A closer look at the rescue of three aid workers in Afghanistan reveals that locals played a role in standing up to the Taliban. The rescue and raid by U.S. Special Forces led to the death of Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, a decorated veteran of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice asked President Obama yesterday to remove her name from the roster of candidates (??) to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a second Obama term. Battered by criticism of her statements following the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the ambassador has seen her record at the UN as well as her time serving in the Clinton administration also come under scrutiny. She plainly lacked the 60 votes needed for Senate confirmation after several Republican lawmakers said they opposed her—and vowed to use confirmation hearings to scrutinize the administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is the only other name mentioned publicly as a contender for the job.
At year’s end, here is what one family has learned out of the sudden death of their son, an American teacher in Iraq, earlier this year. “There is no grief counselor like the Holy Spirit,” writes Dan Small. “What a treasure to have learned to love His voice and the Scriptures before this trial hit!”
When was Jesus born? Short answer: We don’t know. But it’s probably not on Dec. 25. BibleMesh contributor Matt Crawford argues that the fourth century introduction by Christians of a December celebration of Jesus’ birth had the effect of “sanctifying the calendar” that was full then of pagan festivals, and reshaping the imagination of Roman Empire inhabitants.
Robert Ballard, the underwater archaeologist famed for discovering the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, claims to have found evidence of the biblical flood chronicled in Genesis in the Black Sea near Turkey.
I’m reading: Baghdad Sketches by Freya Stark and rereading Shifting Sands, a fascinating look at biblical archaeology by my friend Thomas Davis, who directs the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute.