Above & beyond…

Sometimes compassion rises to heroic heights.

War & Peace

War & Peace

 John Gebhardt’s wife, Mindy, said that this little girl’s entire family was executed.  The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head… but they failed to kill her.  She was cared for in John’s hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.

– James Gates, U. S. Navy

The Open Society: Irony Rises, Feels Much Better

Not so fearless, apparently

I admire George Soros. He passes as a philosopher among businessmen and his Open Society Institute has done great good in the world.

In college, I avidly read Karl Popper’s masterful work on The Open Society and Its Enemies. In brief, an open society sustains a free market for ideas and their unfettered expression. A closed society tries to stifle same for reasons religious, political and/or ideological.

We are an open society on good days. China is not. The USSR was not. And neither, apparently, is the Huffington Post, where the following item appeared the other day:

Dept. of Misdirection: With Iraq a Disaster, GOP Goes Crazy Over a Newspaper Ad

I attempted to reply in their house blog that Soros had seen fascism up close in his youth — and that perhaps this early scarring had something to do with the ad targeting Petraeus, which was remarkably tone deaf and tellingly juvenile.

I argued, quietly and calmly, that to call the Iraq war a disaster does not make it so. That, to fill a bubble with the refrain does not make it so, though it may deafen us to what we might otherwise hear.

I stated that the left had acted to balance the right, that our soldiers were coming home, that we can all take a measure of comfort in the implications.

That the war is over, that it ended the moment Al Qaeda began to attack the Iraqis. (Would that all our enemies were so stupid.)

I reminded that the Iraqis, their neighbors and the rest of the world are now free of Saddam & Sons. That Iraq has held elections, forged a constitution, and created a fledgling democracy.

It was too much. They didn’t want to hear it. They refused to air it. They declined to give a reason why. (I asked.)

None of which is important. Except insofar as it highlights a larger picture, wherein the left & right continue to shout past one another, neither hearing what the other has to say — and so unwittingly limiting their audiences, preaching to the choir, filling their echo chambers with sound and fury that comes to stand in for original thought and authentic emotion.

We all suffered a major trauma six years ago. The word, ‘trauma,’ is related to the German traum, meaning ‘dream.’ Those who have been traumatized behave as though they continue to relive a nightmare wherefrom they cannot awaken, often thrashing about in an effort to call attention to their plight.

I want to wake both houses and alert them to the dangers within and without. While we squabble among ourselves, the world moves on.

Israel has just now bombed Syria, on suspicion of nuclear activity abetted by N Korea.

France is talking about war with Iran.

The political structure of Pakistan is wobbling.

The polar ice caps are crumbling.

Our economy gives evidence of another meltdown.

Our people are putting on lard like they expect an extended privation.

Our homeless children are showing up on porn sites everywhere.

Millions more have no health insurance and meanwhile a billion dollars no longer qualifies you at Forbes.

Wake up.

Bush must face trial over Iraq

Not so sure about the Easter BunnyTEHRAN (AFP) — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that US President George W. Bush had been defeated in his Middle East plans and would one day stand trial for “atrocities” committed in Iraq.

He also said he thought Hillary Clinton’s new look was “rather fetching,” and wondered aloud as to just “how married” she was.

Khamenei’s withering personal attack on the US president in a Tehran prayer sermon to mark the onset of the Muslim holy month Ramadan came one day after Bush once again accused Iran of undermining the Iraqi government.

“I have a firm belief that one day this current US president and the American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the atrocities committed in Iraq,” he said.

“I also believe, contrary to popular opinion, that one day pigs will fly and that unicorns will be found living on the dark side of the moon.”

Observers noted that an early recording of Pink Floyd could be heard from behind the speaker, who giggled at odd intervals in the course of his remarks.

Healing Soldiers

“The concept of the wounded healer is prevalent in ancient and modern teachings alike. In many cultures, a shaman received the call during a Vision Quest or after a life-changing experience. In others instances, the healer’s path began in childhood, as the child’s unique gifts became evident. Even in modern times, the call to heal is often heard after a near-death experience or some other traumatic event.”

Roxianne Moore

How can we help our soldiers heal? How can we help ourselves?

We’ve all been through a lot these last years — our men and women in uniform especially so.

9/11, war, the Challenger explosion, the tsunami, Katrina, school massacres, environmental meltdown… it’s enough to test anyone’s mettle. Most of us have not had to face combat, but all good people suffer with our soldiers, grieve with the families whose kids return home wounded or dead and wonder where there is an end of it.

I used to work as a counselor and still get pressed into service when the need arises. People have felt free to tell me their troubles ever since I was a young lad. Over the years I have come to cherish that trust. Lately, I’ve been wondering what we can all do to speed the healing we all need — our brave boys and girls all the more so.

The basics remain the same: Rest, quiet, exercise, good diet and a support network. For most of us, most of the time, talking things out with a trusted friend has as much therapeutic value as actual time on the couch. For those who are deeply injured, however…

Professional therapy and medication can save lives for the most severely wounded, but I remain troubled by the thought that our men and women who fight are made of tough stuff — and may regard it as a sign of weakness to seek help. To them I would only suggest that it takes a lot of courage to admit it when you really need serious attention. I can say this because I was grievously wounded for a long time and it was only when I died and then returned to this plane that I learned the value of humility. I discovered that it is quite literally true that, without God, we are nothing.

So saying, I encourage everyone, including nonbelievers, to consider that there is a light at the very heart of us, a presence too powerful for flesh to endure, a spark that is one with the Light that fires the stars.


The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That quesions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.



Mind & Body: WebMD

Veteran’s Administration

Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing

Healing Music

The Spiritual Tradition