Archive for August, 2008

Brief Interruption

Posted: August 31, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I have to get a manuscript ready for a publisher…there’s so much going on this weekend that I want to talk about but can’t!  So, here’s a link roundup. You talk about it.

Americanism and Obama

Posted: August 29, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Barack Obama:

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Hebrews 10:23:

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.

Not exactly referring to the same thing. Please note: America does not equal Jesus Christ.

Here’s the kind of math that doesn’t help [emphasis mine]:

A U.S. military review of an airstrike last week in western Afghanistan maintains that only five civilians were killed, Pentagon officials said yesterday, a finding that starkly contradicts reports by the United Nations and Afghan officials that the civilian death toll from the bombing was at least 90.

Ninety dead non-combatants versus five dead non-combatants. Twenty-five militants were killed intentionally. “Militants” is just another word for enemies. Obviously we Christians in America should have no problem with dropping bombs that might kill civilians so long as they also kill our enemies, right?

Right?

Obama, just now, emphasis mine:

“As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.”

Interesting choice of words.

Link Roundup

Posted: August 28, 2008 in Uncategorized
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  • Halden posted a great quote today.
  • Michael wrote about a topic on my mind: how to reconcile a detachment from the kingdoms of the world with citizenship in the Kingdom of God.
  • Thom disputes the notion that prayer is a form of insanity.
  • The U.S. still will not admit wrongdoing in Herat, even after everyone else confirms that one of the U.S. airstrikes killed more than 50 children. “One American military official, who has seen photographs taken at the scene as troops went house to house assessing damage and casualties, said there was no evidence to support the higher civilian death toll. Nor was there any evidence of a large number of recently dug graves or large number of injuries reported in local hospitals, the official said.” Here’s you’re problem, Pentagon – claims of civilian casualties fit an ongoing pattern: ” In the first week of July, 69 Afghan civilians were killed in two separate operations in eastern Afghanistan, including 47 people killed in Nangarhar province while they were walking to a wedding party, Afghan officials say.”
  • KBR is being sued for human trafficking. Wow.

Two things come together at the United Nations:

UNITED NATIONS: Russia, at odds with the United States over Georgia, tried unsuccessfully to push the UN Security Council on Tuesday to condemn US-led air strikes in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians.

The Russian delegation had drafted a statement that would say the council’s 15 member states are “seriously concerned” about the US-led coalition attacks on August 22, which the UN mission in Afghanistan says it believes killed 90 civilians, most of them children. The draft statement, which several diplomats said had no chance of getting the unanimous backing it would need for approval, also says council members “deplore” the fact that this has happened before in Afghanistan.

Note to the U.S. government – if you are going to complain *at all* about civilian deaths in other conflicts, you have to stop blowing people up. Otherwise, this sort of embarrassing thing will happen all the time. The Russians know this document will never be adopted at the U.N., but introducing it serves its purpose: undermining the moral authority of the United States. Or, more correctly, highlighting how the U.S. government has undermined its own moral authority.

David Axe points out the cause of incidents like Herat:

The alleged incident comes at a time of increased air activity by U.S. and NATO forces: in June and July as many bombs were dropped as in all of 2006. This “air surge” is intended to partially compensate for chronic shortages of U.S. and NATO ground troops.

This bit of information is important for any U.S. Christian still clinging to the idea that the war in Afghanistan is a “just” war. Joe Blow on the street might be able to claim blithely that we are “justified” in our war in Afghanistan because “they attacked us,” but the Christian appropriation of just war tradition is much, much more stringent than that. It requires more than a just cause…it also requires just means, which, among other things, must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants (which, by the way, puts it totally at odds with Jesus’ admonitions to love your enemies, but I digress). Out of expediency, the U.S. is intentionally using means that recent events – despite the hype – show do not discriminate. In other words, from the most permissive of the Christian ethical perspectives on war, our war in Afghanistan is not a just war and has not been a just war for some time, if ever.

Accordingly, no matter what your perspective on the nonviolence of Jesus Christ, if you are a Christian fighting in Afghanistan, you should lay down your arms and refuse to kill for the U.S. government.  You’ll be in good company:

“Maximillianus, a young Numidian Christian, just over 21, was brought before Dion the proconsul of Aficia at Teveste (Numidia) as fir for military service.  This was in 295 A.D. during the reign of Maximillianus.”           

“Maximillianus answered, ‘But why do you want to know my name?  I dare not fight, since I am a Christian.’  ‘Measure him,’ said Dion the proconsul; but on being measured, Maximillianus answered, ‘I cannot fight, I cannot do evil;  I am a Christian.’  Said the proconsul, ‘Let him be measured.’  And after he had been measured, the attendant read out ‘He is five feet ten.’  Then said Dion to the attendant, ‘Enroll him.’  And Maximillianus cried out, ‘No, no, I cannot be a soldier.  I am a soldier of m God.  I refuse the badge.  Already I have Christ’s badge…If you mark me, I shall annul it as invalid…I cannot wear ought laden on my neck after the saving mark of my Lord.’  To the proconsul’s question as to what crime soldiers practiced, Maximillianus replied, ‘You know quite well what they do.’”  Maximillianus was beheaded.            

Unknown to most Roman Catholics, Maximillianus has been honored as one of the canonized saints of the church, though he died as a conscientious objector!

My wife just sent me a link that I will use as my next big post topic, but for now, enjoy:

Some might say that all those teenagers “wasting time” on Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 are actually the warfighters of tomorrow, training themselves at zero cost to the U.S. taxpayer. In fact, when offered the choice between the traditional airplane controls and gamepad controls, many younger soldiers pick the thumbsticks that are familiar to them. “There is an absolute age difference,” says Bigham. “We call it the ‘jihad of game controllers.’ You get kids that are in their low 20s that are gamers, and they go right to the game paddle. And they don’t know why us old-timers like using the F-16 hands-on, throttle-and-stick controllers.”