God's Politics

God's Politics


Who Has Betrayed Us? (by Brian McLaren)

posted by God's Politics

I remember about eight years ago when then presidential candidate George W. Bush repeatedly claimed that he would restore honor to the presidency, soiled as it had been by our previous president’s infamous affair. I remember hoping he would succeed. But a new kind of shame has come to the office and to our nation as reports surface about our government’s secret authorization of torture. We all share in this shame.


Conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan expresses what many of us feel. He reminds his readers:



… my first response to reports of abuse and torture at Gitmo was to accuse the accusers of exaggeration or deliberate deception … It struck me as a no-brainer that this stuff was being invented by the far left or was part of al Qaeda propaganda. After all, they train captives to lie about this stuff. Bottom line: I trusted this president in a time of war to obey the rule of law that we were and are defending.


Sadly, he laments, that trust was betrayed:



And then I was forced to confront the evidence. He betrayed all of us. He lied. He authorized torture in secret, and then, when busted after Abu Ghraib, blamed it on low-level grunts. This was not a mistake. It was a betrayal.


The word “betrayal,” of course, recalls Moveon.org’s Sept. 26 ad. Many considered the pun childish at best, politically unsavvy at least, or worse. There was a rush to condemn anyone who failed to condemn the ad. But Sullivan’s use of the word strikes me as anything but childish.


Our nation’s reputation, not to mention that of the presidency, has been dishonored by this betrayal of trust. Honorable people – conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat – need to follow Andrew Sullivan’s example, coming together to express our grief and outrage about the political hypocrisy and betrayal to which we have been subjected by people we elected.


Brian McLaren’s new book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, was released last Tuesday.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 10, 2007 at 4:17 pm


I have often seen this subject explained in this way , that all liberal attacks and misrepresentations are not subject to any accountability . But this policy is wrong .
It is wrong Brian . Torturing someone is evil . i have heard it asked in the contents of a debate if the person knew where the NUKE that was going to explode , would it be then acceptable .
Interested hearing comments on that one myself .
I think people in the military , like General Betray Us, whoops that is not his name is it ,
But of course you defended him ?
John McCain,Kerry , my son , and others would agree with you . Those more likely to have thought of been in that situation , held captive , being at the mercy of another country or gang . Its just a small step allowing torture in aa war with uniforms . It has been hard to understand this issue from my perspective , because the loudest voices come from folks who like on the last blog questioned my Christianity because I do not concern myself with people who use race as a litmus test . The folks who shout about this the most hate some Americans , see us as the problem with America . they are droned out by the forces that accuse America of being evil , that we are a racist nation , that Bush and Big Business conspired on 9/11, he is drunk , a murderer , and you wonder why your voice is not heard . You need to come out from the rest , instead of hiding and politically conspiring with them .
Their was a person who was censored because the moderator thought they misreprented the views of Jim Wallis . You need to start being concerned about those who not just mis represnt Jim Wallis , but mis represent those in the body of Christ . This could have been an issue that we all could have discussed , came together on , you used it as a political talking point to gain power , not to promote Christ .
Anyway ,



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Zach Roberts

posted October 10, 2007 at 4:55 pm


The swell of atrocities and the wealth of complicity…willfully or ignorantly can become overwhelming and even paralyzing. I hope as we engage these conversations that we then look in the mirror and ask ourselves what we can start doing..or stop doing.
There is hope.



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Randy Thompson, USN Ret.

posted October 10, 2007 at 5:04 pm


I found Christ in a little Presbyterian church located in Wichita Falls, Texas long ago. I have tried to follow HIS teachings ever since, even in the Navy. Many times failing, but always returning to the knowledge of His saving grace and God’s love for the world.
For the life of me I can not reconcile our president with his claims of being a Christian. He seems more a servant of Dick Cheney and evil. I realize none of us know another’s heart, but the scriptures tell us that we Christians would be known by our actions. President Bush’s actions are anything but Christ like. From his “dead or alive” boast to authorization of torture.



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Hal

posted October 10, 2007 at 5:20 pm


Betrayal is the dominant emotion I feel when contemplating the actions of the Bush presidency, from the theft of the election, to the exploitation of 9/11 to expand the Imperial Presidency, lies, coverups, trashing the Bill of Rights, doctoring intelligence for political purposes, the authorization of torture, to the declaration of a Children’s Health Day just before vetoing SCHIP.
There was a day when we could believe the words of our highest elected official. In those days I was proud to be an American when abroad. Now I find myself wondering whether we can even talk about human rights and integrity without hanging our heads in shame. My heart aches.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 10, 2007 at 5:20 pm


For the life of me I can not reconcile our president with his claims of being a Christian. He seems more a servant of Dick Cheney and evil
Be careful , using the word evil is a no no around here .
.



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JP

posted October 10, 2007 at 5:24 pm


So, now we not only have to be fearful of news that is REAL, but wonder if what we are seeing is some sort of sick propaganda OR worry about what is being kept from us. As a consumer of news, I have finally realized that neither the media nor our politicians will EVER take responsibility for giving their constituents the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is our job to decipher and I am learning how. I just read a book entitled FEARPROOF Your Life (How to Thrive in a World Addicted to Fear) that teaches us how to immunize ourselves from a fear – whether it stems from the press, politicos, or our personal lives, while staying connected to what is happening in the world around us. I found this book at http://www.fearproofyourlife.com



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Steve

posted October 10, 2007 at 5:33 pm


Brian, you stated my feelings exactly!



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JP

posted October 10, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Here is that site to link to if I can make it work:
Fearproof Your Life



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Jeff

posted October 10, 2007 at 6:06 pm


This is shameful. This puts the US into the Axis of Evil. Maybe we should join in with the Dixie Chicks and apologize our admin is from America.
http://www.ourburningbush.com



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Amelio Belfanso

posted October 10, 2007 at 6:39 pm


I very dissappointed. I would consider myself a very conservative woman and I voted for Bush both times because I loved his morals and walues as a good Christian. I looked up to him as a role model. I really thought that he was going to be a good Christian president that would lead in a way of integrity and compassion. Lead us into the direction that America needed to go. Now I am sad to say that he has lead us into an unjustified war, a lot of the world dislike Americans and Pres.Bush, healthcare for children(and adults) is going down the drain, authorizing things in secret (especially torture…. VERY unexceptable!!!!!!!) Every time I hear his speak I am brought to tears LAUGHING…..just because my role model is such a dumb “you can fill in the blank.” Thank goodness he only has a litle bit more time in the White House. We need a shift and I have a feeling it’s going to be a very,very good one.
TA,TA!



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bornintheusa

posted October 10, 2007 at 6:40 pm


“There was a day when we could believe the words of our highest elected official”
There is only one Ronald Reagan in a lifetime , we will have to stand up together .



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Amelio Belfanso

posted October 10, 2007 at 6:49 pm


In my post I refered to myself as a conservative woman. I am a conservative transgender…..just wanted to clear that up. Just in case there was some confusion by my name Amelio B.
Jesus love me and you too.
Joy-



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Anonymous

posted October 10, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Evidence would be nice.



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wayne

posted October 10, 2007 at 8:15 pm


I think JP has the best advice for us. Our position in the world today is that of unparalleled safety and prosperity. Yet all it seems to bring us is a mind set of protecting what we’ve been blessed with and a sense of rightful retribution when a person from the third world strikes out at us. Justice is fine and Governments need to be able to wield the sword but we need to look at it from all sides. It is not just justice for us, but justice for all. Even those who stand against us. Fear proof our lives. Obedience will always demand a certain amount of courage. If we live in fear we really cannot be obedient to the Gospel.
To make matters worse if I read the scriptures correctly because we have been given so much as a nation, more should be expected of us. I hope we have the courage as a nation to bear our shame.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 10, 2007 at 8:54 pm


hope we have the courage as a nation to bear our shame.
Posted by: wayne
Compared to the rest of world Wayne , this is still the place to come to . Maybe that does not speak well of the world ,
I don’t believe we need to feel shame , look at the news from this web Wayne . Three out of the five topics when you log in here are
Who Has Betrayed Us? (by Brian McLaren)
10-10-2007
Criminal, Ignorant, and Potentially Murderous Folly (by Jim Wallis)
10-10-2007
‘Bush Has Given Christ a Bad Name’ Says Pastor in India (by Jim Wallis)
10-09-2007
Yikes no wonder your down if you hold the political beliefs that compare with a Jim Walis .
Its like the conservative sites when Clinton was PRESIDENT , THE WORLD IS FALLING APART WE WERE TOLD . Amazing but in comparison Clinton did OK , he still reminds of the kid in class who always got away with it while you got in trouble .
JP is right , its the news sources . Americans do many good things , heck illegal immigrints in this country are some of thekindest and most helpfull people in the world . America’s strenghth is our people , always has and always will if we allow Freedom to prosper . To me its about Freedom , you maybe justice . Nothing wrong with having both ?
You have nothing to be ashamed about Wayne , we
just need more people paying attention . I don’t feel shame , I feel overwhelmed at times . Watch a chick flick or something with the Mrs, life is still good in the USA .
.



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James Palmer

posted October 10, 2007 at 9:36 pm


“For the life of me I can not reconcile our president with his claims of being a Christian. He seems more a servant of Dick Cheney and evil
Be careful , using the word evil is a no no around here . ”
Oh Mick, you’ll always have a home here:)
I understand why you feel like folks at Sojourners and Rev. Wallis might be piling on the President, but really, can you BLAME THEM? I mean, honestly. Look at the times we are living in. Why, just in the last couple months we’ve seen this administration out in front in defense of a corrupt Justice Dept.; we’ve seen the veto of a popular bill that would provide health coverage for millions of children; we’ve seen him defend the detainment and torture of foreign nationals, and NOW he’s defending the warrentless surveillence of US citizens. OH, and let us not forget the war in IRAQ that continues without any sign of stopping…
This is an administration that is so far off the map morally that it makes Clinton’s mess look almost benign. I wonder why the president even bothers giving press briefings anymore. He’s going to do what he wants anyway, why bother trying to “sell” it to the American people.



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JP

posted October 10, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Wayne-
If we live in fear, not only can we not be obedient to the Gospel, but we lose who we truly are and become a slave to the fearful events and circumstances in our lives – unable to find the calm and serenity to truly live purposefully.



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James

posted October 10, 2007 at 10:15 pm


Why are the pictures of Abu Ghraib any worse than the word-pictures in the Apocalypse? If we picture Jesus as riding a blood-stained horse through piles of bodies while birds eat their rotting flesh, why should we be shocked at these pictures? If Joshua is an image of Jesus, and he killed every man, woman, and child to clear out the Holy Land, then why do these images bother us?
Most people accept this kind of torture because they hear about it church every Sunday–even the kids’ books are filled with millions of people drowning while people look down from an ark.



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Annabelle

posted October 10, 2007 at 10:46 pm


Brian, thank you for this article. And also other articles that Sojourners has written.
This is something from the writing that hit me at the core:
Conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan:
“Sadly, he laments, that trust was betrayed:
And then I was forced to confront the evidence. He betrayed all of us. He lied. He authorized torture in secret, and then, when busted after Abu Ghraib, blamed it on low-level grunts. This was not a mistake. It was a betrayal.”
Lament. There is a sense of sadness and awareness in the process of lament, but serenity too. Realizing it for what it is – expressing sorrow, grief, or regret about something. Not easy and it’s easier to just ignore it at times. But I think as a society (and speaking for myself personally) we should feel some lament for this issue. And possibly feel some resentment at the current Administration for their actions regarding this it.
Thanks (to this article) for reminding me the importance of lament and how it just happens sometimes and that it does bring serenity and a deeper sense of awareness of what is happening around us and the world. And the need for it. Of course there needs to be the balance of serenity and lament. But I have found with true lament, serenity follows. It’s almost as if they need one another for each to truly deepen self and spirituality.
It just struck me (in article)….”Sadly, he laments…” and the pure honesty, emotion, strength,humility and grace which that bestows on so many levels.
Annabelle



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justintime

posted October 10, 2007 at 11:02 pm


For all they’ve done to America, Bush/Cheney will go down as the administration of betrayal.
They’ve betrayed everything honorable about our great nation.
Most of our best military leaders, who advise against war and occupation, have either resigned, retired or been fired.
The sycophant General Petraeus lied about the real situation on the ground in Iraq to support Bush’s ‘surge’.
By enabling Bush/Cheney’s endless occupation of Iraq he has betrayed his own troops.
By supporting Bush/Cheney’s desperate march to war with Iran he has betrayed America.
That’s why MoveOn called him General Betrayus.
I think the title fits him quite well.
God bless America.



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 10, 2007 at 11:31 pm


Wallis might be piling on the President, but really, can you BLAME THEM
Well I pile on him myself . Most conservatives I know do too , not always , I thought he was a compassionate conservative . We are just waiting for Bush to go too , maybe not with calendars that glow in the dark . . Big Business , corruption , yuck .
Bush will be gone soon , your right I am glad to see him go . But I was glad see Disco go too. I don’t see things as bad , morally irrepresnible and the rest that sojo makes out .
To me there are more important immorality things hurting our kids and culture . Kids being born more and more with out a dad or a mom . I was told being concerned about that is crap .
I don’t get it ?
.
Considering the Iraq policy of mistakes , Katrina , 9/11 and such , our economy is OK . Things are not as dismal as this site makes it , and I never see any hope coming out of it .
Thats where the right gains numbers, maybe the policis are wrong , but Jesus is all about Hope and Faith . SOJo needs to zero in on that . Then one day maybe Pat Robertson will be attacking this organization and Wallis will be ignoring them .



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kevin s.

posted October 10, 2007 at 11:37 pm


“I understand why you feel like folks at Sojourners and Rev. Wallis might be piling on the President, but really, can you BLAME THEM?”
I don’t. They are Democrats, and naturally feel betrayed by a Republican president. So be it. I would dispense with the idea that Andrew Sullivan is a conservative. No other conservative agrees with him on the preponderance of issues. But whatev…
McLaren hangs Abu Ghraib on the President (by way of quotation) with precisely no evidence to back up his assertion, and ham-handedly condones the Moveon ad.



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linda

posted October 10, 2007 at 11:39 pm


And to think that liberals, who saw much of this coming
(that Iraq was the wrong means to the end), were demonized
by the Republican Political Machine and its willing followers.



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Trent

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:11 am


I’ve noticed that everytime a blogger quotes someone who they label as conservative, that someone (not always the same person) will respond with how they’re not really conservative after all.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe Sojo is deliberately misrepresenting some liberals as conservative or maybe denying their conservatism is just a strategy used to refute their argument (so don’t listen to … because he’s not really a conservative).
Interesting.
Be Blessed,



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Steve Collins

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:51 am


Andrew Sullivan. Conservative.
Typically, when you see those two words in the same sentence that is a warning in that what is to follow is probably a not going to turn out to be true. I suspese that this is the case here.



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:

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:36 am


He’s not a conservative……. crap…..I better go wash my eyes and mind out with soap!



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Robert Alu

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:04 am


Just curious,
Is the truth subject to an individual’s political inclination?
Is Christianity in America that ‘relative’?
– Alu
Dar es Salaam



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Anonymous

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:44 am


Is Christianity in America that ‘relative’?
– Alu
Dar es Salaam
are you ?



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:56 am


respond with how they’re not really conservative after all.
Trent , Andrew Sullivan is a homosexual activist . He is articulate , and use to be somoene U would consider a conservative minded Person . He left the mainstream conservative movement for a hodgepodge of liberaterian , liberal , and conservative views . You can call him a free spirit , but not a conservative .
He is often quoted by liberals , “often ”
as if to say see even some of you guys think this is so . Tts an old political trick , which may be used by Brian McLaren , the Gop used it with that Conservative Democratwho I even think spoke at their convention ?
But I believe you and intellectual honesty know different if you investigated it .



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jesse

posted October 11, 2007 at 5:10 am


Is the truth subject to an individual’s political inclination?
–In both McLaren and Wallis’s world saying that someone is a conservative AND also supports their point of view means that their point of view must be true. They add the “conservative” in there to give more weight to their argument. But most of what passes as arguments by bloggers on this site are nothing more than appeals to authority.



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jmndodge

posted October 11, 2007 at 7:55 am


It’s time to realize that we were betrayed by a faithless and power hungry group of clergy. They are the ones who sold our nation on moral reform, on electing a “Christian” leader, on attempting to legeslate the moralaity the Jesus said the law was to weak to accomplish, and only grace could deliver.
Call evangelical pastors to once again preach something close to the message of Jesus, to read the whole of scripture and discover that it is the radical nature of the person and message of Jesus which relilgious leaders have attempted to control by their agendas, which needs to be simply proclaimed and set free to work within our lives.
Write your pastor, insist that he serve Christ, and follow Jesus. Remind him that no one can serve two masters. Break this unholy alliance with the political right, and please don’t replace it with the powerlessness of political liberalism. Let the members of the church work within the community and both political parties, but keep the church focused on keeping faithful testemony to the power and message of the Gospel.



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Robert Alu

posted October 11, 2007 at 9:02 am


Jesse,
What is your argument?
Do you arrive at the truth based on your political inclination?
Now please do not go off on a tangent …
Has President G W Bush betrayed American Evangelical Christians who voted for him because they believed he would bring honour to the ofice?
Either he has or he hasn’t, right?
– Alu
Dar es Salaam



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 9:06 am


Come on MIck, I had you pegged as a disco kind of guy!
“Thats where the right gains numbers, maybe the policis are wrong , but Jesus is all about Hope and Faith . SOJo needs to zero in on that . Then one day maybe Pat Robertson will be attacking this organization and Wallis will be ignoring them.”
I have to say that the prevailing message of Sojourners IS about hope and faith. Even when Rev. Wallis and Sojourners are taking the administration to task for their moral failings (which are legion), they are still projecting hope–hope that there will be justice in this world.
I would counter that the theology (orthodoxy) championed by some on the right has even LESS to do with hope and faith. Thier core issues seem to be opposition to gay marriage and opposition to abortion (which even I personally oppose–though I am pro-choice). They don’t talk of the injustice of poverty or the war. Instead, they focus on “moral issues” even as they defend this insane war with asinine terminology like “Just War Doctrine.” Also, they are not interested in any discussion or challenge to their position. They attack others as being “humanist” or “leftist” or “secularist.”
At least Sojourners is, for the most part, tolerant of dissenting points of view–this latest censoring of Moderatelad notwithstanding. I know that I relish the discussion and debate.



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 9:11 am


“McLaren hangs Abu Ghraib on the President (by way of quotation) with precisely no evidence to back up his assertion, and ham-handedly condones the Moveon ad.”
If by “evidence” you mean there were no photographs of Bush or Cheney high-fiving each other as prisoners were photographed naked with ladies panties on their faces, then, you’re right. There is no proof by that standard.



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dynamo

posted October 11, 2007 at 10:03 am


kevin s. said:
“and ham-handedly condones the Moveon ad”
No he didn’t – he’s comparing the use of the word “betray” in two different situations…and making the point that it’s more reasonable to use it here. Don’t hang moveon’s indiscretions around McLaren’s neck without having more evidence to back up your assertion.



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I and I

posted October 11, 2007 at 10:06 am


I too found it strange that someone would say there is no evidence that the Bush administration authorized some forms of torture. This issue has been in the papers on and off for nearly four years.
I know the world doesn’t revolve around my own experience, but most of the politically conservative people I know whom I can talk with about politics have told me they are disappointed or disillusioned with the Bush administration. Some try to defend Bush and say he has been misled by Cheney et al but it has been a long time since I’ve heard anyone defend him without caveat.
Christianity Today had an op-ed recently about how in the future evangelical Christians must be more careful before mindlessly cheering the President on to war. I hope people are reading and take heed.
But here is where hope comes in. I think with everything that is happening now there is new dialogue within evangelical circles, even among the political conservatives. There is much less fixation among younger evangelicals on sexual wedge issues such as same-gender marriage and more interest in environmental and social justice concerns. I’m seeing more openmindedness even in churches that are theologically conservatives.
I’m wondering how much the Emergent movement has to do with this. For that I thank Dr. McLaren and his contributions to that movement, as well as for this essay



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I and I

posted October 11, 2007 at 10:06 am


I too found it strange that someone would say there is no evidence that the Bush administration authorized some forms of torture. This issue has been in the papers on and off for nearly four years.
I know the world doesn’t revolve around my own experience, but most of the politically conservative people I know whom I can talk with about politics have told me they are disappointed or disillusioned with the Bush administration. Some try to defend Bush and say he has been misled by Cheney et al but it has been a long time since I’ve heard anyone defend him without caveat.
Christianity Today had an op-ed recently about how in the future evangelical Christians must be more careful before mindlessly cheering the President on to war. I hope people are reading and take heed.
But here is where hope comes in. I think with everything that is happening now there is new dialogue within evangelical circles, even among the political conservatives. There is much less fixation among younger evangelicals on sexual wedge issues such as same-gender marriage and more interest in environmental and social justice concerns. I’m seeing more openmindedness even in churches that are theologically conservatives.
I’m wondering how much the Emergent movement has to do with this. For that I thank Dr. McLaren and his contributions to that movement, as well as for this essay.



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Eric

posted October 11, 2007 at 11:42 am


Can we stop calling Andrew Sullivan a conservative? Please. He’s not. I can’t think of one traditionally conservative position for which he advocates or about which he writes.



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justintime

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:39 pm


Andrew Sullivan is a former conservative Republican out of the closet gay pundit who just had an epiphany about the Bush/Cheney junta.
He no longer supports the junta, but from what I can tell he’s still gay and still conservative.



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm


Andrew Sullivan has self-indentified as a libertarian/conservative. Could it be that conservatives have a problem with him because he’s both openly gay AND openly critical of the Bush administration?
So, I guess if you’re towing the conservative line, you’re worthy of that lofty title? But the minute you attempt to speak truth to power by being critical of a morally bankrupt Bush administration (or admit that you’re gay) then you are a pariah? I don’t get it…



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:08 pm


“Can we stop calling Andrew Sullivan a conservative? Please. He’s not. I can’t think of one traditionally conservative position for which he advocates or about which he writes.”
What in your book, would qualify him as a conservative? He has written extensively about fiscal responsibility and electoral politics. While editor of The New Republic, he published exerpts from The Bell Curve–a book which has served as a “briefing book” for some conservatives. He has been critical of both Clintons and has written scathingly about Michael Moore. The examples are too numerous to cite here. I reccomend you make use of Google…



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 11, 2007 at 1:40 pm


James Palmer said
“They don’t talk of the injustice of poverty or the war. Instead, they focus on “moral issues” even as they defend this insane war with asinine terminology like “Just War Doctrine.”
Thats strange James , I have never heard that ,honest . and I am a right wing fundie extremist , ask a few around here they will tell you . Wallis and company will put any Christian that disagrees with his ideas into that camp . Then talk about being open minded . Its a hoot actually when you just read it and see how people here go for it . Its been good for me because I can see it when it happens with the right better also .
“Also, they are not interested in any discussion or challenge to their position. They attack others as being “humanist” or “leftist” or “secularist.”
At least Sojourners is, for the most part, tolerant of dissenting points of view–this latest censoring of Moderatelad notwithstanding. I know that I relish the discussion and debate. ”
When a mainline right wing minister died , the autghor of the blog said she hoped his ideas die with him . Really not into debating issues from where I sit .
Thats when I put SOJO in my political folder , anyway now I am playing whose side is worse then the others .
Sorry
.
Wallis makes out like his god is winning by the ballot box . Good thing the John , Peter , Matthew, Thomas and crew never went by political numbers huh ?
When republicans were winning I saw our culture continue to put stock in things that were not Bibically oriented or traditional . Conservatives with a Faith in God have never seen things getting better , foor a while many hoped . That kind of talk sounds like religion is a persons politics.
The liberal institutions of the day are run by humanism , you agree ? Public Education , especially our colleges . Teachers Unions , Envirnomental groups , and such . I know that many people in the left have no problem taking my Faith and putting it in the flat earth , bigoted , ignorant , hate mongering , narrow and such . man places believing Christ is the way to Heaven is considered intolerant ? Have you not heard this in liberal circles ?
The state democratic party in my state had fish bumper stickers on sale on their web with the word hypocrit on it . They took it off . I bet it was big seller , I have seen them .
Linking up with un Christ like organizations to gain political results is why I believe the religious right got nailed for so much. And may I add rightfully so . Christ is not a PAC . Welfare for Big Business is immoral .
This organization reminds me somewhat of when we were kids and got in the back of a parade , and acted like we were instrumental in partipating in it .
See it different we do .you and I
Christ has little to do with the political and out of touch folks in DC if you ask me .
You spoke about being pro choice . But you want government to care for all of us with medical care .
I just have to respect your views , thats your right to believe that , but don’t expect me to come to your table and promote your issues that will increase the numbers of abortions . I can not do that , it is immoral for me personally to do so .
Just like Paul taught about offering someone a certain kind of food that made him or her believe was sinful . Abortion to me is sinfull . Can’t support your policies while those policies support abortion . Can’t do it , Wish I could , I would be popular . I support some of things you believe in politically but I will never join forces with the folks you do to win candidate in elections.
I found that interesting , you are personally pro life , and you are pro choice .
Are you personally for justice and politically anti justice ?
I really have to concentrate and wonder how you can not see how wrong that is . The whole issue of feeding the poor and then allowing the unprotected of us to survive are the same to me . You can’t do one with outh the other , to me its like your doing a step by step program with God .
. Like do the Ten Commandments one at a time in order , after you Honor Number one , you go to number two . Well at least some on the left say they will get to the thou shall not kill part but wow ?
Seculaism and humanism I believe insulates you from seeing this , thats my view , I guess its insulting , but from my view you have compartmentalized God in political action groups , some you support more then others , some you ignore .
Humanistic is what I label it , you are becoming god and choosing what you want and what you don’t as important . Heck as if I want to be politically pro life , you know what that means where I live .
Before Disco ,
When I was a kid most places a kid could get on his bike , ride down to the park , ball field , local community swimming hole , and come home at dinner time ., even after dark . The local parks now are used for drugs , those days we had are gone . We have a generation that lost the freedom I had , and they will never even know that they lost it .
What good is it if the Love of God comes to help a poor man , if the culture continues to support a life style that promotes abuse to kids and the family ? Pretty soon we will not be able to help the poor man , why can’t we do both .
You know James , I hope I have not offended you . Really , we don’t need a Wallis or a Dobson , we need a Jesus as the head . Perhaps some leader ship in the churches so while we wait for the Lord to come back .
We are not always blaming someone or trying to make some one else do it for us .



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:13 pm


MIck, you have in no way offended me AT ALL! I enjoy sparring with you because I genuinely feel that you are really grappling with some stuff… Your aguments with Rick notwithstanding:), I think that you come here for the conversation and to at least TRY to see things from a different point of view…
As to your comments about my earlier post, forgive me if I am moving too fast because I have to go get my son from school…
“Thats strange James , I have never heard that ,honest . and I am a right wing fundie extremist , ask a few around here they will tell you.”
I can’t cite all the examples here that I hqave found in print, but I based this also on converstaions with my father in law–also a “right wing fundie extremist.”
As to some of your other comments, I too am troubled at how the Democratic Party has treated people of faith. I stopped giving money to the party when Howard Dean made his comment about the GOP being a “White Christian Party.” Granted, he later supported bringing evangelicals into the party, but the damage was done. I still have to answer to my fellow Dem friends for being a devout Christian–like that somehow taints me and my world perspective…
As to the abortion issue… My wife and I tried for over three years to have a child. I could never imagine during that time that someone would want to terminate a pregnancy when we were agonizing over not being able to get pregnant. We then did IVF and now we have an almost two-year-old. So, personally, I don’t like abortion…
But practically,… I don’t believe that my personal disapproval of abortion should mean that women don’t have the right to make their own choice as to whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. It’s not perfect logic I know, but it’s the stand I have chosen to take.
And as for healthcare… If the government were to say to me: “You have NO CHOICE but to accept this free healthcare!” I think I would prefer that over having to talk to collection agencies every week–all of whom are demanding money I don’t have to pay for medical bills from two years ago. Anyway, I am actually in favor of hybridized healthcare–combining both private AND public. The ESSENCE of choice!



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 2:18 pm


“You know James , I hope I have not offended you . Really , we don’t need a Wallis or a Dobson , we need a Jesus as the head . Perhaps some leader ship in the churches so while we wait for the Lord to come back .
We are not always blaming someone or trying to make some one else do it for us ”
What we need to do is what Christ told us to do… Simply put, take care of the poor and try to love one another…



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Nuttshell

posted October 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm


I think the reason so many people attack the President and the Right-wing Hit Squad is because of their unswerving need to be cruel and vicious. Look at the attacks on the Frost family and their ill 12 year old. The S-CHIP program is not socialized medicine!!! It is an insurance program. It’s amazing to me that we (as a nation) tolerate Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance but the right-wing wants to paint this issue as socialized medicine.
My husband’s family is died-in-the-wool Republicans. My sister-in-law’s husband is a pastor. They speak in terms of Republicans as righteous and moral and Democrats as demonic and immoral. There is nothing that I’ve seen in this administration headed by a so-called Christian that makes me proud to hold this man up as a Christian example. When did it become okay to say the hell with helping people? I’m not advocating taking care of people, but helping them in times of need (i.e. Katrina, children’s health, etc.). It was Clinton who signed the Welfore Reform Act.



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squeaky

posted October 11, 2007 at 4:44 pm


Mick
“Bush will be gone soon , your right I am glad to see him go . But I was glad see Disco go too. I don’t see things as bad , morally irrepresnible and the rest that sojo makes out .”
I’m just curious because I want to learn more where you are coming from. When Clinton was involved with Monica-gate, did you view that as morally reprehensible?
“To me there are more important immorality things hurting our kids and culture . Kids being born more and more with out a dad or a mom .”
I don’t think it is either/or but both/and. You know, the thing with Clinton is, at the time people were up in arms over this horrible example of a human being he was to us, and what a bad example he was giving to all these kids who looked up to him. Well, what kind of an example is our current administration giving us? That we should be driven by fear. That if we are afraid, it is OK to jettison our dearly held beliefs and morals. That torturing others or denying them their rights as humans is OK so long as it serves the greater good. Torture devalues human life. Trying to limit our constitutional rights devalues human life. If our example is from Washington, and that example devalues human life, is it any wonder that people would devalue the life of a fetus to serve their own personal greater good? Our overall morality is not just about abortion, but about the attitudes and mindsets that allow for it. And even those attitudes and mindsets that seemingly have nothing to do with abortion such as the way we treat others or a materialistic and selfish way of life, can contribute to an attitude that thinks abortion is OK. So, if you are really concerned about it, you really should be concerned about the morality of the current administration, because it definitely contributes to the moral fiber of our nation.
“I was told being concerned about that is crap .”
Who said that, and what were the exact words? I have never read anyone actually saying that. To be honest, what I perceive is often you read into people the attitude you think they have. And often, if they don’t see things the way you do, you tend to broad-brush them as being anti-family. You did that to me a few threads ago, and I hadn’t even said anything about family. Just an observation. That’s how it looks from here.



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kevin s.

posted October 11, 2007 at 5:11 pm


“What in your book, would qualify him as a conservative?”
All of his views on social issues are liberal, making him essentially a libertarian. He has argued that monogamy is impossible, and also actively sought unprotected sex with men, even though he is HIV-positive. He also generally leans against states rights, voted for Clinton and Kerry.
As such, when he levels and explosive charge (Bush and Cheney ordered the atrocities at Abu Ghraib), I’m going to ask for evidence (none exists) insterad of simply taking his word for it because he is a self-proclaimed conservative.
Being critical of Michael Moore is a very moderate position, not necessarily a conservative one. He is also critical of Ann Coulter, which does not make him a liberal.



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 5:54 pm


“As such, when he levels and explosive charge (Bush and Cheney ordered the atrocities at Abu Ghraib), I’m going to ask for evidence (none exists) insterad of simply taking his word for it because he is a self-proclaimed conservative.”
So, can you give me an example of someone who meets your criteria for conservative?
As for the evidence that Bush or Cheney ordered the abuse at Abu Ghraib… Of course there isn’t any direct evidence of that… But statements made by Cheney (his comments about waterboarding for one) and others in the administration make it clear what the prevailing culture is in terms of dealing with detainees. Hell, General Geoffry Miller himself said he was going to “Gitmoise” the detention operation in Iraq… There is every indication that some of the abuses were comitted by CIA operatives who had orders from SOMEBODY high up the chain of command. It’s kind of hard to argue that it was just a few enlisted serivicemen acting on their own.
I find all of this particularly interesting since the administration is STILL trying to find ways around US and International laws regarding torture.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 11, 2007 at 8:27 pm


I don’t know the President personally and so it would be wrong for me to denigrate the sincerity of his beliefs.
It is probable that he believes he is acting according to what he believes are Christian principles in regards to his war policies. Moreover, he is not the only person responsible, nor is he the only one, Christian or otherwise, past or present, to hold these sorts of policies as correct and moral.
His administration is well within historical precedent for Christian behavior over the past millenium and a half. His was not the first to wage war, or even preemptive war, under the aegis of Just War Theory, or have theologians support him in that.
The history of Christianity has been one of warfare, witch-hunts and internecine warfare, Christian King against Christian King sacrificing Christian for Christian in war after escalating war.
In fact, this modern democratic leader is remarkably restrained compared to the tendency to violent language and retribution
of past historical Christian figures.
Where the practicality of this analogy in favor of his restraint falls down is in the remarkable efficiency of the destructive ability of modern industrial warfare as compared to that wielded by past figures. Thus the level of destruction wrought by a milder leadership personality can be so much more devastating due to the force-multiplier effect of modern war technology.
Now one can make the argument, and it is a compelling one, that these actions by historical Christians were in no way supported by the teachings of Jesus, and are in fact contrary to them, precipitated largely by the Great Compromise with the Emperor Constantine to end martyrdom and persecution of Christians in Rome. To secure that result, it became necessary for Christian leaders to develop elaborate theological justifications for syncretism with such un-Christian Roman traditions as warfare and conquest.
However, there is little doubt that the President is not a critical student of history or particularly intellectually curious. Like many of us in the pews, he relies upon those with greater theological experience, and certainly a sizable number of reputable Christian pastors have confirmed him in his present policies.
Moreover, because these Christian leaders have given the imprimatur of God’s blessing and will to them, it is very hard for the President to correct course, since after all God could not have been wrong, and changing course would therefore be to lose faith and snatch defeat from the jaws of the promised victory which will come despite every worldly deception to the contrary, if he will simply keep the faith.
There is no doubt this is the advice promulgated by our patriot pastors to our President.
I am very sure that it takes great character and firmness of purpose for the President to keep to this faith, probably in struggle with his own genuinely Christian conscience, since we have no basis for disbelieving the power of his own personal conversion.



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James Palmer

posted October 11, 2007 at 9:18 pm


“I am very sure that it takes great character and firmness of purpose for the President to keep to this faith, probably in struggle with his own genuinely Christian conscience, since we have no basis for disbelieving the power of his own personal conversion.”
I don’t doubt that his faith is deeply felt. The sad thing is that you see no evidence of that in his policies or in most of the actions he’s taken/authorized as president. In the many interviews and press briefings he’s given, there is no projection, no indication that he is struggling with these issues. He fluctuates between being dead certain and acting petulent and stubborn. He is defensive when challenged and doesn’t at all seem willing to demonstrate that his knowlege of events goes any deeper than the most basic talking points. When he swaggers and puffs out his chest and says asinine things like “Bring ‘em on” I see no evidence of a man struggling with the greater questions of right and wrong. I see someone resolute in his belief that he doing the right thing. Maybe it IS a lack of intellectual curiosity–the reluctance to be a true student of history. Perhaps if he had studied the Middle East a little more, he might not have chosen, as he did, to use the word “crusade” in ANY context when talking about the war. That demonstrates a severe lack of contextual sensitivity.
If the best that you can say about this administration is that it’s no worse than any before it (debatable) than I would challenge us all to set the bar a little higher.



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kevin s.

posted October 12, 2007 at 2:24 am


“So, can you give me an example of someone who meets your criteria for conservative?”
John McCain, William F. Buckley, Thomas Sowell, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Mitch McConnell, Charles Krauthammer, Rick Santorum, Fred Thompson, Bob Corker, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan (deceased), John Cornyn, Rich Lowry, William Safire, Bob Novak, John Thune, Mitt Romney, George Will, William Kristol, George W. Bush (when not burdened with the presidency), George H. W. Bush (ditto), Steve Forbes, Sam Brownback.
Those are the most important ones off the top of my head, and Sullivan shares very little in common with any of them, with the exception of Safire.
“As for the evidence that Bush or Cheney ordered the abuse at Abu Ghraib… Of course there isn’t any direct evidence of that..”
Or indirect evidence. There is no evidence at all. Why? Because they didn’t order the abuse. Why would they? What purpose would it serve? If it came to light, it would be a PR nightmare. If it didn’t, it would be pure pedantry from a political perspective.
“There is every indication that some of the abuses were comitted by CIA operatives who had orders from SOMEBODY high up the chain of command.”
Every indication? Can you name, say, three indications?
“It’s kind of hard to argue that it was just a few enlisted serivicemen acting on their own.”
Why? They were angry, they were immature, and they had too much autonomy. Sounds like a recipe for abuse at a lower level to me. Prison guards abuse prisoners in American from time to time. Is this also attributable to presidential decree?
“The sad thing is that you see no evidence of that in his policies or in most of the actions he’s taken/authorized as president.”
Well, not if you disagree with his policies. I see evidence of his faith, but I also find it difficult to distinguish his faith from the way politics informs expressions of faith. I think it comes with the territory. Obama, Clinton and Edwards are all working to spin their faith in a manner that is most appealing to voters.
“He is defensive when challenged and doesn’t at all seem willing to demonstrate that his knowlege of events goes any deeper than the most basic talking points.”
I disagree with this. His most basic talking points are what make it to air (which is why we have talking points in the first place) but he offers a more complete picture for those who listen to him for more than 12 seconds at a time.
“When he swaggers and puffs out his chest and says asinine things like “Bring ‘em on” I see no evidence of a man struggling with the greater questions of right and wrong.”
Why? If our stated goal is to fight terrorism abroad, rather than domesticlaly, and it is clear that our military is more than capable of eliminating terrorists, why is this statement out of line? He didn’t ask the terrorists to embed themselves amongst innocent civilians, or create civil unrest by way of sectarian violence (or a simulation thereof). In fact, his chest-puffing is quite the opposite.
If the terrorists consolidated and made one united effort to destroy the U.S military, they’d be very dead very quickly. If the had actually obeyed Bush’s call, there would be no more insurgency. Say what you will about Bush’s tactics, but this is empirically true.
“I see someone resolute in his belief that he doing the right thing.”
Yep.
“Maybe it IS a lack of intellectual curiosity–the reluctance to be a true student of history.”
On what basis do you level this charge? This is a talking point, that those who went to war understand nothing about history. I don’t buy it. We are fully aware that the Middle East is unstable, and riddled by the disease of a particularly nasty false religion. A number of interests (including Iran) are working to destabilize the region. We knew this would happen (I notice you don’t quote the “long, hard slog” reference) and our errors are tactical, not moral, in my view.
“Perhaps if he had studied the Middle East a little more, he might not have chosen, as he did, to use the word “crusade” in ANY context when talking about the war.”
Do we simply have to retire the term, then? Perhaps so, but I’m not sure his use of the term is indicative of ignorance.
“If the best that you can say about this administration is that it’s no worse than any before it (debatable) than I would challenge us all to set the bar a little higher.”
I think it is substantially better than the one before it, and I think we are executing this war with an unprecedented concern for civilian casualties, the rights of prisoners of war, cleaning up the messes we leave behind etc… Bush could have simply gotten rid of Saddam, declared “mission accomplished” and brought the troops home, leaving Iraq to the humanitarian organizations and documentarians.
He would have reaped the political benefits of such a move. America would have forgotten. But he didn’t. For this, he is considered to be stubborn or bull-headed.



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Anonymous

posted October 12, 2007 at 3:16 am


I certainly wouldn’t want to be anyone other than an American if I met Kevin S. at the wrong end of a machine gun. I might want to have my Republican Party membership card handy, too, just so as not to end up like the unpatriotic Pat Tillman with three bullet holes from an American-issued rifle in my forehead, at point blank range.
Maybe not be anyone other than a really, really pale American, either, so as to not have any inadvertent mistakes of identification as a Third-worlder. Neither someone unable to speak either broadcaster diction English or, alternatively, in a white southern drawl.
But, I admit, there is plenty of justification for Christians to worship a War Jesus like ours. Over a thousand years of theology from the finest Catholic and Reformation minds has taught us that we don’t need a Just War Theory, just war.
Patriot Pastor Rev. Jerry Falwell exhorted, “Send ‘em all to Hell in the name of the Lord!” on TV not long before he passed away and he was much lionized in some political and military circles for it, along with others who effectively serve as chaplains to an approving slice of the nation. As for torture, it was not an issue Jerry said he had any passion for opposing. In this, too, he was in good company of some of the great saints both of the Reformation and counter-Reformation traditions.
And he is not the only one with the view that America’s military mission in garrisoning a lost and unappreciative world is a genuinely Messianic, Christian one.
After all, Jesus didn’t win any popularity contests, either.
I’m more compassionate than Jerry, though; I like to think that perhaps some of the people we are bombing to Heaven, instead of to Hell, a little bit early, just like when we used to fight in Europe among ourselves for all those centuries.



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James Palmer

posted October 12, 2007 at 9:04 am


“Or indirect evidence. There is no evidence at all.”
The Aug. 2, 2002 Memo from the Justice Dept. saying, torture “may be justified” presents the appearance that the Bush/Cheney administration was trying to find ways around the Geneva Convention.
“If it came to light, it would be a PR nightmare.”
It did, and it was–as WELL as one of the best propeganda events Al Quaeda could have asked for.
“Every indication? Can you name, say, three indications?”
In 2004 an alleged insurgent was killed during CIA questioning. Navy SEAL Andrew Ledford whose platoon brought the detainee in was charged in the incident. The three CIA interrogators also in the room when the detainee died weren’t charged.
In November 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer killed an Iraqi Major General in his custody by stuffing him in a sleeping bag, wrapping him with a chord and then straddling his chest in an attempt to get information from him. In 2006 he was convicted of negligent homicide. He was the only one tried DESPITE the fact that there were other US civilians–presumably CIA, involved in the General’s capture and who also severely beat the General.
According to a Reuters article from April 4, 2005, sworn statements from army personnell indicate that the CIA might have been involved in several other deaths at Abu Ghraib–including but probably not limited to a detainnee dying under interrogation in the shower room and another dying due to a heart condition. These incidents, it should be noted, were never fully subsantiated and therefore nobody was ever criminally charged. Still, the death of just ONE detainee in CIA custody at Abu Ghraib indicates that the CIA was, indeed, present at Abu Ghraib and carrying out intelligence operations using “tough” interrogation techniques.
“Why? They were angry, they were immature, and they had too much autonomy. Sounds like a recipe for abuse at a lower level to me. Prison guards abuse prisoners in American from time to time. Is this also attributable to presidential decree?”
Maybe not a gilded scroll from the President saying “ABUSE ALL THE PRISONERS, AND HERE’S HOW!”, but it certainly indicates the culture at Abu Ghraib–and if the CIA was involved, there has to be SOME kind of knowlege high up the chain of command that prisoners were being batted around.
As for the rest of this clap trap about Islam being a “nasty false religion”… Only someone with such a distorted view of other religions would agree that “crusade” is a word perfectly suited for the war in Iraq.
As for the rest, it’s clear that no matter what I say, you’ll just say, “I see no evidence of that. Can you provide some examples?” I will, and then we’ll be round and round and, frankly, I have work to do…



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kevin s.

posted October 12, 2007 at 10:48 am


“The Aug. 2, 2002 Memo from the Justice Dept. saying, torture “may be justified” presents the appearance that the Bush/Cheney administration was trying to find ways around the Geneva Convention.”
Which is not evidence that Bush ordered Abu Ghraib in any way, shape or form.
“It did, and it was–as WELL as one of the best propeganda events Al Quaeda could have asked for.”
Exactly, so why would we order it? It’s nonsense. Do you think that if there was any evidence at all uniting the administration with Abu Ghraib, that Democrats would not have taken advantage?
“In 2004 an alleged insurgent was killed during CIA questioning.”
No. He died during CIA questioning. He was allegedly killed by Ledford, and Ledford was exonerated, though witnesses did allege that his platoon had been abusive in the past. This is not evidence that higher ups ordered what happened.
“He was the only one tried DESPITE the fact that there were other US civilians–presumably CIA, involved in the General’s capture and who also severely beat the General.”
I could dissect this, but the incident did not occur at Abu Ghraib.
“Still, the death of just ONE detainee in CIA custody at Abu Ghraib indicates that the CIA was, indeed, present at Abu Ghraib and carrying out intelligence operations using “tough” interrogation techniques.”
I didn’t say that the CIA was not present at Abu Ghraib. Obviously, the U.S. was aware of the existence of the facility. What I am saying is that the illegal activities there were not ordered by higher ups, and you have provided no evidence that they were.
“Maybe not a gilded scroll from the President saying “ABUSE ALL THE PRISONERS, AND HERE’S HOW!”, but it certainly indicates the culture at Abu Ghraib–and if the CIA was involved, there has to be SOME kind of knowlege high up the chain of command that prisoners were being batted around.”
Why? There are many people in the CIA, and to the extent that there was “batting around”, the CIA agents broke the law. What you call a gilded scroll, I call concrete evidence. You have neither, and I suspect that your conjecture has more to do with your political disagreements with the president that it does with the facts of the case.
“As for the rest of this clap trap about Islam being a “nasty false religion”…”
It’s biblical clap-trap, I would note. Islam is a bunch of hooey.
“As for the rest, it’s clear that no matter what I say, you’ll just say, “I see no evidence of that. Can you provide some examples?” I will, and then we’ll be round and round and, frankly, I have work to do…”
And being asked to provide evidence isn’t the normal line of conversation between your friends who essentially agree with the liberal group-think.
Brian McLaren likely doesn’t hear the question either, or have much interested in answering it. He would rather insinuate and assert. He may do so, but I am not in the wrong for challenging the factuality of his message.



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James Palmer

posted October 12, 2007 at 11:42 am


You are correct in pointing out that the Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer incident didn’t take place at Abu Ghraib… I was using that incident to illustrate CIA involvement in detainee abuse/deaths and how, when viewed within the larger context of detainee treatment–both at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, it demonstrates what is, in my opinion, a cutlure that condones harsh treatment and, yes torture of detainees.
And yes Ledford was aquitted, but his defense attorney argued later that there needed to be greater disclosure by the CIA in that incident.
You asked for some indications that the CIA was involved at Abu Ghraib. I gave them to you…
I guess it really depends on your own point of view whether you think the administration has any culpability when it comes to the treatment or mistreatment of foreign nationals in their custody. Clearly, you think they don’t. I think they do.



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