The Death of Osama bin Laden

Spectrum published a pair of essays on the death of Osama bin Laden. I made a number of contributions to that conversation. I’m posting a couple here, edited. The question was how are we to respond to the death of bin Laden. Steve Moran says we should celebrate. Jared Wright, on the other hand, quoted…

Anti-Muslim Hysterics

Drudge has a headline in red: “Five Muslim Soldiers Arrested at Fort Jackson.” The link goes to a story on a CBN blog post (Pat Robertson’s network) that claims it has the scoop on the story, that five Muslim soldiers were arrested two months ago for allegedly trying to poison the food supply at Fort…

Andrew Sullivan on the War

Andrew Sullivan reflects on what he’s learned since the early days of being a supporter of th war in Iraq. But my biggest misreading was not about competence. Wars are often marked by incompetence. It was a fatal misjudgment of Bush’s sense of morality. I had no idea he was so complacent—even glib—about the evil…

“Stupid, Unjust, and Criminal”

That’s part of the title of Andrew Greeley’s latest book: A Stupid, Unjust and Criminal War: 2001-2007. He’s referring to Iraq. Reviewed by Tom Roberts at NCR. No pacifist, Fr. Greeley nonetheless understands that even in what might be necessary wars, virtue is ultimately sacrificed on the battlefield. “War sucks everyone and everything into its…

“Deliverance” and Iraq

Unsettling commentary in Newsweek by Christopher Dickey comparing the movie, “Deliverance” (written by his father), to US involvement in Iraq. It’s Dick Cheney as Lewis Medlock. My hard copy just came in the mail, and I read it over lunch. In the end, though, it is not the übermensch [Lewis, played by Burt Reynolds] who…

Martyrdom?

Arizona Daily Star reports on the sentencing of two Catholic priests who trespassed on the grounds of Ft. Huachuca, headquarters of the Army’s Military Intelligence branch. A federal judge in Tucson sentenced the priests — the Rev. Louis J. Vitale, 74, and the Rev. Steve Kelly, 58 — [to five months in prison] Wednesday after…

Wars and Rumors of Wars

President George Bush continued his threatening stance toward Iran today, warning that a nuclear Iran could provoke WWIII. Let’s step back a moment. The US is the only nation that has used a nuclear weapon–and we did so twice, against civilians, to make a dramatic statement. The US, not Iran, is at present engaged in…

Carter: US Has Abandoned Human Rights

Jimmy Carter issues scathing denunciation of Bush’s policies. Bush [recently] defended the [criticized interrogation] techniques used, saying, “This government does not torture people.” Asked about Bush’s comments, Carter said, “That’s not an accurate statement if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored — certainly in the last 60 years since…

Torture and Religious Liberty

Lawrence Swaim writes about the efforts taken by American torturers at Guantanamo to destroy the religious faith of captives. Four former detainees at Guantanamo — Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al-Harith — are litigating in Rasul vs. Rumsfeld to hold government officials accountable for torture they endured while being held there. (All…

A War Run by Mercenaries

The Iraq war is the first American war to rely heavily on the use of mercenaries. Recent Iraqi accusations against Blackwater have highlighted this problem. Where once the US would have protected diplomatic personnel by use of soldiers, now it relies on mercenaries such as those managed by Blackwater. And the US has given them…

“A Terror-Industrial Complex”

Colin Powell is interviewed in GQ. What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they…

The Never Ending War

Did you know the Korean War is still ongoing? A cease fire was declared, but a peace treaty was never signed. (The same thing is true of the first Gulf War). South Korea’s president brought this up with George Bush, and said much could be accomplished if the war was declared over, now that we’ve…

Pictures of War

A picture is worth 1000 words, they say. That’s true of pictures of war. Matthew Brady started it in the Civil War, but because of the slowness of the cameras he was only able to capture the aftermath–sad faces of soldiers, bloated corpses of men and horses, smoke rising from destruction. Photography helped us see…

Old Advice to Soldiers re: Iraq Still Relevant

Lt. Col. John Nagl, USA, found an old treasure full of practical advice that could have saved the US some headaches if heeded: Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq During World War II, a handbook first published in 1943. I found it at the bookstore today. One statement that jumped out for LTC Nagl (and…

Tancredo

I’m flabbergasted and dumbfounded by recent comments by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)–as is the U.S. State Department. The presidential candidate has stirred up a firestorm by unbelievably stupid comments he made a couple weeks ago, saying that an appropriate U.S. response to terrorism would be to bomb Mecca. Undeterred by the negative reaction, he reiterated…

Allies of Al-Qaeda?

A fellow named Frank Pastore opines: “Why Al Qaeda Supports the Emergent Church.” The emergent church is an ally in the war against radical Islam–al Qaeda’s ally. Not in the sense they are supplying bullets and bombs to Osama, of course, but in the sense they are weakening our conviction to fight. If those in…

“Enough’s Enough”

Ken McFarland blogs about Bush’s War. What’s happening in my country is not just a matter of right versus left—of conservative versus liberal—of Fox News versus National Public Radio—of Republicans versus Democrats. It’s a matter of right versus wrong. And with the apathetic and complicit silence and capitulation of citizens—including far too many Christians—the leadership…

John Whitehead contra bellum

John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute, criticizes Christian support of Bush’s War. This infuriates Mark Tooley, head of United Methodist Action at the Institute for Religion and Democracy. … Whitehead’s political musings reveal a neo-Mennonite separatism that is faddish in some evangelical left circles. They excoriate other non-pacifist Christians as sell-outs to the “empire”…

“War–What It Is Good For”

Sensible commentary by Jonathan Turley in USA Today, jumping on negative reaction to a December 11, 2006, column in Washington Post by Brigid Schulte, What the Birthday Boy Wants: A War, about a birthday party for her 8 year old son, Liam, which had a World War 2 theme. Some parents refused to send their…

Futility?

fu·til·i·ty (fyū-tĭl‘ĭ-tē) n., pl. -ties. The quality of having no useful result; uselessness. Lack of importance or purpose; frivolousness. A futile act. Clint Eastwood says he made his Iwo Jima movies to show the futility of war. He says he wanted to show we are all the same. Perhaps Mr. Eastwood didn’t pay attention to…

Letters from Tokyo

The US government has just declassified 100,000 pages of evidence of Japanese war crimes in World War 2. Archives press release. Why did it take sixty years for this evidence to be declassified? A 240 page volume of introductory essays, Researching Japanese War Crimes, lays out the issues. From Edward Drea’s introduction: Japanese war crimes…