||A Tale of Several Cities: No Rules, No Choice, No Excuse
|| 2:09 pm EDT, Jul 29, 2007
Then the LORD said: "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out."
While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said:
"Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?"
"Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty, so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?"
The LORD replied, "If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
The settlers are calling their compound "House of Peace," but are also considering "Martyrs’ Peak."
In February 1982 the secular Syrian government of President Hafez al-Assad faced a mortal threat from Islamic extremists, who sought to topple the Assad regime. How did it respond? President Assad identified the rebellion as emanating from Syria's fourth-largest city — Hama — and he literally leveled it, pounding the fundamentalist neighborhoods with artillery for days. Once the guns fell silent, he plowed up the rubble and bulldozed it flat, into vast parking lots. Amnesty International estimated that 10,000 to 25,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, were killed in the merciless crackdown. Syria has not had a Muslim extremist problem since.
This was "Hama Rules" — the real rules of Middle East politics — and Hama Rules are no rules at all.
"Mom, we killed women on the street today. We killed kids on bikes. We had no choice."
"They brought him in one day and brought his head in another."
“I have a question,” he said, pointing to the left side of his head. “Is my ear still there?”
About 15 percent of Iraqis have left their homes. Since the upsurge of violence following the bombing of a Shiite holy site in Samarra 14 months ago, the flight has been large and constant. It now reaches a rate of up to 50,000 people per month.
Car bombings and other violence now kill an average of 100 people a day. Two out of three Iraqis have no regular access to clean water.
"This is the destiny of traitors," the gunmen yelled as they shot their victims.
At Comstat, Rawls and Burrell go on the warpath, ripping their commanders for their inability to stem the rising tide of crime. Rawls orders that felony cases must drop by 5 percent for the year, and murders must be kept under 275. "Here's a fun fact," Rawls tells his commanders. "If Baltimore had New York's population, we'd be clocking four thousand murders a year at this rate. So there is no excuse I want to hear. I don't care how you do it, just fucking do it." Major Bunny Colvin, 30 years on the force and six months from retirement, questions the wisdom of the new mandate: "You can reclassify an agg assault and you can unfound a robbery. But how do you make a body disappear?" Rawls and Burrell are infuriated, and Burrell warns Colvin: "Anyone who can't bring the numbers we need will be replaced by someone who can."