Three Western Aid Workers in Iraq Rescued in Military Operation

Ed. Peace activists are rescued by the military they disdain. I hope they have the decency to thank the men and women in uniform who risked their lives to save them. Who best exemplifies Christian sacrifice here — the soldier or the activist?

New York Times Christine Hauser

Three Western peace workers who were held hostage in Iraq for four months were freed in a military operation today, two weeks after their American colleague was killed in captivity.

The three men – James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, both from Canada; and Norman Kember, 74, of Britain – had been kidnapped last November along with the American man, Tom Fox, in Baghdad.

Mr. Fox’s body was found this month. He had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad.

. . . more

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

83 thoughts on “Three Western Aid Workers in Iraq Rescued in Military Operation”

  1. A Christian peacemaker has to be willing to put his life on the line and even loose it from time to time. The question becomes what is the reason for the action. T.S. Eliot has his character of St. Thomas a’ Becket in Murder in the Catherdal turn away the tempter of a marytrdom that would glorify Becket rather than God by saying: “To do the right deed for the wrong reason is surely the greatest treason”

    The reason has to be for God and God alone with love in one’s heart for whomever is not at peace. There has to be discernment as to the root cause of conflict. While few, if any, will ever be entirely free of political motive, there must be an honest attempt to overcome political bias.

    The same goes for the soldiers, if they were acting only on orders as part of the machinery of the U.S. military, they do not necessarily meet the qualifications for Christian sacrifice.

    I find myself unable to condemn Mr. Fox because I do not know his heart, at the same time, I will not give blanket approval to the soldiers for other than doing their job.

    To be a Christian warrior is a hard and difficult undertaking. They must be in the military, but not of it. Willing at all times to both lay down their life for others and withhold their life from serving unjust orders, even if they are legal orders. I’m not sure the military really wants such people.

  2. Michael: Sworn to Uphold A Constitution

    A member of the United States military swears allegiance to a Constitution. Please think about that for a moment. Allegiance to a Constitution, not a President, not a political party, not piece of geographical territory, not an ethnic groupd. A Constitution.

    What may one find in that Constitution.
    The FIRST legal protection of freedom of conscience.
    The FIRST legal protectin of freedom of speech and thought
    A system of checks and balances aimed at preventing dictatorship by anyone
    A legal system intended to give impartical justice to all

    WHEN AMERICA FAILS, IT IS BECAUSE SHE HAS FAILED TO LIVE UP TO HER CONSTITUTION.

    What, if anything, about the constitution do you, Michael, feel a Christian cannot support? Please advise

  3. Sniff of Contempt Can be Heard

    A few facts about the American military
    There exists an American military doctrine that assigns decision making to sargeants in the field. Small groups of soldiers, led by sargeants act as a group. American soldiers are trained to be constantly thinking about their mission and their goal and to immediately tailor their tactics to their goal.

    Another important fact is that American officers lead from the front, not the back. American officers do not ask their men to do what they cannot or will not do.

    The American officer corps is the best in the world. The level of education and personal integrity and discipline is very, very high. General Petraeus, the American general in charge of training the Iraqi Army has a Ph.D. in history.
    Real caveman that General Petraeus.

    Conseqauently, suggestions that American soliders are unthinking automon is factually untrue and libelous.

    Differences from Other Military
    Most other armies in the world refrain from delegating decision making to first lieutenants and sargeants. Decision making is held only by higher level officers who operate well behind the lines. This means that soldiers from most other military services are mere order takers. American soldiers are thinkers making decisions on the fly. That is one of the reasons that the Iraqis were no match for our soldiers.

    Integrity, Self-Discipline
    I would ask you to review the requirements for attending a service academy in the United States. The academic standards are the highest in the country. An applicant must be able to master an engineering degree. If you are not directly familiar with the discipline of engineering I would point out that it requires a nimble and inventive mind. Do you understand that any graduate from a U.S. service academy is an engineer? Do you understand what the honor code is? Do you understand that that honor code is enforced. I have direct experience in many years of non-military academia and, believe me, the honor code on the books is rarely enforced. By comparison to the service academies, both the academic and ethical standards of so-called Ivy Leagues schools are lax.

    Right to Refuse Illegal Order
    The right to refuse an illegal order, including one violating the Geneva Convention, is embedded in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This right is honored. Soldiers who chose to violate orders based on a conscientious objection are appointed defenders from the Judge Adjutant Corp and are allowed to present their defense on these grounds.

    The 60’s Generation Sneer
    The 60’s generation rejected self-discipline and embraced total self-indulgence. It also rejected a self-sacrificial lifestyle and embraced total self gratification. Naturally, it hated the military.

    Cliche Contempt
    The cliche contempt hurled at the military is that it attracts people who love conformity and don’t like to think for themselves. There is also a cliche that it attracts people who love violence. Both are slanders of the highest order.
    As demonstrated above, the American military is based on the concept that its soldier’s think on their feet. It is the best educated military in the world.

    The last insult is that a soldier is drawn to violence because he enjoys inflicting it. Well, you want to go into battle so that you can enjoy committing a violent act, you have to accept a 30% chance that you will be seriously injured or killed. If you just like alot of blood you could be a home grown criminal and not take the risks or assume the discipline of a soldier.

    We ought to thank the Lord every day of our lives that the men and women of the U.S. military stand ready to give their lives for liberty. Most of us do not attain their moral stature in our lives.

  4. Five things:

    1) The insurgency in Iraq is dumber than a box of rocks. The CPT types are what is known as ‘useful idiots,’ to paraphrase the old Communist term. They are not the people you kidnap. They are the people you make nice with and send them home loaded up with armfuls of pro-insurgent propaganda. The fact that these groups can’t distinguish between potential allies and enemies only cofirms my overall low view of Jihadists. If they weren’t so insanely stupid, they would be even more dangerous than they are.

    2) Leftists can’t stop tripping over their own tongues. The CPT could have lavished praise on the military and gotten good press and sounded reasonable. However, it immediately jumped on a hobby horse to flog the military in a press release. Dumb, dumb, dumb. There is plenty of time to work in that angle, subtly, and later on in the week. No need to look snarky and ungrateful while bashing the people who just save you. They need a PR flack with sense, and they need him now.

    3) The soldiers involved would have save them, regardless of what kind of views they hold. They get that consideration because of their citizenship. No one would have left them there after finding them, regardless of what they say.

    4) The CPT fall victim to the same mentality of so many ‘peace activists’ – the seem to embrace the Jihadists we’re fighting. I have a huge number of problems with our current activities in Iraq, but I harbor no illusions about Muslims, the insurgents, or the Shia populating the government. The CPT, on the other, seem to actually believe that the people fighting us are somehow ‘noble’ or something. They are nothing of the kind, and never will be. The insurgents, whether domestic or Al Queda infiltrators, and the Shia military have zero respect for human life, and routinely target or endanger their own civilians. The CPT needs to retool its thinking on a lot of levels.

    5) I hope these guys learn their lessons and stay home. I don’t consider an act of suicide to be ‘martyrdom.’ A martyr is the guy in Afghanistan, who didn’t go looking for trouble but who is standing tall for Christ in the midst of the storm. People who abandon their families to intentionally get themselves killed aren’t martyrs, they’re nuts.

  5. Missourian,
    What in my post led you to believe that I in any way do not support the Constitution? There is nothing in the Constitution that a Christian cannot support in general. But it is not the Constitution that makes a culture of virtue, it is the character of the people. The Constitution will not, by itself, protect us from the Jihad or Sharia Law, only the willingness of the people who wish to be governed by the principals of the Constitution and willing to defend them can do that. The Constitution is the reason that, at least in the United States, a Christian can serve in the military with a clear conscience. The structure and training you cite in your second post is another. A Christian can serve in the US military despite the fact that of all the wars in which the United States has been involved, only one, the War of 1812, is unmistakenly within the criteria of the just war concept both in inception and in prosecution. The first Gulf War might also qualify, but that is difficult to judge this close to it.

    However, we are called to be in the world, not of it. No matter how good man’s laws are, and the U.S. has the best setup yet, they are not always administered in a manner that a Christian can or should support. The same in the military. If a Christian’s military service entails them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then military service is in vain. A Christian warrior can fight and kill without losing his salvation, but there is always a possibility that he might also have to refuse to fight. Given the obligations a soldier assumes legally, morally, and spiritually, such instances would be rare. Nevertheless to assume they will not occur is ignoring reality. One of the reasons we Orthodox pray for our soldiers at every Divine Liturgy is to support them in the unseen, spiritual warfare that they face everyday in an intensity that is difficult to fathom. That includes, but is not limited to, not being overcome with fear, loathing, and vengence. It also includes not being dragged into the type of easy personal immorality that is common in many theaters of war and in many military organizations.

    Certainly in any warfare situation orders can be technically legal, but immoral. A Christian is always called upon to go beyond the law, not in an egotistical way or manner, but simply out of humility before God. A Christian can never lay aside his communion with God to serve the law, no matter how good the law is or how just the cause. Ultimately the Church is more important than any nation.

    Fr Hans said: Ed. Peace activists are rescued by the military they disdain. I hope they have the decency to thank the men and women in uniform who risked their lives to save them. Who best exemplifies Christian sacrifice here — the soldier or the activist? My point is that to exemplify Chrisitan sacrifice, the act has to be done with a Christian intent and awareness, otherwise it is earthly duty only. Certainly, a duty that is commendable and worthy of support, but still earthly duty. To imput Christian motives and sanctity to all acts of sacrifice and courage is to confuse the nature of Chrisitanity.

    It just seems to me that it is far too easy to criticize Mr. Fox and praise the soldiers from earthly political bias just as it is far to easy to do the reverse. I, and indeed most of the world, hold those who profess Christ to a higher standard of thought and behavior.

  6. Note 7. Michael, the act is sacrificial regardless of the intent. Put another way, “earthly duty” and “higher intent” don’t have any concrete meaning. It’s a nonfunctioning distinction. Either the soldier risks his life for his neighbor or he doesn’t. In this case he (they) did.

  7. Michael, General Disdain for the Military

    From note 2:

    To be a Christian warrior is a hard and difficult undertaking. They must be in the military, but not of it. Willing at all times to both lay down their life for others and withhold their life from serving unjust orders, even if they are legal orders. I’m not sure the military really wants such people.

    Your paragraph clearly suggests that the military does not want people who think independently or those who will act on moral principles. It therefore is very fair to say that your comment falls into the same morally condesceding cliches and contempt for the military that is common in many quarters.

    From note 7:

    However, we are called to be in the world, not of it. No matter how good man’s laws are, and the U.S. has the best setup yet, they are not always administered in a manner that a Christian can or should support.

    Of course, the law’s are not always administered in a way a person of good conscience can support. HOWEVER, the United States Constitution PROTECTS the right of those with conscientious objections to policies to make their criticisms known and to work for change without fear of being thrown in a dungeon. This is not true in most eras of history and in most countries today.
    The point which you side step is that a United States solider does not pledge an allegiance to a “great leader” or a “piece of geography” he or she pledges his life for a set of noble principles. You have conceded that there is nothing in the Constitution which a Christian could not support.

    Also from note 7:

    If a Christian’s military service entails them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then military service is in vain.

    May I suggest some corrollary’s.

    If a Christian’s work as a legislator entails them surrending their higher calling to serve God, then their legislative service is in vain.

    If a Christian’s work as an accountant entails them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then their accounting work is in vain.
    [Note the corruption of the ethical standards of Arthur Anderson’s C.P.A.’s was a major cause of the Enron debacle.]

    If a Christian’s work as a chief operating officer of a company entails them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then their work is in vain.
    [Note, a CEO could authorize the production and sale of an unsafe product]

    If a Christian’s work as a physician entials them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then their service is in vain.
    [Note, some doctors have been caught in fraudulent claims for medicare benefits, some doctors have engaged in questionable practices in the field of plastic surgergy for monetary gain.]

  8. Only person who pledges his life to defend others

    While I have demonstrated that virtually any occupation or path in life presents a Christian with the hazard of betraying his ethics and morals and thereby surrendering his higher calling to serve God, there is no other occupation in which a person directly pledges to sacrifice his life for the protection of the innocent. Our soliders pledge to sacrifice their lives for the protection of our Constitution which in turn protects the innocent. This is a critical moral virtue which may not be left out of the moral calculation of military service.

    Chamberlain did not open the doors at any German concentratoin camp; American soldiers did.

    Only those who discount the existence of sociopaths, can hold the police officer and the soldier in moral disdain. Psychologists estimate that from 5 to 10 of the human population is a sociopath. There is no higher sacrifice than the willingness to step in between a sociopath and an innocent person to stop the destruction of the innocent.

    A sociopath is someone who literally has no conscience. A sociopath can inflict damage on another human being without the slightest flicker of remorse. Until you have looked in to the cold eyes of a sociopath has they have matter-of -factly described the horrors they have committed you don’t know what human beings are capable of. Until you have seen the damge wreaked by sociopaths you will not fully understand that they must be locked up and that there does not exist a rehabilitative program that will correct their moral defects.

    American soldiers released thousands from Saddam’s jails. The full story of those jails have been neglected and overlooked as have the savagery of the current “insurgents.”

    American media do not play the videos they send us of human decapitation because it would be seen as too upsetting. Perhaps we need to see them and we need to see the Twin Towers again.

  9. Big and Small Sociopaths

    Big sociopaths: Saddam and Hitler, assigned to soldiers

    Small socipaths: murderers, assigned to police officers

    Both risk death to help the innocent or to defend principle, they sure aren’t in it for the money. I have had the privilege of close contact with police officers working in a tough metropolitan area and they are princes of the city. God Bless them.

  10. Note #6:

    Good point. I’ll take it one step further. If these guys were actually in Iraq to spread the Gospel, then I would applaud what they are doing. They would be following the Great Commission, and even though I consider their actions to be suicidal, I could at least say that they went to follow the Way of the Cross.

    But they aren’t there to spread the Gospel. They are there to protest U.S. foreign policy. I have no problem with protesting foreign policy, just don’t confuse self-important grandstanding with Christianity, and don’t subject soldiers to even greater physical harm by making them bail you out.

    These good folks can protest, they can vote, they can call for Bush’s impeachment. That is all just fine, as far as I am concerned. But don’t go to Iraq to try and link up with the insurgents just as a leftist ploy. This isn’t martyrdom, this is misplaced Utopian idealism. The insurgents would just a soon cut their throats as look at them, but even so, they still suck up to them.

    It reminds me of the scores of American ‘progressives’ who immigrated from the U.S. to the Soviet Union to help build world socialism. Many of them ended up in jail, after their constant harping about ‘real socialism’ annoyed the leaders. We, as a people, were then expected to try and bail them out of the Gulag.

    Unbelievable really.

  11. Missourian,

    You are simply wrong that I have contempt for the military, I don’t. If you were to talk to a couple of OPF folks in my parish, they’d probably tell you I was a militarist. Since I make you and OPF people uncomfortable with my views, I figure I’m doing something right. I may not be expressing it in a way that is easy to comprehend.

    If you remember any of my previous posts in and around this topic, I have argued many times with Jim Holman regarding his false assumption that military service in the first 300 years was unthinkable for real Christians.

    Military service always involves some suspension of individuality simply for the sake of unit and mission discipline.

    A soldier doing his duty is an honorable and righteous undertaking but that and that alone does not and never will make that duty in and of itself an example of Christian sacrifice. Christian sacrifice is salvific in content and effect because it partakes of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. To reach such a level there must be Christian intent and awareness on the part of the person making the sacrifice. I am sure that there are soldiers in Iraq who have that, I am equally sure most do not. Just because the Christian sacrifice is of a different quality does not denigrate the sacrifice of others.

    As to the military supporting those who think indepently, perhaps you don’t know the story of Michael Neu. He is a Christian who took his oath to defend the Constituion quite seriously. He was sent with his unit to Bosnia. He refused to alter his uniform with UN insignia or wear the blue helmet nor would he serve directly under a non-United States commander because he felt the Constitution specifically forbade such acts (you know better than I whether it does or not). The Army court-martialed him for disobeying a legal order. His appeals to the Constitution and his oath were not given much consideration. It was a legal order, he had to obey. He never refused combat or any other duties and indicated he would not have.

    When my son was in Coast Guard boot camp, he got one class room session on the Uniform Code of Military Justice with no emphasis on one’s responsibility to disobey an illegal order. The recruits were repeatedly drilled on the chain of command and the necessity to obey orders from one’s direct commander. Not hard to see that absent self study and understanding that most folks in the military will just follow orders. IMO, the lack of sufficient and proper training in the UCMJ is one of the reasons that Abu Ghraib occured and such lack can clearly lead to even far worse atrocities.

    It is not a criticism of the miltary for me to say that they do not necessarily want a bunch of people who are really prepared to disobey orders based upon criteria overwhich the military has no control. For you to really believe that the military welcomes such thought especially when it involves specific command orders in a combat situation is absurd. I don’t personally know how much real committment there is in the miltary to the principals you elucidate. I suspect that the committment is not as deep and strong as you suggest. However to accuse me of a cliche’ denigration of the military on that basis is ridiculous and untrue.

  12. Missourian, Comments on your corrollaries:

    If a Christian’s work as a legislator entails them surrending their higher calling to serve God, then their legislative service is in vain.

    Sarbanes, Snow, Dukakis, Stephanopolis. All Orthodox Christians. Stephanoplis is the son of a Greek Orthodox priest.

    If a Christian’s work as an accountant entails them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then their accounting work is in vain.
    [Note the corruption of the ethical standards of Arthur Anderson’s C.P.A.’s was a major cause of the Enron debacle.]

    Not to mention that Lay was specifically mentioned in Michael Novak’s book. “Business as a Calling” as an example of Novak’s point.

    If a Christian’s work as a chief operating officer of a company entails them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then their work is in vain.
    [Note, a CEO could authorize the production and sale of an unsafe product].

    My wife was fired years ago by a well known national maker of out door products because she objected internally to the shredding of documents that would have supported a product liability lawsuit that had not yet been filed, but of which the company was aware.

    If a Christian’s work as a physician entials them surrendering their higher calling to serve God, then their service is in vain.
    [Note, some doctors have been caught in fraudulent claims for medicare benefits, some doctors have engaged in questionable practices in the field of plastic surgergy for monetary gain.]

    Abortion, euthanasia, etc, etc, etc. I have good and close friends who are physcians. The training they received in med school distanced them from humanity in a dangerous way. The current way that “clinical detachment” is taught is not healthy.

    I agree with all of you corallaries.

  13. Michael: Points Taken

    UMCJ and the military.Point taken, the military should spend more time on the UMCJ. However (you knew there would be a “however”) it is important to note that soldiers have a right to representation from the Judge Advocate Corp. The attorneys in the Judge Advocate Corp are first rate and those soldier’s are afforded excellent representation.

    The U.N. badge.
    My sympathies lie with Michael Neu. However, his claims were given a hearing. A person is guaranteed “due process,” the right to have a hearing and make one’s arugment. A person is not guaranteed the result he desires. I think he was right, but, note I am a litigator not a constitutional scholar.

    Abu Ghraib
    Abu Ghraib probably had multiple causes. I read that one of the chief offenders was a man who had worked as a West Virginia prison guard and while working for West Virginia had been involved in prisoner abuse. This occurred prior to his military service. The military did not look into his background with sufficient care, they should have screened him out. This doesn’t excuse anyone else’s behavior of course.

    I am not a polyanna about the military either and I retract my assertion that you hold it in contempt. I am not surprised that the military pounds home the idea of chain of command because I would guess that that is fundamental to its functioning in combat.

  14. Michael,

    “If you were to talk to a couple of OPF folks in my parish, they’d probably tell you I was a militarist. “

    I not sure I would bring this up as a support – OPF’s pacifism/heterodoxy is not on a continuum where they are at one end, “militarist” is at another end, and the correct view is somewhere in the middle. They are simply wrong, where the goal should be simply Orthodox. Not meaning to pile it on Michael…:)

  15. Michael wrote

    IMO, the lack of sufficient and proper training in the UCMJ is one of the reasons that Abu Ghraib occured and such lack can clearly lead to even far worse atrocities.

    The military spends quite a bit of time dealing with the UMCJ. When I served there were annual requirements for UMCJ review (lead by lawyers from the JAG’s office). The emphasis many times was on personal conduct and responsibilities under the law. Reciting law to an individual doesn’t build moral character. So having more classes about the UMCJ isn’t going to build moral fiber.

    The responsibility of giving a moral understanding to military service falls under the domain of the chaplains.

    But let’s be clear, the failure of Abu Ghraib was not a failure of understanding the UCMJ but a moral collapse. If you do some research you’ll find that the unit commander and subordinate commanders were absent. They were never checking on what was happening in the command. And they never dealt with the negative morale prevalent in the unit. More specifically these commanders were negligent toward their duty.

    Add to this failure of the chaplain to make a visible presence within the unit. It appears SHE was ordered by the general to remain in her room and have little contact with the soldiers. This absence of moral presence from the commanders and the chaplain led to a moral collapse that allowed the abuse to occur.

  16. Most seasoned professionals, like the CPT members in Iraq, are neither “niave” nor “martyrs”. I should know, I’ve been there three times already in this war.

    They (we) are trained and equipped with a certain set of skills and beliefs, no less so than those who serve in the military.

    We strive for accuracy of both information and intention in our work and relay that back when we return. Our methods are nonviolent and our objective is lasting peace (an objective the military claims as well).

    I am always happy to debate the various points about this war (or other situations that I have knowledge about). I only ask, if you truly want to learn things for yourself, then go. No one’s stopping you.

    Charlie Jackson
    Texans for Peace
    http://www.texansforpeace.org/endthewar

  17. Note 18. Martyrs they’re not, but naive is another matter.

    Further what skills does the peace activist possess that contributes to peace? We already know what an activist believes. Most often he champions a moral equivalency that lands him in bed with the appeaser. We don’t really need to discuss this here. But what else besides a cultivated sense of moral superiority does the peace activist bring to the table?

    Did you note how the peace activists who were rescued by US soldiers did not even have the decency to thank their rescuers?

  18. JBL wrote:

    If you do some research you’ll find that the unit commander and subordinate commanders were absent. They were never checking on what was happening in the command. And they never dealt with the negative morale prevalent in the unit. More specifically these commanders were negligent toward their duty.

    I would also add that having the noncoms swing for this without any brass was absolutely awful. The platoon and company CO’s were at a minimum derelict in their duty, or at worst in on this. I think the highest person prosecuted was a SSGT? In the infantry, that would equate to a Squad leader. I’m not real up on how MP’s are organized, but in the infantry world, the idea that a Squad Leader would be up to something (in a deployed environment) and the butter bar in charge knew zippo means that either a) he’s a recent ROTC/academy grad who is completely clueless, b) he’s looking the other way. Option B is the more probable, especially since the Platoon Sergeants always know EVERYTHING and I can’t imagine one sitting on this powder keg waiting for it to explode. He’d report something like this in a heartbeat, and probably not just to the platoon CO, but also to the Company First Sgt as well.

    The military has gotten bad about piling onto non-coms and privates and leaving the brass untouched. I know that experienced combat officers are hard to come by, but so are experienced non-coms and it is hard to maintain discipline if the non-coms feel like they are always being hung out to dry.

    I’d like to see some senior-level responsibility for a slip up of this magnitude, even if the actual charges only amounted to dereliction for failure to properly supervise a subordinate.

    Unless of course, the whole thing was actually ordered. That is a conclusion that is supported by the conduct of having only non-coms and privates nailed for this. Whether that is true or not true, brass still had to either be involved or derelict and so should have been in the docket.

  19. Glen

    The didn’t exactly not touch the commanders. There were some letters of Admonishment that went into records. The command general was forced to retire. I just don’t think the punishments fit their failures to lead.

    I’m not one to buy into conspiracies and I find that somehow they were “ordered” to do this somewhat suspect. To me it was the grasp at straws with the old argument, “we were just following orders” for their defense. My thoughts are that the suspects may have been aware of interrogations and thought they could do it themselves. And from what I understand the “ringleader” was a civilian prison guard with accusations of abuse before being called up.

    If you review the case against the dog handler you can see there were problems with this unit from the beginning. They were bored and looking for something to do. (Why I referenced the dog handler was that his charges included an incident were he encouraged a dog to lick peanut butter off of other military members.) This unit was a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately, when the disaster came it placed a dark stain on the American military.

  20. JBL –

    I agree, the unit was a disgrace and the Platoon and Company CO’s should be held directly responsible for the poor fighting condition of their troops. I understand that the black marks on their records effectively end their careers, barring some unforeseen heroism under fire or a serious political connection.

    However, given the stakes, I’d love to have seen them at a General Court Martial. I remember the officer a few years back who was court martialed for discharging his weapon in order to scare an insurgent into revealing the location of a bomb. The military is suffering serious mental lapses if that incident rated a General Court Martial, but the much more serious lapses of command oversight at Abu Ghraib do not.

    I am, of course, not arguing that the Sgts. and privates were ordered to do this. I am saying, however, that failure to prosecute the officers involved can feed that ‘conspiracy theory’ and does a disservice to the military. Command responsibility has to be enforced at all levels, IMHO.

    I still find myself wondering how this unit got into this condition, and if we are fielding anymore like them. Aside from the abuse aspects, the seamy side of the Lyndie England sexcapades with ranking NCOs and the like is enough to make me just cringe. Who needs this crud in a war zone of all places?

    And why were female personnel even in this kind of an environment guarding these prisoners? When I got out, women in the Marines were still kept in the rear with the gear and away from all this. That is something else I currently lament about the current Republican Adminstration. If Clinton had been putting women in this kind of environment with the kind of ‘hijinx’ which is occurring now, the Religious Right would be tied up in fits of rage. And rightly so. But the Bush Administration does this, and the whole issue is waived aside.

  21. Glen wrote:

    And why were female personnel even in this kind of an environment guarding these prisoners? When I got out, women in the Marines were still kept in the rear with the gear and away from all this. That is something else I currently lament about the current Republican Adminstration. If Clinton had been putting women in this kind of environment with the kind of ‘hijinx’ which is occurring now, the Religious Right would be tied up in fits of rage. And rightly so. But the Bush Administration does this, and the whole issue is waived aside.

    First I agree some courts-martial of a few officers would have shown the Army to be serious over the offenses. Instead though we get scapegoats for the Army (not that the goats don’t have dirty hands also).

    But for your paragraph above it has much to do with gradualism. Clinton’s administration opened up more and more combat related roles for women. The prime example being women in combat pilot slots.
    When the Bush (the younger) administration took office they had the practice already established. If I have a complaint it was the Bush administration’s failure to address this weakening of military readiness. I don’t think they had the stomach to fight Democrats and feminists over removing women in combat roles.

  22. JBL wrote:

    I don’t think they had the stomach to fight Democrats and feminists over removing women in combat roles.

    I agree. I keep looking for a politician with exactly those kinds of guts, but I can’t find him or her. The ‘ratchet’ effect in the U.S. only works towards more leftism and more PC. When Republicans get in power, they seem to only consolidate the gains made by liberals in the previous administrations.

    Not that traditional ‘liberals’ like FDR or Truman would have even bought off on the new roles for women in the military. ‘New Deal’ and ‘Fair Deal’ programs were overtly sexist as they were based on the ‘family wage’ model that was then the mainstay of Democratic economics and the Labor movement.

    If the Republicans could even get back to just that point it would be a start. But, alas, that isn’t happening. Depressing isn’t it? You vote Republican to effect change, and you end up getting the consolidation of the Status Quo you wanted to get rid of.

    And then, they call that conservatism!

  23. You vote Republican to effect change, and you end up getting the consolidation of the Status Quo you wanted to get rid of.

    No, no, no, I don’t vote Republican to effect change. I vote Republican to keep the leftists in the Democratic party from taking us on a quick ride to hell in a handbasket.

    Think about, do you really want the current Democratic leadership with any real power to effect change?

  24. “what skills does the peace activist possess that contributes to peace?”

    The trained peace activist understands the dynamics of human interaction, knows how to listen, maintains a sense of objectivity, and has a commitment to work for the well being and peace of others at all costs.

    Just a teacher is best trained at teaching, a doctor best trained at healing, and a plumber best trained at repairing faucets, a chef at cooking, so the trained peace activist works to build peace.

    What skills does the warrior possses that contribute to peace – what is the soldier best trained in?

    Charlie Jackson
    Texans for Peace
    http://www.texansforpeace.org/endthewar

  25. Charles, ah yes, the contempt for those who chose to confront evil for the sake of others at the cost of their own life and risk of their own salvation. Evil, violence and hatred that would destroy you in a second, just as it did your friend. One of the few real peacemakers that I have seen in my life time was Mother Theresa. The lesson to be learned, if you have any agenda at all that translates into politics of any sort, you might as well pick up a gun and fight because all you are dealing in is power, not peace. If you refuse to acknowledge that what you do and what you seek is power, you are a hypocrite.

    The only way to make peace is through union with God, period any agenda or plan or scheme that does not have union with God as its only goal is simply another varient of power politics. The skills you list are negotiation techniques, not peacemaking. Peace is not a middle ground or mutual understanding or any of that. Prayer, repentence, and humility are strangely lacking from your list of skills.

  26. Note 26. Peace activists never really answer the questions about what they do. They think the moral authority they claim for themselves should be as evident to the rest of the world as it is to them.

    Further, peace activists always end up condemning the people that would protect them when their lives are in danger. There is no penalty for the condemnation of the military in a free society, but the activist can’t afford to value or protect this freedom because it undermines the foundational precept of his activism: all nations in any military conflict share equal culpability for the conflict.

    The peace activist in the end would give up his freedom to save his ideology. To the uninitiated this sounds noble. The problem is that the activist will give his freedom to the tyrant. He will always capitulate to the one who promises him no freedom. His ideology allows no other course. Press the activist on any conflict and the answer is always appeasement, and after that surrender.

    Can you bring yourself to thank the military that saved the lives of your friends?

  27. Along with Michael I note that Mr. Jackson is not using a spiritual world view or definition of “peace”. He sums up his view of human nature quite well when he compares peace and peace making to any other practical and material skill set a human or group of humans displays. If peace is simply a material or relational state between two or more human beings, and if peace making is a set of skills and techniques used to manipulate (try not to think of the negative connotations of that word – I mean it in it’s pure definition) two or more human beings to this state, then he is correct.

    What we know, and I would guess what almost every person on the planet knows intuitively if not consciously, is that human beings are more than a material/sociological construct. Just as we know that love is more than a chemical event in the brain, and that faith is more than a tool of one social class used to oppress another social class, we know that peace is more than the material conflict between two or more persons. Because we know this, we know that Mr. Jackson’s purely material approach is not only inadequate to the situation of real conflict between persons, but also likely to exacerbate any real conflicts. When human beings try to solve problems based on an false view of reality, all sorts of unintended consequences usually follow.

    What is interesting is that while Mr. Jackson does not claim to be a Christian, and his view of human nature reveals him to not be a Christian (why he has chosen to post his views on an Orthodox Christian web site I can’t imagine), the subjects in Iraq do in fact claim to be Christians. They claim to be a “Christian peace making team”. There does not appear to be anything “Christian” about them. Traditional Christians have historically been reluctant to dispute the use of the term “Christian” by schismatic’s, heretics, and the like for all sorts of good reasons. However, now that the society has come to a point where the term is used in so many contradictory and meaningless ways, I wonder if it is time to rethink this strategy…

  28. Christopher possibly Jackson’s spiritual worldview is peace?

    I wonder if in his heart he’s established Eirene’s temple as the paradigm from which he seeks to corrects the world’s ills?

  29. It’s true that the peacemaking teams are often guilty of a certain level of naivete regarding human nature and the likely efficacy of their efforts. However, it seems we’re demanding a purity of intent from them that we never asked from those who went into this war with guns blazing.

    I can’t fathom that Bush’s team or all of the pro-war Americans went into this conflict with “prayer, repentance, and humility”, can you? Few of the hawk-ish Catholics bothered much with PJII’s condemnation of the conflict and his concerns regarding this war, despite the Catholic view of the level of importance of the papal voice involving social and political issues of the day. Where’s the humility there? There was no call to enter this with a spirit of caution and sober reflection. Instead, there was often hubris, impatience and a lack of restraint.

    While it is true that the peacemaking teams need to recognize the occasional necessity of military power and the bravery and sincerity of those who enlist, it’s hardly fair to expect fully enlightened consciences from them when the moral posturing of those on the opposing side is often filled with half-baked justifications, poor reasoning and sometimes even a willful blindness to reality.

  30. JBL,

    Not sure I understand what you are saying, but I think I would answer by saying that there is obviously a difference between the Peace of the Lord and a simple absence of material conflict. More importantly, I see nothing in Mr. Jackson’s words or those of the team in question that reveals they have the least understanding, let alone of internalized “in their heart” the “Peace from above”. On the contrary their actions and words reveal a materialistic view of man.

    James,

    It is not a “naiveté” – it is more than that. Is a false view of man that I am suggesting is the root of their motivation and reasoning’s. It’s not that they have the correct map but have a problem reading it or sometimes forget to make use of it, it is that they have the completely wrong map. They have a map of Chicago and they are driving in Atlanta. They really believe themselves to be in Chicago – or at least that is what they assert when they append “Christian” to “peacemaking teams”. I am suggesting that they are not what they claim to be. Perhaps the first step in understanding them is to remove this incorrect label. “Purity” has nothing to do with my suggestion…

  31. Note 32. James, the only point I make about the a peace movement activist’s intent is that he thinks the ostensible purity of his intentions justifies his ideas and actions. For this reason, the bad intentions of non-activists don’t have much bearing here, however true your critique might be.

    I don’t really care much about the purity of the intentions of a peace activist. I care about his ideas. In fact, our intentions might even be similiar, ie: we both want peace. Where we differ is how that peace will be achieved. That moves us into the realm of ideas, and why I argue that the moral doctrines of the peace movement (moral equivalency mostly) must inevitably lead to appeasment and ultimately surrender when facing an implacable enemy.

  32. Note 35. JBL, I’d put it a bit more simply. Jackson doesn’t recognize the existence of real evil in the world. This leads to exactly the world view you are trying to describe. Denying evil requires another explanation for the injustices that we see. Not all injustice is predicated on evil of course, but many of the great injustices are.

  33. First of all, the term ‘peace activist’ is a major problem. One can oppose a given war. One can support a given war. But if you are a ‘peace activist’ then the term itself implies that one could never support a war for any reason.

    That is just plain nonsense, and the primary reason why I have stayed away from any activity involving ‘peace activists.’ Some of my right-wing friends have gone to a rally or two, but they all came away absolutely disgusted by the proceedings.

    Opposing the War in Iraq because you think it is stupid policy is not the same thing as opposing all war. The activities of the peace activists are so over the top, and their rhetoric is so embarrassing, that frankly I am unhappy about being on the same side of this issue with most of them.

    That does not mean, however, that I am going to change my mind simply because I don’t like having something in common with Teddy Kennedy. That is the other problem with this situation. The behavior and rhetoric of the ‘peace movement’ have been so odious that many conservatives, who should know better, have been backing Bush on this war in Iraq on the assumption that as long as they stand against groups like the OPF, then they must be on the right side.

    On the ‘peace side’ there is a ton of reaction as well. Many of the ‘peace’ activists (though not the OPF, I think) were fine with bombing Belgrade and killing Christians because it was done by a ‘progressive’ president. George Bush killing Muslims in Iraq, however, was beyond the pale.

    Stripped down of all the reactionary partisanship, I think the whole Iraq mess is a fiasco. I am convinced that Al Sadr manufactured the whole ‘massacre’ in the Mosque a few days ago. But, many Shia are going to believe this was our handiwork. Al Sadr is flacking for Iran, and the Iranians are interested in punching us over our current policy against their development of nukes. If Al Sadr is successful, the next step is a Shia insurgency and possibly even a Shia ‘government-in-exile’ in Iran.

    If this happens, there will be a nightmare in Iraq even bigger than the current one. And can we effectively face Iran in this situation?

    I doubt it.

    There were plenty of reasons to oppose the specific military action in Iraq that have nothing to do with pacifism or anti-Americanism. There are plenty of reasons to believe that we should get out now, before Al Sadr and the Iranians are able to pin us into a war with the Shia as well as the Sunni.

    However, to stand on such ground means that you have to argue differently than many of the peace activists do. It means you have to recognize the deficient nature of Islam, and our inability to fix it by military/political means. It means you have to be less starry-eyed, and more realistic about the world, and the need for force under a lot of situations.

    This is the kind of view of the Old Right, which is not so much in vogue these days but is going to make a comeback.

  34. JamesK,
    Purity of intentions: the peace activists such as Mr. Jackson always claim a higher moral ground for their position than anyone advocating force. Since they do, it is only proper to demand higher moral standards.

    The peace activists with whom I have had personal interaction exhibit one or both of the following: 1. they are squeamish about any use of physical force in any situation, and/or 2. they question the legitimacy of the United States government. Most of them come across to me as angry, afraid, and confused. Political motives and bias are quite evident.

    It is interesting that while the peace activist is unwilling to seriously consider any positive good to be gained from physical force, they are more than willing to intimidate in other ways to achieve their goals.

    There is a huge difference between a peace activist and a peacemaker. The peace activists like to present themselves as peacemakers, but they are not. At the very term activist implies, they are disturbers of the peace. They seek to use worldly power to achieve their ends. I see no difference between them and those who use military means except that, often, those who recognize that physical force is sometimes necessary are more humble, prayerful, and repentant.

    I have yet to see a peace activist acknowledge the moral dilemma of their approach, i.e., when physical force is not used, greater harm can come to the innocent than if it is not used. Those of us who acknowledge that there is a place for the use of physical force grapple with the reciprocal of that moral dilemma all the time. (Now James, I am not talking about the gung-ho militarists here, but those who attempt to address the issues from within a Christian framework). As Christians, we are required to do all that we can to live in a way that makes for peace, pray for our enemies and do good for them, even absorb aggression without fighting back in certain cases. The Church cannot continence any stance that leads to the idea of “holy war”, but she can allow her children to participate in warfare in a righteous manner. Such participation is limited in scope and not the preferred course, but it is an acceptable course, not a necessary evil. Perhaps it can be considered an economia for the fallen state in which we live.

    Those Christians who are called to fight are also called to a higher standard than non-Christians. Prayer, repentance, and humility are just as essential to them as their military equipment, if not more so. Many of the ideas embodied in the Just War concept can be used as a guide to those who are called to fight, but they are not enough by themselves. A more personal, immediate approach is needed that takes into account more completely the exigencies of modern warfare.

    Also, IMO, the Church needs to re-define the nature of her relationship with the state that no longer relies on the monarchical model of the state as the foundation.

  35. First of all, kudos to all of the bloggers here because there is a lot of thought and intelligence put into the arguments presented.

    Secondly, I’d like to respond the the statement concerning my earlier posting on peacemaking qualities “Just as we know that love is more than a chemical event in the brain, and that faith is more than a tool of one social class used to oppress another social class, we know that peace is more than the material conflict between two or more persons. Because we know this, we know that Mr. Jackson’s purely material approach is not only inadequate to the situation of real conflict between persons.”

    I would certainly agree with that, an other posters who acknowledge the inner being (i.e. peacefillness) and outer actions should reflect one another.

    Such parallelism should be made by those who support military action. One cannot achieve peace, no matter how well internally peacefilled, through actions that involve coercion, guns, and bombs…..

    Peace – Charlie Jackson

  36. Mr. Jackson, maybe you care to respond to the statement that Fr. Alexander Webster in his book, The Pacifist Option makes:

    The inherent worth of other men and women as creatures of the divine Creator is affirmed without compromise. The pacifist has the blood of no one on his conscience, or at least his own hands are unstained. However, the disvalues of the pacifist option are also readily apparent. Its emphasis on purity of moral means tends to bear poisoned fruit: the acutal consequences are seldom salutary for those who must suffer, therefore, at the hands of unchecked aggressors….The cost of discipleship–the cross–is often borne more painfully by the ‘innocent’ victims of the aggressor than by their righteous pacifist brethren. Human dignity, freedom, and happiness are sacrificed on the altar of sheer survival or perhaps, more optimistically, to the right-to-life above everything else. The pacifist’s conscience must grapple with the involuntary suffering by others that results from his voluntary kenotic moral decision.

    IMO, the reasoning that rejects all use of force must ultimately leads one to succumb to the tyrant.

    Consider further the following from a homily on peace by St. Gregory, the Theologian:

    Let no one think that I am saying that one needs to cherish every kind of peace. For knowing that there is magnificent discord and the most pernicious unanimity, one must love a good peace which has a good goal and unites one with God…But when the matter concerns an evident impiety, then one must go hastily for fire and sword rather than partake of an evil leaven and to touch the infected.

    It is simply not true that the conditions for civilization and peace to flower cannot be created by the use of military force. The pacifist ideal has no foundation in either heaven or earth as the angels themselves take up arms to fight the demons. You may consider this spiritual metaphor, I don’t.

  37. “Such parallelism should be made by those who support military action. One cannot achieve peace, no matter how well internally peacefilled, through actions that involve coercion, guns, and bombs…..”

    I agree. When I, or a police officer, or perhaps a soldier brings justice to my enemy, it is not “peace” in a material sense. Indeed, materially I/ the police officer/ the soldier are consciously NOT bringing material peace – we are bringing force (i.e. coercion, guns, and bombs), even to the death of said enemy. More important than this lack of material “peace” is that this IS peace in a spiritual sense – in that it is virtue (to defend life) and justice in this world. It is a little bit of peace in a world full of war against things truly spiritual like justice and truth and life. Christianly, we make war against the heavy weight of material world views. Ever read Scripture? Ever noticed the violence of Jesus, or St. Paul? “Who would Jesus bomb?” asks the materialist. “Sodom and Gomorrah” answers the Christian…

  38. Note 41 One cannot achieve peace?

    Hmm, do you mean temporal peace? Do you mean the cessation of armed conflict? General Patton achieved peace in Germany. The Nazi army was destroyed, the Nazi government was destroyed, the guns stopped shooting, people stopped dying, the guilty (for the most part, not perfectly) were brought to some kind of human justice.

    Did General Patton achieve perfect heavenly peace? No, I don’t believe that is given to us on this Earth. Did America create perfect justice in Europe? No, but anyone with any sense knows that what we did destroyed a cancerous evil that responsible for the deaths of millions.

    We did what we could. What we did was self-sacrificial because we could have avoided war in Germany. People in the U.K. could be living under Nazism today if we had done nothing. We did something, we sacrificed millions of soldiers lives to preserve freedom in Europe and to defeat tyranny.

    Those who cannot understand this are suffering from willful blindness which serves to hinder those who would legitimately defend freedom.

  39. Just because I call myself a “peace” worker doesn’t mean I am one.

    Is no one capable of seeing behind a little verbiage? So some individual decides that his view of the world is correct above all others. He labels it the “peace” position and proceeds to work for his view of the world.

    The “Christian peace workers” actively collaborated with violent murderders, that is the end of the discussion. In no way, did they criticize or attempt to stop the violence of the anti-American forces, which continues to this day.
    These “peace workers” set out to handicap British and American soldiers in their work in protecting Iraqis from the worst criminals on the planet. These criminals are killing ordinary Iraqi policemen. Policemen who are training to arrest burglars and direct traffic. These criminals are killing doctors to drive doctors away from Iraq. These criminals are blowing up children if they come near American soldiers.

    Anyone who cannot make this moral distinction is willfully blind. Read Theodore Dalruymple and Melanie Phillips about what is happening in the U.K. The collaborators and appeasers of terror have virtually won the public debate over there. Melanie Phillips believes that that anti-semitism is approaching pre-WWII levels. Jews are verbally assaulted and many physically assaulted in the U.K. and in France. All of this is supported by the same people who called themselves “Christian” peacemakers.

    They weren’t “peace workers” they were collaborators with evil.

  40. Michael quotes: “The cost of discipleship–the cross–is often borne more painfully by the ‘innocent’ victims of the aggressor than by their righteous pacifist brethren.

    Let’s look at this from a different perspective. The classic example of saving people from an aggressor is World War 2. But we didn’t get into WW2 to save people. People had been dying at the hands of the “Japs” and “Krauts” for years before we got involved. Nonetheless, through the elimination of the Japanese and German regimes, people were in fact saved who otherwise would have been killed.

    But the problem is there aren’t many WW2s around. Most of the wars in the world have to do with local civil conflicts. At this point the entire world is awash in very destructive weapons. Every year hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide are spent on military hardware, supplies, and salaries. This is all money that doesn’t feed the poor, doesn’t go into development, doesn’t go toward medical care, and doesn’t go to education. And for all the many billions of dollars spent on this stuff, how many people in the world are actually safer? How many are actually rescued from aggressors?

    One of the ironies of modern military warfare is that the countries that could rescue others from aggression are either unwilling or unable to do so. Who is it who rescued the Tibetans from the Chinese? No one. Now even in Iraq, if a full-scale civil war breaks out, even the U.S. wouldn’t be able to stop it. We would most likely end up sitting inside the perimeters of our secure bases while the various factions went at it.

    Another problem with modern warfare is that it’s just too damned expensive. We’re in Iraq now. As countries and populations go, Iraq is relatively small. But some are estimating that when the dust settles and all the accounting is done, the total cost of the war in Iraq, including the cost of disability payments and medical care for U.S. soldiers, may be as high as $2 trillion. Rescuing people from aggressors is fine, but it is expensive too. How many more Iraqs can we afford? (Frankly I think within 20 or 30 years our massive military expenditures will have virtually bankrupted us — and then what happens?)

    Another irony is that some of the best weapons can’t really be used. I mean, if you want to be really secure against an aggressor, the thing to have is nuclear weapons. But these are the very weapons that virtually wipe out human life on the face of the earth.

    Another irony is that most wars are not settled by military means. Instead, after tens or hundreds of thousands are dead, after the country is ruined, there is a negotiated settlement. The idea of the pacifist is that you skip the death and destruction part and move straight to the negotiations, which seems like a pretty good idea to me.

    I am not a principled pacifist, but I am a practical pacifist to some extent. I just think that in the real world all this military stuff is not what it’s cracked up to be. It certainly is not the cure-all that we hoped for in Iraq. Even if I don’t agree with the principled pacifists, I still think it is valuable to have people on the sidelines saying “this whole approach is wrong.”

  41. Note 44, Jim, You write as if you think you have a choice

    No, the military solution is not a “cure-all.” No serious person ever claimed that it was. War is resorted to only in desperate situations to save ourselves. You are clearly unaware of how desperate the situation is. If September 11, 2001 didn’t convince you, nothing will. You will be typing little essays critiquing war when the jihadis blast out your front door.

    Jim there is still an unspoken underlying premise to your entire essay. You as one sitting securely in front of a computer keyboard. I don’t know what city you live in or what neighborhood you live in, but, I am willing to bet that your city and your neighborhood is safe enough for you to walk outside and go shopping on foot or by car. I am willing to bet that there is emergency assistance available through 911. You have lived your entire life in safety compared to most poeple in the world. You haven’t seen hostile militias or armies marching down the streets in your neighborhood so you just don’t see what the fuss is.

    We don’t have a “choice” in this war. That is your essential error, in my opinion. We are at war. We are being attacked. We either defend ourselves or our civilization dies and we die.

    The entire text of Note 44 could only be written by a moral freerider who is cosseted and saved from the ugliness of the conflict in the world by others.

  42. Note 46, Negotiated Settlements?

    Another irony is that most wars are not settled by military means. Instead, after tens or hundreds of thousands are dead, after the country is ruined, there is a negotiated settlement. The idea of the pacifist is that you skip the death and destruction part and move straight to the negotiations, which seems like a pretty good idea to me.

    This is simply factually untrue. Conflicts end when one side decides that it is fruitless and futile to continue resistance and fruitless and futile to continue fighting. If virulent ideologies have been allowed to take hold, it takes war to stop them.

    Both MacArthur, as military commander of the Pacific front, and Eisenhower, as military commander of the European front, demanded total and absolute surrender from Japan and Germany. The militaristic cultures of those countries were so deeply entrenched that nothing else would dismantle them, and they had to be dismantled completely.

    You conveniently forget that Chamberlain’s negotiations were used by Hitler as a ruse to continue to build his war machine and to obtain an even more favorable military position in Europe.

    The Viet Nam war ended when lines of Russian and Chinese made tanks stormed down on the South Vietnamese Army crushing it in a final battle to the death. It didn’t end by negotiation, unless the dishonorable betrayal of Viet Nam by Kisssinger counts as “negotiations.” In that “negotiation”, we withdrew and surrenered Viet Nam up to the kindliness of Uncle Ho, and they took Viet Nam and slaughtered millions. Remember the “boat people” anyone?

    No, most real conflicts are settled by bloddy battles to the death or they are not settled at all.

    I believe the Bible teaches us that mankind is fallen, that mankind is not capable of perfection by mankind’s own powers, and that the “imaginings of our hearts” are filled with evil. Little sociopaths are sent to jail, big sociopaths have to be defeated by armies.

    By the grace of the bravery and courage of the Greatest Generation, Jim, you sit safely in your office typing your essays in defense of appeasement and the taking of the easy road, confident that nothing will really touch you in America.

  43. Note 46, Jim, have you no fear of slavery?

    It is slavery, most abject and real, that lies at the end of the road of appeasement. No more MTV and cafe lattes. No more walks in the Sunday park. Instead, Islamic slavery. Dhimmitude slavery. Censorship of all intellectual life to police against offending Islam. Censorship of the arts, theatre and dance. Subjection of life to “morals” police that harass people about their mode of dress. Destruction of the art, architecture, culture and literature of “pre-Islamic culture.” Jim, they hate you with a passion, they dispise your way of life and they will die to end both.

    No it is the bohemiam Left that will be first attacked by the Islamists. The Left was no match for Khomeini in Iran. The Left, there as here, joined with the Islamists in their opposition to the Shah and the U.S. The Left thought that they could use the primitive Islamists for the Left’s political ends and then dispose of them. The “joke” was on the Left, for Khomeini crushed them like junebugs.

    The Shah was no prince, but, is Khomeini any better? No., clearly not.

  44. Missourian isn’t the history of 20th century revolution the replacement of one strongman with another?

    I.e.
    Nicholas II = Lenin
    Kai-shek = Mao
    Pahlavi = Khomeni

    And in every case the useful idiots find themselves on the loosing end.

    Consider also that many who think they follow the “noble cause” of caring, believe that they will be exempt from any regime change. They believe that all they have to do is negotiate with the new government and they will be allowed to continue on with the lives without change.

    It’s a myth. They find themselves like Wallenberg who realized unfortunately it was easier to deal with Nazis than Communists.

  45. JBL, your three examples are interesting. In each case a more or less traditional tyrant was replaced by ideological tyrants. On one level, a tyrant is a tyrant, but on another they are quite different. Tyrants that base their authority on cultural realities that can and do change over time are much more amenable to gradual softening allowing for a greater rule of law and wider participation in government. That is exactly what happened on Taiwan.
    The Russian Revolution was at first democratic in nature, Lenin led the second revolution which shows a difficulty: weak democracies are easily overcome by ideological movements. The reason, weak democracies always negotiate their own death and dismemberment. Ideological tyrants pretend to negotiate, but don’t, they are unbending in their character. Consequently, they cannot change over time, they either are in power or they are not. We could leave the Japanese Emperor in office because he was the fruit of an entire culture that had exisited for centuries. Over time, the real power of the his office had waxed and waned. The Nazi’s and the Soviets were a different story as are the Islamist/Sharia based governments. Ideologs have to deny the very reason for their existence if they really negotiate. The very nature of their belief simply does not allow it.

    The Western world tends to disbelieve the real nature of ideological governments so we get the Quioxtic Wilsonian/Bushian quests on one hand and the appeasers on the other.

  46. Note 49, Betrayed by Our Historians

    Today, few students in college or high school have the slightest glimmer of the long story of the civilizational struggle between Islam and Christian Europe. Students don’t know about Poitiers and the Gates of Vienna. They don’t know why Queen Isabella expelled Muslims from Spain. They don’t know that the Meditarranean ocean was the staging ground for attacks on southern Europe and Britian for centuries. They don’t know that Greece, intellectual cradle of the West, was subject to the Turks for centuries. They don’t have a clue.

    The first “history” that they are taught in Universities now is that told by Edward Said. That history begins with rapacious Popes harassing peaceful Muslims in Jerusalem.

    A civilization needs to be able to depend on its elites to defend it. Our civilization has been betrayed by its so-called “elites.” Hopefully, there is still enough love of freedom in the American spirit to resist. I think there is.

    I have some long term European friends and although there is much that I respect and admire about them, I am continually shocked at their acceptance of government control of their lives and their unwillingness to defend freedom. They have a very mild attachment to freedom and will sacrifice it for a very little peace.

    Heaven help us. Iran may or may not have the bomb. Europe definitely does, as well as most of our defense secrets through NATO.

Comments are closed.