Friday, September 21, 2007

Travis Manion

I am saddened and disconsolate. Our nation has lost First Lieutenant Travis Manion.

I didn't previously know of 1LT Manion. Yet, having read his story, I know him. I know exactly who he was. I know exactly what he believed in. He was the best our nation had to offer. He gave his life for his nation, for the Iraqi nation, and for all peoples. Travis Manion gave over his life to fighting evil.
I'm angry over 1LT Manion's death. I'm in a dark mood. OTOH, Iraqi soldiers are determined:
"The American people must know we too lost a close friend and brother this day," said Iraqi Army Col. Ali Jafar, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Iraqi Brigade, who previously spoke at Manion's memorial service. "May his family know we too lost family, and we share their loss, our loss."

Iraqi soldiers have since named a combat outpost after Manion.

"The advisors on a MiTT team are very different from the other American forces in Iraq. They are choosing to live with us, in our ways, share the same hardships and dangers, and choose to fight alongside of us. Many days. Every day," said Jafar. "Their blood is spilled alongside of ours on the battlefield. It mixes with ours. This is why Mulazam (lieutenant) Manion was, and will always be, our brother."


At birth, our souls already have knowledge of God, and of a heavenly realm beyond human understanding. In transcendent spiritual moments, we can sense some of this knowledge. Only some. Hints, only.

This is, partially, the explanation for our earthly existential pain. Our souls know of a realm which is greater than this existence. We sense hints of that knowledge. We are consequently disappointed by the quality of existence in this realm.

1LT Travis Manion is in a better place. Yet, I'm still angry. I'm angry at the evil, Islamist ideology which necessitated his sacrifice.

The Lord's Prayer says "deliver us from evil."

If you don't believe evil exists, take some quiet time to reflect. Take a spiritual moment. At a spiritual level: you can sense the existence of evil - not like a clear and obvious sense, but, rather, maybe like a hint here or there. Look for yourself. Look at the people around you. Look at the cruelty in the world. Be spiritual for a moment. There is more to existence than football and beer.

People who have life after death experiences frequently say this:
I suddenly understood everything. There are not human words to describe what I understood.
Take a quiet moment to contemplate evil. Gaghdad Bob says existence is both horizontal (Earthly) and vertical (spiritual). Just so. Take a moment for verticle.

Evil exists. It's one of those not-completely-fathomable things, yet we can sense it's existence. By going vertical, we can sense it's horizontal presence.

Sharia is evil. Stoning homosexuals is evil. Forcing women into burqas is evil. Dousing your daughter with gasoline, then setting her aflame - as is done by multiple Islamist families each and every year - is evil. Islamic fundamentalism is evil. The barbarism it unleashes is evil.

First Lieutenant Travis Manion recognized evil. He fought it.

Political progressives have come to a place from which they cannot acknowledge the existence of evil. They have similarly come to a place from which they cannot name wrong and right - except in cases of discriminating between wrong and right (which they say is wrong) vs. not discriminating between wrong and right (which they say is right). The irony of this escapes them.

This is largely why progressives do not see the threat our nation faces. They cannot see - even willfully will not see - the evil and wrongful ideology which Islamic fundamentalists promote.  Islamic fundamentalism is not mysterious. It is, for anyone who takes the mildest look at it: transparently barbaric, wrongfully conceived, and evil. When Islamist barbarism comes to power - in Afghanistan, in Africa, in parts of Iraq, in Iran, the results are just as oppressive and murderous as when Stalin and Mao came into power and murdered millions. Fundamentalist Islam is as murderous as the Khmer Rouge in the killing fields.

That progressives will not name the ideological threat, will not see the ideological threat, are blind to the ideological threat, is part of the difficulty our nation faces in countering the threat. Travis Manion gave his life fighting a threat which the "progressive left" refuse to acknowledge.

From where do we get Travis Manions? From God. From His grace. Travis Manions are gifts. They are evidence of God's love.

A generous heart will never care to go part way;
it won't be cowed
if there is passage anywhere,
but set out on the hardest road;
nothing can cause it misery,
and with faith soaring like a cloud
it feeds on something I don't know
that one may come on randomly.

- St. John of the Cross

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