God's Politics

God's Politics


A Teachable Moment (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

Before it began, many evangelicals were strong supporters of a war with Iraq. As the death and destruction have continued, some are rethinking that view and coming to oppose the war. David Gushee, professor at Mercer University, has an important piece – Our Teachable Moment – on Christianity Today online. Gushee writes:



Such deep public distress about the war makes this a teachable moment for all of us, as Christians and as Americans. It’s not enough to find a way out of this war honorably and soon. We have an opportunity to learn some deeper lessons so that we won’t repeat our mistakes.


For evangelicals, one of the groups that strongly supported the war initially, one lesson is clear: We must become more discerning when our nation’s leaders advocate a military solution. We have biblical resources for doing so, if we will draw upon them.


He concludes:



For me, the next time I am asked to support a war, my default setting will be no rather than yes. As a follower of Christ, I will have to be persuaded that the particular confluence of circumstances is so grave as to require a military solution. Before Christians sign off on another war, we must do our best to figure out whether the government has done everything possible to make peace.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 26, 2007 at 6:49 pm


Saddam broke an agreement, (and in the OT, covenant breaking got you killed). The agreement that he repeatedly broke stated there would be serious consequences, and there were 17 un resolutions, never mind strike the last. The un is irrelevant.
Also, he was monstrously cruel to his own people (ask anyone who imigrated from the Kurdish part of Iraq). If you are in favor of gettin ginvolved in Darfur, which I support as well, then you cannot neglect the Iraqi’s Saddam butchered.
Do covenant breaking and human rights violations add up to be enough justification to remove him, or should we wait another 12 years, so more people can be butchered?
Paul C. Quillman



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Todd Ray

posted September 26, 2007 at 7:03 pm


P. Quillman asks:
“Do covenant breaking and human rights violations add up to be enough justification to remove him, or should we wait another 12 years, so more people can be butchered?”



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Todd Ray

posted September 26, 2007 at 7:07 pm


P. Quillman asks:
“Do covenant breaking and human rights violations add up to be enough justification to remove him, or should we wait another 12 years, so more people can be butchered?”
Why, for the love of God, do we stop at Iraq? There are many other evil tyrants in this world, equal to Sadam, monstrously cruel, who are deserving of the righteous wrath of a good, altruistic Christian nation such as the United States. Lets go!



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James

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:18 pm


Would it have been OK for the French to intervene on behalf of the Native Americans and overthrow President Andrew Jackson–who also killed, tortured, and broke promises? And used biological weapons against his own people (smallpox blankets)?



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:42 pm


I agree with Wallis on this . War should be the very last resort . We did not evaluate all the possibilities , obviously not enough on an exit strategy .
But when those advocating another view come out with stuff like the following , its hard to accept facts from folks who associate in those circles as having any merit .
“And used biological weapons against his own people (smallpox blankets)?”
Posted by: James
James this one of the most horrific myths obout America , Jackson never did any such thing . No proof of it ,
The injustices and treaties broken with Tribes are documented , you need not to promote falsehoods to make it appear worse . The facts are bad enough .



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David J

posted September 26, 2007 at 9:37 pm


That is the way it should be. The default setting should be “no”. Blessed are the peacemakers. I’d like a blessing, wouldn’t you? Yes, even if you thought going in (to find WMD’s) and later when we didn’t find them (we switched to taking Sadaam out) and finally to liberating the Iraqui people. Can we stick to the story? If we don’t find what we’re looking for, we then don’t make up new reasons to continue the mission. People are dying and this is the best we can do? We can’t even find the proper reason to fight. This could be about oil when all is said and done. And by the way, do we really want wackey end-times theology influencing (or speeding up the process) why we fight wars? Yikes.



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kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:19 pm


Nobody “switched” to anything. There was a multi-pronged argument that included WMDs, Saddam’s refusal to abide by UN mandate, establishing Democracy (or any free government) in a region that desperately needs it, Saddam’s harboring terrorists.
Those who oppose the war for political reasons have revised history to pretend that the entire war was a quest to find WMDs. In this narrative, the Bush administration lied us into a war in order to get his hands on oil (which, btw, he seems to have had trouble getting his hands on).
There are honest criticisms of this war that are completely fair. You can argue that Bush was naive in his goal of establishing a united democracy in a bifurcated region. You can argue that Rumsfeld’s idea of using a small troop force was implausible.
You can argue (as I did when the war began, before I was persuaded otherwise) that Bush hypocritically engaged in a conventional war while claiming that he was fighting an unconventional enemy.
This is the beginning of a reasonable discussion that is not taking place in this country right now. Right now it’s “Bush lied us into war for oil” and similar nonsense.
If you want to make a serious effort to become more discerning about the reasons for supporting war, then deal with the facts. If your goal is to viify a political party and its adherents, well, then don’t expect me to feel guilty for my failure to acquiesce to your arguments.
Incidentally, Gushee opposed this war from the beginning. As such, his present opposition is hardly surprising, and makes the title of his piece awfully disingenuous. What he really means to say is that this is “YOUR teachable moment”. It’s like the people who go to college campuses to repent for the sins of other people. State your opinion all you like, but don’t condescend.



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kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:21 pm


“Would it have been OK for the French to intervene on behalf of the Native Americans and overthrow President Andrew Jackson–who also killed, tortured, and broke promises? And used biological weapons against his own people (smallpox blankets)?”
I’m glad to see you swallow Ward Churchill’s tripe whole.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:41 pm


Todd and James,
Allow me to provide a bit more context to my comments. I tend to forget that there are few that see the war the way I do, even on those who believed it was, and still is the right course of action.
I do not view Iraq as a new war. In the 90’s we signed a cease fire agreement with Saddam, not an armistice. Big difference. When we went back into Iraq, we still were at war with Saddam. No new Congressional action was Constitutionally necessary, but Bush got the Congress to sign on anyway. The Iraq war became part of the war on terror, but was not a new front.
Also, this is a religious war, the worst kind of war. The Islamo-facist have been saying it for many years, unfortunately, by and large, we still are unwilling to admit that. I believe that is part of the reason we have not progressed more swiftly. I also think that we are trying to fight (…a more sensitive war…(thank you John Kerry, who served in Viet Nam in case someone did not know), IOW, we are fighting not to loose, instead of fighting to win.
I agree that we should cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Someone said on this blog a few posts back that war is hell. It should be a last resort. But, letting Scripture giude our thinking, there is a “…time for war, and a time for peace…”(Ecclesiastes 3:8). And even Jesus Himself, said that until He returns to make all things new, there would be”…wars and rumors of wars…”(Matthew 24:6 ).
Paul C. Quillman



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:05 pm


Sorry I saw a typo. The last paragraph should have started out “I agree that we should NOT cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.” Sorry for the mistake.
Paul



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TheOtherJames

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:32 pm


“Those who oppose the war for political reasons have revised history to pretend that the entire war was a quest to find WMDs.”
You know darn well that the American public would not have willingly supported the war if the only rationale offered had been that Saddam had not abided by UN resolutions, that he was a tyrant and that he harbored terrorists. The administration had to use the WMD argument to scare the Bejesus out of everyone so that they could get the support to go into Iraq. When the weapons were not found, the administration had to offer up other excuses for going to war.
For you to accuse the opponents of the war of being historical revisionists is nothing short of a bold faced lie.



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Jesse A.

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:46 pm


Perhaps we approach the whole issue from the wrong direction. Is our responsibility as Christ followers to either sanction or denounce the activities of nation states? Is the purpose of being a Christian to debate and then arrive at a political stance, in alignment or disagreement with one party or the other?
Or is our arena of influence in the personal / social? In this, we always know what we are to do – love our enemies, pray for our leaders, share the sacrificial love of Jesus practically to everyone we can, even across the world. Regardless of whether the war is “just” (or justifiable?) I, as a follower of Christ, and we, as the body of Christ on earth, have a responsibility to reconcile those who are hurt with God’s grace.



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kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:47 pm


“For you to accuse the opponents of the war of being historical revisionists is nothing short of a bold faced lie.”
Not at all. The idea that Bush lied us into war based solely on the proposition that Saddam has WMDs is not based in reality.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:50 pm


If you want to make a serious effort to become more discerning about the reasons for supporting war, then deal with the facts. If your goal is to viify a political party and its adherents, well, then don’t expect me to feel guilty for my failure to acquiesce to your arguments.
Proof that this is about oil was given to you by myself many blog entries ago and you ignored it. Also, Greenspan admitted as much.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Nobody’s going to hold on this tight for anything other than a strategic interest essential to the economy and national security. Oil. And we will NOT be leaving. That interest is too important even if violence is always unpredictable.
Have you not seen the long lines of vehicles, millions of them, across the nation? That can’t be changed without extreme pain.
Oil. War.
Peace would have been better but that’s not the natural way of mankind; habits of violence die hard practiced over millenia.
Even when Jesus came to restore us to Himself, ourselves and one another and teach otherwise over two thousand years ago. At least you would have thought Christians would have passed Christianity 101 by now.



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kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:16 am


“Proof that this is about oil was given to you by myself many blog entries ago and you ignored it. Also, Greenspan admitted as much.”
Well, I think Greenspan is full of crap. Of course oil, as a geopolitical resource, plays a role here. However, the idea that we are simply there to take Iraq’s oil is ludicrous, and not what Greenspan is suggesting.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:28 am


You know, it’s no less than a more acceptable version (because we won that war) of holocaust denial to say that genocide didn’t occur in the course of the conquest of North America and the displacement and death of millions of its inhabitants so that Europeans could occupy the land instead.
The Europeans needed liebensraum. Do you find that concept objectionable, in word, applied to us? It surely was in practice, applied to them. Where do you think later thinkers along similar lines drew inspiration and historical precedent for their own new and more terrible technological depredations?
L. Frank Baum of Wizard of Oz fame wrote approvingly of the destruction of all treaties and the end of Indian Territory reserved to the natives, in the Kansas City Star, “They cumbered the land, and were removed.”
The idea of the reservations was that of uninhabitable and inhospitable camps, where the Indians could not prosper but die off, removed from the surrounding lands and concentrated to starve one under heavy guard.
Jackson’s own life was saved by an American Indian in New Orleans, but he returned the favor by refusing to uphold the Supreme Court decision made in the Cherokees’ favor: “Justice John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it, because I sure as hell won’t.” Thus he unleashed the violent forcible removal of the civilised tribes from the South and the Trail of Tears – men, women and children of all ages, thousands of miles by foot without food, shelter or protection from the elements half a continent away to Oklahoma. Lynchings helped pave the way where they were to permanently be removed – for a while.
Did Jackson personally give smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans? No. (He doubtless wanted to see them exterminated – there can be no denial of his expression of that thoroughly racist desire for their complete annihilation – many whites of the period wrote publicly and popularly in favor of it.)
Others are documented in their own writing and those of contemporaries of having used their authority to have done so in British North America. Governors Jarvis and Francis Bond Head of Upper Canada are the most infamous perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.
Why should this surprise us? Humanity, all or any of us, is capable of anything, given circumstance and excuse. Which all too often, religion does.
Of course there were no Geneva Conventions then, and the ideas of not only racial but religious superiority were current and acceptable in favor of wholesale murder even against other Europeans.
American Indians are a forgiving people and bear no malice to their white, black and yellow brothers and sisters for the great evils done to their forbears and failure to keep written, legally binding promises to this day – although they do expect justice and contract upheld.
Still, whatever the case about Jackson, Ward Churchill’s sins should not be invoked to allow verifiable genocide to be sloughed off as easily as Confederate era patriots did the evils of their own forbears, as if slavery were simply the just punishment for bearing Cain’s mark and no one ever bore any black man or woman any personal ill will whatsoever.
That is the problem with faux Christian patriotism – it creates idealistic myths that never were and never will be, unless the truth is first acknowledged and repented of.
I agree that they are good myths – they fooled me – but now I want real ones we can believe in. I want Jesus, not Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:32 am

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:38 am


Well, I think Greenspan is full of crap. Of course oil, as a geopolitical resource, plays a role here. However, the idea that we are simply there to take Iraq’s oil is ludicrous, and not what Greenspan is suggesting.
You sir, are terribly naive.
I had links on this topic but were held up (no surprise.) For those who want information on the topic go to Counterpunch.Org and enter “Iraq Oil” their search engine. Also see Iraqoillaw-dot-com and Iraqforsale-dot-org.



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Moderatelad

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:22 am


Greenspan needed to sell his book and he found a way to make that happen. We are suprised that someone might have wrote something in a book that could be ‘untrue’ – shock.
Just for the record – none of my conservative friends have their default set to ‘yes’ when it comes to war. They just understand that sometimes all you are left with is ‘yes’ and they are able to press the button.
I wonder if there would ever be a case where Wallis and Co would agree that every avenue has been crossed and the only one left is war and would support that effort. I personally doubt it.
It will be interesting if Obama or Clinton get into the Oval Office and end the war they way – cut and run. That area will be a killing field for Iran and others. The region as a whole will be out of control with everyone trying to establish there area of influence. The shut down of the flow of oil to the world will cause gas to sky-rocket to $9.00+ a gallon. People heating their homes with gas will be cold in the winter as they will not be able to afford to heat them. As the White House and the UN are making their atempt to bring things under control, other nuts that are the leader of other nations will see this as their time to gain dominance because the rest of the world is focusing on the mideast. This is a movie for Spielberg to do.
And I will be here in MN riding my bike to work and working at providing for my family like the others. I will also be standing with Wallis and saying – No – no – no, we will not deploy our military against another country. I will be yelling from the top of the IDS Tower that St Aug. would never support our efforts. People will be dying all over the world because of evil people will have free reign – but Wallis and I will be safe and warm at home.
Blessings –
.



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squeaky

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:03 am


“Those who oppose the war for political reasons have revised history to pretend that the entire war was a quest to find WMDs.”
Strange–I just don’t remember the hype being about anything other than WMD’s. I do remember other politicians, John McCain, for example, saying we should go to free the Iraqi people, and I remember thinking “if that is how the war were sold to us, I would be far more likely to support it. Too bad it isn’t sold to us that way.” I didn’t buy the WMD argument, and the other ways it was promoted were peripheral arguments outside the main thrust of going to war–WMD’s.



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moderatelad

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:27 am


WMD’s
So comforting for some that they were not found and not those that used the term can be skewered by some. Yes – even Saddam threatened their use on the Allied Forces if Iran was attacked. Even Clinton(s) – Kerry and others claimed from the floor of Congress that Saddam had them. There also was talk about coming to the aid of the Iraqi people from the Pres and many, many others in several speeches at various times. But – some will only refer to the speech in Congress where the term WMD was the theme of the speech.
SO – some can hide behind the WMD banner – you have that right. Others know that there were several issues sited in several speeches.
So – I am almost a convert. I will pray for a quick and victorious end to the war in Iraq. (something that I have never heard the Nancy and Harry crowd even say would be a good thing if our venture into Iraq was successful) Then – I might just join the Wallis Crowd and never ever support any military effort again in the world. BUT! – along with that I will not support send any diplomatic group into a troubled area of the world either. If we are not willing to use military force against evil, I will not support send an envoy either because we can not protect them and we will not use our military to rescue them. So – the US is out of the picture and the UN is in control – just like Wallis and Co want it to be.
have a great day!
.



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M.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:39 am


I remember very clearly that the price per barrel for oil was $28 prior to the invasion.
I also recall that it was said that this was too high a price to pay and that one of the side effects of regime change and establishing an America-friendly government would be that the oil revenues would not only be diverted to pay for the war but that the price per barrel would fall to more appropriate historical levels.
I also remember that gasoline was selling for about $1.50 per gallon.
Not only was the war not free, it has cost many times more in blood and treasure.
Our currency is being devalued by war inflation, as always occurs. There has never been an exception to this in history, by the way.
And now, oil is over $82 per barrel.
The dollar has skidded to new lows
as compared to the other nations not squandering their money.
I’m not sure if what’s being repeated here is deception or self-deception.
But my memory is better.
And I admit that the thought of cheaper oil made the war more acceptable to me at the time.
I suppose that a bad policy that would have been well-executed would have been preferable to one that’s been bungled execrably. But probably basically immoral policies have in their ultimate end the seeds of destruction that were there all along, and the moral lesson is made practically clear.
Deals with the Devil end badly.



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kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:52 am


“Many of us here would say the same about you.”
They can prove it by way of argument.
WMDs were a component of the argument for invasion. Further, they played heavily into the second prong, which is that Saddam refused to reveal the nature of his weapons program. As it turns out, he was posturing, but we simply did not know that.
That said, if you go back to Bush’s original speeches, he also talks about freeing the Iraqi people from a tyrannical regime. Two days before the war, Bush said Saddam was using diplomacy as a ploy to gain an advantage, and that he continually defied U.N. resolutions.



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squeaky

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:58 am


Moderatelad,
Blessed are the peacemakers, but only if they have the weapons behind them to force the peace.
Actually, your post highlights a sad aspect of human nature. Jesus gave us this wonderful picture of His Kingdom. So we get it in our heads it’s our job to force that Kingdom onto this Earth, using whatever means necessary. He said go and make disciples. So historically, we have enacted crusades forcing conversions on pain of death. Blessed are the peacemakers, so we feel the need to force that peace using means of weapons and warfare forged from this Kingdom, not from His. Our attempts at enacting the Kingdom on this Earth stem from arrogance and our desire to be God. It’s the same story as it has been from Adam and Eve–afterall, their sin was nothing but an expression of their desire to be God. The ends don’t justify the means in the Kingdom of God.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:05 am


Folks, we need a reality check here.
I just spoke with other folks here about what they remember and why they supported the war.
We were told that Saddam had nuclear weapons ready to launch against us and that mushroom clouds would be over US cities if we did not take him out.
We were told that he was the state sponsor of the 9/11 attacks.
We believed that Iraqi lives would be saved and improved from a human rights viewpoint since Saddam was brutal. [This was the justification that resonated with me the most and I invoked it when others talked about how the WMD evidence was doubtful. I helped sell the war to other employees at a major American newspaper!]
We were also told that this would secure Israel’s place in the Middle East and end the seemingly intractable problems there by creating an unstoppable trend for democracy in the Middle East.
This would also mean lower oil prices and the oil revenues in Iraq would make the war free. [I thought, hey, we’re freeing people AND we get rewarded for it too with cheaper gas! How often do you get to do good and get something out of it too? Win-win!]
None of this stuff was true as it turned out. Some was outright fabrication from the get-go, some manipulation and others were just completely unrealistic pipe dreams.
Unfortunately, once started, the war’s been conducted in just the ill-mannered way it was conceived.



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squeaky

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:09 am


WMDs were what tipped the argument towards war. If not for that perceived threat, none of the other reasons for war would have gained enough support to get us there. In retrospect, it is convenient to minimize the WMD argument, but we simply would not be at war if that perceived threat had not existed and thus minimizing WMD’s important is disengenuous at best.



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Moderatelad

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:23 am


Posted by: squeaky | September 27, 2007 10:58 AM
No argument –
If a robber were breaking into your home with the intent to steal and maybe kill you and your family – would you not call the police?
This is how I looked at going into Iraq – coming to the aid of the oppressed Iraqi people was one of the reasons we invaded. I love peace – when nurse says ‘seek peace…’ I am right there. But what are you willing to do if the other entity is not willing to enter into meaningful dialogue so all involved can come to an agreement and remain at peace. What are you willing to do if they are not willing to comes to terms and only desire war.
Like I said before – I am praying for a quick and victorious end to the war in Iraq. Because of Nancy and Harry making political hay and as far as I can remember never once saying that victory in Iraq would be a good thing for them and the world. I am becoming of a mind set that we should never go to was ever again…no matter what. Wallis and I look like we might be in agreement – might.
If that becomes the case – I think that we should pray that the US becomes an occupied nation so that we do not have the power to wage war and so that we are never called upon again to come to the rescue of any people group in the world regardless of the circumstances. Let the UN blue helmets and a delegation have dominion over US. Then we will see the church in the US grow – albeit underground – and the would will be a better place and all will rejoice in Wallisland.
Have a great day –
.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:42 am


How illogical it is to sink to the level of praying for the occupation of our own land as being equated with a consequence of the justice of not having invaded Iraq – if that’s what we would have not done. It’s
horrible to hear such talk where truly trying to follow Jesus and do the moral thing must supposedly gird us for enslavement politically.
This really sounds to me that a false god is often being followed, albeitly sincerely.
It seems as if all the illusions are finally getting stripped away and that is a traumatic experience. I know it was for me. Serving two masters is really tough for the genuine believer, even finding out you have been doing so unwittingly.
If anything, this dialog, which has caused me to examine and think about areas I would not have as deeply, has moved me even further away from some of the positions I used to be sympathetic to, for I have found that the arguments advanced here in their favor have been unconvincing.
I honestly want to let my own understanding be led to wherever tested truth will take it.



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Moderatelad

posted September 27, 2007 at 1:48 pm


Posted by: N.M. Rod | September 27, 2007 11:42 AM
‘…illogical it is to sink to the level of praying for the occupation of our own land as…’
Not at all – I have friends that have prayed for 12+ years for this to happen for any number of reasons. I look at the situation that God has blessed us in so many ways. We are ‘our brothers keeper’ and sometimes will be called on to be their protector and/or liberator. Should we not use our place in the world to better all of us?
Do you have any thoughts about what would have happened if Hitler had developed the bomb first? I believe that he would have used it several places for continue his conquest. We used it to end a war not start a war.
Why is Iran and North Korea developing Nukes? No one is desiring to occupy them and make them endentured servants. Iran has call for the elimination of Israel and the demise of the US – I believe they are serious about this. But all the UN does is pussie-foot around the issue and ensures the safety of no one.
What other country has come to the aid of any number of countries anywhere in the world and on almost any issue other than the US and it’s Allies. But we are wrong – Wallis and many of the posters on this site believe that no war historically for the US was justified. OK – let’s stay home and let the world go to $%^&*.
Japan and Germany are better countries after being beaten in WWII. But many posters here and several authors for Sojo and I will add Wallis himself would not have supported our involvement in WWII, WWI or any other conflict. SO – let’s stay home. So if we are going to stay home and not come to the assistance of our neighbors even if that means armed conflict – why be a world power? I am not saying that I am ‘currently’ praying for the demise of the US, but I am questioning if we need to remain where we are if we will not assist our neighbors and at times – bleed for their future and safety.
Peace – please God, let their be peace. But if the bully is not going to show restraint in their efforts against peace-loving people. What are we going to do? The way I read Wallis – we will do nothing. If diplomacy fails – there is nothing we can do to bring the bully into compliance and peaceful co-exsistance with the world.
Many have called for us to destoy our Nukes so that others will do the same – right. If we will get rid of our Nuke, Iran and North Korea will stop developing their – I don’t think so. They desire dominiation and are working at making it a reality. We could in many ways dominate the world and we show restraint. So – lets get rid of the Nukes and dispand the military and so the world that we want peace. I believe we can have peace and will achieve that when we become an occupied nation.
Have a great and peaceful day –
.



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splinterlog

posted September 27, 2007 at 1:54 pm


Hahaha, multipronged argumnent??? Are we still having this blessed discussion? You want to know the truth about the build up to the war, here it is – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxOzMz2jlrs
oh btw, I especially liked, “establishing Democracy (or any free government) in a region that desperately needs it”
How cute :)



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:33 pm


A superficial grasp of history, untutored policies and seriously unexamined allegiances to ideology, no matter how sincerely held, are an insufficient basis for dialog with incoherence as it’s very difficult to find much common logical ground to proceed from.
Rather than being “advocates” for pre-conceived positions. let’s all be open to being teachable.
What I see all to often is that even basic facts, if inconvenient to ideology, are never permanently established but are open to constant renegotiation, as if the object is simply to win a propaganda war in order to “plant the flag” on some intellectual sandhill on an Iwo Jima of the political landscape.



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Ngchen

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:29 pm


Anyone notice how legalistic the war’s defenders get when they reiterate the talking points of (1) the first gulf war never technically ended and (2) Saddam didn’t fulfill his requirements to the letter? I’m glad people are denouncing the conquest of the Native Americans. Anybody really think the Iraq war wasn’t really about conquest, albeit one that is currently failing? Why do you suppose there are plans for an “embassy” the size of Vatican City in Baghdad? FWIW, waging a war of aggression is deemed the supreme international crime. And it was what got Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan into trouble. Sure their other crimes were also horrible, but if it weren’t for their invasions of foreign lands, there’d be a MUCH weaker case for toppling even those regimes.
Oh, and BTW, Gulf War I was fought to reverse Saddam’s aggressive war of conquest against Kuwait. Kuwait supposedly had been slant-drilling and stealing Iraqi oil. If Gulf War I was justified (to stop conquest despite a pretext), why can’t the same logic be used against gulf war II?
I for one am not totally convinced that “it’s in another country” being a total shield for all sorts of abuses. However, there must be a healthy respect for other states’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which was/is? utterly lacking with regard to Iraq.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:31 pm


I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
Round and round the merry-go-round
What goes up must come down
From beginning to end to beginning and then
It’s déjà vu all over again
by Myles O’Smiles
For the record:
Japan intended to bomb Pearl Harbor immediately after declaring war, but misjudged the amount of time it would take to decode the message. Much of the country was opposed to involvement in the European conflict, but Hitler foolishly declared war on the US four days later, making our participation compulsory. Saddam didn’t declare war on us; he invaded Kuwait when we purposely led him to believe that we would not oppose him.
Faux Christians on both sides of the issue fail to get to the heart of the matter—as they argue about the trivia surrounding the futility of utility. The reasons we thought we went to war are irrelevant in the final analysis. The real question is why would God allow us to do it? If he really wanted us to be victorious, it would have happened by now.
Moderatelad is rather presumptuous in assuming what Jim Wallis would have done in WWII.



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squeaky

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:46 pm


Moderatelad,
So our choices are
1. Be the police of the world and go after every oppressive government with guns blazing to establish democracy
or
2. Become an occupied nation so that we never have to worry about fixing the problems of other nations.
See, I just get the impression you see things so black and white. It’s all or nothing. Things are far more complex than you seem to think they are. Not all solutions to dictatorships come from the barrel of a gun.
Thought exercise for you: The date is 2002. We are concerned with Sadam Hussein’s actions. We decide we need to deal with him, but war is not an option. What, then, do we do? Two rules to my thought exercise–1) giving up is not an option and 2) war is not an option.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:01 pm


Thought exercise for you: The date is 2002. We are concerned with Sadam Hussein’s actions. We decide we need to deal with him, but war is not an option. What, then, do we do? Two rules to my thought exercise–1) giving up is not an option and 2) war is not an option.
Posted by: squeaky
Good question . But are the known facts the same ? , or the thought to be known facts the same . Politicians , both sides of the isle , still telling people about WMDs and possible nukes in the future and such ? Colin Powell at the Un , etc . ?



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Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:02 pm


Splinterlog,
That ish was funny. It’s funny because it’s true. That and Dave Chapelle is comedic genuis.
everyone else,
The war in Iraq was all about faulty intelligence. Regardless of what the right wants to say we did rush into it. many asked for more time and they decided it was enough. That’s the problem. You have a decider in office that likes war as the third option for achieving peace. It really doesn’t work to well during an occupation.
p



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steve

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:17 pm


“Thought exercise for you: The date is 2002. We are concerned with Sadam Hussein’s actions. We decide we need to deal with him, but war is not an option. What, then, do we do? Two rules to my thought exercise–1) giving up is not an option and 2) war is not an option.”
Maintaining the status quo of containment sounds pretty appealing when compaired to the results of the war. It sure doesn’t play well in sound bites, and some may say it is “giving up”. It would not be satisfying to the U.S ego. It would take long-term commitment to keep on keepin’ on (and U.S. people are not savvy about long-term commitment). Even with all that: it sure sounds appealing when compared with the alternatives.



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steve

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:24 pm


For the record, and to fight deceptive, revisionist history, my memory is also that WMDs were indeed the central propaganda pushing the war.
While it may be technically true that other reasons were given, they were never substantively emphasized.
The larger picture is that the rationale was really, on the whole, WMDs (until we in the war and some other rationale was needed).



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bren

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:14 pm


WMDs was definitely the selling point for invading Iraq. Remember Colin Powell’s speech to the UN? All about WMD.
However, during Paul Bremer’s time in Iraq, when benchmarks were being determined that would apparently tell us when the Iraqis were able to take over governing themselves, one of the most important key benchmarks was that the Iraqis must sign over to U.S. oil interests the management of their (Iraqi) oil. Their inability (unwillingness?) to do this was, along with the weather, the reason that the politicians went on vacation in August. Will they continue to resist giving over their oil to U.S. oil interests? Stay tuned.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:45 pm


I was thinking over the absurdity of a suggestion that our own nation being conquered and occupied would make things better here if we don’t make things better there by conquering another nation.
This was proposed as something that could be prayed for alternatively if we didn’t get the “victory” the erstwhile war supporter wanted quickly.
That is as unreal as the belief that our conquering and occupying another land could bring it freedom.
It makes no sense.
Moreover, I’m not going to pray that this nation be occupied or conquered by any foreign power. Occupation’s not a blessing – probably nothing is as humiliating to a people.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:56 pm


The whole concept of considering praying for our own country to be occupied is in fact totally disgusting and makes me nauseous.
Just what are you thinking?!
I guess someone isn’t much of a “patriot” after all.
I hope the person saying this pleads temporary insanity because it’s really too much. I don’t like to use the word, but treason comes to mind when talking about our own territory.
It’s so offensive that it actually ends up a visceral lesson in how people might feel about any foreign occupier, even us, in their own land, once they’re no longer viewed as liberators.
Is that the point you were trying to make?



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Anonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:23 pm


Todd Ray says: “Why, for the love of God, do we stop at Iraq? There are many other evil tyrants in this world, equal to Sadam, monstrously cruel, who are deserving of the righteous wrath of a good, altruistic Christian nation such as the United States. Lets go!”
Are you kidding, Mr Ray? US history has been a series of interventions in the internal affairs of other states– on the behalf of our capitalist businessmen, propping up, or as in the case of Saddam Hussein, establishing such tyrants as he to share the exploitation of their own people.
And if you’re a Christian, what about this? James 1:20 “… The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”



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Moderatelad

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:48 pm


Posted by: squeaky | September 27, 2007 4:46 PM
First – I said that I had friends that have prayed for our nation to become occupied and that we would no longer be a factor in world affairs. I did say that I was about to join them but have not as of yet.
1. Be the police of the world and go after every oppressive government with guns blazing to establish democracy
We are asked to be the police so many times. Not ‘guns blazing’ but ready if needed. To go into talks with a potential enemy and not be able to back up your demands is not deplomacy – it is foolhearty. You have to be ‘willing’ to wage war in order to ‘keep’ the peace. Had Chamberlain done this with Hitler – maybe we would not have had a WWII. But he knuckled under to most of Hitler’s demands and therefore Hitler took that as weakness and went forward with his 1000 years Reich.
or
2. Become an occupied nation so that we never have to worry about fixing the problems of other nations.
With the prevailing thought on this site – we are not serious about their problems. We are as long as did does not cost us anything. So – we are willing to go to the matt for our protection and safety but will stay home and let the others take care of themselves? We are not our brothers keeper if that is what we stand for.
Seeing things black and white – I have learned that for the most part on this site. When I worked for Dr. Graham – I was more poised for dealing with shades of grey. I still look at the world as shades of grey but in dealing with many on this site – the lines of demarcation have been drawn for me and I understand where I have been placed and where they are standing. There is very little grey in Sojoland.
Blessings on you teacher –
.



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Anonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:55 pm


Todd Ray says: “Why, for the love of God, do we stop at Iraq? There are many other evil tyrants in this world, equal to Sadam, monstrously cruel, who are deserving of the righteous wrath of a good, altruistic Christian nation such as the United States. Lets go!”
Are you kidding, Mr Ray? US history has been a series of interventions in the internal affairs of other states– on the behalf of our capitalist businessmen, propping up, or as in the case of Saddam Hussein, establishing such tyrants as he to share the exploitation of their own people.
And if you’re a Christian, what about this? James 1:20 “… The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”



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Justinteim

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:04 pm


WWJD?



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Todd Ray

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:32 pm


“Perhaps we approach the whole issue from the wrong direction. Is our responsibility as Christ followers to either sanction or denounce the activities of nation states? Is the purpose of being a Christian to debate and then arrive at a political stance, in alignment or disagreement with one party or the other?
Or is our arena of influence in the personal / social? In this, we always know what we are to do – love our enemies, pray for our leaders, share the sacrificial love of Jesus practically to everyone we can, even across the world. Regardless of whether the war is “just” (or justifiable?) I, as a follower of Christ, and we, as the body of Christ on earth, have a responsibility to reconcile those who are hurt with God’s grace.”
posted by Jesse A.
Thank you, Jesse, for such a clean, succinct post, and a call to focus on the personal duty of the follower of Christ.
At the end of the day, wars are still fought by individual men and women who, on both sides, are children of God. Just or unjustified, war is a violent exercise of worldly power by men. As followers of Christ, we either believe and trust that His power, His way, is the right way, or we reject it as naive. If you do not trust Jesus, and reject His way, you must place your faith and trust in the worldly power of nation-states, in the killing power of weapons.
Pray for victory? Pray that our weapons and our tactics are better than our enemies, that we kill and destroy other children of God? Pray, knowing that our success means that some Christians have chosen to kill their enemies, and to serve up death, pain, suffering, and heartache upon the enemy homeland rather than trust Jesus’ way?
I maintain that it matters not what the reason for the war. Christ called us, quite clearly, as individual followers, as believers, to confront an enemy with nonviolent love. I do not believe that He ever sanctioned anyone to use the worldly power of violence to confront an enemy, no matter how evil. Not in His name, nor in the name of a righteous nation. In this the Amish, and a few others, got it right.
We seem to always be Americans first, and Christians second, or worse.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 28, 2007 at 12:49 am


Even if non-Christians considered themselves Americans first, there’s nothing that says that non-violence and non-violent resistance can’t be throughly American and patriotic.
There is absolutely no reason for violence being intertwined irrevocably with America. It can be what we choose to make it.
Militarism and empire aren’t irrevocable choices.
As Americans we can seize the high moral ground.
One start might to be stop accusing each other of being left or right, or even self-identifying as such. What purpose does it serve?
We usually want to say one or the other is “good” while the other is “evil” or at the least “stupid.”
You know, I’ve found out that others usually have valid reasons for coming to the conclusions they have, even if they’re not precisely the same as my own. Most people have an internal moral compass they believe to be really important, and that’s what we can respect in one another and start to come together on as a basis – learning what each other considers ethical and moral and why, and figure out where we can adjust our own attitudes to carry out the true ethical components of what we have to offer, instead of concentrating on what we don’t share.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 28, 2007 at 12:56 am


What I find particularly non-productive, and where my eyes glaze over and I stop paying attention, is when people say, “the Left” or “the Right” has always done this or that, a litany of past complaints to avoid listening to the particular person.
Would be good to think outside these boxes.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:00 am


N.M. Rod
Your last paragraph was quite elegant and uplifting . Thanks for sharing that view.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:17 am


American Indians are a forgiving people and bear no malice to their white, black and yellow brothers and sisters for the great evils done to their forbears and failure to keep written, legally binding promises to this day
You really know very few Natives then my friend , because their is indeed a great amount of resentment and anger still in Native American communities . Gangs and such are common place in many reservations , and anger, hatred and blame know no color or culture that it can not inflict their mericless demons on .
I know , seen it first hand . One of the reasons is that the memory is still quite current with many of the injustices . One Native I know , good friends with my wife , I know who has a Ministry for Native Americans was brought up in Canada . Her Father took her and her 10 siblings into the woods of the North West when she was five or so , otherwise they would have been taken away from their Father and Mother and sent to schools where English Only was allowed . That is why the languages died, the culture died and resentment continues . . You idea of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is indeed perhaps in your own revisionists understanding also , because many of the deeds and culture of the Natives in this Hemispehere was indeed hostile and terrible nasty to their own people also . The repentence of people needs to be realized that we ALL need to repent , not just the white , not just the red , but all . You are missing much of the story .
The genocide of biological warfare was false . It is a myth , it is allowing the scab to peeled off those who already have enough on their plate .



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kevin s.

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:59 am


“What I find particularly non-productive, and where my eyes glaze over and I stop paying attention, is when people say, “the Left” or “the Right” has always done this or that, a litany of past complaints to avoid listening to the particular person.”
I agree with this. When I use the term “left” or “right” (and I freely admit to ascribing to the viewpoint of the latter) I simply mean the term as a shorthand for what constitutes liberal vs. conservative as it relates to the political center. We could eschew such terminology, which requires us to replace mutually accepted shorthand with long-winded semantics, but I don’t see where this gets us.



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Moderatelad

posted September 28, 2007 at 8:28 am


Posted by: N.M. Rod | September 28, 2007 12:49 AM
One start might to be stop accusing each other of being left or right, or even self-identifying as such. What purpose does it serve?
For me it is not an accusation as more of term of identificaton. One is LEFT of Center or RIGHT of center. Left = Democrat / Right = Republican. Neither is a negative term in itself.
Blessings –
.



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hollie

posted September 28, 2007 at 9:00 am


Follow Jesus…follow the O.T. codes
Follow Jesus…follow the O.T. codes
It’s that simple, as they are mutually exclusive. All the above comments are, well, awfully wordy. And they just come back to the same old Pharisees v Jesus divide.
Pick one side or the other, but kindly don’t call your Phariseeism Christianity. Christians are people who listen to, and follow, Jesus.
He was just so darned radical, and simple, that many still ignore what he taught, doing things that can be seen as the polar opposite, while invoking his name.



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Jon S.

posted September 28, 2007 at 9:19 am


Immediately following 9/11 we experienced a time of internal unity and external support from many nations around the world. Could we have nurtured that by following the teachings of Jesus concerning revenge (forgiveness, turning the other cheek, etc)? And if we had, where would we be now?
Some might say that it would have been a sign of weakness and we would have invited others to attack us. After all, Jesus was crucified because of his lack of fighting-back. But as a Christian, I have to believe that what Jesus said about ‘kingdom living’ is true. I’m not talking about forcing the kingdom on people, but to live ‘in’ the kindgom is to respond ‘outside’ of what ‘non-kingdom’ people would do.
I believe that we would be a stronger nation here at home and a more respected and supported nation world-wide had we lived according to Christ’s principles. (Remember, Christ’s battle didn’t end at the crucifixion!)Of course this is all theory (faith), but the only way it can be tested is by responding differently the next time around. It would also be helpful for us to admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. In doing so, ‘God’s kingdom will come to earth as it is in heaven’ – that IS what we pray… isn’t it?
We are where we are now – there’s not much point in going around the same things over and over, but please… let us learn something from our actions and give Christ’s way a chance.



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canucklehead

posted September 28, 2007 at 11:46 am


>>>”American Indians are a forgiving people and bear no malice to their white, black and yellow brothers and sisters for the great evils done to their forbears and failure to keep written, legally binding promises to this day.” N.M. Rod
From our experience north of the 49th, that statement, as it stands, and as Mick points out, is simply false. I suspect that holds true even if you want to start splitting hairs between American and Canadian native Indians.
In recent years, mainline church denominations in Canada have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to natives for various abuses that occurred over the years at state-sponsored church schools. I recently sat thru a First Nation’s conference and heard story after story of abuse from natives who hold significant malice toward their white conquerors.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 28, 2007 at 12:45 pm


For me it is not an accusation as more of term of identificaton. One is LEFT of Center or RIGHT of center. Left = Democrat / Right = Republican. Neither is a negative term in itself.
Except that they mean nothing if you don’t understand what the terms mean in their context. Only activists and extremists in those parties neatly fall under those categories; the majority don’t.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 28, 2007 at 2:51 pm


Ahneen,
I stand by my statements that North American indigenous peoples are remarkably forgiving and generous “nations within nations.”
You’ll note that all are remarkably peaceful in comparison to the cycles of violence, terrorism and revenge that mark much of the landscape worldwide where often lesser but still absymal crimes were and are committed against minorities or oppressed peoples.
As I attended pow-wows this summer, I also noted the entirely genuine patriotism expressed by tribes and the proud display of the flag and invocation of blessings for the military. I just have to realize that we weren’t praising the Seventh Cavalry or the U.S. military massacre of the Ghost Dancers! I’m not sure it’s entirely explicable for native peoples to praise our military for making us free, but there you have it. That is the generosity of the American Indian.
I also have to respectfully decline the observation that I “really know very few Natives my friend.” I’m not sure if you really consider me your friend or not, [sort of like calling someone under suspicion, “sir”] but if I am, then you would have another American Indian one. Moreover, we interact with tribal government on a daily basis as well as numerous friends and relatives who have majority blood quantum, both in the US and Canada, where our peoples reside.
You mention residential schools. I didn’t say that forgiveness doesn’t require repentance by the perpetrators or that grievous pain wasn’t experienced by victims leaving long term scars. And repentance through money, while inadequate, is one possible genuine expression of repentance for the collective guilt that still remains.
Moreover, I stand by the assertion that our First Nations are peaceful. There is nothing wrong with non-violent resistance, however, when injustices need to be addressed.
Also a false, racist and self-serving innuendo in placing native peoples because of ongoing treaty negotiations and non-violent protest within domestic Canadian terror threat assessments that was part of a Canadian government report was justly excised and condemned by the Canadian government this summer.
Let me reiterate, moreover, that our family personally receives tribal and pan-Indian publications, both religious and political and community oriented and we are personally used as a resource for certain treaty rights and exercise knowledge.
Miigwetch



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kevin s.

posted September 28, 2007 at 6:15 pm


“It’s that simple, as they are mutually exclusive.”
No serious theologian thinks it is that simple.



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Bill Samuel

posted September 28, 2007 at 8:01 pm


Hasn’t anyone else read the recent news stories that reveal Bush knew before the Iraq War that Saddam Hussein had agreed to step down and go into exile without a war if he was allowed to take money out? Before the war, there were a variety of shifting reasons given for going into war. The WMD one was settled upon as the only one which gave even a semblance (a weak one, at that) of legality for the war.
The evidence has steadily come out which effectively debunks all the reasons given for the war. And it shows that enough was known on all of them before the war. I think it is really proven that the war was built on lies. Even many who support continuing it essentially concede that, but argue than now that we are there we have to “finish the job.”
I think it has been pretty conclusively shown that the reasons given for going to war prior to it were not the real reasons. The evidence for what the real reason for it was may not be quite so strong, but it does seem to point to oil probably being the main reason, although revenge for Saddam’s threat against the President’s father was probably another one.



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