Torture Is A Moral Issue

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Our Christian President is currently challenging the standards set by the Geneva Convention in regards to the treatment of prisoners in the war on terrorism. Although the Supreme Court ruled that his system of treating detainees since the beginning of the war on terrorism was illegal, he is pressing for Congress to legistlate around the Supreme Courts ruling in order to allow his illegal programs to continue. It is unfortunate that our President, who is a Christian, has misunderstood the teachings of Jesus in a way that makes him believe that torturing our enemies in this war on terror is acceptable. In Article 3 of the Geneva convention, it stipulates against “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment of prisoners and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.” Bush has called the language used in this article “vague” and not clear enough in order for our intelligence officers to know where the legal limit is in regards to “tough interrogation” techniques. Maybe I’m wrong here, but the only reason the language in Article 3 would be called “vague” is because the President wants to extend beyond where the current standard is currently set. If he were not interested in torturing prisoners, then there would be no reason to characterize the Geneva Convention’s language as “vague” and in need of revision.

There are a lot of moral questions we face today, especially as Christians in the midst of this struggle for national security. How we treat our enemies will shape what kind of nation we are. I pray that the religous community in this country will recognize the importance of this issue and speak out for peace even in the face of danger.

Check out the National Religious Campaign Against Torture website and, if you are moved, endorse their statement against the use of torture by the United States. Here is the statement:

Torture Is A Moral Issue
A Statement of the
National Religious Campaign against Torture

Please join the over 6500 people who
have already endorsed this statement.

Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone involved –policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.

Torture and inhumane treatment have long been banned by U.S. treaty obligations, and are punishable by criminal statute. Recent developments, however, have created new uncertainties. By reaffirming the ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as torture, the McCain amendment, now signed into law, is a step in the right direction. Yet its implementation remains unclear.

The President’s signing statement, which he issued when he signed the McCain Amendment into law, implies that the President does not believe he is bound by the amendment in his role as commander in chief. The possibility remains open that inhumane methods of interrogation will continue.

Furthermore, in a troubling development, for the first time in our nation’s history, legislation has now been signed into law that effectively permits evidence obtained by torture to be used in a court of law. The military tribunals that are trying some terrorist suspects are now expressly permitted to consider information obtained under coercive interrogation techniques, including degrading and inhumane techniques and torture.

We urge Congress and the President to remove all ambiguities by prohibiting:

-Exemptions from the human rights standards of international law for any arm of our government.
-The practice of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspects are apprehended and flown to countries that use torture as a means of interrogation.
-Any disconnection of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” from the ban against “torture” so as to permit inhumane interrogation.
-The existence of secret U.S. prisons around the world.
-Any denial of Red Cross access to detainees held by our government overseas.
-We also call for an independent investigation of the severe human rights abuses at U.S. installations like Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now –without exceptions.

More worthwhile articles on this subject:

“Long Time Standing” – Andrew Sullivan
“How Bush Rules” – Think Progress
“Bush’s Fight with Congress over Torture Defines Our Character”
– Alternet.org

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41 thoughts on “Torture Is A Moral Issue

  1. So you are saying that our individual Christian practices of loving our enemy needs to be something our nation practices? Are we a Christian nation? That would be impossible to practice 100% wouldn’t it?
    To me this is an issue that is impossible to hold the truth about because it involves protecting lives. Toture like Abu Ghraib is obviously wrong.
    I personally don’t consider certain things done in order to aquire information to be toture. And I’m reffering to things supposedly labled by some as toture. Therefore defining it wouldn’t hurt. I consider toture when you do something like whip somebody, not something like making them listen to american music all night so they give important info. Based on what I know asking for definitions doesn’t seem wrong.
    Bush is right when he says its not like terrorist abide by these rules.

  2. I’m saying that if President Bush claims that Jesus is his philosophical hero and that he is a follower of Jesus’ teachings, his policies should not endorse any kind of inhumane treatment towards any individual, regardless of what they’ve done.

    We are not a Christian nation, but Bush is a professed Christian. What I object to is the dualitistic world in which Bush has created for himself. He can draw from his Christianity when it comes to issues of abortion, gay marriage, or stem-cell research but when it comes to bombing people or torturing enemy combatants, his language of faith and God’s purpose seems to vanish.

    Of course it is impossible to practice loving our enemies 100% of the time, but trying to succeed and trying institutionalize failure are two very different approaches.

    I am not trying vilify the President and his faith. I’m not expecting him to be perfect in any way. But the legistlation he is sending to Congress, if passed, will instutionalize a policy of sin by making inhumane treatment of our enemies an acceptable practice.

    Jesus said to Peter that if we live by the sword, we’ll die by the sword. He also calls his followers to love their enemies. He never said anything about these ideas being easy and he never said anything about us not experiencing pain and death. In the end, that is the challenge. That we do what’s right in the face of danger, even if it means our suffering. Obviously, that’s not a national mandate and the separation of Church and State is very vital, but Bush needs to be consistent in his policies. My hope is that Christians in this country, myself included, can begin to work towards a wholistic view of what following Jesus means for us in the political and social landscape we find ourselves in today. It is not easy I admit…I need to embrace this just as much as the next person.

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  4. Zach,
    I here what your saying and agree in many ways.
    From radio and tv I have not heard that this would give an “ok” for torture, but I could be wrong. The way I heard it was that this would provide clear guidelines for people to do their job.
    My personal thought is that this is so unclear because many people find this “war” hard to support. I mean if we were fighting the Nazis would you really care whether or not they were being tortured? Maybe you would I don’t know but many would not care if toture was used.

  5. Randy,
    First, if you understand this legistlation as an attempt to simply “define” what torture is, then I’m afraid you’ve simply scratched the surface as to what this legistlation calls for.

    Secondly, in regards to your comparison of situation with the Nazis, I actually would care if they were tortured. Maybe I would be sharing a minority opinion, but in the end, I can’t be concerned with what everyone else thinks. If I attempt a life that Jesus calls me too, then I can only use one standard, regardless of the scenario.

  6. I’m with Zach here on this. It seems that people are constantly trying to justify mistreating others (whether the person is being tortured or something not as bad).

    “Well, they wouldn’t give us the same treatment. They be worse on us.” “Have you seen what we’re up against, this is the only way to do it.” “Look at what they’ve done to us, it’s not comparable.”

    These are all lame excuses for any Christian to use. And that isn’t because they are completely wrong and logically off base. It’s because they wreak of conditional love. Jesus’ life shows us something in particular, and that is that love is unconditional. The love of the Father is not conditioned upon what we might do to him and others. He loves us because he chooses to do so. The love Jesus displays in the gospels if unconditional. He talks to and cares for people that don’t deserve the least bit of compassion. He humbled himself so that he could serve people, so that he could serve us. Anything less than unconditional love is self-love; and we, as Christians, need to start realizing and remembering that.

    Often times it’s easy to love someone unconditionally when they give you no reason to stop your loving actions. But it’s never easy to treat someone in a loving manner when they’re actions (like terrorism) threaten you and oppose your own belief system. That, though, doesn’t give us a right to make our love conditional, it should just spur us to love that much more.

    Check out Kierkegaard’s Provocations, it’s a free ebook containing pieces of Kierkegaard’s writings. The entire book is great, but Section III, The Works of Love, is especially relevant here. It’s only about 30 or so pages, so it’s not a huge read.
    http://www.jeffreyclong.com/journey/2005/12/provocations_by.html

  7. I wonder if anyone has notified the “Terrorists” and “Muslim Fanatics” on this one so they too have the opportunity to join us in acts of “non-torture”.

    While I agree torture is a bad idea; stressful interrogation is an excellent resource when dealing with murdering thugs and true torturers who like to lop off the heads of innocents.

  8. Marcguyver,

    Are you saying that because the terrorists advocate torture that we should be more willing to torture as well?

    Also, it is highly debatable whether or not “stressful interrogation” actually yeilds the kinds of results that proponents of torture claim they do. It’s considered by many in the intelligence community to yield many more false leads than reliable ones.

    I think it’s interesting that you make the distiction between “true” torturers and other kinds of torturers. If killing innocents is the mark of “true” torture, then the United States Government is guilty as charged.

  9. Sorry, bout that I should have clarified. What I meant by toturing was ok was not toture like the nazi’s did but interrogation. I don’t know whether or not that works as mentioned by Zach but I just wanted to clarify.

    Also I agree with following Jesus in every aspect of life including this…but where do we draw the line? Do we not have a military?
    I can’t imagine saying that even though I beleive that we are to love unconditionally.

  10. well, that depends on who you define “we” as. if “we” is the church, then we don’t have a military. if “we” is america, then whatever. my job isn’t to trot around the political scene and talk military engagement. my job is to proclaim the gospel through my actions and my speech.

  11. Yes I was reffering to America.
    I understand that your job is to proclaim…but then why would you weigh in on the discussion? I think my question was valid. But I got a reply that wasn’t.

  12. Randy, you ask some good questions. If we are to love our enemies unconditionally, any opposition to them would have to be expressed non-violently. Obviously, this is totally counter to the conventional wisdom of the american way of life, but we are still faced with that fact that what Jesus had to say and do is totally counter to the conventional thinking of his day.

    I admit, this is very tough stuff. If someone where to break into my house and attack my wife and daughter, I’d act first and ponder the validity of my actions later.

    But one thing is clear and that is the fact that torturing our enemies and waging pre-emptive war falls well beyond the boundries of how Jesus has calls us to live. It’s such a simple conclusion, yet so grossly ignored by the President of the United States and the American Christian Church. Very sad.

  13. Zach, I can see your point, but I’m lacking the theological skill to explain why I don’t agree 100%. The toture point your making I’m cool with but not fighting wars in general is just incomprehensible to me. None of that was necessarily the purpose of your post so I regress.

  14. I’ve dallied with you on this before, but what is your alternate solution to the Iraq problem?

    I know we share massive distrust of impure oil motivations, poor practice in execution and, personally at least an utter disregard of the WMD threat pedalled in favour of urgency. But Saddam had by UN law done plenty enough to warrant war on the basis of his defiance of UN directions and human rights abuses. How would you view it if the US hadn’t got involved and he continued to gas and torture civilians, clearly on a scale far greater than that which takes place now?

    I appreciate your non-violence stance, but on a practical level what’s the alternative solution? Particularly considering alternative actions had failed for so long. Wait til he gets bored of killing his people or they over throw him? Baring in mind his sons would have just taken over his role.

  15. I don’t think there really is a solution to the Iraq problem. It was a mess before we invaded and now it has been made worse. I wouldn’t be so quick to agree with the suggestion that civilians are suffereing less now in Iraq as opposed to when Saddam was in power.

    Regardless of Hussein’s actions against his people, we should not have gone to war with Iraq. There are ways to resist poor treatment of civilians that don’t include waging violent wars and dropping bombs.

    Our government was fine with Saddam gassing his own people in the 80’s when we supported him and his efforts against Iran. Saddam’s treatment of his people was simply not the reason Bush felt we needed to invade. It was a strategy based our need for “national security”.

    I’m not against resistance. I’m against violent resistance. If we are going to seek solutions to these kinds of problems around our globe, we need think less about what is “practical” and figure out what actually works. Non-violent resistence works, but it’s not safe and requires time, courage and moral fortitude.

  16. Zach,

    I am curious – what would your solution be? I don’t understand people who simply think that we need to negotiate. There are some people that you cannot negotiate with. Take you for example. I have been reading your blog for a while now. You have very definite opinons about things. I have never once seen you change your opinion about something. You see things one way and when someone who see things differently challenges you, your usual response is to be sarcastic. You have never conceded to anyone else’s opinion. I assume that you are a rational person. If it is impossible (or at the very least extremely difficult) to negotiate with you, a rational person, how do you expect to negotiate with irrational fanatics? Just wondering.

  17. Thanks for the commment, Beth. First, let me point out where we can agree. I agree with you that the method negotiation does not always work.

    Ok, now on to where we disagree. I believe that the best way to combat oppression and tyranny is by the use of non-violent resistance. Non-violence activism does not usually involve negotiation. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t negotiate with white supremecists. Jesus did not negotiate with Pilate. However, I do favor the method of negotiation if it prevents the use of milataristic force.

    Moving on, when considering the Iraq War, the case can be made that the UN was in the process of successful negotiations with Saddam. They requested the ability to inspect Iraq’s weapons programs. Saddam allowed them access and Hans Blix, the chief inspector of the UN had come to the conclusion that he had seen no evidence of a wmd program. In the end, Hans Blix and the UN were right and our invasion was proven to be premised on false information. if given more time for the UN to continue inspections, the world community could have possibly come to a more sound conclusion on information that we now know is factual.

    As far as my “definite” opinions are concerned, I simply try to think through and research these issues that i write about. I appreciate those who challenge me on my thinking because it does truly sharpen my views. It forces me to consider perspectives that are different from mine that’s a good thing.

    Also, I really appreciate when commenters sublty compare me to irrational terrorist fanatics 🙂

  18. I have been recently reading up a little on Gandhi, who is arguably the most successful political activist of the last century, and of course a huge, not just believer, but exponent of non violence. And I fully agree that on a governmental and political level there is nothing to be gained from violence. No matter what your political cause you will only harm it and make your opposition more resolute, as the IRA have proved sensationally with their startlingly poor progress with what is at root a very reasonable cause.

    However Gandhi and I slightly part company on the dealing with tyrannical dictators area. His advice to the British in WWII was to allow Hitler to invade, do what he wanted, but refuse to declare allegience. I think this is excessively romantic, not least because it simply ignores that Hitler was commiting genocide on an unimaginable scale, something I don’t think non-violence could have stopped.

    I believe war can be justified in extreme circumstances, when dealing with people who are happy to murder thousands of people on a whim and simply do not care about public opinion since they control it through fear and oppression… I’m not trying to talk about George Bush although I am aware of the parallels some may see in that sentence! I think Saddam was approaching this end. I do wish they’d pursued the weapon inspections longer, but I do not think progress in terms of human rights in Iraq would have been made long term, and I believe there was a strong case for overthrowing him already.

    That said I will talk to you til the cows come home about distrust of Haliburton, inappropriate actions, failure to win hearts and minds, lack of understanding of the sectarian intricacy of Iraq, political spin and fear mongering tactics, abuse of religion on both sides etc etc.

  19. ok, gotta make a few basic points.
    Zach, can come off sarcastic but it is his blog. At times it has been rightfully so. And I once heard a statistic that said something like 60% of text messaging is misunderstood. I’m sure that probably happens here.
    Also in regards to peacefull resistance…I fully support that. But ultimately in many situations that does nothing. Just seems to be human nature that if there is tension and it continually builds ultimately action is taken. Typically vionlent action. This isn’t the case all the time however.(disclaimer) This point was not made in reference to any particular situation.

  20. JI, would you say there has been progress in human rights in Iraq since coalition forces invaded? Obviously Saddam commited terrible acts against his own people but I don’t see the current conditions in Iraq as any kind of improvement. In July 2006 the Baghdad morgue processed 1,100 bodies. The average since we’ve invaded is around 700 bodies per month. The amazing thing is that these numbers are getting worse as time goes on.

    Here is a quote from Ghandi that maybe you will find interesting. I was certainly surprised by it:

    “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”

  21. I certainly would have thought so in some areas and probably over all, particularly in Kurdish areas. To be fair its hard to judge human rights issues in a time of near civil war. Most of these more recent deaths I believe are due to sectarian tensions? Is that fair? Or is this still insurgents and external fanatics committing car bombings? I think the current problems are more sectarian, and its a VERY tricky argument to say lets leave an oppressive dictator in power because he’s suppressing a civil war, that’s a genuine can of worms. Again I’d link the current problems to the lack of planning/thought/realisation of the serious sectarian divide in Iraq rather than the decision to oust Saddam, though clearly that was the spark. I also think many of the new human rights issues are due to the coalition handing power back to theocratic clerics who rule their towns by fear and harsh medieval law, e.g. Sadr city. Again that’s a tricky argument as to which you’d rather have Saddam or Muqtada al-Sadr’s, but again I think more understanding of the religious and political nature of Iraq may well have aided in moderating the problems posed in this field in the aftermath.

    And yeah from what I see Gandhi says violence is preferrable to cowardice. An initally surprising viewpoint but one that, to me at least, lends more power to his argument. The problem is you’re now getting into intellectual realms. I think it would be a wonderful thing to get [don’t take offence to the stereotype in my mind here!] a gun totin’, pick up driving Texan to consider that REAL bravery, REAL courage is found in not fighting, not because you’re afraid but because while you are willing to take the hits and capable of competing in the fight, you realise that not responding diffuses the situation and is better in the long run… but I think most of these guys would REALLY struggle with this! I also fear that brutal dictators will be somewhat unmoved by such superior actions, and thus may have to be removed by force to prevent them committing attrocities.

    Over here we have this guy called Rory Bremner who’s an impressionist, does satire on political things on his show with a couple of other actors, you’d probably like him if you’ve never caught his stuff over here on tour. They had great sketch with someone pretending to be a fictional government spokesman called ‘George Parr’ (the name’s always the same his role changes each week) and one would interview him covering lots of inconsitencies in an amusing way, it ended with:

    ‘So Mr. Parr do you realise that if you give the Iraqis a free and democratic vote they’re quite likely to vote in religious fundamentalists?’

    Parr replies ‘Yes, that’s fine.’

    ‘How so?’

    ‘Well that’ll be just like America’ 😉

  22. The ‘Pacifist Plan’ or NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) to do something is in fact NOTHING Zach. Hardened Terrorists, with a ‘kill everyone mindeset’ will never respond to your ‘Pleas of Peace’, don’t you and others see that?

    For Pete’s Sake man, If evil men responded to this kind of nonsense, then we could have stopped men like Hilter and others in the annals of history by simply sending enough letters in the mail asking him to reconsider his behavior.

    When men, women, and children are being slaughtered by thugs and punks (Either on a national level like Iraq, or in our local neighborhoods) they aren’t stopped by ‘Peace Pleas’, they are only stopped by other warriors who are willing to use force….ACTUAL FORCE, to end their cycle of violence on the innocent.

    Open your eyes, this kind of logic is ludicrous! There IS a time for peace and love and harmony…YES. But there is also a time for vehement justice! (2 Samuel 22:33-43)

    If you were in ‘Power’, any thug, punk, terrorist, demagogue, dictator, or street rat, could walk right past your ‘guards’, your ‘security checks’ and right into your personnal chambers and blow your head clean off! WHY? Because no one in your Pacifist World would stop them!!

    Wolves prowl around looking for Sheep just like you! You’re easy prey. You bend over backwards to appease them and they take every advantage; right up to taking your very life.

    This is wacked man! Again, the reason bullys and punks run amuck in some areas, is because people like you are unwilling to stand up to them, get right back in their face, and throw a few punches as needed to show them that not everyone is okay with being a victim!

  23. Where was Christ when nation after nation, including women and children, were destroyed by the sword either by the hand of the Israelites, or by the very hand of God through his angels, pestilence, earthquakes, etc?
    Isn’t Christ actually God himself? Isn’t this the same God that said He is a God of justice, fairness, and vengence?

    Now, that being said, I also believe that He has shown himself to be a God of mercy, love, and compassion; and no one epitimizes that better than God in the flesh; i.e. Jesus Christ.
    BUT, (And this is a big BUT), we cannot exclude God’s other characteristics and attributes just because God became flesh and dwelt among us and was willing to suffer at the hands of men without so much as lifting a finger.

    I’m not trying to say that George Bush is waging war in Iraq because God himself has mandated us to destroy the nation of Iraq. However, I am in agreement with the U.S.’s ability to protect itself against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and I for one see the removal of Saddam’s regime as being something good not only for Iraq, but for all of humanity.
    He was a murderous thug and deserves to die a murderer’s death. And I also see nothing wrong with our boys on the ground fighting these murderous terrorists who are also nothing more than a bunch of street rats who have no regard for the sanctity of human life and need to be stopped by any means necessary.

    Consider the words of an Iraqi Official more than my own:
    NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI, Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq: “Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until GOD PREPARED AND DELIVERED UNTO THEM THE COURAGEOUS SOLDIERS OF THE 3RD ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT, WHO LIBERATED THIS CITY, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3rd ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.”

    In the civilian sector I feel the same. I patrol the streets at night looking for the cowards, murderers, and thugs that plague every American town right here in our own backyards. I have no problem with protecting others even if that means ending the life of another human being.
    And, I don’t see in any way, shape, or form, that God is somehow against my actions and that Christ’s life on earth somehow says, “If you’re being raped, well…just pray for your rapist. If you’re being attacked violently, well….just pray for deliverance. If a burglar kicks down your door, well…just start reading the Word to him.”

    Romans says, “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.
    But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, AN AVENGER WHO BRINGS WRATH ON THE ONE WHO PRACTICES EVIL. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.”

    So to me, should I show mercy, kindness, compassion, etc? Yes, no question. But I also have no issue with being just as tough or tougher than my adversary should he/she decide to try and abuse, assault, or murder me; and I’ll gladly do the same for my fellow countrymen! So should we all.

  24. Wow Marcguyver,

    I am not going to take time to give my thoughts on the post issue because clearly you have no interest in having a “respectable” dialogue.

    I will take time to encourage you to take a time out and think about the words you use and the heart in which you write before you spew you words in the way you just have. You sound like a very arrogant man who really struggles with listening to others opinions. It’s one thing to be passionate; it’s another to belittle others because of your clear insecurities.

    Please hear me when I say I am not trying to attack you, but to encourage you to not speak to people in such a degrading way. Christ never taught or lived in this way.

    Christ came to bring a new law and a new love.

  25. Marcguyver, while in essence I agree that military force can be justified in extreme circumstances I think you are a little black and white on the issue.

    Terrorists are not born in isolation. It is truly naive to assume that the west are blameless in the formulation of anti-west militants and that these militants are simply evil without cause.

    Also the religiously motivated believe they are doing God’s will and are carrying out justice by taking the fight to the evil doers, much the same way you feel you are. They can justify their acts of violence in exactly the same way you do:

    “I have no problem with protecting others even if that means ending the life of another human being”

    I would suggest that you should have a problem ending the life of another human being. Perhaps there are circumstances where it is for the greater good but this should be a LAST resort. You should ponder long and hard over where it is appropriate (clearly either prior to or after active service; pondering long and hard in the field never works out too well!), not simply sweep it under a blanket justification of ‘vengeance’, because that is exactly what these ‘terrorists’ do.

    Very rarely do you come across people with exclusively malicious intent (though the example of booby trapping corpses seems to approach this, if it is actually true), most will act in a criminal/militant way due to upbringing, religious/political/personal belief of being downtrodden and/or economic situation. If your solution is to endlessly kill anyone who opposes you then you will get no closer to understanding why these people oppose you in the first place, i.e. the root cause. Life is a compromise, dealing with terrorism should be too, its a balance of carrot and stick, attempts need to be made to understand the cause of those who oppose you and huge attempts must be made to win the hearts and minds of the public of places like Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon. I see too much stick and very little carrot at the moment.

    Outright violence has a very limited scope for being effective. I would advise you to realise that people are not divisible into ‘good’ or ‘evil’, but a complex bundle of motivations and fears. I know the ‘evil’ tag makes war a lot more straight forward and the death toll much easier to justify.

  26. Marcguyver, your poor understanding of United States foreign policy, past and present, is unfortunate and leaves me to believe that a civil dialogue with you regarding your ideas is impossible.

    I’d gladly try to explain you that we were actually supporting the efforts of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden during various wars in the 1980’s. I’d love to explain that a majority of the violence in Iraq today is sectarian. I’d also try to highlight the fact that our militaristic solution in Afghanistan is showing itself to be a failure with the recent resurgence of the Taliban in that region. I’d love to try to dialogue with you about these points but I’m afraid the Bush Administration talking points regarding this so-called “war on terror” have been ringing in your ear a little too loundly for you to understand the reality that the United States currently faces.

  27. Marc, I noticed you mentioned that God vengeful. While I agree with you, who are we as a nation to play God? Did God not say that vengeance is his? I realize that being Christ-like may not fall into the red meat-eating ways of hard-liner Republicans, but it is our ultimate duty.

    I think this whole issue could be solved if people in power would read Romans 12. Here are the final verses of the chapter.

    17
    Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
    18
    If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
    19
    Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
    20
    On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
    21
    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  28. I’m gonna go out on a limb here…
    Is it possible that those versus are specific to individuals relating to eachother. And not specific to groups. I’m not implying that its ok to go around taking over countries and kill people. But maybe there are times when those words don’t apply. Like WW2. Or maybe in Africa when people are killing families and taking their kids for slaves. Do we just “feed our enemies” when they are hungry? Do we wait until they are done killing children hoping that God’s wrath comes down on them? I beleive and try to practice these versus in Romans but have a hard time seeing a nation practicing this.

  29. I don’t see why those verses don’t apply to groups or nations.

    I agree that WW2 was a justifiable war. We were attacked by a sovereign nation and had we not retaliated we would have lost millions of lives.

    But to compare WW2 with the ‘War on Terror’ is farfetched. In terms of war, it isn’t one. As far as our terrorism goes there is no established nation or even a unified agenda of the terror cells in the Middle East.

    My concern is the fact that our President is attempting to do away with terrorism by using warfare. Not only is that strategy weakening our armed forces, but it is also emboldening the terrorists and serving to justify their extreme viewpoints.

    You don’t get rid of maleria by killing individual mosquitos. You go to the source. You drain the swamp.

    The same analogy can be made for fighting terrorism. The administration has to realize that there are reasons that terrorism is so prevailant. Terrorists do have what they deem are justifiable reasons as to why they murder people. When we wage war against their ideals it only reiterates their views and strengthens their resolve.

  30. Funny or not I agree with most you just said(Kyle). I never made the connection of WW2 to the war on terror. My point was in regards to the fact that people are arguing that wars shouldn’t be fought and using the Bible to trie to back it up.
    I guess my point still stands though. If you trying to apply those versus for war it has to apply across the board. You can’t be the one making the judgement call for everyone as to whether or not a war is just(based on those versuses). I actually agree that this war on terror and Iraq is a flop. But the logic used in this thread doesn’t make sense.
    I know Jesus commands me to love my neighbor(everyone), but to say we shouldn’t have a military that is ready to fight a war is nonsense. Also to say we should have a military but shouldn’t be ready to use it is nonsense also. There is no way you could ever push those theocracy ideas on a democracy. If you beleive the Bible and interperet it to say that our nation should never fight wars. Ultimately your arguing for a theocracy. Which is in opposition to Christianity even if thats the theocracy your wanting to establish.

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