War, Religion, and Misunderstanding

There are a few misconceptions about war, religion, and the Iraq war in particular that need clearing up.

Iced Lightening has a follow up post in response to a comment of mine in an earlier thread.

In Response, meant to be polite but of a differing opinion

The growing dialogue between myself and a number of participants here and at Silent No More has been a fun and respectful exchange of ideas.  I look forward to seeing what other thoughts manifest over there.  Now let’s dive in, shall we?

The War on Terror has been counter-productive? I guess that means I was foolish to think that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a positive event.

Unfortunately, just mislead.  The war in Iraq was never part of the war on terror, or a response to 9/11, except in the propaganda of the Bush administration.

Does not the freedom of the oppressed in at least a small way strike a blow at the terror-makers in that region?

Except that with hundreds of thousands dead, the death squads, and civil war, we’ve hardly made things better.  That is saying quite a lot, given the previous regime in Iraq.  With regard to terror, we’ve just made recruiting easier (New York Times):

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Back to Iced Lightnings post.  Iced then goes on to detail good things that have happened in Iraq, and contrasts them with the bad state of affairs pre-invasion:

There is still much to be done, but it has to begin somewhere.

True, and Saddam Hussein was hardly a man who should have stayed in power.  He was a man who needed to be brought to justice.  But ignoring the UN and flouting the law is hardly the way to go about it.  There are lots of repressive regimes in the world.  To truly transform them into non repressive governments (of whatever kind their people choose), we must work together as a world, not as a single nation.  The question is, why Iraq?  Why did we have to make up a reason to attack?

I am sorry, but in all respectfulness, I hardly wish to acknowledge the very disrespectful comment about ‘stooping to religion.’ If religion is what comes when one stoops, than I hope that I may stoop to the ocean’s floor.

Iced is referring to this comment of mine:

Do not try to stoop to religion to boost your argument for war either. There is nothing of God in war, and there never will be. War is a human necessity, one we ought to avoid, not pursue with fake patriotism, false piety and bloodlust.

This was very poorly phrased on my part, and I must apologize.  It is not to suggest that religion is something low, but rather that religion is something antithetical to war and killing.  To appeal to piety and a religious authority to justify violence is itself low.  It cheapens religion.  Here is what I was responding to (from the original post by Iced):

Are there times when war is a must? If you ask the Bible, the answer is ‘absolutely.’

War?  God says “Heck Yes!”.  The idea of God taking sides in a war evokes older religious traditions.

Iced continues:

War is fake patriotism?

Here is what Iced was responding to:

War is a human necessity, one we ought to avoid, not pursue with fake patriotism, false piety and bloodlust.

This looks like a simple misunderstanding.  I was saying war should not be pursued with fake patriotism.  Wrapping oneself in the flag does not make one’s cause just.

Now here is where we get to the gory part:

I would be willing to assess that the dead would gladly die again so that their children, spouses, friends, countrymen, and future generations could live, grow, and thrive in a world that was safer, freer, and without a doubt better than the one they left behind. I know that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice.

So Iced Lightening is willing to say that all the dead in Iraq gave their lives willingly for freedom and a better world.  Every man, woman and child who died in a suicide bombing.  Everyone who was kidnapped, tortured, and executed by a death squad.  Everyone who was killed in “collateral damage”.  Everyone.

Claiming to speak for the dead can send quite a powerful message when one is claiming to speak for the victims of the most powerful nation in the world.

Such a harsh and callous view utterly decimates the value of a single human life.  When you add in “My God approves”, is it any wonder we are seen as crusaders?


8 Responses

  1. The War on Terror has been counter-productive? I guess that means I was foolish to think that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a positive event.

    What did removing Saddam have to do with the war on terrorism?

    Saddam was a puppet, a stooge and fairly well contained by the west. In fact, he was created by the west.

    There was no al Qeada in Iraq before the US invaded.

    But all that really matters is what the Iraqis think. After all, it’s their country (not George Bush’s) and every poll I read says regular Iraqis think their lives were better under Saddam. Mothers could send their kids to school without worrying they would be slaughtered, there was ample drinking water, the electricity worked and there was food to eat.

    But let’s be perfectly clear: the U.S. invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism – it had to do with PNAC and securing a reliable source of oil for America (and Britain) for the 21st century.

    That, and providing Bush with the protective cover of “wartime president” to hide under.

  2. Thanks Chris!
    It is disturbing, in 2007, to still find people conflating removing Saddam with the War on Terror. I thought when the President admitted there was no connection, that would have settled the issue.

    And right on with what the Iraqi’s think! The dead can no longer speak, but the Iraqi’s who have not been killed as a result of this war have certainly spoken.

  3. Fitness,

    Cheney still tries to link Saddam and 9/11! These people are batshit crazy and they don’t think we’re paying attention!


  4. Holy crap Chris, I totally forgot Cheney!
    Yeah, he still does doesn’t he?
    Batshit crazy is right.

  5. Cheney is slime. A radical, rightwing neocon who has no values and no honor beyond his 430,000 shares of Halliburton stock.

  6. The War in Iraq had nothing to do with Freedom, Democracy or Terrorism, but Empire. It was (and still is) part of great enterprise of American Empire, designed to revive its sagging fortunes and re-affirm its position as the ONE and ONLY global power.

    Saddam only sin, as far as Washington was concerned, was that he defied them for over 12 years. You can not run an Empire by proxy if those very same proxies turn around and bite the hands that feed them. The invasion of Kuwait was just that, a rabid dog turning on his complacent masters and then running away to bark them from a far. They tried to stifle global defiance to the Empire, a “show of force” as it where. Instead they have shown themselves weak, inept and brutal and thus the resistance increases.

    The days of Empire are numbered, question is, will its citizens wallow in its collapse or seek the redemption of the Republic?

  7. no harsh feelings on the religion misunderstanding, of course. i think this exchange just comes down to ‘agreeing to disagree.’ i do enjoy hearing your well-reasoned arguments. until the next time. Lightning.

  8. Rafael, I agree. It is a war of empire, just as the war with Iran could be if it is allowed to happen.

    I think its citizens are increasingly more aware and more active. Redemption is a very real possibility. The more people we encourage to speak out, the more people we move closer to action.

    Iced, thanks! It really was crappy phrasing on my part. I enjoy your arguments as well, and look forward to the next.

    I don’t know about disagreeing to disagree though. Really? No counterpoints?

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