Benediction_at_camp_Bastion
Benediction at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

by baldilocks

A friend asked if Afghanistan was Hindu and/or Buddhist before it was Muslim. Well, ‘yes’ would be a safe answer, but two other faiths which were prevalent in Afghanistan before Islam were Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

From the BBC:

  • Zoroastrians believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and He created the world.
  • Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers, as some Westerners wrongly believe. Zoroastrians believe that the elements are pure and that fire represents God’s light or wisdom.
  • Ahura Mazda revealed the truth through the Prophet, Zoroaster.
  • Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day.
  • Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple orAgiary.
  • The Zoroastrian book of Holy Scriptures is called The Avesta.
  • The Avesta can be roughly split into two main sections:
  • The Avesta is the oldest and core part of the scriptures, which contains the Gathas. The Gathas are seventeen hymns thought to be composed by Zoroaster himself.
  • The Younger Avesta – commentaries to the older Avestan written in later years. It also contains myths, stories and details of ritual observances.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. And for those wondering how Christianity reached the Indian peninsula…

From Wikipedia:

Legend based on the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and other ancient documents suggests that Saint Thomas preached in Bactria, which is today northern Afghanistan.[14] An early third-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas[15] connects the apostle’s ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and compelled him to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes (or Habban), to his native place in northwest India. There, Thomas found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian (Southern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India) King, Gondophares. The Apostle’s ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.[15]

Bardaisan, writing in about 196, speaks of Christians throughout MediaParthia and Bactria[16] and, according to Tertullian (c.160–230), there were already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220.[17] By the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.[15]

See also: Nestorian Church, Church of the East, and Assyrian Church of the East. There is some confusion as to which church is which.

All of the Afghani faiths resisted conversion to Islam for centuries after the seventh century rise, with varying degrees of success. (In the 15th century, the Church of the East was eradicated in the area by Muslim Mongols; Buddhists held on until the 19th century.) But, eventually, Islam won the battle. The war, of course, continues.

Looking into these things resembled peeling back a huge onion. Therefore, I’m posting this to give myself preliminary markers to investigate as much as to answer my friend’s question. Feel free to offer corrections and insights.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.baldilocks

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Over the last few days I’ve seen a lot of traffic over twitter attacking Rick Santorum as some kind of religious extremest or bigot, we have Alan Simpson calling him a homophobe and Maureen Dowd calling him a Mullah despite his beliefs being consistent with Catholic Teaching. Yesterday morning a clarifying event took place online in an exchange between myself and Doug Mataconis (who I know and like) that I found most interesting.

The word had just gone out that 2 US troops had been shot if Afghanistan by a man wearing an Afghan uniform over the burning of Korans. Doug’s tweet about leaving Afghanistan was read on Morning Joe (congrats Doug!) but in all of the talk about the waste of the war and why we shouldn’t be there I noticed something was missing.

Everybody seemed to accept the idea that it was normal or in fact acceptable for an Afghan to kill over a burned book, nobody seemed to consider the actions and the violence as barbaric or over the line.

It sounded a whole lot like the old “she had it coming” line, so I made a statement

And then my tweets began I found it fascinating that everyone was focusing on the American presence in Afghanistan (which is a debatable issue) but nobody seemed willing to condemn the idea that somebody would kill over the burning of a book, to wit:

and more

And I asked my question:

What really got me was this:

Think about it, saying that killing someone over burning a book is “hateful rhetoric”. And Pam Geller my friend is a spreader of “Hateful rhetoric” for being willing to condemn such a thing. This is being said by a mainline pundit in America in the 21st century.

and after I was done came the kicker:
And there was a point that someone tried to make on Christians, it didn’t work well:

even after I made it easier:

Meanwhile while our friends choose not to condemn murder based on the destruction of a book Radical Islam continues to act:

A judge condemning a defendant for insulting Islam…

Iranian counts condemning a Christian pastor to death

Honor Killings continue:

The goal remains annihilation of the Israel

and of course, you can’t talk radical Islam without mentioning yet another attack on a Danish Cartoonist.

Yet the response of intelligent people in a free pluralistic society is an unwillingness to condemn things like this because they so dislike the people sounding the warning that it preempts what would normally be a natural reaction.

That’s why you see people who make fun of dictators banned from cultural events.

And why Molly Norris is still in hiding.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m outraged by all these acts and most especially the killing of these to US servicemen because I don’t consider Afghans or Muslims inferior and because of this I expect and demand the same civilized behavior as I would expect of anyone.

Some like our president are apologetic but others like Sarah Palin get it:

Ah how DARE she demand civilized behavior from our allies, next thing you know you’re going to start critiquing their treatment of women under Islam. After all honor killings, female circumcision and treating them like cattle are one thing, but not being willing to pay for contraception coverage, THAT’s barbarism.

“They are creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door. Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.
Screwtape Letter 6

I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand!
Lucy Van Pelt

If you’ve been following the coverage of last night’s debate you;ve seen the left beating their breasts on the cruelty of the tea party republicans based on a Wolf Blitzer’s hypothetical question concerning a sick person who didn’t buy health insurance.



Talking Points memo
and Morning Joe have both run with the clip contrasting the callous tea party people with their own love of humanity. Joe Scarborough and Mika made it a point to be shocked and disgusted the crowd’s reaction while scoffing at Congressman Paul’s assertion that community not government would take care of this imaginary person.

Strangely enough in all their self righteous bleating, they managed to ignore a more direct question concerning life and death posed by an Afghan Immigrant named Sahar Hekmati:

“As the next president of the United States, what will you do to secure safety and protection for the women and children of Afghanistan from the radicals?”

The murder and oppression of Afghan women is well documented.

Not a hypothetical person

This magazine cover made the Morning Joe crew very uncomfortable at the time, but the memories of that day somehow didn’t bubble up today, they were too concerned with hypothetical sick people than a reality in opposition to their Afghanistan position

This is not unusual for the left, we hear people with armed bodyguards decrying guns, we have people bemoaning their low tax rates as their company dodges taxes, we are scolded on global warming by people with giant carbon footprints.

The reaction today of our media betters and the left horribly shocked at the fate of a non existent person while holding a more nuanced position on the fate of Afghan women like Aisha speaks volumes.

After all to the left, beliefs speak louder than actions.

“We almost give a free pass to the radical extremists to do this.”

“It’s as if there is something profoundly wrong with parts of Islam.”

“Are they so insecure about their faith.”

And Willie Geist follows with this

“Why is the US always responsible for the irrational response to this?”

Yeah they panel are using it as part of the “let’s pull out” meme but at least SOMEONE in the media outside of Fox had the guts to actually say it.

Good on you guys!

You might recall I reported quite a bit on Katherine Jenerette when she was running in a crowded Republican Primary.

As you know by now Tim Scott won that primary and is now one of two black republicans

Captain Katherine Jenerette and Congressman Tim Scott
serving in congress. Katherine Jenerette however is also serving, at a different location:

Scott was on his way to Baltimore-Washington International Airport to see ooff 35 troops to Afghanistan. Most of the men and women are from Arizona, California and Oregon, but two were from South Carolina, Capt. Katherine Jenerette of North Myrtle Beach and Sgt. 1st Class Marticia Maxie of North Charleston.

The country is lucky to have both of these fine Americans serving them and on a personal level Katherine stay safe.

When Morning Joe went long with Rolling Stone great Military expose four days ago I said this:

WOW that’s absolutely positively…ordinary

Today at Hotair Bruce McQuain tells why Rolling Stone gathered no moss.

Hastings apparently took the word of LTC Michael Holmes as the premise and theme of his article. In fact he sets it up with a quote from Holmes:

“My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.”

Except LTC Holmes job wasn’t “in psy-ops” (Psychological Operations) nor is LTC Holmes trained in PsyOps. That is a very specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) that requires school training. The place in which PsyOps is taught is the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg, NC. According to Special Operations Command, the Special Warfare School has never heard of LTC Michael Holmes.

His conclusion?

In short Hastings was gulled by Holmes. If anyone was a victim of “psy-ops” here, it was Michael Hastings. His lack of knowledge about the command plus an apparent desire to put another general officer notch in his journalistic belt left him open to a sob story from a disgruntled officer that may have sounded good to him, but appears to have little or no basis in fact. A story from an officer who had already been reprimanded for making a false official statement.

Go and read the whole thing. Joe Scarborough? Better luck next time, will be interested in how you will report on this stories crash and burn. As for Rolling Stone…I suggest you stick to Bieber manina.

Listening to Joe Scarborough and company prophesying defeat in Afghanistan after reports of US Casualties Let’s imagine Morning Joe as it reports on US wars throughout the ages:

Nov 1776: There is no polite way to say it: The Continental Army is in full retreat despite the heroic efforts of Washington and his troops

Dec 1780: There is no polite way to say it: The British are in full control of the south despite the heroic efforts of Continental troops

Oct 1803: There is no polite way to say it: The pirates of Tripoli have captured the USS Philadelphia and there is no way we can suppress them despite the heroic efforts of Commodore Preble

Aug 17, 1812: There’s no polite way to say it: the USS Nautilus has been captured and the USS Constitution has barely escaped a British Fleet, there is no way we can compete with the British Navy despite the heroic efforts of our sailors

Aug 1814: There’s no polite way to say it: The British have burned Washington and despite the heroic efforts of Mrs. Madison to save national treasures.

March 1836: There is no polite way to say it: The Alamo and the Goliard forces have fallen to a man and Sam Houston is in full retreat despite the heroic efforts of the Texans who fell.

July 1862: There is no polite way to say it: Our armies are in full retreat before General Lee despite the heroic efforts of the troops in the peninsula.

Sept 1863: There is no polite way to say it: Despite the heroic efforts of General Thomas the south has driven and besieged our forces in Chattanooga and we have to rethink if we can win this war.

June 1864: There’s no polite way to say it: with 40,000 more casualties Grant is no closer to Richmond that McClellan was two years ago despite heroic efforts on the part of the Army of the Potomac

June 1876: There’s no polite way to say this: The Sioux have destroyed General Custer’s command despite the heroic efforts of the 7th cavalry.

Dec 1917: There’s no polite way to say this: With the Russian surrender the war has turned despite the heroic efforts of the AEF

Aug 1942: There’s no polite way to say this: After Salvo Island we just don’t have the ability to cope with the Japanese fleet at Guadalcanal, despite heroic efforts of the Navy and Marines

Feb 1943: There’s no polite way to say this: Kasserine pass show there is no way for us to defeat the Desert Fox despite the heroic efforts of US troops.

Sept 12 1950: There’s no polite way to say this: The North Koreans and their allies have us in a pocket and our troops are exhausted after World War 2 despite heroic efforts of our men.

and could you imagine them after Thermopylae? There’s no polite way to say this but the Greek city states can’t cope with the Persians despite the heroic efforts of the 300 Spartans

I haven’t bothered mentioning Iraq because it’s recent enough that you can actually see the media from Leslie Stahl telling General Powell we can’t get our supplies and our rear is exposed. and Harry Reid saying (with Pelosi standing beside him) the war is lost.

It’s the old “we love our troops but they can’t win.” meme of the left.

If only he could talk to an expert on military history like Victor Davis Hanson to give them some perspective that is if Jeffery Sacks can give him permission to have an extremist like him on the show.

Over at the other McCain the Christmas Present of the day has been given, a post from Smitty.

Remember when the Christmas bills come and that sweater looks a little odd, think of a soft-spoken man 12,000 miles from home who is spending his Christmas serving his country and his friends and the hundreds of thousands just like him, and give thanks.

The Wiki Leaks news continues to grow:

First some very ugly news from the Guardian:

A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young “dancing boys” to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try and “quash” the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

The Lonely Conservative is rightly discussed as is Stacy.

Meanwhile Atlas points out some wikileaks stuff that continues to be ignored:

According to the latest WikiLeaks document “dump,” Saddam’s toxic arsenal, significantly reduced after the Gulf War, remained intact. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict and may have brewed up their own deadly agents, according to the WikiLeaks web site.

During that time, former Iraqi General Georges Sada, Saddam’s top commander, detailed the transfers of Iraq’s WMD. “There [were] weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands,” Mr. Sada said. “I am confident they were taken over.”

Color me unsurprised, but the rest of the media will totally ignore this.

Meanwhile Hackers attempt to wreak vengeance on Sarah Palin for daring to oppose the leaks:

The website and personal credit card information of former Gov. Sarah Palin were cyber-attacked today by Wikileaks supporters, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate tells ABC News in an email.

Hackers in London apparently affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts.

“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange’s antics,” Palin emailed. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

This will guarantee them sympathy on MSNBC and with most of the MSM. Cubachi thinks it is foolish of them:

How stupid can these people be? They just proved that they’re not all about free speech. They are all about quelling and silencing opposition with fear, and destroying America’s infrastructure. A bunch of dangerous dolts.

For those of you who don’t think WikiLeaks is a terrorist organization, what does this say where they engage in cyber warfare against our country and innocent people?

I don’t think it’s stupidity, I think they recognize the left sympathy with wikileaks has nothing to do with speech and everything about hitting the US.

As for the Terrorist part, well lets ask an actual terrorist:

‘I Never Denounced’ W.U. Violence: Ayers Compares Weather Underground to WikiLeaks

Remember terrorists aren’t terrorist if they support the left.

Meanwhile Twitter has acted:

The group responsible for “hacking” several companies which have cut ties with and services to Wikileaks as well as Sarah Palin moments ago had their twitter account suspended.

Expect the get a life crowd to go after Twitter next, as they did against Mastercard as reported here:

In what they called “Operation Payback”, the network of online activists targeted firms including Mastercard and Visa, in the latest front of the battle over leaked US diplomatic cables.

The group, known as Anonymous and thought to be 1,500 to 2,000-strong, flooded the websites of the credit card companies, and that of the Swedish prosecution authority, with millions of bogus visits.

Their attack came after the financial giants, along with the online payment firm PayPal, announced they would no longer process donations to the anti-secrecy group.

Allahpundit says not so fast on the blame game:

I’m not sure how Tapper’s so sure who the culprit is. Wikileaks itself has been DDOS’d a bunch of times, presumably by freelance “hackers,” since the latest document drop. Maybe the London group did hit Palin and Mastercard, or maybe it’s copycats who also support Wikileaks, or maybe it’s freelancers looking to get in on the action for whatever reason. The ‘Net’s becoming a freefire DDOS zone, which makes it hard to keep track of who’s firing each of the bullets.

My Money’s on the Flemish Menace

Meanwhile there are those who are celebrating the wikileaks crowd such as the Russians:

According to Russia’s English-language television news Russia Today, the Kremlin thinks that Julian Assange is too important for a Time Magazine Person of the Year and needs more substantial recognition for his work — like, say, sharing the stage with Barack Obama with a Nobel Peace Prize. The Week has the lengthy video that is unintentionally hilarious as it explores whether the US or Israel’s assassins will get to Assange first.

The story is noteworthy for the number of truthers involved in it, meanwhile on the left coast:

An Army private jailed for allegedly leaking sensitive military data is a hero and should be freed, according to a resolution under consideration by the Berkeley City Council.

The council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to declare its support for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who’s suspected of providing WikiLeaks with classified military documents and a video depicting an Army helicopter attack in Baghdad in which 11 civilians were killed.

Sister Toldaja asks the question:

Ummmm. Can we question their patriotism yet?

Yet? I never stopped. Remember during the 80 when all those anti-nuke groups hit Reagan and it was revealed that the Soviets funded those guys all those years. I’d be shocked if they didn’t have such a connection now.

I’ll give the last word belongs to the daily gut:

Look, I’m tired of people making this a huge “transparency” issue. Thank God Assange wasn’t alive during the French Resistance, or we’d be speaking Australian now.

Bottom line: the left loves Assange because he’s attacking America.

And our lives demand secrecy – whether in times of war, or warts.

That’s pretty much it.

Update: Glenn Reynolds 3:18 A.m.

SHOCKER: Berkeley City Council Plans Vote to Honor Wikileaks Leaker Bradley Manning.

My question: Why is this a Shocker?