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Jim Wallis: Words, Not War, With Iran

posted by jmcgee

Jim WallisAs the diplomatic dance with Iran continues, the rumors of war are increasing. European Union and Iranian diplomats have been meeting this week in intensive negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. News stories have been optimistic on the one hand, noting that the U.S. government was holding off on pushing for sanctions against Iran while the talks continued and the possibility that Iran might be willing to stop its enriching of uranium in return for economic incentives.

On the other hand, several news sources have reported moves toward possible U.S. military strikes against Iran. A recent Time magazine cover story asked, What Would War Look Like?. It noted that “from the State Department to the White House to the highest reaches of the military command, there is a growing sense that a showdown with Iran … may be impossible to avoid.” But in the current situation, with the violence in Iraq spiraling out of control, a U.S. attack on Iran would likely be a disaster, simply adding more fuel to the bloodshed and creating more terrorists. As the National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism released this week concluded, “The Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world….” An attack on Iran would make that resentment far worse.

As a statement by 21 U.S. military, national security, and foreign policy officials – released in August – said, “We strongly caution against any consideration of the use of military force against Iran.The current crises must be resolved through diplomacy, not military action. An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences for security in the region ….”

On Tuesday, Sojourners/Call to Renewal and Faithful Security released a statement signed by more than 100 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders urging “Words, Not War, With Iran.” I participated in a press conference with Dr. Susannah Heschel, Dr. Louay of the Islamic Society of North America, Brian McLaren, and Dr. Trita Parsi of the Iranian-American Council to discuss the statement with reporters.

Our statement said, “While we agree Iran should not support terrorism or obtain nuclear weapons, we come together as religious leaders to urge that the U.S. engage in direct negotiations with Iran as an alternative to military action in resolving the crisis.” We reject anti-Semitism and threats of attack against Israel made by Iran, but believe that the only solution to the nuclear issue is a negotiated settlement. And we root our concern in our belief that “The teachings of the Abrahamic tradition command us to keep human life sacred and to act as stewards of creation. We consider all weapons of mass destruction — whether nuclear, biological, or chemical — immoral and unacceptable for use in any circumstances.”

Our statement concludes, “The moral wisdom of many religious leaders and the pragmatic warnings of many military leaders now offer a common message – “Words, Not War, With Iran.” I invite you to join us in signing this statement. You can find the complete text of the statement, a list of the signers, and add your name at www.wordsnotwar.org.



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kevin s.

posted September 29, 2006 at 10:43 pm


We are pursuing negotiations. What value are negotiations if there is no possibility that they will be backed up by actions. What if the conversations is UN: Iran, please give up your nuclear weapons. Iran: Nope Where do “negotiations” leave us then. And if they fail, and Iran develops a nuclear bomb, what do we do? Let them use it?>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 12:54 am


Kevin, You seem confused about what is really happening between Bush and Iran right now. The current fake negotiations you refer to are just a rerun of Bush’s fake negotiations building up to his invasion of Iraq. Bush’s insincere gestures at diplomacy were only a cloak covering his true intentions. Bush had made his decision to invade Iraq well before 9/11. This has been proven. And Bush has already decided to attack Iran. While Bush postures as if he were negotiating with Iran, his actions reveal his true intentions. He has sent another carrier battlegroup to the Gulf. At the same time, Bush is making public statements containing veiled threats intended to provoke Iran’s leaders into an escalating war of words, culminating in a war with Iran, which he will try to blame on Iran, just like he did in Iraq. Warmongers don’t employ diplomacy or negotiations to avoid war, they threaten their adversaries and then they attack. I see no evidence of a sincere attempt on Bush’s part to engage in good faith diplomacy to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program without war. Last week Bush shunned Iran’s prime minister at the United Nations. They were in the same building on the same day. Do you think this is evidence of Bush making serious negotiations to head off a war with Iran? If you set aside overblown claims and deceptive statements from the Bush administration and seek out the facts for yourself, you will discover that Iran’s nuclear threat is a mirage created by the Bush administration to justify attacking Iran. Are you going to follow Bush into a nuclear war without questioning his intentions? I signed the Words Not War Statement offered by Jim Wallis and friends. Are you doing anything to avoid a war with Iran, Kevin? Do you care? I’m not overly hopeful Bush will care what millions of us think about his war with Iran. He ignored millions of us, including his best military generals and diplomats, even his own father, when he invaded Iraq. Bush is a warmonger and he will do it again if we don’t stop him. Kevin, you’re following a warmonger and you’re too lazy to find out the truth. .>



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SB

posted September 30, 2006 at 12:54 am


Do you seriously think that negotiations are going to work with these people? They are buying time to finish working on a nuclear weapon. Negotiating with Iran at this point is the same as Chamberlain negotiating with Germany in the 1930s. Only this time, the stakes are even higher because the threat is nuclear. Do you think that turning the other cheek in this instance requires us to stand by and allow Iran to become a nuclear threat not only to Israel and its neighbors, but to us as well?>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 1:19 am


SB, Of course negotiations will be effective with Iran. They are not crazy fools. If Bush would just stay out of it, I think the adult leaders of the world will be able to resolve this quite effectively without bloodshed. America survived a nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union for decades without direct military conflict. Do you think Iran is a more serious threat than the Soviet Union was? Experts on nuclear weapons say Iran is 10 years away from having even one nuclear weapon. Israel is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. If Iran were to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon they would be annihilated. And they know this. Don’t give in to fear, CB. And don’t spread it either. .>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 2:29 am


I read the “Words not War” statement, and it is truly a shallow, half-baked document, inane both theologically and politically. While the drafters “agree Iran should not support terrorism or obtain nuclear weapons,” the drafters cannot state what means western nations may use to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal, nor can they explain why Iran should not proceed with its nuclear program. If we are to engage in negotiations while foreswearing the military strikes, there is an obvious question that needds to be answered: what exactly can we offer the Iranians that will pursuade them top give up the prestige of joining the nuclear club, or the power that comes with being able to threaten their neighbors with a nuclear strike? This is not to say that such a package of incentives cannot be put together, or that this would not be an improvement over the military option. But if the peace party cannot give us at least an educated guess at what this package might look like, their plea for negotiations is almost guaranteed to result in a nuclear-armed Iran — an outcome they themselves consider unacceptable. The drafters of “Words Not War” will all the right ends but cannot say anything about effective means. The statement reeks of magical thinking: if you do what we say, things will all work out, somehow. That’s not good enough. The President will, in all likelihood, ignore this statement. He will be right to do so. “Words Not War” is a waste of good words. Wolverine>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 3:02 am


Wolverine, You too, appear to be confused about what Bush is doing. You can’t see that the problem here is Bush. This is because you desperately want to believe in Bush. Bush won’t negotiate this situation in good faith because Bush created the situation himself. Bush has already decided to attack Iran, just as he had already decided to invade Iraq before he staged his fake negotiations with Saddam. As I stated in a previous post, If Bush would just stay out of it, I think the adult leaders of the world will be able to resolve this quite effectively without bloodshed. Bush is a warmonger. Warmongers never negotiate in good faith. Hitler didn’t negotiate in good faith. And neither does Bush. Warmongers sell their wars by using fear on their own citizens. You’ve given in to Bush’s fear offensive on the American people. I didn’t think Wolverines got scared that easily. .>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 3:48 am


justintime wrote: Bush won’t negotiate this situation in good faith because Bush created the situation himself. So I take it that you believe Bush initiated the Iranian nuclear weapons program? You can’t see that the problem here is Bush. This is because you desperately want to believe in Bush. … You’ve given in to Bush’s fear offensive on the American people. I didn’t think Wolverines got scared that easily. I have a theory about your state of mind too. Would you like to hear it? Wolverine>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:01 am


I have read several articles about this matter and come to the conclusion that either you are misguided or intentional uninformed. Osama bin Ladin and the President of Iran has called on America to convert. They do not believe in multicultural diversity and will force the point with the barrel of a gun. The overwhelming evidence is clear on this matter, just a superficial search on the internet will reveal several sites that translate the text of speeches from Arabic and Farsi into English that reveal exactly what these leaders and others in the Islamic world intend. Diplomacy will only allow these individuals the time to prepare themselves and their associates to attack the West and specifically the United States. Do some research and inform yourself, because otherwise you will aid and give comfort to our enemies and the blood of the innocents that will be murdered will be on your hands.>



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Michael Hayes

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:14 am


This blog is a great place to hear additional thoughts about the values of “God’s Politics” from Jim Wallis and Brian McLaren and Amy Sullivan and Sister Helen and Christine Sine. Generally, what is lacking is a place for bipartisanship to occur. The comments are largely attacks from the right followed by defense from the left… similar to what already has been occurring for years in DC and state capitols for the topics of abortion and gay marriage. And, there are also some very good efforts by some very thoughtful persons from left and right who want to actually communicate.>



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Joseph

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:19 am


The teachings of the Abrahamic tradition command us to keep human life sacred and to act as stewards of creation. We consider all weapons of mass destruction whether nuclear, biological, or chemical immoral and unacceptable for use in any circumstances. Jim, I don’t understand why “conventiional means of mass destruction and killing such as land mines, cluster bombs, or really all bombs and automatic weapons are not included here. Arxland, what do you think of Jesus statement “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”? How do your own statements differ from the most violent of the jihadists?>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:29 am


The Apostle Paul said that “we are to be at peace with all men as far as it concerns us.” That is my position. What is their position? By their own writings and speeches it is not peace. Their intentions are not peaceful and they say so. The real question is whether or not we are going to take them at their word.>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:43 am


Arxland, Where did you find the several articles you read about the Middle East? I don’t think you are as well informed as you think you are. And you’re assuming I haven’t taken the effort to inform myself about these things. From your statements, I’m pretty certain that I’m much better informed on Iran, America, George Bush, the Middle East and terrorism than you are. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on, including many books written by people who understand the cultures of the Middle East, by military and intelligence professionals, translations of speeches made by terrorist leaders as well as the propaganda being disseminated by the Bush administration to instill fear into people like you. I base my conclusions, which I offer here, on my knowledge from all sides of this issue and cold, hard logic. Fear is the name of the Bush warmongering game. Fear is about all it takes to get humans to be willing to kill each other. Fear is what it took for Hitler to drive the German people into their tragic war. Fear is what it takes for someone like you to call me a traitor. And you sound like you are full of fear. Mark my words, Arxland, you are following a warmonger. Bush has you afraid and under his control. You are willing to follow Bush into a war which will kill thousands of innocent people. May God have mercy on you. .>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:59 am


What if the conversation is Rest of the World: USA, please give up your nuclear weapons. USA: Nope Where do “negotiations” leave the Rest of the World then? And if they fail, and USA develops a nuclear bomb, what does the Rest of the World do? Let them use it?>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:08 am


D4P: I’ll grant you, that’s an interesting hypothetical, but we’re going far afield here. The “Words Not War” statement, signed by Jim Wallis himself, says nothing about the US nuclear arsenal. It does say that Iran “should not support terrorism or obtain nuclear weapons”. The question I would like to hear someone address is: In the absence of a military option, what can we offer Iran’s leaders that will persuade them to cease their nuclear weapons program? Anybody have an answer? Anybody at all? Bueller? Bueller? Wolverine>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:10 am


Please, list your sources. All I know is what I read in newspapers and on the internet. Outside of that I spent 20 years in the Infantry and I am married to a European and have spent several years in different countries outside of the United States. I don’t pledge allegiance to men nor am I a follower of politicians. Life has taught me many lessons and one of them is to be sceptical of “peace at any price” as the better alternative. You may pretend to be so much better informed that everyone else, but your solution will lead to war. Adolf Hitler wanted war and did everything in his power to mislead and lull the rest of Europe and the United States. How many lives were lost because we were not prepared? Because we wanted to believe in his good intentions. You seem to be prepared to believe that Iran has good intentions, but what if they are just trying to lull us into a false sense of security. Will diplomacy work then? How many will have to die? I believe in peace through strength. What do you believe? Where will you stand if their intentions are evil?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:15 am


In the absence of a military option, what can we offer Iran’s leaders that will persuade them to cease their nuclear weapons program? What right does the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons known to man have to ask other countries not to amass a similar stockpile? If our stockpile is strictly to serve as a disincentive to other countries to attack us, why shouldn’t other countries be able to possess the same disincentive? And I don’t buy any kind of “But the US would never actually use its nuclear weapons, while other countries would.” Unless I’m mistaken, only one country has ever dropped an atomic bomb on another, and said country was a “Christian” nation, not a bunch of “radical, fanatical, Islamic terrorists.”>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:16 am


I believe in peace through strength i.e. “Peace through war.” “Love through hate.”>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:17 am


I believe that the only option short of military action (war) is to close the Staits of Hormuz and not allow any Iranian petroleum out. That will offer them a peaceful way to think of their alternatives to nuclear weapons.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:20 am


D4P. Could you give us the context of the United States dropping that atomic bomb? Because without the context of that action you give the impression that the United States just went and dropped an atomic bomb for no reason. Did the United States have a reason?>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:27 am


Okay, I’ll take it upon myself to put together a program for you. You tell me if I’m on the right track. Top Ten things that Might Coax the Islamic Republic of Iran to Abandon their Nuclear Program. 10. We nuke Israel for them. (Alternatively, we could agree to evacuate all Jews from Israel and relocate them in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.) 9. Andalusia returned to Muslim control. 8. Nuke Vegas. 7. Abolish the Designated Hitter Rule 6. Paris Hilton to introduce new line of burkas 5. Hand over every virgin in Cleveland. 4. All right, we’ll let you open a Hooters in Medina. 3. Is the Pope Catholic? Nope, He’s a Shiite! 2. Oh heck, you don’t need to build nukes on your own, we’ll let you have a couple of ours. Just don’t stand too close when you set them off. 1. A reassuring hug. Wolverine>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:27 am


Of course they had a reason, just as the people who flew the planes into the World Trade Center had a reason for doing so. When you believe that “ends justify means,” all that is necessary is to have a “reason” (i.e. an “end”), and the means themselves become immune to scrutiny or debate. Achieving the end will be done by using “Whatever means necessary.” I personally believe that God cares about both ends and means, and that means too can be sinful. The fact that a righteous end is being pursued does not, in my opinion, legitimize any means necessary to achieve that end.>



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Gordon

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:31 am


The Iranian leader is a madman. How in the world do you negotiate with someone like that?>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:45 am


Okay, back to brass tacks: D4P wrote: What right does the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons known to man have to ask other countries not to amass a similar stockpile? If our stockpile is strictly to serve as a disincentive to other countries to attack us, why shouldn’t other countries be able to possess the same disincentive? Be sure and let Jim Wallis and the rest of the “Words Not War” crowd know what a bunch of cowards they are for criticizing the Iranian nuclear program while failing to condemn the American nuclear arsenal. Look, I hate to break this to you, but this has very little to do with “rights” and everything to do with global stability. The US has had atomic/nuclear weapons for over 60 years without using them. The last time we did use them came at the end of a declared war, after issuing a warning, and was done to avoid the need for an invasion that had the potential to cause even greater loss of life. The Islamic Republic of Iran is headed up by a religious caste that combines rabid anti-semitism and a belief in a bizarre Islamic apocalypse that makes “Left Behind” look like “Bridget Jones’ Diary” Even if you view the American nuclear arsenal as a threat, I don’t see how an Iranian nuclear arsenal makes the world safer. And neither, apparently, does Jim Wallis. Or is Wallis himself not sufficiently committed to “Peace”? Wolverine>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:46 am


D4P – Pacifism at any price? Peace at any price? Where is this taught in the Bible? The Apostle Paul said that “we (Christians) are to be at peace with all men as far as it concerns us.” That is my position, but what do you propose to do when they believe in the opposite and bring the war to you, as they did at the WTC, the Pentagon, and that field in Pennsylvania on 9/11. These men were not poor, uneducated, homeless, but were just the opposite. They were believers in a cause, and they were willing to give their lives for that cause. How do you propose to deal with that?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:55 am


They were believers in a cause, and they were willing to give their lives for that cause. How do you propose to deal with that? It seems to me that Christians who are more concerned about protecting their own lives than showing Christ to the rest of the world are, unlike the believers you mention, NOT willing to give their lives for their cause. There seems to be an assumption on the part of some that “If a particular course of action threatens my personal security, it can’t possibly be God’s will. If trying to be peaceful means I might be killed, of course God doesn’t want me to be peaceful.” Jesus, Paul, and others refused to prioritize self-protection above all, choosing instead to continue spreading the gospel at their own peril. As a result, they were killed. Why should we be any different?>



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Anonymous

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:22 am


D4P wrote: There seems to be an assumption on the part of some that “If a particular course of action threatens my personal security, it can’t possibly be God’s will. If trying to be peaceful means I might be killed, of course God doesn’t want me to be peaceful.” This is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start. First: Nobody is alleging that the Iranians have a missile capable of reaching the US. So either this presents no direct threat to Americans, OR You are admitting that the Iranians have close ties to radical Islamic terrorists who might attempt to smuggle a nuclear bomb into the United States. EITHER WAY the death toll would be more than just me or Arxland or Gordon, or Jim Wallis, or the four of us combined. Depending on the yield we could be looking at the deaths of thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of Americans. Or maybe peace-loving Europeans. Or Israelis. Or even conceivably Mulsims who don’t happen to belong to the right sect. So awful of us, to be concerned about our friends, fellow Americans, and allies around the world. God have mercy on us. Wolverine>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:27 am


So awful of us, to be concerned about our friends, fellow Americans, and allies around the world. We don’t seem too concerned about the 40,000+? Iraqis we have bombed over the past few years since “Mission Accomplished” was declared. But I guess they don’t count. They’re just a “comma.”>



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Anonymous

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:28 am


D4P also wrote: Jesus, Paul, and others refused to prioritize self-protection above all, choosing instead to continue spreading the gospel at their own peril. As a result, they were killed. Why should we be any different? Which leads me to another question: Just how would an Iranian nuke spread the gospel? Wolverine>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:35 am


Just how would an Iranian nuke spread the gospel? It wouldn’t, just as bombing Iraqi villages and torturing human beings does not spread the gospel. Loving one’s enemies, praying for those who persecute us, and refusing to repay evil for evil spreads the gospel (or at least part of it, a part with which the current administration is apparently unfamiliar).>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:40 am


I’ve got a busy day tomorrow, but one last comment before I hit the sack: Believe it or not, I’m open to debate on the Iraq War issue, and I’m open to creative, non-violent solutions to the Iranian Nuclear crisis as well. I would very much like to see coherent, well-thought-out policies. But what I see instead is denial, magical thinking, personal accusations, and now an odd disregard for human life wrapped in something that I guess is supposed to be Christian piety but on closer inspection looks like plain old fatalism. Is this really the best that the Christian Left has to offer? Yuck. Wolverine>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:41 am


d4p: Where is this “doctrine” taught in the Bible? The Apostle Paul said that we “were to lead quite and sober lives” and the Apostle Peter said that we are to “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and to keep a good conscience…” but I have never read where we were to give ourselves over to murderers just because they wanted to kill us or make us convert. We are commanded to be “epistles that are to be read of men,” but not targets to appease religious killers. I believe that you need to buy yourself a ticket and go to Pakistan or Jordan and put this into practice so that you can show the rest of us how its done; spreading the Gospel in Islamic countries under Sharia law is punishable by stoning. When do you plan to leave?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:47 am


I have never read where we were to give ourselves over to murderers just because they wanted to kill us or make us convert Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…? You are assuming that refusing to fight evil with evil will necessarily result in our slaughter. I am assuming that being obedient to God can “work,” even when logic and human reason tell us it can’t. I believe that you need to buy yourself a ticket and go to Pakistan or Jordan and put this into practice so that you can show the rest of us how its done Would that I had the courage to do so. Unfortunately, I’m a sinner who is probably not willing to risk my own personal safety for my faith. But I’m working on that, and I hope someday to be that faithful.>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:49 am


magical thinking How does “magical thinking” differ from prayer and faith in a God who cannot be seen, who works in mysterious ways, and who performs “miracles”?>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:02 am


d4p: Do you believe that the New Testament sanctions the death penalty?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:07 am


Do you believe that the New Testament sanctions the death penalty? Given that you’re asking, I’m assuming the answer is Yes. I know the Old Testament does, and that people were to be put to death for all kinds of seemingly minor infractions. Among other things, though, experience has shown that we’re not very good at implementing the death penalty. Newly available DNA testing suggests that a not insignificant number of not-guilty persons have been put to death, and other evidence suggests that certain demographic groups (e.g. black males) are much more likely to be put to death for the same crimes than other groups (e.g. white males). Plus, it seems to me that prison is among the most convenient and effective locations to spread the gospel. I’m sure we’ve all heard of many inmates accepting Christ, who presumably wouldn’t have done so had they been put to death instead of put in prison.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:23 am


d4p: The New Testament teaches us that we (Christians) are not the judge the world (non Christians), God will judge the world on the last day, but we are commanded to “discern good from evil” and to judge among ourselves (Christians within the local congregation) and put the evil out from us until they repent, then accept them back as brethen. The principle of forgive and forget is paramount for Christians. The biggest problem that I have with the Christian “left” is their view of biblical teachings. The Bible is either the Word of God or its not, biblical scholarship has provided a good case for the authenticity of our present Bible, so the question is this, “do we believe and practice what it teaches” or “do we let it go?” My experience with “leftwing” Christians is that they do not believe in Biblical doctrines where it conflicts with their “progressive socialist” thinking. Where do you stand on this?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:35 am


put the evil out from us until they repent, then accept them back as brethen Killing people does not give them a chance to repent. My experience with “leftwing” Christians is that they do not believe in Biblical doctrines where it conflicts with their “progressive socialist” thinking. Where do you stand on this? Actually, the reason I am attracted to “progressive socialist” thinking is that I believe it comes closer to Christ’s teachings than does conservative capitalist thinking. In my experience, “rightwing” Christians do not believe in Biblical doctrines where they conflict with capitalism, nationalism, etc.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:46 am


d4p: Christians do not have the authority to kill “apostate” Christians. Has that happened lately in America?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:48 am


I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at.>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:48 am


Make no mistake, Bush’s wars in the Islamic world are all about oil, not “freedom and democracy”. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, America is presently ruled by the petroleum industry. Contrary to Bush warmongering propaganda, Iran and Al Qaeda are not allies, and Islamic terrorism is not monolithic. Iran is Shiite and Al Qaeda is inspired by Wahhabism, a radically fundamentalistic Sunni group – two antagonistic branches of Islam. Saddam’s Iraq, being a secular Islamic republic, was anathema to Al Qaeda,who believe in a return to the glorious days of the caliphate and Islamic law. And yet Bush sold America on the idea that Iraq was behind 9/11, to justify his invasion of Iraq. A surprising number of Americans still believe that Iraq was behind 9/11 which has been proven false. The Bush compliant media bears the blame for misinforming America on this. Islamic politics is a lot more subtle and complicated than the Bush administration would have us believe. To treat the Islamic world as if it is one monolithic enemy is to make a disastrous mistake. At least 90% of all terroristic acts around the world are inspired by the injustices of foreign occupation and economic domination of Islamic countries. Terrorist movements are primarily nationalistic and not religiously inspired. Hamas and Al Fatah oppose Israel’s occupation and the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people. Al Qaeda opposes the feudalistic Saud regime in Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah opposed Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon and succeeded in driving Israel out of outhern Lebanon. Their success has inspired them to attack Israel directly, which is considered a foreign occupation as well. It’s important to understand that terrorism is inspired by foreign occupation of Islamic countries and the resultant social injustice. This is the key to defeating terrorism. Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is not a madman. Sometimes he seems to be playing Bush for a fool. Iran is winning Bush’s war in Iraq, without losing any of their troops or financial resources. To better understand America’s relationship to Iran, I highly recommend Karen Armstrong’s book, The Battle for God. Our relationship with Iran begins with British-American exploitation of Iran’s oil resources. In 1953, the Iranian government moved to nationalize their oil resources and Musaddiq was elected premier. The CIA engineered a coup and Mussadiq was deposed, with the Shah installed in a Monarchy. The petroleum industry found the Shah more cooperative. However, by the late 70’s the Shah had become despotic, perhaps not as despotic as Saddam, but certainly an enemy of the people. The Shah became associated in the minds of Iranians as an American puppet dictator, which he was. And America became tagged as “The Great Satan”. The Shah was finally deposed by a popular revolution at the cost of many thousands of patriot martyrs. This is why the American embassy in Tehran was taken over by students and Americans held hostage. And of course the Reagan administration backed Saddam in his war against Iran, in which millions lost their lives. Given the history of our relationship, is it any wonder that the government of Iran views America with great suspicion. It’s true that Iran is currently ruled by an Islamic government. But most scholars of Iranian politics agree that Iran is strongly attracted to Western culture and is trending towards secularism. The Islamic government is incompetent in managing Iran’s economy and Iranians yearn for a more liberalised culture. Sadly, Bush’s aggressive acts are making natural social change in Iran problematic. Iran’s Islamic government will gain complete control of nationalistic resistance to American aggression. And Iran’s reformers will have to go underground for the indefinite future. The Bush administration is only increasing the threat of Islamic terrorism, as the recently released National Intelligence Estimate concludes. .>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:53 am


d4p: I think you are confusing the responsibilities of individuals vs. the duties of government. The applications of one to the other will cause conflicted thinking.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:57 am


Justintime: Are you a member of the Noam Chomsky School of Foreign Policy and the Howard Zinn School of Rewriting History? Do you honestly believe the United States is ruled by the Petroleum industry? Please explain this, I’m listening.>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:58 am


I think you are confusing the responsibilities of individuals vs. the duties of government But governments are made up of individuals, each of whom (in my estimation) still has a responsibility to obey God (assuming they’re Christians). What message does it send to non-Christians when the president claims to be a Christian but then does not follow Christ in his governing? What is it about a Christian “war president” and torturer that shows Christ to the world, and how is a Christian “war president” and torturer any different from a secular one?>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:00 am


Justintime: Please explain why you left out the former Soviet Union in this analysis of Mid East political history and the part they played in creating this mess, along with the British and the French.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:07 am


d4p: This is not a “Christian” country and has not been governed that way for a while. We as a nation still have a residual Christian thought forms and structures, but the basis for the morality has long ago left this country and thus the government. If Mr. Bush governed according to NT teaching, he would outlaw deeds of the flesh, adultry, fornication, drunkeness, gambling, homosexuality, ect…(Gal. 5:20-21) Are you saying that you are in agreement with this?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:13 am


If Mr. Bush governed according to NT teaching, he would outlaw deeds of the flesh, adultry, fornication, drunkeness, gambling, homosexuality, ect…(Gal. 5:20-21) Are you saying that you are in agreement with this? My point is not that “The president of the US should govern according to Christian principles.” My point is that “If the president is going to claim to be a Christian and claim to be doing the will of God, then s/he should govern according to Christian principles.” And, if the president is going to support a ban on gay marriage because the Bible says homosexuality is a a sin, then s/he should support bans on “adultery, fornication, drunkeness, gambling, etc.”>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:23 am


I’ve read some of Chomsky’s books and I’m familiar with Zinn’s work, but I’m not a joiner. I’m a seeker. I agree with you that military power is part of the formula for peace on earth. But friendly, cooperative allies around the world are equally important. Bush has foolishly squandered our military power and our reputation with his arrogance and ambitions for an American empire. To say that the petroleum industry rules America is a simplification but is not far from the truth. To me it’s become obvious that an alliance of large corporations hold power over our government and our communications media. And the petroleum industry has us all by the short hairs, wouldn’t you say? Bush, Cheney and Rice are all petroleum industry power brokers. America’s military adventures in the Middle East and Central Asia are clearly intended to dominate the remaining petroleum resources on the planet. Energy independance for America is not in the best interest of the petroleum and so progress on this front has been slow. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to deal with corrupt Islamic dictatorships for our economic life blood? Your earlier comment about closing the Strait of Hormuz would be a mistake and result in disaster for the global economy. I could say a lot more but I’m about to turn in for the night. .>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:23 am


How would you say he should go about doing this? Congress makes the laws here, the President enforces them. I think that there is a different agenda at work here. Is there? What would the Christian “left” have Mr. Bush do? Mr. Clinton said he was a Christian and so does his wife. Should Mr. Bush follow Mr. Clinton’s example in carrying out his duties?>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:30 am


Arxland, I didn’t intentionally leave out the former Soviet Union, the French and the British from my analysis of Iran/America relationships. They do bear some responsibility but it’s a complicated story – maybe we can talk about it tomorrow. .>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:31 am


Justintime: If the Petroleum industry or large corporations ruled this country and controlled the media in a group type conspiracy with Bush, Cheney, and Rice. Why isn’t there drilling in Alaska, off shore California, Florida. Why has the media produced such negative coverage of Mr. Bush, according the Media Research Council, 79% this year, 76% last year, 72% the year before, whereas the worst coverage during the Clinton Administration was 56%, during the Lewinsky scandal. This conspiracy falls apart pretty quickly when you examine the parts.>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:32 am


Congress makes the laws here, the President enforces them In theory, maybe. In practice, Bush does pretty much whatever he wants. And if he breaks a law, he just changes it to immunize himself. What would the Christian “left” have Mr. Bush do? Jim Wallis has written many letters to the Bush admin. detailing exactly what some on the Christian “left” would have Mr. Bush do, with respect to national defense, spending priorities, the environment, etc. Mr. Bush doesn pretty much exactly the opposite on all counts. Should Mr. Bush follow Mr. Clinton’s example in carrying out his duties? If you mean “receiving oral sex from an intern in the Oval Office,” then no. If you mean things like “working to ensure that everyone has health insurance, working to protect the environment, building positive relationships with other countries, producing a budget surplus, etc.”, then yes.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:33 am


I’ll be here in the afternoon. I am recovering from an operation and the medications are screwing with my sleep schedule. Some would say my thinking, Ha!>



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Payshun

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:34 am


The problem on the right that I see is that they worship the bible over the living person of Christ. I tell you now the Christ is bigger than the 5,000 years of history, myth, allegory and parable located in the bible. He is much bigger. The word of God is in the pages of the bible but not the bible itself. There is a difference and for some odd reason conservatives fail to realize it. Oh yah I know why they need laws to justify their existence. They need structure w/o having a deeper relationship w/ the holy spirit. For all this talk of protecting americans (nationalism) he prophecied the doom of Jerusalum. Let me explain this. He prophecied the death and destruction of his own people at a time when they were in occupation. THe idea that God chooses one nation over another because they are more righteous than another is just silly. How many times has God destroyed a nation because of genocide or brought an even worse nation to humble a more pious one? (Think Babylon and Israel) The right has nothing to offer but fear and destruction. The left has nothing to offer but hope and blind faith. I am not sure which is worse but if I were to take a look at what the scriptures teach especially Hebrews, the Prophets, Pentatauch, and the Gospels I would say that faith and blind hope are better options. Case in point my ethnic group (black folks) believed in freedom for themselves for hundreds of years before freedom came. It did not come w/ them taking over the nation it came in the form of Christian men and women white and black working together to create a powerful mainly peaceful revoltution. THe modern American protestant Christianity has forgotten that. Heck I honestly believe that many never knew it. p>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:42 am


d4p: Mr. Clinton accomplished none of those things. Besides, who is going to pay for universal health care? Who is going to pay for fixing Social Security? Mr. Clinton’s budget surpluses was Mr. Gingrich’s accomplishment, right? If Mr. Clinton cared so much for the little guy, then why did he do nothing when the economy was going into a dive in 2000? The downturn started in March 1999 and continued downward until it was termed a “recession” in 2001. I won’t go into Rwanda, AIDS, Sudan, ect…Mr. Clinton was real good on talking about what he wanted to do, the problem was he just never got around to doing anything concrete. When is Mr. Bush going to get credit for his work on AIDS in Africa?>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:44 am


Payshun: How do you know the mind of God outside the word of God?>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:50 am


Payshun: The only way we can know God is by what he has revealed through the inspired writers of the Scriptures. The Old Testament has revealed how he dealt with the people during the Patriarchical(or Abrahamic) period and the Mosaic period. The New Testament reveals that He has spoken to us through His Son and the Apostles.>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:51 am


Well, I’m not here to defend Clinton, but Bush has something Clinton didn’t (i.e. a House and Senate of controlled by his party). I don’t really care about Clinton one way or another, but at the very least, he can admit mistakes, which is something Bush seems pathologically incapable of.>



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Payshun

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:01 am


Great question. Thru feeding a homeless family tonite during my lunch break. My father’s spirit led a family to me w/ no prompting. That was outside of my the bible and it’s limited history. One can meet and does meet God as one chooses into deeper intimacy w/ the Holy Spirit. The bible is the gate and for parts of it deeper intimacy is seen ie the Prophets, Gospels and a few others. But by and large what one notices in the bible is the same man made destructive tendencies that are plaguing us now. That’s not God. In the old testament there were schools of the prophetic that taught people to use the law of moses and their own personal experience to love and redeem their people. By and large the personal experience stuff is fairly weak in the united states. I learned that from reading the Christian mystics. They taught me that there is a depth of intimacy that people in the bible lived. They got their starts in the bible but learned that relationship had to be lived outside of rigorous bible study. Extensive Bible study serves gnosticism, or knowledge while faith serves love and practice. One can see this most clearly in the persecuted church. Many don’t have a full bible let alone a whole book but they live out what is in its pages radically. The bible was the starting place and blueprint for their faith but it did not end there. They had to let the HOly Spirit live it out thru them. They (holy Spirit and people) had to live it out and apply it to their cultural systems, all the while letting the spirit create new people thru suffering. They are tortured, beaten, w/ broken legs, while their kids are being killed in front of them… all for the sake of the gospel. Yet some Christians here in the states feel like they are getting persecuted because of activist judges. That’s sad. We must choose into the harder path. We must choose into suffering but neither side is really ready for that. We have become a lazy people afraid that we will have to sacrifice those we love and the things we own (as if we really own anything anyway.) The truth is we should be suffering by choosing into loving our enemy. We should be suffering by taking care of the poor and infirmed but no you folks on the right say no everyone has to work. You folks on the left like to feel comfortable. God is not about comfort or making our lives easier as a matter of fact he promises hardship for those that are committed to following him. My goodness we have all forgotten that one. p>



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Payshun

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:06 am


No God reveals himself outside of the scriptures all the time. paul even alludes to this. Did Abraham have the scriptures to know God? Nope, Did Ezekiel rely solely on the law of moses to know God? Did any of the prophets rely on those things at the expense of their experience? The answer is no. God told Isaiah to walk around naked for years, Ezekiel ate bread cooked over feces… The point is they started out w/ the revelation of the divine law but they chose to obey his radical commandment even when those things ie the law was not always readily available. The same thing is true for the new testament. Did Paul have the total bilbe compiled to write what he wrote? Nope, did peter? Nope… The point is the Spirit reveals himself and doesn’t need the bible to do that but he chooses to do it. So many can’t read and yet they are given visions of the risen Christ and come to faith thru that. What’s so hard to understand about the infinite ways the spirit will use anything to point to salvation thru Jesus? p>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:16 am


Payshun: I hope you don’t mind but I am going to copy this for further study. This makes a whole lot of sense to me. Jesus said to “strive to enter the narrow way, because the broad way leads to destruction.” I have always believed that we live in country that was prosperous beyond measure and that life was getting too easy. My grandmother just died a couple of years ago, she was born in 1898 and died in 2002. She said that we live a land of to much milk and honey and that we have become “fat and lazy” in the spirit and that the danger to our souls lies in the easy way of living that we have become accustomed too.>



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Arxland

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:18 am


I am getting ready to sign off. My email address is arxland@hotmail.com. I would like to continue this conversation tomorrow or the next day when you have time. Thanks!>



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William Taylor Sr

posted September 30, 2006 at 2:14 pm


Their need to be a biblical clarification of a true Christian since this title is so loosely used these days by, Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, Conservatives, Liberals, Modernists, progressives, Masons, Shriners, New Age (Christ conscience), 7th Day Adventists, Sinners, you name it. According to the Holy Scriptures there is only one voice that speaks the truth about Christianity, Jesus Christ the Messiah. All true followers (disciples) of Jesus speak the same thing he does. All other voices that proclaim to speak for Christianity are either another gospel, another Jesus, or another spirit. Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If I may use the words of Adam Clarke commentary on this verse: I am the Way – That leads so the Father: – the Truth that teaches the knowledge of God, and directs in the way: – the Life that animates all those who seek and serve him, and which is to be enjoyed eternally at the end of the way. Christ is the Way: 1. By his doctrine, John_6:68. 2. By his example, Peter_2:21. 3. By his sacrifice, Heb_9:8, Heb_9:9. 4. By his Spirit, John_16:13. He is the Truth: 1. In opposition to all false religions. 2. To the Mosaic law, which was only the shadow, not the truth or substance, of the good things which were to come. And 3. In respect to all the promises of God, 2Co_1:20. He is the Life, both in grace and glory; the life that not only saves from death, but also destroys it. No man cometh unto the Father – By any other doctrine, by any other merit, or by any other intercession than mine. Which brings me to my point and main comment: Who are “true Christians”? Many who are said to be Christians or call themselves Christians, or answer to the name of Christians are not truly Christians? Lets look to the Holy Scriptures for this most important answer for the Word of God has the answer to every question. The Word of God says: 2Timothy 3:16-17: All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2Peter 1:20-21: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The first mention of Christian in the scriptures is found in Acts 11:26; and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. In the original Greek it is: Christianos; that is follower of Christ: a disciple (pupil). In order to follow Jesus Christ in His Kingdom a person MUST be born-again. Jesus said except a man is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Being born again is a supernatural act performed by the Spirit of God. This takes place when a person submits to the drawing of the Holy Spirit, repent (turn from sin) and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ confess it with there mouth believe it in their heart, begin to rely on, trust in and have faith in the Lord God from then on. This born-again Christian now relies on the Holy Spirit to teach and guide him/her in all truth as they begin to renounce self-dependence, and selfish pursuits; they deny themselves for the Gospel sake. They actually imitate Christ, being transformed to his image in word and deeds. Jesus declared that those who do the will of His Father, which is in heaven, are His. Mark 8:34: And when he had called the people unto Him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Luke 9:23: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 14:27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. The truly born-again Christians follows Jesus who said: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. We live by the laws of God kingdom not this earthly kingdom. We love our enemy even to our own detriment even death. We love our brothers (these are those who do the will of the Father); we love our neighbors (who ever they may be). We bless them which persecute us, we bless and curse not, we recompense to no man evil for evil, we provide things honest in the sight of all men, we avenge not ourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, if our enemy hunger we feed him; if he thirst we give him drink, we overcome evil with good. (Note: the above does not neglect the commands from scripture to reprove, rebuke and expose sin and wickedness all in love of truth for the saving of souls: Luke 17:3, 1 Timothy 5:20, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:13, and 2 Timothy 2:15). True Christians look for a city, which hath foundations, whose builder, and maker is God. Now being fully persuaded to be a doer of the word of God by literally doing what Jesus said do. There are many that confess to be Christians throughout history and even down to the present day that engaged in bloody wars of conquest, slavery, the Holocaust and cruel exploitation of the poor. The truth is they are not followers of the Jesus Christ of the Holy Scriptures. They are not true Christians they are hypocrites (pretenders) whom Jesus refers to in Matthew 7:21-23: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? This earthly kingdom is not ours the same as it was not our Lord Jesus Christ when He walked this earth. Jesus utmost concerns were not political and economical issues during His ministry here on earth and shouldn’t be ours either. His concern was His everlasting kingdom being established and manifested to his subjects now whereby we may by His grace and tender mercies serve Him here and forevermore. Our duty is to pray for those in authority of this earthly kingdom regardless of who they are: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. The Sovereign God gives kingdoms to even the abase of men for His Sovereign purpose. The Holy Scriptures declare that God is the origin of power, and the supreme Governor of the universe, he delegates authority to whomsoever he will; and though in many cases the governor himself may not be of God. We that are “truly” born-again are to take up our cross daily fulfill the great commission. Preach the gospel in order that some men would repent, believe and be saved from an eternal hellfire. Be a doer of the WORDS of Jesus looking for and awaiting the new heaven and new earth. As we go forth we always keep in mind that the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God. We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; Beware of those who claim to be Christians but follow another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel as the Apostle Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians11: 4. By, William Taylor Sr. Bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ http://www.actioncross.net>



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Gordon

posted September 30, 2006 at 2:55 pm


hmmm – Payshun. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Bible study equated with Gnosticism. Seems to me you’re calling black white.>



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Michael Hayes

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:03 pm


Thanks to Jim Wallis and Sojourners and the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders who joined in the drafting of “Words, Not War, With Iran”. Thatks for this opportunity for bipartisanhip. May we “change the wind”, together, left and right. I think the paragraph relating the negotiations with Iran and resolution of Iraq is excellent: “U.S. negotiations with Iran could also help resolve the crisis in Iraq. The U.S. should seek Iran s support for international efforts to rebuild and stabilize Iraq, in conjunction with an orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops, the removal of foreign military bases, and the renouncing of any proprietary American claims on Iraqi oil and reconstruction contracts.” May persons in the US who saw the error in the decision to invade Iraq right from the outset and who have the confidence of US citizens find ways to support this inter-faith appeal. I wish that Colin Powell were still part of the US government, or that he would decide to offer his services again… left and right would have confidence in him. Keep up the good work!>



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HuckFinn

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:49 pm


Justintime: Hamas and Al Fatah oppose Israel’s occupation and the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people. They oppose Israel’s existence. As soon as Israel pulled out of Gaza, Hamas started launching rockets. Al Qaeda opposes the feudalistic Saud regime in Saudi Arabia. Yeah, they’d prefer a Taliban. Some liberators! Hezbollah opposed Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon and succeeded in driving Israel out of outhern Lebanon. Their success has inspired them to attack Israel directly, which is considered a foreign occupation as well. You think Hezbollah cares about the Palestinians? Their original enemy was the PLO, not Israel. It’s important to understand that terrorism is inspired by foreign occupation of Islamic countries and the resultant social injustice. This is the key to defeating terrorism. Check out: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011008/hitchens20010924 Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is not a madman. Nah, he just denies the holocaust and wants to purge the Middle East of Jews and other infidels.>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:09 pm


D4P wrote: My point is not that “The president of the US should govern according to Christian principles.” My point is that “If the president is going to claim to be a Christian and claim to be doing the will of God, then s/he should govern according to Christian principles.” So I take it that “warmongering”, as you put it, is perfectly okay as long as the President doesn’t claim Biblical support? Okay, so all we gotta do is get ourselves an atheist and have him just bomb the crap out of anyone who looks at us funny. Problem solved. Wolverine>



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Wolverine

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:16 pm


I think that Payshun was referring to Gnosis (Greek for “Knowledge) rather than Gnosticism.>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:52 pm


So I take it that “warmongering”, as you put it, is perfectly okay as long as the President doesn’t claim Biblical support? Would it be great if a non-Christian president would govern according to Christian principles? Sure, but I wouldn’t expect it. As we’ve seen, it’s hard enough for a “Christian” president to do so…>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 6:41 pm


Good morning Huck, Yes, public statements from leaders of terrorist organizations and even some leaders of Middle Eastern nations tend to be just a bit overblown and emotional. At times they have all said they oppose Israel’s existence. But this is the rhetoric of a vastly overwhelmed and abused culture. This rhetoric doesn’t mean they wouldn’t accept a fairly negotiated peace settlement. Ordinary Palestinians are tired of war and injustice. Their great misfortune has been their corrupt leadership. I’m thinking of Arafat. George Marshall, for whom the WWII reconstruction plan was named, warned the Western powers that carving out a Jewish homeland in Palestine would prove to be a great mistake. He said, ” Why should we make enemies in the Middle East?.” Marshall pushed for a homeland for European survivors of the holocaust in Eastern Europe. He lost on this but he was right, I think. There has been so much eye for eye, tooth for tooth, oppression and bad faith negotiation over the Palestinian problem that Israel and the Palestinian leadership will never be able to resolve their differences between themselves. They will need the intervention and honest brokerage from the outside world to achieve peace. The road to Peace on Earth goes right through Jerusalem. And in my opinion, at this time, the biggest obstacles are the Bush administration and the Israel lobby. I read the Christopher Hitchens piece in the Nation that you recommended. It’s dated September 4, 2001, so it’s a bit old and full of opinions that I think Hitchens himself would not agree with now, in light of recent developments. Hitchen’s main points in this rather disjointed essay are that Islamic terrorists are really really bad and that the bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant was a Clinton “wag the dog” operationNo one would disagree with his first point but his “wag the dog” claim has been thoroughly discredited by Richard Clarke in his book “Against All Enemies”. I consider Clarke the most reliable source when it comes to the history of America’s responses to terrorism, since he’s an intelligence professional who was actually inside the White House during the Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2 administrations. Certainly Clarke is more reliable than Hitchens on terrorism. Although Hitchens is a clever wordsmith and a bit of a gadfly, his alcoholism impairs his judgement when it comes to world politics. I read Hitchens’ The Trial of Henry Kissinger, in which he accuses Kissinger of war crimes in Indonesia. Interesting book and worth a read. On the subject of Jewish – Muslim relations, did you know that Islam’s tolerance of Jews over the centuries was far more consistent than Christendom’s. The establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine marks the beginning of the present intractible hostilities. Even in Saddam’s Iraq, Jewish communities were tolerated. Not any more. .>



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Anonymous

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:34 pm


Justintime: Yes, public statements from leaders of terrorist organizations and even some leaders of Middle Eastern nations tend to be just a bit overblown and emotional. At times they have all said they oppose Israel’s existence. But this is the rhetoric of a vastly overwhelmed and abused culture. This rhetoric doesn’t mean they wouldn’t accept a fairly negotiated peace settlement. Ordinary Palestinians are tired of war and injustice. Their great misfortune has been their corrupt leadership. I’m thinking of Arafat. Their actions (indiscriminate suicide bombings, rocket attacks, etc.) have been very consistent with their rhetoric. Most recently, Hamas has refused to join a coalition government that renounces terror and recognizes Israel. Of course, all this has nothing to do with Iran, which couldn’t care less about the Palestinians. Hitchen’s main points in this rather disjointed essay are that Islamic terrorists are really really bad Would you agree that their stated ends are as wicked as their means? I read Hitchens’ The Trial of Henry Kissinger, in which he accuses Kissinger of war crimes in Indonesia. Interesting book and worth a read. Not just Indonesia, but Indochina and Cypress as well. On the subject of Jewish – Muslim relations, did you know that Islam’s tolerance of Jews over the centuries was far more consistent than Christendom’s. Wouldn’t you say the situation has reversed in recent centuries? The establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine marks the beginning of the present intractible hostilities. Should Israel be eradicated? Even in Saddam’s Iraq, Jewish communities were tolerated. As you’ve noted, Saddam was no Islamic purist.>



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Joseph

posted September 30, 2006 at 7:43 pm


Below is a column I wrote for my local paper.It pertains directly to this issue. Thanks to Seymour Hersch we have been warned about the campaign to attack Iran. With uncanny parrallels to the Iraq invasion, we have been hearing a lot of reasons why we should be terrified by the idea of a nuclear Iran. Perhaps if we were leading the way toward international nuclear disarmament, and if we had not compared Iran to Fascist Japan, we would have a credible voice. While fully aware of the dangerous ideas voiced by some Iranian leaders, there are many, including many Military leaders and foreign policy leaders who think the military options are the worst possible approach to the discord between Iran and the U.S. Many Americans don t understand why there is so much anger between the U.S. and Iran. One reason our citizens don t understand is the failure of American media to provide a full honest history of our dealings there, which begins most dramatically after WW2 The Iranian people were energized by national pride and democratic ideas and wanted to use their electoral power to get greater social justice. They elected Mossadegh, a respected reformer who promised to nationalize the country s oil. He was jailed in a CIA engineered coup and replaced by an expatriate monarch, the Shah, who brutally repressed, jailed, killed and tortured the dissident remnants of the pro democracy movement and set up sweetheart oil deals with U.S. Oil companies. This created a divided attitude toward America in Iran, those benefitting from the Shah s regime and American business, and those who saw the better side of our culture liked us. But a far greater number, especially those who suffered under the Shah and those who saw their own national identity and aspirations made to serve America s appetite for cheap oil and subservient leaders came to despise our polices and even our culture and people. Religious leaders of a jihadist bent were able to mobilize a revolution against the Shah. Considering what they endured, their anti-americanism was mostly symbolic flag-burning etc., while the actual treatment of the famous hostages was mild, particularly compared with our treatment of captives in Abhu Graibh or Guantanamo. In the end they negotiated. Unfortunately, the religious leaders themselves became harsh oppressors, and while keeping a semblance of democratic process have held onto power far beyond any continuing popular mandate. So far American violence and intervention in the region has only enhanced the cleric s power. But Iran has a cultural heritage as rich and diverse as has ever existed . The Iranian people are already chafing for an open society, and with time, negotiation and stability it will find its ancient Persian roots, escape the control of the fundamentalists, and flourish. Instead of pursuing the neo-cons crazy idea of democracy through aerial bombardment, let s talk to them. I first became interested in medieval Persian culture when I made some stained glass windows for a charming and generous Iranian family in California. I followed the interest over the years and last year I found a painting by Bezhad, the greatest Iranian miniaturist. A painting which continues to touch my deepest hopes. It is a painting of men working on an earthen building with ladders, mud bricks, ropes and ingenuity. But the greatest ingredient is friendship. There are African men, pale round faced orientals, brown skinned bearded Arabs, strong redheads with fair skin and at least one of such delicate features and form that it may be a young woman disguised in their midst. All are working hard , but the atmosphere is comradely, respectful. There are all the faces of humanity here and on them both sweat and smiles. This, my friends, is the only possible future for a nuclear world. It is time to learn that. Joseph T , Vermont I would like to add some information to the article above and to this debate. Right now under current law the Iranians are doing nothing wrong as regards nuclear power. They have signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty which allows them to develop nuclear power.So far no signatories to this treaty have illicitly built nuclear weapons. There is no credible evidence that they are trying to build weapons. Their leading clerics, who hold far more power the president oppose neclear weapons and consider them innately sinful. The anti-semitic rhetoric of the president is foolish and dangerous but it is not all that different from America’s anti-Islamic rhetoric or the Christian Right’s denial of the ugly aspects of American history or European protestant colonial mass killing.We all have along way to go toward interfaith and intercultural dialogue, and joining the fear mongering surrounding Iran is not helping . The comparisons to the appeasement of Germany are not appropriate. Germany had invaded Chekoslovakia. Iran has done nothing of the kind. I am not saying there is no repression or violence there, but we are in no moral position to judge them considering our own history and current international defiance of the U.N. charter and Geneva Conventions, the breaking of our own arms treaties , and unlawful arrest and detention of thousands without legal proceedings. Joseph>



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Joseph

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:04 pm


Where do “negotiations” leave us then. And if they fail, and Iran develops a nuclear bomb, what do we do? Let them use it? kevin s. | Several countries have developed nuclear weapons and only one has used them. The United States of America. Israel has developed a large nuclear arsenal in defiance of international law, and has shown little restraint in attacking civilian populations.Would you apply your reasoning to Israel? Iran is not a suicidal or even historically a particularly warlike culture. They have not attacked anyone for something like 200 years. Your fears are not founded on facts and are a poor basis for promoting massive violence.>



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HuckFinn

posted September 30, 2006 at 8:23 pm


Joseph, Unlike Iraq, Iran has proven and long standing ties to international terrorist groups. It’s also much more of a hotbed of Islamic extremism. There’s a reason that even “doves” such as Wallis believe that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. Having said that, let me state that I think a “pre-emptive” strike on Iran anytime soon would be disatrous. We should first exhaust all diplomatic efforts, starting with a pledge to forego “regime change” in Iran if it complies with IAEA demands.>



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Anonymous

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:47 pm


Unlike Iraq, Iran has proven and long standing ties to international terrorist groups. HuckFinn HuckFinn’ America also has proven ties to international terrorism, we provided weapons to Iraq under Saddam in their war of aggresion against Iran. We funded the Sandinistas in their violence against the citizens of an elected government, we aided a coup aginst the elected president of Chile and supported the dictator who came to power as he murdered tens of thousands of Chileans. A pledge to forgo regime change is not diplomacy; it is a threat of mass violence. What is your evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons? I fully support Jim’s efforts to promote Words not War. This idea is cntral to Jesus message. I oppose all nuclear weapons. They should all be disarmed and dismantled. I believe the heart of what Jesus brought to humanity is an example of how to confront religious and political fearmongering with nonviolence, sharing community, and the liberating power of fearless love. He taught his followers to see God as loving Father, he taught that happiness was to be found in peacemaking, mercy, the pursuit of justice, giving, that prayer was to be personal and humble. He taught them to put down the sword and take up the message of good news for all. When I was young, and a new believer, the Christian fundamentalist community was ready to go to war with Russia, and Communism was the great Satanic stronghold and all prophecies pointed to an apocalyptic battle between The U.S.(an entity which is very hard to locate in the Bible)and Israel on one hand and Russia (Magog , Gog , I dont’ remember) on the other. Now it is Islam or terrorism, or Gay people which are the objects of holy war. I no longer accept the idea that Jesus was a messenger of apocalyse. I believe he was a messeger of spiritual transformation through fearless love. For those of you who claim to believe the Bible and wait for the apocalyptic end of the world and the literal return of Christ, why in the world would you need armies and nuclear weapons and spies and torture if God almighty is your defender and the source of your power and freedom?>



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D4P

posted September 30, 2006 at 10:01 pm


why in the world would you need armies and nuclear weapons and spies and torture if God almighty is your defender and the source of your power and freedom? Because they ultimately don’t trust God to protect them, and feel like they must take protection into their own hands.>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 10:22 pm


Huck says, 1. Of course, all this has nothing to do with Iran, which couldn’t care less about the Palestinians. 2. Would you agree that their stated ends are as wicked as their means? 3. Should Israel be eradicated? 4. Having said that, let me state that I think a “pre-emptive” strike on Iran anytime soon would be disatrous. We should first exhaust all diplomatic efforts, starting with a pledge to forego “regime change” in Iran if it complies with IAEA demands. 1. I think Iran does care about Palestine. 2. Terrorists have driven themselves insane with religious hatred and are really really bad and extremely dangerous too. 3. Are you kidding me, Huck? 4. So Huck, did you sign the Words Not War petition? .>



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justintime

posted September 30, 2006 at 10:33 pm


Joseph, I like your piece on Iran. And Thom Hartmann is my favorite progressive talker. Will Bernie Sanders win a Senate seat? .>



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Michael Hayes

posted October 1, 2006 at 1:57 am


Joseph said: “Many Americans don t understand why there is so much anger between the U.S. and Iran. One reason our citizens don t understand is the failure of American media to provide a full honest history of our dealings there, which begins most dramatically after WW2 The Iranian people were energized by national pride and democratic ideas and wanted to use their electoral power to get greater social justice. They elected Mossadegh, a respected reformer who promised to nationalize the country s oil. He was jailed in a CIA engineered coup and replaced by an expatriate monarch, the Shah, who brutally repressed, jailed, killed and tortured the dissident remnants of the pro democracy movement and set up sweetheart oil deals with U.S. Oil companies. This created a divided attitude toward America in Iran, those benefitting from the Shah s regime and American business, and those who saw the better side of our culture liked us. But a far greater number, especially those who suffered under the Shah and those who saw their own national identity and aspirations made to serve America s appetite for cheap oil and subservient leaders came to despise our polices and even our culture and people.” Joseph, I admit I’m not familiar with this. Do you have a reference for this aspect of US involvement in Iran? Thanks, Mike>



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Payshun

posted October 1, 2006 at 2:55 am


No I am saying that studying the bible to gain merely knowledge is gnostic. The bible (being a part of the divine word aka Jesus) should be a book that connects you w/ the holy spirit not merely something you quote to win an argument or appear like you or anyone has knowledge. We weaken our relationship w/ Jesus when we think we actually know something. It’s like we equate knowing w/ faith and they are not the same thing at all. The current problem w/ how bible study is pitched depends largely on the mind. It ultimately reinforces this western division between the head and heart. If you study the people in the bible they did not have that division instead they were whole, heart, mind body and soul. We have much to learn if we have any hope of bringing the bible back to life again. p>



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justintime

posted October 1, 2006 at 3:01 am


Mike, check out Karen Armstrong’s excellent book, The Battle for God. She has a few chapters on Iran’s early experiences with America, up to about 2000. Armstrong covers the period Joseph wrote about. The book has footnotes and reliable references, if you want to dig deeper into this sorry chapter in America’s history. .>



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justintime

posted October 1, 2006 at 3:05 am


Payshun says, It’s like we equate knowing w/ faith and they are not the same thing at all. The Greeks would say logos and mythos, right? .>



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Michael Hayes

posted October 1, 2006 at 4:45 am


Justintime, Thanks for the information about “The Battle for God” by Karen Armstrong. Judith Miller did make a very brief mention of the 1953 intervention by the CIA in the chapter about Iran in “God Has Ninety nine Names”.>



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Anonymous

posted October 1, 2006 at 6:00 am


Mike Hayes Thank you for asking. The story of the 1953 CIA coup against Mohammed Mossadegh has been publicly alleged for several decades by ex CIA people and progressive historians but as far as I know it was fully documented through freedom of information act CIA documents recently. on aprl 16 2000 the New York Times pubished the official history with CIA docments with some names deleted. Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer wrote a book about it called All the Shah’s Men. I have heard him and others give oral accounts of his findings. A more recent book is Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran Edited by Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne ( American university historians) Searches under “Mossadegh” or Iran History , or Iran Coup should turn up more leads for confirmation. The basic facts that I described are based on well established and broadly accepted historical research.What is fundamental in what I am saying is that we have gotten a very one-sided view of Iran from a media which seems to consider it unprofitable and unpatriotic to look into the darker side of U.S. history. We must be accountable to our own ideals.>



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Anonymous

posted October 1, 2006 at 6:02 am


Sorry that last anonymous addressed to Mike Hayes was Myself. I am used to a format that automatically signs my name. Joseph>



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Michael Hayes

posted October 1, 2006 at 3:17 pm


Jpseph and Justintime, I think a very high percentage of citizens value accurate information, and thanks for that. I also think a relevant consideration is the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, and the follow-up “report card” that identifies some failures by the congress and the administration. To me, the failure to fund the secular schools to diminish the effect of the Madrassas on the poor youth of the countries in which the Madrassas function so freely is significant. I would guess that the hatred of the west that is being taught there is in part attributable to the resentment of western efforts over decades to prop up governments in the region, including the instance you mention in Iran. And hatred of the west is probably fueled by the shortcomings of foreign policy over several administrations which have produced resentment among Muslim countries that the west and the US in particular is sympathetic to interests of Israel, to the detriment of Palestine and other Muslim areas in the Middle East. Funding the International Youth Opportunity Fund would be one way to “attack terrorism at its roots”, in addition to the extensive and costly efforts to improve the safety of our transportation and shipping systems. There also were recommendations for foreign policy changes that have not yet been followed. The fault lies with the congress and the administration, and we all could make some effort to periodically follow up to our representatives in congress to urge their consideration of those incomplete tasks. I think bipartisanship by our elected representatives encourages all of us to have greater confidence in what our government is doing. I know I was greatly encouraged by the work product of the 9/11 commission and the follow-up report “Withour Precedent” in which the co-comissioners described how successful all the comissioners had been in sticking to the facts and in reaching consensus. It was not easy. Thanks again for the source information.>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 1, 2006 at 7:11 pm


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax is a link to a concise summary of the 1953 CIA operation in Iran known as Operation Ajax. This Wikipedia article (yes, anyone and everyone can alter the content) also mentions that: “Operation Ajax was the first time the Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a plot to overthrow a democratically-elected government. The success of this operation, and its relatively low cost, encouraged the CIA to successfully carry out a similar operation in Guatemala a year later.”>



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justintime

posted October 1, 2006 at 7:25 pm


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks for himself Posted Sunday, Sep. 17, 2006 TIME: What were your impressions of New York during your visit to the U.S. last year? Ahmadinejad: Unfortunately we didn’t have any contact with the people of the United States. We were not in touch with the people. But my general impression is that the people of the United States are good people. Everywhere in the world, people are good. TIME: Did you visit the site of the World Trade Center? Ahmadinejad: It was not necessary. It was widely covered in the media. TIME: You recently invited President Bush to a televised debate. If he were sitting where I am sitting, what would you say, man to man? Ahmadinejad: The issues which are of interest to us are the international issues and how to manage them. I gave some recommendations to President Bush in my personal letter, and I hope that he will take note of them. I would ask him, Are rationalism, spirituality and humanitarianism and logic – are they bad things for human beings? Why more conflict? Why should we go for hostilities? Why should we develop weapons of mass destruction? Everybody can love one another. TIME: Do you feel any connection with President Bush, since he is also a religious man, a strong Christian? Ahmadinejad: I’ve heard about that. But there are many things which take place and are inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ in this world. TIME: Why do your supporters chant “Death to America”? Ahmadinejad: When they chanted that slogan, it means they hate aggression, and they hate bullying tactics, and they hate violations of the rights of nations and discrimination. I recommended to President Bush that he can change his behavior, then everything will change. TIME: How do you think the American people feel when they hear Iranians shouting “Death to America” and the President of Iran does not criticize this? Ahmadinejad: The nations do not have any problems. What is the role of the American people in what is happening in the world? The people of the United States are also seeking peace, love, friendship and justice. TIME: But if Americans shouted “Death to Iran,” Iranians would feel insulted. Ahmadinejad: If the government of Iran acted in such a way, then [the American people] have this right. TIME: Are America and Iran fated to be in conflict? Ahmadinejad: No, this is not fate. And this can come to an end. I have said we can run the world through logic. We are living our own lives. The U.S. government should not interfere in our affairs. They should live their own lives. They should serve the interests of the U.S. people. They should not interfere in our affairs. Then there would be no problems with that. TIME: Are you ready to open direct negotiations with the U.S.? Ahmadinejad: We have given them a letter, a lengthy letter. We say the U.S. Administration should change its behavior, and then everything will be solved. It was the U.S. which broke up relations with us. We didn’t take that position. And then they should make up for it. TIME: Does Iran have the right to nuclear weapons? Ahmadinejad: We are opposed to nuclear weapons. We think it has been developed just to kill human beings. It is not in the service of human beings. For that reason, last year in my address to the U.N. General Assembly, I suggested that a committee should be set up in order to disarm all the countries that possess nuclear weapons. continued in the next post… .>



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justintime

posted October 1, 2006 at 7:29 pm


Ahmadinejad speaks for himself, continued TIME: But you were attacked with weapons of mass destruction by Iraq. You say the u.s. threatens you, and you are surrounded by countries that have nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad: Today nuclear weapons are a blunt instrument. We don’t have any problems with Pakistan or India. Actually they are friends of Iran, and throughout history they have been friends. The Zionist regime is not capable of using nuclear weapons. Problems cannot be solved through bombs. Bombs are of little use today. We need logic. TIME: Why won’t you agree to suspend enrichment of uranium as a confidence-building measure? Ahmadinejad: Whose confidence should be built? TIME: The world’s? Ahmadinejad: The world? The world? Who is the world? The United States? The U.S. Administration is not the entire world. Europe does not account for one-twentieth of the entire world. When I studied the provisions of the npt [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty], nowhere did I see it written that in order to produce nuclear fuel, we need to win the support or the confidence of the United States and some European countries. TIME: How far will Iran go in defying Western demands? Will you wait until you are attacked and your nuclear installations are destroyed? Ahmadinejad: Do you think the u.s. administration would be so irrational? TIME: You tell me. Ahmadinejad: I hope that is not the case. I said that we need logic. We do not need attacks. TIME: Are you worried about an attack? Ahmadinejad: No. TIME: You have been quoted as saying Israel should be wiped off the map. Was that merely rhetoric, or do you mean it? Ahmadinejad: People in the world are free to think the way they wish. We do not insist they should change their views. Our position toward the Palestinian question is clear: we say that a nation has been displaced from its own land. Palestinian people are killed in their own lands, by those who are not original inhabitants, and they have come from far areas of the world and have occupied those homes. Our suggestion is that the 5 million Palestinian refugees come back to their homes, and then the entire people on those lands hold a referendum and choose their own system of government. This is a democratic and popular way. Do you have any other suggestions? TIME: Do you believe the Jewish people have a right to their own state? Ahmadinejad: We do not oppose it. In any country in which the people are ready to vote for the Jews to come to power, it is up to them. In our country, the Jews are living and they are represented in our Parliament. But Zionists are different from Jews. TIME: Have you considered that Iranian Jews are hurt by your comments denying that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust? Ahmadinejad: As to the Holocaust, I just raised a few questions. And I didn’t receive any answers to my questions. I said that during World War II, around 60 million were killed. All were human beings and had their own dignities. Why only 6 million? And if it had happened, then it is a historical event. Then why do they not allow independent research? TIME: But massive research has been done. Ahmadinejad: They put in prison those who try to do research. About historical events everybody should be free to conduct research. Let’s assume that it has taken place. Where did it take place? So what is the fault of the Palestinian people? These questions are quite clear. We are waiting for answers. Do these words sound like a madman speaking? Do you really think Iranian President Ahmadinejad is a madman? .>



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D4P

posted October 1, 2006 at 8:26 pm


People like Ahmadinejad are dismissed as “madmen” so that we don’t have to actually evaluate his words on their merits. Among other things, this helps us avoid the embarrassing and unsettling truth that he and others like him are actually rational human beings who are more intelligent than many of our own leaders and who have a better grasp of world events than we do. Even the leader of Iran can see that the inconsistencies between Bush’s actions and the teachings of Christ.>



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justintime

posted October 1, 2006 at 9:37 pm


Muslims know more about Christ than we know about the prophet Muhammad. Christ is in the Koran. Bush has three of the planet’s religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – engaged in his so called “War on Terror”. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are branches of the same tree. Both Christianity and Islam build on the root of Judaism. The Jewish holy books don’t mention Christianity or Islam. The Christian Bible contains the Jewish books of the Old Testament but doesn’t mention Islam. And the newest, Islam, recognizes both Judaism and Christianity in its teachings. Scholars can follow the root of Judaism even further back in time to the ancient religion of Persia – Zoroastrianism. Can you set aside theological disputes and the history of mankind’s political follies on the planet and see that we all worship the same God? .>



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Gordon

posted October 1, 2006 at 9:54 pm


So Ahmadinajab has an interview with Time, and obfuscates his earlier strident threats of violence against Israel and his earlier denial of the Holocaust, and pretends to be some sort of statesman. Why should we believe him? Or should we believe his earlier pronouncements, which I would characterize as insane rantings? I am familiar with the sordid history of the CIA-sponsored ovethrow of the Iranian government in the 50s. But I don’t think it explains or justifies Iran’s current outlook on the U.S. and the world.>



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justintime

posted October 1, 2006 at 11:04 pm


Gordon, It’s Ahmadinejad, not Ahmadinajab. Your little Freudian slip on purpose shows you tuned out of Ahmadinejad’s message without thinking much about it. Do you have any actual quotes of “earlier strident threats of violence against Israel”? We’ll compare them. Do you think he could’ve been protesting Israel’s disproportionate destruction of Lebanon over 2 captured Israeli soldiers? I was really outraged over Israel’s destruction of Lebanon. Here’s the part of the interview I didn’t like: TIME: Have you considered that Iranian Jews are hurt by your comments denying that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust? Ahmadinejad: As to the Holocaust, I just raised a few questions. And I didn’t receive any answers to my questions. I said that during World War II, around 60 million were killed. All were human beings and had their own dignities. Why only 6 million? And if it had happened, then it is a historical event. Then why do they not allow independent research? TIME: But massive research has been done. Ahmadinejad: They put in prison those who try to do research. About historical events everybody should be free to conduct research. Let’s assume that it has taken place. Where did it take place? So what is the fault of the Palestinian people? These questions are quite clear. We are waiting for answers. What’s that all about? Sounds like he needs to do some research and find out the truth about the holocaust. No one has been put in prison for researching the holocaust, to my knowledge. Like you, I’m puzzled about his apparent denial of the holocaust, but he’s not alone, this is a viscious lie circulated worldwide by haters of Jews. Even American citizens deny the holocaust. Gordon says, I am familiar with the sordid history of the CIA-sponsored ovethrow of the Iranian government in the 50s. But I don’t think it explains or justifies Iran’s current outlook on the U.S. and the world. I disagree with you here, Gordon. Considering the history of Iran’s relationship with America, I think Iran has every right to view America and our foothold in the Middle East, Israel, with suspicion. Gordon, are you afraid of Iran? .>



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kevin s.

posted October 1, 2006 at 11:44 pm


Ahmadinejad speaks for himself: “Very soon, this stain of disgrace (Israel) will vanish from the center of the Islamic world – and this is attainable.” More “This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world.” For the record, Sojourner’s is not a pacifist organization (or claims not to be). This is why I asked the question of what we should do if faced with the possibility of an Iranian. If Sojourner’s answer is “well, we should let them have it, and do what they please with it because we dropped an atomic bomb on Japan in WW2.” Then that is hardly a moderate message that is going to unite the right and left. However, Sojo seems to think that Iran having nukes is a bad idea. So, given that it is a bad idea, what do we do if negotiations fail? If we do not back up our negotiations with military action, then how do we deal with these threats in the future? If the answer is consistently “let them have their bombs because military action is bad.” I’m afraid the pacifist label applies. If that is not the answer, I would love an explanation of when military action would be appropriate (from those who support the Sojo movement).>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 12:05 am


President Bush discusses terrorism in a speech on September 6, 2006 at the Capital Hilton Hotel. It starts out like this: THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you all. Please be seated. General Hendrix, thank you for the invitation to be here. Thanks for the kind introduction. I’m honored to stand with the men and women of the Military Officers Association of America. I appreciate the Board of Directors who are here, and the leaders who have given me this platform from which to speak. I’m proud to be here with active members of the United States military. Thank you for your service. I’m proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.) The reader’s digest version, with the unimportant parts edited out for clarity and conciseness, continues as follows: al Qaeda…terrorist allies…September the 11th, 2001…global y…Illinois …terrorists and their supporters…al Qaeda…weapons of mass destruction . . . terrorists…dangerous nuclear trading cartel…Iran…Libya…North Korea …nuclear weapons…terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction…terrorists…September the 11th…terror…terror…September the 11th, 2001…Afghanistan and Iraq…terrorist states…war on terror…weapons of mass destruction…nuclear materials…terrorist states…terrorist networks terror…(Applause.)…terrorist…Iraqi government…terrorists …taking control of Iraq…attack America …terrorists …terrorists new recruits…freedom across the Middle East. . . .Middle East . . . .freedom . . . terrorists . . . willing recruits…September the 11th…terrorists…death and destruction…September the 11th…Middle East…freedom and liberty and democracy…Middle East…Muslim…alQaeda…Taliban…Iraq…defeat the enemies of freedom …Iraq. .Iraq .. Muslims..Muslim terrorists . . conquer tyranny and terror . . Nazi Germany. . Soviet communism . . forces of darkness and tyranny. . Middle East. . extremism. . Middle East The full transcript of President Bush’s speech can be found at the White House website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060905-4.html This is not a madman speaking, this is our president. .>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 12:12 am


Kevin, Do you have links for your out of context quotes? .>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 12:17 am


Kevin, I haven’t seen a poster around here called Sojourner. But do you want anyone else to answer your hypothetical question? I would frame the question this way: What do we do when Bush’s fake negotiations “fail”? .>



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kevin s.

posted October 2, 2006 at 12:27 am


memri.org is a good resource. I quoted their translation, because this is what the “wiped off the map” comment was based, and some have denied that this is what he said, so I used the root text. They don’t look any better in context, trust me. Justintime said: “But do you want anyone else to answer your hypothetical question?” You don’t want to answer my question, you want to redefine it, and use it as a launching pad for another harangue. I would be interested to know what those who agree with Wallis and his mission think we can do to add substance to our negotiations.>



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D4P

posted October 2, 2006 at 12:46 am


I would be interested to know what those who agree with Wallis and his mission think we can do to add substance to our negotiations. Pray…? If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we are supposed to be able to “move mountains.”>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 1:10 am


Kevin says, I would be interested to know what those who agree with Wallis and his mission think we can do to add substance to our negotiations. Here’s my plan: Get George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and John Bolton to sit on the sidelines… while professional diplomats from the US, EU, Russia and China work it out with Iran’s diplomats. Sign a deal with Iran that has safeguards and consequences for violations. After this deal, the “Great Powers” need to get the Palestinians and the Israelis to sit on the sidelines… while the Great Powers fix the problems that weren’t addressed when the Great Power created Israel in the first place. If all this can be achieved, we might, just might, have Peace on Earth… for long enough to prevent the utter annihilation of life on Planet Earth. If we want peace we need to get warmongers out the negotiations and put in peacemakers. Otherwise war is guaranteed. And Planet Earth dies. .>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 1:16 am


Kevin says, memri.org is a good resource. I quoted their translation, because this is what the “wiped off the map” comment was based, and some have denied that this is what he said, so I used the root text. They don’t look any better in context, trust me. Why does my little voice say “Don’t trust this guy?”. .>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 2, 2006 at 1:18 am


My recollection is that “God’s Politics” challenges preemptive war because it violates the concept of “just war” that, up until now, has been relied upon to determine when war is acceptable, in response to aggression by another nation. The discussion also considered the nature of attacks upon civilian populations by terrorist groups, contrasted with invasions by nations, and recognized the possible need for adaptation of the traditional policy. As I read the “Words, Not War, With Iran” statement at, it is to “…urge that the U.S. engage in direct negotiations with Iran as an alternative to military action in resolving the crisis…”. It also says that “…In response to the real threat of Iran s nuclear ambitions, strategic combinations of pressures and incentives must be seriously and persistently tried, beginning with direct negotiations…”. This caution about Iran of course follows upon the US invasion of Iraq, and later discovery that the rationale was flawed. If readers have not yet had the opportunity to read the statement, it is located at http://go.sojo.net/campaign/wordsnotwar. The list of original signers is located at http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=action.wnw&item=wnw_signers, and it includes Muslim, Jewish and Christian signers, including signers from a variety of Christian sects. I was pleased to find that leaders of some sects I would have thought would not have signed the statement, did sign it.>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 1:39 am


Mike says, My recollection is that “God’s Politics” challenges preemptive war because it violates the concept of “just war” that, up until now, has been relied upon to determine when war is acceptable, in response to aggression by another nation. Right. Since the concept of “Preemptive War” was invented by Bush we’ve had nothing but war. So if you challenge this concept, you have to wait until there is actual aggression before you can respond. This is basically the concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD), that kept the US and the Soviet Union from using nuclear weapons against each other during the “Cold War”. Nuclear weapons experts say Iran is 10 years away from having even one weapon. And even if they get one, do you really think they would be so foolish as to use it against Israel? or us? Why is Kevin afraid of Iran? Bush frightened him, I guess. .>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 2:10 am


Proposed American negotiating team for the Iran nuclear agreement: Colin Powell Richard Holbrooke Zbigniew Brzezinski alternate: Madeleine Albright Bush administration and Neoconservative warmongers were disqualified from participation on the grounds of incompetence. .>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 2:25 am


Consultants to the proposed American negotiating team for the Iran Nuclear Agreement (INA). Military adjunct: Gen(ret) Wesley Clark Counterterrorism consultant: Richard Clarke Consultant on verification: Hans Blix, former Chief UN Weapons Inspector .>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 2, 2006 at 3:03 am


Something is apparently malfunctioning with the homepage links for several persons who comment regularly on this blog… help us find you… check your link… Thanks!>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 3:34 am


My link doesn’t work, but anyway I don’t have a homepage. .>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 2, 2006 at 3:39 am


I can’t get through to several “Homepage” links. This is not a recommended procedure, but my email address is hayesmike2002@yahoogroups.com>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 2, 2006 at 4:33 am


As I look back over the comments about “Words, Not War, With Iran” I feel conflicted. I support the concept that values should include “stewardship for the environment, justice (fairness), and opposition to war”, as summarized so well (I think) by Brian McLaren. I also recognize that a substantial percentage of voters in our nation are deeply troubled by the occurrence of abortion and gay marriage, so much so that they want to prohibit those. I think there is a substantial majority who want to get past the ideology and solve the problems. Forums like this help those of us who want to find common ground to do just that. It won’t be easy. Mike George Lakoff (“Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think”) traces the origin of these differing viewpoints to “Strict father” and “Nurturuing parent” models of the family. I think he says these models translate to our differing perceptions about the proper functioning of government, and also of religion. I wish I could find a comparable study by a conservative (Lakoff is a liberal), so that I could talk to conservatives about the concept, by referring to a conservative source whose views they might accept.>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 4:48 am


Mike, If you’re looking for comparable insights into the human nature of politics from the conservative side, study the frames generated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, the Libertarian Cato Institute and of course don’t forget Karl Rove, the master of using fear and divisive politics. Conservatives haven’t published much of their psychological tactics. They’re not academics, they’re political strategists and probably would rather not have their tricks exposed. Democrats and progressives are way behind the Republicans on the tactics of winning elections. .>



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kevin s.

posted October 2, 2006 at 6:41 am


“I wish I could find a comparable study by a conservative (Lakoff is a liberal), so that I could talk to conservatives about the concept, by referring to a conservative source whose views they might accept.”>



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Anonymous

posted October 2, 2006 at 7:00 am


Of course I didn’t mean to just quote you. The problem with finding the conservative equivalent of Lakoff is that linguistics profs are uniformly (and I mean uniformly) liberal. However, I might refer you to the works of Thomas Sowell for an academic perspective. Of course, the conservative movement only exists to manipulate idiots like me into electing cronies of the oil industry. Academic rigor is understandably not our forte, though I have read some great bumper stickers lately.>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 2, 2006 at 7:11 am


George Lakoff’s use of the two models to explain (differing) positions on a variety of issues by conservatives and liberals is exhaustive, I think. A conservative researcher in cognitive linguistics might present the same known differing positions on various issues, based on models of family that differ from those of George Lakoff. So, if I had access to the perceptions of a conservative researcher in cognitive linguistics, I might be able to do a better job of communicating, with conservatives. Not to win (I’m obviously not a skilled debater) but to have a better understanding of their take on how the models explain the data, and, from that, a better chance of having a meaningful communication. For liberals and conservatives who are sick of the partisan process and resulting “wins” that ring hollow for lack of support by a significant majority of citizens. Relevance: Bipartisanship offers the opportunity for confidence in the outcome. Colin Powell should be back in the US government. This liberal (me) would vote for him in 2008 and 2012, because he could lead, not just a majority, but a significant majority. Absent that, the bare majority of a succession of liberal and conservative governments will first try to undo what the prior government accomplished, then redo the legislation to suit its purposes, only to pave the way for the reversal of its accomplishments at the next change of control to an opposite slight majority. Just a guess, but a government committed to bipartisanship might gain the support of a significant majority of voters, and the consensus building it accomplishes might survive subsequent majorities of left and right. The two party system… is it the best we can produce? Federalists and anti-federalists led to what we now have, and can we not change the partisan process to achieve substantial majority support for successive legislation? Can we “change the wind”, in that sense?>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 7:42 pm


Mike, I forgot about Frank Luntz. Luntz knows how to reach the subliminal mind, that’s probably why I overlooked him. Frank Luntz is a researcher who tests messages, marketing and polling on what best works to “sell” GOP policies to the unwary, and is the authority in the party for crafting a unified, market tested sound bites for the GOP agenda. He was responsible for crafting the wording of the Contract with America for Newt Gingrich and market testing the terms and phrases used within it. In short, he writes the GOP “bible” on how to talk in public and frame the debate. Luntz relies on “cognitive linguistics” (Lakoff uses this term). Democratic strategists point out “Luntzspeak” in Republican campaign messages. NAZI propagandist Josef Goebbels used cognitive linguistics tricks on the German people. And here’s how they started WWII: The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy, all you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked. Denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. Herman Goering, Nuremberg War Trials, 1945 .>



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Bill Samuel

posted October 2, 2006 at 7:48 pm


“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42) The USA has more nuclear weapons than any other country. How does it have the gall to criticize another country for potentially getting some nuclear weapons? The USA has the worst record of foreign interventionism in the world. How dare we cast aspersions on other countries on grounds that we fear they might intervene militarily elsewhere? And one of the worst cases is of the U.S. overthrow of Mossadegh and installation of the Shah. That set the stage for problems related to Iran since. As a Christian, I think the right course is for the U.S. to confess its sins and turn from its evil ways. If we did, I predict there would be amazing changes in the actions of other countries. But rather it seems inclined to continue acting the role of the big bully.>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 8:01 pm


Bill says: As a Christian, I think the right course is for the U.S. to confess its sins and turn from its evil ways. If we did, I predict there would be amazing changes in the actions of other countries. Right on! We need a new president that can apologize to the world, on behalf of all Americans. Bush could never do that. He’s leaving his mess for the next president to clean up. Story of his life. .>



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Alicia

posted October 2, 2006 at 8:19 pm


I realize I’m getting into this long discussion rather late, but: This is not a question of fairness ie. “The U.S. has nukes so therefore Iran should have nukes…” (Said in a petulant, child’s voice.) Remember what John Kerry said when he was asked during the 2004 debates with Bush what the greatest threat to national security was? “Nuclear proliferation,” was his answer. (Kerry won that particular debate, as I recall.) Everytime a new country acquires nukes, the risk of a nuclear war that would draw in many nations goes up. Leaving aside the threat that Iran would give its nukes to terrorists, do we really want a nation that is devoted to destroying Israel and that has regional (if not global) designs to have nukes? I’m not saying we should go to war with Iran — quite the contrary. I think it is in the interest of every sane person in the U.S. to oppose any action that would lead to war with Iran. Why? Because I hope that an adult (of whichever party) will be elected President in 2008.>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 2, 2006 at 8:30 pm


The Wikipedia entry lists two books by Frank Luntz: “>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luntz>



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justintime

posted October 2, 2006 at 9:45 pm


Alicia raises a good point: Everytime a new country acquires nukes, the risk of a nuclear war that would draw in many nations goes up. Leaving aside the threat that Iran would give its nukes to terrorists, do we really want a nation that is devoted to destroying Israel and that has regional (if not global) designs to have nukes? I’m not saying we should go to war with Iran — quite the contrary. This is the real reason why we don’t want Iran to pursue nuclear weapons. And if the Nuclear Powers were to assure Iran’s security, Iran would have no need for nuclear weapons. This is what Ahmadinejad was trying to say in his TIME interview. Bush walked away from the world’s existing nuclear weapons agreements and treaties when he took office and began his quest for an American Empire. Untold effort was expended by diplomats and military analyists to get these treaties signed. These agreements were put there for good reasons – global stability. I think we can make a deal with Iran incorporating safeguards and consequences. If we could just take Bush and the Neocon warmongers out of our foreign policy, we could restore the previous agreements and reverse the increase in nuclear tensions caused by Bush’s abandonment of international agreements and pursuit of an American Empire. We need to give America’s best, tough minded, logical thinking peacemakers the responsibility for negotiating the nuclear standoff between Bush and the nation of Iran. .>



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2006 at 2:55 am


I’ve been away from this forum for a couple of days, and come back to find that, just as if I’d left a puppy alone that hadn’t been housetrained yet, there’s little piles of crap all over what otherwise was an intelligent discussion: Pre-emptive war Bush did not create a doctrine of pre-emptive just war, that’s been there for decades: a nation facing imminent invasion is not obligated to wait until it is invaded, it may strike first in order to thwart invasion plans. Where Bush did depart from traditional Just War doctrine was his application of the doctrine of pre-emptive war to states that have both a connection to global terror networks and have a history of using WMDs. This was admittedly a novel and understandably very controversial addition to Just War doctrine. Conservative Psychology As a general rule, attempts to explain conservative politics as a psychological phenomenon, rather than as an approach to public policy, are what psychologists refer to as a “crock”. And psychoanalyzing someone you’ve never met is called “professional malpractice”. On the whole, this speculation about the mental state of those you disagree with is usually just another attempt to avoid dealing with evidence and reasoning. “Bringing In the Grown Ups” A cheap rhetorical stunt, allows one to assume a posture of superiority without demonstrating any actual knowledge. “Magical Thinking” occurs whenever one simply assumes that some outside power: grownups (see above), Colin Powell, or, yes, even God, will solve your problems for you, relieving you of the responsibility for dealing with problems using the means at hand. One hallmark of “Magical Thinking” is vagueness about what means the outside power will actually use to solve your problems for you, for instance: We’ll negotiate. I hate to sound like a broken record, but what exactly do we offer them? incorporating safeguards and consequences Which safeguards? What consequences? I’ve been a Christian for better than twenty years, and I’ve learned not to exect miracles. Yes, they happen, but you can’t rely on them and when you can do something for yourself, you generally should, because ninety-nine percent of the time God allows us to experience the predictable consequences of our actions. God is less likely to save us when we refuse, out of laziness, fear, or pride, to do what we can to care for ourselves and those who rely on us. That applies to individuals, families, communities, and nations. Passivity should never be confused for faith. The obvious question is “But would God expect us to resort to violence?” Fair question, but this just gets back to a fundamental distinction between liberals and conservatives: conservatives see government as fundamentally different from the church, and authorized to use violence in ways that the church never will be. The upshot is that this isn’t a faith issue, it’s a policy issue. Conservatives Use Nazi Tactics Ah yes, argument ad hitlerum. Any method that vaguely resembles something Hitler used is evil. Fine, consider the following: Hitler used film to spread his message. (for example, Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph of the Will) Liberals use film to spread their message (for example, Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9-11) Therefore liberals are Nazis. QED I’ll clean up some more of the messes tomorrow. Wolverine>



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Wolverine

posted October 3, 2006 at 3:35 am


Reposting the second half to clean up runaway bolding. Sorry ’bout that… “Magical Thinking” occurs whenever one simply assumes that some outside power: grownups (see above), Colin Powell, or, yes, even God, will solve your problems for you, relieving you of the responsibility for dealing with problems using the means at hand. One hallmark of “Magical Thinking” is vagueness about what means the outside power will actually use to solve your problems for you, for instance: We’ll negotiate I hate to sound like a broken record, but what exactly do we offer them? incorporating safeguards and consequences Which safeguards? What consequences? I’ve been a Christian for better than twenty years, and I’ve learned not to exect miracles. Yes, they happen, but you can’t rely on them and when you can do something for yourself, you generally should, because ninety-nine percent of the time God allows us to experience the predictable consequences of our actions. God is less likely to save us when we refuse, out of laziness, fear, or pride, to do what we can to care for ourselves and those who rely on us. That applies to individuals, families, communities, and nations. Passivity should never be confused for faith. The obvious question is “But would God expect us to resort to violence?” Fair question, but this just gets back to a fundamental distinction between liberals and conservatives: conservatives see government as fundamentally different from the church, and authorized to use violence in ways that the church never will be. The upshot is that this isn’t a faith issue, it’s a policy issue. Conservatives Use Nazi Tactics Ah yes, argument ad hitlerum. Any method that vaguely resembles something Hitler used is evil. Fine, consider the following: Hitler used film to spread his message. (for example, Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph of the Will) Liberals use film to spread their message (for example, Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9-11) Therefore liberals are Nazis. QED I’ll clean up some more of the messes tomorrow. Wolverine>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 3, 2006 at 3:43 am


How do we incorporate formatting into the posts… that would be very helpful to achieving clarity.>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 4:08 am


Wolverine says, Pre-emptive war Bush did not create a doctrine of pre-emptive just war, that’s been there for decades: a nation facing imminent invasion is not obligated to wait until it is invaded, it may strike first in order to thwart invasion plans. Please support your claim with some facts, Wolverine. Who invented pre-emptive war and when was it invented, if it wasn’t Bush? Maybe Hitler? Wolverine said, We’ll negotiate I hate to sound like a broken record, but what exactly do we offer them? incorporating safeguards and consequences Which safeguards? What consequences? Justintime said, And if the Nuclear Powers were to assure Iran’s security, Iran would have no need for nuclear weapons. This is what Ahmadinejad was trying to say in his TIME interview. Bush walked away from the world’s existing nuclear weapons agreements and treaties when he took office and began his quest for an American Empire. Untold effort was expended by diplomats and military analyists to get these treaties signed. These agreements were put there for good reasons – global stability. The United States and the Soviet Union were armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons during the Cold War , but nuclear arms agreements, the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) prevented the nuclear powers from using nuclear weapons for over sixty years. Check them out, Wolverine, if you re interested in specific language, safeguards and consequences clauses incorporated in these agreements. Wolverine said, I’ve been away from this forum for a couple of days, and come back to find that, just as if I’d left a puppy alone that hadn’t been housetrained yet, there’s little piles of crap all over what otherwise was an intelligent discussion: I’ll clean up some more of the messes tomorrow. We d be happier if you d clean up some of the messes in your own mind first. .>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 4:43 am


Mike asks, How do we incorporate formatting into the posts… that would be very helpful to achieving clarity. For italics, use text in here but with no spaces between . Likewise for bold, use text in here but with no spaces between .>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 3, 2006 at 5:22 am


“…Magical thinking… I’ve learned not to exect miracles. Yes, they happen, but you can’t rely on them and when you can do something for yourself, you generally should…” A responsibility and opportunity for every one of us as a citizen is to decide who is best suited to serve in public office and to do what we can do to support consideration of them by others… an alternative for any citizen is to run for office, but that is not a realistic option for the vast majority of us… it is not “something we can do for ourselves”… I think Colin Powell would be head and shoulders above every member of the present administration, for any one of the key positions that exist. And, as I think more about it, why not Secretary of Defense, for now? The reality is that he (and, understandably, his wife Velma) probably wouldn’t want any of the jobs… but the fact remains that a substantial majority of citizens (liberal or conservative) would have confidence in him… in my view, I think he would excel above every other person I can think of, for any of the jobs that exist. And, I think he would restore confidence in our country, by those who fear that the superpower has made very serious errors of judgement. And I’m certainly not a conservative, but I would breathe a great sigh of relief if Colin Powsell would be drafted to return to government service and if he would accept. Vice president would be very good… next month would be excellent!>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 5:37 am


Mike, It’s now being reported that Bush fired Colin Powell. I think Powell would make a good negotiator for a nuclear agreement with Iran because I’m sure he would like a chance to redeem himself after having been caught lying to the United Nations and the American people about non-existent WMD’s in Iraq. I don’t trust Powell enough to vote for him as POTUS. I think Bush ruined Colin Powell’s political career. I also don’t trust Colin’s son Michael, who as head of the FCC, tried to force through policies favoring media consolidation that would have been extremely detrimental for getting truth out to Americans. Congress stopped him and he was forced to resign. It’s now come out that he destroyed internal FCC studies that warned of media consolidation. .>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 5:46 am


Certainly Powell would be a vast improvement over Dick Cheney. But I don’t think Bush could replace Cheney. It would be like Charlie McCarthy trying to fire Edgar Bergen. .>



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Kay Shively

posted October 3, 2006 at 2:26 pm


Why do some of you people get so confused about the difference between being Christian and being American? What makes you think we are entitled to ignore our Christian principles in order to “protect and defend” the United States? You get so freaked out over the idea of “keeping us (read U.S.) safe” that you’re ready to ignore the teachings of Jesus. Where is self defense (let alone defense of the U.S.) justified in the Sermon on the Mount?>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 3, 2006 at 2:36 pm


Jusintime, I know there are other progressives who also think that Colin Powell’s role in appearing at the UN to make the case for biological and chemical weapons in Iraq have rendered him unsuitable, but I do not think that. Colin Powell continues to have the confidence of many liberals and conservatives. Just the thought of his being back in the administration provides some sense of the way things could be, now, not two years and three months from now. As it is, apparently no one is continuing the questioning of administration policies in the way that Colin Powell was doing, when he was there, though there is some mention that Condoliza Rice was also challenging the Secretary of Defense, early on. But, apparently Colin Powell wouldn’t consider getting back into this again, and whoever does assume responsibility for the position of Secretary of defense is going to have a very difficult time of that, whether that takes place soon or twenty seven months from now. Not to mention the task of the next President, that length of time into the future.>



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Wolverine

posted October 3, 2006 at 2:59 pm


Why do some of you people get so confused about the difference between The roles of the church and the government? What makes you think we are entitled to ignore what Paul wrote about the role of government to “protect and defend” it citizens? You get so freaked out over the idea of “keeping us (read U.S.) safe” that you’re ready to throw out the traditional teachings of the church. What makes you think that all Christian teaching on all topics, including statcraft, can be reduced to the Sermon on the Mount ?>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 3:14 pm


What did Paul write about the role of government to “protect and defend” its citizens? Would Paul agree with the Bush doctrine of “preemptive war”? .>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 4:41 pm


20,000 Sailors Go To War – Massive US and Allied Naval Deployment http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/10/3/6116/80502 Looks like Bush ignored the antiwar petitions. He ignores the advice of his best military experts and diplomats, too. Bush claims to be on a crusade against “terror”. But he’s really after the remaining oil reserves on the planet. God save us from this madman. .>



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Wolverine

posted October 3, 2006 at 4:50 pm


Justintime wrote: Please support your claim with some facts, Wolverine. Who invented pre-emptive war and when was it invented, if it wasn’t Bush? Maybe Hitler? Preemption may be controversial, but it’s not something Bush made up off the top of his head. As for Hitler, well, whatever. Here’s what political philosopher James Galston had to say about pre-emption at a forum sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center back in 2003: This brings me to the third and perhaps the most important point, the kind of justification I would want to consider because it gets at the most urgent problems: the justification of an intervention in Iraq as a war of national defense. Now there is an obvious threshold problem in that Iraq hasn t attacked us, and is not clearly implicated in attacks on us by others. So the national-defense argument stands or falls with the case for anticipatory responses to future threats. The category of anticipatory self-defense does have a place in international law and in just war theory. Let me summarize a lot of legal and philosophical argument by suggesting that at the heart of this doctrine lie four criteria: (1) the severity of the threat; (2) the degree of probability of the threat; (3) the imminence of the threat; and (4) the costs of delay. Testing the Iraq case against these criteria, I think we would have to say that the threat is high, at least in worst-case possibilities such as the transfer of nuclear weapons to terrorists. The probability of such an event is contested, and many experts believe that Saddam does not have an incentive to do anything of the sort. Anyway, in all probability we are not talking about a threat that is imminent, and the costs of delay-at least when measured in months rather than years-are rather low. This led the most eminent modern student of just war, Michael Walzer-hardly a dove, regarding Iraq-to the following conclusion: In the absence of evidence suggesting not only the existence of Iraqi weapons but also their imminent use, preemption is not an accurate description of what the President is threatening. No one expects an Iraqi attack on the United States tomorrow or next Tuesday, so there is nothing to preempt. The war being discussed is preventive, not preemptive. It is designed to respond to a more distant threat. Walzer goes on to note that international lawyers and just war theorists have never looked with favor on this argument, the argument in favor of preventive war, because the danger to which it alludes is not only distant but speculative, whereas the costs of a preventive war are certain and usually terrible. Now there are two arguments in favor of extending the doctrine of preemption to cover what Walzer calls prevention. Argument number one goes as follows: For certain kinds of states, the traditional trichotomy of capabilities, intentions, and actions loses its analytical and moral force. Let me quote another one of today s symposiasts, George Weigel, who wrote in a very illuminating essay, and I quote, “Can we not say that, in the hands of certain kinds of states, the mere possession of weapons of mass destruction constitutes an aggression- or, at the very least, an aggression-waiting-to-happen?” ["Moral Clarity in a Time of War," Ethics and Public Policy Center, 2002]. To which I would reply, No, I don t think we can say that, at least not without loss of analytical and moral clarity. You can read the whole thing here: “>http://www.eppc.org/publications/pubID.1595/pub_detail.asp>



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Kay Shively

posted October 3, 2006 at 5:34 pm


Wolverine, You can’t separate the roles of the church and the state into two separate boxes. One has to take precedence. Is your Bible flat? Who takes precedence? Paul or Jesus?>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 5:43 pm


Wolverine, Bush invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. Galston’s speech was delivered on February 6, 2003 at the Ethics and Public Policy Center while the ethics of Bush’s “preemptive war” was being debated. If you read Galston’s speech carefully, you will see that he is arguing against Bush’s concept of “preemptive” war as applied to Saddam’s Iraq. The EPPC was founded in 1976 by Neoconservatives, the same group that wrote the “Project for a New American Century (PNAC)” and the same group that vigorously promoted Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Here’s a list of prominent EPPC supporters: Elliott Abrams, former president Hillel Fradkin, president Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, board member William Kristol, former board member George Weigel, former president Richard Neuhaus, board member All are neoconservative warmongers. Galston was obviously invited to debate the opposite side of the argument concerning preemptive war. Your quotation of Galston only undermines your position about preemptive war. .>



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Wolverine

posted October 3, 2006 at 5:58 pm


Kay Shively wrote: You can’t separate the roles of the church and the state into two separate boxes. One has to take precedence. Is your Bible flat? Who takes precedence? Paul or Jesus? Huh? Who says I can’t? Okay, there is going to be some overlap in some areas, but the fact is that church and state are very different institutions with very different purposes and very different prerogatives. To say otherwise is to deny common sense and open the door to theocracy. As for who takes precedence between Jesus and Paul, my first instinct — as it has been for most Christians for nearly two millenia — is to consider both valid and reconcile the two as much as possible, rather than imagine conflicts between them that I can use to justify ignoring teachings I don’t happen to like. Wolverine>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 6:06 pm


Wolverine, Kay Shively, Could either of you quote the scripture illustrating conflict between Jesus and Paul that you see? .>



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Wolverine

posted October 3, 2006 at 6:07 pm


Justintime wrote: If you read Galston’s speech carefully, you will see that he is arguing against Bush’s concept of “preemptive” war as applied to Saddam’s Iraq. As a matter of fact, I did read those quotes carefully. I selected a long quotation specifically to make it clear that Galston himself did not support the Iraq War. My point was that the there are conditions in which a pre-emptive strike can be justified under classical just-war theory. This isn’t something that Bush invented, it’s part of a centuries-old tradition of Christian thought. I said up front that this was controversial. On the other hand at least you’ve moved from calling us Nazis to calling us Neocons. That’s progress. Your Friendly Neighborhood Neocon Warmonger Wolverine>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 6:44 pm


Wolverine says, My point was that [the] there are conditions in which a pre-emptive strike can be justified under classical just-war theory. This isn’t something that Bush invented, it’s part of a centuries-old tradition of Christian thought. If this is your point, then why don’t you show us some evidence; that the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive War is “part of a centuries-old tradition of Christian thought”, or that someone else besides the Bush Administration cooked up the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive War. Check out the origins of the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive War as described in Jeffrey Record’s article, “The Bush Doctrine and the War with Iraq” in the Spring 2003 Parameters (publication of the Army War College). http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/Parameters/03spring/record.htm Oh, and I don’t call anyone “nazis” except for Hitler and his cohorts. I merely point out that Bush’s warmongering follows the precedent of Hitler, in that both use fear against their citizens to drive them into war. Read my posts more carefully. And don’t be so defensive. .>



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Wolverine

posted October 3, 2006 at 7:41 pm


*sigh* Pre-emptive war (or, as Galston refers to it, “anticipatory self-defense”) is a long-established part of just-war tradition. As Galston himself says: The category of anticipatory self-defense does have a place in international law and in just war theory. Let me summarize a lot of legal and philosophical argument by suggesting that at the heart of this doctrine lie four criteria: (1) the severity of the threat; (2) the degree of probability of the threat; (3) the imminence of the threat; and (4) the costs of delay. Now Galston goes on to argue that Iraq doesn’t really meet these criteria, and I’ll admit it’s a tough call. But (pay attention now, this is important) pre-emption is not something we just made up. justintime also wrote: Oh, and I don’t call anyone “nazis” except for Hitler and his cohorts. I merely point out that Bush’s warmongering follows the precedent of Hitler, in that both use fear against their citizens to drive them into war. So instead of accusing us of being Nazis, You’re accusing us of acting like Nazis. Thanks for clearing that up. I feel a lot better. Wolverine Wolverine>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 3, 2006 at 8:19 pm


The links that have been provided to recent thinking about just war are helpful, and I wonder if there also are links to members of university staff who have followed up on the topic and who are not aligned with either liberal or conservative causes, in the sense of also serving as consultants to the two major parties… however best to characterize persons who are “political”? Thanks.>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 8:50 pm


Wolverine, The term “anticipatory self defense” used by Galston, is part of international law but is not the same as the “Bush Doctrine of Preemptive War”. An example of anticipatory self defense often used is the attack on Pearl Harbor. It goes like this: Had the United States discovered the Japanese fleet steaming towards Pearl Harbor, they would have been able to exercise the international right of “anticipatory self defense” and could have engaged the Japanese fleet without violating international law. Most international law scholars consider the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 was a violation of international law and not “anticipatory self defense” An expert legal opinion of this issue can be found at: http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:Cy-IegbNHrIJ:www.asil.org/taskforce/oconnell.pdf+anticipatory+self+defense&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4&client=firefox-a Here’s an excerpt: The Security Council action after September 11 can be cited to support anticipatory self-defense in cases where an armed attack has occurred and convincing evidence exists that more attacks are planned, though not yet underway. By contrast, international law continues to prohibit preemptive self-defense or even anticipatory self-defense, if that is understood to be different from responding to incipient attacks or ongoing campaigns. In other words, a state may not take military action against another state when an attack is only a hypothetical possibility, and not yet in progress even in the case of weapons of mass destruction. But the fact is that all such arguments are moot, when you consider the Bush administration has turned its back on international law entirely. I don’t know why you would feel good at all about the use of fear tactics to drive America towards war. .>



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justintime

posted October 3, 2006 at 9:10 pm


The links that have been provided to recent thinking about just war are helpful, and I wonder if there also are links to members of university staff who have followed up on the topic and who are not aligned with either liberal or conservative causes, in the sense of also serving as consultants to the two major parties… however best to characterize persons who are “political”? In our extremely polarized society, non aligned experts have become rare indeed. Judges are supposed to be nonpartisan but when you go to vote for judges you have to read between the lines of their statements. They go to great lengths to conceal their party affiliation. Same with academics. I try to evaluate competence instead of party affiliations. .>



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HuckFinn

posted October 3, 2006 at 9:46 pm


Justin, Why do you dismiss Ahmadinejad’s statements about Israel and the holocaust as mere “rhetoric” while taking his nuclear assurances at face value? The IAEA is apparently not quite convinced of Iran’s peaceful intentions. Also, how seriously do you take his lame excuses for encouraging “Death to America” chants at mass demonstrations?>



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Mike Hayes

posted October 3, 2006 at 10:06 pm


“In our extremely polarized society, non aligned experts have become rare indeed. Judges are supposed to be nonpartisan but when you go to vote for judges you have to read between the lines of their statements. They go to great lengths to conceal their party affiliation. Same with academics. I try to evaluate competence instead of party affiliations.” Justintime, thanks for that. I also contacted the philosophy department at Loyola of Chicago to ask whether anyone there has written a paper discussing just war and terrorism, to examine whether and under what circumstances preemptive war would be justified, say, in order to prevent terrorist attacks, by destroying a base of operations. In the early-sixties they had some pretty good people, and I would guess that is also true now.>



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Cynthia Adams

posted October 4, 2006 at 8:15 am


I know I’ve said this before: Anyone know whatever happened to the nation of Palestine? Gee, not on the map anymore. The people who lived there were sent to refugee shelters for, what?, 50 or 60 years! They still don’t have a home. Their home was taken from them by the British Protectorate after they beat the Ottoman Empire in WWI, and was given to 1/6 of the then population–the other 5/6 being Palestinians–to create the nation of Israel. So maybe this is why some Muslims feel the Palestinians got the short end of this deal. Sometimes they say things they should not, in anger. But their wrong behavior doesn’t justify our wrong behavior. No, I don’t think Israel should be wiped off the map–but they were expanding territory for decades until they pulled out of Gaza this year. As a Christian I just look at the fruits–their behavior. I love Jewish people, but the policies of Israel do not necessarily reflect American values of freedom and democracy–such as trial by jury, innocent until proven guilty, habeas corpus, etc. If they suspect someone is a terrorist, they plow down their house, and their neighbor’ homes, and murder them in the streets with helicopter gunships. Iran’s leader plays politics. He says what his people want to hear. He is very popular, democratically elected out of 5 candidates, just last year, after Bush called for ‘regime change’ in 2002. Now, we have regime change, but Bush continues to rant about Iran. Ahmadinejad has made clear that they only want peace. They do not want an invasion by US troops, or bombing. They also do not want nuclear weapons, and there is zero evidence they do. The enrichment level (5%) for their uranium is appropriate for peaceful nuclear energy–which will be the only way to provide energy when the oil runs out 30-40 years from now. (Enrichment needed for nuclear weapons is 97%). The IAEA has denounced the Congressional report issued a few weeks ago as outright untruth and just plain wrong. They are not making bombs. Not being Jewish or Palestinian, I just simply read up and draw my own conclusions. I don’t view them as a threat. After all, we have had nuclear weapons since 1945 and have actually used them to kill hundreds of thousands of people in a few hours. If anyone should have them, it should be us, right? Not by half. Knowing human nature as we Christians do, we know that there is good and evil resting inside of all humans. Any leader, including one in our country, could easily destroy the world with nuclear weapons. I don’t see why we think it is okay for our humans to have this power, and not for anyone else. It must be very threatening to all the countries out there that don’t have them. They have to kow-tow to us, be nice, obedient, sell oil at the right price, not make trouble for us. This infringes on their rights. As Christians we should seek parity for all the world’s peoples, not subjugation to the almighty US. People often say, ‘But they’re sitting on the geopolitical tinderbox of the world, they control the oil’. It seems to me that is exactly the reason Bush wants it. The neocons believe that the US must control that region because we are God’s chosen or something. It’s a lie. He wants to characterize Iran as the devil so he can justify taking their country away. Any child can see this.>



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justintime

posted October 4, 2006 at 5:19 pm


Huck says, Why do you dismiss Ahmadinejad’s statements about Israel and the holocaust as mere “rhetoric” while taking his nuclear assurances at face value? The IAEA is apparently not quite convinced of Iran’s peaceful intentions. Also, how seriously do you take his lame excuses for encouraging “Death to America” chants at mass demonstrations? Huck, I don’t dismiss his statements without condemning them. I think his comments about the holocaust were disturbing and evasive. Denying the holocaust comes from a worldwide source of hatred for Jews that has been around for a long time and has never died out completely anywhere. Many Americans deny the holocaust actually happened. Sadly, there were holocaust deniers in Congress. Many Muslims have never accepted the right for Israel to exist. Europeans tried to eliminate their guilt for the holocaust by creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine. George Marshall, famous for the “Marshall Plan” for rebuilding a devastated Europe, was against the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. He pushed for a Jewish homeland in Eastern Europe. He said “Why should we make enemies in the Middle East . He lost, but history proved him to be right. I remember having a conversation with an American Jew, who had spent several years in a kibbutz and in the IDF. He dismissed Palestinians as “a nomadic people. They should just move on”. No one except for Zionists would disagree that the Palestinian people got a raw deal. The state of Israel has not advanced a serious, sincere effort to live peacefully with Palestinians. I also think that the Israel lobby in Washington DC has pushed America into backing Israel’s intransigent behavior. Those are American made F-16’s, manufactured in the US, dropping cluster bombs on civilian targets. We need to start getting tough with Israel, too. Their actions threaten world peace. There has been too much eye for an eye and tooth for tooth between these two cultures for them to be able to settle their differences on their own. It will take intervention from the world powers to bring justice to Palestine. And justice in Palestine is essential for peace on Earth. If I had been “the decider” after 9/11, I would have initiated a worldwide “full court press” to find Osama and bring him to justice. At the same time I would have launched an all out peace offensive in Palestine, instead of invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. I think that a lot of the rhetoric we hear from the Middle East comes from a beaten, abused and ridiculed culture struggling against vastly superior odds. But if Ahmadinejad encouraged “Death to America/Israel” chants, he’s a demagogue and should be called on his behavior at the peace conference. Remember that Iran is surrounded by nations with nuclear weapons. And they fought a war against our ally Iraq in which millions died and WMD s were used against them. I think Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs would agree to a nuclear non proliferation agreement if the world’s nuclear powers were to guarantee Iran’s security. For assurances that Iran doesn t cheat on the non proliferation agreement, we should demand verification. .>



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HuckFinn

posted October 4, 2006 at 9:51 pm


Justin, I agree that we need to lean on Israel, especially concerning illegal settlements, but right now Israel has no peace partner. Hamas won’t even recognize Israel’s right to exist, nor will it renounce terrorism. Their decision to start launching rockets from Gaza as soon as Israel pulled out certainly didn’t bolster prospects for re-starting peace talks. As for Iran, suppose we guarantee their security and they still thwart efforts to verify that its nuclear program has no military component. What then?>



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justintime

posted October 5, 2006 at 12:14 am


No verification. No deal. If you have access to the nuclear processing sites, you know whether or not uranium is being enriched to weapons grade. The moment you are denied access, you have a violation, the deal is off and either negotiations begin again or it’s code red. Just like during the cold war with the Soviet Union. .>



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HuckFinn

posted October 6, 2006 at 10:04 pm


What exactly does “code red” mean? Would that include possible military action? Note that this was impossible against the Soviet Union. If Iran goes nuclear, we could have another North Korea on our hands, which would leave us with precious few options.>



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Gordon

posted October 7, 2006 at 4:50 am


Justintiime – I’ve been away from this thread much too long. When did you join the spelling police? I admit it, I’m just not good at spelling transliterated Farsi. I guess I need to be re-educated. You bet I’m afraid if Iran. And for good reason. Ahmadinajabnik has made his intentions clear, and they aren’t likely to be beneficial to U.S. interests. The notion of an implacable religious zealot with a nuke frightens me. It ought to frighten you too. As to whether the events of the 50s explain or justify his current position, you are right – we will just have to disagree on that. I would suggest however that he has the same responsility we do to take a nuanced and adult view of history. I suppose we could oppose Iran because of the aggressiveness of Islam during the middle ages, or we could hate the British for the War of 1812, or we could dislike the Russians for the Cuban Missle Crisis. But all that is water undeer the dam. What the CIA did in 1956 was wrong, but no one in a major policymaking role in the United States was in government at the time (many of them weren’t even born), nor were the majority of the American electorate even born then. The last president who might be remotely blamed for our poor relations with Iran is Jimmy Carter. You might consider as well that the current Iranian regime might well be cynically using historical grievances as an excuse to pursue a policy related to some other objective – like Iranian dominance of the Persian Gulf or the Middle East generally.>



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justintime

posted October 7, 2006 at 10:12 pm


The Bush administration is escalating the level of tension in the world. Because of Bush’s abandonment of all existing nuclear weapons agreements and his saber rattling, we are closer to nuclear war now than at any time since the nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis. That was code red. The only way the nuclear fear factor can be eliminated is through international agreements. But Bush trashed the international nuclear agreements and considers the United Nations to be “irrelevant” to world peace. Bush is the problem, folks. I don’t know about you but I’m not a bit comfortable about a dry drunk with his finger on the nuclear button. Experts warn of an accidental atomic war Nuclear missile modified for conventional attack on Iran could set off alarm in Russia http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/10/06/MNGF9LJSMM1.DTL .>



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Mike N.

posted October 9, 2006 at 6:01 am


Well, it appears from news reports that North Korea has tested a nuke. http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/10/08/korea.nuclear.test/index.html Mike>



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Arxland

posted October 10, 2006 at 2:45 am


Hello gang! Sorry I have been gone for a while. I see that we are still trashing President Bush for being a warmonger. But really, what role does Russia, China, Iran, and N. Korea play in this opera? M. Albright was hoping for a multipolar world without the US being the top dog, looks like she will get her wish. With the nuclear testing by N. Korea with the aid of Jimmy Carter and the Clinton Administration we will now be faced with the prospect of a nuclear armed Imperial Japan. Do you feel safer today with another nuclear armed dictator? After all, now they are safe from the evil United States and its warmonger leader. But the real question is, will Japan feel safer? If Japan goes nuclear, will China feel safer? So faced with this option now of possible nuclear confrontations between the Asian nuclear powers, would it have been the better option to impose regime change on N. Korea? What will the pacifist left do when Iran goes nuclear, will you feel safer then? It’s in your future, and they have demanded that we convert. Are you prepared to convert? Will you fight to protect your religious freedom, or will you convert?>



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Arxland

posted October 10, 2006 at 2:49 am


Justintime: “Bush is the problem, folks. I don’t know about you but I’m not a bit comfortable about a dry drunk with his finger on the nuclear button.” The question now that you have to address, “Are you comfortable with a communist child abuser with homicidal tendencies with a finger on the nuclear button?”>



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John

posted October 12, 2006 at 12:01 am


World conquest is not the path to peace. All systems offer restoring forces that push back the more you push on them. Why are these countries building nuclear weapons? Because they deter attack by larger nations, such as the US. Attempting to dominate the world is a vicious and problematic circle. It is a strategy that threatens our survival.>



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