NPR is hosting another extended mendicant drive. The begging turns me off, so I turn NPR off every few months when another session begins. The unsubtle local staff appealing to the sense of moral imperative all Good listeners house within is more than I can stomach.
While these Good leftists look disdainfully at religiosity, NPR programming is full of ridiculous discussions making use of all kinds of 'metaphysical' descriptors and verbal imagery. Listen to Fresh Air or Morning Edition's This I believe segments sometime to hear the nonsense for yourself. These 'high-brow' leftists dislike religion not because it's too imaginative, but because it's not imaginative enough. Just about any claim goes by unchallenged by interviewers. Contrast that, say, to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, a practicing Catholic, who, much more empirically-minded than Terry Gross, cuts off the mystical chatter immediately. The NPR crew have no problem with the fantastic per se, as stories on art and society routinely demonstrate.
But religion has rules, clear-cut proscriptions on how to live well, and it makes truth claims. Better not to have that rigidity. The animistic tribal religions of 'indigenous peoples' are treated with reverence. Hinduism, with its endless gods, and Buddhism (Western leftists disproportionally purport to be the later) with the mysticism that surrounds the desire to become a bodhisattva and the open-ended nature of the various schools of the religion (which is still being added to), garner some respect. Monotheism isn't as dignified. At least Judaism is waiting for the glorious arrival and Islam must expand the Dar al-Islam. Christianity, merely waiting for the return of what has already been revealed, is most disdained.
The mendicants might as well be exhorting listeners to tithe. Nevermind that the CPB rakes in almost $500 million a year from taxpayers, or that all the programming has 'help' from corporate sponsors. Without handouts from multiple sources, how else would left-leaning radio survive?
At least Democracy Now! doesn't feed from the public trough. A radio interview with two Armenians about bringing the resolution labeling their ancestors suffering under the Ottoman empire during WWI a genocide to the floor of the House led me to mutter, "You're welcome, Europe."
By invading and occupying Iraq, we've given greater autonomy to the Kurds. As Kurdistan has gone from being a 'region' to a self-sufficient, functioning state, Kurd's in southeastern Turkey have been encouraged in their agitation for becoming part of Kurdistan. The Turkish parliament, in spite of half-hearted calls for delay from Erdogan's government, overwhelmingly passed a resolution authorizing the use of major military force in northern Iraq to route out PKK fighters.
Turkey's concerns are not difficult to understand. The latest PKK attack killed 12 Turkish soldiers. Adjusting for total population, that's like 50 US servicemen being killed in San Diego in an assault by Mexican drug gangs the Mexican government won't do anything to stop.
Strategically, there are three times as many Kurds in southeastern Turkey as there are in Iraq. An expansion of the unofficial state would move the bulk of it into nominally Turkish territory. By occupying Iraq, we've destabilized one-fifth of the country, while our actions have knocked out antagonists that had Iran pincered five years ago.
The Bush administration isn't happy, but al-Maliki isn't going to do anything of substance to address Turkey's concerns. What does the Shiite leader have to gain from getting involved? And the Democratic-led House resolution, even if it dies as appears likely, isn't doing much to get Turkish lawmakers to take US concerns to heart.
What happens if Turkey launches a large portion of the 60,000 troops near the border into northern Iraq? Does the US take PUK's side, against a NATO ally? What if Ankara argues that by failing to deal with the PKK, Iraq has facilitated an act of aggression against Turkey, and invokes the NATO charter (part of Turkey is in Europe, after all) in calling upon US assistance?
The ongoing friction between the US and Turkey, which traces back from the latter's refusal to let American troops move through to invade Iraq to the events mentioned above, means the best chance of EU membership being extended to Turkey, through strong US support for it, is out the window. Thus, the Wangen villagers should thank us for the Iraq invasion.