The Best Defense

The new pope as a battlefield medic

This new pope continues to amaze me. He just makes so much sense.

Why do I mention this in a defense-oriented blog? Because the other day, in an interview, he used a military metaphor in describing his conception of the role of the church: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle." By which he meant, when someone is wounded and suffering, you don't fret about his cholesterol levels.

Later in the same interview he discussed some of his favorite music and films. He singled out Rome, Open City, made in 1945 about the last days of German rule there during World War II. It is a terrific film. Do yourself a favor: Order the pizza, open a bottle of zinfandel or sangiovese, and watch it.

What would it be like if other major organizations got similarly fresh, common sense thinking at the top? Imagine if the NRA came out and said, "You know, it really is time to do something about gun violence, and here is a plan we are reluctantly embracing." Or if American professional sports banned anyone ever convicted of a felony or a violent crime. Or if we managed to get corporations out of financing political campaigns. Or if Congress made the rich pay their fair share in taxes.... Well, I can dream.

(HT to Mr. Andrew Sullivan)


The Best Defense

Sh*t NATO leaders say

I see Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general of NATO, is urging European members to spend more on defense. This is something that NATO secretary generals have been saying for at least 20 years. I covered a lot of their press conferences, knowing that what they said was meaningless, or worse. Then I went out for a good dinner in Brussels, feeling a bit guilty and glad the food was on an expense account.

Just for fun, why not have a NATO secretary try calling for the organization's members to spend less on defense? It couldn't hurt.

Meanwhile, speaking of NATO, Canadians like Steve Saideman (a sometime reader of this blog, and a likely fan of that definitive new book on Bush and Cheney) are getting suspicious about the Americans peddling them overpriced fighter planes.