God's Politics

God's Politics


Distorting History /by David Cortright/

posted by God's Politics

In an attempt to scare off support for a military exit from Iraq, President Bush in a recent speech made the false claim that U.S. disengagement from Vietnam caused the killing fields in Cambodia. The price of American withdrawal, the president said, was paid in the agonies of millions of innocent people.


What actually happened in Cambodia was this: President Nixon spread the Vietnam War into Cambodia. He ordered the so-called “secret bombing” of Cambodia, in which U.S. B-52 bombers pounded the countryside for years. In March 1970 the U.S. supported the military overthrow of the government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who had tried to keep his country out of the war. In late April of that year Nixon ordered an “incursion” of U.S. troops into Cambodia, which touched off furious protests here in the U.S. (in which students were killed at Kent State and Jackson State universities).


The military coup and U.S. attacks in Cambodia resulted in widespread violence and chaos, especially in the countryside. Resistance to the military regime increased, which gave impetus to the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, who steadily built their power. By 1975 they controlled the entire country and overran the government. The Khmer Rouge emptied Phnom Penh and instituted their reign of terror by claiming that the U.S. was going to bomb.


The killing fields were the tragic result of the Nixon administration’s misguided policies of military escalation. If the United States had not bombed and invaded Cambodia, and if we had let Sihanouk alone, Cambodia would not have suffered its horrible fate.

David Cortright
David Cortright
is a board member of Sojourners/Call to Renewal. He is research fellow at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and president of the Fourth Freedom Forum.



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Anonymous

posted August 24, 2007 at 11:34 am


This article seems to forget that it was the Communist N. Vietnamese who were using Cambodia as a staging ground for attacks on S. Vietnam as well U.S. forces there. It was also the Communist N. Vietnamese who helped Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge overthrow the existing government. Well imagine that, Communism actually spreading tyranny and oppression! I think that is why we were in S. Vietnam…to help people who did not want to be tyrannized. Sadly the radical left in 60′s thought of the Viet Cong as the freedom fighters and the U.S. as the evil imperialist empire. It looks like that sentiment has not died. Why does they left align itself with an ideology that caused the deaths of millions upon millions.



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Moderatelad

posted August 24, 2007 at 12:07 pm


Posted by: | August 24, 2007 11:34 AM
Well stated. A country looses it neutral status when they allow one or the other in a war use it’s territory for transportation and staging attacks.
If Kennedy (the senator/driver not the pastor) is allowed to do what he did to Viet Nam, to Iraq – it will be horrible!
Blessings -
.



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Another nonymous

posted August 24, 2007 at 12:20 pm


What I remember (yes, I’m that old!) is that there was a widespread perception on the left during the late 60s and early 70s that the Western democracies should have thrown their weight behind Ho Chi Minh back in the 50s, when he *was* a freedom fighter and before he was forced to turn to the Communists for support. NB: My personal memory doesn’t extend back to the 50s, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this perception. I just want to make sure people understand that most American leftists were not so simple-minded as to reduce the conflict to Communists-Good/ Us-Bad. There was a sense that there had been a real missed opportunity.



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Blanche Wulfekoetter

posted August 24, 2007 at 12:33 pm


In my American History classes I teach that Ho Chi Minh requested support from President Truman’s administration and was reportedly desireous of creating a government system based on the United States Constitution, he had used many of the ideas found in the Declaration of Independence to create his promotional materials. When the Truman Administration denied him a hearing, he was welcomed by USSR. It was not a left/right/Democrat/Republican simplification of Communisim vs. Democracy, it was a national mindset that had far reaching implications in both domestic and foriegn politics.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 24, 2007 at 1:39 pm


What I remember (yes, I’m that old!) is that there was a widespread perception on the left during the late ’60s and early ’70s that the Western democracies should have thrown their weight behind Ho Chi Minh back in the ’50s, when he *was* a freedom fighter and before he was forced to turn to the Communists for support.
He wasn’t the only one the West “left hanging” — Nelson Mandela was another example.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 24, 2007 at 1:49 pm


So, what if the USG had not gotten involved (under a Democrat) in Vietnam at all? And, what if, when once the USG realized that it was in a quagmire it just up and left?
What if Christians subverted both stages and just skipped to the final stage, which was inviting Cambodian refugees to come live here peacefully?
We are deluded once we come to believe that we must choose sides among various tyrannical state. Rather, we must oppose all such enemies of liberty, and focus on saving innocents.
Nathanael Snow



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H Peters

posted August 24, 2007 at 1:52 pm


Who let the trolls in?



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Anonymous

posted August 24, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Posted by: Another nonymous | August 24, 2007 12:20 PM
Posted by: Rick Nowlin | August 24, 2007 1:39 PM
I remember that Ho came to the US first and was turned down. At that time the US had a policy – unwritten – but they did not support the overthrow of gov’ts in other countries. I guess – die to some discussion on this site that the Ike admin. did see the need to intervine in some countries – that is why we got the Shaw – that ‘sorked’ for awhile but then fell apart because Carter refused to support the Shaw. SO – I guess it is ^&* if you do and ^*( if you don’t.
I wish foreign policy would be as simple as some of the authors and posters on this site.
Moderatelad -
.



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nickerson

posted August 24, 2007 at 3:09 pm


I can remember also that much of the conflict in Viet Nam was related to the thrusting off of colonialization by the western countries. Communism was an option to Western imperialism



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Doug7504

posted August 24, 2007 at 4:06 pm


Some of the comments made by our current President are just as simplistic as those above…his grasp of history and military strategy are feeble at best. He DOES understand how to rally enough conervative votes and bucks to keep up the fight…of course, it’s not him or his friends who are at bleeding and dying in the process.
Thanks to a rubber-stamp Congress (both sides of the aisle) we are stuck in a similar mess to Vietnam. Yes, I too am old enough to remember that! Iraq, like Vietnam, is another example of a few power-brokers representing the military industries joined with ultra-conservatives who seem to think that it is our duty to democratize the world at gunpoint, dictating national policy. Now, this same power bloc is spending $15 million in an ad campaign to justify the “surge”, similar to the pressure brought to bear by Nixon to start the bombing campaign in Cambodia, which he denied was “widening the war”…and with similar results. Our next “widening” of THIS war will be to bomb Iran, claiming the the Iranian government is supporting rouge elements who are attacking American troops…or that they are developing a bomb to attack Israel…or that they are a threat to the Saudis…or that we want regime change there, too. Just insert any old Bush/Cheney excuse, as long as the military suppliers and the oil brokers get their way, and you can predict which groups will line up to support another immoral attack on a sovereign nation. Bush is dead set to attack Iran before he leaves office, just in time to hand off his mess to the President-elect, as Nixon did (although we were lucky enough to see him resign instead…too bad Bush won’t!).
And if you think this strategy will reduce the threat of terrorist attacks in the Middle East, or here in America, join the ranks of the simplistic thinkers forming on the Right!
Please pray for Peace!



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Jeff

posted August 24, 2007 at 6:31 pm


Why don’t the Dems do what is necessary to pull out of Iraq. A few options may be:
They don’t believe what they are saying.
They lack political courage.
They want Iraq on the table for votes and funds
for 2008.
Or a combination of some or all.
Jeff



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carl copas

posted August 24, 2007 at 7:19 pm


“I think that is why we were in S. Vietnam…to help people who did not want to be tyrannized.”
Anyone who believes this is horribly naive and very ignorant with respect to the history of why the United States actually intervened in Vietnam.
Start with George Herring’s “America’s Longest War” and Fredrik Logeval’s “Choosing War”.



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Christopher Mohr

posted August 25, 2007 at 3:22 am


We got into Vietnam because the French refused to let go of their colonieis in East Asia after the war (most notably Vietnam and Cambodia). In short, we did miss a huge opportunity to stop the conflict there because of European (and our own) egos.
That said, my wife is Cambodian, and her family lost members due to our bombs (she wasn’t born until somewhat later, so she never knew them). Also, because we had to intervene, when we didn’t have to and indeed had no right to do so, her family had to go into hiding for the duration of the Pol Pot years, because they had been a relatively prosperous family. Anyone suggesting that we had to go in to stop the communists should talk to her and pay her family back for their losses. We caused them, after all, by interfering in Cambodian affairs. Not that I’m saying Sikhanouk is much better. But at least they had a chance of developing into a normal country. Now…I doubt it.



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Dick Pierard

posted August 25, 2007 at 6:07 am


I think it is safe to say that the Democrats lack the political courage to demand an immediate pullout from Iraq. And why would you expect anything else? When I read the comments essentially agreeing with Mr. Bush’s ahistorical approach to Vietnam that are posted above on one of the most progressive sites in the country, what must the situation be elsewhere? And add to this the vicious way that the Bush administration and its evangelical compadres go after anyone who dares to dissent on the war matter, it is no wonder that there is so much timidity in Washington. As one who lived during the Vietnam War era and changed his view about it when he learned that we were being fed lies about how much these people longed for freedom from communist tyranny, I told people back in 2003 that this was Vietnam all over again. But hardly anyone who was in a position of influence to change the course of what was happening listened to what people like me had to say. Perhaps things are a little better now, but we have a long way to go to get the country back on track. Just for saying this I will be labeled as a “liberal” and “leftist” by most people who call themselves evangelicals. So be it.



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James Palmer

posted August 25, 2007 at 9:37 am


“Why does they left align itself with an ideology that caused the deaths of millions upon millions.”
That is SPECTACULARLY unfair! It is completely unsupported by the facts of BOTH wars (Iraq and Vietnam) and I challenge the author to further qualify his statement. This is the same incendiary rhetoric that seeks to make ALL of us on the left into Hanoi Jane and Al Quaeda. One of the things that continues to bother me about some of these threads is how soon they degenerate into “Bill O’Reilly” style shouting down of other people.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 25, 2007 at 4:06 pm


David Cortight your reasoning of the brutal policies and killing Fields of the people of Cambodia leaves me with no sense you understand history or undertand the culture and those who participated in it . The murdering policies of Cambodia and millions of innocent people were the result of an extreme and ruthless government .
I share the want for peace in Iraq , and American withdrawl . But its just illogical not to be concerned of what happens to the people of Iraq after we leave .
I wish Presedent Bush had been more concerned about how we would leave Iraq before he ordered the invasion . To me that makes sense , not your revisionist history of the Killing Fields and who really was responsible .



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MJCIV

posted August 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm


I, too, want peace in Iraq, and like most people, I wish we had never gone in there. The fact is that now we have a moral obligation to stay until there is some sort of stability. We can’t abandon those people to the chaos our invasion has unleashed. I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s depressing. I know how maddening it is. Still: we broke, we own it (as Colin Powell said). We have no good options, but the least bad one is to stay until Iraq is calm(er) than it is now.
I went and saw Jonathan Edwards speak a few weeks ago, and he casually stated that if the US leaves Iraq, we should be prepared to witness a genocide (and then hinted that the UN could then re-invade, which is just insanity). Right now, it’s bad. It will be worse–much worse–if we leave. I know that’s medicine that tastes bad, but there it is.
We’re stuck. We did this. Now we have to stay until it’s done.
Peace, friends
MJCIV



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James Palmer

posted August 25, 2007 at 11:02 pm


“…your reasoning of the brutal policies and killing Fields of the people of Cambodia leaves me with no sense you understand history or undertand the culture and those who participated in it . The murdering policies of Cambodia and millions of innocent people were the result of an extreme and ruthless government.”
It leaves me with the very clear sense that he understands history better than the president.
“I share the want for peace in Iraq , and American withdrawl . But its just illogical not to be concerned of what happens to the people of Iraq after we leave.”
I don’t think that anyone here, the author included, would disagree with that. But there remains the question, how long will we be ABLE to stay? This is a war without any clear objective or purpose–a war that stands in the way of what everyone seems to agree is the ONLY solution to Iraq, a political solution.
“To me that makes sense , not your revisionist history of the Killing Fields and who really was responsible.”
How is it revisionist to agrue that an alternative outcome might have ocurred had Nixon not ordered military action in Cambodia? I think the argument that the president made in his speech was much more dubius–that there might have actually been a different or favorable outcome in Vietnam had we stayed. Bush’s muddled arguments seem to be much more about preserving SOME kind of legacy than about finding a clear way out of this war.
“I wish Presedent Bush had been more concerned about how we would leave Iraq before he ordered the invasion.”
Amen my brother. Amen. That is wisdom indeed…



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Christopher Mohr

posted August 26, 2007 at 8:59 am


Mick Sheldon – Cortight is actually quite correct. We aided in the overthrow of the Sikhanouk regime because we saw him as being too close to China (he was close to China, and even went there as a form of self-exile). We helped the military install itself as the government, making sure it had weak leadership who would allow us to do as we pleased with the country (including dropping millions of dollars worth of bombs on civilian targets).
The Cambodian people, especially the rural and agrarian ones, saw this and saw ANYTHING else as better. Even Pol Pot. Which is why when the Mon Nol regime fell, the majority of the Cambodian people were willing to go along with the Khmer Grahorm (we call them the Khmer Rouge), knowing it was not the best, but it was better than being enslaved by western imperialism. It turns out that they were run by a bunch of raging psychopaths, but that’s what we brought to Cambodia. They didn’t want anything to do with us colonizing them as the French had, and took the only real alternative they had.



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Moderatelad

posted August 26, 2007 at 9:23 am


Posted by: James Palmer | August 25, 2007 11:02 PM
“I wish Presedent Bush had been more concerned about how we would leave Iraq before he ordered the invasion.”
There was no exit strategy from Rosevelt for WWII. Just the resolve that we will win the war.
Blessings -
.



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James Palmer

posted August 26, 2007 at 2:13 pm


“There was no exit strategy from Rosevelt for WWII. Just the resolve that we will win the war.”
Well Moderatelad, when will we know when we’ve won? Is there going to be a grand surrender in the green zone between the US Armed Forces and the myriad of armed militias currently attacking us? We don’t even fully understand the nature or make-up of these militias nor do we know who their leaders are. They are both Sunni and Shia and if we choose one side we alientate the other.
Simply put, the only outcome that this administration envisioned was the one where we would be greeted as liberators and whatever happened after that would be easy because we’d be so flush with all this wonderful new oil money!
There were so many mistakes that were made in this whole endeavor that “no exit strategy” almost seems the least of them.



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Jason

posted August 26, 2007 at 3:48 pm


ummm
I thought that the North Vietnamese were using parts of Cambodia as launching pads for attacks on South Vietnam.
Even if one doesn’t buy in to any facet of Vietnam, and that is a discussion worth having, is it an illogical wartime measure to bomb, secretly or otherwise, the people that are attacking you in the place from which they are attacking you?
Does peace studies ever really involve understanding why, microscopically and macroscopically, there isn’t any?
sigh



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Christopher Mohr

posted August 26, 2007 at 6:02 pm


it was not an illogical wartime measure to bomb the Vietnamese, but it WAS illegal to bomb Cambodia. You can’t bomb a neutral third party to get at your enemy. And the Cambodian government was not helping the Vietnamese. They tend to have a rather derogatory view of them, and still to this day maintain that the Vietnamese are not as smart as the Khmer (per my Khmer wife) in the same way that the Thais think everyone else in the region is too stupid to stop the Thais from taking advantage of their poorer neighbors, which they feel is their right.
It was illogical of us to rush in and assume that the Vietnamese were getting any material support from the Cambodians. They didn’t know where the Vietnamese were and if they were in fact in Cambodia, the simple justification for the Cambodians not doing anything is this: the border is physically impossible to block off. Simple geography.
A further point of view change is required: the Vietnamese were not attacking us. I never once heard about any Vietnamese attack on say, Los Angeles or Miami (for example). We meddled, because we have an illogical “interventionist doctrine” and then when we thought we could do more, we did. It was illegal to do so, but we did. Point in fact: we were attacking them. We got involved in the Vietnamese civil war aka “the American War” for what amounted to egotistical reasons, and stuck the neutral Khmer people with the bill.



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Moderatelad

posted August 26, 2007 at 7:51 pm


Posted by: James Palmer | August 26, 2007 2:13 PM
Well Moderatelad, when will we know when we’ve won?
Welcome to the new millennium – will things ever be as they were like the last century? War’s and rumors of war’s – I think we are just in the begining of what is to come. In my never to be humble opinion – I think we would have been at war in the middle east sometime prior to 2010. So maybe getting in the a little early we might have been able to prevent them from really equiping themselves for war.
Nancy and Harry can sure tell us what we should have done after the fact – but they never have gone out on a limb as to what might need to be done if something might happen – nor do i believe that they have the guts to objectively confront evil constructively in the new century.
Have a great week!
.



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Jason

posted August 27, 2007 at 7:18 am


Christopher Mohr,
If the Cambodian government was not helping the North Vietnamese, then why did the Ho Chi Min trail run through their country?
Is that a “neutral” status?



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James Palmer

posted August 27, 2007 at 8:06 am


Jason said:
“If the Cambodian government was not helping the North Vietnamese, then why did the Ho Chi Min trail run through their country?”
Probably for the same reason that Taliban are able to run back and forth over the border into Pakistan. It’s the nature of the geography and lack of a secure border. I wonder how many here who think military action in Cambodia was justified would be for bombing Pakistan without the knowledge or authorization of the Musharraf gov’t? There is AMPLE evidence that the Taliban and Al Quaeda have and continue to use parts of Pakistan as staging points for attacks against the people of Afganistan AND as terrorist camps. How many would advocate bombing the madrassas in Pakistan for the reason that they foment terroristic theology?



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Jerry Steele

posted August 27, 2007 at 8:31 am


It’s a shame that a few of the comments attempt to reduce the Vietnam experience to a black / white, good vs. evil mentality. That is exactly why we are failing in Iraq – simplistic thinking and not understanding the nuances / cultural perspectives of other peoples.
As for Vietnam, it was the United States who undermined the elections that were supposed to be held as a result of the 1954 Geneva conventions – imagine that – us undermining a democratic function! Why? Because the CIA indicated that if such an election were held that Ho Chi Minh would unquestionably win the election. We also sent black-ops team into N. Vietnam to destabilized their government – which was absolutely illegal under the 1954 Accords.
So, I would ask all you black / white folks this question: what would have transpired in Vietnam if the US had not intervened? Maybe – three million Vietnamese might not have been killed during the next 20 years of war????? Maybe their political evolution would have taken place without the internal dissension caused by caused by our intervention?
And one last point for the black / white folks; Ho Chi Minh was first and foremost a nationalist – he pursued communism as a means to an end. Those who stated he sought US recognition and was rebuffed are absolutely correct. Read Michael McClear’s “The Ten Thousand Day War” if you want to truly understand the topic.



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Glen S.

posted August 27, 2007 at 12:32 pm


Moderatelad stated: “There was no exit strategy from Rosevelt for WWII. Just the resolve that we will win the war.”
Hmmm. Just goes to show how much LUCK plays into the course of human history. Surely you dont mean to suggest that the end result necessarily justified the means, just because Roosevelt was fortunate enough that things happened to work out his way. I dont think GWB is going to be so LUCKY. What a gut-wrentching price to pay for one administration’s blind ignorance.



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Glen S.

posted August 27, 2007 at 12:44 pm


Hey, “Dick” — I call myself an “evangelical”, if you mean one who knows he is a child of God… not the warped, bastardized version of evangelical that has evolved in our society since the infestation of the religious right in the 80′s. Yes, I’m an evangelical, and I agree with your commentary… so, I guess there’s at least two of us left out there…



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Moderatelad

posted August 27, 2007 at 1:45 pm


Posted by: Glen S. | August 27, 2007 12:32 PM
SO – we should have done nothing – I can agree with that. We should have let Saddam go him merry way shredding people at will. Flipping off the UN and rest of the world and their sanctions. Let them fly more planes into buildings all around the world. Cool – lets just let the radical Islamics have free reign all over the place and do nothing – not a problem.
Blessings -
.



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Anonymous

posted August 27, 2007 at 2:20 pm


SO – we should have done nothing – I can agree with that. We should have let Saddam go him merry way shredding people at will. Flipping off the UN and rest of the world and their sanctions. Let them fly more planes into buildings all around the world. Cool – lets just let the radical Islamics have free reign all over the place and do nothing – not a problem.
Two problems — First, Saddam was the “Butcher of Baghdad” when we tried to enlist him as an ally against Iran. Why, all of a sudden, did that change? Second, radical Muslims will never rule the world the way you believe — there just aren’t enough of them. They have neither the money nor the expertise to commit the mass acts of terrorism that you fear. That said, do you really believe that staying in Iraq will change those?



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Specialist G

posted August 27, 2007 at 3:44 pm


Moderatelad, why don’t you tell us how many Iraqis were on the planes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon? You are either ignorant or intellectually dishonest to suggest that Iraq is connected to 9/11. Try changing the channel from Faux News every now and then. I will grant you one similarity between Iraq and Viet Nam, though. George Bush and Dick Cheney didn’t fight in either one. Now, run back to Free Republic and tell them how you got served. Have a nice day!



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 27, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Glen
I call myself an “evangelical”, if you mean one who knows he is a child of God… not the warped, bastardized version of evangelical that has evolved in our society since the infestation of the religious right in the 80′s
Glen I got saved in the 80′s . Noticed that the culture was somewhat leaning to a belief in non belief a short time after that. And I also noticed people ridiculing those , sometimes deservedly so , but many times because they believed in the bible only. So I wonder , what church do you belong to ? It must be doing great things for Christ ?



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 27, 2007 at 4:36 pm


James Palmer said
This is the same incendiary rhetoric that seeks to make ALL of us on the left into Hanoi Jane and Al Quaeda. One of the things that continues to bother me about some of these threads is how soon they degenerate into “Bill O’Reilly” style shouting down of other people.
James , I enjoy reading your posts most of the time . But you not appear , like most of us hear what others say that may aggree with you but take it to beyond Al Franken rhetoric. . Take a look at what Glen has added to the conversation above . That is a debate closer if I ever heard one , your religion sucks . Now that is intellectual debate in its highest form , I wonder if that will work with Iran ?
What I find is not yorr support of Hanoi Jane , she actually took photos of her playing nice nice with the North .
Its the belief that the United States is responsible for the despictable acts of say Cambodia , or as in Bush thinking that the United States could be responsible for giving the Iraq people freedom . The bottom line is yeah we can play a role , but the Iraq people are the ones who need to want to be free, and the Cambodia government was responsible for killing millions . Americans have this centrist self importance belief that the world revolves around us . I don’t blame the United States for Cambodia killing millions , or do I blame Americans for the terrorism that brought down the Twin Towers.
I blame Bush for not thinking about we were getting into, tha appears to be what we are all concerned about . The fact we are creating terrorists is like saying the Klan is making racists to my thinking . The racists and terrorists were already there , Bush is causing the terrorists to be organized in Iraq makes more sense to me .
Anyway , Have a good day .
Are you a Christian ? I am trying to keep my conversations to believers , I am sure I am not right about everything , and actually more interested in why believers believe what they believe in political jargon .
God Bless , Mick



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James Palmer

posted August 27, 2007 at 5:31 pm


“James , I enjoy reading your posts most of the time . But you not appear , like most of us hear what others say that may aggree with you but take it to beyond Al Franken rhetoric. . Take a look at what Glen has added to the conversation above . That is a debate closer if I ever heard one , your religion sucks . Now that is intellectual debate in its highest form , I wonder if that will work with Iran ?”
I am sorry Mick, I want to make sure that I understood you. Can you clarify? I think I understand you I just want to make sure. I do like Al Franken though–I may not always agree with him personally.
As to your other question, I am a very devout Christian–happily so. I struggle with how to be the best disciple, how best to “…take up my cross” daily but I believe that it’s the struggle that defines my faith:) I admittedly lean very far to the left because, frankly, the issues that I care about (peace, the poor, the homeless, social justice) typically are championed by those on the left–though not all of them are Christians. That isn’t to say that I don’t struggle in my faith–that I don’t sometimes want to shut my ears to what God is calling me to do. I often ask, “Is it I Lord?” Hoping he’ll say “No.” But, as you know, we are called to walk in the way of Christ–to be a living witness to the Gospels. Nobody said it would be easy.
I am curious though Mick, why limit your discussions to those who believe just like you do? I too enjoy reading your posts and, frankly, enjoy having a lively debate. I don’t care what a person’s religious perspective is.



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Kay Shively

posted August 27, 2007 at 10:00 pm


To the person who said we have to stay until it’s “done”: what in the world does “done” mean, and how would we know it if it happened? Get realistic!



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 27, 2007 at 11:35 pm


I got saved in the 80′s. Noticed that the culture was somewhat leaning to a belief in non belief a short time after that. And I also noticed people ridiculing those, sometimes deservedly so, but many times because they believed in the bible only. So I wonder, what church do you belong to ? It must be doing great things for Christ ?
What I remember about 1980s evangelicalism — I “got saved” in 1979 — was its arrogance, insecurity and self-righteousness. This was also of course the era of the TV evangelists, who did more to damage the faith than any secularists.
The fact we are creating terrorists is like saying the Klan is making racists to my thinking. The racists and terrorists were already there, Bush is causing the terrorists to be organized in Iraq makes more sense to me.
In fact, there was little of that kind of terrorism in Iraq; remember who was in charge before. (Of course some may consider Saddam a terrorist, but that’s another matter.)



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 28, 2007 at 5:17 am


Rick Said
What I remember about 1980s evangelicalism — I “got saved” in 1979 — was its arrogance, insecurity and self-righteousness. This was also of course the era of the TV evangelists, who did more to damage the faith than any secularists.
I was trying to converse with another person Rick , but I will reply .
I was very fortunate to have my roots in Christ , and a small Assembly of God church with a Pastor who preached on putting our Hope and Faith in Christ , not to put your faith in people . The people in my church were quite humble , loving and certainly I never felt any condemnation . Sorry if my church does not meet up to your standards .
I did listen to a Jimmy Sweigert onece in a while after I got saved , actually liked some of his messages .
I starting listening to Christian music and such . , I really thought the Bakers were show biz , what a joke . ahhh those were the days . Thought jerry Falwell was quite arrogant too Rick , but you missed in or do not care about what I saw in the culture of today . It has only gotten worse .
My new wife told me I should pay attention to what was going around , I was quite unaware . But I listened to her , she is a great council . I was Never politcally involved , I did vote . But my understanding of politics was , well my brother went to the Naval Academy in the early 60′s so I liked Jimmy Carter because he went to the Naval Academy too .
But an example of what I saw was I remember once I thought I had discovered a perverted plot that no one knew about in our school district ,our health department and the public school was handing out information teaching about healthy sexual relationships for vaginal , oral , and anal sex . None of the ingredients for this healthy sexual relationships even mentioned marriage . I remmeber respect was , but they did leave parents out of the loop interestingly enough . I think what surprised me was that I thought the community would flip out over it once this had light shed on it . Many people did , many people did not , the school district was more concerned for their reputtaion from a administrive point of view . But many liberals were all for it . Those folks who support your politics the most also thought protesting against that kind of information was ignorant and narrow .
I guess you and them would agree televangelsists were the real problem. I guess I was just surprised that I had been involved in what was a very self absorbed life style of behavior for a couple of decades only to see the world had passed me by in what it considered right and wrong from when I was a kid . The kids today to rebel would have to wait till they got married ..
The problems of tele evangelist , and arrogance are quite contrite to what has happened to the culture , I am really surprised somewhat you see the problem as that Rick . Not much we have in common after all . I know you did not think so anyway . But I see things and the problems facing the church no where in political parties , or TBN .



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eileena

posted August 28, 2007 at 6:34 am


1) I agree with the words posted by Natanael Snow. One of Christian values is respect life, liberty and that of others – including the obligation to defend those values and our lives.
It is a different thing to impose values by force – to impose liberty is that respecting it? to teach those values – not at gunpoint -
would be better…
2) To the person who said “we must stay until it is done” – please consider Hiroshima, mustard gas bombing and the lives of those staying behind.. What would you think if it happened on US soil?
3) How to promote peace – even if it is “pax armada” – and get out of the mess.
4) How to have democracies around the world which
do not get involved with “dirty” money?
Any ideas?
Like demanding accountability from politicians for acts that cost the price of life for present & future generations.
Eileena



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 28, 2007 at 10:55 am


But an example of what I saw was I remember once I thought I had discovered a perverted plot that no one knew about in our school district, our health department and the public school was handing out information teaching about healthy sexual relationships for vaginal, oral, and anal sex. None of the ingredients for this healthy sexual relationships even mentioned marriage.
That was the smokescreen. The powers-that-be understood that many of your more attractive kids — male athletes, cheerleaders and the like — were probably screwing around anyway; it was like that when I was in a Catholic junior high over 30 years ago. That’s why I have a hard time believing that morality has decreased since then. Besides, the way marriage has been cheapened over the past few decades, and not primarily because of “no-fault” divorce, and relations between men and women being what they are and the church doing almost nothing to change that (such as modeling healthier relationships), I can understand that. Many Christians don’t understand that saying “no” simply is not enough; you have to say “yes” to something else.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm


James
Bill O Reilly and Al Franken tend to marginalize people they do not agree with . But they do it well , ‘Reilly has a bigger audience then Franken , and I believe he is a bit more respectful . Which I tend to aggree is not saying that much . My comments were directed at the blog in front of yours that came from a very liberal minded man , yet was quite condemning of another person’s religion . You only seeing O’Reilly comments because they were directed againt your political thinking , yet you you do not comment on the nasty rhetoric that comes from the left , my view is it is our nature to be like that , we only notice the people throwing the rocks at us , not the ones that are thowing the rocks in the other’s direction . We as Christians should strive and try not to be like thatthough . That is my hope anyway .
James said
As to your other question, I am a very devout Christian–happily so. I struggle with how to be the best disciple, how best to “…take up my cross” daily but I believe that it’s the struggle that defines my faith:) I admittedly lean very far to the left because, frankly, the issues that I care about (peace, the poor, the homeless, social justice) typically are championed by those on the left–though not all of them are Christians. That isn’t to say that I don’t struggle in my faith–that I don’t sometimes want to shut my ears to what God is calling me to do. I often ask, “Is it I Lord?” Hoping he’ll say “No.” But, as you know, we are called to walk in the way of Christ–to be a living witness to the Gospels. Nobody said it would be easy.
Me
Well said , after I accepted the Lord in my life many things fell apart actually for me personally . We need to lift each other up. I got saved in the late 80′s . Single dad , and my day care provider asked me to an Evangelical Church . First time I ever went to one .
James said
I am curious though Mick, why limit your discussions to those who believe just like you do? I too enjoy reading your posts and, frankly, enjoy having a lively debate. I don’t care what a person’s religious perspective is.
ME
As if James , the left on this blog who say they are Christians seem to feel more brotherhood among those who politically agree with them , then other Christians who disagree .
Which I don’t , to me it is stange to receive animosity from a person who says they Love Christ as Lord and Savior , and then say I am racist or DELUSIONAL BECAUSE i BELIEVE SOMETHING ELSE IS BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY . Or ridicule Christ Fiction because ?
Is it because James Dobson and Christian radio and Music is all geared for Evangelical or more a conservative understanding of the Bible ?
.
When I first heard about Sojorners I thought it was a good thing . As you go up the food chain in politics , you see less and less Evangelicals. The vast majority of Evangelicals in churches are not politically active . People ASK me often who to vote for James , like Clinton or Dole Mick ? I have talked to some who claimed to be Christians on this blog and said the religious right has what its coming to now ?
I really do not undertand how this is a Christian view point , or if Christ would have us look at those who see the rising social problems, such as myself, of the family in and out of the church as something needing to be confronted in such a steretypical negative way .
The republican party on the federal level appears to be saddled with corruption and back room deals . To me that is a statement also about our culture , interesting politics cause people to think when a person is found to be corrupted , its a good thing if you oppose their political views . When a Pastor is proven to be corrupted or immoral , Priests found to be molesting children , these are things that are bad for the whole church . When rates for out of wedlock births become the norm in minorities , leading to higher poverty and other social ills ,I find it strange people see what is happening to us as nothing to be alarmed about .
I don’t get it james , there is so much unhappiness in homes that are torn apart . it causes so much social injustice , why does the left get so upset at the right for this ?
What motivated me as a Christian to get involved was the policies I saw as infringing on rights of people , and I thought hurting our youth , our culture. Also promoting bigger government at the price of individual liberty . Public education appeared to me to be anything but public , that there was a way things were going to be done and taught , you can come along if you agree and cheer , or you can come along and volunteer and shut up if you don’t .
We now appear to be Spending our Grand Kids life’s work , and such . I don’t really have a political party I guess you say I can identify with . I was a Ronald Reagan Fan .
I am pro life and don’t understand how a believer rationalizes allowing government to circumvent God in life , and then expect that government to help solve social justice . Thas a contradiction in logic for me ! or the strange political allies that the left allies with. but I guess you think the same thing ?
James I was involved heavily locally in politics for many years . I don;t ever recall meeting too many believers on the opposing sides of my battles , victories and losses. Many people in my area that are on the left have a generic god they may mention , no personal one . Usually none . But I live in a very liberal area , and unchurched . I do not like to inject God in my personal political views, or use the theme I am right because the Bible says this . But I found much animosity on the left , just having a God I know the name of , and I am glad your out there on the left . I wish I could look the other way on some issues , but my conscience tells me that would be wrong , so out in the left coast , we just sort of sit on the sidelines and do what we can .



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Christopher Mohr

posted August 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm


Moderatelad: Flipping off the UN and rest of the world is not exclusive to Iraq.. Yes, Saddam did that, but so has another Middle East state. Can you name it? I’m talking about Israel, who has blatantly, as you put it, flipped off the UN and the rest of the world (I’m referencing UN resolution 194, specifically as well as the Geneva Conventions (the fourth Convention) and international human rights laws. The UN resolved that the Palestinians have a right to return to the homes and land that were taken from them. But we all know that Israel doesn’t have to play by the rules. They have our help.
Jason – the Cambodian governemtn had no way of knowing that the Vietnamese were active on their turf. Have you ever been to the border area in Cambodia? Nothing but jungle and mountain, with the odd village here and there. Examine a map once and you’ll see that there is a great long chain of mountains (Annamite Range) that is basically inaccessible to most people. The government has no control over that region, and it is too backward to do anything with, so it is basically forgotten. Cambodia was neutral by reason of having no knowledge of the Vietnamese being there, and no control even if they had known.
These people have no connection to the Cambodian government and never have. And as I have said before, the Cambodians and the Vietnamese have never really gotten along. Hell, the end of the Khmer Grahorm (KR) happened at the hands of the Vietnamese, who came in and basically administered the country’s governemnt in the 80′s while the Cambodians were fighting their civil war, which ended in 1999 with the fall of Anlong Veng amd the final surrender of the KR’s.



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Virgil

posted August 28, 2007 at 11:48 pm


David, the Vietnamese Communists played a large role in Cambodia and in what happened after the U.S. withdrawal. I am surprised to see that you are only “blaming” the United States for what happened especially when the real killers were not U.S. soldiers. I grew up under Communism in Eastern Europe. Thanks for Reagan’s involvement and cold-war “attack” on Communism, Romania is now a free country and is free from the thugs running it since 1946. I suppose to be consistent, you would still have me live under Communism for the sake of non-U.S. involvement in other countries in order to avoid “military escalation?”
This kind of rhetoric allows people to die all over the world on a daily basis at the hands of thugs who call themselves politicians. And even then, folks like you still find it OK to blame the United States for trying to actually do something about it.



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M Wilson

posted August 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm


It’s so strange to me that people still say, almost reflexively, ‘Pray for peace!’ As though if only enough people pray for peace, it will be granted to us. It clearly will not, has not been, will never be. And not because there hasn’t been enough of us praying for it.



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