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Greg Barrett
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Greg Barrett is a twenty-year veteran of news wires and newspapers with experience covering Washington, Wall Street and war. He is the author of two books of narrative nonfiction: The Gospel of Rutba: War, Peace and the Good Samaritan Story in Iraq and The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions & Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok. He speaks frequently about the topics of his books and is on the rosters of Walk the Talk Authors and Gotham Artists.

Entries by Greg Barrett

Understanding the Israeli Rocket Dance (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 4:24 PM

JERUSALEM -- The difference between wealthy and poor when you're fighting in the Middle East? The former has the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system; the latter is near defenseless.

Sirens in Gaza send Palestinians scrambling for cover every day, yet at least 185 have died to date -- for example, cousins Mohammed Baker (age 9), Ahed Baker (10), Zakaria Baker (10), and Mohammed Baker (11), killed late Wednesday afternoon. They were fishermen's kids mistaken as "fleeing fighters," an Israel Defense Forces official told Haaretz newspaper following the two IDF airstrikes on a Gazan beach. The first explosion sent the children sprinting toward a hotel; the second targeted them.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, where the Iron Dome has received $720 million in American money since 2011 and, according to Foreign Policy magazine, will likely draw another $350 million in 2015, some Orthodox Jews dance in the streets. Sirens are celebrated. It's a peculiar reaction to the shrill warning of rockets arriving from Gaza.

The video above shows them dancing earlier this week across from UN offices in Jerusalem along Route 60 (aka Way of the Patriarchs), a north-south thoroughfare connecting Israel and Palestine and stretching from Beersheba to Nazareth. The dance was followed by two thunderous explosions. Overhead. The Iron Dome works. Israeli peacemaker Rami Elhanan tells me that Orthodox Jews dance when faced with a threat to show the strength of their belief that God will protect them.

Of course, if Gazans had the Iron Dome, they might also dance.

Yesterday Hamas urged (ordered?) Palestinians living on its borders to remain in their homes in defiance of Israel's warning to evacuate ahead of its imminent ground attack, announced just moments ago. The Hamas directive elicited an absurd comment from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who implied that combat here occurs on an even playing field -- as if hundreds of millions of American tax dollars (not to mention U.S. $3 billion or so in annual aid) and an Iron Dome are equally available to both sides.

"We are using missile defense to protect our civilians," Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday, the same day the four Gazan cousins died, "and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

Yes, Hamas, poor...

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In God (and Winnie the Pooh) I Trust

(4) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 11:48 AM

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Immediately after UFC champ Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight title last Saturday in Baltimore, Jones, a Christian with a tattoo on his chest reading "Philippians 4:13" (I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me) kissed a forefinger and...

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Weapons of Mass Construction: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 8:22 PM

[This week every year Graduation Day reverberates through the Klong Toey slums of Bangkok, Thailand for hundreds of poor students (nearly 1,000 this year) completing the Mercy Centre's three-year preschool program. Several years ago I attended the ceremonies in several neighborhoods in the shantytowns of Klong Toey. That experience became...

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One Texan's Remedy for War: 'Preemptive Love'

(1) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 9:03 AM

When a native Texan named Jeremy Courtney took the stage at the 2012 Q Conference he had no idea he would, in effect, be pitching his 2013 memoir, Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time.

Q conferences are progressive yet evangelical (yes, both) Christian forums, similar in format...

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Washington Politics: 'It's All a Game'

(5) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 5:39 PM

To anyone who thinks American politics will rise to meet the threat of debt default with any sort of genuine compromise serving the best interest of normal folk, think again. Washington politicians are not particularly loyal to the U.S. or to us (unless "us" is a major campaign donor and...

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Warning: Read the Fine Print of Obama's Request to Wage War

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 8:00 AM

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There's a lot more at play here (and many more players involved, e.g., Israel, I would wager) than a U.S. "air strike" on the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that the Obama administration...

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Words Are Actions... and Can Be the Seeds of Growth

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 11:57 AM

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I felt it before I saw it, sort of like when a basketball leaves your fingertips with perfect trajectory. But this felt bad, not good. Last week a gray Dodge Charger barreled toward my rented Toyota Camry (pictured above) at reckless...

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Americanized Democracy: Independence or Dependence?

(23) Comments | Posted July 4, 2013 | 5:05 PM

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On Facebook this sign is generating a lot of shock and awe from Americans: "Wow," and, "Wow. Just Wow," and other expressions of speechless wonder. In light of Washington's longtime backing of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and this week's...

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Religions: For the Love of Shalom Focus on Truth Gathering Rather Than 'The Truth'

(21) Comments | Posted May 27, 2013 | 9:13 PM

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A friend of mine on Facebook lists as his Religious Views this:

"I don't know and you don't know, either."

Exactly.

By some definitions (Merriam-Webster for these purposes) faith is "a firm belief in something for which there is...

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Week 1 of Resolving to 'Post-it' for 365 Days

(3) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 12:10 PM

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As a renovator, the 3x3 Post-it note can restore a home better than paint and new siding. It can repair more things than duct tape. As a daily supplement -- given (not taken) every day like a multivitamin -- it fosters...

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Promises Dashed, Poster Trashed -- Can Hope in Obama Be Recycled?

(3) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 11:45 AM

This day four years ago I had a large poster of presidential hopeful Barack Obama tacked to my office wall. He's wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and the candidates' perfunctory power tie; this one is burgundy with silver pinstripes. His gleaming white smile looks airbrushed and his right hand...

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Priest Walks the Talk in Bangkok Slums -- Lives to Write About It

(3) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 11:11 AM

First, full disclosure. I wrote the book on Father Joe Maier, the cursing, curmudgeon, can-do priest of Bangkok. Literally. The Gospel of Father Joe, it was titled. But that 315-page effort doesn't preclude me from being honest with you about his latest book, The Open Gate of Mercy:...

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On 9/11, Remembering the Enemy Within

(4) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 5:43 PM

Four years ago during the homestretch of the U.S. presidential election the Democratic and Republican nominees were asked about the existence of evil by an evangelical Christian pastor who supported the 2003 military invasion of Iraq.

At his super-sized McMansion church in Orange County, Calif., Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren...

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A Slum Priest's Perspective on the 'Effing' Catholic Sin

(31) Comments | Posted July 11, 2012 | 11:16 AM

Condom Art

In support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its (oddly) controversial promotion of contraception (if, say, condoms "tie God's hands," as the Roman Catholic hierarchy maintains, isn't the rhythm method a...

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Heal Thyself

(8) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 7:10 AM

The stress and strains of our always-connected lives can sometimes take us off course. GPS For The Soul can help you find your way back to balance.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what works for others in the hopes that you can find out what works...

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Marine's Memoir Commands Our Attention -- And Personal Investment

(2) Comments | Posted July 5, 2011 | 2:50 PM

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I suspect most people aren't going to buy a book like Rye Barcott's It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace. (Sorry Rye, that's probably not the high-minded endorsement you wanted.) It's not because this coming-of-age memoir isn't well-written...

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And You Wanna Know Why Iraqis Walk (and Protest) Like an Egyptian?

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2011 | 2:55 PM

I wouldn't presume to know whether or not Iraqis protesting en mass were better off with Saddam Hussein dictating to them. Or if they are better off now with a transplanted democracy forced down their throats like some sort of political water-boarding. As an American it's not my place to...

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When War is Unjust Should Soldiers Just Say No?

(48) Comments | Posted March 19, 2010 | 10:56 AM

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, New York City, May 31, 1954

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You Can't 'Smile Israel Into Peace'

(52) Comments | Posted March 15, 2010 | 12:36 PM

Israeli writer and anti-occupation activist Peretz Kidron on Jan. 16, 2010 in East Jerusalem. Kidron is with the Jewish organization Yesh Gvul ("There is a limit!"), which supports Israeli soldiers who refuse to...
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Common Good Victimized by Group Loyalty: Gun Control in Philadelphia

(64) Comments | Posted February 26, 2010 | 1:20 PM

Watching C-SPAN's live coverage of Washington's mindless partisanship reminded me of how the blind loyalty that prevents agreement on health care reform is not an affliction unique to Capitol Hill. Group thinking retards evolution at all levels of American life, e.g. race, religion, sexual orientation. You don't have to be...

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