God's Politics

God's Politics


Hagel to Petraeus: ‘For What?’ (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

Gen. Petraeus faced much tougher questions in the U.S. Senate on his second day of testimony, Tuesday, than he did before the House committees on Monday. The senators, many quite experienced in foreign policy matters, were far less impressed by the general’s reports of modest tactical success on the security front when there was no evidence of political reconciliation. This became more and more apparent as the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, was confronted with a bipartisan grilling. On its own expressed terms of making a political solution in Iraq possible, the “surge” is a failed policy, despite minor (and still disputable) security gains. And Gen. Petraeus’ suggestion to simply stay the course is nothing more than an open-ended commitment to an American occupation in the middle of an Iraqi civil war with no end in sight.


Democratic Senator Joe Biden bluntly stated that the goal of an Iraqi central government that united the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish factions is simply not possible and that it is “time to turn the corner” on U.S. strategy. Republican Senator (and Vietnam War veteran) Chuck Hagel cited many bleak reports of Iraq by other independent and nonpartisan groups, telling Petraeus, “We’ve got too many disconnects here, General, way too many disconnects.” Hagel demanded an answer to the most basic question about Iraq: “Where is this going?” He pressed Petraeus, “Are we going to continue to invest American blood and treasure at the same rate we’re doing now? For what?”


But the most stunning exchange of the day came on a question from Republican John Warner, one of the Senate’s elder statesmen on military matters. The Chicago Tribune reported:



Warner concluded with a question: “Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress here as a strategy, do you feel that that is making America safer?”

Petraeus said the strategy was the best course for achieving U.S. objectives in Iraq.

“Does that make America safer?” pushed Warner.

Said Petraeus, “Sir, I don’t know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted it out in my own mind.”


Petraeus’ response to one of the most fundamental questions for the American people about the war in Iraq—does this war make us safer?—was “I don’t know.” Every day, young Americans are being asked to risk and give their lives for a policy that the commanding general can’t say is making America safer. Extraordinary.



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Pat

posted September 12, 2007 at 2:51 pm


The fact that Petraeus cannot answer the question “Are these measures making America safer?” is not odd. His main goal and his JOB is to win the Iraq WAR. Whether it is making America safer is a policy judgement and the fact that the military commander cant make it shows one thing. He is staying out of the political dispute about strategy going on at the Congressional level and focusing on dealing with Iraq from an on the ground military perspective. So cut his answer a break. It’s not a sign of his failure – just more evidence that no one knows where the War on Terror and Iraq’s logic begins and ends. Let’s not get hyper sensitive here people. Try not to make the worstening crisis make you misinterpret statements beyond what they are. Usually you people at SoJo are better than that.



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jesse

posted September 12, 2007 at 2:56 pm


Whether it’s making the US safer is irrelevant to Petraeus, who’s main objective is to make Iraq safer. For him to answer that question would be to go beyond what he sees happening in Iraq. It’s not his job to do that.
Still haven’t read Jim provide any serious alternative solution to this conflict.



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kevin s.

posted September 12, 2007 at 3:01 pm


Ah yes, Chuck Hagel has been a very useful tool for Democrats throughout this effort. Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, both Democrats, support the effort. Is it fair to say the effort enjoy “bi-partisan” support? Probably not.
“Every day, young Americans are being asked to risk and give their lives for a policy that the commanding general can’t say is making America safer. Extraordinary.”
Is it his position to say whether the effort is making America safer? In his previous post, Wallis strongly implies that Petraeus has given a dishonest assessment of the situation. If honesty is no vitrue, why wouldn’t Gen. Petraeus simply say that yes, the surge has made America safer?
There is no answer that Petraeus could have given that would please Wallis, so why should we consider this particular answer to be any more extraordinary than other potential answers?



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Moderatelad

posted September 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Posted by: kevin s. | September 12, 2007 3:01 PM
Well stated my friend – thanks for the chatt last night.
Blessings –
.



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Mark

posted September 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Mr. Wallis –
Your points with regard to the Patraeus hearings are well taken. However, if the U.S. simply pulls its forces out of Iraq, without a secure and stable government in place, may this not lead to:
1) Full-scale civil war between Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds
2) Massive civilian casualties
3) Total loss of stability in the region
4) Possible invasion by Syria, Iran, or others into Iraq
5) A safe haven in Iraq for terrorist bases and training camps
6) A failure to establish a democracy in the region (with democracy being perhaps the best long-term solution to ending religious fundamentalism, and ultimately terrorism)
7) A complete loss of U.S. credibility and a message to terrorists and dictators around the world that the U.S. does not have the will to prevail
I am curious to know what course of action you suggest to stop and prevent bloodshed in Iraq, and bring about peace?



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 12, 2007 at 5:12 pm


I am begining to wonder if this site is just another monologue.
At the top of this sire, and in the paperback edition of the book with the same name, Wallis says that the Religious Right’s monologue is over, and a new conversation has begun. It seems that there is little conversation here, and more of the leadership handing down their wisdom from on high, and leaving us little people to wonder at their brilliance. Am I off base here? Am I missing something? So those who post blog entries here, actually interact with those who comment?
Paul



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rachel s.

posted September 12, 2007 at 5:16 pm


The question I do not hear anyone asking is what makes Iraq safer, what makes the Iraqi people safer? This seems to be the a critical dimension when considering the current situation given our contributions to its current instability.



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Mike Grello

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm


I think if they did, they would prabably give up in despair.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:17 pm


It seems that there is little conversation here, and more of the leadership handing down their wisdom from on high, and leaving us little people to wonder at their brilliance. Am I off base here? Am I missing something? So those who post blog entries here, actually interact with those who comment?
Some of us have interacted with Scripture, Reason & History on our own for a number of years and have come to similar conclusions. I wouldn’t say I think exactly as does Wallis & co, but enough like them that I find even a monologue welcome, if only for the fact that it’s a welcome break from the right’s sub-informed, superstitious and soulish screed they slung at us for ages.
And I might add I’d take a monologue over listening to the so-called “alternative” the Right-wing nut jobs who frequent this site have to offer. They simply don’t have anything worth listening to.
As far as “interaction” – I don’t expect that anymore than you expect to interact with Dobson. But once in while it’s nice. I had a pleasant exchange with Dr. Campolo several years ago when he visited my alma matter.



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Ngchen

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:20 pm


I agree that whether the war is making America safer or not isn’t really Gen. Petraeus’s job. The policy implications of the question though are interesting.
(1) What is the mission?
(2) How would we or anyone else know when or if the mission is achieved?
(3) Is the mission realistically achieveable? And at what cost? Is it worth it? What would constitute “victory?”
(4) Isn’t, in theory at least, the ultimate mission and goal of the US military to keep the US safe and secure? If this war is not doing so, then how would such sub-mission be in line with the ultimate mission? Conservatives would argue that keeping people and property secure is the SOLE legitimate realm of government. So if the war isn’t helping, wouldn’t/shouldn’t conservatives also be pushing for a withdrawal?
(5) How much of “staying the course” is motivated by pride, versus pushing toward a realistic victory?
Notice that (2) (3) and (5) are meaningless unless someone can clearly spell out what the mission even is. Interestingly, BOTH the Iraqi and American peoples want a pullout, according to polls. So I’d like to hear the reasons why it isn’t happening, and how that squares with “democracy” and the like. (I’ll concede that, it is just and proper to do what is not popular because of underlying principles. I’d like to hear any such principles articulated though, because I haven’t heard any recently.)



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:24 pm


There is no answer that Petraeus could have given that would please Wallis, so why should we consider this particular answer to be any more extraordinary than other potential answers?
Counter-proposition: There’s nothing that Sojouner’s or anyone that thinks in similar fashion can say to please Kevin S., so why shou1d we listen to his opinion anymore than other potential answers?



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kevin s.

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:47 pm


” I find even a monologue welcome,”
Which is why you visit Sojo, which was his point.
“the so-called “alternative” the Right-wing nut jobs who frequent this site have to offer. They simply don’t have anything worth listening to.”
Tranlastion: I don’t listen to those with whom I disagree. Essentially, this is what you said.
“There’s nothing that Sojouner’s or anyone that thinks in similar fashion can say to please Kevin S.”
That isn’t true. At any rate, the upshot of what you just said is that Sojo is as narrowminded as I am.
“so why shou1d we listen to his opinion anymore than other potential answers?”
You already said that you don’t. Why do you turn this forum into a series of playground taunts? Every post with you is “Nut job” this “Nazi’s” that. Why act like an ass?



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Anonymous

posted September 12, 2007 at 7:51 pm


Try not to make the worstening crisis make you misinterpret statements beyond what they are. Usually you people at SoJo are better than that.
Posted by: Pat
Since when ?



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 12, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Tranlastion: I don’t listen to those with whom I disagree. Essentially, this is what you said.
Quite wrong. I do read opinions by Conservative commentators off and on in my local paper. I avoid the talk show stuff because it’s mostly screed. My comments were limited to those who contribute to this board from the so-called “Christian Right.”
That isn’t true.
Then start focusing on more positive aspects and you won’t get treated the way you do on here.
At any rate, the upshot of what you just said is that Sojo is as narrowminded as I am.
Not at all. Just because I used you as a contra-example, it doesn’t logically follow that I agree with your example. At any rate, remember when I told you a few weeks back that I would point it out when you were arguing against someone having an opinion, rather than the opinion itself? Well this is one of those times.
Why do you turn this forum into a series of playground taunts?
Pot met kettle. And the irony meter is peaking.
Every post with you is “Nut job” this “Nazi’s” that.
Nope. I only rarely use those phrases.
Why act like an ass?
Look in the mirror and ask that one. If you don’t like Progressive Christian Politics, why you you persist on being an ass and hanging around here?



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Sarasotakid

posted September 12, 2007 at 8:21 pm


“Look in the mirror and ask that one. If you don’t like Progressive Christian Politics, why you you persist on being an ass and hanging around here?”
A very good question, indeed!



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andrew

posted September 12, 2007 at 8:37 pm


Proposition:
Why don’t we get away from our computers, go out and love on some people and build some relationships. Maybe do something meaningful and purposeful while we’re here on this earth.
Debating about who’s right and who’s wrong doesn’t seem to be helping the lonely, hungry man that’s sitting out on our street corners.
Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe it is detrimental to our society if Kevin Wayne or Kevin S. isn’t proved wrong.



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canucklehead

posted September 12, 2007 at 9:06 pm


Kevin S. – ModerateLad:
are you guys selling tix to the Mutual Admiration Society? You’re starting to sound more like people in my church all the time. The question is: is that a good thing?
Seriously, much as I’m not a GWB fan, I pray daily for the sake of peace on earth that God will give him wisdom beyond his own.
I prayed that for our Canadian Prime Minister today as a “scandal” or “tempest in a teapot” breaks here over division at the senior level whether Muslim women should be required to uncover their faces for ID purposes when they show up to vote in a federal election.
Having just read, WHILE EUROPE SLEPT, by Bruce Bawer (a conservative’s perspective on how Islam is rapidly overtaking western Europe right under their noses), I fear for our country given some of our politicians’ insane belief that all the cultures of the world can live at peace and harmony in Canada w/ no one of them being dominant. Believe what you want, wear what you want, do what you want, and all will be well.
“Horse hockey!” as one of my favorite theologians, Colonel Sherman Potter used to intone.
Golly – just realized I’m starting to sound like Kevin S or ModLad. The last daze ARE indeed upon us!



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Wolverine

posted September 12, 2007 at 9:24 pm


Sen. Warner’s questioning was rather clever: Gen Petraeus was not there to answer larger questions of US foreign policy, he was there to describe the state of affairs in Iraq. Asked a question that was (as they say in DC) above his pay grade, Patraeus demurred and war opponents got their el cheapo debating point.
This is of a piece with Wallis’ column the other night: compare Petraeus statements about the military situation in Iraq with the GAO’s assessment of progress in the Iraqi legislature. Do not address any of the specifics that Petraeus actually spoke about.
Petraeus is of the opinion that militarily the surge has succeeded so far in pacifying Iraq. Nearly all of the metrics appear to back him up. So far nobody has been able to dispute him on those basic questions that he was here to testify on.
I can’t blame you for wanting to change the subject, but don’t be surprised if the rest of us don’t go along.
Wolverine



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 12, 2007 at 9:40 pm


Let’s just cut to the chase–shall we?
We broke it and we will never fix it. We are in the last days. This is the logical consequence of handing the responsibility for our national security to the Village Idiot. Anyone can claim to be a “Born Again Christian”. That does not necessarily make it so.



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Ken Leonard

posted September 12, 2007 at 9:48 pm


I was listening to the hearings on the radio, and when I heard that question, I said to my wife, “That’s not a general’s job to decide.” At the time, I thought it was further proof that our legislators are incompetent. Rather, it appears to have been a shrewdly-calculated political question, to maneuver General Petraeus into speaking to what policy SHOULD be, rather than reporting on how he was executing the policy he’d been given.
As to the back-and-forth argument I’m seeing in the above comments … is this being done in the spirit of Christian love? Once you start calling each other names, what exactly are you going for?



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James

posted September 12, 2007 at 10:08 pm


OK, is the war in Iraq making America safer? If not, then why are we there? Can any of you answer the question? Extra points for using Jesus’ teaching in your answer.



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James

posted September 12, 2007 at 10:15 pm


“Petraeus is of the opinion that militarily the surge has succeeded so far in pacifying Iraq. Nearly all of the metrics appear to back him up. So far nobody has been able to dispute him on those basic questions that he was here to testify on.”
Even assuming you are correct, the purpose of the surge was to lay the groundwork for a political compromise between the different factions- something that is just as remote today as when the surge started. A total failure.
Also, the surge is not sustainable so eventually we’re going to have to pull those extra troops out.
Last time I checked, the military has a role in national security. If the commander of US forces in Iraq is unable to tell us whether or not the surge is making us safer (which after all was the rationale of the war) that is the equivalent of saying that he could not posit an opinion as to whether the sacrifice of human lives cause by the surge was worth it.
Defend Petraeus all you want. I have come to expect nothing better from the neo-cons who frequent and obstruct this blog. The ones who are changing the subject are the neo conservative, pro-war elements- first the war was about weapons of mass destruction, then about getting rid of a ruthless dictator and now it is the front line of the battle against Al Quaeda (notwithstanding the fact that Al Quaeda did not exist in Iraq before the war).
If Clinton had pulled this crap you would have had him on a skewer but since it is your beloved “Christian” president who got us into this mess, it’s all okay, right?



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Eric

posted September 12, 2007 at 10:26 pm


Is Jim Wallis impying that the only time the lives of our men and women in the military should be engaged abroad is when it will make our country safer? Is that the ultimate standard by which we should judge military action? Or is it just the standard by which we should judge Iraq?



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Anonymous

posted September 12, 2007 at 10:37 pm


Kevin Wayne,
I am one of those right wing nuts you refer to. I would like some interaction from Wallis, Mc Laren et al, simply to understand the points they raise, and where they are coming from. Wallis gleefully said in the paperback copy of his book, God’s Politics, that the monologue was over and a new conversation had begun. I am having a hard time believing that statement. If, indeed, liberal Christians are interested in conversation, I would like to happily join in. At the end of the day, liberal or conservative, Scripture alone should be the final rule of faith and life for Christians, and therefore we should be able to apply the Gospel to all of life. Where is this conversation that Wallis speaks of, and where can I join in?
Kevin S.,
You are right, that was my point, and I agree with the rest of that comment as well. If Wallis claims there is a dialogue, that presupposes that there is speaking, and listening, and if we are to believe the emergent leadership, no one opinion is above another. Just wondering if that is actually true in practice?
Paul



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Anonymous

posted September 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm


“If Clinton had pulled this crap you would have had him on a skewer but since it is your beloved “Christian” president who got us into this mess, it’s all okay, right?”
James, if Clinton had taken Bin Laden when the Sudan offered him, TWICE, and if GHW Bush had taken out Saddam, along with his two kids, we would not be here.
Paul



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kevin s.

posted September 12, 2007 at 11:31 pm


“Then start focusing on more positive aspects and you won’t get treated the way you do on here.”
I’m not looking to be treated a certain way. There wasn’t a single positive thing in this article on which I could focus.
“Pot met kettle. And the irony meter is peaking.”
I don’t reduce my arguments to schoolyard taunts. There is nothing ironic about my statement at all. You conflate disagreement with insult.
“At any rate, remember when I told you a few weeks back that I would point it out when you were arguing against someone having an opinion, rather than the opinion itself? Well this is one of those times.”
I don’t recall. I don’t have any problem with someone having an opinion. I don’t know what you are talking about.
“If you don’t like Progressive Christian Politics, why you you persist on being an ass and hanging around here?”
Because the blog claims to be non-partisan and claims to represent my God’s politics. I don’t think offering disagreement is the same as calling someone a nut job.
“OK, is the war in Iraq making America safer?”
Yes.
“If not, then why are we there?”
To establish security in a region fraught with sectarian strife and terrorism. If we can establish a stable government there eventually, then we can make the Middle East into something more than the desert battleground that it is currently.
“Can any of you answer the question?”
Can you?
“Extra points for using Jesus’ teaching in your answer.”
Jesus was silent on the issue of the war on terrorism.
“If Clinton had pulled this crap”
If Clinton pulled this “crap” he would have ceased to be Clinton. Instead, he bombed Iraq at arbitrary intervals. His foreign policy was trifling.
“I am one of those right wing nuts you refer to. I would like some interaction from Wallis, Mc Laren et al,”
The only comment from Wallis that I have seen was in opposition to the South Dakota referendum on the legality of abortion. Rather than comment, I would like to see some evidence that the posters here understand the opposing viewpoint. I see no such evidence in this post.
“Where is this conversation that Wallis speaks of, and where can I join in?”
Rod Dreher’s blog.



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justintime

posted September 12, 2007 at 11:55 pm


Dear Pat the site monitor,
Please check the in box
My last post has been held for over an hour now.
Is there anyone on the night shift?



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 13, 2007 at 12:00 am


Y’all just don’t get it. We created this monster and now it will devour us. There is no way to further delay the consequences of 60 years of American arrogance in believing that God is “on OUR side”.
Ronald Reagan had no foreign policy experience when he was elected. He relied on Bush the Elder—who had been a Congressman, CIA Director and Ambassador to the UN—for the policies that led to the support of Saddam in the Iran-Iraq War, the sale of advanced fighter aircraft to both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and the sale of TOW missiles to Iran in the hopes of simultaneously gaining the release of a few hostages and financing the Contras in Nicaragua. Osama bin Laden was our man in Afghanistan when we thought that he would serve our interests.
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had no problem dealing with Saddam when there was a profit to be made. And when Bush the Elder needed to wag the dog, they suckered him into invading Kuwait by having our ambassador to Iraq say that we had “no interest” in their border dispute while fully cognizant of the fact that he was massing troops on the border in preparation. Dick Cheney made excuses for not going to Baghdad, saying that it was “unclear” what we would have to deal with. Twelve years later he became very clear that we would be greeted with flowers by joyful Iraqis.
The time of the Gentiles (that would be US, folks) has truly come to an end—and may God have mercy on us all.
By the way, Sunny LA is just south of Buffalo—doncha know?



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James

posted September 13, 2007 at 6:01 am


Hello JCinSunnyLA, you are right on the facts. We created this monster and you have concisely stated how. Hence the utter outrage on the part of many of us about this war and the crass manipulation that we have undergone. Somehow the opposition wants us to “understand” them and to reach out and say something “positive” about Petreus to bridge the divide.
To them, I would say that this administration did not reach out to those who clearly and concisely stated why we should not go into Iraq. Rather we we were treated haughtily and with contempt. Our patriotism was called into question and in some circles our Christianity was questioned. The administration arrogantly treated our European allies who opposed the war as “Old Europe”. We on the left have reached out as far as we can. We have not commenced impeachment proceedings against this lying president and his joke of a sidekick, Dick Cheney.
To those who support this military action, you have shown a careless disregard for a Christian ethic. You have supported a war of aggression and greed and you have shown no regard for the loss of human life that it has occasioned.
Don’t expect us to “understand” your position because we understand it all too well. You play the misunderstood victim when you are supporting immoral and unconscionable policies.



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kevin s.

posted September 13, 2007 at 6:45 am


“Somehow the opposition wants us to “understand” them and to reach out and say something “positive” about Petreus to bridge the divide.”
I don’t want to bridge the divide, necessarily, and I do not ask that anything positive be said of Petraeus. Understanding the opposing viewpoint is part and parcel of civilized political debate, and will only serve to enhance your credibility.
Our politicians have failed to give us any sort of substantive debate about this war. It has been “stay the course” vs. a gradually nuanced (and often muddled) opposition to the war that will end with a demand for pull out in the fall of 2008.
I don’t expect Jim Wallis to agree with my support for this war effort. But, as a self-proclaimed profit, I would expect him to dig deeper than the opportunistic cherry-picking of talking points exhibited here.
“We on the left have reached out as far as we can. We have not commenced impeachment proceedings against this lying president and his joke of a sidekick, Dick Cheney.”
Come on, now. The lack of impeachment proceedings are a function of electoral politics, not a magnanimous gesture of outreach on the part of Democrats.
“You play the misunderstood victim when you are supporting immoral and unconscionable policies.”
I don’t see anyone here playing the victim. I am the victim of nothing.



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letjusticerolldown

posted September 13, 2007 at 8:04 am


Does this war make us safer?
Which war, Senator Warner?
The US is waging a war. If the US troops leave Iraq the war stops. Is that the logic?
I thought this venture ill-conceived when it was being considered. And still do.
And I find the vast majority of public dialogue in support and opposition to US military engagement in Iraq to contribute very little to understanding, clarity, or good decisions. This dear friends, if we truly consider this a matter of significant gravity (morally, politically, humanly, theologically)is deeply saddening.
We are each responsible for that which has been entrusted to us; including our capacity to think, pray and speak.
Employing language that implies there is one war; and that war would cease when one of the antagonists (i.e. US military) would withdraw is simply a lie.
My stomach turns when I listen simultaneously see the weight of the decisions pressing down on the Senators, on General Petraeus, on President Bush. My heart breaks at the violence and unspeakable trajedy.
But we are not to act hopeless, helpless, and confused.
Brothers and Sisters–the Lord has not granted a Spirit of fear–but of power and of love and a sound mind.
Jim Wallis–you have a mind and heart that are sharp and wise. Please do not employ language and strategy simply designed to achieve a political end.
To those of us who comment and read — let us be given to understanding and wisdom.
Senators–please don’t act like you are confused, helpless souls. Ask questions and speak in ways that bring light, direction and understanding; not victory over your political adversary.



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CRP

posted September 13, 2007 at 8:43 am


I think we all agree that this conflict cannot be “won” by using military tactics alone. I think Wes Clark’s strategy(s) (http://securingamerica.com) have more credibility than pretty much everything else I’ve heard. Basically, the best option is to get UN peace keepers on the ground instead of US peace keepers (the US will have troops there of course) and partition the country for decades. Progress is possible but it is going to take time.
Why isn’t this the conversation? All I hear is “Stay the course” or “Bring them home NOW” — both of which don’t offer any solutions.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:12 am


“To those who support this military action, you have shown a careless disregard for a Christian ethic. You have supported a war of aggression and greed and you have shown no regard for the loss of human life that it has occasioned. ”
To the contrary, we do not disregard life. Saddam and his sons showed a great disregard for the people they ruled over. Go ask any Kurd here in the US.
Now, because of the war, classical. Christian schools are opening up in Iraq. Political leaders, who typically are Muslim, are desparate to get their children into these schools. Certainly a bennifit of the war is that the Gospel is going into places more easily than it use to be. For information on the schools look up Servant Group International.
Iraq is not perfect, and history teaches that wars do not unfold perfectly.
As to your veiled accusation about greed, if we wanted the Iraqi oil so badly that we went to war for it, why are gas prices so high? Why don’t we have any oil from Iraq yet? We are the USA for crying out loud, and we should have been able to just go in, and taken anything we wanted in a matter of hours, and yet, none of that has happened. Any idea why?
Paul



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:16 am


Thank you, James, for understanding my point. And, while I am equally outraged at the betrayal by those who would lead when they cannot follow the Word of God, I must accept the fact that God is fully in control of the situation. Kevin S. is certainly correct in saying that the lack of impeachment proceedings is a function of electoral politics.
Besides, what would it accomplish? Can you say President Cheney without gagging? And if we impeach both Bush and Cheney, Nancy Pelosi would become our first woman President—not a happy thought in my mind. The Ultra-Liberal Democrats and Neo-Conservative Republicans of Congress are taking US ALL down a dead-end road to Hell on Earth.
The fact is that there is no political or military solution to any of our problems—for the cause of our problems is basically spiritual in nature.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12)



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:42 am


Paul:
We inadvertently aided and abetted Saddam in the gassing of the Kurds by supplying the chemical precursors he used to produce these WMDs for his Iran-Iraq War. And when he crossed us by using them against his own people, we blamed it on the Iranians.
High oil prices are basically a function of greed and the obsessive “need” of the rich to become ever richer out of the fear of losing it all.
Fifteen years ago, my brother-in-law called me a “whiner” for expressing concern over the effects of Reaganomics and “free” trade on the middle class and working poor. Other memorable pronouncements from him include: “The poor want to be poor” and “the Jews didn’t try to get out of Germany”.
At the time, he had a successful high-tech computer business of his own. Today, he cannot find a job in the good old US of A. He now works in Iraq and he is escorted to work by armed security contractors. His business attire consists of a well-worn suit of body armor.



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Moderatelad

posted September 13, 2007 at 9:53 am


Posted by: kevin s. | September 13, 2007 6:45 AM
Come on, now. The lack of impeachment proceedings are a function of electoral politics, not a magnanimous gesture of outreach on the part of Democrats.
I agree. If Nancy and Harry semlled blood in the water – the could be drawing up the articles of impeachment within the hour. Several times the congress was given the oppertunity to vote to bring the military home and the vote failed. There seems to be a lot of retoric from the Nancy and Harry crowd that is more ‘political talk’ that muddies the water than talk that has some bite to it.
Blessings –
.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:05 am


Is Jim Wallis impying that the only time the lives of our men and women in the military should be engaged abroad is when it will make our country safer? Is that the ultimate standard by which we should judge military action?
Their job is to depend and uphold the U.S. Constitution. Anything else is superfluous.
…if Clinton had taken Bin Laden when the Sudan offered him, TWICE, and if GHW Bush had taken out Saddam, along with his two kids, we would not be here.
First, the GOP wouldn’t allow Clinton to do anything positive even if he wanted to — it would have scored him for obsession with al-Qaeda. Second, Bush Sr. knew, and has said since, that if we went into Baghdad in 1991 we would have faced the same quicksand we’re in now, not to mention lost all our Arab allies in the process. The objective then was simply to get Saddam out of Kuwait and that was done, game over.



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Anonymous

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:50 am


James wrote:
Last time I checked, the military has a role in national security. If the commander of US forces in Iraq is unable to tell us whether or not the surge is making us safer (which after all was the rationale of the war) that is the equivalent of saying that he could not posit an opinion as to whether the sacrifice of human lives cause by the surge was worth it.
Fair enough, but note that Petraeus has not expressed an opinion either way, so it is for the nation as a whole to determine the importance of Iraq to our national security. Meanwhile Petraeus has come up with solid evidence that the surge is working militarily.
Defend Petraeus all you want.
The funny thing is, you can’t really attack Petraeus, so I’m not sure what we’re doing really amounts to defending him. What we have here is Jim Wallis taking one exchange out of context and treating it as if Petraeus had just confessed that Iraq doesn’t matter. Petraeus did no such thing. That’s what we are trying to get across.
Petraeus is not the architect of our entire national security strategy, he is the general in charge of our forces in Iraq. He came to Washington to brief Congress on the state of affairs in Iraq. And that’s what he is doing.
It seems to me that Sojo predicted that the surge would be a total failure. It hasn’t been so far. It has improved security in Iraq, and while the political changes have been slower than hoped for there has been some progress there as well. But you don’t want to acknowledge that. So you focus on Petraeus’ refusal to express an opinion on something that a lot of other people at the Pentagon and State Department are in a better position to talk about anyway.
Here’s what this whole flap gets down to: Petraeus is focused on conditions in Iraq, which are improving. And since they are improving, you don’t really want to talk about them any more. When Iraq was going badly it mattered. When things get better it doesn’t really matter any more. Funny how this all works.
I have come to expect nothing better from the neo-cons who frequent and obstruct this blog.
Yep, that’s me, your friendly neighborhood Neocon. Believe me, I’ve been called worse things.
Wolverine



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CRP

posted September 13, 2007 at 2:45 pm


“Bush Sr. knew, and has said since, that if we went into Baghdad in 1991 we would have faced the same quicksand we’re in now, not to mention lost all our Arab allies in the process. The objective then was simply to get Saddam out of Kuwait and that was done, game over.”
YEP. The invasion was doomed to be what it currently is.



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CRP

posted September 13, 2007 at 2:45 pm


“Bush Sr. knew, and has said since, that if we went into Baghdad in 1991 we would have faced the same quicksand we’re in now, not to mention lost all our Arab allies in the process. The objective then was simply to get Saddam out of Kuwait and that was done, game over.”
YEP. The invasion was doomed to be what it currently is.



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Randyt

posted September 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm


“Ah yes, Chuck Hagel has been a very useful tool for Democrats throughout this effort.”
Excuse me I do believe a man that saw real combat in another war that was going to make America safe and did not, has more to contribute than no-service Liberman, beer-drining Texas Guard Bush, and five deferment Cheney has to say about any war.
Cut the money off and tell Bush to bring our troops home. Give him money to contribute to a multi-Arabic nations force to police Iraq. But get our folks out of this civil war, before Bush goes home to replenish his coffers with more gold. For once in his life make him clean up his own mess/failures.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 13, 2007 at 3:19 pm


In reference to the “evidence” of the surge working, “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics”. I forget exactly who coined that phrase, but it has never been more true than it is today. Witness the economic statistics that profess to demonstrate a “prosperous” nation with “full employment” even as we have rising poverty with 47 million persons lacking health insurance.
Furthermore, we have gone from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation while somehow finding a spare half trillion (so far) to spend on an ill-advised “pre-emptive” attack on a nation that posed no immediate or proximate threat to our national security. Indeed, Saddam was a secular Muslim despised by the “Islamo-fascists” who viewed him as a hindrance to their aims. We did them a big favor by removing him from power and providing al-Qaida with a powerful recruiting tool and superb training ground.
Now we are contemplating the provision of more military aid simultaneously to Israel and Saudi Arabia while losing track of millions of dollars worth of weapons in Iraq itself. Any gains in security will be short-lived and illusory as Iran will spread its influence among the majority Shiite population through close ties to the various militias now dominating the southern part of Iraq.
We are essentially setting the stage for end time events that will lead to the belief that a Muslim “Anti-Christ” has been defeated by the genuine article.
“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” (Mark 13:19-23)



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Don Berghuis

posted September 13, 2007 at 4:03 pm


Seems to me that much of this discussion has gotten mired down in “I said—you said” statements. If I want to know what someone else said 3-4 comments back, the whole of the commentary and the discussion is out there for me to review. For my part,I believe this war began on illegitimate reasons , continues with no rational basis supporting it, and if one wants to question whether we would be safer in US if we got out of Iraq, one could argue that being tied down to Iraq as our only obsession takes away from dealing with important matters elsewhere, domestically and internationally. Close the war out now and be done with it. Don Berghuis



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electriclady281

posted September 13, 2007 at 5:08 pm


Yesterday iI received a picture of quite an impressive niw battleship, the USS New York, which was made from World Trade Center scrap metal. but I think we should be spending more time and energy considering how it was that this event came to pass and how we contributed to that, otherwise the country stays in victim/retribution mode, the dogs of war roam the globe freely, and peace remains elusive, which seems to suit our war president just fine.
It would seem that americans in general see 9/11 as the starting point, apparently oblivious to the terrible consequences of our foreign policies over the years that have horribly destabilized the world in the pusuit of our American dream.
If we are to have a lasting peace on earth, the peoples of the world must come together as one to reject war and hatred, shunning those who don’t, and making communication the tool for stability on our planet. Those who died on 9/11 and thereafter in war are, in fact, victims of greed, corruption, deception, desperation, hate, and indifference to history and peace…on all sides.



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Rev. Walter B. Loncosky

posted September 13, 2007 at 5:09 pm


The impeachment of a president is simply a trial. To convict the president requires a vote by the entire Senate. The U.S. Senate is so evenly split it is likely an impeachment would only consist of a prolonged stalemate. What people seem to be missing by the general’s appearance before Congress is that this is now the general’s war. Bush is neatly sidestepping much criticism and blame for decisions about Iraq. It appears Bush listens to his advisers,
none of whom is the Lord. Cheney’s example as a Mormon certainly isn’t helping the credability of that denomination. History provided in the Old Testament clearly defines the status of the conservative church in America today. Church members are blindly following mistaken leaders. It happens after the people of a nation have things much too good and lose sight of Godly principles.



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bren

posted September 13, 2007 at 6:11 pm


I don’t know, folks. If we are unable to re-build New Orleans–one city– what makes us think that we are able to re-build Iraq?
If we are unable or unwilling to care for the soldiers returning from Iraq, maimed in mind and body, how can we ever make anything good come from this dreadful war in Iraq?
Oh, and by the way, 9/11 is an anniversary in Chile, as well. Remember that Chile’s government was overthrown and its president killed–with the support and help of the CIA on September 11, many years before the September 11 in New York and Washington. If Iraq were the only disastrous war that the U.S. had been embarked upon, that would be unfortunate. Instead, Iraq seems to be only the latest disastrous intrusion into another country–and that makes it truly a tragedy.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 13, 2007 at 6:19 pm


Jacin
I have a very different experience. Reaganomics were just a resurrection of JFK’s domestic policy. When taxes are lowered, my business does better. When they are raised, or the threat of them being raised happens, I start to loose business. I clean houses for a living. I am very dependant on the the rich getting richer, and the poor and middle class as well. In order to more easily put food on my table, I need lower taxes, not just for my self, but for my clients, so they will have more disposable income, and anyone I employ in the future, so that I can pay more than I could if I have a high tax burden.
Are you fine with taking food off of my table, and making it harder to pay good employees well, just so that “the rich pay thier fair share”?
Paul



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 13, 2007 at 11:21 pm


Are you fine with taking food off of my table, and making it harder to pay good employees well, just so that “the rich pay thier fair share”?
That sounds like pure greed on the part of the rich. I personally have never done well with Republicans/conservatives in the White House (during the Reagan years I could get only a part-time job as a grocery clerk because where I lived the job market dried up). They end up jimmying the system to get more and more at the expense of the rest of us. That’s the legacy of Reaganomics.



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lysel

posted September 14, 2007 at 12:15 am


Kevin S wrote: “Ah yes, Chuck Hagel has been a very useful tool for Democrats throughout this effort.”
Actually, NO, he started off supporting the war, like so many other misguided individuals, until the truth came out!
Bush/Cheney – UNLIKE Chuck Hagel- have NOT SERVED in the military, are NOT Vietnam era vets, have NO CONCEPT of combat, and therefore, had no conscience in TRICKING our country into an UNJUST and ILLEGAL war. They have no loved ones over there, so it’s other people’s loved ones dying and sacrificing for their little adventure/debacle.
As a Christian, I have a problem with that!
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” … the converse of that? “Cursed are the warmakers”! No other way of looking at it!



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 14, 2007 at 12:20 am


Rick
I am far from rich. In fact, I have never seen more that 25k in a year, yet. When the rih have less money, I have less work. When the rich have more of their money, they call people like me to clean their house, and I can pay my bills. There have been times that I have had to take a second job. So, I was not posing a hypothetical when I asked Are you fine with taking food off of my table, and making it harder to pay good employees well, just so that “the rich pay thier fair share”?
When Clinton raised the minimum wage, I lost out. I made just above the limit to get an automatic raise, and when stores raised prices in order to pay for the increased cost of labor, I had less disposable income. I saw several small shops close down because the owners could not afford the new minimum wage. One family went bankrupt, and lost everything. That is the legacy of the minimum wage, among other distructive poliies that are forced on small businesses, by the government.
Paul



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Lysel

posted September 14, 2007 at 12:36 am


“To those who support this military action, you have shown a careless disregard for a Christian ethic. You have supported a war of aggression and greed and you have shown no regard for the loss of human life that it has occasioned.
Don’t expect us to “understand” your position because we understand it all too well. You play the misunderstood victim when you are supporting immoral and unconscionable policies.”
Bravo James, for the post above … I couldn’t have said it better! I am sickened by the lies and deceit, by so-called “Christians”. Saddened too, that the cause of Christ has been so trashed, that His teachings have been twisted, and His name defamed, by those who CLAIM to be His followers.
James 1: 22-25 – “Be ye doers of the word …”



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 14, 2007 at 1:01 am


On Reaganomics and paying taxes:
Jesus held up a Roman coin and said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” He did not mention what portion of that coin was Caesar’s and what portion belongs to God. I am of the view that money is nothing more than a medium of exchange issued by the government to facilitate commerce and trade. Yes, we all can certainly use more of it. However, the real value of money is found in how it is earned and how it is spent. I never complain about paying my taxes, but if I am paying taxes, I certainly have a right to complain about how they are spent.
JFK lowered taxes alright from a ridiculously high top rate of approximately 90% for those who didn’t have it invested in tax shelters designed to protect those who already had made their fortunes. Our vaunted “progressive” tax system was nothing more than a scam designed to keep the middle class from becoming rich. By the time Reagan became president, there was some semblance of fairness in the rates with reasonable exemptions and deductions for those investments most commonly available to the middle class, but there were still plenty of questionable “shelters” for the rich and unscrupulous to avoid paying their fair share. Reagan shamelessly used the legacy of JFK to reverse any progress in making our tax system more equitable by eliminating exemptions for small savers and investors while introducing the taxation of unemployment insurance and granting deductions to corporations for shutting obsolete and inefficient plants in the US and credits for building brand new plants in Mexico. Furthermore, the globalization of our economy made it possible for companies to magically suck profits out of domestic operations while raking in the big bucks from foreign operations through creative accounting. I witnessed this first hand at a plant that was put to work doing “rework” of defective merchandise shipped from Mexico to be repaired and sent back. Our machinists and electricians were “loaned” to the Mexico plant to install our machinery when it was moved to Mexico. The expenses were charged to our plant—making us appear to be even less profitable—while management were touting the “success” of the Mexico operations that were producing 40% scrap.
Reagan also introduced the notion of privatization of services. I also have a few experiences with this booming industry of “serving” the helpless, hapless, and hopeless while many of the executives of these “caring” professions enrich themselves. But what really gets me is his “shining city on a hill”—that eliminated revenue sharing for the ghettos of the inner cities on the pretense of depriving Beverly Hills of a few hundred thousand that they didn’t deserve. He easily could have changed the formula to rectify this situation, but he chose to eliminate it entirely. Many of the areas that have steadily declined in stability and livability contributed in the past to rural electrification, irrigation, and other programs to build this country. Now, when their aging infrastructure is falling apart, they have been abandoned to the mantra of self-sufficiency and the freedom to fail. We were once a great and unified nation; now we have become balkanized and polarized as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
This shameless, senseless war is nothing more than more and more of the same old, same old. And that’s the name of that tune.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 14, 2007 at 1:04 am


Correction: It is, of course, a shameFUL war and senseless all the same.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 14, 2007 at 2:16 am


Kevin Wayne,
I am one of those right wing nuts you refer to. I would like some interaction from Wallis, Mc Laren et al, simply to understand the points they raise, and where they are coming from. Wallis gleefully said in the paperback copy of his book, God’s Politics, that the monologue was over and a new conversation had begun. I am having a hard time believing that statement. If, indeed, liberal Christians are interested in conversation, I would like to happily join in. At the end of the day, liberal or conservative, Scripture alone should be the final rule of faith and life for Christians, and therefore we should be able to apply the Gospel to all of life. Where is this conversation that Wallis speaks of, and where can I join in?

Don’t know how long you have been here Paul, but the NeoCons that frequent this blog have been seen by more that one person as a schill to distract us all from productive convo and draw attention to themselves. I might also add that they have been shown up for the lack of Biblical and theological acumen, and yet they still act as if they are the voice of Truth sent here to correct the rest of us.
So to answer your question: Dialogue can begin as soon as they get off thinking we need to change to suit them.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 14, 2007 at 9:02 am


Kevin
When I subscribe to a new blog, I usually wait about 6 to 8 weeks before I post any comments, so that I can get a feel for where the blog owner is coming from, as well as those who regularly comment on it.
Everyone carries certain presuppositions. Most comments here are loaded with them. Nothing wrong with that, as no thought is created in a vaccum. Perhaps, it would be helpful to interact with those presuppositions more.
Paul



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Scott Starr

posted September 14, 2007 at 9:08 am


I want to take issue with one of the posts reacting to the initial article. My comments are in parenthses after the point made by MARK @ September 12, 2007 4:32 PM
“Mr. Wallis –
Your points with regard to the Patraeus hearings are well taken. However, if the U.S. simply pulls its forces out of Iraq, without a secure and stable government in place, may this not lead to:
1) Full-scale civil war between Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds
(What do you think we have now? This fear is devoid of meaning… there is a civil war kicking right now. Operation Iraqi Freedom has morphed from an operation of liberation to a police action to confiscate non existent WMD’s to a war on a tactic of warfare[terrorism] to a war on sectarian fighting. The latter being a very irrational bit of reasoning that somehow the insurgents in Iraq will invade America en masse if we do not confront them in Iraq. I will point out that we have the most potent military machine in world history occupying Iraq right now. THEY are unable to control the road from downtown Baghdad to the airport. Is the fear that somehow a rag tag army of Islamic militants is going to overthrow America a legitimate one? No. There is simply no way that they will be able to do anything more than slip in a few attacks. The very idea that they would be able to overthrow say Dallas or Los Angeles alone is completely unbalanced fear mongering. )
2) Massive civilian casualties
(What do you think we have now? The Iraqis have paid in flesh to an untold degree while fellows like us have the luxury of airmchair quarterbacking this thing from the saftey of our computuer desks. This is not a legitimate reason to continue doing what we are doing now and expecting different results. Every time we kill 10 enemy we create 40 more in a self sustaining cycle of violence and revenge.)
3) Total loss of stability in the region (
do you think its more stable now than before? What is the plan to make it more stable?)
4) Possible invasion by Syria, Iran, or others into Iraq (Is this not a possibility now especially we we have stretched ourselves thinly and created unbalance and weakness for these enemies to target?)
5) A safe haven in Iraq for terrorist bases and training camps
(We have created the greatest training ground ever by our presence there. This situation did not exist before we disbanded the Iraqi army and invaded a country on basically false pretenses. The invasion of Iraq has been a dream come true for Al Quaeda which has more money, more weapons and more popular support than EVER because of our foolish pride, arrogance and lack of planning. All one had to do to predict the sequnce of events that would follow the U.S. invasion of Iraq was do a Google search about the crusades or the British occupation of Iraq. 8 of the 9 crusades were complete failures as was the British occupation for the same reasons. The armies rolled in an achieved stunning victories in the fields of battle… then they settled in for occupation and control and got bled out by constant guerilla attacks. eventually the stress odf fighting so far from home, losing so many personel and so much money and hardware simply became too expensive to sustain. Cheney and Rumsfeld and company must have never studied history at all… or else been so proud and self assured that they assumed the only thing they needed to plan for was the glorious victory parades.)
6) A failure to establish a democracy in the region -with democracy being perhaps the best long-term solution to ending religious fundamentalism, and ultimately terrorism. (you’re kidding right? See above. It appears we are trying to replace militant, Islamic fundamentalism with pro- American, militant ideology and fundamentalism. Also, we keep hearing about how “you can’t reason with these people”… Why then are we trying to build democracy there? Not only that… we are trying to install a democracy in Iraq- sandwiched between other Islamic nations without even discussing it with Iran, Syria and so forth. How can this be seen as anything but prideful hubris? )
7) A complete loss of U.S. credibility and a message to terrorists and dictators around the world that the U.S. does not have the will to prevail (Again you must be kidding. Hatred for America is at an all time high these days. We completely lost credibility over the WMD issue. Do you remember just after 9/11 when there were over a million people marching in the streets of Tehran in SUPPORT of the U.S. and in horror of what had been done in the name of Islam? My how the tables have turned. Ahmedinejad is a nut. Does he alone speak for every Iranian? I hear talk all the time from allegedly Christian people about just nuking Iran. That would be like nuking your family or mine because of the policies of Bush. That would not exactly be wise or fair and certainly not legitimate in any religious sense. Why is Christianity in any form tolerating such talk? How is this in keeping with the gospel model of behaviour whatsoever? )
He said:
I am curious to know what course of action you suggest to stop and prevent bloodshed in Iraq, and bring about peace?”
(What is YOUR plan? To keep doing the same thing and expect different results? Why must I/we that said “don’t do this” now have a plan? None of this should have ever happened. The situation is now such that only God can fix it. Turn to Him instead of an idolatrous, prideful adulation of the U.S. for answers to these questions. )
SELAH!



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Scott Starr

posted September 14, 2007 at 9:23 am


One more thing. People keep acting like those who opposed this war and those who want to sensibly and strategically end this war have no plan. The problem is actually that the people making those assertions are simply not listening. I am not particularly a fan of Joe Biden, however, he is one of the few in Washington that is actually making sense on all of this. He has the best plan I have heard. I encourgae eveyone to look into that whether you plan to vote for him in the ’08 elections or not.



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Scott Starr

posted September 14, 2007 at 9:37 am


You know… its pretty scary when our “religious” folk are just as confused as the Hollywood set but in a different way. I was listening to James Dobson two days ago on the radio while I was out on my job. His guest was a fellow named Joel Rosenberg who has written a book called “Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future”
The two listed the long littany of ills, wrongs and crimes of radical Islam and explained it great detail why we should all fear them greatly.
They also mentioned several times the tremendous valor and honor of the U.S. and its military machine. I agree about the crimes of Islam and I agree about the bravery of our military servicemen. Their presentation had one quite serious… I dare say fatal flaw, however. They went on to elaborate what a fine “Christian” nation the U.S. is and how ” God wants to use the U.S. to bring about the downfall of radical Islam and the spread of democracy”.
Upon hearing this my immediate questions were, “Where are they getting the idea that God wants to use the U.S. for these purposes? On what basis is America a Christian nation?”
Who told them this? Has their been a prophet dispensing this information that I am not aware of?
It sounds more like self adulating pride and nationalism to me. Ironically, it is this sort of ideology that has spawned many of these conflicts on both sides.
I am sure a critic of my thoughts here will quote from Old Testament scripture instances of God using one nation against another or aiding the ancient theocracy of Israel to defeat its enemies. There are at least two major problems with drawing comparisons from these ancient battles to the efforts of the U.S. and Israel today. The first is the absence of a prophet giving admonition or instruction concerning these things. Prophets from God are always 100% correct and make direct predictions by the way. One may argue that the book of Revelation prophesies these things… but let me just state for brevity’s sake that this is quite a stretch in a lot of ways- I’ll be glad to elaborate if someone wishes to challenge this.
Next… in the Old Testament when God was on the side of an army the enemies were dispensed with rather quickly. Sure, there were long term conflicts in the Old Testament and all… but when Israel was in God’s good graces and not being punished… these battles were fast paced slaughters against the enemies.
I’ll say this. Until someone can explain how I am wrong and give me clear, Biblical evidence that “God needs the help of the U.S. and it’s military to put down radical Islam and spread democracy- to enable His plan of manifest Destiny for the sacred U.S. and the esatablishment of His Kingdom” I will continue to call these sorts of assertions flat out heresy.
I do not mean to offend anyone, but as I see it the ball is not in my court. The burden of proof is not mine. I am prepared however, to be wrong. Somebody prove it to me. Here I stand.
Anyways, I see in the sciptures below the essence of the problem:
2 Timothy 3
“1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
The one aspect of these verses that I was paying close attention to here was this:
“5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
I was linking this to the concept of most people not having a clear distinction in their minds between attitude management and positive thinking and SUPERNATURAL thinking with the tangible presence of God in their hearts, minds and consciences- providing insight and discernment. My reference to Dobson and Rosenberg’s thinking (paralelled by a great number of Americans) also ties in with this concept by embracing a “form” of godliness that is devoid of real power because it is as yet wedded to the carnal by way of sinful pride and speaking out of turn for God. They are making essentially the same mistake that radical Islam is making… self idolatry, false prophesying and failure to recognize that the power to give life is greater than the power to kill and destroy. They will acknowledge which is the greater power philosophically, theologically and/or in the abstract but not in real world, real time practical terms. Loving your enemies has become appeasement ( iwould call arming and supporting Saddam and sending all manner of weapons including poison gas into the country during the Reagan- Bush 1 years appeasement. The same was done of course with the Mujahideen which evolved into Al Quaeda) … eschewing killing and warfare has become weakness and cowardice… The raw power and spiritual genius of Jesus’ way, of the beatitudes, of defying and denying the domination system and it’s self sustaining cycle of violence and revenge has been set aside to make way for the glorious, heroic destiny of the United States. God have mercy on us all when our “Christian leaders” are no longer even Christian. Radical Islam and the American, Statist pseudo-christian heretics are fighting the same losing battle.
Something else…
Above I started to pose the question why God would need the U.S. and its firepower to enforce his will upon the Earth. I mean he’s God… he could simply wish it to be so and radical Islam would dissolve into dust or vanish like a vapor. He could cause an earthquake, plagues like giant, fire breathing locusts and toads…
Then I held back because I thought of how in the Old Testament God often used one nation to chastise and punish another. Then it dawned on me… that’s probably what is happening right now. God is allowing/using the various players in the Mideast conflicts to punish one another for losing sight of Him. Right now the citizens of Iraq are paying with the most flesh and blood while the average fat and happy American has the luxury of watching the whole debacle on television and offering running commentary- myself included. I have no doubt that it will not remain so forever. When the next day of reckoning comes… many of my countrymen will still be wondering why.
Sleep tight.
Visit my blog at Geotheology.



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Bruce Carriker

posted September 14, 2007 at 12:45 pm


Posted by Scott Starr:
(What is YOUR plan? To keep doing the same thing and expect different results? Why must I/we that said “don’t do this” now have a plan? None of this should have ever happened. The situation is now such that only God can fix it. Turn to Him instead of an idolatrous, prideful adulation of the U.S. for answers to these questions. )
Scott,
If you have no alternative to propose, then you’re doing nothing more than bleating for the sake of noise. It is IMPERATIVE that those who oppose this excercise in American empirialism have something constructive to bring to the table.
“You guy’s didn’t listen to us, so now we get to say ‘I told you so,’ is immature and counter-productive. Yet that appears to be your proposal. God is indeed necessary to any fixing, and He may choose to fix the problem. But, don’t you suspect that he’ll use human beings as His tools? Those of use who stand opposed must be prepared to be those tools, and that means having constructive, Biblical-based alternatives to present policies.
In a military staff meeting one of my commanding officers once told us (the staff), “Stop telling me what’s wrong. I don’t need you to do that. Any private can tell me what’s wrong. You get paid to tell me how to fix it.”
If all you have to do is complain some more, then you’re not part of the solution; you’re part of the problem. I urge you to reconsider what you have to offer to the discussion.



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Scott Starr

posted September 14, 2007 at 5:48 pm


Well… as for me, my plan is to work on The Great Commision and to try to point people in the direction of proper biblical theology. If people do that then many of these things will work out and/or be prevented. I believe I covered this in this statement:
“Turn to Him instead of an idolatrous, prideful adulation of the U.S. for answers to these questions.”
There’s your solution. This “turning to Him” implies that the real solution to ending the self
sustaining cycle of violence, revenge and warfare (including the TACTIC of “terrorism”) is actually pretty simple… STOP PARTICIPATING IN IT.
I also said this:
“One more thing. People keep acting like those who opposed this war and those who want to sensibly and strategically end this war have no plan. The problem is actually that the people making those assertions are simply not listening. I am not particularly a fan of Joe Biden, however, he is one of the few in Washington that is actually making sense on all of this. He has the best plan I have heard. I encourgage (sic) eveyone to look into that whether you plan to vote for him in the ’08 elections or not.”
There, I have reconsidered and now ask that someone considers seriously what has been said already.
Does anyone care to expalin to me how these concepts are “bleating for the sake of noise?”



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Scott Starr

posted September 14, 2007 at 6:11 pm


The thoughts below appear on my own blog as offered by my good friend D.S. Martin My response to it is as follows:
This is a brilliant post and a great example of the line of thought I/we have been working with for some time now. The depth and width of the problem sometimes seems staggering. What I have to keep telling myself is that I alone cannot reason someone from one posotion to another. No amount of logic from myself can rectify this situation. Only God can make room in a person’s heart for understanding and only God can convict a person’s conscience to make change. All I can do be a good influence and say things that may point someone in the right direction. God does not need me to fix the world anymore than he needs guns and bombs and tanks and fighter planes to spread democracy and/or defeat evil.”
Now, here is D.S. Martin’s post on this topic:
Have a look at an interesting editorial from the Baylor University’s, J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies.
The author is Dr. Charles McDaniel of the University Department of Church-State Studies.
But, before you venture off to some exciting blog with scantly clad co-eds, let me temp you with my unique brand of theology.
That’s right, in lieu of slightly dressed blonds, brunettes, and red-heads, I give you God and philosophy.
I have been thinking about this publication (Journal of Church and State) since reading on this very blog, Mr. Starr’s post from late last night, about the James Dobson radio program.
Dr. McDaniel looks at the Iraq experiment from a totally secular and carnal angle.
Albeit it does appear that he comes down as saying that “the Iraq war is wrong”, the Doctor never asks the question if Jesus Christ, or if the Holy Father, or if the Holy Spirit want a “democratized” world. Therefore, I would have to presume that he believes that the answer to these questions are either irrelevant or that it is self-evident.
What passage does one turn to for the Creator’s opinion of the various carnal forms of secular government?
I appears to me that Dr. McDaniel seems to be encouraging Americans to come up with an objective standard for who we should “help” with democracy, rather than addressing the issue of humanity’s need for eternal redemption.
It is a curious way of dealing with discipleship. This editorial title, Winning Hearts and Minds, is interesting, considering the fact that he’s not talking about winning souls for Jesus.
What Dr. McDaniel is talking about, is instead, that “we” should be converting folks to an American economic, social, political, & cultural system.
I might ask; ‘who are we’?, Should we see ourselves as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven or as Americans? And what happens when our American citizenship opposes our Kingdom of God citizenship? Do we hold our American title close to our hearts and push the Spiritual away? Do we ever read Luke 16:13 or Matthew 6:24;
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or
be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and
money.” Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997 . Tyndale
House: Wheaton, Ill.
The contention of Dr. McDaniel is an obvious attack on Christ’s charge to the disciples in Matthew 28 and Mark 16, albeit passive, it is an attack nonetheless, on the Great Commission.
* 15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere…”
Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997 . Tyndale House: Wheaton, Ill.
Anyway, here are the scantly clad words of an American-Christian.
Winning Hearts and Minds
by Dr. Charles McDaniel
A troubling aspect to the present reconstruction of the world order is the fine line in decision-making either to “win over” or “wall off” the hearts and minds of a people. Terrorism is said to have forced our hands in these decisions; yet the criteria by which one national or ethnic group is granted entry to the global society even as others are rejected remain largely undefined. The strategic interests of the industrialized world undoubtedly are a factor, but caprice appears to influence these choices as well. Some, like the Iraqis, are selected for democratization, a process that includes the modernization of that country’s institutions and major capital investments in its infrastructure. Other peoples, such as the Palestinians, are written off as a lost cause. Their fates are the internment camps like the ones being constructed by the Israeli government in its system of settlements, inaccessible highways, and concrete walls. Chechnyans, Tamils, Punjabis and many other ethnic and religious groups are potential candidates for this system that Professor Marc Ellis of Baylor’s Center for American and Jewish Studies has described as “ghettoization.”
How is it that Iraq was selected to become the beacon of democracy in the Middle East? Did it arrive at some undefined threshold of suffering that triggered Western (and specifically American) intervention? Does it pose a greater threat to the global order than North Korea or Iran? If Operation Iraqi Freedom was initiated for humanitarian reasons, how can we now resist intervening in the ethnic cleansing presently underway in Sudan? If it was a utilitarian decision, how much longer can we avoid action to curb the obvious threat posed by Kim Jong Il? Did American policy-makers weigh the probability of success against the investment required for Iraq’s liberation and determine that Iraq is the best use of the developed world’s limited democratization resources? These questions do not result from cynicism or second-guessing; they are intended to point out the need to arrive at consistent methods by which we target nations for “value reconstruction” and the necessity for constant reassessment of these efforts.
Many of the claims used to justify the Iraq War are true. Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator who posed a real threat not only to Iraq’s neighboring states but also to populations within its borders. He exhibited the willingness to use the most heinous weapons against Iranian soldiers and even his own people and assuredly would have done the same to Israelis, Kuwaitis, Jordanians and others had he been given the opportunity. Yet the Saddams of the world have persisted throughout history. He will assume a position in the pantheon of political infamy alongside Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, and others who, sadly but assuredly, will follow. The brutality and irrationality of particular regimes must be elements of the decision to forcibly democratize an oppressed people, but they should not be exclusive criteria.
The calculus by which we target nations for future liberation is, in certain ways, a repugnant analysis that will often defy humanitarian instincts. Utilitarianism, for example, in the project to achieve global democracy, is a necessary, albeit distasteful, tool. It involves recognition that some nations are of greater value to the global democratization effort than others. But the utilitarian approach itself will have negative consequences at least in winning the “hearts” of a people. Those left behind because their value to global strategic interests is insufficient or because the probability of success is too low will likely become the seedbed for future terrorism. This realization heightens the necessity of choosing wisely in these efforts. Moreover, it amplifies the need to better distribute the world’s limited democratization resources. We need to design tertiary methods for democratic expansion to those countries where direct intervention is deemed inadvisable for whatever reasons. Failure to do so, just as the dichotomy of present decision-making (to intervene or abstain) will result in a dualistic world of good and evil and the perpetual construction of ethnic and religious ghettos.
The decision to “wall off” a people is a conscious choice to establish a perpetual enemy, irrespective of the wrongs or threats that contributed to that choice. It is a conscious judgment, not a twist of fate. It is a decision of political finality that asserts the futility of politics. Moreover, the choice to ignore one nation’s need for political reconstruction renders somewhat arbitrary the decision to win over the hearts and minds of another people who, by measures beyond the national interests of developed countries, are no more deserving than those denied entry into the community of nations. Yet such painful decisions are inevitable due to the persistence of disenfranchised peoples and totalitarian regimes.
How do we go about winning the hearts and minds of a people? The first challenge in answering that question is defining exactly what we are winning them to. Liberal or illiberal democracy, a Western or Islamic economic system, a constitutional or Shariah-based legal order-any combination of these are possibilities. Lack of clarity in specifying the end-in-view may be catastrophic in its consequences. Yet Iraq and other societies targeted for reengineering must have a hand in their self-definition to achieve legitimacy and have any possibility of success. A fine balancing act is necessary in determining the degree of external definition and involvement required for the reconstruction of a nation’s social institutions. The more detailed the level of involvement, the finer the balance necessary for success in winning hearts and minds. These are complex issues indeed and require the very “nuance” in decision-making that the administration has recently dismissed.
If the goal of the Iraq War is to win the hearts and minds not only of Iraqis but of all people oppressed in dictatorial or fundamentalist regimes throughout the world, then we must seek multiple vantages from which to observe our efforts with some detachment. We must attempt to assess this infinitely complex project not only from the perspective of those being democratized but also from the viewpoints of those left behind and even those who are hostile toward it. The “opportunity cost” of the Iraq War is that of not distributing democratization resources to other countries in similar straits. Moreover, we must ask whether institutional reconstruction of selected countries is either wise or, more crassly, cost effective. In both spreading democracy and eradicating terrorism, is it prudent to place so many of our eggs in the basket of Iraq? More importantly, is it possible that our sheer determination will be our undoing-that American involvement in the reconstruction of Iraq’s civil and political institutions will ultimately backfire for its cultural ignorance and excessive confidence in the power of collective reason? Many of those now supporting American participation in the institutional reconstruction of Iraq are of the same political ilk as their conservative predecessors who correctly professed the impossibility of the centrally planned state. Cultural reengineering projects on such a grand scale are rarely successful in history.
The immediate decision has been made. We are in Iraq and will remain there until something has been accomplished. But the ongoing and noble enterprise of spreading freedom in the world must deal with massive cultural complexities; thus, it will require constant reassessment and revision to changing circumstances. Political concerns may work to stymie that objective analysis. Election campaigns will place a premium on the need to paint rosy our efforts in Iraq and elsewhere, regardless of realities. Domestic politics, therefore, emerges as perhaps as great a threat as fundamentalist factions or mass anti-Western sentiments to the success of these foreign policy initiatives. It would be ironic indeed if candor regarding our successes and failures becomes the ultimate casualty in the campaign to spread freedom and democracy. And it will be tragic if the desire to “save face” in Iraq perpetuates policy dogmatics that prevent necessary adaptation along the learning curve of democratization.



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Tony Dickinson

posted September 17, 2007 at 3:56 pm


“Now, because of the war, classical. Christian schools are opening up in Iraq. Political leaders, who typically are Muslim, are desparate to get their children into these schools. Certainly a bennifit of the war is that the Gospel is going into places more easily than it use to be. For information on the schools look up Servant Group International.”
(Paul Quillan)
This makes interesting reading in the light of reports from our brother and sister Christians in the Middle East and from the aid agencies, who tell us that Christian communities which have been in Iraq since the age of the apostles are being forced out of their homes and/or driven into exile. It has been calculated that while Christians make up 4% of the population of Iraq they make up 40% of the Iraqi refugee communities in Jordan and Syria. It makes an uncomfortable parallel between the “crusader” language of President Bush and the action of the crusading armies 800 years ago, who massacred the local (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox) Christian communities in Jerusalem because they were the wrong sort of Christian.



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