“…..in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”
Really? It’s fascinating the moral high ground that McCain and Bush seem to discover when other nations act as belligerently as we do.
(HT: Matthew Yglesias)
“The professed object of war generally is to preserve liberty and produce a lasting peace; but war never did and never will preserve liberty and produce a lasting peace, for it is a divine decree that all nations who take the sword will perish with the sword. War is no more adapted to preserve liberty and produce a lasting peace than midnight darkness is to produce noonday light.”
–David Low Dodge, War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ, 1815
Here’s a laugh-out-loud moment in a story from CNN.com:
“President Bush said Monday that Russia’s actions “substantially damaged Russia’s standing in the world” and “jeopardized its relations” with the United States and Europe.”
You mean to say that illegally invading a country can damage one’s standing in the world? Who would have guessed?
“The First Crusade, the only militarily successful one of the six Christian invasions, took the Muslims by surprise. They had been fighting each other and had not expected an attack from Western Europe. Searching for explanations as to why they were being assaulted by a people from another part of the world, Muslims turned to mysticism and astrology, noting that Saturn was in Virgo.
Until then, lesser jihad had been the duty of a community but not necessarily all individuals, leaving a choice for those who did not want to fight. But during the Crusades, Muslim leaders declared that when Islam is attacked, jihad is the duty of every individual.
After the Crusades the interpretation of jihad became hard line. Ebu’s Su’ud wrote in the sixteenth century that peace with infidels was impossible and fighting should be permanent and unending.
The Crusades were about power, not relgion. And the Muslims understood this. Initially, they began looking for ties and seeking negotiations with the four new Medeterranean kindoms the Christians had established in the Middle East. But slowly they built their own war propaganda machine. Just as the Christians established a term for their enemy–the Saracens–the Muslims began calling all the Christian intruders al-frani, the Franks. Clerics began teaching that defeat at the hands of the Fanks was God’s punishment for their failure to carry out their religious duties. And one of the those duties was jihad. By reviving the culture of jihad the Saracens were able to build a counter-Crusade and drive out the Franks. It has happened throughout history: peoples who go to war tend to become mirror images of their enemy–another lesson.”
Mark Kurlansky, Nonviolence
McCain is losing it. I like how he basically agrees with Obama’s Iraq position but then says Obama’s plan, not his own, is one of defeat. And this is his strong suit? McCain keeps digging his grave deeper and deeper.
Fred takes on one of Bush’s favorite terms. Money Quote:
To say that America’s strategy in Iraq must not be based on an “artificial timetable” means that America must not have a strategy in Iraq. It is to say that we’re just sitting back and watching events there unfold according to some natural timetable, some organic timetable unshaped by art or artifice. America is not acting according to a plan or a strategy but is, rather, a spectator to this serendipitous, windblown timetable. Que sera sera.
Military intervention is, by definition, artificial. It means you are relying on military force to force events to occur that would not simply occur naturally without such an emphatic application of artifice. If you’re not willing to force a particular outcome, then you shouldn’t be sending in forces. If you’re not willing to set “artificial timetables,” then you have no business sending in the Army.
Here’s a snippet from Josh Marshall’s response:
The problem for the McCain campaign is that he keeps stumbling into clear statements of his actual policy, which is close to lethal since the vast majority of Americans disagree with his policy and Iraq is virtually the only thing he’s running on. The context the McCain campaign keeps trying to put forward after the fact is what they wished he’d said rather than what he did. And even that, when you push deep, isn’t that different from McCain’s actual policy, which is that he doesn’t think we should be leaving Iraq for years to come, most likely decades.
Here’s Andrew Sullivan’s take:
That’s the critical question in this campaign: do Americans want a neo-empire in the Middle East? Do they want US troops permanently stationed in Iraq with up to 60 permanent bases? That’s what the Bush administration wants to foist onto Iraq; and that’s what McCain believes in. The viral video now buzzing on the Internets is not a gaffe, it’s the truth. McCain would love to see US troops stationed peacefully in Iraq for the foreseeable future. To him it does not matter when they come home. What matters is that the casualty rate get low enough to persuade Americans they shouldn’t care about another expansion of American empire. In fact, the entire debate about bringing them home is puzzling and frustrating to McCain. After all, why should we bring them home when being there for ever is the point?
It wasn’t WMDs or Saddam’s threat that motivated this war, we now understand, so much as the capacity to forward station US troops in an oil-rich region and help contain Iran. Is this a good idea? That’s what the Iraqis are now furiously debating. And it’s what Americans should be furiously debating in this campaign. It’s the biggest difference between the two candidates and it couldn’t be more important.
And in respect to those who have loved ones serving in Iraq, how is it that it’s “not too important” when they are able to return home? I get the policy that McCain is trying to push here, but couldn’t he have done it in a more thoughtful way? He better tighten things up here….it’s not been a good week or so for Mr. McCain.
This is a fascinating moment where Shane Claiborne leads an arena full of evangelical church leaders in a confession for a complicity in violent empire making and a profession to the allegiance to God’s redemptive love. It’s a powerful moment. I can only imagine that many in that room were uncomfortable and even angry with what Shane was leading them to say. Speaking truth to power often is a dangerous enterprise and thank God for Shane’s courage in this moment.
You can check out some books Shane has written here.
(HT: Tad Delay)