Wars of Blood and Faith

Ed. (Jacobse) Very interesting interview.

Jamie Glazov | FrontPageMagazine.com | July 19, 2007

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ralph Peters, a retired military officer, a popular media commentator, and the author of 22 books. An opinion columnist for the New York Post, he is a member of the boards of contributors at USA Today and Armchair General magazine, a columnist for Armed Forces Journal, and a frequent guest on television and radio. He is the author of the new book, Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts That Will Shape the 21st Century.

FP: Ralph Peters, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Peters: Always a pleasure. I always enjoy Frontpage’s readiness to be intelligently provocative.

FP: Well thank you sir.

So what inspired you to write this book?

Peters: It’s an accumulation. Over the past few years, we’ve all learned a great deal. On one hand, the concepts I argued for in the Army over a dozen years ago, such as the need to prepare for asymmetrical conflicts, urban combat and confrontations between religions, have stood the test of time; still, there are always fresh nuances and new insights for those willing to be open-minded. On the other hand, I was wrong about some things: for example, hoping against hope, I thought there was at least a slight chance that Arabs could build a functioning, if imperfect, democracy–and the Middle East is so wretched that change is essential–yet, we’ve all learned the hard way that Arab societies are incompetent to build even the most half-baked rule-of-law democracy. So…Wars Of Blood And Faith represents the further development of the thinking I’ve been doing for a few decades now, but it also represents an evolution in that thought based upon recent first-hand experiences in Iraq, Israel (during the war), Africa and elsewhere.

There are two sorts of “thinkers” out there that repel me: Those who change their positions every other day and have no consistency or integrity (or first-hand experience of what they’re writing about), and, at the other extreme, academics who spend their entire lives defending their dissertations in the face of overwhelming evidence that they were wrong. My goal is to get it right–and I’m proud of my record over the years–but also to have the integrity to admit it when I get it wrong, for example when I believed that the Bush administration was really willing to fight to win in Iraq–which it hasn’t been.

Live and learn. And be honest about it. The new book looks in-depth at our military’s challenges, the threats to our security, and the dangers associated with globalization (Tom Friedman, bless him, gets it almost exactly wrong). And, I hope, the book’s fun to read. Sometimes, in this grotesque and bloody world, you just have to shake your head and laugh.

. . . more

Comments

  1. Dean Scourtes says:

    Welcome to the twisted, evil world of the Neoconservatives. Submitted for your approval, Ralph Peters, NeoCon:

    FP: What are the lessons so far of both Iraq and Israel’s war with Hezbollah?

    Peters: If you’re not willing to out-kill your enemies, you lose. Period.

    This is so diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Christian faith I can only assume it is presented here as a negative example of the type of thinking what Christians are supposed to abhor.

    First I’m not sure how the teachings of Christ can be interpreted to say that the solution to an ill-advised, misconceived and failed war of opportunity is – more killing and terror. Christian morality teaches that we should avoid ill-advised and misconceived miltary adventures by seeking peace. Christian morality teaches that we should take up arms as a last resort, and only in conflicts that are just and lawful. According to Reverend Robert Stephanopoulos, a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for 47 years, and Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York:

    But the crucial requirement is that the morality of our governmental processes must be true to our national character of fairness and enlightened self-interest. Moreover, since we are very much a part of the world community of nations, certain agreed-upon conventions and treaties entered into with other nations must be respected and adhered to, even when some of these do not appear at first to be consistent with our declared purposes.

    Thus, the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are our moral compass when it comes to war and technological conflict. Measured against these standards one could argue that the present war in Iraq is “unjust.”

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/robert_stephanopoulos/2007/01/is_the_iraq_war_just.html#more

    Second it has never been part of Christian morality that the way to overcome evil is by employing more evil than your evil adversary. Christians overcome evil by disarming it – taking away the bitterness and pain and negative emotion upon which evil thrives and replacing them with love, comfort and compassion. That’s why Christians “turn the other cheek”, and “walk the extra mile”. Christians can’t use the tools of the devil because they know they will be destroyed by them, just like everyone in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings series was destroyed by the Ring of Power.

  2. Dean,

    You are the one who’s presenting the twisted view of Pacifism. This is based on selective interpretation of Christian doctrine (take one phrase and ignore the rest of Scripture) to fit one’s own idealized view of the world, while smearing anyone else that dares to live in reality.

    Here are some quotes from this Touchstone article that analyzed C.S. Lewis’s perspectives on Pacifism. They are much closer to the truth, than the polyana views you keep embracing.

    The Failure of Pacifism

    Lewis wrote a letter on the eve of the Second World War to the editor of the journal Theology,1 pointing out that Christianity has made two efforts to deal with the moral problems of war: pacifism and chivalry. Pacifism, he argued, is both a theological mistake (though an honest one) and a practical disaster. He was right on both counts. Human beings cannot be expected to survive in a political system meant for angels, nor is there any biblical warrant for them to attempt such a system.

    Falsehood of World Better Without War

    Christian pacifists go further than most modern Christians, and argue that war does no good at all. As Lewis rightly points out, such a claim involves asserting that the historical changes that would have ensued had wars not been fought would have made the world no worse or even better than it is now, after all our wars. In other words, the world would be no worse off today—and might even be better—had Britain and her allies in World War II simply let Hitler do what he wished in Europe (and the rest of the world for that matter). Of course, this is patent nonsense, and Lewis is right to point it out when he sees it. History is full of both useful and useless wars.

    Intuition provides a stronger case for pacifism. We seem to feel very strongly that love and helping are good, while hate and harming are bad. What this intuition fails to tell us, however, is how we are to love and help the innocent who are being treated unjustly by the wicked without using force on the wicked. So intuition in this case leads us astray because it does not see (not immediately at least) what reason sees: that you can love and use force at the same time. Lewis deals with this point explicitly in the chapter on forgiveness in Mere Christianity:

    “[F]or loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment—even to death. If one had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is therefore perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian to kill an enemy.”

    War Needed in Defense of Innocence

    When we use force in a just cause, we do to others as we would have others do to us. We admit that, if we do evil, then we hope there will be someone who is able to stop us from doing it—even if he has to use force to stop us. Thus, we are led by logic to admit that, if we see evil being done by others, we need to stop them if we are able, even if it means using force.

    Authority, too, is against the pacifist. Every human society has said that some wars are good and that every citizen benefits from some wars (most obviously, wars of self-defense). The Christian tradition since the fourth century has declared that some wars are good.

    “Turn the Other Cheek” False Analogy

    Reason is clearly against the pacifist on all fronts, except, perhaps, one: the teaching of Jesus that one should “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39). Lewis readily admits that it is hard to deal with people who base their entire theology on a few verses—this in itself seems to go against reason—but he does have a response. If we are going to take all of Jesus’ commands at face value, then pacifists should also sell all their goods and give them to the poor. They should also quit burying their loved ones (“leave the dead to bury the dead,” Matt. 8:22).

    Fortunately, we have the Apostle Paul to help us here. When Jesus tells us to turn our cheeks when struck, he means that we should not retaliate out of vengeance. We leave vengeance to God, who works his vengeance on the evildoer through the State’s use of the sword. Christians are called upon to support the State, which has been ordained by God just for the purpose of using the sword to establish and maintain justice (Rom. 12–13). This better accords with the rest of the New Testament—not to mention the Old Testament, where God commands killing on quite a number of occasions! Pacifist logic leads us to say that Paul, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews (who, in the eleventh chapter, commends to Christians as people worthy of imitation those Old Testament warriors who waged war for justice) all misunderstood the teachings of Jesus.

    from:
    The Problem of War
    C. S. Lewis on Pacifism, War & the Christian Warrior
    http://www.touchstonemag.com/docs/issues/16.3docs/16-3pg45.html

  3. Dean Scourtes says:

    So Chris let me ask you – since your understanding of Christianity is so much more developed than mine – the same question FrontPage asked Ralph Peters:

    FP: What are the lessons so far of both Iraq and Israel’s war with Hezbollah?

    Also are you saying that Father Stephanopoulos has a twisted view of pacifism as well?

  4. Dean Scourtes says:

    That Pope John Paul II – I guess he had a twited view of pacifism as well.

    Pope condemns war in Iraq, BBC, 13 January, 2003

    Pope John Paul II has expressed renewed opposition to the possibility of war in Iraq, saying the use of military force had to be the “very last option”.

    In a New Year address to Vatican diplomats, the Pope said war was “always a defeat for humanity“, and called instead for more diplomacy and dialogue.

    War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations,” he said.

    The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says The Vatican clearly does not consider that America’s planned offensive to topple Saddam Hussein meets the conditions of a “just war” laid down by the Roman Catholic Church.

    The 82-year-old pontiff appears to be signalling the start of a new diplomatic rift with the US – a repeat of the one which broke out over the Gulf War in 1991, analysts say.

    Moral legitimacy

    “War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions,” Pope John Paul said.

    ..The Church teaches that for a war to be “just”, the use of military force should meet rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.

    It also says that all other means must first be exhausted, and that the type of force used must be proportionate to the wrong it tries to rectify.

  5. Dean you make no sense on this one. I don’t see how you can twist a military analysts’ interpretation of how to conduct a war to some liberal interpretation of just war theory.

  6. Michael Bauman says:

    Dean you sentimetalize both war and peace and do tremendous damage to both the teachings of the Gospel and the Church.

    The Orthodox Church is not pacifist; even Jim Forrest of the Othodox Peace Fellowship makes that point. Modern pacificsm is moral narcissim, allowing others to suffer and die simply to preserve one’s own moral purity. Christians don’t do that.

    Hundreds of saints have fought and killed in battles throughout the entire existence of the Church. At least one, St. Nicetas has one claim to sainthood — he fought all of his adult life against heathens who would have invaded his homeland and destroyed the Church there. The enemy king beheaded him after capturing the future saint in battle. The Church has sanctified St. Nicetas even though he was probably Arian theologically.

    Christianity is a militant faith; it is just that not all of us pick up the physical sword.

    The question is the conditions under which a Christian may fight and the methods used. Some points to consider:

    1. There is no such thing as a fully just war either in inception or conduct.
    2. Can a Christian participate justly in an otherwise unjust war?
    3. Can a Christian fight for a non-Christian state?
    4. What are the conditions under which you would willingly go into battle?

    My son’s take on the matter though rather less polished that C.S. Lewis’ is much the same. Fr. Hans published his essay on the other side of this blog and it has been read and critqued by a bevy of Orthodox priests, a few lay people who have served in the Iraq war (Orthodox and Catholic) plus many of his fellow parishoners some of whom are adamantly against the war in Iraq. All have come to the conculsion that it offers a legitmate picture of the Church’s understanding of war and provides much food for thought. The work and the thought he put into the essay completely changed my attitude and understanding. My son came to an understanding that is not sentimental, ideological or simplistic. He was able to do so because he eschewed politics, is willing to give himself up in the defense of others, and approached it with an open mind and heart. See The Christian Warrior.

    Father Stephanopoulos does need to think more deeply on the matter (is he the father of George Stephanopoulos?). The reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution as being a moral compass is indicative of the shallowness of his thought in this area.

  7. While not entirely Orthodox I do believe Orwell hits the true nature of the parasitic nature of pacifism. Because the threat we, as Americans, face today is a real as the threat Britian faced with the facists.

    George Orwell
    Pacifism and the War
    About a year ago I and a number of others were engaged in broadcasting literary programmes to India, and among other things we broadcast a good deal of verse by contemporary and near-contemporary English writers — for example, Eliot, Herbert Read, Auden, Spender, Dylan Thomas, Henry Treece, Alex Comfort, Robert Bridges, Edmund Blunden, D. H. Lawrence. Whenever it was possible we had poems broadcast by the people who wrote them. Just why these particular programmes (a small and remote out-flanking movement in the radio war) were instituted there is no need to explain here, but I should add that the fact that we were broadcasting to an Indian audience dictated our technique to some extent. The essential point was that our literary broadcasts were aimed at the Indian university students, a small and hostile audience, unapproachable by anything that could be described as British propaganda. It was known in advance that we could not hope for more than a few thousand listeners at the most, and this gave us an excuse to be more ‘highbrow’ than is generally possible on the air.

    Since I don’t suppose you want to fill an entire number of P.R. (Partisan Review) with squalid controversies imported from across the Atlantic, I will lump together the various letters you have sent on to me (from Messrs Savage, Woodcock and Comfort), as the central issue in all of them is the same. But I must afterwards deal separately with some points of fact raised in various of the letters.

    Pacifism. Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.

    I am not interested in pacifism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen. As an ex-Indian civil servant, it always makes me shout with laughter to hear, for instance, Gandhi named as an example of the success of non-violence. As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there. Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force. But though not much interested in the ‘theory’ of pacifism, I am interested in the psychological processes by which pacifists who have started out with an alleged horror of violence end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated by the success and power of Nazism. Even pacifists who wouldn’t own to any such fascination are beginning to claim that a Nazi victory is desirable in itself. In the letter you sent on to me, Mr Comfort considers that an artist in occupied territory ought to ‘protest against such evils as he sees’, but considers that this is best done by ‘temporarily accepting the status quo’ (like Déat or Bergery, for instance?). a few weeks back he was hoping for a Nazi victory because of the stimulating effect it would have upon the arts:

    …More

  8. Jacobse says:

    Note 6. Michael, took the Google ads off your son’s piece. Junked up the icon.

  9. Michael Bauman says:

    Dean, the western just war theory does not teach that all other means must be exhausted before resorting to violence, just beyond a reasonable expectation of sucess.

    And I do not believe the Mr. Peters was refering solely to the war in Iraq. Go clean the foam off from your mouth and think a little.

    Do you believe a military response to jihadists is justified? If so when and where under what tactical and strategic conditions?

    How would you respond to a series of sucide bombings on American soil?

    You attitude makes it impossible to address these questions.

    Ghandi was not a pacifist by the way. He systematically and repeatedly incited violence as a way to convict the English of their foolishness–forcing them to see that brutality was the only way to continue to rule. Since Jihadists are in love with brutality, it would not work with them.

    Historically successful war (an oxymoron to you and the Pope) against aggressive Islam has always been a war of attrition. The Christian influence can and should keep such response as we will be forced to give in our defense some balance, but ejecting hysterically into the stratosphere at the mere thought of such violence is nonesense.

    If you think that the Church is called to marytrdom in this case, make your case, but it has NOTHING to do with the partisan politics of Iraq. If you go there at all, you loose your witness. {Not one word allowed about George Bush, the neo-cons, Halliburton, Dick Cheney, etc, etc.} Iraq may be a political, tactical and strategic failure but to say that it is totally without moral foundation is stretching it. What failed was that Bush went Wilsonian and mistook the fundamental nature of our enemy.

    P.S.
    I don’t think that Pope John comprehended militant Islam plus, I think that by the time he made that statement he was more in the angelic realm than the rest of us.

  10. Michael -

    Your son is a very mature and clear-thinking 20 year old.

  11. Dean Scourtes says:

    As quoted in #4, Pope John Paul II very explicitly stated:

    It the just war theory) also says that all other means must first be exhausted, and that the type of force used must be proportionate to the wrong it tries to rectify.

    So if you disagree with that, have the courage to state that you think the Pope was wrong. Don’t use me as a proxy.

    The mess we are in in Iraq is the direct result of the same disregard for the imperatives of morality as they concern war my conservative friends are advocating in their comments above:.

    -We did not exhaust all other peaceful means of resolution.
    -We incorrectly interpreted self-defense to include preemption.
    -We disregarded international law
    -We chose a response that was disproportionate to the threat posed, and lastly,
    - Against the teachings of our faith, we were indifferent to the suffering that our actions would inflict on innocent civilians.

    I see that no one has the courage to defend the earlier support for the invasion of Iraq. You conservatives are good at telling other people to take responsibility. Why don’t you take responsibility for the terrible consequences your war-mongering over Iraq has had for this country and the world?

  12. Missourian says:

    Didn’t disregard “international law”

    Dean, as I have now explained 367,988 times, Saddam Hussein was required by the terms of the ceasefire of 1991 to identify WMD stocks and to document their destruction. He identify WMD stocks that he owned, he documented the destruction of some of those stocks, then, he stopped, period. He was inviolatio of the 1991 ceasefire, sufficient cause for American to continue the conflict of 1991 and carry it to its conclusion.

    The United States has not given up its sovreignty and begun a subject of the United Nations. The French and German refusal to cooperate in the Iraq war was a result of rampant corruption. They French and Germans didn’t want their sweatheart deals with Saddam disturbed as they were making too much money from them.

    From time to time the U.S. militlary finds an entire trucks and airplanes buried under the sands of Anbar Province in Iraq, a place which is bigger than the state of Texas. The WMD could be hidden or transported to Iraq, b/c we gave Saddam so much advance notice.

  13. Michael Bauman says:

    From Jean Bethke Elshtain: “…a war must be a last resort after other possibilities for redress and defense of the values at stake have been explored”.

    Many other writers also indicate that the condition that force be a “last resort” does not require that all non-violent solutions are actually tried but can be easily seen to be ineffective.

    Many others mean by “exhausted” that each and every non-violent possibility be actually tried and actually fail.

    I think it is a matter of emphasis more than a difference.

    The problem in Iraq was not the invasion, it is the un-realistic view of Islam and the political situation that always follows the fall of a long standing dictatorship.

  14. D. George says:

    Peters:
    Again, our enemies want to exterminate us. We want to reason with them.”

    Mr. Scourtes, you seem to be proving his point.

    Wasn’t Peters correct about Hezbollah and Israel? Israel lost because it was unprepared/unwilling to kill enough Hezbollah fighters. Remember, Hezbollah started that war – it was not a war of opportunity for Israel as you claim in post #1. Israel’s borders were violated, its soldiers kidnapped, and its civilians immediately fired upon with Hezbollah’s missiles before Israel took any action.

    As for Rev. Robert Stephanopoulous, I do not understand why he says the Constitution and various UN declarations should be our moral compass. This is muddled thinking. The opinion and conventions of the “community of nations” have never determined and do not determine what is right and what is wrong. God determines what is right and wrong, and our moral compass had better be set by the Church’s teachings and the Scriptures, not by UN treaties and political documents. I find it disturbing, but not surprising, that a senior priest teaches otherwise.

  15. Michael Bauman says:

    Tom, my son has his days, but the real point is that he did think about what it really means to fight. The point of his essay is to challenge others to do the same. We cannot afford to just accept conventional wisdom. It is not enough to just say “war is a necessary evil” or pound the classic just war approach to death. Part of the wisdom of youth is that they are not as encumbered with the conventional wisdom as us old foggies are.

    The point is that all Christians are warriors for peace. That entails much more that ideological or political posturing. For some, it means killing.

    There is a case to be made for marytrdom in our the conflict with aggressive Islam. So far it has not been made. When it is made, it will not be in opposition with those who feel called to offer their lives in physical combat. Unfortunately, the level of the current debate has not risen much above “Peace good, war bad” (grunt) or “kill or be killed”. That creates a climate in which the wounds of those who do go to the physical battlefield can be exacerbated by unjust judgement from their brothers and sisters. The marytr and the warrior stand in the same spirit. Each of them calls us all to live our lives at the highest standard in caring for one another.

    I wish Dean would put down his political animosity of at least a nano-second and really think about the real issue, i.e., how do we meet the challenge of aggressive Islam on the one hand and aggressive secularism on the other. It is so easy to fall into a political approach because the conduct of war is inextricably bound up with politics. We cannot afford to do that or we will loose the strength of our witness.

    Orthodox cannot afford to rely on the western traditions–religious or political, our own Tradition is much deeper. We have not gone to the well for them in a long time on the issue of warfare. Its time we do so.

  16. Dean Scourtes says:

    Michael – The old saying goes, “If all you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.” We need to stop thinking that the only weapon we have for dealing with evil is military action.

    Once an enemy is upon us threatening us with imminent danger, then we have to defend ourselves. I certainly don’t disagree with that. However,we can begin combatting evil long before then with the more powerful weapons we have in our Christian tool chest: love, compassion and morality. Knowing that evil feeds off anger, bitterness and pain we can begin acting to reduce and disipate the conditions that lead to those negative emotions long before evil has a chance to take root and grow.

    Pope John Paul II certainly knew that the alternative to peace and reconciliation with the Islamic world was unending war and the destruction of humanity. The Catholic News Service reported:

    The pope’s dialogue efforts focused especially on Islam — the other great monotheistic faith that, like Christianity and Judaism, claims Abraham as its father in faith and the God of Abraham as its God.

    The church’s relations with Islam under Pope John Paul were conditioned by political realities in many countries across the globe.

    In recent years, the pope made special efforts to assure Muslims that the church did not view global terrorism and the efforts to curb it as a “religious war” between Islam and Christianity.

    ..In August 1985, when he visited Morocco at the invitation of King Hassan II, he became the first pope to visit an officially Islamic country at the invitation of its religious leader.

    There, at a historic meeting with thousands of Muslim youths in Casablanca Stadium, he emphasized that “we believe in the same God, the one God, the living God.”

    In May 2001, the pope became the first pontiff in history to enter a Muslim place of worship when he visited the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, Syria. He paused to pray at a memorial to St. John the Baptist inside the mosque in an event that was televised around much of the Muslim world.

    Christ has given us the weapons to deal with radical Islam and it isn’t a Smart Bomb, or am F-16 fighter Jet or a Bradley fighting vehicle. The weapons that Christ has given us for dealing with Islam are the moral imperatives to work for peace, justice and healing in the world. If we apply these, radical Islam will shrink and retreat like a cancerous growth exposed to the strongest radiation.

    Pope made important overtures to non-Christian religions, Catholic New Service

  17. Michael Bauman says:

    As Mr. Peters pointed out, the west does not consider the war religious, but the jihadists do. There is on question about that.

    One of the real problems of the western just war approach is that asymetrical warfare in which, in one sense, all of the enemy are civilians doesn’t fit.

    I find it disingenous for you to be shocked by Mr. Peters statement in order to defeat the enemy you have out kill the enemy. That has always been the nature of warfare. Just war approach or no, war has always included the destruction of civilian populations.

    I also think part of Mr. Peters arguement is that, in his mind, the types of solutions you forsee have already been exhausted because we are already at war. It is a war we did not seek and, your economic determinism aside, we did not cause. The jihadists are the aggressors. The aggression is the expression of the ethos of the Islam they profess. If the nature of Islam changes, the aggression will disapate. However, relying on that as a strategy or like Bush, thinking that Islam is something different than it is, is self-defeating. We’ve seen the results in Iraq of that type of attitude.

    Let me repeat, Christians are meant to be militant peacemakers and sometimes that includes killing. I don’t like that, but the existential reality of our falleness makes it uncomfortably clear.

  18. Nancy L. says:

    existential reality of our falleness makes it uncomfortably clear.

    A parenthetical note on Fallen-ness, to clear something up. The doctrine of Total Depravity does not mean man is as “evil”, or “bad” as he could possibly become. What is it then. Original Sin resulted in E-V-E-R-Y aspect of the –”total” — non-dualism thinking here — total man falling.

    Not that I can enumerate off the top of my head, but thinking again, thinking Non-Dualistically we have the Will fallen, the Emotions fallen, the Intellect fallen, Physiology, Etcetera.

    What was John Calvin attempting to straighten out? Was it because Aquinas’ believed that somehow reason/intellect somehow escaped the effect of the Fall? That man could reason himself into Theism? Jim Holman is onto Something Good.

    I see it Augustin/Calvin’s way and haven’t found anything to contradict it in the worship of the Orthodox Church, or the Church Fathers, but you can show me if you can. The Fall was Radical. How radical. Look no further than Golgotha.

    Look no further than Jeremiah’s prophecy that One Day, God himself would remove the heart of stone, and put in a heart of flesh. Man being fundamentally *Unable.* No matter how hard he might try, to give himself what only could be acquired by Gift.

    Let me worship this Lord in the Beauty of His Holiness!

    We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ who alone has power to Forgive Sins. That’s the gospel. “Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Son of God, have mercy on me a Sinner.” “The Son of Man hath Power to forgive Sins.”

    And from the security of Adopted Child via this marvelous Forgiveness, not from the insecurity of a Bastard Child — flows every good work from True Father to Chosen Child.

    Do you know the prayer of Augustin which positively irked Pelagius?

    “Son of God, Provide whatever you Command, and Command whatsoever you will.”

    Michael, Our utmost privilege, to live within the Alpha/Omega – oh yes, and he provides for us the very Obedience of Faith.

    p.s. if you should respond, and i cannot
    it’s only because i must cease writing for
    an indefinite period of time. God bless!

  19. Dean Scourtes says:

    Oh come on Michael, whose being disingenuous here?

    I am not shocked that you have to kill your enemies during warfare. I am shocked that after launching a horribly misconceived and poorly planned war of opportunity in Iraq, followed by an occupation so badly mismanaged that it ignited rebellion and civil war, Mr. Peters believes the solution for the United States is to kill more people. Surely you can’t agree with that.

    Out kill the enemy? Do we even know who the enemy is in Iraq? The fact is we don’t even have any friends in Iraq – only people who detest slightly us less than they detest their ethnic and religious rivals.

  20. Michael Bauman says:

    Seems to me that Mr. Peters was making some of the same arguments about Iraq as you do, but Iraq is not really the issue and you keep fixating on it.

    Christ has given us the weapons to deal with radical Islam and it isn’t a Smart Bomb, or am F-16 fighter Jet or a Bradley fighting vehicle. The weapons that Christ has given us for dealing with Islam are the moral imperatives to work for peace, justice and healing in the world. If we apply these, radical Islam will shrink and retreat like a cancerous growth exposed to the strongest radiation.

    So, you are recommending martyrdom? How would you suggest martydom be integrated into U.S. foreign policy?

  21. Christopher says:

    but Iraq is not really the issue and you keep fixating on it

    I am shocked, just shocked I tell you, that Dean continues to repeat the Democratic sound bite play list…;)