for the Christians of Iraq...

    Christians of Iraq

    Tacitus, a great conservative blogger who I recently discovered, added a line to one of his recent posts, which links to this news item, suggesting that the much-feared persecution of Christians (by militant Muslims) in a post-war Iraq may have begun.

    This concerns a topic that I have been meaning to post about for several weeks now. It has to do with the situation of Christians in Iraq.

    There are about 700,000 to 1,200,000 Christians in Iraq. They have been there since Biblical times, and many of them speak Aramaic, which was the language of Jesus. The Christians have been living in Iraq, along with the Muslims and others. Unlike the governments of many other Arab and Middle Eastern countries, Iraq's government has been secular, and was not headed by an Islamic leadership. This has actually worked in favor of the Christians who have been living there.

    "Anarchy and Massacre"

    Sister Beth Murphy, a Dominican nun from Springfield who has spent time in Iraq working to help the people there, shared with our class information on the Christians of Iraq. They have been persecuted by the militant Muslims, but the Iraqi government, which opposes militant Islam, has worked to prevent these crimes, and has engaged in policies which have ended up protecting the Christians. The Christians of Iraq have recognized this, and some were also affiliated with the Ba'ath Party.

    As Sister Beth explained to our class, Iraq's Christians have been very afraid of the impending war. Once the war began, and the [non-Muslim] Ba'athist government was in turmoil, it was feared that "anarchy and massacre" would begin to occur, with regards to the Christians of Iraq. They were already facing a great deal of persecution from the militant Muslims, and many had left Iraq as a result, but with no stable government in place, the militants could take advantage of that window of opportunity to persecute and murder the remaining Christians.

    While the "anarchy" part definitely took place, the "massacre" of the Christians, which many of us had feared, thankfully did not occur, at least as of yet. (Thank the Lord!) Nevertheless, the removal of the Ba'athist government has left the forgotten Christians of Iraq in a very difficult position.

    This article, from a conservative news service (, summarizes well the tense situation that has been facing many of Iraq's Christians. An excerpt from this article:
    ...Nevertheless, Cook said, a feared backlash against the Christian community for the U.S.-led war in Iraq thankfully never materialized.

    "There was concern that the population might turn on the local Christians," Cook said.

    After the September 11 terror attacks on the U.S. and the U.S. war in Afghanistan there was an upsurge in persecution against the Christians because they are identified with the "Christian" West, he said.

    Some Christians said they were afraid to wear a cross in public while others said they were told to get their food from the Americans, he added.

    According to Cook, part of the reason the "big backlash" didn't occur was because many Western Christian leaders had come out against the war in Iraq."

    But even though there was no mass persecution, the Christian community is apprehensive about its future.

    Also, from CBN News, May 20: Iraqi Christians on Edge, Fearing Islamic Persecution
    Updates: From the Religion News Service: Iraqi Christians Fear for Safety
    From the Barnabas Fund: Two Christians Murdered: Long Feared Anti-Christian Violence Begins

    Update (May 30) - The Barnabas Fund: Coalition Forces Fail to Adequately Protect Christians

    Update (June 17) - Razormouth: The fruits of 'liberation'

    Update (June 27) - Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Perils remain for Baghdad's Jews

    Update (July 1) - Reuters: Protected under Saddam, Iraqi Jews fear for future
    [article also available here]

    Update (Aug. 11) - Daniel McCarthy: Thrown to the Lions: Mideast Christians more endangered than ever
    (contains excerpts from Mr. McCarthy's article, printed in the Aug. 11th issue of The American Conservative)

    Update (Sept. 2003) - Christianity Today: Other Baghdad Battles Ahead for Christians

    Update (Oct. 20) - Baghdad Jews: Exodus or Extinction? (via Salam Pax)

    Right you are, Reverend Robertson!

    Rev. Pat Robertson

    I enjoy watching The 700 Club, the television show of the Christian Broadcasting Network. Rev. Pat Robertson, a great leader and minister, the founder of the Christian Coalition, and a former Republican presidential candidate, is one of the hosts of that show. Unfortunately, Rev. Robertson had been, to my knowledge, supporting the current administration with regards to their war plans against Iraq. However, when I tuned in to the show for Thursday night, April 24, I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard at the very start of the broadcast. Rev. Robertson opened the show by talking about the situation going on with regards to the battle for the leadership of Iraq. There were many news reports at that time about the possibility that Iraq may become an Islamic state, rather than a Western-style democracy that our government favored. One of the first things that Rev. Robertson mentioned on the show was that he had a friend in Virginia Beach who had told him that he was opposing the war with Iraq, because he believed that after Saddam was removed from power, the different Islamic leaders and religious forces would be competing for power in Iraq, and that could make things difficult. (Those weren't Pat's exact words.) "And that," said the Reverend, "is exactly what has happened." Rev. Robertson stated that previously, the Christians had been "given protection," in Iraq, and strongly implied that, with all that was now going on, things could get very bad for them.

    Just earlier that week, I had seen several news articles saying pretty much the same thing. This article from the previous Monday in the Christian Science Monitor was about this issue:
    The Christians of Iraq have also had more rights and privileges than they would in many other countries. "We enjoyed total religious freedom and there was no religious discrimination" against Christians, said Armenian Archbishop Avak Asadourian...

    Now, with no government in place, and with the Ba'athists removed from power, Iraq's Christians are very fearful of what will happen. This may not be a good situation for them.

    Though they may not have liked Saddam and the ruling powers in their country, the Iraqi Christians realized that the Ba'ath Party's policies were working in their favor, and that they could have a lot worse than what they had. Under the Ba'ath Party, some Christians ran for office and were elected or appointed to positions within the Iraqi government.

    At one time, Iraq was a Christian country.

    For the past few decades, it has been a secular country.

    Now, with the secular Ba'ath Party out of power, Iraq may become an Islamic republic.

    These are some of the articles on this from a few weeks ago (when I had originally started to write this blog entry):

    NY Times - May 11:
    Shiite Leader Returns to Iraq
    Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim in Iraq on Saturday after 23 years of exile. He rejected the idea of a Western-style liberal democracy for Iraq. Go to Article...

    Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim
  • Returning Ayatollah: 'Iraq's Future is Islam'
  • Senior Iranian Cleric Warns U.S. Over Prolonged Presence
  • Shi'ites Denounce U.S. Occupation
  • Shi'ite Leader: U.S. Occupation Worse than Saddam
  • Shi'ite Clerics Urge Attacks on Ba'athists
  • Iraqi Opposition Leaders Say No Room for Ba'athists in Political Life
  • Ayatollah Warns U.S. will Repeat its Errors
  • Secular Iraqis Uneasy with Clerics
  • Shi'ite Dominance in Iraq Makes Christians Wary
  • Fall of Saddam Unnerves Iraqi Jews
  • Iraqi Christians Wary of Islamists
  • Iraqi Christians Fear Rise of Shi'ite Fundamentalism
  • Iraqi Christians Apprehensive about the Future
  • Iraqi Christians Fear Being Viewed as Associated with U.S. Troops
  • For Iraq's Christians, Easter is Marked by Sorrow, Dread
  • No Celebration for Iraqi Jews this Passover

    New - June 4: U.S. Government Overlooked the Shi'ite Factor, UPI
    New - June 13: Iraqi Women 'Forced to Veil', BBC
    New - June 17: "Thank You, Mr. Bush", Pieter Friedrich
    New - June 24: Cover Your Hair, Nicholas D. Kristof
    New - Additional related news items:
    July 15: Rape, fear, and shame on the rise in Iraq, NY Times
    July 15: Iraqi Women in need of protection, AP
    July 16: Iraqi Women shut out by fear, Radio Netherlands
    July 16: Iraqi Women and Girls fear sexual assault, group says, UN Wire
    July 17: Fearing Rape, Attacks, Iraqi Women confine themselves to homes, AP

    - Christians in Iraq: Will they really be better off?
    - Assyrians Call for End to Kurd's Terror Raids
    - Looting of Iraq's Treasures a Profound Loss for Assyrians
    - Radical Shi'ite cleric warns women not to consort with Americans
    - Islamic gangsters destroy Christian-run distillery
    - The Islamic Republic of Iraq?

    If Iraq becomes an Islamic state, then Osama bin Laden may just get one of the things he wanted for some time.

    Saddam was a tyrant, and it is a good thing that he is no longer in power.

    However, the current situation is not good. If things don't turn out well, we just may be creating a new monster, a menace that might end up being worse than the original.


    Here is some background information and resources on this topic:
    Assyria Online (including A Brief History of the Assyrians) - Nineveh and Assyria - The State of Assyria
    Assyrian Information Medium Exchange
    Assyrian-American National Federation
    Chaldeans Online
    Chaldean Federation of America
    Iraqi Jews
    Iraqi Jews who left Baghdad (during the 1960's and '70's)
    Babylonian Jewish Center
    Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center

    Languages of Iraq
    History of Iraq

    Two Jesuit Colleges in Baghdad - new

    Iraq Briefing for Christian Leaders (from The Barnabas Fund)
    The Forgotten Christians of Iraq
    Iraq's Embattled Christians
    War Tensions Tough on Christians in Iraq: Exodus turning secular state towards Islam
    Christians for Saddam?
    Christians soldier on in Saddam's Iraq
    After Saddam, Trouble for Iraqi Christians?

    Christian Resources: - Christian Broadcasting Network - Focus on the Family - Christian Answers Network
    Bible Gateway

  • Sunday, May 18, 2003


    Congratulations to those of my fellow collegiate bloggers [or I should say, former collegiate bloggers] who graduated this semester. Last weekend, there were graduation ceremonies for students at many colleges throughout the nation. Among my fellow bloggers, Josh Claybourn (Indiana University), Owen Courreges (Rice), and Patrick Carver (Ole Miss) all graduated last Saturday, May 10th.

    Here at UIS, the graduation ceremonies were also held last Saturday.

    Once again, a hearty congratulations to the Class of 2003!! I wish you all the best of luck in all that you do in the near and distant future.

    Updates - Friday, May 23, 2003
    Though I won't be graduating from college for a little while longer, I was looking through some stuff regarding my gradution from high school. Here is a web page that I designed for my class, the Class of 1999 at Springfield High School. That was in my primitive days as a web designer, so the page isn't that good. And this is the page that I designed for our prom that year. Ah, those high school memories...

    For the class of 1999 (and others...) ~ Some advice in a now-famous song... (Wear Sunscreen!) Listen to it here. And also check out the Top 10 Christian Graduation Songs. I also remember this graduation song from a few years ago; I think Vitamin C came out with that for the Class of 2000, though, a year after ours. Our class was still the best, though.

    I am sorry for not having updated for awhile. As I stated below this is the longest that I have gone without posting, and I hope that it will be the longest that I will ever have to. I have a backlog of entries from recent days and weeks, as well as a backlog of thoughts to retrospectively blog. Below are two entries dealing with events and news stories that transpired in our country and the world since I last blogged.

    On the War

    I have not posted, in the past couple months, listings of viewpoints and columns against war and the state from conservatives, as I have done in the past. I may update this post with such pieces in the future. For now, I will link to comments that I did write during the past weeks (during which I was not able to blog much due to the aforementioned academic situations):

    Links to Osama?
    There was a good back-and-forth dialogue at Patrick Ruffini's blog between myself and another anti-war conservative and several others. My comment post on the afternoon of April 23rd at that entry is rather lengthy, but contains a great deal of information on the issues of terrorism and 'links' between different groups.

    [Update: Patrick's blog has been taken down, for some reason... That pertinent comment entry of mine has been posted here, though.]

    Following that discussion, the news reports came out about the supposed discovery of "proof" by reporters for a British newspaper that Saddam Hussein "worked with" Osama bin Laden. This was right during the busy time of the semester, when I did not have much time to comment but I wrote something about it anyway. See my thoughts on that, along with links to articles in other British newspapers, at this response comment to a relevant blog entry by John Adams.

    Update: A certain reader of Hoosier Review (the Indiana University student web log), who was previously against the Iraq war, wrote a good column on why he changed his mind, and now realizes that the war was the right thing to do. I would have to agree with his views in the column. Note: Please actually follow the link, and read the full column, below - it's not what you think! ;-)

    This column was a response to a piece by former Hoosier Review editor and conservative blogger Josh Claybourn, a piece in which Josh gives the reasons why he has switched the other way on the issue of the Iraq war, and why now "believes" the anti-war side. (Not really ;-)

    Please check out the article; it's very good:
    Response to Josh Claybourn, by "Pro-War Patriot" [Read Josh's original piece first.]

    I can truly say that I agree with the sentiments of this columnist - this is one of the greatest articles that I've ever seen on Hoosier Review, or any other college publication... It's almost as if I had written this myself!

    From a couple weeks ago...
    The Santorum Controversy

    It would have been nice to have been blogging when this was a hot news story, but I guess it's better late than never. On the issue of the controversial comments made by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), [see an excerpt from the pertinent interview] several of my fellow bloggers have written very appropriate and insightful pieces about this. The most notable among those I have come across is that of Ben Domenech, a very prolific blogger and columnist from the College of William and Mary.

    This is's section on this affair:

    Support Senator Santorum!

  • The Santorum controversy and the need for moral clarity AgapePress
  • FRC defends Senator Santorum Family Research Council
  • CWA condemns "gay thought police" Concerned Women for America
  • Santorum: Not guilty David Limbaugh
  • Attacking free speech of those who disagree Alliance Defense Fund
  • From homosexuality to incest? Marvin Olasky
  • Santorum under attack from homosexuals Traditional Values Coalition
  • Santorum's remarks were not unconstitutional Jonah Goldberg
  • The smearing of Senator Santorum Accuracy in Media
  • Privacy and morality Linda Chavez
  • The courageous Pennsylvania senator Washington Dispatch
  • Democratic plant TechCentralStation

    Update: From Izzy Lyman's 'Homeschooling Revolution' - Senator Santorum is back in the news. And here is an article from today (Monday, May 19th) in Insight Magazine by Paul Gottfried. See more of Prof. Gottfried's pieces here.

    Update Update: Senator Santorum was also asked to deliver the commencement address at Christendom College. There was also a great commencement address delivered at that school on May 6, 1995.

    Update: From John Hawkins' 'Right Wing News' - Washington Post ~ Poll: Remarks Don't Hurt Santorum...

    Rory Miller's latest blog post [The Angry Clam] is also on this. Rory earlier had dissected the Senator's comments from legal perspective (he is a UCLA law school student), as did Professor Volokh (also of UCLA).

    This post may be updated soon... For now, these conservative links should be useful, as well at through-provoking, even perhaps for those who disagree.

  • I failed the test
    Not my finals, but I seem to have, once again, failed the test, which I was conducting in my last two entries. I was attempting to change my blog's archive frequency from weekly to monthly. But alas, does not seem to want to help me out. I think I am going to quit, at least for now.

    Update: I am trying to work this out, but it still doesn't want to comply. Please stand by, as I will resume posting shortly.

    Sorry for not having posted for awhile. This is truly the longest I have gone without updating, and I hope that it will be the longest that I will ever have to. I have a backlog of entries from recent days and weeks, as well as a backlog of thoughts to retrospectively blog. Pardon me while I play catch-up with regards to the events, news stories, and opinion that has occurred in our world since I last posted.

    This is a test
    For now, I am also going to post this entry as a test, to see if a change in my blogger settings can really take effect. I am trying to change my archiving frequency from weekly to monthly, so that more posts will be shown on each of my archive pages. My past attempts to do this have been unsuccessful, but I am continuing to try.